Monday, June 20, 2016

On Goals and To-do lists: how my listmaking got a makeover

This post contains affiliate links.  

If you've been around here for any length of time, you may have guessed that I am a list person.  I write things down in my planner that stays on the desk (or sometimes in my purse).  I write things down on the family calendar that hangs in our kitchen.  I write things down in notebooks and scrap pieces of paper so that I don't forget things that are important for the day, but maybe not part of our regular routine.  Now that I am at home, I am especially aware of this new season in my life and want to be intentional about the goals I set and how I spend my time here.

It's only been two months, but today I'd like to share some of the things I've learned so far about my goal setting and list making as well as information about an awesome resource that has been a tremendous help to me along the way.

Goals are not the same as to-do lists.  

Goals are things that I want to accomplish over some set period of time.  To do lists are the action steps that I need to do on a given day to meet the goal.  Or some of the little things that come up that just need to be done.

For me, this was pivotal.  To actually think through all of the action steps to reaching a goal.  To keep the house cleaned and organized (goal) for example I need to: wash the dishes, put toys away, make our bed, etc. (to-do).  Goals will be accomplished when the to-dos are done dilligently.  BUT, the to-do's need to be in line with the larger goals. 

It matters how I choose to spend my time.  

This is a sneaky one because it sounds so simple and it so easy to forget.  Time, like money, is a valuable resource that needs to be stewarded well.  I've said it so many times in previous posts on stewardship and budgeting, but you really do have to understand that EVERY single time you say "yes" to something, you are saying "no" to something else.  This is important when it comes to accomplishing your goals.

At present, the Little takes two naps per day that are about 1-1.5 hours each.  That's the amount of time to myself that I have each day.  It is so easy to let that time slip by if I am not intentional and proactive.  I'm working on getting better at using this time wisely and creating specific routines to help me stay focused during these times each day so that I can really be present with the Little when he is awake.

When I am clear about and self aware of my goals, it is easier for me to decide how to spend my time. 

My goals need to be aligned with my priorities.  

Priorities should be the things that drive our goals.  They include our responsibilities and "titles" during any given season of life and should be the foundation for the goals that we set.  During this season, I view my priorities as follows:

1. Christ follower
2. Wife to Hubs
3. Mama to Little
4. Homemaker
5. Personal health/wellness director (director seems like a silly word to use here, but I think it's right - basically, I'm in charge of my own well-being)
6. Sister/Daughter
7. Neighbor/Friend
8. Blogger (although if I'm honest, this one gets trumped SO many times by the top 7...not mad about it.)

When I write it down like this, it really seems like a lot, but I don't really see a way of condensing it.  If I'm being intentional with my goals, they HAVE to fall under one of these priorities.  And frankly some of them overlap.  For example, as a Christ follower, it is important to me to maintain a strong and active relationship with God.  That also trickles down into all the other priorities.  As a homemaker, I want to create a safe, relaxing, and welcoming atmosphere in our home, which includes keeping things organized and tidy.  This also allows our family to spend time together (wife/mama) and to be able to host others in our home (sister/daughter, neighbor/friend) without major stress.

And then there are all the other things.  

I've also learned that there are a lot of things that I would like to accomplish and get done that don't fall specifically into those categories.  Several of these are on our family "home" list.  Some of them include some landscaping work, replacing the mailbox post for a newer one, finishing the garage, etc.  These are good things to do and I still want to do them, but I've realized that they have to be done during other free time when it is available.  I can't stop keeping the house in order for example, to paint the garage.  I can't miss my quiet time to make sure the bushes in the backyard are evenly trimmed.

So, these things stay on a separate list:  "all the other things".  It's a good list, but it's a lot more long term and flexible.

Goals with grace

So what's next?  All this sounds great, you say, but where in the world should I start?  I was in the same boat not too long ago.  I knew I needed to make some specific goals, but I already had some goals written down and a to-do list that spanned SEVERAL sticky notes.  Then I took some time to read through Victoria's e-book, Goals with Grace.  It was game changer.  

Goals with Grace is an excellent e-book that walks you through step-by-step how to identify your priorities and purpose, create a personal mission statement, and goals that matter and will put you on the path of accomplishing more.

Personally, Goals With Grace has really helped me reevaluate the process by which I set goals and make my to-do lists.  It has given me resources to be intentional about my goals, making sure that they align with my priorities and that my list is realistic and specific.

It's an easy read and comes with lots of beautiful printable worksheets to help you through each and every step.  I've gone back to it several times since reading it.  I highly recommend it for anyone who feels like they are always on the go, but never reaching the end of their list.

The best part about this e-book is that it is available at three different price points (and there is an early bird deal going on now!).  Click on any of the links below to learn more about each package.

