Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

24-Hour Boot Camp

Last week, Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project suggested that you can conquer a nagging task by dedicating a 24-hour period to getting it done.  She called it the 24-Hour Boot Camp.



This came at the perfect time for me.  I like buying presents.  I really dislike wrapping and mailing presents.    The result was a guest bedroom full of presents that needed to be wrapped and about half of them needed to be packaged to be mailed.

I decided that my 24-hour present wrapping and packaging boot camp would start at nap time on Wednesday.  I cleared off the dining room table and brought out all the presents and wrapping supplies.  I turned on some Christmas music and went to work.  It took me longer than I expected and I thought about stopping a couple of times, but I was determined to finish.  Finally, I had everything wrapped and packed.



I had some child-free time on Thursday morning, so I finished my boot camp then by taking my packages to the post office.  By a terrific stroke of luck, there was no line at the post office and I had a lovely chat with the post office employees.

The 24-hour boot camp worked really well for me.  Every day I dreaded dealing with the wrapping.  Now, I am completely done.  Of course, there are a couple of straggling presents, but I can handle those.  I'll definitely use the 24-hour boot camp in the future.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

11 Things



Day 11:  11 Things.  What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011?  How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

Wow.  11 Things.  That sounds like a lot.  Here goes:

1.  More stuff.  Making my life simpler is going to be a goal for 2011.

2.  Stress eating.  If I find an effective solution, I'll let you know.

3.  Valuing other people's opinions more than my own.  This is just a conscious decision that I have to make.

4.  Yelling.  I'm not a big yeller, but when I reach my breaking point, my anger flashes out.  This is not an effective coping technique.  I need to release some of the tension before I lose control.

5.  Perfectionism.  I am slowly working on this.  I have been trying to abide by the rule that a little is better than nothing at all.  Spending just 5 minutes decluttering toys might not completely clean up the living room, but it is better than not decluttering at all.

6.  Laundry piles.  Why can't I just fold the clean clothes and put them away?

7.  That list of books that I think I should read, but don't have any interest in reading.  I think I should read Moby Dick, but I really don't want to.  The same goes for Ulysses and everything by William Faulkner.  I accept that I may be missing some amazing pieces of literature that I would love if I actually read them.  Maybe I will read them at some time in the future.  What I resolve is that I will stop feeling guilty for reading my favorite historical-mystery-romance novel instead.

8.  Grey hair.  Something has to be done.  I'm not that old.

9.  Waiting.  Too often I put things off because it doesn't seem like the right time.  I keep waiting for the perfect time.  The best time is now.

10.  Sarcasm.  It is my default response when I am upset or angry and it rarely helps the situation.  

11.  Late nights.  I love the idea of staying up late and enjoying the relative silence, but I am grumpy and irritable the next day.  It just isn't worth it.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A ladybug at Christmastime


A ladybug at Christmastime, originally uploaded by celabbe.
This is my first attempt at using the bokeh technique thanks to Darcy of life with my 3 boybarians.  Bokeh is the effect of the blurry lights of the Christmas tree.  Check out Darcy's site to see a lot of great bokeh photos for her Holiday Bokeh Party.

Katherine was wearing the components to her Halloween costume.  Who says you can't be a ladybug at Christmastime?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beautifully Different

Day 8:  Beautifully Different:  Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up.  Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.  - Karen Walrond



In a way, it is very easy for me to think about the ways in which I am different as I feel different from most people most of the time.  However, I generally consider those differences a bad thing, not something that makes me beautiful.

Beautiful is defined as "having qualities that give great pelasure or satisfaction to see, hear think about, etc; delighting the sense or mind."

What makes me different?

I say no more often than I say yes.  Now, that doesn't mean that I actually say no to requests, because I very rarely do that.  However, I am very careful not to overcommit myself.  Hopefully that results in a happier family because we are not over scheduled and also allows me to have some flexibility in my life.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Community

Day 7:  Community.  Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010?  What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?  - Cali Harris



Community is difficult for me.  I really, really want to be part of a community, but my personality does not make it easy for me to fully commit to people.

That wasn't always true.  As a young child, there wasn't a person I didn't want to talk to or activity that I didn't want to try.  That began to change in junior high.  Junior high was three years of hell.  I was outspoken, smart, and overweight.  That is not a good combination.  It wasn't as bad in high school, but the damage had already been done.

