Powersheets Goal Action Plans, 2017

Okay, lovely friends. I’m sharing my action plans, as promised. Please keep in mind that I only came to these plans after a TON of work but the experience and the process were so valuable! I highly recommend this workbook to anyone who is looking to make real change and progress towards a meaningful life living their “core values” (as Jess Lively would say). If you can’t afford them this year or aren’t sure if they will work for you, start with Lara’s blog post series and use this walk-through video to help you. I’m making it a priority to purchase from Lara to support her continued mission because I wholeheartedly believe in the work she is doing (even if I’m not really there in terms of the religious aspects). Sometimes, you’ve got to put your dollars where your heart is.

Enough plugging for the Powersheets. Onto the goals.

For each goal, there is a why, an action plan of starting steps, and important checkpoints to help my goals become more concrete. Also, EVEN THOUGH THIS IS NOT EXPECTED OR TYPICAL, I felt very strongly that I needed the word NOURISH (my #woty ) to start every single goal this year. This doesn’t work for everyone, and it probably honestly won’t ever work for me again. It’s just WHAT I PERSONALLY NEED right now. Do what’s best for you. As Lara always says, there are no rules here – so make things work for you!!!

1 | Nourish my physical and mental health {so that I can still be present, thriving, and making a difference when I’m 80}.

Ooh, friends, this one was painful. I’m watching my 81 year old grandmother slowly deteriorate, and it’s awful because I know that it didn’t have to happen like this. It’s the result of several deliberate choices.

I’m terrified of being like that, because I can see some of the seeds planted within myself.

Action Steps

  • Get enough sleep as often as possible. This means 8 hours of actual sleep because that’s what my body NEEDS, and usually 8.5 hours physically being in bed. This is really, really, REALLY hard for me as I’m already extremely pressed for time.
  • Make exercise a part of my daily and weekly routines.
  • Ice skate often, for both physical and mental benefits (this is hard to be consistent with because of conflicts between rink times and other commitments).
  • Learn to be more comfortable with water, certain foods, and balance.
  • Make small, consistent efforts regardless of setbacks.

Positive Results That I May See

  • Being more healthy for short- and long-term, as well as positive self-images

People to Ask for Help

  • husband, family, find reliable child care for things that don’t fit into our schedule, psychiatrist, new PCP

What Progress Looks Like

  • Continued body progress and less lost time/days

How I Will Celebrate

  • Enjoy extra time in my daily life from good mental and physical health
  • Buy new ice skates (blades and boots) so that I can work on new moves that I can’t currently attempt

2 | Nourish my daily quality of life {because it affects me more than anything else, and small changes could make a big difference}.


Action Steps

  • Examine and redesign daily routines for both school and non-school days (this has been completed as a preliminary design. Working on implementation and refinement now).
  • Set limits for certain activities (work, mindless social media) and minimums for others (self-care, reading, painting, exercising, meditating).
  • Utilize technology for good, not for comparison
  • Give myself GRACE when things don’t go to plan, and don’t use setbacks as an excuse to stop trying
  • Keep the little things from piling into big things
  • Don’t fill up extra time gained with striving for perfection or overcommitment

Positive Results That I May See

  • Calm, even when there’s chaos

People to Ask for Help

  • husband, family

What Progress Looks Like

  • Daily peace and better ability to handle disasters

How I Will Celebrate

  • Mental peace and better quality of life

3 | Nourish my family {because they are the most important thing to me by far}.


Action Steps

  • Schedule time for myself so I can be the best version of me when I’m with them.
  • Be present and proactive, even in simple interactions.
  • Make sure that positive interactions outweigh negative interactions
  • Push out of my comfort zone to do more experiences with them.
  • Snuggle each boy independently at least once a week, giving him my full attention.
  • Eat dinner at the table at least 3-4 times per week.

Positive Results That I May See

  • Better relationships with meaningful memories

People to Ask for Help

  • Family, mentor that I have in mind

What Progress Looks Like

  • Less yelling and more connecting

How I Will Celebrate

  • Ongoing experiences with family
  • Add more opportunities to spend time together (passes to favorite places, plan picnics or other fun activities)

4 | Private

5 | Nourish my relationships with friends {so that we will continue to be supportive of each other and actively involved in each others’ lives}.

