Enduring All Things: 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Best Dates We've Been on in Ohio (Fun Things to Do in or Near Columbus, Ohio)

You guys. In basically 2 short months, Pearson and I will be leaving Ohio and this part of our life in the dust. If this is a surprise to you, read this post. We're moving across the country to Portland, Oregon and will not look back!

While I am so very excited to move out there and start a new, exciting chapter in our lives, there will be some things about Ohio that I miss. Mainly the people, of course. But we also had some good times!

So I thought I'd get nostalgic today and share some of our favorite dates we've been on in Ohio! Oh and there are a few more things we want to do before we move so I will update this post after we experience those things.
Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio.

Dates Local to Columbus or only a Day Trip Away:


FESTIVALS

Guys Ohio has some of the best festivals! And what's the best of all? The Dublin Irish Festival, o' course! We've gone twice and it's always a great time! The festival has lots of fun Irish music, dancing, vendors, food, drinks, and even cultural education classes! Pearson always loves learning about Irish instruments, and this year we met some Irish miniature horses!
Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio. Dublin Irish Festival Pony Show
We went to the Columbus Food Truck Festival for the first time this year and had a blast! You guys, Columbus has so many food trucks! I had no idea! In fact, according to the website, it's the largest food truck festival in the mid-west. This year the festival was held at Bicentennial Park and The Scioto mile and consisted of 54 food trucks, 20 bands playing through the festival, and 25 non-food vendors! Pearson and I went for lunch on Saturday and then went back for dinner Saturday night. I suggest going around lunch time either day because it's a LOT less crowded. The lines on Saturday night were crazy long! The trade off is that the better bands play in the evenings.

This year we also went to Kent, Ohio's second annual Harry Potter Festival! The hosts of Kent Potterfest, Main Street Kent, didn't leave out any details! We got to see the Hogwarts Express, Gringotts bank, Diagon Alley, the Forbidden Forest, the Room of Requirement, and the Hogwarts Library.  There were lots of great (mostly free) activities too: a 5K in the morning, costume contests, scavenger hunts, potions classes, owl shows, lots of vendors and photo booths!

To be honest, we were a little disappointed with the Kent Potterfest. They advertised really well this year on Facebook, which is why we knew about it, but it was packed. Kent is not a very big place and we could hardly maneuver our way around the town square for all the Potterheads everywhere. We didn't wait in line for any photo ops or henna tattoos, etc. And the owl show had such limited space that you had to have a (free) ticket to get in and by the time we got there (less than an hour after the festival started) both shows were sold out! We only stayed there about an hour and a half even though it was an two hour drive each way. We also didn't stick around for any of the open-air shows because there was no seating left. It also got really hot. Basically, I don't think they expected this much interest. I really hope that they extended it for at least a couple weekends next year and that they maybe even push it back further into the fall when the weather might be nicer. It was still pretty fun and definitely worth mentioning as one of my favorite dates, but it could have been so much better!
Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio. Kent Potterfest Harry Potter Festival Flowers

SPORTS

While we don't have professional baseball, basketball, or football teams here in Columbus, there are some fun sports teams to support and watch. This year we finally went to a Columbus Clippers (Minor League Baseball) game for the first time. I know. If you know how crazy my family is about baseball, that's probably surprising to you. There are several reasons we never made it to one before this that I won't get into but it was a lot of fun! We actually purchased tickets with seats but we spent most of the game standing in the standing room only section which is very affordable and fun! I highly recommend it!
Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio. Columbus Clippers Baseball Game
We've also been to one Columbus Crew SC (Major League Soccer Club) match. This was also a lot of fun! I've never been into soccer and it still baffles me that the fans cheer when they almost score and you can play 90 minutes with no score (though Baseball could be like that too), but I have to admit it was a lot of fun! Unfortunately, the Crew might be moving to Austin, TX in 2019.

We've been to a couple Columbus Bluejackets (Major League Hockey) games and let me just tell you, they are a blast! However, we got pretty special treatment both times. For the first game we went to, our party got box seats because one girl's company let us use their box. It was awesome! For the second game, another friend of ours work had their office party in the party lounge and they invited us. But hockey games are a lot of fun anyway! Especially when they fight a lot!

Then there's Ohio State Football (and other sports). Of course, Ohio State football games are a blast. All the love and tradition and excitement is contagious. Even though we aren't big OSU fans, which is a story for another time, we certainly enjoy going to games!

Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio. Ohio State Football Game

LIVE THEATRE

Columbus has some awesome live theatre! We have PNC's Broadway in Columbus, and lots of other live professional entertainment through CAPA Columbus. Pearson and I have seen both Wicked and Jerry Seinfeld at the Ohio Theatre together. I think those are the only professional CAPA events we've been to together, but I've seen a LOT of other Broadway in Columbus shows with girlfriends.

Columbus also has a great community theatre scene! Of course, I'm partial to Worthington Community Theatre because I've done two shows with them (The Music Man and A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol) and my best friend was on the board for a while. Anyway, Pearson and I have enjoyed many community theatre shows on date night! We always go see all WCT shows that I'm not a part of. We like all the Shakespeare in the Park productions that Actors Theatre puts on in the summer. And we really enjoyed MadLab's The Works of Shakespeare Abridged a couple years ago. A friend I met through WCT was in it and it was hilarious!

LYND'S FRUIT FARM

You guys, we go to Lynd's every fall. Literally, we have gone there to pick apples every year in October and we went twice the first couple years we lived here! Seriously, the have the best u-pick apples. Actually, I guess I can't say that since this is the only place I've ever picked apples. But it's pretty great. They have a schedule on their website letting you know which kind of apples are available on which weekends so if you know what kind of apples you want, you can be prepared. They also have pumpkin picking straight off the vine! It's so cool. And the little market is so cute and just full of fall treats, fresh produce, and pumpkins and apples in case you don't want to pick your own. It's such a fun date for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the fall!

CEDAR POINT

I'm sure you've heard of Cedar Point. At least, you should have if you like amusement parks.Throughout the years, Cedar Point has broken dozens of roller coaster records with each new ride they build. And they aren't slowing down! The park is located in Sandusky, Ohio, roughly a 2.5 hour drive from Columbus. Pearson and I have been twice since we moved here. Both times were day trips and both times we went with friends as either a double or group date type thing. Personally, I think Cedar Point is a blast. But I LOVE roller coasters and thrills. Pearson has to warm up to thrill rides and even then doesn't see the point in "Top Thrill Dragster" or "Millennium Force," but I think he enjoyed himself pretty well. You could totally stay overnight and make Cedar Point a two-day event. There is certainly plenty to do and it makes the 2.5 hour drive (each way) a little more worthwhile.
Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio. Cedar Point

COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM

Of course, one of my favorite dates to do in Columbus is the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! It's only the number one zoo in America (named by USA Travel Guide in 2009 and Skyscanner in 2014)! And you know, we have none other than Jack Hanna himself as director emeritus, so don't even argue that your zoo is better. You'll lose! Anyway, we've been to the zoo here probably 4 or 5 times and love it every single time! The manatees and tigers are my favorite animals. And the shows they do at Christmas for Wildlights at the zoo are the best! Oh and in case you're wondering, the zoo only keeps injured manatees who can't survive on their own. And they have a Mexican Wolf breeding program through which they're trying to repopulate their native region. And they take conservation very seriously.

Related: The Columbus Zoo
Also related: Christmas Season Date Ideas (Wildlights at the Zoo)
Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio. Tiger at the Columbus Zoo

OHIO STATE FAIR

Ohio has a fantastic State Fair. And it's located right here in Columbus at the Ohio Expo CenterAccording to Wikipedia, it's one of the largest State Fairs in the country. We've visited the Fair twice while living here and had a blast! While we're not much for cheap (possibly dangerous) rides, the food, shows, and animals more than make up for it! The Ohio State Fair attracts top performers every year, awesome local vendors, and lots of local and exotic wildlife!

THE SOUTH DRIVE-IN

The drive in movie theater has quickly become one of our favorite dates! South Drive-In shows a mix of current and classic films. They have two screens, each screen shows two or three movies per night. You can't switch screens between movies but you do get to watch both movies on one screen for one price. South Drive-In also hosts a flea market every Wednesday and Saturday and a giant yard sale. We love bringing our own food, sitting in the comfort of our own car and watching two or three movies for a cheaper price than one usually costs in a regular theater.

Related: 7 Tips for the Perfect Date at the Drive-In

HALF-PRICE BOOK STORE

Half-Price Books is one of my favorite stores here in Columbus! Now HPB isn't an Ohio-only store. In fact, it started in Dallas, Texas. But according to their website, they only have locations in 17 states and they have 13 stored in Ohio which is the second most with only Texas having more. There are two stores in Georgia but they weren't very close to me and I never knew about them. Anyway, it's a great second hand book store that carries all kinds of media. We've bought video games, comic books and even vinyl records there. We've also sold a lot of stuff to them. They're great to work with and for some reason, I love perusing bookstores with Pearson. One of my favorite dates was when we had a scavenger hunt at HPB.


