Spring Bucket List

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my to do lists. I’m pretty sure I have a list for everything in my life, and my bucket lists are no different. I have one giant overall Life Bucket List for all the things I want to accomplish in my lifetime. And I have seasonal bucket lists for things that I want to do with the family, or primarily my children. I love following Lisa Marie over at Paper and Glam and how she really incorporates seasonal living into her life. So one of the small things that I do is come up with seasonal bucket lists. And I know I’m running out of time to get these all done, so I better get to it! Happy Spring!!

Spring Bucket List

2015 Fall Bucket List

Fall Bucket List

Summer Schdule

Summer Schedule

A New Journey for a New Year

Another chapter has closed in our lives and we are bracing ourselves for the new adventures ahead in the upcoming year. My family ended 2016 with many changes around us, but perhaps the biggest change was my husband’s promotion and transfer at work. Last month, my family moved from Ohio to Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville Virginia

With this move, we’ve encountered many challenges. The first challenge was finding a tenant for our home in Ohio….in three months….during the holidays. Needless to say, this is still an ongoing challenge. This also caused another challenge in our life. Due to the financial strain of paying rent and a mortgage, we decided to downsize once we got to Virginia. This hasn’t been so much a hardship challenge because I’ve been slowly becoming more drawn to a minimalist lifestyle. However, my husband is a pack rat who apparently has an emotional attachment to everything he has ever own. And I mean EVERYTHING! It’s a slow process, but we’re getting there.

Another obstacle that we ran into was the preschool system here in Virginia. In Ohio, my youngest was going to preschool four days a week at minimal cost to us. However, the public preschools here are only for children with learning disabilities, while the private preschools cost an arm and two legs! I knew my daughter was going to be crushed. She loved being a big girl and going to school with her big brother every day. So after a lot of thinking and praying on the matter, I’ve decided to home school her. I’ll be sure to share my struggles and mishaps with that journey as we go along.

off-to-school

Possibly the biggest challenge I’ve faced personally with our move, is having to transfer my new personal training business. When I started IMT Fit Life I had the notion that we would be staying in Ohio for several more years so I was planting my roots, so to speak. I was training a few clients, working on programs for several different organizations, and making new connections daily. And then I had to walk away from it all. It was definitely disheartening to say the least.

But when one door closes, another door opens. That’s how the saying goes. We’ve closed the door to 2016 and our lives in Ohio. We have begun our new adventures here in Virginia and what a better time for new adventures than the New Year. And I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to share as we continue through these challenges and great adventures!

shenandoah-national-park

Shenandoah National Park

101 in 1,001 ~April Recap

My 101 in 1001

Oh wow! It has been 6 months since I’ve been on here sharing my life with everyone. To be honest, I was considering hanging up my blog for good. These last 6 months have completely turned my life upside down and I’ve been taking time to myself to regain my sense of self, so to speak. Some may already know, but I’ve felt compelled to follow a different path in life. I will share that story in another post. For now, I’m checking in with my 101 things in 1,001 days.

I started our Christmas savings fund and I’m contributing to it twice a month. Next, I started a small inside herb garden. I have a few pots of cilantro, chives, and parsley growing in my kitchen. I’ve marked off my MBA because I’ve decided on a completely different route. And lastly I was able to give 100% tip one night when I took my kids out for dinner.

