February Resolution Update

I cannot believe that February has come to a close. I ended up getting extremely sick the first week of the month (and even needed to go to the ER). It was rough and I never quite got caught up until these past few days. Ugh. Here are the embarrassing results:

1.Contact a different friend or family member each day. I did not complete this goal. I spent the first week of the month sick and then spent the next week recovering. I just wanted to hide away and not talk to anyone!

2. Increase my daily steps using my FitBit- February: reach 5,000 steps five days a week. Not even close! I only reached 5,000+ steps 13 days the whole month! My goal for March will be to attack this goal again!

3. Host one get-together a month at our home. Check!

4. Get my teaching certification in Maryland. I have all the paperwork sitting on my desk ready to be brought to the post-office!

5. Start ABC Jesus Loves Me Homeschool Preschool with Cupcake. We started this month and it has been a blast! Cupcake is learning so much. She can count to 10, name so many of her shapes, and is picking up new skills each and every day! I LOVE this curriculum!

6. Return to the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule. No. Just no. I just. No. I only was successful this week. Blah.

7. Meal Plan each week. So, if the month of January was the month of Whole30, February was the month of eat-all-the-food. Seriously.

8. Breastfeed Cupcake to 2 years old. Check! I cannot believe she is going to be two next month! I haven’t even thought of what comes next in our nursing relationship. Ah!

9. Increase membership in my local women’s auxiliary by 25%. Still maintaining the 6% growth. We should get a large influx of potential new members at the end of March, so I am feeling optimistic!

10. Short-term goal of the month- Create a gallery wall in my living room! The materials are bought, but nothing is hung. I did manage to get all of my new pictures ordered and I have a layout I think I want, just no time or energy to put it together. My goal for March is to create an inventory of the items in our pantry and try to use them up! I figure it will not only save money, but also help me with my meal planning.

11. Post progress each month. Check!

-Lindsay

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January Resolution Progress

I have long believed that reflection is a great way to keep yourself on track. Each month I post progress on my New Years Resolutions. Overall, this month was not too bad!

1.Contact a different friend or family member each day. Almost perfect! I missed one day, but doubled up the next day to make up for lost time. I love this goal because it really helps me stay accountable for contacting the people I love rather than waiting for them to contact me.

2. Increase my daily steps using my FitBit- January: collect data. Over the month of January, my average monthly steps was around 4,500 . My goal for February is reach 5,000 steps five days a week.

3. Host one get-together a month at our home. Check!

4. Get my teaching certification in Maryland. Not yet! This is a must for February!

5. Start ABC Jesus Loves Me Homeschool Preschool with Cupcake. January has been spent planning furiously. We start the first week in February!

6. Return to the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule. I started using the baby steps again this month (which she recommends to do before getting into the cleaning schedule). Since I had done it in the past, I was able to get through the baby steps quickly as I had retained some of them from last time. Halfway through the month, I returned to her schedule and it has helped so much. It keeps me on track so I do not waste time trying to think of where to start!

7. Meal Plan each week. Check! We even started a Whole30 near the end of the month (currently on day 14!) and the meal planning has helped so much! Our food budget has been kept in check and we’ve been eating so much healthier.

8. Nurse Cupcake to 2 years old. Check!

9. Increase membership in my local women’s auxiliary by 25%. Since the year has started, we have grown by 6%! Wahoo!

10. Short-term goal of the month- Make a major career decision between two fields. This goal was perfect for this month. A few days into the year, my boss approached me about an opportunity that really helped clarify what I want to do. I want to stay in my current field of education and continue to grow and develop in that way. I will continue to do work in the secondary field as it comes up, but I am excited for the growth path I am currently on. My short-term goal for February is to create a gallery wall in my living room!

11. Post progress each month. Check!

-Lindsay

Resolutions for 2016

Last year I tracked my resolutions each month to see the progress I was making. I found this to be extremely helpful as it kept me on track. In the past, I quickly forgot my resolutions and by the time February rolled out I had abandoned them. Since it was so helpful last year, I will continue to track my resolutions here and share my successes and failures along the way!

