Welcome to 2018

Well hello there!  Long time, no see!  I apologize for my extended absence at the end of last year.  I was frozen.  I don’t mean I had writer’s block or brain freeze – I was literally FROZEN.  It was super cold here in Central Illinois as 2017 went out with a bang of frozen pipes and broken tree limbs (thankfully we did not suffer from the frozen pipes thing – but our trees look a little worse for wear).

Other than the frozen Tundra thing, our holiday was very nice and being winter shut ins gave us lots of time to play games – which is one of my all time favorite things to do with family.

But now we have entered a new year, and it’s time to get down to the serious business of mapping out what this year is going to be.  Here are a few things that I’m excited about in the new year:

1. Getting back on track with the whole budget thing…

We are big Dave Ramsey fans, but since the move we have not been as diligent as we have been in the past with the whole budgeting thing.  There really is nothing that causes me more frustration than knowing the right thing to do and choosing to do something else and then being surprised when the wrong thing doesn’t work out like the right thing.  (Hello run on sentence!)  So I ripped the band aid off at the beginning of January and mapped out our budget for the next 5 months.  (We will re-address it each month as we move forward, but to have a plan in place gives my mind and soul a sense of peace and I’m all for that!)

I created our budgeting form based on our personal expenses and priorities – I covered up the amounts that are auto filled each month.

2. All things organization….

I love a good planner – an actual write things out planner.  This year I found one that has a section that I chose to use to keep track of our weekly menus.  I am hoping that it will help me steer us clear of a food rut.  January has been a bit crazy with the end of Christmas break, a week long trip to Florida and what looks to be a crazy schedule, but I do try to cook 5 out of 7 days each week and I am hopeful keeping a record of what we’ve eaten in the past will be a helpful addition to my planning.  Also, I am keeping a notebook just for my grocery lists.  In the past I would write out my list and menu each week, but discard after shopping/cooking.  I’m keeping this notebook with what I spent each week written in after the shopping trip – I am thinking this will be a big help when budgeting for groceries each month. A little OCD, I know, but I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes – I’ll let you know.

shopping notebook

Pro tip – do your lists in pencil – easier to read through the crossed out items

3. Fat Little Birds….

I am OBSESSED with fat little birds.  They make me smile.  Every time I see something with fat little birds – I feel the need to buy it.  Below are just a few examples…

fat little birds

And here is how I’ve used them…

Oh the cuteness!  I am in serious trouble – Terry may do an intervention if I buy anymore – BUT it might be worth it.

4. Books….

I set and accomplished a goal last year to read 30 books.  I was pretty excited to have actually completed a resolution, and so I decided to up the ante this year and shoot for 40.  This means I need to average about 4 books a month – or if you are doing the math at home – 1 book a week!  This is a tall order, but I’m hopeful that by putting this personal challenge out into the word, I will be motivated to keep on keeping on.  I’ve already read 2 books this year and am about finished with my 3rd, so I’m a bit behind, but I have faith I can stay on track.

I use the Goodreads app to track my reading – it is great if you haven’t checked it out.  You can set up your own personal reading challenge, see what your other friends on social media are reading, keep track of what you’ve read, liked, hated, etc.  It is definitely worth the download if you are looking for a way to track your books.

Several people have asked me for book recommendations recently – so here is a list of 5 books I really liked last year:

  1. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (Fiction)
  2. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (Non-Fiction)
  3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (Fiction)
  4. Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (Fiction)
  5. The Dry by Jane Harper (Fiction)

Two Bonus Non-Fiction – I was on the launch teams for both of these

Come and Eat: A Celebration of Love and Grace Around the Everyday Table by Bri McKoy

Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces that Make Up a Life by Melanie Shankle

AND – two books I hated last year and would not recommend AT ALL

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe (Non-Fiction – I guess)

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison (Fiction)

Well that is all for today! Happy New Year! See ya soon!





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Mommy, Historian, Wannabe Writer.

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