New Year, New Goals

The New Year is goal time and I don’t mean football. Before we get too far into 2015, I wanted to take this time to reflect on my progress on last years goals. I start each year recording my top 10 memories of the previous year and setting 10 goals for the new year.

Of last year’s goals, I completed five. I finished a couple of specific books. I attended a conference. I doubled my target of adding 2000 words to my book. Not only did I finish one class for my insurance designation, but I finished four of the five.Books

The other half of my goals, I didn’t quite achieve. I wanted to finish the first edit of my short story, but I didn’t even it touch it last year. Another goal was to lose weight, instead I gained weight. I made some progress on the others. I read half of a specific book, I worked on my scrapbook a little bit (and I do mean a tiny bit) and I read 14 of my 24 book goal.

It would be very easy to look at these unmet goals as failures, but I’m choosing to think about why I didn’t achieve those goals. I haven’t worked on my short story because I’m not ready to relive some of the memories the story triggers. I realized a couple of the goals aren’t as important to me right now. My lifestyle isn’t conducive to reading 24 books, so I scaled that goal back. And I didn’t have a plan to make the weight-loss goal become a reality.

June scaleI took my “failures” into consideration as I set this year’s goals. While I want to push myself, I also want to keep my goals achievable. This year’s goals include:

  • Finish my AIC insurance designation
  • Go to a writing conference
  • Add 5000 words to my book
  • Blog monthly (maybe weekly if I can get back into the swing)
  • Read 18 books
  • Complete digital scrapbooks for 2011 -2014
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Log in food journal 5x a week
  • Get a promotion
  • Exercise/play with the kids weekly

I’m hoping this is the balance I’m looking for between focusing my goals on what’s important to me while remaining attainable. I’d love to hear your goals for the year. We could support and encourage throughout the year.

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2015 Word: Happiness

I missed choosing a word of the year last year. But the 2015 word makes me smile, happiness.

The day after I decided on my 2015 word of the year, I thought about church discussions that happiness being fleeting and how we should strive to have joy. While joy is the ultimate long term goal, I don’t think I could achieve joy without ample happy experiences.

While I’m not looking for selfish moments of fleeting pleasure, I am hoping to discover what makes me happy. Often the simple question “Where do you want to go for dinner? overwhelms me. Even more than struggling with restaurant choices, this Christmas I realized I became accustomed to centering my celebration on making the holidays special for my children, I lost touch with what makes Christmas special for me.Santa Timer

I’ve spent so many years pleasing others, that I think it’s time to take a bit and focus on finding those things that make me happy, what makes me smile. For example, when I was packing up the Christmas decorations, I had to leave this little guy out just because I feel lighter every time I see it.

I was trying to think of a picture that embodies happiness and went to my Facebook friends for suggestions. They had great examples of what happiness looks like to them: family, service, nature, babies and the Holy Spirit started the list. But those things can be hard to capture in a single snapshot. I decided that my cute little Santa timer is going to be my happiness mascot and I’m going to make it a goal to share images throughout the year of simple things that brighten my day. I think I’ll call them Happiness Helpers!

Here’s to a year of smiles and happiness! I’d love your comments sharing your 2015 word or what makes you happy.

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Caramel Apples

One of my f2014-10-18 21.02.13avorite fall activities when I lived in California was a trip to Apple Hill to enjoy a caramel apple. Actually I enjoyed more than just caramel apples. I also enjoyed apple pies, apple fritters, apple cider and an occasional applesauce doughnut.

Since it’s a rather long drive to Apple Hill from Arizona, I had decided to make my own caramel apples this year. I had heard a few different tips, so I decided to search Pinterest for the perfect caramel apple. Alas I couldn’t find the perfect recipe, but I found several different recipes with a lot of good suggestions.

I couldn’t decide which one of the recipes would be best, instead I took parts from several of the recipes and came up with my own version of the best caramel apples.

Caramel Apples

Ingredients

  • 5 medium apples
  • Popsicle sticks (optional)
  • 1 bag of caramels
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • Extras: mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, chopped nuts

Directions

  1. Boil water with 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  2. Insert Popsicle sticks into apples, I used a fork instead to make it easier to cut my caramel apple into wedges
  3. Dip apples into boiling water and swirl to remove waxy residue from apples
  4. Towel dry
  5. Set apples on cookie sheet in the fridge to chill
  6. Melt caramels with milk
  7. Let melted caramels stand for one minute
  8. Dip apple and let excess caramel drip off
  9. Immediately roll apple in extras, if desired
  10. Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet and let cool.

Not only did I think they were super yummy, my kiddos agreed. We may live too far away to continue our Apple Hill tradition, but I think we came up with a good caramel apple substitute.

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Halloween Monster Munch

Halloween Monster MunchI wanted to make a Halloween treat for my friends at work, and I happened to have a little bit of candy corn I wanted to use. Like 3 pounds of candy corn. It was the perfect time to make a batch  Monster Munch.

I found the recipe at Our Best Bites with the help of Pinterest. I did do a little improvising since I didn’t have peanuts. Here’s my adaption:

Ingredients:

12 Cups popped popcorn
1/2 Pound vanilla bark
1 Cup candy corn
1/2 Cup Reese’s Pieces

Directions:

  • Put the popcorn in a big bowl; and I mean big!
  • Add candy corn and Reese’s Pieces
  • Melt vanilla bark, pour over popcorn and candy
  • Mix well
  • Spread on wax paper
  • Cool
  • Break into chunks
  • Feed to your favorite monsters!

I’m happy to report everyone enjoyed it and even shared with their friends. It was pretty fun being so popular at work that day!

The best part about this sweet treat is it’s quick,easy and you still have time to whip up a batch before the ghouls come out this Halloween.

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