project 4.0: my bucket list

project 4.0 bucket

One month ago today, I turned 40.  Since then, I’ve been doing some more thinking as to what that means.  Every month on the 7th, I’ll have a little insight as to my discoveries now that I’m 40.  This month, I’m putting together my bucket list.  Maybe not a traditional bucket list (I have no desire to jump out of an airplane, or cross the Amazon, or take a selfie on the Great Wall).  This bucket list is more of a mindfulness list.  The things that I need to remember to focus on through the day to day distractions of life.  The really important things.  The things that actually matter.


put down the iPad and play with the dog

We don’t have children, but we have a dog that thinks she is human, and we treat her as such for the most part.  She is very interactive, and wants to go where we go, do what we do, and be included in everything.  We love her more than anything.

What I’ve tried to become mindful of is that we will only have a limited amount of time with her.  And all she wants is a little love from us.  So when I’m kicked back on the couch in the evening checking Facebook on the iPad after a busy day, and she is sitting at my feet staring at me, I stop.  I put down the iPad.  And I snuggle and play with the dog.  Usually it’s only a few minutes before she is bored with me and goes back to napping, and I can get back to my important business of seeing who posted the coldest temperature of the day or found the funniest cat video.

And I feel better.  I feel loved.  And so does the dog.

(p.s.  this philosophy also works with kids, other loved ones or pets, and those random people out in the world that could use a little kindness and attention)


never be to busy to visit with family and friends

You know how busy life can be.  Work, taking care of the house, errands, soccer games, band practices, walking the dog.  All of those things you need to get done during the day.

Then the phone rings.  It’s your mom/best friend/someone else you love.  You look at the phone.  You want to talk to them, but you are in the middle of dishes/laundry/writing a blog post.  What do you do?

I answer the phone.

I didn’t always.  I just wanted to finish what I was doing, or I didn’t have much to talk about, or I was tired, or whatever.  But these are the people that make up my life.  Taking the time to connect with them is what gives my life depth.  Spend too much time disconnected, it is that much harder to become reconnected.

Answer the phone.  Go for drinks with the girls.  Take your great aunt to lunch.

You’ll feel the love.  I promise.


let the love of your life know you know how lucky you are

As I’ve mentioned before, it took me many, many years to find the man I would spend the rest of my life with.  And he was worth the wait.  And I am thankful for him every day.

Why is this on the bucket list?  Because every day I want him to know that I am thankful for him.  How lucky I am to have someone who works so hard, who makes me laugh, who supports me.

Does he do things that drive me nuts?  Sure.

Do I do things that drive him nuts?  Absolutely.

Do I think that those things should be the focus of our relationship?  Nope.

Do the things that make him perfect for me outnumber the things that drive me nuts?  By the thousands.

Remember and focus every day on the things that make your relationship great.  Try really hard not to get sucked into the humdrum day-to-day of taking each other for granted.

I’m so lucky to have him.  (And he’s lucky, too.)


be kind to yourself first

This might sound a little egocentric, but in reality, you can’t be of service to others with any sincerity without first taking care of yourself.  This is also the most difficult item of this list for me (and probably for most people).

It is easier to beat ourselves up about not having the right job, not being the right weight, not having the right address or car or clothes, for saying the wrong thing.  For not being “enough” (whatever that is).

But in order to accomplish all of the other things on this list, you must first realize that you are enough.  That you are more than enough.  This doesn’t mean that you are perfect.  This means that you are perfectly flawed, that you are trying everyday to be the best you can be, and you love yourself anyway.  Just the way you love all of the people in your life, even though they are not perfect.

The Golden Rule is “Treat others as you would want to be treated”.  An important rule.  Also important would be “Treat yourself as you would treat others”, don’t you think?


every day holds moments of grace

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just stop and notice the good and happy little things that happen throughout the day (even the bad days), such as…

… the lost (insert item here) that appears out of nowhere

… the traffic light that stays green just long enough

… that first bite of something incredibly delicious

… the warm sun or cool breeze that pops out just when you need it

… that front parking spot at a busy store

… the smile or hug when you really need one

Our days travel by too quickly as it is.  I find that pausing and being mindful and thankful for these little moments brightens my days.


So, there you have it.  That’s my bucket list.  Maybe not as sexy as some, but these are the things that fill my heart.  And isn’t that what a bucket list should really be about?

What are you adding to your bucket list this year?



birthday 4.0

birthday 4.0 cake

Today I celebrate my 40th birthday!

I’ve never been one to attach much power to a number.  18 was cool, 21 was fun, 25 was great, 30 was awesome.  I’ve never been depressed turning another year older, and it’s no different this year.

Is it weird that I don’t feel like I’m 40?

Does 40 even have a feeling?

“They” say life begins at 40.  It makes me wonder what I’ve been doing the last 39 years to get ready for this rebirth.  This is a peek into how I spent some of those years…

• 39+ years with my wonderful, crazy family!  My amazing parents, who were blessed to have such a perfect child that never caused them any trouble ever. Right?  My beloved extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins and the trouble we caused over the years.  My loving grandparents and great-aunts and uncles who had a beautiful perspective on life – I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to love them and learn from them.  The friends that are like family (second moms and dads, sisters and brothers that I never had) are an incredibly special gift – they are the family I built myself.  And now I have a gaggle of fun and lovable in-laws – I am truly fortunate.

