Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Work

why new years resolutions don't work

Hey ya’ll!

As the holiday season is coming to a close, I find myself looking forward to the new year ahead of us and reflecting on 2014. This year has been one of the hardest years of my life but also one of the best!

2014 saw my husband gone for the military and me here alone with our new baby (my first child). I have to admit it has been tough being a new mommy alone, working, and trying to do my best without my husband here; but, it would have been a whole lot harder without my family close enough to us to help me when I needed it.

I am amazed at how much things can change in a year. At the beginning of 2014, I was working full time at a job I didn’t much like but that paid decently, now I work for my dad’s business part time doing something that I love. The change in income has forced me to learn to better manage our finances, but it has also showed me what is important in my life. I am more happy now with a lot less than I was before. The biggest change has been the ability to spend more time with my family, a change that has made my life so much more full.

We have achieved one big goal this past year and that was paying off one of our vehicles. I have been assessing our situation and looking forward at 2015 and deciding on goals we want to set for our family for the upcoming year. I don’t make new years resolutions anymore, I’ve tried and failed miserably with resolutions in the past. I’ve learned that setting measurable goals is more effective.

A resolution is more like a wish, or at least it has been for me. I might say I want to lose 10 pounds this year. But unless I make that a goal for myself and list the smaller steps that are going to get me there, while making sure to revisit the overall goal and asses my progress along the way, that resolution will end up in the pile with past failed resolutions.

2015 Goals

So, I have outlined our goals for 2015 and then discussed them with my husband and checked to see if he had anything to add. We have come up with categories for our goals, they are:

HOME– these goals include projects we plan to do around the house

HEALTH– goals that help us improve our health or top personal bests in the gym

FINANCES– any money or budget related of course

PROFESSIONAL– this I added to remind me to think about what I want to do with the blog, when hubs gets home I should have more time to work on it and maybe even grow it

LONG-TERM– we can add to this throughout the year; I’d like to set a debt-free date here

OTHER– Anything that doesn’t fall into the other categories

I have created a 2015 Goals Sheet that is available here. This past year I started keeping a “family binder”; currently I mostly use it to track bills, but I plan on doing more with it next year. I’ve put my 2015 Goals sheet at the front of the binder to remind me of what we are working for in 2015.

Just a few of our plans are below- I won’t bore you with the details 🙂

Home– sell our house, we want some land (I have a list of things I have to do before we list it; there will be paint flying everywhere)

Health– Run at least 2 5k’s (both me and husband), increase my bent over row weight to 50lb dumbbells (Currently I do 40lbs)

Finances– Pay extra $500 to car note/month, 8k in savings by end of year, purchase land (this one I haven’t quite outlined in detail yet)

Professional– Blog regularly, make more items for our Etsy shop

Long-Term– Payoff my car by December 2016, Homestead? (I’m not sure if homesteading is something we could even do, but it intrigues me)

Other– De-clutter and organize everything (I need baskets!)

Feel free to hop on over to our Etsy shop if you’d like to purchase the printable I made for the Goal Sheet. If you purchase it, I will customize it for you with your name and categories you’d like.

What are ya’lls New Years “Goals”, I’d love for you to share!

The Homemade Movement: Fresh Bread

Hey ya’ll!

So, I have been making a real effort to create for myself more things that I use everyday. I prefer to know what is in my food and products that I put on my body and are absorbed into my skin. Plus making these things myself saves money. Two birds! So far I have tackled lotion, dry shampoo, dishwasher soap, laundry soap, my son’s graham crackers and my latest venture, BREAD.

Making the bread came out of necessity, for 3 weeks in a row the commissary didn’t have the Eziekiel bread I normally buy. We finally ran out of my stash of bread in the freezer on Saturday, so Sunday I made bread for the week.

I made fresh yummy honey wheat bread. My 1 year old loves toast with a little organic butter-I’m sure he doesn’t care if it’s organic but I do, there’s bad for you chemicals in everything these days and we don’t even know it! It turned out really well, I can taste the hint of honey in each bite. Delish!

