Another chilly walk

The puppies and I went out for our walk today.  It was a chilly 36 degrees, but we warmed up pretty quickly.  I’ve been noticing that more of the neighbors are out walking their dogs, or out jogging.  It’s so nice to see people when I’m out for my walk.  It builds a great sense of community.

The Pomeranian only does one lap with us, but Ollie would go for days if he could.  Once he does his business, we just keep going for the full 40 minutes.  I’m hoping that in a few weeks we can start jogging.    I think he’ll love it!

My Word of the Year

I have never done a “word of the year.”  Honestly, I thought they were kind of silly.  I mean, one word for a whole year?!  But after listening to a podcast by Gretchen Rubin, I found my word and knew that I had to write about it.

The Year of Yes

The podcast was about saying yes to holiday parties and activities even though you may be busy because they are a great way to improve relationships.  Having good relationships is one of the best ways to increase happiness!  So I thought, this is  my thing!  I need to say yes to more things; things that I would normally be afraid of, things that I wouldn’t do or even try for fear that I would screw it up.

Here are some things that I am going to say Yes to:

  • nurturing friendships
  • trying new adventures- glass-bottom boat rides, paddle boarding, para-sailing, etc
  • blogging!
  • telling people how I feel, even if they don’t like it
  • fitness
  • healthy eating
  • my morals and values, even when they conflict with others’
  • my needs (and not feel guilty about it!)
  • going to bed early
  • my gut instincts
  • love
  • success
  • relationships

I am going to use this as my theme for the year.  My mantra, my guiding principle.  I want to take advantage of every opportunity I can that is a good fit for me and my family.  Fear will no longer rule me.  I will say “Yes!” even if I’m afraid.  If I don’t think that it’s a good idea for me and my family, then I will say Yes to following my gut instincts and not do it.

30 Day Challenges

I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project.  To be honest, I need a bit more happiness in my life.  My life is pretty good as it is:  great kids, job I love, sweet boyfriend, enough money to pay my bills, and I don’t want to complain, but well, I want more happiness.  For my own benefit, yes, but also for my family.  You know the old saying:  if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

One of her projects is to write a novel in 30 days.  I love 30 day challenges.  I think they are fun, and it gives me a confidence boost when I think about what I accomplished.

30 Day Challenge

So I have decided to do a year of 30 day challenges.  Here are the  ideas that I’m seriously considering:

  1. 31 day blog challenge
  2. 30 day photography challenge
  3. 30 day fitness challenge
  4. 30 days of no dessert!  ahhh!
  5. 28 day kindness challenge
  6. Self-love challenge
  7. Art and lettering challenge
  8. 30 days of letter writing
  9. 30 days of gratitude on 5 minute journal app
  10. Drink 90 ounces of water a day
  11. Brush teeth after dinner for a month
  12. 100 carbs or less per day
  13. 10,000 steps a day
  14. Write a novel in a month
  15. Work on my bullet journal each day
  16. Track my food for a month

When I reread my list, I see that some of these go together.  For example, no dessert, drink water, 100 carbs or less, and tracking my food are all about eating healthier.  If I combine those to all be a part of one 30 day challenge- 30 days of\ healthy eating- then my list would be whittled down to 12.  One for each month.  I love numbered, organized lists.  (I have 4 separate planners and am trying to not buy a fifth.)

The next step is to assign each one to a specific month.

  • December:  30 Day Blog Challenge.  I may as well start with this so that I can blog about my experience.  Plus, I know that December would not be a good time to start eating healthy.
  • January:  30 Day Healthy Eating Challenge.  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!  It may actually be easier if lots of people I know are choosing this as their New Year’s resolution.  Misery loves company.
  • February:  28 Day Kindness Challenge.  The month of Valentine’s Day seems like a good time for this particular challenge.
  • March:  31 Day Fitness Challenge.  Get in shape for my bikini!  (hahaha.  I will never wear a bikini again.  ever.  ever.)
  • April:  30 Day Photography Challenge.  Spring sounds like a perfect time to get outside and take some pictures.
  • May:  31 Days of Letter Writing.  Mother’s Day and several family birthdays are in May.  Sounds like a good time!
  • June:  30 Days of Bullet Journaling.  I love my bullet journal.  It’s more of a scrap book for me, but I don’t take time to work on it.  With school over for the year, this will be a nice change of pace.
  • July:  Write a novel in a month.  Summer vacation for us teachers means time for this challenge!
  • August:  30 Days of Gratitude.  Back to school means NO time for challenges and the 5 minute journal sounds do-able.
  • September:  10,000 steps a day Challenge.  Back to school also means stress, so taking a walk each day could be a great stress reliever.
  • October:  30 Day Art and Lettering Challenge.  This was the only one left, because I wanted to save November for one about just me.
  • November:  30 Day Self-love Challenge.  My birthday month!  This seems like a great birthday present to myself.

Too bad that today is the 6th of the month.  Too late for a nice, clean start to the first challenge, and a ways to go before I get to the next month. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.  Perhaps I could use the next 24 days to get organized.  Make a nice check off sheet, or accountability calendar.  Or a page in my bullet journal.  A nice printable to put here on the blog.  I like the idea of starting right away.  I can be a bit of a procrastinator.  Haha, My mom is rolling her eyes and saying, “a bit?!”

