Mud Sale: April 12th

 

 

 

 

This was a new experience for me, not because I’ve never been to a Mud Sale, but because I went without Tony. My husband usually comes along-he helps me bid (I can be in two places at once), assists me get everything I bought, and loads things into the truck for me. Going alone was a new experience that I was nervous about, but with the husband being out of town it was a perfect distraction.

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If you didn’t catch my last Mud Sale post in 2013, let me tell you a little bit more:

  • It’s organized and run by Amish volunteers to benefit the local fire companies. All the items are donated and the profits go straight to the fire company.
  • It’s an all day event- lasting from 7:00-7:30am- 2-3pm.
  • There are quite a few auctions going on at the same time: 2 separate plant auctions, crafts, antiques, horses, building materials, yard equipment, quilts, and all sorts of other stuff.
  • When I attend a new sale, in order to know where to go I just follow the crowd of people.
  • If you want to get the best deals you have to wait until people get tired and go home. Or go to a mud sale when it’s raining or extremely hot. Mud Sales are being advertised much better now thanks to social media, so I can’t always find the best deal. Usually bad weather keeps people away.
  • You don’t have to carry any of your stuff to the car or truck. The little Amish boys will do all of that for you, I give them a tip.
  • I always bring my own chairs- I set one up at each tent I’m going to be bidding at. The seats they provide fill up quick.

This year I went in search of a few things- perennials, wood crates, and something to hang on my garden fence for decoration.

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They had crates! I only paid $3 each, but at our local craft store they are $12 each.

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There a lot of flowers and I did manage to get a good price on some decorative grass.

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For the garden fence, I bought stars I’m going to paint. Hopefully it looks okay. I had my eye on these cute wood daisies, but they went for almost $20 each (WAY TOO MUCH). So, instead I bought 7 stars for $12. That was more affordable for me.

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It was a great day even without Tony there. And I leave you with something you don’t see everyday.. (Don’t worry I took this picture when I was stopped in bumper to bumper traffic).

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And this is what the Amish kids do when the sale is just about over- It’s hard to see, but they are all playing volleyball.

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Creating a Cutting Garden: Part 1

I have always grown vegetables and fruits, but last year after visiting my aunt’s house I decided I wanted a cutting garden. A garden of beautiful flowers that I can cut and put in vases all summer long. I love the look of fresh-cut flowers around the house during the summer days, but I really hate spending the money. So I’ve decided that part of my garden is just going to be for flowers this year. There is a really good list from Real Simple called How to Create a Cutting Garden. You can find the link to the flower list here.

I would just love it if my cutting garden would look similar to this one: Here 

I posted the flowers that I have decided to grow from seed below. I will also have different flowers that I get at a mud sale next month. I’ll post them after I go because I have no idea what I’m going to pick up there.

I started all of my seeds, they’re much bigger now though. I always put a few extra seeds in each hole and then pull out the weaker one when they start to grow. Below I was trying to figure out exactly how many of each flower I wanted. I ended up planting 288 flowers. I also planted strawberries, basil, and gourds. I will buy my vegetables at a local Amish greenhouse because it’s so much cheaper and they are bigger plants to start the season.

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Annuals: 

Zinnias- (peppermint, state fair mix, envy) I love Zinnias! They are easy to grow, you can cut them and they regrow, and they come in a variety of colors and flower sizes. The ones that I chose are a color speckled in white, red, orange, yellow, and light green.

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African Daisy- I’ve never grown this flower before, but I thought they would be beautiful.

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Cosmos (sensation mixture)- I chose these because they grow high and they can grow well in poor soil. They come in a variety of colors.

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Mexican Sunflowers- I chose this one because I researched them and apparently  one single plant spreads easily. They are also long-stemmed and bright red.

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Sunflower (Autumn Beauty)–  I’m pretty excited about this sunflower too. These sunflowers are yellow, orange, and yellow/red. They do grow 5′-7′ so I would imagine that the flowers would be a perfect focal point in a vase full of flowers.

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Sunflower (Mammoth)- I am added these, although I wish I would have chose more of a branching sunflower so I had more to cut. It’s not too late though, so I might try. If you are starting your own cutting garden, I would suggest a branching sunflower variety. These will get pretty big, but maybe I’ll be able to catch them before they do.

