Just So I Won’t Slack Off During the Holidays… {November Goals + October Goals Recap}

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All pics in this post of our fall family photo walk along Logan’s River Trail (in Northern Utah)

The end of October went MUCH more smoothly than the end of September (for starters, we didn’t have to deal with any more broken bones, and Matt could finally start using his right arm again!), but as years past have taught me, from about Halloween until the end of the year, life tends to get pretty crazy due to the holidays. While I did make a half-hearted attempt to keep my goals list shorter than usual this month, it actually ended up being one of the longest monthly goal lists of the year, just because of all the rollover goals.

I might not be able to complete all of them, but putting them down on my list will at least keep them top of mind while we go into the busiest part of the year!

(Note: there are some affiliate links in this post, which means I get a small commission for any purchases made through the links at no extra cost to you, which help support the blog.)

October Goals (Recap)

  • Take produce donation to food pantry
    • Although the donation was pretty small (about a dozen cucumbers and a cantaloupe from the garden plus some shelf-stable goods from our cupboards), I had a pretty cool experience donating it–often when I make a food donation, it’s through the post office or through the Boy Scouts program here, which means that I don’t take the donation in myself. The day I took ours in, I actually saw many of the people who would be picking up their food that day, and one of the workers gave me a big hug and thanked me personally for the donation, assuring me that the food was appreciated and much-needed by people who were there right now. Next year, I’m hoping to coordinate with the local harvest swap group I started on Facebook to get some bigger donations made.
  • Set new quarterly blog goals
    • As last quarter was the first time I’d ever set blogging goals, I was a *bit* too ambitious, especially in the sheer number of things I expected to complete in the quarter (especially considering that I’d literally just had a baby). This time around, I kept the list much shorter overall and didn’t go for such high stats-related goals, just because I know that with the holidays, I just won’t be able to devote as much time to personal projects like blogging.
  • Host book club
    • Last year, I finally completed a life-long goal of joining a book club, and this last month I finally hosted one in my own home! We read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, which really felt like the PERFECT pick for this time of year. Almost everyone in the book club really enjoyed it, and I just had so much fun prepping the appetizers and chatting with everyone there. I love our book club!

  • Go to the temple
    • Perhaps partly to make up for not being able to go last month as planned, I actually made it to the temple twice this month, which felt really good. (And one of them was with Matt, which I love doing when we can swing the childcare situation to make it happen!)
  • Start creating family history photo flash cards
    • Nope, didn’t even start. And unless I make this one into some kind of Christmas gift (which I doubt), it will probably not be put back on the goals list until 2019.
  • Carve pumpkins
    • We did this one the Monday before Halloween, for our weekly Family Night. And Raven happily scooped out all the pumpkin guts she could, chose her own design (from a bunch of options) for her pumpkin’s face, and was thoroughly delighted with the “baby pumpkin” we made for Mathias (complete with a pacifier stuck in, and everything). Oh, and I even carved my own pumpkin this year, which hasn’t happened in…awhile. Sure, I used a power drill, and sure, my design was a heart, but hey–I didn’t make Matt do it for me. #progress

  • Go on a fall photo walk as a family
    • One particularly lovely Sunday afternoon, we went over the River Trail, one of my favorite spots for fall family photo shoots. I was shocked to discover that Matt had actually never been, so I thoroughly enjoyed showing off some of my favorite photo spots and walking along the trail further than I ever have before during a shoot (which is how we came across the wider pool of water shown in some of these pictures). Although we had some (minor) tears from Raven at a couple different points, it was about as close to a perfect afternoon as you could get.
  • Go on a family day adventure (to the zoo)
    • Since Raven had done such an excellent job filling in the stickers on her nap/nighttime potty training chart, she’d earned a trip to the zoo, which we took last month. Other than the fact that my camera was on the fritz and I didn’t know how to fix it (resulting in almost no pictures from the day), it was another successful family day adventure, and Matt and I were quite surprised that Raven handled walking around the zoo for five hours with only a minor lunch break taken in the middle. Our girl is growing up!
  • Finish typing up last mission journal
    • I got this one finished on the second-to-last night of the month, and I was pretty surprised by how emotional it was for me. I have absolutely loved typing up my mission journals over the past several months (years, really), as it’s been a great chance for me to relive many fond experiences I had. I absolutely adored my mission, and as I was typing up the final entries, which detailed how sad I was to have to say goodbye to all the people and to the country (El Salvador), I felt all those strong feelings again, and I wept all over again as if I was having to leave the country a second time.

