Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Goals

As I reflect back on this last year, its many ups and downs, and the fact that I am a better person than I was a year before, I know that now is the time for goals.  Goals to give me purpose, direction, and a measurable way to see how much stronger I have become.

You will notice that my goals are very general.  This is because I want to flow with life instead of fighting against it.   I want to pray and feel the direction that God wants me to go.  I want to be inspired, be open to new ideas and take an organic approach to everything.

Each month I will write specific goals based on my yearly goals.  Then week by week, I will share with you the progress I am making.

Do you set goals?  I would love to hear about them and how you plan on reaching those goals.


A Loving Family
Pursue Husband
Presence in the Here and Now
Physical Activity

A Peaceful Home
Meal Menu
Cleaning Schedule
Flexible Daily Routine

A Healthier Person
Loose 30 Pounds
Memorize Scripture
Read the Bible

On Track with Finances
Emergency Fund
Christmas Savings
Begin Saving for A Vacation
Replace Full Time Job's Income

Giving of Ourselves
Open Our Home to Others
Family Service Project
Build Stronger Friendships 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Weekly Goals- December 30, 2013

A wonderful Christmas followed by a sick kiddo has left our lives in a mess, our house in a mess and any sort routine, schedule, productivity in a mess!  Oh, well.  It was Christmas and that time only comes once a year.  (Thank goodness!!!)

Here's how I did on last weeks goals.

Weekly Goals for December 23, 2013

1) Visit Santa  Check

2) Finish Gifts  Check

3) Post 5 items at the on-line garage sale site  

4) Write up an outline for organizing/cleaning house.

5) Clean Fish Tank  (Poor Spidey)

6) Review 2013

7) Set 2014 Goals  Check

I have been thinking a lot about what my goals should be for 2014.  Goal setting helps me to be intentional with life.  I'll be posting my goals for 2014 tomorrow and changing my weekly goal format.  My weekly goals will be centered around smaller goals I have set in order to reach the goals I have made for this coming year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Memories

This year I focused more on memories and keeping Christmas simple.  I did this for several reasons.

We are in the process of buying a home and need to stay with our budget.  

The spending freeze that we went through in the months of September and October has left me critical of how focused we are on stuff.  Not just my family, but our culture as a whole.  Keeping our activities simple and not over-scheduling ourselves, allows us to stay focused on celebrating our Savior's birth.  Less stuff for me means a happier and less stressed mommy/wife... and that makes everyone's lives better!

Keeping things simple has given us more time together as a family and more time to spend with extended family and friends.

Here is a list of this year's Christmas activities.

- I wrapped up 25 Christmas books that I had gotten from the library.  The boys took turns unwrapping one book a night to read before bedtime.  (The books were a mix of Christian, secular and celebrations by various cultures.)

- We got hot chocolate and drove through a local neighborhood that was filled with Christmas lights.

- We watched a lot of Christmas movies that were free from our local library.

- My husband, the boys and I went Christmas caroling with our church family.

- The boys each packed up a shoe box with assorted gifts for operation Christmas Child.

- We visited Santa.

- Making Christmas cookies is always fun.  My mom and I used to make dozens of recipes between the two of us during the Christmas season.  I toned it down to just one recipe and kept things very simple for the boys and me.

- Matthew and Liam each wrote/dictated a letter to Santa.

-  My husband and I took the boys to the dollar store so they can each get a gift for their cousins and each other.  Then, I let go of my OCD and let the boys wrap their gifts.

- A homemade Christmas gift for the grandparents.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekly Goals, December 23, 2013

I got quite a bit accomplished last week and only a few things from my list were left undone.  I even learned how to crochet and am working on some last minute gifts.  :-)  (I had been planning on learning to crochet in 2014.  Check one thing off my list!)

Our Christmas Season has been plodding along at a slow and comfortable pace.  When I was younger, when I was newly married and when I was a young mom, I felt the need to fill my schedule with as many activities that could fit.  Now, I choose our activities very carefully and allow for a lot of "scheduled" down time.  Having specific goals and being intentional about choices paved the way for a relaxing and stress free Christmas season.

Last weeks goals...
My Weekly Goals For December 16, 2013

-Christmas List for Gifts for the Boys
-Christmas Shopping  Done
-Letter to Santa  Done
-Visit Santa (for the kids, not me!)  
-Make Christmas Gifts for Grandparents

- Complete daily tasks to keep up with housework  
Still having a hard time following through with this.

-Research a yummy garlic bread recipe  Bought frozen garlic bread to allow for more time with family,

-Make Granola Bars  
Done  (Link to Granola Bar Recipe)
-Make Chocolate Syrup

Weekly Goals for December 23, 2013

1) Visit Santa

2) Finish Gifts

3) Post 5 items at the on-line garage sale site

4) Write up an outline for organizing/cleaning house.

