Archive | December 2013

My Report on my December Goals

I haven’t been writing much these past few weeks, but that is to be expected with Christmas activities and my family at home during the break.  But I do have quite a bit in my head that I want to write in the coming months!!  A couple of topics that are on my mind are things that I’ve been learning about “procrastination” and also “burnout.”  So if you are interested, be sure to check back!  But the purpose of this post is to report on my December goals, and since I posted the goals on December 3, I’m counting from the 4th to the end of the month (28 days).

My Report

  1. Exercise:  I exercised three days per week for  2 out of 4 full weeks.  For the other two weeks I exercised twice and then once.
  2. Water:  I drank 8 cups 12 out of 28 days.
  3. Kitchen:  I cleaned my kitchen first thing 15 out of 28 days.

My Thoughts

Ugh.  I don’t like reporting that I didn’t complete my goals.  But I plan to continue on with this goal-setting stuff on my blog anyway.  Maybe I’ll do better next month.

Honestly, even though I’m not reaching what I set out to, I am doing better than I was in each of these areas.  For example, our family just took a day-trip to Washington D.C. and at the end of the day the kids were naturally tired from all of the walking.  My 10-year old daughter asked me if I was tired too, or if I was used to it “because of all the walking I do at home” (meaning my “Walk Away the Pounds” DVD that she has seen me use).  When I thought about it I realized that I was still feeling pretty strong.  So even a little bit of exercise is helpful in making us stronger, and even though I’m not setting it as a formal goal, I plan to continue to try for at least 3 times a week going forward.

I was very pleased with my efforts to clean my kitchen in the mornings.  I’m actually surprised to see in my reporting that I missed so many days because I honestly felt like I was doing this really well.  I think I did it almost perfectly on school mornings, which I’m happy about.  But in December there were lots of non-school mornings and extra stuff going on because of Christmas, so there were some days that the kitchen just needed to take a back-seat to other stuff.  And I’m ok with that.

And my water goal was also a lot easier on the days that I was home all day, and also on the days that I started off well.  It’s kind of a stressful thing to have half the day pass without much water because suddenly it feels like I’ve got to just drink and drink and drink – and then I just give up.  I found that splitting the day up into parts was helpful – 2 cups by 10am, then 2 more by 1pm, then 4pm, then the last 2 cups by the end of the day.  Again, this worked best when I was at home.

Since I haven’t been doing well with completing the goals I’ve been setting for myself, I considered telling myself that if I didn’t reach my goals, then I would re-set the same ones the next month.  But that idea didn’t last long.  I know it is best to set goals and achieve them, but I like celebrating any progress that I make.  And, I feel like I’m learning a little bit about myself through this process as far as what works for me and why or why not.  I’m happy to move on to new goals for January.  Look for that post tomorrow!


Thankful Thursday – I’m thankful for my Savior!


Christmas is less than one week away!!  So it seems fitting to share how grateful I am for the Savior of the world.  I’m grateful for. . .

. . . His birth.  It is significant to me that He was born in a lowly stable.  Doctrine and Covenants 88:6 says,

“He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;”

His descending “below all things” began right at his birth!  His family was poor; He grew up very ordinary.  He experienced the challenges of everyday life just like we all do.  And yet, He is the “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!

. . . His life.  He lived a perfect life, completely free from any sin or wrong doing.  He set the example for how we should live ours.  He also spent his time teaching the Gospel, showing compassion to others, and testifying of His divinity and mission on earth.   I’m so glad that all of this is recorded in the scriptures, so that I can read, study, and learn about how to follow his example and teachings.

. . . His Sacrifice.  As my family has been learning a little more about the Savior this month, my kids have begun to grasp some of the harsh realities associated with His Sacrifice.  Once my daughter stated, as we read about His crucifixion in the scriptures, “but that’s mean!”  Yes, “mean.”  Yes, “terrible.”  The Savior suffered inexpressible agony, both in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross.  These are His own words describing the experience from Doctrine and Covenants 19:16, 18.

