Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Mentions

Today's shout out goes to Lisa at It's Miller Time.

She's a dedicated, organized, creative and busy stay at home mom who has just started a small business for herself making awesome and unique frames.  Check out her Etsy shop, Fantastic Frames 2 and see the cool frames she has created.

Fantastic Frames 2: Initial Frame

I thought I'd spotlight Lisa today because her blog is about everyday life and I love to check it out and see what's going on in someone else's house with two little ones... Plus, I thought it would be really great to get some traffic to her new business.

*Disclaimer* I am not paid to endore or support Fantastic Frames 2, nor do I have anything to gain by supporting the business, I just thought the frames were great and wanted to share!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Month in Review...and a Milestone!

I cannot believe that the first month of the new year is basically gone... just one more day until we begin a new month! 

This month, we've gone to a birthday party, hung out with family and had Victoria's first gymnastics show.

I've tried a few new recipes, and hope to keep up the Kitchen Kapers feature on the blog.

I also feel like January was a pretty productive month, as I have worked on some of my Crafting in 2011 goals and even completed the first one already.

I finished Teddy's blanket:
Worked on some of the purses that I'll be giving as favors for Ben's party:

Got another purse done for a birthday present, which you'll see in an upcoming Ta-Da post!
And worked a few rows on Derek's wool scarf

I love feeling like I've made some progress, and I'm hoping that in February, I'll have even more fun and crafty things to look back and reflect upon.

And, I'm also very excited because this post marks a very fun milestone. This very post is my 100th post!
I'm so happy to have maintained my blog and I feel that it's changed and developed so much since my initial post. I went back and read my introductory post and I'm happy to say that the purpose of my blog- to help me get back to being creative- is definitely being put to use.  Through the blogworld, I've found some wonderful inspiration and really enjoyed sharing my makings with you all.

Thank you for stopping by my dear reader. I hope that you'll stay tuned :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Busy week!

I've been pretty MIA from the blog world this week...  I was partially away for a conference, which was an interesting thing.  On Tuesday, I had to drive into Princeton and it's about an hour drive - no problem.  We were allowed to stay over, but it was Victoria's first gymnastics show, so I chose to commute on Tuesday and then stay Wednesday since our conference went until Thursday.

Well, the commute Tuesday was fine. Weather was fine and I didn't hit rush hour coming or going.  The gymnastics show was adorable!

All ready to go!



Uneven bars

Wednesday, the weather was horrible!! A "wet" commute turned into a slippery, snowy, icy commute. I was so relieved once I arrived safely and was happy that my wonderful husband convinced me to register for a hotel room and save the commute (before we knew about the weather). Needless to say, the hotel was booked and some people had to leave in the storm. We got probably 18 inches of snow!  Everything was clear for my ride home on Thursday, which was wonderful.

But, all this travel left me little time to craft or relax!  I did have a small purse nearly made and then I ripped it apart and started over...

I'm hoping to have a little more down-time coming up to update the blog a bit more and get back on track with my craft goals.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kitchen Kapers: Crockpot Ziti

Today's Kitchen Kapers is a crockpot meal, which is essential for us on busy days when Derek has work and we need to cook & eat within an hour of me being home.   On days like this, either we have something that he can prepare or we do a crockpot meal, which is easiest for everyone involved!

I should preface this by saying that I do NOT like baked ziti. I know it's strange that I would make it, but the rest of the family loves it, so I thought I'd give it a try and possibly surpise myself.  It'll make enough for dinner for all of us plus lunches for Derek and Victoria, so even if I eat more salad than pasta, all will be well!

I found the recipe for Crockpot Ziti on Finding Joy in my Kitchen. SnoWhite links to the original recipe that she used before making her modifications. Check it out!!

To note: I used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese. I also used Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta (enriched white pasta with added fiber and calcium) instead of whole wheat. You can use anything you like, even rotini would probably work great!

The only thing I didn't pay attention to when I was making this at 6am was that I used the whole box of penne instead of just 8oz.  Oops... Hopefully it'll work out and cook okay!

