Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2015 Goals

I actually look forward to writing these posts each month!  Not only do they keep me accountable, but they've been really motivating in working towards my big-picture goals for the year.  This has become one of my favorite parts of blogging - I hope y'all are enjoying them too!

Remember, you can check out my overall yearly goals here.  (And a note: if you don't see me actually write down a past goal that I haven't accomplished, just know that I'm still working towards it.)

Let's take a look at how my February goals worked out:

1.  Work out at least 3 hours a week.  B-: Meh - I didn't do a great job of this one honestly.  It's been a really hectic month...we were out of town for a week because of Noah's grandmother, and we've been working on packing for the past week.  Maybe next month on this one.

2.  Only make one big trip to the grocery store.  A: I actually did this!  Maybe the second week of the month, I planned out 10 bigger meals and grocery shopped for just those.  We've had to make a couple of little touch-up trips (mostly for essentials, like milk and eggs), but we did it.  We did have to get a little bit creative sometimes.  Will I do it again? Not anytime soon.  But it cleaned out a lot of the weird, random things in our pantry before the move and saved a little bit of money in the process!

3.  Clean out a lot of the things we no longer need as I pack up the house. A: I'm really proud of the progress we've made in this department.  Emma Ramey stayed with my parents a couple of weekends ago, so we spent the entire time purging the things we don't need or use anymore.  We threw away 8 (EIGHT!) trash bags of things that were damaged, broken, or just too old to donate.  I've got a few bags of clothes I'd like to either sell or donate, and I'm hoping to have time to deal with those next month.

4.  Start an account dedicated to our home downpayment. D-: I don't think we did this.  We've continued to save what we could, but I don't think we actually opened an account for the savings.  Whoops.

5.  Continue working down the credit cards. B: Last week, we were able to make a pretty big payment on one of the cards.  Not quite the progress I would like to have seen, but we had a couple of big (necessary) purchases last month, and we had to put in our security deposit for our new rental.  We'll keep on truckin' in this department.

Alright, here's what I'll be up to this month!

1.  Start (and stick to) Weight Watchers.  I've really been pleased with the way I've felt since switching over to more whole foods in our everyday diet, but I haven't quite seen the progress on the scale I'd like to.  I know this is partially because of not working out like I should - I'm going to concentrate on that some this month.  But, Weight Watchers was running a special last week that, if you lose 10 pounds within 2 months, they will refund your cost of membership for those 2 months.  That was enough to sucker me in.  I've done Weight Watchers in the past and had great success, and I thought just getting that $40 back might be enough of a motivation for me to kick it into gear!  So, starting today, I'll be sticking to Weight Watchers for at least the next couple of months.

I was also really pleased to find that eMeals has a Weight Watchers plan - sort of.  Their Portion Control plan lists the PP Values of each serving for each recipe.  Plus, this one lists the prices of your foods on the weekly shopping list (the Clean Eating plan doesn't), and it's very similar to the Clean Eating plan as far as using whole/fresh foods.  So I'll be switching over to that one this month!

2.  Create a place for everything in our new home.  Many of you know we moved this past weekend (pictures to come, once it doesn't look like a tornado of moving supplies has ripped through the place! :)).  I've vowed to start of organized in this home and continue it while we're there - so that's a huge goal for this month. As I unpack, I'd like to keep asking myself "do we need this?" If so, I want to have a dedicated, organized place for it.  I've got a whole post coming soon on my decluttering/organizing process, because I've got a lot of thoughts about it.  I've become a little bit of an organizing fool! :)

3.  Sell/donate items that we don't need, but that somebody else could use.  Like I mentioned, I've got a few bags of clothes and several random home items that I just don't think we need anymore.  I want to take time this month to sort through those and distribute accordingly.

4.  Try to shop weekly this month.  I know I'm going to the other extreme as far as grocery shopping vs. last month on this one. :)  I just want to try something new - maybe shopping for only 4-5 meals or so per week (because between leftovers and eating out, that's really all I cook), and going weekly.  I'm honestly undecided on whether or not I'm going to like 1 big shopping trip or 4 little ones, but I want to find out!  Maybe this way, some of our produce won't go bad before eating it, and we can shave the budget down that way.

5.  If we must eat at a restaurant, only use gift cards.  Somehow, we have accumulated a ton of restaurant gift cards.  I'm not going to say that we're not going to eat at a restaurant at all this month...that's unreasonable for us.  But, in my effort to use our supplies more intentionally, I'd like to get rid of some of those gift cards (and put the money we would have used for the bill towards our downpayment/credit card fund).

Friday, February 27, 2015

My Favorite Kitchen Essentials

As we're packing up the house and getting rid of items we don't use anymore, I've really been thinking about what I actually need in the kitchen (vs. all of the stuff that is never used and takes up space).  We've paired down some of our items, but the ones I've listed below have become absolute staples in my kitchen essential collection!

Of course I have other items that I still use and love, but I use all of these products the most and, if I had the whole wedding registry thing to do all over again, these are the items I would most recommend.

Great list of kitchen items if you're planning a wedding registry!

Kitchen Aid Non-Slip Cutting Boards - I think, of anything that Noah and I put on our registry when we got married, this is the item that I've used the most.  These are incredibly durable and no-slip, which is just a must in my opinion.