“. . . how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;. . .

Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit — and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink–“

But He did it with a purpose – enabling each of us to be able to repent of our own wrongdoings and ultimately be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven again. To me this is an amazing gift!  I never have to be stuck in past mistakes, because I can always repent and move forward in my life with peace and hope.

. . . His Resurrection.  I think that the death of a loved one has to be one of the most (if not the most) difficult trials that any of us face in life.  We miss them, and we don’t really understand where they are or what they are doing.  My sister-in-law’s oldest daughter has been away at college for her very first semester these past few months.  He school is far away enough that she wasn’t able to come home for Thanksgiving.  My sister-in-law missed her a lot on Thanksgiving Day, but instead of dwelling on that, her focus was on being able to have her home again during the Christmas break.  This is the hope that the Savior’s Resurrection promises us!  It is normal and ok to grieve when our loved ones die, because we miss them.  But we can also look forward with hope to the time when we will see them again, and not just in spirit!  Because Jesus was resurrected and received a perfect body, we have the promise that we will also.

“And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.

But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ” (Mosiah 16:7-8)

This is my testimony of the Savior.  I know that He lives and that He loves me.  I’m so grateful for the Christmas season every year that helps me to focus on Him a little bit more.

Thankful Thursday – “O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree . . .”

Today’s post will be short.  I haven’t had time to write today partly because I was at the Church this morning helping to decorate for our Relief Society Christmas Dinner tomorrow evening.  I did not help plan this; others have worked very hard on that end.  But I did get to help a little today, and the benefit was that I got a bit of a preview of what it will look like tomorrow evening!  It will be beautiful!  I guess you could say that I’m grateful for those who put their effort into making a nice evening for us all.

But the theme of this post is our Christmas tree.  I’m thankful for . . .

. . . the tree.  We just purchased a new (artificial) tree last Christmas, and  I really like it!  It is thinner than most trees.  This is good for us, because we don’t have much space.  It is also tall, with only about a foot of space from the top of the tree to our ceiling.  And, it looks as close to real as any artificial tree I’ve ever seen.  I think it is really pretty.

. . . the ornaments.  I think it is fun every year to pull out the ornaments.  Each one has a memory – either of the person who gave it, or where I was living/what I was doing when I purchased it.  It’s like a trip down memory lane every December!  And, I think they are pretty.

. . . happy helpers to decorate it.  My kids are old enough to decorate the tree now.  They did most of it on their own!  My son even hung up the stockings for me.  I have to admit that, while I enjoy looking at it, I don’t always enjoy the job of hanging all of the ornaments.  So, it was great that they wanted to (and were able to) do it!

. . . my husband, who decided to wrap most of the gifts that we had purchased.  After it was all decorated, he wanted to see some presents under it.  So he asked, “do you have any presents that I can wrap?”  Hooray!  Help with wrapping presents!  He did most of them.

What Christmas decorations do you love?

Thankful Thursday – A Season of Thanks Followed by a Season of Giving

We had our Stake Conference a couple of Sundays ago and a lady that I do not know sang the song “Because I Have Been Given Much.”  She had a really pretty voice and the version she sang was slightly different (in a good way) than the original. It was really beautiful!  I wish I had a video recording of it so I could post it, but since I don’t, you’ll just have to take my word for it.  As she sang the last line of the final verse, “thus shall my thanks be thanks, indeed” I thought to myself “isn’t it neat, that in our culture we have Thanksgiving followed by Christmas? A season of giving thanks followed by a season of giving to others.”

My Stake President gave us an assignment at the Saturday Night Session of Stake Conference. It was to do something nice for a neighbor. (I think he was hungry b/c most of his suggestions involved food 🙂 ). But he told about how his wife has many times taken brownies or pie to different neighbors on their street, and how that has helped them build positive neighbor relations.  He also said that sometimes they have included a CD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in with their gift, and many recipients told them that it was their favorite Christmas CD to listen to!

