Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Our Life in Lego: The finder

Monday, February 1, 2016

End of a writing challenge, and a baby shower

I'm so excited to write this post.  If you've been keeping up to date with me, you'll know I've been doing a writing challenge.  It's part of the National Novel Writing Month group.  They do their novel writing in November, but when I heard about it in January I just couldn't wait and did it by myself.  The most exciting part is that on Friday I finished the first draft of my first novel....ever! woot woot.

To celebrate Adam took me to lunch and later that night I may or may not have drank an entire bottle of pink moscato :) So here's the breakdown of writing for this week.

Day 18 - 47,756    2545
Day 19 - 50,118    2362  (I can't believe I wrote all those words!)
Day 20 - 52,046    1928 (Oh wait the books not done yet...keep at it)
Day 21 - 53,843    1797
Day 22 - 56,396    2553 (Just typed 'the end'.  Oh my goodness I just wrote my first novel!!!!!!!)

OK a little explanation is required at this point.  I want you all to know I thought this was an impossible goal.  In fact it was a secret goal of mine (so unrealistic I didn't share it here) to have my first draft done by the end of the year....I'm 11 months ahead of schedule.  If I could do a back flip this is when I'd do it...but I'm old and out of shape and I would most assuredly break my neck if I tried.

This whole challenge was done because of the book No Plot?  No Problem!  If you're a writer, or a wanna be like me, buy this book.  It's the encouragement I needed to get started.

Two really neat things happened when I fished this challenge.  One is that I will now confidentially tell anyone I meet that I am a writer.  And the other was realizing how much support I had.  Other than here (which no one I know really reads this) I didn't tell many people I was doing this.  I told Adam, because well he is my support team.  But when I told my dad his first response was "Do I get to read it?"  woo ok just writing that made me tear up a bit.  I love my dad, but we're not very close anymore so it was a huge deal to me that he wanted to read my novel.  And this weekend my friends Emily and Katie both said they couldn't wait to read it.  Of course my answer to all of them (dad included) was not yet :)  The first draft is for my eyes only.  But it was nice to know I have people who are excited to read something simply because I wrote it.  That's pretty cool to find out.  And I'm sure some of my other friends and family members will be just as excited when I get the chance to tell them.

Now according to the book you're supposed put your first draft down and walk away.  Work on something else for 4-6 weeks.  It's so you can gain some perspective when you go to re-write it.  Here's where I'm going rogue.  After many discussions with my husband about what I hope to accomplish with this book I've made a plan for the next couple of months.  I've decided this book has a sequel, good thing since the first book ends on a cliff hanger.  So February I'm going to do this challenge again...for the second book.  That's right baby another 50,000 word challenge.  It might be crazy (it is) but I have a very good reason.  There is someone in my life who is very sick, and it is unlikely she will still be with us at the end of the year.  I want to be able to give her well written drafts of both of my first books.  She's a reader and though we've never been as close as I would have liked, she's always taken an interest in my writing.  I think it would mean a lot to her (and me) if she was the first person to read my book(s).  So I know I'm crazy but it's important and I'm going to finish  them both for her. I'll keep you up to date on my progress for the second book.

So obviously I've been writing everyday this month, but that's not all I did.   I would get up in the morning and write until around 1 or 2.  After that I spent time making decorations for a baby shower that I co-hosted with my friends the aforementioned Katie and Emily.  The theme for this shower was gray and yellow including giraffes and elephants.

A little decoration we used on the front door.

Dollar store wrapping paper makes a cheap and cute runner.
The W is for signing (like a guest book), and there's a calendar for people to sign the date they guess the baby will arrive.
We had some finger foods on another table, and on this table here are small sugar cookies, that everyone could make their own little fruit pizzas.

When Katie had her baby last year I bought a bunch of these white umbrellas.
They are the perfect decorations for baby showers, and a little ribbon makes them match each theme.

This garland was super easy to make and it looks really sharp.

Here are three little pictures I made via PowerPoint and then saved them as pictures and printed them out and put each one in a white 8 x 10 frame.  They worked as decorations for the party, and then we gave them to the mom-to-be to use in the nursery.

This is something I made.  It's just a canvas that I embroidered on.
I saw something like the elephant on Pintrest.  You can see how she did it here.
When the baby comes I will add his or her (we don't know which yet) name and info in the bottom right hand corner.  Plus Adam made me a frame for it, so I'll show you the final product when it's done.

Mary, Me, Emily, Katie
We've been friends since college.

