Sunday, December 31, 2017

20 favorite photos of 2017

i saw Beka do a photo recap of the year, and thought sharing favorite photos from 2017 was a great idea! it was really hard to decide on my favorites, so i have my top 20 below. i didn't want this post to be super long, so i just added a short recap of what the photo is below each one. enjoy! :)

an hour from where we lived the first half of 2017, was a National Park that has the largest expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest still intact. we went a few times, but this trip was my favorite because it felt like a swamp since it had rained so much!

Thomas and I went to the beach a lot during January before my semester really started. we found this little beach with dead trees & a view of the lighthouse. this is one of my favorite photos i've taken of Thomas!

i love the beach in the winter & this little shell sitting amidst the reflections was just too cute!

it was pretty warm one day in January, so we took Dixie on her first ever trip to the beach!

we got enos last Christmas, and have enjoyed a full year of them! this was at a park near our apartment & right under us was a little creek which we loved listening to while reading!

we met for my mom and sister's birthday & my nephew was outside on the sidewalk. he saw me and Thomas inside the building & started waving at us!

we went to the beach during a weekend on my spring break & i was able to snap this awesome sunset picture of Thomas! 

i was taking Easter photos of the bunnies & i caught Luna with her tongue out! so cute!

one of the few times Dixie was allowed on our bed on a saturday morning! this is the perfect lazy morning photo!

Thomas worked in a building attached to the minor league baseball field, so we got free tickets a few times and enjoyed club seats! we also got to meet Tim Tebow and get his autograph the short amount of time he played for the Fireflies!

our anniversary trip to Philadelphia was super fun & i'm glad Julie told me about this place because it was one of our favorite shots of the city!

my sister & nephew met us at the zoo one day. we tried to get a group shot with the giraffe, but obviously it was a fail! ;) Jonah did not want to get licked by the giraffe tongue & he cut Thomas out of the photo while avoiding the giraffe!

we used to go for walks at sunset on the dam & there were always people fishing off the pier. this is one of my favorite photos!

i took photos of our peg people at some of our favorite shots around town before we moved back home. this was one of our favorite views of the city!

we spent my entire 3 day break between summer & fall semesters outside enjoying mountain views, the lake, and our enos!

this was the day of the eclipse - the second sunset of the day at the lake. it was beautiful!

Dixie has been feeling so much better since we switched her medicine, so we celebrated by taking her out to the covered bridge one day!

i took some family photos during Thanksgiving, and this is one of my favorites of my nephew!

Albie was at the vet a lot during December for treatment, so she missed out on the Christmas photos i took. (although i'm sure she's not upset about that!) but i did get some cute photos of Luna in a tiny santa hat!

we took some photos of Albie on her last day and this is one of the sweetest! we gave her all she wanted to eat of a banana (which is her favorite treat) and just got to hang out with her outside! it was sad to say goodbye, but i'm glad we were able to capture these sweet memories!

what are your favorite memories from 2017?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

a peg people Christmas

i like to do something personalized for our Christmas gifts each year because it's fun to be creative. some of the ways i have done this over the years is through photo gift wrap, mini initial stockings, or DIYing all of our gifts

i am pretty obsessed with peg dolls, ever since we used them as our cupcake toppers for our wedding. i take mine tons of places and get photos with them cause i think they are so adorable. (some of these adorable photos can be found here, here, here, and here) over the summer i made some wedding peg dolls for my friend Emily who had just gotten engaged, and i loved that i was able to incorporate them into their engagement photos that i took! 

this year i knew i wanted to do something personalized to stick in our families gifts, but i also knew that i had a busy fall semester with grad school and 12 hour shifts at the hospital. thankfully we had almost all of our Christmas gifts purchased by the end of September, so i had enough time to slowly work on something during the semester. i decided this year's theme would be peg dolls for everyone! 

the peg dolls are pretty small, measuring at 1.5 inches tall, so they are hard to paint any kind of detail on. i am not that great of a painter and i didn't want to spend a ton of money on getting a million different paint colors.. so i went with a simplified theme! they don't look exactly like our families, but with the hair color and clothes customized you can still tell who they are supposed to be. 

