My Favorite Hobbies and Free-Time Activities

posted by Andrea | 11/12/2014

favorite hobbies

Somewhat recently, a blog reader emailed me and said she was shocked that we had a Netflix membership. I figured she was going to rant and rave about how TV was the most horrible thing ever and would certainly ruin our children’s brains.

However, she was actually thrilled to know we had a Netflix membership because (as she put it), “It means you actually have free time and that you actually kick back and relax every once in a while.”

I had to laugh when she told me that — because obviously I DO relax, it’s just not something I write about on my blog (until today, I suppose). I figured my freetime activities would not be extremely interesting to anyone, and since my focus for this blog is “productivity”, “time management”, “organization”, etc. I just never thought to blog about free time.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it might be a great post topic. So for those of you who have ever wondered what I do in my free time… here are a few of my favorite hobbies!

1. Dreaming about future house projects.

This is for sure my most favorite “hobby” — if you can really call it a hobby 🙂

Although I realize we will probably never do many of my crazy ideas, I absolutely LOVE dreaming up creative (and most likely very expensive) future home renovations and projects. In fact, over the last 8 – 10 years, I’ve “corrupted” Dave’s brain too and we’ll both sit and brainstorm crazy scenarios like:

If we could lift up our entire house, dig out a bigger basement, and then finish off the entire basement into usable living space (this would literally add over 1000 square feet to our house — and could easily cost over $100,000, so we will certainly never do it!)

If it would be possible to turn our heated outbuilding into an apartment that we could rent out (we checked with our city and with a few contractors and this would also be a massive project that would not be worth it)

Where we might put our dream underground pool someday (we still haven’t come up with a great spot) or if we could buy part of our neighbors property and use that for our pool (also very unlikely).

We have so much fun coming up with ideas, getting all hyped up about them for 3 or 4 days, talking about them constantly with each other for those 3 or 4 days, and then realizing it’s never going to work… and moving onto the next idea.

This probably sounds totally crazy to most of you — but it honestly is one of my favorite free-time activities!

p.s. you can take a tour of our house here 🙂

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2. Netflix

I don’t particularly love to read, I rarely listen to music, and I absolutely detest TV commercials (I can’t even remember the last time I watched live TV). We only have very basic cable and an extremely limited number of DVDs to watch… so when I want to kick back and just “zone out” for a bit while folding laundry, making my grocery list, planning our weekly meals, or some other mindless task, I turn to Netflix.

Dave and I have enjoyed watching TV series together (like Cake Boss, The Office, Friends, Hell’s Kitchen, and Property Brothers) and we also have shows we watch on our own (my most recent favorite was 19 Kids and Counting — but that was just taken off Netflix last month).

Now that it’s colder outside and is dark by 6:00pm, we’re not doing any yard work or outside projects after the kids are in bed, so we might pick one night a week to watch a movie on Netflix while Dave grades papers and I respond to blog comments or edit photos. It’s a fun, frugal “date night” that can easily be put on hold if one or both of the kiddos wake up in the middle of it.

Also, since Netflix works with our phones, tablet, computers, and the ChromeCast plugged into our TV, we can pause a movie on our TV and then start watching it on our phone (with ear buds). This has been a FABULOUS way so use up the hours upon hours we spend sitting in Nora’s room in the evening.

You may read more about how we use ChromeCast and Netflix in this post.

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3. Online Shopping / Browsing

Did you know I’m a huge fan of online shopping? Oh yeah, I forgot, I’ve blogged about that MANY times in the past couple of years 🙂

It’s true, I’m a huge fan of shopping online and enjoy all the time, energy, and money it saves me — not to mention the fact that I can shop from my couch in my PJ’s (while watching The Office on Netflix) whenever it’s convenient for me.

Here are a few of the posts I’ve written about online shopping.

My entire Craigslist 101 Series

My Favorite Online Shopping Sites

6 Ways to Get Free (or almost free) Clothes

4 Ways I Save and Simplify With Online Shopping

Simplify your Shopping with ePantry.com

Now days, about the only thing I don’t buy online is perishable groceries (and that’s only because my grocery stores don’t offer grocery delivery!)

