My Goals for 2017

Happy New Year’s Eve! I hope this post finds you and your family well and happy.
After doing some soul-searching and some inspirational reading over the past few days I’ve come up with a plan for my writing goals.
  • I’m finding time
I’m the past, I’ve made writing Goals without any thought about how I was going to fit these goals in my regular life. There’s the endless laundry, dishes and baby diapers. Without making time to do my writing, I could end up gettting burned out. Instead, I’m implementing a plan and schedule that I’m hoping will save me time without being complicated.
I am not going to isolate my writing goals from the rest of my life. Writers want to write but then life happens!
  • I’m learning from my failures with goal setting
I’m also learning from my past mistakes and NOT overwhelming myself. I’m doing this three ways.
  1. I’m only choosing three goals.
  2. I’m only committing to these three goals one week at a time.
  3. AND I’m doing a weekly checklist.
Week one checklist – FREE DOWNLOAD January2017weekonegoals
  • I’m not going to be rigid with the process
I’m giving myself the flexibility to re-evaluate in week instead of a year.
  • These are my goals for the month of January 2017
I’m taking January one week at a time but I still have a plan for the month. This is what week one looks like for me. I’m hoping to keep this up for four weeks.
My three goals for Week One of January 2017:
1. 1,200 words per week
2. Meal planning 8 individual meals per week
3. Clean one room per day + the kitchen

My words per week are broken down by day. 200 words per day on my novel and 40 words per day on a weekly blog post.
My meal planning of “8 meals” may sound like a lot, but I’m planning on only batch cooking two meals that would make up 8 individual servings. I’ll be posting more about this and why I’ve switched from slow-cooker family freezer meals to “meal prep” of individual meals in a future post.
I am going to try to keep myself sane by not looking at the whole house and seeing a mess. I’m going to focus on one room per day to clean. And for the sake of my sanity, I will keep the definition of “clean” flexible!

Click the link below to download a FREE PDF printable of WEEK ONE of my goals. Follow along with me if you think this will help you with your goals. Or do it with me!!!

January2017weekonegoals

What do you think of these goals? Comment below if you plan to do this with me!

 

Still loving Scrivener and trying to stay sane

I’m still using Scrivener every day, and I gotta say, I love the little bugger. It’s so convenient.

  1. I can work on my computer *if* I get a chance to sit down at my computer during the day.
  2. If (more like WHEN) I get sidetracked, I can have my book in my pocket. Even if I don’t get a chance to do any hard-core writing, I can still go back and at least review my outline to keep the story and characters fresh in my mind. For me, that’s so important. Even if I don’t get a chance to sit down and do any writing for a week because I’m so burned out, I at least don’t lose the story. It’s so hard for me to come back from that because I feel like I have to start over when that happens. Jeff Goins explains the importance of writing every day on his podcast here.

For all you breastfeeding mommas out there…this little app, Scrivener for iOS, is a godsend. It syncs with the computer and the computer syncs with my phone. Brilliant.
Yes, for me there are a few little kinks. I’ve gotten some weird “conflicts” registered on my phone and computer. This happens if I don’t sync immediately after I’m done writing and then I switch to the other device to continue writing. It takes a little getting used to, but I’m loving it. Moral of that story is to sync immediately upon finishing writing on whatever device so that it syncs to the Dropbox. From Dropbox, everything syncs and it’s all good.

Today, I got another THOUSAND words done. I didn’t think I’d have the energy. It was a long day, but a good day with my kids. I love to be a SAHM and I’m writing at night now. It’s kinda killing me because I’m up so much at night nursing the baby, but I feel better after writing. If I don’t write, I might feel less tired because I sleep instead, but I feel more FULFILLED when I write.

I know there is a balance and a breaking point. If I write and don’t  sleep, sleep deprivation will catch up to me. I pushed that yesterday. I pushed myself too hard after staying up all night with the baby. My husband gets the brunt of my bad mood when I do this. Thankfully, he’s a very patient man and very supportive of my goal to finish my book. Don’t get jealous ladies, but he cleaned the house, did laundry and the dishes for me. Because he knew I was tired and stressed.

