Making New Year's Goals/Resolutions

With Christmas done, and hopefully the cleaning up from the holidays at least started... it's time to celebrate the start of a new year! 

Does anyone else take time at the end of the year to really sit and reflect on the "stuff" that you and your family accomplished? I try to. Here are my top 10:
{1} Finally unpacked all the boxes from our move
{2} Donated lots of stuff to Goodwill
{3} completed 2 craft fairs
{4} My DD started preschool
{5} only a couple allergic reactions for my DS (definitely an accomplishment!).
{6} 1/2 of the house now has baseboards
{7} sealed the grout on our kitchen floor tile (no easy task)
{8} planted and successfully harvested vegetables from our garden
{9} found several new allergy friendly recipes that we LOVE
{10} set the groundwork for some major organizing!!

How about you, what did you get accomplished this year!??!

Now it's time to think about all those things that we want to accomplish or change this coming year. Have you had a chance yet to think about what is on your list?

 Here are some simple tips when it comes to putting together your goals or resolutions for 2012:


  •  Make it attainable: There is nothing worse than setting a goal/resolution that you know you won't be able to reach. I promise you, you will attempt it maybe once or twice, and then give up. In addition, don't set too many goals. If the list becomes overwhelming it will be very hard to attempt anything on it because you won't know where to start. If you have a specific project (ie. paint the trim on your home) set a specific date when you would like to have it completed. Leaving an open-ended time frame can be dangerous! 
  • Set benchmarks:
  • If you have lofty goals for next year, put together some benchmarks or checkpoints within your goal to keep yourself on track. If you plane - for instance - to make it a goal to lose weight this coming year, set a couple of smaller benchmarks to make sure you are doing it. Split up the poundage you want to lose into smaller chunks and give yourself a reasonable amount of time in which to do it. Then when you reach that smaller goal, give yourself a reward.... which brings us to the next point...
  • Create incentives:
  • We all know that from time to time (or maybe most of the time) we are in need of some major motivation. If your goal is to get the kids to school on time think about an incentive to help motivate both you and your kids to do it.  Whether it is a toy for them if they get to school on time everyday for a month, or a new pair of shoes for you... incentives DO help!
  • Write it down:
  •  How do you plan on keeping track of these goals and resolutions? Do you have a journal, a notebook, a calendar? If not, then get one! The only way to remind yourself of what you are working on is to see it everyday! If you aren't looking at the goals they won't be in the forefront of your mind... and it will be like most of us who... at the end of the year dig out that list of resolutions and realize that you didn't do any of them because the list was packed in with the Christmas decorations from last year. 
  • Be Accountable:
  •  This one goes hand in hand with being able to see your goals as well as creating incentives. You have to hold yourself accountable for getting these things done. If there is no accountability, how do you ever plan on accomplishing these goals?!?! 
  • Evaluate Your Progress:
  •  Plan to sit down with your goals at the sixth-month mark and evaluate your progress. Take inventory of the goals you may have accomplished and those that maybe need a little more help. You may need to tweak a goal or two because you have found that maybe it isn't quite as attainable as you thought it was. Don't let it get you down. We are all human... life happens! Sometimes a goal needs to be adjusted. 
Hopefully this will be of some help to us all as we sit down this weekend and put together our goals for 2012. 


