Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, D!

Today is my nephew's second birthday! He is the sweetest kid and he has such a big personality that has really come through in the last year.
^^From the first time I met him to his first year^^.

 I pulled together most of the pictures that I have of him from the last year. He has grown into such a toddler and it makes me sad to see how much I have missed. I love seeing how much he has grown in these pictures and you do not really realize it until you look through the pictures. Starting with his one year pictures that I took all the way through the last time I saw him. I love this sweet boy more than I ever thought I would and I can't wait to have another nephew/niece to love on coming in March. P.S. I may or may not actually know if it is a boy or a girl. Living out of state has its perks!



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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkins!

Richard and I have a tradition of carving pumpkins every fall. There has only been one year we did not carve in the 7 years we have been together and that was the first fall we moved to Louisiana. I boycotted fall that year because I was upset that my favorite season was non-existent in Louisiana.

This year, however, we decided to carve pumpkins just the two of us since last year we had a carving party. We went to a church by our house that had a "pumpkin patch" to pick out your pumpkin. They basically just put a bunch of pumpkins out on their lawn for you to look through. Not quite the same as the actual real pumpkin patches we have in Minnesota. However, it was more fun than picking out pumpkins at Walmart like we had to do last year.
We carved our pumpkins on Monday. We decided to actually use stencils this year to create something a little more fun and a lot more complex. The thing about carving pumpkins is you can make many mistakes and then once you put that candle in and light it all of a sudden your pumpkin looks amazing. I made the Olaf pumpkin and Richard made the Louisiana Tech logo. Richard did have to cut out Olaf's eyes and nose after I sustained a minor laceration (Grey's anatomy anyone?) to the thumb. He has a lot more patience than I do when it comes to these things.
I think we did pretty good! At least you can recognize what they are supposed to be. With that, October is just about over (where did it go?) and this weekend is going to be tons of fun. Super excited for this one!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Date Nights & Halloween Parties

This weekend a little bit crazy. Filled with some great times and some not so great times. But, its over so we will only focus on the good times because those are more fun.

On Friday, Richard and I headed over to Shreveport to have our pictures taken. The last time we had professional pictures taken was for our wedding so I wanted to take some new pictures. Our photographer is in the same doctoral program as Richard and I have shadowed her before so we know her pretty well. She shared a sneak peak on Facebook and I love it so far! Can't wait to get the rest of them soon. If you are in the area and need some pictures taken check her out here!
When we were done taking pictures we decided to stay in Shreveport for a little date night. We don't usually take the time to drive the hour and a half to Shreveport so it was nice to get out and do something different. Our photographer recommended a place called Sevendipity and it did not disappoint. They even had a cute little outside patio that was perfect for date night.
After dinner, we did a little shopping at Loft and Charming Charlie's since I had gift cards for both of them. This is the closest Loft and my money was going to expire so I had to use it up quick. Richard also insisted on getting cupcakes for dessert.

The entire day on Saturday was devoted to the Halloween party we had that night. I procrastinated making our costumes till the last minute. I was a fairy and made my tulle skirt that morning. I attempted to make Richard's costume, but it did not look right and my husband was not thrilled about wearing it so he went without a costume this year. He was obviously super upset about that one.

We went to the Halloween party that my friend Kirsten's aunt throws every year. They always have a scavenger hunt where your team goes out in costume and has to take a bunch of pictures and videos doing different things for a list. It is fun to see the looks from people when you walk around in full costume. Some of the things on the list this year was take a pictures with a security guard, take a picture on a firetruck, take a picture with everyone's left knee touching a fire hydrant, take a video doing the macarena in a gas station, etc.
Sadly, our team did not win two years in a row. But we still had a good time doing it and we had a little too much fun after that. After the super late night, we had a lazy Sunday filled with football and TV. Perfect way to end a busy weekend.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

DIY Planner

People who know me know that I am a hard core planner. I can't help it. My brain is always full of planning details. So it would make perfect sense when I say that I love to have a daily planner that I can write in and look at. Last year, I made a new binder to use as my planner. The problem with this planner was that as time went on it got really beat up and messy. It was also a 2 inch binder so it was really bulky. So I knew I wanted something different this year. I looked everywhere for a planner online that would fit what I was looking for and had no luck. I knew that I needed to make my own planner so that I could customize it as I saw fit.

I took to pinterest and discovered what they call Discbound Notebooks. They are almost like a crossover between a binder and a notebook. They are thin like a notebook would be, but they are customizable like a binder is. All you need to do is buy a special hole punch to punch the pages.
The notebook is held together by solid discs and the hole punch works by cutting little notches into the paper that fit around the disc. This feature is really nice because it makes the whole notebook completely customizable. You can add or remove pages whenever you feel like it. So if you make a mistake on a page, all you have to do is reprint it and replace it. This also means that I can use the cover and the discs year after year and I only need to replace the pages on the inside as the years change.
The discbound notebook I selected came from the Martha Stewart line made by Staples. I originally wanted the light blue one and I called Staples and they told me that they are discontinuing that line so the blue ones were impossible to find. I was able to find a black one, but I am not sure how much longer they will make these. Staples has their own line of discbound notebooks they call Arc Customizable Notebooks. Also, there is the Circa line made by Levenger. I liked the silver discs that came with the Martha Stewart one, which is why I selected that brand.

Once I decided that I was going to make my own planner, I had to buy all my supplies. I bought a portable hole punch made by Levenger because it was less expensive. You can buy a big one through Staples that is a little more expensive, but it is easier to punch.

I also bought these tabs to mark my months of the year. They just stick anywhere you want them to. I bought 32 pound and 100 bright paper. This way it was a little bit thicker and brighter than normal paper. The thickness help to make the pages sturdier when they are punched and the brightness makes the colors pop more. Then I bought some nice thin felt pens to use to write with a bunch of pretty colors.
Finally, I had to decide what I would put in my planner. I went with a printable calendar/daily planner made by IHeart Organizing. I love the bright colors and the design of her printable. It is also made so that you print your pages doubles sided so you use less paper and your notebook stays thin. She recommended the paper and other things to make the pages look the best.
This planner has monthly and weekly pages. I have been able to keep myself extremely organized. On the monthly pages I write out my monthly goals that I usually put on the blog and I also write in any and everything we have going on for the month. I try to color code it too so that I can keep everything straight. On the weekly pages, I have been able to plan out blog posts, my project for each night and sometimes the chore I need to focus on. I also write out my To-Do list that I carry over each week. This way I do not forget what I need to be doing each night and I can make my evenings more productive. It even has a place for meals that we plan out for the week so I don't forget what groceries we bought.
The tabs I mentioned earlier are great because I can put them wherever I want to and they help me to be able to open straight to the month I am looking for.
I was also able to add some extra pages at the end for things that I wanted that were not included in the digital planner. When I found a printable online that I wanted, I could just print it out and add it to what I already had. I use this checkbook register every month to plan out when our bills get paid and pulled out of our checking account every month. In the future I could add more pages if I decide I need something different too.
I have been using this planner for almost a month now and I am seriously in love. It is just so pretty and colorful and it makes me want to be more organized. It helps me to stay on top of my To-Do list so that I do not forget anything since I am really bad at remembering what I need to get done. I can remember every detail of a memory that happened 5 years ago, but I can't remember when I need to get something done. Funny how my brain works. This planner was not exactly cheap but since most of my supplies are reusable I consider it an investment in something that I know I will use for many years to come.

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