THE MURDER MYSTERY CO.

Shortly after we first moved here, I found a groupon for tickets to a murder mystery dinner show with The Murder Mystery Co. in Dublin pretty close to our apartment. I didn't find out until much later that this company is pretty much nationwide. Well, at least they have shows in 25 of our 50 states. But again, I hadn't heard of them until we came here. Anyway it was a wonderful evening. We had a blast dressing up and trying to figure out the murderer. Oh! And we won BEST DRESSED!

Related: Fall Festivals
Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio. Murder Mystery Co.

OTHER FAVORITE DATES IN COLUMBUS

  • The North Market - A food court full of authentic ethnic foods. A butcher, bakery, florist and more. Basically, Central Ohio's authentic public market. On Saturdays they even add an outdoor farmer's market. Oh and you have to try Hot Chicken Takeover at least once.
  • COSI - Center of Science and Industry! It's basically a children's science museum but it also has some pretty cool exhibits and events for adults. In fact, all "COSI after dark" events are adult only!
  • Highbanks Metro Park - A large park not too far from the city. It has plenty of walking and biking trails as well as picnic areas and nature centers. Most of the park is pet friendly.
  • Scioto Mile - A beautiful riverside park in the middle of the city! The park hosts tons of entertainments events every year from festivals to outdoor concerts. Plus it's a great place to relax in the middle of God's creation and a beautiful skyline.
  • Easton Town Center - A mostly outdoor shopping mall complete with high-end brands (Coach, Tiffany's etc) to typical department stores (Macy's, Nordstrom etc) to boutiques (Chico's, Francesca's etc). They also have an AMC Dine-In theater! Make sure to go around the holidays for the amazing Christmas lights, Santa Claus, and carolers walking around!
  • German Village - A gorgeous little area of Columbus where German culture has been preserved. From brick streets to old houses, it's a little villiage where I could spend hours. We especially love seeing "Shakespeare in the Park" here as I mentioned above in the "Theatre" section.
  • Columbus Park of Roses - One of the largest public rose gardens in America, right here in Columbus! Seriously, gorgeous roses for days! I want to go back before we leave so I can get better pictures (I used an old point-and-shoot last time), but at this point it will be mostly fall leaves. Which isn't bad, of course! Just not roses.

Overnight Trips from Columbus


HOCKING HILLS

We have stayed in a cabin in Hocking Hills now on four different occasions. It's probably my favorite getaway ever! The hiking trails are gorgeous. The cabins are homey and inviting. We've been three times with a group of friends and once by ourselves. Go in October when the leaves are pretty and the weather is perfect! I promise you won't regret it! Bring food to cook in your cabin and snuggle up with games or movies in the evening after a long day of hiking in God's beautiful creation. It's basically heaven! Oh and you could totally make a day trip out of this from Columbus. It's only about an hour to an hour and a half away. But I highly suggest staying in a cabin to get the full experience.

Activities to do in Ohio. Mainly Columbus, Ohio but also surrounding areas as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Dayton. Date night. Ohio Adventures. Local dates. Activities. Central Ohio. Hocking Hills Cedar Falls

AMISH COUNTRY

Ohio is home to a large Amish population. Just drive a couple hours east from Columbus and you'll find quaint little towns full of delicious food, fun traditions, and lots of Swiss culture! Pearson and I spent a weekend in Sugarcreek in the middle of Dutch Valley one time to celebrate Valentine's Day and his birthday. We stayed at Carlisle Inn and had a great time! I do suggest going in the fall to get the full experience with fall festivals and everything because a lot of the stores were closed and we almost got snowed in. Or don't go during the busy season if you want a relaxing weekend with fewer tourists! We still got to eat some great food and go shopping in some precious little stores!


Dates We Want to do Before We Leave (I will update this post as we do these)

What are some of your favorite local dates in your area?
Ohio people: Did I miss any you would add to the list?
Thanks for reading!


