Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goals and My Word for 2016

New Year's is a time for reflection and for many, resolutions for the brand new year.  I have tried resolutions in the past, and usually they fall absolutely flat.  The reason I constantly failed at my resolutions is because it was one lofty goal without a plan to succeed.  

Instead of a resolution, this year I am choosing a word for 2016, and a list of specific, attainable goals for myself. 

It took me a little while to decide on a word for 2016.  I had in mind the idea I wanted to focus on, but I had to find the right word.  

I decided on "Purposeful."

Merriam-Webster defines purposeful as "having a clear aim or purpose; meaningful, intentional, full of determination." I love this.  So often I go through life without a clear aim.  Sure, there are things I want to accomplish, but more often than not, I go through my day without doing a thing to accomplish them.  I want my days to be working towards goals, dreams, and being the woman I am meant to be.  

I follow Mackenzie Monroe from Bold Turquoise on Periscope.  She has a morning show and a podcast called "Cultivating the Lovely." I love the tagline she has created: "Pour(ing) labor, care and study into making our lives more lovely.  It's all about pressing into the roles that God has given us and doing them to the best of our abilities, in His strength and guidance." I love the "labor, care, and study" part.  That's what I want to do.  To work and learn each day and be the wife, future mom, daughter, sister, friend, and woman that I am meant to be.

So, in order to cultivate lovely and learn to be who I am meant to be, these are the goals I have decided to work towards:

Health: 
I need to focus on being more healthy.  I have a chronic condition and several current health concerns that require me to strive to be healthier.

Hydration- Drink more water! I will drink 80-100 oz of water each day.  I have a 20 oz tumbler, so 1 before breakfast, 1 before lunch, 1 after lunch, 1 when I get home from work, and 1 after supper. 

Walking- Use my new treadmill to walk at least 1 hour per day, 5 to 6 times a week. I can also track my steps using my new FitBit that I got for Christmas! 

Get more sleep- I will strive for at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night.  I require more sleep that the average person to really feel my best.  

Nutrition- Shop for better quality food, cooker healthier meals, and eat better all around.  I will also be diligent about taking my vitamins and supplements every day. 

Marriage:

I really want to focus on growing in our marriage this year.  This will be year four for us!  I want to focusing on growing closer to each other. 

Dates- 2 date nights together each month.  Doesn't have to be something big, just something we purposefully plan ahead of time and do together.

Knowledge- Read at least 4 marriage books this year. 

Phone-  Put down my phone when I come home from work.  I won't look at social media or spend time browsing.  I will answer texts and calls, but that's it!

Personal:

I really want to be able to pour into other's lives, so it's important that I continually fill myself up.

Reading- Read at least 1 book per month.  I have already started my list and will post about it soon! This weekend: Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson.

Podcasts and Periscope- Listen to the two podcasts and 5 Periscopers that I follow at slow times during the day.  They really fill me up and help me grow!

Crocheting- Keep practicing!

Sewing- Learn to use the quilting machine, sew stockings and a tree skirt before next Christmas.

Business/Work:

Premier- Post consistently on my Facebook business page.  Host sales and specials each month. 

Embroidery- Work on doing more samples and posting more to the Facebook business page.

Work- Keep learning new tasks and roles.


That's it for now.  I also plan to update these during the year, including monthly breakdowns. I would love to talk to you about my goals, and about yours too!  If you would be interested in an accountability group, please let me know!

So, Happy New Year from this Southern Girl, to you and yours!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Our Christmas Tree Story


Here is a picture of our Christmas tree this year!  Since moving back to an apartment last year (in December!), I didn't think we would have a lot of room for a tree, so I bought a tiny little 4 ft. tree.  This year, we upgraded to a 6 ft skinny tree!  I love how it turned out.

I shared in a previous post about my parent's Christmas tradition of buying an ornament for each year and adding it to their tree.  We have also followed this tradition!  Here are pictures of our ornaments so far!


 2010:  This is the year we met and started dating.  Jason came with me to Texas to meet my parents and we took a trip to the Alamo in San Antonio.  While browsing the gift shop, we came across this ornament and decided to get it.  We both had an idea that we were going to be together. :)


 2011:  We found this little guy at Tuesday Morning.  He's handmade in Germany!  We just thought that was cool.  We were engaged when we got this ornament.