College was a revelation for me.  I found great friends and had a wonderful community.  Unfortunately, one of the friends I made turned out to be a bad choice.  That one mistake has made me much less likely to want to make friends.  It is the easier thing to do.

However, it is possible that it is not the best rule of life.  Perhaps that should be something I work on in 2011.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Make

Day 6:  Make.  What was the last thing you made?  What materials did you use?  Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?  - Gretchen Rubin

I have a confession - I love to make things.  Turn me lose in Michaels or Joann Fabrics, and not only am I in heaven, but, chances are, I will spend quite a bit of money before I'm done.



This past weekend, I made quite a few items including a gingerbread house, a paper wreath for the front door, an embossed thank-you note card, and 2 pairs of leggings for my daughter.  None of these items were made entirely from scratch.  The gingerbread house was pre-baked and assembled (thank you Wilton!); the paper wreath was assembled from a kit I bought at Paper Source, the note card required only a stamp and one of my new toys--the embossing machine; and the leggings are merely women's over-the-knee socks with the feet cut off and a hem sewn on.

I find making things with my hands to be invigorating.  Although I will admit that I don't remember the last time I swore as much as I did when I was trying to put my mother's old sewing machine together.  What I wouldn't give for the user's manual!

There are so many things I want to try to make.  I want to become a really good knitter.  I love knitting, but I need instruction and patience to get better.  I would love to be able to sew, too.  Right now, I have a small, very cheap, crafting sewing machine.  If I can ever figure out how to use my mother's old machine, I would love to take a sewing class.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let Go

December 5th - Let Go

"Let Go.  What (or whom) did you let go of this year?  Why"  - Alice Bradley

This year, I let go of the embarrassment.  I have always been unusually concerned about what other people thought of my choices.  I think it comes from my misguided belief that I should be someone other than who I am.

In her book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin establishes 12 Personal Commandments and the first one is to Be Gretchen.  This was a revelation for me.  For the first time, I started considering whether my choices were true to myself rather than conforming to how I think I should be behaving.

I'm still trying to figure out everything that Being Claire means, but I do know:



I love reading historical mysteries, preferably ones that have a great romance.



I love writing letters.



I love making things with my hands.



I love being a stay-at-home mom.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wonder


December 4th - Wonder

"How did you cultivate a sense of wonder if your life this year?"  -- Jeffrey Davis


I see the world through my daughter's eyes.


A bus ride isn't just a bus ride when it is your first bus ride.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What is Your Playground Personality?


Now that spring has arrived, I spend almost every waking moment outside.  At least once a day, I find myself at one of the many parks around Evanston.  I am lucky to live in a town where there are 59 parks with playgrounds.  In a city of 75,000, that is a lot of playgrounds.

With 59 playgrounds, it is not surprising that there are several within walking distance of my house.  However, I find myself returning time and again to the same two parks.  These two parks could not be more different.

First, there is Independence Park.  Independence Park is one of the busiest parks in the city and there are always tons of kids there.  It has a lot of equipment, a sandbox, and swings.  It is directly across the street from the Central Street Shopping District, which is nice if you have any errands to run.  If I feel like being social, Independence Park is the place to go.

On the other hand, if I'm feeling less social, I head to McCulloch Park.  McCulloch Park is wonderful and has a large open field as well as having great playground equipment.  It is also usually deserted.  Sometimes there are older kids playing basketball or playing soccer in the field, but we can generally have the playground equipment to ourselves.  

What are your favorite parks and playgrounds like?  Do you have different parks to suit different aspects of your personality?

Photo courtesy of Halient/Dreamstimefree.com.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring



With the first blooms of spring, everything seems possible.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Date Night 7: Tapas and Talk


For our 7th date night as a part of Project 52: Date Nights, my husband and I went out to dinner at a local tapas restaurant.

I love going out for tapas.  Ordering all the small plates makes dinner more interactive as we decide what to order and share the food.  We have a few dishes we always order like the goat cheese in tomato sauce and grilled calamari.  We ventured out and tried the marinated artichokes and a chicken dish with an amazing sauce.  All the back and forth really spurred our conversation and we had a fabulous time.

I have tried to schedule one date out a month, and I think that has really made an improvement in our relationship.  There is such a rush of freedom in being out just the two of us.  It is wonderful to be able to talk for a period of time where we can get beyond the regular "How was your day?" conversation and just talk feels so luxurious.  I hope we do it so often that the luxury becomes commonplace.

