New Year’s Resolutions – 2 month check-in

NY Resolutions

Today is March 1 and a great time to check in on my New Year’s resolutions. In all honesty, I’m not one who usually makes resolutions.  When I started thinking about it at the end of last year, I began writing A LOT of things down. When I looked at my crazy list, I laughed and thought, well this could be a recipe for disaster! No need to set myself up to fail. I started to look for trends to see if maybe I could identify bigger categories to focus on.

Here is what I came up with:

BE HEALTHY – this came from

  • 1 cup of coffee a day that I brew – no spending $$$
  • back on Weight Watchers – lose weight
  • start an exercise routine

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS – this came from

  • more family time
  • more “me” time
  • unplug more

How am I doing?

I have only had one cup of coffee a day, each morning at 5am on weekdays and between 6 – 7am on weekends.  I brew it myself (I set the coffeepot up the night before to automatically brew a half hour before I get up.)  Proof of this is that I still have my coffee shop gift cards I got for Christmas! When I am tempted to pour the second cup, I drink hot water and lemon instead.

 hot water and lemon

I started back on Weight Watcher on Martin Luther King, Day.  It’s too hard the first few weeks of January when holiday leftovers, sweets and other tempting and delicious things are still in the house.   I did the Weight Watchers program once before and was successful in taking off the weight I wanted and kept it off for four years. This time around, I am still counting “Points,” but trying to make healthy choices about what I am eating.  This means not buying processed food (which isn’t healthy, but keeps you in your point range.)  I keep thinking about my larger goal: BE HEALTHY, not the subcategory of lose weight.  The result is more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and in five weeks I have lost 8.8 pounds.

I have yet to start exercising.  I finally had to admit to myself that reading Fitness and Feta does not count as working out.  This has always been the biggest weakness in my life.  I just don’t like exercising and I never can seem to find the time to fit it in.  I do not like gyms and have never figured out a successful “at home” work-out routine.  I loved yoga when I was pregnant, but have always been intimidated to try it post-baby.

In true teacher fashion, I will grade myself.
For my first resolution of BE HEALTHY, I am giving myself a:
B

Next up is BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.

It’s very easy to get into the routine of your day and forget about your loved ones around you. I think it is even easier to forget about yourself.  So far this year my husband and I have gotten a babysitter three times, not because one of us is working, but so we can do something just together.  In the almost four years since our daughter was born (minus our anniversary every year) this was unheard of!  We are also working on “quality” family time.  At home, I am making a bigger effort to do more things with Olivia.  It’s easy to slip into the habit of doing things around the house while she’s playing and keeping herself busy.  These moments do not have to be monumental activities and projects (remember – I am not trying to set myself up for failure!)  Reading a story together, a small craft project, having her help me cook in the kitchen, doing a puzzle, are all small things that add up to great quality time together.

The relationship I have with myself is almost always on the bottom of a long color-coded, category organized to-do list (if it makes the list at all.)  To work on this I have set my alarm 45 minutes earlier everyday.  This gives me time for just me every morning (while I’m enjoying the one cup of coffee I get.)  I read, look at magazines, or sometimes work on this blog. I have a stack of books I want to read (some re-read) this year. It has really made me feel better about starting my day.  At first, I tried to combine it with my “unplugged” resolution, but realized that some of my magazine subscriptions are on my ipad, I like working on blog posts – basically life has technology and it’s hard to work around it!

books to read

That brings us to the last on the list – “My Life, Unplugged.”  This one is probably also in the “lose” column, with only exercise falling below it.  The ways I am trying to remain unplugged are ensuring I have a good work / home life balance.  I do not check work email until I arrive at work each day (unless it is snowing and we may get off!)  I also do not check it all weekend.  My Weight Watcher tracker is on my phone which has caused me to have my phone at the dinner table.  I am trying to “point” out everything before hand so I’m not tempting to be looking things up while preparing or eating our meals.

For my second resolution of BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, I am giving myself a:
B

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are you doing on the two month check-in?  Do we have any of the same resolutions?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  I’ll do another follow up on May 1st.  Have a great day and thanks for reading,

My Friday Favorites 02.27.15

FF BLUE AND GREEN DIAMONDS
Happy Friday everyone!  Here is a list of all the things I am loving this week.

