Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Make Time to Communicate

As you know, we started our He Said, She Said series last week. With this challenge, we are challenging couples to interview each other and send us the answers so that we can feature them on Tuesdays. We feel that communication is a huge part of a relationship, which is why we're building on the He Said, She Said series and giving you a chance to get involved each and every week!

Stop for a bit and think back to your dating days. Way back - to the early days when you were still getting to know each other. I'm going to guess that there was a lot of conversation on your dates as you took the time to get to know each other. Has that conversation tapered off some?

Not married? That's fine! We weren't married or dating at one point as well. Think about your regular outings with friends and family. I'm not talking about the get together every now and then to catch up outings. I'm talking about the ones that occur regularly - maybe even every night. Are they filled with friendly conversation or do you hit periods of silence?

In either case, we've come up with something that is going to make conversation a bit more fun and lively. Each week, we're going to be sending out seven questions to our newsletter subscribers. That's one for every day of the week or seven questions to keep the conversation going on a special night of the week. Some of the questions will be simple, while others will spark conversation about hypothetical situations. They're all designed to spark conversation and help you learn new things about the people around you.

We know that it's hard to be patient and you might be reading this on a day other than Sunday (when the questions will hit your inbox), so we're going to start you off with seven questions the moment you sign up. This means you can get started with all of the fun right way!

Simply click one of the links in this email or fill in the box below to be added to our email list. Then, look for your welcome email. The next round of questions hits inboxes everywhere on Sunday!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

January Date Night Ideas

Today's post is going to be the first in the series of posts over the course of 2017. Each month (on the first Thursday), we're going to be bringing you a list of date night ideas for the month. We're hoping to share ten different ideas a month based on the season and holidays. We hope you'll return each month to check out our ideas!

January is a cold month when it comes to dates since it's smack dab in the middle of winter. We tried our best to pick a few outdoor dates, but most of the dates ended up being indoors for this month. Don't worry - we'll make up for that in the spring months!

Movie night
This one may seem a little cliche but it's always a good fall back - especially when the weather gets cold and the roads become hard to navigate. The great thing about a movie date is that you have the option to make it a night out to see a movie or a cozy date in with a movie on your own screen. Make it work for you. For us, we have a movie date at the theater planned for this month since it might be our last one for a while. From what I've heard, crying babies and movie theaters don't mix well.

Cook dinner together
Take the classic dinner date and put a spin on it. Pick out a meal together, pick up the ingredients, and enjoy some time cooking something fancy (or not so fancy) for yourselves. Then, light the candles and make it into a romantic evening for two. If you want to have an element of surprise with this date, assign different parts of dinner preparation between the two of you and see what you end up with. Perhaps you cook the main entree while he does the sides.

Cozy fire
Remember when we talked about winter and how cold it can be? January is the perfect month to incorporate a fire into your date night. Maybe light it while you watch a movie or play a game together.

Snowball fight
This one can be fun with or without snow on the ground. If there's snow on the ground, bundle up and head on out for a friendly snowball fight or even building a snowman. If there's no snow on the ground, make your own snowballs from yarn or paper and have a friendly game inside!

Coffee date
With all this talk of cold and snow, a coffee or hot chocolate is sounding pretty good right about now. Head out to your favorite cafe or coffee shop and pick up a cup of your favorite beverage for a short date together. Enjoy your hot beverage inside or take it out for a wintry walk.

Goal setting date
January is a big month for goal setting. Why not sit down together and set some goals for your family. You'll spark a conversation that will help you all year while spending some quality time together. Plus you'll be on the same page for what you want out of the year!

Bowling date
It's cold outside so why not take the fun inside and hang out at the bowling alley! Use this as the perfect excuse to try out an old activity together again.

Game night
Pull out the board games or the video games and challenge your spouse to a friendly competition! Don't forget to pick up your favorite snacks and drinks to make the night even more fun.

Snow date
If you're in an area where it snows, why not take advantage of it and plan your date around the snow? There are so many fun things you could do with snow from making snow angels to sledding down a nearby hill. It's the perfect way to use the season to your advantage.

Dinner date
Consider this one your fall back date. If all else fails, get dressed up and head out to dinner together. Make the night just about you two. The important part of a date night is spending time together after all. (Can't find a sitter? Make it a late night dinner at home after the kids go to bed.)