Photo Courtesey of Sascha Dunkhorst/Dreamstimefree.com.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Date Night 6: Not Everything is Better With Bacon


For our sixth date date as a part of Project 52: Date Nights, I decided to plan a chocolate taste-testing. I have always wanted to try those fancy chocolate bars, but could never find a reason to spend $5 on a chocolate bar. Now I had my chance!

I picked up four chocolate bars: Cherries & Almonds in Dark Chocolate; Hazelnut & Currant Dark Chocolate; Milk Chocolate with Hickory Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt; and Dark Chocolate with Appelwood Smoked Bacon and Alderwood smoked salt. After doing some research, I chose a Merlot to accompany the chocolate.

We started with the Cherries and & Almonds. It was delicious and had just the right taste of cherries and almond texture while allowing the chocolate to come through. It would also turn out to be the highlight of the taste-testing.

Next, we tried the Hazelnut & Currant. I was really looking forward to this one because Nutella (chocolate and hazelnuts) is one of my favorite foods. However, neither the taste of hazelnuts or almonds came through. Still, the chocolate was good.

Then we tried the Almonds & Sea Salt. Whoa, this was extremely salty. It was overpowering for me, but I'm not a big salt fan. My husband liked it.

Finally, we tried the Bacon & Salt. It was disgusting. Actually, it was beyond disgusting. I haven't been able to eat chocolate since. Bacon does not make everything better. Please, allow my suffering to not be in vain - never, ever eat a bacon chocolate bar.

Although the main focus of our date turned out to be a dud, we ended up playing Trivial Pursuit, which was fun. I'm so glad that our next date night will be a dinner out. Hopefully I can't mess that up too much!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Date Night 5: Drinks and Appetizers


After Date Night 3 & 4 were both games nights, I thought I needed to do something different this week as a part of Project 52: Date Nights. One of my favorite websites for fun activities is Rookie Moms. Laurie Puhn guest posted on Rookie Moms with some date ideas, including hosting a 2-person Drinks and Appetizer party.

This idea sounded perfect to me. First, one of the activities on my life list is to learn to make a mixed drink. I am not a big drinker and the only mixed drink I have ever made is a margarita, and that always included some sort of pre-made mix, so I decided that didn't count. After looking in the liquor cabinet (we don't really have a liquor cabinet, but I like the sound of it), we had gin and tonic water, so I settled on a gin and tonic.

Next, I had to choose some appetizers. I remember Ina Garten saying in an episode of the Barefoot Contessa that olives are a perfect addition to an appetizer table, so I headed for the olive stand at the grocery store. Even though olives are sold by the pound, I bought the kalamata olives with the pits because it seemed more appropriate than pitted olives. Next, I choose some aged gouda cheese and some sesame rice crackers, and I was finished. You really don't need too many appetizers for two people, especially when those people are going to be enjoying the appetizers at 8 in the evening after they have had dinner.

So I was all ready for Saturday evening, until Saturday evening hit me over the head. For reasons that are not relevant, my husband and I were not too happy with each other by 8 o'clock Saturday night. I was ready to call the whole thing off. Sitting in front of the television and not talking to each other seemed preferable.

The main problem with the TV plan was that we hadn't eaten dinner. (Part of the evening's unpleasantness was our hour-long drive around town trying to decide on a place to go to dinner, with my proposing places and my husband saying no.) My husband convinced me that we should eat the crackers and cheese, if for no other reason that we were hungry and it didn't include cooking. Since I was getting out the crackers and cheese, I decided to put out the olives as well. And since I figured a drink would taste pretty good, I made the gin and tonics.

We sat down at the dining room table and started to eat our appetizers and drink our gin and tonics. Slowly, as we talked, we let go of our anger and ended up having a really nice conversation. This date wasn't exactly what I had planned, but we ended up having a good time. We have so little time to talk and spend time together, I'm glad we didn't waste our Saturday night.

Photo courtesey of Ioana Grecu/Dreamstime.com.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Date Night 4: Game Night, Part 2


For our fourth date night, as a part of Project 52: Date Nights, we once again played a game. I know, not exactly the most innovative idea, but it was a date.