  • Make 5 new Food Nanny recipes
    • I actually made 7, which I’m really quite proud of.
  • Start contributing to retirement again – set up monthly auto transfer
    • While we didn’t actually start contributing last month to retirement, I DID set up the auto transfer to happen in November, so we’re all good to go from this point on. (And boy, does it feel good to be contributing again after we were forced to take a break from it for over two years!)
  • Finish at least one Assigned Reading book
    • Nope, but I *did* get about halfway through two of the books, so that kind of counts, right?

  • Buy new nursing bra
    • Due to a mix-up in Matt’s final paycheck last month, we didn’t have this in the budget like we thought we would. Rollover goal for November.
  • Plant spring bulbs
    • Ditto as above. Rollover goal.
  • Winterize the yard (cover A/C unit, shut off main sprinkler valve, mow one last time)
    • Matt breaking his arm really threw a lot of things out of whack, as he’s usually the one to head up most of the yard care stuff. This will have to be a rollover goal for November as well.

  • Harvest all produce + preserve, eat, or donate (includes making pesto)
    • Unfortunately, by the time I got around to making the pesto, our basil had all died due to the season’s first frost, so I was unable to do anything there. Matt and I did go out that same night though and pick everything else we could that was still good, and I successfully used up much of it (though I still haven’t decided if it’s worth it to try and make applesauce from the wild apples we picked).
  • Declutter one 50 WTO area
    • I cheated a bit on this one and simply moved everything from the area I’d chosen (the laptop table) to another area, but as I have at least gone through about half the pile, I figure I’ll count it as a partial victory.
  • Have a Family Night about emergency preparedness
    • This was pretty informal and not as structured as I would have liked, but we did at least a Family Night about what to do if there was a fire. We didn’t want to totally freak Raven out, so we had to be careful about how much we told her, which was also part of why it wasn’t very structured. At the very least, she’s now been exposed to the idea of what to do in case of an emergency, and I’ve also been talking with her about a couple other possible scenarios (such as what to do if she gets lost, for instance).

  • Add About Me to photography webpage
    • I finally got around to this (better late than never, right?). If you want to, you can check it out here.
  • List items on KSL
    • Finally, some actual progress made on this one (after, um, like six months?). Although I only listed one thing (our old dishwasher), it’s still a lot more than what’s been done every other month this has been a goal.
  • Get oil changed in Mazda
    • Done and done. (Although on one of our last trips driving back from our parents’ houses, the car started making some super suspicious noises, which has me all sorts of worried about some huge car repair being in our near future…ugh…)

Each month, I also like to detail other notable accomplishments that we didn’t necessarily plan on completing. Here are some for October:

  • Raven is basically night-trained now
    • This means that she is almost 100% potty trained! (The only thing we need to still do is help her to learn how to wipe herself, which is something that we’re working on but with slow progress. Seriously, I don’t even think her arms are long enough to do it correctly, so this is something we might be working on for awhile yet.)
  • (Mostly) completed a 10-day social media fast
    • At the beginning of October, we had the opportunity to hear from our church leaders during General Conference, and our prophet challenged all the women in the Church to participate in a 10-day social media fast, which I started that very day. Other than needing to check my Facebook a couple times for my photography business and for the local harvest swap group I’d started, I stayed away for the 10 days. And it felt awesome! I’m actually trying to plan ahead so that I can take a big social media break sometime in December for about two weeks, just because I feel like it would help me savor the holidays a lot better.

  • Bought first Christmas presents
    • Gone forever (hopefully) are the years when I had to go out Christmas shopping on the 23rd of December–the past year or two, I’ve gotten in the habit of purchasing most of my gifts in November, and it really has helped me SO much to be able to relax and enjoy the holiday season more. I’ve already picked up some gifts for the kids, as well as part of the gift for some of the grandparents (don’t look if you’re our kids’ grandparents, ha ha!).
  • Registered our Buick
    • Ugh, this one was depressing but necessary! We found out a week or so ago (by Matt getting pulled over) that our Buick’s registration had expired back at the end of July. We’d never gotten the notice (I’m assuming because we had moved right after we’d gotten the notice last year and hadn’t updated it?), and we’d simply never noticed that the registration had expired (I’m going to blame the fact that we have a new baby). Well, with the threat of our car being impounded if we didn’t, we got the car registered within an hour of the citation and then paid the fine as soon as we could. Fingers crossed that we’re only guilty of this infraction once.
  • Completed goal to save $1000 in 100 days
    • On day 100 after I’d issued myself the challenge, we had added $1001 to our emergency fund. (Of course, on Day 101, I was forced to take money out for the car registration nonsense because I had nowhere else to take it from, but at least it was there on Day 100. And we’ve now replaced it with money from our latest paycheck, so…I’m still counting this goal as completed.)