Here are just a couple of mine:
1. Throw away junk mail as soon as I bring the mail in the house. This is a big problem for us. We constantly have piles of ads and junk mail on the counter, the table, the bookcase, and everywhere else. By choosing to do one simple act like this everyday I hope to be able to eliminate a lot of the clutter that builds up.
2. Keep the kitchen sink empty. One of my biggest pet peeves is that our kitchen sink is almost always full of dirty dishes. So much so, that when I get around to doing them, it takes two loads in the dishwasher to get them all clean. I used to be really good at keeping up with the dishes and not letting them pile a mile high. In the last 3 months or so I have become very lax in that area. I BEG my hubby to do them sometimes... but really, if I just always tried to keep the sink free from dishes (when possible -- since there are those times when you just can't) not only would I have more free time - since I won't be standing at the sink for 30 minutes loading and unloading the dishwasher - but my kitchen would be a much cleaner and happier place to be!
3. Plan Family Home Evening Weekly: This is something that we struggle a lot with. My hubby works very unpredictable hours and some nights doesn't get home until the kids are in bed. I used to think that a weekly family night HAD to be perfect! I had to plan a spiritual lesson, have a snack, have an activity, and make it an enjoyable time for all while still being structured. Well, I have learned that is a completely unattainable goal for us. Our family schedules just don't mesh well with that plan. So, instead we will have a weekly family activity. Maybe it will be a trip to the park, a movie night, a game, or whatever it is. BUT, it will happen at least one night a week. I am not going to be stingy on the DAY, but plan one every week.
4. Purge and Organize: These are two of my weakest areas! I am a pack rat at heart... which you would see if I was willing to share pictures of my craft room! I also have a hard time getting rid of or donating my kids' old toys. I have 3 storage bins in the garage full of toys and books. We have so many, yet I can't seem to part with them. Partially because we plan on having other children and will want to pull out some of the infant toys when that happens, but also because I remember how much each of my kids LOVED these toys. So, one of my goals is to purge some of the toys. I can't bare to get rid of them all... but I will definitely give away/toss a BUNCH! I am thinking probably close to half. Then, the ones that are left need to be better organized. Same applies to other areas in our home.. particularly my craft stuff! In order to organize it, I have to get rid of the stuff I am NOT going to use! 


Now that I have made some BIG confessions to the utter chaos that can sometimes ensue in our home, what   goals or resolutions are you planning to make for 2012? 

Here's wishing you a very safe and happy new year! 
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OMG.... A Little... no Make the A LOT of catching up to do!!

So, the holidays totally took over for the last week or so, and my blogging has taken a hiatis. I am finally starting to feel a little better and I am definitely looking forward to sharing both an explanation as well as some exciting news!!

I hope you all ha a wonderful holiday celebration and that you were able to spend some quality family time as we were!

•  •  •


Now, for a little A LOT of catching up!!!

I still have not heard from my winners, so I am picking new ones!

Chenille Blanket winner: #17 Natalie {sent you an email}

Rhinestone Flower clip and headband: #2 Macey {sent you an email}

Thirty-One Tote Bag: #15 Maureen: I love the market thermal tote in circle spirals. How cool would that be to take to the supermarket? {sent you an email}

All winners have 48 hours to return my emails or new winners will be announced!

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Mingle Monday 12.19.2011

Sorry about no Mingle Monday last week... I have been seriously under the weather! I am finally starting to feel a little better.. thank goodness!

Winners for the 31 giveaway and new winners for the blanket and hair clip giveaways will be announced {since those winners never contacted me} tomorrow.

Have you had a chance to check out the first few posts of my 12 Days of Christmas!?!

Let's mingle!

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Please be sure to grab a button for your blog so you remember to come back next week, and to share it with all your peeps!

Please link to a FAMILY FRIENDLY BLOG ONLY!

Follow as many new friends as you like. Make sure to tell them you stopped by from Mingle Monday!

Have fun!


12 Days of Christmas - Day 5: Holiday Gift Checklist {freebie}


How many of you {or me for that matter} have ever accidentally left someone off the holiday shopping list!?! Have you ever shown up to a party and realized ... oh shoot ... I forgot to get something for so and so!?! I know I have!

I created a checklist to use this year so I don't forget anyone, and I am sharing it with you!

{download here}

I have left spaces for your to write the names of everyone you need to shop for this year, the gift you are getting them, and the price of the gift {great if you are working with a budget}. Then you can keep track of whether or not the gift has been bought, wrapped, and shipped or delivered.

Print out as many as you want! It is yours to keep for-ev-er! Use it again next year! Use it year round for birthdays {just white out or cover the word "Holiday"}.

Don't forget anyone this year!

Freebies are available to blog followers only. Please take a second or two to become a follower before downloading.  Thanks!
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12 Days of Christmas - Day 4: Salt Dough Ornaments



A BIG welcome to Brooke from Get Out of My Head Please.

you are talking too much

She has a fantastic blog where she shares tutorials, craft ideas, giveaways, and much more! Her blog is simply fantastic. If you have a second {or two} after reading her guest post here, go check it out!