Unlike last time when we played Trivial Pursuit, for our fourth date, I headed to Target to find a game. After examining all my options, I chose Pass the Pigs.

Now, I have to admit that 90% of my decision to buy this game is that it comes with two little pigs. You toss the little pigs and depending on how they land (on their feet, on their backs, balancing on their snouts and front hooves, etc.), you get a certain number of points. The first person to 100 points wins.

We actually had a lot of fun playing Pass the Pigs. It plays really quickly and my natural instinct to win at all costs was somewhat diminished because we played quite a few games, so we both won a couple of times. We actually played Pass the Pigs later in the week, too, so I think it is a keeper.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Date Night 3: Game Night


On our third date as a part of Project 52: Date Nights, I decided to go old-school and play Trivial Pursuit. I was at a thrift store a few weeks ago, and they had an original Trivial Pursuit game for $1.50, and I thought that would be a good investment.

Now, there is something I have to confess. I am a highly competitive person. I have a really hard time not competing, especially when there is a game involved. I make jokes and pretend not to mind when I don't do well, but really, I am dying inside. I know this is an aspect of my personality that I need to work on, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to do so. I have to be nice and play well because it is date night!

While I was somewhat nervous about how this would go over, we had a good time. We actually played pretty evenly, so one person wasn't way out ahead of the other, which helped. I got to know the History and Arts & Literature questions, and John got to beat me on the Science and Sports & Leisure questions. A hint for anyone about to play original Trivial Pursuit - know everything you can about the JFK assassination and you will do really well on the History questions. Also, if there is a hockey question, answer Bobby Orr.

I would really like to have future game nights and perhaps play something other than Trivial Pursuit. What are your game suggestions for two people?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yummy Granola


I have been on the hunt for the perfect granola for months. After baking a batch this morning, I think I have found the perfect recipe. It tastes a little bit like Honey Bunches of Oats, which just happens to be my favorite cereal. My biggest critic, the Wee One, gobbled it down for her snack, so it can't be all bad.

Granola

Ingredients

7 cups oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. dried fruit

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Combine oats, wheat germ, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds in large bowl.
  3. Combine agave nectar, oil, salt, and vanilla extract in small bowl. Pour liquid mixture into oat mixture and combine.
  4. Pour mixture onto baking sheet and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes. Cool granola on baking sheet.
  5. Once granola is cool, combine granola and dried fruit.
  6. Store granola in an air-tight container.

This post is part of the 30-minute blog challenge from Steady Days.

Date Night 2: Birthday Dinner


As our second date night for Project 52: Date Nights, my husband and I went out to dinner for his birthday. We got to go out to dinner on his birthday! That hasn't happened for at least 4 years. When we were first married, my husband always wanted to go to a steak restaurant for his birthday, so we continued that tradition by trying a steak place in our town I hadn't been to before.

I had our babysitter come for 3 hours, so we had a leisurely 2+ hour dinner. We ordered a drink, and then an appetizer. We waited to order our entree until we were finished with our appetizer. We took our time and enjoyed each other and our food and drink. It was lovely. My daily meal times are so chaotic that it was pure bliss to sit and enjoy food and company at a leisurely pace.

My husband and I don't have rules about what we can and cannot talk about on date nights. I know some people find that not talking about the kids works for them, but, for me, that seems too restrictive. We talked about his work, an interesting picture on the wall, debated who should get the roasted red potatoes and who should get the mashed, and lots of other topics that seemed to get lost when there is a screaming toddler at the table.

It was a lovely dinner and I hope we can make this a regular activity, not just a once-every-four-years treat.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Date Night 1: Movie


Last Saturday was our first date night since my husband and I committed to Project 52: Date Night. I decided to start slowly, especially since my husband was somewhat swamped at work. We watched The Hangover, which was pretty funny. We sat on the couch together, no laptops. no iphones, just laughing and talking. One of the better Saturday nights I've had recently.

This Saturday is my husband's birthday, so I have booked a babysitter and we are going out to eat! It will be nice to go out to eat and focus on each other rather than making sure that the Wee One is properly fed and not screaming.

Here are some great ideas for at-home date nights from Tiffany Bird at The Mother Huddle. I can't wait to use some of these, but I'm always looking for more ideas. What are your suggestions for at-home date nights?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Favorite Things


As the weekend begins, I thought I would share a few of my favorite things this week.