  1. Pay off all my debt, excluding our mortgage.
  2. Build our emergency fund to 3-6 months of expenses.
  3. Start a Christmas savings account. Jan 2016
  4. Start my kids college funds.
  5. Gain 100 followers on my blog.
  6. Post 2 videos to my YouTube channel a week for a month.
  7. Have 3 blog posts published a week for a month. ~Started on
  8. Start an Etsy shop, or a shop on my blog June 2015
  9. Make my daughter a toy box.
  10. Grow a herb garden. April 2016
  11. Make (and can) my own spaghetti sauce.
  12. Read 40 books completely and not half way through. ~Made book list
  13. Go 1 entire week (including the weekend) without eating out.
  14. Take my husband away without the kids for a weekend.
  15. Learn a new craftJuly 2015
  16. Make at new recipe.
  17. Lose 20 pounds.
  18. Take a yoga class a few times.
  19. Go a full day with no technology.
  20. Take the Canadian road trip I planned.
  21. Take the kids on a Disney cruise.
  22. Join the local VFW.
  23. Attend a photography workshop.
  24. Host a cooking class.
  25. Make a memory jar on Jan 1 and read everything in it on Dec 31.
  26. Learn to quilt.
  27. Take a weekend trip to Vegas.
  28. Write a cookbook.
  29. Go zip lining.
  30. Make a jar full of rocks with my favorite Bible verses written on them.
  31. Go on a road trip with some of my girlfriends.
  32. Host a huge Halloween masquerade party. ~Started planning
  33. Rent a beach house for a week.
  34. Swim with dolphins.
  35. Go camping with my kids.
  36. Have a picnic in the park.
  37. Make yogurt popsicle with my kids.
  38. Pay a strangers restaurant bill.
  39. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
  40. Learn to ice skate.
  41. Attend the Kentucky Derby.
  42. Take a pin-up photo shoot.
  43. Prepare a care package for a homeless person.
  44. Build a blanket fort.  August 2015
  45. Go to Country Concert.
  46. Make every recipe from 1 of my cookbooks.
  47. Take a Segway tour of a city.
  48. Go to a monster truck rally.
  49. Take a self-defense class.
  50. Make pasta from scratch.
  51. Go one month without shopping except for necessities.
  52. Read 5 biographies. ~Made List
  53. Learn how to tie a tie.
  54. Start a new blog series. May 2015
  55. Give 5 “Just Because Gifts” 1~July 2015; 1~August 2015
  56. Visit Chicago.
  57. Make sushi with my new kit.
  58. Run in a color run.
  59. Have a spa day.
  60. Host a Vision Board party.
  61. Attend a blog conference.
  62. Establish a family tradition. May 2015
  63. Write a guest post for another blogger.
  64. Have a guest post on my blog.
  65. Attend an Alabama home football game.
  66. Host a blog giveaway.
  67. Put $20 in savings for every goal accomplished.
  68. Visit 5 new museums. AF Museum~July 2015
  69. Go on another marriage retreat.
  70. Stop drinking soda for 1 week.
  71. Learn to make a burlap wreath.
  72. Determine my MBA major. Nov 2015
  73. Take a photo booth picture with my hubs.
  74. Go snowboarding.
  75. Have family photos taken every year.
  76. Visit a new stateAugust 2015
  77. Go geocaching.
  78. Go to 3 new festivals.
  79. Be able to do 10 pullups.
  80. Create a business plan.
  81. Make an editorial calendar. May 2015
  82. Order business cardsJuly 2015
  83. Create a media kit.
  84. Have 5 photos accepted to FoodGawker.
  85. Attend a women’s bible retreat.
  86. Make a list of 101 positive things about myself. ~Started on
  87. Make my bed every single day for a month.
  88. Put aside $50 a month for 6 months and go on a shopping spree.
  89. Write a letter for each of my children and place it with my will.
  90. Send a message in a bottle.
  91. Host a favorites party.
  92. Do a craft show.  August 2015
  93. Go golfing with my hubs.
  94. Take each kid on a mom date.
  95. Plan 12 dates (1 for each month) for the hubs and I.
  96. Buy a silhouette cameo.
  97. Make 2 weeks worth of freezer meals.
  98. Leave a 100% tip. Feb 2016
  99. Have poker night.
  100. Journal every night for a month.
  101. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years.

6 Tips to Remember When Potty Training

Manic Monday Blog Series

It’s getting to be that time again. I’m cringing at the thought of it. My evil mommy nemesis. What part of motherhood can make me cringe at the very thought of it? Potty training. Baby girl is now 2 and is really starting to show the signs of being ready to start potty training. And as awful as I may sound, this is the one part of parenting that I wish I could fast forward. It took me almost a year to get my son potty trained. Within that year, we moved twice, my husband left on an extended business trip, and I started working outside the home. With these constant changes, it was very difficult to potty train. I’m hoping that I don’t run into the same road blocks with my daughter. So here’s some tips that I learned from my first potty training experience.