HOWEVER, just because I frequently shop (or rather “browse”) online stores doesn’t mean I’m spending all kinds of money. In fact, I’m confident I spend less money online shopping than I do if I were in a store (often because I can use affiliate credit) — and I don’t think I’ve ever paid for shipping in my entire life.

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4. Facebook and Reading Other Blogs

Besides Facebook, I do almost NO social media — which I realize might be hard to believe, but it’s true. I’ve never used Google+, I can’t remember the last time I “Pinned” or “Tweeted” anything, and I don’t use Instagram or any of the other bazillion social media platforms for personal or business purposes.

However, I REALLY like Facebook 🙂

I love how it allows me to stay connected with tons of family and friends all across the country, as well as old high school and college classmates that I otherwise wouldn’t stay in contact with.

I know some people abuse it (and I’ve definitely blocked and unfriended people due to obnoxious posting) but for the most part, Facebook offers my somewhat introverted self the ability to share my life and be a part of other people’s lives without lengthy phone conversations or in-person meet-ups that are definitely not enjoyable for me with multiple little kids around.

I also use Facebook as my primary resource to stay “current” with many of my favorite blogs. I don’t follow any blogs in any type of “reader” and I only subscribe to 2 or 3 via email. The rest are all followed via Facebook — and yes, I do enjoy browsing through several other blogs in my free time.

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5. Digital Photo Books

I got started with digital photo books the year after Dave and I were married and I was searching for a way to digitize ALLLLLLL of Dave and my photos from birth on. I was originally very overwhelmed by the task at hand — but I quickly realized that I loved working on digital photo books, and have created 10 large books already!

I’m currently working on (and almost finished with) our 2014 Family book and Nora’s 2014 book. I’ll wait until closer to March to start working on Simon’s 1-Year book.

Here are a few more posts about my digital photo books:

More information on how I organize our photos and create these books

Our 2013 Family Book + Nora’s 2-year Book

Nora’s ABC Book

Digital photo books is just the perfect hobby for me because it doesn’t involve any pieces or parts or storing anything in my house. Plus, it’s all done via the computer — and I’m on the computer so much already that it’s no big deal to just make a couple more pages before I shut down for the night.

Also, it gives me an added incentive to keep my photos organized and provides the perfect opportunity for me to print hundreds of pictures in one, nice, neat, organized book (because I really dislike loose photos all over the place!)

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6. Walking

I’m guessing many of you can probably relate to the fact that I dislike most “formal” exercise methods. I don’t like getting sweaty, I refuse to spend money on a gym membership I wouldn’t even use, and I’m just not willing to make the time in my already busy schedule to exercise when I don’t even like doing it.

For now, I will enjoy my “highish” metabolism… and worry about extra pounds later in life when they happen (and I’m sure they will happen)!

However, I do really enjoy walking — and we walk ALL the time.

Unless it’s raining or icy, we walk somewhere almost every single day. Often it’s to run errands (we live really close to everything) but many times it’s just to get out of the house and take a few laps around the neighborhood.

I fully realize that I’m not burning massive amount of calories just walking, but I enjoy it, and it’s better than sitting on my butt! Plus, my kiddos love walks and I love our double stroller!

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That’s about it for my hobbies and free-time activities.

I’m certain this list sounds awfully boring to many of you — but it’s just perfect for me and the stage of life I’m in right now. I don’t have the desire to make the time or space to do lots of crafts, I’m not excited about traveling with 2 little kids, and I enjoy being home.

So, for those of you who may have thought I was a work-a-holic, let me assure you, I have plenty of free time (at least enough for my liking) and when I do, you’ll most likely find me doing any number of the activities listed above.

