New 52 – week 2

My plan is to post these on Mondays and, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Tuesday. Yesterday was a holiday which meant that my hubby and kids were home and I decided to enjoy the day with them rather than spending it on the computer. It’s my blog, so I get to do what I want ūüėČ

After shopping at Whole Foods last week, I had ingredients for a few new recipes. And a mistake on Amazon meant that I had a new cookbook, too. What mistake, you ask? I’ve been downloading a bunch of free books for¬†the Kindle app on my iPad. One of the books that was on the free list wasn’t really free, but I clicked “buy” before I realized it and ended up with a $3.99 bread cookbook. I’ll tell you right now – that cookbook is well worth the money I paid for it! It explains how to make bread without spending a lot of time kneading and letting it rise – basically you mix up the ingredients and let the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight. That’s my kind of recipe! I made a loaf of bread with mashed pinto beans and it was soooo yummy!

So far, I’m the only one who’s really been excited about the bread. Sean likes it, but he doesn’t tend to get excited about food the way I do. The boys prefer the bread that I buy at the store – a honey wheat that’s okay nutritionally, but not as good as homemade. They’re going to have to get used to homemade, though, because I hope to phase out store bought bread within the next few months. I’m already starting to research making my own flour.

The cookbook had a dozen or so recipes – I’m looking forward to making the english muffins!

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When goals conflict – learning to compromise

What do you do when you have several goals – and they don’t compliment each other? For example, one of my goals is to feed my family healthy meals. By itself, that’s not too difficult to accomplish. But, another goal is to reduce debt; and buying healthier foods – whole, and preferably organic ingredients that don’t come from a can (we’re avoiding BPA’s, too) – is more expensive than buying processed foods. In the past, I might have given up because it was too hard to figure out how to accomplish conflicting goals. I don’t want to give up this time. My health and my family’s health is too important – I can’t quit.

I’ve found that I have had¬†to learn how to compromise – which isn’t always easy for this “all or nothing” girl. I try to research the various options and decide what the best choice is for our family right now. So that means that I have a few cans in my cupboard – pumpkin for making bread and adding to smoothies, chopped green chilis for making chili, sweetened condensed milk for making coffee creamer, and tuna for the occasional tuna sandwich. And I just used the last can of cranberry sauce from the holidays. Those are pretty much the only things I buy in cans. I’m going to try preserving pumpkin and chili peppers when they’re in season, so hopefully this time next year there will be even fewer cans in my cupboard.

Is using even those canned foods ideal? Probably not. However, I’ve made some healthy changes already – using dried beans instead of canned, preserving peaches from the farmers’ market instead of buying them canned, and making more¬†nutritionally sound food choices. I can live with using a few (very few!) canned foods.

I’ve found that a little creativity and the willingness to compromise has helped me to make a lot of progress on my journey to healthier living – and to have fun in the process ūüôā

Disclaimer: I feel compelled to add that there are many things for¬†which there is a definite¬†right and wrong and¬†those things¬†shouldn’t be compromised; that’s not the kind of compromise that I’m talking about here.

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Operation Declutter 2012 – week 2

I’m incredibly frustrated with clutter. It seems like I’m constantly surrounded by it – whether it’s dirty dishes in the kitchen, dirty clothes laying around, or all the stuff that just doesn’t seem to make it back where it belongs. After looking at some photos from 10 years ago, I felt better because our home isn’t nearly as cluttered as it used to be. They I really thought about it – it’s not as cluttered because we live in a bigger house now and have an office and game room. We have more stuff than we did back then; we just have the ability to hide it so that we’re not looking at it in our main living areas.

I know that I’m making progress in getting things out of our home and I feel good about that. Sometimes (like now) I feel like I’m not making progress fast enough, though. I feel a “declutter day” coming where I’ll tackle a specific area of the house and spend enough time in that area to make significant progress. Maybe I’ll start with¬†the closet in the craft room/office. Or, possibly the linen closet. Both of these areas need to be decluttered and organized (again) in order to make other decluttering and cleaning easier.

Hopefully I’ll get to one of the bigger projects soon. In the meantime, here are my daily declutterings for the past week:

Day 5 – I emptied out some old sticker/paper holders and repurposed them to use for my 2012 memory-keeping projects. These are the stickers which have been donated to the art teacher at my son’s school.

Days 6 & 7- I finished emptying out the rest of the sticker/paper holders. These will be going to the school the next time I’m there.

Day 8 – Spices/mixes. I had this cute container on the top shelf of my spice cabinet holding a mish-mash of packets that I just never got around to using. I consolidated the Pampered Chef spices into half-empty jars of the same spice; I’ll donate the gravy mixes to the food pantry at church; and I tossed the dip mixes because they¬†were really old and icky.¬†When I took this picture, I was thinking about¬†getting rid of the container, too, but I¬†ended up keeping it. I moved all those little half-sized jars of spices into it and put it back on the top shelf. Now the other spices are much easier to get to. Honestly, what I really need to do is get rid of most of¬†the spices – I really don’t use them. Maybe another day.