5) Clean Fish Tank

6) Review 2013

7) Set 2014 Goals

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Granola Bars

I've been on the hunt for healthy snacks that we can afford.  It's super easy and cheap to buy junk food at the store and fill our stomachs with empty calories, but I want to find a different path.

Here's a recipe I found, modified slightly and it met with the entire family's approval.  My seven year old, Matt, said if he had twelve thumbs, he would give it twelve thumbs up!

Plus, it uses chia seeds. These little seeds are packed full of omega-3, fiber, and antioxidants.


  8 Tablespoons Butter
  1 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  1/2 Cup of Honey
  6 Cups of Rolled Oats
  1 Cup Dried Berries
  1/2 Cup of Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar and honey.  Let it simmer until the sugar is dissolved, approx. 2 minutes.  Remove saucepan from heat.

Add the oats and berries to the saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are covered with the syrup like mixture.

Transfer the granola mixture to a 10x15 ungreased pan.  Press it down to fit in the pan, making it as even as possible.  Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the top and then press them into the granola.  

Place the pan into the fridge for 15 minutes.  Take out the pan and cut into bars.  (I used a pizza cutter and it seemed to help the granola stay together.  Place pan back in fridge, let the bars finish setting.  This helps the bars keep their shape when you remove them from the pan.

Store the granola bars in an airtight container and put wax paper between the layers.  Store in the fridge.

Below I have copied the link to the original granola bar recipe that I used.  That recipe included wheat germ, ground flax seeds and whole flax seeds.  I want to make that version but I didn't have those ingredients on hand.  Happy, healthy eating!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Comparison is a Slippery Slope

Comparison is the thief of joy - Teddy Roosevelt

I can't seem to help it.  I catch myself comparing my life, my children, my job, my successes, my crafts, my meals, my everything, to others.

Facebook is the worst.  It connects us to family and friends but with everyone putting the highlights of their lives on-line, it's hard to live in the raw reality of everyday.

Pinterest has its traps, too.  Cute outfits, gorgeous hairstyles, home decor ideas, gourmet meals, crafts, and enough children's activities to run yourself (and your children) ragged.

I'll let you in on a secret.  It's a secret that only three people realize about me.  The person I compare myself to the most, is myself.  Not the real, genuine me, but the person I think I should be.

I hate seeing myself in pictures, it thrusts how I really look right back at me.
I should be thinner and prettier.

I despise how I yell back at my three year old.
I should always be patient with him.

I feel fear when I sing off key in the kitchen.
I shouldn't sound so awful.

I wonder what is wrong with me when I forget something.
I should remember such simple things.

I am ashamed when I think about God's love for me and how I constantly put myself down.
I should have confidence in Him and always feel His love surrounding me.

Then, I hear myself speaking to my children.

"Don't worry about others.  You do your best and mommy will be proud of you."

I love my kids.  I want them to do their best and be the children, young adults and men that God wants them to be.  It is my constant prayer.  (Besides the hedge of protection.)

If I feel that way about my children, how does God feel about me?


A life without worry, anxiety or fear is a lofty goal.  But, with practice, gentle reminders, diving into the bible on a consistent basis and supportive family and friends, I can move one step closer to that goal.  One step forward is one step closer to being the woman that God desires me to be.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekly Goals- December 16, 2013

There has been a lot going on the last few weeks.  Although life is great, holidays are great, and life as a whole is great, I've been emotionally struggling.

I see everyone's homes all decked out for Christmas and I'm lucky we even got our Christmas Tree up.  If it weren't for the boys, I may have skipped it this year.  I feel a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Christmas this year but am having a hard time getting into all of the traditions.

When I tried to figure out what was bothering me, I came up with many answers.

Missing my mom who died 5 years ago could be why.  She celebrated Christmas with the best of them and traditions were her thing.  You didn't mess with the traditions.

The death of our first born son, William, is next month.  Although it is only December, the weather sure feels like January.

Uncertainty with future income, future housing, and the weight  of future choices have sent my head into a tail spin.  Any one of these things could be the reason, or it could be a combination of it all.

Plus, I get mad at myself because my life is great.  Feeling depressed almost feels like a spirit of ungratefulness for everything I do have.

God has given me a loving husband, a great marriage, two healthy and energetic boys, a warm, safe and beautiful home to live in, jobs that help pay the bills, and family and friends to spend time with.

So, it's something I'm working through...