In fact, in the process of writing this post, I watched 2 episodes of Friends on Netflix, I took a break to place an order on Amazon.com for a few things for Nora’s birthday and on ThredUp.com to use a coupon code I had. I checked Facebook once to upload a couple of pictures, stopped to chat with Dave about installing our new front door, and I have my photobook program ready to go now that I’m just about finished with the post.

Oh, and we went for an hour-long walk earlier today — stopping to pay our water bill at City Hall, returning a package at the post office, depositing a few checks at the bank, and stopping by the grocery store for some pop corn 🙂

There you go, a few more random facts about Andrea Dekker!

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27 comments

  1. Maggie

    02/08/2015

    i love how everything you do is so simple and that you find pleasure in simple things. I can relate because my husband And I are the same way. I am always amused when people have to do all these expensive and crazy activities to be happy. But I guess to each their own. I am positive they feel I am boring too, but that’s ok with me! 🙂 thanks for the post!

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  2. Kris

    11/14/2014

    Hi Andrea —

    I heard that Friends was coming to Netflix and was super excited (one of my favorite shows!) but it doesn’t show up when I search a few different ways in my Netflix app. Just wondering if maybe you have a different or ‘upgraded’ subscription than the standard $7.99/month, no DVDs by mail version that I have? Maybe I’ll contact customer service if nothing else…Thanks! 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Kris,
    As far as I know, our subscription is just the standard subscription (no DVD’s int he mail). However, I do see Friends when I log in 🙂

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  3. Evelyn @ Smallish

    11/13/2014

    So I’m curious, what are your favorite blogs that you like to browse?? 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Evelyn… if you click on the link “my favorite blogs” within that paragraph, it will take you to the post I wrote about my favorite blogs 🙂

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    Evelyn @ Smallish Reply:

    Oh, haha…. clearly I did not see that. 😉 Now that you mention it, I think I have read that post before…. 🙂 (Mommy brain)

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    Andrea Reply:

    no biggie — you aren’t the only one to miss it 🙂 That post is a couple years old, but still pretty relevant.
    Also, do you have a house tour of your house on your blog? I’d love to see a floor plan of your tiny house 🙂

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  4. ShellyL

    11/13/2014

    Awesome! One of my favorite recent posts. I’d love to incorporate some of your stay-at-home, frugal hobbies into our life as well. It seems we are always running and I’d love to be at home more. I need to look at your posts about the photo books again. I’d love to do that. I have a lot of my mom’s old pictures. I wonder if I could scan those into a nice looking book for her. Any tips?

    Thanks for a fun post. 🙂

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  5. JoDi

    11/12/2014

    We share some similar hobbies, but I do love to read. We record all our favorite shows so we can skip commercials. If you like Hell’s Kitchen, you might enjoy Masterchef and Top Chef. We love Property Brothers and Love It or List It, or most any home reno show, really! 🙂

    I was wondering which blogs you like to read if you don’t mind sharing! I like home design, organizing, finance, and a fashion blog or two. Your blog, MSM, I Heart Organizing, Shift Ctrl ART, Assortment, The Art of Simple, GRS and JD’s new blog foldedspace are some of my favorites.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks JoDi — some of those blog sare on my list too!

    If you click on the link “my favorite blogs” within that paragraph, it will take you to the post I wrote about my favorite blogs 🙂

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    JoDi Reply:

    LOL I completely missed that link when I read the post. Sorry, and thanks for responding! I remember that list now! I have to check out some of those. I really miss YHL. 🙁 I loved their blog. I hope they’re doing well.

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  6. Christine

    11/12/2014

    I enjoy 19 kids too. The last daughter to get married, married a relative of someone I know. I also met their family once. 🙂

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  7. Pamela

    11/12/2014

    Forgot to mention in my previous comment….

    Don’t know if this would work for you and your bank, but we are able to “remote deposit” our checks with our iPad/iPhone. We just take a picture of the front and back of the check and hit “submit” and it’s immediately deposited — no visit to the back (with my 3 littles in tow) necessary! We bank with Chase.

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  8. Pamela

    11/12/2014

    What?!?! You’re water bill isn’t automated?!?! 🙂

    Thanks for a fun post, Andrea!

