Blog Archive

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Keep Your New Year's Goals on Track!

I have been talking a lot about goals this month.  I realize that in order to live my best life, I need to constantly be re-evaluating goals and the small steps in order to accomplish those goals.  Last week I talked a bit about how I have a lot of paper in my house, and how it is ok to have that paper.  But, there are some areas where I don’t want to have the paper.  And that is where my iPhone comes in handy!

I love to have different apps available to keep me on track. 

Families already have technology front and center in their lives why not use it to encourage growth in the areas that you most want to improve on?

In fact, recent survey findings by Prosper Mobile Insights indicate more than one in four US smartphone or tablet owners plan to use their smart mobile device to help keep them on track with their resolutions.

Some great apps for the coming year are:

The Runtastic Six Pack which is great for those looking to lose weight or get in shape.  It allows users to work out at home by creating custom workouts with a virtual personal trainer.  It can then be paired with UP by Jawbone which is a fitness wristband that measures what you eat and the different activities you do throughout the day.

Getting organized is one of my big goals for the year, and a great app to help me in that is Any.DoIt will enhance the typical to-do list by setting reminders, categorizing and setting the importance of different tasks.  Definitely something that will help with some of the more long term to-do lists I have going through my mind.

Another goal that a lot of people (me included) have is to get on track with better money management.  The app Check is great for linking up bills, bank accounts and credit cards.  It will send users a notification when bills are coming due and lets you also set up automatic payments.

With US Cellular’s 4G LTE network, which has speeds up to 10x faster than 3G, I am able to stay on track with my goals wherever I am. 

The New Year is a great time to set new goals, but don’t let it be the only time you visit that list!  Keep checking your goal list and make note of the small steps you are making every day to accomplish them. 

Are there some new apps you are using this year to accomplish your goals?  I would love to hear about them!

This post is sponsored by US Cellular.  I am a member of the US Cellular Blogger Brigade and was compensated for this post.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

knitting and reading

Yesterday was quite the snow storm!  I know I live in New England and should be used to it, but anytime we get over 20 inches in one storm I feel I am entitled to say "wow, that is a lot of snow!"

You would think with a day to be hunkered down inside I would have done more you wouldn't, you know me too well!  

School was going on most of the day yesterday, is it bad that I didn't give the kids a "snow day" even though the rest of the state was shut down?

I was able to finish one of Emma's wristlets.  I don't know if I can call it a wristlet though, maybe I should call it an arm warmer.  You can't really tell in the picture, but I used a button hole for her thumb.  It is what I typically do when I make these wristlet/arm warmer type things.  It seems easier to me, maybe it isn't.  

I used this tutorial  on youtube when I first learned how to knit a button hole.  Depending on the size of the thumb I increase how many stitches the button hole is.

As far as reading goes, I realized I have too many good books on my to-read shelf right now.  I have been looking at the books that came in the mail for over a week, but I have been trying to finish up some other ones first.  Yesterday I said screw it, and started a new one :-)

I just started Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker.  I have read reviews that say this book totally wrecks your life (in a good way!), so I am a little nervous about getting into it, but definitely excited too.

I have also been spending a lot of time working on the Upstream e-course that Tsh from the art of simple recently released.  It is incredibly thought provoking, and takes an enormous amount of introspection.  I wrote a little more about that here if you want to read more about the course and my journey on it.

Jack has asked me to knit him a new cowl, because the one that I knit him a couple years ago is too I will be looking for some new yarn this weekend to start on that - bummer, I will have to go to the yarn store!  :-)

What are you working on this week?  

Linking up with Nicole and Ginny!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Paddling Upstream

It seems like everyone wants to go in a different direction these days.  We are all trying to make changes to our lives.  Everyone wants a fresh start.  But, it seems to go beyond that.

We want to make huge shifts in our culture as a whole.

What that means is different for everyone.  We want to be better stewards of God’s creation, realizing that our resources are finite and we want to live simply so others can simply live.  We want to acquire less stuff so that we can have more space in our minds and our lives to do what is important to us, whether it be spending more time with our families or doing mission work or traveling.  We see the drain that technology can have on us, while it puts the entire world at our fingertips, it can also suck all of the life from that world.

How do we figure out what our version of paddling upstream is? An incredible amount of self-reflection and introspection is how.

I recently signed up for a new e-course by Tsh from The Art of Simple, Upstream, which deals with all of this.  I am four sessions into the course, and it has been incredibly informative so far.  Trying to figure out who you are as a person, knowing yourself, and figuring out your purpose – it is all pretty heavy stuff, but so enlightening as to why I am the way that I am.

My word of the year is intentional and I think this course is setting me on the right track. 

It seems like such a big thing, figuring out your life’s purpose, writing a purpose statement for you and your family, but it also is necessary.  How do you move in the right direction if you aren’t sure of the direction you should go?

Maybe I am the only one who struggles with priorities, making sure I am doing what is important to me and my family, so if that is the case, you can enjoy my personal journey!