i also made some colorful ninjas for our five-year-old nephew because he likes ninjas. his parents also like ninjas, so i made their peg people ninjas on the back. ;) i coated them all with polyurethane so they wouldn't scratch, and that was an adventure in itself. some of the paint spread when i coated with poly, so i had to do some touch up work but for the most part you can't really tell.

i found some smaller peg dolls at a craft store, and decided to do both of my nephews to complete the families. i originally wasn't going to do the nephews, because i didn't want to do them the same size as the adults because that would be weird. so, i was happy to find the smaller peg dolls. i think they came out cute & finalized the family! 

i think they came out really cute and i had so much fun playing with them and getting photos (especially in those adorable tiny santa hats). i was pretty sad when i had to wrap them actually, but it was a blast to watch everyone open them! 

how do you personalize the gifts you give?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

grad school by the numbers | volume 3

i can't believe i am finished with my third semester of grad school! i only have one more semester to go, consisting of 2 full-time classes, 2 non-credit classes, and an internship, and then it's time for licensure! i am one semester away from being a master! ;) this past semester was tough, but i am so glad i took a full load so i could free up some time in my schedule for the spring semester for licensure studying, and being involved in the honors society! 

this semester was full of 12 hour shifts for my internship in the ER. my shifts were from 11am-11pm so they were all day on the days that i worked. those days i didn't even see Thomas because he goes into work before i wake up. this semester was also full of saturday classes so the only day i really had off with Thomas was Sunday and we tried to protect those so we could have a day together each week. i did have some days off during the week which were filled with my online classes & doing the work for my saturday classes. it was a busy semester but worth it because i am so close to graduation!

grad school by the numbers | volume 3

semesters completed: 3 of 4

days of saturday classes: 14

articles read: 81

chapters read: 56

total pages read: 3,421

papers written: 15

total pages written: 135

video lectures watched: 35

presentations: 1

quizzes taken: 7

cups of coffee consumed: 105
*i quit caffeine mid-October after getting sick & switched to herbal tea which i didn't include in this number

classes taken: 4

length of classes in hours: 3

hours of internship: 276

12-hour shifts worked: 23

semesters remaining: ONLY ONE!!!

Monday, December 11, 2017

date night with datebox

i got a coupon code from an email list that i was on, to try a free month of Datebox which is a monthly subscription service. we haven't had regular date nights for a while now, since i've been in grad school for a year and a half... so i figured it would be fun to try! plus, i don't often turn down anything that's free!

you fill out a questionnaire so they know some of the things you are interested in as a couple, and they either send you a date night at home or a date night out on the town. for date nights on the town, they send you vouchers for restaurants in your area which is really neat! you can subscribe to digital dates or monthly boxes that you receive in the mail. i LOVE getting cute packages in the mail so i opted to try the snail mail date box!

we received a date revolving around unity that included an at-home escape room game, apple cider,  popcorn, a caramel apple kit, and a booklet with conversation starters. the book also included a link to a spotify playlist specifically for this date & a companion website for the game. it was fun to talk through the conversation starters as we worked on making caramel apples in the kitchen. and sing to some of the songs on the playlist!

when i first looked at the caramel apple directions, i felt a little stressed out because it seemed like it would be easy to mess up. but, that's why it's fun to be in the kitchen with someone else who has better ideas than i do about how to do something! ;) i made dinner & the apple cider, and let Thomas be in charge of making the caramel. we decided to save the popcorn making for another night because we really weren't super hungry and were anxious to start the game.

the caramel apples came out really tasty, also. i dipped a few of mine in chocolate chips to add some texture and more yum to mine! the caramel apple kit made enough for 10 apples, so we ate caramel apples all week! ;)

the at-home escape room game was pretty fun! it came with three envelopes that each had a scenario & puzzle of sorts... where we had to figure out what each code was in order to move on. we entered the codes into the website and if we got it wrong, the website would give a hint but also take one minute from our countdown. it was fun to think through strategy and brainstorm about what the codes were.

we've always wanted to do one of the escape rooms around town, but since we are living on one income we have never wanted to spend the money. it was fun to work together to try to solve the clues and "escape" together. the website gives you an hour to complete the game, but we finished in 28 minutes so we were pretty proud of ourselves!

what are your favorite date night activities?

