Monday, January 31, 2011

Bits and Pieces from Around the Web

First, I am so happy to announce that Darlene is back as a sponsor! Darlene is a personal friend of mine who is a scrapaholic (I say it with love! :) and she has made quite the business out of her hobby. She is your go-to girl for scrapbooking supplies. She is a Christian work-at-home-mom and I can personally vouch for her integrity. If you are interested in scrapbooking supplies, please visit her site, My Scrapbook Addiction.

My Scrapbook Addiction

Also, if you are interested, Darlene wanted me to pass the word on that all Cricut cartidges and scrapbook kits come with free shipping to USA locations at this time. Happy shopping!

Second, my monogram project was featured at Frugal with a Flourish. Thanks, Jess! I’m reallllly wishing that I’d taken that photo during the day instead of at night, but it’s too late for that now. :)

Third, this ADORABLE mug project was also featured at Frugal with a Flourish, via Design Mom. I absolutely must make these, as fast as possible. lol Aren’t they precious?!

Fourth, I posted this on my FB page and wanted to repost it here. I found this video from For the Mommas Facebook page and just couldn’t resist sharing it – trust me, you’ll laugh at how ridiculous it seems now. ;)

Lastly, I’ll be back later this week with a Valentine’s craft! Stay tuned! :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Week of Disappointments {With One Shiny Exception}

It’s just been such a blaaaaah week here.  The kind that potentially was going to be great, and turned out to be such a let-down. 

First, we finally got word from the bank about our house.  This should have been a good thing, because it’s only 40 days from the day we signed the contract, which is really fast for a short sale.  The bad news is that they refused to give us a scrap of money towards closing.  Since it’s a foreclosure and it needs a little work here and there (not to mention 3 appliances), that’s just not an option for us.  We need to move into that house with some money in the bank. 

Thankfully, our realtor was venting in the office and found out that the same bank had just given someone else’s client 3% back at closing. So, we resubmitted our offer last night, asking for 3% instead of 6% back.  I want that house *so* badly, but it really is gonna have to be God at this point.  This is pretty much our last-ditch effort. 

Second, I was all psyched up to have my interview this week (like I shared on Monday), but thanks to Snowmaggedon yet another snow storm, it got canceled.  Annnnnnd I was having a really good hair day, which is a rare occurrence around here thanks to my post-baby new 1-inch bangs in front.

Oh, and in case you think I’m kidding about the snow, allow me to show you the view from the front door:

jan 10 018 Can you see the neighbor’s mailbox?  Nope, me neither. 

Third, my car’s horn died, the oil needs to be changed, and two mysterious substances are leaking from the bottom.  Awesome. 

Fourth, I went to my ENT to have a tube put in my ear (last time I had it done, I was 4 and was put under), and what was supposed to be a pain-free, easy surgery ended up with 4 failed attempts (successful on the 5th) to place the tube in my ear, thanks to my “severely twisted canal.” Oh, and I apparently have a flap on my ear drum (?), which resulted in the intense pain I felt every time he inserted the instruments, which resulted in me bawling (I tried to hold it together, but I just couldn’t), which resulted in my doctor getting upset because I kept heaving sobs, which bumped his arm, which moved the microscope, which moved the tube, which moved the dangling ear drum….you get the picture.  All the while, the nurse is telling me “You’re doing great!!!!!! Just don’t move.” 

Not one of the finer moments of my adult life. 

In his defense, the doctor did apologize later for being so stern and for how terrible it went.  Which only made me start to cry more, in front of him.  I’m one of those people where if you get me crying even a little bit, it’s pretty much all gonna come out.  It was pretty spectacular, in case you were wondering.

Which leads me to the one lovely point of my terribly crappy week:  yesterday, I arrived home from the procedure, with big puffy eyes and a wicked sore ear, to find a box in the mailbox with my name on it. 

Aka, my last Christmas gift from Chris, so belated because I couldn’t make up my mind on which one I wanted. 

