Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 {A New Year}

I was looking back at last year's resolutions and honestly, I didn't do too bad. I'm actually kind of proud of myself. Looking back at that post also had me laughing. Wow! What a difference a year makes. When things are bad, just remember, in a year, things will look very different.

My plan for 2016 is to focus on my weekly goals. The last 9 weeks or so I've been making weekly goals and it has really made a difference. I hope to continue this for 2016.

There are so many things I want for 2016. Above all, for my family to be healthy and happy. I'm also excited to see how 2016 brings positive change to our family.

I did make "the binder". I've made it to meet my needs.

It includes:
-monthly calendar
-weekly planner
-debt repayment
-bill pay checklist
-monthly goal list
-gratitude pages
-resolutions page

As Jack and I continue as a family of just us two, my main goal is to work on our financial situation. My end goal is for Jack and I to get into our own place. It is going to take some time. Between the two of us, we have LOTS of medical debt and my school loan debt. I'm working on it and will continue to work on it.

Although I am going to continue with the weekly goals, I still wanted to write out resolutions for 2016. I ended up writing 10 resolutions for the year.

2016 Resolutions

1// Pay off most of my debt.

2// Pack my lunch for work.

3// Begin writing/documenting work goals.

4// Use Fit Bit to track steps with goal being to hit 10,000 steps most days.

5// Drink more water.

6// Be consistent with reading daily devotional.

7// Work on my blogging photography.

8// Start eating breakfast.

9// Experiment more with different outfits, makeup techniques, and hair styles.

10// Send out more "snail" mail.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Books I've Loved in 2015

I love books! I guess that's a good thing since I'm a librarian. I've read many wonderful books in 2015. Today I want to share with you some of my favorite. If you would like to view my Goodreads profile just click here.

Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

What is your favorite book of 2015?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 7 Goals

Now that Christmas is officially over, it is time to get back to achieving my goals. I have done really well with making weekly goals so I want to continue with them. This week Jack will be going to daycare so I have big plans to get some rest and also accomplish a lot.

1. Workout. I hope to lose some weight. I've just let myself eat whatever and do little to no exercise for awhile. Life had just been so hectic and it is time to do something. I have this Fit Bit to help.

2. Make some calls I've been needing to make but have had no time.

3. Find something or a way to organize my jewelry. Here are some ideas I'm thinking about.

From Thread Rack To Jewelry Organizer! A super simple idea for less than $10. | One Good Thing By Jillee:

Organize Your Whole House with One Trip to the Dollar Store - Mad in Crafts
4. Finish the book Playing Dead and the book Sparkle.


5. Get my oil changed. It needs to be done but I hate taking it to be done. It is also how I feel about putting gas in my car.

6. Finish my New Year's Resolutions.

7. Write out budget for January.

8. Organize beauty product drawers. It's gotten a little wild in there and I need to tame it. There is so much stuff that I bet there are some things I could be using now but they have gotten lost.

9. Find a organization system for Jack's trains. They are EVERYWHERE and someething must be done.

10. Water. Water. Water.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Prep Photo Dump

It's Christmas morning. The house is asleep and I'm awake with an ear ache. Although I'm in some pain, I'm enjoying the peacefulness with a lit tree and presents galore. It's been a busy couple of days and I've enjoyed it all. Jack and I have made some wonderful memories. 

We have watched The Polar Express and Mickey Mouse's Twice Upon a Christmas a few hundred times. We've read Christmas books. We have also made Rice Krispie treats, candied walnuts, cookies, fudge, pies, and holiday pancakes. We've drove around looking at Christmas lights while listening to our favorite Christmas jams. Jack and I finished up some last minute shopping and survived a few meltdowns. Seeing toys in stores that Jack can't play with is hard for him to understand. Normally I can just avoid the toy section but toys are scattered throughout this time of year. We survivied!

Jack's Pawpaw got him a swingset that he won't be able to play with until next week due to this nasty weather we are getting. It is currently storming outside and will be doing so off and on until Monday. Thankfully, Santa has brought plenty of inside toys for Jack to enjoy in the meantime. 

