Monday, April 24, 2017

Wanted: More Beach Days

Wishing for more beach days today as the rain falls steadily...all. day. long.
I've been feeling the itch for warm weather and warm water.
Those consistent 80 degree days can't come soon enough :)
I'm channeling Saturday vibes as I create my weekly to-do list and try to get motivated for the week!
Hoping the sun finds you today :) 

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Things I Love And You Might Too

A post, otherwise known as Friday Favorites, which is probably dominating your Bloglovin feed today :) If you aren't reading this on a Friday, well, then you might actually read this post :) I am trying to post consistently on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. Today I don't have a recap post with pictures from my week to share with you :( However, I do have a list of things that I'm loving this week that I think you could love too!

#1 Podcasts

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey specifically. The target audience is women and has mentions of Christianity. I thought it was worth mentioning because that may be something you are or are not looking for in a podcast. It's very casual conversation interview style about topics relevant to women with popular bloggers/authors/organization leaders. It's very upbeat and fun. It keeps me company on my commutes. I admit it's kind of inspiring to hear from women doing big things with their lives whether that be in their homes or outside their homes. What Should I Read Next is another podcast I keep up with weekly. I'll give you one guess what that is about!

#2 Spring Reading

I totally switched gears with my reading preferences this last week. I had been reading a lot of heavy material for the past 2-3 months. You can see for yourself in my March Reading recap and February Reading recap and January too if you aren't quite convinced :) I always throw in a lighter read, like Everything Everything in March and The Magnolia Story in February. When the warm weather came in last week, I thought I don't want to think so hard! I want to be outside on my patio giggling over silly characters, dialogue,  and letting my brain wander. So, I went to the library (because I don't have enough books around my house from my book haul) and got some lighter books! Nicola Yoon's The Sun Is Also A Star is the one I'm looking forward to most.

#3 Meal Planning

At the beginning of every military pay period, I take a Sunday afternoon to create a meal plan. I started doing this for two reasons: budget and to curb our restaurant outings. It has done wonders for both! I have a secret board in Pinterest where I pin all the meals I want to make for two weeks. Then I go back through and make a list of ingredients I will need. Then I post the meal plan in my kitchen and pick the meal I want on the day I want. Meals that take longer to prepare are made on the weekends or days I don't work. I try to keep them semi-healthy and add in some cheap eats too.  Our current meal plan is 3 weeks long which is the longest I've done. There are some delicious recipes we've tried so far.

Here are links to some of the recipes I'm making:
Sweet Ranch Chicken and Veggies
Senate Bean Soup
Grilled Shrimp With Old Bay and Creamy Parmesan Risotto (with mushrooms)
Lasagna Rollups
Sweet Potato Hash 

#4 Homemade Snack Mix

Often times, I will make my own snack mix for a sweet treat in my work lunch. I will take a few things from the pantry and mix them together. This week I made an additional mix for my daughter to bring in her lunch. The following morning she asked, "Mom, could you make that mix for me again?"  It really was the perfect combo. Almonds, milk chocolate chips, and gummy bears in case you are curious :) Oh and here is the trick to making your eating experience awesome...almond, chocolate chip, almond, almond, chocolate chip, gummy bear, repeat.

#5 Ipsy GlamBag

For someone who doesn't consistently wear makeup, I sure do love Ipsy. This monthly subscription is more than makeup including items for skin and hair care. I have consistently found the value to be at least four times the $10 monthly charge. Now I have a little buddy who likes to raid my Ipsy Glambags, so all items get put to good use! This month I really love the Ofra peach blush and trying the new shade of nail color. I have a very intense nail polish addiction! And the ticket bag is a favorite too!

#6 This Blog Post!