Action Steps

  • Add each close friend to my tending list and make contact once every week.
  • Video conference or long phone call once per month
  • Become more active with local friends one/twice per month
  • Help extroverted friends understand my anxiety and reluctance to meet in large groups
  • Pick one friend for a care package each month

Positive Results That I May See

  • Connected and deeper relationships

People to Ask for Help

  • Friends – schedule contact/times to video chat

What Progress Looks Like

  • Friends reciprocating contact

How I Will Celebrate

  • Periodic trips to visit far-away friends

6| Nourish work life and teaching outcomes {so that I maximize impact and effectiveness but find a much better balance between work and my other priorities}.



Action Steps

  • Schedule one full 12-16 hour day per month to dedicate to planning and creation of materials – NO grading. NO parent contact. NO updating Schoology. Use personal days or sick days (preventative mental health days) if there are no built-in days off in a month. THESE ARE SCHEDULED THROUGH APRIL 2018 in my planner and on our family calendar.
  • Complete all tasks by 4:30pm each day and LEAVE, or they don’t get done. No more than one hour of work after 7pm each night at home.
  • Spend no more than 3 hours on the weekends on work.
  • Focus on quality target language use by both teacher and students.
  • Re-evaluate curriculum and methods during the summer. Develop steady, routine summer work schedule with a daily work overview.
  • Focus on patience, relationships, and quality.

Positive Results That I May See

  • Less stress, longevity in the classroom

People to Ask for Help

  • Shannon, Toni, blogs

What Progress Looks Like

  • Ability to complete routines in the time allotted, increase in student performance and happiness

How I Will Celebrate

  • Savings towards a family summer trip abroad

7 | Private

8 | Nourish mindfulness and spirituality {because outer calm starts with inner calm}.


Action Steps

  • Develop a true meditation habit, with proper form and effort.
  • Use Grid Journal daily, and change grids as needed.
  • Push past discomfort with meditation and God to develop comfort.
  • Actively seek God, even it it’s not in the traditional sense or in a way my parents understand.
  • Wallow in being uncomfortable and asking the hard questions so that growth comes from the struggle.

Positive Results That I May See

  • Feelings of control and being settled/grounded

People to Ask for Help

  • MYSELF – I have to make myself do the work

What Progress Looks Like

  • Patience, calm, better handle on anxiety

How I Will Celebrate

  • Bubble baths!

9 | Nourish simplicity by sprouting through the dirt {because nothing ever grew without the tremendous effort of pushing the dirt out of the way}.


This goal is based on Lara’s constant references to gardening, and specifically to, “let the dirt be dirt.”

Action Steps

  • Change “sorrys” into “thank yous” (EX: I’m sorry I was late > Thank you for being patient with me as I needed extra time) to change the way I express gratitude in relationships
  • Look for the growth in every challenge
  • Say something to validate my self-worth every day
  • Declutter and organize, physically and mentally
  • Change the way I approach social media (develop  a plan)
  • Make no more commitments unless it complements all of my goals

Positive Results That I May See

  • Overcoming anxiety and guilt

People to Ask for Help

  • Cultivate What Matters

What Progress Looks Like

  • LESS of so many things (in a very positive way)

How I Will Celebrate

  • LOVING myself (and taking a nap!)

10 | Nourish the desire to burn steadily with passion {because going deeper and being balanced will keep me from burning out}.


Action Steps

  • Limit and focus my passions. “You can do anything, but not everything.”
  • Be the best teacher I can be RIGHT NOW, not the best teacher ever/period.
  • Long term > short term – examine all choices
  • Learn to live in the discomfort of new experiences
  • Hang up my new favorite quotes in my classroom, work space at home
  • Cultivate my French-speaking skills


My Once-a-Year Post

Hahaha. I’m laughing quite a bit at the thought that YET AGAIN I have done nothing with this blog for a long, long time and I’m just coming here to publicly post my goals. And you know what? I’m okay with that. I need things off my plate, and this is one of the things. It doesn’t bother me as much now as it did in the past, and I’m happy to just let it sit and collect stats from previous posts for a few years until I have more clarity and time.

