168 Hours Unplugged

Time to cross off my first goal on my 28 before 28 list!

#16. Take a week break from TV/Netflix and social media.

One week.  168 hours.  Unplugged.  What did I do?

f1dcc98665b21f315dcd190ef98c70a4This one has been on my list for 2 years now.  Two.  Freaking.  Years.  I had it on my 26 before 26 list and on my 27 before 27 list.  Somehow, I never crossed it off.  Why?  This is not a hard one.  It doesn’t take weeks of planning or lots of money or require leaving the country.  Yet here it is on my list for a third year in a row.  I decided to start my 28 before 28 list off strong by getting Number 16 off the list during my first week after turning 27.  I decided to unplug from Facebook, Pinterest, Netflix, and TV.  I didn’t include “no movies” on this goal as I don’t really watch that many movies to begin with – my Netflix/TV obsessions are always a series.  I have other social media like Snapchat, Instagram, and Linked In, but I spend hardly any time on them.  This past week, I didn’t login to Instagram or Linked In at all.  I opened a couple snapchats and sent a total of one this whole week.

But first, why is this even on my bucket list?  Why did I think this was important to accomplish?  The sad truth is – the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve started spending a lot of time doing nothing.  Facebook, Pinterest, and Netflix are my favorite places to do nothing.  I guess I am just not satisfied with that – I don’t want to be the person that would rather stare at a screen instead of actually doing something..reading something…writing something…learning something.  And yet, here I am being exactly that person.  One more episode turns into the whole afternoon.  I find myself checking Facebook when I pull up to a stoplight.  Ridiculous.


I was never a “screen kid” growing up.  I didn’t play video games.  I barely watched TV.  I was too busy living.  I was outside playing imaginary games, I was reading books, I was exploring the country with my four-legged best friend Lady (aka the best dog ever), I was climbing the tallest trees (sorry mom and dad), I was sliding down the barn roof with my friend Andy (again, sorry mom and dad).  My childhood was full of adventure and I can’t help but feel that the kid I was would be disappointed with the boring old adult I can often be.  Why is it that the older I get, the more time I spend staring at screens?  I can’t figure it out.


Woman with Bicycle on Country Lane


I think the weirdest thing I noticed during this experiment was that sometimes something would happen and I would automatically think of it as a status update.  Sitting by the fire with coffee, a cat, and a book = perfection;  Best part of working at a school is having a Christmas break – loving this time off!;  Enjoying the Plaza lights <insert selfie with spouse here>.  


I was surprised by how easy this goal turned out to be.  There were definitely several moments when I wanted to check Facebook or turn on Netflix, but then the feeling would pass.  I honestly didn’t miss Pinterest this week.

How could it be so easy to stop doing things for a week that usually fill so much of my time?  Perhaps I am not as addicted as I thought I was.  Maybe it is just habit to check Facebook or scroll through Pinterest or to click next episode on Netflix.


Day 1: Sunday, December 27

The first day was the hardest to not check Facebook.  In anticipation of this, I moved the Facebook app and Pinterest app on my phone off the front page, and it has become a reflex to just click on it.  A few times, I found myself opening up the folder that Facebook is usually kept it, before remembering, oh wait…  I spent a lot of time reading today.  K made a fire in the woodstove in the library.  He worked on a puzzle while I read.  It was cozy and peaceful.  I also did some blogging, thrift shopping, and stopped by my work to feed a stray kitten I’m trying to tame.  I did some yoga before bed.

Day 2:Monday, December 28

Today was easier.  It was nice to wake up in the morning and not immediately grab my phone to check Facebook.  I drank my coffee and read a book.  I finished my book and started on a second one today.  In the afternoon, I checked off several things that have been sitting on my to-do list for months, which was a nice feeling.  I did some blogging and also some yoga.  I went to bed feeling good.

Day 3: Tuesday, December 29

I did some more reading today (already moved on to book #3 for the week).  I also did some free writing.  K and I decided to go see a movie at the theater today.  We saw The Big Short.  It was not a typical movie I would choose to see, but I actually ended up liking it a lot.  We also stopped by the Plaza to walk around and see the Christmas lights.

