Tag Archives: goals

I survived! (aka, February recap)

2017, goals, goal progress, checklist

It’s embarrassing that I haven’t posted here in almost a month. In complete honestly, I have been avoiding posting anything for about two weeks now, just because I’ve been embarrassed about my lack of blogging.

I make sense.

Here’s a recap of our February, followed by a goals progress report.

I’ve been working an average of about 50 hours/week at my job. Between that, family time, and this whole growing-a-human thing, I’ve been wiped out. Exhausted. And definitely not ready to wake up at 6:30am to work on blogs.

In February I was given inspiration from a friend to start a new blog based on my love of Harry Potter, blogging, and wanting to create good things but not being the best at it on my own. It needs a lot more building work, but I’m hoping to have it live this summer.

We bought our car! In February we paid cash for a new-to-us Ford Escape with less than 100,000 miles, leather interior, a moonroof, and a fancy-schmancy stereo that has so many buttons I still haven’t figured out how to change the time. Tristan is still so excited about it that every time we open the garage, he points to it, lets out a happy yell, and claps excitedly. I’m thrilled that we were able to get a vehicle that is better for our family within our budget. It was a huge encouragement for us to meet that goal so quickly!

2017 Goals Progress:
Personal Goals
  • Complete the 15 Days to a Healthier You challenge in January This was so beneficial for me. It was much more holistic than I had anticipated and I’ve really been mindful of more aspects of health since this course. I’m drinking more water, processing emotions (something that is very difficult for an ESFP personality type like me since we prefer to be happy all the time, even if that means that we have to ignore issues or just hope they go away). Crystal will be hosting another challenge later in the year; be sure to sign up to be notified for the next round!
  • Complete 2 yoga challenges and 1 CouchTo5k challenge. Yeah, no. I didn’t make any sort of progress on this in February. 
  • Quit coffee for the month of January. I did it! I can’t tell if I have any more energy than usual, but coffee is back to being a treat that I choose to enjoy rather than need to survive. It’s more fun to have coffee with Peter on the weekends now that I’m not depending on it to wake up.
Family Goals
  • Save a certain amount (I will update you all on our progress by %). We are 42.5% of the way to our savings goal for 2017. 
  • Take an actual family vacation. We scheduled our vacation for May!
  • Find a meal plan system that works for us and stick with it. This comes and goes depending on our daily schedule and the severity of my pregnancy aversion to whatever is in the refrigerator. Hoping this improves with the second trimester!
  • Grow a garden. I’m actually going to delete this after this month, because we decided to not grow a garden. Between the timing of the baby coming and work and running two blogs and wanting to actually have some time to explore and create and just be a family, we opted instead to continue purchasing from Aldi each week and shopping at the local farmer’s market when it opens.
Business Goals
  • Get my blogging/writing done early before my family wakes up. This has been nonexistent in February due to my increased need for sleep in the last month of the first trimester. 
  • Complete 2 Pinterest improvement challenges. Keep track of numbers before and after to see if it’s making any difference. Not started yet. 
  • Stick to an organizing system for income and expenses. Not started yet. 
  • Transition to a different hosting platform for the blog. Done! Now hosting through Siteground, and their customer service is amazing!
  • Post in CHL at least 2 days/week. Again, nonexistent in February. 
  • Send at least one newsletter a week (be sure to subscribe! I share what I’m learning, what kinds of fun things we discovered, and good deals if I find them). This did not happen at all. 
  • Submit at least one freelance/guest blog post every week. This also did not happen at all in February. 

Well, we survived February…and already most of March. I’m looking forward to actually crossing more goals off our list in the March recap!

 

 

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A Recap of Our January, Goal Progress, and a Big Announcement!

I can’t believe it’s already February! My apologies for not writing this earlier this month; work has been insanely busy with a few managers needing time off and so I needed to work longer hours than usual to keep up with everything.

January Recap:

Even among all the craziness, January was still a great month! The best man from our wedding, Luke, got married at the beginning of the month, so we started the year with a road trip down to the wedding. I found a great deal on hotels.com for a beautiful lodge near the ceremony.

