Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolution - Meditate

I don't really make New Year's Resolutions.  I do more of a year end review and evaluation of life.  I wrote about the process in earlier posts. This year I have more of an actual resolution.  I want to finally commit to a daily meditation practice.  I have meditated on and off for a few years, but have struggled with consistency.

I found a great graphic describing meditation.  It keeps it simple, and is great for beginners and kids.  

To keep myself consistent, I made weekly sheets to record my time meditating, along with other goals

How about you?  Any New Year's resolutions or goals?  Anyone want to try meditation?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cutout Cookies Tips

I made cutout cookies for the first time.  Thanks to tips from the internet they didn't turn out half bad.
Tip One - chill the dough - I chilled mine overnight.
Tip Two - divide dough into smaller sections - this allowed me to keep dough chilling.
Tip Three - parchment paper is the best thing ever!  I rolled the dough between two sheets - no sticking!  It was also great for baking and decorating - easy transfer and clean up.
Tip Four - use an easy cookie cutter.  I remember my mom making reindeer and there were always limbs lost.
Tip Five - use a ziplock bag for decorating.  Put icing into ziplock, twist bag, and cut a small bit off of corner.

Cutout Cookies
1 1/3 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tbl milk
2 tsp vanilla
4 c all-purpose flour

1.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter.  Add sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Beat until combined.  Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined.  Beat, or stir in flour.  Divide dough into four sections and chill overnight.  I wrapped mine in plastic wrap.

2.  Roll a section of dough at a time.  I rolled mine between two sheets of parchment paper.  Roll to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with cookie cutters.  Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

3.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

4.  For icing I just mixed powdered sugar with milk until I got the desired consistancy.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Reflecting and Planning

planning resolution goals
image from Pixabay

I like to take some time at the end of the year to reflect on the past year and plan for the new year.  One of the best resources I have found is from Susannah Conway.  Her Unravelling the Year workbook leads to deeper thinking. The reflection portion has been bittersweet for me this year, as much of the year involved goodbyes- the hardest was saying goodbye to my dad.

It was a crazy year.  When I looked back at the workbook pages from last year I was amazed.  In one exercise you had to draw an image of an ideal life.  This is what I drew:

This was going to be my ideal in the next few years-not this year.  At the time this was drawn my husband and I had no plans of moving.  What this picture shows is us living in an area that is in walking distance of restaurants, yoga studio, etc.  This is where we live one year later. The top corner of my picture shows me getting some help taking care of mom and dad, and being able to get some space away from caregiving. I got it, but have mixed feelings about it.

The planning portion has been hard for me this year.  I think so much happened last year that I hate to set any goals while the dust is still settling.  I may just keep it simple and try to remember to meditate daily.  (Oh, and find meaningful work-no biggie.) 

Whatever I decide I will break it into small goals like I described in an earlier post.
This year I decided to stop trying to fit myself to a certain planner, and am making my own. Martha Stewart has a great line of organization tools at Staples.  Using her small three ring binder I can customize goal sheets and clip them right in the binder.

It will certainly be interesting to see what next year brings!