I’m tired because I’m nursing my 9-month-old all night. I’m stressed because I’ve been fighting to find affordable health insurance for my youngest son. I know there are many families with the same or worse challenges, but I’m bummed with this. So far my search has been fruitless, frustrating and depressing. But I always feel better knowing that, at the end of the day I can go write on my book for an hour or so. If I ever make money from this book, the proceeds will likely go towards funding my youngest child’s health insurance premiums. It’s more of an incentive to finish right now than anything else.

To the end of writing-to-keep-me-sane, I highly recommend using Scrivener in iPhone app and computer program form. It’s helping me knock those words out even on difficult days like my last few days have been.

I’m finishing this post while nursing my son back to sleep. He’s so sweet.

Everyone, keep writing especially if you’re doing NaNoWriMo. The world needs your stories!

Why I use a smartphone to write my novel


I’m a mom to two small children. I understand the struggle to find time to write.

Most writing advice includes many references to “just do it” involving the phrase, “get your butt in a chair” or “sit down and do it.” This advice is all well and good, but if you DO NOT EVER SIT DOWN because you’re a mom, this advice doesn’t work for you. In fact, this advice can become downright discouraging. If you can never sit down, this post is for you, mommas!

Sitting down at the traditional “writer’s desk” to get a significant daily word count is next to impossible for me at this stage of my life. Especially since #secondbaby, my 8-month old, is still #breastfeeding. He’s up eating every two hours. #nanowrimo is almost upon us and this year, if you want to participate, I say go for it! Go for it even if you have no time to “get your butt in a chair and write.” Here’s how I did it!

I’m so busy. I still want to pursue my passion for writing and become an author despite limited time. Over the last year as I experimented with time savers I realized I needed something that would allow me to multitask. That something is a smartphone.

Over the last year, and especially the last 8 months, writing on my smartphone has helped me stay on track with my novel by enabling me to write every day, even if it’ only a few words here and there.

I am a SAHM/WAHM so I stay busy with my two kids and housework. But I found that I can use a few ten minute to thirty minute time slots throughout my day. Breastfeeding is a great example of time that can be used to multi-task. I also can write while my boys are playing quietly together (this is rare). Or, and let’s get real here, during bathroom breaks. Just remember, when you’re determined and crunching time, you gotta take time where you find it. Just sayin’…

Over the past year I’ve used my smartphone to write. Even hunched over a baby nuzzled to my breast, bleary-eyed at 3am, I can still text words into my smartphone. That’s mostly how I made it through #nanowrimo2015 (aside from my husband’s heroic efforts to buy me time. @knightsbayne ) It works.

I tried using a laptop computer while breastfeeding but the “clack, clack” of keys as I typed one-handed woke up the baby.

While I looked for ways to get extra word count for #nanowrimo before the baby was born, I used Google Docs for iPhone to write. Now, since I find myself using my smartphone more and more for novel writing, I’ve explored several apps. There’s a lot out there. I will cover what apps I found most useful in my next post. The app I use now for novel writing is Scrivener by Literature and Latte. This is a link to a FREE TRIAL. I DO NOT get any money for sharing this. It’s just a great program.

I’m a mommy and I’m a writer. Mommy-writers, especially of small children, need all the help they can get to achieve their goals. I know I do. While I have far from mastered writing or time management, I hope to help in my small way by sharing my experience, even if only to provide encouragement. Writing can get done even when you have no time to “get your butt in a chair.” You just have to think outside of the “box” where the traditional writer’s space is concerned. Maybe even if your writer’s “chair” is a “white throne.”

The Perfect Stay-at-Home Mom

Ah, the perfect stay-at-home mom. The fictional woman whom we all hold ourselves up to as the standard of motherhood. The mom who has perfectly dressed kids, a clean house and managed to apply mascara. The embodiment of a completely attainable dream, right? *insert sarcasm*

We’re moms at home all day, we should be able to be the perfect moms, right? Well, that’s kinda what I thought for a while.

