December 31, 2011

Goals for 2012

I think it was last year when I had lunch with two friends and "resolutions" were brought up. I brought up my usual disdain for this time of year, since it seemed so dishonest and self-destructive in a way. I had always watched people make unachievable resolutions and then get angry when they realized they couldn't reach their goal, or I'd see people decide to start the year off right by not committing a crime*. Hence my bleak outlook on resolutions. (*After writing this, I realize my parents should have given me money instead of allowing me to work with the people I did....)

Anyway, they brought up how the first of the year isn't necessarily about striving to completely makeover your life, but instead about reviewing the previous year and finding ways to improve what is improvable. Those that make such unattainable goals were trying to speed up a process that should be taken slowly, which is why they often fail. And for those who start the year off by not committing a crime...well, they're not really understanding the point, either (although, not committing crimes is good!). The point, I believe, is to search your heart and prayerfully enter the new year with achievable goals that will make you a better Christian, parent, spouse, friend, etc. It's about having your priorities in order and striving to be better because you aren't yet. And you may never be "your best," but the first of the new year is a good time to evaluate and act.

I made a private, simple resolution, or goal, this time last year. I hadn't made a resolution (other than the "I'm going to lose weight" one that never really sticks) in years, but decided I would try it and see how it went. My goal was to use the outline for prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13 and pray at least once a week. I've struggled with prayer for a long time, not understanding how it works, or what God does with it, but I needed to try this. And I am happy to report that  did. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to any of the questions I had when I started, but I can tell you my anxious heart had a lot more peace this year. And honestly, that's worth more to me than answers that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Since I was able to stick to a resolution this year, I decided to be a bit more adventurous for 2012 and have more than one goal. Here's the list I've come up with:
read the Bible through
finish projects I start (I am SO bad about this! Hopefully our wedding book (over 3 yrs ago) and Aiden's baby book (he's 15 months) will be done this time next year!!!!)
Read at least two chapters from a book per day
Read at least 24 books (list to come later this week)
Be in bed by 9pm 5x a week
Wake up by 7:30 5x a week
Exercise at least 30 min per day 5x a week
Not have the tv on while Aiden is awake, except for the Today show and Nightly News with Brian Williams
Do daily chores (I'll write more about this soon)
Budget budget budget (more on this later, too)

In order to help with accountability, I plan on blogging about how I'm doing with these goals from time to time (this is my online journal, after all).

Good luck to you all with your goals for this year. Have a safe and blessed 2012!

December 28, 2011

Best Christmas Present Ever (Not!!)

A couple weeks ago I went out to my garage and found a HUGE box delivered by UPS. It was for my brother, I assumed it was our Christmas present. I texted him, "What the heck did you get us?!!?"
"Something awesome."
"Something huge!!!"
In hindsight, he probably thought I was nuts.
So he gets to our house on Christmas Eve, and he, Daniel, and my dad lug this huge box into our basement. He goes to my mom and says, "I don't understand why it's so big and heavy. It should be smaller than that..."
Christmas morning we go downstairs (since no one wanted to carry it up) and start opening the box. I see a packet of paper that says something like "Video Instruction Manual blah blah."
"Brandon! We need video instructions for what you bought us?!" I looked at the packet of papers, and I could make out what it said underneath the top page: Refrigeration unit for Kegerator*. Kegerator. "BRANDON!!!!!! YOU BOUGHT US A KEGERATOR?!!? WHY!!!!"
"What!? I did not buy you a kegerator!!! I bought you an old-fashioned popcorn machine!!!!"
So Brandon called Walmart on Monday to get the mess straightened out, and found out someone got a popcorn maker instead of a safe. So someone who was expecting a safe got popcorn maker, someone who was expecting a kegerator got a safe, and we got a kegerator.
Wow, Walmart. Wow.
The most hilarious part of the whole thing is when my brother was on the phone with Walmart, he told them he bought the popcorn maker for us since my husband is a youth minister and he thought it would be good for youth group activities. The woman might have peed herself from laughter.
Happy Holidays!!!
*For those who do not know, a kegerator is a refrigeration system for a keg. Of beer.