The verdict: Adding the extra noodles (nearly double) but not doubling the sauce definitely dried it out a bit more than I expected. It also cooked longer than necessary, Derek turned it off around 2pm, which made the cook time about 7.5 hours. I'd stick with 4-5 hours in the future.  Derek and Victoria seemed to enjoy it, but next time I'd add more sauce OR use the proper amount of noodles.  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical with using uncooked noodles, but they turned out great.   I ate it... it was okay... but if you read my preface, I've pointed out that I don't like baked ziti. I don't really care for ricotta cheese, but I would make it again- it's better than other baked zitis that I've had and it was so quick and easy to prepare.  I think that I could even make this in the morning as a lunch for Derek and the kids and it would be perfect for a few days of lunch.
If you like baked ziti, I'd definitely try it out!

Monday Mentions

Good morning reader! I hope you had a fantastic weekend!

Today I have to send a shout out to Gina at Skinny Taste.  Her site is awesome, it's full of nice, healthy recipes.  I find myself drooling over the possibilities!! 

Last week I made her Broccoli Cheddar and Potato Soup and it was delish! 

Coming up in our menu plan for the next two weeks, I have her Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken and I can't wait to try it! It's going to be my Chipotle-esqe at home easy meal.

The great thing about the site is that Gina gives you NI (if you follow her recipe) and even includes Weight Watchers Points and Points Plus values! Woohoo!  For anyone following Weight Watchers, this is a must read!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kitchen Kapers: Broccoli Cheddar and Potato Soup

Finally! I've gotten a chance to make the Broccoli Cheddar and Potato soup from Gina's Skinny Recipes.

I didn't quite follow the recipe- I omitted the onions, celery and garlic.  I don't always use onion and celery and I was simply out of garlic and didn't realize it until I went to make the soup.  I used about double the potatoes and broccoli, so I also doubled (or more) the amount of milk I used and added about a cup of water as well. I added the water because I was out of chicken broth and figured that was fine, since I already used the 2 1/2 c of chicken broth the recipe called for.  Due to nearly doubling the soup, I also added a bit more cheese than the recipe calls for, but I didn't double the amount of cheese - I used 2 extra slices of american and maybe 1/2 c extra shredded cheddar.

The vedict?  This soup was great!  Definitely a keeper. Next time, I'll add a bit more potatoes, since we really enjoy potatoes and most of the potatoes in this soup got blended by my immersion blender.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Foodie Friday

Do you have a Chipotle near you? Have you tried it? What are you waiting for?!?!

I know that Chipotle is not new to some of you- but it is to me!  We had one open near home in the past year or so and never tried it.  Then, in the past two months, I had one open very close to where I work. One day my boss was going to grab lunch there, so I went along and I fell in love with the place. It's delicious! It's a great lunch choice, and it's really not expensive! 

But you must be warned: IT IS ADDICTING! After being introduced to Chipotle, I visited about 3 times in the next week... yes, THREE times!  I took Derek, he was wanting to try it and while we were out on errands one day we stopped to pick up lunch.  It was just as cheap as getting fast food and it was so much better.  Then I went twice from work on my lunch break, on days that I was planning to buy my lunch anyway.  I only paid $6.31 for my lunch and if I bought in our cafeteria I would have spent at least $8 unless I only got a soup and drink - which wouldn't fill me nearly as much as a burrito bowl.

My indulgence of choice there has been the burrito bowl. Actually, I have yet to try anything else.  The burritos look so huge that I figured I'd just do the "filling" minus the tortilla.  My bowl has: cilantro-lime rice, black beans, chicken, corn salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, cheese & lettuce.  To be a little healthier I can always cut out the sour cream and cheese, but what fun would that be?!

Yum... now I'm hungry for Chipotle.  I actually mentioned yesterday that I was thinking about going to Chipotle for lunch during work and Derek added it to the menu I made for the next two weeks... guess I know where one "quick" dinner is going to come from!

Things I'm Loving

Bathtime fun with my silly kiddos!

These super quick, super cute, boutique bags

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Hello there!

It's so refreshing to have a WIP update that doesn't include Teddy's star! I'm so happy to have finished that blanket and work on other projects.  This week, I have two current WIPs!! I love having multiple active projects.

The first has been a WIP for a very long time, only to get put on the back burner for Christmas projects and Teddy's star. I feel that it will take forever, and I feel so bad for my wonderful husband to be waiting so long, but he seems to understand. He's really looking forward to his scarf, made with Fishermen's Wool, a 100% natural wool:

The next WIP is the first of a series of Granny Stripe Boutque bags.  I'm making about 10 of these as party favors for Benjamin's Dr Seuss themed birthday party. The color is pretty off in this picture, it's actually Mod Blue and close to Thing 1 & Thing 2's hair color.

