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Autumn Adventures – Update #1

Autumn Adventures – Update #1

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future!

Which is to say we’re a month into autumn already, and it’s time to revisit my Autumn Adventures List and see how I’m doing!

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1.  Have a picnic in Forsyth Park in Savannah.  Not yet, but I HAVE been planning my food strategy for this one!  I’m thinking Smith Brothers will be involved!

2.  Go to the beach at least once.  YES!  Gene and I went to Tybee Island for a while last weekend!  The temperature was around 78 which was PERFECT for watching the waves without getting all sweaty.  I took a book but never even opened it.  It was nice to just BE, you know?

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3.  Take a Master Class at the Savannah Food & Wine FestivalI bought my ticket!  I’m signed up for “Southern Dishes with a French Accent” taught by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker.  To say I’m excited would be an understatement!

4.  Take a road trip to Eifel Acres Farm in Missouri to spend Thanksgiving with friends.  Coming soon!

5.  Finish most of my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving.  (So that I can…)  I have started my shopping!  What fun!

6.  Focus on Advent.  Coming soon!  I need to go ahead and round up my Advent wreath stuff.

7.  Take a hike during peak autumn color in the mountains.  Trip planned and coming really soon! 

8.  Write one letter a week to a friend.  Seriously?!?  Why is that so hard?!?  No letters yet.

9.  Eat from a food truck.  (Hoping for The Big Cheese truck!)  DONE!  Gene and I caught the last few hours of the Savannah Jazz Festival in Forsyth Park, and I snagged a grilled cheese from The Big Cheese food truck! 

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Photo is from The Big Cheese’s Facebook page.  I wasn’t able to take my own picture at the jazz festival because it was too dark.

10.  Attend a local book store event.  I’m looking at you E. Shaver, BooksellerDONE!  I attended a book signing and reading with Daren Wang for his book The Hidden Light of Northern Fires.  Watch for a blog post soon to tell you all about it!

11.  Make an autumn art project.  Nothing on this yet.

12.  Make a winter/Christmas art project.  Not yet.

13.  Have dinner at Alligator Soul in Savannah.  We’ve at least discussed it!  I need to make reservations.

14.  Do two of King Arthur Flour’s bakealong projects.  While I *have* baked, I haven’t done an official bakealong yet.

15.  Continue to have intentional meet-ups with IRL friends.  (A favorite from my summertime list!)  One done!  I met a special friend for dinner earlier this week!  She has a house of busy teenagers and a busy life in general, so I really appreciated her making the time to hang out with me for a while.  We enjoyed getting caught up and sharing victories and concerns with each other.

Hooray!  We’ve had a lot of fun over the last month, and there’s more on the horizon!  Temperatures here in Coastal Georgia are finally, finally feeling a little more like autumn, so that’s an extra bonus!  And as an extra extra bonus, there are currently NO hurricanes to watch out for!

Here’s to all of us living intentionally!  We all have to roll with the punches, but with some effort and a little creativity we can make sure we have some special moments of fun in there too!  Have a great weekend, y’all!  Check out the links below to get more ideas for YOUR autumn adventures!

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Currently – October 2017

Currently – October 2017

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I’m linking up today with Anne at In Residence and Dana at Something Good for this month’s Currently!

On this first week of October 2017, I am currently…

Styling:  outfits from the Get Your Pretty On (GYPO) Fall Style Challenge.  These challenges are always a lot of fun and incredibly helpful.  They’ve taught me how to shop wisely AND how to stay on trend!  Here are a few of my favorite outfits so far.  (The Fall Work Wear Capsule is available now!  Yes, that’s an affiliate link!)

 

Saving:  time and money by using Prep Dish.  Prep Dish provides weekly meal plans and more importantly, well-organized instructions for preparing the meals.  Watch for a full review of my experience with Prep Dish REALLY soon!

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Searching:  for Christmas gift ideas.  One of the items on my Autumn Adventures list is to enjoy Christmas shopping by doing it earlier.  If I want hand-crafted gifts, for instance, I know I need to get them ordered soon.  (I’m looking at you, Etsy!)

 

Picking:  books I want to read and restaurants I want to try.  I’m currently reading The War that Saved My Life, another fantastic recommendation by Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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Photo from Amazon

 

Making:  time for a special treat!  I’m treating myself to an afternoon out tomorrow!  Books and food MIGHT be involved!  Stay tuned for all the details!

What are YOU currently up to!  Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

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. 

 

Summertime Fun List – Update 1

Summertime Fun List – Update 1

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A month ago (WHAT?!?  A MONTH AGO ALREADY?!?) I compiled a list of things I wanted to do this summer.  I have been on the road and/or sick nearly the whole month (I’m not exaggerating), but I HAVE accomplished a few things!

Here’s my list and how I’ve done so far:  (Yes, some of these are more work than fun, but summertime is a great time to do inside work when you live in the Deep South!)

