Goal Setting as a SAHM

Goal Setting as a SAHM

This post contains some affiliate links.

When I was in the corporate world, we would do goal setting sessions for each year. Company, department and personal goals were laid out and had KPI’s (key performance indicators) attached to them. I could check in on a regular basis to see how I was tracking towards things I needed to achieve. Now that I’m home full time with my girls, I’m feeling a little lost.

I decided that I would do some goal setting for myself. I don’t want the year to fly by, which it will, and be looking around wondering what did I accomplish. That is not to say that keeping two small children alive isn’t an accomplishment but I need something a little more tangible. Something to strive towards.

Goal Setting

I was brainstorming my list and I noticed a trend. All the things I wanted to achieve next year centered around deepening or detoxing in some form and it seems to be a great framework to work my goals into for next year. Goals don’t have to be crazy, following the SMART format has always worked well for me. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. It helps set yourself up for success by giving your goals parameters so you don’t go too pie-in-the-sky. So thinking about the theme of Deepening and Detoxing, I came up with 3 areas in each category.

Deepening

Health – I want to continue my fitness journey and get back to running in addition to my classes at The Fit Mill. My goal is to run a race a quarter. I do well when I have something to train for and I would love to do another half marathon at some point next year.

Blog – I want to continue to grow my blog and there are so many aspects that I feel I can continue to improve. I would love to learn more about photography and grow my network. I can do that through some online courses and plan to attend at least one blogger conference. Ultimately, I’d like my blog to be a source of income for us by the end of the year.

Reflection – I want to get back into journaling but just the thought always seems so time consuming. I used to spend hours writing in my journals back in the day. Then I read about one line journals from Becca at With Love and A Little Self-Depreciation, I was sold and bought this journal. I love the simplicity of it and I love having 5 years to look at as a whole. I also plan to make time to read more. One book a month. It will force me to unplug a bit…see below.

Detox

Digital – I need to put my phone down more. I’m entirely too attached to it – the social media, the constant news feeds, the interaction. So I’m going to set office hours for it and it’s getting kicked out of our bedroom. There are other things that I can fill my mornings with like a quick 5 minute meditation, writing or getting a workout in. I don’t need to see the news or my email right away – it’s all too depressing right now anyways.

Diet – We eat a pretty clean and healthy diet for the most part but there is one area that I feel like I can personally improve on and that is my sugar intake. I want to start with the obvious and banish all those Christmas goodies to the curb immediately and then slowly get to the point where we are eliminating added sugar – even in the pasta sauces and ketchup that we buy.

Clutter – I can’t stand clutter. I know it fuels my anxiety and hinders my ability to focus. Yet I still have areas of my house that drive me crazy because they just accumulate so much crap. Most of the time, I try to hide them but I know they are there, festering. I’m going to assign each month with an area that I’ve been avoiding.

Accountability

I’m a little bit old school and the type of person that needs to write things down in order for them to stick in my brain. I’ve used an actual planner for the last two years, the Erin Condren Life Planner, and I like having a record of all the things that we’ve done, plus it keeps me organized. My favorite things about this planner are the personalization options, the week at a glance, the space for goals and all the fun accessories. They are colorful and clean and really help keep my visual brain on track. Not only do I write down what our plans are in the future but I also go back and write down things that we did so that I have a memory of special and even everyday moments.

The links above are affiliate links but I truly have used their product for the last two years and love them. 

I don’t have a team or boss anymore to meet with on a regular basis so I’m going to hold myself accountable here. I promise not to bore you each week with all the things I’ve thrown out or if I ran but once a month I want to schedule a post where I need to fess up.

Have you done any goal setting for next year? How are you going to keep yourself accountable?

New Years Resolution or a lifestyle change? I'm a firm believer in goal setting and that's no different now that I'm a stay at home mom. SMART goals are a great way to stay on track as an adult, student, SAHM, working parent or even our kids. Follow along my 2018 journey for motivation, ideas and activities to make your year productive by using a life planner and accountability through detoxing the bad stuff and deepening the good stuff. #goals #resolutions #wellness #fitness

Holiday Craft Brunch

Holiday Craft Brunch

This post includes affiliate links. 

Can you believe that Christmas is ON MONDAY!?!?! I feel like this holiday season not only snuck up on me but flew by so fast. I’m just about done with my shopping but I’m still frantically trying to finish some last minute items, finalize menus and wrap. Ugh.

