Its that time of year again where we begin to review the year and evaluate how we’ve done. We begin to make plans and resolutions for the next year. I doubt very seriously I actually wrote down any resolutions last year. There are always good intentions, but my excuse for not keeping resolutions is I always get so busy with tax season that I can’t focus on adding anything new into my life during the spring. I do realize that is just an excuse. So looking back could be a little depressing from that standpoint, but I did manage to make a few strides in the “make healthier choices” department this year and a few others. Here are some things I have managed to accomplish this year.
1) I got my wall decor hung in the living room and master bath after having received a paint makeover due to a flood in the house in 2009. I felt the new paint deserved new decor so I replaced my 15+ year old wall decor with these nature photos my dad and my friend Junanne took. I had considered buying pictures on eBay but then remembered saw some of Junanne’s photos on Facebook and decided to ask her and my dad if I could borrow some of their work. I love seeing their work hanging on my wall. I bought all the frames at the 60% off sales in December 2009. Got the photos developed in February and March and finally hung the frames in May. The total makeover will take some time as new furniture isn’t in the budget yet.
We also redecorated KC’s room into a theater/Hollywood theme. Well, my sister, KW, and BC did most of the painting, although I prepped everything. We learned a lot about the quality of paint. When painting in red get the best!!!!
2) I began making all our bread from scratch. I wanted to begin using less processed foods and since we eat a lot of bread I thought this was where I would start. Healthy ingredients, whole grains, preservative free. I will eventually do individual posts on these accomplishments and their own trial and errors, but a few that I make regularly are:
English MuffinsRecipe from The Fresh Loaf. Little KC eats one of these every morning for breakfast.
Hamburger BunsRecipe from Mary at Blisstree.com. We make KC’s lunch from these daily, but my favorite use is for a black bean burger. This uses a lot of butter so I think I’ll try a few others in the future.
Loaf bread for all occasions. This is the Oatmeal, Flax, Walnut from Matt at Kath Eats Real Food. I leave out the walnuts since I make this for everyday use. BC takes 2 sandwiches a day for his lunch. I like this recipe for Cracked Wheat from Cathy at Bright Bakes also but I don’t have any pics of it. None of mine have looked as perfect as Cathy’s but they have tasted great. I’ve tried several of her recipes including the clam chowder and the Thanksgiving table rolls. I haven’t been disappointed yet.
Another favorite Gruyere-stuffed bread from King Arthur Flour. I made 2 double recipes of this for 20 gifts for teachers and BC’s coworkers. I’ll be making at least a double batch again next week for more gifts. This is great with soup and chili.
3) I began making my own yogurt. Love it. Easy, Easy. I did a lot of reading on the making of yogurt and have looked at tons of recipes. This is my standard plain yogurt from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks.com. I’m still looking for a favorite vanilla recipe. I can’t seem to get the vanilla and honey balance right.
4) We have cut a lot of meat from our diets and try to eat mostly fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains. We haven’t gone completely vegan or vegetarian, but feel that having lots of meals centered around big huge cuts of meat isn’t the healthiest choice for us so we have experimented with new protein sources. I’ve gotten more creative with the veggies. I loved the sweet potato black bean chili we had a few weeks ago. The leftovers made great green enchilada fillings. I get inspiration for these meals from Emily at Daily Garnish.
5) With the exception of March and April, I have managed to exercise on average at least 3 days a week all throughout the year. I’ve only lost 7 lbs but I feel stronger. I’m sure the bread and other baking has something to do with that. I started by bringing my laptop and some workout dvds to the office and working out in the back during lunch. Eventually, my boss bought an elliptical machine that has been nice to have around. We go out walking some when its not too hot and not too cold.
I actually decided in December 2009 that I could at least do 15 minutes a day of something. Usually once I got dressed and did the 15 minutes I could keep going through the end of the dvd or walking a full 30 minutes. I felt like something was better than nothing even if it wasn’t a workout of the proportions that would please Bob and Jillian.
6) I stayed an active participant through thick and thin in various volunteer opportunities and groups. I do think I found a better balance in 2010 than in some previous years. I said “no” a few times and didn’t do things just because I thought someone needed to do it. I found out most of these things that at one time I thought were necessary nobody really missed when I didn’t do them.
7) We reduced our debt by approximately $21,000. This includes mortgage, auto loan, medical bills and credit cards. Wow! That is the first time I had actually calculated the decrease in total. It seems like each month we are making very little progress, but now that I look back at where we started I can see we will soon be debt free!!!
8) I started a blog. Not that this was a goal of any kind, but it does help me think about what in the world I’m doing with the hours of my days. Although I haven’t posted much yet, I have enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by.
I didn’t solve world peace or find the cure for cancer (well maybe I did if eating clean diets will keep you from it) and there are plenty of areas that I don’t think I did the best I could have but I made progress in small ways towards things that could be very significant to my family down the road. You have to start somewhere.
- Don’t kick yourself too hard for what you didn’t do this past year.
- See what you did do and give yourself a pat on the back for it.
- For 2011, find one or two things you can begin to do differently.
- If changing your eating habits is one then find a few new recipes to try each month or pick one thing you use a lot of in your house and find a healthier version of just that one thing. Get used to it, then move on to something else.
- Remember even an elephant can be eaten one bite at a time, but its the first step in a journey that is the hardest (how do you like all those cliches thrown in together 🙂
And finally, remember what our true goal should be…
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Ephesians 3: 12-21
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!