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Summertime Fun List – Update 2

Summertime Fun List – Update 2

Two months ago I created a list of things I wanted to do this summer.  One month ago I shared my first update, and now it’s time for me to evaluate how I did during the second month of this project!

  • Pantry:  Reorganize my pantry.
    • I’ve made a LOT of progress!  I originally planned to empty the whole thing then reload it, but I’ve ended up tackling one area at a time.  It looks a lot better!  I may still unload and reload, but it’ll be a lot easier now.  I think I’ll call this one done!
  • Boxes:  Clear boxes out of garage.
    • Ummmm, I cleared multiple boxes/piles out of the bonus room, so that counts, right?!?  Boxes in the garage are next!
  • Letters:  Write one real letter each week.
    • I sent notes and fun mail to a few people, but that was all at one time.  I bought some cute note cards, and they’re making we WANT to write to people, so I’ll give myself a gold star for making progress.
  • New Places:  Eat at two new restaurants in Savannah.
    • No progress here.  I think part of the problem is that we’re still in the throes of tourist season over here, and downtown Savannah is just nuts.  Maybe I’ll tackle this goal again during autumn when it’s cooler AND less crowded!  Yes.  I think that’s a good idea.  (We, once again, tried some new restaurants in other cities, and I’ll be blogging about them really soon!  Watch for those!)
  • Books:  Read at least five books from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide.
    • I read two books from the Twisty Novels category.  I listened to The Dry by Jane Harper, a complex mystery set in Australia.  The down side to listening to this one was that it jumps back and forth between the present to the past, and it took me a while to catch on to that.  (In the printed book the flashbacks are in italics, so they’re easier to catch.)  It was doable, but I had to pay attention.  The plus to listening to it:  an amazing narrator with a great Australian accent!
    • The other Twisty Novel I read was I See You by Clare Mackintosh.  OH.  MY.  WORD.  This book gave me the shivers in the very best of ways!  The author kept me guessing the whole time, and I truly had the shivers after I finished the story!  Days later I’m still shaking my head at how it ended!  (No spoilers!)  I was so impressed with this author that I immediately got my hands on I Let You Go.  I’m halfway through and it’s already made me gasp out loud several times!
    • I also read When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, a book from the Beachy Reads category.  This was, as promised, a light, fun read.  There was a section toward the end that I could have done without, but overall it was a good YA read.
    • So, reading these three books plus the two I read last month means that I’ve completely met this goal!  Hooray!  I still plan to read several more books from this list, and I’ll let you know how they are.
  • Intentional Friendship IRL:  Meet up with a friend at least once a month.  (IRL means “in real life.”)
    • YEP!  I did well on this again this month!  I’ve had two or three coffee dates, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know some new friends better.  I’m really liking this one A LOT!
  • Intentional Friendship Virtually:  Skype with a long-distance friend at least once a month.
    • I still haven’t Skyped anyone, but I DID call a special friend!
  • Time for Parents:  Call my parents and my in-laws once a week.
    • Still need to do better on this one.  We drove down to see both of our families this weekend, so that was a lot of fun!  My mom made a coconut cake for me!  (And we all know that anything a loved one makes for us has zero calories, so we are free to indulge!)

All in all I feel pretty good about what I’ve gotten accomplished.  I still want to work on my weak areas. Around mid-September I’ll post a final update and let you know if I ever got to those pesky boxes in the garage, and then on September 21 I’ll share my Autumn Fun List with you!

So how are YOUR summer plans going?!?  Click on the box below to see what some of my blogger friends are doing this summer. 

 

Savannah Bananas!

Savannah Bananas!

Last night we went with some good friends to see our first Savannah Bananas baseball game and had a blast! I’m not really a fan of baseball, but I rapidly became a Bananas fan!

The Savannah Bananas?!? I can hear you rolling your eyes! It’s a horrible name, right?!? Alas. This is what happens with the public is allowed to vote on the name of the team. (Whose idea was it to trust “the people” with such an important decision?!? LOL!)

Unfortunate name aside, this team knows how to throw a good party!

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Alaska – Kayaking

Alaska – Kayaking

One of the most exciting things we did during our Alaska adventure was kayaking on Prince William Sound!  WHAT??  I had never once thought about kayaking in Alaska, but as I was planning our trip I ran across kayaking tours offered by Sound Paddler.  I mentioned them to Gene, and he said, “BOOK IT!”  So I did!