I thought that I should be able to do it ALL if I could just be home with my kids.

When I was working outside the home, I would day-dream, surely I would be able to (insert fantasy SAHM scenario) if I were home all day!

Boy, was I delusional.
I’ve worked either part or full-time since my now three-year-old was born (with a brief stint as a work from home paralegal somewhere in there). Through it all, I always wanted to be a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom). I finally got to be SAHM with my second baby boy thanks to the generosity and sacrifice of my long-suffering husband to whom I will be forever grateful.
I have been home two months with my newborn baby. And I love it! Truly and completely. It is absolutely my calling and vocation. But… it’s not at all how I pictured SAHM life would go for me.

As a newly SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom) and aspiring WAHM (Work-At-Home-Mom) romance writer, I’m still figuring things out. Like how to open a bottle of water with one hand while breastfeeding. Or how to get the infant car seat straps to tighten without trying it five million times (!!!!!). However, to my credit, I have mastered the 6 minute shower.

Some days I feel like I have it all together. Other days, I feel exhausted and behind. And, despite the undeniably challenging circumstances surrounding being a SAHM mom to an infant and a toddler (including a long stint of c-section recovery), I’m actually surprised at myself when I feel exhausted by my efforts. I’ll even feel guilty for being exhausted. Being at home is supposed to be easy, right?

There is no doubt that I am happier now than I have ever been before. And I’m certainly happier now that I’m not working full-time and leaving my babies with someone else, regardless of how caring the “someone else” is. A couple years back, my loving mother-in-law kept my first baby for me when I had to go back to work. She’s amazing, but that didn’t stop the tears and panic attacks I experienced every work day by leaving my baby for a desk job.

Even though I now have my “dream job” of being SAHM (along with writing my romance novels) there are challenges that I did not fully anticipate in full-time-mommy land.

I did NOT anticipate what I would expect of myself versus what I could feasibly do.

I Expected to Keep a Perfect House

The table was going to be set every night with a home cooked meal and a table cloth. My floors would be spotless and the toys would be put away.

Yeah right.

Fast forward to reality…forget a table cloth and insert leftovers for dinner. I’m lucky enough that my husband loves to cook. But, we can’t even eat at the table most nights because my half-folded mountain of laundry is piled on it!

I Expected My Parenting to be Perfect

My kids would sit quietly on the couch and listen as I read Watership Down from a pristine library book. Then we would all go outside where they would help me plant my seasonal garden. My baby would coo happily at me from his place in my hip and stylish baby-wearing wrap.
Newsflash!

I’m way too exhausted to fight for a lengthy story time. My infant is crying and my three-year-old kid keeps turning the pages on the picture book I’m trying to read to him. I can’t get out the two whole sentences printed on each page before he turns each page on me. I’m too tired from being awake every thirty minutes the night before with a nursing infant to fight him, but I give it a try. Then, the baby poops. While I change him my toddler wanders off having listened to what amounts to about twelve words of book.

And a keeping a garden? *phbtt*

I can’t keep one pot of flowers from dying much less a garden of vegetables.

I Expected Myself to Have Perfect Time Management

I would be up and ready to go promptly at 6am and get 500 words of writing in before my baby woke to quietly breastfeed as we stared lovingly into each other’s eyes.

Hola, chica!

6am was when I finally got the baby to go back to sleep. No way was I dragging my sorry butt out of bed. I could make to my 8am appointment it if I slept til 7…right? *snore*

I Expected to be Perfectly Organized 
I thought I could leave paperwork behind at my desk job.

Nope!!!

I’ve done so much paperwork every day for my kids in addition to regular bill paying, taxes and insurance junk that I’m starting to wonder if I’m their mother or their secretary! I have a huge pile of unsorted various papers piled in boxes waiting to be filed and my desk is always covered with papers associated with a mile long to-do list.

WAHM/SAHM life is not easy. It can seem like you’re spinning your wheels or even spinning out of control.

In the middle of the craziness while listening to both kids screaming at once, I took a breath and remembered something crucial.