And this, my friends, is what was inside:

hugs and kisses

Um, seriously, I can’t stop thinking about this necklace.  I didn’t want to take if off last night and I couldn’t wait to put it on this morning.  It’s my new favorite thing I own.  I’m totally, utterly, in love with its adorableness.  And as a bonus, Simply Been, the company, is run by two Christian moms (love), in honor of one of the mom’s sons, Ben, who passed away.  I love supporting Christian mommies, and I love supporting the memory of a sweet little baby.  AND I LOVE THIS PIECE OF JEWELRY! 

jan 10 013{My attempts at a self-portrait of this really failed,
so this is all you’re getting, unfortunately! Also, my super-sensitive skin
is splotchy since I kept moving the necklace to get it straight. Lovely.}

So anyway, it’s finally Saturday.  Looking forward to church tomorrow and starting a new, fresh week. 

With my fingers crossed. ;)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Miscellany Monday {10}

{1}  Chris and I had an absolutely free date night on Saturday.  I am a total dork but can I just tell you how excited I was about that?  My DH loves sugary cereals (yuck), so a while ago I bought a bunch of cereals on sale that were offering free movie codes on the inside.  We redeemed those, we brought homemade popcorn to the theater and shoved in it my suitcase purse, and then we went to Starbucks after the movie, using my gift card from redeeming my Pampers points.  So yes, totally dorky and frugal but also really satisfying to know we didn't spend a dime to have a night out!  haha

{2} Speaking of the movies, we saw The King’s Speech.  Um, it was ridiculously fabulous.  I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical about going to see a movie about a man with a stuttering problem, but I watched the preview with Chris and we thought, “What the heck, we’re not paying.”  lol  Seriously guys, except for two scenes with a *ton* of swearing right in a row {i.e., don’t take your kindergartner}, it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a really long time.  I highly recommend it!


{3} Chris and I both pray with Luke together before bed, and then we alternate actually putting him to bed.  Whoever puts him to bed reads one or two stories to get him in “the zone.”  Let’s just say that it’s literally impossible for me to get through the book Guess How Much I Love You without crying.  Seriously, literally impossible.  I try so hard, but by the time I get to that last page and it says, “I love you to the moon and back,” I tear up every time.  Ahhhhhh!  lol


{4} Recently I posted how my word for the year is “diligent.”  One area I’ve been trying to also relate that to is my free time (wow, bad grammar).  I absolutely love to read and can plow through books pretty quickly.  I started thinking about how a lot of the books I was reading were just “fluff” and weren’t helping me become a better wife, Christian, mother, or person in general.  So I've begun seeking out books that will help me to meet those guidelines (okay not exactly diligent – more productive - but I think you get the direction I’m going here). 

The Reluctant Entertainer: Every Woman's Guide to Simple and Gracious Hospitality [Book]

I recently ordered the book The Reluctant Entertainer (nearly free thanks to Swagbucks!) and I highly recommend it.  I tried to pace myself while reading it because I wanted it to last (wow, again with the dorkiness! haha) but I couldn’t stretch it out any longer than 3 days.  I have followed Sandy Coughlin’s blog for years now, and I was so excited when I found out she was writing a book.  It is chock-full of great inspiration and thought-provoking statements.  It’s also got beautiful photos and delicious recipes.  If you have any thought-provoking books that you’ve read lately, I’d love recommendations!

{5} I have a job interview on Wednesday (ahhhhh!).  It’s for a Christian school, teaching music one day a week.  It’s totally perfect sounding, and exactly what I’ve been looking for.  This is all in God’s hands, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a little nervous about it.  So I’d appreciate your prayers at 1:00 on Wednesday afternoon if you, you know, randomly happened to think of me. :) 

2008 and 2009 605   My fall bulletin board at my last job, before I had Luke. 
The joys of teaching elementary students! :)

Happy Monday! :)

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

P.S. Thanks for all the feedback on my last post – it was great to read all of your responses!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thoughts on Being a “Yes” Mom

Two summers ago, right after Luke was born, I read a great post on the blog Beauty and Bedlam.  (Click here and here for two more related posts by Jen.)  It was about the challenge of being a “yes” mom in a culture that already says “yes” to anything and everything your kids want. 

I try so hard to be a “yes” mom, and I think about that post almost daily. 