Cedar Creek Lodge was absolutely wonderful! It was originally a conference and corporate retreat center, and they opened up to commercial bookings a few years ago. When we arrived, we learned that they decided not to put us in the more hotel-like atmosphere of the lodge, but instead upgraded us to our own little cottage! Had I been thinking ahead, I would have taken tons of pictures. These cottages are brand new. Everything was pristine and beautiful. The cottage had a king sized bed, plus a twin with a trundle, and vaulted ceilings. We had a screened-in porch with a table, chairs, and twinkly lights. The description stated that breakfast was included, and in the kitchenette we found a basket of fruit, cereal, granola, and muffins. In the mini fridge were bottles of milk and orange juice, and cartons of yogurt. We had supper at their Town Hall restaurant, where I had the best sweet potato fries and veggie club I’ve ever tasted. And I (barely) beat Peter at a game of pool. 🙂

We had just gotten cozy for the night when suddenly – we lost power! I called the number it said to call for emergencies, and the woman told me that there had been a sudden outage in the area and about 1,400 other people were also without power. She said we were welcome to leave and they were going to give us our money back for our stay either way. I told her that since it was 10:30pm, we didn’t know where we were, and we have a toddler, we would stay. We took the blankets off the twin and trundle and that kept us plenty warm. The power turned on again around 7am, and the heater was very welcome. We are already talking about coming back this summer to stay there and enjoy their saltwater swimming pool.

2017 Goals Progress:

Personal Goals

Complete the 15 Days to a Healthier You challenge in January  This was so beneficial for me. It was much more holistic than I had anticipated and I’ve really been mindful of more aspects of health since this course. I’m drinking more water, processing emotions (something that is very difficult for an ESFP personality type like me since we prefer to be happy all the time, even if that means that we have to ignore issues or just hope they go away). Crystal will be hosting another challenge later in the year; be sure to sign up to be notified for the next round!
Complete 2 yoga challenges and 1 CouchTo5k challenge
Quit coffee for the month of January. I did it! I can’t tell if I have any more energy than usual, but coffee is back to being a treat that I choose to enjoy rather than need to survive. It’s more fun to have coffee with Peter on the weekends now that I’m not depending on it to wake up.

Family Goals

Save a certain amount (I will update you all on our progress by %). More on this in a minute.
Take an actual family vacation.
Find a meal plan system that works for us and stick with it. I’m making slow progress with this. We decided that it would save us money to travel 35 minutes each way to head a couple towns over to the nearest Aldi, so we tested this theory on Friday. We were able to get 25-30% more food for the same amount of money that we normally spend each week at Walmart! This week I’m looking forward to marinated pork with roasted brussel sprouts,  spaghetti with meatballs, and quiche. We were able to get 3 dozen eggs for $1 less than 1 dozen here at Walmart! I couldn’t believe it! I’ve missed Aldi so much!
Grow a garden. Not quite the season to check this off yet, but I am in the planning stages of what I want to grow. 

Business Goals

Get my blogging/writing done early before my family wakes up. I love blogging, but I do not want it to interfere with family time. I’ve been doing well at this, but when I’ve been getting to work at 7:30 and not getting home till 5, I’ve been too tired this week to get up earlier.
Complete 2 Pinterest improvement challenges. Keep track of numbers before and after to see if it’s making any difference.
Stick to an organizing system for income and expenses.
Transition to a different hosting platform for the blog.  Done! Now hosting through Siteground, and their customer service is amazing!
Post in CHL at least 4 days/week. This needs to change to 2-3 for the rest of the year. I love writing, but as I wrote earlier, I’ve found a better balance if I take a couple days off writing to spend improving the site, focusing on Pinterest, or writing articles for other sites.
Send at least one newsletter a week (be sure to subscribe! I share what I’m learning, what kinds of fun things we discovered, and good deals if I find them). This happened once this month. I’m thinking these will be a Thursday or Friday night task.
Submit at least one freelance/guest blog post every week. I submitted one in January.

