Fab Friday Five

HELLO 2015!
Please...pretty please be kinder to my family and friends than you were this year...we can't take that again.

I'm not one to make "New Years Resolutions" or anything like that, but I'm thinking of adopting a "2015 Challenge".  It won't be one of those tired, boring "I hope to eat healthy and turn into a gym rat" types of things.  No...it'll be a fun one.  It'll be a challenge filled with things that I love and just simply want to commit to spending more time on.  Telling myself that I'm going to lose some weight this year is ridiculous.  If it happens, it'll happen.  I've been too stressed to think of such things these last few months.  My mind has been so consumed with everything else going on in my life that I haven't even bothered to check what types of foods are entering my mouth.  It's enough for me that I'm surviving through all this...let's just leave it at that!

So here it is.  Here are five things I'm challenging myself to do this year! 

1.  Read more books
I know what you're thinking...Allysa, how could you POSSIBLY read more books?!  I know...I already read a lot.  But I feel like it takes me forever to read a book because I don't take the time out of my day to sit down and concentrate on nothing but reading.  I'm reading during commercials, or I'm listening sporadically in my car.  I have a huge list of books that I'm dying to delve into, but I can't seem to finish the ones I'm currently working on.  So I challenge myself to finish at least one book a month.  More would be ideal.  I'd like to formulate some sort of book club with my friends and family who read so that I have a real goal to achieve each month....I doubt anybody would be interested in that, though.

Below are a few of the books I'd really like to conquer this year...will you join me in them?
(click on the pictures for links to Amazon)



2.  Do more art
So I've got this creative drive in me.  It's been there for as long as I can remember.  When I'm feeling the urge to get something done FOR ME, I'd really like to settle on something artsy fartsy.  Aside from the few Corks and Canvas classes I've done this year, I haven't really accomplished too much in terms of art.  Sure, I sit down and paint with Aria when she wants to paint...but I get so indecisive on what to paint, that I end up just doing some scribbly thing to pass the time until Aria says she's finished.  I challenge myself to take some personal time once a month to get down and dirty with my creative urges and finally get this yearning taken care of.  I believe that it's important for the soul to make beautiful things...whether your art of choice is painting, sewing, singing, playing an instrument, writing...whatever creative thing you've got a passion for, embrace it and let it shine this year!

Here are some things I'd like to get started on this year!
(images are not my own)

Monogram wreath for front door     Beach original abstract art acrylic painting on thick by StudioZen

Photography Challenge: These would be interesting prompts to use in sharing the heirlooms in your home. You'd have to get creative with some, but think of the adventure you'd have!  #familyhistory #photography #genealogy

3.  Work harder at home
It's no secret that I have an aversion to household chores.  Dishes, laundry, litter box..I hate them.  I hate them all.  Even such things as the "storage room/office" upstairs and my car get left behind.  I really don't like being a slob.  I love it when things are neat, tidy, and everything is in it's place.  I think part of it is that I lack organizational items.  I don't have any bins or specialized cabinets or drawers for specific things.  Maybe if I had a bin in the living room for everyone to put their socks in (by everyone, I mean Dave and Aria...not me, I hate socks), they wouldn't be all over the floor.  Maybe if I had a couple bins in my car for Aria's school artwork and her snack trash, it wouldn't be a complete disaster.  Maybe if I could get motivated to put away laundry, I wouldn't have  3 baskets full of clean clothes in our room, a dryer full of clean clothes in the laundry room, and 2 baskets full of clean clothes in Aria's room (although one of those baskets is full of clothes that don't fit and are meant for summer, so they can be boxed up and put in the attic, but I can't seem to manage to do that, either).

So my goal this year is going to be to work harder at home every day.  I need to force myself to unload the dishwasher as soon as it is done so that I don't start putting the dirty dishes in the sink for the next week until it's too full to put any more in.  I need to make myself put away laundry as soon as it's done (or at the next earliest convenience...I tend to do laundry at night so it dries while we're sleeping...I'm not getting up at 1 AM to put away clothes).  I need to remember to do that stupid litter box every day (as soon as Dave is on the mend, he can start back helping with this one again!) every day and not wait until the cats have pooped on the floor outside the litter box.  I need to take the time to go through the "storage room/office" boxes and get it cleaned up....I'd like to be able to use that room for something.....like maybe an office (or a space to put a puzzle table so I can do puzzles again without the cats being assholes and knocking the pieces on the floor).

