5th Annual Camping Trip

I’ve had this post sitting in draft for a while; I think it was mainly because I needed to add pictures — which are still on my regular camera and not uploaded to my Google Drive… but considering this trip was now almost a year ago, I’m just going to post it (with some minor tweaks giving the timing of the post now)…

As I was writing my 2017 goals post, I commented about doing our annual camping trip and realized I never posted about it. 2016 marked our 5th annual camping trip! My cousin and I were excited that we kept this going and have truly made a new tradition for our families.

This year, we were able to get the “party” site, which can accommodate multiple tents and has its own little parking area. We were so excited. We were going to have 3 tents for the 3 families. We were 7 adults, 1 teenager, and 4 kids under the age of 4. We knew it was going to be so much fun!

<cue thunder crashing>Then the weather happened. It rained a bit, off and on, on the drive up to New Hampshire. But it was fine when we pulled up to the campground. 2 of the 3 families arrived around the same time. As we started unloading the cars, the sky opened up and was pouring buckets down on us. We set up 2 of our pop-up canopies to cover the stuff that we had already taken out of the cars, as well as the kids (though my niece, 3 years old at the time, was LOVING splashing around in the quickly forming puddles). I sat under the canopy with the kids while some of the other adults tried to put up tarps over where we wanted to set up our tents. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t meant to be because the water was heavy so they couldn’t pull the tarps up high enough. And the ground was getting super muddy and filling with puddles. So even if we could have gotten the overhead tarps up, we would have still been putting the ground tarps and tents over muddy puddles. There was no way we would have been able to successfully set up our tents in this weather. We realized even if we did get a break in the weather to set up, and then if it kicked back up again in the middle of the night, it would be a complete nightmare to try to pack up the kids and the cars in the dark. We decided to start driving around to see what places might have some vacancies (not yet cancelling our reservation at the campground, just in case).

Meanwhile, the third family was en route. Have I ever mentioned the campground is in a dead zone and we need to drive about 15-20 minutes away to a nearby town to get cell service? Anyway, when we did get back into a reception zone, we were able to connect with the other family and explain what was going on. They said they’d look around where they were for anything available (they weren’t too far away at that point). We stopped at Attitash (one of the nearby mountain resorts) and, just for the hell of it, decided to see if they had any availability to accommodate our group. Turns out, they had 2 different mountainside houses available! We toured each and picked one. It was a full-on house, so we had a full-size kitchen, enough bedrooms for all of us, a living room, dining area, etc. We were able to store all our foodstuff in the kitchen, and didn’t need to deal with ice, and bears (I’m sure I posted about bears on a past trip?), and all that other stuff. We had beds to sleep in, we had AC, and after the kids went to bed the adults were all able to sit around the dining table and play cards, games, chat, or watch some of the Olympics. It turned out to be a great time! The weather was still pretty rainy all weekend, so we entertained ourselves with some of the amenities at Attitash (and after the first night we checked out at the campground).

All in all, we had a lot of fun. And we’re seriously considering doing two trips each year: one “real” camping trip and one in a house!


Welcome to New England

I once read/heard “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes” in reference to New England. How true that statement is!

Last weekend, we had a snowstorm. On the weather maps, we were on the line between the 6-10 inch and 8-12 inch ranges (or something like that). The official total for my town turned out to be 6 inches.  And luckily, it was the lighter, fluffier kind of snow. So, not bad at all.

Below are some pictures of the accumulation (times are approximate; I lost the time stamps when I uploaded them to Google Drive and deleted them off my phone before double checking… I’m pretty certain of the first 2 times, less so for the last 2)

Around 3:20pm
Around 4:30pm
Around 6:30pm
Around 6:30pm
Around 8pm (I think)
Next morning
The next morning

The weather warmed up slightly, enough for the snow to melt a little and then re-freeze, so we had some slippery spots in the yard for a little while.

Then, on Wednesday, the temperature was in the 50s, and the majority of the snow melted. Thursday actually went over 60, and the rest of the snow disappeared.

And now today, Saturday, the current temperature is around 21.

Like I said: Welcome to New England!



It’s been ages since I’ve posted or read blogs (shame on me!) but things have been so busy.