Day 4: Wednesday, December 30

Today we ran some errands.  I did some more reading (a biography about my favorite author, L.M. Montgomery) and did some more free writing.  We watched a New Zealand movie that has been sitting unwatched on our shelf for a few years (Whale Rider).  It was so good, actually.  I don’t know why we never watched it before.

Day 5: Thursday, December 31

I finished my third book for the week.  I did some travel planning and daydreaming about going to Prince Edward Island to see the L.M. Montgomery historic sites.  Discussed with K when we can make this trip happen (possibly this year!).  I feel such a connection to this author.  There are so many lines that she writes where I have that feeling of being understood…that yes, this, exactly feeling.  It would seriously be a dream come true to stand where she has stood, to see with my own eyes the places that she wrote about.  Her writing inspires and thrills me unlike any other author I’ve ever read.  Alright, ending my tangent now…  K and I went out to dinner and then brought in the New Year with friends at their house.

Day 6: Friday, January 1

I started and finished book #4 today.  I started book #5.  I did some yoga.  We FaceTimed with K’s family.

Day 7: Saturday, January 2

Day 7 – I made it.  Today, I was inspired to start writing a story.  I wrote for several hours…ended up with 11 typed pages.  I finished book #5 today.  Went for a walk at the park with K.  Went back and did some editing of my story.


So how can I take what I’ve learned this week and apply it going forward?  My goal is not to quit Facebook, Pinterest, and Netflix.  I think all three can be great in moderation.  I love staying in touch with family and friends on Facebook.  I find a lot of cool ideas on Pinterest.  Netflix can be a great way to relax and unwind (who doesn’t love watching a great show and discussing it later with friends?)  No, I don’t want to say goodbye to these three…I just want to say hello a little less frequently.

Out of Sight

One way I’ve decided to do this is to delete the Pinterest app on my phone.  I don’t need to be able to pin from anywhere.  I’ve also decided to keep the Facebook app off the front page of my phone.  I decided not to delete it as I still want to be able to upload a photo to Facebook from my phone, but hopefully having it out of sight will help me use it less.

Unplug Weekly

Another way I plan to keep my momentum going is to unplug at least one day every week.  168 hours was easy so I know I can stick with 24 hours of no social media/Netflix each week.  I think that Sundays will be my unplugged day going forward.


What about you?  Do you feel like you waste too much time on social media or watching TV?  Do you ever feel like you get sucked into your screen and you end up missing out on the present moment?  Do you ever unplug from your screens?




28 before 28

Here’s my list for this year…

28 before 28



1. Take a trip to Las Vegas.

2. Go to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, MO.

3. Dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.

4. Visit 5 state parks that I haven’t been to before.

5. Tour wineries in Hermann, Missouri.


6. Read ten of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels.

7. Read five biographies. 

8. Complete the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge.

9. Read every book by my favorite author, L. M. Montgomery.



10. Become financially literate.

11. Learn how to sew.

12. Stick with the Dave Ramsey budget system for at least a year.

13. Buy a house.



14. Grow my own vegetables.

15. Become an early riser.

16. Take a week break from TV/Netflix and all social media.

17. Start an exercise routine and stick with it for at least 90 days.



18. Blog at least once a month for 1 year.



19. Break a piñata.

20. Go parasailing.

21. Go snorkeling

22. Go swimming next to a waterfall

23. Go sailing.

24. Attend a music festival.

25. Get a cartilage ear piercing.



26. Learn the ASL alphabet and some basic phrases.

27. Watch 1 documentary a month for an entire year.

28. Try at least 10 new foods/cuisines within one year.


My 27th Year

Recap of my 27 before 27 list

My 27th birthday was a couple days ago.  I attempted 16 things on my 27 before 27 list and actually completed 8 of them.

1. Read ten of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels.   Did I collect several Agatha Christie books?  Yes.  Did I read any this year?  No.

2. Read every book by my favorite author, L. M. Montgomery.  I’ve read 14 so far and there are 6 left.  Sadly, I did not read any additional books by her this year.