How often do you make time for a date night? We'd love to hear about your favorites in the comments below!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

He Said, She Said: The Coastie Couple

Happy 2017! It's bound to be an interesting year for us as we welcome our first little one into the world in a little over a month (assuming he sticks to his due date). In order to prepare for our little one's arrival, we thought we'd turn our He Said, She Said post into a guest series for the beginning of the year. We have teamed up with some awesome bloggers and influencers for this series. We think you're really going to enjoy getting to meet new people through this fun series!

P.S. You're going to want to read to the end of this post for a fun opportunity!

We thought it best to kick of the series with our own answers to the questions we created. So, today, we're featuring ourselves!

What is the story behind how you two met?

He said: I was just out for a couple of drinks and found a neat bar with a cool back patio area. Originally I was trying to push a conversation forward with one of her friends but resigned to just hang out at the table when all the others got up to socialize. Pam sat down and we both just started talking and happened to hit it off.

She said: We were at a local bar in Charleston and seating was limited since it was a busy Saturday night. My friend and I had snagged a table, but it was kind of big for two. He came along and asked if he could share with us. He started out talking to my friend but by the night's end, we were engaged in friendly conversation and the night ended with us exchanging numbers. I truly never thought it would go beyond that one conversation.

How long have you been together?

He said: 4.5 years

She said: Four and a half years. Two and a half married.

When did you know that your spouse was “the one”?

He said: While I was in Portland after Christmas at home - Our long distance relationship came back together for about a week. We meshed like I had never left.

She said: I think it was around the time we decided to attempt long distance. Even though I had my doubts that it would work, I chose to try. I don't think I would have tried if there had been any "red flags" in our relationship.

What is your favorite TV show and/or movie to watch together?

He said: Supernatural

She said: Once Upon a Time

What is your spouse’s favorite food?

He said: Macaroni and Cheese

She said: Sandwiches and wraps

What is your favorite food?

He said: Burritos

She said: Pizza

What is your favorite thing to do as a couple?

He said: We love to go hiking on trails together.

She said: We enjoy so many different things. Basically, as long as we're doing it together, we can make just about anything fun. Travel, hiking, and exploring definitely rank somewhere towards the top of the list.

If the house caught on fire right now, what would be the first thing you grabbed?

He said: A fire extinguisher.

She said: I would grab the dogs and hopefully their leashes to make it easier to get them to safety. (Obviously the baby will make this list when he's born. For now, he goes everywhere with me.)

If money were no object, where would you take your spouse for a week?

He said: In early 2015, I would have said Europe. Now I would say Hawaii.

She said: This one is really hard because we both like to travel so much. I think I would have to say New Zealand. I think it would be a nice change of pace from America. The scenery I've seen from New Zealand is gorgeous and their accents are enjoyable as well.

Describe the perfect date night with your spouse.

He said: It would start at a nice vineyard or craft brewery with live music, good food, and a bonfire. It would be followed up with a walk through a scenic establishment like a botanical garden that has been put together in a manner to make it feel like you were walking through a fantasy glade.

She said: I would have to say a quiet night at a local restaurant or craft brewery followed by a walk under the stars.

Describe your spouse in just three words.

He said: outgoing, independent, calculated

She said: Caring, imaginative, and hard-working.

What would your answers to the questions be? Go ahead - try it out with your spouse!

Asking questions is a great way to learn new things and spark interesting discussions with your spouse. We want to help you out by bringing you five new questions a week to ask your spouse. All you have to do is sign up here and you'll get them delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Looking to the Future

It's the end of the year, which means it's the perfect time to reflect and set new goals for the future. With a little one on the way, next year is going to be extremely unpredictable. That doesn't mean we can't aim for a few small changes here and there alongside the major change. Let's face it - we really could just make our goal "survive the first year of parenthood" but where's the fun in that?

So, let's get into those goals for the New Year and what changes you might see coming to the blog as well!

Each PCS move brings new adjustments to money as living situations and housing allowance change. It also brings adjustments to work schedules, cost of living, and a variety of other things. We're slowly figuring out what our new normal is for this area which is where this first focus comes in. I would like to see us rebuild our savings and incorporate more day to day savings into our lives.

