December 11, 2017

Currently doing...12/11

First, I made some adjustments to my Christmas ???s post from the other day. This is why I don't blog on the fly...I always leave things out.
Namely (if you don't want to revisit the post), The Santa Clause is my favorite Christmas movie and Carol of the Bells is likely my favorite Christmas song. I have very strong opinions about these things so I needed to make that adjustment. I'm obviously not in the Christmas spirit as of yet if I didn't remember to get that all out there.

Whew. That's better.

Buying...Scott went hunting at 3am yesterday. This meant I couldn't fall back asleep. I found myself perusing a website and buying pencils and a sharpener that fall into the high-end category of office supplies.

I'll put them in my stocking.

Trying...a Hydro Flask bottle. I need something with a strong straw game because I need a straw. I don't really care about the keeping-it-cold feature or whatever. I need something with a reliable straw that doesn't swell and leak everywhere (i.e. not the worthless Camelbak). I got the 32 oz. wide mouth in navy and bought the straw lid and two straws came with that. I got it at the PX so it was slightly cheaper than the website I'm linking, but not by that much. 

Throwing away...I found this in the freezer. Scott tried this veggie burger last spring because he wanted one with more protein than the MorningStar brand. There were two in the pack. I couldn't stomach the smell of it cooking (never a good sign) and it was purple when it was done. It goes without saying that he never ate the other one so I threw it away on Saturday.

Drinking...I've been making lattes. I pulled out the milk foamer (we have three) and I heat up 1/2 cup of 2% with a splash of flavored creamer.

Watching...I knew there were new episodes of The Great British Bake-Off on Netflix but never felt like getting back into it. Something came over me and I watched the entire season (the 4th one on Netflix but it's from 2013) this weekend. Productive, right? Then, I watched a few Christmas movies while trying to climb out from under the pile of paperwork I'm always under. The Christmas Train was actually pretty good. I loved the cast.

Not from the British version...did you know that there's an American version of the Bake-Off on Thursday nights this month? MADE MY WEEK. 

Laughing at...I got Scott a (cheap and probably won't actually work) tracker for his keys because we spent two hours combing the yard for them a few weeks back. He found them in a pair of pants after we'd given up for good.

Weak set of goals for the week:
Buy stamps.
Address Christmas cards.
Mail Christmas cards. 
Maybe buy a few groceries. 

Have a "happy" Monday :)

Linking up with Biana!

December 8, 2017

Friday Failures

I get so bogged down by the day to day and I actually lose track of all time at home because the dogs haven't been here to remind me when they need to be fed and walked. I start doing schoolwork or reading things online or puttering around in some form or another and it's like a time machine shooting forward. Plus, when it's dark at 4:30, and it's been pretty cold this week, I just lose motivation.

Unlike Jett. Jett is motivated by attention.

This week I had to spend a lot of time getting caught up on paperwork because I went to Laramie last weekend and did nothing but go to the movies, walk the dogs, and eat out. I'm really focused on getting through these next two weeks without any major hang-ups.

Last week, I shared some's some fails for this Friday...

1. I went to the grocery store on Sunday evening, but forgot milk and kcups (I thought I had these things...the milk we had was questionable I realized when I got home, and I was almost out of kcups). Since I was on base running errands on Monday afternoon, I stopped at the commissary again and ended up waiting in the express line for almost half an hour at 5pm in order to buy that milk and box of kcups. Not a great use of time.

2. I waited almost 3 months for Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng to come to me through the library's ebook system. Finally got it last week. Read 7%. Lost all motivation to read. I foresee it going back to the library and me being back on the wait list because #1: I do enjoy it #2: Maybe I'll feel more like reading next month (or in 3 months, depending on how you look at it).

3. When you start the week with exactly one blog post pre-written, guess how many blog posts get published? One. I did do the Christmas survey yesterday, as well. I thought about a weekend recap, but I more or less put that on Instagram.

4. I have our Christmas cards. I have no Christmas card list because I'm 99.9% sure I threw it away last year when I was "cleaning". I also have no stamps because #postoffice.

