Monthly Recap – June

Well, another month has flown by! Is it just me, or is time on hyperdrive lately?

I’ll be honest, June was a tough month for me. I don’t want to start this post off negatively, but I feel I need to be honest. In a nutshell, there were several surprises for us that weren’t too pleasant and I struggled with my depression a lot. For those who struggle with depression, you’ll probably understand; it just gets you down, zaps your drive and energy, and it can take a while to get out of the funk. But despite the rough stuff, we DID have some bright spots!

30 for 30 Progress
As I mentioned in my May Monthly Recap, I’ve been working on saving and making more money through couponing and rebates. During the month of June, I kept utilizing those tools and I’m hoping to write some posts soon on my methods. In the same vein, I feel like we’ve got our monthly budget routine pretty nailed down. As for staying within our budget consistently, we’re still working on that!

2015-06-01 21.41.11I started working on #4 “Work on landscaping and gardening.” We’ve been trying to stay on top of our lawn and greenery this year, but due to my hubby’s work schedule, we can’t go out and manicure our lawn every weekend. With all the rain we’ve had these last two months and investing in a weed management service, our grass grows so quick!2015-06-01 19.09.59 But thankfully, one day, we were both able to get outside and tackle some yard work. While my hubby did his thing, I decided that I’d trim the bushes that were taking over our front window. After about five minutes of trimming, I was reminded of how much I hated one particular shrub. So, in a moment of slight frustration and a spur of the moment decision, within 20 minutes, I’d taken a saw to the bush and trimmed it clear down to the ground. It was both satisfying and shocking at the same time. But I honestly can’t wait to pull out the other two hedges and plant some miniature boxwoods and flowers in that front bed! Budget and weather allowing, I’m hoping to finish the project before the season changes. We’ll see.

2015-06-15 18.11.33In another spur of the moment decision and whittling down my 30 for 30 List, my hubby and I decided to move our home office. Our home office had been in a spare bedroom right next to my hubby’s man cave, but I always kept the door closed and rarely spent time back in that room. We had painted it a darker color than the rest of the house, but the room doesn’t get a ton of natural light, so it was always too dark to see anything. Plus, we still had some boxes that hadn’t been unpacked and there were still things to organize, hence the reason it was on my list this year… On the other end of our house, just off our kitchen, we have a bonus room. 2015-06-15 18.12.56We’d been using it as a dining area when we hosted friends, but other than that, it was just a big room. So, on one of hubby’s days off, we just decided to move the office into the bonus room. Turns out, we’ve ended up having more space, the room is brighter, and more functional. Plus, now we actually can use the spare bedroom as a guest room until we have kids! We’ve almost finished setting everything up and getting organized, but I can already tell you that it is far more functional and enjoyable to spend time in than the other room! I love it! I plan on writing an office tour post with lots of pictures once I’ve got it all finished!

Books Read
The Girl on the TrainI was able to read two books this month! Thanks to audiobooks, I love technology… I finished The Girl on the Train. I honestly kept waiting for this book to get interesting. But it was a little confusing at times and somewhat annoying. But not terrible overall, just not my cup of tea.

EnchantmentThe other book I read was Enchantment by Donald Spoto. I adore Audrey Hepburn and have a special place in my heart for classic movie celebrity biographies. I grew up watching classic movies from the 30s-50s. While my peers were watching movies and cartoons from the 80s and 90s, I grew in up in a world of musicals and black and white film. No regrets! I always find it it fascinating to learn about the actors lives off camera and how they grew up. Audrey Hepburn’s life is no exception. It was interesting to learn about her young upbringing and see how it influenced who she became as an adult. She was such a loving woman with an incredibly generous heart, but there were also a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. It made for an excellent read. If you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan, it’s a must-read!

Fitness
As I mentioned above, I struggled with depression this month. From being sick the month before and overwhelmed by other life “stuff,” my fitness goals kind of took a back seat. In all honesty, I found that my stress-eating had gotten out of control and I ended up gaining back all the weight I’d lost. I still logged my food and worked out on my bike, but I’d lost my self-discipline and motivation. My efforts were bare minimum and half hearted. So, I’m back at square one, but July will be different! I’m tired of this lack of motivation and the setback in progress was so frustrating! July will be different.