The truth of the matter is that I feel like a broken record, stuck on “no” for most of my day.  I realize that part of that is because I have a growing toddler, but I hate it all the same.  Seriously, all day long….”No Luke, you can’t touch that”…“Luke please don't throw your spoon/cup/rice/bib/pb&j on the ground”…“Luke please don’t go down the stairs without Mommy”…“Luke please don’t unplug Mommy’s lamp” “Luke please don’t try to grab your poopy diaper when I’m changing you”….on and on and on blah blah blah blah blah….

cookies january 015

So I try to intentionally look for the ways in which I can say “yes.”  For instance, Luke LOVES pens.  Loves, loves, loves them.  Toddlers aren’t “supposed” to play with pens, but they bring him so much joy (oh, I just laughed out loud saying that, but it’s true).  So instead of saying “no” to all pens, always, I try to let him play with them every so often.  But it takes work.  I have to set out a mat so he doesn’t destroy anything, and I have to get the paper and I have to sit with him the whole time so his hands don’t stray and ruin some fabric.  It’s not exactly my idea of a good time, but he loves it.

And sometimes, already, I see the rewards of being a “yes” mom.  Like the other day when I made graham crackers and Luke kept crying to be held and see what I was doing.  So I got him a chair and put out some cookie dough and let him mash it and he pretended to use the measuring cups and spoon (I know about 80 million other moms do this every day; it was just one of the first times I’d ever done it with Luke).  He was thrilled! And, as a perk, it actually let me get the graham crackers done.  ;)

cookies january 021

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m just starting the journey of how to find the balance between saying “yes” and “no” as a parent.  I knew too many parents growing up (mine included, sometimes), who said “no” simply because they might have felt that they were supposed to, or out of fear.  (This is not at all meant to criticize my parents; just to compare their parenting style.  I love my parents, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying that they were extremely strict, and I’m planning on being a little more lenient with my kids.) 

cookies january 007   cookies january 008
We’re still working on eating yogurt well with the spoon – hence the smock. :)

I want to give my kids the richest life possible – full of as many healthy, fun, educational, and enriching experiences as I can.  I want them to have lots of memories where they think, “Wow, now that was really awesome.” 

There will be *plenty* of times I will say no – that’s a given.  I’m not talking about being a lax parent.  Chris and I are strong Christians, and we believe in discipline, plenty of boundaries, and being consistent.  I learned from my year of subbing and two years of teaching that consistency and following through with your consequences are the only ways to keep a classroom going (and, likewise, your parenting).  My kids always knew that I followed through, and my classrooms were always complimented on their behavior by outsiders.  I say that not to brag, only to say that I’m thankful I learned that lesson early on. 

december 2010 part one 075Christmas Eve – he is obsessed with that tool-belt! 

The question I keep trying to ask myself is,

Why am I saying ‘no’ right now?” 

Is it because it’s inconvenient or because it’s something kids aren’t “supposed” to do?  Or is it something more valid, like telling Luke not to swish his hands in the toilet bowl (oh yes, welcome to my life! ;) because it’s extremely unsanitary and culturally unacceptable (like, I’m pretty sure in every culture). 

{We now close the toilet lid and shut the door for good measure. :)}

I want to be the spontaneous mom who tells her kids to get in the car at 8:00 one night in their pj’s because we’re going to get ice cream (and *gasp* says they don’t have to brush their teeth afterwards).  Or the mom who lets her kids eat breakfast in bed one Saturday, just because.  Bottom line is that I’m trying to make sure my reason for “no” is just as valid as my reason for “yes".”  It takes a lot of thinking.