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 It's that Time of the year for us to make our Dough Ornaments. We have been making these for about 5 years .
It's a great way to change up your look from year to year and a great way to get the kiddo's involved. But the biggest bonus is ... it saves a lot of money :)

Plus, it's super easy to do!!

Salt Dough Ornaments
You will need:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1  1/2  Cups warm water 
  • 1 cup salt 
  • rolling pin
  • cookie cutters
  • cookie sheets
  • Wire Hangers ( Found mine at the dollar store )

I like to dissolve the salt in the warm water for just a min , then add the flour and knead for about 15 mins.
( it helps to get hands a little damp if it needed) 




Rub some flour on the surface you plan to roll it out on to help it from sticking .


Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" thick.   


Use holiday cookie cutters to cut out the shapes you want. OR... use a knife to cut shapes if you don't have cutters.
(the owl and small star are from the boys play dough stash. A great resource for some good shapes!)

Make sure to poke a hole in the top of the shapes where you want the hanger to go.  I used the tip of an ink pen to make my holes.

I got about 35 ornaments out of this batch of dough.  

Pre-heat your oven to 325ยบF and cook for about 30 mins. 
I let them sit for about 3 hours to cool before painting. 


Now for the FUN! part Create!






Hmmm...... I actually took his paint and rubbed it all over his face! ( oh my Correction! I meant HE not I, I would NOT do that lol )






it's so much fun! I just love it 

•  •  •

Thanks so much Brooke for sharing this fun idea! In addition to decorating your own tree, why not give some away!? Wouldn't they make a cute gift for a school teacher, or a neighbor? Since it has a hole in the top for hanging, you could simply tie on onto the Christmas gifts you are giving this year with a simple
" the ______ Family"
message on them. So cute!

I can't wait to make some of our own. My kids would love to paint their own ornaments.

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Winner, Winner, Winner!!!!


I finally have the winners of the blanket and rhinestone hairclip giveaways! With close to 40 total entries, the lucky winners are.....

Chenille blanket: #7 - JanelleS
Rhinestone Clip: #16 - Natalie

If you left me your email I am sending you one right now. If you don't get it, make sure to email me within the next 48 hours or new winners will be chosen!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Make sure to stop by and enter the new giveaway for today!

{thanks random.org}
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12 Days of Christmas - Day 3: Thirty-One Giveaway



My dear friend Lauren is a Thirty-One consultant.


Are you familiar with Thirty-One!? If not, you are totally missing out! I think I would like just about one of everything they have to offer. There are great organizing totes and baskets, purses, travel bags, backpacks, and so much more!

Here are a couple of my favorites:

I am LOVING the 5th Avenue purse!


I own one of these thermal totes and gave one to my mom for Mother's Day this year. It is perfect for keeping kids food cold on trips... especially since we bring my little guys fod every where we go due to food allergies.


And what mom wouldn't want one of these cute Zip-Up Pencil Pouches to keep all of their office supplies in!?!?


Lauren has so kindly sent me an organizing tote to review as well as one to giveaway! A $25 value!

I use mine on day trips to keep all of the extra clothes, cups, and diapers for the day organized. I love the pockets on the sides. They are a great place to keep the sippy cups!

We used it to take to the beach full of our towels and extra clothes. Because it is made of laminated nylon material it cleans up great! Even when sand is involved. Those side pockets are great for sunscreen!

It would be great to keep all the kids toys organized in the car. I hate when the toys, blankets, pillows, etc. are all over the place.

Here is what you can win! Lauren is giving away an Organizing Utility Tote in the Circle Spirals pattern {circled}.




Here's how to enter:
Mandatory Entry: You must be a follower of this blog. Then leave a comment that you follow.
Additional Entry: Follow me on facebook.
Additional Entry: Take a look at Lauren's Thirty-One catalog and leave a comment with something you would love to have! 
Additional Entry: Share on facebook, twitter, or your blog. Please leave a comment for each entry plus the link to your post.

All entries must be received by Wednesday December 14th. Winner will be announced on the 15th.
(Open to US and Canada)




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Mingle Monday - 12.5.2011

Wow... yesterday just FLEW by! These last two months are like a big blur! Sorry, for getting this up so late this morning!

Have you had a chance to check out the first few posts of my 12 Days of Christmas!?!