Announcement:

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know this already. On January 6th we found out we are expecting! After two years of struggling with an inability to gain weight, I’ve finally found something that works. I was able to stabilize my metabolism and I think that had a lot to do with being  able to carry another baby. We are currently 8 weeks, due in mid September. No real food aversions right now, but I have noticed a much more intense nausea after eating something sugary. When we were expecting Tristan, I ate a half pan of brownies for breakfast. Now if I eat one brownie, I’m kicking myself for not choosing a piece of fruit. Thankfully I can still (usually) tolerate my chocolate plant-packed protein powder, which I either make into a shake with hemp hearts and coconut milk or I add collage hydrolysate powder and hot water for a delicious mug of 24g of protein and nutrition from 26 plants.

I haven’t really gained any weight yet, but I’ve already had to pack away all my regular pants and switch to the much more comfortable maternity waist band! Coworkers joke with me that I might be having twins and the doctor I work with wants me to get an ultrasound to rule it out. He’s used to my more traditional ways by now, and laughed when I told him “if it’s twins, we will find out eventually!”

I mentioned above that our savings goals have changed. We took one look at our little Chevy and quickly realized that there isn’t enough space for two carseats! We are currently saving up to pay cash for a Chevy Traverse. We looked at an Equinox but decided that if we had more than 3 kids (which is still our goal), we would have to upgrade cars again. We drove a Traverse last summer while our car was in the shop and we loved it, so now we are aggressively saving and will hopefully begin shopping for one in late spring/early summer.

The owners of our rental house are looking to sell, so we did some quick house hunting in the area to see if anything was worth the hassle of a quick move. Ultimately, we decided to sign a new one-year lease, since any new owners have to honor the existing lease. It was a busy week of looking at houses, looking at our budget, and deciding that we are truly happy and content with our current location.

We were also planning a summer vacation trip to Chicago, but after needing to adjust our savings goals, we have decided that staycations are much more within the budget for now.

February Goals:

I found a prenatal yoga course on YouTube that I will be doing this month.

We will continue to save for our new vehicle, and I will continue to work on meal planning and creating good food for my family.

I will create a filing system for income and expense tracking.

I will submit my two articles for February’s contribution to Splendry.

 

I hope you all have a marvelous Monday!

 

{This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}

New morning routine!

I always seem to start the year with ideals. Ideally, I will finish all the dishes and prep for the morning the night before, wake up at 6:30am, and have between 6:30-8 as my designated “blogging” time. Occasionally this happens. More often than not, here’s how much current mornings go and how I am embracing flexibility:

Wake up at 6:30, go downstairs to start the coffeepot (currently for Peter, will be for me again on Wednesday!). While water is heating up, finish the dishes.

Wash my hair. We purchased a new-to-us brand of shampoo a couple weeks ago and accidentally got the kind with extra moisture, which my hair doesn’t like, so I’m washing my hair more frequently (otherwise it looks greasy and gross).

Pack my snacks. I eat lunch at work, but I snack throughout the day. Currently I bring dried figs, walnuts, carrots and hummus, and a piece of fresh fruit. I also bring a cup of bone broth.

Take my salad bar capsules and make a protein shake. I am loving getting to drink chocolate first thing in the morning! My new favorite way is to use some of the hot water from the coffee pot to make my shake into hot cocoa. Hot cocoa with 13 g of protein and nutrition from 24 plants? Umm….yes please!

From about 7:30-8:15am is about the time when I get to sit down to blog. I’ve decided to take the self-placed burden of posting every day off of myself. I’m laying out topics to be able to post several times a week still, but also using that time during some days to connect with other bloggers, work on my freelance articles, write my newsletters, and do some general maintenance behind-the-scenes. This has opened up so much space for me to actually take care of this blog and enjoy it, because now I have the time to get it all done.

By 8:15 it’s time to leave for work, and I can feel accomplished already, knowing that my family is taken care of with a clean kitchen, Peter’s coffee waiting for him in the microwave,  and we all have good food to nourish us.

This morning routine is not exactly how I pictured it at the beginning of the year. And it likely will not stay this way as I continue to work on my goals for this Year of Discipline. I usually turn on YouTube and listen to MoneySavingMom’s short videos while I do the dishes, so I can continue learning and growing. Today I listened to her walk through how she plans out her weeks. I realized that I have a super cute planner that I am not using properly. I’m barely opening it! Later today I’m going to sit down and plot out my goals for the week. This will become a Sunday night routine, so I can lay out my whole week at a glance. This planner is going to get used well!