• 8  years in elementary, junior and senior high school playing basketball (and dragging my parents all over hellenback to go to games, tournaments and camps).  Sometimes I can feel the lingering aching, creaking and cracking from the variety of injuries from those years, but they also made me stronger, more athletic, and gave me important skills to be a better team player in all areas of life.

• 1.5 years attending a large university to learn some important lessons in life (how to make lifelong friends from strangers; statistics 101 and Jack Daniels are not my friends; homesickness is hard, but not unconquerable).

• 3.5 years attending a small community college that carried it’s own lessons (when the road to school is impassable due to spring river flooding, it’s best to spend the morning at breakfast with a good friend; having the same people in both meteorology class and bowling class proves that lots of people in the world have a variety of interests; bowling and camping qualify as phys. ed. credits – who knew?).

• 7 years in a variety of jobs (video store clerk, technical writing assistant, Mary Kay consultant, photographer’s assistant, retail sales associate, potpourri bag stuffer/master bow tie-er on an assembly line, conference call operator) provided vast opportunities for meeting awesome people, learning great skills that I’d never know I’d need or want later in life (tying the perfect holiday bow and the power of a good phone voice, for example), and making a little money along the way – especially when you have 2 or 3 of the jobs at one time.

• 10 years in the beauty industry, including 4 years living in southern California working for the best boss ever (thanks for all of the opportunities, Bev!).  By far the most confidence building years of my life, and learning that when things get crazy and stressful, to remember that “it’s just shampoo”.

• almost 10 years now with the wonderful man who became my husband nearly 4 years ago.  (I waited 30 years to meet the man that was perfect for me, and he was worth the wait!)  All of our ups and downs, gains and losses, travels and nights at home have helped us build a strong foundation to our relationship.  Plus, a man that brings you breakfast in bed on your birthday is always a keeper.

• 2+ years planning and dreaming for our next adventure – building our home and starting our farm on our little chunk of land that we found.  Boy, are we learning a lot!

Life leading up to 40 has been full of knowledge, love, friendship, and hope.  If life begins at 40, I can’t wait!  Bring it on!!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Happy Halloween!

Mr. O received a jolt of Halloween spirit this afternoon, and came home with two pumpkins!  You can check out his mad pumpkin carving skills here, but I was more excited to have the pumpkin seeds!

I have tons of great memories of Halloween when I was little – the great costumes my mom made by hand, parties at school, and trick-or-treating with all of the neighbors (one year someone even dressed up as the headless horseman and rode a up and down the street on a horse!)

By far my most fond memory is carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds.  Dad and I would cut, gut and carve (well, Dad did most of that, because the guts were icky), and mom would roast the pumpkin seeds.  I was the taste tester, and I was darn good at it.

It’s been many, many years since I’ve had roasted pumpkin seeds, so I was super excited when Mr. O walked through the door, ready to carve!  I immediately called my mom to find out how she roasted the seeds.

Mr. O cut the tops off, and I cleaned out the guts (still icky, but I’m a big girl now!).

pumpkin guts - ohabitation

While he got to carving, I pulled all the seeds from the guts…

fresh pumpkin seeds - ohabitation

…and soaked them in some water for a few minutes.

soaking pumpkin seeds - ohabitation

I swished them around a little bit to make sure all the guts were cleaned off, rinsed them in a strainer and dried them a little bit on some paper towels.

Then I tossed them around in a bowl with a little drizzle of olive oil and just a sprinkling of salt, laid them out as evenly as possible, and popped them in a 325° oven for 10 minutes.

roasting pumpkin seeds - ohabitation

After 10 minutes, I pulled them out, stirred them around a little bit, and popped them back in the oven for another 9 minutes.  If you have an oven that doesn’t always seem to be at the right temperature, start checking them around 8 minutes so they don’t burn. (They don’t really brown on the outside shell, but the little seed on the inside can burn if the roast too long.)

roasted pumpkin seeds - ohabitation

Just pop them out of the oven, sprinkle with a little salt and enjoy!  When they are warm, they taste just like hot buttered popcorn – YUM!!

What are your favorite Halloween traditions?

the top 5 goodwill halloween costumes 2013

I have to admit that I’m really not that into Halloween.  Any holiday that includes spiders is not up my alley.  (I mean, do we really need to hang 6′ spiders from our front doors, people?  Eww.)

Even so, last week my friend and I were out shopping at the local Goodwill, and couldn’t help but browse through the racks of clothing that they picked out for their Halloween display.  I picked out a few things that I thought could be some interesting costume ideas.  Tell me what you think…


Hootenannie Dress

#5  Children of the Corn at the Hoe-Down



Valentines Vest

#4  Homicidal Home-Ec Teacher



Preschool Dynasty

#3  Alexis Carrington teaches Pre-School



Quilted Flower Explosion

#2  Substitute Summer School Herbology Professor at Hogwarts


And topping the list…

Hip Hop Overalls

#1  Fresh Prince of Green Acres


New Kids on the Farm


I’d love to know your captions for these costume options (or better yet, let me see some of your craziest costumes!!)

Happy Halloween!