Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Countdown to 40

Merry Christmas!
I am enjoying Christmas with a full belly and cheesy movies on TV, crocheting.. and also doing a little reflecting (tis the season for reflecting)

 January 1st, 2017 I decided there were 40 things I wanted to do by the time I was 40 (#40by40) I still have a little under a month, but I know that I am going to making another list! But, I wanted to update my journey so far. You can follow my journey from the beginning here.  I had some lofty goals.. but that were fairly attainable.  I already know how I am going to change up a few! I do know, however, that I have had so many great adventures with my wonderful husband, fabulous family, and amazing friends! I LOVE that I have had help in all sorts of different places!

*Side note! I am actually about to reach my goal in Good Reads for this year! My final book of the year.. Where the Crawdads Sing.. SO good!

The ones with * are ones that have been completed

1. Book and pay for a vacation to Ireland- moving this to my next list
2. Take mom to New York- moving to my next list
3. Take a trip to New Jersey- moving to my next list
4. Tour a vineyard- moving to my next list
5. Drive Route 66- moving to my next list
6. Camp in a National Park - moving to my next list (but will hopefully be doing soon with my troop!
*7. Go on a haunted tour- April 2017 in San Antonio on a knee scooter!
*8. Go to Canyon with Elaine- July 2017
9. Float the River- moving to my next list
10. Go Skiing- ? Still deciding if this is really something I want to do?
11. See the Grand Canyon- moving to my next list
*12. Go on a girls weekend- YES! I had an amazing time with the #skurtcrew Jan. 2019
13. Go fishing with my dad- moving to my next list
14. Take a wine tasting class- moving to my next list
*15. Get 3 tattoos- I LOVE my 3 tattoos that I got!! My parents signature are 2 of them and then the other one is From Where the Wild Things Are to represent my husband
16. Indoor skydive- moving to my next list
17. Learn to drive a stickshift- Trying to decide if this one is really important??
18. Renew our vows- moving to my next list- Want to do for my 15th anniversary which is June 17th, 2020
19. Have photos taken- Want to do this on our anniversary as well
20. Host a game night- This is coming up Jan. 3!!
Life Goals
*21. Learn to crochet- My Aunt Rebecca taught me some simple crocheting this summer when they were in town.. and this year I learned how to crochet coffee coozies (made about 25 of them) and I am currently working on a scarf!

*22. Attend a New Years Even party- I attended my first one last year!!
23. Write an article for Family Fun- I have tried SO hard to get in contact with someone at this magazine! I have written a couple of articles for the ATPE magazine, so I think I am going to change this up for the next list.
24. Write a poetry book- this one will be changing up a bit
*25. Learn to make moms biscuits- done (and I even made some for breakfast Christmas morning)
*26. learn to make dads gravy- done (they were So good this morning!)
27. learn to make William's Death by Chocolate Crepes-Might happen before my birthday!
*28. Learn to make bread from scratch- learned how to do that this summer (2019) will probably have to make it from a recipe again
29. Make a photo book of my photos- I think I might do this as a gift to myself! I have loved taking pictures!
30. Make a t-shirt blanket- this one might never happen.. I keep collecting.. and never making!
*31. Send birthday cards- I did SO much better at this and everything is in my calendar so I can keep working on it- so I consider a success (if you haven't got a card from me.. and I asked for your address.. don't judge me too much)
*32. learn to play a song on a guitar- changed this to Ukulele.. and I LOVE it!
33. meet Bill Murray- changing this to be my FAVORITE author!!
34. Watch all the Liam Neeson movies-changing this up a bit
*35. Do 40 Random Acts of Kindness- I think I have done more than 40.. but a random act of kindness happens.. and you don't really post every where that you have done something.
36. Go to a drive in movie-moving this to my next list
37. Get new luggage-moving this to my next list
38. Watch a meteor shower-moving this to my next list (and will also require me to stay up after my bedtime :)
39. Be in a better place with credit- I think I will be working on this for the REST OF MY LIFE!
*40. Purchase a groupon and use it- SO.. I totally purchased a groupon.. and then didn't use it because I realized it was for a baby blanket and not a regular size one :)

So.. officially 13 out of the 40 completed and at least 2 more that are going to be completed before the 20th of January!

Because it is Christmas and I am TOTALLY in love with this pic.. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year to you and yours.