Feast your eyes!

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I’m thinking of getting a slice as we speak…

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So tasty and healthy.

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I promise this was easy and I had everything on hand. I used a recipe from The Comfort of Cooking but tweaked it a bit.

I used the Kitchen Aid stand mixer that used to be my Mammo’s, I was lucky enough to end up with it after she passed away. Every time I use it I think of her and me as a kid standing on the little wooden step stool (I ended up with that one too) in her kitchen helping her bake. She’d let me wear her apron and stir whatever was in the bowl. Gosh I miss her and my Granddad.

Here it is working it’s kneading magic. They don’t even make beaters for it anymore, it’s practically an antique.

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I’d love to hear what ya’ll are doing to create home made foods and goods!

Without further adieu here is the recipe I ended up creating.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

1 cup milk

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 TB and an extra skoash honey (I used local natural raw honey-better for allergies and super delicious)

2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)

1 cups almond flour (I used Bob’s mill)*

1 1/2 cups organic all purpose four

1 cup oat bran*

4 TB unsalted butter melted and cooled a smidge (I used Challenge Organic)

1 scant TB salt

*If you don’t have almond flour use whole wheat or all purpose or whatever tickles your fancy

*If you don’t have oat bran use rolled oats

HOW TO:

Pour water and milk in bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds until warm. (The original recipe said it needed to be 115 degrees F, but I didn’t check the temp and my bread turned out great). Pour watery milk into bowl of stand mixer. Add yeast and honey. Let sit 10 minutes (at this point it is supposed to turn foamy—I never saw foam).

Throw in the rest of the stuff—Flour through salt. Slap your dough hook attachment on your mixer and put it on medium and let it do the kneading for you for about 6 minutes. Dough is supposed to be smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky at this point—too many descriptives for me, I just turned my kitchen timer on and let it count down for me. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, make sure it’s clean and that it doesn’t have dog drool or baby spit up on it like mine often do (I promise I found a clean one for this bread creation session). Let it rise for an hour in a warm-is place until it doubles in size.

Next, punch the dough down and throw it on a floured surface. Smush it into a 8×8-ish sized square and roll that into a Lincoln log. Toss that into a “greased” loaf pan (I use spray coconut oil, you could butter it, or whatever floats your boat). Make sure the seam side is on the bottom. Cover that ensemble with tea towel and let it rise 30-40 minutes.

I baked my creation in a preheated 375 degree F oven. I sprinkled some more oat bran on top-but I shouldn’t have bothered since they all fell off after I took the loaf out of the pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes—rotate halfway through baking.  Loaf is ready when top is deep brown. Put it on a cooling rack if that’s your thing.

Make sure you take a nibble before its completely cooled, because warm bread is super tasty.

See you next time. Please share your homemade creations, I’d love an easy recipe for homemade hair conditioner!

Christmas on a budget: free calendar & gift budget tracker

Hey ya’ll!

This year Christmas is a bit different for us. It is our first Christmas with my husband deployed. It is my first Christmas that I’ve been on a budget.  EEK!

A few months ago I left my full time job so I could spend more time with our baby and maybe actually do something I enjoyed. I am working part time for my dad’s Granite and Marble company (and loving it), but my income is almost half of what it was before, since I went from full time to part time. I made the decision to leave my old job knowing that my income would be less, it is a trade off that I am ok with because more time with my son outweighs the rest.

So this Christmas, I am not buying gifts. Well, not exactly anyway. I am creating homemade gifts for the gifts I am giving-for the most part. I will have to buy a few things; we are buying a few things for our toddler, mainly because I don’t know how to make a tractor scooter thingy. My husband and I aren’t purchasing gifts for each other, him coming home in a few months is our gift to each other…that and paying his Camaro off this week (woohoo!). I love how it feels to pay off a debt; it means we are one step closer to our goal of being fully debt free. 

