Friday, January 23, 2015

Reflections on 2014 Goals

I've been hesitating to write this post, and almost skipped sharing a review of my 2014 goals, but though I didn't accomplish many of these goals, I learned a lot from working through this list.  My main take away was that I simply had set too many goals. With 4 kids and a bustling home life, I simply don't have the time I used to have to focus on tasks that are not right in front of me.  That is just the stage that I'm in right now and it was good for me to see that my main focus is and should be on my family and family life.  I have less room for goals, so I must choose those carefully and prayerfully.

 I think 36 goals would be great for a list of fun projects or outings that could be accomplished easily in an afternoon or an evening, but not for goals that take a portion of the year to complete.  I also had quite a few goals that were habit development goals.  As I was working through this list I knew I just had to let some of them go.  I also have discovered that I want the option to work on goals that inspire me in the moment.  If I fill my days with New Year's Resolutions, I won't have room for those opportunity that present themselves.  So, my take away was simple and meaningful goals with a little wiggle room for all that life may throw at us.  I'll share more on my goals for 2015 in soon to be shared post.

Below is my report on my goals.  I have crossed off the goals that I have completed or that I have semi-completed.



  • Do A Walk Relay Or Race (No, I looked this one up and almost signed up for it, but none of them fit into my schedule. I almost rearranged Thanksgiving to stay here in Oregon for one of the races, but decided against it.  Definitely something I want to do in the future.)



  • Completely Simplify & Organize Home**  (Yes, I worked a lot on this one and think I'm finally seeing some improvement.  I do have more to go and will be working on this more this year.)


  • Sleep 8 Hours a Night (Yes, I worked hard to get sleep this year, not 8 hours every night, but more then I have been getting.)
  • Get A Facial* (No)
  • Take An Online Scrapbook Class* (Yes)
  • Sit Ups & Push Ups Every Morning (No)
  • Catch Up On Scrapbooking (No, not even a little bit.)
  • Finish Decorating The Kid's Rooms (Yes, all the kids rooms are decorated.)
  • Baby's room here, girl's room here, boy's room I still need to post.





  • Document Steve's & My Story* (No)
  • Write Everyday (No, but I did make an effort to write more.)
  • Finish 35 Meals** (No)
  • Go Kayaking* (No)
  • Go On A Road Trip* (No)
  • Hike Multnomah Falls (No)
  • Finish The Bible (Yes, finished it!)


  • Document This List* (No)
  • Eat At A New Restaurant In Portland* (Yes, we ate at the Screen Door, so good!)
  • Plan Fun Outings With Family* (Yes)
  • Knit Something For Each Of The Kids* (I worked on these.)
  • Walk Everyday* (No)
  • Only Check Internet In The Mornings & Evenings (Yes, I worked on this, but far from perfect.)
  • Read The Book Of Mormon With Isabelle (Yes)
  • Organize DVDs** (Yes, I actually finished this in January)
  • Go Horseback Riding* (No)
  • Do Evening Chats With The Kids* (Yes, 
  • Clean Downstairs Sofa** (Yes)
  • Sign All Kids Up For Soccer (Yes)
  • Hike With Family To Pittock Mansion* (Yes, so fun!)


  • Take Kids Out To A Movie* (Yes, Into the Woods in December)
  • Swim In The Ocean* (No)
  • Start Crafting With the Kids Once a Week* (Yes, but decided to stop doing these weekly.)  Find the post here.


  • Go Out With Friends Once A Month* (Yes, but not once a month, maybe 6-7 times.)
  • Scrapbook 15 Minutes A Day* (No)
  • Start an Incentive Program With The Kids** (Yes)
  • Visit Dermatologist (No)
  • 2 Weekends Away With Steve* (Yes and no, we did one weekend away.)

  • So that was my year in goals.  I'm excited to post my new year's goals here soon!


    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    Cross Stitched Letters

    I spent the fall and much of December cross stitching, which was certainly one of the main reasons I didn't finish the rest of my books on my 2014 book list, but I was able to watch quite a few Christmas movies.  This is an old favorite, something I have enjoyed doing since I was a little girl.  I remember making those mason jar cross stitch lids when I was a little girl.  Remember those?  The last few years I have been on the search for modern cross stitch projects.  I created a pinterest board you can follow here.  I worked on a few projects you can find here, here, and here.  I was happy with these projects, but I still wanted more, something new and fresh.

    This fall I was poking around the internet and I found this amazing website with all these amazing cross stitch projects.  What Delilah Did is an amazing sight.  I fell in love.  I ordered one of her projects and started on it right away.  I dd the crown on white linen with gold thread.  It is completed by is waiting cleaning and framing.  (I'm planning on framing it instead of making a pillow with it.)
    Image of The Crown Cushion PDF Pattern
    I also saw that she had written a book, Storyland Cross Stitch, and ordered that as well.  Completely inspired and impressed with this book.  



    So then I decided I wanted to do a fun little gift for family and friends of mine, something that would come together quickly, and be unique to the recipient.  I decided on following the letter patterns found in the Storyland Cross Stitch book.  The letters are small and I wanted to make them a bit bigger.  I decided to stitch them on burlap and stitch my "X" to cover 4 squares instead of 1.  It worked out beautifully.  I also followed the example in the book to back each hoop with fabric.


    They turned out lovely, were fun to do, and I they seemed to be well received by their recipients.  



