22.5 before 30?

Well guys, today is my (and my twin brother’s) 30th birthday.  And you know what? It feels pretty much the same as 29.  I have to say, I’m at a point in my life where I feel amazingly blessed.  I have great friends, a fantastic family and a wonderful husband.  I am so very lucky to have a church I love, a job that challenges me, and a house that feels like home.  I guess with Dad’s birthday last week I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about life.  And one of the things that I feel really fortunate about is that I feel as if I have gotten to enjoy all the phases of my life.  I watched our seniors in high school have their ‘Senior Sunday’ at church, and I remembered how much I loved high school (I know… call me crazy, but I had great friends and a pretty easy life), and how much I was excited and nervous to go to college.  But in college I found more great friends, more fun experiences and a whole new level of life as I learned to be a responsible-ish adult and decide what path I wanted to take.  And even the years after college that were so incredibly hard and lonely led me to great friends, a Master’s degree that I’m incredibly proud of, and a deep understanding of how imperfect life can be, but that there is incredible beauty in how people support each other during hard times.

And now I feel like myself and my friends are moving into different phases of life.  I’m at the age where TONS of my friends are expecting their first (second or third) children, others are getting promoted and doing exciting things with their lives, and life is generally whizzing past us.  I look at some of the people in our church who have been friends for YEARS and have gone through life’s ups and downs together, watched their children grow up, graduate and in some cases get married and have kids, all while doing life together.  It makes me so excited to be on that adventure with the people in my life.  And it also makes me so grateful for all the blessings and trials I’ve had in my life because they have all brought me to where I am. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.  So really on my birthday I want to say thanks to all of the people who have shaped me and helped me get to where I am now, and those who will help me keep on.  Its been a great 30 years and I look forward to many many more!

But since last year I set up a few goals for myself… I’ll give y’all the update on my list.  When I set it up last year, I knew there would be things I wouldn’t accomplish, and several of the ones I didn’t (ahem… pergola) were because I decided living that aforementioned life was more important than checking the things off my list.  So even though I only finished 22 1/2, I feel pretty good about my accomplishments over the year!

Without further ado… my 30 Before 30 list:

  • Run another half marathon I’m kind of marking this off.  I trained and was mostly ready to run this, but the Dallas Marathon was cancelled because of Ice-maggedon. So I kinda half ran it, since the training is half the battle, but I really would love to run another one, so I’ll be registering for another one, but maybe not before my 30th birthday.
  • Start a vegetable gardenDONE!
  • Build my own built-in-closet (modeled after Sandra’s AWESOME closet)  Because the timing worked out and I got a friends and family discount, we decided to do Elfa in our closet instead of building a built in one… and it was totally the right choice.  It was quick and easy and my closet is STILL organized.
  • Book a trip to Europe with my husband (and maybe a few friends)- Not Done: the husband and I decided to make the grown up decision to pay off all our school loans instead of going to Europe this summer.  It is still definitely on our bucket list, (hopefully sooner rather than later… but not gonna happen this year)
  • Find a farmer’s market near my house to visit on a Saturday morning- I have a friend lined up to do this with sometime (thanks claire!)… but haven’t done it yet… maybe next weekend!!
  • Finish my t-shirt quilt (2+years in the making)–Didn’t even work on this project.  Although I’ve been very busy making burp cloths for all my friends who are expecting… so I’ve gotten REALLY GOOD at sewing straight lines. This will have to be added to next years list!
  • Learn to cook 5 new meals  I learned AT LEAST this many during my two weeks of my Whole 30
  • Take my husband to visit my favorite city: Washington DC DONEAnd Done.
  • Go see Lion King (kind of cheating… I already have tickets to this… but it’s a show I’ve always wanted to see!)
  • Pay off part of my company debt
  • Finish another sprint triathlon (again… bonus points if I beat my previous time)- I didn’t get around to this, but I still love the idea of doing triathlons, so my brother and I are tossing around the idea of doing a half ironman next summer.  He and a friend did it last year… and I’d love to try!
  • Build a pergola in my back yard- Nope… didn’t even start
  • Help my twin brother fix up his house (as payment for letting me use his pool whenever I want!)
  • Spend a Saturday without ever leaving the house… no projects, just laziness.
  • Take a weekend getaway to Beaver Creek.  (I bought a couple of free nights at a silent auction… now we just have to use them) Check out our visit here.
  • Go Skiing with the church youth group… as an ‘adult’ sponsor.- I’m signed up and ready to go!
  • Get new Christmas Stockings for my husband and I for our first Christmas as a married couple.See how cute they are?
  • Learn how to put crown molding up in my our house- 1/2 done… I learned how to do it at my brother’s house, but haven’t done it at mine yet!
  • Give 10% to charity or the church for 2013
  • Get my husband certified to Scuba Dive–in progress… he is about to sign up in the spring! Done! And we had a blast on our first dive trip!
  • Finish changing my name to my married last name… who knew there were so many things to change!?– Just a few more to go! And seriously… American Airlines Miles Program needs more info than my credit card?!
  • Organize the whole house- no seriously… every cupboard, closet, under every bed. I am marking this off, its not 100%, but it is significantly better than it was last year.  If you want to check them out, click on my projects page and I’ve added a section for organizing posts.
  • Take a spa day with a friend Thanks Ashley!! And seriously, I think I need this about 3-4 times a year. It was A-MAZ-ING.
  • Host a dinner party
  • Make homemade ice cream The hubs and I tried this on Memorial Day.  I think we need to make a few more batches to perfect it, because I still prefer Bluebell Homemade Vanilla, but it was so fun to do! Anyone have a great recipe?
  • Make a wedding book for each set of our parents and ourselves
  • Save enough money to install double ovens in our kitchen- Didn’t do this.  See above comment on being a responsible adult and paying off all our student loans. 🙁
  • Get to my ideal weight- Working on this… –Nope, didn’t happen.  But everyone has to have goals for next year right?!
  • Get better at using my SLR Camera (kinda hard to measure… but maybe I’ll know it when I get there?) I am definitely better than I was last year, so I’m going to say I accomplished this.  I still have a ton to learn, but I do feel more comfortable trying different things now… so practice makes perfect!
  • Throw a 30th Birthday Party for my twin brother and myself technically I didn’t throw it, my husband and sister-in-law threw the party, but it was FANTASTIC. We had a blast and got to hang with good friends and enjoy the summer weather. It was a great way to ring in my next decade!  Mom even found our little birthday outfits from our 2nd birthday:



Vegetable Garden

One of the things on my 30 Before 30 List was to build and plant a vegetable garden.  This is one of those “I’ve never done this but always wanted to try” projects… so I’m kinda winging it here.  But as always, I’ll share the results, positive or negative as they happen!

I got the plans for the raised vegetable garden from DIY Diva and the vegetable beds she built for her farm. And true to her info, they cost less than 25$ to build (not counting the soil and plants to go inside).  I bought 6- 6′ ceder fence boards and two 6′ rough hewn cedar 2×4’s.  Other than that you’ll need a drill with a 3/8 drill bit, some screws (I used some I had on hand, but if you are buying some you should buy deck screws 1.5″), a shovel and a mallet.

Building the bed is pretty simple, first step is to cut your boards.  Cut two of you 6′ boards in half, and the 2x4s into 19″ sections (that gives your bed 7″ into the ground)



Then predrill the holes for the boards. 6 holes in each of the long boards (two on each end and two in the middle) and 4 on the shorter boards.



Once you have that done, its time to assemble all the pieces.  I just lined up the top of the boards and screwed them in, the long sides first.





From there, just attach the shorter ends and make sure the box is square.


If you have softer soil you can probably mostly just hammer this into the ground with a mallet, but since we have clay soil mixed with quite a bit of rock we found it easiest to dig a few holes first. We picked the placement mostly because I didn’t want to have to reconfigure the sprinkler heads, so we simply placed it between the two in the area we wanted the vegetable garden to be in.



From there I laid down some weed-blocker and started to put in my bags of soil.


I pegged down the weed blocker to prevent as many weeds as possible.