Easy Grip Apple Slicer - You wouldn't think you'd get too much use out of this one, but you'd be surprised how much it is needed!  We use ours at least a few times a week, especially with Emma Ramey around.  It makes slicing apples so easy!

Kitchen Aid Classic Mixing Bowls - This is another absolute favorite from our wedding registry.  They are my go-to when I need a larger bowl around the kitchen.  Not super expensive, and they're pretty durable!

Ninja Pulse Blender - This is one of our newer kitchen additions, but it has definitely become one of the most used items.  It will blend anything.  An.E.Thing.  We had the basic model for years and just upgraded at Christmas.  Highly recommended if you like smoothies or shakes!

Rubbermaid 42-Piece Easy Find Lid Storage Set - No kidding, we probably use these at least once a day around here.  For the price, they've really held up amazingly well, and they come in a ton of sizes.  I'm just now replacing the set we've had for several years. There was a version that wasn't as well-made not long ago that I wouldn't recommend, but the version I have linked above appears to be the ones we love so much.

Soda Stream - This might be one that some people don't find very useful, but I love ours!  I have really tried to drink more water this year, and this gadget has helped so much with that.  There are so many different flavors and options available that end up being much cheaper than buying pre-made sodas!  You also have the option of using natural flavorings, and I've even used powdered Crystal Light-type mixes before.

Silicone Spatula Set - Rachael Ray is actually the person I can credit with this find.  These are so versatile in the kitchen.  They will scrape food of the sides of a pan/bowl so easily and they are so durable in any temperature of food!

Ronco Knife Set - We've had this set for my opinion, the best knives you can find for the price.  They stay sharp and really suit what I need as just an everyday cook for my family.  Nothing fancy, but if you're not a professional chef, these will do!

KitchenAid Tool and Gadget Set - Another favorite from our wedding registry.  If you cook at all, you will need these items!  They're really well-made too.

Keurig 2.0 - I'll be honest here: while we do use this every day, we kind of like the older Keurig model more.  This one is a little fussy (you have to have approved K-cups, you have to hold down the button when dispensing water for tea, etc.), but if you're looking for a model with all of the bells and whistles, this is it!  And it is much prettier than the older model. :)

Pyrex Set - This is one that all of the older ladies will tell you "has" to be on your registry - and you really will need it honestly.  I use this and my Corningware set almost every time I cook.  They last forever as long as you're careful!

Toaster Oven - This is one of my favorite kitchen "hacks!" Instead of warming up your whole oven just to cook one dish, use this instead and save on that energy bill.  The one we have has a temperature and timer control, as well as bake & toast options.  Yes, it takes up a little bit of space on your counter, but it's worth it in my opinion.

Any other gadgets I'm missing?
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Create It Thursday #95 (Plus Features)

Thanks so much for stopping by this week's Create It Thursday!  Hope y'all are ready for a ton of great creations - I know I am!

I absolutely loved the ideas you guys shared last week.  Here are a few of my favorites! You can also find these on the Lamberts Lately Facebook page and the Create It Thursday Pinterest board.

Now let's get going on this week's party!
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Life Catch-Up

Hi friends.  Still here, promise.  But has been a doozie the past week or two.

Valentine's week really was a lot of fun.  Emmie was a huge fan of Valentine's Day (and yes, she's still requesting a "picshuh" every morning...see gallery above).  She loved getting Valentines and telling us "Happy Balemtimes Day!" about a hundred times (even up until last week).  

This girl's always up for a party, and her school "Balemtimes" party was no exception!

Our Valentine's morning started out great...I woke up to doughnuts, Starbucks, and a balloon from my two loves.

Oh...but then, the fun started. :) I officially kicked off our 2015 move that afternoon.  Do you know how quickly moving snowballs when you start digging through all of the crap unused items you've forgotten about?  It's out of control y'all.  We're really making it a priority to scale down with this move.  I spent a good chunk of last Saturday throwing out and organizing.  I want to get off to a great start with this house!

See those feet to the left of the picture? Those belong to my husband, who we were pretty sure had the flu as of Saturday afternoon.  He had the whole nine yards - fever, chills, aches, cough.  And it came on so quickly.  But, amazingly, he recovered just as quickly as he got sick...thank goodness!

Noah had President's day off, so we spent it really trying to organize/purge/pack...but then we got the call that his grandmother had passed away.  That changed our week pretty quickly. We headed to Clanton, AL Wednesday night to be with his family.  We were there until Friday morning.

If anything good came of the situation, it was that my parents got to keep Emma Ramey for the weekend (we travel through Tuscaloosa to get to Clanton).  She stayed with them from Friday through Sunday.  We got a change to purge a ton of junk (8 trash bags full!) and get a little bit of packing done.

We picked up our keys to the new place this weekend!  We move in next weekend, though we'll start moving things in later in the week.  I am beyond excited!

So we're here...not very interesting or glamorous right now, but we're here. :) I'm hoping to show off the new digs soon...I've got a few little things to buy/make, but I'm loving how it's coming together.  I keep saying that one day life is going to slow down enough to fit in everything I want to do in a day.  I've been saying that for two years now. :)
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