Monday, April 30, 2012

Highlights: April 2012

Hello readers!

April was a wonderful month. Next year, it will be even better as Matt and I will be married! I'm getting ahead of myself. This is a recap of this past April...


This month I read the following:

Walking with Grandfather by Joseph M. Marshall III
Rating: 5/5          Pages: 115           Page Goal: 5,755/15,000
Split Second by David Baldacci
Rating: 5/5          Pages: 484           Page Goal: 6,239/15,000
Carry the One by Carol Anshaw
Rating: 3/5          Pages: 269           Page Goal: 6,508/15,000
The Quickie by James Patterson
Rating: 4/5          Pages: 347           Page Goal: 6,855/15,000
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
Rating: 5/5          Pages: 326           Page Goal: 7,181/15,000
Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
Rating: 4/5          Pages: 321           Page Goal: 7,502/15,000
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Rating: 5/5          Pages: 167           Page Goal: 7,669/15,000
Fire and Ice by Julie Garwood
Rating: 4/5          Pages: 375           Page Goal: 8,044/15,000
Without Mercy by Lisa Jackson
Rating: 3/5          Pages: 424           Page Goal: 8,468/15,000

These books created a total of 2,828 pages read in April. If I had to choose a favorite, it would have to be Split Second. Least favorite? Carry the One.

I'm done with my current class, Management Principles and Practices, on May 10th. I won't start summer session until May 29th, so I'm really excited for the break!


Remember the skirt pattern here? It became a wadder. That is, I wadded it up and am done with it. The instructions were horrible, and I'm really disappointed in Simplicity right now. In the meantime, I'm looking for fun prints to sew up some adorable summer dresses that I have patterns for!


Matt and I traveled to Spearfish, SD over Easter weekend to celebrate our 5-year anniversary. I love the Black Hills, and we had an awesome time. Some highlights of our trip:
  • Traveling through 3 states to get there. We had road construction through a large portion of North Dakota, so we hopped over the border into Montana, drove through for about 2 hours, hopped on the interstate and back into North Dakota, then went south to South Dakota. It sounds long, but it really didn't tack on more than an hour to the trip. Also, we were still able to see the Badlands. Love <3
  • Taking Matt gambling for the first time in Deadwood, SD. Matt had never done any gambling on a machine. Our first night in Spearfish, we headed over to Deadwood for some yummy dinner and fun times!
  • Getting a Sam's Club membership. We're lame, I know. We don't have one because our nearest Sam's club is 3 hours away in Bismarck, but I travel there all the time for work. Matt finally caved and we got a membership. Yay for savings!
  • Watching American Reunion. I was in middle school when the first of the American Pie series came out. Watching American Reunion was like finding out what to expect my life to be like in 5 years, only maybe a little less raunchy. Great movie!
  • Laser Tag with Matt. We were bored and found a place that had laser tag. That's right, it's for 24-year-olds too! What a fun, random way to spend time together!


This month has been the calm before the storm, if you will. May is going to be so hectic with graduation and tons of travel, so this was my month to relax and take deep breaths.


Next month, you may not hear much from me. Here are my weekends in May:
1st weekend: engagement photos (it's about time!)
2nd weekend: Graduation at the college, going to B-town for Mother's Day weekend
3rd weekend: Iowa for conference for work. I'm excited...I've never been to the Midwest before!!!
4th weekend: Little Bro's high school graduation, going back to B-town

As you can see, I'll be doing lots of travel and probably not much reading/blogging. Yay for May!


How did I get so lucky?
Taken while sitting in road construction traffic.

So, readers, what were your April 2012 highlights?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Sunday Post #1

Hi again, everyone!

I've decided to start participating in The Sunday Post, which is a new meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

The Sunday Post is a spin off In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren. The purpose is to showcase books received, update readers on new blog news, and recap the previous week.