On TV – I am a week behind on my DVR watching all my shows… but the show I am really loving right now is Nashville.  The midyear finale was great, as has been every episode since.  Teddy, Rayna, Jeff, Maddie, Deacon – each subplot is action packed.  I even care about Laila Grant right now. (Not so much Gunner and his son/nephew  – but there is always one fast-forwarder storyline, right?)  I can’t wait to watch last night’s episode this weekend!

nashville

On the Page –  Martha Stewart Living March 2015 is at the top of my stack this week. Spring into Color is reminding me that spring is just around the corner (I hope.)

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On the Computer-  I stumbled across this blog from a Pinterest pin and loved, loved, loved this entry! How I Organize my Brain from Sweet Tea and Saving Grace  Everything in this post is one of my favorites, so it was obviously making this list.  To-do lists, planners, notebooks, owls, post-its, sharpies.  The only thing I disliked was the fact that I didn’t find it soon enough to enter the give away contest 

HowIOrganizeMyBrain_Sweet Tea and Saving Grace
picture from Sweet Tea & Saving Grace 

On my Pinterest Boards-  I found this pin on Organization 101 Board, a board that often shows up in my suggested pins and Pinterest Weekly email.  What can I say? Pinterest gets me!  Stuffed animals drive me C.R.A.Z.Y. and the thought of putting them in a pretty trash can makes me very happy. (Perhaps the process will make me think I am throwing them out?) This pin led me to a great post: Think outside the {toy} Box – Over 50 Organizational Tips for Kids’ Spaces over at Attempting Aloha. 

Rebekah Merkle Trash Can

On the Stage-  Last night, my husband and I saw a phenomenal production of Into the Woods at a regional theatre in our area, Theatre Horizon. This musical is one of my favorites and it was a powerhouse cast, in a small intimate setting.  I would tell you to check it out if you live in the Philadelphia area, but the entire run is sold out.  And last night, I found out why. I will be singing the songs all day today.  Careful when you say – listen to me… 

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Hope you had a great week.  What are you reading, watching, pinning, and enjoying? Leave me a comment and let me know the things you are loving this week.  Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

Helpful Hump-day Hints – Tax Season

HHH apples grnTax time is upon us.  My husband works freelance and he has multiple employers. Some are W-2 type jobs, others are 1099s. We need to keep all the forms organized as they start arriving in the mail in January.  We go back through our google calendar for the previous year and make a list of all the employers he had.  I print it out in checklist form and attached it to a manilla envelope.  As the forms come in, we add them to the envelope and check them off the checklist as received.

Organizing your Tax Documents

Once everything is checked off, we scan all the documents and are ready to do our taxes.

I found these apple green envelopes at the UPS Store. Of course, I love them since they are my signature color. I was thinking about what to use them for and I knew they would come in handy for tax season.

Taxes 2014_2

How do you organize your tax paperwork each year?

Unroll.me Organized my Email Life

On a whim, I clicked on someone’s Facebook post about an email clean up system called Unroll.me.  Please see my post about needing help with deleting and organizing emails. 

I had so many emails that I was overwhelmed and didn’t know how to get ahead of the problem.  I tried unsubscribing to emails I never looked at, but for every one I unsubscribed to, there were six others I didn’t remember I was signed up to get.

My sister and I always joke about our favorite line from the movie “Because I Said So” when the mother, Diane Keaton, tells her daughter, Mandy Moore, if she just moves her couch a few inches it will “change her life.”

I am NOT kidding you that signing up for unroll.me has CHANGED MY LIFE!

unroll.me_combine

How does it work?

  • Unroll.me scans through your inbox and identifies how many subscription emails you are getting. (I had hundreds!)
  • For each subscription you pick one of three choices: unsubscribe, add to roll up, keep in inbox.
  • You select a time of day to get your roll up daily digest email.
  • You receive one email everyday (at the time you select) that will contain any emails you chose to “add to roll up.”
  • Your daily email will also tell you if they have identified more subscriptions in your inbox and give you the three options again.