This year, I kicked off the season with a small holiday craft brunch with some other Momma’s to paint ceramics from Clay a Go Go with our kiddos. For the past 3 Christmas’s I’ve done ceramic mugs and ornaments with Big Nuggets feet and I love having my coffee out of these each morning.

holiday craft mugs

Holiday Craft

They are the perfect gift for Grandparents and I always keep one mug for myself. I posted some ideas here for unique handprint designs which some of us did on our ceramics this year.

We had the Clay a Go Go team come with an assortment of mugs, ornaments, plates and platters.

holiday craft drying

They were so helpful getting the little one’s hand and foot prints just perfect.

holiday craft giggles

holiday craft with baby toes

holiday craft experts

The Menu

Since this was a brunch, I did a simple menu of homemade granola which I adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s recipe and these cinnamon rolls from Two Peas and a Pod – no adaption needed because they are perfection.

holiday craft brunch granola

holiday craft brunch cinnamon roll

I coupled those with yogurt, fruit and Pirate Booty plus juice boxes for the kiddos and a small mimosa bar for the Mommas.

holiday craft food spread

Finished Product

We painted the ceramics at my house and then Devonee from Clay a Go Go took them back to be glazed and fired in her kiln.

Holiday craft ideas

Everyone was so pleased with how they all turned out.

Last Minute Gifts

You don’t need a friend with a kiln to do some handprint gifts for people on your list. If you are looking for a great last minute gift, other than this AMAZING candle from Target, that is not only quick and easy but memorable and adorable, you can do any of these designs on a clear ornament or a canvas. You don’t need a team of artists or helpers to make them happen…although I would recommend sticking to feet with the littles who can’t follow directions to not make a fist. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.

holiday craft brunch ideas

 

Make a Standout Cheese and Charcuterie Board

Make a Standout Cheese and Charcuterie Board

Last weekend we hosted our annual Christmas party. Each year our friends gather, bring unwrapped gifts for a local toy drive and even Santa pays a visit. It’s one of my favorite parties that we throw. It’s such a hectic time of year, it’s nice to get our close friends together for one night to celebrate.

It’s also the reason why I keep the party menu as simple as possible. This year we had Costco pizza’s (TIP: order them uncut and then you can cut them into small squares), a kale and feta salad, a couple other dips from Costco, fruit salad and a giant cheese and charcuterie board.

meat and cheese tray

I’ve done these boards for a few other parties in the last year and they are so easy to throw together but make a huge statement.

The Cheeses

I usually start with my cheese choices as the anchor. I do at least three and like to mix it up with one soft cheese and one white and one yellow.

white cheese

This time I did a smoked gouda, a giant manchego, a white cheddar and a brie. Since we were having 40 people over, I got them at Costco, but you could find good cheese in the deli department at any grocery store.

The Meats

I used a mixture of cured meats – salami and prosciutto. You could use any meat that would compliment the cheese you selected. The key to a good presentation is to pull the meats apart and “fluff” them when you set them down. It also makes it easier for guests to grab just one piece.

Folded meats

With a larger salami, I fold in half and then half again and lay it down with the edges up. This gives it depth and fills the space more. The prosciutto gets cut in half and then gathered up so that it’s easy to grab and will fit on a cracker easier.

Board Extras

For this year’s party, I put the crackers on the side of the board because I had other dips and spreads that they could be used for. Instead, I filled the rest of the space with two holiday cookie cutters with cashews and almonds.

Cookie Cutter

I also used a snowman ramekin with some pickled garlic. Since the cheeses where so large, I put the olives on the side as well.

tray with olives

To make the board a little festive, I added some grapes, sprigs of rosemary from my garden and some cranberries left over from the sangria I made for the party. The fig jam that is on the board is THE BEST fig jam on the market. It’s perfect with either a soft brie or a hard white cheddar.

Brie

I’ve done boards in the past that incorporated the crackers and the olives with the meat and cheese. I shared this board on Instagram (@nuggetlands) that I did for our Father’s Day BBQ.

Fathers Day Board

The fun about doing a cheese and charcuterie board is that it can fit any size party and any budget. You can customize it for a theme or just put out what you have in your fridge’s deli drawer. You could even do an all veggie board. The sky is the limit. One of my favorite Instagram follows is Weelicious and she does some amazing boards with her farmers market finds.

Create an amazing meat and cheese board
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Get creative, have fun putting it together and watch as your guests are wow’d by the presentation.

