Category Archives: lists

Things I Do When My Husband is Out of Town

"Hobbit" succulent

Last week, Brian went to a work-related conference for four days, so our dog, Cola, and I were home alone. I observed that my behavior and habits shift a bit when he is not around for several days. According to my observations, I am very productive when trying not to miss someone and I do not care about having a lot of variety in my meals. What do you do when your spouse (or roommate) is away?

  • Keep the doors locked unless I’m using them. Just in case a burglar knows I’m alone and tries to walk in.
  • Stick extra pillows on his side of the bed. The pillows are basically insulation because our bedroom is chilly at night.

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What I’m Into: February 2015

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I know most people linking up with Leigh Kramer for “What I’m Into” posted a week ago, so I’m a few days late. I have not joined this link-up since November because the end of December found me traveling, visiting, and fighting a miserable sinus infection while trying to show people I really was having a good time with them while feeling icky. The end of January found me leaving a job and starting a teaching job and playing catch up since I started the new job three weeks after the semester started.



Google Hangouts provided a little family togetherness this month when my sister and I wanted to video chat and include our parents. Downside: Eli seems to think all of his relatives live in the same place, the computer.

I started using Trello to organize my lists of things I’m trying to remember for home projects and lesson planning and anything else I can think of. It is a bit like having multiple bulletin boards with sticky notes arranged in different lists on each board. I adjusted to it very quickly because it is remarkably similar to a more awkward physical system I used when I worked in accounting. Disclaimer: If you use this link to sign up, Trello gives me a free month of Trello Gold. I don’t know exactly what that is, but it sounds fancy.

An acquaintance suggested the AeroPress Timer app to me and it has opened up many fun experiments for me to try with coffee making! I especially like the 1st Place and Japan recipes from the free Championship Pack. (If you use this app, I get nothing but the joy of sharing which is still pretty great.)


Sweet and Tangy Meatballs, served with brown rice and veggies are a Sunday Lunch favorite at Howe House.

Around the House

Brian and I removed our old back door and then I left for a spa birthday party and Clay came over to help Brian install the new one.

What are you into this month? 


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Field Notes on Resigning from a Job

Saying Goodbye

A year and a half ago, I left my accounting job to get married and move to a different town. Last week, I left my teaching assistant position to teach college. While my experiences do not make me an expert, I have made some observations. Here are my top five observations and advice for resigning from a job.

1. If you did a good job and got along well with people, coworkers and managers will be sad to see you go.

2. When you give two weeks notice, be prepared for an onslaught of writing procedures, communicating job duties, and sad faces. As word spread through the high school that I was leaving my last job, people’s faces would fall every time they saw me and remembered I would not be there much longer.

3. Write down the contact information for everyone you want to keep in contact with. You may think you will never, ever forget the email structure or extensions you used every day for eight years, but it only took me a year to get fuzzy on those things after I left my accounting job.

4. People who never seemed to like you or never seemed to notice you may go out of their way to wish you well or to say how much you will be missed. My favorite response is to smile and say, “Why, thank you!” Even while I am thinking, “I didn’t know you cared.”

5. Be gracious. Leaving is not all about you. Celebrations involving food were a big deal at both of my most recent jobs, so my departures were commemorated with snack days and kind words and lunches and lots of attention directed my way. As much as I would rather not be the center of attention, I tried to gratefully accept it all with gracious poise because I knew it meant my coworkers cared.

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What I’m Into: November 2014

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The #FireworkPeople community has brought an uplifting, supportive tone to my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I have enjoyed meeting the other ladies as we participate in Twitter parties where we share how we would answer various discussion questions. Not one to miss out on an opportunity to encourage others, my mom has joined the group, too. I think this is more activity than her Twitter account has ever seen!

I know I have mentioned DesignLoveFest’s free wallpapers before, but these are new ones and I am into them this month! Naturally, my favorite is “But First, Coffee.” Which ones do you like?


If you have not noticed, I am very much a hot drinks kind of girl! In November, I have been sipping almond milk hot chocolate with homemade chocolate syrup and sometimes candy cane syrup, too. I still make powdered hot chocolate for everyone else, so this dairy-free version is just for me.

Random Fun

Idina Menzel and Michael Buble’s duet of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” made much less creepy by changing the lyrics and having two adorable child actors lip sync them.


On Netflix: I got hooked on Bletchley Circle and then found out the show ended after only seven episodes! It is a smart mystery drama about four women who worked in code-breaking during WWII and, in post-war Britain, they stumble into solving mysteries that stump law enforcement.

Speaking of Idina, her Christmas album Holiday Wishes has been a fun treat, but I have only been listening for the past few days!


I finished the predictable but sweet Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. Now I am reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and Along Came a Wolf (The Yellow Hoods, #1) by Adam Dreece.

What are you into this month?

I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

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What I’m Into (August 2014)


College students back on campus & coming to our house for Sunday lunches. We are all getting back into the swing of school and campus ministry.
2014-08 Sunday Lunch


I used to disdain iced coffee unless it was really, really hot. This summer, though, I discovered Pioneer Woman’s cold-brewed concentrate that I mix with almond milk and one of my homemade coffee syrups. It tastes delicious and the college students who come to our house think so, too!

French Toast Roll-Ups with blueberries and cream cheese… Brian and I liked these so much we rated them “let’s have it again every month.”
 2014-08-19 21.34.36

My tomato cages toppled from the weight of the vines, but they kept growing. Now I have what I call a “tomato thicket.” Rabbits kept eating the unripe fruit but my puppy decided they’re fun to chase. Now we have tomatoes!
2014-08-30 13.43.56

2014-08-30 13.46.32


On TV: Rizzoli & Isles and Girl Meets World.