You know those moments when you hear words that are just meant for you. This blog post was that for me this week. I just happened upon this blog, The Girl Who Loved To Write, and immediately loved it. 7000+ followers can't be wrong! Anyways, this particular post really touched on a relevant topic/feeling for me as I continually struggle with living in North Carolina. I know what you are all thinking...still?!? Come on! Well, that is just the way it is for me and this blog post gave me the encouragement I need to keep trucking along. This will not be my forever, this is only temporary, and the whole point of temporary is to make the most of it. To learn and grown in your moment. I may not be in my early adult years, a young mom, or a doctor's wife, but I totally relate to this blog post! So, if you ever feel like you are waiting to get the job, have the baby, raise the baby, move home, buy the house, etc. etc. Read this post: Being Here, Now, in This Moment. (Stepping down from my soap box :)

Linking Up With These Ladies 

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Let The College Visits Begin

It is that time in our parenting life, when we begin looking at colleges with our soon-to-be senior. 
And I couldn't be more excited! This is one of those parenting moments I have been waiting for.

In fact, after our visit to Duke University, my husband and I are in the market for 
a time machine.
We'd like the opportunity to go to a university like Duke (and be young and carefree again).
Wow to the holy wow for that campus though!

Although, price tag + SAT scores will makes this choice highly unlikely as a front runner for Kyli.
Always the sensible one, she said she will "save this one for med school".
Did I raise this one right or what?
My child, saving this one for med school. Be still my heart!

Med school or not, Duke campus is amazing!
Duke Chapel is even more stunning in the flesh.

I think everyone agreed. And no one was bored or preoccupied with anything else. Just kidding. Someone is always bored or preoccupied.

After Duke, we stopped by the North Carolina Museum of History.
I'm going to say with all honesty that I was less than impressed. I cannot stop raving about the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. It is my most favorite place in the whole state. Sadly, the history museum just didn't measure up in my opinion.

There is plenty of history in North Carolina. Native American, pirates, Civil War, and racial injustice to name a few. It's like a Hollywood jackpot of topics to elaborate on. The entire first level of the museum focuses on just that. 

And there is some interactive stuff that kept the wild ones engaged.
There is never a dull moment with these four. 

On the way back to the parking area, we passed through the State Capitol grounds and took pictures.
It's a nice little area that cover about one city block. 
It's very minimalistic with lots of historic monuments.

I think we have Raleigh covered for tourist attractions.
I'm ready to start exploring some more areas of the state.
Stay tuned!

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Monday, April 17, 2017

The Azalea Festival With No Azaleas

One thing I've learned living in North Carolina is this state love festivals.
There is a festival for fish, for flowers, for food, for just about everything.
It reminds me a lot of our life in Japan when we were stationed at Atsugi.
The Japanese were notorious for festivals and always carrying someone down the street in parade fashion. I wish I had understood more of what was going on back then :) From a foreigners eyes, it all seems quite confusing.

A very similar feeling to what happened this weekend at 
the Azalea Festival without an azalea in sight!

These are azaleas. Absolutely gorgeous and brightly colored flowers! 
Unfortunately, these azaleas were not found at the festival. 
Nope, I took these photos in my neighborhood where azaleas bloom in abundance.

*shaking my head*

Here is an opportunity you won't get very often. This was the start of our Azalea Festival experience, helping out a bunch of clowns who needed a tire changed. The kids and I just thought it was the funniest sight. I mean, really, when in life will this ever happen again?
My saint of a husband took liberty to help out and do the heavy lifting.
Those Marines I tell you. Their job never stops helping out America ;)

The azalea part of the festival may have been a bust but Downtown Wilmington never is! The historic sites and the waterfront walkway never get old.
We loved being able to show downtown off to my mother in law.

I'm  beginning to think festival really means street fair.
There were plenty of crafty vendors to visit.

And free food to sample.
We are speaking the teens love language now.

As we looped around the street fair vendors, we made our way along the Cape Fear River walkway I mentioned early.
It's a great place to stop and observe everything. 
I love looking out across the river. 
The water is crazy powerful and just swirls and swirls.

It also makes you kind of nervous as a momma when your clumsy child sits right up on the ledge of that powerful river. I need one of those monkey backpack leashes!
Believe me we used to have one for that child!