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Monday, November 6, 2017

5 Ways to Sneak in Quality Time With Your Spouse

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #DunkinatGiantEagle #CollectiveBias

You wanna know something? Life is busy. You wanna know something else? We're all busy. Yes. All of us. Pearson and I are busy right now because we're organizing, packing, and preparing for his thesis defence (10 days!), graduation, Disney World, and our move (more about all that here). But you know what? We shouldn't be as busy right now as we have been at other times in our lives. But it sure seems like we are.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking life won't be as busy when we get to the next stage. Like once we get out to Oregon and Pearson is working a regular job with regular hours and I get to work on my blog full time from home. But in all honesty, life will still be busy. Stuff will come up. Things always seem to fill up our time and we never have enough of it. It's somewhat of a curse but also a blessing. You know what I mean? I love having activities to fill up my time. But I digress.

My point in all this is that being busy is not an excuse to give up on quality time with your spouse. I've said it before and I'll say it a million times more: your marriage relationship should be the most important relationship in your life. Everything hinges on it. If you don't give it the time and attention it needs, everything else will fall apart!

But hey, I get it! We're all busy. Though I think I covered that. So today I thought I'd share 5 ways to sneak in quality time with your spouse so you can keep your marriage a priority when you're busy.
Quality time with your spouse is so important! Especially since your marriage is your most important relationship and everything else hinges on it. I've shared 5 ways to sneak that quality time in when you're busy! One way is breakfast dates! Dunkin' Donuts Iced coffee makes those dates easy!

ONE || Get together during the day

If your evenings are busy with kids' activities and whatever else, sneak in some quality time during the day. 

Maybe you can meet for lunch somewhere halfway between your places of work. Or if you stay home, gather the kids in the car and surprise your spouse at work with his or her favorite lunch. Or maybe you working spouses can take your lunch break during your kids' nap time and bring lunch home!

Another way would be to carpool if possible. Pearson and I have been doing this for the last couple weeks now that we only have one car and let me just tell you, it's a great way to get that quality time! We can talk about what's going on that day on the way to work and then decompress with each other on the way home. We start and end our days on the same page and it's awesome!

If you can't physically get together during the day, please make a special phone or video call every now and then when you get a break. Do this for no other reason except to hear each other's voice and reconnect in the middle of a busy day. And at the very least, text each other all day. Sending Pearson articles, pictures and cute little reminders of my love throughout the day is one of my favorite perks of modern technology!
Quality time with your spouse is so important! Especially since your marriage is your most important relationship and everything else hinges on it. I've shared 5 ways to sneak that quality time in when you're busy! One way is breakfast dates! Dunkin' Donuts Iced coffee makes those dates easy! Another is to meet somewhere on your lunch break

TWO || Set a "bedtime" for the two of you

And when I say "bedtime," I mean a certain time in the evening that's just for the two of you. After the kids go to bed, put your phones and computers away, turn off the TV, and go to bed. Ok you don't have to go to bed. Maybe you'll enjoy a bowl of ice cream on the couch first. But the point is, this is your time. Together. Every night.

Now that you've got this regular "bedtime" every day, use it to reconnect. Yes talk about your day, but also talk about how you're feeling, what the two of you can do to strengthen your marriage, and maybe even reminisce a little and just be silly together. I'm telling you, pillow talk is often the best talk.
Quality time with your spouse is so important! Especially since your marriage is your most important relationship and everything else hinges on it. I've shared 5 ways to sneak that quality time in when you're busy! One way is breakfast dates! Dunkin' Donuts Iced coffee makes those dates easy!

THREE || Work on your to-do lists together

So you're both super busy, right? I think we've established that. Well, maybe you can kill two birds with one stone by getting quality time in while doing chores, running errands, cooking dinner together. Some of my favorite "dates" have involved boring, everyday, adult tasks.

Turn on some 90s pop music and tackle the dishes "I'll wash and you dry" style. Maybe you could start packing for your big move while working together on your packing strategy and dreaming about your future home! Working together toward a common goal is another favorite pastime of mine. Or maybe you'll spend a friday night at the grocery store while the kids are with the sitter. You get your date night and now you don't have to go grocery shopping later!
Quality time with your spouse is so important! Especially since your marriage is your most important relationship and everything else hinges on it. I've shared 5 ways to sneak that quality time in when you're busy! One way is breakfast dates! Dunkin' Donuts Iced coffee makes those dates easy!

FOUR || Shower together

And no this doesn't have to go anywhere. Though it certainly could. Sometimes this is literally the only time during your day that you don't have kids bugging you. Or even if you don't have kids, the shower is often the only place you can relax, am I right? So spend that time together.

