{My} Happiness Project ~ February #thesearethedays #happinessproject #rememberlove

Considering February is the month with Valentine’s Day, it seems fitting that the theme or goal for this month is *Remember Love* {Marriage}

The things listed to help achieve this are:

*Quit nagging

*Don’t expect praise or appreciation

*Fight right

*No dumping

*Give proofs of love

Happiness is arriving at your holiday – Barcelo Maya Beach, April 2011

I have always felt like we fell into married life with ease. We rarely fought and seemed to often be on the same page with plans, decisions, etc. We were good at taking care of each other. Even adding Brooklyn to our family, and then Jonah, didn’t upset our dynamic. Fast forward to now, 12 years in, and I can tell you that we pretty much have that same ease. BUT I have noticed in the last few years, as the kids are older and life is busier outside of the house, that some things have started to slip. And I’ve realized that just because we haven’t needed to put in effort, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

I have felt the danger in becoming complacent and the importance of making the time to put in that extra effort. It has made a world of difference ~ because at the end of the day I love and adore him. I chose him 12 years ago and every day I choose him again. So now it comes down to making sure that I behave in a way that shows that.

Never a dull moment… (also Barcelo Maya Beach, 2011)

Lucky for the Captain, I am a stellar wife. Lucky for me, he would agree. And he is truly an incredible husband. There have been short periods where additional effort has been required, but on the whole our marriage has not required work. It is something I am genuinely aware of and grateful for. We have a pretty good gig here.

So, to the list….I honestly don’t think most of the items on the list apply to us. Because this is my happiness project, I’ll focus just on me and the things I’m doing. I am not the nagging sort, so it’s not something I need to work on really. I don’t do things for the recognition, though I’m not ashamed to announce that I am the best wife ever if I’ve done something specific. haha {On that note, the Captain is always good about expressing gratitude for the things I do, so I’m certain that helps}. Fight right ~ We aren’t big fighters, and usually if we do is either me being a little on edge and picking a fight as a result, OR simply a matter of miscommunication. But I have learned to recognize these times for what they are. We hate fighting and are not good at keeping one going. Don’t get me wrong, the man can make me A-N-G-R-Y! But I learned early on the benefit of self talk and working through my thoughts and feelings so that I could better address the actual problem. It has really made a huge difference and has really helped me in every other area of my life.

Yep, this is the man I choose. haha

No dumping – Gah, not something I really do either. So let’s just make this entire month about the last (and incredibly important) one listed:

GIVE PROOFS OF LOVE

In the first sentence of this section, Gretchen quotes Pierre Reverdy, “There is no love; there are only proofs of love.” And she goes on to explain saying, “Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will see only in my actions.” Man, I love that. 

So that is my focus for the month of February – to give proofs of love. Because I’m already a stellar wife (ha!), I have to admit showing love and affection is something we do consistently ~ with each other and with our kids. But I wanted to use this month as an opportunity to go above and beyond the things we already do to show love. What’s so great about this, for me in particular, is that it’s allowing me to really stop and slow down – focusing more on Brent. Life is busy…and he is gone a lot of the time, so it can be difficult sometimes to *fit* him back into life. But this month I am working on putting him back on the priority list and making sure I’m not *forgetting* him in the process of tackling all the other things on my list. 

My heart belongs in Mexico…with him of course {Puerto Vallarta, November 2013)

I’ll be posting a few more times this month specifically about this, to share with you the ways I give proofs of love. The things I already do and the new things I’ve added. 

What are some ways you give proofs of love to your significant other? 

Feeding Our Dogs Raw #thesearethedays #dogsgoraw

It all started with THIS ~ hundreds of complaints from the last 4 months of people whose pets either got sick or even died as a result of their food….the same brand of food our dogs are on. WERE on, but I’ll get to that.

I do honestly believe it was more than likely a bad batch, but it was enough for me to reconsider what we’ve been feeding our dogs. So, being halfway through our last bag of dog food, I started my research. On a facebook pet group I’m a part of I asked everyone what food they were using. I got some great advice, but was still worried about choosing the right and best store bought food…quality and price. I found that the suggestion that appealed to me the most was going raw – homemade raw. But because it is something pretty foreign to me I’ve been googling my butt off. I was surprised to read just how many foods dogs are able to have and have been having a blast trying them out ~ I’m so excited about this in every nerdy way possible. Plus, since our dogs don’t seem to have any allergies I’m not really limited in what I can offer them. *hooray*

When I’m researching something like this I like to look at multiple sites and make note of the common suggestions. Here are a few of the sites I’ve referenced:

BARF Diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)

The I Love Dogs Site (Foods to avoid)

The Whole Dog Journal 

One of the first meals….Venison, potatoes, and carrots.