I'm anxiously awaiting for Jack to wake up so I can see the pure joy in his eyes. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Week 5 Goals Recap + Weeks 6 Goals

1. Make finger food for baby shower I'm helping to host and for the Ugly Christmas Sweater faculty party. I made meatballs and they were wonderful. It was a wonderful shower and baby Emma Cate will be here next month. I also made meatballs for the faculty party. Here is the winner in all her glory.

2. Get apple slices for Jack's Christmas party. They endedup needing dip instead and so crockpot Rotel for the win. 

3. Make cookie dough for our Santa cookies. We'll decorate them Christmas Eve. I've been meaning to make this dough since November. I wanted to have it froze so I could just focus on decorating them on Christmas Eve. I'm doing it today (I think, I hope). 

4. Gather and/or buy all cookie decorating supplies. I want to be much better prepared this year by having the cookies cooked, icing colored and in bowls, and sprinkles out.  I have everything bought. The cookies are made and we are going to decorate them later today.

5. Purchase Jack's last Christmas gift. It has been purchased but I waited too long and it looks like they are out of stock. I'm hoping for a miracle and that it can still get here before Christmas. 

6. Get or bake a cake for my mom for her birthday and talk to family members to decide what we are going to do. Her birthday is Saturday. Birthday celebration was had. 

7. Purchase the last two gifts for my mom for Christmas. I still have one more gift to buy for her. I hope to make it to the shops in the next day or two.

8. Finalize Christmas Day menu. We've talked about it but have yet to finalize anything. 

9. Go look at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music. We didn't do this last week but we have done it once this season. I hope to make another go at it this week.

10. Do a Christmas painting with Jack. We are going to do something tomorrow. I have the supplies but we haven't yet had the time.

Weeks 6 Goals

I only have one goal for this week. Enjoy all things Christmas: read Christmas books, watch Christmas movies, eat Christmas treats, listen to Christmas music, do Christmas crafts, and just enjoy all things Christmas.

My Christmas Cheer

Being able to make Jack holiday pancakes since I'm off work this week. 

Getting to dress my neice in cute holiday clothing. Dressing a little girl is so much more fun than little boys. So blessed to have this little gal in our lives. 

Attending Jack's class Christmas party. All he cared about was licking the red icing out of the middle of his Oreos. 

Working with fun co-workers who are so much fun. The one smiling is the winner of the ugly Christmas sweater contest and the one who is "sad" was the one talking smack about winning for the last month. It was all in good fun and I'm so lucky to work with fun ladies. 

Here is the winner! She is a wonderful person who for sure deserved to win. The last week of school before Christmas break is always super crazy so it is nice when everyone gets in a fun mood and goes with the flow. Working at such a fun place makes it feel not so much like work. 

What is bringing you Christmas cheer?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Toddler Holiday Counting Activity

During this Christmas break I wanted to do some holiday learning activities with Jack that were fun. I ran across this activity at The Taylor House.
Christmas Activity: Holiday Pom Pom Counting Activity - The Taylor House:

I had everything on hand to do this activity so that was a great start. 

I put red, green, and white pom poms in a holiday plate. We would pick up a card with a number on it (printable available here). I would have him tell me the number and then I'd tell him that is how many pom poms I needed. Using the tongs was a little tricky because I couldn't find my smaller pair. He finally got the hang of it and really enjoyed picking the pom poms up. 

I'm not sure that he completely understood the concept, which made it an even better learning activity. We will for sure be doing this activity throughout the week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Visit to Hot Springs

Saturday my mom, Jack, and myself drove to Hot Springs to spend the day with my brother and his girlfriend. They aren't coming for Christmas so this was our Christmas with them. I only hope that when the official Christmas Day comes around that it only has goodness and not any yuck added in like Saturday.

We left early Saturday morning so we could eat breakfast at a place that a few people had raved to us about. It was good but not great. I will say the pancakes were great, so if anything had to be on point, I'm glad it was the pancakes.