And my baby’s only 18 months old.  Oh boy. :)



I’d *love* to hear your thoughts on this subject, if you feel like chiming in! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Homemade Graham Crackers/Cookies

I have no idea what to actually call these, since they’re not technically a cookie or a cracker.  (Although when I give them to Luke, I tell him it’s a cookie – oh, my poor kid. ;)

Whatever you decide to call them, hopefully they will please the toddler, grown man, or hungry family members who eat the toddler’s treats graham-cracker lover in your life.  They are simple, yet sweet and fluffy.  I can’t even fathom how amazing they would be made into smores this summer!  Mmmmmmm. 

cookies january 016 Me and my little helper.  Seriously, don’t even ask about
what’s going on with my hair – I have no idea! lol

I have altered the original recipe quite a bit, so I’ll give you the first way I tried it and then the second way.  Personally, I liked the second way better, but the family voted the first way their favorite (figures!).  So you can decide how healthy you’d like to go with these. :)  Unless you roll them out *really, really thin*, they will come out like a cookie.  Which is fine with me, because it means less crumbs to pick up after my toddler.  You just decide how much you want them to be cooked.  Also, all the pictures are taken from the second version, just so you know.

Graham Crackers, take one:
{Adapted from Carol Emley’s recipe on}

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C milk

{cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on top}

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Cover and chill dough until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into rectangles.

cookies january 012
I like to trim the edges first and then cut my cookies out
(use a pizza cutter; it’s so much easier!).

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.  Place 1/2 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp. Edges will be golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to cool on wire racks.


Graham Crackers, take two:

1/2 C butter
between 1/2 and 3/4 cup loose brown sugar
(to cut down a tiny bit on the sugar)
1 tsp vanilla

2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C unbleached white flour
1/2 C ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 C milk

{sugar for sprinkling on top}

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Cover and chill dough until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into rectangles. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  Place 1/2 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

cookies january 017
Here they are, pre-cooked. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp. Edges will be golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to cool on wire racks.

cookies january 024

They’re not going to win any bake sale awards, but they taste good! :)

Enjoy!  They really are surprisingly good!  :)
To find more whole-foods recipes and healthy substitutions, please click here. 

Linked to these food parties:

Tasty Tuesday @ Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesdays at the Table @ All the Small Stuff
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed With Grace

Friday, January 14, 2011

Deals and Steals this Weekend!

Hey guys, I thought I would alert my fellow deal-lovers to some good ones I found this weekend:

Gap Outlet:

Currently offering 30% off all clearance items – I was there the other day and got some GREAT deals; I’m actually considering going back this weekend to stock up on clothes for Luke for the summer!  For instance, I got this precious lunchbox for Luke for $.69!  SIXTY-NINE CENTS, PEOPLE!

more january 2010 007     more january 2010 008

I got some super-cute sweaters, and a long-sleeve tee that came out to $2.99.  That’s a definite stock-up price for me!

J.Crew Outlet:

J.Crew outlet is also offering an additional 30% off clearance items.  J. Crew is obviously pricy, but I have found some fabulous deals over the years by shopping the clearance section at the outlet stores.  Their clothes, like Gap items, are timeless and classic and so well-made that they last me for years.

Factory enamel critter charm necklace

This adorable elephant necklace was only $9.97 (plus 30% off!!) in the store the other day, and I’ve been thinking about it all week.  Elephants are my favorite animal (is it okay to be in my twenties and still say that?!  lol) and I think I’m gonna have to go back and get it. ;)

Old Navy {regular stores}:

My mom got an e-mail from them stating that currently all clearance items are an additional 40% over the weekend  – I’m thinking about heading out tonight to check out the deals but it’s cold out so we’ll see what part of me wins out in the end. ;)

Gap {regular stores}:

FOR A LIMITED TIME 40% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE* IN STORES ONLY. VALID JANUARY 14-15. Does not include jeans or Junk Food(TM) Ts. To redeem in stores, present this email to cashier. CASHIER, ENTER CODE MLK40. FIND A STORE. RESTRICTIONS APPLY.

Here is a 40% off printable coupon (good through tomorrow only) off your entire in-store purchase.  I usually don’t stop at the regular Gap b/c it’s too pricy, but something might catch your eye! 


Currently 75% off a ton of toys in my local store.  I picked up a clearance V-tech toy for a friend’s son (February birthday), and some of those interlocking floor mat squares for Luke for only $3.75 (I couldn’t find a picture online, but they’re the soft kind you see in a playroom). 