Travel
No travel this month. And, I’m not sure that we will be making any trips until the holiday season. I plan on writing an update, but I’ve decided to change goal #12. Instead of taking a vacation this year, we’re planning on adopting another puppy into our family. There’s no set timeline on this yet, but after talking about future goals and plans, along with discussing our budget, we realized it was unrealistic to do both a vacation and adopt a puppy this year. So we picked the puppy. 🙂 Who wouldn’t? Like I said, I’ll keep you posted on this, but I can’t say when, just yet! Stay tuned. 😉

Watched
For Fathers Day, my sweet dad wanted to go out to a movie with all of us. My husband was only able to join us for brunch before he had to go to work, but it was a fun time to spend the day with my sister and parents. It’s not been just the four of us for a while. InsideOutWe decided to go see Inside Out. I. Was. Stoked! I have been waiting a year to go see that movie, because I’m a huge nerd and love Pixar! This movie isn’t your typical Pixar, though. Yes, they have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything from toys to cars to animals to monsters (you get the idea), but this concept was unique in the fact that they were able to give a face to emotions. I LOVED it and I think it’s a great way to understand the basics of how our emotions influence us and how they contribute to developing our personality. The amount of detail and subtleties that I noticed reflected so much research that went into the film. I learned a lot as an adult and I think this would be a great movie for kids who are growing up and trying to understand why they feel the way they do…and realize that it’s ok to feel different feelings, that we need all the various feelings to make sense of life. They all serve a purpose and that we shouldn’t be defined by one feeling or another. The animation was as always, amazing. Plus, the cast was just perfect. If you’re an Office, Parks & Rec, or SNL fan, you’ll love it! I could keep raving, but I think you should go see it for yourself. 🙂

In other news, Pretty Little Liars is back on! The pilot and first few episodes of season six have been so good! My A theories are evolving… So You Think You Can Dance also started up again. Audition weeks are my favorite, so we’ve been enjoying those. Plus, they’ve been on Hulu, so I can go back and re-watch my favorite routines. It’s gonna be a good season!

Listened
I mostly listened to my audiobooks this month, like I mentioned above. So nothing too new in the listening department.

Memorable Moments
2015-06-09 21.02.49-22015-06-10 14.29.20My husband turned 28 this year and we had a great day celebrating on his birthday. We enjoyed a dinner and I baked him a cake, then later on he enjoyed a guys day out watching Jurassic World and hanging out with his guys. Our parents were able to have dinner with us and we tried the new Pepperoni Grill that opened nearby. It was incredible! All in all, I think he had a pretty good birthday this year!

Spoonflower-HedgehogsI entered another Spoonflower contest in June, which you can see here. I didn’t win, but I love entering their contests because it offers a great creative outlet, plus a fun community of artists! When they have contests, it’s neat to see everyone’s interpretation of the same subject. Every single one is different!

This Made My Day
2015-06-17 20.59.36I had a random mish-mash of things that just made my day this month. At a family gathering, my aunt gave my a Diet Coke she’d found with my name on it – spelled CORRECTLY! That never happens.

Jonathan and I enjoyed a random nostalgic jam session while we were moving the office. We found our mixed CDs from high school and had a great time guessing who the artists were. We got to explain our weird eccentric tastes and the influences behind them at the time.

2015-05-27 15.34.47I got sunset hair this month! I’m a natural brunette, but I’ve been a red head for the past year or so, which I love. I’ve never felt more myself than with red hair! But I decided to shake it up a little this time and add purple to the ends. 2015-05-27 11.32.47My stylist did an excellent job and created a color melt between the red and purple so that they transition in a more “natural” looking way… Since I work from home and don’t have to adhere to a dress code, I decided why not? I love it! 2015-05-27 16.52.27The only draw back is that my shower looks like a purple minion got splattered all over the walls when I wash it, but other than that, it’s perfect! It’s just subtle enough where you don’t immediately notice it, but in the sun, it looks kind of like an upside down sunset. 🙂

Monthly Moral
June taught me that positivity is a fight! Happiness is fleeting and joy is a choice. It doesn’t come easy. It’s a daily choice to look for the good around you or to change your perspective of your situation. The world is fallen and we are not perfect. It’s so easy to spiral into depression and despair, but we are not doomed to that. We have the freedom to choose what we make of our day and how we choose to look at it. We can’t control other people or what may happen to us, but we have full control over our response and attitude. It took me a while to remember this truth this month, but I finally did and I’m thankful. I plan on making July a better month.

How was your June? What was the best part of your month?

Gallery

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

#TBT

In honor of food and summer and Throwback Thursday, I felt like sharing a yummy recipe from my old blog! Yes, I once upon a time wrote a blog that mostly consisted of recipes. *I was in a crazy cooking phase as a brand new newlywed in a tiny apartment kitchen… Ah, those were the days!

