Happy 2018!

2018 Goals (Plus a Recap of 2017)

2018 Goals

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but by the time the new year rolls around, I’m ready for it. All of the glittery, pine-needle-y Christmas decor aside, the cream cheese in everything and the copious amounts of pork products that I consume every year between the month of November and December, by the time January 1 is here, I’m ready to start anew.


I’ve been thinking a lot about goals. Somehow, I spent the first 42 years of my life not really setting goals. This is not to say that I was a slacker, but it just never occurred to me to actively work toward something. I’ve been a bit of a “fly by the seat of my pants,” gal for as long as I can remember. Just this past year, I started setting goals. Some, admittedly so, were a touch too lofty so then I figured out how to set more realistic, attainable goals and that has carried me through the past year. In fact, every Sunday, I sit down and write out weekly goals for myself. These goals often look like this:

–Clean out one drawer

–Make doctor’s appointment

–sweep bathroom

–write 3 articles a day


By making my goals bite-sized, I’m able to get them done and they keep me on task.

So, with all of this goal-thinking that I’ve been doing, I decided to go back and revisit my 2017 goals that I posted here last year. Turns out? I accomplished most of them and am building upon those successes as I work on my 2018 goals.

In 2017 I dropped the ball on this blog completely, but it was for good reason. You see, late in 2016, I decided that I wanted to write more and then in May of 2017–low and behold–I took on a job that requires me to write a whole bunch. I’m currently a staff writer for a successful website and magazine and am managing advertising accounts for about half a dozen or so clients–writing sponsored pieces for them. It has been completely overwhelming and delightful and I’ve found my rhythm and I’m getting it done and it’s mine–all mine and I’m proud of my work–and, I’ve gotten to meet some cool people and do some interesting stuff. I even did a Grape Stomp at a winery. Who’d’ve thunk, that a non-drinker would end up doing something like this?

Grape Stomp

In 2018, I’m hopeful that I can pick up the ball on this blog and post here with more frequency. At the end of the day, I’m completely out of words to say but when I take the time to sit here and write, it comes so easy. This is such a casual way to write–different from my other writing–and it’s really effortless when I just take the time to do it. And, in 2018, I’m going to take the time to do it again.

Camp Gladiator

One of my personal goals for 2017 was to get into a workout schedule again. It took me awhile to find what I was looking for, but in September of 2017, I tried Camp Gladiator and fell hard for it. It’s the perfect fit for me. I use that one hour, several days a week to disconnect from the emails awaiting me, the grocery shopping that needs to be done and the chatter in my head and just focus on moving. I love it so much that I’m sending Kevin to “camp” for the month of January with me. I hope he loves it as much as I do.

I failed miserably on one of my family goals for 2017, which was to get my kids to eat better. They’re just horrible eaters and I’ve thrown wooden spoons and flounced off to my bedroom in tears more times than I can count in 2017 when they wouldn’t eat something that I was just sure would finally be the magical thing that they’d like and was healthy. I’m not going to lie: I don’t even think I’m going to make this a goal again in 2018, because I’m just setting myself up for failure (and a severe “Mommy Dearest” moment on the regular).

BUT! Another goal in 2017 was to find a church and we did! So, a goal for 2018 is for me to get more involved in our church. After almost a year of going regularly, I’ve managed to fly just under the radar for the most part (while, Kevin actually joined the band at church and is up to his eyeballs in church involvement right now) but this is the year that I’m joining a committee or two and reaching out a bit more to make connections.

Santa Fe

Another goal for 2017 was to go away with Kevin once a year and in November of 2017 we went to Santa Fe and had a delightful time. This was our first long road trip to take together in 20 years of being in a relationship. It was fun and refreshing to realize that I still really like this person.

I had some cleaning goals for 2017 that I did pretty decently on. This year, I established a few routines that really helped keep things in control around here. The main one that’s worked well for me is with laundry. On Mondays, I do Jack’s laundry–no matter how much or how little he has in his dirty clothes basket. On Tuesdays, it’s Anna’s laundry day. On Wednesdays, I strip all beds and wash the sheets and towels. Thursdays are for mine and Kevin’s clothes and Fridays are for whatever else needs to be washed (blankets from our couches, kitchen towels, etc). This method keeps it all very much on schedule and no one is complaining that they’ve run out of clean underwear.