5. All of my laundry is washed and clean, but it's all on the floor, closet floor, and bed. This is a throwback to my life before dogs. I can't leave clean laundry lay around when they're here because they lay on it and wrestle on it. Back in Alaska, I had a permanent sea of clean clothing on the floor.

Bonus: I've worn these boots every day this week. Does it even matter? Not really, right? Especially if it was cold enough for me to pull out the marshmallow coat. (similar)

Share your success for the week, please. I need some motivation. 

December 7, 2017

Christmas ???s

1. Real tree or fake tree?
Fake, fake, fake. There's nothing easier or more convenient than a fake tree. This year, we're planning on going home for Christmas so I didn't put up the fake tree. It's huge and a pain to set up but our neighbors in Alaska gave it to us back in 2010 when they moved to the lower 48 and now I don't want to get rid of it. I think I will eventually get a pre-lit tree because that'd be the intelligent thing to do (less work and all).

2. Favorite Christmas cookie?
I like making sugar cookies for the experience of it, I like eating these ginger molasses cookies, I like eating these Hershey's Kiss cookies while they're still warm, and I really enjoy making this peppermint fudge because it's the perfect flavor.

3. Home on Christmas morning or travel?
We usually stay home but we're planning a trip to Pennsylvania this year. Fingers crossed we actually get there before Christmas morning. 

4. Clear or colored lights?
Both. I like colored lights on the tree and clear lights elsewhere because they can stay up all winter. 

5. Send Christmas cards?
I try to. I don't believe I've done it every year since we've been married but I intentionally try most years.

6. Favorite Christmas present received? 
I don't know that I really remember this from when I was younger, but I really like that Scott bought me a Roomba last year and told me it was so I didn't have to stress myself out with cleaning the floors as often now. I usually use it every other day when the dogs are around but if the dogs are in Wyoming, I rarely need to vacuum. 

7. Favorite Christmas present given?
I have no idea. What a terrible answer. 

8. Stockings or no stockings?
Stockings are the best part. However, we never bought nice ones for us, in these last 8-9 years, simply because Scott wasn't always around for Christmas so it wasn't a priority. Some day, we'll get personalized ones. I did buy official dog stockings though this year, so that was a step in the right direction. 

9. Christmas PJs?
No. I usually buy new pajama pants or something, but there's never a Christmas theme. I want something I can wear year-round.

10. Favorite Christmas carol?
I like Angels We Have Heard on High. Things out of the old Methodist hymnals. Also, African Bell Carol ('s the TSO version) and anything from The Nutcracker. I used to listen to The Nutcracker soundtrack on a loop. The reason for this is because I played all of the songs I mention in the school orchestra so they've just stuck with me. 

11. Favorite holiday tradition?
I like leaving the tree up for as long as possible. Up at the end of November, down in January, just because I like the lights. Also, planning for and baking all different types of cookies and fudge.

12. Early shopper or last minute?
I'm not an early shopper but I usually have things to get in the mail so I try to be done by mid-December.

13. Favorite Christmas movie or show?
I really like the old claymation-ish Christmas shows. Rudolph, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, etc. I own them all on DVD and used to show them to kids at school (but I'm not allowed to do that anymore). I like Prep and Landing a lot too. And It's a Wonderful Life and then The Santa Clause is likely my most favorite. I kind of got into the Hallmark movies in recent years but they've started to wear on me, as they are really, really dumb, so I likely won't be watching anymore this year.

14. Favorite holiday beverage?
Something caramel-y from Starbucks. A latte with one pump of syrup, most likely. Maybe the caramel brulee. I used to drink them all winter in Alaska.

15. Cookies and milk for Santa?
If we had kids, yes. And I'd leave something for the reindeer too.

December 4, 2017

Christmas Wish List and Christmas Will-Never-Likely-Get List

I've realized that being an adult is just replacing things you already own so as to keep your belongings in good condition. And/or to use things up, wear them out, and make sure you got your money's worth before buying something new that's similar.

That being said, this is a very adulting-ish Christmas list.