Even on the hard days, being a WAHM/SAHM allows me to be there for my kids and my family when they need me most. And I deeply appreciate this gift…

This SAHM/WAHM gig may not be easy, it may be 24/7, and it’s certainly not something I will ever achieve perfection with, but I wouldn’t trade with anyone.

It’s not about perfection. It’s about being there for the people you love the most. 

Have you ever felt overwhelmed as a SAHM? Comment below…

Cloth Diaper Mommies and the Secret “Fluff” Society

Today was “day one” of cloth diapers for me. My little guy, #secondbaby, is only 4 weeks old. That’s also how old my career as a full-time WAHM writer is. To put it bluntly, we’re both shitting our pants. 

Our family is officially down to one income (and also one car, but that’s another story), so my husband and I have been looking for (more) ways to cut corners. This search includes a foray into cloth diapers. 

I’ve entered this world… And it seems there’s no turning back…*cue dramatic music*

I was given a “stash” of cloth diapers by a very generous friend (those are not cheap) and I’m learning how to use them. I tell you what, all those damn snaps and inserts are the devil! 

I mean, what the hell is this? 

  There are snaps and plastic liners and Velcro everywhere. And how is my baby supposed to NOT poop through this stuff? It’s cloth?  

 Obviously, it can be done extremely successfully as so many mommas have proved before me so splendidly. But starting cloth diapers is proving a challenge to me personally.

 Putting my kid in a diaper has be come less of a “change” and more of a put-the-puzzle-together -and-fold-it-just-right-snapping -everything- with-5-million-snaps and THEN…pray your kid doesn’t have a shit in it before you’re done.  Oops! Too late. Start over!

Cloth diapering is a steep learning curve for me and I’m only just realizing that there’s this cloth diaper mommy “cult” with their own shorthand language and extensive knowledge of everything from the methods of folding to the sheer”fluff” madness that accompanies the release of a new pattern of diaper. I had no idea that mommies would anticipate a pattern of a cloth diaper from a particular company and go crazy waiting to buy it like a teenager with the latest video game. It’s madness I tell you!

But they are also a group of caring loving mommas who generously reach out to one another. Even in “diaper only” blogs where the topics are limited to diapers, mommies lift eachother up and encourage one another even in more personal matters that are somewhat off-topic from diapering. 

 It’s a community held together by mommyhood and glorified poo catchers. “Fluff” mommies even reached out to me, almost instantaneously, when I cluelessly asked about cloth diapers on a few forums. I clearly didn’t know the first thing about cloth. But their generosity with their advice and encouragement was good for my soul even as I struggled with poop and pee leaking out of my new-to-me diapers. Mommy forums on Facebook can be such generous uplifting places. The rest of the world should take note and follow suit. I would happily be inducted into the secret “fluff” society if they will have me. They’re some sweet mommas. 

How to Save $146 Per Month Making Homemade Pizza

  

 Pictured above: Two batches of homemade bread machine pizza dough. 

Does Making Your Own Pizza Pie Save Money? 

I did a price breakdown to show the value of homemade pizza versus the cost of delivery. 

Cost of Delivery Pizza:

Average cost of 1 pie delivered (+ tip and tax) – $25 

Average Cost of Homemade Pizza Ingredients:

Flour/bag of Great Value All Purpose Flour 25 lbs/$7.98 (buy 1)

Yeast/3 count dry package of pizza yeast/ $1.34 (buy 3)

Olive oil/Great Value Extra Virgin Olive Oil  25.5oz/ $5.74 (buy 1)

Water

Salt/Morton $0.78 (buy 1)

Honey/Great Value Honey 32oz/$7.88 (buy 1)

Pasta or pizza sauce/Great Value Traditional Pasta Sauce 42oz/$2.65 (buy 2)

Pepperoni/Hormel Original Pepperoni 6oz/$2.98 (buy 2)

Shredded cheese/Great Value shredded mozzarella cheese 32oz/$7.94 (buy 2)

Total average cost for all ingredients = $53.54

The bag of flour and ingredients will make roughly 8 pizzas for the price of 2 average delivery pizzas. 

