The Christmas Card 

16 Dec

15326351_10104927238232114_9134524054777893964_nI’ll start off by admitting I did not want to do a personalized Christmas card. Those are for families and people with babies…not single girls. That’s awkward. But my best friend talked me into it by saying it would be fun, people would love it, and “you live an amazing life in Florida show it off!”

So to continue on my path of “brave, proud, single life”, I sent out 15 personalized Christmas cards. My best friend and her husband took the picture for the card and I created them on Shutterfly; I love that website so much. I buy way too much from them.

At first the plan was to take the picture with the Scooby Shack… but I couldn’t think of a way to take the picture that wouldn’t look exceptionally awkward, as well as have other people an their homes in the background. Ultimately we decided to take the pictures at the beach and the they turned out awesome! The water was a beautiful shade of aqua that day and I wore a great Lilly Pulitzer dress.

img_0791For the card itself I decided to add some intentional “funny” to the body of my card by adding the chorus lyrics to “Single Bells”. On the front I put “Seas & Greetings”. I even made the envelopes special by coloring a large monogram of everyone’s last initial on the front, a snowflake on the back, as well as matching address labels I ordered from Shutterfly. 

It’s funny how there are just some things in our society we don’t do because of social convention, seriously it’s just a Christmas card. But it’s not the norm. All of the Shutterfly examples used to showcase the different styles were of parents with their children, and a few young couples. Our society really sends mixed messages about “single life”. For the most part it is glamorized, exaggerated and celebrated by the entertainment industry. But when it comes to product sales relationships and families are hailed.

The small group of close friends and family I sent the cards to all seemed to enjoy them. I sure would love to know the reaction of the person who printed my cards… I wonder if they thought they were funny, clever, or strange?

 

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Freezing Usable Portions

13 Dec

img_1121I was asked how I prepare meals being single. Well it’s definitely hard. I don’t eat leftovers so I don’t want to waste food… It’s rare healthy that food is packaged in single servings, but I’m figuring it out.

I’ll start posting some of the things I’ve figured out so far. The first is freezing usable portions.

I buy fruit (canned, fresh, or frozen) blend it with water or juice, protein powder and then freeze that mix in ice cube trays. All of those cubes I put into a zip-lock bag in the freezer once they’re frozen. 4 ice cubes of the fruit protein mix then can be blended with a little more juice, protein powder, and a couple of spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt (22% protein!) to make an awesome smoothie.

I also portion out pasta sauce this way. I freeze them in ice cube trays and store them in a zip-lock bag.

Other food that can be portioned out and frozen are meats, even though I rarely buy it. I buy the smallest amount of ground beef or turkey that I can and I break it up into two or three zip-lock bags. This can also be done with shrimp just look at the serving size on the package and break it into that many individual bags.

Tiny House: Paint Job

19 Nov

492d9c5e-6a6f-4944-a760-f60bbdc6653bA lot of time and energy was spent on the inside of my Scooby Shack, and it is beautiful.

However the first thing I said when I saw the camper, so many months ago now, was that the red stripes had to go. Until recently I didn’t have the time to make that happen.

A quick trip to the hardware store for paint color options started the process. Since the inside was whites, grays, and blues I wanted to go with a blue for the strip. I spent a week looking at shades of blue before I finally landed on a trio of beachy aquas.

Supplies

Supplies

I purchased a high quality quick dry oil based outdoor primer that accepted all types of paint on top of it. I purchased the highest quality outdoor water based paint for the trio of aqua blues.

I purchased rolls of painters tape that I ended up not using and returning; I was able to flow the lines and grooves of the siding. I also purchased a sponge brush that was a mistake. Fell apart. Had to go and buy a regular brush when I returned the tape.

So far the color is holding up nicely to the sun and rain. Just changing the old razed red with fresh blue made all the difference! It easily took 15/20 years off the appearance. I’m very happy with my color choice.