The USS North Carolina is docked here and used as a museum.
We haven't visited but I've marked it on our To-See list.

In my opinion, the giant piñata balloon was the star of the show.
When is the last time you saw a giant piñata balloon?
I think the answer might be never!
That is why I needed a picture :)

We spent most of our time watching the multicultural dance stage. 
These dancers were getting their cardio in early.

We sat there for a couple hours and then decided to go back to the car.

I was a little discouraged the Azalea Festival lacked the flowers I expected.
So, when I saw these flowers I decided I needed a picture. 

A block later, we finally found these azaleas outside a historic building or church (I can't remember). 
They were the only azaleas we came across at the festival.

Which means we had to take all the pictures!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Break. Pictures Galore. And Life Lately.

Today you get nothing but positivity and smiles because we are on spring break!
The weather is beautiful. Everyone is happy. And we are doing absolutely nothing but relaxing.
Here is wishing Monday never comes!

First, let's talk about the princess of our family, Miss Kyli. She has been keeping us very busy lately. Her most favorite thing in the world, color guard, has ended its third season. We have one more season to go before this will all be history. I can't even start to process that one! 

Once upon a time she did not want anything to do with color guard. When she began high school, she was shy and apprehensive to join any activity but we told her she needed to have at least one activity. It could have been anything with a physical component to it, sports or otherwise. With a little persuasion (aka ultimatum), she decided to join color guard her freshman year. After 3 years of color guard, she is performing solos, tossing and catching a heavy wooden rifle, and hopeful for captain. The transformation has been so fun to watch!

Watching your child toss anything in the air 20 feet and then catching it, 
is pretty cool.
She's killing it! Which really means she is fierce but you know America + violence = culture. Or something like that. But, really, do you ever notice how much violent figurative speech 
we use? It's weird. She is fierce with her color guard moves :)

As a parent, we can all agree any kind of school break is nice. This week we finally get to enjoy spring break. My husband took the week off work and he asked, "What would you like to do?" 
For perhaps, the first time in our married life, I answered with "Nothing."
Honest truth! I really don't want to do anything except read my book.

Lately, I've been reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I'm really enjoying it and would recommend it to everyone. Another book I want to convince my child to read. It's inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the issue of police accountability in current events. I have not felt the author hits you over the head with an agenda which I think can be off-putting. I feel Thomas does a really good job at opening the conversation to all sides and spotlighting the holes in every argument. I felt like every character had a different opinion, so you could really relate to at least someone in the book.

Everything else below this point is the randomness of our life lately.

This week I have found a renewed interest in my DSLR camera. I've been playing around with settings and my new lease. Charlie makes such as easy subject to shoot because he doesn't move. Plus, he has a cute face. It works.

The football playing proved to be a little challenging. 
I do love the 200mm zoom though. 

Derrick is our active kid who keeps us in (relative) shape. He always wants you to join him playing basketball, football, running, walking, etc. Boundless energy!

We went to the Azalea Festival which is a pretty big deal in this area. 
I'm going to post more about our Azalea Festival experience next week but here are some pictures until then.

An oversized piñata balloon for all your photography needs.

The kids got along the entire afternoon and let me take pictures of them...smiling...together.
Days like these are few and far between in a life with teenagers. 

The weather has been gorgeous. So trips to the beach are a must.
Even if it's just to watch dad fish and dig a random hole as deep as you can.
I'm telling you all, this one has boundless energy!

We did take one day to visit Raleigh after dropping my mother in law off at the airport. 
We are always that family!
And if I agree to take this kind of picture, then...

...they agree to take this kind of picture.
It's called a compromise. It works wonders in teen parenting 

Oh, and such fun news to share, Ky got her first job!
At an ice cream shop which is complete perfection for her ice-cream loving self!
She is getting so old my heart breaks a little every milestone we pass!

After writing this post, I'm thinking we have Spring Break mastered.

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