  1. Prep Yourself! While many of us are so busy watching our toddlers to make sure they’re ready to start potty training, make sure you take time to make sure you’re ready. I’ve already attempted round number 1 with my daughter, and failed miserably mainly because I wasn’t ready. I was having several doctor appointments and my medicine kept getting changed. It’s hard enough sometimes adjusting to new medicine without the added pressure of potty training. I especially had some bad side effects of one of my medicines, so I made sure that I took time out to get myself squared away first. Remember, you are no good to anyone else if you haven’t taken care of yourself first. So make sure you get plenty of rest, and if needed reach out to family and friends to help.
  2. Prep your house. You really want to pick one room to stay in for the first few days to keep the inevitable accidents contained. I picked our upstairs living room because it’s all hardwood floors. I rolled up my area rug and tucked it under my couch for safe keeping. I pull out a few toys and books and closed up all the bedrooms. Keep in mind that every child is different, so I suggest knowing what toys, books, or movies your little one really enjoys. You don’t want them so enthralled that they forget to use the potty, but you want something that will keep their attention longer than a minute. I would also go ahead and do some prep work in your kitchen. Get your snacks and drinks ready. Prep some crock pot or freezer meals so you don’t have to worry too much about dinner.

    6 Tips to Remember When Potty Training

    Here’s the book that I bought for my daughter. I also found several potty training playlists on YouTube for us to watch.

  3. Ditch the Pull-ups. This one can be difficult but it’s really easier if you ditch the diapers and pull-ups all together. It can be a bit confusing for toddlers and they will be inclined to potty in the pull-up instead. I suggest getting some good fitting cotton underwear for your little one. What else you put on your child is up to you. Some just throw on a t-shirt while some use leg warmers or socks. And still there are some parents who let their little ones run around with nothing on at all for the first day or so. Do what’s comfortable for you and your little one.
  4. Lots of fluids and dry snacks. Your little one is learning to recognize the sensation and feeling of needing to go to the bathroom. You’ll want to make sure to give them plenty of fluids so they’ll need to use the bathroom frequently. The dry snacks help keep them thirsty because after a while they’ll get tired of drinking.
  5. Set a timer. Timers are a good way to stay mindful about the task at hand. That may sound redundant, but it’s easy for you and your little one to get caught up with playing or watching that potty dvd for the 20th time or so. Some recommend to set the timer for every 15 minutes, but that was a little much for my daughter. She got annoyed by how often I was asking her to sit on the potty. Try a few different times and see what works best for you.
  6. Be patient! Be patient with your toddler, and be patient with yourself. This is not an overnight learning curve. There will be accidents. There might even be some tantrums and meltdowns, parents included. Don’t get caught up in the Mommy and Pinterest wars. If little Tommy from down the street potty trained in one weekend, great for him. But don’t force your little one to uphold the same timetable. Remember, every child is different, every parent is different. Ultimately, you need to do what’s best for you and your little one.

101 in 1,001 ~August Recap

My 101 in 1001

I’ve been taking a small break from my blog to constant more of my time and attention on my children lately. However, I wanted to take a few minutes to at least give a quick recap on my 101 in 1,001 progress.

Myrtle Beach SC

Last month I took the family on a vacation to North Carolina. While I’ve been to North Carolina before, we did take one day to head down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The kids had a blast playing on the beach and meeting Anna from Frozen. Before we left we took a quick spin on the Skywheel where I captured this beautiful picture of the beach. I know the kids can’t wait to go back again.

Tiered Platter

For my second Just Because gift, I gave this tiered platter set to one of my good friends. She’s been trying to build up her platter and stand sets, and I found this little gem for just $5! It was such a steal!! And I know she’s getting a ton of use from it.

Craft Show

I participated in my first ever craft show with my chunky necklaces. I shared a booth with my friend and I must say that I loved how everything turned out. I’ll actually be participating in my second craft show in October.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I’ve started my book list for my 40 books to accomplish. You can check out my post with all of my selections here.

Easy Blanket Fort for Kids

I also made my kids this really simple and fun blanket fort one night. I made them pizza and let them watch a movie in their fort. They had such a blast that night! It literally took me just a few minutes to get everything set up, but it was such a big deal for them. They’ve already been asking to do it again. You can check out my full blog post on that night here.

