20 FOR 2020 {and my word of the year}.

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Resolutions, goals, aspirations, whatever you call them, I’m into them. Every year, come January, I sit down with my journal for some soul searching. I reflect on the past year and try to envision who I want to be in the next. The vision is often the same or similar from year to year – eat better! Exercise! Write more! Read more! Be more organized! Be kinder! Be positive! And I love it. No matter my follow-through, I find it inspiring to take the blank slate of the year, and envision with it what I will. So much can happen in a single year and it all just makes my heart swell with potential.

My resolutions are often vague ideas of the idea of person I’d like to be and things I might like to do. And when you look at goal setting and habit change, that’s what’s a key failure in most people’s resolutions. The lack of concrete action steps. So this year, I’m taking a page out of Gretchen Rubin’s book (one of my favorite self-help authors and podcasters), and I’m doing a 20 for 2020 list. This is a list of 20 things I’d like to accomplish in 2020. Some are easy, one-off things that I can cross off of my list, and others are extended projects that will continue all year.

Here they are!

  1. Make sourdough bread {because i love it and want to be someone who bakes her own bread. follow along with this journey on instagram}
  2. Write our will. {so important now that we have two little guys counting on us}
  3. Remodel our kitchen. {along with this goes saving up for it for the next months to come}
  4. Run a 5k. {my running goals this year are to become a more consistent runner – tuesdays, thursdays, and a family run on saturdays}
  5. Quit shampoo. {my sister just found out a few months ago that she’s allergic to sulfates – the stuff that makes cleaning products foam, so i’ve become very aware of how bad sulfates really are}  
  6. Grow a pumpkin for Halloween. {a whimsy little goal that the boys will love} 
  7. Read 52 books. {a book a week!}
  8. Knit a hat. {i’ve got the yarn, i’ve got the pattern, i’ve got the needles. just gotta do it}
  9. Go strawberry picking. {i’ve wanted to do this for years and this is my year}
  10. Print photos for our album at the end of each month. {my photos need to live on the outside of my phone or my boys won’t have any when they get older}
  11. Consistently blog 5 days a week. {because i love it when i do it!}
  12. Remember and celebrate special dates. {april fools day! birthdays! left handed day!}
  13. Reach a 100 day streak in Spanish on Duolingo. {i got to 53 last year, and broke my phone, losing all of my progress. gonna get past that again!}
  14. Do a 30 day yoga challenge. {i’ve had plans to do this, but no follow through}
  15. See a dermatologist. {my dad had skin cancer years ago, and as a fair skinned lady living in florida, i just need to get myself there this year. 
  16. Meditate every night. {for the soul and to keep my sanity}
  17. Grow a salad. {how fun would it be to just go outside and snip my family a salad from the garden. i’m told that arugula grows like a week here!}
  18. Give up plastic bags. {because the environment needs me to.}
  19. Have a hand in managing our money. {because i am a modern woman}
  20. Start writing a book. {this one scares me a bit. when? how? what about? but mike’s been motivating me over the past decade, and i think i need to just do it. just start it.}

I’ll be honest. I have about 5 or 6 more that I really want to do too, but 20 seems like enough right? Have to save enough for 2021! 🙂

My word of the year is {drumroll}: Follow-through. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and one of my worst habits is saying that I’m going to do something (and I mean it when I say it! I really do!) but then I just don’t get it done. So this year, when I say that I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. It’s going to happen.

What about you? Do you have any things you’d like to accomplish this year? Any resolutions you’ve made? Do you have a word of the year? I’d love to hear it if you do.  

DREAMING ABOUT: A SNOW DAY.

dreaming aboutIt’s 82 degrees and humid in southern Florida today. Despite the wreaths on every door, decorated trees and festive lights adorning the houses in our neighborhood, it doesn’t feel quite like the Christmas season. I remember that feeling of waking up in the morning to a magical winter wonderland outside my window. That feeling of joy when my mom came in to wake me saying that a snow day had been called. It pains me to think that my boys may never feel that! The bundling up for outside play, tracking down my mittens, the hot chocolate by the fire, the thick quilt covering me, and settling down with a good book. How nice would it be to wake up tomorrow with the news that school was canceled? Here’s a little list that I’m dreaming about for that make-believe snow day.

A cozy chair and a quarter to snuggle into for the day.

A warm sweater to pull over my head.

A cheery quilt to keep me warm.

An electric stove to warm cold hands in front of.

Marshmallows and chocolate for homemade hot chocolate on the stove.

A handmade mug to put it in.

Knit slipper socks to wear all winter.

Leggings because on a snow day – comfort is key.

Two good books to read – this and this.

