February Goals

Let’s see how we did in January.

  1. December 2023 Project Life. Done! And I learned how to print photos from my phone which is exponentially faster than emailing them to myself and printing from the computer.
  2. December 2023 Scrapbook. Nope, didn’t even look at this and I’m honestly ok with that.
  3. Rainbow Stairs. Welp, the shipping on those vinyl things is $30!!! Needless to say, the paint is looking more and more attractive. Side note: I have no idea why paying for shipping makes me so crazy. lol
  4. Snowflake Theme. The sensory bin was the only thing that got done, but Mia loved it! I even caught Xander playing with it a few times.
  5. Stabilize Hexies. Not quite there, but I’m so freaking close I can taste it!
  6. Start Subbing. Done! And it’s been great. It feels really good to be getting back in the school (and seeing other adults!)
  7. Prep for Trip. The only trip prep I’ve done is to look at flights for this summer. hahahahahaha
  8. Walk Every Day. I honestly didn’t bother tracking this, but now that we have to walk the freaking dog 45 times a day I feel like I’m doing pretty good here.
  9. Paint Bedroom. Done! And I love it!
  10. Thank You Notes. Done!

And I didn’t put it in the goals (how?!?) but I actually finished January 2024 Project Life AND the January 2024 scrapbook pages! It’s a miracle! Figuring out how to print photos directly from my phone made a huge difference! I know I say this every year, but I am really super duper hoping that I can stay caught up this year. hahahahahahahaha

And now some February Goals!

  1. Vacation in Texas! We get to fly home for a week in February when the kids have their school break. I still need to plan all the things!
  2. August 2023 Project Life. Slowly trying to fill in some gaps in the older books.
  3. Finish stabilizing/ binding hexies. I’m so close!!!
  4. February 2024 Project Life.
  5. February 2024 Scrapbook Pages.
  6. Valentine’s Day Theme. OMG. I redid Mia’s whole desk area and she is beyond thrilled! Along with that, I made her a Valentine’s Day sensory bin. I’m going to try and write a blog post about it next week. 🙂
  7. 2019 Scrapbook Assessment. Ugh. I think I only have 2 months left to finish out this book. I’m not sure if I’ll get to this or not, but I’d like to figure out which pages I’m actually going to do and find/ print those photos. A big part of the problem is that photos these old are no longer on my phone or my computer.
  8. Meet People. EEEPPP!!! I think I’m going to try to go to the local quilt guild meeting this month.
  9. Game Night. We played a silly table top game called Tonks in January and even Mia decided to play with us. It’s rare when we find an activity that everyone actually enjoys so I was pretty thrilled when everyone had a great time. I’d like to make my own Tonk and make a base battleboard grid thing.
  10. King Cake. Mardi Gras is coming up y’all! And I don’t think I’m going to find a tasty king cake at the local grocery store. hahahahahaha. I need to dig out my recipe and make this for the kids.

And there you have it! I think I’m most excited about working on Project Life this month. 🙂

Hexagons

Oh my gosh, I am so close to having these stabilized! And to be clear, that means that I’ll have at least one line of hand quilting through each hexagon so that I can bind it, not that I’ll be done with the quilting. We’re leaving for Texas in just a few weeks and I want so badly to be able to bring this with me to show my grandmother!

I took this pic on December 31st and then I went in and colored it yellow where I still had to stabilize it. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think there was any chance I was going to succeed, but check it out!

This one is from this weekend and I’m so close I can taste it! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

Monthly Themes

I love a good monthly theme, some might say a little too much, so I’m excited that I’m making monthly themes one of my annual goals. My eventual plan is to create a bin in the basement for each month. (Excluding December and October lol. They will have multiple bins I’m sure.) I’m not creating some master checklist or anything, but some ideas for the bins include

  1. Sensory bin
  2. Wreath
  3. Couch Quilt
  4. Montessori Trays
  5. Mantle Decor
  6. Kid craft supplies (stickers, ribbon, paper?)

IDK. I think I’ll end up putting all sorts of things in them. And I love to shop at the dollar store, but I have to tell you that when I went in at the very end of December, they already had their St Patrick’s Day stuff out. Now I can buy it when it’s available (including clearance after the fact!) and I’ll have a place to store it.

The theme for January is snowflakes! I haven’t done much with the theme yet, but I did create a sensory bin for Mia and she has been thrilled!

I started off by turning her Ikea Trofast upside down. I don’t think the buckets would work very well (maybe you could use 2 instead of 3?) but I don’t like the buckets anyway. And now, there is a lip to catch all of the stuff that falls out of the sensory bin!

I dyed some rice teal by putting it in a gallon ziplock bag with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and some blue and yellow food coloring. Then I added these super cute Frozen buttons that I found at Joanne along with some numbers, letters, and pompoms from the dollar store. I then gave her a few plastic cups and spoons that we had from the power outage and she’s had a blast!