Here is Jack in his jammies ready to spend the day with his Mama and Nana. Side story: Friday night Jack started calling his Nana by the name Jim. I have no idea why, but that is what he calls her now. It doesn't matter if we correct him, he is going to call her Jim. My mom says he means Gem, like the diamond she is. Whatever the reason, I wonder if it will stick? Y'all my kid is cray cray.


On the ride my mom and I were jamming out to Christmas tunes. This is the face my child makes when I sing. I would stop singing and he would go back to happy. Once we started singing again, here comes the face. I couldn't make us stop singing y'all, it was just too funny, even if it was traumatic for him. 

Once we picked up my brother and his girlfriend, we headed to the mall. What mall trip isn't complete without riding the toys that are 75 cents for a minute of being jostled around?

After doing some shopping and seeing Santa, we headed to Ross, which was only a short drive. While in the store my brother started feeling ill. He went back to the truck while we finished at Ross and ran into Kroger. We decided to head back to his apartment for a bit to see if the sickness passed. After about an hour, he was feeling better so we went back to shopping. 

We spent the entire day looking for matching boys pajamas that were two piece and not fleece. We never did find any. We went to every store that sold boys pajamas. We have Christmas pajamas but we don't have any new Christmas pajamas. I was hoping to get Bennett (my nephew) and Jack a matching pair for Polar Express Day at daycare and they could wear them again on Christmas Eve. I ended up with matching Christmas t-shirts and they are going to wear green pajama pants. I guess it will do. 

During the second attempt at shopping the rain started coming down. It wasn't predicted to rain until ten that night. We decided to call the shopping part of our day over. It just isn't much fun walking in and out of stores with bags and getting wet. We dropped my brother off at his place since he still wasn't feeling great and decided to eat at Olive Garden because we were starving and wanted those bread sticks and salad right away. 

It might be time for a haircut (even if I love it long) because the poor waitress kept saying "she" in referencing Jack. We just couldn't correct her. Of course, at the end of our meal I start talking to the waitress and ended up talking about Jack and said "he" and then she caught her mistake. She felt awful and then I felt awful that she felt awful.

I'm so glad we made this visit. We got to see family, visit with Santa again, picked up some needed items, ate good food, saw beautiful Christmas lights, and shared many laughs. Christmas at its finest!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week 4 Goal + Week 5 Goals

1. Finish Jack's stocking. It's ready to go!

2. Finish wrapping the gifts that I have purchased (those that have been delivered). I still have two gifts that need wrapped and I have to gift and deliver them this week.

3. Decorate our gingerbread house.  You can see it here

4. Finish the current book I'm reading. I've moved on to One Plus One. 

5. Deliver my Secret Pal's newest Christmas gift and find her something for the last day of school before Christmas break. I've done that and have one more gift to deliver to my SP.

6. Finalize my Christmas cookie and candy list. I've made two batches of Christmas cookies and my other candies have been finalized.

7. Begin thinking of New Year's Resolutions (yes, I am going there). I'm thinking of doing a binder this year. I did a binder two years ago and I loved it. This past year was to hectic so I didn't make one. I'm starting to feel more on my feet and so I'm thinking of bringing the binder back.I've already been working on my resolution post and started a binder for the new year.

8. Fill out paperwork for something I'm working on (and return).Done!

9. Continue watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas books and continue with advent calendar.We have watched The Polar Express at least once a day. Daily, we also watch Shrek the Halls and Twice Upon a Christmas. We've read the same few Chrismtas books over and over because those are the ones he likes.

10. Seriously, drink more water. I've gotten a little better but still not where I need/want to be. 

Week 5 Goals
1. Make finger food for baby shower I'm helping to host and for the Ugly Christmas Sweater faculty party.

2. Get apple slices for Jack's Christmas party.

3. Make cookie dough for our Santa cookies. We'll decorate them Christmas Eve. I've been meaning to make this dough since November. I wanted to have it froze so I could just focus on decorating them on Christmas Eve. 

4. Gather and/or buy all cookie decorating supplies. I want to be much better prepared this year by having the cookies cooked, icing colored and in bowls, and sprinkles out. 

