Friday, November 30, 2012

Document: November


Is it just me, or did the end of the year just sneak up on all of us?  Some days I feel like Christmas and New Years are right around the corner, and other days I feel like it's March or April!  Needless to say, November was short and super busy!

12 in 2012.
Health and Fitness Goals!  I am regularly doing yoga again (with no soreness/pain post-surgery) and trying to get in some cardio by walking a few times a week.  With the cold weather really hitting us now, I have been utilizing workout videos.  Eating healthy can be hard during the holiday season, but Doug and I are working hard to stay home and eat meals instead of eating out.  We are even making sure to keep healthy snacks on hand, like pistachios, baby carrots, string cheese, yogurt, and fruit.  For me, making sure I eat a decent breakfast and an afternoon snack has helped keep me full before social gatherings (or to keep me from late night snacking).

I definitely hit a wall this month with reading.  I have finished 86 books (37 new books), meaning I only read three books this month (two new).  Midterms followed by Thanksgiving made life pretty busy, so I often would be up late working on schoolwork when I would normally be reading!  With two weeks left until the end of classes (though I am trying to finish in the next 10 days), I should be able to get in more reading, though the goal of 100 books would be very challenging right now, especially reading all new books to hit my goal of 50 new books this year.  Nevertheless, I am looking forward to some down-time to read!

Thanksgiving was great!  I didn't have the time I wanted to post recipes/pictures while baking, but I did manage to snag a few pre-dinner pics ;)

Lots of rolls, my mom's Vegetable Stuffing, and my mom!


Lots of yummy sides!
I didn't get any pics of the Mini Cherry Pies I made, but it was so great to have my family here (to eat and to help cook!) for Thanksgiving.

Though papers and Finals have both Doug and I pretty busy, I am so looking forward to beginning my Christmas baking -- my 12 in 2012 goal for December!  Last year, I made quite a few recipes for my Christmas Baskets; this year, I decided to go with a few simple recipes that (most) everyone loves ;)  I can't wait to share what I've been planning!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Deft (adj):  clever, efficient, nimble, proficient

One of the lessons I have learned in the last year (especially in the last six months) is the difference been multitasking and multiplying.

When a person multitasks, their focus is split between several things for a period of time, sometimes an extended period of time.  One example:  talking to someone on the phone (50% of your focus) and cooking dinner (50 % of your focus).  Multitasking may seem effective since you are doing more things at the same time, but it is actually detrimental to accomplishing anything.  When I put 50% focus or effort into something I am doing, it doesn't take me twice as long, but actually three or four times as long because my brain gets tired so much faster form handling too many things at once.

Math aside, my seven years in college and grad school is proof of this phenomenon.  When I sat alone working on a paper (or homework), I not only completed the work more quickly, but I produced better quality work.  When I had people around, or when I was trying to cook or clean while working, it took much longer and I produced poor work.

However, there is a concept of putting intentional effort into something to accomplish more at one time.  while many people try to do this through multitasking, this concept is an entirely separate idea.  I call it multiplying.  Multiplying is when you put the same amount of effort into a project, but (through planning or being intentional) you produce more than usual.

When I think about this principle, I remember having to make a bulletin board project my Junior year of college.  I was stamping construction paper letters to make a Bible verse in the school's library.  I had been smart enough to add up how many of each letter I needed (instead of stamping word by word, but after an hour, I was only halfway done.  The librarian came over and showed me a trick to go fast.  While you were not allowed to place more than one page into the machine, she told me to fold the paper in half while stamping.  Each stamp produced two letters instead of one.  This is multiplying.

Here's another example:  I wanted to make Hamburger Helper for lunch.  Instead of browning one pound of ground beef (which takes 15-20 min), I decided to cook the five pounds I had (which took about 35-40 min).  While it was cooking, I prepped containers to freeze the extra meat for meals later this week.  For an extra 20 minutes, I produced four extra meals.

There is such a big difference between the two, but it takes planning, thought, and discipline to choose to focus when necessary (quit multitasking) and to think about multiplying to be effective and efficient.  For me, this meant moving my work area when necessary, changing around my schedule several times, prioritizing, streamlining, and even asking for help.  But what I have gained is freedom:  freedom to do what I want with my time, freedom to spend more time with my family/friends than on tasks, and freedom to relax and take care of myself instead of chasing a To Do List.

While I have so much to learn and need much more discipline in this area, knowing the difference and striving for change is a great first step.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Delicious: Weekly Meal Plan

After chowing down on leftover turkey and sides this week, it's time to get back to eating "real" food again!

Since classes are ending soon, I decided to try shopping and planning for two weeks to save me the extra trip to the store.  I planned a lot of quick and simple meals, especially those which either of us can make ;)

Monday (11/26) -- Pork Stir Fry w/ Rice
Tuesday -- Soup w/ Sandwiches
                  Hamburger Helper
Wednesday -- Calamari and Orange Spinach Salad
                       Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Thursday -- Meaty Spinach Spaghetti
Friday -- Frozen Pizza
Saturday -- Take Out/Leftovers
Sunday -- Taco Pockets
Monday (12/3) -- Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Tuesday -- Soup w/ Sandwiches
                  Breakfast for Dinner Night
Wednesday -- Hamburger Helper
                       Frozen Pizza
Thursday -- Spinach and Sausage Alfredo Pasta
Friday -- Buffalo Chicken Pockets
Saturday -- Take Out/Leftovers
Sunday -- Soup w/ Sandwiches
Monday (12/10) -- Sloppy Joes

Design: Weekly Goals (11/25-12/1)

Taking the week off for Thanksgiving Break was much needed!  I did work hard to be ready for classes ending over the next two weeks, but I spent a lot of time with friends and family, and some down time too!

