2014: A Year in Review

Happy New Year!!!!!

It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? I hope you’ve all had wonderful holidays, whatever you celebrate. December was a busy month for us – Jimmie’s new job got going full swing, I spent a week in Montana, we had our annual Tacky Sweater Party AND a board game night, my bestie got hitched, my other bestie is moving to Mississippi, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve….and probably a million other things I’m forgetting. It was a blast, but I’m kind of ready for things to slow down!

And honestly, I got a little burned out on blogging. I’d been writing so much, but it was starting to feel….superficial. I felt like I’d lost the sense of why I started doing this in the first place. I had a lot of product reviews, which was lots of fun, but wasn’t really making me feel like I was writing anything worthwhile. And I was starting to feel the pressure of posting three times a week. So I took some time away, thought about what I really wanted to do and write about, and what I didn’t. What I’ve come to is that I’m going to continue to write about anything and everything – but I’m not going to stress about how much or how often. And I’m going to do my best to make every post something I truly care about, and not just something I feel obligated to write about. Easy enough, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a look back. At the beginning of 2014, I set several goals for myself – I wasn’t willing to call them resolutions, though in a way that’s what some of them were. So how did I do?

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The whole thing, no walking.

Nope. Didn’t make it, though I did two 5Ks. I walked the majority of both of them, but that was perfectly fine.

Lose it!

Lose it!

Snort. Right.

Complete a Beachbody program, all the way through

Complete a Beachbody program, all the way through

So far, I’m on a roll. I didn’t do this either.

Continue my daily fitness challenge (now way past 100 days)

Continue my daily fitness challenge (now way past 100 days)

I made it to 260+ days, so I’ll count this as a WIN.

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(I’d go with daily, but let’s start with every other day to be reasonable)

YES! Though in the spirit of full disclosure, I just barely squeaked this one in. Proud flosser since December, but now I can’t stand not to do it….so yes. Completed.

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No excuses!

I didn’t get to this, but I’m not giving up. This year.

I'm going to knit one!

I’m going to knit one!

I didn’t make a hat, but I did make several really awesome scarves….and bow ties….and a case for my tablet. So this counts too. And I sort of learned how to knit in the round, so at least that’s progress.

Complete 10 projects off my DIY Pinterest Board

Complete 10 projects off my DIY Board

1. Knitter’s Ornament: I made this for Linda. It was supposed to be a Christmas present, but I got behind on my gift-giving, so it became a Happy New Year present instead! It was pretty easy, and I used toothpicks for the needles.

2. Paw Print Ornament: Zoe’s favorite color is purple, so of course her ornament had to be purple too. I didn’t buy Sculpy, and I probably should have. Whatever brand I got was hard as a rock and incredibly difficult to knead. I baked it as long as it said to, but I may go back and bake it longer…it seems a little too fragile still. Regardless, this was something that had been on my board for 2 years, so I’m happy I finally did it!  

3. Anthropologie Inspired Stamped Tea Towels: I used two separate tutorials, and liked things from both of them. I bought a super cute watering can stamp, some flour sack tea towels, and some green fabric paint. The towels were huge, so I ended up only doing one at first. It’s part of a late Christmas gift for Lydia.  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/217509856973008714/ and http://www.pinterest.com/pin/217509856977141307/

4. Wrapped iPhone Charger: This actually took me two tries. The first time, I was switching colors, which meant I had all these little knots. Then I figured out the whole waterfall method, where you just wrap the string and switch colors when you’re ready. Much easier. I didn’t cut my string long enough, unfortunately, so at the end I had to tie more in – which wasn’t pretty. And this took me probably 6 hours (not counting the time it took for the first try). All that said, I love the end result. 

5. Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner: Technically this is now on my Namaste board, but it started out on my DIY board, so it counts. I debated about this for a long time before deciding to make it. I was afraid it would hurt my mat. I thought it might be cheaper to buy it. I was lazy. I didn’t have essential oils, and didn’t want to buy them. Finally, I borrowed some lavender from a friend, and just made the stuff. And I’m so glad I did! This worked so well, my mat is super clean and smells great. I also figured out that it works on windows too – I figured I’d give it a try, and it’s better than glass cleaner! Streak free and cleans in seconds, and no nasty chemicals, so I’m not worried about the dogs pressing their faces on the glass. Definitely worth investing in some essential oils!

I actually think I got close on this one, because there were a couple other projects that I didn’t keep up with throughout the year. So we’ll count it as a win.

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A photo a day

I made it to October before I got tired of doing this. It was fun, but I quickly realized that it’s more valuable to take more pictures of events and moments than it is to take a selfie every single day. Though on the plus side, I now have an endless supply of Facebook profile photos.

Read 75 books

Read 75 books

Win! I read 80.

Keep a daily gratitude journal

Keep a daily gratitude journal

I didn’t do this at all. Of all my goals, this is probably the one I’m most sad about not meeting. And probably the one I needed to meet the most (except for maybe flossing).