The Basic Edition: $10
Only $7 if your order before June 26, at 9pm CST

60 page PDF ebook
11 chapters with assignments
26 beautiful worksheets for you to print off and work through
Lifetime access to any future updates — FREE!

The Deluxe Edition $20
Only $15 if your order before June 26, at 9pm CST

60 page PDF ebook
11 chapters with assignments
26 beautiful worksheets for you to print off and work through
Bonus Goal Planning Printables
2 Inspirational Prints
Audio Book version
Lifetime access to any future updates — FREE!

The Premium Edition $35
Only $26 if your order before June 26, at 9pm CST

60 page PDF ebook
11 chapters with assignments
26 beautiful worksheets for you to print off and work through
Bonus Goal Planning Printables
5 Inspirational Prints
Audio Book version
5 Video Tutorials
Goals with Grace Action Planner which includes 22 customizable printables, an eGuide and an additional video tutorial.
Lifetime access to any future updates — FREE!
But maybe you're still not sure.  You can download a FREE guide to creating your personal mission statement for starters.  (It's like a small taste of all the goodness that's in the book!)
No matter which you choose, I hope that you will start making intentional and purposeful goals today.  Go out and accomplish that list!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What I Wore: Green linen tunic and white cropped jeans

Happy Wednesday!  This week is kind of a doozy for us as we've got things to do and places to be outside of the house every day.  The little and I are also on the mend from a small cold that we were fighting last week.  Yuck. This week for me is all about efficiency, lists, and being proactive to get things done and keep all the things moving. 

This outfit was a fun one that I wore for about 1.5 hours to run some errands with the little and then immediately changed when we got home and I realized how dangerous it might be to feed an almost 9 month old (!!) lunch in white jeans.  Fun while it lasted though. 

Another exciting story about this post is that these photos were all taken in the morning, before hubs went to work because the little was sleeping in.  How did that even happen?  I was totally in shock and wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity to take some photos.  We transitioned him out of our room and took away the swing for naps on the long Memorial Day weekend and while sleeping is still a work in progress (we had a couple really great nights, and then the others are hit or miss), we don't rely on the swing for naps anymore and I cannot even begin to tell you all how glad I am to be able to put my baby down in his crib for naps awake without him being so sad and confused. 

I don't feel a huge pressure to get to sleeping through the nights and frankly, I kind of liked having the little in our room for so long.  We ultimately decided to move him into his own room full time though to help with naps.  I didn't want to be trapped out of my room while he was napping during the day.  Our room looks so huge now that it is sans crib, and his room looks so lovely and nursery like since we've moved the crib back.  I think it's better for all of us.  If you have any sleep tips, please feel free to share in the comments.  I love your stories and advice. 

This outfit is mostly all new to me and all from Clothes Mentor - aka my favorite place to shop.  The top is a fun lime green and is 100% linen and the white crop pants are Target brand.  I probably paid $15 for this look.  The shoes are Jack Rogers, but they're old and also bought used online many years ago. 

I love a good linen tunic, that's for sure.  (And I love wearing them with white.)  If there was any doubt, see below:




Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Influenster VoxBox: Bloom Box Review

Happy day, friends!  You all know I love a good mail day.  (Good mail day = anytime there is personal mail and/or a package on my doorstep, FYI)  I especially love when the good mail day includes new goodies for me to try out from Influenster's voxbox program.

I got this "Bloom" voxbox for spring a few weeks ago and I've been trying all the things so I'm sharing those reviews with you today.  The box was complimentary, but all the opinions are my own. 

As you can see, this was a fun box - with a little of this and a little of that.  There was some nail polish + remover, a little granola bar snack, travel size deodorant, hair lift produce and body oil.  Where to even begin?  (hint: with the snack.  Always start with the snack.)

Sunbelt Bakery Granola Bars: Oats & Honey 
I cannot tell you enough good things about this little nugget.  I'm eating one right now just for good measure, in fact.  I loved the way this tasted.  The texture was perfect and it was just sweet enough to feel like a treat.  They aren't kidding when they say this tastes like it's from a bakery.  It's not dry like some other chewy bars I've tried.  I also LOVE that it has a little bit of coconut in it - perfect flavor.  I've already bought 2 boxes of these for our pantry.  They come 10 to a box and were on rollback at Walmart for just $2 recently.  (Regular price is $2.69).

Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads
These worked really well.  I don't do my nails that often if I'm honest, but I do like to have my toe nails painted for the summer.  I think that these are more accurately described as polish remover sheets, but soft, pad like sheets because there are pretty big for what I was expecting.  One of them was enough for me to take the old polish off of all of my toe nails without any trouble.  I've got lots of nail polish remover under my sink already, so I haven't bought these yet, but I think they would be GREAT for travel and on the go.