But aside from the nostalgia, this is a pretty delicious recipe if I do say so myself! It goes great with a fresh salad, grilled veggies, grilled chicken, or a plate of pasta (for my fellow carb lovers)!

Hope you enjoy and hope you all are having a lovely summer!
What’s your favorite summer dish?

The Red Shoe Chef

We were both surprised at delicious this tasted tonight! Neither of us are crazy about fresh tomatoes usually, but we both devoured this dish!

Tomato Bruschetta

-about 12-15 grape tomatoes

-1 garlic clove

-parmesan cheese

-olive oil

-black pepper

-Italian seasoning

-fresh basil

-Pepperidge Farms frozen garlic bread

Dice the tomatoes, chop garlic, and basil. Blend together in a bowl with olive oil. Add parmesan, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Make sure it’s all blended well and chill in the fridge for at least 15-30 minutes. It can be chilled longer if necessary. Bake bread according to the directions. (My husband has me beat on baking this bread, he gets it perfect every time!) Once the bread is toasted and ready, spread the chilled bruschetta over the top and enjoy!

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Aside

Connect with me!

I finally got around to it! Pepper’s Owl now has both a Facebook Page and a Twitter account in addition to my Pinterest page and Instagram! Feel free to follow, like, tweet, and all that good stuff!
Feel free to email me anytime with any questions, comments, or anything! 🙂

Monthly Recap – May

Good grief! I’m sorry this recap post is soooo late. Better late than never, though, right…?

May was an extremely busy month, but it always is for us. Between both of our families we have dozens of birthdays and wedding anniversaries, along with Mother’s Day and any weddings or graduations we may be invited to in the middle of Oklahoma’s infamous tornado season…  Despite the busy schedule, May was a pretty good month!

30 for 30 Progress
During May, I realized that I focused on several of the money related goals from my list. I’ve been doing some freelance work for a few clients and during May, working from home began to take over my schedule. I’m grateful for the work, but I’m also realizing how much time building your own business and serving your clients takes when the separation between work and home is not as clearly defined. I’ve been putting together plans and doing research to officially start my business while also keeping up with my deadlines for my clients. I’m looking forward to getting more done in this area in the months to come. Prayers appreciated though. This is a bit daunting.
I also worked on our budget plan and tried to find more ways to utilize coupons and rebates. The encouraging thing that I realized in doing all of this was that in the first five months of this year, without having “a real job” outside the home (hope you caught the sarcasm…), I brought in a little over $800 of extra change here and there. Nothing steady, but it’s become really helpful and nice to get “surprise” rebate/reward checks! 🙂 

Books Read
Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 6.33.22 PM
I read Amy Poehler’s, Yes Please book and it was really good! I thought it might be similar to Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and it is, but it is also so much more! I have a new appreciation for Amy and who she is as a person. I loved how open and honest she was in her book and how you can see her reflecting on her overall life growth. The book had depth that I wasn’t expecting. I “read” the book by listening to the audiobook, which was quite enjoyable listening to the author read it. Plus, she also had special guests read portions of the book, so it’s a great listen! I want to buy the hardcopy because I would love to jot down several good quotes to remember. Read it. It’s good. 😉 

Fitness
Ok, here’s the thing. I’m one of those people who rarely gets sick, but when I do…it’s bad! I noticed I had a sore throat for a few days that wouldn’t go away. I thought it might be strep, so we went to the doctor. It ended up being tonsillitis. Long story short, I ended up missing several workouts and got off of my workout routine. So my fitness progress took a little bit of a hit this month. 😦

Travel
No travel this month…

Watched
2015-04-06 23.09.11-1I watched a lot of season finales in May! Mad Men had to be the most memorable season finale, though. My husband and I are big Mad Men fans and have watched the series all the way through. It’s one of the few shows that we both “watch” without being off and on our phones or just having it play in the background… When the last episode aired, we both had different reactions to it. Most of the time, I can’t stand good shows, movies, books, or stories ending. I want them to go on forever because I love staying in those worlds. Sometimes I’m not a fan of endings because it’s telling that the writers didn’t know quite how to tie up all the loose ends, but I have to say that the writers for Mad Men did a fantastic job! I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the ending. My husband was not so excited, he was left kind of miffed for some reason… But to each his own. If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy time traveling through Mad Men, I highly recommend it! 