I love planning showers and making decorations for them.  It's seriously tons of fun.  Hmm how could I do that for a living? :)

Oh and seeing myself in the above picture reminds me that I had a weight loss goal for this year.  In January I focused on writing.  After a month I'm confident in my daily writing schedule, so in February I am focusing on adding an exercise plan.  I'm going to start with walking (we have a treadmill that's pretty dusty) and I'm trying to find a place to play indoor tennis (just about the only form of exercise I enjoy).   

So far this year has been really wonderful.  We've tried new things, accomplished some goals, and made headway on some others.  Here's hoping February is as productive and enjoyable.

God Bless-

Monday, January 25, 2016


Well if that isn't the most boring, vague title for a post I don't know what is...give me a break.  It's Monday morning kids!  Before we get into the weekend recap lets check in with the January writing challenge.  To bring you up to speed, the challenge is to write 50,000 words in a month.  (It's inspired by the National Novel Writing Month challenge that happens annually in November...I didn't want to wait until then to start so I did my own.)

My goal is to write Mon - Fri and the daily word goal is 2500 words

At the end of last week I was at: 33,091

Day        total        daily total
Day 12 - 35,591    2500 (I did not stop at 2500 on purpose, just happened.)
Day 13 - 37,492    1901 (I thought this was a rough day, wait till the weekend)
Day 14 - 40,707    3215
Day 15 - 43,500    2793
Day 16 - 44,462    962 (I cut out early because I knew I had a writing day on Saturday)
Day 17 - 45,211    749  (our first writing day...not as productive as I was hoping)

Ok So I had a couple of days were I didn't meet the daily goal, but I was so far ahead when I started this week I still surpassed the weekly goal of 37,500.  So going into the last week of this challenge the final goal of 50,000 is within reach and I imagine I will get there by mid week.  That's good because my story is probably 10/12 chapters away from being done, so I'm going to focus on finishing the story and not be so concerned about word count anymore.

Back to the Weekend the post title promised you.  Friday night Adam and I met up with my parents at Heritage Winery.  For those of you who don't know my parents...which is all of you except my one cousin who reads this blog (Hi Ang!) my parent's like wine.  In fact my dad is so cool he makes his own wine.  And I'm not talking just a couple of flavors...I've lost track how many flavors he's made.  Currently in our fridge we have Strawberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, and I think we have a least 4 other bottles in pantry.  He usually gives us six at a time.  I don't drink wine very often so it lasts a long time.  But hey who else gets free wine from their parents?  Not many.  Oh and it's pretty good wine.  My girlfriends enjoy drinking it when they come for a visit.

But back to Country Heritage Winery.  It's just north of Fort Wayne and they are one of the only wineries around that have free tastings.  Unless they have a special event going on you can taste any wine you want.  If they have something special happening they will have a set list of 5 or 6 wines that they have out for tasting.  So we went thinking we'd taste wine and that didn't happen this time.  The place was packed and they are doing some big renovation inside so a huge section was roped off.  So there was less room and more people than normal.  It was so freaking loud we could barely hear each other.  I usually enjoy going but this time it was too loud to be enjoyable.  But that doesn't mean we'll stop going.

Saturday was my writing day with a friend and we had lots of fun laughing but neither one of us got a whole lot written.  But for our first writing day, it's ok.  We'll just remember to talk less and write more next time.

Sunday Adam worked on the BIG project that he's been working on since last year at this time, and I promise one of these days we'll be able to share it with you all.  I think it's definitely worth the wait.  I've spent my time over the last month working on decorations for a baby shower that a couple of us are throwing next Saturday.  I will share photos next Monday and let you see how they all turned out.
Let's have a great week!
God Bless-

Monday, January 18, 2016


Before I run down our fun weekend, it's update time on my righting challenge.

Currently I'm in a challenge to write 50,000 words in a month.  So you know, week 2 of the challenge is supposedly the hardest for complicated writer's reasons...aka writer's block.  I did struggle some but still managed to reach my goal of 25,000 by the end of the week,

Here is my break down of this weeks word totals.

   Day      daily count   running total
Day 7 -      3,316           18,156
Day 8 -      3,315           21,472
Day 9 -      1,168           25,955 (didn't meet my daily goal of 2500 words, but still met weekly goal)
Day 10-     2,762           27,717
Day 11 -    4,374           33,091 (a fantastic finish for the week!)

My weekend started with Coffee at Old Crown with a friend.  That's the best way to start any day :)  During that chat we set up a weekly meeting to write together!  That's awesome, because I need all the accountability and encouragement I can get.