Are you a list maker?  Do you have any milestones coming up that you are planning for? Here's to LOTS of new adventures!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Back to Basics with Christmas

Right now is the season to do all the things for the holidays.
But, I first have to say.. that last year I made it my goal for this year to be Back to Basics for the holidays.  You can find the whole blog here .  Last year I feel like I sort of forgot why I enjoyed this season so much.  When Thanksgiving hit, I reminded myself what I wanted to do during the month of December and how I wanted to experience things and traditions! I stepped out of my comfort zone at times.. and I also made myself get outside the house.. BUT.. what a WONDERFUL month full of memories and experiences!! I did LOTS of Christmas activities, but I also did a ton of other things too. There were choir Christmas Concerts, Kickstart Kids Belt Ceremony, Cub Club, Basketball game, Beginner Band Concert, Christmas on Crandall (where my ukulele group played too), Ballet Folklorico group performed at the Nimitz Dance Showcase and so much more!
First- I actually had ALL 140 ornaments made by December 1st! (this was my 18th year of creating ornaments- and so I have made about 2000 ornaments over the past 18 years)
140 ornaments- I hand painted designs on
wooden round discs found here

One of my #40by40 was to learn how to crochet-
  made 24 coffee coozies- you can find the pattern here
The month of festivities started out an awesome Girl Scout meeting full of stations where they made an ornament (that did not include yarn!), photo booth card making, and wreath making.
The week of December 7th-15th got just a little bit crazier! It was a week full of seeing LOTS of people, but also REALLY long days! But, I loved every minute of it!
Troop 1810 at the Parade
Started the week off as the photographer for Breakfast with Santa at Elliott then hung out with a ton of cool people at the Irving Holiday Parade.  On Sunday I celebrated the holiday season by attending the Christmas Celebration at Oakview Baptist Church.

Beginning on the 9th of December we celebrated Christmas on Crandall for two weeks at school. You can find all the fun things we did here. This year for Ugly Sweater I created a book snowman shirt.  I already know what I am doing for next year. The next Saturday was spent caroling and cookies with Troop 1810.  I even got to attend a Carols and Candlelight service at First Baptist Irving and see one of my girls sing a solo with the choir!

This last week was spent looking at Christmas lights! Guys- we drive by houses and always comment how pretty they are, and I always say I want to look at Christmas lights.  We never get it done though because we get comfy in the house and then don't wan to leave the house.  This week I made the effort and LOVED walking around the Irving area with hubby.

I spent this weekend with my parents and soaking up some major family time! I am pretty partial to my parents.. I mean.. my dad is Texas Santa and Mrs. Claus!  They stopped by school and I got to show them around where I work. I then whisked my mom away to see The Christmas Belles at the Theater of North Texas and watch my best friend perform.  On Saturday we headed out to the Fort Worth Stockyards where my job is the "elf" picture taker.  My parents walk around in full costume up and down the Stockyards handing out candy cane and reminding people of the magic of the season.  

Today I was scrolling social media and was SUPER excited to see that Visit Irving Tx had posted a Scavenger Hunt!! I was first finder- so I won a brunch for 2 at Four Seasons, 2 tickets to any show at Toyota Music Pavilion, $25 gift card, and 2 tickets to the Cotton Bowl with parking pass!!

So, as you know I am learning to crochet. I have to share one of my fails (we all have those.. right?) I know people think that crocheting is relaxing.. but my poor brain that moves so fast had a hard time keeping up with all the counts! I am not giving up though.. I have some other patterns I want to try!
 Although I have done a ton of things this month that have made my heart super happy does not mean that we are not all facing our own trials.  Some days it is hard not to be Grinchy (although there were a few times that I was "feisty") I choose smiling and reminding others that they are important even when sometimes I feel as if my own life is falling apart.  It is all about perspective and getting out of my comfort zone.  I was reminded all month how lucky I am to surround myself with amazing people.  I am so happy that although I stayed busy I continually reminded myself when I did things I was doing it to experience different things of the season. I think the last few years I had got so caught up in gift giving.. that I forgot that the magic of Christmas is the joy of family, friends and love. This month has cost very little- only the amount of time that I have given myself and others. 

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year from our little family to yours!

I am SUPER excited about an event that is coming up in January!! Todd Nesloney is putting on an event called Celebrate Your Story- and I am talking Bringing the Sunshine! It is a super affordable 2 days of PD and I can't wait to share my ideas!!

  Next blog- an update on my #40by40.. I have less than a month until I hit that 40 mark!!

Sunday, July 7, 2019


I know that many of us make resolutions in January.. or we come up with one word in January.  Being a teacher, my years run a little different.. as in July-June.  Each year I choose a different word to focus on. My one word usually comes to me in April or May and it is always so appropriate.  My past words have been Strength, Seek, Perspective and several others. My word this year is Priority!