I for sure want to make her a Valentine’s Day themed sensory bin for February! Then we’ll see what other fun things I can create. 🙂

Reflections on 2023

2023 was a year of incredible change for our family! We made the painful (to be fair more painful for some of us than others!) decision to leave Texas and move to Maine to start a new adventure. In addition to a whole new state, Kate started high school and got involved with technical theater which does my little inner stage manager heart good. Mia has had a massive developmental leap and it now doing amazing drawings and reading anything she can get her hands on. And Xander has fallen in love with all things snow and winter sports! He and Kate just started ski lessons at a little learn-to-ski area in our town and Xander especially is obsessed. As for me, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and went on safari in southern Africa which vastly exceeded my sky high expectations. 🙂 With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 2023 annual goals.

  1. Old Project Life. OK. I’m going to be honest here, very little scrapping happened once we packed up the house in Texas. But, my new scrap/ sewing room is close to set up and I’m hoping to get a ton done in 2024! I did a whopping 5 layouts from old Project Life albums this year.
  2. Current Project Life. I did marginally better here in that I made a few layouts at all. I ended the year with 15 layouts done in 2023. So only a bazillion to go.
  3. Old Scrapbooks. See above re old Project Life. lol. I got 25 layouts done this year from older albums.
  4. Current Scrapbooks. I did 15 layouts? Y’all. I only did 61 total pages in 2023 across old and new Project Life and scrapbooks. I need to do better this year!
  5. Lose 30 pounds. I was doing horribly on this one until we moved, but thanks to the cooler temps and lack of a fenced backyard, we are taking the dog on multiple walks a day. So I’m proud to say that I lost 14 pounds this year bringing my grand total up to 59 pounds lost! I’ve officially lost the baby weight! Now if I can just lose the taco weight…
  6. Africa. Best trip of my life and I’ve been to some pretty darn cool places. 🙂
  7. Hexagons. I’m not done, but I’m getting closer! I’ve started binding it while I quilt it and it’s helping me to see more progress.
  8. Try New Things. Oh yeah, you betcha.
  9. Crafty Nights. I had a bit of a slump this fall, but I think I’m finally getting my crafty mojo back.
  10. Felt. I did make some progress on the advent calendar! It’s still not done, but it is getting closer. 🙂

So now goals for 2024! This year, I kind of just did big categories.

  1. Books. I read pretty much every day, but I’ve gotten into the bad habit of just reading trashy romances. My goal this year is to read 12 books from different genres. I’m not talking War and Peace here, but just actual real books that have a plot and character development. Once I finish the book, I’m going to print the cover and make a teeny tiny copy of the book for my dollhouse. I think it will be so fun to add real books to it!
  2. Project Life. Here’s the deal. First priority is 2024. Second priority is the second half of 2023- once we arrived in Maine. If I can look at 2021 and 2022 without being sad, I’ll work on them too.
  3. Scrapbooks. The plan is the same here, except that I have unfinished scrapbooks going back to 2019. ::sigh:: So I think the main goal will be 2024 and the second half of 2023, but I have got to put 2019 out of its misery…
  4. Home Projects. So many fun house projects I want to tackle! Among them, rainbow stairs, painting all the things, built-in lockers for a mudroom area, wallpaper for the dining room, and finishing out the laundry area.
  5. Monthly Theme. I’m so excited about this one! I set up a little area for Mia to have a sensory bin and some Montessori trays. Currently, all it has is the (adorable) snowflake themed sensory bin, but I’d love to add some Montessori trays and little activities. Also following under this goal is craft projects for the house. Now that we have space (yay basement!) I want to make a tub for each month and then when I see something cute at the dollar store, I can throw it in the tub. I think I might need to turn this goal into its own blog post, but I’m counting it as a win if I manage to have a singular themed item…
  6. Hexagons. Oh boy. I’m taking the kids back to Texas in February for their break and I really want to have the hexagons at least stabilized and bound so that I can bring them down to show my grandmother. It’s doable, but I really need to stay focused on it if I have any hope of finishing.
  7. Quilts. Speaking of quilts, I do have a few other quilts that I need to just buckle down and finish- the log cabin, hearts, and the color wheel. Not sure what else but I’m sure I’ll come up with something!
  8. Game Night. We are really enjoying game nights in Maine! I’ve always wanted to be a board game family and I feel like the kids are finally at the right stage to play games that are actually fun. (Candyland is not my favorite.) This isn’t a super measurable goal, but I wanted to put it up here so I could continue to make it a focus this year. I know, I’ll say 12 game nights this year. I actually want to make it a weekly thing, but maybe we’ll work our way up to that.
  9. New Friends. I’ve got to put myself out there more and make some friends! Maybe I’ll set a goal to go to an event or meeting once a month? I also just turned in my application to start subbing so I’m hoping that gets me out of the house a few days a week.
  10. Explore Maine. I’d like to average 1 new place or experience a month.