I have decided to do this as a vlog and a part of my monthly highlights. Therefore, I only plan to post once a month, toward the end of the month. This is my first vlog, so please bear with me as I learn my software... :)

Here is my video for The Sunday Post

Please let me know what you think of this new format, or if I should do regular blog posts for this feature.

Thanks for stopping by!

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Hi readers!

I've fallen behind on my reviews (which I only noticed when realizing the stack of books on my desk is starting to take over), so I'll knock a few out over the next couple of days.

Am I the only one in the world who hasn't yet read The Alchemist? I know the book is a big deal, but I honestly hadn't even heard of it until I went away to college. I good friend of mine had read it in high school and insisted I read it. The description sounded interesting enough, but I didn't actually order the book until five years later, which was last summer.

So, I ordered this in my rather large July B&N online booksale haul. It's been sitting on my shelf ever since. I've picked it up a few times, toted it along with me as a second book on trips, etc., but never made it a priority to read. After finishing Three to Get Deadly, I did my random Goodreads search to determine my next book. It was The Alchemist, so I finally cornered myself into reading it.

For those of you who haven't had the book recommended to you, here's what Goodreads says it's all about:

PAULO COELHO'S enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom points Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

Translated from Portuguese, The Alchemist describes a story of a young shepherd trying to find a treasure. Along the journey, he meets several interesting people. Some people rob him and others nurture him and help him along the way. Ultimately, Santiago wonders if the journey is worth it; after all, he is unclear as to what the treasure may be. In spite of these doubts, he presses on, with the help of the characters he meets.

The novel is ultimately about self-discovery and achieving one's dreams. It's an excellent read regardless of age. The 167-page novel forces the tale to be a quick-paced, exciting read. If you haven't read this already, I highly recommend you do.

Here's where The Alchemist puts me in my page goal:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 167
2012 Reading Goal: 7,669/15,000

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Update: Project Declutter 2012

Hi everyone!

I hope you're all having a lovely Saturday! I just wanted to give a quick update on my Project Declutter 2012. Remember this post in December? Here's where I'm at with everything:

Craft Clutter:
I have gone through all my sewing tubs and identified which fabric was purchased with which project in mind. I've also put the number of yards I purchased, in case I find another pattern I would like to use instead of the one I had originally intended. I write this information on sticky notes, pin it to the fabric, and viola, my sewing tubs are more organized!

Closet Clutter:
I don't have enough closet space for all my clothes, so I divide them into summer and winter clothes. When it's off-season, I put those clothes I don't need in a tub and store it in our second bedroom. At the end of each season, I go through my closet and get rid of clothes I didn't wear much (or at all) that season. This year, I removed 2 trash bags full.

Storage Clutter:
To be honest, my storage is probably where most of my clutter is! It's so easy to throw things in a tub and forget about them. Matt and I have been tackling some of our storage clutter over the past few months. I found a tub full of pots and pans I used in college. I've had them for two years now, and haven't had a need for them. Obviously, it's time for them to go. They're in good shape, so I found a friend who will be moving out of the college dorms and into her new grown-up place. She was excited to take them off my hands and have free pots and pans for her new home. Yay for passing things along!

Book Clutter:
You may remember that I joined Paperback Swap in December to get rid of some of my books, since I had such an alarming number. This place is amazing. I'm excited to pass my books along to people who will love them and care about them as much as I do! Since December, I have "swapped" 38 books, and have only received 16 in return. I plan to donate my extra "credits" for swapping these books to schools. Paperback Swap will then pass one book along to those schools for every credit donated.

I will (shamefully) admit that I now actually have more unread books than I did in December. My count is at 164, which is down from the 181 I had at one point earlier this year. I've been cruising through books so far this year (25 to date!), so it's not like I'm not trying. My goal by the end of this year is to get down to 150 unread books. I know that still sounds like a lot, but I'm taking this one step at a time.

So what does my bookshelf look like now, with more books, you ask?