  • Pantry:  Reorganize my pantry.
    • I’ve started cleaning it out little by little.  I’ve tackled several of the dark, hidden corners and have thrown out stuff that went out of date years ago.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one to have ancient stuff lurking back there!)
  • Boxes:  Clear boxes out of garage. 
    • Much to my husband’s dismay, I’ve not made it to this one yet.  SOON!  SOON!
  • Letters:  Write one real letter each week.
    • I’ve written a couple of notes to my son, but I still want to fully embrace this discipline.  Wow.  Discipline sounds harsh, but I believe this is something I really must do and WANT to do.
  • New Places:  Eat at two new restaurants in Savannah.
    • I’ve eaten at amazing places in Pigeon Forge, Phoenix, and St. Louis this month, but not in Savannah!
  • Books:  Read at least five books from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide.
    • AHA!  I *have* made headway on this one!  I read The Lost Book of the Grail and A Bridge Across the Ocean.  I started He Said She Said and then returned it to the library.  I may try to finish it up though after watching a friend having a hard time putting it down last weekend!
  • Intentional Friendship IRL:  Meet up with a friend at least once a month.  (IRL means “in real life.”)
    • YES!  I had a nice visit with a local friend last week, a fun girls’ night last night with three friends, and I’m headed to beach today with two other friends!  HOORAY!  This is a discipline I can get excited about!  (Isn’t it a shame how easy it is to NOT do this?!?)
  • Intentional Friendship Virtually:  Skype with a long-distance friend at least once a month.
    • I’ve not done this one yet, but I’m looking forward to it!
  • Time for Parents:  Call my parents and my in-laws once a week.
    • I’ve done a little better on this one, but there is still much room for improvement.  I WANT to talk to them!  I do text and message them!  Now that I’m not on the road every week, I’m looking forward to sitting down, chatting, and catching up with them more frequently.  I love them!

It feels good to have made some headway on my goals for this summer!  Now it’s time to check in with my bloggy friends and see how THEY are doing on THEIR lists!

Summertime Fun List 2017

Summertime Fun List 2017

Today is the summer solstice!  This day always makes me a little sad because the days will begin to get shorter, but today I shall focus on being HAPPY about summertime!  I’m joining up with some other bloggers to share our bucket/fun lists for this sunny season!

I live near Savannah, Georgia, and y’all, it is HOT here!  My springtime fun list featured a lot of outdoor activities, but my summertime fun list includes a lot of indoor, stay-in-the-air-conditioning-so-we-don’t-have-a-heat-stroke goals.

Here’s what I hope to do during summer 2017:

  • Pantry:  Reorganize my pantry.
  • Boxes:  Clear boxes out of garage. 
  • Letters:  Write one real letter each week.
  • New Places:  Eat at two new restaurants in Savannah.
  • Books:  Read at least five books from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide.
  • Intentional Friendship IRL:  Meet up with a friend at least once a month.  (IRL means “in real life.”)
  • Intentional Friendship Virtually:  Skype with a long-distance friend at least once a month.
  • Time for Parents:  Call my parents and my in-laws once a week.

Here’s the (little) scoop on each goal.

Pantry:  We’ve been in our house about two and a half years now, and it’s time to sort out my pantry.  Parts of it work; parts of it just don’t.

Boxes:  Did I mention we’ve been in our house about two and a half years now?  Yeah.  It’s time to deal with the last of the boxes.  Seriously.

Letters:  This was on my springtime fun list, and I wrote NOT ONE LETTER.  Epic fail, dear readers.  I will do better this season!

New Places: Going into downtown Savannah is a pain in the neck, but it’s such a beautiful place once we get there!  I’ve said it before, but I need to just put this on the calendar so that we have a better chance of making it happen.

Books:  I love to read!!!  Summertime is a perfect time to grab a glass of tea and hit the sofa with a good book.  Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide stoked my reading flame, and I’m ready to dig in!

Intentional Friendship IRL:  Surely I’m not the only one who sees a friend at church and says, “We really MUST get together soon!” and then we don’t.  I’m determined to be intentional about actually making that happen.  Hopefully I can do this more than once a month, but I figure once is better than never.

Intentional Friendship Virtually:  My friends live all over the world.  That’s what comes from being an Air Force family!  I’ve promised a friend of mine for months now that we’ll Skype “sometime.”  That time is here.  Technology is too good and too easy to NOT do this.

Time for parents:  My parents aren’t on Facebook, and I forget that they’re not seeing all my amazing status updates about what’s going on in my life!  Days (weeks?!?) go by, and I haven’t called my mom and dad just to chat.  That’s unacceptable.  (My mom and I text a bit, but we all know that’s not the same.)  My mother-in-law IS on Facebook, but calling to chat still needs to happen!  I’ve been way too lazy about this.

I’m excited about tackling my list!  Do YOU have a summer fun list?  What do YOU have going on?  Leave a comment below and let me know!

It’s always fun to get ideas from other folks, and you can do just that by checking out my blogging friends’ lists!  Click through a few (below), and I bet you’ll start or add to your own list of summertime fun goals!

How’d I do?!?  Updates here and here!

Currently – May 2017

Currently – May 2017

Today I’m linking up with Anne and Nancy for this month’s Currently!  This month we’re sharing what we’re currently baking, listening to, loving, planting, and remembering.

I am currently…

Baking:  shortbread!  I got a GREAT deal on some mini cookie cutters at World Market just before Easter, and I knew I just HAD to make shortbread to take to our family Easter gathering!  They turned out so stinking cute!

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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!

 

 

 

Top Ten Posts of 2016 – My Favorites

Top Ten Posts of 2016 – My Favorites

Yesterday I shared the top ten most viewed posts on OutAndBack in 2016.  Today I took a few minutes to look back through all my posts and picked 10 personal favorites.  I’ve listed them in the order they were published.  ( The Letter R & the Elephant and Currently – December 2016 are favorites, but since they made yesterday’s list, I won’t include them here.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.