In 2018 I do want to get my nutrition back in check. I’ve never felt better than when I cut out dairy and I feel like that’s in order again–especially after all of the aforementioned cream cheese consumption over the past month or so. So, cutting out dairy (exception: queso occasionally) is my main focus but also limiting sugar and just generally not treating my mouth like a rubbish bin.

One last goal for 2018 is to cultivate deeper relationships. I’ve met a few people in the past couple of years who are “my people.” I’m going to focus more on nurturing those friendships and seeking out similar ones. I’m thinking of instituting a regular coffee meet-up. Just putting it on the calendar one day a month with the premise that no one shall clean their homes or do anything special to prepare for this event. Hopefully I can pull this off.

It’s good to be back. I’m hopeful that 2018 will be a year that I spend more time sharing things here. I’d love to hear any ideas for topics that you’d be interested in reading as well.

Happy 2018!
Sparkling apple cider for all


Happy 2018!

5 things I get done before 7 a.m.

My weekday mornings begin early…I mean real early, girl.

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. This is partly because I have to get my kids to the bus stop early and I need a few moments to collect myself before they wake up for the day.

Here’s what my average Monday through Friday mornings look like during the school year. All of these things happen before 7 a.m.:

1: Upon getting out of bed, I’m immediately met by 5 (6, if you count the fish too, who’s not pictured) hungry–obviously malnourished–pets, on the brink of starvation. They get fed first because they’re loud until they’re fed. Who owns who?

2: Before I do anything else, I take my multivitamin. I LOVE this multivitamin because it’s a liquid and it tastes divine (peach mango flavor). As soon as this stuff hits my system, I feel like I can take on the world. For real. I buy it from my local holistic health care practitioner, but Amazon sells it too. Link HERE

3: Next up, coffee. In between the vitamin and coffee, I guzzle a glass of apple cider vinegar/lemon water. By then, my coffee is cool enough to drink. I got Kevin this coffeemaker for Christmas and we love it. Turns out that, when you have a 12 year old coffeemaker, you’re drinking some shitty-ass coffee and you might not even realize it. This new coffeemaker has upped our coffee game considerably. Link to coffeemaker HERE

This photo was taken one morning last week when it was particularly cold here. Tino was questioning my bus stop wardrobe judgement.


A few things happen between coffee and taking the kids to the bus stop. Actually, a lot more than a few: I empty the dishwasher, do my blog reading, make breakfast for the kids and assemble lunches for the kids (they make their lunches the night before, but I pack everything into their lunch boxes for them in the morning). None of these things are particularly photo-worthy though…

4: After all of that, it’s time to go to the school bus stop at the end of our street. The bus comes at 6:30 a.m.–which is stupid early, but when my kids ride the bus, it saves me from making the 20 mile (roundtrip) drive to their school, which takes about an hour out of my day. The kids like riding the bus–it’s social hour for them–so that makes it easier.

5: As soon as I get home from the bus stop, I make all of the beds in the house (provided that my husband is up already–sometimes he’s not and so I passive-aggressively slam bathroom cabinets and turn on lights around him to show my jealousy and remorse that he gets to sleep later than me). #supermaturewife #alsowelladjusted

To be fair, I enjoy getting up early. I need quiet time to myself in the mornings to prepare for my day ahead. I don’t think that I could function as well if I had to start all of my “mothering duties” the minute that my feet hit the floor. So, this is what works for me and my family. 

What about you? What things do you get accomplished in the morning? 

This post contains affiliate links, which help to support the maintenance and upkeep of this blog. 

Happy 2018!

2017 goals

I’m an action-oriented, list-making type of person, so I enjoy the beginning of a new year and all of the promise and potential that it holds. I’ve never really been a resolution-maker but lately, I’ve grown accustomed to setting some goals and intentions for myself at the beginning of the year. 

This year, I have some goals and I thought I’d share them here, in the hopes that they’ll inspire you and also hold me accountable.