Stay tuned because I'm pretty sure I'll be showing a Ta-Da of the finished bag soon... or maybe I'll wait for the final Ta-Da for the entire set!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finding Frugality

Finding frugality should probably be a top priority for me for 2011, I think if I really work the process, only good things would come from it.

I really want to become better at saving money, especially for the everyday things that we routinely need. I would love to get our grocery bill cut down and get our toiletries and household items at great prices too. I hear people talk about their deals and how much they saved all the time, and I get quite envious that I don't do it so well.  In order to do this, I really need to focus on couponing and I need to take the time and do it properly.  I've gone through phases where I really use coupons, look for sales, etc and then I just get lazy. I really need to bargain hunt and start to build up more of a savings and pay down all of our debt.

Finances really make me crazy!!!  So I'm going to focus on working finances in my benefit.  I want to find deals, save money and earn free products. I think I made a great effort at Christmas, and I don't think I paid full retail price for any of the kids' gifts, aside from stocking stuffers.  Heck, I've even started to make sure I *always* have coupons for when I go to AC Moore and on my last trip I scored FREE yarn, 2 big skeins - remember that?

Deals like that make me so excited. I still remember a few months ago when I really made coupons work for me and got TWO packs of Ballpark all beef hot dogs for FREE. Awesome.  Is it crazy that savings like that give me a rush?  It's like some huge challenge and when you conquer it (ie free stuff) it feels great. Plus, that was $8 that I was able to use on something else!

So, who is with me?  Want to share your frugal tips? Do you coupon, what works for you?

Ta-Da: Teddy's Star

It seems to long since I first blogged about starting Teddy's star.  You can find that post here, for my recollection I started the star on November 12. This weekend, on Saturday, I finally finished up Teddy's star.  It was such a relief to finish it, especially since it felt like I was working on this blanket forever.  Turns out it was only 2 months.  The monotony of a single color for so long was really driving me nuts, but I was really happy with it once I added the contrasting black rows.  To be perfectly honest, I really wanted to do a fun blanket with a few shades of blues and greens, but I let Derek's sister choose the colors and she wanted Blue & Black and she requested a Star.  I know I could have just made whatever I wanted, but if I have the time to think about it, I usually like to get some input from the recipient.

I guess this blanket took so long because after I started it I also made 2 Santa hats, a hat & scarf set for Victoria and 2 purses. So all in all, it really didn't take that long.

Here are some photos of the star- what the center looked like when I folded all the peaks in, an up close shot of one of the points, one of the points along the way when I had gone back to blue before adding the final round of black, and a close up of the center of the star.


And here is the finished blanket, all ready to go to Teddy:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Mentions

I thought it would be pefect to have my Monday Mention be something that I'm currently working on, don't you?

Well, I'm in the process of making these wonderful little Granny Stripe Boutique bags as a party favor for Benjamin's birthday party.  I really prefer to have useful favors compared to little trinkets that are quickly thrown away and since the majority of the child guests are girls, I thought this was perfect.

I really enjoy Tangled Happy as Sara gathers all sorts of making and blogs about them including either the pattern for the item, if it is her own creation, or the link to the pattern or blog where she found it.  I've gotten so many cute ideas for her blog that are on my list of things to make!  Thanks Sara for bringing so many wonderful things to one place.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WIP Wednesday

My current WIP hasn't changed from last week: Teddy's Star.  I am making progress and actually I am on the last round of the star.  I think I have about 4 points of the star to go around, but I hope to finish by the end of the week and have it to Teddy so that he can snuggle in it!

I pulled together a small collage of the progress, from before I added the contrast color, to a point when I had gone back to blue and then finally a picture of the star all bunched up on itself.  I really like the contrast in the colors and I'm starting to like the blanket more and more now that it's not a solid color.

Stay tuned for a much anticipated Ta-Da soon!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Mentions

Hello there!  I hope that you're enjoying the start of 2011... it's cold and blustery here with expected snowfall starting tomorrow. Brrr! Weather like this makes me want to make soup and bread and bake all kinds of yummy things while staying warm in the house - which is why my first Mention of the year makes perfect sense for this time of year!