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Cutting way back on the gifts this year is something I am totally fine with. It is allowing us to focus on what truly matters to us this Christmas: each other. I am beyond content with the trade off of having to budget and really cut back on our expenses to not have to miss family time. When I worked full time I always missed out on getting together with my sisters and mom to bake something or to plan who is making what over a cup of coffee (or three). I missed visiting with my brother and his family when they were in for the holidays because I was at work. I am tickled that I get to spend the most important thing this year: time with family! It’s really tough that my husband won’t be here this year to enjoy it with us, but I am so thankful that he will be home soon.

Over the past year my priorities have shifted majorly. Right before we had our son, I bought a brand new vehicle, we moved into a newer, bigger, more expensive house. I was very concerned about having “things”. Keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak. Over the past few months, I found myself wishing we were still in that small, more affordable house and that I still had the car I had 4 or 5 cars ago—the one that I didn’t pay an arm and a leg for. I’ve realized what is important, to me anyway. My family and my time with my family, becoming debt free, minimizing stuff and clutter, and living the healthiest & happiest life I possibly can-and providing that kind of life for my family to the best of my ability.

So this holiday season, I get to focus on those things and not worry about what I still have to buy for whoever, what appearances I have to keep up for whatever reason. It is such a freeing feeling, why didn’t I do this sooner?

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Freebies anyone?

I made a calendar for December (yeah I know it’s already the 2nd) and gift budget tracker to help keep me on track with holiday spending.  I plan to keep the expenses to a minimum and maximize family time. Christmas isn’t about buying “stuff”. I honestly don’t remember what gifts I got for Christmas over the years, but I do remember the memories I made with the people I spent the holidays with. Experiences are worth so much more than stuff. So if you’d like to use the Christmas Budget Tracker and/or the December calendar, click on the links to download them.

Click here for the calendar.

Click here for the gift budget tracker.

Credit for elements used on the freebies:

Wreath border garland from Puresweetjoy.com. http://www.puresweetjoy.com/circle-garland-borders-free-download/

Laurel from Designs by Miss Mandee: http://www.designsbymissmandee.com/2014/08/free-laurel-wreath-graphics/

“Christmas on Crack” font-  Parallax, are (c)1999-2001 David C. Lovelace

New-ish Front Door Color

Hey Ya’ll,

I’m sitting here on the couch next to Maverick, who is technically not allowed on the couch, but hey, that’s what slipcovers are for. Just finished my coffee and a delicious piece of leftover Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie  from our Thanksgiving meal. Yum! I love the holidays, but not because of gifts we won’t remember this time next year (I’d just as soon do without gifts at Christmas-it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas and Thanksgiving too for all the Black Friday shoppers). But, I love the holidays because I get to spend time with my family, and next year one third of our little family won’t be missing out (as long as the Air Force doesn’t change that).

But anyway, I wanted to share with ya’ll my pretty new front door color. It was new a few months ago, when I painted it… I am just now getting around to sharing. Insert list of commonly used excuses here and save me the effort. Ha!

So, prior to my painting, our front door was plain brown, like everyone else’s in this neighborhood, yuck! I should really start building houses…I have excellent taste, in my humble opinion. 🙂

Here it is blah-brown:

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I painted it a dark gray first, but then noticed that it wasn’t enough of a contrast from the brown. Then I tried some samples.

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Here are a few I tried, they were all too neutral for what I was wanting. So I hopped on Pinterest and searched for the perfect blue. I ended up going with Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray-it is actually blue.

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I really love it! And now our front door doesn’t look like every other house in the neighborhood. Yay!

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Now I can focus on the garage lights and the front porch light-changing them out for something more my style. I’m considering these from Lowe’s, but alas they are never on sale. Which doesn’t really work for my new found frugalness. 🙂

What is your favorite front door color?

Budgeting baby steps

Hey ya’ll!