    This one is a life saver for your food budget. If you have pizza dough squirreled away in your freezer, it’s so much less tempting to call out for delivery.

    If you get pizza 2x per week (and this is assuming only one pizza and no sides) delivered you are spending an average of $50 per week. That’s $200 per month! 

    If you make your pizza at home, you are saving $146 per month! I came up with this number by subtracting the cost of ingredients from the cost of delivery. 

    Another advantage to making your pizza at home is planning for healthy sides to add to your meal without ordering even more fast food. 

    You can further reduce the cost of ingredients by stocking up on items when they are on sale. I regularly buy and freeze shredded cheese and pepperoni when I find a great sale. 

    My method:

    There are hundreds of recipes for pizza dough online. I prefer to make mine in my bread machine. I found a great recipe (among other delicious recipes) for pizza dough in this book.  

     I prefer this recipe to any of the recipes I’ve found online for bread machine pizza dough. However, doing an online search might yield better results for you than it did me. If you are interested, you can get the book pictured above on Amazon or at your library. There are lots of great bread recipes in the book besides pizza dough. 

    Ok, I’m sold on making my own dough, you’re thinking. But, what now?

    #1 choose your method

    • Bread machine
    • Mixer
    • By hand
    • Ready made mix

    I make my ready-made homemade pizza dough from scratch in my breadmaker (I use the “dough” setting) but you can use a mixer or make it by hand or even go the super easy route and use a pizza dough mix. 

    #2 choose your recipe 

    • Recipe book
    • Mix
    • Online search 

    Pick through your recipe books at home or make a trip to the library. Experiment until you find one you like. Or experiment with ready made mixes. There are also lots of recipes to be found online. 


    #3 stock up
    !

    • Make large batches
    • Use a rectangle shape

    Make a few batches using your favorite recipe and store in your freezer. I store my pizza dough in rectangular shapes rather than circles. I do this to make the pizzas fit in my cookie sheets and into my square plastic freezer bags. I fit the dough to my aluminum covered cookie sheets and then cut the dough in half. I freeze the dough. When frozen, I remove the dough, cover with plastic wrap, fold in half, and put the dough into plastic freezer bags. 

       
       From this stage pictured above you simply fold the frozen pizza dough in on itself like closing a book and place in a freezer bag. Be sure to mark the date you made it!

    When you are ready for a quick pizza dinner, you can just take the dough directly out of the freezer, unwrap and place on aluminum covered cookie sheet. Bake with your favorite toppings. 

    This blog post is a great tutorial on exactly how to make a pizza using homemade frozen dough. The recipe she uses, by Crystal Paine, is not my favorite recipe but the instructions on freezing and baking are helpful.

    I love having ready made pizza dough in my freezer. I can still have pizza without breaking the bank!

    Editing #Nanowrimo2015 novel – Editing day #2

    Scout Semmes here! Writing early this morning

    After doing the #makoveryourmornings course with @crystalpaine I’ve been in the habit of getting up early and I want to get up early to finish my book! Today, I went through my manuscript and made templates for each character. They are still blank. All I have is the character’s name, but I will be able to go back and fill in the details later.

    My #nanowinner2015 novel in Scrivner

    My #nanowinner2015 novel in Scrivner

    As you can tell in the side bar, I have separated 8 chapters so far as I’m going along and I have A LOT of characters that I need to flesh out. But I’m really LOVING this program. You can also see that the main story is in the top pane, but I can still manipulate a character template in the bottom. This has already been incredibly helpful as I go through. I’m making notes on revisions too as I go.

    Day with #firstbaby

    image

    Husband, @knightsbayne had a guy’s day today, so it was just me and my little man. We did great! He usually cries when daddy leaves, but today I guess he wanted to spend some time with mommy! Yay! Daddy is usually his absolute favorite person. But today he spent an awesome day indoors with mommy.

    We did a lot of activities after I got back from the grocery store. We ate lunch and he actually said eat. : ) He’s still learning to talk and communicate his needs. He’s doing super super well!