 

In this age of technology, I am quite adept at texting. It is fast and I can do it anytime. My friends without kids often operate on slightly different schedules than I do and so texting has become my fall-back. A phone call seems inconvenient, but it can be more meaningful than a text. So, my goal is to contact a different friend or family member each day. Phone calls will be preferred, but texting will be ok if that is all time permits. I hope this will help maintain and strengthen the relationships around me!

I received a FitBit for Christmas and I am loving it! The watch is set to a goal of 10,000 steps a day. While walking 10,000 steps a day does not feel realistic at this point in time, it is certainly something to work toward. My goal is that I will increase my daily steps. This will require me to collect some more data through January, but I think this is a good goal since I can constantly monitor it through my watch and adjust my day’s activities as needed.

We have now lived in our new home for just over seven months. We left a wonderful support network of family and childhood friends. Thankfully, we’ve been blessed to meet many wonderful people here! In 2016, I want to work toward strengthening those ties. I would like to host one get-together a month at our home. We meet up with others frequently out and about or at other people’s homes, but rarely here. I would like to change that!

I love being a work-at-home mom. I get to hang out with Cupcake and also still remain in the working world. Prior to Cupcake being born, I was a teacher. Since we moved states, I need to transfer my teaching certification to our new state. It is important that I get my teaching certification in Maryland for several reasons. One, it gives me the option if I ever need/want to go back to teaching. It also makes sure that I do not lose any of the paperwork I collected before we left Connecticut. Finally, it makes sure that I get my certification before requirements change and somehow prevent me from getting it!

As I mentioned, working from home is great. It has taken me several months to find the right groove and rhythm to give Cupcake what she needs and also get my work done. I initially found myself relying way too much on electronics to keep her occupied when I was up against a real deadline. A friend of mine also works from home. She mentioned a homeschool preschool curriculum she was doing with her son. As I researched it more, I realized it was exactly what I needed. It helped to give me more focus in my time with Cupcake and it also provided activities to help build up her stamina for “work time.” My goal is to start the homeschool preschool curriculum with Cupcake this year and continue throughout the year!

In 2015, I used a cleaning schedule to keep myself organized through the first part of the year. Once the craziness of us moving hit, it was hard for me to stick to it identically, because there were so many other things to do! I am hoping to return to the FlyLady cleaning schedule this year so that I can have a more organized home. With so many responsibilities, it is often hard for me to keep track of everything. Since she puts together the schedule for cleaning, it is one less thing I have to think about.

Eating healthy and sticking to our food budget are two challenges I have worked on in the past. My goal for this year is to Meal Plan each week. This will help me in several ways. I will be able to plan ahead so there is less temptation to reach for the Mac and Cheese box. It will also require me to look at what we already have in the house so that I can avoid waste.

My goal in 2015 was to breastfeed Cupcake all year long. With her second birthday approaching, I am starting to feel ready to wean for several reasons. We’d like to expand our family at some point in the future and Cupcake’s frequent weaning schedule will make that difficult for us all to manage. So, my goal is to nurse Cupcake to 2 years old unless she chooses to wean earlier. I will take it month by month at that point!

I recently has the opportunity to start volunteering with a local group. This group has been instrumental in helping to get me established in our new state and has introduced me to some women that will become life-long friends. I want others to benefit from this group as much as I did, so my goal is to help increase membership by 25%. This is a highly ambitious goal based on based trends, but I am going for it anyway!

My last major resolution will change from month to month. I realized that although the long-term goals were awesome, there were different things that popped up throughout the year that I wanted to include and short-term goals are important. So this will be a changing goal! In January my goal will revolve around a career decision. I have two opportunities that sort of put me at a crossroad between continuing my education in one area or starting my own business in another. My goal for January is to research both options and come to a decision by the end of the month what I am going to do!

My last goal is to blog about my progress each month. This kept me accountable last year and I am hoping for the same this year!

Happy New Year’s everyone!

 

-Lindsay

 

PS What are you resolutions? Post them below! Also, if you have a FitBit or recently received one, let’s be friends! It is great motivation when I know someone else is looking in on me!

December Reflections

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

I am so happy to have the past year to reflect on. Some goals I achieved. Some I did not, but that is okay. It is all a step in progress and something I will continue to work on in the new year. I highly recommend setting these goals for yourself and checking in each month. It really has helped me to be accountable and achieve more than I would have otherwise.

Now, on to my goals.

