Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goal Review for January


Since January is coming to a close, I decided it would be a great time to review the goals I had set for myself for the year. Successes are in blue, failures in red, and in-between is in purple (makes sense. I had some trouble with the colors so if they aren't quite right, please bear with me!) I've tossed in some pictures from my phone over the past month for fun.

PERSONAL
  1. Exercise (basically, just be more active) - FAIL!
  2. Eat right/better (make better choices in regards to food) - I wouldn't say this has been a success or a failure. I'm definitely more conscious of what I eat and feel the guilt when I know I did wrong. However, I haven't made the best choices throughout the month.
  3. Read more books/watch less TV (I'd like to read at least two books a month, however that all depends on the length of the book) - We're doing okay at this. I have noticed the TV is on less often. However, I still haven't finished a book this month. I'm trying to keep in mind that the book I'm reading is over 1400 pages long. Perspective.
  4. Make a real effort to keep the house clean - I've done much better this month than in the past. Granted there have been a few stumbling blocks, but it's been better.
  5. Discover new music (I've been stuck in a real rut with music lately and have been listening to the same bands for years with no real additions to my playlists) - I started out pretty strong on this one at the beginning of the month and played around with Pandora some. I already knew I would probably like Mumford & Sons, but also found that Florence and the Machine are cool. In addition, since I am a fan of more comedic music, I opened my ears to some Richard Cheese and Weird Al. I know it's not much, but it's a start for sure.
  6. Grow some plants inside and out (I'd like to have some more greenery in the house but I'm really awful at keeping them alive. I'd also like to make another stab at growing some fruits, vegetables, and herbs. I'm going to need a lot of luck with this one.) - FAIL! I haven't bought a single plant. I have, however, kept the two succulents in the kitchen window alive (so far).
  7. Make my visions of my dream house and this house co-exist (basically, start decorating this house the way I envision my dream house being decorated.) - FAIL! We've done no home improvements at all this month.
  8. Declutter/organize at least one drawer/cabinet/area a week - Let me say that I haven't done this on a consistent weekly basis over the month, but I have gotten six separate cluttered areas organized. (I went on a bit of an organizing spree one day!)
  9. Have a yard sale (possibly organize a neighborhood one) - I do need to begin to get focused on this soon.
  10. Take better care of my face and skin - FAIL! I did buy a few new products and price a few more that I want, I just haven't broken down and gotten them or used the ones that I have consistently.
  11. Go to the doctor/dentist (I've been really bad about this the last few years) - FAIL!


BUSINESS/CRAFT
  1. Make a real effort with my blog (I know what this means and it's just too hard to explain other than to just make an effort) - FAIL! With the computer issues I had this month, it really hasn't been my fault, but it also just hasn't happened.
  2. Include more tutorials on the blog - FAIL!
  3. Keep the craft room more organized - I've done a relatively good job this month of putting back materials I use rather than leaving them strewn all over the place!
  4. Discover my passion (I've been struggling for a while to figure out what it is that I'm good at and enjoy doing and how to combine those. I really want to work with a few new mediums and try to find my voice in the cacophony of other artists.) - While my passion hasn't been 'discovered' yet, I did try my hand at a few new skills including etching and fold forming. Pat and I played around with some PMC too. I'm moving in the right direction I think!
  5. Get published (if not published then at least submit to a few publications) - FAIL! and not just because I haven't been published, but also because I have yet to submit. 
  6. Create something everyday - FAIL! I started out the month really hot and heavy on this one, but got lazy toward the middle-end of the month when I didn't have a computer for a while and was just feeling low.
  7. Explore other venue options for selling my jewelry (in the community)- FAIL!
  8. Find a way to use what I have instead of buying more. I need less more in my life! - I'm not sure how to rank to this one. I definitely made less trips to the bead and craft stores, but I didn't make any real effort to 'use what I have.'

GENERAL
  1. Figure out where my time is wasted and put an end to it - FAIL! I didn't even think about this goal all month!
  2. Find some confidence and exert it - FAIL! I felt a little walked on all month and allowed it to happen.
  3. Think outside of the box - This is a toughie. I might as well say I failed as nothing really stands out as an original venture, but I'm not usually an 'in the box' kinda girl either.
  4. Be Grateful*- FAIL! I made the one post here, but the lack of blogging opportunities caused a bit of lack of thankfulness. I'll definitely work on it!
 *Added later

So that's it for January. I don't think I can make up all those fails in the few hours I have left in the month, but I can for sure enter February with some better ideas of how to use the month.  For one, I'm going to attempt the Photo-a-day Challenge from Fat Mum Slim. I do say attempt. . .
Challenge
 Please go to her blog to get details if you want to participate. I saw January's challenge too late in the game, but was excited when I saw she was doing a February one as well so I'm totally in!!