Baby D is 10 months now; insane. 

I’m planning to do a catch up post soon, but just wanted to say hello in the meantime. 🙂


Freddy the Cat’s Travel Adventures

This is just a quick post to introduce you to Freddy and a new blog 🙂

My former boss, Linda, announced earlier this year that she was going to leave the company to pursue a dream of an extended sailing adventure (you can follow her on her blog: Argon Voyages). I’m not kidding! Her last day was this past Friday. I was emotional about it as she and I have worked very closely for the last 3 years and I consider her not only a great manager and mentor, but a friend, too. Anyway, one of our colleagues gave her Freddy the Shipwrecked Cat (who has his own story). Instead of taking him aboard her boat, she decided to leave him here so he can make the rounds among the team, both in our Massachusetts office as well as our office over in the UK. So, we decided to take it one step further and set up a blog to record Freddy’s adventures (whether they’re in the office or on vacation/at home with colleagues). This way, we – including Linda – can all follow Freddy’s adventures. So all that to say, follow Freddy! Freddy the Cat’s Travel Adventures

(I’m just getting the blog set up this week while I’m on vacation so it’s bare bones at the moment, but check back to see what he’s up to, and be sure to follow Linda, too! — This past weekend they sailed from Boston to Nova Scotia (about 52 hours sailing straight through.)


Facebook Hiatus

One of my other plans for 2016 was to take a break from Facebook for the month of January. I logged out on my computer and uninstalled the app from my phone.

I’m really glad I took the time off. I felt like I was on it too much. I’ve never been one of those crazy status updaters but I did post every once in a while and shared lots of things (such as memes, other posts, article links, etc.). But I would mainly scroll through the news feed to see other people’s posts and whatnot. I realized that I was constantly clicking on the app and scrolling through (especially during the night after feeding Baby D) and I needed a break. Not to mention I’ve had an account since my college got it back in 2005, so I was long overdue for a break! (Side note: I sometimes miss the older versions of it before it got all crazy with games and all that junk)

Anyway, one of the upsides to not being on Facebook was that I spent a bit more time here! I actually kept up with reading posts from the blogs I follow and felt that I commented more, therefore participating in the blogging community. And I posted a bit more — and even pre-wrote some posts that I set to schedule! (usually I just write and post at the same time). So does that really mean I just traded one version of social media for another? I don’t really think so, as I feel there’s definitely more “substance” in the discussions here (and no passive-aggressive complaining!). I’ve learned things about people, sewing, crafting, books, etc. And seeing the sewing & knitting posts definitely inspired me to get back with it and attempt more projects! (I picked up my sweater knitting again!)

I also got into Instagram a bit more, and have started following more sewing and knitting accounts.

Though I logged back in on February 1, I am really going to try to limit my usage from now on and so far that hasn’t been difficult. I initially installed it back on my phone but it slowed it down tremendously, so I uninstalled it (again). So I periodically sign on from the web browser on the phone or computer. And I’ve found that I’m not logging in every day and, more importantly, don’t feel that compulsion to click on the app (though that automatic scrolling to the app on my phone stopped after a couple of days, anyway). I do still have my Instagram account linked to my Facebook account, so that’s probably going to be the majority of my connection to Facebook for now.

I may also take a month off each year, as I felt it went really well and was a nice and welcome break, especially if I catch myself logging back into it way too much.

General · Holidays

Merry Christmas!

I’d like to wish everyone celebrating a happy and wonderful Christmas! I hope you are able to celebrate with your loved ones.

Though Baby D is far too young to remember or even know what’s going on, we are so excited to celebrate with him! (Being so young, we didn’t get him a ton of gifts. But I did make sure we got lots of books for him!!)

Learning to balance things with a baby means that we did our Christmas shopping later than usual and I didn’t finish wrapping all the gifts for all our family until around dinnertime last night! (however I will admit that wrapping is one of my favorite things! Maybe because I get so excited to give gifts and see the reaction of the recipient. Unfortunately, none of the gifts were homemade this year)


Merry Christmas!!


Playing Catch Up

Hi readers!  (Can I still call you that, do you still read my few sporadic posts?)