3. Read five biographies.  Again, I bought several biographies, but didn’t read any.

4. Brush up on American and World History.  Check!  (read more here) 

5. Complete the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. I’ve attempted this goal twice now.  The first time (in 2013), I read 31 books.  This year, I’m ashamed to say I only made it to 13.  Eek.  I started at least 5 additional books, but I just never finished them.

6. Become financially literate.  I’m making progress on this one, but I’m not there yet.

7. Learn how to sew.  I had one sewing lesson with my mom.  I was able to mend several pieces of clothing.  I even started on a special sewing project (which I’m hoping to finish next year).  However, I would not say that I met this goal yet.  Perhaps after I finish the sewing project I will feel confident enough in my sewing skills to consider this goal met.


What is it?  I can’t say yet…it’s a gift. :)

8. Learn how to drive a manual car.  K gave me one lesson about 3 years ago.  We did not have a second lesson this year.  I am feeling hesitant about accomplishing this goal.

9. Learn some geography.  Check!  (read more here)

10. Become financially self-sufficient.  Check!  (read more here)

11. Grow my own vegetables.  We grew herbs this year (parsley, cilantro, and basil) but no veggies.  Next year!

12. Learn how to make sushi.  I have helped K make sushi a couple more times, but I won’t consider this goal met until I can do it myself from start to finish.

13. Become an early riser.  With my new job, I now have to be at work at 7:45 am.  This has resulted in me getting up early by default.  However, I will not consider this goal met until I am consistently getting up at least 30 minutes before I have to so that I have time to drink coffee/read a book before leaving for work.

14. Be completely debt free.  This was the year I finally paid off my student loan.  All that is left now is K’s student loan.

15. Take a week break from TV/Netflix and all social media.  I took some weekend breaks, but I did not do a whole week.

16. Stick with the Dave Ramsey budget system for at least a year.  I have been off and on with this goal throughout the year.  I do maintain a budget, but we have not stuck with doing cash only.

17. Pay for a stranger’s groceries.  I have not done this one yet.

18. Start an exercise routine and stick with it for at least 90 days.  I stuck with an exercise routine for about a month…  I also did yoga for a couple months in a row.  However, nothing has stuck.

19. Eat fresh vegetables or fruits once a day for 30 days.  Check! (read more here)

20. Blog at least once a month for 1 year.  I missed blogging several months this year.

21. Marry the love of my life.  I’m a Mrs. now! (read more here)

22. Host a dinner party.  Check!  (read more here)

23. Break a piñata.  Not yet.  I need a piñata breaking occasion.  Cinco de Mayo party, maybe?

24. Go parasailing.  We had this booked in October when we went to Florida, but unfortunately it got canceled due to weather conditions.

25. Take a trip with my best friend.  Check! (read more here)

26. Go spelunking.  Check!  (read more here)

27. Attend a masquerade party.  Not yet.

When I saw that I only completed 8 things on my list this year, I was disappointed.  However, then I realized that I have done more than I initially thought.  In addition to the 8 goals on my 27 before 27 list, I also completed 3 other adventures that were on my overall bucket list.

#19. Watch the sunrise at the beach (completed in April 2015, read more here)

#66. Release a floating lantern (completed July 2015, read more here)

#104. Visit 15 new places/towns/cities within driving distance of where I live in one year. (completed December 2015, read more here)

I made some progress on #47, too – watch the 100 greatest American movies of all time, as ranked by the AFI (read about my progress here).  I watched 5 more movies on this list this year (Pulp Fiction, Fargo, The Silence of the Lambs, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Annie Hall.)

Best of all, I had some amazing spontaneous adventures that never made it on a bucket list.

Reflecting back on my year, I feel that there are a couple of main hurdles that held me back from meeting more goals.  One hurdle was that I was not happy at my job.  When I got home from work, my mood was not the greatest and I didn’t feel like doing anything other than sitting down in front of the TV.  Many days, I just did not feel motivated at all to work on my goals.  However, at the end of August I made a big change and switched to a new job.  I am much, much happier in my new work environment.


