Breaking Bad Habits

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had those bad habits; the one’s that creep in when you are at a low point, or stressed, or too busy to really pay attention. Maybe it’s food, maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s your thoughts, whatever it is, they are the habits that can be hardest to break (and keep broken).

I’ve definitely succumbed to some bad habits lately. My food has not been the best between vacationing and the busy day to day that our month has been. My thinking has definitely hit some low points that have been hard to dig out of. My sleeping and exercising, hell my phone use, it’s kind of all started to add up to a whole lot of…bad habits and mess. I’ve been feeling like I need to…get my s*it back together and the best place to start that is…by breaking all those bad habits I’ve let back into my life.

I know I can’t be alone in this whole “life is hard, bad habits abound, I want to pull myself back together” phase, so I figured I would share a few blog posts on how I get myself out of a vicious funk and back on to my track. I’m going to do a post dedicated on breaking bad habits, getting organized (to include my routines which are new with a new house J), incorporating some self-care for busy schedules, and a look see into my rest of the year plans/goals. A little re center in time for Autumn to strike, right? I figured with school starting up for many of us (students and parents alike), now’s as good a time as any to…get our s*it back together.

So, how do we do this? We start with breaking the bad habits. Depending on what these habits are will dictate what your steps are. Let’s start by talking about our bad habits…

For me, the biggest bad habit that has really come back is my eating. I’ll admit I’ve been frequenting the junk food (chips and popcorn especially) and over the past two months I’ve probably had more soda than I’ve had collectively in the past year. It’s been a mess. I’m not going to go on and on about food, but basically it plays such a vital role in both our physical and mental wellbeing. When we are not nourishing our body properly, we can’t be expected to be at our best.

The second biggest bad habit that I’ve let really back in is my thoughts. We’ve had a…month. It hasn’t been BAD, nothing has really gone truly wrong, it was just harder than we expected coming back from vacation and jumping straight back into life. I don’t really want to talk about it, or complain about it (because it could have been much worse), but I’ll simply say that it was a little tougher than expected. And to be honest, at some points I reveled in that negativity a little too much. I constantly waged a battle with how I was feeling, and what I was actually thinking and wanting to feel. Perspective can be a b*tch basically. I hate to admit how many days I let those negative thoughts win and became a do nothing for the day. I’ll talk more about all of this (and our month) later.

So, we’ve figured out what our bad habits are (hopefully you’ve acknowledged yours in the comments). This is the most important. Once we pinpoint what the bad habits are, we can pinpoint where they come from and how to break them.

The next step is to figure out what kind of habit breaker are you, cold turkey or slowly back away. These are both fairly straightforward, cold turkey being stopping completely and slowly backing away meaning slowly cutting back on whatever those habits are.

For me, and like many others, I bounce back and forth. If it’s a food habit, I have to cut cold turkey, but most other things I ease out of slowly. In fact, most of the times if I have a bad food habit and cut it out, everything else seems to right itself in time (see how much of a role food plays?).

So, starting yesterday, Sunday August 25, 2019 the only junk food that is in my house is pre popped popcorn and any home baked goods that I choose to make. For me, if I don’t see it, I don’t want it. If it’s in my house, chances are it’ll get eaten. Now, you may be thinking that that is a random date to start making changes on, and it is in a way. Because you don’t want to wait for the start of a new month, or the start of a new year, or any other start. JUST START.

That’s the third step. Once you know what to do, do it! Don’t wait for any timeline, because when that timeline comes around chance are, you won’t do it. If you are in the mindset now of breaking those bad habits (and chances are if you’re thinking about this or reading this, then you are), then now is the time to start. Starting is easy!

If it’s a food thing, get rid of whatever. If it’s a thought thing, start tracking what you are grateful for every day. If it’s a stress thing, implement stress relieving techniques (my favorite is yoga or any form of exercise). Start journaling, write down the process, your thoughts, your feelings.

The final step to breaking a bad habit is to stick with it. Let’s be honest, the first week is easy. You are riding on that “I’ve got this” high and you feel great. The second week is relatively easy, you’ve still got that feeling going. It’s the third week. The third week those habits start to try and creep back in. DON’T LET THEM. If you make it through the third week without those bad habits, it only takes through the end of the fourth week before they are broken. Stick with it! Don’t get to week three and cave in to whatever it is. Stay strong and remember that you are strong enough to get through anything. Breaking those bad habits won’t break you and you’ll feel better on the other side.

