Quote of the Week

Success

To laugh often and much; 
to win respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics 
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday Fun

Hello out there, how are you?  We are looking forward to a weekend at home, perhaps we'll turn on the Superbowl - I kind of forgot it's even happening this weekend, after two years of Seahawk fever, it seems it is someone else's turn.  Have a peaceful weekend!

+ the 8 things no one tells you about having kids - so heartfelt and true!

+ I sincerely love the way Joanna explains her age to her boys

+ the best country to raise kids in

+ worth pondering - do our schools lack joy?

+ how cool is this lumberjack cake?

+ no cars allowed! pedestrian only loop coming to Portland

+ an inside look at Chip & Joanna Gaines' farmhouse

+ have you heard of this site to shop for locally sourced food?

+ best of TED talks: 6 talks for purposeful women

+ how trees have social networks too

image/bbb

Friday Fun

We are keeping it low key this weekend - on the mend from some winter crud this week.  If I'm extra ambitious, hoping to make this little diddy to satisfy my sweet tooth.  What are you up to?

+ for the bicycle enthusiast - 62 mile superhighway just for bikes in Germany

+ local teen walks a mile in Muslim friend's shoes

+ wouldn't mind a cup of this hot chocolate right about now

+ a new school of Barbies, what do you think?

+ sweet app, grow a forest of productivity...literally (and stay off your phone)

+ what's your best age as a parent? - interesting question

+ a cheaper version of the popular anthropologie capri candle

+ the most instagrammed location in every state

+ the reason some people just seem happier than others

image/bbb

Dinner Last Night: Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

In an effort to make dinner a bit more seamless, I've been looking to my slow cooker more and more these days.  Plus who doesn't love a bowl of warm, steaming hot soup on a blustery winter day?  When slow cooker broccoli cheese soup popped up on my feed, I was intrigued.  Upon reading the recipe, I was surprised that the Pioneer Woman called for two cans of cream of celery canned soup and velveeeta cheese -yuck!  So, I made a few changes and it turned out just fine.

I used one can of cream of mushroom instead which we somehow had in our pantry - so only half the yuck. Plus, if it didn't get used in this soup, it would've gone in the garbage.  I'll credit that purchase to my husband - I usually can't get over the image of a can-shaped glob of soup in a bowl.  This added some creaminess, and I then added about 3/4 cup of milk.  Instead of Velveeta, I just added grated cheddar cheese at the end.  A bit healthier, but just as tasty!

image/http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/slow-cooker-broccoli-cheese-soup/


Happy 8th Birthday Blog

Happy belated birthday little blog.  It's hard to believe you are 8 years old (on January 7th).  I've loved having this space to write, to exhale, and to just be.  I know my followers have declined over the years as my posts have become more infrequent, but if you're still here reading this, thank you for sticking around and following this journey with me.

image/bloom



Goals for 2016

Following my tradition of years past, I don't really like to make resolutions per say, as I dislike the guilt that comes with not living up to the resolution.  Rather, I like to make new goals.  While January 1st really is just an arbitrary date, I do like the newness of a new year, marking the opportunity to set new goals, seek new ambitions, and pursue all that 2016 has to offer.  Plus I feel that posting my goals in a public space - like a blog - helps hold me accountable to follow through.

Here are my goals for 2016

+ upgrading our guest bathroom
This is my big project for the year which involves painting bathroom cabinets, removing and installing a new countertop, laying and grouting a backsplash, and painting the walls.  I'm pretty psyched about the DIY aspect and hopeful that I can do this by myself (with some help from the men in my life), but I really want to try and do most of it solo - just to say I can.  Last weekend, I took one of the free classes offered at Home Depot on installing a backsplash, so I'm feeling pumped about kicking this project into gear!

+ be healthier
I'm not aiming to diet, more aiming to avoid some of my weaknesses.  I didn't crave much sugar until the end of my second pregnancy, but once he was born, all of my sugar cravings came back with a vengeance.  I'm trying to become more aware of my daily sugar intake in things you wouldn't assume are packed with sugar (yogurt, granola, etc.).  I'm also striving to eat more greens, vegetables, and wholesome snacks as opposed to reaching for the cookies, ice cream, and sweets when a late night craving strikes.

+ fasting
Not fasting with food, more with habits. Last year I gave up social media for Lent, which was a great exercise in seeing how much I even refreshed my instagram account.  I want to try a few of these this year.  Things I'm considering doing fasts for: buying lattes, social media, dairy...any other ideas?

+ focus on gratitude
I bought the 5 minute journal in late 2015 and love how after completing it every morning, my day is framed in happiness, gratitude, and positivity.  Focusing on the good upon waking up adds a sense of purpose, energy and inspiration to the day.  I'm finding it so important to be grateful for all the things in my life, rather than get swept up in the minutia.  My goal is to do this as often as possible - if not everyday - as well as keep up my mom's one line a day journal daily.

What are your goals/resolutions for 2016?

Past goals for 2015201420132012201120102009

image/bbb

What I've Been Reading Lately

+ a few books - some chic lit inspired*, some a bit more meaningful

+ an emotional, incredibly moving essay about being newly widowed


+ the incredible things we do during conversations

+ fifty-two places to go in 2016

What have you been reading lately?
Articles? Books?  Essays? I'd love to add some material to my list!
image via sfgirlbybay