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Looking Back

Wordless Wednesday: National Dog Day 2015

In honor of 2015 National Dog Day, I thought I’d share a bit of cuteness from our pups. They fill our lives with craziness, fun, and unconditional love.

Wyatt and Wiley hanging out in the cabin

Wiley welcoming us home at the door.

Wyatt just chilling by the log.

Wiley just relaxing on the couch.

Wyatt just relaxing on the bed.


Strategic Packing for a College Campus Tour

This post contains amazon affiliate links. Some items were purchased at a discount from the company in exchange for feedback about the product. These items will be marked with an asterisk.

Last week, Munchkin started her college career at a local community college, but next year, it looks like she’s going to be heading off to college. She has a school in mind which means that she needs to take a tour of the campus and see if it’s the place for her. Somehow, she’s going to need to balance her new classes here while going across country to check out the school. It will be an adventure.

Strategic Packing for College Tour Trip

In preparation for the upcoming trip, we’ve starting putting together the various items that she’ll need. Since the airlines have changed some of their policies for carry-on luggage, we ended up needing to purchase her a new carry-on bag. We’re trying to fit all her clothing and what not into her carry-on luggage, so we don’t need to pay to check any luggage. She ended up picking out this adorable owl pattern luggage from Rockland. Unfortunately, her laptop doesn’t fit in the smaller bag, so she still needs to figure out what she’s going to use for her laptop bag.

Luggage Tags

The luggage tags* from Bellerina are a fun way to make her luggage stand out. Let’s hope that, as these vibrant synthetic leather tags say, Munchkin will be able to travel happy. I had to smile as I saw the little saying on the luggage tag – “Life is a Journey” – as that is definitely how we view life.

Travel Tip: Secure your luggage tags with coordinating zip ties to make them more secure on the luggage.

Travel Organization

Since we’re doing the carry-on only thing, we need to be more aware of what is being packed and how it is being packed. Some serious strategic packing is required. I found these travel cubes* to organize her carry-on bag. By rolling most of her clothes, I’m able to fit a weeks worth of clothes in these cubes which then fit nicely in her carry-on. The shoe bag helps keep her clothes clean.

Travel Tip: Rolling clothes is a great way to save space in luggage. If done carefully, it can also cut down on wrinkles in the clothes.

I don’t know about you, but I hate having to sort and do all the laundry after a trip. While there is no way to get around having to do laundry after the trip, the zippered laundry bags* will at least make doing laundry much easier upon arrival at home as the laundry will be sorted ahead of time and kept neatly contained in the luggage. It will just be a matter of tossing the dirty laundry in the machine upon arrival at home.

Of course, since we’re going the carry-on route, we needed to make sure that all of the liquids in her luggage met the airline guidelines of not more than 3.4 oz per container. These silicone containers* are a lot nicer than the cheaper plastic containers. They’re easier to fill and use. All of the clear, zippered pockets on this travel organizer* makes it easy to keep toiletries organized and easily accessible.

I think we have everything set up and ready, but there always seems to be last minute stuff that we forget. Do you have any travel tips for strategic packing?

Fitness Friday: Ankle Rehab Kit

It’s hard to believe that 6 1/2 weeks have passed since I suffered this ankle sprain. I truly thought that I would be walking without crutches by now, but alas, I still can’t bear my own weight on the ankle. Crutches have become my constant companion. I’m definitely going to need to see a chiropractor after I get off the crutches as I know it’s messing with my alignment.

Ankle rehab kit

The good news is that I am able to put some weight on my ankle without the sharp pains shooting up my ankle/leg. It’s progress. I also found myself driving for the first time this week as Munchkin needed to get to her college classes, and she doesn’t have her driver’s license yet. It takes me some time to get in and out of the truck, but I’m able to drive which is a good thing. I knew that driving would be okay thanks to all of the ankle exercises that I’ve been doing over the last few weeks.

I have put together my own little ankle rehab kit for my at-home physical therapy. I still have a couple of things that I want to eventually add once I’m able to bear my own weight on my ankle, but for now, this kit serves me well.