On Wednesday I will share with you a recap of our January, how our goals for 2017 are coming, and a few other reflections.

Happy Monday!

Reflections on 2016, and Planning for 2017

Reflections on 2016

It shocks me on a daily basis that it’s almost 2017. Our little family had a crazy year! Here’s a quick recap:

February: moved to Iowa

July: I published my first ebook! (pssst! You can get it for $0.99 through the end of the year!)

September: became debt free!

October: Peter graduated from college

When you throw in several visits back to St. Louis (and several visits by others to here), making new friends, turnover at my job, Tristan turning two, and just getting used to a new routine here, I am both exhausted and exhilarated.

2016 was way different than we ever imagined it would be, but we still managed to achieve all of our goals.

I am also learning more about blogging and freelancing. I studied to be a nurse since I was 3 years old. With this blog, I get to not only hone my writing skills, but also learn marketing, business strategy, law, photography, graphic design, and HTML coding. Every change I make to the blog, I do myself. Thank goodness for tutorials and YouTube! I’ve even conquered my fear of live video.

Planning for 2017

I believe in keeping goals simple. At the end of the week/month/year I want to look back and know that I actually accomplished what I set out to do. I also know that this time of my life requires more flexibility since I have a toddler and a work schedule that can be unpredictable. So with all this in mind, here are my goals for 2017:

Personal Goals

  • Complete the 15 Days to a Healthier You challenge in January (will you join me? HURRY – enrollment is only open through January 3!)
  • Complete 2 yoga challenges and 1 CouchTo5k challenge
  • Quit coffee for the month of January.

Family Goals

  • Save a certain amount (I will update you all on our progress by %).
  • Take an actual family vacation.
  • Find a meal plan system that works for us and stick with it.
  • Grow a garden. 

Business Goals

  • Get my blogging/writing done early before my family wakes up. I love blogging, but I do not want it to interfere with family time.
  • Complete 2 Pinterest improvement challenges. Keep track of numbers before and after to see if it’s making any difference.
  • Stick to an organizing system for income and expenses.
  • Transition to a different hosting platform for the blog.
  • Post in CHL at least 4 days/week
  • Send at least one newsletter a week (be sure to subscribe! I share what I’m learning, what kinds of fun things we discovered, and good deals if I find them)
  • Submit at least one freelance/guest blog post every week

I will do my best to give monthly updates on all of this progress. If you are subscribed to our newsletter, you will get a more behind-the-scenes look at our goals (like how January will go without coffee…I’m a little nervous!).

 

{This post contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}

The Care and Keeping of Mommy

The Care and Keeping of Mommy - Practical ways to get the most out of life without losing your mind

“Are you living each day just trying to survive until you can go to bed?” Ouch, Crystal, that’s …kind of exactly what I do.

A brief reflection of my day-to-day life shows me that I am not actually accomplishing anything. Most days I am merely doing what I can to survive the day and return to bed. I’m not exhausted, I’m just not taking proper care of myself. The last time I took the time just for me to do something I like was when I went to the hair salon to redeem my coupon for a free haircut from the welcome wagon. That was 3 weeks ago.

I recently started to listen to audio books through my library’s online app. This one little act of remembering that I like to read and actually opening a book again has been so incredible for my spirit! It’s invigorating to read again. I might have gotten a little overzealous when requesting books through the app in my excitement.

Crystal is a big believer in her vitamins and supplements. Starting the first week of October, I’m going to be doing a 10 Day Shred challenge through Juice Plus with some coworkers (more on this later). I’m not doing it to lose weight, I’m just doing it to flood my body with 50+ plants each day for 10 days. I can feel that my body needs a reset.

Part of the 10 Day Shred challenge is drinking enough water. I tend to forget this, especially at work. I make it a point every night to drink at least 3 mason jars worth of water, which pretty much equals out to my daily recommended intake. Since I only drink water or coffee (with unsweetened, unflavored cashew milk, no sugar), no juice or soda or milk, I’m doing fairly well on the drink options, but I could definitely use extra hydration. Those crows feet gathering around my eyes aren’t going to hydrate themselves!