Well, life and work have certainly been very busy! So much going on that I’ve really neglected this blog, and I know I’ve said that quite a few times over the last year and a half or so.

Warning: there are no pictures in this post just some recapping, please forgive me 🙂

I haven’t made a ton of headway on my 30 x 30 list (not really surprised, to be honest, but a little bummed). I still have a few months to go (about 7) so I’m sure I can accomplish some of them! — Although I’m realizing I really don’t need to put an “expiration date” on when I want to do things, I thought it would be fun to kind of challenge myself. (But I’ve basically given up on the picture a day challenge, unfortunately — it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be!) So I think I’ll end up still trying to accomplish these items, even it takes me beyond my 30th birthday.


It’s actually been a slow reading year for me so far, only 10 books, and none finished yet this month! (I just posted my mini reviews for the February books and am drafting the March books). I find that I’m just not really into the books I’ve been picking up. I haven’t requested any e-books from the library in quite some time and some of the books I did request I never got to before they needed to returned. So unlike me!

I did start re-reading book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire since the new season started on Sunday, so I hope to have at least that finished by the end of the month!

I am still participating in the volunteer reading with my work though due to all the snow storms we had at the beginning of the year we haven’t read nearly as frequently as in past years. I believe the program ends by the end of next month for this school year.

Another area I’ve neglected — much more than reading! A co-worker of mine does relief missions each year and is doing another one this year. This time, she decided she wanted to make little dresses for the girls there (as well as dresses and skirts for the adult women). She asked if I’d like to help out and of course I said yes. She gave me a few dresses that were partially complete (I finished the hemming) and then also gave me a couple of dresses that were cut out but needed to be assembled. I need to finish those. (I have a little time as she leaves in about a month). I didn’t take any pictures of the other dresses since I didn’t really do much with them, but I’ll take pictures of the ones I sew together.

I started catching up on blog reading and a number of the blogs I follow are about sewing. It really inspires me to get into it again, so I’m hoping I’ll actually jump into things sooner rather than later. I am planning to make one of the diaper pouch/changing pad combos for my new nephew (he’s a week old today!) but need to pick up a few more things before I can get started. I’m hoping to get to the store this weekend.

Not much progress here, either. I had started knitting my first sweater a while back, but had to rip it out and start over (luckily I wasn’t that far into it), which I did the other day, so hopefully I’ll keep up the momentum.

Work was crazy hectic for the first quarter. I got a promotion, which I am super pumped about. I’m still in the same department and have the same manager, but now I have a different focus and have more projects to work on and more responsibilities in some areas, so it’s exciting!

We had a big 2-day off-site meeting at the end of March which I helped to plan and that really took up so much of my time. (We had really started some minor details before the end last year, but the real focus was January through March). I was so relieved when it was over! It went really well and everyone liked the venue, the topics, the presentations, etc. I even gave a presentation! It was my first real presentation to an audience of 100+ people at work, so I was nervous, but I think I did alright. (I got some good feedback from some of the attendees, so I feel pretty confident saying it went well!)

We’re still really busy of course, and I’m taking a certification course to earn my Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma (a process improvement methodology), so it’s not just coasting along now that the meeting is over.

Lots of things going on in life right now, some I’m not prepared to go into detail about yet, but will eventually! My sister just had her 3rd baby, a perfect little boy! He’s sooo cute. As mentioned above he’s a week old today, which is hard to believe already! One of my cousins is due in a few weeks (also a little boy) and we’re excited to meet him, too!

We’re still house hunting, not too seriously yet, but still want to get a house before the year is out. (any advice for first time home-buying is appreciated!)

So I guess that’s basically it right now. I’m hoping to have more regular postings soon. (I know I say that often, too)

General · Year in Review

Looking back at 2014

So maybe I posted this and my last post out of order (perhaps I should have done the look back before the look ahead). But this one required more work and thought so it comes after.

The majority of my focus for 2014 was, of course, on our wedding. (In fact, when someone asked me in November what I wanted for my birthday and/or Christmas, I realized that I hadn’t given any thought to those two days because I was so focused on October 4 — it was like I forgot anything came after it). We did a lot of planning, organizing, and spending money to make our wedding fun and memorable. And we really did have a wonderful time. Check out my wedding post here.