We took the 8:30 AM tunnel to Whittier, and Sound Paddler greeted us at the shop as soon as we got there.  Turns out, we were their first paddlers of 2017!  They had all of our equipment ready and waiting for us.  They provided rubber boots, waterproof jackets, life vests, pogies (mittens for kayaking), and of course our kayak and paddles.  They had two kayaks set up for us, foot rests already adjusted for our heights.  They tried us in one but my hips just didn’t fit comfortably in it, so they quickly (and without making me feel bad at all) tried us in the second one they had set up.  It was a perfect fit for both Gene AND me.  Yay!  These were fiberglass, ocean kayaks, much different from our sit-on kayaks we have at home.

I was worried about getting wet and being miserable (the temperature was only 45 degrees), but they fitted us out with skirts that fastened onto the kayaks, keeping us nice and dry from the waist down.  Our waterproof jackets kept us dry from the waist up!

Michael was our guide (check out his awesome photography on Instagram at @michael_bowyer). He gave us a thorough safety briefing, and then we hit the water.  Michael did a great job answering our questions and telling us interesting information about the area.  At one rest stop he guided us on a short hike up the hill to a beautiful waterfall!

 

Sound Paddler included a picnic lunch as part of our package.  Michael set it up for us, and an inquisitive little seal kept an eye on us from the water.  Pretty cool!  (No picture of said seal, sadly.  Ha! #alliteration)

 

 

This was a gorgeous paddle!

 

As we were paddling across the bay, a pod of Dall’s porpoises swam past us!  Michael snagged this quick shot.  I was too busy gawking!  (And my brain was trying to determine if they were orcas!)

We were worn out after paddling 8 miles, but BOY was it worth the effort!  What a crazy, wonderful day!

 

More about our Alaska adventure:

Glacier Cruise

Whittier

The Alaskan Pipeline

Alaska – Glacier Cruise

Alaska – Glacier Cruise

A few days ago I told you about the tiny town of Whittier, Alaska.  We went there to take a glacier cruise, and I’m SO excited to tell you all about it!

We took the 26 Glacier Cruise with Phillips Cruises & Tours.  It.  Was.  Amazing.  Truly!  This was a splurge, and it was worth every penny.  We spent 5 hours exploring the beautiful Prince William Sound.

Glaciers!  We saw LOTS of glaciers,  and the captain got us within 1000 feet of 2 of them.

IMG_9710

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Springerize Your Wardrobe

Springerize Your Wardrobe

Spring is officially here, and I’m pretty excited about it!  Autumn fashion rocks my world.  It rocks my world for MONTHS since I live in Coastal Georgia.  (No winter here!)

Now it’s time to change things up.  We’ll have highs in the 80s all week, so it’s DEFINITELY time to change things up in a springtime direction!

My spring wardrobe could benefit from just a little updating.  Know what I mean?  I finally got a good handle on my wardrobe a couple of years ago with the Get Your Pretty On Style Challenges.  I learned how to shop wisely and how to put together multiple outfits from just a few pieces of clothing.  And it was FUN, y’all! 

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What I Read – December 2016

What I Read – December 2016

December is a perfect month for some fun, lighthearted reading, am I right?  Of course, right!  And what a bonus if the books are ALSO powerful, funny, well-written, and clean.  I recently discovered new-to-me author Chautona Havig, and I’m just loving her stuff.

She summarizes her writing as “Christian fiction without apology or pretense — lived, not preached.”  That PERFECTLY describes her books!  Check out her bio and blog here.

I’ve been binge reading her Christmas stories.  So far I’ve read Carol and the Belles, 31 Kisses, and Christmas Stalkings.  The first of her books that I read was Corner Booth.  That one’s not a Christmas story, but it’s a good one!  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them!  I posted a review of Corner Booth here.

Christmas Stalkings is one of the four novellas in Christmas Lights: A Collection of Inspiring Christmas Novellas.  The other three stories in this collection are:

  • The Heart of Joy by Vikki Kestell.  This one reminded me of a Grace Livingston Hill book; a little old fashioned but nice.
  • Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson.  A great story that begins with a misunderstanding and good intentions.
  • Trip the Light Fantastic by April Hayman.  What’s not to love about a clumsy FBI agent with a big heart?!?

Chautona JUST released her new book, New Year’s Revolutions, and it’s a joy to read as well.  One thing I love about her books is that each book is unique.  No formulaic stories for her!

I did read some non-Chautona books too!  Here they are:

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry.  Oh my goodness, this one is FUNNY!  I dare you to try to read it out loud to your family!  I read this one every December and chortle every time.

Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien.  My daughter and I listened to the audiobook, and we recommend it in print!  The letters are great, but the music on the audiobook bugged us.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I read this years ago when I was growing up and didn’t like it at all.  I recently decided to give it another go, listened to the audiobook, and loved it. It’s painful in some spots, but boy is it good.  Sissy Spacek narrated this book and  gave a great performance.  Looking back,  I bet the book must have shocked me when I originally read it; I think I would have appreciated it more if I had discussed it with my parents.

Do you have any reading goals for 2017?  Have you ever revisited a book that just wasn’t right for you the first time you read it?  Do you like Christmas books?!?  Leave a comment and let me know!  I love talking about books!

 

 

 

READ::WATCH::LISTEN::FOLLOW – December 2016

READ::WATCH::LISTEN::FOLLOW – December 2016

With all the visual and written media flying around these days, it can be hard to decide what to choose, what might be worth a little of our precious time.  Behold!  The Read::Watch::Listen::Follow link up!  My friend Sheila hosts this every month, and the linked posts are chock full of great recommendations.  Here are mine for this month.

booth

READ:  I’ve read some GREAT books over the last few weeks!  I plan to post my “Books Read in November” list tomorrow, but today I want to give a shout out to Corner Booth by  Chautona Havig.  This is a fun story of a professor and the woman who invades his corner booth of a restaurant in order to skip the line at the door.  He’s recently been convicted that he talks way too much, so he determines to LISTEN to the woman; no talking (on his part), just listening.  And thus begins a sweet yet powerful story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I finished it last night, and I was a little sad when I woke up this morning because I wasn’t going to get to hang out with all my new friends from this book today.  (Y’all know that feeling, right?!?)

WATCH:  My pastor shared this video with our church leadership team earlier this week, and I watched it this morning.  Wow.  Just WOW!  Francis Chan delivers a powerful challenge to all believers to  “climb the mountain” ourselves to spend time with God and not be satisfied with “hanging out with Moses” and hearing from God second hand.  Let’s just say I might have needed a tissue or two by the end of the message, and I’ve determined to lace up my spiritual hiking boots and start climbing.

stillalice

LISTEN:  Last week I listened to the audiobook Still Alice, written and narrated by Lisa Genova.  This book is inspiring, heart breaking, and very well written.  It’s a novel that reads like a memoir and tells the story of a 50-year-old, wife/mother, Harvard professor who is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  I don’t want to say much more than that, but the construction of the book–how she tells the story–is amazing.  If someone close to you is dealing with this disease, this may not be the book for you right now.  And then again, maybe it is.  Note:  This isn’t the most dynamic audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but I don’t think it’s meant to be.  Since the author is also the narrator, she can read it just the way she wrote it.  It’s a straightforward book with a straightforward narration.  The genius is that a story written without excess, hyped-up drama is so very dramatic and powerful.

koa

FOLLOW:  I started following Kampgrounds of America (KOA) on Instagram, and now I want to go camping every single day!  I’m a KOA girl.  I grew up camping at KOAs, and Gene and I have been known to plan trips around KOA locations!  The photos are fun, and they definitely inspire me to plan another trip SOON!  (I’m on Instagram as outandback.live if you’d like to follow my adventures there as well as here.)

What are YOU reading, watching, listening to, and following?  Link up at Making the Most of Every Day and/or leave some comments for me!  This is always a fun discussion.  I enjoy your recommendations.

Plan To Eat – HALF PRICE!

Plan To Eat – HALF PRICE!

A few weeks ago I talked about how much I love Plan To Eat, a program that allows me to easily capture and file recipes I find online.  It’s also a fantastic meal planning and shopping tool.  Here’s some big news!  PLAN TO EAT IS AVAILABLE AT HALF PRICE THIS WEEKEND!  This is the only time you can save on this amazing tool.

plantoeat4

Read my post about it here.

Then click HERE to check it all out!  This is a WONDERFUL deal!

Isn’t it fun to support smaller businesses!

(If you’re curious, yes, this is an affiliate link.)  Happy shopping!

READ::WATCH::LISTEN::FOLLOW – November

READ::WATCH::LISTEN::FOLLOW – November

It’s time for a fun link up with Sheila at Making the Most of Every Day to share what we’re reading, watching, listening to, and following!

 

pettigrew

READ:  Right now I’m reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.  Well, I’m listening to the audio book, so I’m going to count that as reading.  It’s a great book!  It tells the story of  ever-so-British Major (Retired) Ernest Pettigrew and his budding friendship with Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani woman who runs a shop in their village.  Major Pettigrew makes me laugh because he is so careful in everything he does.  One MUST follow the rules.  Mustn’t offend.  Must honor the old ways of doing things.  Right?

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