Pearson and I don't personally do this much because we typically shower at different times and we like different water temperatures. But I've talked to other wives who swear by it! One friend of mine says she looks forward to that 15 minutes every morning because sometimes that's literally the only time she and her husband have to talk without being interrupted.

FIVE || Have a breakfast date

My final, and possibly best, way to sneak in quality time is with a breakfast date! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? So surely you're eating it every day. Okay I admit I'm certainly guilty of skipping it too often. But at least we should be eating it every day. So why not use that time to connect with your spouse before the business of your days sets in?
I'll also be the first to admit that I value my sleep. A lot. But when I think about the fact that sleep the only thing standing in the way of much needed quality time with Pearson, it's a little easier to wake up in the morning. So get up before the kids and enjoy a meal together. And make it as easy on yourself as possible!
Last week, Pearson and I picked up a few Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffees from Giant Eagle so we could just grab them in the morning. No need to make coffee and wait for it to brew. Or to remember to set the programmable coffee maker the night before. Dunkin's new bottled Iced Coffee has a deliciously smooth, flavorful coffee taste with all the same benefits of my regular morning coffee (like waking me up and keeping me going throughout the day). In case you're wondering, Pearson's favorite flavor is the Mocha and mine is Espresso!
Quality time with your spouse is so important! Especially since your marriage is your most important relationship and everything else hinges on it. I've shared 5 ways to sneak that quality time in when you're busy! One way is by having breakfast dates. And making overnight oats the night before helps to save prep time in the morning.
I knew I also wanted to have a simple grab and go type of breakfast so we could maximize our time together. So I whipped up some overnight oats the night before. Here's the recipe I used:
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup milk of choice (though I suggest 3/4 cup if you prefer a thicker oatmeal)
  • whatever spices you prefer (I used about a teaspoon of cinnamon this time)
  • Any other toppings (I used blueberries)
  1. Put the oats and milk in a glass mason jar and stir
  2. Add in your toppings and mix well
  3. Put the lid on the mason jar and place in the fridge to steep overnight
  4. Enjoy in the morning with your Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee!
Quality time with your spouse is so important! Especially since your marriage is your most important relationship and everything else hinges on it. I've shared 5 ways to sneak that quality time in when you're busy! One of those ways is by having breakfast dates. Overnight oats and bottled Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee make those morning dates easy!
The next morning, we got up in time to grab our coffee and oatmeal and enjoy it together on the couch! If you couldn't tell, Pearson got up and went ahead and got dressed before we had our date. Me... not so much. But we still made our awesome breakfast date happen and I see many more of these in our future!
Quality time with your spouse is so important! Especially since your marriage is your most important relationship and everything else hinges on it. I've shared 5 ways to sneak that quality time in when you're busy! One way is breakfast dates! Dunkin' Donuts Iced coffee makes those dates easy!
Quality time with your spouse is so important! Especially since your marriage is your most important relationship and everything else hinges on it. I've shared 5 ways to sneak that quality time in when you're busy! One way is breakfast dates! Dunkin' Donuts Iced coffee makes those dates easy!
You can pick up Dunkin' Donuts' new bottled Iced Coffee at your local Giant Eagle. Find your store on the store locator. We found the iced coffees near the sports drinks and bottled tea.

I have always loved Dunkin' coffee and the convenience of getting that goodness at my local Giant Eagle is a game changer!

How do you sneak in quality time with your spouse when you're busy?
Have you tried Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee?
Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Monthly Goals for November {2017}

It's November. Can we just let that sink in for a sec? I know everybody says it at the beginning of every month, but where the heck is this year going? October was awesome but it really got away from me. I can't be that mad though because I'm super excited for the rest of this year!

Pearson defends his dissertation two weeks from tomorrow! Then out good friend (the best man in our wedding) will come visit that weekend. Then we'll spend Thanksgiving with Pearson's extended family in south Georgia.

I'll save our December plans for next month's goals post but just know I'm super excited for everything going on!

Anyway, shall we get to the point of the post? My goals. I didn't do so well in October but that's okay because it was a great month! Pearson and I spent a lot of time together watching scary movies and hanging out now that he's not working near as much. So some of my goals got put on the back burner. Also we had to deal with a car accident and some other little stuff that came up. So lets just see how I did.