So, what bad habit are you ready to break?

January Feelings – How Are You Doing?

Well January 2019 is rapidly coming to an end…let’s have a little check in shall we? How are those New Years Resolutions going for you? Have you kept them all? Broken any? Changed them completely?

January is a hard month (although some could argue that February/March can be harder). You are on a “high” of sorts for the first week or two. New Years has just happened we are full of “fresh start” this and “new beginnings” that, but then about halfway through Week 2 of January real life starts to hit. We start to struggle with the resolutions we have set, we struggle with the concept that while this is seems to be a New Year, not everything is miraculously perfect, we struggle with the bitter cold and gray that is the harsh months of winter.

Then about 3 weeks in is Blue Monday, one of the most depressing days of the year.

It’s tough, but it is something that we can work through. We can hold on to those good things, hold on to our dreams, passions, and somehow pull the strength to pull through. We can get back on track with our resolutions (if you’ve fallen off, which lets be honest, we’ve all fallen off a time or two). We can make it through.

It may seem silly, but January can be hard.

For me, this January has been an interesting one. I’ve definitely struggled a little bit, which was not something I was entirely expecting. We’ve spent the bulk of January on vacation visiting family. We dealt with a heartbreaking loss followed by two weeks of very little sunshine and now bitterly cold temperatures (as well as dealing with a vicious cold virus running around everyone in the house-including all the kids). We’ve been pretty much housebound for most of the time we’ve been here between the weather, temps, and sickness.

It’s been a unique kind of tough.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining about all of this. We are very blessed to be able to have this time to relax, be with family, and have a bit of a break. I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of time that I’ve gotten to see extended family (even with the extenuating circumstances), and enjoyed watching our boys play with all of their cousins. It’s been a fun time, but I’ve also missed the chances to get outside, feel the sun beat through the windows all day long (even though it would get really hot), and be able to run outside whenever we wanted to.

This is a very common theme throughout this month and from what I am seeing, with the winter kicking it into high gear across the globe, seems to be harder than previous winters.

So what can we do to combat these feelings?

I always start with some sort of physical movement. There are plenty of indoor physical activities that you can do, whether it be yoga, a quick light cardio, weights, or just getting up and walking around the house. Some sort of physical activity will do a wonder of good for your body and your mind.

The next thing that I like to focus on even more intently is what we are putting into our bodies. It is so easy to feed your emotions, to grab the quick snack, the unhealthy option, but so often that will make the problems worse. I always find my mind clearer and my mood brighter when I reach for some fruit instead of a candy bar. Hell, even choosing popcorn over chips might make a difference.

And finally, make sure that you are taking time to do one thing you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be long, doesn’t have to be something productive, but just one thing that you enjoy. Take 15 minutes everyday just for whatever that is. For me, it is writing. I find myself feeling better if I just take a chance to sit down and write everything out. I also really enjoy reading (although this is a given) and I make sure that I spend a decent amount of time every evening getting some reading done.

Do you have any tips for dealing with these feelings? Leave them below!

The Joy of Being In The Kitchen

IMG_8867.jpgOne of the things that I do everyday that brings me such a large amount of joy is working in our kitchen. There is something to be said for doing a light bit of work, with my hands and food, and turn it into a wonderful meal for my family. To create something tangible and provide it for my family (whether the kids actually eat it is another story…)

I’ve always loved to bake and our kitchen and pantry has reflected that over the years, but in the past couple years I have really developed a deep love for cooking full meals. When we started cutting out all the processed junk, the boxed meals, and went for healthier options that may have required more work I really truly fell in love with cooking and being in the kitchen.

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I love when I have a little helper on hand too!

I find cooking to be such a comforting activity. If I am having a rough day or feeling particularly stressed, I can step into the kitchen set to work on our dinner and feel my world shift right back up. I’m not sure if it’s the process of creating the meal, or working with my hands, or the fact that part of my brain can shut off while I am cooking. No matter what it is, there is nothing better for me to do than make a full meal. I also just really love being IN a kitchen. The hub bub of activity, the warmth of the oven and cooktop going, the warmth of the people cooking around you, the love that you feel when someone is taking the time to prepare something for you, it’s just wonderful. There is a reason why a lot of people think the kitchen is the heart of the home (although honestly my heart also lies in a library, let’s be honest).