I think I do a pretty good job of taking care of my family and the people around me, but I sort of forget about myself.  I don't want to be selfish, but I also need to remember that I am important as well.  

I have a really great friend, Catalina, who told me about Camp Gladiator.  She said you just need to come out and try it.. I have a code for a free month.  I put it off for a week.. and then signed up just for the free month. When my month was about to end I didn't know if I should sign up or not. I was LOVING the community, how I felt afterwards, and just my sense of well-being.  Catalina reminded me that it was important to take care of myself emotionally and physically (hello word of the year Priority!)

Catalina at her check in 50 (well, actually 51)
This past weekend I checked in for my 25th time! It was by far one of the hardest workouts I had done.  I got a little overwhelmed.. and on the verge of tears a few times.. but I knew that I was making myself a priority so I finished it! It was helpful that I had some great workout partners that encouraged me and some amazing trainers that pushed me to not give up and try a little bit more.

I stole this picture from Big U. (CG has a workout at Toyota Music Factory on Saturdays) I am in the yellow
I can't wait to have LOTS more check-ins (I had 6 this last week).  Camp Gladiator has given me a chance to work out with some great trainers, hang out with some awesome friends, and push myself and make myself a priority.

When I choose a word I also make it my background picture on my phone and my background on my computer.
Phone screen

Computer Screen
Here is to a year of making myself a priority (and also reminding those important to me that they are a priority as well!) Do you have a word of the year?

Thursday, July 4, 2019

I Am Back- Early

First of all- Happy Fourth of July!

Well.. I made it almost 3 weeks without social media on my phone.  I decided to do a #digitaldetox this summer (you can read about it here) My goal was to make it June 16th-July 28th.  In the digital detox my goal was not to not spend as much time on my phone and computer.  I deleted apps.. made it harder to get to social media and worked on digital detoxing.

So, a recap:
-I needed a reset on how much time I was spending on social media- between posting and perusing.
-got organized online and in my house
-Decided that I really wanted to take a break at how much I am online
-Got all the materials I needed for Christmas in July

Did I fail?
So, as I write this, I sort of feel like I failed.. but then I have to remember I did this for myself to reset myself. Did I keep to my calendar? Nope.. I mean.. I made it about 3 weeks. BUT, during that time I realized how much I was spending on my devices, I have read 7 books, I have prepared all the materials I needed to do my ornaments for the year, have hung out with friends and enjoyed my pool and house.  SO, I don't consider this a fail.. I consider that my 3 weeks did exactly what I wanted!

My biggest realization- I REALLY like to take pictures.. and I REALLY like Instagram.  I enjoy Facebook too.. but not like Instagram.  I also realized that.. even without apps it is super easy to access these sites on a phone.

So, here's to continuing to be more realistic on how much time I spend online.. and being more aware of when/how long I do.  My #digitaldetox didn't last as long as I planned- but it did EXACTLY what I wanted it to do!

Next up- getting ready for an AWESOME year in Girl Scouts (we have a lock in coming up- Girl Scout Kick Off- and NASA!) and making myself a Priority this year

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Early Bird Gets Mall Madness

Every year I am TERRIBLE at Early Bird Registration for our Girl Scout troop.  I can never get my life together.. but this year.. Troop 1810 not only did Early Bird Registration, but also took advantage of Mall Madness!

Mall Madness is a yearly event set up by the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas as a perk of participating in Early Bird registration.  Mall Madness is exactly what it sounds like! It is a night where those that register are able to have a giant mall lock in! It is full of open shops, activities, vendors, a movie.. and NO sleeping.

It was our first mall madness to attend, so I had no expectations.. other than I knew I was going to be TIRED the next day (today is the next day.. and I have slept on and off throughout the day)

Check in was at 9pm.. so we met about 8:45pm... the line was long (there had to be over 700 people that were attending this event) but we enjoyed chatting and catching up.  We totally brought way too much stuff! Our girls brought blankets, sleeping bags and I brought games and my chair. We got checked in, got our wristbands for movie time and started the Instagram Scavenger hunt.  During the hunt we also visited several of the stores. Not going to lie.. I REALLY wanted a coffee, but I think every leader/adult had that same plan because the line at Barnes and Noble was SO long... I looked at it and decided it was not for me.