In between the wedding planning (which, by the way, I’m happy we had a longer engagement so we could actually enjoy the planning process) and related wedding activities (like the wedding shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and honeymoon), we did have a few other things going on:

  • I attended a Lean Six Sigma conference for work earlier in March
  • We planted a garden in May which gave us delicious foods all summer long (I mentioned this in a post back in September, I believe).
  • We went camping in July with my cousin & her family, and my work BFF & her fiancé and we saw black bears twice (one was behind a Dairy Queen). We’ll all be going camping again next year. We actually booked our trip for next summer while we were there in July: Thursday through Monday over the 4th of July weekend; it’ll be the longest camping trip since we started the annual summer trip (in the past we did a Friday to Sunday). 2015 will be our 4th summer doing this.
  • We took day trips to do outlet shopping and other things
  • I had my 10 year high school reunion at the end of November
  • And now we’re getting ready for Christmas and the end of the year

Other 2014 recaps:

I have to update my list on here, because I’m now at 79 books for the year (and have a few that I started but haven’t finished). It’s been a decent reading year, not too many 5 star ratings (based on the Goodreads scale), though. My 11-year-old niece just read all of the Harry Potter books for the first time (and in less than 3 months total time to read them all!). She kept calling me periodically to talk about them, it was so cute. For Christmas, I bought her the 8-DVD set of the movies and am also going to give her a “coupon” for a 1-Day Harry Potter Movie Marathon with Auntie Nell. I’ve been looking up some fun HP themed snacks that I can include in our day. I think it will be a lot of fun! (I don’t intend, or expect, to get through all 8 movies in one day, but it’ll be a good start for her. (And that’s what I plan to use for my movie marathon item on my 30 by 30 list).

(I mentioned some of my reading plans for 2015 in my Looking Ahead post)

I haven’t done a whole lot of crafts this year, but what I have done is posted to my 2 projects pages (see the tabs above for Knitting and Sewing). And I’ve also mentioned some goals in my Looking Ahead post as well as included a couple of craft related items on my 30 by 30 list.


So that’s kind of where I am right now. I have 2 weeks off from work (started this Monday and I don’t go back to work ’til Jan 5 so I’m looking forward to catching up on some things and gearing up for the new year).

I’ve had a wonderful, blessed year, and am so happy I’ve been able to share it with so many great people (including all of you!)

I hope you have a restful break if you get time off from work. And of course, I wish you all a very merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a happy new year!!


I’m a Mrs.!

Hi everyone! I’m back! (at least, I plan to be!)

I’m going to start off by saying this may be a lengthy post, so if you don’t feel like reading it all, at least take a look at some of the pictures. And fair warning: I probably used a lot of exclamation points. 🙂

My wedding was on October 4 and it was wonderful! We had a such great day. It went by so quickly, as many people warned us it would. The great thing about getting married today is all the technology available to help us capture the moments and memories! We had a professional photographer (obviously!), a photobooth at the reception (and we got a flash drive of all the pictures that were taken at the photobooth), a free phone app where people could upload pictures they were taking, and of course everyone had phones or cameras to take pictures! We also got a GoPro (our wedding gift to ourselves) to film bits of the day (as well as the rollercoasters on the honeymoon!) The only downside was that it went by so quickly and so we weren’t able to really spend a lot of time with each person/group of people. But it was so wonderful to see all of our friends and family, especially those who traveled from other states. Everyone seems to have had a great time, so that makes me even more happy!

Our photographer was Allison Hanson and she did an amazing job! We are SO happy with the pictures. (The only thing I’m sad about is that she is moving to South Carolina so I won’t be able to use her for future things!) Here are a few of the ones she took (click each to enlarge):

My niece, nephew, and me
My girls and me
Quick reading break
oh hello there
Sonny had to be a part of our day!
pretty flowers

After the wedding we had one day off to relax and pack before heading off to our honeymoon in Disney World! That was a fantastic time, too. We stayed at Coronado Springs, which we liked. We did all 4 of the main Disney Parks (Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom), and the 2 Universal Parks (Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios). My favorite rides were the rollercoasters (especially the indoor ones like Rockin’ Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios). Each day was spent at one park and then we’d head back to the hotel mid-afternoonish to relax and get ready for dinner (which was usually back at the park we were in for the day, at least for the Disney parks).