I am adjusting to the career change and am loving actually enjoying my work. If you missed what I’m doing now, check out our website-which I got to create: marbellainc.com. It helps that I get to take my son to the office every once in a while. It actually works out. A couple of weeks ago we had clients bring their son in who is close in age to mine and they played together while we discussed material and edging selections for their counters. So much fun!

Anyway, I got sidetracked. Back to the topic at hand. I am adding a category to my blog where I can share what works for us with “budgeting”. I have always managed the finances for our family, but up until I quit my “real” job managing our finances consisted of making sure the bills were paid on time.

Now that I’ve quit my “real job” and have taken a pretty substantial pay cut. I have been forced to re-evaluate our finances. Honestly, I need to get us on a budget. The problem is that I can’t stand budgets. Every attempt I have made at getting on a budget in the past has failed miserably. So, I am taking a different approach. I am trying different methods and seeing what works for us. I wouldn’t call it a budget at this point, lets just say that I’m moving us toward a financial plan.

Anyway, the first step that I have taken is to try the “half payment method”. Where you take half of each bill out of each paycheck and set it aside so that you don’t get hit with say your car payment of $300 out of one $600 paycheck. But, I get paid every week, so I changed it to the “fourth payment method”. So out of each paycheck I set aside one fourth of my monthly bills.

Here is a visual:

Paycheck 1: $500

One fourth of car payment: $100

Left over from Paycheck 1: $400

This is just an example, in reality you would of course do one fourth of all your bills. But, as you can see, you have $400 left after after paycheck 1, whereas if you paid your entire car payment out of paycheck 1, you would have $100 left for the week.

Let me explain how I make this work for us. I created an extra checking account and named it “bills”. Every week when I get paid I deposit my check into my main account. I then immediately transfer a fourth of my monthly bills payment into my “bills” account. That leaves me enough for gas and groceries. I factor in the automatic transfers to my Roth IRA and my son’s college fund as bills so it is covered and I don’t come up short. *Make savings automatic/treat it like a bill*. Right now I move the money for a bill back to my main account to pay it because most everything is auto-pay and I don’t want to have to mess with changing which account it comes from. But, one day when I’m feeling especially productive, I will change all the payments so they come out of the “bills” account. Currently, since the hubs is overseas, he does things his way. Which is less than ideal, because I married a spender. But when he gets home, I will get him on board with the half-fourth payment method.

Just FYI.  We bank with USAA, and they make it super easy to add new accounts in your online profile and to move funds around among your accounts.

So far this modified half payment method is working really well for me. I have a week every month where the bulk of my bills come out, so now that week isn’t as much of a stressor as it used to be. I also no longer spend money that should have gone to a bill because it has already been taken out of my account. Having to “budget” the funds has been a big change and really tough; it has also made me regret buying that brand new Q5 last year. But, it has been worth it to have a flexible schedule and spend more time with my kid.

My husband’s PCS (permanent change of station) overseas has also allowed us to save up enough to pay off his Camaro at the end of December, but that’s a post for another day.

What budgeting methods have worked for your family?

Meet Spark: It’ll change your life!

Hey ya’ll!

So, in today’s news, two things:

#1. I quit my job in education technology to join my dad’s Marble and Granite fabrication company: Marbella Granite and Marble. I’m super excited! This is quasi what I got a Master’s degree in.

Ok let me explain, my Master’s is in Family and Consumer Sciences, which is a nice way of saying Home Ec. I may be putting that a little too bluntly, but I’m kind of known for that, just ask big sis.

Anyway, that department encompasses many areas; I chose to focus on Interior Design in Undergrad and Nutrition in Grad School. So getting to pick out materials for Kitchens (my favorite room in the house) and Bathrooms is pretty amazing. I also get to do all the techie stuff, marketing, and pretty much everything short of the heavy lifting.

More to come soon on my office makeover. It will be a DIY project, and a work in progress but should be fun!