After coffee we went across the street to a little sweet shop I hadn't been in before called Sweets So Geek.  They make chocolates, cupcakes, ice cream, and cakes all catering to the geek world.  Some of the fandoms I saw were: Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, Harry Potter, Firefly, and Marvel and DC characters.  Yeah they do it all.  I'm kicking myself for not getting any pictures of the shop, or of the sweets I bought for Adam and I.  But I promise when we go back on Valentine's day for their Chocolate Souffle I will take a bunch of pictures.  We tried some cupcakes and some chocolates.  They were both good, but I'm going back someday for their Vietnamese coffee flavored ice cream.

When I got home I was starving and I convinced Adam to go downtown to Bravas.  I know Bravas from their food truck that you can find all over Fort Wayne.  On the food truck they serve hot dogs with gourmet toppings.  My favorite is the Snoop Dog, it comes with Gouda cheese, bacon, and garlic aioli.  It's so freaking good.  Well they finally opened a restaurant and instead of hot dogs, they do burgers.  Let me tell you once I heard this I was super excited.

The restaurant has fun artwork like this.

So what did I order?  Well of course the Snoop Dog!
Have you had Gouda on a burger?  No?  Try it!
The side dish on the far tray is their Patatas Bravas (delish!)

They also had this super cool old arcade game.

Adam didn't need all these quarters, one quarter gave him like 5 lives.

Sorry for the blurry pics, I was using my phone and I'm shaky :)

Saturday night, we went back to the auction up in Huntertown and had fun.  I feel old saying this, but we really do enjoying going.  Friends of Adam's go, and the auctioneers are fun.  

Sunday was Sanctity of Life Sunday.  We had a couple come in and talk about Adoption.  It was particularly interesting to us, since we are going to adopt, someday (more on that later) ;)

Then after church I worked all afternoon on some decorations and ideas for a baby shower I'm co hosting with some friends at the end of the month.

This was my view while crafting.  
Adam and his baby Pepper taking their Sunday afternoon nap.

Here's to another fabulously productive week!
God Bless-

Friday, January 15, 2016

FF: PINCHme samples

Who doesn't like samples?  I know I do.  So at some point before Christmas I was googling the infamous Birchbox (monthly beauty sample subscription) when I stumbled upon the world of free samples.  There are many sites you can go to get fee samples.  Today I want to tell you about PINCHme samples.  You fill out surveys so they know what kind of samples you would like.  You know whether you'd like samples for kids or pets.

After I filled mine out they matched me with a couple samples.  Then it took 4 weeks for them to arrive, I was told it was that long because of the Christmas season (we'll see how fast future samples arrive).

Come on who doesn't love getting mail? :)

These are my first samples:

Scotch-Brite Extreme Scrub: I don't normally by sponges because I feel like they harbor germs.  But I do use one on our stove top to get burnt stuff off the glass top.  I can say this sponge was particularly helpful when Adam claimed the crockpot needed to soak more.  Which we all know means he was going to walk away from it and I was going to get to clean it the next morning.  When I pointed out we had a new Extreme sponge he got right on the dirty crockpot.  Win in my book :)

Purina Beyond Grain Free White Meat Chicken and Egg Recipe (Pepper was most excited about this).  Pepper is picky about food.  And we're picky about what we feed her.  We've bought Purina in the past but never this flavor, so I wasn't sure if would like it or not.  She treated it like she does her regular food (which right now is Blue Buffalo).  She took a piece out and threw it on the ground and then sniffed it and ate it.  Then continued to eat the rest of the food normally.  I swear this is how she eats every time.  She also has a sensitive stomach so I was wary giving her a new brand.  But she didn't seem to have any adverse effects.  We may buy this in the future.

Breathe Right Nasal Strips (I know two snorers who were each looking forward to their spouse trying these).  Neither of us had ever tried these before.  So we were a little hesitant to try them.  They were thicker than I imagined, I was thinking they would be more like a band-aid.  But we did try them and I was told at least my didn't work...  And I slept so soundly I don't know if Adam's worked or not.  We probably won't be buying these.

Then they threw this extra $100 wine voucher.  I assumed it was for so much because the wine was ridiculously expensive, but I didn't get that far because as soon as I put in the voucher info I get the following message:
Well so much for that voucher.

On the PINCHme website all that is required of me is to fill out surveys on how I felt about each item.  It only took a couple of minutes.  Easy Peasy. 

I didn't get paid for any of these reviews..  I also don't get anything if you join, I just wanted to share a way to get some free samples.

Have fun-