The other main hurdle for me is time wasters like Netflix, Pinterest, and Facebook.  Don’t get me wrong, I think all three of these are great in moderation.  But I don’t use them in moderation.  I keep finding new shows to binge watch, I can pin things for hours, heck, when I’m driving and stop at a stoplight, my first instinct is to grab my phone and check Facebook.  My problem is that a few minutes turns into a few hours.  I want to make it a priority this year to scale back and use time wasters in moderation.  I know I will feel much more fulfilled if I get up and do something instead of letting all my time waste away.


I would say that overall my 26th year was pretty adventure-filled after all.  Now, it’s time to finish my 28 before 28 list.  Here’s to my 27th year being full of adventure.




Adventure is Near

Number 104 on my adventure list is to travel to 15 new places/towns/cities/events within driving distance of where I live within one year.  I was really excited about this goal because taking grand trips isn’t always possible.  I was surprised to find that there are so many cool places that are close to where we live.

  • Lyons Mansion in Fort Scott, KS (March 2015).  We stayed in this beautiful bed and breakfast on our wedding night.  Our room was amazing and we enjoyed a very nice breakfast the following morning.  I would definitely recommend staying here if you’re ever in the area.  11169889_10204502686389464_9122851108080492586_n
  • Wallace State Park in Cameron, Missouri (May 2015).  We had a picnic lunch and went hiking here one afternoon.  We saw several deer on our walk.  It is a peaceful park.11254461_10205148929745144_2662140801566373161_n
  • Drum Circle Monday at Loose Park in Kansas City, MO (Summer 2015).  We spent several Monday nights this summer here with friends.  There were drums (of course), hippies (of course), and plenty of people watching opportunities.  Having a drink at the park with friends was a great way to make Mondays not so Mondayish.11745510_10204863212887352_804741153251768178_n11742818_10204863211727323_6551875589229498319_n
  • Corinthian Hall Museum in Kansas City, Missouri (June 2015).  This is a really interesting historic home in KC that you can tour.  I find it really interesting to explore old homes.  High, painted ceilings…fancy furnishings…it’s hard to imagine actually living in a place like that.11755079_10205148932105203_1835623140903898045_n
  • Cliff Drive in Kansas City, Missouri (June 2015).  Every weekend, Cliff Drive is closed to cars and open only to pedestrians and bikers.  This was a very scenic road and we had a fun time exploring here.  It was pretty quiet during our afternoon here.  It was almost a bit creepy as it had an abandoned feel with no cars and very few other people. 11173322_10205148933865247_479027777847153680_n
  • Sioux Falls Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (July 2015).  We stopped here on our way back home after our roadtrip to North Dakota to visit friends.  This was a cool little museum and it was worth the stop.  IMG_1794IMG_1789
  • Lantern Fest in Wichita, KS (July 2015).  In one word – magical.  Read more about our adventure at the Lantern Fest here. 11705188_10205069744285557_2331137236662233132_n
  • Louisburg Cider Mill in Louisburg, Kansas (October 2015).  We went here with some friends for the corn maze, cider, and delicious cider donuts.  This was the perfect fall activity.  This was also K’s very first corn maze.    12038312_10205664542595143_8106030887305856768_n
  • IKEA (October 2015).  We finally broke down and went to IKEA.  This place is HUGE.  It was all a bit overwhelming.  Somehow we managed to leave without buying anything.  12063779_10205664888043779_4535771982979732346_n
  • Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, MO (November 2015).  What a creepy but interesting place.  It was neat to learn the history of psychiatric hospitals.  I think we especially enjoyed this museum as our backgrounds are in psychology.    IMG_2668
  • Oregon Trail Landmark in Saint Joseph, MO (November 2015).  Pretty cool to imagine what it would have been like for the pioneers when they first came across the Missouri River.  We had a nice time exploring the area and seeing the sunset on the river.  12308655_10205869138629916_4330478030340237096_n
  • Shoal Creek Living History Museum in Kansas City, MO (November 2015).  This was a cool place to visit with lots of history.  It is also (apparently) the spot to take family photos, because everyone was doing it.  I would like to go back during one of their events as all the buildings are apparently open then.  During our visit, we had to peer through windows to see inside.  12191049_10205734476903457_8679000225760285273_n
  • Harrah’s Casino in Kansas City, MO (November 2015).  We randomly decided to go to a casino one night.  This was K’s first casino in the States and my first one in Kansas City.  We left with more money than we went in with, so I’d call that a successful night. casino.jpg
  • Vaile Mansion in Independence, MO (December 2015).  This place has a really interesting history.  It was built as a private residence.  Only a year or two passed before Mrs. Vaile died.  Our guide said it was an accidental overdose of laudanum, which Mrs. Vaile took for pain (she had stomach cancer).  However, there are speculations that she may have committed suicide as her husband was currently on trial for fraud.  After Mr. Vaile died, the mansion became a nursing home for many years.  Based on a google search I did, it seems that many people feel the mansion is haunted.  What I read online says that the mansion served as an asylum for many years; however, our tour guide never mentioned this so I’m not sure if that is accurate.  It was very bright and cheerful inside when we visited, all warmly decorated for Christmas.  The outside was a bit creepy, though.
  • vailevaile2
  • National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, MO (December 2015).  This was such a cool museum about the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails.  There were some fun interactive exhibits, too.  We got to pack a covered wagon with supplies.  We also got to spin a wheel to see if we would strike it rich in the gold rush.  I feel like I learned a lot at this museum.  Would definitely recommend it. pioneermuseum