One thing that I have been working on in this course is my personality type.  Have you taken a Myers-Briggs test before? 

Last year was the first time I had taken a personality test.  In fact I took a bunch of different versions.  I always thought of a personality test as something that wasn’t entirely accurate for me.  A lot of the questions I felt I could go either way.  Then I realized I wasn’t answering the questions honestly.  Sure, they could go either way, because there were ideals that I was thinking about while answering the questions. 

Once I stopped thinking about how I wanted to act in a situation, and instead answered how I truly do act, it was easier to pinpoint who I am.  

Hi, I’m Heather, and I am an INFJ.

What does that mean, exactly?  Well if you really want to know you can read about my personality type here

As I read through my personality type, I was able to nod my head at so much of the description, realizing why I enter into different situations the way that I do.

Once I was able to wrap my head around this incredibly accurate description of myself, I was able to project it outward towards my goals, what I want to do, the ways that I want to live, and what is important to me.

I want to have less “stuff.”  It takes up mental energy that I do not currently have (especially with three littles to take care of!).  I know that being a good steward of God’s creation, and what He has given to me and my family is important.  I want to give my family healthy food that hasn’t been tainted with GMO’s or large amounts of pesticides.  Realizing how lucky we are to have fresh, clean drinking water by just turning on the faucet has made me think about all of those who do not have that.  I want to conserve the water that we do have, not wanting to be wasteful of something that is so precious to so many.

I am still evaluating what my life’s purpose is, and it is a lot to think about, but it is encouraging to know that I am not alone in this desire.  There is an amazing group already formed on Facebook of others who are taking this e-course.  If you are interested in working through who you are and moving towards your goals this year, I would recommend checking out this e-course.

Have you thought about what your life’s purpose is?  Do you know your personality type?  I would love to hear it in the comments!

I'm not making any sort of commission off of this course, I just think it is that good! 

linking up at One Project at  a Time and Mommy Club

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Quotes

You can't change what's going on around you until you start changing what's going on within you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

knitting and reading

Is it already Wednesday?!  Yes, yes it is.  And because that question was the first thing that I wrote in this post, I am sure you know what is coming next - very little progress has been made on my knitting!

I think that one of these days I am going to have to take a knitting retreat so that I can knit for more than 5 minutes at a time.  

Don't get me wrong, I am savoring every minute with my babes, but I would love to complete a project in the season it is needed!

I am still working on wristlets, but they are coming along nicely.  They need to be a bit longer before I do the button hole for the thumb.

Does anyone else use a button hole for a thumb on wristlets?  I'm not sure where I saw that originally, but it is incredibly easy to work right into any pattern, so I continue to use it.

As far as reading goes, I am still reading the books I was reading last week.  I am slowly making my way through The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness.  I am about 65% of the way through, and it is getting to the end, so it is a lot more fast paced.  I think that I may spend some time today trying to finish it up while nursing.

Last week I also posted my partial book list for 2015.  I would love for you to leave comments on that post for additional book recommendations!  I seem to be stuck with a lot of non-fiction to read.  I love non-fiction, but sometimes I need some light fiction to read quickly as well!

What are you working on this week?  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Is it all really Paper Clutter?

I will be the first to admit that we have a paper problem in our home.  It is everywhere!  Between bills that need to be filed, construction paper from the kids, and all the lists that I make daily, we have a lot of it.

I am always the first to say that I hate paper!  However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I actually love paper.

I looked at my "command central" and realized that it is all paper.  I do often have my computer here as well, but for the most part, paper.

Try as I may, I cannot seem to move to digital for the following pieces of my life: calendars, journals, lists - although I do have a great fondness for Evernote and use it regularly.

I have two calendars, an Erin Condren Life Planner for my personal calendar, and then another calendar for everything blog related.  I have numerous journals, the stack in the front are new ones that I just ordered.  I have my home management binder, and then tons of 5 cent notebooks that I purchase on sale at the beginning of the school year every year.

The paper clutter that I don't like, is the numerous pieces of paper the kids use in their crafts, the bills that come in - do I really need to keep them all?  All of the junk mail that doesn't quite make it to the trash is also included in that list.

I have a tip for keeping the paper clutter under control - use baskets!

I have a basket that the kids put their scrap paper in, since this is the biggest culprits of paper clutter.  My children love to cut out pictures, shapes or whatever from many pieces of construction paper, and then 75% of it is discarded to the craft table, never to be used again.  But, having a basket where they can place this paper allows them to have a source of paper when they need scrap paper, or small pieces for a project.

As far as bill clutter goes, the key to this is online bills.  Almost all of my bills I receive online now.  A few local bills such as water and sewer and oil still have paper bills that I need to deal with, and those go in a file folder in my filing cabinet.

Do you have a problem with paper clutter?  Do you secretly love paper in your home?  Have you moved to a completely digital system for organization?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Quotes

First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality.  The beginning, as you would observe, is in your imagination.
~Napoleon Hill