I watched the movie Food, Inc. this week and it was very eye-opening for me on how my food is grown and treated. If you subscribe to Netflix, you can stream the movie on your computer.

This week, Tsh of Simple Mom started the next discussion in her Book Club on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. I am enjoying the book and the discussion is really forcing me to think through the choices my family has made and why we made them (or why we simply defaulted into certain routines).

If you haven't heard about Project 52: Date Nights, then head on over to Simply Modern Mom and join the fun as couples agree to have a date night every week. On Tuesday, all the participants link up at Simple Modern Mom and share their date experiences and suggestions.

As for crafting, I have been working on the fabulous Lil' Sweetheart Purse from Betz White. My little toddler loves putting things in a bag and taking them out, and the Lil' Sweetheart Purse will be a perfect Valentine's Day addition. If you aren't familiar with the work of Betz White, you will fall in love with her projects.

Finally, I loved listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Committed. Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love, which I also thoroughly enjoyed, but her honest and thorough discussion of marriage was fascinating. Elizabeth Gilbert reads the audiobook herself and she did an outstanding job.

What did you enjoy this week?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Life List









As a part of my January soul-searching and resolution-making, I decided to make a life list. A life list is a list of things you want to do during your life. Some people’s lists include grand things that they want to do before they die and some lists include more day-to-day goals. The purpose of the life list is to put you through the exercise of dreaming of the things you want to do with your life and then giving you an incentive to actually go out and do them.

Writing a life list this can be overwhelming, so I decided to break my list down into categories. My categories, which are largely based on the categories devised by Heather of Rookie Moms, are Personal, Romantic, Family Fun, Friends, Outdoors & Exercise, Travel, Earth-Friendly, Food & Drink, Crafty, Memories, Family Work, Home & Garden, and Professional.

Originally, I wanted to write a list of 101 things, but after drafting my list and not coming remotely close to 101 tasks, I abandoned that requirement. What I did decide was that I should constantly evaluate my list. I can add tasks anytime I think of them, and I can eliminate tasks if they no longer interest me. It is my list and I can make my own rules. So can you.

A small sampling of my list includes waking up early every morning for a week to see if it is for me (the fact that I don’t wake up early could be a sign that it isn’t for me, but I still want to try); establish a date night; take my daughter swimming (she is 2, so it is more than time); take a vacation to visit my best friend by myself (Philly, here I come!); run the Shamrock Shuffle 8K; go back to Paris; go to a paperless kitchen; gather family recipes; learn French; order our wedding photos (yes, it will be 7 years in October and we never ordered any wedding photos); assemble a family tree; get a will (yes, I’m an attorney and I’m married to an attorney and we have no will); get my daughter a passport; and plant a flower garden.

I had a great time making my list and I have already started to make progress on achieving some of my goals. I have signed up for the 2010 Shamrock Shuffle and started training. I have started to use more cloth towels in the kitchen so I can reduce the number of paper towels I use. (If you are interested in a paperless kitchen, you should read Simple Mom's suggestions.) After reading about Project 52 Date Nights, my husband and I have agreed to a Saturday night date night after the Wee One goes to bed.

If you have any interest in writing a life list, I encourage you to do so. Just don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t achieve your goals, but don’t be afraid to dream big dreams, either. I would love to hear what you put on your life list.

Photo courtesy of Emily2k/Dreamstime.com.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies













Ever since I started to have a box of fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to my house every Tuesday, there has been no shortage of produce in my house. And while I have been better about eating fruits and vegetables, it is time to make a daily commitment. Therefore, for my third week of the 52 to Fabulous challenge, I am going to eat the daily recommended allotment of fruits and vegetables by the FDA.

Now, I will have no problem with availability of fruits and vegetables because I currently have a produce stand in my living room and a new box will be arriving on Tuesday. I made a vegetable and lentil soup today that is chock full of vegetables.

Have I told you about the lentil soup? Oh goodness, it is so good. It started with a recipe from Wolfgang Puck that I found in the Chicago Tribune a few years ago. I have tweaked it a little bit, but the true beauty of the soup is that it can be tailored to whatever you have in your pantry and fridge.

The base of the soup is the most important part. You start with 3 leeks. You chop up the white and light green parts of three leeks and cook them for 5 minutes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. There is something about the leeks that imparts the oniony flavor, but with a more subtle taste.