How has it changed my life?

  • It allowed me to unsubscribe to hundreds of emails I do not need to get by quickly clicking a button.
  • I am no longer overwhelmed to open my email in the morning because it doesn’t say “downloading 67 emails,” that were mainly junk anyway. If I have an email first thing, I know it is personal and I need to read it.
  • I elected 9:30am for my roll up email.  With my teaching schedule, I will not see it until lunchtime.
  • I no longer see a scary 4-digit number as the number of emails I have unread in my inbox.

If you need to organize your email life, I suggest using unroll.me.  Yes, in order to sign up all the way, you must share on Facebook that you are using the app.  It’s how I discovered it in the first place, so I didn’t mind doing this.

Do you use unroll.me? What are your thoughts? Do you use another email organizer? Leave me a comment and let me know. Also, special thanks to Grammar Girl, for her article I read when writing this post to see if it should be “e-mail” or “email.” As always, thanks for reading.

My Friday Favorites 02. 20.15

Friday Favorites gingham

I hope you all had a fabulous week and have dug out of the snow if you live in the northeast part of the USA. Here are all my favorites this week.

On TV -

  • I have not written a Friday Favorites in awhile and I have a lot of TV catching up to do on my DVR.  I know it was not this week but I MUST give my Friday Favorite to Parenthood.  For six years, I laughed and cried along with this show every Thursday.  The finale was PERFECT.  I rank it in my top 5 best ever finales. (hmmm… maybe that’s another blog post.)  What do Peter Krause and Matt Lauria have in common?  Both have been part of TWO best-ever series finales. Parenthood and Six Feet Under (Krause) & Friday Night Lights (Lauria.)  Who is not included in that?  Lauren Graham.  I just finished Gilmore Girls on Netflix and that was one of the WORST series finales I have ever seen!  Glad Parenthood came through for us!

parenthood-finale

 

On the Page – 

  • The Good Housekeeping March 2015 issue is making me so happy.  The cover says it all – ” You can organize your life!”  This issue comes just in time for me to start my Spring Break to-do list.

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In the Kitchen -

Easy-15-Minute-Maple-Spice-SquashThis recipes makes 4 servings (about 1 cup per serving.)
I’m back on Weight Watchers and using her calculations 1 cup = 4 points.

For my Homemakover- 

  • We have ripped down a lot of wallpaper, and we still have much more to do.  Our third bedroom, which is currently being used as an office / den is one room where we did not even begin to think about taking down the wallpaper.  And at this point – I can’t even imagine tearing it all down.  So I am attempting to “work with what I’ve got.”  Here’s a picture of the wallpaper.  It can make you a little dizzy!  My brain is in overdrive and I am determined to turn these old, americana, psychedelic patterned walls into a vintage treasure of a room! (Hint – the silver and black are popping out to me.) Stay tuned!

wallpaper_office.den

Hope you had a great week.  Leave me a comment and let me know the things you are loving this week.  Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

Post #215 from the (215)

This is my 215th post on My Color-Coded Life! When I saw that, I decided I should dedicate it to my hometown – area code 215 – Philadelphia, PA.

Here are some articles that describe why Philly, PA, USA is so great.

The New York Times ranked our city #3 on a list of 52 places to visit in 2015. 

Philly is on a National Roll  

For me personally, I love our city’s restaurants, museums, parks, historical attractions, arts & culture and the extensive list of things to do with kids.  Some of our sports teams have even won over this New England girl! My family has memberships to The Philadelphia Art Museum, The Please Touch Museum, and The Philadelphia Zoo (inside the city limits) as well as Sesame Place (25 minutes outside the city.)

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please touch museum logo

phila zoo logo

sesame-place-logo

I love a good soft pretzel, cheesesteak, hoagie, and my born-and-bred Philly husband has shown me the light when it comes to a good Tastykake.  Before I moved here I did not know you could (and should) put cheese on top of …. everything.  Just say – “wiz wit” to ensure cheese whiz and fried onions will be included.

I love that my daughter’s favorite book is Good Night Philadelphia, that she has a stuffed bunny rabbit named Schuylkill River, that she can identify William Penn at the top of City Hall and when we are driving on Broad Street she looks for the large paintbrush in front of PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.)