#2. I am now an AdvoCare distributor. This is really what the title of my post refers to. I don’t know if ya’ll have tried any AdvoCare products, but you will love them. I was super skeptical at first, I used  to buy my vitamins and such on Amazon. But, then a friend of mine let me try a sample of Spark. It was love at first drink. The taste is great and I no longer have to drink 5 cups of coffee to get me through the day. Honestly, I was to the point where coffee wasn’t even doing it for me anymore anyway. Spark gives me long lasting energy and focus all day. I spent all day Monday moving big furniture and heavy rugs to get my office area ready to put the paneling up and when I got home at 5, I still had energy to exercise and chase after my 11 month old. I’m telling you, Amaaaazing! And that’s just one product. I can’t wait to get my hands on the pre-workout and post-workout recovery.

I’m going to be starting the 24 day challenge to cleanse and jump start weight loss and boost energy in a couple of weeks. I’m hoping to get a group to do it with me so I will have some before and after results to share. If any of ya’ll are interested in joining or interested in learning more about AdvoCare let me know!

Click on the link below if you’d like to see the products and/or order.

My Advocare page.

Small victories make my day!

Hey ya’ll!

Ok so for this to make sense, I’ve gotta share some background with you. Maybe some of you can relate…

I’m going to share a short version of “my story”-Biggest Loser style, you know when they talk about their weight issues history. So, I’ve always had issues with my weight, I’m pretty short; 5’3″ sometimes 5’4″ depending on which way the wind blows. I have food issues, I love to eat! Anyway, I think I weighed over 170 lbs when I was in middle school. I’ve blocked it out, so I’m ballpark guessing. I started going to my sister-in-law’s house in Jr high and using their treadmill. By high school I had lost some but was still overweight. College introduced me to diet pills…super super unhealthy!!! I didn’t eat and was skinny fat.

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Workout selfie 5 mos preggo in Hotel in San Antonio at ISTE

A few years ago, I got a trainer and found weight lifting. I loved what it did to my body. I loved feeling strong and toned for the first time in my life; of course I cleaned up my eating a bit as well. I started to love lifting weights and eating healthy and making it my lifestyle. So for the three years prior to getting pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life. Anyway, when I had my son last year, I gained 50-60 pounds (I quit looking at the scale at the end). I worked out for the majority of my pregnancy, hell I did the Warrior Dash while pregnant-yes I cleared it with my doc and skipped dangerous obstacles. But, I gave in to my cravings for sweets entirely too much.

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Preggo Warrior Dash with my loves

This brings me to the point of my story. I had a moment in the gym yesterday, I was doing single leg squats up on a bench holding a 15lb dumbbell and a guy and his buddy walked up and asked me what form I was using. At first I didn’t know what the heck he meant “what form”, what do are you talking about? But, then I understood that he was asking me how to do it. He asked, “that looks pretty intense, I want to incorporate that into my next workout. How do you do it?”. I went on to explain, trying not to gasp for air. As they started walking away, a smile spread across my face. “I’M BACK”, I thought to myself; and it felt awesome. I guess that thought came to mind because I used to feel like the gym was a place where I felt comfortable; where I felt like I belonged. Ever since I started going back after having my son, that feeling was missing. I was even a little self conscious.

It felt awesome to have other people look at me working out and think that I have it together. I definitely don’t, and this is where I let you in on a little secret, no one knows what the hell they are doing (not just in the gym-but in life as a whole). Don’t get me wrong, there are folks in the gym that are “experts” in that area but would they know a thing about what I’m an expert in? No. We are all just people, so if you have been scared of going to the gym or graduating from the treadmill to some dumbbells, I hope this gives you the kick in the butt you need. Who cares if you aren’t a pro or if you look stupid, you are there putting in the effort. Your body will thank you. 🙂

So work hard ya’ll, if your dream is a healthy, fit body that will last you a long time.

I’ll leave you with a favorite saying of mine: Dreams don’t work unless you do-John C. Maxwell