October:

Word of the Year (confidence):

  • I feel like most of my other goals for this month will help with my confidence: Working out, eating well, getting organized for our trip etc. So maybe from now on my goal for confidence should be "Meet at least 50% of my other goals"? haha

Spiritual:

Physical:

  • Do a Beachbody on Demand workout at least 3X per week
  • Walk on my lunch break at least 3X per week

Mental:

Marriage:

  • Work through Sheila's Boost Your Libido eCourse
  • Go on one date per week.
    • We really had more like 3 or 4 dates per week. Our quality time was awesome this month!
  • Get away for a weekend together.

Blog:

  • Post at least one good-quality, content-based blog post (lists, roundups, and sponsored posts don't count) every week
  • Promote the upcoming HOLIDAY BUNDLE (aff) that I have some content in!

Home:

  • Light at least one candle every day to make it feel cozy

30x30:

  • Do a French lesson on DuoLingo 3X per week

Preparing for graduation/vacation/move:

  • Book our Disney Trip
  • Buy 2 of the gifts I'm giving Pearson for graduation
  • Contact people we will be visiting on our road trip
  • Start packing things in boxes that we don't need before our move
  • List Pearson's car to be sold
    • Fun fact: we didn't actually list his car. He was in an accident and it was totalled so we got reimbursed from the insurance company in the amount of the value of the car. So now we don't have to worry about selling it. It was a blessing in disguise
  • Some other things on our to-do lists that I don't want to disclose here
  • Bonus:
    • We sold all the furniture in our guest bedroom and are now using that room to store packed boxes
    • We got a new mattress from Tomorrow Sleep (for free for review on the blog) and moved our old mattress into the guest room for the one guest we will have before we move.
So there you go. I didn't even accomplish half of my goals. BUT! We did get a lot done in the "Preparing for graduation/vacation/move" category. So I'm calling this month a win!

November

Word of the Year (confidence):

  • Meet at least 50% of my other goals
  • Post a video on Instagram Stories every day (This helps my confidence because it forces me to be vulnerable and put myself out there despite my 

Spiritual:

Physical:

  • Do some kind of exercise at least 3X per week
  • Only eat out on weekends

Mental:

Marriage:

  • Work through Sheila's Boost Your Libido eCourse
  • Go on one date per week.
  • Support Pearson through his thesis defense
  • Eat at at least half of the remaining restaurants on our list of restaurants we want to try before we move.

Blog:

Home:

  • Light at least one candle every day to make it feel cozy

30x30:

  • Do a French lesson on DuoLingo 3X per week

Preparing for graduation/vacation/move:

  • Book our Disney Trip
  • Contact people we will be visiting on our road trip
  • Replace the batteries in both of our key fobs
  • Acquire more boxes for packing
  • Some other things on our to-do lists that I don't want to disclose here
Alright so those are my goals. I'm feeling pretty good about them.
  • So what are your goals for November? Let me know some of your biggest goals in the comments.
  • Did you write a blog post about them? If so, share the link in the comments! Let's support each other, cheer each other on, and hold each other accountable!

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Reading Roundup October {2017}

You guys! I cannot believe October is over already. October is my favorite month of the year and it really got away from me this year! But that's okay because I am really looking forward to the rest of this year!

Anyway, I planned to read Frankenstein and one book from the Cormoran Strike series this month but neither of those happened. But let's see what I did end up reading this month, shall we?

Muddling Through Again by Lee Haugen Long

My good blog-friend, Brita of Belle Brita republished her late mother's book of prayers this year. Brita's mom, Lee Haugen Long, wrote and self published Muddling Through: Prayers and Reflections for a Woman's Journey back in 2000 and had been collecting more prayers for a second book before cancer took her life in 2015. Brita took the original book along with her mom's notes and published a second edition for Kindle called Muddling Through Again. She is also currently working on publishing a paperback version. Brita gave me a free Kindle copy in exchange for an honest review. To read more, visit muddlingthroughagain.com.

I have to be honest here, I'm not so sure I like the format of this book of prayers. I appreciate how the prayers are organized into sections (Thanksgiving, confession, children etc), but within those sections, there is not much separating the prayers. Each prayer does not have a greeting or a salutation like I usually have in my prayers. That is absolutely just a personal preference, of course. But for me it made the reading of the prayers a little difficult.

With that being said, I realize I have never read a book of prayers. I usually use devotional books including scripture, a lesson and a prayer at the end. I like that better personally. But I know a book like this has a purpose. And there are certainly pros to having the prayers in each category sort of run together. I can see picking up the book and turning to a certain section of the book and just reading the section completely when I need some guidance in that area of my prayer life. Each section isn't that long.