Should we push on and do January goals? Why not.

  1. December 2023 Project Life. I think I have 2 weeks left to do.
  2. December 2023 Scrapbook. I need to edit/ print photos and do this. Honestly, I’m probably only going to have 3 or 4 layouts and I’m ok with that.
  3. Rainbow Stairs. I was doing some research and I think the best way to approach this is going to be to order a set of vinyl from Etsy. Initially, I was planning to paint them, but by the time I bought 14 different colors of paint, I figured I might as well just order the vinyl. I’m quite sure it will be easier and look better! RaptorDad suggested that we order 1 piece to try it out before we order the whole set and I’d love to get that done this week.
  4. Snowflake Theme. The sensory bin is already done! Maybe now I’ll try to make a few Montessori trays? Or a wreath? IDK.
  5. Stabilize Hexies. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
  6. Start Subbing. I turned in my application yesterday and I have an interview tomorrow! Eeeppp!
  7. Prep for Trip. I need to pack and get organized for our trip in February! It’s coming up soon!
  8. Walk Every Day. I was going to put 10K steps a day, but it’s the 3rd and I’m already failing on that one. But you know what? I did manage to go on a walk both days!
  9. Paint Bedroom. An alarming number of walls in this house are this awful mauve color and I’m slowing painting over them. Next up is the master bedroom.
  10. Thank You Notes. Kate and I still need to write ours and I need to actually mail out Xander and Mia’s. I want to get this done this week!

And now that I’m done with my annual way-too-long blog post, I’m going to post it and get to my to do list for the day. 🙂

Hello 2024!

It’s a whole new year! And 2023 was a doozy. I think I’m going to break this into several blog posts, the first of which will just be the general December goals reflection.

  1. Advent Calendar. It’s still not done, but it’s closer than it was and we all had a great time doing it, even if the last 10 were just outlines.
  2. St Lucia Buns. Ugh, I kind of dropped the ball on this one, but we did have some cinnamon rolls a day late so yay?
  3. Buy all the things. Done!
  4. Wrap all the things. Done!
  5. December Daily. Nope. Totally gave up on this before I made a single page, but this goal did push me to take some more pictures so I’m counting it as a win anyway.
  6. Project Life. I think I managed to do 2 layouts? To be fair, we lost power for 4 days which put a real damper on editing and printing photos.
  7. Scrapbooking. lol. I did a singular layout. In my defense it was super cute!
  8. Reflect on 2023 goals and create 2024 goals. Still working on these!
  9. Plan activities for Christmas break. Well, we mostly stayed nice and cozy at home, but Kate and Xander did start ski lessons so that was fun!
  10. Write thank you notes. I haven’t managed to write mine yet and neither has Kate, but Xander reminded me that he needed to write his and he and Mia sat right down and did them! I really needed a parenting win and this was a huge one. 🙂

I’m going to (hopefully) finalize my 2024 goals today and then I’ll write another post. Stay tuned!

Snowflakes!

Did you know that snowflakes actually look like snowflakes? I thought that was only in cartoons! I’m experimenting with trying to photograph some snowflakes. First attempt with the real camera.

And here it is zoomed out.

I also want to try photographing frozen bubbles! I’m sure we will be singing a different tune in February, but right now we are loving the snow. 🙂

December Goals

It’s December y’all! And I feel like I’m living on the set of a Hallmark movie. Seriously, it snowed and it was MAGICAL! Let’s see how those November goals went.

  1. Advent calendar. Whoops. Although I did make some more progress! I’ve now gotten 14 of the ornaments done. Only 10 to go! And the kids are having so much fun!
  2. Advent activies. Fail. I’m still writing on them each day right before I pull them. lol.
  3. Thanksgiving. The week leading up to Thanksgiving was a real doozy, but the actual day was lovely. Complete with facetime calls to talk with family back home.
  4. Christmas list. Well, I didn’t get much of anything done in November, but this week I’ve gotten quite a bit ordered and shipped. Mostly thanks to my elves over at Amazon!
  5. Project Life. lololololol.
  6. NaNoCraftMo. I’ll be honest, I just wasn’t feeling it this year. I need to get my crafty mojo back!
  7. Blog. Well, I got 1 out of 4. Better than nothing!
  8. Hang some pictures. Nope.
  9. Christmas cards. Nope. To be fair, I could still try to get these out, but ugh.
  10. Front yard pictures. I was hoping for a somewhat posed family picture (see above re Christmas cards) and I didn’t manage to get that. But I did some fun candids of the kids playing in the leaves! 🙂

And now onto December! (Only ::checks watch:: 8 days late. Whoops.)

