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january goals

This is the week of goals here! How have you been doing with yours? It feels like my December goals post was so so far away. So much has happened since then! In efforts to cultivate my goal of simplifying this year, I’m going to try to add one thing that will simplify my life to each month’s goals. This month I’m focusing on my home – decluttering and purging. I have read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “A Simplified Life” which both give great tips on decluttering, but I’m still not very good at it. Wish me luck!

2018 january goals | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

December Goals
– Get all of our Christmas shopping done by December 17 (we’re so close already!)  YES! All of our Christmas shopping except for a few stocking stuffers was done by December 10th! This was one of the best things we did this season – it left room for more Christmas activities and I was less stressed about finishing our shopping than I have been in previous years.
– Continue to exercise and practice self-care as the season gets crazy. This includes getting more sleep than I have been getting recently.  Definitely didn’t get more sleep, but I did a great job at keeping up an exercise routine, so I’m marking this as completed.
– Post all of my gift guides by December 12 – Nope, but close. I should have switched this date with the date for finishing my Christmas shopping ;)
– Decorate for Christmas so our home is available for planned or impromptu holiday gatherings  Yes! I seriously cried when we had to take down the Christmas tree before we left on our New Year’s trip.
– Meal plan again – we have been going out of town so much that our meal planning fell to the side on weekends, which left us scrounging during the week. I want to get back to planning our meals again because it always makes the evenings less stressful. – Didn’t do a great job of this at all. Whomp whomp.
– Spend meaningful time with both of our families for Christmas celebrations Yes, yes, yes. We spent time with lots of family in December and it was all so wonderful.

January Goals
– Clean our apartment
– Purge at least one bag of things I don’t use or need
– Build in free time on our trips to make them relaxing rather than overwhelming
– Wake up early enough to enjoy a slow morning before work at least two days a week
– Get back to meal planning

What are your January goals? Any tips for decluttering? I’m all ears!

december goals

Happy December! This is the case for most people, but I always find that December is always a fun, but very crazy month. It is easy to do too much, go to fast, and burn out before Christmas gets here. I am already exhausted from everything leading up to December, so I am trying to combat that stress and burnout that could happen by narrowing down my December goals and focusing on only a few things well.

2017 December Goals | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

November Goals:
– Vote! – Ugh, I researched and tried to go, but when I got home from work (via the bus) my car wouldn’t start so I couldn’t get to the polls :( The next few days consisted of getting this car problem fixed.
– Celebrate 10 years with Will!!!Yes! :) We didn’t do anything big, but enjoyed spending the evening together before a busy weekend.
– Make a new pie recipeYes! This and this.
– Drink at least 80 ounces of water a day – I did well at the beginning of the month, but fell behind when travel and Thanksgiving came around.
– Go on a walk/run on nearby trails (maybe on the Pumpkin loop, since I missed that last month) to enjoy the last of the fall leaves and weatherDidn’t make it to the pumpkin loop, but I did enjoy and take in the fall weather and pretty leaves.
Continue to exercise outside even as the weather gets colder and the amount of sunlight gets shorterYes. I’m always shocked by how early and how fast it gets dark this time of year.
– Stretch at least 3 times a week (I got a charley horse (so painful!) twice last month and I’m hoping to stretch more to try to prevent that happening this month.) – Moslty. I was doing really well at the beginning of the month, and even until thanksgiving week, but have been slacking since then.
Use my time efficiently at work and at home – less mindless checking and refreshing Instagram, no Instagram after 10pmI did well with this one again this month. I’m taking this off the monthly goals list and making it my rule going forward.
Acknowledge at least one thing I’m grateful for each day (I do this every few days, and should be doing this everyday, but I figure Thanksgiving month is a good time to start this habit!)This was such a good exercise. I kept my gratitude list, numbered with the days of the month, next to my bed, and wrote down what I was grateful for each night before I went to bed. It kept me focused on all of the blessings we have, rather than the stress of the day.
Finish our “coffeeneuring” adventures strong (more on this soon!)Yes! In case you missed it, you can find the post on this here)
Spend time with family and rest over ThanksgivingTo say that we rested is a stretch, but we spent time with lots of family and had one of the best Thanksgivings yet.
Plan/purchase most of our Christmas giftsYes! Only a few left to get!