Finding Joy in my Kitchen is a new blog that I've found that all about cooking good foods and making healthy alternatives to some rich recipes.  I haven't made any recipes from the site yet, but I've definitely been going through and drooling over the posts!  Check it out, I bet you'll find something you'll want to make right away!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kitchen Kapers- Recipes to Try

I've been searching for new recipes to try to fit in my goal of trying something new each week. I know that, depending on the week, it might not get done, but I want to have a list compiled of recipes I want to try.  I thought this would be the perfect forum to gather those recipes, and also share them with you in case you're interested in trying them.

Broccoli Cheese & Potato Soup - This one is on the menu for this week.  Broccoli Cheddar soup and Potato soup are probably two of my three favorite soups. Combining them into one soup sounds like an amazing idea. The recipe looks pretty quick & easy, which is great for weeknights!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup - Something about this recipe just screams COMFORT FOOD!  The thought of a nice, warm, pot pie soup on a cold, winter day is just perfect.

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas - I love Mexican food.  This recipe is for enchilada sauce and reduced fat enchiladas.  We all know that saving fat & calores is great if you can keep the great taste. This is definitely on my list to replace those enchilada "kits" that I make on occassion!

Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken- Again, another great sounding Mexican/Tex-Mex recipe. Looks like it might be a good alternative to Chipotle's bowls to make at home.

Creme Brulee French Toast- I love a good breakfast on the weekends and this recipe seriously made my mouth water. It sounds delicious...quite rich, but I'm sure that will make it even tastier! Can't wait to try it.

My list could go on and on... but I think I should stop here for the time being.  Stay tuned for reviews of these recipes as part of the Kitchen Kapers feature!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Frugal Finds!

I'm on a quest to save money and maximize what I have. I think there are many people in the same boat, so I know this is going to be nothing earth shattering, but I am so excited!

I frequently visit AC Moore for yarns, knitting needles, crochet hooks and various other craft items for things I'm working on or planning for Victoria. I LOVE AC Moore.  We have a Michael's and also a Jo-Ann Fabrics, but AC Moore seems to be the nicest in the area.

When I started getting back into crocheting and knew I'd be frequenting the store a lot more often, I joined their rewards program. 200 points earns you a $10 rewards check. By the end of November, I had reached my 200 points and got my certificate in mid-December.  I finally went yesterday to redeem it. It was really burning a hole in my pocket, much like spending money did when I was younger - but I wanted to save it up to use it towards something that was useful or needed. 

Well, I went yesterday intent on getting the black yarn I needed to finish Teddy's star and since I had a fabulous 50% off coupon, I knew I would need to get something else in order to not lose my reward. I decided that I would check out the blue cotton yarns to work on the favors for Ben's party and was very excited to find a large skein of the color I wanted, which isn't always the case with 100% cotton yarns.  I figured that after my coupon and my two large skeins, I would owe about $3, which I considered pretty awesome.  You can imagine my surprise when I handed the cashier my coupon   & reward and reached into my wallet for my debit card and she said "Oh, you owe nothing". WOW!  Turns out the cotton was on sale for $5.99 compared to the normal price of $8.99 - that took care of the extra $3 I thought I would owe. I couldn't have planned that better if I tried. My total would have been $9.98 if I didn't have the reward and $16.98 without the reward or coupon.  Needless to say I was pleased.  I love savings!

Foodie Friday: Pretzel Dogs

Okay, it's not the healthiest find, nor is it something new, but it's new to me and it was delicious!  It was an Auntie Anne's Pretzel Dog!

Yesterday, I took the train into the city for a meeting about the MBA program I hope to start in March.  I took an "extended lunch" at work to make it to the meeting and back without actually missing a day of work.  So, on my way to catch the train back to work, I needed to grab a quick lunch because the last thing I wanted to do was get back to work starving because I failed to eat.

In any case, I saw the Auntie Anne's stand and thought I'd just grab a pretzel, but there it was, waiting for me... the last fresh Pretzel dog.  What the heck, I love hot dogs and I love soft pretzels, so why wouldn't I like the Pretzel dog.  It was so yummy. I know I sound silly going on about a hot dog, but it wasn't just a hot dog, it was surround by a fabulous, buttery, wonderful Auntie Anne's pretzel. It sure hit the spot, plus it was super portable and I was able to eat it while walking to the track I needed to catch the train from. 

Now, I won't make eating Pretzel Dogs a habit.  Afterall, I do need to still shed some much unwanted baby weight and get my cholesterol in check... plus I haven't even looked into the amount of WW points it would be, but it was a nice treat and will serve as a nice cheat food once in a while.