Bookshelves, December 2011
Not like this! You'll notice this is my bookshelf in December, when I started Project Declutter 2012. See that little yellow sticky note? Those are books I've posted on Paperback Swap and am waiting to swap! You'll also notice the bit box at the base of my bookshelves full of books I can't even fit on my bookshelves!

Additionally, I had a stack of about 9 books on my desk that I needed to review.

Bookshelves, April 2012
TAH-DAH! Okay, okay, I know they're still crammed with books. But let me point out that the shelf with the yellow sticky note? That whole shelf is posted on Paperback Swap, waiting to find a new home. I have 52 books listed.

And the box? Well, it's still there, but there are only two books in it! That's right; this box has become my place for "loaner" books so I can prioritize them and return them ASAP! The last thing I want to do is put them on a shelf where I forget about them, and not return them until a year later. If I ever get around to going to the library again, those books will go in the box, too.

And my desk? Okay, I do currently have 3 books on it, two of which are unread. But one is waiting for me to review it!

I do swap a lot of books with my mom, as we have very similar reading tastes. I currently have a separate stack of 7 books I'm waiting to give her in 2 weeks, along with one book I need to pass along to my best friend in 2 weeks as well. I've read all of these books, and all but one will be posted on Paperback Swap when they're finished reading them.

I'm getting really good about letting go. I recognize there are so many of these books that I love, but will likely never read again (like Beowulf...who would've thought I'd get so attached? But really, Leah, will you ever read it again? Not likely).

So, readers, I am decluttering...slowly, but surely. What about you? How are you working to eliminate clutter?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stockpile Meals: Stuffed Green Peppers

As great as couponing is, it comes with its challenges. Most coupons available are for heavily processed, high-sodium, high-carb foods. When planning meals, I have to be extremely creative so as to not revolve our diets around foods that are not healthy for us. Don't get me wrong; I'm anything but a health nut. I just like to watch what we eat, in what quantities, and balance it out. After all, the key to life is balance in every aspect, right?

Then again, it's so nice to always have everything you need on-hand, and in large quantities. Before I started couponing, my grocery bills were pretty high because I would buy everything as I needed it. I would purchase the item whether it was on sale or not. Couponing Leah pays attention to sales and buys items only at their lowest price. Stockpile meals do not necessitate me to make another trip to the store for just one or two items to complete my meal. Stockpile meals are when I use items in my stockpile to make something yummy and delicious, without needing to take an extra trip. Trust me, the time spent couponing is nothing compared to the time (and money!) spent going to the store 4 days a week!

Once upon a time, my parents, as with the rest of the nation, participated in the Atkins diet. Anyone else remember that? It was all about high-protein and low-carb. I was a teenager in cross country and I will admit that I hated this diet. There was, however, one dish I absolutely loved: Stuffed Green Peppers. I don't remember the specifics of how my mom made it (I could probably find an Atkins recipe book and look it up, if I was so inclined), but I remember it being my favorite dish of the Atkins diet.

While couponing, I stumbled across a great deal on green peppers--$0.44 each! For this area and for this time of year, that's an outstanding deal! I snatched up four of them. After doing so, Matt (who is an extremely picky eater, by the way) reminded me that he doesn't like peppers. I told him I'd make a dish where the pepper was somewhat optional to eat.

Flash forward to today's dinner: Stuffed Green Peppers. I made this meal solely from our stockpile of food we have! Although I didn't follow a recipe, I'll give you directions to make your own yummy stuffed green peppers!

You'll need:
1-1.5 lbs ground beef/turkey
2 cans condensed tomato soup
4-6 green peppers
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup rice
minced garlic
shredded cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Cook 1 cup rice. We used "Gold" long grain rice, but I know my mom used Minute Rice. I don't think it matters too much.

If you don't have a rice cooker, I highly recommend
getting one!

3. While rice is cooking, cut tops off green peppers. This is super quick and easy to do:

4. Brown ground beef, onions, and garlic. Matt doesn't like onions (picky, picky!), so I cooked them separately:

5. When rice is finished cooking, dump into ground beef-onion-garlic mixture. Add 2 cans tomato soup:
Yum yum! Almost done!