The last thing is the bane of my existence. As much as I dream about how awesome it would be to make a living sharing awesome nutrition and exercise…I HATE EXERCISE. There I said it. I do enjoy yoga, but I don’t make the time for it. But 3 times a day for 10 minutes? It’s not much, but it’s a start.

So there you have it. The ways I’m going to take care of myself. And easy, practical ways you can take care of yourself, too. Because I want to be a lively, vivacious mom that sets an example for my son. I want him to greet life head on and that starts with me.

It starts with me.

This is Day 10/14 of Money Saving Mom’s Makeover Your Evenings course. If you haven’t purchased your course yet, click here to get started!

{To support my blogging efforts, I use affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}

Dress for your Day

Ya’ll, I’m sorry. I’m really bad at this whole posting-every-day-for-the-challenge thing. Especially when big projects at work happen and I come home exhausted and barely able to get through my (almost habit!) evening routine.

The good news is that I’ve been doing the dishes consistently before going to bed! I do love waking up to a clean kitchen. I’ve also been able to read to Tristan consistently and it’s such a special time for me each day!

Day 8 was funny for me. I opened the book and the subject was “dress for your day.” The thought that one good action breeds another must be true because as my evening routine became more routine, I was already mentally planning my outfits for the next morning. Yay me! I don’t lay out my clothes because there’s no real place to put them, but having a mental idea makes the morning so much easier!

I have this one work outfit where I wear grey dress pants, a black sleeveless cowl-neck sweater, and a sparkly black bracelet. The bracelet addition really makes me feel like I have my life together.

Grey and black…yep, I’m officially boring.

When not wearing dress clothes, I prefer a relaxed vibe. I have a toddler and we enjoy long walks to the park (and swinging, and playing soccer, etc). Dressing for my day often means capris and a cute shirt. I loathe and despise tennis shoes, usually opting instead for Toms or ballet flats.

This week I had a ton of fun designing a small collection to start my online store. When I’m not at work, this is pretty much what I wear. And I love it.

Do you lay out your clothes? Do you like t-shirts? Can you tell I have a strong relationship with coffee?

This is Day 8 in a 14-day challenge, Makeover Your Evenings. If you haven’t purchased your course yet, you can do so by clicking here.

 

{To support my blogging activities, this post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}

Makeover Your Evenings: Day 2 – The Ideal Evening

Welcome to Day 2 of the 14 day Makeover Your Evening course from the MoneySavingMom, Crystal Paine.

Today’s project is to write down all the things that together would create a perfect evening, and then narrow down the list to the top five priorities. In a quick “brain dump” fashion, here is everything I would like to get accomplished between the hours of 5pm (when I return from work) and 10:30pm, when I would ideally go to bed:

Make/eat supper

plan tomorrow’s breakfast and supper

clean kitchen

tidy up the house (I have a tendency to leave little piles wherever I am. This habit will help prevent that)

shower

brain dump list for tomorrow

blog

exercise

read with Tristan

My top 5 priorities for the evening would be as follows:

Supper

clean kitchen

brain dump

shower

read with Tristan

In this season of our lives, I crave routine, peace, and steady progress towards our personal goals. When I let myself focus on anything else, I find myself in a space of chaos and I stress myself out. I’m going to write these priorities on our chalk board under my “why.” This will help me choose my top “yes” activities and know that I am doing what is best for my family.

If you are following along, comment below with your top 5 priorities!

The Cure for the Mombie Effect

The Cure for the Mombie Effect

“Mombie” – a sleep-deprived woman barely held together by coffee and yoga pants (or, since I ditched my yoga pants, skinny jeans). 

A (non-glamorous) peak into my day last Friday morning:

I rolled over and checked my phone. 8:30!  I’m late!

Ran downstairs to start the hot water for coffee. Dishes in the sink. Encrusted with last night’s dinner. Goody. Started that soaking.

Ran upstairs to get dressed. It’s a good thing my only typical makeup is mascara, because there really isn’t even time for that. Got myself and Tristan dressed while Peter made the bed and got himself ready to go.

