Thursday, December 27, 2018

18 for 2018 Evaluation

1. Write Daily
While I was hoping this would turn into a novel, I did write something most days. I blogged, I wrote actual Instagram captions, I plotted several novels. I would call this a 50% Completion.

2. Learn German
75% Completion.For most of the year, I did a daily German lesson using Duolingo. I learned a lot of German! But in September, I realized that I had hit the limit of my ability to learn a language and quit because, well, it wasn't fun anymore.

3. Use a Daily Gratitude Journal
100% Completion. I do this every morning and I love it and I have added it to my 19 for 2019.

4. Use a Daily One-Sentence Journal.
100% Completion. Again, I do this every morning and I love it. It is part of my 19 for 2019.

5. Make a go of my blog.
80% Completion. I need to be better at my posting schedule, but I love writing this. I also want to make sure I'm not phoning it in, because the blogs I enjoy the most are the ones that seem genuine.

6. Become a travel agent.
100% Completion. I earned this badge in July, when I completed my training. I can't wait to see what 2019 will bring to me and my travel business!

7. Daily Devotional.
90% Completion. I do this most mornings and I love it. It is also part of my 19 for 2019.

8. Read 60 Books.
87% Completion. I should finish this year at either 52 or 53 books, so I ALMOST made it. In 2019, I will do another reading challenge...and I'm upping the ante.

9. Buy a Shed.
100% Completion. I love my shed. It is useful and cute, but I want to purge it and the house again....

10. Adopt.
5% Completion. This is one of the big things for my 19 for 2019. This is a goal that just seems so overwhelming and hard. I'm really hopeful I can mark this done by this time next year.

11. Create my perfect planner.
100% Completion. I really thought I would be designing and printing my own printer, but I learned more about the tools out there for planners and was able to modify an Erin Condren Life Planner to fit my needs perfectly!

12. Email Updates to Family and Friends.
25% Completion. I'm not really even sure what happened to this one. It just fell off my radar.

13. Travel to a New Place
100% Completion. We went to Destin, Florida for our big vacation this year in August. It was lovely. I LOVED the beach, but didn't really like Destin...

14. Complete 2 Whole 30s (Substituted 100 Days to Destin)
100% Completion. I realized after a few mis-starts that doing it alone was not going to work for me, so I made a plan for the 100 Days leading up to our vacation and incorporated better eating choices and exercise.

15. Workout 2-3 Times per Week
100% Completion. This took some time to ramp up to, but now, I am walking about 30 minutes every single day...Thank you Ellie

16. Remodel Bathroom
100% Completion. In August and September, we completed the bathroom and I love it! I can't wait to start the next bathroom!

17. New Bedroom Flooring
On Hold. We decided to do this after we do the second bathroom in our master suite, because it didn't make sense to get new carpeting and then have contractors dragging debris and materials through the room.

18. New Kitchen Flooring
On Hold. This one turned into an issue getting on the contractors schedule before the holidays.


I love this project so very much! I am so excited to start my 19 for 2019! This list was like a beacon that kept me on track for the year. I honestly feel like I accomplished so many more things than I have ever accomplished in my personal life.

What's to Come?
Friday-Weekly Menu
Monday-Word of the Year Evaluation
Tuesday-2019 Word of the Year Reveal
Wednesday-19 for 2019 Reveal
Thursday-Housewife Life: When do you stop celebrating Christmas?
Friday-Weekly Menu

How was your year???

Monday, December 24, 2018

Motivational Monday: All is calm, all is bright

All across the world, Christians are preparing their hearts and their homes to celebrate the happiest of miracles, the birth of Jesus.

This is just a simple reminder from me to stop and enjoy the moment. Savor the food, the laughter and the cheer.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: 7 Days to Go!

Its go time!

This is the time to dig in and get it done. Bake, Cook, Shop, Wrap, and Enjoy everything.

A few things to note...

The deadline to ship packages via USPS to (hopefully) get them in time for Christmas is December 20.

Remember to do grocery pick-up for your groceries to avoid the craziness of the grocery store...seriously, avoid that if possible.

And have fun! What ever happens is going to be good enough. I'm 99% sure that whatever you are obsessing over is not something your family will remember in 10 years. Having fun is of the utmost importance!

Merry Christmas Friends!

What are your Christmas Traditions? Share below!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Motivational Monday: Do What You Have To Do

"Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do." - Oprah Winfrey

When I was growing up, watching Oprah after school was just a way of life. She had the best guests, the best message and the best personal story. Everyone wanted to go to an Oprah show taping and everyone wanted Oprah's life.

She showed us that hard work, determination, and unending faith can end in great rewards.