6. Scoop mixture into green peppers:

7. Top with cheese:

8. Bake in oven for 40 minutes, or until green peppers are soft:

I did have a fair amount of the meat mixture left over. I could realistically have made at least 2 more stuffed peppers. The mixture is delicious on it's own, though, and I'll be eating my leftover meat mixture for lunch this week!


This is a very flexible, yummy recipe. I had all ingredients at home, which was super nice. Yay for stockpile meals! :)

Book Review: Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

Good morning, readers!

I hope you're having an enjoyable Sunday so far! I was up so late last night reading that if felt good to sleep in!

One of the books I finished this weekend was Janet Evanovich's Three to Get Deadly.  It's the third book in the Stephanie Plum series. Back in January, I read One for the Money. In February, I read Two for the Dough (but didn't post a review). The series has 18 novels so far, so I've got some catching up to do! After reading the second, I ordered the third, fourth, and fifth books through Paperback Swap.

Here's the Goodreads summary for Three to Get Deadly:

A "saintly" old candy-store owner is on the lam-and bounty hunter extraordinaire Stephanie Plum is on the case. As the body count rises, Stephanie finds herself dealing with dead drug dealers and slippery fugitives on the chase of her life. And with the help of eccentric friends and family, Steph must see to it that this case doesn't end up being her last...

Stephanie Plum as a character draws me in every time. She's that reliable friend who pretends she's tougher than she is. She's curious and gets into trouble, yet manages to make it out safely each time. She's clumsy and doesn't listen, but aren't we all like that? This novel has a great chase that will draw readers in from the get-go. There's a little bit of a romantic tease in the novel, which is good. Evanovich has had a lot of sexual tension between Stephanie and Joe Morelli for the past three novels, and something finally happens....foreshadowing? Either way, this is a really fun, quick, light-hearted read. If you're interested in this series, don't hesitate picking it up any longer.

I'd like to catch up in the series, so I'm trying to read about one book a month. We'll see if that works...

Here's my stats:
Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 321
2012 Reading Goal: 7,502/15,000 <---Halfway point!

I'm so excited that I'm already halfway through my reading goal for the year! Hopefully I can keep up this much reading!

Happy Sunday, readers! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

Hi again, readers!

I promise you this is my last post for the day. I just needed to wrap up reviews for the growing stack of books by my desk!

Yesterday, after finishing The Quickie, I had that empty hole in my heart that needed to be filled by another great book. I was staring at my bookshelf, waiting for one to jump out at me. I asked Matt what he thought I should read. Usually, he tells me he doesn't care as long as it's one I already own...maybe he's saying I own too many? Nonsense! Anyway, this time he gave me a solid answer: "How about that one that's becoming a movie? Every time you see that preview, you tell me you need to read that soon. Either read it now or stop telling me you need to read it every time you see the preview!"

He's right.

That movie trailer? It's for Nicholas Sparks' The Lucky One. I've had the book on my shelf since last July and haven't gotten around to reading it. He's not exaggerating about me telling him I need to read the book every time I see the trailer, either. I realize it after I say it, once I've seen the trailer. Here's the trailer that's prompted this dementia:

I will no longer be telling Matt now that I own this book and need to read it soon!

Here's the summary of the book, courtesy of Goodreads:

When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck—winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph—his lucky charm.
Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo—and the woman in it—out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina—Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son—to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet. Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart—destroying not only their love, but also their lives.
Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, The Lucky One is Nicholas Sparks at his best—an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love.

I'll admit that I am a pretty big Nicholas Sparks fan, even though his novels are basically all the same. There's the background, then the meeting, the tension, the first "date" setting. That's followed by more time spent together, admitting they love one another, conflict, and then happiness. Yes, I am aware all his novels are similar, but there's something about them that just draws me in.