    He likes his quesadillas that mommy makes for him. It’s corn tortillas, buttered, with melted cheese between them on a skillet. Nothing super fancy or complicated. Thank goodness! Did you notice I’m referring to myself in third-person? LOL #mommyproblems

    He loved coloring today! He usually doesn’t have that much of an attention span for that, but today it was rainy and cold outside, so we opened up his bag of markers and got to drawing. He kept saying, “I did it!” Super, super cute.

    #firstbaby, my 3-year-old toddler, fell asleep finally on the couch after I had tried to get him to take a nap for an hour. He also pooped his diaper right before falling asleep lol. When I walked by, tiptoeing (no small feat with me being 32 weeks pregnant with #secondbaby), and smelled that, it was in that awkward deciding moment…

    My thoughts: Change his diaper and risk waking him up? Or let him sleep in his own poop?

    Ah, #motherhood. When you have to make the hard decisions. I did go ahead and change him and by the grace of God, he went back to sleep. I tried to sleep with him, since I had been up since 5:45am after a late date-night last night with husband @knightsbayne. I don’t know why I couldn’t fall asleep…I at least rested for about an hour.

    After we woke up, we played and had dinner. We read Narnia tonight for about 30 minutes. He wandered off after listening quietly. He was super quiet, so I followed him to his bedroom…

    #firstbaby put himself to bed! He was down at 8:45pm tucked himself into his covers. It is 10pm now and he only just actually fell asleep after playing with his toys for a while, but he was ready to get into bed without any fuss at all. Considering how much he has resisted going down for naps and bed time for the past few days, I was shocked. Especially since he had a late 2 1/2 hr nap today.

    Grocery shopping and couponing

    Sure, you might not think it’s all that glamorous. But hey, a writer has to eat! And as a writer about to quit her part-time day job, it’s even more important to score those deals baby! It took me about two hours this morning to sort through gathered coupons from the past two weeks and pull the ones I needed for the #Kroger mega sale. Many thanks to @krogerkrazy for all their hard work to gather deals for me to look up! It saves me SOOOO much money and time to have a blogger specifically for my favorite store, especially since she does the unadvertised deals which few bloggers do.

    I also made a list for Albertsons to get the sale produce. Apples, onions, carrots, tomatoes, pears and bananas. I consider anything $0.99/lb and under a good price for produce.

    My #kroger haul today included stocking up on diapers for #secondbaby! Ended up spending $40 on two bags and two boxes of diapers for both boys. Saved myself about 50% on diapers thanks to coupons, sale, and a Huggies catalina generating at #kroger for diapers!

    We also needed the normal stuff, toilet paper (scored @ $0.21/per roll!), cereal ($0.89 per box), Tide laundry detergent pods ($1.50 each bag), bread (FREE Friday coupon, NLA), discount canned pumpkin ($0.49/can), discounted Heinz gravy ($0.69/jar.) Also got some salad making stuff: lettuce, cucumber and spinach.

    Also, scored a sweet deal on our favorite pasta sauce, Classico, which is usually the more expensive brand of sauce. I stocked up 5 jars for $0.99 each! We has just used up our LAST jar of pasta sauce when my husband @knightsbayne made me some delish spaghetti the other night. Just in time!

    I had already cooked for myself for the week using what we had in the pantry. See my recipe reviews HERE

    But, we have plans for everything I bought. I mostly practice very loose meal planning because my son is a picky eater and my husband mostly likes to cook for himself.

    The red pasta sauce will end up in spaghetti and on pizza. I use a slightly different recipe, but @crystalpaine has a recipe for breadmachine pizza dough. I roll mine out, top with cheese and pepperoni and sauce, etc. before I freeze, but I do make my own frozen pizza.

    The white Alfredo sauce I plan to use for a chicken alfredo and spinach pasta for an at-home date night with @knightsbayne. Nice thing about the recipe is it is totally a freezer meal!!!! I love this recipe by The Virtuous Wife.