The goal in life is to work hard so that at some point, you can do what you want to do. Nothing comes easily and nothing is handed out. But with faith, hard work and determination, the hope is that at some point, you can do what you want to do with you life.

What do you want to do in life?

My dream is to be financially free, to be able to travel the world and to spend time with my family.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Christmas Cookies with Jennie: Soft Ginger Cookies

I'm trying new cookies this year! Last week was an old favorite, but this week, I wanted to try something new and different (for us anyway). So, I chose the Soft Ginger Cookies from the Better Homes and Gardens Best of Christmas Cookie magazine.

The recipe calls for molasses, which is something I haven't used before and I have to smells. As for the rest of the recipe, it was a super easy, very basic recipe. I didn't even find the need to chill the dough before I rolled out the cookies.

Now, I couldn't find the exact recipe, but this recipe, minus the raisins, is the same recipe.

Best of luck! Follow me on Instagram for all of my baking craziness this week!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: 13 Days to Go!

Shopping is so much harder than I thought it would be. But I have received my Christmas cards and all of the pieces of it (return address labels, Christmas letter, picture insert) and we are finished decorating (for now, we might add ornaments to the tree after we see how Ellie handles the tree itself). We got the tree this weekend and I love it. I switched to white lights this year and I think I do love them............

For the next week, the priorities are still the same.

1. Continue shopping. If you have gifts you need to ship, those are a top priority this week so you can get those shipped ahead of the deadline.

2. Wrap as you go (if you can) so it doesn't pile up and turn into a happiness buster.

3. Get those cards out.

4. And continue enjoying the season. Listen to Christmas music, enjoy the Christmas lights, have some Christmas cookies.

What are your favorite Christmas cookies? Share below!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Motivational Monday: You are Powerful

"Note to Self: The world needs you to show up today."

I found that quote on a print from and it really struck a cord with me. The quote goes on, but this is my focus.

Sometimes, as a stay at home wife, it is easy to feel invisible. Like what you are doing doesn't matter. But the truth of the matter is that it does matter. Even though we aren't in the workplace, everything we do contributes to the world.

I take care of my husband and family. I make my home a haven. I give my rescue dog a safe, loving home. I assist where I am needed. I spread kindness.

All of these things are necessary and important to the world and I just need to remember to show up.

Who needs you to show up today? Share below.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas Cookies with Jennie: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to bake, especially around Christmas! A platter of assorted cookies is just about the most festive addition to a buffet that I can imagine.

Every year, I start putting together my cookies. I bake a tester batch and freeze the rest so I can bake fresh batches as I need them.

The first cookies I start with are Martha Stewart's Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are exactly like they sound...soft and chewy and classic.

To freeze them, I portion the dough, freeze it on a parchment lined baking sheet and after about an hour, I put them in a freezer bag.

What are your favorite Christmas cookies? Share below!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: 21 Days to Go!

With three weeks left to go, it can feel like you have all the time left in the world and none at all. I totally get it. I keep telling myself its only December 4! I have time. And I do, but I want to enjoy the season too.

So this week, I have a lot of priorities.

1. Finish shopping. To be honest, I haven't done much of it, but I want to finish it by the end of this week.

2. Wrapping. As things come in, I want to get things wrapped as quickly as possible.

3. Christmas cards. Its time to get those in the mail!

4. Menu planning. Christmas is in three weeks...we have all the time in the Plan the menu now so you don't have to do it in 18 days when everyone else is.

5. Baking. If you are a baker, start planning what you want to bake and you can even make and freeze the dough now if you have a chance.

6. And finally, keep enjoying the Christmas magic!

How are you enjoying the Christmas magic? Share below!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Motivational Monday: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

"Great Things Never Come from Comfort Zones"

As comfortable as I am sitting on my couch, with my dog curled up in my lap, I have learned that it won't lead to the great things I want in my life. To be honest, even adopting Ellie was stepping out of my comfort zone. I wanted a small lap dog. I ended up with the sweetest cuddle monster who pushes me out of my comfort zone daily.

None of the good things in my life have ever come from staying in my comfort husband, my home, my jobs, my pets.

And there are more things coming in 2019 that will force me out of my comfort zone even more...but if I am looking for great things in my life, I have to step outside of my comfort zone.

What great things have happened to you when you got out of your comfort zone? Share below!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Housewife Life: Ramping up to Christmas

I love when Thanksgiving is so early. I feel like I have a whole extra week to ramp up to full Christmas spirit.

I finally feel like I have recovered from Thanksgiving and I am so grateful for this week that I can ease into the season.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but going from Thanksgiving straight into full on holiday mode is exhausting.