First, a reflection on the terrible horrible awful that was 2016.

Last year was the first time I used Lara Casey’s Powersheets to guide my goal setting by following along with her posts and watching her periscope videos. It was definitely a turning point in my goal setting experiences and achievements. I wish I had been able to purchase the actual Powersheets because I feel like the 3 month refreshes and other built-in features would’ve helped me refine throughout the year and better deal with changes/complications. (In fact, this year I’m contemplating getting two sets of 6 month undated sheets so I can do the prep work — the hard stuff — twice when I naturally pause and reflect for the year) Overall, I felt like I was moderately successful with some of my goals – starting to build my curriculum, beginning to reduce clutter, keeping up regular workouts for a good portion of the year, starting to learn how to meditate (but moreso learning several ways to cope with anxiety and depression), finding some parts of my spiritual path and defining what faith means to me, and having some routines  – these are all progress on the public goals that I shared. It was the first time that I REALLY felt connected to my goals, and I was able to keep that fire burning for longer than I ever have previously, as well as rekindle it at different points of the year.

This year has been a much different experience. Deeper. Richer. WAY more difficult. I realized when coming back through my goals that they were starting to feel somewhat profound, but most of them were not digging to the root causes of what I want and need in my life. This was especially evident when my anxiety and depression took a large turn for the worse in the spring, and I had a very difficult time recovering. I ended up finally seeking professional help from a psychiatrist which has forever changed me for the better, even when I still have issues (turns out that, for me personally, most of my issues are actually chemical and I’m mostly doing a pretty daggone good job of dealing with all the crazy stressors in my life – that’s why EVERYONE should see a psychiatrist once or twice a year for a checkup, just like they see their Primary Care Physician!). My goals had to be turned upside down at that point because my ongoing treatment had to come first. And let me tell you what an absolute RELIEF that has been! I’ve not been without relapses, even with both therapy and chemical treatments, but my life is so much better and I get to experience so much MORE of it everyday thanks to this huge, scary leap that I finally took. My word of the year PATIENCE was a lot more valuable that I had expected it to be when I reluctantly gave into it because of how much it was weighing on my heart. Patience was a fantastic word for me.

The prep work this year was incredibly painful and hard. It’s not easy to be truthful, in actual written words, and then stare those words in the face, and then think and reflect on them. Like last year, I tore through the initial portion quickly, but this year I just sat and let them sink in – faire mijoter or let steep, if you will – until I could add more depth and honesty. I knew I was getting in my own way. I knew that I needed to dig deeper to create profound change.

I have spent several days on my Powersheets this year, and, very much unlike me when it comes to self-reflection, I’ve lamented it. My process has almost been a grieving process, filled with tears, anxiety, and finally, acceptance. I wanted an action word this year that really dug to the core of what I was trying to accomplish, and while there were several words/phrases that stuck out well, NOURISH ended up being my choice because not only does it imply serious action, but life-giving, life-saving, replenishing, JUST WHAT I NEED action. It’s not going to be easy for me. I already feel guilty about the amount of time I’ve wasted, especially in the past year, trying to deal with my health and implement self-care routines, a lot of times at the expense of my husband or family or work. I’m going to have to cut out some things. I’m going to continue my struggle with perfectionism and control (something that PATIENCE helped greatly last year). I’m not going to add any commitments into my life that don’t already exist (even if I know I can help, and would be able to do great things to help someone, I CAN’T SAVE THE ENTIRE WORLD so I really should stop trying and spreading myself so thin) so that the ones I have can be stronger, deeper, and more balanced. I’m not committing to sharing my Tending Lists each month because I will play everything by ear but I will share my plan for January, and of course, all of my goals and posts will be edited to keep some things private because as much as I am a total oversharer (impulsive ADHD  – anyone? anyone? haha), some things really should remain private.

After this ridiculously long narrative, I’m going to be a tease and put my actual goal action plans in another post, and set it to publish tomorrow. My goals are done and my Tending List has been set for January, so I’ll edit them into the next post. How is your goal setting coming along? I know I don’t have many readers, but there are few faithful friends who check in every once in awhile, and I appreciate your feedback and comments!

