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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017! - My word of the year is...

Hello 2017!  Happy New Year readers!!

Are you ready for my word of the year???

It is...

Now this isn't complete as in "my final year", no, no, no.  It means much more than that.

One of the best qualities about my best friend that I have always admired was her self-discipline and goal attainment.

I, on the other hand, lack this lustrous trait. At least, I am hard on myself about it. So, partially, that is what this year's word has to deal with...completing (finishing) things.

The other use of this word for the year is to have it be a utility to help my own personal growth and fulfillment. Not to brag, but things have been going very well for my life comparatively to the cesspool that is surrounding others.  I acknowledge my fortunate state and I want to embrace it. I think it still carries on from last year's word "Content".  I feel very fulfilled in many areas and want to enjoy that and help finish what it will take to complete the areas of my life that need filled in.

So what are those areas?

Academics -- to complete my Sociology accreditation by August

Physically -- to really push to the goal I have with my weight and complete it. I'd like to complete a full workout regiment too, most likely a Beachbody one. I've got my annual 5K PanCan race in May too. And I want to add a race with the boys sometime.

Family -- continue creating and completing memories.  We have a summer vacation planned and I have a summer project that we've been holding onto for too long that I want to complete.

Hobbies -- complete Scrapbooks for 2013, 2014, 2015 and Cora's baby book (woof, this will be a challenge!), and complete my second bullet journal.

Household -- complete purging my house of all of the crap that finds it's way here.  It is getting easier as the kids get older and sentimental items lose their meaning a little more each year. Organization is getting better.  I also want to start to completing a Budget monthly to help track my spending.  Continue my automatic savings plan and pay CASH for next Christmas (this year was close).

Reading -- read three books for fun.  Three you say?!  Yes, it is a lowly number.  However I actually up'd my reading game last year and read two! Plus the amount I am reading nightly/weekly for my class on top of normal classroom grading/planning has my brain swimming with words thank you very much.

Mentally -- work on completing my thoughts and simple tasks. Call it mommy brain, middle age, or too much multi-tasking but I was a wreck last year with hopping around too much in my mind. Calm, complete, purposeful thoughts would be nice for a change.

Mini-challenges -- complete some of these as they suit me. 1) No FB for a week, then see if I can grow from there 2) Write cards to people I love and miss 3) No cussing, this might need to start out as a day-to-day one 4) Get to be before midnight for a week straight.

That is where I am heading so far. What do you have in store for 2017?

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Friday, December 30, 2016

2016--Where did I end up??

Where did I end up???

I started off the year with a plan to take a look at just who I am and what I am made of, both tangibly and intangibly.

What can I get rid of?

Things that don't bring me joy would be a good place to start perhaps this means more restraint on my Target runs.

So many trips to Goodwill were made this year, BST boards, and our local shelter.

I ended up spending less at Target this year, but there is still room for improvement. I am trying a new budgeting system that will hopefully help me track my spending needs vs. wants more accurately. Crazy how that red cart just seems to fill itself right up!
Pounds. They are always on in the "toss it" pile.

I am actually down 4 pounds from this time last year, but down 11 pounds from my highest during the year.  I am pleased with that and hope things continue downward to my goal.

What can I add?  Time with loved ones-More time with my hobbies-Workouts

I think I could always use more face-to-face time with loved ones, but there is only one person I didn't get to spend time with this year, and the rest were delightful.

I managed to get more time with my hobbies as I converted part of my storage room into my craft niche.  I have not spent much time there since, but knowing it is there gives me peace.

Workouts started strong with tennis and zumba continuing.  A crazy summer schedule followed by a jammed pack fall had me falling off the wagon.

What can I replace?  Screen time with family time--Negative Energy/People with positive ones--Poor Food Choices with nutritious ones

I keep trying to fight the screen time battle, and truth is it is more my fault than theirs.  I definitely am not in a "red zone" area but improvements need to continue for myself and the family.

Things sure got ugly with negative people and energy (ahem, Election 2016 I'm looking at you), but I distanced myself and managed to focus more on things that brought me joy.  I did a good job not dwelling on negativity this year.

What can I mix together and create?
How can I benefit my students more?
What can I learn this year?
How can I post more on my blog?

These four were unexpected.  I started back to school this year and that definitely has taught me that I am tougher than I thought.  I think  it has helped me be creative, a stronger reader and a better critical thinker. All of those in turn help my students.

Sadly, my blog has taken the roof rack, not even the back seat.  That is ok. Someday I'll punch out all of the ideas I have on here.  I'm sure you all can't wait.