Without further ado, here are my goals for 2017…

Continue reading “2017 goals”

Happy 2018!

5 ways to spoil overnight guests


…during the holidays and beyond.

Disclosure time: I consider myself a darn good host but I haven’t always been. It’s taken me years and years to perfect the art of making my house guests comfortable in my home. Let’s just say that there were some incidents, early in my hosting, that maybe involved a moldy coffeepot and cat pee on the bed. But, enough of that…

Continue reading “5 ways to spoil overnight guests”

Happy 2018!

A sober holiday gift guide

Sober gift guide

This time of the year, alcohol is front and center–have you noticed?

Whether it’s the assumption of alcohol-fueled festivities or the giving of every kind of alcohol (and alcohol accessory) as a gift, for a non-drinker, it can feel as though the cards are stacked against you when trying to find a gift that doesn’t involve alcohol.

Let’s face it: giving alcohol as a gift is sometimes a no-brainer. Who doesn’t want to receive a nice bottle of something? A person who doesn’t drink–that’s who.

From elaborate wine bags for gifting bottles of wine, to gift sets that include flasks, martini shakers and fancy glasses–at every turn, all you see are alcohol-themed gifts–many of them making light of alcohol abuse.


Hilarious to some, but a stark reality to many.

Now, (this is disputable to be sure) I’m not a fuddy-duddy AND–get this–I’ve even been known to give alcohol as a gift since I’ve been sober, but it can also feel very daunting to think of a gift to give a non-drinker this time of year when you’d rather encourage healthy habits. Also, if you’re newly sober and trying to find gifts to give to your friends and family who do drink alcohol, you certainly wouldn’t want to trigger your own demons by going on a shopping spree at the local liquor store in order to make your friends and family happy.

So, to help you, I’ve compiled a few gift ideas for non-drinkers that will delight everyone on your list–drinkers or not.





1: Teavana

Maybe, like me, you’ve passed Teavana in your local mall or shopping area. It’s a quaint, adorable shop that smells lovely–like the most fragrant teas on the planet. Maybe, (also like me) you’ve thought, “What a bizarre thing to sell in the mall.” In my opinion, there isn’t anything wrong with buying your tea–you know…like the rest of the country–in your local grocery store. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little Celestial Seasonings, amIright?

So, when I visited my dear friend this fall and she pulled out her collection of beautiful Teavana tins, full of the most lovely-smelling herbal teas I’d every sniffed, I opened my eyes to Teavana (and ended up leaving her city with a nice supply of newly-purchased Teavana teas to take home with me).

The best holiday gifts are those that the recipient might not buy for themselves and Teavana definitely fits this bill. Their teas feel decadent and the packaging is beautiful.

2: Erin Condren planner

I know that once I got sober, I really craved lots of order and planning-ahead in my life. I liked to feel like I was in control of my life (in every aspect). One thing that I did right away was buy a planner and got my life in order. I still live and die by my calendar/planner, despite my husband’s head-scratching over why I won’t just embrace Google Calendar for once and for all.

Erin Condren makes a lovely, personalized planner that you can “pimp out” with all kinds of add-ons and stickers. It’s a bit pricey, so that really makes it a lovely gift for someone who might not want to spend that kind of money on themselves. Plus, if it’s a gift that they end up enjoying, you’ve got a built-in gift for next year as well.

3: Art Naturals Essential Oil Diffuser 

Essential oils are everywhere these days. Just ask any oil aficionado and they’ll give you a “recipe” for which oils to diffuse, given any obstacle. Apparently, there’s even an oil blend for sobriety.

An Essential Oil Diffuser and some essential oils are a brilliant gift to give someone who needs a little clarity, relaxation and peace in their life.

4: Spotify

I love music and music has gotten me through some rough patches in my life for sure. But, do you know that I still won’t pay for Spotify and instead suffer through the annoying ads every 30 minutes? How nice would it be to give someone the gift of a Spotify membership?

5: Cook Smarts

You know how I feel about Cook Smarts. Did you know that you can gift someone with a subscription to their meal planning service? What a wonderful gift for someone who’s interested in cooking more in the New Year but is intimidated by meal planning and cooking techniques.