Sinful Colors Nail Polish in VIP (1231)
This is a really fun color for the summer!  I love all the red/pink/orange/coral colors this time of year.  Sinful Colors is a great polish if you are looking for something that isn't very expensive.  In fact, it's one of the cheapest polishes I've seen that still works well (just 1.99-2.99/bottle).  I've been wearing this on my toe nails for a week without it chipping, so I'll be using this throughout the summer.  I only put one coat on my nails, and it's lasted about 3 days so far and is starting just now to show some wear.  Sinful Colors has tons of colors to choose from and can be found almost anywhere that sells nail polish.

NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil
This oil claims to nourish, repair, and soften face, body, and hair quickly and easily with lots of botanical oils and vitamin E.  But I'm not a huge oil person.  That said, I've tried it and it definitely did make my face feel nice and smooth when I used it before bed.  I'm not totally sure about it on my hair, but I don't have a huge hair routine to begin with and my hair is almost always up these days with the Little.  I did love the smell of this oil though.  It's got a light fragrance and is just lovely.  I would definitely use this as a moisturizer before going out.

Secret Outlast Xtend Invisible Solid
The weather has really warmed up around here (along with the humidity - oh, the humidity) so I feel like I start sweating the minute I go outside and then just don't stop sometimes during this time of the year.  Deodorant that lasts a long time is a must.  This fits the bill.  I got the completely clean scent and I really like it.  It is fresh without being overbearing.  It claims to have 48 hour protection, but I really can't go more than 24 without reapplying, so I can't speak to that.  This is a deodorant that I'd like to try more of though and would recommend.

Not Your Mother's Plump for Joy
This hair lifter spray claims to add volume and shine to your hair.  I tried this once, and it worked well. It is lightweight, which I really appreciate so it doesn't weigh my hair down or feel icky after a while.  It's also got a very light scent, which I really like.  I think this is great if you have thin hair, or are looking for a little pick me up for your hair, but I don't plan on buying the larger size since my hair is already thick and usually in a ponytail.  I do plan on keeping this sample though - it should last a while!

And that's it.  Have you tried any of the products listed here?  Which are your favorites?    

Friday, June 3, 2016

Happy Doughnut Day!

Is it doughnut or donut?  Or is it either?  I always spell it doughnut, but I think that's becoming less popular.  There needs to be one way to spell it.

Either way though, it's NATIONAL DO[UGH]NUT DAY!  

So you better believe I got mine.  In fact, on my family's group text thread, one sister sent a reminder out to everyone to which I responded with a pic of the doughnut above with the text "Done."  My youngest sister quickly sent another text:  "I had NO doubt, ML."  It's like they know me or something.  

Anyway, I hope you get a free doughnut today.  It is Friday after all. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Budget Re-cap: May 2016

We like to budget around here.  It's something that we are committed to and feel strongly about as we work to be good stewards of the resources that we've been entrusted with.  I've talked on here before about why we budget, how we budget, etc.  (You can find all of those posts at the bottom of this page).

What I realized that I don't talk too much about here are the specific ways that we spend our budget and while I do enjoy a good personal finance blog - I tend to go back and forth about what I feel comfortable with for blog life vs. keeping personal in real life.  That said, I was recently inspired by one of the blogs I read, The Cream to My Coffee when she did a budget rewind post a few weeks ago.  That is, she went back to things that she purchased long before and reflected on whether or not they were good purchases.

So today, I'm sharing what I spent my $$ on in May and hope to use this as a monthly little check in to see what I'm spending on - to share some of the deals that I find and to explore ways to keep thrifty over here.  Each month, hubs and I allocate $75 to each of us for what we call our "fun money".  That is, recognizing that we have different spending habits and things that we enjoy buying for ourselves, we each get our own little pot of money each month to spend how we want.  This might not seem like a lot, and some months it really doesn't seem like a lot, but it is what it is.  $75 is for us to "play" with if you will.

This month was actually a really low spending month from the fun budget for me.  Which is not terrible since I bought lots of things and went out with lots of friends in April since it was my last month working in the office.  Fortunately though, there were some fun free things I did this month that I didn't even think about spending from my fun money that much.


I ended up getting these two long sleeve t-shirts from Target (links below photos) on clearance for just $4.48 each.  With an additional online coupon code and 5% with the redcard, the total for both of these, with free shipping of course because of the redcard, was just $7.47.  Major score.  It's actually way too hot to wear long sleeves often this time of year, but I love a good comfy white tee that is versatile in all seasons and I really just loved the mint color, so welcome home little shirts.