1997 was the last time I was in Disney, but I thought I remembered it fairly well — let me tell you: there were tons of new things and I really didn’t remember much of it after all! That was part of the fun though, re-discovering some things. (I did remember my favorite ride the last time I was there, Star Tours in Hollywood Studios — but it wasn’t a different video sequence, still fun though). We did the Harry Potter rides at Islands of Adventure but were unable to do the one at Universal Studios because the wait was a 2 hour minimum almost all day long! And of course, at both Universal parks I had a Butterbeer. (and it wasn’t bad, either) 🙂

M. took most of the pictures on the trip and I still need to upload them, so no pictures to share just yet.

All in all, we had a wonderful wedding and honeymoon, but it is nice to be back home. We got home late Monday night and I also had Tuesday off from work, so I began the name changing process. Then it was back to work on Wednesday. It was nice to have a short week to settle back into everything after being off for 2 weeks! (I felt like I had been away for ages)

Now the only things left to do related to the wedding are thank you cards and posting vendor reviews, and we’ll be sure to get that taken care of sooner rather than later.

(And I also need to get used to the idea of being called “Mrs.”, having a new last name, calling M. my husband, and being called a wife…)


Is anyone still reading this?

This year has been kind of crazy and one where I have neglected my blog. I’m maintaining the list of books I’ve read this year, and have posted a couple of reviews for some Net Galley books (2 more to come soon!); but other than that, I’ve been really bad about the blog.

My wedding is 3 weeks from today, so it’s probably safe to say I won’t be on here much between now and then. We’re going to Disney World for our honeymoon 🙂 (I think we might be more excited about the honeymoon). It has been a long time since either of us has been there, so we’re super excited. We’re staying at a Disney resort, have our FastPass+ set up, and our dining reservations with the dining plan — we are in good shape! (And we got our Magic Bands earlier this week!!)

In addition to blog neglect, I haven’t done a lot of knitting and sewing either (you can check out my knitting and sewing pages to see pictures of the projects I have completed — I haven’t done posts for everything, but still posted pictures on those respective pages). I am working on knitting a pair of socks. They’re my first “real” pair, so I’m curious to see how they’ll come out. It’s slow going because I’m only doing a little at a time. But I’m hoping to bring all that back after the wedding/honeymoon.

We started a vegetable garden this spring, I’ll do a post on that later (with pictures). We’ve had a million tomatoes (I’m pretty sure that’s not an exaggeration.) We keep giving some to family and people at work because we can’t eat them fast enough. I’m planning to make homemade pasta sauce. Maybe I’ll try it this weekend while fiancé is off on his bachelor party weekend.

I had my bachelorette party weekend a few weekends ago. My girls surprised me with a trip to Newport, RI. We had a lot of fun. The weather was beautiful and we did a winery tour and tasting, did some wandering, some shopping, hit a few bars; not a super crazy weekend and I loved it! (I also had the best home fries for breakfast.. they were unbelievable!) Apparently Newport is the place to go for bachelorette parties because we saw a ton of brides and bridal parties (one guy even commented that I was the 19th bride he saw that weekend!)

Let’s see, what else? Not a whole lot more is happening other than finalizing everything for the wedding, but I also don’t want to be one of those people who keeps talking about all that stuff ad nauseam, so I will leave you here. 🙂


How did 2014 get here so quickly?

UntitledI can’t believe that 2014 is literally tomorrow. The year has flown by and so many things have happened (I’m only focusing on the positive): tons of engagements (most notably, mine 🙂 ), births, weddings, starting our wedding planning, finally getting my driver’s license…

So with that, I’d like to share my goals/resolutions for 2014

Go to the gym 3 times a week (minimum) 
I can make this work — there’s a gym on the first floor of my building at work, and I have a membership!

Eat healthier
This is where I really need to step up — I need to stop being afraid to cook!

