Wednesday, August 31, 2016

That time we bought a house...Again

We're homeowners..again! These past couple months have been insanely crazy. Ever bought a house? This was our second go at it, so Drew and I were pretty confident we'd be able to navigate smoothly through it. For the most part we were right. We knew exactly what we wanted, how much money we were willing to spend (although we started off with a lesser price, my advice always start low, and have a max price you are willing to spend) and the area we wanted to be in (somewhat). 
From the outside it sounds like we've got everything covered. Minor hiccup, we've never been to Colorado before, we weren't going to be in Colorado until AFTER we closed on the house, oh and the cherry on top, Drew was in Arizona while I was in Florida for the summer. No big deal right? We only purchased a house without ever seeing it.

Needless to say, we were nervous. The market was moving so quickly, by the time we found houses we liked, they would be under contract before our realtor could even go and see it.

First things first, if you're serious about buying a house but you're not in the area, or even if you are in the area, make sure to find a realtor you can trust and rely on. This experience showed me how half-assed our first experience buying a house was. If it wasn't for this amazing team our realtor and loan officer, things would've fallen apart. This is the part where I gush about our amazing realtor, Kristi Shumaker. She was recommended by a friend who had just bought a home with her help in the area. I cannot stress enough, how important it is to find someone you can trust, regardless of if you are buying the house site unseen or in person. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Drew and I wouldn't have been able to do any of this without Kristi's knowledgeable guidance and genuine joy of helping us. She knew from when she pulled up to check the house out for us that, this home would be our new home. We could tell through her excitement in her video how much she really liked the house, and as soon as we saw the video, we fell in love with the house.

Of course I'm still a rational person, buying a house without seeing it was still a scary experience, and all the pictures and videos in the world didn't stop me from stressing out about the fact that we were buying a house neither of us had seen before, in a place we've never been before.

Thankfully everything went smoothly...until the day we were supposed to leave Florida, when our loan officer called us to say that there was a hiccup and we might not be closing in 5 days. I flipped out, told Drew it was a sign that we made a huge mistaken and now we're stuck with a shit hole that I'm going to hate. (I was definitely being dramatic) ...5 hours later, everything worked out because our loan officer, Everett Nordby was amazing. Seriously, we've been so lucky with amazing loan officers. Everett literally went above and beyond for us and he is the whole reason we were able to close on time.

I could go on and on about both Kristi and Everett, but that would take up so much time. But I'm sitting here in my house, so thankful that everything worked out and we were able to get this house that both Drew and I absolutely love. Looking back, as scary as it was, it was so worth it! Now, the hard part, unpacking the 7,000 lbs of stuff we have!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Road Trip

I haven't had a chance to update, mostly because we've been crazy busy with our move. We did a 5 days, 8 states, 2,800 mile road trip across the USA from Florida to Colorado. #PCSFL2CO
Blog Posts will be coming up, but in case you missed all the exciting adventures I've shared through Instagram and Facebook, here's a recap! 

We passed through exactly 8 states, Florida (I counted Florida, since we traveled from South Florida), Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado.

We had 5 planned stops (not including potty breaks, and state line stops) Tallahassee, FL | Nashville,TN | St. Louis,MO | Kansas City, MO | Monument Rocks, KS  before arriving at our final destination of Colorado Springs, CO.


 It was a fun trip! It has honestly made me fall more in love the the USA. I'm so glad we were able to do it together. Be on the look out for future posts. I'll try to get them out ASAP!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

5 Favorite Day Trips near Grafenwoehr

I love taking day trips, I even wrote a post on Economical Excursionists about why Day trips are better than vacations : Click Here to read it.
Living in Europe is a dream come true. Germany, in my opinion is the perfect location to travel. I wanted to take advantage of every single free moment we had, although life sometimes got in the way, I think for the most part we accomplished quite a bit. I've been thinking about my favorite day trips and wanted to share with you a list of my top 5 favorite day trips to take from Bavaria, (Grafenwoehr/Vilseck) that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

1. Visit a Castle Ruin

I had to start with my favorite one! Castle ruins are my thing. It's the perfect Sunday activity when you want to do something, but you don't want to venture too far from home. This is great for every member of your family, even the ones covered in fur!