A meat and cheese board is a simple and easy appetizer that you could do for any party from a summer BBQ, wedding or holiday gathering. This DIY antipasto platter can be customized for entertaining a small or large crowd. #food #entertaining #party #appetizer #cheese #holidays #BBQ #Christmas #xmas

How to NOT raise a bully

How to NOT raise a bully

Have you seen the viral video of Keaton Jones? He is a boy in Tennessee who was being bullied and his mom recorded him sharing his pain and pleading with the bully kids to stop. It’s absolutely heart wrenching. It’s gotten a ton of media attention and a host of celebrities offering their support.

My heart broke for him knowing first hand how painful being bullied can be – 5th and 6th grade were a nightmare for me. Now looking at this as a parent, I found myself wondering where are the parents of these children who are being so cruel and hurtful?

I don’t want to sound cliche but it really does start at home. It’s up to us as parents to raise children who won’t stand for this type of cruelty. But how do we do that? I think there are a few things that we can instill in our kids before they even reach school to make sure that they aren’t inflicting this kind of pain on someone else.

Empathy

A bully isn’t the most empathetic kid on the playground. Having empathetic kids, that is, being able to recognize emotions in other people, is something that needs to be nurtured and taught. It’s not an instinct that we are all born with and just like a host of other things, needs to be modeled, encouraged and recognized.

There are a ton of resources on the internet to find ways to teach empathy but I’ve found that the easiest way is to make it a part of everyday teachable moments. Just like I would recognize and encourage good manners or being a good helper at home, I do the same for emotional control and sharing of emotions.

I wrote about having a conversation about diversity with our Big Nugget and what resonated easiest with her was that words can hurt. That she wouldn’t want to be singled out because of her blonde hair or brown eyes so she shouldn’t do that to someone else. It’s about accepting our differences.

We also take opportunities to teach compassion, this holiday season we do the Kindness Elves and they are a great tool to each empathy. They come during the month of December and share ideas on act of kindness they can do for others, instead of just reporting bad behavior to Santa.

Confidence

Instilling confidence in our children is another way to combat bulling. How do you make your child confident? It’s not about bloating their ego and constantly telling them how great they are. Kids learn through action and confidence is no different. I’ve noticed a huge jump in Big Nugget’s confidence by her involvement with swim class and dance. I think extra curricular activities help them learn, challenge them physically and develop an innate sense of confidence that will help long term.

Why is confidence important? Because kids who are confident don’t feel the need to bully and belittle other children. They also have the strength to stand up to the bully or not fear telling an adult about the behavior. They have the confidence to speak out against injustices. They have the confidence to be includers when that might not be the easiest choice.

Leading by Example

No parent is perfect but our children are sponges and reflect the behavior that they see. Do we as adults treat other adults the way we would want our kids to treat other kids? It’s not always easy and our kids are watching. Empathy and inclusion are things we need to practice ourselves.

I love this quote from Kidpower.org: “Upsetting experiences don’t have to lead to long-term damage if children are listened to respectfully, if the problem is resolved, and if their feelings are supported.” Kuddos to Keaton’s mom who had the courage to record her son in a moment of obvious pain. She knew that sharing his pain would lead to healing. People watched. People identified. Hopefully change is coming.

Bully Resources

Teaching Empathy: Evidence-based tips on fostering empathy in children

Face Bullying with Confidence: 8 Kidpower Skills We Can Use Right Away

Bullying Basics

How to NOT raise a bully.png

 

Kid Friendly Christmas Decorations

Kid Friendly Christmas Decorations

A couple of the product links below are affiliate links.

My Christmas decorations are a hodgepodge of pieces I’ve had or collected over the years with a few new items mixed in. I love having familiar pieces mixed with a few new elements each year. We kept the decorations somewhat simple this year considering that we have a 10 month old that is now walking and into EVERYTHING.

Trees and mirrored tray are both from Target.

Real life….those stocking were only up for the pictures since Little Nugget can reach and pull them down.

All of these pillows, with the exception of the cream/blue square one, are from Pier 1. I’m obsessed and they are currently 20%!

Usually I incorporation some poinsettia’s in our Christmas decorations but considering how poisonous they are, they have been relegated to the front porch this year.

Bronners

Every summer when we go back to Michigan to visit my family, we always head to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. It’s a place that I’ve grown up going to and the best Christmas store you’ve ever been to, I swear. There are more ornaments than you can dream of and we order our garland and stockings from there. I try to add a few ornaments each time we go to commemorate where we are at in our life. It’s a fun way to remember the trip. This year I added this ceramic tree to our collection, I think everyone had one of these growing up, if not at your house then at your grandparents.

While you are there, stop into Frankenmuth’s famous Zehnder’s restaurant for chicken dinner and pick up the seasoning, which is my secret ingredient for my family’s chicken soup.