Back downstairs, poured the hot water over the coffee grounds into the french press. Started the dishes. Every other dish, had to stop and get Tristan away from pouring the contents of the trash can all over the floor.

8:55 am – time to go! Barely got the dishes done (I hate leaving Peter with dishes to do, it’s a priority for me to get them done before I leave), I remembered last minute to put on my wedding ring, and…I left my coffee on the counter.

The empowering part of this scenario is that while I know that situations come up and sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, there are steps I can take to make sure my day flows smoothly – even if I wake up a half hour before I need to be at work.

My morning, no matter what time I actually get out of bed, is determined by how I set myself up the night before.

I can give myself a huge step up each day by completing a few simple tasks the night before.

  • I can do the dishes each night before I go to bed. This leaves just putting them away as my morning task.
  • I can fill the kettle with water so it’s ready to go first thing in the morning.
  • I can pick out an outfit for the next day. Even jewelry if I’m really feeling crazy.
  • I can make sure that breakfast is baked and ready to go for the next morning. Through trial and error, we have discovered that homemade muffins is really what works the best for us.

When I actually do these things consistently, I free up space in my mornings for extra time with Peter and Tristan, or extra sleeping time if we need it. And I get coffee. Mombie cured.

Most of these realizations and habits came when I blogged through MoneySavingMom’s Makeover Your Mornings 14-day course late last year. I’m so excited for the release of her follow-up challenge, Makeover Your Evenings, which goes live tomorrow! I got an early release copy and have been looking through it. I can’t begin to tell you how awesome this course is and how many big things will be happening because of it.

To celebrate “launch day,” Crystal is offering special pricing!  Normally this will be $17 (like Makeover Your Mornings), but here’s the set up for tomorrow:

12 a.m. to 7 a.m. ET on April 21st – just $5!!!
7 a.m. to 12 p.m. – just $7!
12 p.m. to 5 p.m. – only $10!
5 p.m. – 12 a.m. – only $13!

I’ll be blogging through this one too starting on Monday. It’s literally been a struggle for me not to start as soon as I got it. I’m like a kid on Christmas morning, except for 14 whole days!

Ready to make over your evenings with me? Click here to sign up, then leave me a comment to let me know!

 

This post contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure here.

2016 Goals update

2016 goals update, plus a special bonus treat!

I love goals. I love to set them and I haven’t always been so good about the follow-through part. When I was single, I had a few goals that I accomplished (graduating school, paying off my car quickly, etc), but I have never completed goals so quickly as to now that I am married to the Master Goal-Crusher.

So far in the just over two years of marriage, we have pared down our belongings to about 1/3 of what we (I) had when we moved in together, paid cash for two cars, and destroyed our savings goals. We have also purchased a portable washing machine and just this week ordered a dryer (should arrive by the end of the month!).

Because of all the moving expenses and getting settled, we weren’t able to make any progress on our savings goals in February, but we didn’t have to go backward at all, which I am most excited about!

I have always admired Crystal Paine (aka, the MoneySavingMom) and how many goals she accomplishes. In a similar fashion to my own experience, she credits her husband for teaching her the critical steps and discipline of effective goal-setting. Together they have reached insanely awesome goals, like paying 100% cash for a house, going as a very broke newlywed couple living in a teeny tiny apartment to 13 years later owning 3 rental properties, an incredible blogging business, and funding multiple schools and aid in poorer countries. They inspire me daily.

Earlier this year Crystal and her husband Jesse decided to share their wisdom by teaching a 4-week tele course on goal setting called Makeover Your Year. This is typical Crystal courses (like the insanely popular Makeover Your Mornings course I blogged through here), but with her husband and you get to learn the wisdom they both have. There have been so many requests for another course (the first was live), that they recorded the sessions and now they are available for purchase! From March 18-March 21 (Monday) the whole course is only $25 (regular $29). This is so worth the investment if you are wanting to live intentionally in 2016. It’s definitely not too late to start goals and crush them!

I’ve spoken with several people recently who have mentioned to me they wanted to set goals and reach them with their spouses, so I had to pass along this info for you! I would love to know what you think of the course and how it benefits your family!