The Lucky One developed some excellent characters. The storyline, although highly improbable, is extremely sweet and romantic. I was so wrapped up in this novel that it killed me to put it down even to eat. The ending, although predictable in a way, tugged at my heartstrings. Seriously, you need to read this.

Here's my rating information:
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 326
2012 Reading Goal: 7,181/15,000

I really hope the movie relates to the book very well. Many of the movies from Sparks novels have, but there are a few *cough* The Notebook *cough* where the storyline and characters were obliterated by how horrible the movie was.

Happy Sunday and Happy Readings! :)

Book Review: The Quickie by James Patterson

Hello again, everyone!

I'm trying to knock these reviews out so I don't have to worry about them weeks down the road. Yesterday was a super productive day for me as far as reading goes, which means it was pretty unproductive otherwise...

I started and finished reading James Patterson's The Quickie. This was one I borrowed from my mom, who borrowed it from a friend, so I wanted to get it back to her as soon as possible. Even without the recommendation, I would have picked this book up, because I love Patterson. Here's the Goodreads summary for The Quickie:

With the perfect marriage and a great job, Lauren Stillman loves her wonderful life . . . until she sees her husband with another woman. Devastated and lusting for revenge, Lauren has her own affair. It's supposed to be a quickie, but Lauren's night of passion takes a shocking turn when she witnesses an unbelievable and deadly crime.

Now her horrifying secret threatens to tear her life apart, pitting her need to uncover the truth against her fear that the truth may be too horrible to bear. And whichever choice she makes may cost her dearly-her job, her marriage . . . or even her life.

I was obviously intrigued by the get-go. Patterson and Ledwidge did a really excellent job this time of adding plenty of twists and turns, which makes it really hard to review, because I don't want to spoil anything for you guys! All I can say is this book, with only 347 pages, is a quickie to read and the storyline is so gripping you'll want to do it all in one sitting!

My progress so far:
The Quickie by James Patterson
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 347
2012 Reading Goal: 6,855/15,000

Book Review: Carry the One by Carol Anshaw

Happy Sunday, readers!

I'm a little behind on my blogging because I've been on a bit of a book binge this week (1 book finished Thursday, 2 read yesterday) so I'll try to get those reviews posted as soon as I can!

I received an advance copy of Carry the One by Carol Anshaw in November from the publisher, Simon & Schuster, Inc. It came out last month, in March. The back cover immediately hooked me into this novel. Here's the summary, courtesy of Goodreads:

I LOVE this cover art!
Carry the One begins in the hours following Carmen’s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidently hits and kills a girl on a dark, country road. For the next twenty-five years, those involved, including Carmen and her brother and sister, connect and disconnect and reconnect with each other and their victim. As one character says, “When you add us up, you always have to carry the one.”

Through friendships and love affairs; marriage and divorce; parenthood, holidays, and the modest tragedies and joys of ordinary days, Carry the One shows how one life affects another and how those who thrive and those who self-destruct are closer to each other than we’d expect. Deceptively short and simple in its premise, this novel derives its power and appeal from the author’s beautifully precise use of language; her sympathy for her very recognizable, flawed characters; and her persuasive belief in the transforming forces of time and love.

Carry the One starts with the action right away. The aftermath of the accident is extremely realistic and shakes the lives of the 20-somethings involved. In spite of following the characters for 25 years following the accident, I never really felt drawn by them. The relationship just hadn't been formed between myself and any of the characters, so I found myself going along for the ride, not living the experience as though I was there, too. All characters have their downfalls and shortcomings, but I feel Anshaw highlighted those more with these characters and didn't highlight their "good side" enough, if at all for some of them. The storyline itself was fantastically original and exciting, but Anshaw definitely fell short in character development.

I recommend this novel for anyone who does not need to feel an extreme bond with characters in a novel, but is looking for a pretty decent storyline.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is my progress for the year:
Carry the One by Carol Anshaw
Rating: 3/5
Pages: 269
2012 Reading Goal: 6,508/15,000

Be on the lookout for the rest of my reviews! :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review: Split Second by David Baldacci

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend! Matt and I certainly did on our vacation in South Dakota. I've already started this week so refreshed and happy. I forget how great it feels to take a real vacation, where you don't travel to see anyone or do anything in particular: AMAZING! But more on that later...