So this week, I have eased into it. We have watched Rudolph and Elf. Tonight, I am planning to fill out a "bucket list" and a gifting guide.

But for the next few minutes, I'm going to enjoy the calmness of a dog snoring and dreaming in my lap. Merry Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: 28 Days!

Four weeks! We are down to FOUR WEEKS.

Ok. Panic aside. We still have a month.

This week you should have several focuses.

1. Shopping. Get as much of the shopping done as possible.

2. Decorate. Even if you don't have your tree and don't plan to get your tree for a week or two, start decorating the rest of the house.

3. Spread some Christmas magic. Enjoy some moments and do something fun. Watch a movie and have some hot chocolate. Go look at lights. Make a gingerbread house. Give a donation to an organization you believe in.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Motivational Monday: We've Got This!

Are your hearts racing? Brains spinning? Adrenaline pumping?

That's right, it's go time. The holidays have arrived.

If you are hosting Thanksgiving, attending Thanksgiving nearby or traveling...this week will be busy.

But I'm here to say... We've got this.

I know...those to do lists are looooong. Mine is too. But let's look at this like a challenge.

Can you accomplish everything on your to do list? Can you do it with a smile?

Here are some tips to help make it through this week...

1. Prioritize. Make a Must Do, Should Do and Want To Do list. Do your Must Dos first then move on to the Should Dos. If you have time, tackle some Want To Dos.

2. Remember...progress over perfection. Do I want to move my couch and mop under it? Yes. Can I get away with a deep swiffering? Yes. Progress.

3. Take some time for you. Eat your meals. Take some time outs to do something you like to do. Use some nice lotion on your roughed up hands. Anything small that you can do to keep your energy up and your spirits high.

Ok. I think we are ready. Go get a Must Do done. Have some fun with it.

Remember. We've Got This.

Need some real time cheerleading and motivation? Follow along with me on Instagram. @adventureswithjennie

What is the most daunting To Do on your list? Share below!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Housewife Life: My Plan to Be a Calm, Cool and Collected Hostess

I love to host Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite days of the year. It combines my love of cooking with my love of logistics and planning. 

But, even I get a bit flustered during the "get the food on the table" rush. 

So, I have some plans to address some of the craziest parts of my Thanksgiving dinner.

1. I'm going to utilize my slow cookers.
I have plans to use three slow cookers on Thanksgiving. 
In one, I will be keeping my mashed potatoes warm...see yesterday's post for more information on that. 
In the second one, I will be keeping my roasted veggies warm. I did that for a Christmas party last year. 
In the third, I will be keeping my turkey warm. My husband will be smoking the turkey breasts earlier in the day and my plan is to have them done and sliced at 3:00 PM, 90 minutes before our 4:30 PM dinner. 

2. I'm going to prep everything on Wednesday.
From casseroles to the deviled eggs, everything will be prepped by the time I go to bed on Wednesday night.

3. I'm going to be done with cleaning on Tuesday. 
Other than sweeping, dishes and taking out the trash, I plan on getting everything done by the time I go to bed on Tuesday night. 

And that is my plan. 

Do you host Thanksgiving? What are your tips to get the food on the table with little or no chaos? Share below!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kitchen Tip: Thanksgiving Edition---Use your Slow Cooker

Last year, on my favorite cancelled day-time television show, The Chew, I learned a fantastic can keep your mashed potatoes warm for up to 4 HOURS in your slow cooker!


Stay with me...If you have previously hosted Thanksgiving, you know the "get the food on the table at the same time" struggle. It is a rush of pans, pots, casseroles, and hands moving food around in the best kind of chaos. I love it.

But I also love the idea of being a cool, calm, collected Thanksgiving hostess. One who can sip a class of spiked cider moments before effortlessly setting up the Thanksgiving buffet. This year, I might just accomplish it...because of my slow cooker.

I tried this tip last year. I made my mashed potatoes 2 hours before dinner and put them in the slow cooker. I stirred them every 45 minutes and they were perfect. I highly recommend you try this tip.

Check back tomorrow for more tips on how to be a cool, calm collected Thanksgiving hostess!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Christmas Countdown: 42 Days Until Christmas

I did not get my crafts planned. But I will get them planned and shopped for before next week.

This week's to-do is a biggie.

Black Friday is coming up, so this week you need to make shopping lists and check advertisements to see if any stores have a sale on any of your big ticket items.

If you are a Black Friday shopper or a Cyber Monday shopper (or a Small Business Saturday shopper), you should have a game plan. Getting your lists together will also help you while you are milling around the stores (brick-and-mortar or cyber), you will know what you need to keep a lookout for.