I’m not going to stand here and say that I am even remotely good at cooking or that I always make the healthiest meals, nothing could be farther from the truth. And I think that that is part of the beauty of cooking. The willingness to step into a room with an open mind and come out with a new (potentially bad) dish to try or even just a spin on an old classic.

IMG_8883.jpgI try to cook as much as I can from scratch either following a recipe that I’ve found online or that I’ve learned from parents/friends. I prefer to create a meal from the “ground up” and build upon elements in each dish. I will try and offer a main protein dish, a veggie, and some sort of carb with each dinner that I provide. I will try to switch up what meats we use throughout the week as well just to add some variety. Often times I go for Italian dishes as we love those dishes as a family and they are easy to “whip up”.

Whenever I feel like we are in a “rut” I’ll grab my phone (for Pinterest of MyRecipe) or my cookbook. I got this great 1950’s era cookbook that covers anything you’d ever dream of cooking from baking a loaf of bread to burgers to appetizers. It’s one of the favorite things I’ve ever been gifted and something I reach for quite frequently. I also enjoy a couple other cookbooks that we have and look forward to continuing to collect more as the years go on.

Honestly, I encourage everyone to at least spend a little time in the kitchen. I don’t know if I really was able to capture in words the way I feel in a kitchen, preparing our meals, but it is not only a good feeling, but a sense of accomplishment at the end.

Are you a kitchen/food preparer/cook/baker person? Do you understand that feeling?

What I Ate – December 2018

Good morning! It’s the start of December and the Holiday season is rapidly approaching! I wanted to kick things off with a little “What I Ate” post. I plan on doing a post towards the end of the month of all of our little holiday treats that we’ve made, bought, and eaten over this year’s holiday season, but I figured a good place to start would be what my staples are right now.

Unfortunately with the lettuce situation going on, I haven’t been able to eat a salad in a little while. I’m sure that Romaine Lettuce is ON THE WHOLE safe to consume, but since they can’t identify the source of the contamination, and so I am following suite with the recommendations set forth and not eating it (insert crying face…). I’ve tried to adjust a little bit with other options at this point.

IMG_8244Lately for breakfast I’ve been really sticking with my scrambled eggs. I make 2-3 (depending on whether my boys want some) and I scramble them up and add some pepper in while they are cooking up. I pair this with some fresh raspberries and if I’m feeling extra hungry, a bit of challah bread. This is not an everyday thing though.

 

 

IMG_8300For lunch, instead of salads, I’ve switched back to sandwiches. I used to eat these a lot, and it’s been nice to get back to them a little more. I don’t really like to have a lot of “normal” things on my sandwiches, but they taste delicious. On this sandwich, I’ve got mayonnaise, shredded Colby Jack cheese, Oven Roasted Turkey, and Tomatoes. This week I’ve done something different, for me at this point at lease, and have gone for a  serving of chips. I stopped eating chips, but I really just wanted to have some with the holidays. It’s strange, but I stuck with the serving suggestion and it wasn’t too bad. (Side note- the bag of chips is now gone I always forget how crap I feel after eating junk food until I’ve eaten it).

I want to also share this other find that I’ve been reaching for around lunchtime, or as a side for our dinner…the Alexia Cauliflower Risotto. They have two options (that I’ve seen) for the Cauliflower base, White Cheddar and regular. I’ve tried both and they are both delicious! I highly recommend them.

IMG_6576For Dinner, we had a special treat on this particular evening! My husband decided that he wanted to cook up some steaks and that turned into him taking over the entire meal. He is a pretty good cook as it is, and when he decides to cook dinner it is always wonderful! This evening we had venison steaks with a lovely marinade (I don’t have the brand right on hand, I’ll share when we get it again- so good!). To go along with it we had some baked potatoes ( a healthier version), and some steamed veggies. I also grabbed a bit of challah to top everything off. Pictures does not do this meal justice- absolutely delicious!

I didn’t share my drinks with you on this post, as they are pretty much the same as last time. I stick with water and tea throughout the day and then on occasion (once or twice a month) I’ll have a soda.

There you’ve got it! What I ate in a day this past week. I hope that you enjoyed!