1.  Greek -- 2 quizzes, 2 assignments
2.  John Paper Research

3.  Menu/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)
4.  Start New Cleaning Schedule
5.  Laundry!

6.  Keep Exercising!
7.  Schedule a Hair Appt
8.  Have an Spa-at-Home Day ;)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (11/11-17)

Here are last week's results:

1.  Three Greek Quizzes and Two Assignments
2.  Reading, ~150 pages -- I still have a bit of reading to do today
3.  Book Critique Paper (due 11/13) -- finishing up this paper today, 2 days early!

4.  Menu/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)
5.  Prep Thanksgiving Menu and buy a Turkey!

6.  Celebrate one year of blogging (11/9)
7.  Maintain healthy eating/exercising -- for the most part ;)

While I did a pretty good job of balancing this week (getting rest, having fun, accomplishing schoolwork), next week looks like a marathon!  Needless to say, I will be glad to have a week off from [residential] classes the following week!!!

1.  Greek:  Three Quizzes, Two Assignments
2.  Reading:  ~250 pgs
3.  John:  Four Lectures, Two Essays (400 words each) w/ Replies, Exam

4.  Update Menu Plan
5.  Prep for Thanksgiving (and blog!)
6.  Prep for Guests (my parents!)

7.  Healthy Eating/Exercise
8.  Get Sleep!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Decision, Year 2

A year ago I began a journey through this blog of appreciating the little things and living a decelerated life in order to find more gratitude and joy.

A year later, so many things have happened that have compromised my goals.  Doug and I have lost two grandparents and a step-grandparent.  A giant storm knocked out our power for a week, requiring us to re-stock our fridge and freezer and find shelter/food for a week.  My position was eliminated, requiring us to find another way to pay for my last year of school.  I had my appendix removed.  Dozens of personal issues and family issues have happened, including having two sets of parents move further away and a new baby nephew being born!

Apparently God knew what He was doing when He laid these goals on my heart, for without His provision and this attitude of living in the slow lane and finding joy in all things, I honestly don't know if I could have handled all that happened in the last year.

So, here I am, a year older and maybe wiser, but definitely blessed and full of gratitude to my family, friends, and especially my husband for being patient and understanding as I have tried (and sometimes failed) to slow down my life.

And thank all of you for following me through the crazy back-roads of my life!  While I do not know what the next year holds, I do know a few things.  First, I know that I have the ability to live a decelerated life and enjoy the present.  Second, I know that I will not continue my journey alone; I have friends, family, and a Lord who will be by my side.  Finally, I know that I will keep sharing my life with all of you, chronicling my path as I continue to learn to live with more gratitude, more joy, and more life!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Delicious: Weekly Meal Plan

With only 10 days until my Thanksgiving Dinner, I have a lot of Meal Planning to do!!!

I decided to shop and plan through the Thanksgiving Meal to make the prep work easier for me ;)

Wednesday -- Grilled Chicken w/ Potatoes and Cheddar Broccoli
                       Pot Roast w/ Pearl Onions and Herbed Pasta
Thursday -- Chicken Quesadillas w/ Rice and Corn
Friday -- Pork Stir Fry w/ Rice
Saturday -- Take Out!
Sunday -- Frozen Pizza
Monday -- Leftovers/Brunch
Tuesday -- Meaty Spaghetti w/ Spinach
                  Pork Fajitas w/ Rice
Wednesday -- Frozen Pizza
Thursday -- Tuna Helper w/ Broccoli
Friday -- Take Out
Saturday -- Meatloaf w/ Cheddar Broccoli Pasta

While this looks like a good plan on paper (considering exams, papers, and our pantry), I am really hoping we can stick to it.  We are trying to empty the fridge so we'll have lots of room for Thanksgiving food and (more importantly) a turkey to thaw next week!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (Nov 4-10)

This week is all about school (surprise, surprise) and prepping for Thanksgiving!!!  I only have two weeks until my parents will be here for Turkey Day, so I need to nail down a menu and get some early shopping done.

1.  Three Greek Quizzes and Two Assignments
2.  Reading, ~150 pages
3.  Book Critique Paper (due 11/11)

4.  Menu/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)
5.  Prep Thanksgiving Menu and buy a Turkey!

6.  Celebrate one year of blogging (11/9)
7.  Maintain healthy eating/exercising

While it looks like there isn't that much to do, I know that my week will be super full!  This is the week that I need to be disciplined and focused; after this week, schoolwork and the holidays get much easier ;)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Design: Weekly Results (Oct 28-Nov 3)

This week has been extra busy for both of us!  I had a lot of schoolwork to make up after spending Wednesday cooking and prepping for the Halloween Party, and Doug has had extra things going on at work since the NY office is still recovering from Frankenstorm/Hurricane Sandy this week.

1.  Two Greek Quizzes
2.  Reading, 200+ pages
3.  Essays, 400 words each, and replies -- working on those tomorrow
4.  John Exam

5.  Menu/Grocery Shopping (and blog!) -- due to the storm, Doug made a side trip over the weekend for extra food, so no shopping and a random menu for the week
6.  Prep for Halloween Party!!!
7.  Cleaning and Laundry

8.  Enjoy time with friends (and not get bogged down hosting!)
9.  Quality Time with Doug

Today it finally hit me that...
-- Thanksgiving (for us)/Thanksgiving Break is in TWO weeks
-- Christmas Baking/Shopping begins in FOUR weeks
-- Classes end in just under SIX weeks
-- Christmas is in SEVEN and a HALF weeks
-- 2013 begins in just over EIGHT weeks