As a result I have given the dogs meals consisting of any variety of the following:

Venison {Ground or in strips} – Hunting season has turned out to be beneficial for more than just my human children :)

Beef Fat 

Bones (they LOVE)

Organs (haven’t yet, but will be in the very near future)

Raw Egg – they each get one a day in their dinner. I’ve read the shell is excellent for them as well, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes – a couple of sites said to avoid them, one said to avoid them with their skin on, and a couple of sites said they were good. Having not noticed an issue when they’ve had potatoes before, I decided to offer them every once in a while, without skin.

Carrots

Celery (haven’t tried yet)

Brussel Sprouts

Green Beans

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Spinach (haven’t tried yet)

Felt like new, washable dishes were in order considering the raw meat and egg. Also, getting more adventurous in the mixes – venison, raw egg, pears, carrots, and brussel sprouts.

Strawberries

Blueberries

Pears

Watermelon (no rinds)

Cantaloupe

Apples – They each get a whole apple as a snack in the afternoon. It’s recommended, particularly for smaller dogs, that you cut out the seeds to protect from choking. Since our dogs have eaten bone since we first got them, I was pretty sure an apple seed was not going to be their undoing. 

Kidney Beans

And about two times a week they enjoy their Kong filled with peanut butter. 

{I will also be adding Flax Seed Oil and Cod Liver Oil at some point for their health benefits}

Ground Venison, Carrots, Green Beans, Cantaloupe, and Strawberries. Skipped the Raw Egg this time

Seriously – can you see why this is so fun?! I love mixing it up every day and seeing them devour it up. Actually, Axel DEVOURS ~ INHALES ~ his dish in about 2 bites, while Malibu daintily nibbles away. It’s really funny to watch. But I am happy that we’ve made this switch and even more happy that I was able to convince the Captain to *try it* for a time. I’m pretty sure he’s sold. 

Within the first week we noticed two improvements: The first (we were told to expect) was smaller poops. Sorry to go there, but really, because their diet is all raw now their bodies absorb most of it. Awesome!!! And secondly, something neither of us anticipated but are thrilled about is the decrease in shedding. HUGE decrease…from a cats amount of hair swept up daily to barely even a skiff after even 3 days (I so wish I had photos to show you). I have read and been told that the raw egg is so good for their fur, but I had no idea it could/would impact their shedding. 

I’m just tickled. #nerdalert

Comes in handy when I spill all the blueberries…no complaints from these two!

 

 

 

{My} Happiness Project ~ January Wrap Up #happinessproject #thesearethedays

It’s already February – how did that happen?!

Before I can get into the goals and plans for February, I need to do a bit of a January wrap up. So let’s get to it.

January’s Goals were to increase energy by:

Going to Sleep Earlier

Exercising Better

Tossing, Restoring, Organizing

Tackling a nagging task

Acting more energetic

1. Going to Sleep Earlier – I sure had good intentions, and most of the time was really good about crawling into bed between 9-10pm, but for a good two weeks I did not sleep well. Keeping our dogs separate was exhausting (Malibu was in heat…or their behaviours were such that I was much too chicken to take any chances). I also had both dogs in bed with me a lot, which meant minimal room to stretch out and fighting to pull my blankets. Nevertheless, I’ve continued to tuck myself into bed early to give myself time to unwind.

2. Exercising Better – Going in I knew this would be the most difficult aspect for me, and it proved to be in every way. So to avoid setting myself up for failure, I decided to use my exercise time a little differently and instead of doing an actual workout, I spent time outside with the dogs. Luckily, it also doubled as one of my nagging tasks so it helped boost my energy simply because I felt like I was accomplishing something.