December Goals:
– Get all of our Christmas shopping done by December 17 (we’re so close already!)
– Continue to exercise and practice self-care as the season gets crazy. This includes getting more sleep than I have been getting recently.
– Post all of my gift guides by December 12
– Decorate for Christmas so our home is available for planned or impromptu holiday gatherings
– Meal plan again – we have been going out of town so much that our meal planning fell to the side on weekends, which left us scrounging during the week. I want to get back to planning our meals again because it always makes the evenings less stressful.
– Spend meaningful time with both of our families for Christmas celebrations

Are you simplifying your goals this month to create a more relaxing and meaningful holiday? What are your tips? I need all the help I can get!

november goals

October was so full and so good. Going into the month I was coming off of a very busy September, and I knew that November would be a busy month too. October started out hectic, but between Will’s fall break, my trips to the mountains and to NYC, and some good family time, October ended up being just what I needed. It was busy and filled with lots of activity, but still restful because the activity was not stressful. On top of that, the weather finally cooled down and the gorgeous colors popped on the trees. Overall, I’d take October again in a heartbeat. Here’s hoping that November can compete! :)

November Goals 2017

October goals:
– Enjoy a fall treat – pumpkin chocolate chip bread, Levain cookies (not necessarily a “fall treat,” but definitely a treat in the fall)
– Take advantage of the cooler weather by exercising outside regularly, including a run on the “Pumpkin Loop” – I did run outside regularly (the weather was amazing!), but not on the Pumpkin Loop, so moving this one to next month.
– Make a new soup recipe – Tried this butternut squash soup and this tomato soup. Both were great, but the tomato soup has been on repeat!
– Enjoy relaxing time with family on our siblings’ fall breaks – <3
– Enjoy time with friends on trips for work (NYC) and fun (mountains) – Both were so good! The photo above is from my trip to NYC. If I can get my act together I’ll be sharing more soon!
– Use my time efficiently at work and at home – less mindless checking and refreshing Instagram, no Instagram after 10pm – This was such a good goal and I’m so glad I stuck to it. I already feel like I have dropped the habit of checking social media late at night, but I’m carrying it over until I’m sure it sticks.
– Drink at least 80 oz of water a day – I am usually good at getting at least 68, but have been lax about this recently and feeling dehydrated because of it. – Crossing this off because I did this almost every day, but was bad about it while I was traveling (I hate using airplane bathrooms). Moving it to next month so I can continue to get into a better habit.
– Dress up to give candy to trick-or-treaters! – I was Cinderella :)
– Make a practice-round dish for Thanksgiving – We made brown butter maple sweet potatoes with my family while my brother was home for fall break!

November goals:
– Vote!
– Celebrate 10 years with Will!!!
– Make a new pie recipe
– Drink at least 80 ounces of water a day
– Go on a walk/run on nearby trails (maybe on the Pumpkin loop, since I missed that last month) to enjoy the last of the fall leaves and weather
– Continue to exercise outside even as the weather gets colder and the amount of sunlight gets shorter
– Stretch at least 3 times a week (I got a charley horse (so painful!) twice last month and I’m hoping to stretch more to try to prevent that happening this month.)
– Use my time efficiently at work and at home – less mindless checking and refreshing Instagram, no Instagram after 10pm
– Acknowledge at least one thing I’m grateful for each day (I do this every few days, and should be doing this everyday, but I figure Thanksgiving month is a good time to start this habit!)
– Finish our “coffeeneuring” adventures strong (more on this soon!)
– Spend time with family and rest over Thanksgiving
– Plan/purchase most of our Christmas gifts

Do you have any big (or small) goals for this month? Leave them in the comments below!

october goals

October is one of my favorite months of the year. I love fall weather and the fun autumn activities that come with it. While the shorter days can sometimes be a downside to the season, the early dark skies make it easier to cozy up in a warm blanket with a mug of hot apple cider on crisp nights. I’m excited for what is to come this season, both in life and on the blog. I recently planned two quick trips, one for work and one for fun, and am really looking forward to both. The process for both was so quick and unexpected that it feels like I’m being spontaneous, even if they are still weeks away :). I’m looking forward to October.

