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Hello, hello, hello! Did you all have a good time this holiday weekend? I know I had a fantastic weekend! It makes me sad to think I have to go back to work. Boo. Why can’t the fun continue?

I was sick(?) last week, so it was nice to be able to get out and about without being beyond worn out. The question mark is because I’m not quite sure if it was a cold or if at the age of 25 I have developed allergies. Perhaps a mixture of both? It all started with a sore/scratchy throat, then it transitioned into a runny nose and a cough. The whole time I was thankful that I have a job where I can work from home whenever I want. (I even took a nap during the workday the other day. It was weird, but needed.)

Anyways, on to fun times! We have 4 whole days to recap, so let’s get to it!

Thursday, July 4th

To start the holiday weekend off right, I slept in. After that, David and I went for a long walk. Remember how I said David and I need to get some miles under our belts for this upcoming hiking trip? Well, this 7-mile walk definitely did the trick.

The lengthy trek started on a trail by our house. I walked Dexter for 3.5 miles, while David carried a 20-pound backpack on his shoulders. Then, we switched. After all, we need the weight practice, too.

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We took several water breaks — this was the best one. Dexter got to play in the water and I got to sit under a tree in the shade.

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This was near where they usually have the Merriam Farmer’s Market. Since it was the 4th of July, they had a patriotic concert instead, which helped the 4th to seem like the 4th. (Side note: Where the heck did June go?!) Toward the end of our walk, we made it up this steep hill.

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And I had 20 pounds on my back. Not gonna lie — I was a little winded after I reached the top of that hill.

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Me with David’s Army backpack.

By the time we got back, we immediately started to feel it. Wowza. Thankfully, we still have time to keep on conditioning.

David, Dexter, and I headed over to my parents’ house to celebrate the 4th of July. We grilled out and spent time in the hot tub. We decided not to go watch fireworks this year. It was nice. We didn’t have to deal with crowds of people. We didn’t have to spend tons of time trying to get out of parking lots. Just the 4 of us and the dogs hanging out in the backyard.

I tried to make a bomb pop drink to bring some red, white, and blue to party. It was supposed to look like this:

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But it really turned out like this:

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More like a melted popsicle. I put UV Cherry in first, then lemonade, and topped it off with some blue curacao. The only directions were to pour everything in carefully. Apparently, it didn’t work. The ingredients had a mind of their own and flipped and mixed themselves. Oh well. It was worth a shot. It tasted OK, but didn’t hit the spot at all. I finished this one and had a Coke instead.

We all sat around and talked and enjoyed the fire my dad had made until it was midnight. We made sure to celebrate for a full day!

Friday, July 5th

David and I didn’t receive this as a day off, but David and I decided to take it off anyways. Everyone else was taking off, so we decided: why not?

We spent a lot of the day running around — going from one store to another. Our first stop was Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM). (If you’ve never heard of this store, it’s a HUGE store. It has all sorts of stuff for your kitchen, bedroom, deck, living room, etc. The store started out in Omaha, Nebraska, but gained so much popularity that they expanded to Kansas City and soon they’ll be in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, too.) David and I have talked about getting a new range and dishwasher for awhile now. The oven that is part of our range now doesn’t heat to 400 degrees, plus it takes forever to preheat. Basically, it’s a big nuisance. The dishwasher we have doesn’t clean and doesn’t dry very well. We have to scrub our dishes — basically prewashing them — before we place them in the dishwasher. Not efficient at all. My parents mentioned that NFM does these packaged deals where you get a fridge, a range, a dishwasher, and a microwave. We could use a new fridge too, but it’s not a necessity yet. Ours still works. David and I were intrigued so we went to go check it out.

Turns out they didn’t have much selection in their packages for gas ranges and the fridges they offered wouldn’t fit the space we have for a fridge (the widest we can go is 33″ and a lot of fridges are 36″). Our current fridge is 30″. The lady we talked to said it would be better just to make our own package. By the end of the day, we really liked a Whirlpool gas range, dishwasher, and fridge. To do our due diligence, we then stopped by Lowes, Home Depot, and Sears to compare prices. NFM was the least expensive. We still wanted to mull it over and not make any hasty decisions, so we decided to wait until Sunday to buy anything.

We also went to Beauty Brands for its annual liter sale, Target, and Hobby Lobby for some craft supplies to make our block party banner.