Calendula- 

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Perennials: I don’t know much about some these other than what was on the back of the packet. 🙂

Cone Flower – I know that these flowers can grow pretty much anywhere because they are drought tolerant. They will also produce big, beautiful flowers to fill a vase. This is really one of my favorite flowers.

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Columbine (Peppermint Candy): 

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Blanket Flower: I just love these. They are so pretty!

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Malva: 

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I have no idea if these will actually grow, but I’m hoping for a Part 2 or 3 to show you how it turns out. But this is the plan.

 

 

It’s that time of year…

I’m so excited that the weather around here is finally starting to feel like Spring. And Spring means gardening!

I spent both Saturday afternoon and Sunday all day in the garden.  I’ve been very busy! A lot has also happened since the last time I blogged, but I’ll slowly catch you up on all of that. The first new thing you might notice is a puppy in the pictures below. Unfortunately we lost our English Bulldog, Tank in February to lymphoma. We did get a puppy and he’s such a ball of energy and so much fun.

I’m back to blogging (hopefully to stay). Working in the garden this weekend I’ve discovered that a lot needs to be done. I hauled about 10 wheelbarrows of leaves and debris from around the beds. It was a mess. I even needed my husband’s help to remove branches from a previous ice storm. I cannot wait to get some color in these beds!

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While removing the leaves, I also discovered that the shutters need repainted. They look awful!  The rough winter had quite an impact on the paint.

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So I had to first use a putty knife to get all the paint that was peeling off, which took forever.

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And my little helper kept stealing my kneeling mat.

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I’ll sand the shutters down on Tuesday and hopefully get another layer of paint on them to last another few years.

 

I also got a chance to plant lettuce yesterday (although I did not prepare all of the beds yet, I did do 1/2 of one prepared for lettuce). Lettuce is easily planted right now by seeds and does really well in temperatures ranging from about 45F to 65F. Lettuce is usually somewhat frost tolerant, but I may have to cover it if it gets too cold. I prefer the loose-leaf lettuce because you can just take what you need and it grows back.

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I try to keep my garden as pesticide-free as possible and I do love this Miracle-Gro soil (no they do not pay me to say that, although that would be great, wouldn’t it?). I’ll use regular (inexpensive top soil) for the rest of the beds and mix in a few bags of this when I actually fill the beds in a few weeks.

 

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Overall, I’m excited to finally get back in the garden! And it was nice to have the company of this little guy (don’t you just love the dirt on his chin? He eats it.)

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DIY Christmas Tree from a Tomato Cage

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I know. I know. We didn’t even have Thanksgiving yet, but the retail stores have tricked me into the holiday spirit.

I’ve seen a lot of DIY Christmas trees on Pinterest, but I have to tell you I was unimpressed with most of them. Most were showing the wires and if they did look nice, there was not a tutorial on how to do it.

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I used a tomato cage I already had. One that was in terrible shape.

I then used this garden twine to wrap around the tomato cage, but I’m sure you could use what you have on hand to save you money. I wanted it to be circular, so I put this all around the cage so the garland would have something to grab onto.

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The picture below looks messy, but it still worked.

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I then wrapped it with garland starting at the top. I got 30 feet at Lowe’s for $5 and I needed about 45 feet to cover the tomato cage.

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I then prepared the base. I used my Cricut Expressions machine to do this:

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Then I put the tree on top of a plastic pot (upside down) and put my tree on top. In order to give it some weight and take up space I wanted to use water bottles and gravel, but I didn’t have any one hand. Wine bottles though, yeah I had those. 🙂

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I then put garland on top (I got a 15′ section at Dollar tree). Then I decorated! I used all ornaments and stuff from Dollar Tree and I already had the ribbon! You can’t even tell the wine bottles are there.

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I’m pretty proud of my creation! And it was MUCH cheaper than the store bought ones.

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Price breakdown:

Wash tub: Free- I already had as a planter- btw you may have to drill holes in the bottom so water can drain out.
Wine bottles/plastic pot-free
Ribbon- Free (I already had, but it sells for $5 at Lowe’s)
Garland- $10 for 30feet (Lowe’s)
Garland- $1 for 15 feet (Dollar Tree)
Berries- $5 Lowe’s (although I found them at Dollar Tree after I already bought them at Lowe’s)
Ornaments: $2 (Dollar Tree)
Start topper: $2 (Dollar Tree)

If you add lights, it will be an extra $5 (I’m making another one that will get lights)

Total Cost: $20
If you use ornaments you already have, buy the berries at Dollar Tree, and keep an eye out for cheaper garland, you could make it for much cheaper.