Pumpkin Bread with Chai Crumble | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Get the recipe for this pumpkin bread with chai crumble here!

September goals:
– Create and stick to a better editorial calendar for the blog – I think I did this pretty well! I’m still going with my editorial calendar and am getting into a rhythm with it. I’m a little afraid I may overschedule and burn out, but we’ll see how it goes!
– Spend a weekend with family at my cousin’s wedding – Lots of rain, lots of family time, a really adorable coffee shop, and the best everything bagel I have ever had in my life.
– Continue to exercise regularly as my work schedule ramps up. Specifically, run when I can and do at-home exercises if the weather is bad. - Yes, but was more lenient with myself when I was absolutely exhausted from lots of overtime weeks. I did try a new group fitness class, which I loved!
– Get a mattress for the new bed (DIY coming soon!) in our second bedroom – Yes, after months and months we finally completed this one! You can see the DIY cane headboard tutorial here!
– Go apple picking! – We missed the “u pick” window at the apple orchard nearby, but we went pumpkin picking instead, so I’m crossing this one off. One form of fall produce counts for another, right?

October goals:
– Enjoy a fall treat
– Take advantage of the cooler weather by exercising outside regularly, including a run on the “Pumpkin Loop”
– Make a new soup recipe
– Enjoy relaxing time with family on our siblings’ fall breaks
– Enjoy time with friends on trips for work (NYC) and fun (mountains)
– Use my time efficiently at work and at home – less mindless checking and refreshing Instagram, no Instagram after 10pm
– Drink at least 80 oz of water a day – I am usually good at getting at least 68, but have been lax about this recently and feeling dehydrated because of it.
– Dress up to give candy to trick-or-treaters!
– Make a practice-round dish for Thanksgiving

september goals

Looking back at my August goals, the beginning of August seems so far away, yet so much happened in the month. Will traded in hospital clinicals for a new semester of classes, and my work schedule ramped up as our office jumped head first into the academic year. Amidst all of that, we traveled to a traditional Indian full-day wedding and spent quality time with friends and family. We packed August with all of the good stuff.

2017 September Goals | www.passthecookies.com

As we head into the new month, with new September goals, I am excited about the seasons ahead. While fall doesn’t really arrive in North Carolina until October, it has already started to cool down a bit as the pumpkin and apple treats seem to be come more and more appropriate (though those are always appropriate in my book ;) ). We have established some great September/early-fall traditions over the past few years that I am looking forward to continuing this month.

August goals:
– Pick a paint color for the second bedroom – After testing 6 paint colors, we found one we (read: I) liked!
– Paint the second bedroom – Will and his brother did the bulk of this and it looks so good!
– Celebrate weddings with friends
– Enjoy some relaxing time with Will between rotations and the start of classes – Post coming soon!
– Spend quality time with my mom and sister on our inaugural girls trip – Post coming soon!
– Get into a routine with Write the Word journal – This has been a great resource for me and I really like the groove I am in with it right now.
– Read a book at least three days a week – Switched off between a few, but accomplished this one!
– Pick blackberries – I looked for them, but the deer had eaten most of them in one patch and they were starting to shrivel in another patch. We did find some figs instead though, so I would still say we accomplished the general goal of foraging for fruit.
-Make a plan or a timeline for our list of projects

September goals:
– Create and stick to a better editorial calendar for the blog
– Spend a weekend with family at my cousin’s wedding
– Continue to exercise regularly as my work schedule ramps up. Specifically, run when I can and do at-home exercises if the weather is bad.
– Get a mattress for the new bed (DIY coming soon!) in our second bedroom
– Go apple picking!

