The Power of Three and New Year’s Resolutions

When I was a stay-at-home mom, I used to make long to-do lists – 10 items at least. I would get so frustrated because I could never get them all done. Usually, I only crossed off a few of them. I felt like a failure. I mean, I’m home ALL day – I should be able to get more done. Since then, I learned that I wasn’t a failure. My list was just too long. Ten is not the magic number. Three is.

Three is manageable. Three pushes me a little, but not so much that I give up. Three helps me focus better and accomplish the most important things.

So, with that introduction, I’ve chosen three broad goals for 2014.

  1. Health
  2. Home
  3. Happiness

Why these three?

  1. Well, for the past 10 years, I guess, I’ve wrestled with fibromyalgia. Add to this a love of (addiction to) sugar and a recent switch from stay-at-home mom to sedentary accountant. What do you get? Fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and an extra 30 lbs.
  2. I have my dream home – a little, 1916 farmhouse with nary a picture on the wall and little space for accumulating things. I’ve also noticed that when I’m organized at home, everyone’s day runs more smoothly.
  3. The first two goals started with ‘H’ and really, who couldn’t use more happiness?

I’m planning on sharing what works for me as I work on these goals during the year. I’d love to read your great ideas, too, so feel free to share.

Happy New Year!

-Jennifer

 

 

 

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5 Uses for Canning Jars

About a month or so ago at the Farmer’s Market, peaches were in season. I have been craving my mom’s canned peaches for a few years now, so on a whim I bought a box. I called my mom who agreed to come over and help me can them. I had already purchased jar lids and rings earlier, so all I needed to do was grab some pint jars from the barn. I have boxes and boxes of jars that I inherited from my mom and have never once used them.

I dumped out the bugs and loaded up the dishwasher while I waited for my mom to arrive. It didn’t take long for her to assess the situation. (I didn’t think I even had a ‘situation’ until she got here.) First, she glanced at my box of peaches and asked where the other boxes were. I told her that she was looking at it. (I didn’t want to be overzealous and all.) Then she took a close look at the fruit. She informed me that the peaches I bought were very ripe and wouldn’t can well. They needed to be more firm. Actually, she said the person who sold the peaches to me should be ashamed of themselves which just made me laugh. I could picture my mom giving the peach seller a serious talking to. 🙂

So what do you do when you have a box of overly ripe peaches and lots of canning jars unwrapped from storage? Well, you start slicing peaches to make a cobbler then you freeze the rest.

I’ve come up with a number of uses for the jars because I was too lazy to rewrap and store them again.

 

Use #1 – drinking glasses

I swore when we moved that I saw a brand new box of glasses, so I refuse to buy any.

Use #2 – store bulk nuts

I think I should make some granola.

Use #3 – store food from opened containers that don’t reseal well

Use #4 – store homemade pancake syrup

Brown sugar, powdered sugar, cornmeal, syrup

Use #5 – store bathroom supplies

I’m not sure if my husband likes it when I organize his stuff or not.

 

I suppose you could can peaches in them, but these ideas are much easier to implement.

 

 

Grab and Go

I have been noticing lately how something as basic as food can make such a huge difference in my family’s life. As I mentioned in my last post, the lack of nutritious meals the week before really took it’s toll on me physically. I also noticed a lack of peace in my home. I spent time last Saturday taking an honest look at how I like to eat and how much effort I want to put into it.

This is what I finally realized. I’m a ‘grab and go’ eater. I try to pack a lunch to take to work, but I noticed that I’m the most successful when I can just grab items from the refrigerator or cupboard, toss them in a bag, and go to work. I also noticed that I have definite times when I’m hungry, and if there’s nothing easy and nutritious available, I’ll eat whatever is handiest. If that means leftover Girl Scout cookies at the office, so be it.

This past week I focused on preparing lunch and snack foods in advance for the week. I bought a couple of Rubbermaid food storage sets on sale at Fred Meyer and was ready to start cooking on Sunday afternoon. Here are some of the foods I made:

Yogurt Smoothies – made a double batch; frozen in serving size containers

Grilled chicken – sliced what was leftover from dinner and frozen in serving sizes

Grilled sirloin steak – sliced in serving sizes and frozen

Whole almonds – divided into serving sizes

I bought a lot of fruit, too.

The verdict? I ate much less junk. I was able to toss food into my lunch bag without too much thought. A couple of times for dinner we had what I call Random. It’s my lame way of turning “I didn’t make dinner :(” into “Everyone gets to make whatever they want tonight! :)”. It works fine as long as I only do it about once a week. Anyway, for my Random dinner I was able to simply grab some cooked, sliced meat from the freezer, thaw it out for two minutes, and eat. Add some fresh fruit and I was good to go. Not ideal, but better than eating five bowls of Corn Pops.

The meal plan my husband and I made worked out well, too. With a house full of teenagers, it’s difficult to get everyone in the same room at the same time, but we had dinner together a few times together last week. That’s a big improvement for us.

Baby steps.