  1. Pay off all my debt, excluding our mortgage.
  2. Build our emergency fund to 3-6 months of expenses.
  3. Start a Christmas savings account.
  4. Start my kids college funds.
  5. Gain 100 followers on my blog.
  6. Post 2 videos to my YouTube channel a week for a month.
  7. Have 3 blog posts published a week for a month. ~Started on
  8. Start an Etsy shop, or a shop on my blog June 2015
  9. Make my daughter a toy box.
  10. Grow a herb garden.
  11. Make my own spaghetti sauce.
  12. Read 40 books completely and not half way through. ~Made book list
  13. Go 1 entire week (including the weekend) without eating out.
  14. Take my husband away without the kids for a weekend.
  15. Learn a new craftJuly 2015
  16. Make at new recipe.
  17. Lose 20 pounds.
  18. Take a yoga class a few times.
  19. Go a full day with no technology.
  20. Take the Canadian road trip I planned.
  21. Take the kids on a Disney cruise.
  22. Join the local VFW.
  23. Attend a photography workshop.
  24. Host a cooking class.
  25. Make a memory jar on Jan 1 and read everything in it on Dec 31.
  26. Learn to quilt.
  27. Take a weekend trip to Vegas.
  28. Write a cookbook.
  29. Go zip lining.
  30. Make a jar full of rocks with my favorite Bible verses written on them.
  31. Go on a road trip with some of my girlfriends.
  32. Host a huge Halloween masquerade party. ~Started planning
  33. Rent a beach house for a week.
  34. Swim with dolphins.
  35. Go camping with my kids.
  36. Have a picnic in the park.
  37. Make yogurt popsicle with my kids.
  38. Pay a strangers restaurant bill.
  39. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
  40. Learn to ice skate.
  41. Attend the Kentucky Derby.
  42. Take a pin-up photo shoot.
  43. Prepare a care package for a homeless person.
  44. Build a blanket fort.  August 2015
  45. Go to Country Concert.
  46. Make every recipe from 1 of my cookbooks.
  47. Take a Segway tour of a city.
  48. Go to a monster truck rally.
  49. Take a self-defense class.
  50. Make pasta from scratch.
  51. Go one month without shopping except for necessities.
  52. Read 5 biographies.
  53. Learn how to tie a tie.
  54. Start a new blog series. May 2015
  55. Give 5 “Just Because Gifts” 1~July 2015; 1~August 2015
  56. Visit Chicago.
  57. Make sushi with my new kit.
  58. Run in a color run.
  59. Have a spa day.
  60. Host a Vision Board party.
  61. Attend a blog conference.
  62. Establish a family tradition. May 2015
  63. Write a guest post for another blogger.
  64. Have a guest post on my blog.
  65. Attend an Alabama home football game.
  66. Host a blog giveaway.
  67. Put $20 in savings for every goal accomplished.
  68. Visit 5 new museums. AF Museum~July 2015
  69. Go on another marriage retreat.
  70. Stop drinking soda for 1 week.
  71. Learn to make a burlap wreath.
  72. Determine my MBA major.
  73. Take a photo booth picture with my hubs.
  74. Go snowboarding.
  75. Have family photos taken every year.
  76. Visit a new stateAugust 2015
  77. Go geocaching.
  78. Go to 3 new festivals.
  79. Be able to do 10 pullups.
  80. Create a business plan.
  81. Make an editorial calendar. May 2015
  82. Order business cardsJuly 2015
  83. Create a media kit.
  84. Have 5 photos accepted to FoodGawker.
  85. Attend a women’s bible retreat.
  86. Make a list of 101 positive things about myself. ~Started on
  87. Make my bed for a month.
  88. Put aside $50 a month for 6 months and go on a shopping spree.
  89. Write a letter for each of my children and place it with my will.
  90. Send a message in a bottle.
  91. Host a favorites party.
  92. Do a craft show.  August 2015
  93. Go golfing with my hubs.
  94. Take each kid on a mom date.
  95. Plan 12 dates (1 for each month) for the hubs and I.
  96. Buy a silhouette cameo.
  97. Make 2 weeks worth of freezer meals.
  98. Leave a 100% tip.
  99. Have poker night.
  100. Journal every night for a month.
  101. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years.

