Getting a Fresh Start to the New Year

swell water bottle,

The new year for me did not start off with a bang, but more like a wimper! That first week back to school was an adjustment for our family, but now that we are in the swing of things I can really think about some of my personal goals for the new year, some of which I am sharing with you today. Plus, a few products helping me along the way.

Okay so my goals are a little strange but maybe you can relate. Most of them are about simplifying and streamlining.

1.Keep my car clean.

I have to say, I am so embarrassed in the carpool line when a teacher opens the door to let my child in or out of the car and they see the MESS that is my car. I am really not a messy person, but I struggle with keeping a clean car. Most of the time it is not up to my standards. So new goal: make sure I get all the trash/junk out of the car each time we go into the house. Otherwise, it just collects!

trunk organizer, dallas blogger,

One thing that has helped me take control of the clutter in my car is this trunk organizer my mom  (out of desperation to help me!) bought me at Sam’s right before Christmas.I told her I didn’t need one more “thing” but it has really made such a difference in my car!

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I keep everything from my dry cleaning bag and library books in this organizer. And it’s no Yeti Hopper but it comes with a cooler that fits in one of the slots and shockingly kept ice frozen all the way to Little Rock.

I tote this trunk organizer in and out of the house whenever I have a bunch of stuff to carry, including groceries. Even better, it collapses so you can easily carry it into the car wash waiting room or post office.

trunk organizer

Seriously a genius invention and would make a GREAT gift! I think my mom paid about $20-25 at Sam’s but if you can’t find on there you can also order one One Kings Lane:

 

 

2. Drink more water.

I know, lame goal. Not many people have an aversion to drinking water but I do. During my pregnancy with my second daughter I was told to drink water nonstop and it just about did me in. Seriously,  I hate drinking it now!

But my skin is always so dry so I know I am not getting enough. I’m going to steal my S’well water bottle back from my daughter or get myself a new one. I like that I can stick it in m purse and it doesn’t leak. And maybe if it’s cute I will drink it more!

 

 

3. Clear Out My Contacts and Photos. 

Lately, whenever I can’t fall asleep at night, I have been going through my photos on my phone and deleting all the ones I know I don’t want to keep. (Note: bloggers have a lot of worthless photos on their phones; sometimes it takes 20 shots to get the right one!). Once I finish doing that,  I plan to make photos books on Shutterfly or Blurb or maybe try out Chatbooks (feel free to suggest some in comments section below!). It has been five years since I made a photo book which is shameful I know. My mother-in-law has better photos books of my children than I do so I’ve got to get back on track!

I also cleared out the contacts on my phone that I don’t need anymore and purchased another thing I haven’t had for years: an address book. I bought one of these Emily Ley address books for a friend and loved it so much I got one for myself recently, too! I realized that I am not good  at keeping up with the contacts on my computer. Sometimes I make things too complicated – I am want to go back to just having a good old-fashioned address book where I can stick change of address cards cards or postcards until I have time to add them to the book.

emily ley, emily ley address book
The gold binding matches that of the Simplified Planner.

I really like this one because it has a place for the last name and a “notes” section – for children’s names or birthdays, perhaps. It was so satisfying to get everyone’s addresses in the book and it now sits within arm’s reach of my desk in my office.

Note if you have an Emily Ley Simplified Planner I really like these little $10 notebooks that fit nicely in that front pocket.

 

 

4. Read more to my youngest child.

I feel like my youngest gets a little gipped on the reading. It was so much easier to read aloud to my older two because we were home more. Now with them both in school, and all that goes with that, it is much more difficult! Now she does listen when I read to my older ones at night, but I don’t want her to miss all the wonderful picture books I read to her sisters when they were her age!

I really do believe reading aloud has enormous benefits for a child’s development and education later on (the research is evident if you look it up!) so I know I need to be more intentional throughout the day about putting down the laundry or turning of the t.v. and inviting her in my lap to read. (If you want a great article on reading aloud to children – even when they can read – this Wall Street Journal piece is a great one.)

Reading in the carpool line also is a good time to read to her – I want to do that more and look at my phone less!

the three snow bears, jan brett, dallas blogger

(If you need some suggestions for wonderful picture books for your children, I’ve listed some of our favorites here.)

5. Be a better meal planner. 

love lucy, meal planner, ina garten, barefoot contessa

This has just never has been my strong suit! My husband says (in a nice way!) that the issue is that I am always trying new recipes instead of building a repertoire of family favorites that I can repeat. All I know is that I get a mental blank whenever I sit down to plan meals. So PLEASE comment below if you have any good tips along these lines!