My goals are short and sweet this month, but hopefully that means I will be able to accomplish them without stress. What is on your list as we finish out the summer and get ready for fall? I’d love to hear!

august goals

Rabbit rabbit! Welcome to August! I’m excited that August means we are nearing the end of summer (and heat and bugs!), but also sad that the flexibility of summer is coming to an end. Since my job revolves around the academic year, with back to school, August usually brings a busier work schedule. However, July has been so insanely busy with week-long events almost every week that I’m looking forward to (dare I say) a slightly slower August. That said, I’m traveling almost every weekend of August so “slightly slower” is relative. To make sure I don’t overexert myself this month and burn out by September, I’m only setting a few August goals. Grace is the key for this month.

2017 August goals | www.passthecookies.com

Let’s check in on those July goals first:
-Celebrate the 4th of July with fun, family, and food
-Find a paint color for the second bedroom – Tried so hard on this one; we tested 5 color samples on the walls and didn’t like any of them. Trying again this month 
-Spend a weekend relaxing at the lake with family and friends
-Pick blackberries
-Get/order wedding gifts for our next three weddings
-Celebrate with friends at a wedding (I’m excited about the venues for this one! The other weddings we have been to this year have all been gorgeous, but I haven’t known anything about the locations/venues since most of them have been in different cities and states.The venues for this one are local, and places I have been, but never for a wedding. I’m excited to experience them in a different setting!)
-Make a plan or a timeline for our list of projects
-Run regularly, even in the heat
-Celebrate a childhood friend and soon-to-be mama
-Continue to use my Write the Word journal regularly throughout the weekDid really well at this in the first half of the month, then still used it but the regularity slowed down. Marking it done because it was better than last month.

August goals:
– Pick a paint color for the second bedroom
– Paint the second bedroom
– Celebrate weddings with friends
– Enjoy some relaxing time with Will between rotations and the start of classes
– Spend quality time with my mom and sister on our inaugural girls trip
– Get into a routine with Write the Word journal
– Read a book at least three days a week
– Pick blackberries
-Make a plan or a timeline for our list of projects

july goals

2017 July Goals

Since I work in an academic setting and Will’s medical school schedule mostly changes with the academic calendar, my year is primarily measured by the August to May academic calendar. This means my summer is measured in months between the end of one school year and the start of the next. Working on projects for the start of the new school year, as I am now, is always startling and kind of scary because it reiterates how soon the next school year will be upon us. In some ways it feels like a month and a half have passed since the end of the (college) school year, and in some ways it feels like June only lasted a week. Mostly the latter. With all of it’s events, this summer has been both crazy busy and wonderfully relaxing at the same time, which is just how I love it.

Having a summer bucket list has helped give some purpose to any unexpected free time we have, and has helped me continue to cross things off the list as we go through these summer months. Some people prefer to spend their summer free time relaxing, but having structure helps my Type A personality feel like I can relax and I’m not forgetting about something that is looming on my plate. Sometimes though, I plan out my weekend or overbook my week and end up doing something completely different than my plan, but usually because we want to spend more time walking outside or spending time with family or friends, which are the perfect reasons to bend my schedule. This summer has been one of learning grace and flexibility with my Type A scheduling, my summer bucket list, and my monthly goals. With that in mind, below are my July goals, with a side of grace.

June Goals
-Make and decorate a cake for a baby shower
-Celebrate Will’s brother and almost sister-in-law getting married!!! – Woohoo!
-Help with the wedding, rehearsal dinner, and other celebratory events
-Enjoy a girl’s trip to LA with childhood friends – More on that to come
-Add two go-to dinner recipes to our list
-Use the lettuce and herbs from our garden in meals – We each got at least 4 meals out of it!
-Find a moisturizer or foundation with SPF that I like and start wearing it regularly – I have an SPF face lotion but did a poor job wearing it regularly until the end of June, but now I feel like it is almost part of my routine, so I’m marking it as an achieved goal
-Make new popsicle flavor combinationsRoasted strawberries and cream popsicles! I made another one that wasn’t good enough to share, but still a fun experience!
-Continue with a regular running schedule or do indoor toning exercises when it is thunder storming or too hot (welcome to North Carolina summers!)
-Have tea at Honeysuckle Tea House
-Celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary (!) – We made plans to!