    Got our wagon packed!

  • Chicago Alton Depot Museum in Independence, MO (December 2015).  This was an unexpected stop for us.  The staff at the National Frontier Trails Museum recommended we stop by the train depot, which is right next to the Trails Museum.  We got a private tour of the depot from a very nice man named Marvin.  It was worth the stop, we got to learn some interesting things and have a nice chat with Marvin.  I am fascinated with trains anyway, so I had a fun time here.
  • . depot.jpgdepot2.jpg

Well, I made it to 16 new places within one year.  Even though I can officially check this goal off my list, I plan to keep searching for interesting places to explore that are within driving distance.  If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!


Are we there yet?

For the past two summers, K and I have taken a roadtrip from Missouri to North Dakota (traveling through Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota) to visit friends.  It’s a long drive, but there is no one else I would rather be stuck in a car with than K.  :)  It’s totally worth the drive to see our friends.


July 2014.  Someone passed out early…


July 2014 – K with B & J’s daughter.  She is the sweetest little girl.


On the way home the first year, we stopped at Sioux Falls, SD which was such a beautiful spot!


July 2015


July 2015


What’s your favorite thing about taking a roadtrip?


Tea Time

My best friend and my sister-in-law threw me a lovely tea party for my bridal shower in February 2015.  This was the perfect theme for me and they put it together fabulously.


Yes, that is a teapot cake.  Ah-mazing.


Just having some tea with my BF.

Have you ever gone to a tea party?


A good ol’ Missouri float

During the summers of 2014 and 2015, K and I went on some epic float trips.  In Missouri, there is nothing better than spending a summer weekend on a float trip with your best friends.  We have gone to the Black River in Lesterville, MO and to the North Fork of the White River in Dora, MO both years.  We also went to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park which is near Lesterville.


Floating the North Fork of the White River – Summer 2015


Black River Float – Summer 2015


Black River Campground – Summer 2015


Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park – Summer 2015


Camping with my best friend – Summer 2015


Our campground in Dora – Summer 2015


Campground in Dora – Summer 2015


Black River Float – Summer 2014


Johnson’s Shut-Ins – Summer 2014


Johnson’s Shut Ins – Summer 2014

What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer?


Mission to Mars

In October, K and I had the opportunity to travel to Cocoa Beach, Florida for a short vacation.  I planned to complete #24 on my 27 before 27 list – go parasailing.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and our parasailing outing was canceled.  Next time!

We ended up having several spontaneous adventures, though, including the following:

Used airbnb for the first time.  I was nervous about this one, but it turned out to be a great experience!  During our time in Florida, we stayed in a lovely house on the canal.  Our host was very nice and hardly home, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves.  She let us use her canoe, kayak, and bicycles, which was probably the best part of the airbnb experience.  Her house was a short bike ride to town and the beach, which was super convenient.  Our morning routine was to bike to a coffee shop in town and then head over to the beach.  K went for a morning surf while I drank my coffee on the beach.  Perfection!