Anyway, with all that said, I still really enjoyed the book. I identified with a lot of these prayers,aAnd reading them reminded me that nothing is too small for God. Even when we don't feel like praying or we don't have much to say, we should still simply talk to Him. As I read Lee's prayers, the thought that we should turn everything over to God wa reinforced over and over. Sometimes I think that struggles I have within my own head are things I need to work on by myself, rather than asking God to renew my spirit.

Also, Lee's confession session was very convicting. She prayed about how she makes excuses rather than using her gifts to work in God's kingdom. Oh man. Also, she talked a lot about justification. She justifies her sins, just like I do!

Even the Christmas prayers moved me.

So yes I recommend this book of prayers to any Christian woman. It's a good reminder of the power of prayer and simply living a prayer-filled life even when your prayers feel "generic." And as I mentioned before, I am certainly glad to have this book on my kindle with access to it from the kindle app on my phone so I can pick it up whenever I'm feeling uninspired in my prayer life!

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

As I'm sure you know, there is a movie based on this book coming out in November! Therefore, my book club decided to read Murder on the Orient Express this month.

I just want to say first and foremost, I'm not sure how they've made a movie out of this book. There is no action and hardly any drama. The entire thing basically happens on a stopped train. And almost the entire book is spent on Hercule Poirot interviewing suspects, making guesses and figuring out the mystery. Which I personally loved! But hollywood likes action and drama so I'm willing to bet the movie will have a lot of extra stuff that wasn't in the book.

But I digress. The book was fantastic! The twist at the end was pretty great. To be honest, I sort of thought of the answer before the end but there was still a little extra twist that made me say "Holy Cow!!"

And I will say that the wide array of characters will be fun to see on screen.

I recommend this book to anybody who likes mysteries and doesn't mind a book without action!

What have you read this month? Link up below!
Thanks for reading!

P.S. Next month, I hope to read The Not so Average Superwoman by Makeda Rodriguez, and at least one book from the Cormoran Strike series. I'm stating that here (as well as in my monthly goals) for some semblance of accountability. I really want to read more!

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Friday, October 13, 2017

13 FREE Halloween Printables

Friday the 13th in October? This is gold!

Halloween is my favorite Holiday and I feel like October is slipping away from me this year! I taught a class at a youth rally on September 30th so I spent the whole first week of October catching up on housework and other things I neglected in the previous week while preparing for the rally. And this week I've been doing a lot of work for the All Things Holiday Bundle sale. (Today is the LAST day to buy it and I promise you don't want to miss out).


HOWEVER, Pearson and I have gotten to watch a few Halloween(ish) movies. We saw It last Friday and so far at home we've watched Little Evil, Practical Magic, Gremlins, Hocus Pocus, and we started season one of Stranger Things again.


BUT I haven't even decorated for Halloween. And we actually don't have plans for the actual day. We don't get trick-or-treaters. And unfortunately, this year we won't even do trunk-or-treat. So we don't even have anywhere to wear a costume this year.


NEVERTHELESS, I did buy way too much Halloween LuLaRoe. Including a Maleficent Perfect T, a Jack Skellington Perfect T and a Frankenstein Classic T. So there's that.


We are going to a fall festival in a couple weeks. We're still planning to go apple picking this month. And we will spend the weekend before Halloween watching season 2 of Stranger Things. So not all is lost.


Anyway, I feel like that was a really long intro for this post but this is the first blog post I've written in October where I could just talk. And frankly, I could talk about Halloween and October for days! But I'll stop there and get on to the point of this post. You're welcome!


Oh and sorry for all the "related" links but what can I say? I love Halloween and I blog about it a lot!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!
Alright one more thing before we get to this list. I wasn't planning on having The Dating Divas* supply all the printables in this roundup but I couldn't help it. They have SO much content and it's so cute! In fact, they have about 10 more awesome FREE Halloween printables that I wanted to share, but I really wanted to keep it to 13 on Friday the 13th. So I narrowed it down to Halloween Printables you can use in your marriage - not necessarily for kids. So bring on the Halloween date nights, parties, gifts and some super cute prints! (Head over to their website and search for "Halloween" for more)

*Side note: I'm sure you're getting tired of me talking about The Dating Divas but I seriously love them. And everything in this post is free so I'm not even making money on this one at all!