After the leeks are softened and smell yummy, add 6 chopped garlic cloves and cook for about 30 seconds, or until you can smell the garlic. Then, you add 2 chopped carrots, 3 chopped celery, 3 cups shredded cabbage (I love using red cabbage), 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, a bay leaf, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1/2 cup of brown rice, and 1/2 cup of lentils. You could add pepper, but I don't like pepper so I never add it. Finally, add 8 cups of chicken broth (2 of those cartons).

Now, turn the heat up until the soup simmers and then put a lid on it, turn it down to low and cook for about an hour. To serve, remember to take the bay leaf out, ladle into bowls, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. I froze a couple of servings, but I still have a few out and at the ready to satisfy my vegetable servings. However, believe me, that no vegetable requirement would cause me to eat vegetable soup if it wasn't the best darn vegetable soup in the world. Just to trick myself, I call it Lentil Soup. Try it - you'll love it.

If I need any encouragement to eat fruit, I also spoon a little Nutella and eat it with the fruit. Oh my goodness, it is so yummy! Did you know that February 5 is World Nutella Day? I say we all start practicing now. Enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Striving Toward Steady Days

I will not lie and say that my transition from a practicing attorney to a stay-at-home mom has been an easy one. Even after two years, I still struggle daily to find my role and purpose. I have some truly wonderful friends and family who have helped me find my way, but the internet has also been a place of refuge for me.

One of my favorite resources is Jamie at Steady Days. As she says on her blog, "Steady Days is about mothering with focus, juggling your mothering career with other roles you may hold, and being mindful as you interact with your children." Wow, that about says it all.

Jamie has now written a book entitled Steady Days. I cannot wait to read it. Simple Mom (another of my absolutely favorite blogs) is hosting a giveaway of Steady Days, so hop on over there and enter!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And Now for the Needs

For the second week of 52 to Fabulous, I am looking at what I need in 2010.

First, to make a good beginning and to build a foundation for organization, I need to start writing down my thoughts, ideas, dreams, and to-do lists. Putting things down on paper is the best way I can put my dreams into action. Plus, if I have a short-term and long-term to-do list, I can make organizational progress on a day-to-day and broader level.

Next, I need to lose weight and exercise more. This is not just a want, but a need. I need to listen to the doctor. No excuses.

I also need to take more control of my financial situation. First, I need to educate myself on our family's finances (my husband is in charge of the finances) and then I need to develop a budget for my expenses.

I need to make my relationship with my husband a priority. I need to spend time with him without our daughter and we need to spend time away from his work.

Finally, I need to continue to work on making my home a place my family wants to be and a place that helps my family be the best it can be. This includes cleaning, happiness, and decorating.

Wow, that is a lot of needs. It is a good thing we have a plan on how to tackle everything!

Making Exercise a Regular Part of My Routine

As for my wants from last week, this week I am focusing on exercise. I live in Northern Illinois and it is freaking cold outside, so I have to exercise inside. My fabulous husband gave me a Wii for Christmas and have been exercising with it ever since.

This week, I am committing to exercising 5 days. A little flexibility is always good for me, but 5 days is still much better than I have been doing in the recent past. I do my exercise before I do almost anything on my to-do list for the day. For at least this week, exercise is almost my number one priority. (Of course, I do have to make breakfast for the Wee One first thing in teh morning.)

The best part is that with the Wii, I actually love working out. The Wee One loves running and jumping along with me. So far, so good.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

52 to Fabulous - A Good Start










I am blogging along with the women at 52 to Fabulous - a year's journey to a fabulous me! As I become my me, I definitely want to be fabulous, so this seems like a great start!

January's theme is Fabulous Beginnings. This week, I am thinking about what I want for me in the coming year.

My first, and most important, thing I want for myself this year is to improve my health. My health encompasses a lot of things including food, exercise, and time to myself.

I want to take a vacation with my family for at least a week. I haven't taken a vacation in four years and that is unacceptable. As a bonus, I would love to go visit my best friend by myself for a weekend.

I want to continue expressing my creativity through crafting. I have started knitting and I love it! I can't wait to learn more. I love paper crafting and my most recent discovery is crafting with felt. I would love to get my daughter crafting, too. I want to read as much as possible.

Finally, I want to make my home as inviting and comfortable as possible. I'd also like it to be as clean as possible!

These are my wants.