LITTLE THINGS THIS WEEK.

1. this santa garland…img_4921and the little boy who shouts ‘santa! santa!’ every time he sees it.

2. these chunky crayons…img_5026for being easy to wipe of tables, chairs, but not quite so easily off of walls. {i swear, you look away for ten seconds and that’s all it takes!}

3. this tiny salad dressing jar…img_5146because it makes salads at lunch a whole lot cuter.

4. this christmas card…img_4935for being delayed and then suddenly, unexpectedly ready for pick up!

5. these enchiladas and jar of beer…img_4897for being just the thing to soothe my soul.

in other news:

only five more days until i have two whole weeks off with my loves. there’s a mile long list of things to do before mike’s parents arrive next sunday, so we’re going to try to cross somethings off this weekend. a holiday party with friends on saturday, and then the christmas village at our church on sunday is going to make for a busy little weekend. i’m going to fit in some baking of cranberry bread, some granola bars for the week, some serious boy snuggles and we are going to clean, clean, clean the house from top to bottom. it’s going to be a good one, you guys.

THE HOLIDAYS: A TREE ADVENT CALENDAR.

I don’t recall doing an advent calendar growing up, but we (catholics) always had a little visual countdown with our advent wreath at dinner time. Every week leading up to Christmas, a new candle on the wreath is lit signifying Christmas day (and sweet baby Jesus) growing closer. Lighting (and blowing out) the candles was an event. Dad always lit them, but who would get to be the one to blow out the candle at the end of dinner? I begged for it every night. The glow of those purple and rose colored candles in the middle of the table added to the magic of the month. My parents light their candles every December to this day, and it’s a tradition that I want to continue with my family, but this year, fire is just something I can’t commit to yet with our tiny ones at the table

For now, opening little boxes topped with trees and filled with a small strip of paper with a holiday activity is such a sweet evening ritual to look forward to. It really makes the countdown to Christmas an event, and puts that whole “good cheer” and “merriment” of the season right in our midst. Within each box, I wrote a little Christmas activity to do on that day. I make sure to put all of our favorite Christmas movies and treats in the boxes. Some (especially weeknight activities) are easy, some more involved with a bit of planning. 

In a year or two, when the boys get a little bit bigger, I’ll start subbing in more activities for the good of others (Donate toys! Volunteer! Buy a gift for a family in need! Send homemade Christmas cards to a nursing home! Bake cookies for the homeless shelter! Etc. etc. etc.) and more outings as our kids age (Go to the Nutcracker! Drive around to see the Christmas lights! Go ice skating!). But for now, we’ll settle for a watch of The Grinch on the couch before bed, or a night of wearing Christmas hats with Christmas tunes tinkling in the background. 

In the rush of coming off of travel and Thanksgiving being so late this year, I didn’t even put our Advent calendar out until the 5th. But the 5th was just as good a day to start as the 1st, or even the 10th. 

I made our advent calendar last year, and love it just as much this year. I got everything from Michael’s when they were having a 60% off sale (as they are this week!) and the only other supply I needed was a sharpie and a hot glue gun, which I had at home. 

I used this set of 21 bottle brush trees from Lemax. To fill in for the other 3 boxes, I used this set of pinecones and a little bag of silver bells. Berries would be nice too. Make sure to set your trees out in the order that you’ll glue them to the boxes to make sure the heights are appealing to the eye. Try to vary the heights a little. 

The boxes are small kraft paper boxes from the jewelry section at Michael’s. These are very similar. I wrote the numbers on the outside with a thin Sharpie and then simply hot glued the trees, pinecones and bells to the tops. Inside, tuck your activity and set up on a long table, or windowsill for little hands to open when the day arrives! In the spirit of full disclosure, Charlie did pull a bell off of a box today, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with another dab of hot glue.  

To store, I have a sturdy little cardboard box that I tuck them into at the end of each season, and you could even tuck them away after the day passes, but I kind of like looking at them all lined up the whole month. They are a decoration as much as they are a calendar! 

No doubt, the holiday wants and needs of your family are different than my own, but here are 24 ideas that I tucked into my own Advent calendar this year. The dates may shift, activities may pop up unannounced and some may not even happen (Naps! Meals! Work! Foul moods!), but that’s the beauty of the holidays, isn’t it? 