2016 Goals (and an update)

goals 2016

First, a quick note: I haven’t yet posted part 3 of the Feeding My Family series because I haven’t done a normal grocery shop since being on winter break! I promise that it will come shortly 🙂

It’s crazy hard to believe, but this will actually be my 6th or 7th annual posting of goals over the years here at TBP. I’ve done resolutions, Day Zero Projects, and anti-resolutions, but this year, I’ve decided to stick with goals as my term for the year because resolutions just don’t stick. It’s pretty normal for me to goal set at three different points in the year: the beginning of summer break, the beginning of the school year, and during winter break. I wouldn’t call them goals as much as course corrections and the product of a reflective life. I’ve also expanded my goals to include a “why” and steps to take to help achieve each goal, all thanks to reading up on Lara Casey’s Powersheets (I didn’t get to snag any before they sold out, but I really need to get my hands on these!). So here are my resolutions for the year, barring a couple of personal ones that I will keep just for myself.

  • Increase TPT paychecks by at least $500 per month.
    • To increase financial security
      • Make at least 10 new items per month
      • Add variations of popular products
      • Pay for upgrade to premium membership
  • Build French curriculum
    • Make job less time-consuming and more effective teaching
      • Build integral routines
      • Making lasting, effective plans
  • Significantly declutter house
    • Less anxiety and housekeeping burden – easiest achievable goal!
      • Start with basement
      • Go room by room
  • Regular workouts – running, ice skating, etc.
    • Long-term health and energy
      • Use what I have already
      • Little, consistent steps
      • Ice skating lessons begin end of February
  • Regular meditations
    • Purpose-finding and anxiety reduction
      • Find meditation guides to help start me on the right path
      • Write down what works to keep things going
      • Note any on-the-spot stress relievers
  • A LOT more water and less caffeine
    • My caffeine addiction is nearly insatiable and no longer helping
      • Increase water intake by at least 8 oz daily per week until at a normal amount (decrease caffeine intake by same amount)
  • More regular prayers and relationship with God
    • Spiritual health and longevity
      • Explore scientific-based Christian community (e.g. Biologos, theistic evolution, etc.)
      • Try to pray daily for others
      • Read more scripture
  • Waste less time on phone with meaningless stuff
    • Need healthier forms of escape and winding down
      • Limit to 10 minutes social media and 10 minutes gaming per day unless actually making a true connection (not just scrolling aimlessly)
  • Form better routines
    • Ward off anxiety and be more purposeful
      • Create morning and evening routines and STICK TO THEM – 21 days in a row to make new habits
      • Make rewards for attaining goals

I hope that seeing my goals helps you in making your own! Leave them in the comments below 🙂

Feeding My Family: Part 2 – Shopping

feeding my family series copy

This post is part of a series on how I plan, shop, and prep food for my family. I explain my processes so that you can adapt some of the strategies to your individual situations.

Okay, so you’ve meal planned and you are ready to join me for part two. Great! Grab a notebook and come back; I’ll wait.

*whistling and listening to elevator music*

One of the best ways to speed up your shopping and save money is to know your grocery store. If you start out writing your list grouped the way your store is set up, you can get through faster and avoid picking up those random items as you hunt for the things you’ve missed. I don’t go down aisles where I don’t need an item, and that helps a lot with splurges. If you aren’t sure, ask for a store map when you go to the store the next time. Chances are, they probably have one at the service desk.

Regardless of your store’s layout, you should move from dry good to frozen food to make sure . Here’s the order I suggest:

  • If you are fortunate enough to have a coffee shop in your store, stop there first. I treat myself to a Venti Mocha so that I’m not hungry while shopping and so that I don’t get tired and shove random stuff in my cart. I don’t even have to touch my grocery budget thanks to my monthly Teachers Pay Teachers earnings.
  • Pharmacy, Health, and Beauty Care
  • Baby Items (if needed)
  • Cleaning Products and Kitchen Items (paper towels, toilet paper, ziploc bags, detergent, etc.)
  • Pet Items
  • Dry Food Items – these are almost always grouped together in the middle of the store. If you STICK TO YOUR LIST, you will end up doing less damage to your time and wallet here!
  • Bakery/Produce/Deli/Cheese Counter
  • Fish Monger/Butcher/Meat Case
  • Dairy
  • Frozen

This is my store layout (roughly) with my pathway. Yes, I circle the store twice. I need the exercise, and it’s actually much quicker than wandering every aisle. You can click on the image to view it larger. I labeled things as I would visit them. And, yes, my Kroger is AMAZING and huge, and I absolutely adore the market-style experiences (and NO, they aren’t paying me to say that, haha).