I also need to get better at asking my husband for help with chores.  He's never going to know which chores I want done if I don't tell him...and he'll never just start doing them regularly (he does occasionally pick a chore to help with all on his own) if I don't let him know that I need the help.

4.  Be a better mom
Sometimes, I'm a pretty crappy mom.  I know, at some point EVERY mom is a crappy mom.  But I feel like I'm more crappy than good.  I yell at my child when she misbehaves.  I yell and scream at her until my throat hurts and spank her on her butt until my hand stings.  I have a problem of remember when the last time was that she got a bath....and with her new 7:00 bedtime, I feel like there's not enough time in the evening to commute home, get dinner cooked, eat dinner, and have her in bed by 7.  So it gets to be the weekend and say to myself "Um....when was the last time you had a bath little lady?!"  I don't push her to brush her teeth every night like I should.  She goes to school every day without her hair brushed because 1, I don't make enough time in the morning to fight her on it and 2, I hate fighting her on it.  She spends more time playing with her iPad or watching her shows on TV because it's basically impossible for me to get anything done if she's not doing those things (see, she doesn't like to play independently at home and she ALWAYS needs me).  And that statement right there proves that I'm a horrible mom!  I should be elated that my child needs me all the time, but I'm not.  I hate that she's always up my butt all the time.  I can't even sit on the couch without her saying "mommy, lets snuggle and share a blanket".  It drives me insane.  I have very little patience for her and when she starts whining and not listening, I turn into this evil monster and a little more of my "bitch-berg" gets exposed.  (I heard that term on TV yesterday and thought it was hilarious...."the tip my bitch iceberg..my bitch-berg")

So this year I challenge myself to be a better mom....a nicer, more patient, more understanding mom.  In all aspects.  I need to be thankful and grateful for the time I have with her.  I need to embrace that she's 3 and I can't expect her to behave like a 10 year old...because she's only 3 and really doesn't understand why what she's doing is making mommy SOOOOOOOOOO mad.  I have to make more time for "us" and pick crafty things to do that she can do without me wanting to control the situation because she's doing it wrong, or not like how I want it done.  I need to learn to love her more and be mad at her less.  In a few years, she'll turn around.  I've heard some people say that 4 is so much better than 3 but I've also heard a lot of people say that it's exactly the same.  I just need to be strong and push through it.

5.  Learn to cook
So a few weeks ago I mentioned that I had bought myself a culinary arts textbook for Christmas so that I can hopefully teach myself how to cook.  I'm really excited to dive into that goal this year!  Don't get me wrong, I can cook a few things....and I feel like I'm really good at those things.  I can make a badass Baked Ziti that tastes better than any other ziti I've had.  I know that chicken breasts cooked in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes are absolutely perfectly cooked, every time.  I can bake a bangin' dark chocolate cake that stays moist for days.  But there are so many recipes online and in my many cookbooks that really intimidate me.  Whether it's the ingredients, or the technical steps, or just the awesomeness of the picture itself, I tend to get freaked out and leave it there for another time.  As I'm getting older, I'm trying more and more foods that I previously would have never tried (and surprise surprise, I actually really enjoy the things I've tried) and I feel like I'm ready to start learning how to use them besides roasting them in the oven or sauteing them until their way mushier than I would prefer.  I'm ready to learn how to make sauces to put on that chicken that is cooked perfectly.  I'm ready to learn how to make my OWN pasta (even though I don't have the pasta attachment for my stand mixer...yet).

I challenge myself to read that textbook, cover to cover...highlight it, take notes, and try over and over and over again until I really grasp the concepts of cooking.  I know culinary students take years to master techniques during school, and I'm going at this on my own without a teacher...so I know I will not be an expert at every single thing in this book...but it'll be a good start and hopefully something I'll continue in years to come.

Here are a few of the items I'd really like to be able to cook this year!
(click on each caption for link to recipe)
Cranberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Chocolate Pots de Creme
snickerdoodle macarons
Snickerdoodle Macarons

I'm excited to begin the adventure that will be 2015....I hope you are, too!
Happy new year, y'all!

(Holy crap, it took me 2 days to write this one!  Wowzers!)

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