Listened
As I mentioned above, I listened to a few audiobooks this month. I’ve been trying to catch up on my book list and the most efficient and realistic way for me to do that is to listen to audiobooks. Having worked in the publishing industry, I understand that there is a lot of debate and valid reasons as to whether audiobooks “count” as reading or not… I tend to approach is as another method to consume a story. Personally, I don’t have as much time to sit down and read a book. Unfortunately, I tend to fall asleep and loose my spot… #KeepinItReal
I listened to Yes, Please by Amy Poehler and then began reading The Girl on the Train. I’m planning on writing Pepper’s Bookshelf review posts on both, soon! Stay tuned!

Memorable Moments
Family Celebration
May is chock full of opportunities to get together as a family! Since there are so many birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, we decided to just pick one day to celebrate everything! We all went over to my aunt’s house and celebrated two birthdays, two anniversaries, and Mother’s Day. It seemed like almost everyone got a card or gift, and then we also had everyone’s favorite desserts.
Since it was May in Oklahoma, we expected a few tornadoes, but this year had to be one of the most memorable tornadoes. Flooded StreetThankfully we didn’t experience any damage or have any close calls where we live, but the internet went crazy with #Tigernado. Read more here to find out more of why, but it was probably one of the most unusual storm days we’ve had… Along with the tornadoes, we had record breaking rainfall which caused flooding around the state. Thankfully, though we are now out of a long drought!
We celebrated our four year anniversary this year! It’s crazy to think that we’ve already been together that long, somedays it feels like we just tied the knot and other days, it feels like we’ve been married forever. It was such a good day! Read more here.
Two more milestones happened this month: we’ve officially been homeowners for two years and I left the corporate world a year ago. Time is just flying by so fast!

This Made My Day
Who I Carried Today
I had a guest writer on my blog this month! Memorial Day is an important holiday in our home. I had already planned on writing a post on how I’ve come to view the day and what it means to me. With my husband being a former Marine, I knew he was planning on remembering the day in his own way, but when he came home, he surprised me by asking if he could write a blog post to share his thoughts on Memorial Day. I was a bit surprised, but also excited that he wanted to share. If you knew my husband, the adage “still waters run deep” fits him perfectly. He tends to be a deep and internal thinker, so I love when he opens up to share those thoughts. He’s an excellent writer and I was so encouraged that so many people loved his post! His single post has been the most viewed post on my page so far. I’m pretty proud of him!

Monthly Moral
This month, “grace” was the dominant theme in my day. I began to feel like I’d failed at life or that I would never get caught up from being sick and getting behind on a lot of my projects and daily tasks. I was feeling so discouraged and overwhelmed. When I stepped back and looked at the situation or what was bogging me down, I was reminded to give myself grace. I am not a robot, life happens, I may not even have enough time in the day to tackle my mountain of tasks, but it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world, it will eventually get done. But just because I didn’t get it all done, all in a day, or all perfectly, does not mean that I’m a failure. It’s a challenge to hold onto that mindset, but I’m working on it.

Who I Carried Today

Tonight I have a guest writer! My husband, Jonathan, wanted to add another post to supplement mine about Memorial Day. Enjoy!

Memorial Day is one of the holidays that I’ve always had trouble dealing with since I got out of the Marine Corps. The purpose of the holiday became very personal to me, and I couldn’t get on board with the excitement of just having a day off of work, grilling outside, or looking for sales. It all became a cheap, sometimes disrespectful, distraction from remembering those who have gone before and given the last full measure for our country. Because of that, I always had trouble figuring out what exactly to do for Memorial Day. With my thoughts always turning to my brothers who didn’t get off the bus when we came back home, I usually ended up feeling frustrated and guilty that I wasn’t actually doing anything to memorialize our military’s combat deaths.

This year, though, I finally found something that I can create a tradition out of that allows me to put energy into and intentionally remember those that sacrificed everything. I saw that one of the blogs I follow was sharing about an event called Carry the Load, which is a walk that gets hosted across the country where people walk up to 20 miles in remembrance of our fallen. I was excited to find out about it, but it was too late for me to sign up or be able to travel to where any of them were being held. It didn’t take me long to realize that I could do the same thing by myself. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted this first time to be a more personal experience anyway.

When I started planning it, I thought I would put some weight in a small pack and run one mile for every Marine we lost from my battalion on the two deployments that I went on. I quickly remembered that I was not in any shape to run what would amount to more than a marathon, especially with weight, so I decided to split up the deployments and focus specifically on one per year (not to say I would not be remembering the others on this day). 2015-05-25 14.13.26This year I focused on our 2007 deployment to Al Anbar Province, Iraq. We lost eight on that one, so I decided that would run a mile for each of them while wearing a pack. I didn’t have any specific weight in mind (I weighed it afterwards and it came to just 15 lbs), so I just loaded some rifle magazines, threw in a full bottle of water, and other everyday carry items (pistol, badge, spare magazine, etc…). The most important, and by far the heaviest item, was the list of names I wrote on a piece of paper and slipped into the clear ID window of the pack.