But 24 days might be the perfect amount of time to get ready.  Since I love lists, let’s try a list of 24 thing that I could do in 24 days to get ready for my 12, 30 day challenges!  (so many numbers, must try to not confuse myself)

  1. brush up on my blogging skills-I realize that I have forgotten quite a bit in 3 months (could take several days or weeks!)
  2. make a calendar for my wall to cross off day
  3. make a pretty printable
  4. make pages in my bullet journal
  5. take a mini photography course (a week?)
  6. buy a new pair of workout sneakers
  7. buy art and lettering “stuff”
  8. get a new toothbrush!
  9. buy a 90 ounce water bottle (do they make those?!)
  10.  organize my desk
  11. buy Xmas gifts so that I’ll be done with this when my challenges start
  12. research for each theme

So I think that these 12 things could actually take me at least 24 days.  Blogging and photography could take 24 days by themselves when you consider that I also work full time.

So wish me luck and check back in to keep me accountable!



21 Apps for Organizing your Life

Apps to help you Save Money, get organized, health & fitness and personal development

Saving Money

  1. Your bank- I put this first because it is so key.  My bank not only allows me to check my balance I can also perform transactions like fund transfers and bill payments.
  2. Cartwheel for Target– if you are a Target shopper, this is a great way to save money.  You can get an extra percentage off particular items, combine that with coupons, and save even more.
  3. Ibotta-I just started using this app again for saving money at the grocery store. You look through the deals that you want and go shopping.  My first revisit I saved $7.75!  Read through the directions to make sure that you are doing it correctly.
  4. Walmart– One of the easiest ways to save money with the Savings Catcher.  Just scan your receipt and the Walmart savings catcher does the work for you!  It looks for the items you purchased and compares prices of these things at other local stores.  If Walmart’s price is higher, they credit you the difference.  You can apply your savings to your next purchase.
  5. Your favorite stores- Kohl’s, Target.  It makes sense to download your favorite store’s app.  Kohl’s, for example, offers you a way to scan and store coupons, Kohl’s cash, Yes2You rewards and gift cards.
  6. Checkout 51– I just used this for the first time 2 days ago at the grocery store and I love how it easy it was to save money.  I saved $2.75 on my first visit.  Check out the deals offered this week, scan your receipt and they’ll send you an email telling you how much you saved on the particular deals they offered this week.
  7. Ebates–  Ebates works with stores and when you shop online at their stores through ebates, you get cash back.  My biggest problem is I forget to go to Ebates first.  You can also get cash for referring a friend.
  8. Letgo– I have not used this app, but from what I’ve read, it has gotten mostly positive reviews.  I’ve been looking for a bed for my daughter on Craigslist and now on Letgo as well.  You can sell your used items and post it on the app.
  9. Everydollar– Everydollar is an app created by Dave Ramsey.  He is an excellent teacher about how to save money and budget your money.  I highly recommend this and all of his books/products.  I did Financial Peace University several years ago and it changed the way I budget my money.
  10. Waze– my boyfriend has this app on his phone and swears by it 100%.  It is a GPS navigation app that gives directions, warns you about hazards,  traffic problems and police.  Not only could it save you from getting a traffic ticket, but it could also save you from an arguement with your significant other on your next car trip.

Health and Fitness

  1. 7 minute workout challenge– So quick, so effective.  7 minutes later you can check this item off your to do list and move on with your day!
  2. Map My Run– I am training for a 5K race on July 4th and I love this app for tracking my time and distance.  It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s close enough for me and keeps me motivated by tracking my progress.
  3. Sparkpeople– This is my favorite way to track my food and exercise.  Mostly what I love about it is the community of people who use this program.  They are so supportive and kind to each other.  There is an app to scan your food for easy tracking, track your exercise, sign up for challenges, start a blog and stay in touch with friends on the friend feed, blogs and message boards.


  1. Momo– I am a list freak (one reason why I love my planner) so I love this simple-to-use app.  Housekeeping is not my strong suit.  I think, “I should clean.” and that’s the end of my skills.  This app is awesome because it helps me keep my house clean and it takes NO THOUGHT.  I don’t have to even think about all the things that need cleaning.  I just look at my daily task list, do it, check it off and BOOM.  I’ve accomplished something!
  2. Evernote- I think of this like pinterest, but for text.  You can take notes, track tasks and clip things from the web and view it on your phone or computer.  Keep your projects and ideas organized.
  3. Pinterest– Who doesn’t love Pinterest?!  Everything you could want to know is there!  Create boards and pin pictures of things from the web that you want to remember for later.  Or things that you just wish you could do.  Or cute kitten videos.  Whatever.
  4. Cozi Family Organizer– Wow!  this is an amazing app for families.  My children are a bit older now, but it is still going to be great.  Everyone can log in and look at the family account.  It can send you reminders, you can add events to the calendar, have a shared grocery list (!), add photos and memories to the journal, and put recipes in the recipe box.

Personal Development

  1. Podcasts– I have several podcasts that I enjoy listening to:  Joyce Meyer, The Chalene Show, This American Life, Around the Table, Build Your Tribe, What Should I Read Next, Hidden Brain, BackStory with the American History Guys, Relevant Podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Revisionist History, Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules.  I guess 12 officially counts as more than several, but they are all great!
  2. Periscope – Periscope is a way to connect with people all over the world.  People broadcast through their phone and the viewers can interact in real time by typing comments that the broadcaster can see and respond to.  I like to follow teachers, bloggers and planners.  There are some creepers, but it can be a great way to increase your personal development.
  3. 5 Minute Gratitude Journal– I love this app.  I think it actually makes me a better person.  It can prompt you in the morning and again in the evening to think about the things that you are grateful for.  You can add a photo and fill in three things that you will do today to make it great.  Then in the evening it can prompt you to think of 3 amazing things that happened, and think about what you could have done to make today even better.
  4. Bible– I am currently reading my way through the Bible in one year by following a Bible reading plan.  There are lots of plans and bible studies but you can also look up a passage.  I’ve even used it in church to follow along with the preacher!  Phones in church?!  What is the world coming to?!  LOL