How are your New Year’s goals going? Please share any great products or tips making your life a little better this year.

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Sources:

Make It Ahead cookbook by Ina Garten

Personalized Weekly Meal Notepad

Big O Key Ring in Shamrock

Chevron Trunk Organizer

Emily Ley Address Book

The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

Bracelets c/o Julie Vos

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Getting a Fresh Start to the New Year

  1. Meal planning……I’m horrible at this. I can so relate to trying random recipes and not sticking with what I know my family will eat. I get stuck in a rut often. I do have some go to meals, but even those get old.
    1. Meat sauce- I use a version of paula dean’s goulash recipe
    2. Shrimp and pasta- heavy cream, white wine, onions, garlic, Shrimp. SO easy. So delicious!
    3. baked potatoes with fixings
    4. rotisserie chicken
    5 marinated chicken – grilled
    6 Tyson’s teriyaki marinated pork tenderloin. Grilled; sliced and and served on Hawaiian rolls.
    7. Baked crispy catfish- catfish coated in egg wash, parm, cavendar, ritz breading.
    8. Baked pork chops- browned , covered in 2 cans of cream of celery soup. Baked.
    9. Roast- brown – place in crock pot. Add packet of zesty Italian seasoning and jar of pepperocini peppers.
    *hope others will share their tried and true recipes.

  2. Love these resolutions! I’ve been working on keeping my car cleaner too and it definitely just makes me feel better. Need to get your organizer! Also need to improve my meal planning too.. I just get uninspired!

  3. Hi! I make a weekly meal plan and it really helps! I love trying new recipes but I usually only pick one or two new ones a week and the rest of the week I make meals that I know my family really likes. I try to keep a list of about 20 meals that are my “go to” recipes and rotate those so we are not having the same things every week. My family loves meatloaf, spaghetti, spaghetti tacos (weird but is actually good), buttermilk chicken, rigatoni, homemade pizza, walking tacos, chicken spaghetti, chicken Caesar pasta salad, muffin tin lasagne, skillet lasagne just to name a few. Hope this helps!!

    1. That’s what I need to do. Figure out what my 20 “go to” recipes are (that the majority of everyone in our family likes!) and occasionally rotate in a new recipe. I go to ALL this effort to try new wonderful things and then no one likes it. So defeating! Thanks you so much for taking the time to comment – so helpful to more than just myself I am sure!

  4. Meal planning has always been something I’ve strived to improve since becoming a mom. I know the importance of eating at home, we eat better, my son eats better, and he’s exposed to a variety of foods that are not necessary staples of the kid menu at local restaurants. Here are a few ideas that have helped me:

    1. I use the weekend to plan. I personally love to cook out of cookbooks. Most recipes I use from cookbooks I end up having more success with than something from pinterest. I think part of the reason is that recipes published in cookbooks have been tested multiple times before they are published. Also, I like to make notes in my cookbooks and mark my favorites. Barefoot Contessa is my go-to, I also love Cooks Illustrated (although these recipes can be a bit more complicated), and recently a cookbook called skinnytaste. Also, I’m so guilty of this, but read the ENTIRE recipe before you start to make it. I can’t tell you how many times I started a recipe and halfway through I realize I was supposed to soak beans or marinate something overnight.

    2. Choose at least one day to use a slowcooker and one night for fish. Fish is super easy to prepare and takes very little prep. I also have a friend that picks her recipes based around protein and day of the week. (For example… Monday – meatless Monday, Tuesday – fish, Wednesday – Chicken, etc). Love this idea so you’re not eating chicken 4 times a week.

    3. I try to aim for at least one night of grace or leftovers.

    4. Choose some meals that you can marinate overnight or prep the night before. After my son is in bed I’ll marinate a flank steak or chicken. The next day I just have to throw it in oven or on the grill. Along this line, if I make something like enchiladas, soup, lasagna, or really anything that’s freezer friendly I put half in the freezer for another day and the other half I use for that night. That way I have a meal ready for days where life just gets in the way.

    5. Go to the grocery store before Monday. This is key for me. If I don’t have what I need to make dinner on Monday, my whole week is thrown off and we end up doing take-out more than I’d like to admit.

    1. Oh my goodness this is all such wonderful advice!! I am going to read this about five times! I like to use cookbooks, too. Agree on the Pinterest thing for sure! And definitely love that grace night! Thank you again!

  5. I use Blurb to turn our family’s personal blog into a family yearbook with all of our pictures from the year, and the great part is I just have to arrange and edit- my photos and text are already there! Working on my 8th book now, and also creating a separate book of my daughter’s first year- I’ve been super pleased with the quality of printing.

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