 

Round The Kettle Ep. 5: A New Tradition

Good afternoon! Oy, It’s been a weekend. A weekend full of wonderful memories that were only created because I chose to not a semi unexpected turn of events affect all of the fun we had planned. After an early (think 4:30AM) phone call calling my husband in to work Saturday Morning, any plans that we did have for the weekend that involved both of us or him in some way went out the window. This isn’t a bad thing (a bummer yes, but ultimately there was only one major thing that ended up having to be postponed) and we made the best of the turn of our weekend.

So, how are you??? Are you ready for December? Ready for the Holidays? Ready for the <gasp> New Year???

How is it already December? The year is starting to wind down and we’ve got a very busy month ahead! I’ve been trying to do some forward planning to lighten the load of December a little bit as it has now become apparent just HOW MUCH is going to be happening this month for us.

We start the month with getting everything sorted for the Holidays. I like to get gifts, cookies, and any plans for the actual holiday sorted as early as possible, so that when that last week comes around it isn’t as stressful and we can just enjoy everything that the holidays really offer.

Then we have back to back family visits, along with different appointments, and a car drop off (to ship my car overseas!!!). Once Christmas hits, it’s a final countdown to getting the things that aren’t being shipped packed away and preparing our house and items for the movers to come and pack everything up.

This weekend we are doing a fun little thing that I am starting to actually do every year. I should clarify, I bake loads every year, all throughout the year. I love to have fresh baked something, whether that’s bread, cookies, pie, cheesecake, whatever. It’s just a nice little thing that I enjoy doing and love to be able to offer.

This year though, I want to start dedicating the first weekend in December as “Mrs. Claus Visits” Weekend in our home. Everyone talks about the big guy, Santa Claus, but Mrs. Claus is like that grandma that always has cookies to offer and is full of warmth. I’d love to represent for her and bring a little warmth to start off the month.

So, “Mrs. Claus Visits”…what is it going to be? Well, it’s a weekend full of baking, love, hot cocoa and that good ole cheer that you feel when it’s FINALLY December 1st. Christmas starts to feel real and I want to start doing this every year.

So, we will be spending our Saturday in the Kitchen. I’ll be detailing more about our Holiday treats in an upcoming post, but it’s safe to say that I’m really excited about this. Between a Saturday spent baking and a Sunday afternoon spent being pampered I think this might be the best weekend I’ve had in a long while. It certainly is setting me up for a successful busy December.

How do you handle the Holidays and this busy time of year? What do you do to keep your head level and your mind straight on track?

Thanksgiving Memories

Oh Thanksgiving. A holiday for eating, for being with friends and family, for remembering all of the good, and acknowledging what we are thankful for. Above all, thanksgiving for me has just always been about family. Spending a full, wonderful day with family and friends; laughing, creating new memories and inside jokes. It’s never really actually been about the food and eating (although that is always a fun side note). All through

As I sat down to write this post I was trying to think of what I actually wanted to say. I could list what I’m thankful for (which I will actually do in a bit), but I felt like I wanted to do more than just that. I could reminisce on past Thanksgivings, but the problem is I don’t have too many memories that really stand out to share that would make sense (the only one that comes to mind is one I’ll share below). I could share favorite recipes, outfits, decorations, etc. None of it really feels “right” and rather than not marking the occasion, I figured I would embrace that feeling and go with it.

I’ll start with my thankful list. This past year we’ve been so blessed with good food, good friends, and incredible experiences. I am thankful for those that have come into our lives this year, thankful for our boys who continue to show us how incredible life can be. I’m thankful for my husband who has supported me throughout the obstacles of this year. I’m thankful for our family, who we have seen quite a bit of this past year. I’m also thankful for YOU. You who are (and have been) reading my words that I write every week, commenting, following along on our journey. Thank you.

I want to share a quick Thanksgiving Story with you, our very first thanksgiving together.

We had been dating/together for about 3 ½ months when Thanksgiving rolled around. For me, those 3 ½ months had started with a blow up with my mother (due to my moving out of her house), a turning point in my relationship with her, and this Thanksgiving was not only the first time that Rob was meeting her, but also the first time that I would speak with her in those 3 months. Talk about stressful (although I don’t think Rob was outwardly stressed, he had already met my father and that was the hard one).

Thanksgiving was being held at the son of some family friends house. I had never attended a Thanksgiving by myself (even if this was technically with family and close friends, it was my first time being considered “separate” from my parents in terms of guest list) and I hadn’t the first idea what to bring. I wanted to be a good guest and polite, so I spoke with our family friends and tried to get some ideas. I ended up settling on dinner rolls.