The store bought trees cost anywhere from $48-$100.

 

 

 

 

Keeping a 4-year old busy

When I babysit, I have one rule. The TV must not be turned on. I know it may sound a little crazy (this may be the teacher in me) but I think if I’m babysitting them, we should be making memories, not viewing shows that really don’t matter.

So that’s just what we did yesterday- No TV and crafts only! She was a bit excited when I showed up with my craft bag! It was filled with stuff to make slime, thumbprint turkeys, and handprint turkeys. We also decorated Christmas ornaments, but that’s a bit too early to post on the blog. Let’s just enjoy Thanksgiving first. 🙂

Slime: Three ingredients- food coloring, glue, liquid starch. I used to do this with my 5th graders at least once a year and they loved it.

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She of course loved it too!

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Directions: 

1. Put glue- as much as you want- into a glass bowl. I used glass so it didn’t stain the plastic when we added the food coloring. I used 3/4 of the glue bottle you see in the picture.
2. Mix in food coloring to get the desired color.
3. Add liquid starch a little at a time while stirring. Keep adding little by little until the goo doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl and you have a clump.
4. Coat your hands in liquid starch so it doesn’t stick to you and mix it up with your hands. If it’s too sticky just add a little more liquid starch.

It’s that easy! And it occupies them for quite awhile!

The next crafts I found on Pinterest. The first one was from Close to Home where there are a quite a few crafts for kids. Ours did not turn out quite like the example, but here are our attempts at a thumbprint turkey:

Our turkeys-
I have to admit it was fun sticking our thumbs in paint and being so artistic! 🙂

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We also made another “Thankful Turkey.” I also got this from Pinterest, from Sortrature.

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Our finished product:

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I love that candy is first on her list!

Loving November for the first time, in a long time..

I have to say that this is the first November where I am actually enjoying the excitement of the approaching holiday season. I am not just trying to ‘get through’ the month. When I taught fifth grade, November was always a source of stress. It always meant tons of grading for report cards, then report cards, then conferences, and teaching on top of all of that.

November was always one of the most difficult months as a teacher because there was so much to do. It was plagued with worry and stress. How are you supposed to do all of this in the little amount of time you were given? You actually wonder how the hell you were going to make it to the end of the month!

It’s different for me now. I don’t have worries. I don’t have stress. I am not concerned with pleasing other people. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed meeting the parents. There are those parents out there that you wonder why they don’t have more children because they are amazing. But those report cards and conferences, the anticipation of the first ‘this is how your child is doing’ stresses you out a bit.

Since I quit teaching, I’ve actually been enjoying every moment of November.

My house is clean.
I’ve enjoyed mid-day reading at Panera with a hot chocolate in hand.
I walked my dogs several times last week.
I’ve been sewing, crafting, and decorating my house for Thanksgiving.
I’ve even been Christmas shopping already. I’m almost done with everyone.
I had a wonderful lunch last week with a friend.
I’ve been volunteering my time- seriously there is nothing more rewarding than that.
I cook and bake now too (and not just on weekends). This week I made chicken corn soup, baked ziti, and banana bread.
I’ve been spending time with my nieces and nephews, which has been so much fun.
Last week, when my nieces spent the night, we made a project for their dad (who ran the NY marathon) and I enjoyed photographing them too.

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And this is the project they did for their dad including everything “New York.” Sorry it’s a bit blurry.

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I’ve been wishing on ‘Wishies’. You blow them in the air and make a wish and they carry your wish. I haven’t done that since I was a child. 🙂

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Let’s not forget the silly faces during lunch with my niece.

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Or Tuesday when we went to the playground. I can honestly say I was the only adult actually climbing and going down the slide too.

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I’ve been exercising too and I’m doing well on my weight-loss team. Oh yeah, I’m “Sandra” on the actual challenge chart, but as you can see I’m doing well for the Red Team.

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I’m not exhausted on Friday nights.
I went to the grocery store this week during the day.
I even had time to cut coupons!
I don’t stress out on Sunday nights.
I love sleeping in.

I have  nothing exactly new to post… Other than it has been very nice to stop and enjoy life for once. It’s so easy to go through the motions and get ‘caught up’ in life. I can honestly say it’s nice to enjoy November.