1 – Set up the advent calendar, and fill with all our favorites!
2 – Choose Christmas books from the library!
3 – Watch The Grinch – the original, very Dr. Seuss-y version, of course.
4 – Put up the nativity.
5 – Put out shoes for St. Nicholas Day.
6 – Go out to get our tree & decorate!
7 – Our town’s Christmas tree lighting.
8 – Outdoor lights go up!
9 – Christmas hats & Christmas tunes blasting
10 – Make Peppermint Bark.
11 – Watch White Christmas!
12 – Visit our church’s Christmas Village.
13 – Make a tree shaped pizza!
14 – Bake Christmas sugar cookies!
15 – Watch Elf!
16 – Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and one million marshmallows.
17 – A seasonal coffee treat from Starbucks.
18 – Make salt dough handprint ornaments.
19 – Charlie’s holiday performance at school! (There is nothing on this list that I’m looking forward to more than this.
20 – Homemade egg nog with a little splash of something to warm our bellies.
21 – Wear red and green!
22 – Make a batch of wassail for the Metrokas’ arrival!
23 – Wrap presents with Christmas movies on!
24 – Appetizer night at home and mass, of course.

Can’t even believe that we only have two weeks to go!

OUR WEEK AT A GLANCE. {vol. 6}

img_4689Mike’s cleaning the laundry room. He cleaned the garage earlier today while I took the boys to the park, and I knew he has his eyes set on some cabinets and drawers next. He’s going through a real moment of tidying things up before his parents visit in a couple weeks. I hope it sticks because I could get used to this. I’m lounging on the couch next to the Christmas tree, The Holiday (one of my favorite Christmas movies!) on in the background while I look at the overview of our week and finish up my Christmas card order. My Sunday bedtime is quickly approaching, so let’s take a look at our week. week at a glanceHamburger pie is on the menu for tomorrow night – ground turkey, salt, pepper, ketchup (a good squeeze – maybe 1/4 cup?), 1 can each of diced tomato, green beans and corn. Mix it up, and top with creamy mashed potatoes and then cheddar cheese on top of that. One of our favorites in the winter. Taco Tuesday this week is chicken enchiladas. I’ll do the chicken just with salt and pepper in the crock pot to make it easy. Monterrey jack cheese to fill with, and I use canned enchilada sauce these busy days. Extra crock pot chicken from Tuesday’s enchiladas will be for the stir fry on Wednesday. Broccoli, onion, carrot, and pea pods with rice. I usually wing the stir fry sauce – soy sauce, garlic, a little brown sugar. Thursdays are for leftovers, and Pizza is our Friday tradition. I made granola for a better breakfast, and I have sugar cookies on the plan for Friday.

Not too many other extras this week. Mike doesn’t have any events, so we’ll have him to ourselves on nights, thank goodness, and for me it’s all just getting ourselves to Christmas break in two more weeks!! I’ve planned a couple running days and yoga. I have a few more Christmas to do’s, but our tree looks beautiful and it’s starting to feel more like the holidays around here. On Saturday we went to our town’s Christmas tree lighting – they had fireworks! It was so very exciting!

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LITTLE THINGS THIS WEEK.

1. this tree-scape advent calendar…img_4327because it’s loved just as much this year as last.

2. this sheep refrigerator art…img_4391and the tiny hands who made it at school this week.

3. this collection of things found in my pocket…img_4335when self care, lunch duty, and babies collide.

4. this mason jar…img_4406and the vast expanse of water it has helped me drink this week.

5. this play nativity…img_4341for day 5 of the advent calendar, and for the full hour of entertainment it provided yesterday.

in other news:

this was one of those glorious weeks that passed by so quickly, it’s almost as if it didn’t happen at all. i keep asking myself, was there school on monday? am i sure? there was, it flew, and the week is behind us already.

this weekend, the rest of the christmas decorations are going to be pulled out of the giant chest they live in. it’s our first year in our new house, and i’m itching to decide where things should go. the christmas tree has been a discussion – the playroom, or the living room – and we haven’t quite settled on it, but one of us is going to reason their way into success.

it was a good, easy week at school. the excitement about our christmas tree in the corner, the book tree in the hallway, twinkle lights on every surface and the wrapped boxes underneath have been highlights in my chats with my students. thanksgiving memories of turkey and stuffing are far behind us. i’m reading the grinch with my kindergarten and first graders, and mike reads it nightly with charlie (‘gwinch! gwinch! ‘lou who!’) and i swear i have it memorized.

it’s the best time of year, friends, i hope you’re soaking up every little moment.

“staring down from his cave with a sour, grinchy frown at the warm lighted windows below in their town. for he knew every who down in who-ville beneath was busy now, hanging a mistletoe wreath.” –how the grinch stole christmas! by dr. seuss.

LITTLE THINGS THIS WEEK.

1. this oversized suitcase…

because it’s borrowed from a friend and fingers crossed, big enough for four.