The dogs did not complain about the increase in exercise

Or about the increase in love and attention

3. Tossing, Restoring, and Organizing – Ah yes…do you find the chaos of stuff can bring you down? And yet, the weekends seem so short that there’s hardly enough time to simply maintain, nevermind make progress. But I’ve sure been trying. I’m planning to go room by room, either donating or throwing away anything that we don’t use or need. And either making a home for it in the room it’s in or finding a new place elsewhere in the house. I tackled my bedroom corner and jewelry collection this past weekend, and am thrilled with the results. We also have an elliptical and treadmill in our basement that just don’t get used. So I want them out of here. The treadmill (my sister in law’s) has gone to my mother in law’s for her to try and the treadmill is going back to my parents’ to get some love. This will open up our basement tv room a bit, so I can get one more space organized. 

BEFORE {I know, total chaos}

AFTER {Soooo much better}

4. Tackle a nagging task – As mentioned, the dogs have been on my mind a lot. I’ve been so happy to spend more time with them, but this winter weather simply ruins my life. I enjoy having them in the house, but I don’t love that I HAVE to have them in the house. Once their dog house and dog run is completed in the spring we’ll be able to have them outside again more even once winter comes again. Anyway, going out daily has been really fun and I’ve enjoyed the time with them.

I’ve also tackled a few other tasks – sorting my individual spice packages (it doesn’t take long for it to get out of control), putting together a family home evening binder for myself and two cousins (have one done…finally picked up the additional page protectors to complete them this weekend), sending a few things in the mail, blogging, and completing some sewing projects that are over a year old! To honor one of my ten commandments to *do it now* I have also really made an effort to do things as I think of them, when I have a window of time to do it. This too has made a huge difference and I can attest that tackling these things definitely boosts my energy.

For my sister in law – I’ve had these for almost 2 years I think. Eep! 

For my other sister in law {over a year}, a friend {recent}, and Brooklyn {recent}.

5. Acting more energetic – Pretty sure I’ve failed miserably at this. haha I blame poor sleeping completely though because it has definitely had an impact on my energy. Luckily I am naturally wired to be happy and energetic, so I don’t really have to *act* that way…but I also don’t fake energy when I’m dragging my way through a day. lol

All in all I think January was enough of a success. It’s not so much a matter of not being happy and therefore needing to find ways to be moreso. But rather, finding and doing things that help maintain and/or improve that happiness. Getting things done and more organized is huge for me, so January has been especially to great to spend more time focusing on those things. 

Now, onto February! 

I Want To LOVE My Dogs #thesearethedays

I’ve always loved animals. As a child I dreamed of owning 3 homes, side by side; one for me and my family, one to house people who needed help, and one for all my animals. {And of course an underground tunnel connecting my house with my best friend’s, but who didn’t have that dream?!}. Early in 2013 we finally decided we were ready for both the time and financial commitment. Our ultimate plan was to have two, so we first planned to get a puppy from our friends’ litter (Axel) in the fall. But a few months before he was born, we learned my cousin’s dog was having puppies and got one of hers too (Malibu).

Before picking up Malibu and then a few months later, Axel, we discussed our plans and expectations for having pets. I was very determined that we were not getting dogs to forget about them. I wanted to make sure we took them for walks daily and gave them love and attention, etc.

We had Malibu by herself for a few months and we were so good about playing and going on evening family walks with her.  We loved having her around, but as soon as Axel came along, we sort of booted them outside {lovingly of course} to play together. Which was great, except we sort of *forgot* they still needed us, you know?! We still took good care of them, but as time went on and life got busier, they fell to the bottom of the priority list. And I hated it. They are great dogs and are somewhat trained, but still are in a need of a lot more. Malibu specifically is jumpy and hyperactive and that can be soooo annoying. But interestingly, in all my reading, the most common suggestion to combat that is spending time with them. Imagine ;)

I always had plans to, but never seemed to HAVE the time ~ which is precisely how we ended up with puppies. During an especially busy time, I did not notice that Malibu was in heat ~ and Axel did. But one thing those puppies taught me was this:

Nobody HAS the time

So once the puppies were thriving with their new families, I resolved to use at least half of the previously devoted puppy time, on Malibu and Axel.

I decided to MAKE the time.