2. See a Memorial (i.e. from WWI & WWII)


This might not be everyone's cup of tea. But, I believe that everyone should take the time to remember what happened 70+ years ago. Germany played big roles in both WWI & WWII, you can see it all over the country, from concentration camps (Flossenburg, Dachau), to war memorials (Hall of Liberation, Nazi Party Documentation Center), even places that were bombed and restored after the war (Wurzburg Residence, Nuremberg Imperial Castle). If you're not interested in WWI & II memorials, there are some like Wahalla which honors distinguished people in German History. In my opinion you cannot leave Bavaria without seeing one.

3. Visit a medieval town

 Need I say more? It's the most famous medieval town in all of Germany. I'm sure you've seen it in a magazine, or two. It's such a cute town, that although very busy all year round (it's Christmas all year round here) it still has the small town charm. Take a stroll along the medieval walls, grab a bite to eat 'in Hell' (The restaurant, Zur Holl, literally translates to 'in Hell') walk along cobblestone streets, but don't forever to take a tour with the night watchman!

If you've been to Rothenburg, consider Dinkelsbühl, another medieval town along the Romantic Road, far less busy than Rothenburg, but with the same medieval Charm

4. Cross the border into the Czech Republic

You can drive 40 minutes and you're in another country! I loved being able to do that. The Czech Republic is a hidden gem. While most people visit Prague (since it's only 2hrs away, make sure to visit it as well) My favorite place in the Czech Republic is Chodovar, (Chodová Planá) This is a one stop place if you are looking to relax. Beer spas (you skin will thank you for it after words), to brewery tours, you can even have a meal in an actual cave!

5. Pick a direction and take a drive

Some of my favorite memories were when we went out to go exploring, and found things along the way to see (Pottenstein, Neideck ruins). By nature, I am a planner, but there have been days where plans get thrown and we decide to just stop off and follow that sign, and so far I haven't been disappointed.

There you have it. My top 5 favorite things to see near Grafenwoehr. Are any of these your favorite things? Did I miss your favorite place to visit/see? Let me know!

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Eremitage, Bayreuth, Germany

One of my favorite places in Germany was only 15 minutes away from us. In Bayrueth there is so much to see and do. One of my favorite places in Bayreuth is the Eremitage, or "New Palace". Located on the outter area of the city. Although it's great all year round, my favorite time to check out this palace is during the summer when the fountains and gardens are in full bloom.

The Eremitage has its origins in 1616, when the margrave purchased a tract of forest not far from Bayreuth. Half a century later, Margrave Christian Ernst turned part of it into a deer park and shortly afterwards added a "grotto and fountain house".

Margrave Georg Wilhelm founded the Eremitage on the site of a zoo belonging to his father Christian Ernst. In 1715 the Old Palace was begun as the focal point of the hermitage. In the palace and the scattered hermit's huts in the woods the court played at being members of a hermits' order.

The New Palace with the upper grotto, the lower grotto, the Margrave's Hermitage, the "Ruined Theatre" and other small buildings from Wilhelmine's day are still the dominant features of the Eremitage. At the end of the 18th century, the Court Garden was transformed into a landscape garden, which included replacing the boskets with natural stands of trees and meadows. Over the last 30 years, individual sections of the park which disappeared in the 19th century have been reconstructed.

It's such a beautiful place to visit, and although the fountains are closed during the winter it makes the perfect backdrop for photos! We even took our Christmas photos here one year. Perfect place to visit for people of all ages!

Additional Information:
Cost: Free (Grounds)
Pet Friendly
Address: Eremitage 4, 95448 Bayreuth
Park open all year round
Waterworks: May to October every hour:
Bassin at the New Palace: Daily 10 am-6 pm
Lower Grotto: Daily 10.15 am-5.15 pm

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Sabino Canyon, AZ

My wonderful husband, Drew is in Arizona for the summer, he's been exploring this beautiful state and was willing to guest post for me. Best husband ever! In this post he's going to share his experience in Southern Arizona hiking to the Seven Falls near Tucson.


The Seven Falls hike is one of the most popular hikes in Southern Arizona, and when the water level is right it is definitely one of the best for taking a dip.