Thursday, December 07, 2017

currently | december

i am joining in with Anne & Catherine for the currently linkup, for the first time! i see a lot of bloggers joining in on this linkup each month & i thought i would finally try it out!

Currently, I've been...

lighting: the Christmas tree! i love the glow of twinkle lights in the living room, it's just so calming and peaceful! we had a date night in the kitchen tonight, and it was fun to have Christmas music playing and twinkle lights on in the background!

spending: my time finishing up my classes for the semester! i finished my last two big papers this week & now i have two exams and i will be done with this semester! then it's on to my last semester of grad school & graduation in May! ahh!!

choosing: joy, like this mug reminds me each day! i have been going through an Advent study before going to sleep each night & it helps me to reflect on the day and remember to choose joy going into each new day.

sending: all of my creative juices into finishing the gifts for my family. i decided to make a personalized gift to add to all of our gifts for our family this Christmas & i hope they love them as much as i have loved making them. my family reads my blog, so i can't show off what i've made until after Christmas... but there will be a post so check back for cute photos!

singing: Hanson Christmas songs! Snowed In has long been my favorite Christmas album, and Hanson's new album comes in at a close second! i like their style & it's nice to have different variations than the songs that are constantly repeated on the radio. 

what have you been up to recently?

Monday, December 04, 2017

project 12 | November

i love having my years captured month by month and plan to keep up with project 12 this year as i can. it's fun to look back on the details of our year at the end of it, as well as seeing how we change through the photos each month. :)


November is the month during the semester when i just feel tired. working two 12 hour shifts back to back each week has been intense... it's the equivalent of three 8 hour days in two days, so makes sense it would be tiring. the semester ends December 9 so i am on the home stretch now, thankfully! i am enjoying the advanced year classes so far and feel like i am learning a TON this semester through classes and my internship. learning the medical world is a whole other beast too so thankfully i'm learning a lot about that in my internship!

i found out 2 of the classes i need for a licensure that i may get more down the road in my career, were being offered as non-credit self-paced courses at my school. these classes are offered for credit, but one is only during the summer and i didn't do it this past summer so these non-credit courses were a lifesaver since i already have enough credit hours to graduate. it's nice that they are self-paced and over a longer time period. they started on the 20th this month and go through April 30 so i'm hoping to get a lot done on them during Christmas break... while also studying for the licensure exam. can't believe taking the exam and graduating are mere months away at this point!

normally i do not like listening to Christmas music at the beginning of November, because i get tired of it by the time Christmas comes. but this year i turned to the radio stations playing Christmas music from the first day of November, and haven't looked back! i already had all of our Christmas gifts made, purchased, and pretty much wrapped by the beginning of the month... so i figured why not celebrate haha! also, Hanson's new Christmas album came out and i've been listening to it a lot! Snowed In is one of my favorite Christmas album's, and Finally It's Christmas is pretty close up there!

November 4 - dinner & s'mores by the fire at my parents house
November 5 - dinner downtown with some of our friends
November 12 - walked around the lake at a local university
November 13 - dinner with some friends
November 19 - Carl Sandburg home and walking at a park in the mountains
November 23 - Thanksgiving with my family
November 24 - Thanksgiving with the in-laws
November 25 - day trip to the SC botanical gardens
November 26 - hiked up a mountain in NC

what have you been up to this month?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

family photos

one of my favorite things is taking photos to capture a moment in time. pictures are kindof my love language, actually. i love pictures mainly because they are memories. all over our house, we decorate with photos because they make our house feel more home-y. i also love using photos in gifts that i give, and i have even used them to decorate wrapping paper. you could call me photo obsessed. ;)

now that we have nephews on each side of our family, Thomas and i have loved capturing photos of them as they grow older. this year we wanted updated family pictures of both of our families, so we had a family picture day at both of our Thanksgiving celebrations! we ran out of light and weren't able to get a good photo of my entire family together, but we did get some good ones prior. and now is the fun part where i get to show off my two beautiful families! ;)