Using a bullet journal to track habits

fifteen minutes of creativity a day

What can you accomplish in fifteen minutes a day?

In the spirit of “little things add up to big things”, a piece of wisdom imparted by my best friend in college, I’ve been participating in something called Marchalong this month. All this means is that you to commit to setting aside fifteen minutes a day for creativity. That’s it. Fifteen minutes. But if you do it–how many hours of creativity does that add up to by the end of the month? Actually, I’m terrible at math, but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot.

I’ve tried this “fifteen minutes a day” idea before with cleaning and decluttering–and honestly, it has never stuck for the whole month. But doing something fun and creative? I think I can make that happen for fifteen minutes a day.

So, how have I been spending my few minutes of creativity so far? First, I finished up my February hand sewing project that I am doing along with the Fat Quarter Shop. I am really loving hand piecing these blocks–I’m almost sorry when I’ve finished the six for the month. But the March blocks will be coming out soon, so I don’t have long to wait. I’ve been stitching away on these in the evenings while we watch Grace and Frankie and This is Us. I’m all caught up now with This is Us and it is agony to wait a week between episodes. I clearly need to find a new British drama to become obsessed with–any suggestions?

patchwork quiltalong, fat quarter shop, hand pieced quilt blocks

In the meantime, I cast on some shorty socks. I got a little obsessed with knitting socks over the summer, but have not cast on a pair in months.  It was clearly time to do so. I cast these on while listening to The Off-Kilter Quilt podcast–which is my favorite quilty podcast. Frances is charming and chatty and just plain entertaining. It’s a great way to spend your fifteen minutes.

knitting, knit picks, knitting project bags, podcasts, tea

Don’t you love this knitting project bag? My friend Minki made it for my birthday last year and I smile every time I reach for it.  People went a little nuts over it on Instagram the other day, but I can’t take any credit for it, except for the little pink knitted patch on the front.

I’m also working on a new quilt design–and honestly the jury is still out on how I feel about this one. I am in absolute love with the fabric line, Sundrops by Cory Yoder. That fact is not in doubt. However, I have rearranged the blocks in a million different ways and I hope I landed on the best one. Stay tuned.

sundrops, moda fabrics, quilting, alphabitties

I like having a few different projects at hand–because sometimes I just don’t feel like sitting down in front of the sewing machine. Or the only way that I’m going to get my fifteen minutes in is in the waiting room at the doctor’s office–so I’m glad that I can pack a sock to knit. But one thing is sure, I’m always amazed at how quickly a project progresses when you actually work on it! Even for just fifteen minutes a day.

What’s for dinner?

Because thinking about what’s for dinner is never far from any woman’s mind, I thought I would share that we are having Jonah’s favorite: Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss. You should try it 🙂 What are you having?

Using a bullet journal to track habits

chai lattes in the morning

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I have been absolutely addicted to Heather’s chai lattes lately. I’ve been simmering up a batch of concentrate at the beginning of the week and enjoying them almost every day, as a midmorning break. I love to make it with black tea, but the wonderful thing is that you can use herbal tea too. I think I might try that this week.

Some of those spices, especially cardamom, can be pretty pricey at the supermarket. I just placed an order at Mountain Rose Herbs, where the prices are much more reasonable. I added some Jasmine Green Tea to the order too.

It doesn’t take long to whip up a batch of the chai concentrate, give it a try!

Using a bullet journal to track habits

banana muffins

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I always feel like a good mom when my kids come home to a homemade, freshly baked and (reasonably healthy) treat after school.

These banana muffins from an old Cooking Light recipe fit the bill perfectly. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, moving away from “light” butter and egg whites, and substituting white whole wheat for half of the white flour (they don’t even know).

Here’s the recipe Give it a try. And if you make them into muffins instead of loaves, they are done in 20 minutes. Just in time for an after school treat.

Banana Bread

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Directions:

Combine sugar and butter in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add banana, milk, sour cream, and egg whites; beat well, and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until blended.

Spoon batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for  1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.

For muffins, set the oven to 400° and cook for 18-20 minutes.

Using a bullet journal to track habits

cookies


Chocolate chip cookies are the absolute favorite cookies in our house. I’ve tinkered with many recipes over the years and this one has emerged as the all-time favorite. I rarely have to make them myself anymore, as my daughter has taken over as the Head Cookie Baker. However, I did whip up these the other day for Boy #1 to take to school for a party.

26 cookies 126 cookies 226 cookies 31 cookies 21 cookiesHere’s the recipe, I think the difference is the bread flour, but it works with all purpose flour too. If I have time, I refrigerate the dough a bit. The cookies come out a little thicker that way. We often don’t make actual cookies, but put the dough in a pan and make cookie bars. That has become the favorite, because the are thick and gooey. On this day, I doubled the recipe and did both, cookies to give away, and cookie bars to keep. Enjoy! (My daughter named the recipe :))

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c. bread flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 bag  (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside

3. In large bowl combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy

4. Beat in eggs

5. Gradually add flour mixture

6. Stir in chocolate chips

7. Refrigerate dough for an hour (this is optional, but results in thicker cookies)

8. Drop by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets

9. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 12 minutes

10. Take cookies out of the oven, let them cool slightly on the cookie sheet, and then remove to cooling rack to cool

Cookie Bar Variation:

Put dough in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.