I ran out of my neighborhood just like I do on my normal runs and tried to get reacquainted with running with a load. The pack I used isn’t anything fancy, so it wasn’t particularly comfortable, but it seemed like it would at least be bearable. As soon as I got onto the main road, though, something hit me. I realized I wasn’t just carrying a 15 lb pack.  I was carrying Lance Corporal Blake Howey, Lance Corporal Nathaniel Windsor, Lance Corporal Harry Timberman, Lance Corporal Daniel Olsen, Lance Corporal Jesse Delatorre, Lance Corporal Johnny Strong, Lance Corporal Juan Garcia Schill, and 1st Lieutenant Shaun Blue. I couldn’t keep from crying for about the first 50 yards. The irony of it was that even though the weight seemed so much greater, the pack became lighter. Even though I only personally knew two of them, they were fellow Marines and failing them was not an option. I made a promise not only that I would run them all the way back home, but that I would do this every single year until I saw them again. Whether running with a pack, using a walker, or pushing myself in a wheelchair, I made them a promise that I would remember them in this way every year until I died.

2015-05-25 14.04.07I realized by the last mile that I was in fact no longer an indestructible 19 year old, and that my chiropractor and my knees wouldn’t be too happy with me by the end of it. All of that was insignificant though when I considered why I was doing this in the first place. I wasn’t doing this for a workout; I was doing this to remember brothers who died violent deaths in combat. The pain in my knees and sore muscles were petty. I had cried at least two other times during the run when the significance of my burden really hit me.

While this may all seem dark, morbid, or sad to some, that is not necessarily my intent. Although I get upset when I see how this holiday, like so many others, has lost its meaning to most people, I am not one to try to put people on a guilt trip, and that is not the intent of the post either. My intent is just to implore people to do something specific to keep the essence of the holiday alive. Do something to remember those that gave everything to secure our way of life. It doesn’t have  to be a pack run, it doesn’t even have to be anything physical. Just do something that’s a little out of your way and be intentional. Tell your children why you have the day off of work. If you don’t know anyone who died in our country’s service, find a war memorial with names on it. If you can’t find find a war memorial, talk to some veterans, some of them will surely be able to give you a list of names. If you can’t do either of those things, use Google.  If you can’t do that, try harder.

My other intent with this post is to give people who have had the same difficulty I had in celebrating this holiday an idea of something significant and intentional to do that honors their fallen brothers.

I’m not saying that people should stop doing a lot of the things that are common on this holiday either. If you want to have a barbecue, that’s great, it’s entirely appropriate to actually enjoy what others have fought and died for (and wanted for themselves and their families). If you’ve been needing a new mattress, and you found a good deal at a Memorial Day sale, I won’t even fault people for that either. If it is a somber day of mourning and remembrance for you, then spend it accordingly. What matters is that we remember, and do at least one thing to give some time or energy as tribute.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.” – General George S. Patton Jr.

If you need a list of names for next year, here’s one.

2nd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment
Operation Iraqi Freedom (2007)
-LCpl Blake Howey
-LCpl Nathaniel Windsor
-LCpl Harry Timberman
-LCpl Daniel Olsen
-LCpl Jesse Delatorre
-LCpl Johnny Strong
-LCpl Juan Garcia Schill
-1st Lt. Shaun Blue

Operation Enduring Freedom (2008)
-Sgt. Michael Washington
-LCpl Layton Crass
-PFC Michael Patton
-PFC Dawid Pietrek
-Capt. Eric Terhune
-LCpl Andrew Whitacre
-Sgt Matthew Mendoza
-HN Dustin Burnett
-SSgt Christopher Strickland
-LCpl Ivan Wilson
-LCpl Jacob Toves
-LCpl Juan Lopez-Castaneda
-Cpl Anthony Mihalo
-Sgt Jerome Bell, Jr.
-Cpl Jason Karella
-Cpl Adrian Robles
-LCpl San Sim
-Sgt Deon Taylor
-Capt Trevor Yurista
-Mr. Mohammed Dawary

Status

Monthly Recap – April

I feel like I say this every month, but April was a crazy busy month. I don’t even know where the time went! A lot happened, but it just flew by… I was so busy, I realized that I didn’t even have time to post a monthly favorites for March! (Sorry…)
I’m linking up again with The Lady Okie‘s Project 12 on her blog. Check her out if you haven’t already!