Raising a Thankful Family

Thankful Thursday Blog Series

I’ve always been grateful for my family. We may not always see eye to eye on things, but they’re my family. They’ve been next to me since the beginning. I know that they were planned ahead of time just for me, and vice versa. Do I want to scream at them sometimes? Absolutely! But I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Even the bad times we’ve been through has served a purpose, rather we would like to admit it or not.

Be Thankful for Your Mother

My Mother and I ~2009

Be Thankful for Your Father

My Father and I ~2008

Below is another excerpt from some of my previous writing. I believe it was written around 2012, so long ago I knowwww. But when I found this little clip, it really drove home the point that I’m still trying to make.

Grandparents are Special. Cherish Them.

One of the last pictures I got to take with my Grandfather ~2008

Today I was thinking about what I’m thankful for and I started to think about my mother and my grandparents. That topic got me to thinking about legacies and role models. I am the product of their lives. Every life decision and action they made led me to this very day, just as their parents and grandparents did with them. If one of my ancestors, rather it be my grandfather or his great great grandfather, had made one decision differently, how much different would my life be? I’m sure some will say that it wouldn’t be that different at all, but how can you be sure? I may not know many of my relatives that were older than my grandparents, but I do know that the way they lived their lives still impact the way that I live today. The lessons that I have learned from my mother and her parents have been handed down through generations, rather intentionally or not.

Be Thankful for Your Family

Miss Teen of America with my Grandparents

So what legacy am I passing down to my son (and daughter)? Of course I’m trying to teach him please and thank you. I’m trying to ensure that he has manners and knows how to behave. But what am I teaching him that I’m not even aware of. What is he picking up when I think he’s not even paying attention? But it’s really even bigger than that. I am a role model for my son, yes. But I am also essentially a role model for every person that I come into contact with.

Be a role model they will respect

I said this many times while I was in the military, but it is true for everyone. Everyone that you meet is a role model. Every NCO I met taught me something. A lot of them taught me about the kind of NCO that I did NOT want to be. They showed me the qualities that I knew I did not want to emulate. However, there were NCOs who showed me what kind of NCO and person in general that I did want to be like. I have probably tossed that notion out since I have separated from the military, but perhaps I shouldn’t have. My son will grow up watching me and my husband. Later in his life, he will choose to model his path after ours, or run like crazy from it. I must remember that whenever I make even the tiniest decision, someone is watching. And they will use that as an example and future reference in their mind. What legacy are you leaving behind through your children and your neighbors?

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Let’s make it a good one!!

Pizza, Forts, and Dragons! Oh My!

Whatever Wednesday Blog Series

If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that I’ve been attempting the 101 Things in 1,001 Days challenge. As I was brainstorming my list, I knew I wanted to include some fun things to do with my kids. They are 5 and 2 so we’re at the stage where the smallest gesture can really make their entire week. One of the items that I wrote down for my kids was to build a blanket fort. My son has been asking for one for months and I knew it would be something that we could do at any time. So the other night I decided to surprise the kids and make them a fort.

Fun Summertime Activities for Kids

I was initially going to build it downstairs with our sectional but it was just easier to do it upstairs since it was dinner time. We’ll eventually build one downstairs, but we’ll save that for a rainy day. And as you may guess, I’m no expert fort builder. But with a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, you don’t really have to be.

Easy Blanket Fort for Kids

What made this so perfect was that the kids had no idea. I told them to play quietly in their rooms while I made dinner. I threw some frozen pizzas in the oven, dug out my spare king size sheets and got to work. I just stretched the fitted sheet over my couch and dining room chairs, and laid the other sheet down to somewhat protect my rug from spills. And yes, there were several spills. I then loaded How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Netflix and brought the kids out. I’ll have to say the look on their faces was priceless. They could barely sit still long enough to finish their pizza. Sometimes, it’s just the simple things in life that make it all worth it.

How to Train Your Dragon 2