Trick or Treat Trot

I had a busy weekend spending time with friends and family. A highlight of my weekend was definitely  the Halloween 5K that was held by our local YMCA. It was a ‘team’ challenge for my Project Pounds Away weight loss team.

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We could dress up and they even gave prizes for the best costumes.  The morning’s schedule looked like this:

7:45 – 8:15 AM – Kids costume judging

8:30 AM – Monster Mile (1K)

8:30-9:00 AM – Adult costume judging

9:15 AM – Trick or Trot 5K Run/Walk

10:00 AM – Award Ceremony

I did dress up, but I had to wear my red team shirt, so devil horns it was! A headband was easy to run in and I didn’t want anything that would hinder my running. It was freezing Saturday morning though! I should have planned for a warmer costume.

The race started in a cemetery (which was super cool so close to Halloween), lead through a park, and then ended in the cemetery. There was a monster hill at the end of course, but I promised myself that I just wouldn’t stop running. So, that’s what I did. I just didn’t stop. Our team coach was at the top of the hill and encouraged us a bit. After that hill, we certainly needed the encouragement!

I ran the race with my sister, Ashley.  She’s a bit faster than me, but she was there cheering me on at the end! You couldn’t see the finish line over the hill, so I didn’t know how much more I had to run. Thankfully, she was there telling me to sprint, so I knew I didn’t have much left.

I finished the 5K in 31 minutes. Although this isn’t my best time ever, it’s my best time in a while. My goal was 33 minutes and I beat that goal.

Projects! Projects! Projects!

So, as you know I’ve been on a bit of a break. Actually it’s only really been a break from blogging. I’ve still been busy taking old objects and giving them new life. I’ve ventured out of just gardening and I am extending into home decor. There are just some things that are too beautiful to let sit outside. So, here’s what I’ve been working on. The “How-to’s” will come soon, but unfortunately I haven’t been taking ‘in progress pictures’ so that’ll have to wait.

Here is my first coat rack or jewelry holder:

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Another coat rack made of door knobs and a cabinet (I love the red paint underneath):

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A towel rack. Maybe? I didn’t really like the paint on this one but I was just experimenting:

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I’ve also been working on plate flowers for my garden. The one below is my favorite. I just have to add a spoon to the back and buy copper pipe. I also want to make a copper leaf somehow… I still have to think about how I’ll make that happen. But here it is so far:

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Here are a few things I picked up at the auction on Saturday, but you’ll have to stay tuned… I’m starting them this week for my mother-in-law! They don’t look like much now, but you just wait! 🙂

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I also picked up some old frames on Saturday. They are pretty rough and an older couple there wanted to know what I could possibly do with them. Oh, I’ll find something! Chalkboards? Signs? Garden glove holder with sign? Who knows? But I’m sure I’ll find something!

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I’m also working on projects for the garden to make with glass insulators. I’ve been collecting them for a few weeks now.

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I’m also pretty excited I found handmade nails! I picked them up at the auction Saturday. They were in a box of stuff that most people would think is junk. I can’t wait to work those into a few projects too!

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So, that was just SOME of what I’ve been working on lately. I also been taking quite few more pictures. My husband got a new macro lens for my camera, so here’s a picture with it! 🙂 I’m sure I could have captured more detail with the lens but this was my first picture with it. I just love the colors!

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Coming soon: More projects and “how to” directions 🙂

Lessons Learned at a Real Estate Auction

I’ve been attending many flea markets, antique shops, and yard sales to find new project materials. Aside from mud sales, today was the first time I’ve ever attended and participated in a real estate auction.

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I did learn quite a few lessons today.. Here are a few tips.