I also managed to finish a book this weekend, even though I didn't get as much reading in as I would've liked (who does?). This book was loaned to me from my mom, who borrowed it from a friend. My mom gave it 5 stars, which proved extremely promising for me. We have very similar tastes in books, but I often rate books a little higher than she does. When she gives a book a 5, it's pretty much guaranteed that I'll love it. And I did!

Here's the Goodreads summary of Split Second by David Baldacci:

This explosive novel and instant New York Times bestseller is the tale of two disgraced Secret Service agents racing against time to find the common thread that connects a series of assassinations and abductions. 

I hate when summaries are this small. To be honest, based on the summary, I would not have picked this novel up if not for my mom's recommendation. I've never read any of David Baldacci's novel, nor have I really had a desire to.

This novel started out a little slow and confusing. I was lost in the quantity of characters, multiple locations, and hasty transitions. One quarter of the way in, I was about to give up. I convinced myself to continue, since it had been so highly recommended to me. Suddenly, I got into the groove of things and found myself thinking about this book constantly when I wasn't reading it. I was hooked and drank it up like it was a delicious margarita. Not only is this book a definite read for those of you who love suspense, but it's got me hooked on the series. I can't wait to read more from Baldacci!

Here are my stats:
Split Second by David Baldacci
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 484
2012 Reading Goal: 6,239/15,000

So, readers, have you ever had a book so great that started out sour?

Have a wonderful week! :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Highlights: March 2012

Hello readers!

I thought I'd experiment with a new little feature where I highlight my month from all different angles:


This month I read the following:

Life from Scratch by Melissa Ford
Rating: 4/5          Pages: 266           Page Goal: 4,308/15,000
The Love of Her Life by Harriet Evans
Rating: 4/5          Pages: 427           Page Goal: 4,735/15,000
Sail by James Patterson
Rating: 4/5          Pages: 414           Page Goal: 5,149/15,000
The Rain Before it Falls by Jonathan Coe
Rating: 2/5          Pages: 240           Page Goal: 5,389/15,000
Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled by Bert Murray
Rating: 2/5          Pages: 251           Page Goal: 5,640/15,000 

These five books created a total of 1,598 pages read in March. If I had to choose a favorite, it would have to be The Love of Her Life. Least favorite? Definitely Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled.

Since my classes are in 8-week courses, I completed one class in Management Communications and have started another class in Management Principles and Practices. And I got to enjoy a Spring Break, yay!


Even though I posted here about my desire to get some sewing in, I didn't accomplish much. I have done a basting stitch on that skirt to keep it from unraveling, but that's it. What an uneventful month for crafting!


I put in approximately 1,381 miles in March, so about 20 hours of windshield time. Only 483 miles of that was for work. I only completed one audiobook: You've Been Warned by James Patterson (no review written).


Matt and I have gotten spring cleaning fever this past month! We have managed to deep-clean the kitchen, living room, begin purging the office, convert to summer wardrobes (so early!), and rearrange the bedroom. We're looking forward to continuing to clean throughout April.

We also set the date for our wedding: April 6th, 2013, which is our 6-year anniversary :) Let the planning begin!

In the middle of this month I joined a toning and sculpting fitness class at the college where I work. It's kicking my butt because I'm so out-of-shape, but it feels so good afterwards. I can already see a difference in my waistline.

I became an aunt again on March 30th to a beautiful little boy, and I couldn't be happier for my wonderful brother and sister-in-law. Congratulations!


Matt and I are planning a trip to Spearfish, SD in celebration of our 5-year anniversary. We will be leaving this month. We are so excited to take a long, relaxing trip with few plans and no hassles.


Me, at Mount Rushmore, in October 2010.

So, readers, what were your March 2012 highlights?