Save money/Set a budget
I need to be more mindful of my spending and stop spending money on things I really don’t need.

Sew more!
Make at least 5 wearable garments.

Knit more!
Not sure where to go with this — just want to do more!

Read at my own pace
I’m not signing up for any challenges in 2014. I think I’ll be busy enough with wedding planning, and focusing on my other goals for 2014. I don’t want to be stressed out. I’ll read at the pace I want (but hopefully slow down some from this year. As I’ve mentioned, I feel like I’ve been reading so fast and I don’t really remember the books I read earlier this year).

Blogging: Post twice a week (minimum)
My goal is to have 1 book-related post and 1 craft-related post per week. I’d like to be more present on here (I have been reading posts, just not posting any of my own). I like connecting with all of you, and love to get feedback and comments on things that I’m writing/doing; especially getting tips and feedback on the crafty things I do from those of you who are so good at crafty things!
What are your goals/resolutions for 2014?

(image from Google Images search)
(image from Google Images search)

Coming Soon!

So I realize I’ve pretty much fallen off here lately. I’ve been really crazy busy at work, especially because I was involved in organizing a move to a new building. A whole new building was built right near our current buildings and 600 employees were being moved in one weekend. I was a move coordinator for my department and ended being way more involved in the whole process than I thought I would be – can we say stressful? Anyway, we finally moved in last week. It’s such a great space; I was excited to go to work every day last week! (It’s an open space concept – no offices, we have workstations instead of closed-off cubicles, and more!)

But now that the move is over, there’s a bit less on my plate (even though I have a few residual issues to deal with) and I’ve breathed a small sign of relief.

So onto things blog-related…

Even though I haven’t been posting anything, I’m still reading your blog posts! (and I’m a bit behind, so you may notice me commenting on posts from a couple weeks ago!)

I’m still reading books even though I’m not posting reviews  (you can watch my read list grow by checking out my “2013” tab at the top). (and of course, constantly adding books to my to read list because of all the fabulous books you guys read and recommend!)

I just bought fabric to make the Sewaholic Cambie Dress View A & the Easy Kimono Dress by Pattern Runway – I can’t wait to get started!

And of course, I’m prepping my monthly wrap up post 🙂

And that’s about it blog-wise.

Outside of blogging & work – fiancée and I are wedding reception venue-hunting. There are so many things to take into consideration! I know that will keep me busy over the next (almost) year and a half!

How are all of you doing?



Vacations are fun, I think we can all agree. Sometimes they don’t always go according to our plan, but sometimes that makes them better.

The last couple of years I’ve gone on a week-long vacation to Aruba at the beginning of December. It’s a lovely island and you can do as much or as little as you want – there are plenty of things to do.  And everyone is super friendly! (I definitely recommend you go at least once!)

However, with a wedding coming up next year, I’m trying to be more financially conscious/responsible and don’t want to spend too much on a vacation this year. I obviously deserve the time off and want to (and need to, for my sanity!).

So I’ve thought about doing long weekends instead of a full week. Though I’m not opposed to closer, cheaper vacations.  Does anyone have any ideas for long weekend vacations (more specifically on the east coast of the US)?

Just a little while ago I saw a commercial for Hershey, PA and I’ve never been, so I thought that might be a good one to do. (I may or may not have seen that commercial on the Disney Channel while watching Monsters, Inc. by myself…)  And I’d love to do a weekend in Washington, D.C. (another place I’ve never been) and definitely NYC (and now that I’m into sewing, I want to go to Mood!). But if anyone has any out-of-the-box suggestions, I’d love to hear them, so put them in the comments!


ArmchairBEA 2013 – FAIL

I had every intention of participating in ArmchairBEA this year.  I signed up, I was checking in on updates (the schedule, the prizes, the Twitter party schedules)… I even drafted the introduction post and was waiting until they had the link-up active so I could add mine. But I’ve been so busy at work that the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit on a computer. So, I ended up not participating at all. 😦  The event ended today (June 2), but by Friday I finally gave up. I thought I could catch up and join in, but by then I felt like I missed too much.

Oh well — there’s always next year!


(link is to the agenda for the event, and all of the posting topics are to the left on their website)