1. New living room pillows and blankets. This is an "always" on my Christmas lists. They just change the whole look of the room, so I try to refresh them once a year.

2. New slippers.
I love the slippers that I got at Costco last year but they don't last forever...I briefly considered sticking a pair of Ugg slippers on my list (so many friends have them) but I don't know that I like them that much for that price.

3. New phone.
Mine is two years old and doesn't do everything I want it to do all the time. I'd like an upgrade. This will likely be a birthday present in January.

4. New rubber boots. (Scott already got me a pair)
I bought these rubber boots in the spring of 2011 because Scott insisted I go clamming with him and the fake Uggs weren't cutting it. I wore them twice in Alaska. I wore them not at all in Missouri. When we came to Colorado, I realized they made perfect prairie boots. They prevent the tumbleweeds and grasses from scratching me and falling in my shoes. They provide moderate protection against snakes. They're great for helping Scott pump water out of mud puddles on our dirt road. They're my dog-walking boots.
They are also now full of holes. I had to patch a hole with duct tape the other day. It's time for new boots. I will say this may have been the BEST $39 I ever spent (at Sports Authority in Wasilla, Alaska).
The ones I have are Kamik and they've lasted this long so maybe I'll look for another Kamik pair. 

6. PSU/Steelers gear. I will have to stock up when we go home for Christmas.

7. Books?
I don't love buying books because clutter is the worst and I'm always afraid I'll dislike a book (I'm not afraid of a DNF) and have it taking up space. That's why I've done so many ebook-borrows from the library and audiobooks in the last few years. However, I want to buy books without feeling like I'm wasting my own money on something frivolous (I prefer to buy clothes as my frivolous purchases). I think a gift card to Amazon or Target or somewhere I can get new release hard copies of books would be the push I need.

8. A dutch oven. I wanted to make a bread recipe and realized I couldn't because I needed one of these. It'd probably be overall useful for other things as well. Is a 6-quart big enough?

9. Movie theater gift cards. Since we discovered that there are two theaters within 2 miles of our house in Laramie (and nice theaters, at that), I decided it'll be pretty easy to keep my resolution for next year...I'm planning on going to the movie theater once a month. I love small, well-kept theaters that aren't over-crowded cattle chutes. The ones in Laramie are perfect for me to go to in my pjs (because that's what we used to do in Wasilla).

And then the wish list items I'll likely never get...

1. Neverfull bag from LV. I've had my eye on one for a bit now. Funnily enough, when we were in San Diego I saw SO many and I'd always point them out to Scott. When we we flying from Atlanta to Denver in October, a girl on the plane (because she was probably college-age) had one and I made sure Scott saw it. He rolled his eyes. His exact words were something along the lines of "Not even if we had a million extra dollars lying around". Sigh.

2. Ugg boots. I've never had a real pair of Uggs. (I might actually get these.)

I like these black ones with a bit of heel.

I really like these too. 

What's on your list? Things you'll actually get or buy yourself? Or things you'd rather not splurge on?

December 1, 2017

Friday Wins.

Because sometimes we just need to count what we can as a win and call it a week.

1. My mom's birthday is today and I got a card in the mail on time. She got the same treatment Scott did...the dogs signed it.

Scott's card

2.  I enjoy the fact that it's cold enough to wear pants at least every other day now. And boots. Boots make things easy and I don't have to remember to paint my toenails. Today I think it's supposed to be in the 60s though. Bleh.

3. I knocked out a ton of Christmas shopping yesterday. I got myself these two hoodies at Old Navy too. Yesterday, I questioned the quality and reputability (a word?) of Old Navy, but there's a reason why I went to the store to try these on first. I can attest to the quality now...if you need a zip-up, these are soft, thick for winter, and on sale now! They're also longer than they appear to be on the tall models on the website.

4. I read a couple of books this week instead of ignoring the library due dates. But I have 3 books I need to finish before December 14th and I just don't see that happening. Little Fires Everywhere, The Stranger in the House, and I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. I've been reading The Stranger in the House on and off all week, but had to finish Young Jane Young because it was due today. I downloaded a Christmas book I'd also like to read before Christmas but I have 2 others unfinished on my Kindle I should probably tackle first. I read in a very ADD kind of way.