I think I've gone on long enough, but to close this post, I want to share a picture I found on my phone.
This is what I'm going to do to February!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Focusing on Food

I'm BACK!
I think. . .

We've got a borrowed CPU with most of my files loaded up on it. It's not the ideal situation, but it is so much better than nothing. Having to use a computer in ONE LOCATION feels so very old school. I keep imagining myself as a caveman resigned to only hack out my stick men inside on the cave walls. At least I'm 'drawing' again though!

I'm going to attempt to not overload this post with too much at one time. Today will just be about food and my menu for the week.

Pat and I are really going to start making an attempt to eat better. Unfortunately, that means most of my favorite recipes will be disappearing from my menus. I know it's a good thing, but I do love my cheese. . . and cream. . .and BUTTER!!! Of course, I won't be dropping these items completely at once, but we're definitely working toward some healthier choices. With that said, here's this week's meal plan for Menu Plan Monday:


Breakfasts: Cereal/oatmeal, cinnamon sugar croissants, raspberry parfaits, peanut butter toast, eggs w/toast & bacon, whole wheat blueberry waffles

Lunches: Turkey sandwiches, tuna noodles, chicken pitas w/veggies, soup and warm pita wedges, PB&J, leftovers, salad w/chicken or turkey

Dinners: 
Steak w/sweet potatoes & broccoli
Crockpot chicken, yellow rice, green beans
Ministrone Soup w/crackers
Grilled shrimp, boiled red potatoes, roasted carrots

I'm definitely a newbie to the whole eating healthier thing so I'm looking for some other great menu ideas. I know the extensive list of other Menu Plan Monday participants at I'm an Organizing Junkie will have some tasty, but healthier food suggestions.

If you've got a recipe or even a tip or two on eating better, please share!!!

While I've been out of the loop the past few weeks I've still made attempts to plan our meals to a certain extent. Without my computer, I couldn't access most of my recipes. However, there was still Pintrest and all those delicious-looking foods I'd pinned. As such, I did try a few new recipes that I thought I'd review for you here.

1. Penne a la Betsy! from the Pioneer Woman. I'm sad to say, but it's a lot of her recipes that will be leaving my lists as we move toward more conscious eating habits. . . . sigh. . .anyway.
Like all of Ree's recipes,this was DELICIOUS! I regret not having the fresh herbs (I used dried instead) as that really would have out it over the top. It was a subtle dish with no outstanding flavors, but really was yummy.

2. Southern Chicken and Corn Chowder from Add a Pinch was super tasty.
Let me admit that the recipe said to roughly chop the veggies and I did. I regret that. I should have chopped them just a little finer as it was a bit too chunky for my tastes. As well, the soup was a tad thinner than I had anticipated. I'll add some cornstarch to it next time to fix that up. Yes, I said next time! We will most likely repeat this recipe in the future. That's definitely a good thing!

3. Baked Black Bean Taquitos from Naturally Ella were right up my alley.
I liked that this was a vegetarian meal that I could kinda quickly pull together for our lunch. However, things went a little awry for me when it came to the corn tortillas. The directions said to dip them in a pot of boiling water (turned off) for a few seconds before adding the filling. As soon as my tortillas touched that water, they disintegrated into it!! So, I went without the water bath for them. Yet, when I rolled them they split. By the time they came out of the oven, they had ALL split on the sides and were more like black bean quesidillas. I'm sure this just had to do with the type of tortillas I bought and with my lack of experience with corn ones. No matter the cause, they were still pretty darn yummy. I will most likely repeat this recipe, but I need to figure out what I did wrong with the tortillas. If I can't I'll still probably make the filling again and use it in another way!

I also had these Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on the menu, but never actually got around to making them. I still have all the ingredients, but with our new perspective I didn't include them in this week's plan. If we decide we want something naughty I may make them yet.

I can't believe it's taken me ALL MORNING to get this post written. I'm so out of practice. I've got a ton of tasks that I want to catch up on so I better get to it.

Again, if you've got any healthy recipes/suggestions I've LOVE to hear them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Happy Football Fan

I spent all day yesterday with my heart in my throat barely daring to breathe.
I was so very nervous about how the day would close out.
Yesterday's post ended with a Roll Tide and the day itself ended with an even bigger one!

Most of you don't care a stitch about college football, but it's a bit of an obsession for me. If you don't know; my team, the Alabama Crimson Tide, won the BCS National Championship game against LSU last night. I'm a wee bit excited. So that I don't continue on in this fashion and bore you creative types, I'll direct those of you who are interested to my friend Sarah Lena's blog, The Anvil Tree. She did a great job of expressing what most of us Bama fans are feeling in her post And the Tide Rolled In.