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

My goal for December was to stick to our holiday budget and hopefully even come out a little under. We did very well! We came under our gift budget (by $3.61!) and managed to be significantly below budget on all other holiday related expenses such as hosting parties, holiday cards and traveling. Wahoo!

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

No. My sweetie DID get me a fitbit for Christmas, though, and that has made me feel much better.My first day wearing it, it was a very rainy day, so we just hung out at home. That all being said, at the end of the day, I had walked an estimated 2.6 miles and burned over 1900 calories! I do not have a large house by any means, just a VERY active toddler.

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

I completed a 7:57 mile in April. This goal is complete!

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

I put this on the back burner. It just became too busy to keep up!

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

CHECK! I did night wean her earlier in the month and it was such a good decision. I have been sleeping better, which makes a much happier mommy!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

For the holidays, we went back north and were able to see her again. Yay!

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

I had one can of Coca-Cola. After months of a strong aversion, it tasted good! However, I barely could drink the whole can and my few sips satisfied my desire for soda for quite some time.

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

My goal for December was to manage the holiday craziness and keep the house in order for the many events we have. Check! The house managed to stay relatively clean throughout the holiday.

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

My goal for December was to start researching activities for the cold winter months so we do not rely on TV once winter hits! I found a great resource online that I will be implementing in the new year. It is essentially a homeschool preschool, and right up my alley. It gives me a chance to be more intentional in my time with Cupcake and provides plenty of great activity suggestions. I cannot wait to get started!

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.

CHECK!

October Reflections

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

I am continuing to try and find time over here, since I have recently started two new part-time positions. Along with my new title as a work-at-home-mom, I am finding not enough time to get on here! Balance is hard to come by and I am hoping once I get in the swing of my second job, that I will be able to find my new normal.

Now, on to my goals.

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

My goal for October was to plan out our holiday budget for family members. We came up with a budget and I am hopeful that we will be able to stick to it.  I have a few DIY gifts that I am planning, so I am hoping they do not become extremely time consuming, since I already feel short on time.

My goal for November focuses around the fact that my sweetie gets a two-week vacation this month! In residency, he is assigned vacation time, rather than being able to take it as he wants. We have waited a long time for this vacation to come around and I am over the moon thinking about it. We will be traveling some and eating out and probably spending more money than we typically do. My goal for this month is to set a budget for his vacation time so that way we can still allow ourselves the ability to go out and enjoy, without totally blowing our plans!

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

I really got back in to running this month. There were several days where I ran four miles WITHOUT stopping! When I set my resolutions in December, I never thought I’d be able to do that. However, I did! I also tried out Bikram yoga for the first time. Such a cool experience that is very unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I even managed to snag a babysitter one week when I hadn’t had enough time to work out. Major win!

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

I completed a 7:57 mile in April. This goal is complete!

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

I am struggling with this resolution. I definitely am trying new recipes every week, but I just have not had the time to blog about it. Realistically, I do not know if this will happen in November, either. I am hoping to find more time to put toward this blog soon, as it is really important to me!

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

CHECK! I am getting frustrated about the nighttime feeding. She had given it up for a glorious week and then got sick. Even after she got better, there were still at least two wake-ups a night. We seem to be moving toward just one wake up most evenings with a very early start to the day. I have told myself that I will not push her nursing habits through the remainder of this year, but 2016 does not have any plans for Cupcake nursing through the night regularly!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

I pitifully failed this month. October was a hard month all around, and I know I put this too low on the list of priorities.

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

I had no soda in October.

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

My goal for October was to go back to the FlyLady methods for laundry so that I can hopefully get on top of the mess that was September. I definitely am moving in the right direction there! I also have been doing a good job keeping a pretty regular cleaning schedule.

My goal for November is to continue to work on my cleaning schedule as we have several visitors coming for a weekend this month and I want to be on top of the situation so there isn’t a mad dash to clean the house.

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

Cupcake is a very early riser (5 am AT THE LATEST). I often will put on the TV first thing so that way I can wake up more slowly, make breakfast, and have my coffee. I experimented with moving in to play time together first thing, which just resulted in me and Cupcake both being extremely cranky. I do not think I am well-rested enough at this point to mentally manage a change like this right now. It is more important to me that I continue to nurse her than moving her away from Sesame Street. I will say that once breakfast starts, I switch the TV to a music station, and she does not ask for it again until the late afternoon. TV is my best ally in cooking dinner, and I think I am okay with that.