30 for 30 Progress
I can actually cross 2 things off the list!
2015-04-27 19.42.12Pepper graduated from her Beginner Training Course…just barely. 😉 She’s definitely doing better than she was before. We’re still working on the loose leash walking and not jumping up on people, but she’s improved what little training we tried to do on our own. 2015-04-09 10.30.22She even learned a new trick, she loves to shake your hand now! We celebrated with a puppachino from Starbucks on the way home (her new favorite treat, if I come home with a frappachino now, she thinks it’s for her…)!

2015-04-17 09.27.44We also had a garage sale! This was my first time holding my own garage sale – EVER – and I was by myself for half of it too. We didn’t expect to make a fortune, but for what little we had to sell, we did pretty well. The weather was rainy too, so I was pleasantly surprised that we even did as well as we did! 2015-04-17 10.43.29Plus, I took all 3 boxes of books that didn’t sell to Half Price Books and made some cash back from that. While browsing in there I found the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld on DVD, so that was even a bonus!
2015-04-13 22.19.45

We painted our kitchen! So that’s another item almost off the list. 2015-04-14 12.57.31It feels so nice to have a different color in there! It’s amazing what color can do for the mood of a room! We also added hardware to all the cabinets and drawers. We’re getting closer to my dream kitchen! If nothing else, it feels fresher and more functional.

Books Read
What is wrong with me?! No progress whatsoever. I’m so behind. 😦

Fitness
PurseGoal-150508
I’ve now lost a total of 9 pounds! (Follow my progress here) I kind of plateau every now and then and this month was no exception. With all the crazy that went on, I’ve not been able to be as aggressive about my fitness as I’d like, but I still am logging my calories daily and working out in some form or fashion at least 5+ days a week. I still love my Fitbit and am earning cash through GymPact. All this, despite both my hubby and I getting the flu. We both felt miserable, but on the bright side, he got to stay home almost an entire work week!

Travel
No travel this month…

Watched
2015-04-18 20.08.45
Like I mentioned above, we acquired the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld and we’ve been enjoying that during my hubby’s dinner breaks as our replacement for Friends. I had never watched the show growing up and had only seen a few reruns here and there, so it’s been fun to watch it together. My hubby’s family are seasoned Seinfeld fans and quote the show often.

Another favorite show started up this month for us: MadMen! 2015-04-06 23.09.11-1We are huge MadMen fans and are glued to the show when it’s on, in other words, it’s one of the few shows we watch without our checking our phones periodically. It’s like a time machine, you’re taken back to a different era, but the stories are so multi-layered, they’re applicable to many current topics too. I love the fashion, the ad designs, and the overall way the show is filmed. The show itself is art.

I’ve also gotten into watching Private Practice on Netflix, since I’ve finished all the available seasons and franchises of my guilty pleasure of The Real Housewives. Private Practice is a spinoff show from Grey’s Anatomy (another fave of mine!) and is just as dramatic. I’m usually watching it while I’m waiting for my husband to get off his shift, so when he walks in the door, he usually will stop – while holding all his gear and Pepper jumping all over him – and ask what’s going on or say something to the effect of “why do these people have such tragic/dramatic/crazy lives?!” I have to agree, but that’s also why I can’t stop watching!

And speaking of Grey’s Anatomy… If you’re a fan, you know what I’m referring to. THE Episode that made my Facebook feed blow up with spoilers was hard to watch. Especially since I had the spoilers, I was bracing for the main character to disappear at any moment. I had a feeling it was coming from the previous episode, but it was still not an easy one to watch… When is this show going to end, now that almost all the original characters are gone?! *It’s a TV show, Kellie, calm down…

Listened
I haven’t heard too much that stands out this past month, just car jammin’ and listening to my regular lineup of podcasts while I walk Pepper or work around the house… 🙂

Memorable Moments
I’m thinking of retitling this section to “Memorable Moments” from “Family Moments,” since there are other things outside of just Pepper and Jonathan that happen (believe it or not).
2015-04-02 12.58.45This month, Pepper turned 1! She’s still a puppy to me, but she’s gotten pretty big and is growing up (just a little) in her behavior. We gave her a giant rawhide bone to chew and I even made a “cake” out of treats and dog food for her. I’m so thankful that we adopted her! 2015-04-02 18.12.59She’s been such a blessing to both of us, but I especially am grateful to not be sitting up at night waiting for Jonathan all by myself anymore. It’s amazing how comforting a sleepy puppy can be. 😉 I highly recommend any LEOW ladies getting a family dog if you can.