Overall I spent under $100 and eight hours for a major curb-appeal improvement! I also took the time to paint over the old logo stickers and added a fun decal that reads: “not all who wonder are lost -JRR Tolkien”

Before

Before

After

After

From the back

From the back

You Know You’re An Adult When…

7 Nov
  1. img_0335You complain about the music played on Today’s Hits.
  2. Kids playing in the road make you nervous.
  3. The volume of music in your car has gone down.
  4. You enjoy driving without music at all, sometimes the silence is wonderful.
  5. You are able to give good financial advice.
  6. You have a routine on Sunday that includes cleaning your house and doing laundry.
  7. You have no problem asking for your mom or dad’s advice.
  8. You hold steadfast to your beliefs even if they aren’t popular.
  9. You gage your actions on their long-term effects.
  10. You made yourself a budget that includes putting money into savings.

 

Tiny House; Tiny Bread 

27 Oct

It’s difficult to buy groceries when you live alone. You either waste a lot of food or eat a lot of food that is bad for you to avoid wasting it.

I stopped buying bread over a year ago for that very reason…but I miss bread, I love, love, love it.

My solution: I found a little Pyrex loaf pan in my moms endless cabinets of kitchen gadgets. She makes homemade bread a lot from frozen bread dough and it is delicious so I thought that this would work the same just on a smaller scale.

I bought a bag of dinner roll dough, same thing my mom uses just smaller portion. I mashed 3 of them together, let it rise, and bake! Makes about 3 or 4 sandwiches worth of bread, I’m not wasting anything, and I’m eating less bread because it makes a mini sandwich!

#2 Live Alone

23 Oct

unnamed…and relish the independence.

Honestly wasn’t sure if I would ever cross this one off of my bucket list. Between student loans and the impossibility of finding a decent paying job, living on my own felt like a pipe dream.

Lucky enough I found a job that takes care of the two biggest factors in making living on my own a reality. Granted I am still not where I want to be in my life but I know for certain that I am a lucky girl, and that the choices I have made so far have been good choices. The biggest being the choice to live in a tiny house. Thinking long term any money I can save now will be beneficial to me later; not to mention making traveling more possible, which is one of the most important things to me.

I know I’m lucky because at 28 years old, I have a good paying job, a solid course of action for my student loans, I am living not only on my own but a thousand miles from home and in a house that while unconventional I own.

My little house with all of the beautiful renovations and alterations I own outright because I paid cash for everything. How many single people can say that at 28? I’m very thankful for all of the help and support in making this little house a reality.

I adore my little house and I am particularly proud to cross #2 Live Alone off my bucket list.

Tiny House: Miracle 

16 Oct

Confirmation that The Scooby Shack was still standing the day after the hurricane left the Treasure Coast.

The eye of Hurricane Mathew stayed off the coast of southern Florida downgrading from a category 4 to about a category 2 hurricane when it hit the treasure coast.

I had so many people; friends, family, friends of family, friends of friends, students, coworkers and strangers praying and keeping positive thoughts for my Scooby Shack. 

I was fighting the paralyzing “what if’s” I didn’t know what I’d do if I lost the camper…hotel until I could find a place to rent, stay with a friend, give up and move back home…I wasn’t in a good place.

But I had two of the most important people in the world to me telling me over and over “I know it’s going to be okay, I just have a feeling, I can feel it in my bones…”

They were right and I got lucky.

I’m not a religious person; spiritual and living my life with good morals yes, but not religious. That’s a whole other conversation. So when I say it is a miracle that I still have my Scooby Shack it’s because there is no other explanation. Winds were strong enough to rip boats out of the water across the street from me but a pair of scissors I left on the bumper and cheap flip-flops I left on the stairs were still where I left them when I got back.

Luck? Answered prayers? Happenstance?

Miracle. noun. A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.

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Tiny House: Hurricane Preparations 

10 Oct

hurricane-matthew-florida-fridayTimeline of events: 

Mom and dad left on Sunday.

Monday was a holiday for my school so I spent Monday really settling in to The Shack.

Tuesday we are back at school and at the end of an increasingly nervous day were notified that hurricane Mathew would in fact hit Florida.

Wednesday we would have an early release and no school on Thursday and Friday. I had a plane ticket back to Ohio on Thursday night (for a wedding Saturday) that was canceled.