Explored the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  K really wanted to do this.  I was not so sure, but once we got there I was so happy we went!  You could spend the entire day here and still not see everything there is so see.  We did the Space Shuttle Launch Experience while we were here.  K loved it.  I found it to be pretty scary, though!  If you’re the least bit claustrophobic, don’t do it.  That is definitely the closest I want to get to launching into space. :)


Walking in the footsteps of Apollo 11




Space Shuttle Launch Experience.  Terrifying!


Mission to Mars

Went tubing at Kelly Park/Rock Springs in Florida.  This was probably my favorite Florida adventure.  Hands down one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life.  This spot is just a short drive outside of Orlando, where we flew in.  We went here on our first day in Florida.  It was a bit rainy (but still plenty warm).  The weather turned out to be in our favor, though, as Rock Springs was fairly deserted.  We rented tubes from a (somewhat shady) little gas station outside the park (there are no tube rentals inside the park).  We paid a few dollars for the tubes and a few dollars to get in the park – it was less than $10 total.  This float was like a natural lazy river.  I may have been a bit paranoid about coming across an alligator (there were some warning signs), but we did not encounter anything worrisome.  The water was crystal clear, the scenery beautiful, and best of all, there were hardly any other people.  If you are ever in Florida, go here!



Drank at a beach bar in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  Because hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.  It was very crowded (standing room only) when we arrived. K (of course) made friends with an older couple near us and they kindly gave us their beach-view table when they left.  There is nothing like having a drink at a beach with some live music.  What a fun night!


Tried Cuban food.  There was a cool Cuban restaurant in town that we biked to one night for dinner.  We decided to be extra adventurous and ordered every single side dish so we could try everything.  Most of the sides were good, although I didn’t really care for the plantains.  I was not a fan of the boiled yuca, either.  The meat was delicious and wonderfully flavored, though.  I would definitely eat Cuban food again.


Such a fun trip.  Would love to return!



At last I see the light

This summer, I checked off #66 on my adventure list – Release a floating lantern.  In July, K and I traveled to Wichita, Kansas for the Lantern Fest.  What an amazing experience!  Releasing a floating lantern exceeded my expectations by far.  Such a beautiful, breathtaking adventure.


First, we both decorated our own lanterns.


We were then given a third lantern to decorate together. The staff member encouraged us to draw/write our future wishes for us as a couple.



K releasing his lantern.


Incredible, just incredible.


Release a floating lantern, check!

If you ever have the opportunity to do this, I highly recommend it.


Merry Little Dinner Party

This weekend, I got to cross off something on my bucket list that I’ve wanted to do for a long time – host a dinner party.


22. Host a dinner party.  I decided that a Christmas-themed party would be the perfect time to host a dinner with friends.  I set the date and invited guests about 2 to 3 weeks in advance.  I knew I wanted to keep the guest list short so it wouldn’t be too overwhelming to plan/cook, so we only invited a few people.  The real planning started about a week before the party.  I made a daily checklist for the 7 days leading up to the dinner, which included decorating, cleaning, and food prep.  This helped the day of run much smoother.




Spinach Artichoke Dip with homemade bread


Pork tenderloin

Twice baked potatoes

Oven roasted asparagus

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Macaroni and Cheese Muffins

Pear and Greens Salad


Apple Pie (used my Grandma’s recipe)



K cooked the pork and made the pavlova dessert.  My best friend helped me make the twice baked potatoes.  All the food turned out great, with the exception of my rolls being a bit flat.  I have used this roll recipe many times in the past with great success, but I think my yeast must have been dead.  Bummer! The food item that surprised me the most though was the Pear and Green salad.  I am not a huge salad eater, but this was delicious!


I was also really proud of how my apple pie turned out.  I used my grandma’s recipe and consulted with her via text a couple times to get her opinion.

apple pie


Unfortunately 2 friends were unable to make the party at the last minute, but I think overall my first dinner party was a success.  I loved planning, playing host, and spending time with everyone.  After dinner, we played games and did a white elephant gift exchange, which was lots of fun.  I think this Christmas party may turn into an annual tradition…