A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

ONE || Halloween Movie Marathon Date Night

It's probably no surprise that I love Halloween movies, from the cutsie Nightmare Before Christmas to the scary Silence of the Lambs. This post not only contains a cute free printable invitation for the date night but also a great list of 50 halloween movie recommendations grouped by category: classics, kid friendly, and scary! BONUS: print out the bingo card (number six on this list) to make it even more fun!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

TWO || Halloween Party Group Date

These beautifully spooky printables are to die for! (get it?) Grave stone cupcake toppers, straw flags, and clever food labels. Oh My! And they've linked to awesome food and activity ideas for the perfect group date!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

THREE || Boo-tilicious Halloween Date Night

This "Freaky Fishing" card game is like "Go Fish" but better! The printable playing cards are the cutest and of course they've included a precious invitation to give your sweetie!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

FOUR || Haunted House Date Night

Ok I also love haunted houses. And I especially love going to a haunted house with my love, getting scared, and walking through the house holding on to him for dear life! Anyway, The Divas have an adorable invitation and an "I Survived" badge for before and after your trip to the haunted house. But they don't leave you hanging there. The "Sexy Ta-boo" game is perfect! If you've played taboo you know you have to get someone to guess a word by describing it but you can't say the word or any of the "off limits" words. So this version is taboo but the words are either sexy or have to do with halloween! So cute!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

FIVE || Ghostbusters Movie Date Night

You guys! These printables are so cute! You know I love a cheesy date night and this pack is perfect for just that. I mean... It even has popcorn boxes, drink and other treat wrappers and a game for you competitive couples!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

SIX || Scary Movie Bingo

How fun does this sound?! You know almost all scary movies have silly cliche's right? So play bingo and see who can spot them all! I just plan to print these tomorrow and start using them over and over for the rest of the month! Oh and they'd go great with the marathon date at number one on this list!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

SEVEN || Halloween Pizza Party

I think this one is pretty self explanatory, but the pack includes an invitation (of course), a kids (or adults) activity placemat, straw tags, and a party favor bag printable! And they even have a super cute idea to cut your pizza into witch fingers! So fun!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

EIGHT || Ultimate Halloween Party Pack

And when they say ultimate, they mean it! This pack actually has multiple invitations to choose from. The pack also includes water bottle wrappers, straw tags, a "Happy Halloween" banner, cupcake toppers, utensil wraps, precious photo booth props, and goodie bag toppers! I seriously can't believe this pack is free!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

NINE || Pumpkin Win It in a Minute Games

I think the name says it all here. But in case it doesn't, think tossing rings on pumpkin stems, balancing candy corn on it's end, cup stacking and more. All with a little halloween twist and of course, complete with frightfully adorable printable instructions for each game!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

TEN || 10 Free Halloween Love Notes

It should also not be a surprise that I love love notes. Any cutsy little thing I can give Pearson to cheer him up is gold in my book! So I printed these out when I found them this week and plan to surprise him with them for the rest of the month. Shh, don't tell him!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

ELEVEN || Halloween Gift Basket for your BOO

I kid you not when I say the printables in this pack are ghoulishly delightful! They've included the most adorable gift tags saying things from "Smell My Feet" for a pair of socks to "For your favorite sand-WITCH" to attach to a Subway or Which Wich gift card! So cute!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

TWELVE || You've Been Boo'ed

This super cute kit helps you "boo" your neighbors! Basically you ring their doorbell, leave a little treat and some ghosts in their yard and run away! The neighborhood I grew up in did this every year in the month of October and it was always so fun! You were supposed to pay it forward and once you were "boo'ed" you put a sign on your door (we didn't include the ghosts) and pick a couple houses to "boo" the next night! This pack has the signs and gift tags and everything ready for you to print out at home!

A round up of 13 Free Halloween Printables from The Dating Divas that you can use in your marriage. Date nights, parties, love notes, games, and fun prints. All FREE!!

THIRTEEN || Free Halloween Prints

You guys, these are some of the cutest Halloween prints I've seen on the internet. And I'm not just saying that because it's The Dating Divas*. I actually printed 3 of these last night and put them in some frames because I hadn't decorated much for Halloween yet, as mentioned above, and couldn't believe I hadn't come across these FREE prints!!

See? I told you The Divas are awesome! I'm already using number THIRTEEN and plan to at least use ONE, SIX, and TEN before October is over! Which ones are you planning to use? They're all free so you have nothing to lose!
Thanks for reading!

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Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links. 
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All opinions are my own.
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