Day 9 – This was kind of a hard one for me. I’ve had those Princess House crystal mugs for more than 20 years and I used to really love them. It felt so grown-up to drink out of them. Since I’ve been married, I don’t think I’ve used them more than a dozen times; I’ve been hanging on to them because they’re nice to have when we have lots of folks coming over (which doesn’t happen more than once a year!). I’d much rather have the cabinet space because I’m trying to eliminate storing food down in the basement (other than the emergency stocks). Off they go to the thrift store.

Day 10 – More scrapbooking stuff. These supplies have been sitting on a card table in the “food room” downstairs for months waiting to be sorted and for me to decide if I’m going to donate or attempt to sell on e-bay. I really don’t want to deal with listing and shipping things, so e-bay is out. Maybe I’ll take the good stuff to the thrift store and try to sell it there? Otherwise, they’re going to the art teacher like the stickers. In either case, they’re out of my house.

Day 11 – To the food pantry. I bought these at BJ’s about a year ago when I was using these ingredients to make chili. I don’t tend to put tomato products into the chili anymore, and when I do, I usually just use some leftover sphagetti sauce.

That’s all for this week. I’m happy that my home is just a bit more clutter free ūüôā

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New 52 – week 1

I’m not a big shopper. This probably doesn’t come as a big surprise since I’m trying to reduce the amount of stuff in our home. My biggest guilty pleasure for shopping is buying digital scrapbooking supplies, but at least that only clutters up my hard drive.¬†So, I find it somewhat ironic that my first “New 52” was a shopping adventure.

Yes, that’s¬†right, I finally made it to a Whole Foods Market! I’ve been hearing so much about this store, but¬†there isn’t one that’s terribly convenient so I hadn’t been.¬†I had to pass by one last week, so I jumped at the opportunity to do a bit of shopping. What I was really excited¬†to explore was the bulk section. There were a number of offerings in the bulk section, but not as many as I had expected.¬†I bought some bulk organic oatmeal, steel cut oats, wasabi peas, pumpkin-flax granola cereal, and some bulk tea.¬†I made the mistake of going into the store hungry, so I couldn’t¬†pass up the prepared lamb curry with lemon rice which I ate for lunch.

Will I go back? Definitely.¬†There was a nice variety in the bulk section and the prices were reasonable (in the bulk section). The wasabi peas were a hit – even with¬†Steven, who refuses to eat peas.¬†I can also see myself buying soap and possibly makeup there. I can tell that I’m going to have to be careful – it would be easy to empty my wallet in that store.

Posted in 2012 Goals, Healthy Eating, New 52 | 5 Comments

Operation Declutter 2012

That’s a pretty fancy way of saying that I want to get rid of stuff this year. Or should I say that I want to get rid of more stuff this year? I started decluttering our home last year and things have definitely improved, but we still have waaayyyy too much stuff.

Before I go any further, I should clarify what I mean when I say “declutter”. for me, this means I’m going to be removing the item from my home (and my life). I won’t own it any more.

One of my 12 goals for 2012 (#6) is to spend some time each week decluttering an area of our home. I really like the idea of identifying something each day to remove, so I’m going to attempt to declutter a bit each day. It shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes to identify something that’s cluttering our home each day. This is what I’ve done so far:

Day¬†1 –¬†I added four shirts to the bag of clothes that are going to the Costless Closet at our church. These are perfectly good shirts, and I wear them occasionally, but I have plenty of shirts that I wear more often.

Day¬†2 – I added some hangers to the bag.¬†Since I’ve been getting rid of clothes, we have too many hangers and they’re just getting in the¬†way.

Day 3 РI got fed up with having to reach around these hair items that were hanging in my closet. I kept one pack of bobby pins.

Day 4 – ¬†I took a harder look at my hair stuff and decided that I didn’t need these scrunchies, either. I wore them occasionally, but I’m 43 years old and don’t really need to be wearing hair scrunchies anymore. Somebody else may enjoy them.

So far, so good. We’re 4 days into the new year and I’ve removed 4(+) things from¬†our house. Well, they’ll actually be out of the house on Sunday when I bring them into church. I’m considering them gone, though ūüôā

Posted in Declutter, Simplifying | 10 Comments

Move More Eat Well – The Beginning

January first is finally here! I was eager for today because my three year-long scrapbooking workshops started today – yippee! I focused on Move More Eat Well today. We were challenged to commit to making one change in January.¬†I thought about committing to a certain number of workouts a week, but decided that might not be reasonable because I’m not sure day-to-day what my knee is going to be able to tolerate. Instead, I decided to commit to drinking at least 64 oz. of water a day. Every day. Proper hydration is key to overall health and to endurance during workouts. I’m typically not very successful remembering to drink enough water, so I think that choosing this as my January change will be beneficial.

I was finally able to get back on the exercise bike today – for the first time since my surgery in October. My knee has just not been flexible enough to pedal all the way around in a circle. I think it’s a very auspicious sign that today, on January 1st, the first day of Move More Eat Well, I was able to do my first real workout in 2-1/2 months! In addition to the bike, I did ten good push-ups and ten good sit-ups and some stretching for my leg muscles. It felt rather pathetic to¬†do such a small number of¬†push-ups and sit-ups, but I have to start somewhere. I was able to do many more in the past and I know I will be able to again.