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    Andrea Reply:

    we live in a really small town so they can’t take automatic payments. It’s only 4 times a year though and only about a 5 minute walk so we don’t mind walking there every 3 months to pay our bill 🙂

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  9. Elizabeth D

    11/12/2014

    Don’t give up that back yard apartment dream!! My parents had an old garage with only electricity (no sewer or water) and our family remodeled it into a guest house together. It took some work and finagling with city codes, but it’s a great addition to their property! My 95 year old grandpa is living there now, instead of a lonely retirement home, and when he passes, I know that me and my family of 7 siblings will constantly be using it when we visit! My dad has a contracting business, so that helped a lot, but we tried to do all the work ourselves and use materials we had, so it did not end up costing very much. Anyway, I think it’s a great option for your family’s future! Keep that idea filed away 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — thanks for the inspiration Elizabeth. We wont’ totally give up on our idea. We’ll just save it for down the road when ALLLLL our other house projects are finished and we have a little more cash on hand 🙂

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  10. Susie

    11/12/2014

    Just recently at a well child appt I was complaining about my daughter having a hard time falling asleep. She suggested melatonin in 2.5 mg. it has worked so good getting my girls to settle down and fall asleep faster! My evening have been so much easier! Wish I would have known about it years ago. It might be worth trying with nora. They sell the gummy ones at walmart.

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  11. Erin

    11/12/2014

    Andrea, thanks for your insights about you! I loved reading this post! We definitely have some things in common (I hate being sweaty too! 🙂 so it is nice to feel connected to you – I feel like I know you and your family so well, even being across the US in Oregon! Thanks for your blog – I love reading it.

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  12. Leanne

    11/12/2014

    I also watch almost no live TV… I watch what I want on Amazon Prime– Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Harry Potter, 19 kids, and Living Alaska, and random PBS documentaries….
    I don’t love to read, but try to read my bible daily…
    which now I use SheReadsTruth…
    and I run… also known as “Leanne drops her 3 kids for an hour in the gym daycare” and gets her fustrations out…
    since I homeschool three boys— 9, 8, and 6 this is vital to my sanity…
    I may also play a few games of Tetris on my phone before bed 🙂
    and I love clothes, but hate clothes shopping at the mall…so Ebates, Lands End with huge discount codes, and Amazon Prime are my best friends!!!

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    Ildy Reply:

    We share a hobby Andrea, I am also a huge walk lover! Do you also have a pedometer? It is that little device that you hang on your pants and it measures the number of steps you make in a day? A few years back I read a book about walking as a form of exercise and it recommended making 10 000 per day (quite a bit) or 70 000 per week to keep you fit and healthy for life. Interesting no? Plus it’s free and you get your daily vitamin D dose from the sun and get to breath some fresh air. Can you tell I love walking? 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Ildy, No, I don’t have a pedometer because I’m honestly not really walking for exercise — just an excuse to get out of the house and get some fresh air! That said, I did know about the 10,000 steps per day and in the past, when I’ve tried a pedometer, I was WAY over that every day — so I’m hoping I’m still taking enough steps 🙂

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    Federica Reply:

    I like Ildy’s idea about pedometer. In my opinion, it could be a great excuse not only to go for a loooong walk but also to listen to good music while walking (that’s my excuse to walk a lot during weekends).. maybe you could make more than 10,000 steps, who knows? 🙂
    -Federica

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    Brenda Reply:

    Tetris on your phone?!?!! Is it just like the old Nintendo version? I have looked a few times for an app version and they are all kind of close, but not right. What one do you have? How much did it cost. I also loved Dr. Mario…is there an app for that, I wonder….

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  13. Rebecca

    11/12/2014

    Loved this!!!

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  14. Anna

    11/12/2014

    I loved this, Andrea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  15. Catana West

    11/12/2014

    Loved that you shared how you spend your time! I have always wanted to do photo books but never knew how! I enjoy staying at home and love the information you share…thanks for sharing!

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