***Real fast, let’s recap so we can set the scene. Me and my mom blow up and haven’t spoken in 3+ months. Rob’s never met my mother. My parents are putting on a good show, but I don’t think that they were in the best place of their marriage. All while being held at the child of a good family friends house…awkward***

So here we come, walking up the drive, store bought dinner rolls in hand (I seriously cringe at that memory, I would never now bring what I brought to a dinner I was attending). At the time, I hadn’t had the foresight to at least put the rolls into a nice container, or present them in a way that was more than just an after thought for the day. I was so nervous about what was to come.

***The dinner rolls actually ended up becoming the “joke of the day” and really lightened the mood. ***

Somehow we arrived before my parents did, so we were able to settle in and relax a bit before they walked through the door. I do remember us all (dad, me, Rob, family friends, right before my mom walked in) sitting around the back patio table talking about the latest expensive purchase (gun related) and the tension rising when my mom came out the backdoor. I think it may have been the most tense, awkward moment of the day. My mom was the epitome of polite, introducing herself, making polite chit chat, although I can’t deny that there weren’t a couple of snide glances or comments made in my direction. It was nothing serious or truly bad.

Once the moment passed, all went surprisingly well. We ate, we all made conversation, we left with our dignities intact (aside from me and my dinner rolls- which became the punch line of the day). I don’t know what I was actually expecting, but now it’s a funny memory to look back on.

Do you have a good Thanksgiving memory to share? What about a I’m thankful list? Share in the comments!

Mug Collection 2018

Some people have a purse collection (…oh wait…I have that), some people have a shoe collection (…have that too), some people are me and have a mug collection. If you follow me, read my posts, look at my social media, or really just any of my pictures anywhere, I usually always have a mug in the picture. And usually…it’s a different mug almost every time. There are multiple reasons behind this, not just because I like my tea, or because I take life…One Cup at a Time (yep just went there), but also because I collect them. Today we are going to focus on my collection of Mugs!

Yep, that is my random collection of choice. I do collect handbags, shoes, books, tea, but the collection that typically gets the most questions/comments is the mug one! I definitely think it might be the craziest things I collect…

I started doing this a few years back when I was gifted a teacup and saucer as part of a wedding gift. It was such a beautiful piece of fine china and I had decided (quite on the spur of the moment) to get the matching larger mug. I loved that mug (still do, see below) and drank from it very regularly. It started this love of not only what tea I was drinking, but what I was drinking out of. I know it’s silly, but it’s just something that I fell in love with.

I figured it was time to share my “collection” with the world…or with the few of you that are subscribed to this blog and those that follow me on Social Media. One place for all of my mugs to live and you can see them all “side by side”. I wont be showing each individual mug as I have 55 (…yes…55…let’s let that sink in for a minute) and it would just end up being a really big, really long post. Instead I am going to highlight a few special ones throughout my collection.

***I feel like I should interject something here. 55 is a crazy number. I totally see that. It’s just one of those things-almost like a guilty pleasure.  I do use all of the mugs that I own and I do try to be realistic when buying.  I try to limit my mug purchasing by only purchasing mugs that I really like, and can see myself enjoying. I try to avoid impulse buying. This is something that I actually extend into all of my money spending habits.***

IMG_7150First I am going to touch on where I “display” them all. I’ve got a cabinet that is in our living room, and most live on the top two shelves, with a couple on the bottom shelf (the bottom display shelf is mostly tea). I’ve got them grouped together: the top shelf being my The Cosy Book Shoppe Mugs, my Rae Dunn larger mugs, my Inky and Indigo collection, and the middle shelf being my Anthropologie, Emma Bridgewater, and miscellaneous (which changes as I pull out the couple of seasonal mugs I have…yes I have a couple of seasonal-aka Christmas-mugs). The rest of the mugs live in the inner cabinet (not shown here) and they are the mugs that are lesser reached for at this time, there is one mug in there that I still reach for semi regularly), or have sentimental value.

So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the mugs.

 

The one that started it all:

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The two that I consider the most special:

My recent favorites (that I’m reaching for most currently):

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My most recent addition:

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So, there you have it! If you want to see a specific one, or having questions on where I bought one, please just comment or message me! I’m always happy to share!