The Tree

Our tree has always been a collection of ornaments that mean something or have a story behind them. It’s something that I always buy when we travel.

Last year I started to trace Big Nugget’s handprints on the tree skirt. I had to get Little Nugget’s hand print in play-doh and then trim that out to trace it. Hopefully next year will be easier but it’s such a fun way to see how they change year over year.

I got the burlap tree skirt from Target.

The puffy ornaments at the bottom of the tree are ones that my mom handmade when I was a baby. I kept all the soft and non-breakable ones towards the bottom so that the baby could explore without causing too much damage.

Play Room Decorations

The girls have their own small tree in the play room this year since we moved the big tree into the family room. Mostly so we could keep a closer eye on the baby around the tree but also so we could enjoy it where we spend most of our time. This tiny tree has all soft ornaments and they have been removed, chewed and put back on the tree countless times already.

Did anyone else grow up with Santa Bears? I have them from every year and love putting them out in the playroom during the holidays.

We put the tree in the family room because that’s where we spend the most time but the playful fun festiviness in the playroom are quickly making it my favorite room to hang out. Plus there is an amazing view out the front windows of our crazy beautiful winter sunsets.

Where is your favorite space this holiday season?

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The Kindness Elves

The Kindness Elves
EDIT: I love our Elves so much that I’ve become an affiliate and the links in this post have been updated to my affiliate links. 

The Kindness Elves are coming back to our house for a visit and I’ll be honest, I’m slightly anxious about it. I did it a little bit last year but honestly, it was completely half assed. Luckily, Big Nugget wasn’t really old enough to remember but this year, the pressure is on and I’m hoping I’m prepared.

Why Kindness Elves

I’ve seen all the Elf on the Shelf posts and articles and pictures and videos online. While I’m all for anything that adds to the magic of the season, there was a lot about it that made me feel uncomfortable.

Listen, if this works for you and your family then I’m all for it. For you. This is a no judgement zone, just sharing my feelings and what works for us.

The premise of behave or your won’t get any presents never sat well with me. Even with Santa. What do you do after the holidays then when they are expected to be rewarded for how they are supposed to behave? It just wouldn’t work for our daughter. Plus, the big brother aspect of the Elf super creeped me out too.

Then I found The Kindness Elves. They were created by a mom who had the same reservations about the Elf as I did but she added a genius spin to it. These elves come to visit not to watch and make sure you aren’t a horrible child but to help kids and their families spread kindness to others during the holiday season. It was a perfect way to still have an elf but keep the spirit of the season as the focus.

IMG_0518

My Plan

Last year we did a few kindness activities, we loved doing Kindness Bag and you can read about them here. We made cookies for my Dr’s office, I was in there weekly getting shots during my pregnancy, purged toys and donated them to our local women’s shelter and adopted a couple kids off our church’s angel tree. This year, I wanted to be a little more organized and luckily, The Kindness Elves had my back.

They have a darling book that explains the Elves with a great story and beautiful illustrations. They also have an accessory pack that includes preprinted notes with ideas on them, a tiny bundle of post cards, keepsake book to record all of your acts of kindness, stickers and a tiny jar of glitter for the Elves. I’m all about things that make our lives easier as parents and this saved me from so much stress. Plus it’s super adorable.

Accessory Pack
Photo courtesy of The Kindness Elves

Kindness Acts

Here is the rundown of kindness suggestions that I’m going to use this year. I chose ones that were age appropriate for my almost 4 year old and that fit in our life.

  • Write a letter to a relative who lives far away and mail it to them.
  • Make someone laugh today.
  • Choose at least 5 toys you no longer play with and donate them.
  • Wrap a new toy or book and donate it to the toy drive.
  • Draw a special picture and give it to a friend, relative or neighbor.
  • Look out for a lonely child at the playground and invite them to join your game.
  • Make a blessing bag for the homeless – we already got a head start on this one with our kindness bags, read about them here.
  • Plant some seeds to grow in the spring.
  • Hide a happy rock for someone to find.
  • Bring some cookies to the local fire or police station to say thank you for their hard work.
  • Donate some food to the local food bank.

Kindness bag assembly

The possibilities are really endless but I wanted to pick out a handful of tasks that seemed attainable and wasn’t over scheduling us in a month that is already packed. This project is supposed to create teaching moments for the kids, not overly stress out the parents. Then again, I guess that is what Christmas is all about when you are a parent right?

Make sure to follow me on Instagram, @nuggetlands, I’ll keep everyone updated on what our Kindness Elves are up to!