Troop 1810- some of us dressed up in the 80's or 90's garb for the costume contest.  Allie was one of the winners!
I loved that the mall was a contained area so our girls had a chance to be on their own.. but with us close enough to follow along at a distant pace (and as the time got earlier in the morning.. we were moving slow anyway!)

The girls LOVED that Claire's was opened! There were also several stores that stayed open late and various discounts that were available.  Because we completed the scavenger hunt our troop one these super fun glow sticks to use during the dance party happening in the food court.  We did miss the big photo op as we couldn't move!
The moms had more fun at the dance party than the girls

Okay, it is a blurry picture but it was 1 in the morning.. in a dark theater.. and were all tired!
During the night you could also sign up for a movie slot.  We got to see Wreck it Ralph Breaks the Internet at 1:10am in the morning.  Great movie with a great message.

Top 4 of the Night (there are easily more!)
1. Seeing our girls be more independent! This was a great space, enclosed, and set up for success for the girls to be more independent
2. Hanging out with these awesome moms that are a part of Troop 1810!
3. Scavenger Hunt! Anytime I have a chance to take pictures (selfies!) make me super happy!  I even came out of my #digitaldetox on Instagram (you can check out @akbusybee on Instagram for all my stories!)
Okay.. I have one more..
4. The WHOLE GSNETX staff that was there making sure the event ran as smoothly as it could!! I mean.. it is an all night thing.. and people get cranky :)

Not so Top 2
1. It was hot! I know there really isn't much to control about that, but it was pretty warm in lots of places.
2. Some of the adults and girls forgetting that they are representing Girl Scouts.  There were some places that people forgot to be a Sister to Every Girl Scout.. and to Leave a Place Better than they found it.  But, this happens anywhere.. especially when there is little to no sleep involved. I think some adults also forget that girls are watching.. and sometimes it is important to teach girls to be patient. This goes for what people post online too. This was NOT the majority.. but it was still noticeable.

Overall.. the event was super enjoyable, and I know why it is called Mall Madness! I can't wait to register early next year (I mean.. first of all.. I have an awesome troop that wants to hang out and do activities!) but we will be attending Mall Madness again!
I love the opportunity to dress up in costume!

We survived Mall Madness let's take a picture at 4:15am in the morning picture!

Next up for our troop- Lock-In in July and NASA in October!! Some of the troop is also talking about joining the Travel Club!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Summer full of Selfies!

My official digital detox was going to start today (you can find out about it here).. after I finished school, after I finished Camp Amiga, and after I finished our Camp Amiga Survivor party... BUT.. thank goodness I hadn't started it yet!

I am so glad that I still had social media on my phone, as it is what I used to connect to get our power back up and running.These first 16 days of June have been CRAZY!!!
June 1st- blow out of a tire while on the interstate which resulted in 4 new tires for the Bumblebee (yes, I am fine.. car is fine.. wallet is hurting a little)
If you are in the DFW area you know that the weather has been UBER crazy lately!
June 6th- Storm came through and our transformer blew.  Not only did it take out our power.. it created a small fire.  Yes, we are fine, but didn't have power until almost 3am that next morning.
June 9th- CRAZY weather came through.. took out our patio table.. BUT.. not our power.. until 3 hours after the storm. Same transformer blew again. 
June 11th- Power back on at 6pm- all food in fridge already dead
June 16th- Transformer blew again 3:30am and turned back on at 10:00.  Transformer blew again at 11:15.. back on at 2pm.  Another storm has blown through and another one is coming.  I am crossing my fingers that we are good at least for a few days!
I know that it could have been much worse, but that still doesn't mean it wasn't crazy at our house.

Summer Selfie

I am a member of this awesome Principal Group that talks about different ways to appreciate staff. I LOVE showing people that they are important.  Matthew Arend shared this AWESOME Summer Selfie Bingo card that he does with his staff. It is a great way to get to know the community and the staff.  You can check out his post here.

I talked with my principal and decided to do it as well for our school.  I created a Bingo board in Google docs, sent an email to staff and have been watching the Twitter feed. If you would like your own copy you can use this link- feel free to use my pictures (they are all emojis I found on website.. it is cited at the bottom)
Here is the email I sent to staff (I made sure to also include our new staff coming in)
Hello Fabulous Friends!
I hope that you are already having an AMAZING and much needed break! If you are not on break yet.. it is coming soon!