For you creative types, let me share this necklace that I made at the beginning of the football season. I'm considering starting on a few more today.
Now if I can just get my focus off what happened yesterday and back on the tasks at hand!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Tried Something New: Etching

I was really proud of myself this weekend as I branched out and tried to use some supplies I had on hand, but had intimidated me. I ETCHED METAL!!

I've read tutorial after tutorial, admired others' etched items, and hoarded the supplies in my craft room; but had never broken down and went for it. I was feeling antsy while Pat rested and decided to try something new.

I couldn't be prouder of the results. I'm forcing myself to make something out of these three etched pieces before I make any more.

So far so good!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As it is Monday, it's time for a Meal Plan!!
Let me admit once again that last week was busier than I had anticipated and I didn't get to cook as often as I had hoped. Therefore, there are QUITE a few repeats on this week's menu.


Breakfasts: Cereal, muffins, bagels, cinnamon sugar croissants, eggs w/bacon & toast

Lunches: Bagel pizzas, tuna noodles, turkey sandwiches, chicken fingers w/tator tots, PB&J, leftovers, quesidillas

Dinners:
Sour Cream noodle bake w/green beans
Turkey filets, hashbrown casserole, broccoli

There's more Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now back to making something to complement those awesome pieces. . .
By the way, I'd love to hear some suggestions for metal suppliers. I happened upon these scrap pieces but would love to find something a little more reliable. Thanks!


**Added. . .how could I forget.
ROLL TIDE!!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Heart Macro: Trees in the Fog

I'm jumping back on the bandwagon for I Heart Macro Sunday today.

Pat and I took a nice long bike ride last weekend and I made sure to have my camera handy. The unusual afternoon fog made it hard to get enough light for any pictures even though there were all kinds of great textures along the path. This one turned out the best.

But seriously, the fog was crazy.
The foggy path ahead
The really foggy edges of the path
It was eerie and spooky, but definitely a lot of fun.

Join in with Studio Waterstone and share your I Heart Macro Shots!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Christmas

I thought that for today I would gush a little about the gifts my husband gave me for Christmas since I haven't mentioned them yet. You may remember My Christmas List (part one) and My Christmas List (part two). I don't think Pat even bothered with list two. I suppose he wanted to leave the bead buying up to me. However, he relied heavily on list one for his shopping to say the least. You can use that post to find the links to most of these products.

On Christmas morning I was presented with four separately wrapped packages. These were the contents:
Metal punch
Liver of Sulfur Patina Gel
Renaissance Wax
Nine-piece tool set
I was elated, ecstatic, and happily content with these gifts. They were all needed and wanted and I couldn't wait to get to playing with them. While I was looking them all over, Pat exclaimed "OH wait. . .I think Santa left a few more in my office." He came back with TWO MORE packages.

In these I found:
Texture Hammer with nine interchangeable texture heads
Photo light box with two lights, a tripod, and background sheets that all pack away into a nice, compact case. This one is actually different than the one I linked to in my Christmas list post. This is a Square Perfect kit, but I can't seem to find a link to the exact product.

I took all of those pictures inside the photo box (with the exception of the one OF the photo box, obviously) and even without my photo editing software, I think they came out pretty well.


From the rest of the family I was also spoiled with a new houndstooth coat, a wand that acts as a remote control (super cool), some other crafting supplies, and all kinds of other fun stuff.
It was a VERY good Christmas!!

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I want to learn to be more grateful. Annette mentioned in the comments that she does a Thankful Thursday link-up and I thought that might be the perfect way for me to take some time to think about what all I have.
So Many Memories

So, as material and weird as it is, I am thankful for a wonderful Christmas that was full of family, joy, and a really great haul! I'm looking forward to getting to play with all my new toys and becoming more proficient in my craft.


What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resuming Bead Table Wednesday

I know y'all have GOT to be exhausted of hearing all my talk of goals. So. . .I'll take a breather.
Ahhhhh. . .isn't that better?
No seriously, I won't mention them again, today.

It's been a while since I posted for Bead Table Wednesday so I figured that I'd try to get back into the swing of it with these couple of bad camera phone shots.
My (small) bead soup and some decorative bobby-pin making
Another completed necklace. I really don't know what's up with my brown and white obsession right now but it seems to be working.


Join in the Bead Table Wednesday Fun with the Flickr Group!

Here's wishing you a wonderful hump day!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Goal: Be Thankful

I didn't include it in my list of goals, but one of the things I want to make more time in my life for this year is to be grateful. I want to look at each day with new eyes and remember what I do have in my life.
Top two bracelets made by oldest niece, bottom one by me (sorry for the poor picture!)