You could totally stock up on Christmas for next year!  Unfortunately, my nieces and nephews pretty much already had every toy that I saw.  lol


Hopefully this will help some of you out!  Happy shopping! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Deliciously Easy Cinnamon Whole-Wheat Pancakes

You guys, these pancakes are FAB. You have got to try them. I dare you to eat them and not moan a little! ;) haha They are warm, fluffy, moist, good-smelling….ahhhh. :)

Best of all, they are totally clean! (For more clean recipes and tips, click here.) Um, have we ever talked about Bisquick?

I know some of you grew up on it and I know it is convenient but seriously, it is so bad for you! (That goes for any kind of pre-made pancake mixes – store-brand or not.) I’m not judging – I just genuinely want you to eat healthier food! For years I used the Aldi’s-brand pancake mix, because, let’s face it, it’s super easy and was a quick way to satisfy my occasional hunger for pancakes. But I haven’t bought pre-made mix in years and don’t ever plan to again!

I totally encourage you to try this pancake recipe this week – CT is supposed to get 18 inches of snow Tuesday-Wednesday so I’ll most likely be making them Wednesday morning. I know most of you are also getting snow this week, so it’s a perfect week to try them!

Please DON’T get freaked about about the word buttermilk – I have made these several times with a sour milk substitute and they come out perfectly fine! (Add 1 T white vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 C of milk, and let it sit for 5 minutes for adding to your recipe.)

Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Buttermilk Pancakes
(Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens; pages 128-129
in the pink cookbook if you have it, too)

1 C whole wheat flour
1 T brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (my own addition)

1 beaten egg* (or 1 T ground flaxseed and 3 T water – my own addition)
1 C buttermilk or sour milk (see above)
2 T cooking oil

Combine dry ingredients. Make a well in center of flour mixture and set aside. Combine wet ingredients, adding all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).

Pour about 1/4 C batter at a time onto a heated, lightly greased skillet to make the pancakes. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side. Makes about 10 or 11.

january 2010 031

Serve with REAL maple syrup and REAL butter! Just say no to Aunt Jemima’s and Country Crock! lol (Maple syrup is very high in sugar, though, so I wouldn’t recommend making this every morning. Although you might want to……)


*I sub flaxseed a lot in baked goods, NOT because eggs are bad for you, but because it’s an easy way to get extra fiber and some omega-3s. Plus, I like to use flaxseed when I make pancakes for Luke, in case the edges don’t get completely and utterly dry – it just makes me feel safer.

P.S. If you love the convenience of a ready-made mix, I encourage you to look into this Homemade Bisquick Mix at A Heart for Home. I’ve never tried it, but I printed it a while ago and I’m saving it for when I have a bunch of kids who eat the pancakes faster than I can put them on the skillet. :)

Linked to these foodie parties:

Tasty Tuesday @ Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesdays at the Table @ All the Small Stuff
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed With Grace

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recent Goodwill Finds

Our local Goodwill has a 50% sale (we went on Black Friday and found some great deals, too) the day of/after big holidays.  Here’s what I was able to score for about $25 the day after Christmas:

Watercolor boat painting, $2.50 (needs a new mat (matte?) but I love collecting pictures of boats and the ocean, especially since we’re back in CT; I’d love to have a whole gallery wall of them someday!)

december 2010 part one 102

“True People” jeans (my sister found these for me, and apparently they are expensive – who knew?), $3; “Elle” long-sleeved shirt (Kohl’s) for $2.

december 2010 part one 111 

Great class jars for $1 each – how could I pass them up? :)

december 2010 part one 104 

4 books; I’d been wanting to read the Dr. Dobson book for a while so Chris and I are trying to stay awake enough to read it in bed together.  So far we’ve made it through the first chapter. (lol) It was 99 cents, I believe.