I’ll end this post with my favorite view of the city (from the top of the Art Museum steps) and our city’s “Visit Us” campaign. 

With Love, Philadelphia XOXO 

Philadelphia-Skyline- from http://www.centercityteam.com/photo from Center City Team 

I Heart U

Happy Valentines’ Day from My Color-Coded Life. My Pinterest News Feed has been filled with red hearts, candy, and cute ways to make the perfect valentines for weeks now.  When I was in my 20s, I HATED this holiday, so much in fact, that my mom started sending me funny valentines each year signed with statements like – “On your favorite holiday…”   But now I choose to embrace it for what’s it is worth – saying you care to the loved ones around you.   Last year around this time, I was trying to organize a dinner date night out with two other couples we are friends with.  We finally decided – why don’t we just do Valentine’s Day?  It’s free on all of our calendars – and it will take the pressure off our husbands to make a plan for what I assume is the most dreaded holiday for men!  This year we are continuing the tradition.

Here are some things we are up to for this heart holiday.

Last year, I was in charge of dessert. I found this post through Pinterest. Valentine Cake DIY from The Busy Bee .  Here is my attempt and final product. 

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How did I do? This year I’m hosting and my friend Leigh is going to attempt this cake from bhg.com.

Valentine's Cake from bhg.com

I do like to give Valentine’s Day gifts to teachers.  I feel like it is a non-religious holiday so giving a little gift is just showing you are thankful for them and what they do every day for your child(ren.) This year I found this adorable post including the printable: Bee Mine Valentine Card Template from Make It Do.   There is a non-intentional bee theme going on here!  I love this idea of giving honey (especially if the teachers are tea drinkers.)  Here is my attempt:

bee mine honey giftsI like the red gingham ribbon used by the Make it Do people, my velvet red ribbon reads a little Christmas-y to me, but I was trying to just use what I had and not bring anymore crafty stuff into my house right now! (You’re welcome, Larry.)

I wrapped these up in the adorable handmade Valentine’s bags my sister makes. I included a few tea bags with each honey, too.  Plus we did one – stop shopping with this all inclusive Valentine’s kit including 24 cards and stickers we found at Target.  (It did not have envelopes, which I found odd.)

valentines gifts

 

I am also continuing my collection of Valentine’s cards that Larry and I have exchanged with each other since we first started dating.  This box sits on our mantel and every year when I put it out I read them.

Valentine Card Box

 

Hope you have a nice day today surrounded by those you love.  Enjoy the long weekend if you have President’s day off.  I heart U for reading!

 

My Friday and 2014 Favorites 01.02.15

Friday Favorites ginghamHappy New Year! 2014 was a good year for my family and for My Color-Coded Life and I hope it was good to you as well!  Thank you for continue to read along with us here.  Today, I will do my yearly wrap-up as my favorites — what I am still reading, watching, and making as we begin 2015.

My Color TV

Shows I am still watching on current TV –
Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Nashville, Awkward, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Law & Order SVU, Suits, Parenthood, Mad Men (when it returns!)

Questions – MerDer on Grey’s – is this really it?   Will Rayna and Decon finally have their third? fourth? lasting? chance on Nashville? Olivia – #TeamFitz, #TeamJake, #DefeatDad on Scandal?  What will happen to Zeke? Joel and Julia? Amber and her new baby? on Parenthood.

Best new show – Shonda does it again – How to Get Away with Murder.

But I must give My Friday and 2014 Favorite to…

tNeil Caffery Au Revoir White Collar.  After six seasons, we bid au revoir to our favorite crooked FBI agent, Neil Caffrey. The series ended as it should have with the ultimate, final con.

Shows I am ten years behind on and watching on Netflix –
Gilmore Girls!  I never watched it, but I am enjoying it now.  Lorelei is a lot like Sarah from Parenthood – Lauren Graham plays disheveled mother well!

blogs

Blogs I’m still reading - check them out by clicking to be redirected to the sites.

For organization:
i heart organizing, SimpLeigh Organized, Easy-Going Organizer.