We have so many goals for the house that I can't even name them all. It's been a constant project since we moved in! A few of the projects on the list for next year include a new deck on the back of the house and a garden in the springtime. Beyond that, you'll have to keep checking back to the blog for updates!

PCS and travel took a bit of a toll on our health. It's really hard to eat healthy and at home when you're on the road and living in temporary quarters. Now that we have our own kitchen and items to work with, we've started back to eating at home. We're also slowly making changes to the items that are brought into our house to make sure that they are healthy. This doesn't mean we're perfect all of the time. It means we make conscious efforts everyday to do better. You can follow along with our healthy adventure on the wife's absandanchors Instagram account.

We don't really have a "goal" to go along with this one. It's more a matter of maintaining a healthy marriage. We'll also be working on adjusting to life as a family of 3 (5 if you count the dogs) instead of 2.

Honestly? I think do our best in our first year of parenthood should suffice for this category. Since baby boy isn't due until February, we'll be spending the beginning of the year getting prepared for his arrival. (P.S. Anything you'd like to us to share about our process?)

You'll be seeing a few updates to the blog over the course of 2017 and I'm excited to share them below:

He Said, She Said
This is a new series coming to the blog for the first part of the year. This series will serve a few functions - it will allow us to bring in some guests while we adjust to our lives as parents and it'll allow you to read some of the funny answers that come from a couple answering the same questions. Here's an example of a past He Said, She Said post. Normally, we answer various questions ourselves. For this one, we're inviting guests to join us and we'll be sharing their answers with you! In fact if you'd like to be a featured guest on the series, please email me at thecoastiewife@gmail.com with He Said, She Said as the title.

More Posts from the Husband
As I mentioned on Tuesday, you'll be seeing more posts from the husband in the near future! He's always been a part of this blog (coming up with ideas, recipes, taking pictures, etc) but he'll be getting back to writing posts. In fact, he has a DIY post that he's excited about for January.

More Home Posts & Less Deployment Posts
Now that we're home owners, you're likely to see more home posts sprinkled through the blog. In the same effect, the husband is no longer attached to a boat that deploys often so you'll see few posts about that topic as well. Don't forget that we have some great ones in the archives though! Simply click the military tab on our sidebar to get there.

We'll be getting back to weekly recipes later this year. Each recipe will come with a nice printable as well. In fact, you could start building a cookbook from our recipes later this year.

And so much more!
I'm going to leave this section pretty open-ended because we're still making plans and the blog is still evolving as we do. It truly is an extension of our little family and I'd love to keep it that way.

So, here's to the New Year - may it be filled with baby snuggles, wet dog kisses, and lots of new adventures!

And because we're always curious - what are you planning for 2017?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Self Reflection

Healthy communication is a huge part of a strong relationship. With that being said, I love the new link up I found from Belle Brita and plan to participate in each month. Each month, her husband and her interview each other and post the answers on their blog. They're now inviting others to join in and we'll definitely be participating in the future.

Normally, the husband would be answering these questions as well. It's taken us a few months to get past the humdrum of deployments, moving, buying a house, pregnancy, and him settling in at a new station. We're finally starting to settle in and he'll be rejoining me more here on the blog. (Seriously - he already has a post he's excited to write about a DIY project.) In the meantime, I'm going to be answering the questions for December. He'll be joining me in January for those questions.

You can expect a few new things from us in 2017 as our lives take a new direction as homeowners, pet owners, and parents. We'll still be sharing lots of great content, just with a new perspective on things. I'll be talking more about these changes in our next post though. This one is all about reflecting through the questions for the month.

1) How have you become a better person this year?
I have grown a lot as a person this year. I have learned to be me in all situations. I've spent this past year doing a lot of self reflection on my values and what I want out of life. Along with this has been many conversations about the same topics with my husband. After buying our house in the country, many people told me they were surprised by our choice. For me though, the choice feels exactly right. I grew up near a city but I'm quickly learning to be more of a country girl and I love that.

I'm not going to lie - the prospect of being a mother has also made me reevaluate my values and what I want to be passing on. This is an area that I'm constantly working on lately. I'm sure it's one that I'll continue to work on in the future. Making decisions for someone else is twice as difficult as making hard decisions for yourself.