Ok. That is a big undertaking...but next week is even bigger. 

Are you a Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopper? Share below!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Motivational Monday: Throw Kindness Around

"Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti" - Bob Goff

I recently started reading Candace Cameron Bure's book "Kind is the New Classy" and the message has really got me refocused. I have always tried to move through life being kind, but I'm not always the most considerate person.

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to be considerate and I took it, despite the dirty looks I received. We were at a winery in line for the bathroom. I was at the front of the line and an older woman with a cane came in from the wrong end of the hallway.

In this moment, I could have sent her to the back of the long line, but I let her cut in front of me.

It wasn't a difficult or heroic thing to do, but it felt nice to put someone else's meeds ahead of mine.

One of my objectives for 2019 is to be more kind and considerate.

Have you read "Kind is the New Classy"? Do you have any objectives for 2019?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Weekly Menu

How is it already mid-November?!?!?!?!

This has been a busy week for me. My husband was out of town and the renovation of my mother-in-law's bathroom started...slowly.

I hope you enjoy this week's menu! I haven't tried any of the recipes myself yet, but I am really excited about a couple of them.

Cheesy Taco Pasta by Dinner, Then Dessert
Stuffed Pepper Soup by Jay's Baking Me Crazy
Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Balsamic Chicken and Veggies by The Recipe Critic

Have a great weekend!

Click here for a PDF version of this week's menu!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Housewife Life: Dog Training

Wow! I can't believe how much time and energy it takes to train your dog.

I am totally committed to training her because we will be together for more than ten years and I have seen, first hand, what an untrained dog can do to your life.

Here is what my day looks like with Miss Ellie:

6:00 AM-Outside and Breakfast
9:00 AM-Outside
Noon-Outside and Lunch

Training Tasks through the day: Kennel training (Almost done), Hand feed one of the meals (30 minutes), 30 minute walk, 10 minute game of fetch, 10 minute game of tug, 10 minute training on new trick...right now it is lay down.

Even with all of that, I feel like I have been really productive, like she is giving me energy and motivation...mostly because I just want to get back to cuddling her.

Ellie is just one big, furry, cuddle monster who lacks manners (we are working on that and it is already better 2 days post training session!)

She likes to be held like a baby...

Just one of our morning cuddle sessions...she is not a morning dog.

Our first solo walk in the park after doing our civic duty!

She loves face kisses...I do not.
Have you trained a dog? Did you use a trainer? Share below!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Flourish: October Update

October was a fantastic month. We welcomed a new furbaby into the house...our rescue dog Ellie. She is the perfect addition to our family. She had her first training session this week and she is rocking the homework...because she is brilliant. I spent a week at my parents house and got to spend a lot of time with one of my best friends who is going through a major life change. I also got to spend a lot of time with my mom, saw another of my best friends and went to an extended family get-together. 

18 for 2018

In Progress
1. Write Daily
2. Learn German
3. Use a Daily Gratitude Journal
4. Use a Daily One-Sentence Journal
5. Make a go of my blog
7. Daily Devotional
8. Read 60 Books (I just finished number 42)
10. Adopt. We are starting the paperwork!
12. Send regular updates to family and friends
15. Work out 2-3 times a week

6. Become a Travel Agent!
9. Buy a Shed!
11. Create my perfect planner!
13. Travel to a New Place!
14. Complete 2 Whole30s/100 Days to Destin!
16. Remodel Bathroom

Still to come...
17. New Bedroom Carpeting
18. New Kitchen Flooring

Plans for November: In all honesty...
The bedroom and kitchen flooring will probably not happen. I don't want new bedroom carpeting until we do the second bathroom in the master suite (we have a his and hers thing ever) because I don't want to worry about the new carpet with the men tromping through during the remodel. Because we do a lot during the holidays, I don't want to upset the heart of my household at this time of year. However, I plan on tacking those two things onto the end of my 19 for 2019 list. These things will happen...but probably not this year. 

36 While We Are 36

In Progress
3. Do Something New Every Month
5. Purge and Organize Entire House
7. Meditate Daily
14. Celebrate Small Holidays
16. Be Better at Sending Birthday Cards
17. File Monthly
18. Wash Car
22. Go to the Zoo Monthly
23. Gallery Wall in Hallway (Almost Complete)
24. Mask Thursdays
25. Go to 4 Major Concerts/Plays and 2 Community Plays
28. Text a friend everyday
29. Maintain Whole30 Lifestyle
31. Take More Baths
32. Weekly Power Hours
33. Organize Recipes
34. Digital Declutter
36. Visit Florence Three Times

1. Buy a Purse
6. Have Septic Take Serviced
8. Have Dryer Vent Cleaned
9. New Living Room Curtains
12. Take Chris to visit Owen
15. Update Dish Rags
20. New Mattresses
26. Go to a Dermatologist
35. Plan a Weekend Getaway with Chris 

Still to Come
2. Remodel Office
4. Volunteer Twice a Month
10 Girl's Weekend with E (Off the table)
11. Girls Weekend with T & G
13. Decorate Front Area
19. Update Bath Mats
21. Go to Frist 6 Times
27. Colonoscopy (Scheduled!!!)
30. Get more Involved at Women's Club

Again, no changes here. 

