Spring Cleaning 2.0 RECAP

First of all: Happy 29th Anniversary, Mom & Dad ❤︎

Ok, on to my spring goals… Back in March I estimated that I’d complete 80% of my list. Turns out, I didn’t. Here’s what got done:

  • Condense three closets into two and donate/store clothes (I combined some of K’s clothes into my closet and freed one up!)
  • Finish Year 2 scrapbook
  • Order pictures for Year 3 scrapbook (to be done after April 27th)
  • Scrub greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets
  • Landscape front yard
    • This didn’t happen, but we did purchase a grill and patio furniture for the backyard!
  • Wash dog harnesses, leashes, beds, and blankets
  • Re-organize Pinterest boards (Delete doubles and got rid of the useless pins.)
  • Figure out what to do (decor-wise) in stairwell (Honestly, it still needs something… but we at least made some progress.)
  • Paint the front door and replace house numbers
  • Decide what to do with finished basement area…  (I think we pretty much decided on a drum room.)

So there you have it, 60% of the tasks completed. More than half, so I feel alright.

I’ll be totally honest with you guys: I finished my Year 2 scrapbook right before I posted my list in the spring. Is that technically cheating? Oh well. I clearly needed to cheat a little. That said, I finished up two of these things this past weekend. Crunch time is a good time for me. Ha.

Having this list reminded me of the projects I wanted to accomplish these last few weeks. Keeping to-do lists on the blog holds me accountable (at least in my head). That said, here’s a shorter Summer To-Do List; deadline is the first day of autumn (❤︎❤︎❤︎), Sept. 22.

  • Paint front door & replace house numbers
  • Build small deck in backyard
  • Scrub greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets
  • Order Year 3 Photos & start scrapbook
  • Wash couch cushion slips & dust fans/blinds/neglected places

My summer list is shorter because we’ve got some vacations and weddings. What are you hoping to accomplish this summer?

Linking up with Steph & Sara!


Life According to Steph

Spring Cleaning 2.0

Roughly a year ago I made a post entitled Spring Cleaning. Then in June I followed it up with this post and admitted to accomplishing roughly 47% of my goals.  That’s a failing grade, my friends.

So let’s give this whole Spring Cleaning thing another shot.

  • Condense three closets into two and donate/store clothes
  • Finish Year 2 scrapbook
  • Order pictures for Year 3 scrapbook (to be done after April 27th)
  • Scrub greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets
  • Landscape front yard (har har har)
  • Wash dog harnesses, leashes, beds, and blankets*
  • Re-organize Pinterest boards
  • Figure out what to do (decor-wise) in stairwell
  • Paint the front door and replace house numbers
  • Decide what to do with finished basement area… drum room? library?

For the record, I wash the dog blankets often but I just decided to throw them in with all the other canine accessories.

I ended with an even ten this time so the math would be super easy when I only complete a handful of these tasks. Set your goals low so the disappoint is greater or something like that, right? (Kidding. I have total faith I will accomplish 80-ish%.)

Okie dokie, Smokie. Let’s see how I do…

What big (or small) tasks are you going to accomplish this spring??


What I Read… January 2016

I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally write one of these. I’ve never done a book review on this blog (cue embarrassed emoji) so I guess I need to figure out a way to properly express my opinions. First I will assign stars based on how I felt overall about the book:

★- terrible | ★★- I finished it but it was a struggle | ★★★- not bad, not my favorite | ★★★★- a good read that kept my interest | ★★★★★- I’ve already bought the book for my collection & I’m recommending it to everyone

Next I’ll talk about why I picked it out, then I’ll give a super short summary of the book, and finally I will recommend or not recommend the book! All the pictures will link to GoodReads so you can add them to your own lists if you’d like. Sound good?