Cook Smarts also has a fabulous 2017 Cook Smarts Calendar. It’s like gifting 13 beautifully designed, colorful cooking lessons for less than $12.00! This calendar would be lovely stand-alone gift, or a really nice add-on (and something to wrap up) to give along with a Cook Smarts subscription.

6: Momma Strong

I’ve talked about my love for Momma Strong here before. It’s an efficient, personalized workout, geared toward moms (but anyone can do it). There are varying degrees of difficulty, so even someone who is new to working out can feel stronger after doing one of the Momma Strong workouts. And, at only $2 a month, you can give your sober friend a great jump start on good health in the New Year.

Now, go forth and shop–knowing that, whether you’re a non-drinker or buying for a non-drinker, you’re giving the gift of health, clarity and love this Holiday season. 


Happy 2018!

What I did this weekend

…and why you should do it soon too.

What I did this weekend

(Also knowns as, “The latest installment of: ‘Jenny is bossy and thinks she knows what’s best for you.‘”)

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my favorite time of year. Once we get beyond Halloween, I get way too excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a toss-up as to which holiday I love more: Turkey Day or Christmas. 

I love Thanksgiving for so many reasons…namely, the food, the fellowship but also the unofficial start of the Christmas season. There’s nothing that gets me more excited than seeing the Rockettes kick to a Christmas Carol in their velvety Santa dresses during the Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade. 

The Rockettes
The Rockettes

Another thing that I love about the holiday season is “nesting”. We stick close to home, baking and hosting friends and family. It’s the one time of the year that my oven is preheating several times a day and I keep a ridiculous stock of cream cheese and refrigerated crescent rolls on hand at all times, to throw together an appetizer or dessert in a pinch, if the opportunity for a get together presents itself. (Some favorite recipes HERE and HERE)

Continue reading “What I did this weekend”

Happy 2018!

4 things that I do every Sunday


Every Sunday, I have a few things that I do. I’ve found that, by doing these few things every week, I can set myself (and my family) up for a successful, organized week ahead. For the most part, we lie-low on Sundays but Kevin and I each set aside a little time to plan our weeks and talk with each other about things going on in the week ahead that would affect one another.

Weekly planning


Every Sunday, I sit down with my calendar and plan the upcoming week. I include the big things (doctor appointments, after-school activities, birthday parties) but also the little things (vacuum stairs, buy cat food). I also like to set some goals and intentions for myself for the week ahead. Some weeks these goals and intentions are lofty as shit. Sometimes, they’re anemic, puny and sad, but I feel like it’s important to have goals to keep me on track.

Meal Planning

Along with my weekly planning, I also plan our meals for the week. Most weeks, now that the school year is rolling, we have a few days out of the week where we’re gone at dinnertime, so I really only need to cook a few times a week. I use Cook Smarts (see my post about it in my Friday Favorites here) for menu planning. Every week, we’re trying new foods and pushing ourselves out of our culinary comfort zone.

Cook Smarts grocery list

Purse Clean-Out:

I clean out my purse. If I can stay on top of the mess inside my purse, it doesn’t get as far out of control. So, every Sunday, I try to quickly dump it all out, throw away receipts that I don’t need and other assorted trash that’s been thrown in there throughout the week. (At what age, about, do kids stop using mom’s purse as a trashcan?) I also dump out about 1/3 of my change purse into our “coin bucket” every week. We use (primarily) a cash system, so I accumulate lots of change taking up space and adding weight to my purse.

I clean out the refrigerator

Ok…truth serum time:

This is a lie, friends. But, I really, really, really want to get into the habit of cleaning out the fridge every Sunday. You see though, I hate cleaning out the fridge. Like, I’ll do every other chore in the house over cleaning out the fridge. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when my fridge is cleaned out, tidy, wiped-down and is organized like some super-rich rapper’s fridge on MTV Cribs (is that show even still on?) but I really hate doing it. The few times that I have managed to clean it out on Sunday, it’s been wonderful to start the week with a clean fridge and with a firm mental inventory of what we have, what we need, etc before I head to the grocery store.

Tell us a little about your routines…do you have a special Sunday routine too?