Seven Quick Takes New Year’s Edition

Linking up with Conversion Diary.

2013 was an interesting year here. We had some rough experiences. We had lots of changes, some good, some bad, some amazing. I think I will remember 2013 as a year of change and challenge.

I’m eagerly looking forward to 2014. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions as such, but I do like to think about the past year and the upcoming year. The good, the bad, what I want to modify, what I want to accomplish. I like to look forward to the new year and make goals. Here are a few of mine for 2014 (well, seven to be exact):

1. I haven’t completed any sort of race or other fitness event since running the Disney World Marathon six years ago. I am not sure which event I will do yet, but I will be training and getting back out there for some sort of race/event in 2014 (one thing I am sure of, it will not be a full marathon).


2. Currently, I can do two unassisted pull-ups (unassisted meaning without a resistance band), and eight straight-body (not on my knees) pushups, and I can back squat 135 pounds. By the end of the year my goal is to be able to do ten pull-ups, twenty pushups, and to back squat 185 pounds.


3. I read somewhere around 43 books in 2013. I really don’t need to make a goal to read more. Actually, I probably should make goals to read less and get more other things done in my free time. But that’s not going to happen.

With that in mind, here are some books on my “To-Read” list for 2014:

Catholicism for Dummies – I’m almost halfway through this one.

Divergent – I have a secret love of teen dystopian novels (Hunger Games, anyone?).

10 Gifts of Wisdom: What Every Child Must Know Before They Leave Home

Wool – My husband finished this audiobook recently. It sounds interesting, and when possible, I like reading the same things my husband has read/listened to so we can discuss. We’ve been talking about Screwtape Letters a lot recently, and I really enjoy our conversations (not that I expect this book to be on par with Screwtape, but maybe still fun to talk about)

The Sun Also Rises – This was on my Summer Reading List and I forgot about it. I’ll get to it this year.

Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It – You know how much I enjoy Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog. I’m giddy about her upcoming book.

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

He Leadeth Me – Another one from the summer list that I forgot to read.

Things Pondered – I just saw a link to a ton of free Kindle books by this author. This one in particular is interesting to me, but I nabbed all of the free ones and hope to read them all this year.

That’s just a start. I also intend to start reading my Bible more this year now that I’m almost finished with 150 Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know.

4. I will work on experimenting and using different settings of my camera. I almost always shoot in the “P” mode of my camera, which controls everything but the flash for me. I need to start learning how to shoot in the “A,” “S,” and “M” modes.

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At least once a week I’ll be experimenting with different camera settings, lighting, etc. I have tried reading books. I’ve tried taking a class. I need to just do different things with my camera if I really want to learn.

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5. I need to pick a Kindergarten curriculum (!!) I also really need to work on being more organized in my homeschool planning and scheduling. I haven’t yet found a system that I’m comfortable with. Suggestions would be welcome.

6. I’m instituting a Family Game Night. We had our first one tonight. I saw the game Cootie on Amazon the other day and remembered how much I loved playing it as a kid. I ordered it.


What was I thinking? It is not fun. But we have lots of other games too, and I think Super Friend has a bajilllion games for her kids, so I’ll ask her for some recommendations as well.

Unfortunately, I suspect my kids will be choosing Cootie as our game for a while.

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7. I will be getting back into some cooking adventures. My husband and I used to have fun doing a little version of the Food Network show “Chopped” at home (I even have a whole category in the “Topics” drop-down dedicated to this). Then last year he got me some great books and I started some other fun cooking projects.

I cooked lots of egg recipes one week.


^^Homemade mayo


^^ Shirred eggs (yeah, I didn’t know what that was either) with cream and parmesan-reggiano


^^ Souffle !!

Another week I did Spanish dishes.


I like doing things to make food prep fun, but I’ve gotten away from doing this for a while and have been in a cooking rut (mini meatloaves, lettuce wrap tacos, chicken with mustard/maple sauce, repeat).

So. Back to fun stuff. My husband got me some gorgeous cookbooks for Christmas. Italian and French. I’m going to get closer to my roots and go Italian first. Then I think I’m going to go in depth with onions. Then French. Then, who knows? Sunday I’ll be making gnocchi in tomato butter sauce from scratch. Yum.

I love the feeling of beginning a new year. Reflecting and anticipating. 2014 is gonna to be good.

What are your goals for 2014?

See more quick takes here. Happy New Year!

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9 thoughts on “Seven Quick Takes New Year’s Edition

  1. Amy, I just love reading your posts – two things – you should take a look at My Father’s World and Sonlight curriculum for your girls – we use Sonlight for history and science – you can customize it how you want it to work – I just love that the girls are learning history with fictional books and stories which they can relate to and it as a Christian base to it. We do separate studies for Math and spelling/vocabulary.

    also Beth Moore is one of my most favorite authors – she has some great studies that really connected with me and made me think – Esther:It’s tough being a woman and then Daniel, Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy – they both have study guides and DVD’s that go with them. She is amazing to hear her speak. I think you would enjoy her.

    Hope you have a wondeful New Year

  2. Well, I’m so glad I jumped over here from Jen’s linkup! I smiled the whole way through this.
    Your daughter in the princess dress is adorable.
    My pull-up days are over. I’m impressed you can do one!
    I have gone the other direction with my camera. I used to have a photography business and used all the settings. Now, I just point and shoot. I don’t have enough time to mess with anything else. I do like the candids you take of your girls. Candids are my favorite kind of photo.
    When you said you bought Cooties, I cracked up. We played it at my grandma’s house all the time growing up, so when I saw the game last year in a store, I bought it immediately. It is now hidden in the back of our game closet. 🙂 My kids have always liked (and I don’t mind playing with them) Pet Hunt, Monopoly Jr., matching games, Sorry, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game, shoot, just about anything. We’re a big game family.
    We enjoy “Chopped”, too. My kids even play it, both outside with inedible things and indoors with real food from the fridge.
    Have you written down any of the egg recipes you like? We raise chickens, and they are full-on laying. We’re getting about 18 eggs each day. I could use some new ways to cook them!
    Well, that was long. Happy New Year!

  3. I am in awe of your pull up ability. I’ve been working on getting to one for about two months, and can barely pull myself up half way. I can knock out about 25 push ups, but pull ups elude me. I’m using bands and also starting at the top and lowering myself down. Any other ideas?

    • It took me forever to be able to do one without a band. Do you have the kipping motion down? If not I’d practice that too. No way I’d be able to do one without kipping 🙂

      • I replied on my blog to your comment there, but I wanted to let you know I did my first kipping pull up today! Several, actually. I’d been so fixated on doing them strict I’d never tried the kipping. It was awesome!

  4. I’m resonating with so many of your goals. Camera. Cooking adventures. Running.

    I’m hardly even sort of a photography type but I do want to learn to take better pics this year.

    I’m just getting back into running after pregnancy #2, and the going is pretty slow. I’m also six years past my last (and only) marathon. My dad has got me interested in training to race the mile. So definitely NOT a marathon!

    Anyhoo. Loved visiting your blog!! Happy New Year!

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