Here’s what I read in December/January:


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling || ★★★/5
I love The Mindy Project & I love Mindy Kaling so I decided to start with her first autobiography. This was your typical comedian-penned book and a quick read. I laughed out loud and learned a little about life in New York, but overall it was just another cute, funny autobiography. I’d recommend it for anyone that loves the Tina Feys/Amy Poehlers/Mindy Kalings of the world.


The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury || ★★/5
I’m a big fan of Halloween and I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time. Sadly, I didn’t love it. It was a short read, but the writing style was odd. (I’ve never read Bradbury, so this might just be his style of writing?) This book is probably best read aloud or at least around Halloween… Honestly, I think this book might make a better movie. (There was a cartoon released in 1993 that I’m determined to track down.) If you love Halloween you should read it, but if you don’t care then don’t bother.


Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver || ★★★★/5
I guess deep down I just love a good murder mystery. This was Ms. Weaver’s first book and it was mid-century perfection. I loved the characters, the setting, and the plot. I’m a huge fan of Clue-type mysteries and this story didn’t disappoint. I’m already on the hunt for her second book. (I think a third one comes out this year, too!) I definitely recommend Murder at the Brightwell!

Books I gave up on:
The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan (In the past I never gave up on books, but it just doesn’t seem right to torture myself with something that’s supposed to be pleasant. So this year I give myself permission to walk away.)

Books I’m currently reading:
Bossypants by Tina Fey (I have been slacking for a long time.)
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (Again, this has taken me too long. I’m ashamed.)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (I just started this one.)

This marks the end of my Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge 2015. I’m happy to say I scored a total of 15 points out of 200. Not great, I guess…. Last time I got 0 so I’m pleased with myself. #SCWBC15

Erin‘s challenge started last month and I’ve got one crossed off the list and another started! I changed one book from my original post so it’d jive better with my old list…

5 points | Any book that is at least 200 pages long: Cinder (Marissa Meyer)
10 points | Begins with the letter “D”: Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
10 points | Four word title: Murder at the Brightwell (Ashley Weaver)
15 points | One of the following words in the title: mother/father/son/daughter/children: Daughter of Fortune (Isabel Allende)
20 points | One of Amazon’s top 100 authors (new to you): The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan)
20 points | Set in any country in Asia: The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)
25 points | A “Season” in the title: The Winter Queen (Boris Akunin)
30 points | Read a book that will make you laugh from this list: How to Be A Woman (Caitlin Moran)
30 points | A friend or family member’s favorite book: The Help (Kathryn Stockett)
35 points | Published the year you were born: Jurassic Park (Michael Crichton) -originally publish 1990-

I have completed 10 out of 200 points!

Have you read any of the books above? What did you think? What did you read this month?

I’m linking up with Michelle, Alison, and Cat for Reading Lately!


My Renewed Grateful Heart

2016 feels so fresh and new- like the feeling I have at the beginning of the week but amplified.

This year feels like it’s got some really great things in store for K and I. I’m not the type to count my chickens before they hatch, but I just feel so renewed and hopeful about the next 12 months. I think our family will really thrive and Kyle/we have some crazy lofty goals and predictions for PI. It just feel like we’re starting the year off really…. right. And this unfounded yet confident positivity only reassures me.

Do you guys feel it, too??

For whatever reason my heart is singing. We rang in the new year with some of our favorite people and I spent the weekend organizing the craziness that engrossed our home this Christmas. For me, a little socialization and lot of solitary organization is the perfect weekend!

I have so many things I want to accomplish this year, but I don’t feel overwhelmed. I feel capable and I’m so ready to embrace whatever happens. Ya know??!

Tell me, friends, what are you most excited for this year?? I can’t wait for my baby brother’s wedding and our family vacation to the east coast!

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

My word for 2016

I’ve put a lot of thought into this post. I intentionally made it the last in my end-of-the-year trilogy. When I started this two weeks ago I didn’t have a word picked out… I hoped it would just come to me.
( Part 1 – Reflections on 2015 & Part 2 – Goals for 2016 )

I wanted to really, really love my word. I wanted it to make me a more flexible, aware, spontaneous person. I was hoping for a word that might make me sound adventurous. Maybe “brave” or “ambitious” or “discovery.”