Caring for Chewbarka, who became my sweet and snuggly shadow for an additional month, reminded me what I want with Malibu and Axel. Because while I love my dogs, I want to LOVE my dogs. I don’t want them to just be pets, but rather a part of our family. A part of everything we do ~ camping, paddleboarding (on our list of things to buy this summer), daily walks, bike riding, etc.

More time together in the front room

Thanks to fireworks, they’ve even weasled their way into my bed

More time outside together – AT LEAST once a day

So in the past several weeks I’ve really spent my extra time focused on them, and honestly the impact of this effort has been awesome and immediate. Malibu loves being a part of everything, being where the action is…and although she’s still jumpy and excitable when someone comes to the door, she has calmed down a ton mostly in the last couple of weeks. The kids too have started interacting more with her now that she isn’t quite as hyperactive. It’s been a lot of fun, though our house is certainly boasting more dog hair than before.

Strangely I’m okay with it. It means they are here…a part of our family..a part of us.

Way more snuggles

And I can honestly say I LOVE them

WE LOVE them!

 

I Cancelled Real Life For The Weekend #thesearethedays #hibernatingweekend #happinessproject

I mentioned in my last post that if it doesn’t help pay the bills or raise my children, I’ve had to let it fall to the wayside. The weight of responsibilities is real, and as a result, I have had to seriously take a step back and re-evaluate what I spend my time on.

I also mentioned that there is a third category that has squeaked it’s way onto my priority list ~ the things that fulfill me and make me tick.

**Disclaimer: Taking care of my family is something that truly makes me tick and is often when I’m at my best. BUT there are still things that I enjoy doing and things I want to accomplish on a personal level. And when neglected, there is a noticeable void.**

I realized in November that I was drowning and had some serious potential of being flat out overwhelmed. I know a lot of it was likely due to my role as Litter mom of 8 puppies  (a role I absolutely LOVED), and the resulting lack of sleep. But even still, I felt like I was on the verge of something not pretty ~ haha. I was simply surviving (and honestly had been since even before the puppies came), which as someone who is used to thriving, was difficult. I decided that if I could make that kind of time to care for the puppies, I could devote at least half as much once they were gone, to the things that make me tick. The things that are easy to neglect when life gets busy. 

It was so busy but I loved every minute…and I sure miss these sweet little ones

I had already simplified most things to really focus on my kids, but there were a lot of things on my personal to do list that just weren’t getting done. So I decided to change that.

I started doing even less and spent even more time organizing my life so I could tackle the list ~ but first I had to figure out what I was missing and make one.

Here’s what I came up with:

*Sewing {so much fabric~so many projects~so little progress}

*Blogging {Oh how I’ve missed it}

*Listening to music (Strange perhaps, but it’s something I miss)

*Doing even more things with our kids

*Training and building better relationships with the pooches

*Trying more recipes

*{My} Happiness Project: I know that finding and buying that book was no accident.

*And basic tackling of a few nagging projects {not just a January goal} to help in the house organization

The biggest one glaring at me was sewing, because there are so many projects on my to do list.  So I got my sewing room organized and got to work.

I couldn’t believe how rejuvenating it was. Immediately I could feel myself improving – in fact fast forward to the night before the kids’ Christmas concert when I decided to whip up a pair of comfy pants and a tank for Brooklyn’s costume. Both items took me about an hour to complete and afterwards, despite it being 1130pm and having to work the next day, I was WIDE AWAKE! I was beaming, feeling accomplished and rejuvenated, and just plain happy. 

I impressed even myself lol

Anyways, as the last weekend of November approached I could feel myself needing a major break. From everything. The nagging feeling would not let up, so I made a major decision and cancelled the weekend. Friday I was supposed to go to Tara’s for an American Thanksgiving dinner (she’s American), but I cancelled. Saturday the kids and I were invited to a morning Grinch party, but I cancelled. Sunday was church (3 hours because we’re crazy lol), but I cancelled for us. And Sunday evening was dinner at my parents, but once again I cancelled. If I had kept it as planned, Monday morning would have arrived before I had time to breathe. So to keep it simple, I cancelled everything and declared it #hibernatingweekend without any plan to leave the house, not even once. Luckily there was a huge snowstorm and it was FREEZING so staying inside was not difficult. 

Here’s what we did:

I had the time to just sit and enjoy some puppy snuggles

We decorated for Christmas

Ah yes, the sewing!!!!