July Goals
-Celebrate the 4th of July with fun, family, and food
-Find a paint color for the second bedroom
-Spend a weekend relaxing at the lake with family and friends
-Pick blackberries
-Get/order wedding gifts for our next three weddings
-Celebrate with friends at a wedding (I’m excited about the venues for this one! The other weddings we have been to this year have all been gorgeous, but I haven’t known anything about the locations/venues since most of them have been in different cities and states.The venues for this one are local, and places I have been, but never for a wedding. I’m excited to experience them in a different setting!)
-Make a plan or a timeline for our list of projects
-Run regularly, even in the heat
-Celebrate a childhood friend and soon-to-be mama
-Continue to use my Write the Word journal regularly throughout the week
A note: I got this one a few months ago and have loved it! Everyone can use it differently. Some people start a new page every day, but for me “regularly” means reading and writing down the verse and what I’m grateful for one day, filling out the “what’s on my heart,” and my word for the day another day, looking at the contextual passages another day, and rereading the verse and remembering what I’m grateful for each day. All of the Write the Word journals are sold out right now, but according to their instagram, all of the journals will be back in stock in August!

june goals

June 2017 Goals | www.passthecookies.com

Happy June and almost summer! It is starting to feel more and more like summer every day, with warm weather, open pools, and nightly thunderstorms to boot. Our May was filled to the brim and because of our packed schedule it seemed to go by quickly. While being busy and fully booked can sometimes feel stressful, we got to spend wonderful quality time with so many friends and family members who we don’t see often. It was a great month and having a three-day weekend right at the end was the cherry on top! I’d take another May 2017, if anyone’s asking. I’m going into June with a still busy schedule, but have great hopes for it after the great month we just had. Plus, summer is coming, and while the intense heat of July and August aren’t my favorite, June still has some beautiful long nights that I’m looking forward to filling with time outside. Without further ado: a recap of May goals and some new June goals!

May Goals
– Plant herbs – I moved the basil outside and so far it has been doing well in its pot. I may plant it in a bigger pot this month, but we’ll see how it does.
– Have tea at Honeysuckle Tea House – I’m carrying this one over because we didn’t get to do it but I really want to while the weather is nice.
– Celebrate with friends and family at (and on the way to) weddings – carrying this over from last month because we have more weddings coming up in May! Celebrated with lots of friends and family at and on the way to a wedding last month. We are looking forward to even more family and celebration at a special wedding this month (see June Goals below!)
– Balance my work and weekend obligations with exercise – Run at least 3 times a week, do toning exercises at least once a week. I feel like I am back in a good rhythm with running again, and when the evening thunderstorms throw of my running plans I have been able to do indoor exercises. Hoping to keep this up!
– Successfully work all of our end-of-school-year events at work (5 within 15 days). Halleluiah!
– Spend Memorial Day weekend relaxing with friends and family (brunch?!). Memorial Day Weekend was packed to the brim with friends and family and it was so refreshing and so good! I’ll recap our brunch spread soon!
– Make plan to make headboard for daybed. Made a plan, now figuring out a good time to implement.
– Celebrate bachelorette parties, bridal showers, birthdays and Mother’s Day. May was full of celebrations and parties, with one (or more!) every weekend!