My goal for October was to spend the month researching fun and easy alternatives for me to help increase Cupcake’s stamina for independent play so that I did not feel so tempted to put on the TV. I certainly have worked with her on this and I have found that she will play by herself very well, after her AM TV time. The only TV I watched for myself was two episodes of Big Bang Theory the whole month!

My goal for November revolves around trying to find ways to get Cupcake involved in the cooking process on some evenings so that way I can eliminate that TV block!

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.

A few days late, but check!

September Reflections

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

This month I have not blogged pretty much at all! Life has been a whirlwind. The universe gifted me with two incredible job opportunities that have left me with not a whole lot of extra time. I also went back home for a few days to visit my parents and in-laws and effectively went off the grid for awhile. It felt great. I am finally settling into a new routine and am ready to introduce a new blogging series for October!

Now, on to my goals.

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

My goal for September was to learn about Dave Ramsey’s budgeting. I read his books, his websites, his blog posts- pretty much anything I could find. My husband and I sat down with renewed energy to tackle our budget and to make some big changes. One of those I mentioned above; I started working again! I have two work at home jobs that I am absolutely loving. Once Cupcake goes down for a nap or for bed, I quickly hop on my computer and get to work. This new addition to our income line will greatly help us toward our savings goals. This was a successful month!

My goals for October are to plan out our holiday budget for family members. If I can start figuring out what we want to gift this year, we can hopefully start to DIY some gifts and look for deals on those we cannot make. Our holiday season gets compounded with our anniversary and a multitude of family birthdays (including my mom’s 60th and my sweetie’s 30th!). Setting a budget this far in advance will really help!
2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

This was successful with the exception of one week where I only worked out three times. I have been running around our neighborhood a lot as the weather starts to cool down a little! It has been wonderful. I also acquired an Ergo baby carrier so I can take Cupcake on hikes!

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

I completed a 7:57 mile in April. This goal is complete!

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

This was a big NO. However, this will certainly change in October as my Elimination Diet begins and I am will have the challenge of cooking a little differently.

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

Check! We were doing so very well with sleeping through the night until she was hit with a whopper of a virus. All the kiddos (and most of the adults) in the neighborhood have been suffering from colds, coughs, and terrible sore throats. The other little ones have also been waking up throughout the night, no matter how old they are, so I cannot entirely blame Cupcake for her lack of sleep. I am sure that once she feels totally better, we will get back to normal.

I definitely cannot imagine her wanting to wean any time soon, but yesterday she went a whole six hours without nursing DURING THE DAY (with me right there with her!). She had the option and still did not nurse! So, although it’s hard to believe, she really will wean some day. Until then, we shall forge ahead!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

I had the joy of surprising my Gramma with a visit this month. It was so joyful! She has been really sad lately about a situation with a friend, so it was great to connect with her. I know she adored seeing Cupcake and Cupcake had so much fun exploring my Gramma’s room!

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

My goal for September was to have no more than six 8-oz servings, but the August trend continued. I just don’t really have a taste for it these days. This is a GREAT thing as I am headed into my Elimination Diet, where soda is definitely not allowed. Coffee, on the other hand, I literally have no clue how that’s going to go. Won’t you all have so much fun laughing at my misery reading about my experience.

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

This month I had to completely overall my cleaning schedule. Prior to my new job opportunities, nap time was clean time. Once Cupcake fell asleep, clean time again! My house looked great. I eventually switched to “an hour a day” mode. Now, I spend an hour a day cleaning. I set up a rotation throughout the house and start in a different room each day. If I have any extra time, I move on to the next day’s room. It has been working really well, except that my laundry keeps getting piled up! I HATE having piles of laundry everywhere.

So, my goal for October is to go back to the FlyLady methods for laundry so that I can hopefully get on top of this situation!

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

So, this whole month, the only TV my hubby and I watched was one of the Republican Debates on CNN. Totally worth it.