    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    January Book Report




    Loved this book!  A daughter shares how her father read to her every night for 9 years.  She shares stories of her life that celebrate the importance and pure joy of reading aloud.  Planning to do a full review here soon.

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie KondoTThis was a Christmas gift from my husband, one that I was so excited for.  This was a fun read and made me want to pull out and get rid of so many items in my home.  I loved the idea of surrounding myself with items that I enjoyed.



    I very much enjoyed this tale.  Emily reminds me so much of Anne, but her character seems a bit sadder.  I have heard this story described as being compared to Anne of Green Gables but a bit darker.  I'm looking forward to reading its sequels later this year.



    This one was heartbreaking, beautiful, and inspirational.  A story of a boy named August, a regular 5th grader who was born with a facial difference that affected how others saw him.  A quick read that I read for my upcoming book group.



    An inspirational read on staying fit after babies and as a mother.  I enjoyed the story and the practical encouragement and ideas given throughout the book.


    Little tidbits of wisdom were shared throughout this fable.  A story of a man who while stranded in the Sahara Desert meet a little prince.  This was a wonderful story to read to my kids.

    Next Up…Finishing up Les Miserables, Days of the Living Christ, The Distant Hours, and Deliberate Motherhood.  Starting Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

    Starting…Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected with the kids.

    What have you been reading lately?

    Find my new 2015 Book List here.

    Find my other Book Reports here.

    Joining Modern Mrs. Darcy's Twitterature this month.

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Living Simply | Letting Go, Goal Setting, & Planning Simply

    My default for goals, to do lists, book lists, etc. was writing down anything that sounded good or anything that popped into my head.  The problem with this approach is that once it was added to my ever growing list, it was set in stone.  I wanted to accomplish, mark off, improve myself, and get things done, and I thought the best way to do this was to write everything down that I wanted to do and try to get it all done.

    I have began to question this approach.  Maybe this approach would have worked years ago when I had a couple kids or when I wasn't overwhelmed by all the possibilities and ideas that presented themselves on the internet.

    Even in simplifying, I have had to remind myself that I need to be doing more than consume ideas. So much of this journey has been inspired by others and their journey to simplify.  I love reading blogs, looking through beautiful images on instagram and pinterest, and being inspired by all the post and photos of simplistic and minimalistic lifestyles.  The problem with this can be when we are just consuming these ideas and not moving forward in our own lives.

    I'm ready to let go of all the extra and choose wisely what I will include in my everyday life.  I'm ready to limit my internet consumption.  I'm ready to plan simple essentials and perhaps a couple extras, making sure I have the time to focus on what is most important, what I really want to focus on.  When I read an amazing idea, I'm ready to walk away from it, unless I truly feel it is something that should be added to my life.  I'm ready to peel away all the noise, to let go,  and focus on the peaceful simplicity of intentional everyday living.

    Monday, January 5, 2015

    2015 Book List





    Non-Fiction (29)

    Trailing Clouds of Glory:  Spiritual Value in Children's Literature by Madeline L'Engle
    The Entitlement Trap by Richard & Linda Eyre
    Booked:  Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior
    A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
    Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl
    Quiet:  The Power in Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
    Go Forward With Faith:  Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley by Sheri Dew
    Women and the Priesthood by Sheri Dew
    A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards
    A Year With C. S. Lewis by C. S. Lewis
    Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
    Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
    Pioneer Girl:  The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
    Visions of Glory by John Pontius
    The In-Between by Jeff Goins
    Honey For a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt
    Balancing It All by Candace Cameron-Bure
    Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron-Bure
    At Home With Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott
    The Republic by Plato (Free On Kindle)
    The Aeneid by Virgil (Free On Kindle)

    Fiction (25)
    Oh Pioneer by Willa Cather
    Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
    One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
    The Count of Monte Cristo by  Alexandre Dumas
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
    Emma by Jane Austen
    Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
    Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack
    Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
    Rose In Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
    Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery
    Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery
    Emily 's Quest by L. M. Montgomery
    Shadow's Puppets by Orson Scott Card
    Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
    The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    Cinder by Marissa MeyerLetters From Father Christmas by J. R. Tolkien
    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
    The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
    Kate Morton's Newest Novel
    The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman
    Velma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright


    Susan Wise Baeur List From The Well Educated Mind:  A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had (30)
    Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
    The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
    Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
    Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Free on Kindle)
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Free on Kindle)
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Free on Kindle)
    The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
    The Potrait of a Lady by Henry James (Free on Kindle)
    Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Free on Kindle)
    The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (Free on Kindle)
    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
    The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
    The Trial by Franz Kafka
    Native Son by Richard Wright
    The Stranger by Albert Camus
    1984 by George Orwell
    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino
    Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    White Noise by Don Della
    Possession by A. S. Byatt


    Read Alouds (22)
    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenten Lee Stewart
    Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl
    The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett
    Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney
    Beauty and the Beast by Unknown (free on kindle)
    The Blind Men and the Elephant by John Gofrey Saxe
    Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer
    A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (free on kindle)
    The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke (free on kindle)
    God Save the Flag by Oliver Wendell Holmes (poem)
    The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes (poem)
    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
    Lincoln, the Man of the People by Edwin Markham (poem)
    Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poem)
    Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
    Calico Bush by Rachel Field
    The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
    Sarah Bishop by Scott O'Dell
    The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
    Tales of Shakespeare by Charles Lamb (free on kindle)
    Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan
    Moccasin Trail by Eloise McGraw

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