  1. Advent Calendar. It’s almost comical at this point, but I still feel compelled to put it on here. Can I finish another handful of the ornaments?
  2. St Lucia Buns. Yummy yummy. I want to make these again this year.
  3. Buy all the things. After today, I’m so close to being done!
  4. Wrap all the things. We went up to Target this week and picked out this year’s wrapping paper. 🙂
  5. December Daily. I seriously doubt that I make any progress on this, but I’d at least like to have a photo for each day.
  6. Project Life. 4 layouts.
  7. Scrapbooking. Maybe I could do a big push to finish 2019 before 2024? lolololol
  8. Reflect on 2023 goals and create 2024 goals.
  9. Plan activities for Christmas break.
  10. Write thank you notes.

Winter Beach

I love the beach so much. I think I *may* have mentioned that once or twice on the blog before! lol. Last week RaptorDad encouraged me to drive down to the beach while the kids were at school and it was the best idea ever. It was super cold, but I just wore my new snow coat and I was quite cozy. Side note: I’m a little bit terrified of what happens when it *actually* gets super cold as we’re all wearing our wool socks and snow coats, but the locals are still in jeans and sweatshirts.

It was low tide and there were tons of colorful rocks and shells. I even managed to assemble a rainbow! Maybe I’ll start a little collection of rainbow rocks and make something cool to hang on the wall? Hmm… Something to ponder as I’m sure I’ll be making another trip to the beach in just a few weeks. 🙂

Turkey Time!

We survived October! It was touch and go for a bit there, but we made it. :). Let’s see how we did on the October Goals.

  1. Set up sewing room. Well, it’s not done yet, but I did make some progress! I have all of the furniture assembled (for the most part) but I still have loads of boxes to deal with. Still, it’s getting there!
  2. Finish setting up art room. Lol. We’ve made some progress here, but it mostly involved opening up the boxes and putting bins where ever they fit on the shelves. I really want to take a couple of days and actually ORGANIZE this space!
  3. Finish assembling furniture. This is mostly done! I think all I have left are my office chair and an extra dresser that we’re going to use for storage.
  4. Winter clothes inventory/ shopping. Done! Well, I think this will be an ongoing process, but we have made a good start. We all have snow pants, snow boots, and snow coats at least!
  5. Set up guest area. This is still a work in progress as we ended up making an unexpected trip down to Texas this month so we’ve had to reschedule our visitors. But we did get a sofa bed!
  6. Blog 5 times. I made 3?
  7. Halloween costumes. Done!
  8. Set up big computer. Done!
  9. Africa photos. Well, I got them all of the camera and I’ve started the process of culling them.
  10. House project list. Didn’t make much progress on this, but we’ll get there.

Now for November?

  1. Advent Calendar. I have to finish this this year!
  2. Advent Activities. I want to be more intentional with our advent activities and plan them ahead of time. I know I say this every year, but this time I mean it! lol.
  3. Thanksgiving. It’s just going to be us for Thanksgiving this year so we are trying to come up with some new traditions. Suggestions?
  4. Christmas list. I would like to start this a bit earlier this year, especially since we’re going to need to ship everything?
  5. Project Life. I’d like to do October 2023 and then also 4 old layouts.
  6. NaNoCraftMo. RaptorDad is doing NaNoWriMo this year, so I’m giving NaNoCraftMo another go! Yesterday’s project was our “gratitude tree.” Every day each of us will write one thing we are grateful for on a paper leaf and then tape it to the tree.
  7. Blog. Maybe 4 more posts in November?
  8. Hang some pictures.
  9. Christmas Cards? Speaking of pictures, I want to send out Christmas cards this year. I should work on that…
  10. Front yard pictures. I had this really cool idea to do a seasonal photo shoot in our front yard for each season. Who knows if this will really happen, but in my head it’s super cool! So the fall photo will involve us raking leaves and jumping in them. 🙂

Hippos!

I might have been most excited about seeing the hippos! On this day, we were picked up from our hotel in Zimbabwe and we drove about an hour to Chobe National Park in Botswana for a morning safari drive and an afternoon river cruise. It was a completely different feel than Kruger National Park in South Africa. Main difference would be the river! With such an abundance of water, we saw tons of hippos and elephants. There were also way less people in Chobe and the park was less developed. Which is not to say that Kruger was overly developed (it’s not at all!!!), but there were a few paved roads and a handful of places where you could stop to buy some lunch or do a bit of shopping. We did not see that in Chobe.

What we did see was a lot of hippos and elephants! I think I took approximately eleventy billion pictures of them. lol. I couldn’t *believe* how close we were able to get to the hippos on the river cruise! The little stinkers are so hard to photograph though what with them being mostly underwater and all, but I was able to get this one when 2 of them poked their heads above water for a minute. National Geographic they are not, but I’m happy with this one. 🙂 Keep scrolling for elephant pictures!