Let's mingle!

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Please be sure to grab a button for your blog so you remember to come back next week, and to share it with all your peeps!

Please link to a FAMILY FRIENDLY BLOG ONLY!

Follow as many new friends as you like. Make sure to tell them you stopped by from Mingle Monday!

Have fun!


12 Days of Christmas: Day 2 - Recipe and Tutorial for Marshmallow Snowmen


Welcome Kristi from Cooking Unbound.
 
She is a follower and a super awesome cook! I have been browsing her blog trying to decide what fun recipes to try out! Seriously... I have been drooling! Kristi is here today to share with us a fun holiday treat idea. This one if great for the kids to do too!

•  •  •



I came across this idea in a Living magazine and thought it was just too adorable to pass up.  Aubrey (my 3 year old) and I made them together and took them to a friend's house for a snack.  When my friends saw them, the first thing they said was, "This is going on your blog, right?!"  They looked at me incredulously when I told them that I hadn't taken any pictures.  So one of them grabbed my phone and snapped this shot of me holding a snowman and told me to upload it to facebook.


I decided to take a pic without me in it :) and posted this one instead.  


To my surprise, I received a lot of feedback from others wanting to make them, so here it is!  Yes, I made them again just to take pictures...and to make my daughters' day. :)



Now, although I do love a lot of Martha Stewart's ideas (and I subscribe to her magazines), I'd have to say that she has a tendency to make difficult things seem super easy.  I, unfortunately, am not that talented.  Please tell me I'm not the only one!? :)  I tried one snowman Martha's way and after a failed attempt, I came up with my own way to make it a little more manageable.  I can guarantee that it will be well worth the effort when you see the look on your little cherub's face when you hand her one to eat. :)

What you need:
  • Marshmallows
  • White decorating sugar (for the front of the snowmen)
  • Different colors of decorating sugars (for the hat)
  • Larger sprinkles for the eyes, nose, and buttons (we used brown for the eyes, orange for the nose, and different colors for the buttons).
  • A 3/4  inch circle cutter, or something fairly close to that size (I found something in my kids' playdough stash that worked).
  • A 1/2 inch circle cutter, or something fairly close to that size that is smaller than your 3/4 inch cutter. (I used a small frosting tip).
  • A toothpick (to poke holes)
  • Small bowl of warm water
  • Skewers (I had wooden kebab skewers that I just broke in half)
The process:

1.  For the body, cut marshmallows in half, crosswise. One half will be the body.


2.  For the head, take the other half of the cut marshmallow, and cut it with the 3/4 in. cutter.


3.  Slide these pieces onto the skewer, with the cut sides (sticky sides) facing forward, as this will be the the front of the snowman.


4.  Dip the front of the snowman in a bowl of white decorating sugar.



5.  Using a toothpick, make holes for the eyes, nose, and buttons.  Place sprinkles in the holes.  Try to push them in a bit so they stick well.


6.  For the hat, cut a marshmallow crosswise into thirds.  Cut another marshmallow crosswise into quarters. 


7.  Using the 3/4 in. cutter, cut circles from the quarter slices.  These will be the brims.  Coat brims in decorating sugar of choice, then slide onto skewer.



(Tip:  Dip the cutters into warm water first.  This will help the marshmallows to release easily.  Otherwise, they might stick to the cutter and misshape when you try to pull the piece out.)
 
7.  Using the 1/2 in. cutter, cut circles out of the marshmallow that you sliced into thirds.  Coat in decorating sugar of choice, then slide onto skewer.





8.  Now stand back and admire your work!  And make sure to have someone take a picture of you with your snowman, and post it on my facebook page for me to see! :)

The Living magazine version included a scarf.  If you're up for it, use the scraps from the cut marshmallows, coat them in decorating sugar, and wrap it around the "neck."  I tried one and it didn't turn out so good, but maybe you'll have better luck than me. :)

 
Cooking Unbound
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Thanks Kristi! I am so excited to make these with my little ones. Since they are dairy and egg free, my whole family can enjoy them. What a fun idea!!

Can you imagine how cute they would be sticking out of a cup of hot cocoa!? How about on top of a cupcake!? Oooh... the possibilities!
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