5. I stayed mostly on top of paperwork this week, concerning school, but it never really ends so I'm just gonna have to let this idea of always being done with things go for now. Oh well.

Enjoy the weekend!

November 30, 2017

Thursday Thoughts. (Stuff and Things, if you will)

+I don't like it when teachers use Elf on the Shelf in their classrooms. I get the "why" but it's not fair when you, the teacher, aren't controlling what kind of Christmas all those kids get for being "good". As a parent, you can do whatever you want. As a teacher, you can't give all 30 students the Christmas they deserve just by bribing them to be compliant in school. A friend of mine uses a Santa cam in her class and it just sends the wrong message, I think. Am I crazy here? We do not work in a wealthy or equitable area where everyone has a great Christmas.

+When will people realize that "fav" is not "fave"? Vowels have sounds. In this case, the magic "e" on "fave" makes the "a" say its name. "Fav" is not what you are phonetically going for when you mean "favorite". I promise. Please, let's stop this.

+I didn't go out on Black Friday and I have this theory that a lot of stores have special BF stock that is somehow a bit inferior to the rest of their merchandise. Like, the really heavily discounted items aren't made the same way as the rest of the stock. Honestly, I was thinking specifically of Old Navy and how that place can give you something amazing (like the hoodie I bought over the summer that was destroyed in the dryer when the zipper fell off...but it was amazing until that happened) or something cheap and feels like it should be on a Barbie and not on a person (like the hoodie I attempted to buy to replace it and will probably never wear because it feels like sandpaper). I was explaining this theory to a coworker, and then I looked down and realized I had bought my leggings ($10, 3 years ago) and my dress ($15, this past summer) at Old Navy. 

+Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are a dream. I'm pretty excited for an American princess. This is the most adorable video ever. 

+I asked Scott why the dinosaurs went extinct but the birds didn't (a child may have asked me that yesterday). He said it was because of the "nuclear winter" and I had never heard that phrase before. It means the meteorite hit and caused climate change but apparently that's called a nuclear winter.
Here's the article I found that I'm going to make the kids read share tomorrow.  I briefly thought about showing this but it's a bit intense. 

+Speaking of teaching, this article is oddly powerful in saying that all those inspirational questions don't actually inspire anyone all that much (my paraphrase). They often inspire guilt for me, for example, and seem to be clearly written by people who aren't teachers.

+Who opens up at 2-pack of Starburst and gets two reds? Only me.

Hey, at least it's Thursday.

November 29, 2017

Planner Preview for 2018

I went with the old standby of the Erin Condren planner. I probably talked about it last year, but I got this one because I know I'll use it. They're functional and STURDY. 

Here is the post I did about 2017's planner, if you want to compare some features (some of us take our planners pretty seriously). 

If you're looking into trying an EC planner, here's what you can expect...

I went with houndstooth because it just is pretty to me. I don't love florals as much as I want to, but anything with a preppy twist is generally my thing. 


I use the calendar spreads for work, to plan out my month. I will (not so) shamefully admit that I have 99% of my lesson plans in my head and I don't even write things down anymore. (It's awful really...I just have piles of things for each day and each week because I've done this for awhile now.) But this calendar allows me see the big picture for my 9-5 life.

This is a new addition this year. I'm assuming it's for goals or things that stand out about each month? There's one at the beginning of each month.

This year, I went with the vertical layout, so as to plan my mornings and evenings (perhaps) more efficiently because I've been just writing down whatever,wherever in the horizontal layout. 

Some notes pages at the end...

Dotted bullet-journaling pages as well...

And then coloring...

And a forward look toward 2019...

The stickers are more fun this year. 

And a pocket.

They always throw in that perpetual calendar and I honestly have no idea why. 

What kind of planner are you looking to use this coming year? This is always such a first-world issue, right?

November 27, 2017

(Currently) It's almost December

Watching....Westworld. I recorded all of season one on HBO as reruns and we started it Saturday night. It's interesting and different. Have you seen it?