I spent the rest of the evening crafting and watching music videos on Vevo and YouTube.

Saturday, July 6th

Block Party day! Before prepping for the festivities, I went to my haircut appointment. I’ve gotten the same haircut for a handful of years now and I always think to take a picture of it (because we all know it doesn’t look quite as good the day after), but never do. So no picture for you this time.

The rest of the day was dedicated to all things block party. David and I ran out to get name tags. I made Asian Coleslaw to bring as our side to share. And David put up the banner I had made the night before on the garage.

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It turned out soooo good. I was pumped for the neighbors to see it.

I got the inspiration for the banner here and adapted it for what I needed. I didn’t take any pictures, so I can’t provide a captivating step-by-step for you. Here are the basics, though:

1. Buy cardstock that you like. I chose a color called “Kraft” because it resembled cardboard.
2. I had hoped to print directly onto the card stock, but my printer would not have it. I instead typed two letters per piece of paper and printed it out on regular white printer paper. I used Adobe InDesign to type the letters, but Microsoft Word should work just fine. Use landscape view. The font I used is called “Bebas” and you can download it for free (it’s legit) on Font Squirrel.
3. Next, I carefully cut out each letter and pasted it with white Elmer’s glue onto the card stock that I had cut in half. Keep cutting pieces of card stock and pasting the letters on until all your letters are done.
4. Then, punch two holes about 4 inches apart at the top of each of the card stock pieces.
5. I strung colored jute in the punched holes to connect all the letters. You can use any other type of string you’d like. Voila — a banner!

The block party started off with a fire truck demonstration. The kids got to explore the truck and play in the fire hydrant water.

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They also turned on the lights and sirens as they were leaving.

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The rest of the evening was spent sitting, eating, and getting to know our neighbors. It was lovely to meet everyone that came! We’ve been in our house close to a year and we haven’t met very many people at all — just the ones that live within a two-house radius of us. We have a long street. I’d say we have close to 30 houses on our street. Not every one participated, but it was fun nevertheless. I was thinking they held this block party every year, but they hadn’t had one in 6 years! I’m glad they chose this year to have one.

Sunday, July 7th

Slept in again. Surprise, surprise. :) David and I headed back out to the The Legends to go to NFM again. We first grabbed lunch at Famous Dave’s, a barbecue joint. I talked David out of it once this weekend (I’m not a big fan of barbecue — I know, and I’m from Kansas!), so I figured I should let him have it. He had never been to Famous Dave’s before.

He ordered the Texas Brisket and liked it. Because I’m not a huge fan, we haven’t been to any barbecue restaurants lately; therefore, he couldn’t compare it to any other barbecue restaurants around town.

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I got the barbecue chicken sandwich with a side of macaroni and cheese.

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It was pretty good, but it didn’t hit the spot. (But, it rarely does.) I enjoyed the mac and cheese best. It had a kick to it!

The rest of the afternoon was spent making a decision about our new range and dishwasher and perusing the whole store since we were there. I’m not going to tell you how long we were at NFM, let’s just say it was hours.

When it was all said and done, we paid a good chunk of cash, but I’m super excited for all that we got! I know I had said we had zoned in on a couple of Whirlpool appliances earlier, but we changed our minds based on other models we found when we were doing our price comparison. We settled on a Frigidaire Gallery gas range and dishwasher.

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We decided to hold off on a fridge for a couple of months — spread out how we spend our money a bit. We did buy a third item, though. I have been hunting for a cute accent chair for my office for months. I have a small office, so it couldn’t be too big. Ideally, I wanted two people to be able to sit in it though (if I ever did wedding invitation consultations in my house). I know, I have high expectations. Well, I think this bench will work out perfectly.

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I plan to put a cushion on it at some point. I’m hoping to talk my mom into making one for me. :) See, I’m so demanding.

I have to wait for everything, though. The bench is coming in from Omaha on Tuesday, the range will be delivered and installed on Monday, July 15, and the dishwasher will be delivered and installed on Monday, July 22. Now, to wait patiently. They’ll make life so much easier (and more fun) when they get here. You know you’re growing up when you’re excited to look for and buy new appliances!

Questions for you:
1. How was your weekend? What did you do?
2. Do you always make sure you see fireworks on the 4th of July?

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