Plant a veggie garden

Plant a veggie garden

Yup! And we had lots of yummy veggies too.

Try 20 recipes off my boards

Try 20 recipes off my boards

1. Parmesan Zucchini Crisps: These were really good, and pretty easy. I used bread crumbs on mine because I didn’t want to use as much parmesan as the recipe called for. I broiled them, and they turned out wonderfully. I’d recommend eating them all at once though – they didn’t store well (got really soggy in the fridge). 

2. Kale and Cabbage SoupThis was similar to a soup I made last year (Superhero Soup). I added tomatoes and used red potatoes. It was delicious! 

3. Crockpot Pork Loin with Apple, Honey, and Cinnamon: This was good, but I’m not sure I’d make it again. Or if I did, I’d definitely leave the cinnamon out, and probably try it with a milder apple. All I had was red delicious. I also added water even though the recipe said not to….no way was I going to put a pork loin in the crockpot all day without water! 

4. Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts: I haven’t been able to get enough of brussel sprouts lately, but I did want to try a new way to cook them. Not a huge fan. 

5. S’mores Crescent Rolls: I needed a quick and easy dessert recipe, and thankfully I had everything I needed for these on hand. They were super easy, and actually turned out pretty well. I didn’t go overboard on the chocolate chips, and I think that was a good thing… I can see how these would be way too rich if you put more than 7 or 8 chips in each one. They did kinda make a mess though, so I’d cook them on foil next time. The link doesn’t have the recipe, but you don’t need one – just bake them normally.

6. Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Pesto: This was surprisingly easy, and actually pretty good. I didn’t have fresh basil, which I bet would make it even better. I put tomatoes in mine too.

7. Turkey Stuffed Peppers: I’ve made stuffed peppers before, with so-so results. This recipe was delicious! I used ground chicken instead of ground turkey, and I really liked the taste. I did a mix of green and red peppers, and next time I think I’d just do red. They were sweeter than the green. Easy, yummy, and I had leftovers for days. And the rice/chicken mixture works really well in tacos (we had extra!).

8. Corned Beef and Cabbage: I modified this slightly, because I didn’t have any dark beer. I also added garlic and carrots. Turned out well, though really salty, and I’m not a fan of cabbage.

9. Healthy Shamrock Shake: Wellllll….so I’ve never had the original. I tried this, without the spinach because I didn’t have any, and I think I’m just not a fan of frozen banana. I tried once to make the frozen banana ice cream, and that was too much banana for me as well. If you can get past the banana, this is probably awesome.

10. Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic: This was a fairly easy recipe. I didn’t have mushrooms, so I skipped them. It was good – the chicken was super moist – but nothing special. I might or might not make it again, but I doubt I’d consider it a “go-to” recipe.

11. Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake: This was a really easy recipe, and I actually had everything I needed. I made it in a pie pan, and I didn’t bake it long enough because it was more like cookie mush. Tasted delicious though.

12. Greek Yogurt Egg Salad: Well, this wasn’t exactly my favorite. Healthier? I suppose. But the greek yogurt taste was really overpowering, and mine was pretty runny. I’d try it again, with less yogurt.

13. Quinoa Avocado Spinach Power Salad: Um, DELICIOUS. I forgot spinach, but I added cucumbers. This was amazing, and so filling. And so easy, and it transports really well.

14. Mango Salsa:  We had this over tilapia. Turned out really well, but made way more than I anticipated. I didn’t have a jalepeno, so I used a little chili lime rub.

15. Lemon Garlic Tilapia: Had this with the mango salsa. I’m generally not a huge Tilapia fan…it tends to be rubbery and gross. But this was actually really good! I’d consider making it again, though it took twice as long to cook as the recipe said.

16. Potatoes Baked in Chicken Broth: This was super easy, and turned out really well. I skipped the butter, and didn’t miss it at all. I used yukon gold potatoes, and added a little bit of barbecue rub (from Pampered Chef) instead of the garlic. They were delicious!

17. Asparagus with Feta and Lemon: Another easy one. I used lemon juice, and used way too much. Otherwise, it was good – loved the feta. Will definitely try again, with less lemon.

I’m calling this one done too, because I know I made it. Just got lazy in tracking.

Keep a memory jar

Keep a memory jar

We did this – and now we need to look at it. Oops.

So that was 2014. This year, I’ve decided to take a different approach. I have some things I want to do this year, but I’m not going to list them as goals or resolutions or whatever. I just know they’re things I want to accomplish. Many of them are on my Up In Smoke list. I also have my Reading Challenges. And so, I’ve decided to do a year of goals or mini-challenges. Each month, I’ll pick a couple of things to work on or accomplish. Each month, I’ll reward myself for meeting my goals. I may or may not post about them, but you can follow along on my progress by checking out my 2015 Monthly Goals page.

What are your plans for 2015? Great things, I hope!!

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2 comments

  1. You got a lot done in 2014! Awesome!

    I love that you also shared the things you meant to do, but didn’t get around to. I think we’re all in the same boat with that one!

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