When I heard about the Seven Falls hike, I couldn’t wait to go myself. Once I started tell people about my plans to hike the Seven Falls Trail, more and more people became interested in making the hike as well. By the time the weekend came around, 4 other people agreed to make the 8.2 mile-roundtrip hike. From what I heard, it is best to try and get started on the hike first thing in the morning, especially since Southern Arizona can get VERY hot, very quickly. Since there is no parking for Bear Canyon, the start of the Seven Falls hike begins at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. From the Sabino Canyon parking lot, hikers just have to follow the signs for “Seven Falls”. There is also a tram that you can hop on at the visitor center that will take you a little over a mile up the road.

The hike starts out as a wide dirt trail, but meets up with a paved road after about a half mile. If your go on a particularly hot day like I did (it was 96 degrees when we started the hike), there is a dirt trail that runs parallel to the hard ball road and meets back up with the road at the start of the Bear Canyon trail head. It will offer you some relief from the extreme heat coming up off the asphalt road.

Once on the Seven Falls trail you will cross the Bear Creek seven times before getting to the falls. There are not very many signs directing you where to go once you get on the trail head, but the path is pretty well traveled so it isn’t difficult to find your way. For the most part, the trail follows the creek, so if you are unsure which way to go, just follow the path in the direction of the creek. Depending on the water levels the crossings over the creek can range from easy to mildly difficult, so be careful. After the seventh crossing, the trail climbs up the east side of Bear Canyon through a series of switchbacks with a moderate incline until wrapping around the back side of Bear Canyon to Seven Falls, which can be seen clearly from the trail.

Once you make it to the falls, there is a couple small lakes that you can swim in, or just cool off in. If you want to make your way up to the top of the falls, be aware that it will require you to climb some steep rocks, and will require moderate skill from the time you reach the halfway point to the top. But the view from the top is amazing.

The trip back seemed much easier than the trip to the falls, and since it was almost entirely downhill, it took far less time to get back to the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center than to get to Seven Falls. The total round trip should take approximately 3 hours, but it would be best to give yourself extra time.

The trail is dog-friendly.

Some helpful hints:
+ Bring lots of water! The trail offers little shade.
+ Opt for hiking boots over running shoes, most of the trail is over rocky terrain
+ Wear fast-drying clothes or bring a towel, you’re going to want to spend time in the water once you reach the falls
+ The base of the falls is a great place to break for lunch or a picnic.
+ Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks

Sabino Canyon - Bear Creek
Tucson, AZ 85750

Monday, August 01, 2016

Sacred Spaces Book Review

“May this book be the beginning of actions above words, grace in imperfection, and new sacred spaces we share together.”

A few weeks ago, I signed up to be a part of Corie Weathers Launch team for her new book Sacred Spaces. I started this blog, as a way for family and friends to keep track of us while we were living overseas, and after moving back, I decide to explore where my blog would go next.

The military is such a big part of my life. Big Army own's my husband and they get final say on everything that has to do with him, and me, by proxy. This year we celebrated our 5th anniversary, and of those 5 years, we've spend 2 anniversaries together. I wanted to share this other part of my life that didn't involve exploring Europe, but the other days where our plans get cancelled, or where I "pause" and don't "un-pause" until months later, when my husband is home again.

Sacred Spaces, was an amazing book to read. I'm trying not to give too much away, but I'm sure many military spouses will agree, that it's not an easy task going through a deployment, or even spending months apart and learning how how to cope when your spouse is back. 

Sacred Spaces, is about understanding what sacred spaces are, how they function in our lives, and how they affect our marriages, by creating divisions in marriages as the couple changes individually, grows apart, and doesn’t know how to handle each other’s sacred spaces. A sacred space can be positive or negative, but if you and your spouse can find a way to share your sacred spaces with each other, your marriage will be stronger for it.

From the very beginning, Corie had me hooked. A lot of what she wrote was a reflection on my life. This book is more than a military spouse talking about her experiences being married to a service member, it is about strengthening not only your marriage, but yourself at the same time.

Sacred Spaces is a must read for every Military Spouse. I finished the book feeling enlightened and hopeful that this would help me and my spouse strengthen our marriage. Marriage's are hard. Military marriages are even harder and sacrifices are happening everyday on both ends.

Today 08/01/16, is the Launch day. Grab your copy on Amazon, or from Elva Resa Publishing and make sure to follow Corie Weathers on Facebook where you will learn more about her live podcasts and ministry to strengthen military marriages.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Sacred Spaces in exchange for writing a review on the blog, all opinions are my own.