The lounge pants that weren’t…huge flop!

The Redemption Skirt ~ this fabric was pricier than I normally buy, but I had to have it!

Because, why not?!

The second skirt…still needs some modifications 

We successfully stayed in the entire weekend ~ not going out even once. Oh wait, I lied…I had to run out to start the vehicle on Sunday just to make sure it would start for work Monday morning ~ yes it was THAT cold! 

The kids were happy, I was happy, the dogs and puppies (Zoe and Chewbarka) were happy and got lots of extra attention. We played, snuggled, decorated, got some things done, and did nothing all in the same weekend. It was perfection. 

It’s precisely why we’ve *hibernated* several times since then. Not necessarily to the same degree, but enough where we get to spend some time refocusing and being together. 

What would you spend your time doing if you cancelled the weekend? 

 

What Gives? #thesearethedays #findingthebalance #happinessproject

For years I have had a bad habit of double (and even triple) booking myself. Enjoying so many things coupled with my desire to help people, I often committed to things without really thinking it through. Sometimes this resulted in being unable to really do my best and other times it resulted in me feeling frenzied like a chicken with my head cut off. And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s that.

While I enjoy a certain level of busy, I’m not the type of person who enjoys being busy every day. Or being so busy I get lost and am unable to enjoy the moment ~ always thinking 10 steps ahead of where I am. So I’ve made a change…actually several over the past few years, but especially recently. 

Early last year (March) the Captain got a job working away. What this means is that for a lot of the time, I am the only one I can rely on, which adds a different dynamic than we’re used to. I am certainly capable and not complaining, but life got noticeably more complicated. It isn’t simply double the work, but really more like quadruple. And trying to find ways to compensate so the kids don’t feel the absence so deeply is a huge weight to bear. 

The Captain was bummed to miss their Christmas concert

Truly, if I didn’t love my job so much, and if I felt it specifically had a negative impact on the kids (they are in school full time so my working really doesn’t impact their lives), I would have more than likely walked away from it. But I do love it and I haven’t noticed an impact on the kids – but it does add one more complication ~ plus getting ready for work while getting kids ready for school can be NUTS! 

What I found was the most important was to balance the after work/school time to their benefit. The summer was easier for several reasons – no school  or extra activities and because I work part time, LOTS of play! But the school year is certainly busy with activities dance, gymnastics, and now basketball for Jonah plus household responsibilities, nevermind church responsibilities. 

In order to balance life, to make sure I was still able to be the kind of mom I strive to be, there were certain things that had to *give*. Since March, I have missed every church function with our Relief Society. Not because I don’t enjoy them (I actually love them), but because it was one more complication I didn’t need ~ finding a sitter, kids being up late, me being up late and tired for work, etc. were all things I didn’t feel I should put my time and energy towards. My responsibilities in the youth program (Young Women’s) also took a major back seat. My commitment level was minimal, for many of the same reasons. I love the youth and love serving with them, but it was a commitment that simply weighed me down. I was released at the end of the year, and while I miss the girls dearly, I have been relieved of a lot of guilt. 

At the end of the day I had to shift my focus to those things that helped either pay my bills or raise my children.

I now have a new church calling which I love, that allows me the freedom to do it as it fits into my life. I’m making sure to get adequate rest so I’m alert at work, though I still sometimes fail miserably. I’m working hard to keep up on the housework (using one of my 10 commandments to *do it now*) as well as make progress in de-cluttering and removing the things we just don’t use (and never will). I’m making sure the kids get to their activities each week (3 days, plus Saturday now), get their homework and reading done. Luckily, one of my closest friends takes the kids to school when the Captain is away and I can’t tell you what a huge blessing that is! (HUGE…trust me, at the end of the last school year I didn’t have that, and it was a little nuts for sure).

Malibu

Axel

I also try to make sure they have healthy meals, though if you knew how many times we’ve had fast food the past few months you’d likely gasp in horror, but it, too has it’s place (survival). I also have two big dogs needing attention ~  as you know I also helped Malibu while birthing her 11 puppies, dealt with the loss of 3 of them, and helped care for the remaining 8 for 2 months until they went to their new homes (one until 3 months). If you wanna know BUSY, have puppies. So fun but also slightly insane. 

