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Summer 2016 Bucket List Recap

Every May as the end of the school year approaches I like to get into the spirit of summer vacation with a post about my bucket list for the upcoming summer. This year I had five things on that bucket list. The new school year began last week so it seems fitting to revisit those goals and share some of those big memories through a summer bucket list recap.

1. Travel to Chicago and England

At the beginning of summer my family took a two-step journey to my husband’s homeland, England. We drove to Chicago and spent a few days in the windy city. From Chicago we boarded a plane and flew directly to London. We were gone from mid June until early July fulfilling our summer 2016 travel plans. It was a great trip where we made countless memories as a family and with my husband’s family and friends.

2. Finish Reading a Book Every Other Week

I was able to accomplish the goal of finishing a book every other week throughout the summer. I love to take my extra energy and time through the summer months to focus on one of my favorite pastimes. I spent many hours on porches, on couches, and in bed reading some of the books I’ve been waiting to read.

3. Wrap Up My Manuscript

Yesterday I launched my Beta Team for my finished manuscript. Over the summer one editor took a close look at the manuscript. I did some major edits as a result and now I’m on to Beta Readers. My hope is to begin querying agents and publishers once this phase is over at the beginning of September. Stay tuned for news and updates as I enter this time of excitement and anxiety.

4. Picnic at Several Metro Parks

The past few weeks have been rainy and hot, but earlier in the summer we spent more time outdoors. A new metro park was opened this summer close to my home and so we visited that park several times in addition to a few others. I always have high expectations for outdoor time, but once the heat and humidity arrive on the scene I tend to spend most of the time indoors where the air conditioner filters the muggy air.

5. Run on Average 20 Miles per Week

Recently, I’ve shared that I spent the majority of the summer battling infections resulting from allergies. I ran a quarter marathon in May, but have not been running much because of difficulty breathing. Instead of letting myself get out of shape I’ve chosen just to change the way that I work out. Once a week I’ve been attending a cardio and strength class at my aunt’s A & A Fitness Revolution. I’ve really enjoyed building muscle and getting myself moving in a different way. Now that school is back in session I will likely get back in to running, but will need to monitor my breathing more than ever before.

This summer flew by. I blinked and found myself back at school. I’m truly going to miss waking up when my body was ready to do so, swimming with family, and sharing so much time together. As the school year begins I pray that we never allow ourselves to become so busy that we miss opportunities to adventure as a family the way we did over the summer. Just because I work Monday through Friday doesn’t mean that I have to halt my reading life or travel destinations. This is just the time of year where I have to try a little harder to be intentional about family time and chasing my passions.

How was your summer? Were you able to accomplish everything you wanted to?

The Ameri Brit Mom


Summer Bucket List 2016

The school year has officially come to a close. Each year I’m always astounded by how quickly things wrap up. It seems like only a few days ago that I was trying to learn the names of each of my one hundred sixty students, and now they are on to the tenth grade. 2015-2016 was a fantastic school year for me. I utilized more technology, taught my first honors course, met an author, and built a curriculum map for my courses. Yesterday during the annual kick-ball tournaments I found myself reminiscing about the school year and being thankful for such a great group of students and a job that I enjoy so much.

This morning I finalized grades and packed away my classroom for its summer hibernation. I turned my key for the last time as a fifth year teacher and I welcomed summer 2016. Now I’m ready to embrace family time, sunshine, and all of our travel plans. Here’s a look at some things I’m hoping to accomplish this summer:

1. Travel to Chicago and England

In a couple of weeks we will begin our annual travels to England to visit my husband’s friends and family. This year we are going to drive to Chicago, Illinois to catch our flight. There are a couple of reasons why we chose to depart from Chicago. First, it allowed us to save a couple hundred bucks per ticket to fly from O’Hare as opposed to Columbus. Second, the book that I wrote last year is set in Chicago. I still need to add thousand words or so to the manuscript so I plan to do some research and writing while in Chicago. We will be spending four days in the city and we are still looking for things to fill our itinerary. If you have suggestions, please comment!

Our English adventure this summer will be a month long holiday. Most of our time will be spent in my husband’s hometown of Eastleigh, but we will also be heading to other locations throughout the country. We are so excited to get to England–Costa, a hot mocha better be waiting for me!


2. Finish Reading a Book Every Other Week

The pace of the school year makes it really hard to put a significant dent in my 24 Book Challenge. I hope to get caught up with where I should be in the challenge by the end of the summer. I may even be able to finish the challenge by August depending on the amount of free time I am afforded.