2015-04-05 13.40.45We had a fun Easter Sunday with my family. Jonathan thankfully had the day off and his parents were able to come up and visit. We all went out to eat with my parents and sister for lunch. I absolutely love my in laws and am blessed that both of our families enjoy spending time together! I love the rare opportunities when we can all get together.

This month was a month that fit the adage “When it rains, it pours” to a tee!  2015-04-09 09.50.18-1We had been aggressively saving all during March with our spending freeze, which was good, because we ended up needing some of that savings for all of April’s craziness. Between taxes, hubby’s car breaking down, our fence blowing over with spring storms, vet bills from an ear infection that Pepper got, and other miscellaneous expenses, we felt like we were handing out money left and right. But the reassuring fact was that we could take care of everything and still keep our head above water. God provided during this month with extra refund checks, rebates, garage sale cash, and other little ways! 2015-04-24 17.01.38We’re learning to trust God to provide even more and learning that we can live on less. It’s caused us to talk through finances even more and keep planning ahead together…as much as we can. Plus, we’re learning new things, like how to repair a fence ourselves and installing cabinet hardware, which will help us be more prepared and knowledgeable in the future!

This Made My Day
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Despite all the crazy this month, I had several sweet moments with lunches, coffee dates, and phone calls with some special women in my life. I’ve also realized that I have always struggled to make friends, so it’s been a little of stretch for me to reach out for some of those relationships and maintain others, but it’s been so rich and rewarding to cultivate good friendships. I find myself leaving those conversations feeling so blessed, recharged, connected, encouraged, and like I can conquer whatever’s on my plate. You ladies are such a blessing to my soul. You challenge me, you encourage me, you keep me accountable, and you help me know that I’m not alone. For all of you that I had the pleasure of spending time with during April, thank you! You ladies are my superwomen!

2015-04-19 17.00.51Another special moment during April was the opportunity to go see one of my favorite films in theaters with my Granny, my Aunt, cousin, sister, and Mom! My Granny took us all out to see The Sound of Music (or as I affectionately referred to as “Doe-A-Deer-A-Female-Deer” as a kid) for a special limited showing. It was SO MUCH FUN to get to see it on the big screen and notice things I’d never seen before. I know the movie by heart and found myself noticing other details like the costume design and set detail, as well as realizing the historical context. When you grow up watching a film, certain things get cemented in your brain as one thing, but then you watch the movie as an adult, you realize all the things you missed as a kid or misunderstood (for example, when Maria sings “What’s so fearsome about that…” in the “I Have Confidence” song, I didn’t hear the words separated out as a kid, I thought “whatsafeesum” was one word…). After the movie, we all went out for a bite to eat and it was fun getting to visit together and hear stories from my Granny!

Monthly Moral
I’m learning that I can’t do everything and sometimes you will get a harsh reminder of that. I’m learning that I need to take time to rest. I’m learning that I need to give myself grace. I’m learning that I need to trust God and let go of trying to make everything happen in my time-table. I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.

How was your April? What are you looking forward to in May?

Status

Monthly Recap – March

Whew! March was jam packed! I feel very accomplished and I’m proud to say that I got a lot done, but I’m looking forward to a less busy month. 🙂 Once again, I’m linking up with The Lady Okie and her Project 12 posts. Find how my March panned out below:

30 for 30 Progress: As I mentioned in my previous Monthly Recaps, SpringNightthere are a few items on my 30 for 30 List that I will be working on throughout the year. I made headway on a few projects this month and I’m excited to see more of my list completed! I made progress on making our office more functional (#3), I got my 401k paperwork finally taken care of (#16), I finally got a cleaning schedule nailed down (#22), and we got Pepper enrolled in training (#21)! I also started a Spoonflower Shop and entered my first contest. Even though I didn’t win, it was fun to design something based around a challenge and to be part of a creative community again. I also had two sales during the month of March! I’m hoping to add more designs to my shop in the future.
150316-MM-Day16My biggest 30 for 30 List accomplishment this month was tackling the 31 Day Purge Project from A Bowl Full of Lemons. I adapted the Spending Freeze idea from Living Well, Spending Less and incorporated it into our March project, creating my own March Makeover. It was a challenge, but it feels so good to have a decluttered and organized home! It was also really eye-opening to see how we could get through a month without having to spend money on everything. It allowed us to focus on saving and helped us stay on the same page financially! You can find out how the project went by clicking here and looking up the hashtag #MarchMakeover15PO on Instagram.