8 sweet hungry puppies

And of course, I’m doing my best to mantain focus on the importance of Making Memories.

One of the best things about our recent getaway to Canmore (the kids’ Christmas present) was making memories with this guy: the Captain!

I’m not saying my life is any busier than anyone else’s, and in fact quite the opposite. I’m sure your life is just as busy, if not moreso. That’s why I’m writing this post. I want to know *What Gives* for you?! What are the things you have to let fall by the wayside? What are the things that just cannot be given priority status in your life? Do you find that dynamic difficult to maintain? Or do you find that you have it organized all wrong? 

Again, for me it has been anything that doesn’t pay the bills or raise my children (there’s also a small portion of this reserved for things that fulfill me and make me tick, but there is a whole post coming about that). And being able to *say no* and *miss things* (two of my Secrets of Adulthood), and focus on these has quite simply been the biggest reason I have been able to (mostly) keep from being overwhelmed. 

So, what gives?

 

Quilt Love #thesearethedays #create #quilting

By now you probably know that I enjoy sewing, mainly clothing items for my kids. Generally I choose projects with a high margin of error, so I don’t have to spend all my time on meticulous measurements and making sure each and every stitch is perfect. Which is why, when people have suggested I start selling, I can’t help but scoff a little. I mean, I am certainly flattered and thrilled people like the end product that much, but my sewing skills leave a lot to be desired. Trust me.

In addition to sewing clothes, I’ve done a few quilts…okay *quilts* – rag quilts to be exact. They are fairly simple and have a decently high margin of error. But I really want to try a REAL quilt. My cousin, Cherisa just opened an Etsy shop ~ The Blanket Thief ~ selling her quilts, and her talent is inspiring. I already have the fabric and pattern I want, but here are some other Pinterest quilts that I LOVE! 

A Quilt for Sarah from A Spoonful of Sugar Designs

 I love the pattern and colors of this quiltPhoto from website

**I love the fabrics, colours, and the fun design**

Vibrant Mango Quilt from Better Homes and Gardens

love this happy quilt.

Photo from website

**I have been in love with this quilt – everything about it – for so long.**

John’s Quilt Top from Sew Mama Sew

Quilt pattern

Photo from website

**Aren’t these colours GORGEOUS!!!**

Whirlwind Free Lap Quilt from Connecting Threads

Whirlwind Lap Quilt Pattern Download

Photo from website

**What a fun pattern! I love the colours, but especially the contrast of the black**

Zig Zag Rail Fence Quilt from Red Pepper Quilts

Image of Zig Zag Rail Fence Quilt Pattern (pdf file)

Photo from website

**I love this so much…but all I can think of is the work it would take. Oy!**

Dad’s Shirts from Create by Sandra Saunders

dad's shirts keepsake quilt.

**I love me a good keepsake quilt, and this one is so perfect!**

Okay, so I’m swooning. I’d like one of each….guess I’d better get working then. ;) 

Take Away Meals #thesearethedays #makeyummyfood #pinterestsuccess

I haven’t really mentioned it before, so only those who know me in real life know, but the Captain has a new job that often takes him away. I won’t say for how long at a time nor will you see me posting online about him being gone, because let’s be honest ~ The internet world can be a scary place. 

But, one thing I will talk about is the  yummy food that I send with him. He works long days and just because he isn’t home, doesn’t mean I can’t still take care of him. I try to send him different meals each time, so it’s not always the same thing. Here are just 4 of the many meals I’ve sent (all from Pinterest):

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts from Rock Recipes

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts

Photo from website 

**Incredibly delicious…my only change would be less honey in the sauce.It was a wee bit too sweet for us**

Meatball Sub Bubble Up Bake from Life With the Crust Cut Off

Meatball Sub Bubble Up Bake

Photo from website

**I couldn’t find Pillsbury Grands Biscuits here (maybe just a USA thing?), but the Country Biscuits were perfect **

Ground Beef and Tater Tot Casserole from Sweet Pennies from Heaven

Tater tot casserole is one of my most favorite comfort foods! This easy casserole dish has always been a favorite of ours and one that the kids love too! It's also a Gluten Free dish! This recipe can be made in bulk and frozen for quick dinners too!