Now onward to 2017!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Summer of Sanity - The Closing of 2016

Holy moly did this summer go by fast! Maybe it's the fact that I was back to work the first week of August.  Gone are the good ol' days of seeing double digits in the month before heading back. Thanks mandatory testing schedules, not!

Let's see where we ended up...well I can say that I wanted to get a lot more done this summer and follow a little bit more structure, but who am I kidding?

June was insane.  The boys both attended camp for the week all day while I hung out with Cora and enjoyed being outdoors and having only 1 child.  The next couple of weeks were rounded out with baseball ending (whew, that was a rough t-ball season) and family visits.

The pool we bought was the best money I ever spent.  We used it a lot, and I can't even begin to tell you how much nicer it is to go into our backyard versus lugging three kids to a community pool for a few hours. Unfortunately upon installation, I messed up and ripped the bottom, completely my fault, and while it held the patch for the summer, it will need to be replaced next summer.  I highly recommend it and it was perfect for my kids ages.  Our vacation pool and other friends with pools filled in the gaps when they wanted more rigorous swimming.

We ended the month of June with an amazing vacation to Anna Maria, Florida and dare I say, I think I'd be perfectly happy going there every summer.  It was incredible and so laid back.  The Gulf was a nice change from our normal Atlantic visit in SC.  We also decided to just add on setting money on fire and spent two days at Disney.  It was hotter than hot, but it was still fun and great to see the kids enjoy themselves.  I love being a kid myself.  It did solidify that we need to visit for more than two days in the future.  Time to start saving for it again. $$$.

I did keep up with some enrichment for the boys. They each had their own binder and completed their summer journals.  I saw improvement from last year, which is all I wanted.  They enjoyed doing the worksheets too once they got warmed up.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Candied-Walnut & Grape Salad (Dewey's Knock-off)

It's been awhile since I have posted a recipe, but the minute I tried this salad at recent event I was at, I knew I must replicate it at home. My big break came when I discovered a citrus vinaigrette already bottled.

is the original creator and below you'll find my knock-off if you don't have a location near you.


Mixed baby greens
A handful or two of red grapes, cut in half
A handful of crumbled Gorgonzola, or add to taste
A handful of Candied Walnuts (I used these by Fresh Gourmet)

*this yields 2-3 servings, add ingredients as desired for a larger serving size


Maple Grove Farms Citrus Vinaigrette
Added Honey to taste

Assemble as you would a normal salad. I separated some of the dressing out and added honey, about 1 1/2 tsp, to make it a sweeter and cut the vinegar taste a bit.

Granny Smith apples might also be a great addition and the Gorgonzola cheese may be substituted with a blue cheese.

Sorry if my vague measurements bother you. I like to think of myself as Jamie Oliver and just keep things organic and to taste in the kitchen, especially with something so fresh and tasty.

You can also try this copycat version of the salad which uses homemade dressing from

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Kitchen Reveal!

This is nearly 2 years overdue, but I'm finally able to share my new kitchen! It was completed the first week of November 2014 and well, the months since have been a blur. We have already used it to host 2 Thanksgivings, a Halloween party, and 4 Birthday parties, as well as our everyday use.

I am a pretty indecisive person and I was proud how quickly I made decisions with this project. I am 97% happy with it and that other 3% is totally livable with what things I would change. It hurt to spend all of that money but I feel like we have made it back tenfold so far and the room is serving the exact purpose I wanted it to.  Even the Mister agrees that it was worth it so that's always a good sign.

My Favorite Things:
- The Sink
- Soft, self closing drawers
- Abundant counter space
- the open concept
- The paint color: North Star by Sherwin Williams

The company was great to work with and our vendors were too.

So the 3% I'm like 'meh' about:

1) I wish we'd have gotten all deep drawers for the cabinets.  I LOVE them! They aren't everyone's style but I find them so much more durable and convenient.
2) I question our layout just a bit.  We just assumed staying with the original kitchen footprint and combining it with the dining room was the way to go, but I kinda feel like our dining room might be too small and we've got a lot of wasted space on the far end of the kitchen were we used to have the dining table.  We also kept the plans that way because if the money fairy drops more money on us some day we wanted to add more cabinetry to the former eat in area, possibly put a door where the window is and have a beautiful deck added on.  So, our current layout takes all of that into consideration.
3) I would've loved new stainless steel appliances, but there's no need to replace what we already had.

I think once we get a new dining room table (read: 2017 probably) I'll love it even more.  I'm also desperately seeking something to put on the far back wall.  I want it to say kitchen more than family so a family picture is out. I've got an idea in the works that I hope to finish by the end is summer so look for that coming soon.    We're pricing out a new back door and deck too, so we will have to see if that is in the cards to be added to.

Be sure to check out my DIY valence box post and other kitchen related posts to follow along.

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