Things I'm Loving

Sorry, my Thursday feature is running a bit late this week- but I really wanted to blog about what I'm thanful for and lovin' this week.

He's an awesome dad and amazing husband.  Yesterday I went to an info session for the MBA program I hope to start at the end of March and I am so happy to have the flexibility to start it because he is home with the kids and that helps my stress levels so much.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm quite a planner. I've been planning Ben's birthday for months with ideas and such. When we found out that I'll *hopefully* be starting school, we decided on a date for his party to correspond with my school schedule - March 26, the last Saturday before the craziness of school begins... and then I heard it... the Admissions rep told me that the residency starts MARCH 21.  It's a week long and I'll be staying in a hotel in the city. How am I suppose to plan the party when I'm not even home?! I mean, the plans will be made, but all the last minute cooking, cleaning and errands need to be done that week - and I'll be gone Mon-Fri! 

 But, my wonderful husband came to the rescue...again. We've decided to move the location of the party to his aunt's house (possible, pending that she's willing to let us have it there) and we're going to keep it for the originally scheduled date. Yep, that's right.  Derek is going to take on the brunt of the last minute prep - he'll have help though - his mom, my gram & my aunt and some more of his family.  I figure if I can get the favors and decorations done, he will make sure the food and other prep is ready for me... he assures me he can handle it.

I'm so thankful I have an awesome husband!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blog changes for 2011!

Hello there, Reader! I've been putting some thought into the layout and content of my blog and I'm going to try to make some changes to it now that I think I've gotten the hang of this blogging thing!

I really enjoy having regular features for my blog and I hope to continue to do so, with just a bit of sprucing up of names and such.  In the coming days and weeks, I plan to roll out all the new and updated series.

Here's a list of what I have in store:

Monday Mentions - formerly Monday's Featured Blogs. 
I'm hoping to revamp the Featured Blogs forum and allow for repeats, multiple features and potentially spotlight pieces on specific blog posts instead of always just spotlighting entire blogs.

WIP Wednesday
This feature will showcase any craft projects I'm currently working on. My goal is to use this feature as an outlet to encourage me to continue creating.

Things I'm Lovin' Thursdays
The title tells all for this feature. I'll share my current favorite things, things I'm thankful for or things and people that make me smile.

Foodie Fridays
I thought I'd change it up and talk about food find, food & drink favorites and anything new I've found in terms of restaurant fare, grocery finds or yummy snacks - the kinds of things that wouldn't be covered in Kitchen Kapers recipe reviews.

Kitchen Kapers - formerly Exploring New Foods
This feature will showcase new and renewed recipes in my quest to try new foods. I'll share recipes and review them after my family gets to try them. I'm really trying hard to change things up in the kitchen and get out of our "routine" of only a few meals on the rotation. This is also going to be a way for us to try to eat healthier.  If you have recipes to share, please share them, I'd love to try them!

I hope you'll find these features interesting and continue to enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy sharing my thoughts, ideas, trials and triumphs.

WIP Wednesday

So, have you checked out my Craft 365 project yet?  I really hope it will keep me on track so that each week I will actually be able to show you my current WIPs!

On my list of craft goals for the year, I listed Teddy's Star blanket with a completion date of January.  I really feel that I'm on track with that, I actually need to go pick up the black yarn for the contrasting trim and then I can continue on my merry way of crocheting it to completion!  So far it's 23 rounds. I'm going to do a round of black (or two) followed by the final round of powder blue and completed with a few rounds of black. 

The size is getting quite nice, and I hope that I'll love this blanket even more once the contrasting black rounds are added.  Again, my sister-in-law chose the pattern and colors, so I didn't feel as much excitement as I normally do when embarking on a project.  I'm just happy to see it along!

 The next goal on my list was to work on Derek's knit scarf and I've made some time in the past week to do so.  Initially I made some time as a break from the star. Yesterday, I used my craft time at gymnastics to work on the scarf because 1. I don't have the black yarn to work on the star yet and 2. it's a more portable project. I really enjoy working with the Fishermen's wool and I love when I find small twigs and other natural materials while I'm knitting.  I think it's a bit too scratchy for my liking, but working with it is awesome.

I hope to keep up with my progress, I really enjoy seeing things through to completion.  I also think that by working on my Craft 365, I'll have more to show you each week!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Crafting through 2011!