Books Read: I am so behind, it’s not even funny! No reading was done in the midst of all the productivity…

Fitness: As of this post, I’ve lost 8 pounds since I started my fitness plan in February! (YAY!) I am starting to see a noticeable difference in how my clothes fit and what I see in the mirror, plus I have more energy. It’s not as noticeable to others at this point, but it’s encouraging to see a difference. I created a separate page to track my progress here.
FitbitI also got a Fitbit! It’s been motivating to try and get all of my steps in, to track my quality of sleep, and to see that just by being more active in the day, I’m burning calories! And before you think that this Fitbit was going outside of our Spending Freeze, I was able to get a very good deal, we discussed it, and we decided it would be a good purchase!
My Fitbit syncs with both MyFitnessPal and GymPact. I’ve mentioned MyFitnessPal before in previous fitness posts, but I’ve started using GymPact which is an app that lets you earn money for working out and logging your food. I mentioned GymPact in my most recent fitness update. You can link the app with your other fitness apps and devices and set goals for yourself. When you complete or meet your goals (your pact) for the week, you earn cash that can be transferred to your PayPal account. If you miss a workout or don’t complete your pact, you have to pay. Needless to say, that’s pretty motivating to stay on track. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks and have earned nearly $5. I know that’s not much, but it’s better than nothing and better than paying $5 for a missed workout!

Travel: No trips this month. 😦

Watched: Ever since Friends came on Netflix in January, we’ve been watching it non-stop. We finally finished the series! It was bittersweet, but it was fun and I have a feeling it will be another show for us, like the Office, that we just watch over and over again…
150325-MM-Day25We also had a movie night at home as a family and enjoyed watching Mockingjay. Jonathan and I both agree that it’s the best movie in the series so far. We were in suspense the whole time we watched it in theaters and it was just as enjoyable at home, along with all the behind the scenes footage.
My sister and I are huge fans of Pretty Little Liars, so when the season finale aired this month, we were glued to the TV. While I know a lot of PLL fans were disappointed with the season finale (no spoilers here), personally I thought that it was one of if not the best episode of the show to date! There were answers but also so many more questions and I can’t wait to see how they answer them in the upcoming season! Any other PLL fans out there?

Listened: I discovered two excellent podcasts this month! The Accidental Creative is really good and though provoking for professional creatives. But it’s also applicable to others in cop orate careers. My favorite episode for the month was “The Power of a Morning Ritual.” I was encouraged to establish a more consistent morning routine and hopefully I’ll be able to implement one soon.
The other podcast is great for when you need a laugh… Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids is hilarious! Based out of Canada, they hold open mic nights and encourage adults to bring their diaries, journals, letters, etc. from when they were kids. Some of the entries are adorable, most are really funny, some are deeper than they originally appear. Overall, it’s always a fun listen.

Family Moments: We survived a few little earthquakes (one big one that jolted both Pepper and I) and our first tornado of the season. We were only in the tornado warning zone, but it still makes me a bit anxious, so I was thankful that hubby was home at the time. Pepper slept through the entire thing…
We got Pepper enrolled in training this month! So far, she’s the only one in her class due to a schedule mix up, but she’s learning and catching on. She loves going to “school” as we like to call it and gets so excited when we drive up to the building. We’re working on loose leash walking, sit, wait, leave it, etc. The loose leash walking is the most challenging, but I’m glad we’re seeing a little progress there. It gives me some hope that in addition to being the sweet puppy she is, she can be an obedient puppy too. 😉

This Made My Day: I finished up my first sketchbook for the year! If you follow me on Instagram, you can see me post a daily sketch and since we’re almost 100 days into the year, I ran out of paper in my first sketchbook and had to start a new one! It’s been really neat to go back through and look at the sketches I made at the start of the year. I can’t wait to look through all of them at the end of the year and see how my style and technique has progressed!

Monthly Moral: With the March Makeover, I learned a lot about “stuff” and how much of it we don’t really need. I found so many things that were just that, “things” and were taking up space both physically and mentally. I had to work on letting go of things that I no longer needed and really didn’t serve a purpose anymore. I was reminded of how much of a sentimental pack rat I am. But once I started seeing the extra space that was starting to be created and realizing what I actually used, I was able to let go a lot easier and feel like I could breathe! I think I’m going to have to purge clutter periodically from our home and from my life.
I also realized that we can live on less. I went grocery and general shopping once. That’s ONE Target trip for the month! But we made it and we weren’t deprived or in desperate need for anything, plus we were able to save the extra money we would have spent frivolously. I don’t think we should try to live in a Spending Freeze all the time, but it honestly doesn’t hurt to do it every once in a while.

I’m excited to see what April has in store! How was your March?