For recipes:
The Srumptious Pumpkin, Fitness & FetaA Whisk and a Spoon, Piping Dreams, Eat, Play, Love, A Lot on Your Plate

For Home Decor and Lifestyle:
Circa Dee,  le zoe musings, {love+cupcake} Blog, THE.REFURBISHED.LIFE, Nurse Frugal

For Crafts and Mommy Life:
Many Hats of a Mom, MeaningfulMama

For Travel DreamsBucket List Publications

For a Great Laugh: There Goes My Reputation

For Creative Alternative Stories – TaleSpins Books

Blogs I miss, but still reference often: Ipinterest  & Les Petite Presents 

Now that I have returned to the classroom, this year I will be looking for teacher / education/ classroom style blogs to follow – feel free to let me know what good ones you are reading currently.

magazines

Magazines I still subscribe to-
in print – Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful
on my ipad – HGTV, Parents, Country Living, Food, All You

front of house

My House Makeover – still LOTS going on… we hit a slight road bump with the basement makeover – but I have high hopes THIS is the year it will be finished! Reveal posts I will be making soon include our linen closet and master bedroom.

St Patrick's Day cards

Craft Projects on the Horizon – continuing to work on our original Fall . Thanksgiving Family Cookbook Scrapbook. I also started a Christmas one.  Olivia has started her first scrapbook (like mother like daughter!) I owe TWO prizes for Comment Contests.  And I’m sure 2015 will have some creative parties and holiday decorating in store for us!

From our family to yours, wishing you an amazing 2015.

xmas 2014

Over the fields we go. Wrapping all the way…

My wrapping marathon has begun.  It began Saturday when I attended my friend’s annual gift wrapping party.  She makes the most incredible bows!  She’s a wrapping expert.  I always choose a special paper for the gifts we will open X-mas Eve.  (We give each other new pajamas and a book the night before the big day.) This year our Xmas Eve paper is brown with snowmen on it.  Look at the incredible ribbon tying my friend did on these – including a little snowman!  The day was filled with paper, ribbons, bows, and glitter!

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xmas eve gifts 2014_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year we are experiencing something new…. SANTA.  Olivia is old enough now to know what is going on and expects this guy to be stopping by for Christmas (and leaving a few things.)  This started the conversation rolling between my husband and I. What was your Santa like growing up?  Did he wrap? Did he leave a lot of little things?  Just one big thing?  We told Olivia she could ask Santa for five things. This sparked a lot of debate among my friends!  Some said that was a lot!  Some said, that’s it?  I guess you just have to navigate it for yourself.  She’s still too little to want any “big-ticket” items so 5 small things we knew wouldn’t break the bank and would make for an exciting morning.   And my sweet girl could only think of three things when making her list anyway!!  We decided Santa would wrap, in a different special paper.  I also got the idea to leave a Santa picture on the packages (instead of a To / From gift tag) and I found some cute holiday numbers online to include, too.

Santa gifts 2014

Thanks to all the ladies at the gift wrap party who helped see my “Santa” vision into these beautiful packages!

I am always afraid that the gifts I have left to wrap at home after this party will not look as good.  I spent all day yesterday finishing up. What do you think?  I don’t have all the special supplies from the party – but I make do with what I’ve got!

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xmas gifts 2014 _4

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Are you done wrapping? Does Santa visit your house? Does he wrap? What are your traditions? Leave me a comment and let me know.

I’m moving on the next phase of Holiday prep today – the meals.

Enjoy your day and thanks for reading!

I’m still talking about Autumn, it’s Thanksgiving First!

I know the halls are all decked in every store with snowflakes and Christmas music, but I stand firm in celebrating the holidays in order! That plus I’m still getting through my stack of fall themed, pumpkin covered magazines.

I was reading Better Homes and Gardens October issue (yes I’m that far behind in my magazine reading.)

Better Homes and Gardens Oct 2014

I sent a quick text to my sister including this pic because she collects blue glass.  I thought it was a great way to incorporate fall colors with a blue glass collection.

BHG Autumn_blue glass

 

She tried it out and sent me this picture back.

Autumn_blue glass centerpiece

Good job Michele!

BHG Autumn blue glass display