My Weekly Goals For December 16, 2013

-Christmas List for Gifts for the Boys
-Christmas Shopping
-Letter to Santa
-Visit Santa (for the kids, not me!)
-Make Christmas Gifts for Grandparents

- Complete daily tasks to keep up with housework

-Research a yummy garlic bread recipe

-Make Granola Bars
-Make Chocolate Syrup

Many people often struggle during the holidays.  I didn't understand this when I was younger but I certainly do now.  It might just be God's way of showing me how others need compassion, a friendly smile, a listening ear, or a helpful prayer.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finding Peace in Where You Are

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a group of ladies yesterday.  I talked about recent revelations I had found in Proverbs 31, what they meant specifically to me and how the information inspired me to free myself of guilt that has been weighing me down and effecting my choices.  I briefly introduced my new business, Simply Fun and sang "Away In A Manger."  (Singing was not in the original plan but when a lifelong friend asked me to sing, I swallowed my insecurities and said yes.)

I struggle with life no matter where I am at.  When I'm working full time, I want to be at home with my children.  When I'm home with my children, I stress about money and feel out of sorts.  Our lack of income keeps us home more than I would like.  My hearts desire is to be home for my family, so it's a sacrifice I am willing to make.

After the meeting, two women approached me and mentioned how they feel guilty about what they're doing.  One was a stay-at-home mom and the other was a home maker.  Both struggled with guilt from not bringing in an income.  We spent a few minutes encouraging each other before parting ways.

Their struggles seem similar to my own inner struggle and it left me wondering...

Why don't we have peace with the *work God has given us?

How can we find a way to shift our thinking away from what is "correct" in our culture and embrace what is right with God?

"In everything you do, work at it with all your heart.  As working for the Lord and not for men."
Colossians 3:23

If I spend my time questioning, feeling guilty, or stressing about things, I will miss wonderful opportunities to fulfill my purpose.  A purpose that is important enough for Him to place me here, right now and in this very moment.

Whatever season of life I am in, I need to be satisfied.

It's where God has placed me.

the definition of work as found at dictionary.com:

  [wurk]  Show IPA noun, adjective, verb, worked or ( Archaic except for 29, 31, 34 )wrought; working.
exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.
something on which exertion or labor is expended; a task or undertaking: The students 
finished their work in class.
productive or operative activity.
employment, as in some form of industry, especially as a means of earning one's
 livelihood: to look forwork.
one's place of employment: Don't phone him at work.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training

Meet Liam Cedric Daly.  My baby who came out at 11 pounds, 3 ounces and was the biggest newborn in the NICU.  He was the most easy going, flexible and happy baby and young toddler.  Was...

He's three years old now and his halo often explodes when his horns creep out.

When he doesn't get the cup he wanted (but didn't tell me he wanted).

When his seven year old brother runs faster than he does.

When we're out of bananas, or french toast sticks, or suckers.

When the sun is out.

When the moon is out.

(I'm sure you get the pattern here.)

Random moments, unexpected times, and unavoidable situations.

At around two, we started letting him go around without pants or a diaper.  He knew when he had to go and would ask us to put a diaper on him.  I encouraged him to try to go on the toilet and was met with crying, screaming, and anger.  So, I backed off.

I take more of a "wait until they're ready approach" with potty training.  (Too many early childhood classes in college resulted in me being hyper aware of potential issues potty training can cause.)

Fast forward to his third birthday.  Cheerios in the toilet and peeing with his dad got us through the anxiety Liam felt when it came to peeing in the toilet.  Pooping was a whole other issue.  Liam would hold it until we put a diaper on him for bedtime or nap.

He really wants to be a big boy and do big boy things, like go to the preschool class at church. Over the last two months we had lots of conversations about how preschoolers go poop and pee on the potty.  Then, I let us run out of diapers and after holding it for two days (and making me really nervous) he went poop in the potty.

We've had no accidents and much success over the last week and here are a few things that I want to remember.  It might come in handy for future teasing and loving harassment.

1) The moments when Liam comes to me and says "Mommy, I need you to help me brave."  We make out way to the bathroom, I sit down next to him and offer encouraging words as he poops.

2) Liam laying his head on my lap and birthing his poop.  I swear it reminds me of childbirth.  He face gets all red and sweaty and he makes noises that sound like he's having a baby.

3) How proud he is of his pooping accomplishment.  I told him how proud I was and he responded "I so proud of me, too!"

4)  Talking poop.  Yesterday, as Liam sat birthing his poop, he started talking in a loud, angry and forceful voice.  I asked him why he was yelling at his poop and he told me that his poop was talking to him.  It was saying "WE WANT TO COME OOOOOOOOUUUUUUUTTTTT!"  Please note that this all happened in the bathroom at Aldi's.  Normally, I would have worried that the entire store heard Liam screaming, but Matthew's singing drowned it out.

We're headed in the right direction and it's time to celebrate by taking our big boy to Chuck-E-Cheese.  My reward is not having to buy or change diapers.

I must say, it has been quite an adventure.