2) What do you think about creative outlets? Do you have one, and if so, what is it? 
I love creative outlets and I have several different ones. The blogs that I run (Hodge Podge Moments, The Coastie Couple, and a new one coming in January) are a major creative outlet for me. In addition to the blogs, I also enjoy photography, crafting, cooking, and writing. I tend to be happiest when I'm being creative.

3) In a perfect world, what would be your top 5 priorities in life? 
I would like to think that my top 5 priorities are the same regardless of how perfect the world is - family, friends, happiness, helping others, and staying true to my values. These are values that I feel would be with me regardless of the condition of the world. I'm a strong believer in putting your community (family and friends) and happiness towards the top of your list.  (P.S. The dogs are included in my definition of family.)

4) What do you want to improve about your life in 2017?
I'll be talking more about exact goals in the next post, but I can give an overview now. The things I want to improve in my life are all centered around the way I live my life - the products I use, the choices I make, and the way I live my life. Check back Thursday for more details on each of these areas!

How was your 2016? We'd love to hear the highlights in the comments below!

Until next time, happy living and we hope you make the most of your day!

Oh and go link up at Belle Brita with your own answers!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Holiday Blogging Challenge

Last year, we teamed up with The Petite Mrs to bring you the 12 Days of Blogmas. This year, we're changing the challenge just a bit to be the Holiday Blogging Challenge. This is a challenge that we hope to make an annual challenge, with each year being themed around a different song. Read on below for all of the fun and how you can be involved!

Each year, we'll be hosting the Holiday Blogging Challenge with The Petite Mrs. This challenge is an interactive challenge built around holiday writing prompts and a link up. Each year, we pick a different song to inspire the challenge. Last year, we used "The 12 Days of Christmas" to inspire our prompts. This year, we went in a different direction and chose "The Christmas Song."(If you're not familiar with the song, you can watch this video or read the lyrics.)

Now that you know which song inspired our prompts, let's get on to them! You'll notice that the prompts are grouped by the song lyrics that inspired them.

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire"
What is your favorite food during the holiday?
Do you have a favorite holiday recipe?
What are your favorite holiday activities to do by firelight?

"Jack Frost nipping at your nose"
What's your favorite holiday movie?
What does it mean to you?
Which movies make your must see list every year? 

"Yule-tide carols being sung by a choir"
Do you sing carols?
What are your favorite holiday songs?

"And folks dressed up like Eskimos."
What's the weather like where you live? 
What are your winter weather clothing essentials?
Share your favorite winter fashion accessories.

"Everybody knows a turkey and some miseltoe
Help to make the season bright"
How and when do you decorate?
Do you have a theme for your decorating?
Do you prefer a real tree or a fake tree?

"Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow."
How do you make the season festive for your kids?
What do your kids look forward to every year?

"Will find it hard to sleep tonight."
Do you have a nightly routine?
How do you sleep when you're excited?
What do you do when you can't sleep?

"They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh."
What's on your wishlist?
What are some favorite gifts you've received?
What are some favorite gifts you've given?

"And every mother's child is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly."
What is your Christmas Eve tradition?
Did you write a letter to Santa? 
Will you leave treats for Santa?
What did you believe as a child?

"And so I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two"
What are your favorite holiday memories?
Do you have any traditions left from childhood?
What new traditions have you started as an adult?

"Although it's been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you."
What holiday or holidays do you celebrate?
How do you wish people a Merry Christmas?

*Lyrics to this song are credited to Nat King Cole. 
Lyrics have been included in quotes and italics*

Now that you have the prompts to work with, I bet you're wondering about the rules. We've kept them pretty simple. The focus of this challenge is spreading holiday cheer in the blogging world - not creating unnecessary rules and guidelines to follow.

The Super Simple Rules

1. You are free to link up any holiday related posts, even if they don't fit perfectly with the prompts. The prompts are merely guidelines to help you out.

2. Please select a badge from those below and include it on your post with a link back to The Petite Mrs & The Coastie Couple.

3. You may link up one post per day on the link up. The link up is open December 1-25. This post is the one you should come back to each day to link up. We've kept it simple - there is not a new link up every day.

4. Please do not link drop and run! For each link that you add, please spread the love to two other bloggers in the link up.

5. Share this post with your blogging buddies! The more people that participate, the more fun and interaction we'll have!

P.S. You can do one holiday post or twenty five holiday posts. It's entirely up to you! This challenge is designed to work with your normal blogging schedule. (For example, we will be posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays like we have for the past few months.)