Ankle rehab kit

My ankle rehab kit contains a stretching strap, exercise band, muscle roller massage stick, porcupine massage ball, yoga block, and a fitness foam roller. Of course, I also have my yoga mat and yoga towel.

The muscle roller massage stick helps with circulation in my leg. I can use this while sitting still which makes it a little easier to use than the fitness foam roller. The fitness roller works a little better due to the knobs on it as it really gets in a little deeper into the muscles, but it requires a lot more movement on my part. I use the muscle roller massage stick multiple times a day on my leg.

The use the stretching strap for working on ankle flexibility while the exercise band is use to strengthen the ankle. Because of using these two items, I knew that I would be able to drive. I also use these guys multiple times each day.

The porcupine massage ball keeps the circulation going in my foot. It also helps with the aches and pains that tend to come with not using your foot for long periods of time.

The yoga block is all about gradually stretching out my ankle. It’s much safer than using the stairs (which we don’t have). I’m slowly – very slowly – gaining a little more range of motion.

Right now, I’m trying to find the balance between the pain that comes with rehab and too much pain that signifies needing to back off. It doesn’t do me any good if I make things worse, but I also need to keep pushing in order to get better. I can’t wait to get off these crutches, so I continue to work hard with my rehab while being mindful of my limitations.

A New Chapter: Our College Girl

Munchkin's book from her first semester of college.

I can’t believe our baby girl is now a college student. Yes, she’s currently attending school locally, but it’s still a huge change for us.

She’s working on some “basic” classes for her future geology major with biology minor. Her first semester of college includes Chemistry, Trigonometry, College Composition, and Physics. It’s certainly not an easy first semester, but she’s motivated to do well as she knows it will help her with her future plans. It’s not a load that I would have wanted to take right away. 😉

So far, she’s attended Chemistry and Trigonometry classes and likes her professors. I’m very thankful for this. Hopefully her other two professors will also be good.

The nice thing about a community college is that you have a wide variety of students which makes her feel more at ease. I know there will be some adjustments as she learns some new skills and refines other skills. Since she’s still living at home, it allows the transition to college life to be a little easier. She can focus on her college studies without the added craziness that comes with living in a dorm.

All too soon, I’m sure our baby girl will be heading away to college, but for now, we’ll enjoy the time that we have with her.

It’s interesting having both Daddy and daughter in college at the same time. I know that they will encourage each other on those nights where homework gets frustrating and tedious. I enjoy seeing them both working and studying while sitting on the couch together. Precious memories are being made.

Fitness Friday: Fighting Frustration


Fighting frustration while going through high ankle sprain rehab

4 1/2 weeks have passed since I sustained this ankle injury. I’m still on crutches. I’m still unable to bear my own weight. I find myself constantly fighting with the frustration that comes with being seriously limited in what I can and can not do. It’s especially frustrating when I know we only have a little over a week before Munchkin starts college, and we haven’t had the chance to do those fun activities that I wanted to do this summer. Not to mention, I have to be able to drive her to school as she doesn’t have a driver’s license yet – no pressure.

I know improvements are being made as I’m able, with some assistance, to get my ankle to 90 degrees and move and bend my foot. The swelling has gone down more, and I don’t have as many sharp pains. Thanks to the help of my new Active Life Therapeutic Comfort Creme that I received to review, the stiffness and throbbing pain has seriously decreased.

I did have to laugh the other day as I was just commenting on how my ankle was looking better. Then, my neighbor stopped by and commented that my ankle looked horrible, really swollen, and purple. lol! I guess looking better all depends on your perspective.

I’m working on getting more flexibility using a stretching strap. I’m working on being able to move my ankle more by writing the alphabet with my foot. Exercise bands allow me to slowly work on strengthening my ankle little by little. I continue to use the porcupine ball to help relax my foot. I’m slowly adding more flexing to my routine.

I need to start doing more upper body exercises as I’ve lost a lot of the muscle that I worked so hard to get prior to the injury. I think that I may be able to start doing some planks this week since I’m not experiencing as much pain in may ankle. I just won’t use that ankle while doing the planks. We’ll see what this week holds.