    We’ll be eating a lot of salads because I’m trying not to gain more weight than I already have with this pregnancy. Stocked up on fruit for snacks and for #firstbaby who eats fruit at each meal.

    Exercise

    I am SOOOO sore from yesterday’s workout that I could barely move my legs this morning. So, I’m taking today off. I’ll get back to it tomorrow though!

    Editing #Nanowrimo2015 novel – Editing day #1

    Last night, I was too tired to get much of anything done on my novel. We had a very long, but productive day.

    Accomplished yesterday:

    • Spending time with my husband
      • I will absolutely admit that my husband is head-and-shoulders hands-down a better cook than I am. Totally. So, my husband cooked for me last night. Yay!My husband made us an awesome tuna steak and shrimp dinner. My parents, for Christmas, gift us with food we would otherwise not be able to afford. Like TUNA STEAK. Omg. So delicious. my husband made this marinade concoction for the steaks and I ate almost the entire thing. It was amazing. Also, my husband can boil shrimp like nobody’s business. So, we had an at-home movie-and-dinner date after the little guy #firstbaby went to bed. : )Husband @knightsbayne and I are obsessed with the Amazon Prime tv show, The Man in High Castle. I love alternate realities, dystopian of course. This one is one of the best I have ever seen! Anyone else a fan? No spoilers!!!!
    • Getting food ready for the coming week
      • I have been experiencing pregnancy-induced pleurisy, so I’ve been trying some home-remedy type foods. Since, you know, I’m pregnant and can’t take ANYTHING. So, I’ve made this Indian spice tumeric chicken recipe, with a little modification. I subbed coconut milk for chicken broth and diced tomatoes for tomato sauce. I’ve never made it soupy before. I usually just omit everything but those ingredients. This time it turned out like soup. I also made it in my crockpot. Delish…
      • I also made this lentil taco recipe in my crockpot yesterday omitting just the salsa. Also amazing. Beef seems to aggravate my condition, but I LOVE burritos. So this seems to be a great alternative. I had this topped with cheese in a  tortilla yesterday. A+
      • I tried making my own pita bread in my bread machine using a recipe that wasn’t exactly FOR a bread machine. Eh…They didn’t come out with the big air pockets I was looking for, so I’ll be trying this recipe later. What’s good Indian food without pita bread? I love pita bread, so any excuse to eat it. Also, I don’t know what it looks like in your area, but in Louisiana at least, premade pita bread it SOOOOO expensive. That’s why my quest for a good recipe.
      • You probably noticed that I love my crock pot and my slow cooker…a lot.
    • Getting the house cleaned and ready for #secondbaby
      • My husband and I are doing some organizing and purging of our bedroom to make way for our #secondbaby crib. We cleaned up A LOT yesterday, so the spot for our baby’s bed no longer looks like this…
      • IMG_6208.JPG
      • Sure, it’s not finished yet, but it’s progress! We’ll moving the cabinet soon and have space for #secondbaby in our bedroom!
    • Spending time with my #firstbaby, my three-year-old
      • I try to do fun and educational games with my three-year-old. We played and went for a walk yesterday after he INSISTED that he did not need a nap. Then, promptly at 6pm, fell asleep on top of me. His bed time is at 8pm, so of course we had to keep him up and awake for 2 hours. Oy! Children, so contrary. LOL
    • Excercise!
      • I tried out this preggy exercise video. It uses yoga and pilates (which I have never tried before) and seems like a doable routine for very pregnant me. (32 weeks guys!)
    • A little writing time
      • By the end of the day, I was pretty tired and sore from my new exercise routine. But I managed to get a little work done on Scrivner in the form of playing with the character templates. Hopefully, my writing time will be more productive tomorrow!

    Goals for 2016 – Becoming a Writer WAHM

    By Morgan Paige Allain aka The Inkling Girl

    Artwork By Morgan Paige Allain aka The Inkling Girl


    Hi! This is Scout Semmes. 

    The new year is only two hours away at this point. I’m so excited for the new year, 2016. This is the year of change for me and my family. We are taking a leap, my husband  especially is taking a leap of faith…in me.