So it is true – I “have been given much” in the way of a great family, good friends, good health, and all of my needs to be met.  And most especially because of my knowledge of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  And so, as I (and we) give to others this Christmas Season, “our thanks will be thanks indeed.”

Following are two recipes that I plan to prepare and give to others in the next couple of weeks.  I’m going to provide a link for the first recipe, and type in the second.

Molasses Cookies

Our family loves these Molasses Cookies!  And I think they are a unique cookie to give to people, but they still seem “Christmasy.”  Our list is growing longer all the time of who we want to give these cookies to.  My kids’ teachers are included in that list!

Cranberry Salsa

1 bag of fresh cranberries
juice of 1 – 2 limes (or juice and zest 1 lime)
1 bunch of green onions
1/2 – 2/3 c. sugar
1 small can of diced mild green chilis
1 cup of cilantro

Pulse cranberries, green onions, and cilantro in a food processor to chop.  Combine in a bowl with rest of the ingredients.  Serve over a block of cream cheese with crackers.

This recipe is from my sister-in-law.  She has made it many times as an appetizer for our Thanksgiving dinner.  It is super yummy!  (It’s also very good on turkey sandwiches!).  My plan is to make some, and put it in a pint-sized canning jar with a pretty bow.  Then I’ll add the jarred salsa, some cream cheese, and crackers along with the recipe together in a basket to give as a gift. (I’ll probably add a side-note stating that the salsa has not been “canned” and does need to be refrigerated!)

What do you like to give to your friends and neighbors at this time of year?

My December Goals

On November 1, I set three goals.  You can read the details about those goals here.  I promised to report on them, so today I plan to do that and also set three more goals for the month of December.

Report on November’s Goals

  1. Exercise:  I exercised 9 out of 21 days that I committed to.
  2. Fruit:  I ate fresh/frozen fruit 13 out of 30 days.
  3. Vegetables: I ate red, orange, or green vegetables 12 out of 30 days.

So, I achieved a little less than half of what I had planned to.  It’s not very fun to write that, but no matter – because it’s now a new month and I’m setting new goals!  I’ll keep track like I did last month and report at the end.  This time they aren’t all related to health.

December’s Goals

  1. Exercise 3x’s a week.  This is obviously very similar to last month’s.  Only I think I might achieve it better if I commit to less days each week (especially during the busy Christmas season!).
  2. Drink at least 8 cups of water per day. This one always has a way of ending up as a goal every time I set some.  I do well with it, and then not as much.  Hopefully if I keep trying, it will become habit.
  3. Clean up my kitchen completely every morning first thing.  Alright, so I said before that I was struggling with the whole clean kitchen thing.  I was at my sister-in-law’s house over Thanksgiving and the day after I noticed that she was doing a great job with keeping up with her dishes!  It was so nice to be in her clean, clutter-free kitchen.  So I asked her about it, and she simply said she made it top priority.  After breakfast, but before doing anything else, she cleans her kitchen.  And as the day goes by, she continues washing and putting any new dishes that people used into the dishwasher, and runs/empties it as needed.  She just works at it a little bit at a time all day long.  This is so hard for me.  By the time my family leaves for school/work and I’ve had my breakfast, I’ve already been in the kitchen about an hour and a half.  And usually I have another 45 min of clean-up to do from breakfast & packing lunches.  I really just want to get on with my day at this point, so I tend to go do something else and come back to it later.  It’s obviously not a great habit, because “later” is usually about the time I’m ready to fix something else to eat, and I don’t enjoy preparing food in a messy kitchen.  So, I’m setting this goal to start me on the path to a cleaner kitchen.

I don’t know if people usually set goals like these in December.  The focus is obviously on family, friends, and festivities.  But I’m thinking of how these simple goals can help me through a busy month!  The first two are certain to give me better energy for the things I need to accomplish.  And think of how much nicer it will be for me to do holiday cooking/baking if I can start out with a clean kitchen!

Do you have any goals this month?  Or are you saving all goal-setting for January?