2012:  We got married!  This was a wedding gift we received, and it 
was the perfect ornament for that year.  


 2013: I got this little owl from an ornament swap we had at the bank I worked for.  He's special because he's from The Mustard Seed, a community for adults with disabilities, where they can live, learn, and grow.  They make ceramics to sell to the public to support the ministry.  Each ceramic has the date and the name of the Seedster who made it! I have several pieces from them, and want more!
You can check out their website at www.mustardseedinc.org for more info!



 2014:  There were big changes for us in 2014!  We decided to leave the Jackson, MS area and move back to Starkville!  This ornament was actually given to us at our wedding, but we decided it was the perfect ornament for 2014.

We don't have a 2015 ornament yet, but when we do, I will update this post!!!


Here are a few other special ornaments that made the cut onto our tree this year:

 This one is special because it was made for me by a friend.  She used our wedding invitation to create the scrolls of paper, added some sparklies, and embellished with a ribbon (in our wedding color: Maroon!) and our last name initial.  I love it!  

I also have an ornament with dried rose leaves from my wedding bouquet.  I forgot to get a picture of it though!






 All of these ornament above are from Austria!  My family made a trip to Austria in 2009 (I believe) around Christmastime.  The Austrians decorate the whole city of Vienna and in the squares set up Christmas markets, and I bought these at one of the markets.  It was an awesome, once in a lifetime, trip for our family.


Our tree topper is new this year.  My mom and I embroidered this angel on her sewing machine, then assembled her.  I absolutely love my angel tree topper!

That's a peek at our humble little tree.  What is special about your Christmas tree this year?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Gift Guide



Do you have all your Christmas shopping done yet? I am almost done! Just a couple small things left, then wrapping!

If you are in need of some last minute gift ideas, here are a few to get you started:


Support small businesses:  If you need a last minute gift, consider buying from a small business!  Whether it's the little store downtown, or a friend who has a direct sales business, it's easy to buy local!  You are also supporting a family instead of a large company.  That makes me feel good about what I am buying.

DIY it: There are SO many great ideas for DIY Christmas gifts!  Just Google it, or search Pinterest.  You'll be sure to find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member.  There are even great ideas for guys too!

Consumable gifts: Everyone these days has too much stuff!  Why not give the gift of a consumable?  For the years that have been lean (like this one!), I do a Christmas tin full of goodies for family.  I can get tins or baskets at the Dollar Store, and the ingredients to make candy or baked goods are usually pretty affordable.  This year, I made white chocolate truffles, candied peanuts, and salted caramel oyster crackers.  The recipients love my homemade treats, and it is still a thoughtful gift. You can also do something like a sauce or spice rub.  I have done both in the past, and had good success.  Beauty products are also a hit.  I made my own shaving lotion/ hand cream last year and scented it with peppermint oil.  Even my dad loved it!  Especially in the winter when you have dry, cracked skin, it's great.  Search Pinterest for some great ideas!

Here's a free tip: buy brown shipping paper at the Dollar Store to use for wrapping, and decorate with ribbon and metallic sharpies! Super cute and very affordable!

Monday, December 7, 2015

How Crunchy Do I Want to Be?


No, this is not referring to granola.  But it's a catchy title and graphic, no? 

Here is the definition of "crunchy" from Urban Dictionary: "A member of an increasingly growing group of moms who are neo-hippies. They generally believe (for varying reasons) that there is something bad or less beneficial about buying mainstream products or doing other common activities in the mainstream way." Check out the whole article here

So, basically being "crunchy" is being natural, and using natural products.  Now, I am far far far from being a hippy.  No sir.  But, there are certain "crunchy" things that appeal to me.  Things like farm-fresh eggs that we have enjoyed for the past year, money-saving things that also happen to be natural.  

Now, I am NOT making an announcement, but I am the kind of person who plans 10 years into the future, so I have been thinking about when we have babies.  Reiterate: no announcement here. Just my crazy planning brain.  Anyway, there are a lot of decisions to make about even just the beginning!  What method of birth (hospital/home, medicated/natural), breastfeeding or bottle, homemade baby food or store bought, cloth or disposable diapers, etc, etc, etc.  It's a lot to think about!  I think I need to start deciding now, because everyone knows I take 3 years to decide anything.  Sigh. 