In a way I found that word. I found a word that makes me ready to take on whatever is thrown my way… and it also makes me a little uncomfortable. For 2016 I chose the word:


In 2016 I want to embrace where I’m at right here and now. But I also want to embrace the unavoidable changes- the highs and lows that will happen this year. I want to embrace the waiting period between now and later, and I want to embrace the craziness that happens without warning. I want all the emotions that come with embracing faith and marriage and life.

When I hear the word “embrace” I also think of hugs… which I am not fond of. But a hug is a way to bring someone closer to you and let them in without all the sarcasm and superficiality. And I want to do a little more of that in my 2016, too.


There’s a million different ways to embrace “embrace”, but as I said last week, I really don’t have much structure going on next year. And I guess I can start first by embrace that lackadaisical approach.

When I told K what my word was he completely understood what I meant by it and why I chose it. And that makes me even more excited to make EMBRACE my word of 2016.

So I guess we will start here and see where it takes me… embracing every step along the way ❤︎

Please, please link up below with your post about your word for 2016! I can’t wait to read what word you have chosen (or what word chose you)!



Goals for 2016

Honestly, I can’t believe we’re nearly two weeks away from a whole new year. I swear I just started writing “2015” on my checks and in my reports. I’m not sad about it, but I can’t believe this year is gone…

So much happened in 2015. I survived turning 25. My favorite little lady Elliot Rose was born. I took an entire week off of work and stayed home. We traveled. We partied at weddings. We grew K’s business. We celebrated 2 years of marriage.

In case you missed it, here are my Reflections on 2015. It was a wonderful year.

And now we’re on the eve of 2016. For the first time in a long time I have no idea what this year will bring. (I actually freaked out to K about this earlier this month. I dislike uncertainty.) I really don’t have any short-term plans. This year my brother will get married and we have one vacation penciled in with my parents. Those are the only things I have planned. That’s really, really weird for me.

To restore some balance and order, I’ve come up with a few resolutions (read: goals) for 2016:

Start running.
My best friend is a PTA and has given me a few tips on avoiding/treating/lessening shin splits, which are my major deterrent when it comes to jogging. This year for Christmas I’ve asked for a fitbit, some new tennis shoes, and some motivation (from the big man upstairs). Lylee has an excellent jogging pace (we tried it once) so hopefully she and I will log some miles this year.

Learn to cook more (vegetarian) meals.
One year for Lent I gave up meat (except seafood). I’d really like to take a more ethical approach to consuming meat and such. There are a few documentaries out there that I think I’m going to use to scare myself into healthier habits. Honestly, I’d really like to eat better and cook more. If I can make it taste good I know that K will eat it (meat or not), so hopefully I come up with some healthy, ethical food for us this year. I’d really like to improve our quality of food.

Find a word for 2016. (Check back next Wednesday)
Technically I need to figure this out before the new year… so once I do the actual resolution will be to stick to it and apply it as often as possible. I have a pretty good idea of what I might pick…

Read, read, read. And write.
I’ve mentioned many times how bad of a reader I’ve become. The same can almost be said about writing. I need to finish my d*mn novel. Or at least make some serious progress this year. I’m hoping these reading challenges will put my rear in gear.

*In addition to all the book challenges I have going on, I also added a new reading-related page to this space to keep me motivated all year. You can find it here (2016 Book Nook) or up at the top!

I’ve been through the orientation class at my local humane society, so now I just need to get in the habit of going! I volunteered a lot in college but when I moved home I never made time. I’d like to get back in the habit this year.

It’s a year of self-improvement, but without all the crazy pressure. I’ve already asked K to hold me accountable for these things, but maybe if I check in with the blog occasionally I’ll notice some improvements…


Have you thought about your New Year’s resolutions or goals for 2016?