Sometimes it's so very hard to watch as others' families grow, their skills excel, their wealth builds, their inner circle enlarge, their homes sparkle. However, I also know that pondering on what lacks in my own life will never help me be thankful for and enjoy what I DO have.

While I may never have kids, or a large circle of friends, or a big house full of nice furniture I'm thankful that I have a wonderful family and an amazing husband I couldn't love any more than I do. I have a small circle of close friends who always make me feel special. I have a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in at night. I'm good. Expecting more just seems unfair to all those out there who are struggling but making it with so much less.
Hula girl cookie made by youngest niece (we think it's awesome)


I won't say that I'll never dream of having more, but I want to try to remember to take some time to appreciate my own life. It may be a long road for me to get there, but I'll be working on it.

A Good Start and a Meal Plan

The first day of 2012 passed successfully with cleaning, organizing, exercising, and creating.
I actually completed this necklace as well as a few other do-dads.
Sorry for the quality (it's a phone photo!)

I feel a sense of accomplishment, but I hope I haven't been too ambitious with the goals. It was one busy day!!


In preparation for the week ahead, I did get our menu made for Menu Plan Monday.

Breakfasts: Waffles, bagels, cereal, cinnamon sugar croissants, eggs w/bacon & toast, muffins

Lunches: Chicken salad sandwiches, ham quesidillas, tuna noodles, bagel pizzas, chicken fingers w/tator tots, PB&J, leftovers

Dinners: Taco soup (from freezer), mushroom pasta w/spinach salad, spicy orange garlic shrimp w/brown rice and sugar snap peas, sour cream noodle bake w/green beans, honey garlic slow cooker chicken w/rice and corn

I'm hoping to find a few healthier recipes this week from the many other fabulous Menu Plan Monday lists over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


Now I have a question; what exactly do you consider appropriate running clothes for an area heavily populated with kids and the elderly? Would shorts that are so short that your finely toned butt hangs out like you are wearing too-tight panties be considered inappropriate? I would have snapped a picture for you had I not frozen in complete shock and awe at the whole scene. Anyway. I'm not a jogger and am unfamiliar with appropriate running clothes. I wasn't sure if this was a style or some specialized gear.Just wondering what y'all think.

New Year, New Goals

HAPPY NEW YEAR Y'ALL!!!

I've gone back and forth about what to post for the new year. I've considered a meme that's been going around or a run-down of this past year, but I just wasn't feeling any of those options.

I AM hoping to spend New Year's Day doing some of the tings I love. And, if not that. . .then maybe I'll get my craft room clean. Last year I tried to focus on a word for the year. I think that ended up being too vague for me. I need definite tasks on which to work. Since I'm not big on resolutions, I'm calling these my goals for the year. It's got a long list, but I think sharing them is a good way to at least attempt to stick to them. So. . .let me share them with you now.

PERSONAL
  1. Exercise (basically, just be more active)
  2. Eat right/better (make better choices in regards to food)
  3. Read more books/watch less TV (I'd like to read at least two books a month, however that all depends on the length of the book)
  4. Make a real effort to keep the house clean
  5. Discover new music (I've been stuck in a real rut with music lately and have been listening to the same bands for years with no real additions to my playlists)
  6. Grow some plants inside and out (I'd like to have some more greenery in the house but I'm really awful at keeping them alive. I'd also like to make another stab at growing some fruits, vegetables, and herbs. I'm going to need a lot of luck with this one.)
  7. Make my visions of my dream house and this house co-exist (basically, start decorating this house the way I envision my dream house being decorated.)
  8. Declutter/organize at least one drawer/cabinet/area a week
  9. Have a yard sale (possibly organize a neighborhood one)
  10. Take better care of my face and skin
  11. Go to the doctor/dentist (I've been really bad about this the last few years)

BUSINESS/CRAFT
  1. Make a real effort with my blog (I know what this means and it's just too hard to explain other than to just make an effort)
  2. Include more tutorials on the blog
  3. Keep the craft room more organized
  4. Discover my passion (I've been struggling for a while to figure out what it is that I'm good at and enjoy doing and how to combine those. I really want to work with a few new mediums and try to find my voice in the cacophony of other artists.)
  5. Get published (if not published then at least submit to a few publications)
  6. Create something everyday
  7. Explore other venue options for selling my jewelry (in the community)
  8. Find a way to use what I have instead of buying more. I need less more in my life!

GENERAL
  1. Figure out where my time is wasted and put an end to it
  2. Find some confidence and exert it
  3. Think outside of the box
I know there are plenty more areas that I want or need to work on, but this is the list I've compiled so far. Since they are general goals and not resolutions, I can always add to it. I'd like to do a post at the end of each month to review these, but that might be asking too much.

I apologize for my lack of pictures, but I'm still working without my own computer. Hopefully I can figure something out soon.

What are your goals for the new year?