I decided to start looking into this whole essential oils thing.  I must admit, it intrigues me.  So I started reading a ebook on safe essential oil use.  Talk about overwhelming.  I was thinking there would be a few dozen oils to choose from.  Try 100's.  Yikes.  I have a lot of reading to do!  Anyone have experience with oils?

What kinds of "crunchy" things do you do, or appeal to you?



Friday, December 4, 2015

Getting in the Christmas Spirit



I am strictly a no-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving kind of girl.  You know what they say about elves and baby reindeer... So, now that it after Thanksgiving: Bring it on!  Some years it takes me a couple weeks to really get in the mood for Christmas.  Some years, I get right into it.  I am kind of in between this year.  I have been really busy this past weekend and week, so it has been interesting to get my Christmas decorating done (started Wednesday night, still isn't done).  We are also in the midst of Finals Week for my husband, which is lots of studying and me trying to stay out of the way. Even though I've been busy and tired, I really am eager to get everything decorated, and I've started listening to Christmas music!  One of my regular stations is playing Christmas music all month long.

I love all the nostalgia that comes with the Christmas season.  I love helping my mom decorate her house for Christmas (Which we will finish this Saturday!).  Putting up our family tree brings back lots of memories, as the dated ornaments remind us of different events and happenings in our family.  I love the decorations that were around during every Christmas growing up, like our Santa house and snowy church.  Brings about warm memories and feelings.

I am working to create the same feeling with my Christmas decorations, but it takes a while to get to where I want to be.  Working with limited funds, I have to be creative in selecting those decorations that my future kids will remember fondly for years to come.  I am happy with our Christmas tree (though it could be bigger!) this year.  I will post about our tree later.

I also mailed out my Christmas cards yesterday.  First year I have done Christmas cards! Plus, I got them for free plus shipping from Shutterfly. Yay for a good deal!

What are you doing to get in the Christmas spirit this year?


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 30


I forgot to post this yesterday! But I made it through all 30 days in November posting about all the things I am thankful for.

I hope this prompted you to think of the things you are thankful for as well!  It make me realize that I have SO MUCH to be thankful for in my life.  There are amazing people, opportunities, and comforts that I enjoy daily.  It really is amazing when you stop to think about all that you have been blessed with.  I want to continue being thankful.  Instead of blogging through December, I am going to use my Gratitude Journal that I got from Money Saving Mom.  You can find a link to amazon where you can get one of your own below.

I think it is so important for us to continually be grateful.  It saves us from not being content in our circumstances.  How can you be unhappy when you think of the many, many things you have been given?  Especially this Christmas season, with all the gift giving.  It is easy to be discontent with a gift you receive.  But thinking of all that you already have will help.

Thank you to all my readers who stuck with this series with me!



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Sunday, November 29, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 29


Second to last day of this series!!!

I hope you have spent lots of time with your family, and have had a chance to relax before going back to the grind on Monday.

Today is all about relaxing and family.  We will be spending a leisurely Sunday morning at home resting, then heading over to my parents' house to decorate the tree together.

When do you put up your Christmas decorations?

Tomorrow is the last day! Make sure to come back for the recap.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 28


Today is Small Business Saturday!  I am thankful for small businesses.  The one I own, and the ones I love to shop from.  I feel so much better knowing my money is going to help a family, rather than a corporation.  Don't get me wrong, I do shop a big stores, but I find much more satisfaction in shopping local and small.

Who is your favorite small business?


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Friday, November 27, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 27

For most people, today is Black Friday.  A chance to grab the latest and greatest deals to get your Christmas shopping done early.  I have never been a big Black Friday shopper.  I went once.  That was plenty.

For me, today is Thanksgiving number 2!  It doesn't matter the actual date, this is the day that we are gathering with my husband's family to celebrate.  I am thankful that they are willing to move holidays to get everyone together.  When my husband worked at the sheriff's office, he often had to work holidays, so being able to celebrate with everyone when he was off work was a big deal.

So whether you are Black Friday shopping, in a turkey coma from yesterday, or having Thanksgiving #2, be grateful for everyone and everything you have in your life.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 26 Thanksgiving Day


Today is Thanksgiving Day.  I hope you are surrounded by family, friends, good food, fellowship, laughter, love, and joy.  Make the most of every moment you have with those you love.  Take pictures, exchange ideas, and give love freely.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 25


Today I am thankful for traditions.  My mom and I are planning to make cookies today.  We are going to take them with us to our family's Thanksgiving to give out as gifts.  This is the one holiday that my mom's family all gets together for, so we are giving Christmas gifts early, while we are all together. These sugar cookies are special to us and our family.  They are the same recipe that my great-grandmother used when my mother was a child.  We all have our fond memories of making these special sugar cookies with icing.