I wasn’t able to get a good “before” picture today, so I’ll share the cover page of my journal instead.

 2012 is off to a healthy start. One day down, 365 to go!

Posted in 2012 Goals, Move More Eat Well, Small Changes | 7 Comments

Goals – How I did in 2011 and What I’m Aiming for in 2012

It’s the end of the year and I thought I’d revisit the goals I made at the beginning of the year and decide what my goals for 2012 will be. I had 15 goals for 2011 – which was probably a bit much. How did I do?

  • Finish Robert’s quilt I didn’t touch¬†it all year.
  • Finish front garden We rimmed the garden in landscape blocks and laid down weed guard and mulch over most of the garden. We’re planning to do the rest of the mulch this spring when we can order more from the Boy Scouts.
  • Finish window treatments No progress.
  • Keep up with p365 Did p365 for a couple of months, then decided I didn’t want to do it any more.
  • Organize and decorate craft room Started the year with a reasonably clean craft room, then let it get messy again.
  • Finish and print 2009 album Changed from chronological albums to the LOM system, so this no longer applied.
  • Read through the Bible Read more than I have before. I have a Bible reading plan on my iPad and I’m continuing to make progress.
  • Pray daily I set myself up to fail with this goal. Didn’t make it.
  • Lose 20 poinds Ha! I think I’m ending the year at about the same weight I started it. Considering that I tore my ACL in June, that’s probably acceptable.
  • Exercise 4 times a week Nope.
  • Drink plenty of water I did pretty well with this one.
  • Feed myself and my family healthy meals For the most part I was successful with this goal. I’ve started cooking mostly from scratch with real ingredients.
  • Keep the house reasonably clean This was challenging for me; I wasn’t able to get around well because of my injury. The boys started being more helpful, though.
  • Be a good helper for my husband Success
  • Spend more time with Robert and Steven Success

Here are some¬†of the things that I accomplished this year that I wasn’t thinking about in January:

  • Printed 174 digital scrapbook layouts
  • Rearranged my scrapbooks from chronological albums to¬†the Library of Memories system.
  • Sorted through and donated many of the supplies in the craft room.¬†
  • Sorted through my Creative Memories albums and put all unused albums, pages & page protectors in the attic (as a temporary measure until I¬†decide what to do with them).
  • Decluttered hundreds of¬†pounds of stuff from the house.
  • Organized our Christmas decorations.
  • Fixed several broken ornaments.
  • Made the Christmas¬†album for my family’s gifts.¬†
  • Started successfully keeping a budget with YNAB (You Need a Budget) software in November.
  • I started reading again. I think I read at least 20 books this year.

Overall, I had a good year and was relatively productive. My focus shifted from some of the goals I made at the beginning of the year and I accomplished different things. That’s okay, because I was getting something accomplished. I liked having goals even if I didn’t accomplish many of them, so I’m going to set some goals again for 2012. I’d love to do some projects like ‘365 less things’ and, maybe, p366. I don’t tend do do well with projects where I have to accomplish something every day, though, so I’m not going to try. In keeping with my focus word for 2012, simple, I’m going to attempt to make some simple goals.

12 Goals for 2012

  1. “New 52” – I want to try something new each week.
  2. I wrote about my Scrapbooking EQ here. I’m not really going to set any goals, except to stay relatively current with the classes I’m taking – Twelve, One Little Word, and¬†Monthly Roundup.
  3. Develop better¬†healthy eating and fitness habits. I’m not going to be more specific here, because this will be somewhat guided by¬†the Move More Eat Well workshop.
  4. Continue to reduce the amount of chemicals that we consume and use around the house.
  5. Continue to reduce the amount of waste that we generate.
  6. Spend time each week decluttering some area in the house.
  7. Finish twelve (non photo-related) projects around the house and yard. Some possibilities are finishing Robert’s and Steven’s quilts, hanging the remaining window treatments, re-doing the backsplash in the kitchen, and¬†setting up a raised bed or container garden.
  8. Continue tracking our budget in YNAB software and end 2012 with no non-mortgage non-vehicle debt and more savings.
  9. Continue making progress on my Bible reading plan. I hope to finish it in 2012, but I’m only about 1/6 of the way through now so that may be a bit of a reach.
  10. Complete the lessons¬†for “Experiencing God”, the Bible study we’re doing in our Sunday School class this year.
  11. Continue to be a good helper for my husband.
  12. Continue to spend plenty of quality time with Robert and Steven.

The experts would probably say that some of these aren’t good goals because they’re not quantifiable, but I don’t care. I chose to put these things here with the hope that I’ll stay focused on them. If I make goals too specific, I have a tendancy to have a harder time being motivated to accomplish them. So, there it is. My goals, my way!

I hope that 2011 was a good year for you and that 2012 will be even better!

Posted in 2012 Goals, Miscellaneous Ramblings, Simplifying | 10 Comments