Kroger Marketplace Map copy

Now that you have your store order down, separate your page into three columns and leave space for groups of items. In the first column, group items in aisles 1-11 and 12-19. In the second column, make groups for 20, 21-22, 23-24. In the third column, make groups for 25-26, 27, and 28. I’ve thought about making a cute sheet for this, but each column changes sizes based on what I need that trip, so I just use a regular piece of paper. Here’s an old list from my most recent trip. Sorry for the chicken scratch – I had a kid in the shopping cart so I didn’t have anywhere to set my list.

old shopping list (2)

What are all of those notations? I write the price (rounded up to the next dollar, even if it’s $1.01) so I have a rough price and plenty of wiggle room for tax. Please excuse my idiocy in adding them all up – I transposed 21 instead of 69 from the second column when trying to corral the cart and the kids. The tally marks next to items are when I need multiple quantities – for example, I purchased 5 pounds of ground beef. I didn’t write it on the list, but I purchased 3 pounds of bacon instead of 2. You can see I had a couple of extra items that I had forgotten – containers for lunches, pot roast sauce, and breakfast waffles. My most expensive category is nearly always dry goods, since I have one kid in diapers and another in overnights. Meat is also high, but usually not quite this high (I splurged a little for the farmer’s bacon, cubed ham, ground sausage, and pot roast).

How did I get this list from my meal plan? I looked at each of my meal plan items individually, then began adding them to the columns. I left off what I knew I had in the cabinets (and scratched off a few things I had forgotten about already having when I double checked before leaving the house). Here’s what I thought through with each meal:

Hamburgers – buns, ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo
Vegetable Soup – ground beef, stock, 2 cans green beans, carrots, corn, tomatoes, peas, black beans, onion salt, soy sauce, chopped onion, parsley
Chicken Fajitas – chicken, fajita seasoning, sugar, tortilla shells, queso, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream
Chicken Alfredo – chicken, Italian seasoning, onion salt, butter, garlic, sundried tomatoes, heavy whipping cream, parmesan cheese, milk
Crock Pot Roast – roast, carrots, onions, potatoes, McCormick’s Beef Stew Liquid Seasoning (2)
Meatloaf – ground beef, onion soup mix, stuffing, eggs, ketchup. potatoes for mashing, peas, flour (to make gravy from drippings), milk
Stir Fry – chicken, stir fry veggies, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, white rice, eggs
BLTs – bacon, bread, lettuce, tomato, mayo
Beef Tacos – ground beef, tortilla shells, taco seasoning, queso, lettuce tomatoes, sour cream
Skillet Lasagna – ground beef, ground sausage, bowtie noodles, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, Italian cheese, Italian seasoning, onion salt, onions, garlic
Potato Soup – butter, onions, soy sauce, parsley, bacon bits, cubed ham, heavy whipping cream, milk, potatoes
Tuna Noodle Casserole – tuna, rotini, cream of mushroom soup, shredded cheese, potato chips
Breakfast for Dinner – bacon, pancake mix, maple syrup, apples (for apple pancakes)
Kids’ Lunches – bread, turkey, colby jack, raspberries, clementines, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, black olives, cucumber, yogurt (special request from Clark)

At this point, I try to add other things I know we will need, and do a quick inventory through the house in case we are running low on toothpaste or toilet paper and didn’t realize.

Is this involved? Yes, the first few times I did it, it was. It’s become so normal to me, though, and I know nearly every recipe off-hand, so I can rattle the ingredients off. It really only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish to meal plan and make my list.