I hope that I will be pretty productive in 2011, so I'm setting a list of goals that I would like to achieve. I keep reminding myself that starting end of March, I'll be going back to school and my "spare" time that I've used for crocheting and knitting will most likely disappear, but I'm hoping to find even just a few minutes each day to create or work on a current WIP. I'm hoping to keep a project 365 of my makings, Craft 365, as a part of my blog in an effort to help me continue to create.

I'd like to create some ambitious goals for 2011 in terms of makings- here's my list, which I'm sure will change and grow over the course of the year:

1. Finish Teddy's Star, hopefully by the end of January
2. Finish Derek's wool scarf that has been terribly neglected lately
3. Make 8 Tangled Happy's Granny Stripe Boutique Bags as party favors for the girls that I anticipate will be attending Benjamin's first birthday.
4. Make a blanket for our good friends' new baby that is due in July.  I hope to make it either as a Granny Stripe or Neat Ripple or a Mini Hexagon, but we will see when the time comes. They should know the gender of the baby by March, so I plan to decide once I know who I will be creating the blanket for.
5. Make myself a tote bag, potentially using the basis for the Granny Stripe Boutique Bag on a larger scale, possibly lining with fabric.
6. Make a large Granny Stripe for our home. We love Ben's Granny Stripe so much that we want it in a larger version for Derek & I to use.
7. Work on more knitting in the round. I've love to make hats for all of us. 
8. Attempt some homemade Christmas decorations, like a nice bunting or some sort of garland. To be decided at a later time- but I really love the Jingle Bell Garland and I've also found a granny star garland that I really enjoy but can't seem to find the link right now!
9. Fulfill the Cavanaugh men's hunting wishlist: A new orange hat for Derek(crochet or knit), a new knitted neckwarmer for my father-in-law and possibly some more orange hats for my brothers-in-law.
10. Attempt a knitted garment. Most likely a cardigan for Victoria.

I could probably add more and more to the list. This list, aside from the knitted garment, SHOULD be attainable, but once school starts and I figure out my schedule it may be a challenge.  Wish me luck, I hope to keep you updated!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011! Looking forward to the year ahead.

2010 was a great year, but alas, it's time to move on. I'm hoping to make the best of the year that is yet to unfold, a year that will hold a great many challenges that I'm sure we will triumph over. 

This year, I will be going back to school to pursue my Pharmaceutical MBA. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried. I'm not sure how I will balance work, school and family - but I am lucky that I have a husband who is able to stay home with the kids and is such a huge help with everything around the house and also helps me manage my stress levels. I'm very lucky that my employer is going to completely fund my MBA program as long as I get at least a B in each course. I'll be taking 2 courses per session, along with a total of three week long residencies and I'll obtain my degree in 2 years. Of course, this is all pending formal acceptance into the program, so I guess I should worry about getting accepted a bit more, though I'm already past that part and now trying to plan around classes, residencies and full time work!

In 2011, Benjamin will begin to crawl, and then walk and I'm sure he will keep us on our toes. I anticipate some sibling squabbles and hope that they don't get too bad. Victoria will begin Pre-K this year and we hope to still keep her on her current schedule of 2 days per week at school, 1 gymnastics class and staying home with Derek the other times. Unfortunately, our local school district does not offer a Pre-K program, or we would consider putting her in full-time, but right now putting her back into the daycare program with Pre-K doesn't seem necessary.

Some general goals I have for 2011 include:
  1. Getting and staying organized at home!  I am a planner, and I'm pretty organized when it comes to work and plans, but the house makes me feel like I'm living in chaos! I hope to get organized and keep it that way. I actually plan to get a dry erase board or calendar to keep a chore chart, mainly for the big things like shampooing the carpets and deep cleaning the kitchen and bathroom more than the general clean-up.
  2. Getting our household finances in order and living on a tighter budget to allow for more savings/paying down debt.  We're still adjusting to being a one income family with quite a few unplanned medical expenses, but I'm hopeful that things will fall into place a bit more in the new year.
  3. Keeping up with photos - taking them, printing them and storing/organizing them. In the past few years I've been good at taking the photos, but that's where it ended!
  4. Keeping up with my crafts. I'll post more details about my 2011 crafting plans in another entry, but I'd really like to stick with my creations. It's a huge stress reliever for me and something I really enjoy.