Unfortunately, I lost the internal battle I have with Cupcake and the TV. I am really struggling there. Instead of cutting her time, it seems to be growing. Ugh. It makes me really unhappy, but I have not done much to stop it. This month I needed time to finish a work project, and *poof* on went the TV. I had to finish dinner and Cupcake wouldn’t play alone? TV. Why is TV so magical?!?!

My goal for October is spend the month researching fun and easy alternatives for me to help increase Cupcake’s stamina for independent play. I feel like if she could play better on her own, I would not feel so tempted to turn to the television. I will work at using the first few days of the month to observe how long she can play independently and work to increase it to a level where I can get a good 15 minutes for her to play independently.

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.

Check!

The Best Split Pea and Black Bean Soup

Ever make a really foolish mistake? Yea…well this is embarrassing.

I decided to attempt to make my own french bread this morning when I awoke to rainy skies.  In my head, a good crusty french bread pairs perfectly with soup. So, I was excited to find this recipe for a homemade lentil soup that used ingredients I already had in the house. I have been trying really hard to been more aware of the costs associated with different recipes that I make for my family. We have been cutting back on our expenses and I have found we spend entirely way too much on our proteins. We love meat! I am looking forward to the challenge of finding satisfying vegetarian meals that fill us up, while still are healthy and yummy. This soup recipe was perfect.

I dug into my pantry and pulled out all of the beans. I had a package of lentils that I had never used and figured now was a good time to try! I love a thick soup, so I figured it would be perfect. I chopped my onions and threw in some baby carrots. I was on a roll. I set my beloved crockpot to high for six hours and went about my day.

It smelled WONDERFUL. Weirdly, the soup did not seem to be thickening up at all, but I figured that it was okay. I knew the magic would occur eventually. I was happily coloring with Cupcake when I had a strange thought. I ran over to my crockpot and my very watery soup. Five hours and 54 minutes had passed. I lifted the lid and all of a sudden it hit me-

I USED SPLIT PEAS. I didn’t use lentils.

People.

I promise I can read. I used to teach elementary school! It wasn’t even that I grabbed the wrong bag. For the last YEAR, I have had a bag of lentils in my pantry. The lentils were never used at our old house. They made the trip to our new house. The lentils were never lentils at all!

This is when I started to panic a little. My hubby does not love split pea soup. I don’t like it AT ALL. I also made it following a recipe for lentil soup. I had a watery soup and I had no clue what to do. I ran to my pantry and started scouring the shelves. Dinner was now supposed to be in five minutes. This was the one night we really had to eat at a specific time. I had my first ever self-made loaf of bread for this meal. I was crushed.

Four minutes to dinner. I can’t find anything. We do not eat potatoes. I don’t want a creamy soup, so milk is out. The amount of flour I would need at this point would ruin the soup. Ugh.

Three minutes to dinner. Cupcake decides she reallllllllllllllllly needs her sippy cup (which is already half-full) filled to the top. Water, Mommy. Water. Ugh.

Two minutes to dinner. Sippy cup crisis averted, I return to my pantry. And that’s when I see the forlorn box of potato flakes I bought to make potato pancakes many moons ago and never used. I rip it open and pour a bunch in. It’s working! It’s working! It’s also weirdly clumpy! And oh no! That doesn’t look pretty.

One minute to dinner. Hubby puts Cupcake in her high chair and gets her dinner ready (she has been on a kick of only wanting carrots and “petz” (pretzels) with hummus for dinner). I pull out the hand-mixer. Whirrrrrr. 

I tentatively ladled the soup (now a thick-almost chili consistency-like soup) into the bowl. I sit down to the table. We say Grace. I pick up a spoon and…

People. It was good. It was so good that both my DH and I had two bowls. Cupcake ate a whole bunch of mine, too!

Ingredients
1 lb. bag dry split peas
1 can black beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c baby carrots
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 T jarred minced garlic
1 T cumin
2 t chili powder
1/2 t dried parsley
5 cups HOT water

1/4-1/2 c dried potato flakes *Added at end*

Directions 
1. Rinse peas and black beans. Discard any small pebbles or bad beans. Add all ingredients (except potato flakes) to crockpot

2. Cover, and cook on HIGH for 6 hours.

3. Remove the lid, and add the dried potato flakes. Use a hand mixer on medium for approx. two minutes, or until desired consistency is reached.

Have you ever had a happy recipe accident? Let me know about it in the comments section!