Reading...A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena. It's good. Pulls you in right away and might be a little predictable but that's okay. It's holding my interest which is more than I could say for The Sun is Also a Star, which I also read last week. That thing oozes YA tropes.

Eating...We had authentic Mexican near La Junta the other day. Southern Colorado is definitely good at Mexican food. We also had pho on Sunday.

Succeeding at...I got our refunds from Delta concerning that disastrous trip last month. They refunded our hotel and threw in two gift cards (to actual retailers, not Delta gift cards) for our trouble.  I emailed them initially and they never got back to me, so I called and did speak to a very nice woman named DeeDee. I hate that Delta is so incompetent, yet their people are so nice.

Buying...I got this Madewell bag half off from Nordstrom Rack (the screenshot below is from the Madewell website) and told Scott it was my Christmas present. I have plans to post my Christmas list next week and Scott told me to start looking online today to see if I can find what I want...we'll see how much energy I have left at the end of a Monday. Christmas shopping list. You know how people start in, like, September? No. I start the week of Thanksgiving because I need to be in the spirit to shop for others. This doesn't bother me at all because that's the fun of the season and planning for Christmas months in advance would take that away. buying Scott a birthday present. His birthday was yesterday and he swore he didn't want anything. He's bought himself new clothes lately because he's living that civilian life so that was out...he never reads the books I buy him...he has all the tools and hunting gear he currently needs (he wants GPS collars for the dogs but those are muy $$$$$)...and so he bought the new tires he needs for the truck and called it a day. I gave him a card from the dogs.

Lamenting...the fact that I'm here in Colorado and Scott is back in Wyoming for the week. I do have a nicely decorated house to enjoy leading up to Christmas but I'll be spending my weekends in Laramie until Christmas break. Scott has way too much work to do up there and can't come home until the semester ends. This lamenting also includes the fact that it's very annoying that my "purpose" is my job while I'm here and he's not. I don't like that feeling. But this is temporary and better than a deployment. So it could be worse.

And that is *currently* what's happening this very last week in November.

Linking up with Biana!

November 24, 2017

Friday Gratefulness #4 (Post-Thanksgiving edition)

This is a mix and match version of some random things for this last Friday in November. I've really attempted to focus on the little things and what goes right instead of what goes wrong. It's a healthy practice, though it feels COMPLETELY unnatural, so I recommend giving it a try.

1. This cinnamon roll recipe. I made these last Christmas and decided that, instead of pie or cookies or something, I would make them yesterday. They are amazing. And SO easy. I put them together while I was waiting for the turkey to come out of the oven and watching Elf.

2. I liked that the weather in Wyoming this week was a bit like November is supposed to be. We returned to the tinderbox that is Colorado on Wednesday and that was a big fat disappointment because I had to pull out shorts again. There is nothing cozy about decorating for Christmas on Thanksgiving day while having the windows open and the fans running.

3. I'm more than grateful that I've had the whole week off. I got all my work done in one day sitting at the kitchen counter in Laramie and now I can clean and decorate for Christmas without school hanging over my head.

4.  I'm grateful that Scott is able to go hunting this weekend, because he needs time to hunt the way I need time to just sit and not talk to anyone. Also, the dogs desperately need to hunt so hopefully he gets them out after some ducks tomorrow.

5. We've made hard and fast decisions about how we're spending the month of December, what next year will look like, and how this will affect us both with school/career/etc. and it feels very good to just have a plan that will result in some sort of "settled". We'll never really be settled, as he still wistfully talks about Alaska and Missouri (mostly the hunting in Missouri) and we both miss the east coast and we have no idea where the army will send us after next year...but it feels "better" to know that we've whittled our options and made some decisions.

And since it's Thanksgiving week, I should end with this:

I don't actually know that I've meant this more than I mean it this particular year.

Tomorrow, I'll go Christmas shopping but there's no way I'm heading out there today. Plus, it's 70 degrees. Best to just stay home so I don't sweat to death. 

Are you shopping today?

What was the best thing you ate yesterday?