Plans for November: In November, I do plan on planning my girl's weekend with T & G, planning the office remodel, and I hope to get an idea of what I want to do in the front of the house. 

November in General

Coming up in November, I need to prepare for Thanksgiving. I will be hosting Thanksgiving and having houseguests for the weekend. Ellie has her second training session, where we will work with another dog. My first travel agency clients will be traveling to Walt Disney World. I am participating in Nanowrimo, the Planathon and Last 90 Days.

If you are participating in 18 for 2018 or another similar challenge, how was your October? Still going strong? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: 49 Days

How did last week go? Did you get Christmas lists started? Your holiday traditions and parties scheduled?

This week, the only thing to do is plan any Christmas crafts and purchase the materials you will need to do those crafts.

Easy, peasy...right? If you need to catch up, now is the time to do it. Things will start getting busier in the next week.

What is your favorite Christmas carol? Mine is Silent Night!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Motivational Monday: No one starts off being excellent

Do you ever start something you know you will love and then feel disheartened because you aren't amazing at it?

Me too.

Crocheting is one of my big things. I love crocheting!!! But, boy am I bad at it. I'm bad at it because I get discouraged and quit when I don't show immediate expertise.

There are about five other things I can think of that fit that same pattern...but I haven't quit yet! Meditating. Travel Agenting. Blogging. Writing. Exercising.

I realized this year that with practice...I get better at things. I think my blog is getting better (comment below if you agree or disagree). I am definitely better at meditating and exercising.

Next year, I really need to focus on travel agenting (I'm good at the actual travel agent part, but some of the behind the scenes stuff and the networking are where I am struggling) and writing.

What do you need to practice at in the next year?

Friday, November 2, 2018

Return of the Weekly Menu!

I totally built this up in my head as a post that takes far too long to write and it doesn't so I don't know what my deal was. But its back, just in time for the holidays!

Click here for the PDF for this week's menu.

Here are links to recipes featured in this week's menu

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole by My Recipe Magic
Slow Cooker 5 Spice Pulled Pork by Budget Bytes
Whole30 Chilaquiles by 40Aprons
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup by Cooking Classy

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Housewife Life: Prepping for Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year! It combines some of my favorite things...logistics, hosting, family and food!

This year, I am having houseguests in addition to the normal Thanksgiving crazy and I am super excited!

So, I have a complicated plan to get ready for the weekend.

This week is decluttering week. I am going room to room and getting rid of all of the clutter around the house.

Next week is project week.  As I am decluttering this week, I am making notes of things that need to be done in each room that will take a few extra minutes. Like, in the kitchen, I am switching out my command center desk. And in the bedroom, I am rearranging to accommodate the new dog furniture.

The following week and a half, I will be deep cleaning each room.

Which leaves the day before Thanksgiving to prepare for the holiday.

I know that sounds like a lot of work, but it gives me motivation to get the house ready for the onslaught of Christmas decorations and festivities.

What are you doing to prepare for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: 56 Days

How did last week go? Did you make any decisions about your Christmas cards? Did you make your photography session appointments? Are you writing a Christmas letter?

This week, let's get two more tasks out of the way.

First, start making lists of people for whom you need to purchase gifts. If you have any ideas, go ahead and jot them down, but don't get hung up on that. Make sure to list the budget for each gift. That way, if you are walking through Target in the next few weeks, you will have more of an idea of what you can keep a lookout for.

Second, start listing annual Christmas traditions and parties you usually attend. Do you need hostess gifts? New outfits?

Good Luck!

What is your favorite Christmas cookie??? Mine is the Andes mint swirl, which is like a chocolate Andes mint version of the peanut butter blossom.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Motivational Monday: Be So Positive

"Be So Positive That Negative People Don't Want to Be Near You."

So many people in this world are negative. We live in a world where we are bombarded with negative news, negative people and negative experiences. However, one thing I have learned is positivity breeds positivity.

The more you look at life and people with a positive light, the easier it gets. And the more positivity you release into the world, the fewer negative people seek you out.