My older sister found me a ticket out of Florida Wednesday morning so I went ahead and called off work for the early release Wednesday

I needed to prepare the camper as best I could for what was expected to be a  devastating level 4 hurricane. I had to make decisions fast. My family was doing everything they could to help me from Ohio but moving the camper wasn’t an option. I had to prepare it to stay right where it was; just a 5 minute walk from the Indian river an a mile at most from the ocean.

I spent Tuesday night racing around town trying to find boxes, I couldn’t. So I bought heavy duty plastic and duct tape. I taped the plastic on the inside and the outside of every window. If the glass was going to break maybe I could save it from the rain.

All the food in the fridge had to be thrown out, breakables moved off the walls, I sent all of my Lilly Pulitzer clothing and my computer off to my sorority big sisters house; it felt like I was shipping my children off to the country for the blitz. I unplugged the camper, moved my kayak inside, locked the door and left.

I spent the night in Orlando, the governor had succeeded in scaring the pants off of my family and I. I didn’t want to risk evacuation traffic and miss my flight. For $5 a day I was able to park at the hotel; cheaper then parking at the airport and a free bus to and from.

Landing in Ohio Wednesday afternoon felt surreal. I left a state that was looking and feeling increasingly apocalyptic an after a few hours I was safe and back with my family.

The next 24 hours were terrible. We stayed glued to the weather channel and social media keeping tabs on my friends and the area. The storm kept getting worse, public officials and the media started to tell people if they didn’t evacuate they would die and no one would come to save them…

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Tiny House: Moving 

7 Oct

The process of moving my tiny house, now named The Scooby Shack, was not without trials.

My mom and dad did the moving. The vehicle they rented to drive it down to Florida from Ohio was canceled by the company 4 days before it was set to leave. A new vehicle was acquired only to find out it didn’t have the required equipment to hitch up The Shack. A third vehicle was then found, brought back home, and hitched up to the camper.

Hours later, raining, and the lights that were working on the camper are not not working with the rental. After purchasing a light kit my parents are finally able to start making their way to Florida.

The drive went fine, but as they’re driving down here my dad notices that the alternator is starting to go out in the truck.

We are able to get The Shack put in its spot an drive the truck back to the house I was  renting, where we called the rental company who in turn called a tow truck to get it. The tow truck driver was exceptionally rude. An it took over 24 hours to get another rental to move my larger items like the bed.

We made countless trips between the house I was moving out of and The Shack taking as much as we could with Kiwi my little Kia.

We also ran into an issue with the water heater; ended up being a flaw in their instructions and not the water heater. Very long story short we figured it out. But not before having to stay in a hotel for a night because we couldn’t get the water on.

It was a very stressful couple of days but we were able to get everything set up, stabilized, organized, and clean.

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15 Years Later

11 Sep

I was 13 years old.

Tuesday morning, 8th grade at Garaway High School in Sugarcreek, OH.

The halls are lined with cream-colored lockers. Pictures and stickers are on the inside of the locker doors, one shelf holds books. There is a hook on the left where I hung my coat and a hook on the right where I hung my backpack. In a few months I will put my muddy snow boots in the bottom and wear tennis shoes the rest of the day.

This morning I’m joking with my friends. Worried about my homework and the new zit on my chin.  Classes are changing and I round a corner and head to Mrs. L.’s science class. The hall is crammed with my peers. The students who left the history classroom with Mr. M. are upset.

Something is wrong.

I see R. crying… something about a family member in New York.

Whats wrong?

We only have three minutes between class, one is not late to Mrs. L.’s class. 2015-05-25-08-36-26

Something in going on.

We do science anyway. 45 minutes in the dark.

By the time I get to history class the second plane has hit. We don’t know what’s going on.

Is this real?

What’s going on?

My mom picks me up in the little purple Geo Tracker.

Something must be wrong. I ride the bus.

We drive to get my little sister from elementary, listening to the radio.

What is happening? I don’t understand. This can’t be real.

___

It was real.

15 years later I’m 28 years old. I live and teach in Florida. I have students who weren’t even alive when this happened. It’s so real for me, I see pictures and feel a lump in my throat form instantly. What is so real for me is already just…history to them.