My Home Depot was having a sale on the Miracle Gro organic soil for vegetable gardens, so we bought 12 bags of that.  I only used 11, but I also mixed in some peat moss I had on hand for a little bit more organic matter.


From there when I got close to the top I started to lay out my pots of veggies.  These came in little pots that you are supposed to plant along with the vegetables.  Just get them moist and peel off the bottoms to put them in the holes. The ones you see below are tomatoes and peppers.  I put a diagram below of what all I planted so I can keep track.


I filled in the rest of the soil and then gave them a good soaking (the pic below is before watering) and some vegetable fertilizer.



If you follow me on Instagram you saw this last week and also got to see my post yesterday that the zuchinni and squash seeds that I planted peeked out of the soil on Easter Sunday.  SPRING IS DEFINITELY HERE!

If you want more detail on what all I planted, I drew up a ROUGH diagram on Photoshop and I have some details about the types of veggies I planted.  After I had planted them I did some more research and I think maybe I planted things a little too close together, but we’ll see when they reach full height!


All the seeds (everything but the peppers and tomatoes) are Burpee Brand from Home Depot, the zucchini are summer squash Bush Bounty, I used two different types of yellow squash: Butter Dish and Pic-N-Pic Hybrid and the Okra is Baby Bubba Hybrid.

The tomato plants are all Big Boy Hybrid Tomatoes.  All the tomatoes and peppers are Bonnie Brand.

Everybody’s Got a Junk Drawer

You know the one… its the drawer in your house that usually only slides one inch out because inevitably something has gotten stuck in the back prohibiting the drawer from opening until you can slide something in there to free the drawer from its restriction.  No? Just me…? Okay.

And now the bad blogger award goes to: MJ! I got on such a roll organizing the kitchen cabinet that I showed you yesterday that I just dumped the whole drawer out before snapping a photo.  OOOPS.  Now put on your imagination googles and imagine all of this:

junkdrawer4 Shoved into one TINY LITTLE drawer and you’ll get the picture.  And if you don’t recognize it… that’s a little baby Jesus in the bottom left. It belongs to a nativity at my mom’s house. NO CLUE how it made it into the junk drawer.  And that, my friends, is the beauty of the junk drawer.

So I have no illusions that this is going to solve the JUNK problem at our house, but I do think it will at least help it out for a while.  And bonus, all last week when I didn’t have a computer, I knew where all my pens were. Mission ACCOMPLISHED. Ready to sneak a peak into our junk?

junkdrawer3 It has all the necessary things you can NEVER FIND IN A HOUSE: Scissors, tape, a pen, a flashlight, headphones for our runs, etc.  I mentioned this a bit in yesterday’s post, but the countertop right above this is sort of our ‘command center’ and by command center I mean crap collector.  Its where we sort mail, put things to be filed or dealt with, things to return, and where I keep my purse when I’m at home.

It is also where I keep track of invitations, calendar and birth announcements, leaving the front of our fridge to be left uncluttered.   junkdrawer2

Two other things on the side of the fridge that I want to point out: that card that says Internet Code? In grad school I had so many study groups and friends come over to the house and need our wi-fi code that I wrote it on a nice card and hung it on the fridge.  4 years later and I still have the card and it is such an easy way to help guests out.  If I know I’m going to have a guest stay the night or someone over that will need internet access, I can just leave the card out on the table for them.  But for the sake of posting on this ole blog I deleted it out of the picture so none of you weirdos will come over and steal our internet. 

The other thing I have up there is a cheat sheet from a local nursery on what to do when for your yard. They gave it to me one of the times I went in and asked for advice… I tried to google it so that y’all could see it in more detail, but I couldn’t find it.  However, Covington’s does have great advice for North Texans on their website here.  I went ahead and laminated it and stuck it up on my fridge just as a reminded for what I needed to be doing to help my yard look a little nicer.

And that’s the end of our little tour of our ‘command center’.  I’ve got one more post about the pantry and that will wrap up my kitchen organization, making it one room completely organized.  I’m feeling pretty confident that I’m going to be able to check this item off my 30 Before 30 List!