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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

new year, new plans



I'm not really one for hard and fast New Year's resolutions. Too much pressure.
(or maybe too much laziness up in here...) 
But I can't escape the fact that the start of January still feels like a great time to reevaluate yourself and see what improvements could possibly be made. Recently I spent some time thinking about where I felt the most stretched thin and why. And I thought long and hard about what I sincerely could use more or less of in my life, however great or small.  In the end, I was somewhat surprised to see that there was a lot I didn't love and wanted to change.
 (I swear, this is the year I'm totally going to get proper haircuts/coloring... and steam clean my sad carpets... and back off social media... and wear seasonally appropriate clothes... and find a family doctor for J.B. and I... and and and...)
 But I seriously did narrow it down. And I came up with five little lighthearted nooks of my life that I thought could sincerely use better attention. You could call them resolutions, but to avoid stress, I think I'll be referring to them as my new year plans.
Plans for a 2016 even sweeter than our awesome 2015.
Plans just to keep improving myself.



Nerd alert: I love to read. Love it! Its one of the ways that I relax and unwind. It takes me away from dirty diapers or laundry or to-do lists that never seem to end and hey, who doesn't love that?!
For the past five or six years I've kept a book list and goal of books to finish reading each year. 
Confession? It never works out. I haven't completed a single yearly book list since I had kids. 
To say that I don't have as much time as I once did is the really obvious explanation. And I'm more than happy with the sweet little things that are taking time away from reading.
But I'd really like to keep some kind of actual reading list. One that doesn't stress me out because I'm failing miserably at it. Maybe its time to make a more realistic goal so I don't feel so bummed out about being so far behind. 

My new goal? One book a month. 
(no promises...)






In 2015, I opened up an online print shop. It was such a long awaited experience, but I'm still  surprised at how much fun I've had doing it! 
Opening the shop was little nerve wracking, thinking that it might be a total flop (I really don't take failure very well...) but truth be told, I exceeded all of my own expectations last year. Okay so maaaaybe those expectations were minimal, but it did show me that if I buckled down, I really might could make a go of this!
This year I want to spend even more time designing for the shop.  I've set some sales and product goals for 2016 and I'm crossing my fingers!

Swing on by the Live A Little Wilder Print Shop!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LiveALittleWilder?ref=hdr_shop_menu





This seems to be something that I've struggled with more recently. As a family of four living on small budget, grocery shopping isn't a flippant affair. Neither is eating out. But in the last couple of months, I just feel like I can do a better job cracking down on meal planning.
Few things are more stressful to me as a stay at home mom than to see the clock read 5 p.m. and realize I have no idea what's for dinner or when I'll have time to actually figure it out. Panic mode! 
(Which is not helped by my three year old who typically likes to use this moment to remind me that DEATH IS IMMINENT if he doesn't get something to eat asap.)
Having a specific meal plan for the week really helps me to know what's for dinner off the top of my head and start the process earlier in the day. It also cuts way down on meals out and grocery store bills.
Since I've done it before, this isn't so much a challenge as it is a reminder to get back to basics. So for a small twist, I'm going to add in another element: new recipes! I thrive on simple, quick and tasty meal ideas that I can rotate through the meal plan. This year I'd like to try at least one new recipe a month. They are totally allowed to be a flop, but I'm hoping by year's end, we'll have some new winners!




One of the things that J.B. and I take a lot of pride in is all of the experiences we've try to provide for Jake. I really want to raise kids that try new things and take risks. 
Ironically, a whole new aspect was added to this concept in our family when Eliza was born with spina bifida last year. All the more so, we want both of them to know that they can do anything they want to. As much as our time and budget allows, we want to take them places and teach them to explore the world.
So hopefully, our 2016 contains several new family adventures. The idea is to try something new as a family every quarter.
And I think we've already decided on the first one... 

http://www.alapark.com/cathedral-caverns-state-park

Caving at Cathedral Caverns!





Last year I talked about an awesome new platform that I'm using in my own devo times. I have seriously been so impacted by several of the She Reads Truth studies! I love all of the different options available so you can really make the whole thing tailored to your own life. 
This year, I'd like to complete at least five devo plans.  
Devo plans can be a week or two. Or a month. Or even a entire year Bible read-thru. I can delve fully into one with a journal and study guide or simply follow along the daily lessons with the app on my phone. Again with the options! So I feel like five completed plans is a pretty realistic idea.

I've started 2016 with the Sermon on the Mount plan which takes you through Matthew 5-7. It's a free plan too! Join me over at She Reads Truth and find an awesome way to learn more about God's love this year!




So that's it for me! Here's hoping a year from now I've knocked all of these out of the park!

What have you come up with to inspire you for a better and brighter year? 




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