Photo from website

**Just the kind of meal the Captain loves!**

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta from Yellow Bliss Road

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Photo from website

**I’ve made chicken and beef versions of this and both were delicious **

Hope you’ll try them too ~ and let me know how you like them! 

{My} Happiness Project ~ January #thesearethedays #happinessproject

IT’S JANUARY!!!!  So let’s just dive in then, shall we?

I really like how the author laid out her project, but once again, I’ll be modifying along the way ~ except for this month, which was completely perfect.

January’s Goal is to Boost Energy.

There are 5 ways listed to help achieve this:

* Go to sleep earlier

* Exercise Better

* Toss, Restore, Organize

*Tackle a nagging task

*Act more energetic

I can tell you right now that I need this month’s resolutions as much as I need oxygen. Since starting work two years ago and especially since Brent started working away (March), getting more sleep has been a priority for me. But it’s still something I need to improve on. Taking from my Twelve Commandments to *Say No*, I’ll be working to simplify my life even more so I can spend time on the things that matter and accomplishing some specific goals.

I can also tell that Exercising is going to be the biggest challenge for me, but I’m determined to find a way to make it a part of my daily life. Any time I have in the past, I’ve noticed huge positive changes. It’s a shame I ever got myself out of the habit. I think the best way to tackle this is going to be to set myself an actual, idiot proof schedule. If I don’t, and I leave things up to however my day plays out, I won’t accomplish anything.

I am going to have to decide what part of the day is best for me to exercise – will I get up early and exercise before work or wait until the end of the day? Or, because I work part time, is it something I want to fit into the middle of my day? I am pretty certain that before work is the best time based on all the other things I want to accomplish during the day, so I’m going to have to set a fairly early bedtime to set myself up for success.

Toss, Restore, and Organize – something I’ve been trying to do this past year anyways, but need to re-focus on it. This month will be one of major purging and honestly, I’m getting excited just thinking about it.

I already know which *nagging* tasks I’m going to tackle….so stay tuned for more details. 

And lastly, acting more energetic. For me, this will mean not succumbing to the trap of sitting down part way through the afternoon or evening, where I always end up with my energy being sucked out of me at a ridiculous rate. I need to remember that and use my awake hours productively. Something tells me that getting more sleep and clearing out some of the excess in the house will aide in this quite nicely.

What would be the most challenging part for you?

I’ll be checking in weekly (at least). I’d love to have some company along the way if you’d like to join me. :)

 **Disclosure: I bought this book impulsively in September and read it on my own. I am not affiliated with Gretchen Rubin (though just from this book, I totally think she’s awesome), and none of my posts come with compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.**

 

 

{My} Happiness Project ~ Secrets of Adulthood #thesearethedays #happinessproject

Okay, so I have my list of 12 Commandments - the rules to remember while I work to achieve each month’s resolutions. Next I wanted to list my Secrets of Adulthood. Once again, I liked Gretchen’s list, but for obvious reasons didn’t copy it. {ie. plagerizing her book is not only illegal, but also isn’t going to help me in this process}.

So, while I kept a few of the ones she had on her list, this list is genuine and specific to me and my life.

Here are some things I’ve learned ~ My Secrets to Adulthood.

1. It’s okay to miss things

2. You are capable (or more specifically, I am capable)

3. You don’t have to agree to be supportive

4. It’s okay to be different

5. People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think

6. Trust your instincts

7. Helping doesn’t always help

8. It feels good to get the dishes done

9. You can’t do it all (and shouldn’t try)

10. Be the kind of friend you want to have

11. Hibernating has its place

12. Stained clothes are good for playing

13. Dress for the weather

14. When in doubt, fill up with gas

15. You don’t have to get mad to make a point

16. What you want matters

17. Cleaning the bathroom doesn’t take as long as you think

18. Anxiety is real

19. Sometimes all you need to do is listen

20. Dress the way you want to feel

21. Friends and Memories are more important than things

I feel like I could go on and on…the more I’m thinking about it, the more ideas come to my mind. But for now, I think this list is sufficient. In fact, each one I thought of made me smile.

What things would be on your *Secrets to Adulthood* list?

**Disclosure: I bought this book impulsively in September and read it on my own. I am not affiliated with Gretchen Rubin (though just from this book, I totally think she’s awesome), and none of my posts come with compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.**