December 21, 2011

It's been a while

I redid this blog. I felt very limited in the way I first set it up because I was only giving recipes from other blogs/websites and I was getting bored with it all. So, I decided to make it a journal instead (obviously...check the title haha). So this is just an update to say more to come!

June 15, 2011

DIY Liquid Laundry Soap

This is a post I've been wanting to write for a while, but I can't find where I got the recipe! So, I give up. I know I Googled "homemade laundry detergent," and I found this particular recipe on the Duggars' website, but it isn't working now (*Hence the "giving up").

Here's the recipe:

You need:
4 cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar, or Dial or Ivory. We used Ivory.
1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (it has to be washing soda)
1/2 cup Borax
More hot tap water
1 5 gallon bucket
Laundry soap dispenser (we used our old All container) with lid

Grate the bar of soap and add to saucepan with the 4 cups water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap mixture, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

The next day, stir the liquid, and pour into a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser until half full. Fill the rest of the way with water.

Shake before each use.

Yields approx. 10 gallons.

Use 5/8 cup per load for top load machine, and 1/4 cup per load for front load machines.

You can add essential oils once the soap has cooled if you want (10-15 drops per 2 gal), but we like the way the Ivory soap smells.

I LOVE this detergent! I've read you can use distilled white vinegar as a fabric softener, but we're still using Gain. I did try the vinegar, but I need to do it again before I have a real opinion on it.

Next to come: my favorite homemade cleaners!

June 2, 2011

Crockpot Yogurt!

Yes, you read that right- yogurt made in the crockpot! It works, and it's good! Here's where I got it from.

I did it a little differently because I have a baby and he rules my life requires a lot of attention, so when it says "cook for 2 1/2 hours," mine cooked for 3ish. And when it said "3 hours," mine was closer to 4....but it turned out really well and closely resembles yogurt!!

I plan on adding honey and also using it for parfaits. I'm excited!!

I like this recipe because the only thing I had to buy that I wouldn't have already was a half gallon of whole milk, which cost $2ish. On the link above, she says you can add a packet of unflavored gelatin to low-fat milk instead of using whole milk. I'll try that next time. So a ton of yogurt cost me $2ish. Not bad.

May 27, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter

This is the best peanut butter ever. Daniel doesn't like peanut butter, but he eats this out of the jar! It's really easy to make- I put 2 cups of peanuts in a food processor. When its creamy, I put it in a bowl and add a tablespoon or so of honey, and mix well. Store in the refrigerator. It's very yummy!

May 19, 2011

The "Green Monster Smoothie"

While watching the Today Show a few days ago I saw this smoothie, and was intrigued. I've been wanting to start eating a smoothie in place of a meal every so often, but I didn't want a fruit smoothie that was loaded with tons of sugar. Since I misheard Kimberly on the Today Show and thought she said "Going Green Smoothie," instead of "Glowing Green smoothie, I Googled the wrong thing, but found a whole movement instead! What I found was the Green Monster Movement. Apparently this has been around for awhile. There are hundreds of green smoothie recipes online! I read over a few of the recipes on Angela's website and thought, "I can do this!" So, I went to Walmart and bought a blender for $17. I know, I should have gotten a Vita-mix, but 17 doesn't make me have a head-twitch and feel the need to go through the degrees of loss like 400 does.
I made a variation of the first recipe on the Green Monster Movement website. Here's what I did:

2 cups mixed greens (we have organic Market Side Mixed greens from Walmart)
1 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 T flax
1 banana
1 apple
6 strawberries
Approx. 8 cubes of ice

Place the ingredients into the blender in the following order: 1) Flax, 2) greens, 3) banana, apple, strawberries, 4) milk. The reason for this order is so the heavier ingredients weigh down the flax and greens and keep it from flying up around the blender and sticking to the side. Blend everything on the highest setting for 1 minute or so. Finally, add ice and blend on the ice setting.

It's delicious! If it's not sweet enough, you can always add more fruit. I'm going to do a variation of Glowing Green Smoothie next. She uses celery and lettuce. I'm intrigued.