Another tradition we have, started with my parents.  Starting the year they were married, they have bought a dated Christmas ornament each year.  The ornament represents something significant that happened that year.  For example, the years that each of us were born, we have a baby's first Christmas ornament dated for that year.  The infamous year my parents didn't have a Christmas tree, the ornament has a Christmas tree on it! (My mom won't let my dad live that one down. Along with a few other stories!)  These ornaments are so special to our family.  We always decorate with the whole family there, as best we can, turn on the Christmas music, and pour some egg nog or hot chocolate. Then we start with the very first year (1978, I believe) and go in order, taking turns putting the ornaments on the tree.  I love this special tradition so much, that my husband and I have started our own dated ornaments.  I also love that my parents bought each of us a tree to put in our rooms when we were young.  We were able to pick out and make our own ornaments each year for our own tree.  I loved decorating my tree!  It is special to have ornaments that have been with me since I was a baby.

What is a special tradition that your family enjoys?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 24


Today I am thankful for having a job that is flexible!  I had something come up that I needed to take care of today, and I was able to take the afternoon off, and tomorrow too! So yay for an early Thanksgiving holiday.  My coworkers are pretty great, and I get 12 hours of personal time each month that rolls over.  None of it expires.  That is pretty great.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 23


Today, I'm thankful for the small luxuries in life.  Things like jewelry, cute shoes, my coffee maker, my cell phone, the internet, text messaging, heat!, microwaves, amazon.com.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 22


It is finally cold here!!! It seems like it took forever for fall weather to arrive.  I have still been wearing boots and scarves, even though it's been 80 degrees or more every day... But so what! It's, calendar-speaking, fall. But this weekend a cold front came through and gave us some chilly weather! Perhaps we have skipped autumn weather and gone straight to winter, but hey, it's still cooler.

I love fall/winter: boots, scarves, sweaters, fleece, thick socks, house shoes, warm colors, hot drinks, cinnamon, apples, pumpkin cookies (from Jason's mom!!!), pecan tassies (from my Granny!), crunchy leaves, blankets, bonfires.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 21

So, I have done good for the first 20 days!!! Only 10 left.  But it's getting harder to think of topics I haven't covered already!  I know there's a million things for me to be thankful for though.

Something that I have very much been enjoying is encouraging women bloggers that I have been listening to and reading lately.

Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom has been so amazing.  Her blog is great, and I love her Periscope morning show.  She shares Morning Motivation each morning around 7:30-8:00 a.m. CST each morning.  It has encouraged and refreshed me each morning. Check out here show on the Periscope app @moneysavingmom, or see the replays of her scopes here. She also has several books for sale which you can find on Amazon.

Mackenzie Monroe from Bold Turquoise has also been an inspiration!  She is so upbeat and encouraging.  I don't know about you, but I need more positivity and encouragement in my life! She has a morning show also, it airs usually around 8:30-9:00 a.m. CST. It is called Cultivating the Lovely, and she helps us grow loneliness in our everyday lives, to be the wives, mothers, sisters, and friends that God has called us to be.  You can find the replays of her scopes here also.

Who do you follow that encourages and helps you? I'd love to know!

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Friday, November 20, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 19 and 20


Day 19: I am so thankful for one-on-one time!  Whether it's my husband, parents, siblings or friends- I love spending that one-on-one time with people who matter to me.  My mom was gracious enough to go with me to an out of town doctor's appointment yesterday.  We spent the drive there and back talking about all sorts of things, and we got a little shopping out of the way while we were there!  We were also able to have three meals together, just her and I.  It was so good to spend that time building our relationship.  Now that I am an adult, I am very grateful that we are working on a friendship, and not just a mother/daughter relationship.  Though she will always be my Mamma!!

Day 20: Thankful for Fridays!!! It is wonderful to feel like you have accomplished/survived another week, and facing a few days off and hopefully some rest or fun!  My mom and I are taking another road trip tomorrow to go visit my cousin and her family for her 2nd youngest's birthday! Can't wait to see everyone! It's been too long.

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