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! ;)



Monday, November 27, 2017

the thing about buying a car...

the first car we bought together as a married couple

this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

i haven't had a car payment since 2008, and my husband paid off his car before we got married... so we haven't had a car payment the (almost) five years we've been married. i've gotta say, it's really nice not to have that extra payment each month, and we don't ever want to go back to having a car payment if we can help it.

since i've been in grad school this past year and a half, we've been living on just my husband's income while also paying for grad school. it has made things tight, but after paying so much money in loans for undergrad we did not want student loan debt this time around. it has been making me think about how glad i am that we made good financial decisions in the past, so that we don't have these extra payments now. 

we've bought three cars since we've been married, and we've been able to pay for them in full which has been so great. only one of those cars did we want to buy, the other two were for necessity. we bought the car i have now because my VW bug that i had since before college died on us. the car my husband has now, we had to buy because he totaled the first car we bought together. i'm glad that even though two of our purchases weren't planned, that we were able to pay for them in full. of course, the insurance check helped a lot with that third one.

three things we keep in mind when buying a car

o1; buy used. when you buy a new car, you lose so much value the second you drive it off the lot. if you are going to try to sell it or trade-in within a few years, it never pays to buy new. there are exceptions, if you can find a really good deal on a new car (and you will drive it for 15 years)... but those are few and far between. we have found some really great used cars with low mileage. you just have to really look at multiple places, and even check out car ads for people that are selling their own cars. the first car we bought as a couple, we bought from a woman who was selling her car. it was nice not to have to deal with a salesman, and know exactly what we were getting.

o2; do your research. know about the car you are looking to buy and what the market price should be. that way, when you are talking to a car salesman, he will know you have done your research and you are more likely to know if he is stretching the truth a bit. a great place to do research is, where you can read about different cars and also see reviews that customers have made of cars they've purchased. you can put in everything you want in a car, and it will show you the market price for that car with all of those specifics. it is a good thing to know if you are going to try to negotiate! you can even put in specifics about your car and it will tell you what you should expect to get from a dealer or if you sell it yourself.

o3; have a price and be prepared to walk. when we bought my car, we set a price we were willing to pay (based on money we had saved up) and we were prepared to walk if the salesman couldn't match our price. knowing what we were willing to spend, helped us when we were looking at cars also. if the car we liked was way over our price, we didn't even entertain the idea. we set our price a little lower when we told the salesman, so if he wanted to go up some we had wiggle room in our budget. this only works if you are willing to walk if they won't negotiate for the price you have set. we basically said "we have this amount in cash that we can pay" and had the cash ready to hand over. i think we stood up and were about to walk out when they agreed to the price. but salesmen know if you are bluffing, so you have to be ready to actually leave. sometimes, you may actually leave and drive off... and they will call you to say they can do your price. it is all about knowing what you are willing to pay and not going over that amount. sometimes a salesman may not go for it and you will leave without getting a call. that's okay... just find another car place to negotiate at and get the price you want. 

what is your philosophy on buying cars?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

project 12 | October

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. :)


i had three big papers due before fall break, so you could say i was ready for the break by the time it came! ;) this semester, all of my assignments are spread out so there is constantly something due each week which makes it stressful. i try my best to work ahead as much as i can, but constantly feel like i can't get ahead on the big assignments. i was able to work ahead in two of my classes before break, which i'm thankful for because as soon as we got home i had a nasty upper respiratory virus and an ear infection. i was pretty sick the entire week and hardly had energy to do any school work, so i was glad i worked ahead and could take time to rest. fall break was also the midpoint of the semester, so at least i am traveling downhill now!

over fall break we went up to KY and OH with my parents and my in-laws to visit some of our family friends and the Creation Museum & Ark Encounter. once i found out that there were animals at both places... i was in. ;) it was a short weekend trip, but it was fun and kinda like a mini-family vacation with both families. i read the story of Noah and the ark in the Bible before we went so it was cool to think about it while "seeing" the ark. even though no one knows exactly how it was built (because that's not the point of the story) it was cool to see how big it was and imagine how it all worked.

the weather finally cooled off about mid-month and it actually feels like fall around these parts now. which i'm thankful for because after living in the armpit of SC for two summers, it was a long time coming! i just hope fall temps stick around for a little while... fall, you are a welcome friend! 

October 3 - picnic dinner at the lake
October 13 - dinner out & celebrating finishing my 3rd paper of the month
October 16 - saw Air Force One at the airport cause the president was in town
October 17 - toured an Inpatient facility with my supervisor
October 18 - meeting with my supervisor and the school liaison
October 20-22 - family trip to KY & OH
October 29 - afternoon trip to the mountains

what have you been up to this month?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

mini-family vacation

i'm in grad school and my mother-in-law is a teacher... and our fall break fell on the same weekend, so we decided to take a trip to the creation museum & ark encounter. we started planning the trip with my in-laws and thought my parents would like to see both also... so it turned into a mini-family vacation with both of our families! everyone took off work friday & we had a long weekend exploring. Thomas also has a friend who lives in Ohio that is the son of some of my parents close friends... so we met them for dinner one night & went to their church on Sunday morning where he is the worship leader. 

honestly, my favorite part of the trip was walking around the gardens and seeing the animals! (it was also nice to have an entire three days where i didn't have to think about school or do any work!) i'll pretty much go anywhere there are animals ;) plus, i got to ride a donkey and a camel! that was really neat! it was also really neat to think about the ark and all of the animals and people who rode out the flood in it. it's one thing to read about it in the Bible... but another thing to be in a replica and imagine all of it!

Monday, October 02, 2017

project 12 | September

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. :)


both of my professors for my saturday classes decided to have online class the week of labor day, so we didn't have to go to class that saturday! that means that me and Thomas got to enjoy a long weekend together, because we both had monday off of work/internship too! it was nice to start the month out with a little bit of some breathing room on the weekend and time to explore!

we have started going to a new church here and they have a saturday night service which we have been enjoying. since my classes go until 2:30 on saturdays, we eat a late lunch and then head to church. then, we have the entire day sunday to have our "weekend" together. it is working well during this season of life right now. i've been trying to get all of my school work done during the week so i don't have to open a book on sunday and so far i've been able to keep true to that. so, we only have a one day weekend, but at least we have the whole day and can take day trips to the mountains or just get outside and walk!

i have gotten to explore some other hospitals and facilities this month at my internship and that has been really interesting. i've only been in my internship for a month and a half but i feel like i've learned SO much already, which is great! i can't wait to see what all i will have learned come May when the internship ends and graduation is here! i can't believe graduation is only 8ish months away (but i'm so ready)!

September 2 - day in Asheville & coffee on a double decker bus
September 3 - Asheville & arts festival
September 4 - walked in the parks downtown
September 10 - walked on the swamp rabbit trail & in the park downtown
September 15 - took a walk in the park
September 17 - brunch, Indie Craft Festival, and a walk in the park (are you seeing a theme?!)
September 22 - our 7th first date
September 24 - thrifting & a trip to the orchard
September 29 - dinner for my father-in-law's birthday
September 30 - dinner downtown with Thomas's family

what have you been up to this month?