Book Challenge 2016

3. Wrap Up My Manuscript For My First Book

I finished writing my first book over Christmas break. Since wrapping up that initial draft I’ve realized I’m a couple thousand words short of what many publishers prefer for the genre. I plan to use my extra time in the summer to match the word requirements through research in Chicago, added dialogue, and better execution of major plot points. I’ll keep you updated along the way. I even plan to reach out to all of my blog readers for title, cover, and publisher suggestions.

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4. Picnic At Several Metro Parks

Once my awful allergy flare up clears I am excited to visit several Columbus Metro Parks with friends and family. This will start tomorrow as we have made dinner plans with church friends at the newest Metro Park in the area. Columbus has a wonderful parks system that I will be taking advantage of regularly during these summer months.


5. Run On Average 20 Miles Per Week

I’m very excited to get back into running shape. Excluding the past few days (since I’ve been battling some infections stemming from allergies) I’ve been able to get back into shape fairly easily. I would like to see myself average twenty miles per week in running throughout the summer. I’m especially excited to run frequently while in England–that’s never happened before! It would also be cool to run a 5k or two this summer. My ultimate goal is to run the Columbus Marathon (half) in October so that will require keeping myself in shape throughout the summer.


As you look forward to the summer is there anything that you are particularly excited about? Share your goals and plans in the comments šŸ™‚

The Ameri Brit Mom


Update On My Summer Bucket List

As today is my first day of the school year I decided to take a look at my summer bucket list and see how well I accomplished the goals I had set back in June for my summer. Although I am sad about the end of sleeping in and a schedule that I filled based on what I wanted to do, I am still a little antsy and ready to get back to my normal routine. As I sit here with first day jitters I decided to take the last few moments of summer vacation to reflect on the wonderful summer. My original summer bucket list was posted at the end of last school year here.

ThisĀ is my evaluation of the bucket list for summer 2015:

  1. Visit the Columbus Zoo– I was able to visit the Columbus Zoo on my 25th birthday this year. It was a great time as a family. Next summer I’d love to purchase a zoo membership so that we could visit more often. It truly is the best zoo in America.IMG_0918
  2. Eat Ā at the Food Trucks in the Columbus Commons- Although I never actually went to the Columbus Commons I did have the opportunity to indulge in some of the finest of food truck delicacies in Columbus. Last week, my school hosted a professional development academy which was catered each day by a different food truck from the Columbus area. I really enjoyed getting to try Mojo Tago, Pitabilities, and Phillybusters.
  3. Read one book a week-ACCOMPLISHED! Below is a picture of most of the books I read this summer. For my review of any of the books I read this summer please use this link: Books.


4. Discover parks I’ve never visited-Ā We visited Fryer Park in Lancaster and briefly saw the Scioto Mile. This summer was pretty rainy so we didn’t get to enjoy as much of the outdoors as we would like. We did, however, visit several new parks in England during our trip there.

5. Five miles of activity per day- On average this occurred 5 out of 7 days a week. The weather definitely impacted this goal as well. Not to mention I made a lot of progress on writing projects which forced me to be a little more sedentary than I had hoped. But still, 5 out of 7 days is pretty decent.

Even though I didn’t hit every single goal I aimed for this summer I would still call this summer a success. I took some time to really focus on my writing and learned how to carve out time for the things that matter most to me in life: family, friends, and personal goals. I feel good about where I am and wish only to improve upon my personal fitness. We were able to really enjoy the summer as a family. During this time my husband secured a job in the same school district where I work and where our daughter will attend in a few short years. Also during this time we went on a nearly three week vacation to England. Arianna was involved in dance class. And my husband joined a summer basketball league in Columbus.

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So as I begin to teach for the first time in the 2015-2016 school year I have nothing but positive things to say about summer 2015. I am proud of all we accomplished as a family.

Here’s to a positive start to the new school year. This will be my fifth year teaching at Teays Valley High School. This year my courses are English 9 and Honors World History. The room is arranged and ready for my freshman to enter high school for the very first time. Think of me today as I lay the foundation for hopefully another successful year here at TVHS. Go VIKINGS!



My Summer Bucket List

It’s finally June 1st and time to get my mind into summer mode. I only have three days of school left and during my time between exams and project presentations I am daydreaming about the two months of summer vacation that await me after Thursday! In honor of the impending summer vacation today’s post will be dedicated to my Summer 2015 Bucket List:

1. Visit the Columbus Zoo.

This is the #1 zoo in the country and it’s only forty-five minutes from my house. I plan to take advantage of beautiful weather and family time with numerous trips this summer to the zoo. Arianna loves the zoo too, so that’s a plus!