Snag a badge for your blog or post:

Now it's time to link up!
Don't forget to return to this post from December 1-25 to link up all your holiday posts!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ten Unique Christmas Countdown Ideas

Hopefully we're not the only ones counting down to Christmas! It tends to be a pretty fun and festive time of the year, so we thought we'd bring you a few ideas for counting down to the big day! Feel free to share your own countdown traditions in the comments at the end!

You could do a simple countdown involving a daily piece of candy, but we thought it'd be more fun to be creative. So, today you're getting ten ideas for making your countdown unique this year. (Psst...you can always buy a candy advent calendar at the store if creativity isn't your thing.)

Countdowns can be as long or as short as you'd like. You could do one for everyday from 1-25, the twelve days of Christmas, or just the weekends. Essentially, it's up to you how long you make your countdown.

1. Give your mismatched socks a purpose.
Do you have a lot of mismatched or old socks hanging around? Give them new life by filling them with small goodies and hanging them on a clothesline. They'll look like mini stockings filled with a special treat everyday!

2. Create a movie countdown.
You can create a movie countdown in two different ways. The first way is to assign each movie to a day (much like the popular ABC Family countdown) or you can wrap all of your holiday movies and open a new one each night. This creates an element of surprise since you won't know which one you're going to watch until you open it!

3. Use local events as your countdown.
Look for local events that are happening and schedule one for each weekend leading up to the big holiday. This will get you in the Christmas spirit and out of the house for a while. Many of these events are free or low cost, so you can enjoy the holiday without breaking your budget.

4. Create a coupon countdown.
Make the countdown special with redeemable coupons that you make yourself. This is perfect if you're looking for a special way to treat your significant other or children to extra surprises. They can be as simple as "good for one hug." If you're making the countdown just for yourself, you could use self love coupons as a way to treat yourself.

5. Decorate the tree.
You could start a new tradition by turning the task of decorating the tree into a countdown of sorts. Each night, you could add a new ornament (or two depending on how many you have) to the tree until you have a full tree on Christmas day!

6. Create a nightly reading routine.
I've seen this one floating around for the past few years and I immediately fell in love with the idea. Unfortunately, I don't know where the idea originated so I can't give proper credit. Take 25 holiday themed books and wrap them in the same wrapping paper. Each night, have your child select a book to read before bedtime from the pile.

7. Use the reindeer for inspiration.
You could do a 9 day countdown using the reindeer for inspiration. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Maybe you dance around the Christmas tree on Dancer's night and wear red on Rudolph's night. There are lots of ways you can get creative with this one!

8. Create your own 12 Days of Christmas.
This could be a fun countdown to create for the family! Each day, you'll build on how many things you do. For example, on the first day of Christmas, you might decorate on the house. Then, on the second day of Christmas you might watch two holiday movies. Number a sheet of paper from one to twelve and let your creativity guide you!

9. Countdown using crafts.
Do you enjoy making crafts? Use the holiday season as an excuse to get crafty! You could plan your countdown around holiday crafts that you'd like to create. This is also a good way to make unique gifts for the special people on your list.

10. Learn about holidays around the world.
In the classroom, we turned the holiday season into a learning opportunity. Each day, the students would learn about a different country and the holiday traditions. They loved learning about new places and it was a great way to countdown the season. There are lots of books, craft ideas, recipes, and other goodies available on the Internet to make this a reality.

Bonus Idea: Make your own countdown!
You can always create your own countdown as well with different activities that your family will enjoy. You can do it in calendar form, with envelopes hanging on the wall, or even a good old fashioned paper chain. It may take a little extra work, but the personal touch will be worth it in the end!

Just for Bloggers: Countdown the holidays with the 
Holiday Blogging Challenge!

On December 1, The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple will be posting prompts and a link up for the holiday blogging season. We're inviting other bloggers to join us as we spread holiday cheer around the blogosphere. We'll be covering a wide variety of topics with our prompts, including fashion, traditions, movies, food, activities, memories, and so much more! Everyone is invited to participate by writing posts related to the prompts and linking them up to share. There is no set schedule or format, so you can easily incorporate it into your own blogging schedule! The link up will be live from December 1-25 to allow for lots of fun and interaction.