Finally, I log onto my Kroger app and go through my paper coupons to pull out what I will need so I don’t have to mess with it at the store. I do not calculate coupons into my prices – I’d rather be pleasantly surprised when I check out.

Looking at the list above, I had $256 listed for my $250 budget. I knew I had at least enough coupons to be at budget, so I didn’t worry. The grand total? $235.21 – comfortably under budget. Considering the huge expensive of dry good items during this shop and the fact that this will feed my family for two weeks with really good meals in big enough portions to eat leftovers for lunches, this is actually really great for a family of four! That breaks down to roughly $120 a week to feed and care for our family — pretty awesome. We’ve cut it down to much, much less when we’ve been on tighter budgets. I also stock up when I have a little bit of extra budget and see a sale on things we use that can go in the pantry or freezer — for example, I spent $4 getting two loaves of take-and-bake fancy bread so we can throw it in the oven to go with our meals any night without worrying about it going bad. I will do a big pantry shop once every 4 months or so if we have a little extra cash.

It’s taken me awhile to develop this method, but each time I use it, I get faster at the process and I find that grocery shopping stresses me out less and less.

Our next post will be on prepping – what do you do with all this food that you just bought in bulk??? Click on over to see it soon!

Feeding My Family: Part 1 – Menu Planning

feeding my family series copy

This post is part of a series on how I plan, shop, and prep food for my family. I explain my processes so that you can adapt some of the strategies to your individual situations. 

Even for someone who *loves* food and cooking, everyday food planning and prep is tedious. However, I’ve found some ways to make things run more smoothly overall. It does require some up-front work, but you’ll earn it back in one night not spent wondering what to make for dinner and searching your cabinets. Multiply that by 5 nights a week, and you’ll have an hour back every week.

What kind of grocery shopper are you? Do you:
a) just throw a bunch of stuff in your cart and hope that you end up with something edible?
b) go to the grocery for dinner food nearly every night?
c) buy the normal stuff every week, but get sick of eating the same three things?

For me, I make a big shopping trip once every two weeks, with a quick stop at the beginning of the second week if we need more milk/bread/produce. It’s so much less stressful not to have to worry about what we are eating or how to squeeze in shopping every night (let alone the savings!).

We’ve been meal planning for a few months now, and when we fall out of routine, we instantly regret it — life gets more hectic (and much more expensive). So here’s how I do it.

I start by picking a meal for each theme day while looking at my calendar, sticking mostly to the days but switching things around if we have a crazy night or something else. We mostly adhere to the schedule, but sometimes something just doesn’t sound great, so we will swap days around.

We were really worried about meal planning being boring or tedious, but it actually helps us keep more variety in our dinners. How? When planning a month at a time, we try to plan something different for each of the theme nights with as few repeats as possible (unless we are just really into a certain dish at the moment).

Let’s look at the next two weeks (I didn’t plan a whole month this time because of the holidays making our schedules weird):

Week One-page-0 (2).jpg

(Like the colors to match my Emily Ley Simplified Planner?)

There are some abnormalities to this two-week plan, but overall, it shows how different our meals are night-to-night. Note – we usually eat fish at least once a week, but I’ve gotten a bit burned out on it lately. Also, we don’t mind eating the same meat two nights in a row as long as it is prepared in a different way, either.

The other portion of meal planning for us is lunches. My husband and I eat leftovers or lunch meat for our lunches every day, and since I usually make a big pot of soup on Sundays, that fills in any gaps. My kids, however, have to have specific portions of things for lunches due to government regulations, so we’ve developed a series of items:

  • Whole Grain/Protein: Turkey and Cheese or Peanut Butter and Jelly on Honey Whole Wheat Bread
  • Fruits: Two fruits each day per week – this week, it’s raspberries and clementines.
  • Veggies: Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers for little boy and black olives for big boy

Ready to start meal planning? You don’t have to do theme nights! This is just how we ensure that we don’t eat the same five things every week. You could also just make a list of all of your favorite meals to look at each week, or modify my nights to suit your family’s tastes.

Once you’ve got your meal plan ready, join me for the next post, where we plan out your grocery trip and talk about money saving tips.