  1. Arrive Early
    The auction started at 10:00 and we arrived at 9:15. This was plenty of time to get a number,  to look at all of the things being auctioned, and do some research, which brings me to my next point.
  2. Use your smart phone to look up prices.
    Esty and Ebay are just a click away. This will help you avoid paying too much for objects like many of the people at the auction. Of course I looked like I wasn’t paying attention (on my phone the whole time) but at least I didn’t over pay.
  3. Bring a chair
    It would have been nice to have a chair. Some people didn’t, but we did end up standing for a few hours.
  4. On October days, wear thick socks, bring gloves, and wear a hat.
    I didn’t dress warm enough. It didn’t really feel that cold, but when you are standing outside for hours it gets a bit chilly.
  5. Choose a spot wisely
    All of the auctioneer helpers were in our way. It was difficult to get a good look at the items being sold.
  6. It’s okay to ask questions, even while the auction is happening. 
    Many people were doing this and I was confused. Auctions are so fast-paced, but surprisingly they did stop for questions.
  7. Have thick skin 
    I talk to everyone, but I was a little surprised when people ignored me.  Don’t be surprised if no one wants to talk to you until AFTER the auction. Many people kept their poker faces on the entire time. Then the auction ended and it was like we were all friends. This caught me off guard. Auctions are VERY important to some people. I just didn’t know.
  8. Even if things aren’t being auctioned, if you see something you’d pay for, ask!
    We ended up getting an entire truckload of old wood for $5.00. Oh, the possibilities!
  9. If real estate is being auctioned, know everything you can about the house.
    Why? Because you just never know. You should know taxes, property lines, and house features. It’s important to talk to the attorney and the homeowner if you can. I’m glad we didn’t skip this step because… well read the next tip.
  10. Don’t bring your husband when there is a house for sale and you have money in the bank. 
    I almost went to an auction to spend a few bucks on craft materials and walked away with a $100,00 house. Thank goodness for a recess!

Let me explain #10 a little more. We are not looking for a house, but when an old farm house is about to go for $65,000 and there is only one other bidder… you have to bid. Well, I didn’t bid, my husband did. I was shocked, but he kept bidding. My husband and I always talked about owning an old farm house with a barn. I just love the character, so although shocked, I wasn’t mad. Finally, we had it at $100,000 and instead of saying “SOLD!” they said “Recess!” They had to talk to the seller because that price didn’t meet the reserve. We waited about 30-40 minutes. In the meantime two other interested bidders showed up and bid the house up to $186,000.

The auctioneer apologized (yeah right.. what’s commission on another $86,000?) We did not buy a house today, but certainly I will think twice before making my husband go to a real estate auction with me!

Those are just a few things that I learned today. I wish someone would have shared those tips with me. 🙂 If you have any other tips, feel free to share!

Not enough hours in a day…

I know I haven’t blogged lately (over two and a half months). I’m actually surprised that people are still viewing my blog.  So I guess it’s about time that I start blogging again. After a wonderful lunch on Friday with two of my retired friends, I decided that since I do enjoy blogging I should make my way back to it. I have not stopped gardening or creating projects, which is why I’ve just been too busy to blog.

As you know, if you’ve been following this blog, I quit teaching. Actually I retired; I won’t go back. Not that I didn’t love working with children and it wasn’t incredibly rewarding, it just became too much. I certainly have other reasons too that I’ll share with you someday.

This was my first time not starting school since I can remember.  I was excited for more time to focus on me.  My sister-in-law did invite me to the beach the first week of school to help ease the transition. What better way to kick off the new school year than with a trip to the beach? As it turned out, I even got the chance to witness sea turtles being excavated on what would have been my first day with students at the EXACT time students would have been arriving.  That truly was amazing!

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After I got back from the beach, I had high expectations for my time. I thought I would have all the time in the world to blog and garden. As it turns out, I just don’t. I am not sure how I keep finding things to do or people to visit, but I still find there are not enough hours in a day. I’ve just been filling my days with stuff I love to do. This is happiness.

What am I most proud of? The time that I now have to dedicate to working out and taking care of myself. I started a challenge at my local gym called “Project Pounds Away.” It’s similar to “The Biggest Loser.” We train twice a week as a team, have team challenges, and ‘homework’. I also started Yoga and Zumba!  I’m not crazy about the Total Body class I take on Tuesdays or The Mixx class I take on Thursdays, but I do them anyway.

Anyone that knows me knows this is beyond my comfort zone and that’s why I’m proud. I usually don’t sign up for group things with people I don’t know. I usually don’t take group classes like Zumba and Yoga, let alone by myself. This post by Pink Runner certainly helped a bit. However, I’ve learned something about myself in recent months- I’ve learned that I love meeting new people and most things aren’t worth worrying about. I’ve let go of just about all the negativity in my life and I’ve been going by the quote: “Sometimes, you just have to show up.” So, that’s what I’ve been doing and so far it’s been working out great.

Hopefully that catches you up a bit on what I’ve been doing. So, even though there are not enough hours in the day, I’m hoping to blog more. 🙂

~ Sondra