Welcome to the first annual #lamarsummerselfiebingo
Here is how it works:
Share how great your summer is using the #lamarsummerselfie bingo hashtag and the @Lamar_MS
Use the Google Doc linked her to access your own game board. (It should open up as a copy!) or use the picture that is attached.  I like to do some appsmsashing so I use picmonkey to add my pictures to my virtual bingo board.. but you can do that through Google too!
Get a Bingo (or two or three) check out our hashtag to see what everyone is up to! (there might be prizes involved.. but also the prize is getting to know our Lamar family even better!)
Don’t want to post on Twitter.. no worries (although we would love to see your adventures!) keep up with your BINGO board so we can share the love when we start school!
Have questions- send me an email!
Have a GREAT summer!! I am actually doing a digital detox this summer will have to do this while on my limited computer, but I can’t wait to like, retweet and share what is going on this summer.

I still plan to participate because I can access social media from my computer.. just taking it off my phone so I am not staring at it 23 hours a day. I have already loved retweeting and sharing what the Lamar Staff is doing.  

But, I am super excited about spending some quality time celebrating our anniversary tomorrow (June 17th), reading lots of books and creating.

See you guys officially at the end of July!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Almost Summer!

I am winding down the last official week of being a middle school librarian.  What a wonderful year it has been! This is our last week with kiddos, I have one week left of work (and a HUGE to do list), and then a week of Girl Scout Camp Amiga.

Last year I made this awesome Bucket List (many of the items were on my #40by40 list) because I just knew I would have time! But.. instead.. we moved houses and I moved schools... which in reality made it so I had very little of a summer. I of course enjoyed it.. but THIS summer.. this summer I am looking forward to taking a break. This summer I am going to work on my #40by40, but more importantly I am going to take a Digital Deotx! I loved what Lisa wrote on her Digital Detox/Declutter Why and How. and have set this blog up much like hers. (If you don't already follow Lisa Johnson you need too!)

This summer I will be taking a Digital Detox from Sunday June 16th- Sunday July 28th.
Why I want to do it:
-I need a reset of how much time I am spending on Social Media.
-This next year I want to focus on celebrations and create.
-Priority! My word this next year will be priority. My word last year was Perspective and my perspective changed in so many ways.  From the school I worked in, the new friends I found, and our home life.. I tried to always think about my perspective.  This year, my word is Priority- and I am starting my summer making myself a Priority with a Digital Detox!

What I have already done (and am currently doing)
When I decided to do the Digital Detox, I made a to do list of the various items I wanted to get done so I could feel as if I could take a break. I thought about the various digital platforms I use and decided how I want to use my online space.
-I have organized, deleted items, and just cleaned up my Pinterest, Canva, and Piktochart. I have also organized my 2 different Google Drive accounts. I have also cleaned up my Instagram accounts and Facebook accounts.
-I am ALMOST done organizing my house! We did a ton of yard work yesterday and I only have 2 more rooms to go through.
-I am working on emails.  I did do and already my main Google account is getting cleaner. I plan to be at zero inbox on my 2 main Google accounts
-I have cleaned up my computer desktop along with deleting all of the download items.
-I joined Camp Gladiator!
-I reorganized my office and craft space.  I am ready to create this summer!

What I plan to do
-Delete apps on my phone.  My phone is where I spend most of my time! So, the apps that will be coming off my phone for this summer are: Yahtzee (I know.. I know.. this is one of my guilty pleasures!) Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Gmail, Outlook, Good Reads
-I do plan on keeping Glide, Text Message, Group Me and Marco Polo.  I feel as if those are still real life interactions I have with people. I also plan on keeping Timehop.. I mean I am on a 3 year streak!
-Limit my daily use of computer.  I would like to set time limits on this.. but I will be writing curriculum this summer so will need my computer! I have already cleaned up my bookmarks and history. I will still be checking my social media, but it will not be as often.
-Create and craft! I know what I am doing for Christmas ornaments this year.. and what I am doing for my Ugly sweater. So, I am going to have Christmas in July.  This will give me a chance to actually enjoy the season during Christmas.  I also plan to make lots of birthday, anniversary and various occasion cards. I have addresses and dates.  I am also get prepared for my Girl Scout leader meetings (and this year I want to focus on celebrations!)
-Read! There are SO many books that I want to read this summer, but I am not going to stress if I don't get them all read.
-Work on my #40by40 list.  That birthday is coming up this year.. and I have several things I can knock off my list.
-Update my Memory planner.  I was really good up through October, but then got out of habits.  I hope to build even more habits this summer that prioritize myself and things that make me happy.
-Enjoy my hubby, house, pool.. and RELAX!
-Catch up with friends.

Blogger- I will see you at the end of summer! My #digitaldetox is starting in 21 days!