I love art history (my knowledge is definitely very limited though), so I couldn’t pass up this book for Luke for 50 cents.

december 2010 part one 105 

The green book in the back is actually a giant book of French impressionistic paintings; it was 5 bucks but it is huge and great for framing!

december 2010 part one 106 

I absolutely love elephants, and this vintage book (although a little stained!) was only a quarter!  These are the kind of pictures I’m looking to frame for when we do Luke’s room again.

december 2010 part one 107

I love anything pink, which also means I love decorating for Valentine’s Day.  I think these 3 plates total were $1.50.  Conversation heart plates, people!!!! I die.

 december 2010 part one 108

Love this lantern (candle goes inside), and cute plates for the Superbowl!  Also $1.50 total. 

 december 2010 part one 109

Last but not least, a Little People truck (50 cents, maybe? can’t remember) and a vacuum (I never spell that word right the first try) sealer (unopened, with bags inside) for $5 – I’ve been looking for one of these for next summer’s produce!  Yay!  The same one at right now is $40. 

 december 2010 part one 110

There’s just nothing like getting great things for your home and yourself for so cheap!  Love love love it! :)

Linked to:

Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Little Boy’s Room Inspiration

I’ve been thinking a lot about Luke’s next bedroom when we move.  When we moved away from our PA house, he was just over 13 months old – and the soft blues and greens and baby jungle animals of his nursery was still suitable.  However, he’s turning 18 months in just a few short days, and since we’ll be moving sometime in March (God willing), I’ve been thinking about how I’ll decorate a room for my 20-month old that will suit him now and for the preschool years. 

I was browsing over at Odeedoh and found these excellent inspiration pictures:




1 & 2 – are you not loving the red-painted spindle bed??


How precious is this birdie counting poster?! I wish I knew where the owner purchased it.


I like the masculinity and grounding that the plaid throw blanket on the rocking chair adds to the otherwise youthful room:



Again, I love this print.  I also love how this nursery subtly adds jungle animals in not such a baby way. 


Also, how precious is this quilt?! I looooove elephants. (Same room)



Moving on to a new room, I’m loving the name spelled out with alphabet blocks:


As well as the vintage framed prints mixed with the typography letters:



Carpet squares are so clever in this boy’s room:


Not one of my favorite rooms per se, but I do like the mix of green, orange, and gray as well as the high chair rail to display objects well out of reach:


How precious is this itty-bitty workstation?  And the rotary phone?! 


These pictures have definitely gotten my creative juices flowing!  If any of you have posted pictures of your little boy’s rooms (or have inspiration photos from somewhere on the web), would you share them with me?  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2 New {To Me} Things and 1 Thing to Make You LOL :)

Happy New Year, everyone!  We had an awesome New Year’s Eve with two of our dearest friends.  It involved Ben and Jerry’s ice cream before dinner (gotta love going out with a pregnant woman! :), Red Lobster, bowling, and sitting down and watching New Kids on the Block do a terrible performance on tv. ;) 

I am super pumped about this new year ahead!  Rather than make specific goals or resolutions this year, I’m just doing two new things (for now). 


The first thing is that I’ve chosen a word for the year (as opposed to big goals or specific resolutions), as inspired by my friend Kathy.  My word is “diligent.”  I don’t know about you all, but the older I get, the more I’m becoming one of those people who walks into a room to do one task and 40 minutes later, I’m totally distracted and forget what I was originally there for.  And don’t even get me started on Facebook! Having this word in my head has already helped me immensely in the last few days to be much more productive and stay on task. 

I also chose this word because I want to be more diligent in praying for others.  One of my goals for 2010 was to be more focused during prayer, and try to keep my mind from wandering so much.  I definitely improved over the year (with God’s help), but I still lack discipline in praying for others, so I want to be diligent in that respect. 

I’ve been thinking about the Proverbs 31 woman, and especially verse 27:

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” 

I don’t know about you all, but I can easily waste several HOURS of idle time reading blogs and going on Facebook.  I am certainly not quitting either of those things, but I am purposing to make them less a part of my day. 

The second thing I started this year is a Gratitude Journal.  I got the idea from Sherry from Young House Love (sorry, I don’t remember which post), and thought it was great.  I bought a journal at Target, and each day I have been (and will be) writing just one or two things – big or small – that I’m grateful for each day.  I’m looking forward to reading it in years to come and seeing the things God has done for us. 

Do any of you do anything like what I shared above?  Or do you start the new year in a different way?  I’d love more ideas if you’d like to share!

Lastly, I wanted to leave you with a hilarious video that Layla from The Lettered Cottage posted yesterday.   If you’re anything like my husband, my brother, or me, it will make you laugh out loud – enjoy! :)