2. this tiny sound machine…for the (hopefully) extra sleep everyone will get whilst room sharing on our holiday travels.

3. these sweet family stripes from a fairy godmother…

because come December you’ll find us wearing them nightly (I’ve already been cheating by wearing my leggings).

4. this pan of homemade granola bars…

for being ready to wrap up and tuck away for a long day of travel tomorrow.

5. this stack of tiny warm hand-me-down clothes…

for two little boys headed to winter!

in other news:

we’re on vacation!! i’m scurrying around cleaning and throwing things into suitcases haphazardly, consulting my packing lists and intermittent breaks for side-clenchingly funny videos that mike finds on instagram. our flight leaves for indiana at five pm tomorrow and i’m relying on a combination of preparedness by trying to think of all possible scenarios and also prayer. it’s our first flight with both (very mobile) boys, right around bedtime! 😬 i am sure we will come away from it so much wiser than we are now. we are so excited for a whole week with family! what are you up to this weekend, reader? something good, i hope.

PEACHY BATHROOM INSPIRATION FOR THE BOYS’ (& GUEST) BATHROOM.

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via Burtsbrisplease instagram

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve been working on the boys’ bathroom (which doubles as our guest bathroom too). I thought I would share a little bit of my inspiration before I’m actually through with the space. towel rack

I didn’t mind our bathrooms when we bought our house. They’re decent, and kind of remodeled. I say kind of with a little trepidation because the only remodeling that has been done is that someone replaced the vanity. Original peach tile, basic tub, and peeling black window frame all remain. I like the tile! I really do. Our old house had pretty vintage blue tile that I always loved (Mike wasn’t a huge fan). So this was a happy surprise (for me) to find a house that had colored tile in the bathrooms. So of course I wasn’t planning to re-tile the whole thing. Nor did I want to replace much. I just wanted a little refresh. Add a little charm to the place. You know?

open shelves

Honestly, I just wanted to  paint the vanity and I thought I would be done with it. But you know how one project leads to another because you’re looking closer at everything and suddenly the project has become much larger because you’re doing something to everything in the room? Yeah. That’s happened. Monday Inspiration_ How We React Emotionally To Colour - Mad About The HouseI’m not going to go into much more detail because I’ll save that for the actual bathroom remodel post! These are just a few pictures that inspired me throughout this process, the pink vanity being the biggest part. Quickly followed by open shelving (and a gaping hole in the wall by the towel bar I removed), wall hooks, etc. etc etc. 🙂 Happy Monday, all!

All photos have been found via pinterest, my favorite source of inspiration!

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

What have you been reading lately? I’m halfway through Nine Perfect Strangers and it’s starting to get reeeeally good. I have a little pile from the library sitting on my shelf and a never ending list of books I’d like to read on goodreads. But I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Here’s just a few others I’ve read and loved this year

DREAMING ABOUT: A COZY BEDROOM READING NOOK.

img_1481We moved into our new house almost two months ago and while it’s bigger! better! and all the other adjectives that mean it’s amazing, it’s also bigger! emptier! blanker! It’s been no rush as building a home is a marathon not a race, but we’ve filled in some of the spaces with lucky finds from the side of the road and some painstakingly sourced items off of facebook marketplace. After a rush of decorating in the first month, I’ve hit a real standstill with my efforts.

When we bought our home, we knew that we wanted to re-do the kitchen within the first year, and a lot of other little projects are on the list (laundry room, bathroom, general painting, gardening, etc), but our bedroom didn’t make the list. It turns out though, that as our place is a lot bigger than our old one, our bedroom furniture is dwarfed by the size of the room. We have room for more than just the bed and dresser of our old house.

I’ve been browsing pinterest and dreaming of bermuda shutters, a plant, a new lamp, frames for the walls, a little writing desk and a cozy reading nook. First on my list is the chair for next to the built in bookcase. A desk, I would prefer being used, so it’s just a matter of happening upon the right one. An upholstered chair on the other hand, I want to be fresh and clean and new. I’m thinking I smell a Christmas gift to ourselves. Here’s a few that I’ve found in the hunt so far!

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Shop the chairs:

  1. The Lillith  // Home Depot // $210
  2. Cancome Armchair // Wayfair // $204
  3. Brynn // World Market // $240 // (the current forerunner)
  4. Lohoms // Amazon // $146
  5. Ethan Mid Century Modern Linen Chair // Sofa Mania // $130
  6. Neva // Sixpenny //$1100 (absolutely a splurge. I can’t believe chairs can even cost that much!!)

Which one is your favorite? #3 is winning right now for me, but I’ll keep looking around until I find just the right one. No rush, right? 🙂