June Goals
-Make and decorate a cake for a baby shower
-Celebrate Will’s brother and almost sister-in-law getting married!!!
-Help with the wedding, rehearsal dinner, and other celebratory events
-Enjoy a girl’s trip to LA with childhood friends
-Add two go-to dinner recipes to our list
-Use the lettuce and herbs from our garden in meals
-Find a moisturizer or foundation with SPF that I like and start wearing it regularly
-Make new popsicle flavor combinations
-Continue with a regular running schedule or do indoor toning exercises when it is thunder storming or too hot (welcome to North Carolina summers!)
-Have tea at Honeysuckle Tea House
-Celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary (!)

may goals

2017 May Goals | www.passthecookies.com

April was packed to the brim and flew by so quickly because of that. We went to two weddings, drove through 5 states, spent Easter in Virginia, survived Will’s night shifts, made 800 cookies (!), and celebrated birthdays. Between lots of work and lots of social obligations, May is looking just as busy, if not busier. I’m trying my best to avoid the overwhelm that could easily absorb me. These May goals are helpful with that. They are an easy way for me to focus on what I truly want to get done this month, and a reminder that I can leave other things to the side for later. Not everything will (or can) get done at once, and I plan on reminding myself of that as the month gets into full swing.

April Goals
-Plant herbs – Bought herbs yesterday, but haven’t decided where to plant them yet
-Do toning exercises twice a week – Mostly, but I didn’t do a good job of keeping track so I’m not crossing it off
-Successfully finish making and beautifully present 5 types of cookies for my cousin’s wedding reception – Done done done done and done!
-Celebrate with friends and family at wedding – One wedding in NC, one wedding in Philadelphia, and lots of wonderful family and friends!
-See the Ansel Adams exhibit at the NC art museum – Yes, so good! Triangle friends, it is there through Sunday!
-Celebrate Easter with family – Spent the weekend in VA with both sides of my family (the photo above is from our time in Williamsburg)
-Make a new spring dessert – Checked this off with at least two new desserts
-Celebrate my quarter-century birthday! – Welcome to 25!

May Goals
-Plant herbs – Carrying this one over with high hopes :)
-Have tea at Honeysuckle Tea House
-Celebrate with friends and family at (and on the way to) weddings
-Balance my work and weekend obligations with exercise – Run at least 3 times a week, do toning exercises at least once a week
-Successfully work all of our end-of-school-year events at work (5 within 15 days)
-Spend Memorial Day weekend relaxing with friends and family (brunch?!)
-Make plan to make headboard for daybed
-Celebrate bachelorette parties, bridal showers, birthdays and Mother’s Day

april goals

Welcome, April! Between UNC winning the national championship (see photo below!) and prepping for a family wedding, the first few days of April have been wonderful already! April is my favorite month of the year. The spring weather is usually here to stay by mid-month, and I have my birthday to look forward to at the end of the month. I have good feelings about this month :)

2017 April Goals

March Goals
-Read a book for at least 10 minutes a day – This one didn’t go as well as it did in February; started reading Daring Greatly but didn’t make a ton of progress
-Do toning exercises twice a week – Again, didn’t go as well as it did in February, but did them about once a week
-Start a list of recipes we make often and the ingredients we need to make them to make meal planning is easier in the future – Ongoing
-Make 2 pieces of art for our bedroom – Pushed this off because after hanging art (see next goal) and rearranging our furniture, I don’t know if the art I planned to make is the right thing for the space.
-Hang art in our bedroom – Yes!
-Hang curtains in at least one room in the house (one day we will check this off the list) – Hung curtains in TWO rooms! Woohoo!
-Take a walk/run with Will at least once a week (this may be difficult with Will starting a new rotation, but I am hopeful!) – Yes! This was great!
-Test five cookie recipes for an upcoming project – Yes! This cookie testing came in handy for April’s goals :)
-Celebrate Will’s birthday – Yes! Yay, 25!
-Spend meaningful time with friends – This was wonderful. I may not have checked off the first two goals because I spent more time with friends than usual, but it was well worth it.

April Goals
Plant herbs
Do toning exercises twice a week
Successfully finish making and beautifully present 5 types of cookies for my cousin’s wedding reception
Celebrate with friends and family at wedding
See the Ansel Adams exhibit at the NC art museum
Celebrate Easter with family
Make a new spring dessert
Celebrate my quarter-century birthday!

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