    This year, after #secondbaby is born in March 2016, I will be a WAHM (for those who don’t know this acronym, it’s Work at Home Mom). My husband believes in me, so much, that he wants me to write from home instead of working part-time. I’m so excited for this new stage of my life. I don’t have to start from scratch either.

    In November 2015, I participated in in #Nanowrimo2015, so I’m working with 50K+ words of story. This is a lot of “something” to work with . My awesome husband also bought me Scrivner!!! I’m incredibly excited and I’m writing in the program RIGHT NOW. It’s something that I have been wanting for so long, to be a writer. And I have an opportunity to be a writer.

    My writing goals for 2016:

    • Write 30 minutes per day, 4 days a week
    • Post one blog post every 2 weeks

    I’ll be posting about my progress with #editing my book from #nanowrimo2015.

    What are your writing goals for 2016?

    Decluttering is Part of My #nanowrimo Novel Editing Process

    CONTINUED FROM Part 1: 3 REASONS DECLUTTERING IS PART OF MY #NANOWRIMO NOVEL EDITING PROCESS

    I’ve made it a goal to reduce clutter and get organized so I can have room in my life to write. I need to write! Here are the goals I’m working towards to make it easier for me to accomplish my writing goals. #wordcount!

    My goals:

    1. Reduce Physical clutter
    2. Reduce Mental clutter
    3. Improve Organization

    GOAL #1 REDUCE PHYSICAL CLUTTER:

    I’ve made some progress with physical de-cluttering as you can see below…

    Before:

    declutter part 1

     

    And after:

     

    AFTER DECLUTTER PHOTO

     

    This is kind of reminds me of those games they have. With the two pictures and you have to spot the difference? Yes. I know the progress is small, but it is forward progress! Our house is lovely and small, so we store stuff where we can. Including a baby mobile and a stroller behind my writing chair! LOL We’ll find better spots for these as I work on cleaning out, reorganizing and tossing stuff. But progress is just that…progress. And I’m 31 weeks preganant. So, GO ME!

    As is somewhat obvious from the photos, I’ve gotten rid of some stuff. I’m not finished, keep in mind, but I’ve made progress with reducing physical clutter. Here are the highlights:

    • 2 large bags of shredded documents
    • Old envelopes
    • Outdated coupons
    • Blank recipe cards
    • Kid’s toys

    GOAL #2 REDUCE MENTAL CLUTTER:

    My husband came through for this one! He bought me Scrivner for Christmas! Yes, this is a writer’s dream-boat program used to write ANYTHING and it can be used, unlike regular word processors, to write in a non-linear fashion with ease. Hence reducing mental clutter.

    I don’t write in a a very linear fashion. I like to move scenes around and follow characters around. Somehow, I ended up writing in a more or less linear fashion for #nanowrimo2015, but I can assure you that I will not be #editing in a linear fashion. No way…I’ve only had the program downloaded for a few days and I’m already in love with it!

    In addition or organizing my writing with Scrivner – thank you@knightsbayne! – I’ve organized my 2015 paperwork in preparation for tax season. So that’s a weight off my chest! I’ll be getting to that in January. I have to think ahead since I have #secondbaby due in March2016!!! And seriously, who on Earth wants to deal with taxes while trying to nurse a barely-month-old infant? Show of hands? *hint* (not me!)

    GOAL #3 IMPROVE ORGANIZATION

    I got some some super pantry organization tools for Christmas!

    One for cans:

    One for small food items:

    My husband also built me…AN HONEST TO GOODNESS PANTRY! We had been using a bookshelf to store all our pantry items, but my husband crafted me a pantry. This was especially necessary since I’m in my second year of couponing and stockpiling is, well, a thing now. LOL

    My new pantry in progress:

     

    pantry in progress

     

    Finished product:


    As part of improving organization, my next project is to make room for #secondbaby, which means clearing out stuff.

    Where our baby bed is “supposed” to go!

    As you can see, I have my work cut out for me! Wish me luck and check back to see how I’m doin’!

    What are your declutter and organization hurdles?