On Netflix: Doctor Who season 7. I like Clara, “the impossible girl,” who gets scared and plunges in anyway. “We never just walk away.” In addition, I’m working my way back through Haven (currently on season 2) because I missed having a new season this summer.


Colbie Caillat’s Gypsy Heart Side A, especially “Try.”
The Likes of Us (self-titled album) from Noisetrade has been a fun addition to my jazzy weekend breakfast playlist.


Since school started this month, I’ve been using Quizlet to make free electronic flashcards for the high school students I work with. As an a added bonus, they can use my flashcards (as well as any they create) online or on their smart phones.

Now that the entire school email system is run through Google, I have been using Google Drive for sharing documents with coworkers (I had never used it for document creation before this month.)

I upgraded to a iPhone 5s and a waterproof, drop-proof Otterbox Preserver case this week and I am enjoying both! FYI: The Preserver cases appear to still be on sale for 50% off on Amazon.

Same-day Instagram prints from Walgreens, especially when I procrastinated making them until the day before I needed them!
 2014-08-18 17.54.41

Random Fun

I like the graphic design of the @HomeGoods Stylescope quiz to “find your home design personality“. I’m supposedly “The Traveler” and liked the graphic so much, I made it my iOS wallpaper.

What were you into in August?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.


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Field Notes on Boys #1-5

I am absolutely not an expert on boys. My information is based completely on my experience and observations from years of living with brothers and having friends who are boys. Many of these can apply to men as well as boys. This set of Field Notes is mainly addressed to girls.

1. Boys do not think the way girls do. (In general, I find people do not all think the same regardless of gender, so it is best to not assume anyone thinks like I do.)

2. Communicating through hints and subtlety usually does not work, so be clear about what you think, feel, or want.
A. Side Note: To improve the clarity of your communication, think about what message you want the other person to get. Summarize that message in one or two sentences. Tell the other person the summary.
B. Side Note: Just because you are clear does not mean they will do what you want.

2. Boys look for reactions. If you like something a boy does or says, respond positively and promptly. Do not try to play it cool or ignore them. They want a positive reaction. If they do not get it, they may try for a negative one.
A. Side Note: Sometimes they try for a negative reaction simply because it is fun to see girls get annoyed, embarrassed, or freaked out.

3. Boys generally love to watch girls get embarrassed, especially if they turn bright red! (See previous Note about reactions.)

4. Boys really can and do think nothing sometimes. This is very relaxing for them, so please do not stress them out by insisting they must have been thinking about something.

5. When young boys do not know what to do, they initiate a random, usually playful, physical altercation. (See earlier Note about reactions.) When one of my brothers was about ten, he saw me reading on the sofa and proceeded to fling himself onto, sprawling the entire length of said sofa and squishing my book. While freeing my book, I asked him nicely twice to get off, to which he just grinned and acted like he could not move. I marked my place in the book, hooked an arm under one of his legs and grabbed his ear with my other hand. Before he could react, I stood up and he hollered loudly as I carried him into another room where our mom was reading. “Mom,” I said depositing him next to her, “You need to deal with your son.” He still indignantly bemoans how “mean” I was in that instance, but he does so with a mischievous grin.

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Field Notes on Dating #1-5

For the first post of my new Field Notes series, I have selected five Notes on dating, based completely on my experience and what I have observed.

1. If you search the web for romantic gestures for ladies to do for their boyfriends and eliminate all the ones better-suited for married, parenting, and/or cohabiting couples, there is a surprising lack of creative ideas out there.

2. A new dating relationship often inspires women to bake cookies, even if they are normally averse to cooking and baking.

3. The cuteness of coupledom can make friends simultaneously “aww” and gag. If the couple in question tends toward excessive PDA*, there is probably more gagging. I am told by an anonymous source that throwing soft foam darts or other projectiles is a good way to distract and dissuade an offending twosome.

4. I initially had my doubts but kite-flying is a fun date.

5. Not every real relationship is “Facebook official” and that is okay. Social media never tells the whole story anyway.

Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. – C.S. Lewis

What are your random observations about dating?

*Public Displays of Affection defined as excessive by anyone other than the couple.

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Top 5 Favorite Beverages

Another Top 5 list… because lists are fun!

Water – cool, but without ice
AeroPress coffee – hot, only hot, unless it is 105 outside and I still crave coffee
Peach Italian Cream Soda – I make the syrup myself
Ocean Spray Cranberry Pomegranate Juice in individual servings – drunk semi-frozen and slushy
Stash Holiday Chai with a dash of vanilla creamer – I have been heard to say “It tastes like a Christmas party in my mouth.”

What are your favorite beverages? Have you tried any of my favorites?

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these businesses and am not paid to recommend anything, I just like them. Now, if someone from one of these places offers me free stuff, discounts, etc. for saying nice things about them, I will be sure to let you know.


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Top 5 Favorite Movies

I do not have one favorite movie but here are my top five. My taste in movies may be a tad eclectic.

Phantom of the Opera – beautifully dramatic music, a love triangle, and rich symbolism. Be careful who you let control your mind.
Mamma Mia – upbeat Abba music, cheesy plot and dialogue, and Pierce Brosnan trying to act suave while singing terribly. It makes me laugh hard every time.
Sahara – Africa, action and adventure, and bantering buddies. Adventures like these are where inside jokes come from.
IQ – Eccentric physicists, math and science jokes, and matchmaking. With Walter Matthau as Albert Einstein how can you go wrong?
Live Free or Die Hard – the witty and tough John McClane, a sarcastic and clueless hacker, and an evil bad guy out to cause chaos. Hollywood seems to think duos can only have one sane member at a time.

 What are your favorite movies?


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