Thursday, January 28, 2016

Life Updates

Highlights of the last week (both good and bad):

1. Filed our tax return! About 75% is spoken for for necessary items like medical bills and car repairs. However, we will be able to get a rec center membership and a few fun things!

2. Broke my grain mill. It was missing a filter when I bought it 4 years ago. I accidentally put in too much grain and the motor got overheated and died. I tried to bring it back to life, but no luck. Thankfully, I can buy a new one with the tax return, and I will treat it more carefully since it will cost more than 12.99!

3. The cat died. Well, I'm 99% sure. She was sick when she disappeared last week. I don't know if we will get another one soon or not.

4. I've been trying some grocery rebate apps. So far, I earned 22.50 from one shopping trip. Once I have a better feel for which apps I like best, I will write a post about them.

5. Goal of various sorts. I will report once I finish some of them. They are mostly for Personal Progress, so I do have an end in sight for each one.

6. It's still freezing. When it's not bitter cold, it's snowing. Please end soon, winter!

Thursday, January 21, 2016


It's my least favorite time of year. Until I was 18, I never had to experience a real winter.

Average highs and lows for places I've lived (in January, since it's the coldest month):

Columbia, SC: 56/34

Pace, FL: 60/42

Apex, NC: 50/30

Rexburg, ID: 29/13

Vernal, UT: 30/7

Am I cold? Yes, sometimes. But my real problem with winter is not just that. I never really dealt with S.A.D. (that I know of) until living in Rexburg. It is manageable but not very fun. People think I hate winter just because I'm from the South. That's part of it, but I am quite capable of dressing warmly. It's really the lack of sunshine that gets to me after a while. The fact that January is both cold AND dark adds insult to injury, so I'm glad it's coming to an end soon!

Shortest days of the year (winter solstice):

Columbia, SC: 9:32 hrs.,  less than 11: Oct. 26 to Feb. 15 (112 days)

Pace, FL: 10:10 hrs., less than 11: Oct. 31st to Feb. 10 (102 days)

Apex, NC: 9:44 hrs., less than 11: Oct. 24th to Feb. 17th (116 days)

Rexburg, ID: 8:55 hrs., less than 11: Oct. 16th to Feb. 26th (134 days)

Vernal, UT: 9:17 hrs., less than 11: Oct. 19th to Feb. 22nd (126 days)

I seem to suffer the most on days with less than 11 hours of daylight. There is a difference of 32 days between Rexburg and Pace. That's a whole month of extra suffering, not considering the 30 degree temperature difference.

When James retires, we are moving South like all the other old people!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Personal Progress

I completed Personal Progress as a young woman and didn't think about it again for several years. At the age of 22, I found myself feeling empty. I had just graduated from college, had a baby, and didn't know what to do next. I felt inspired to do Personal Progress again, so I did. It filled the void I felt at the time and helped me become a better wife and mother.

The first 5 1/2 years of my marriage were spent pregnant, nursing, or both. Now that I've had over a year without either and it's the dead of winter, I've been feeling that same void - where I'm not quite sure what I should be doing or learning. I hate to admit that I've been bored, but it's true. The slow pace of winter seems to happen so slowly that I feel like I'm going to go crazy.

So I've started Personal Progress again. It's been long enough that I don't remember a lot of the scriptures or experiences. Of course there are endless projects to be had as long as I can come up with ideas. I already have ideas for all of them! So far, I'm working on getting better at doing Katie's hair. It sounds silly, but I really want to be good at making her hair look nice, even if it's short-lived right now. My mom never knew how to French braid, and though I know how, it always looks terrible. I'm determined to get in a lot of practice so by the time she goes to school, she will look somewhat put-together. We'll see how that goes. Once I feel proficient enough, maybe I'll even post the pictures.

Other than that, things are pretty routine around here. I definitely can't wait for spring and summer so these cloudy days will go away and I can get outside in the dirt. Until then, it's snuggle and read time. I'm working on a list of "100 Books to Read Before You Die". I had already read about 1/3 when I started. I hope to get a good idea of which authors I like best so I can always have a good classic to read. I already know I won't like at least half of them, but that's okay.

James is 28! I made an ugly, but tasty ice cream roll cake. I got him a few small things he asked for and made him some caramels. I bet they won't last another day.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Christmas Break, Rexburg

24th - Christian and the Lee grandparents came over for dinner (clam chowder) and birthday cake and ice cream. We did our traditional Nativity reenactment.

25th - Opened presents in the morning and went to the Head grandparents' house in Victor.

26th - Went to Idaho Falls and bought bought pants with a gift card from Melodie. Also stocked up on spices at Winco. Made dinner (turkey noodle soup) and homemade bread for the family.

27th - Church, then dinner with the Lees. Katie still missed out because of her cold.

28th - Saw Star Wars to celebrate Jacob's birthday and got ice cream afterward. Celebrated at home too.

29th - Went to D.I. with James and found some treasures. Made dinner and watched a movie (shepherd's pie, Far from the Madding Crowd.)

30th - Visited the AT&T store to set up my new phone (bought from James's brother). Success!

31st - Went grocery shopping with Melodie and helped prep for New Year's. James took Joseph and Kenny sledding with some of his cousins during the afternoon.We played games and had hors d'oeuvres after the kids went to bed. I also managed to read a book about organizing. Christian and his girlfriend, Rachel, came over too. He helped me make a cake for her since it was her birthday.

1st - Traveled home and unpacked.

2nd - Put the house back together, took down Christmas, and went shopping for food.

3rd - Church. Katie missed for the 3rd week in a row due to a runny nose. It was Kenny's first day of Primary! He kept turning around and grinning at me.

4th - Organized the house using the Konmari method (the book I read). It took 7 hours, and I got rid of 2 boxes of books, 1 bag of miscellaneous stuff, and 3 bags of recycling. It was intense but completely worth it.

5th - Found a budgeting app I like and set that up. Went out for dinner and to the library with the kids.

6th - Relaxed a bit and read a couple books.

Which brings me to today...

Goals for 2016

1. Study the scriptures by topic. This is something I've never done because I feel too OCD not to read in order. However, I really like it so far and am surprised by how much I'm learning.

2. Go to the temple 2 times a month. I have enough cards that if I do this, I will finish them before they "expire" and have to be handed over to the temple. Last year I averaged once a month. (I am going today!)

3. Keep up on my other hobbies: sewing, blogging, studying Spanish, cooking, piano, family history...I may have to be more specific than that.

Happy New Year!