2. Eat at the Food Trucks on the Columbus Commons

Every Thursday in the summer (May-September) there are Food Trucks parkedĀ on the Columbus Commons. I look forward to trying this out this summer. In years past I’ve heard really great things, but have yet to experience this for myself. I’ll let you know if it’s worth the trip!


3. Read a book a week

Let’s be honest, one book a week is a very modest goal for me, but it gives me room to take a little longer on some books than I’m capable of. With everything going on this summer in my life I’m excited to continue my literature kick.

4. Discover parks I’ve never visited in Columbus

Over the summer I plan to take adventures to several parks I’ve never visited before around Columbus. Arianna will love the playgrounds and running space and I look forward to picnics, sun, and cheap afternoons away.

5. 5 Miles of activity per day

One of my favorite birthday gifts from last year was my Fitbit Flex. It makes tracking activity easy and fun. The Fitbit will count running, walking, biking, and swimming as activity and track your duration and distance. To continue working on my fitness I plan to achieve five miles of activity per day.

I’m really looking forward to the summer and all that summer has to offer. If I had the opportunity to live somewhere where it was summer-like all year round I think I would love it, but I love my family more and could never move that far away. Now, I’m just counting the hours until my summer vacation officially begins!

I’ll leave you with some summer photos from the past couple of summers!

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The Date Jar

The Date Jar: Week 2 (The Family Bucket List)

This weekend has been a busy one in the Sisley home. Sam’s basketball coaching season is winding down, but the time commitment level as the season nears the close seems to increase dramatically. Also, we spent a good portion of our Saturday working on our new car with the help of our mechanically-inclined friends, Travis and Katy. It’s great to spend time with amazing people like the Lucas family and we capped off the evening (once the car was up and running) at one of our favorite restaurantsĀ in Columbus, Bd’s Mongolian Grill.

Today, Sam is performing his awesome basketball tricks at a local church to close their Upward Basketball season and Arianna and I are once again snowed in and unable to breech the boundaries of our home. If you are unfamiliar with my husband and his basketball ministry you should really check out some of his videos. In college he started doing basketball tricks as a travelling ministry and he has been very successful. This ministry has taken him all over the United States and England. He is currently planning for an upcoming engagement in which he will be in a televised program in New York City. I’ll keep you updated. Here is a link to his website:

While Sam has been busy off pursuing his basketball dreams this weekend I have been spending some time educating myself on Essential Oils and disinfecting the house with a new OnGuard Cleaner. I’m really excited to learn more about Essential Oils and use them to help my family toward a healthier lifestyle. I literally cleaned every surface in the house with this stuff. It smells wonderful and it is so rewarding to know that while I deep clean my home I am helping my family to fight off illnesses using a healthy and non-toxic product.

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So, although we were really busy this weekend and it seemed like we were being pulled in different directions it was perfect for us that the date night task we drew from the Date Jar this weekend was to create a family bucket list. We didn’t have much time to sit around for hours and discuss, but we had a very focused conversation on the way to the restaurant last night about our goals as a family and individually.

As a couple it is really important to take time to communicate your goals and plans for the future. Sometimes it is easy to be too caught up in the tasks of daily life to set goals for where you want to be as a family five, ten, or twenty years in the future. It is really fitting that we happened to choose this date night activity out of the jar at random, because this week in particular my personal Bible reading and devotions have been focused on the idea of being radical for God.

I’ve been reading a lot from the story of Peter walking on the water. It took guts to get out of the comfort of the boat during the storm and be obedient to Jesus’ call to do something crazy like walk on the water. Jesus makes it evident through this story that as long as our focus remains on Him He will be with us and keep us safe despite the storms around us. I’ve felt convicted this week to re-evaluate my life and listen for the voice of Jesus for areas where He may be calling me out of the boat.

So our bucket list conversation consisted of us discussing where God is leading us as a family. Both of us feel that God is preparing us for a big change or step in the road to come. Sam is so great at what he does ministry-wise and we both feel that some form of ministry is in his future. I know that God has called me to teach and has provided me with gifts conducive to that calling, but the platform for how He wants me to use my gifts is something I’ve given to God. I also really enjoy writing and would love to pursue writing in some way in the future. We planned what we think our family will look like over the next few years and talked about our goals and plans for our daughter. It was really refreshing to take some time to realign our goals and to measure the progress we’ve made toward our previously established ones.

So…week #2 is in the books. We went on a dinner date with friends, discussed our future plans and goals, and enjoyed some family time between the travelling, cleaning, and fixing up of a car. I’m going to leave you with my prayer from my journal earlier this week. Enjoy the end of your weekend and don’t forget to set goals!