5. Purchase Jack's last Christmas gift.

6. Get or bake a cake for my mom for her birthday and talk to family members to decide what we are going to do. Her birthday is Saturday. 

7. Purchase the last two gifts for my mom for Christmas. 

8. Finalize Christmas Day menu.

9. Go look at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music.

10. Do a Christmas painting with Jack. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Christmas Night Out

Thursday night me and Jack went to "Christmas Around the Block" that was put on at the church. I went with not a stitch of makeup on. As soon as I got home from work, I jumped in the shower, dressed, and then we headed out to eat a little supper first.

We decided on Mexican food since it is Jack's favorite and the chips keep him busy.

We still managed to make a mess. He accidentally dumped over his drink and the lid popped off. Thankfully, none of it landed on us.

No make-up and Wild Child

Oops! It wouldn't be an evening out without some type of mess.

Next, we went to the church. It was an outside event. There was different things set up around the church block. There were individuals singing, a band, a choir, a live nativity, and much more. We made our way around the block twice since Jack didn't enjoy standing still for too long. Sorry the pictures are so bad. I was taking them while holding on to a toddler who wanted to run off. 

It was the perfect event to get myself into the holiday spirit. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

My Christmas Yummy Platter

Each Christmas season I head into the kitchen and spend a whole day cooking up our family's favorite Christmas treats. I make a platter for ourselves (of course!), one for work, and one for the ladies at Jack's daycare.

There are some staples that I make every year like sugar cookies, chocolate dipped pretzels, and Martha Washington candy.

I wanted to share with you what this year's Christmas platter will hold. It is all soooo yummy!

1// Chocolate dipped pretzels with Christmas sprinkles. We make these because they are the simplest things to make, very festive, and also yummy. They are way better the next day too.

Kids can help roll chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks in small Christmas candies or sprinkles!:

2// Fudge. I make a different fudge recipe every year. This year I'm giving this one a go.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge:

3// Peanut Butter Blossoms. I've made this recipe numerous times because it is easy and I like easy.

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies {25 Days to an Organized Christmas}:

4// Decorated Sugar Cookies. I found this recipe last year and it was so great I'm going to use it again.

Soft, Sour Cream Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. These are simply the best! A signature family recipe for 25+ years.:

5// Martha Washington candy. We've always had it and we love it. All that dipping can become a pain. Isn't that the Christmas way?

Deep South Dish: Old Fashioned Martha Washington Candy...(coconut & pecans) my grandmother made these and I thought the recipe was lost happy to find it!!:

I look forward to eating all this decedent candy every year. Oh the calories!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gingerbread House with a 3 Year Old

First, I wanted to show you what I did for 15 minutes while my Mom picked up Jack from daycare for me. It was heavenly! Yesterday was the third day in a row where I've watched about 15 minutes of it. Hopefully by Christmas I'll have it watched. #life with a toddler

On to the Gingerbread House fiasco. I will say that it went better than last year. Last year the whole thing wouldn't stay up so it was a big improvement that the thing is still standing. Want to know why it is still standing? I put that thing together before I brought Jack in to "decorate". 

I use the term decorate very loosely because really what happened was I tried to decorate it and Jack kept eating it all off. He wouldn't be so mannerly as to pick it off the house, oh no, he just went up there and licked it straight off. 

I finally got him into "painting" the house using our fingers and the colored icing. If that dang icing wasn't so tasty. He couldn't stay away from it. He then realized that the candy was tasty and starting picking it off the house. 

You can see from this last picture where he just raked his little fingers through the icing and ate my yellow paint. He said two words the entire time we were decorating, "house" and "yummy". I'm gonna have to put the house up high or he'll eat it after it has been sitting out. The boy loves his icing. Eventually, I had to pull him away and put him in the bath. I was scared the child was gonna eat sick from all the icing. 

I did have to suffer with a sugar high kid for way too long last night and then two am rolled around and he was ready to par-ty. Too bad Mama was not. We are still working on sleep issues. Toddlers!