November Goals

  • Finish Kayla Itsines’s BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program
    • I’m a bit wary of putting this one on here because I’ve had to take a step back on all things exercise-related because I could tell my body was being pushed to total breaking point with everything I was trying to do (while still not sleeping through the night thanks to the #newbaby). I’m still doing at least two of the three workouts on most weeks, but I’m not doing the two circuits twice each. A part of me is super tempted to just revert back to some of the easier weeks of the BBG until January and then start up where I left off, but we’ll try to push through this month and see what happens (with my modified version of the workouts, that is). Note: If you missed my post on my thoughts after completing the first half of the BBG, click here.
  • Plant spring bulbs
    • I actually bought a bunch of awesome tulip bulbs for our yard today, so this one is definitely happening. Super excited to see the progress of our yard next growing season! We planted quite a bit this year, so it will be really fun come spring to (hopefully) see the fruits of our labors.
  • Finish Self-Assigned Reading
    • My first term’s “deadline” is the 25th of this month, which means I’m going to need to really kick my bum into gear if I’m going to actually get this done on time. Note: if you want to see the list of books I’ve assigned myself for this school year, click here.

  • Host Friendsgiving
    • I kind of can’t believe this will be our FIFTH year doing Friendsgiving! It’s been such a fun tradition, and it’s given us a chance to keep up with some of our friends who have moved too far away to see very often. Every year looks just a little different, and I’m already planning out what I want to do for this year. (If you’re thinking of hosting your own Friendsgiving this year, click here for my best tips, which include how to slow cook a turkey in the oven overnight the night before while you sleep.)
  • Buy tripod
    • Thanks to the latest slew of photography jobs, I have it in the budget to finally buy myself a nice tripod (as the super cheap $20 one we bought forever ago has hardly gotten any use since it’s so terrible). I have quite a few personal projects I need a tripod to start working on, so I’m hoping this marks a definite shift upward in my photography ability and vision.
  • Make five new recipes from The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner
    • Still going strong on this challenge from my 101 in 1001 list. I’m planning on drafting a post soon about what it’s been like to cook every recipe from a cookbook—stay tuned!

  • Get a haircut
    • I get my hair cut approximately twice a year, and the time is upon us again for another.
  • Winterize the yard
    • Rollover goal (though Matt did at least shut off the main sprinkler valve and run out the excess water in our lines last night).
  • Complete the majority of my Christmas shopping
    • See note above.

  • Buy new nursing bra
    • Rollover goal.
  • Finish all photography jobs
    • As of now, I know of 3 jobs I need to finish up and then I *think* I’ll be done for the year, unless an unexpected job comes my way that I decide to take.
  • Start typing up personal journals
    • This won’t probably be nearly as wonderful an experience as typing up my mission journals was (I already dread the middle school journals…*shudder*), but it’s important to me that those are preserved in a digital format.

  • Try a new cookie recipe
    • Part of another 101 in 1001 goal (which I’m getting pretty close to completing!).
  • Go to the temple
    • This is a monthly goal. (I might even try to go twice again, like last month, but we’ll keep it at the usual once-per-month for now, just because the holidays can make things kind of crazy.)
  • Declutter a 50 WTO area
    • Hopefully this one will be even easier this month since Matt has been talking about dedicating part of a Saturday to do a few of these together.

  • List bookshelves, encyclopedias on KSL
    • The eternal rollover goal.
  • Optimize two old blog posts
    • I’ve published over 2,000 blog posts, many of which I would like to optimize for Pinterest (by updating the pictures and the content). With the purchase of the tripod this month, I’m especially excited to get a lot more into improving my food photography for the recipes I’ve posted (since some of the photos from years past are really, REALLY bad).
  • Register the van
    • I’m putting this on here so we don’t make the same mistake as we did with the Buick. I don’t know how long we’re going to be rocking the whole three vehicles thing (since we only have this van to transport large and heavy materials), but since we’ve decided to try it, we have to be willing to pay all the costs that come with it.

  • Enroll in health insurance plan for next year
    • Because sometimes I need to put things on my monthly to-do list so that I won’t forget about them (especially time-sensitive things, like this one is). Matt’s employer doesn’t currently offer any health insurance, so we have to go to through the Marketplace, which means we only have about a month and a half to get everything squared away for 2019.
  • Go on a day adventure
    • I often know beforehand what we’re going to do for this, but I don’t have any solid plans for this month yet. If we get a couple more days of nice weather, it would be awesome to fit in one last hike for the year, but we might have to plan on something indoors due to the possibility of snow. We shall see.

Here’s hoping for a great month ahead!