Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In This New Year... (updated)

I wouldn't call these resolutions, per se. More like "goals" for the year. And I'm sure I will want to add to this list as time goes on, but you have to start somewhere, right?

1) Try new recipes on the family a couple of times a month. I'm sick of rotating the same 5 meals every week, and relying on the same convenience foods. The kids don't learn to like new/varied flavors, and M. and I get bored. So I'm going to do my best to try out a few new recipes that still work with the whole two-working-commuting-parents busy lifestyle we have. I already launched this a bit by making vegetarian chili from scratch on January 1st in the slow cooker (just threw a bunch of stuff in there and it somehow managed to taste good) and trying out a shrimp recipe from this month's issue of Cooking Light that was just OK. I'd like to keep the momentum going (feel free to share vegetarian or seafood/fish cooking ideas!).

2) Sign up for at least 2 long-ish races. Sounds vague, but what I want is to challenge myself without being unreasonable about my time commitment to said challenge. Running 7 miles last October was hard for me (and since I haven't been running much lately, it would be even harder now), and I felt like it was a good, difficult, can-I-make-it-? distance. I can't imagine trying to double that for a half marathon - training would take forever, and I just don't WANT to run for that long in any one go. The goal is thus a couple more races like the one I did last fall, to keep me going.

3) Read the manual for my camera. When I received it as a gift last Christmas, I just took it out of the box, put in some batteries, and started clicking. I am quite positive I could be getting much better pictures out of it, I just don't know how.

4) Gain new, broader work experience. Maybe by finding a way to write something professional that could be used to garner more work/a new job/be used as a general writing sample. I'm somewhat interested in the idea of pursuing a job that involves a little more writing than my current one, but at this point I don't have the experience to be hired for anything like that.

5) And on a related note, my final goal is to work toward moving back up to the New England area to be near family. I don't think it can happen this year because we are far, far away from being in a position to sell our house. And fortunately, M. and I are both in good work situations right now, so we don't need to rush. But if we are cautious forever, it will never happen. And I really, really want my kids to have the opportunity to grow up near family. Not to mention that *I* would like to be near family, and old friends, with social possibilities and something of a built-in support network. Some concrete things I can do are to update my resume, keep my ears open, and network here and there. We have a little less than two years until Finn starts kindergarten, one arbitrary goal we have set for ourselves in trying to make this happen. The stars may not align by then, but we won't know until we try.

Any resolutions or goals that you'd like to share?

Ooh, wait, wait, I already thought of one more goal that I left off this list:

6) Find fun things to do with the kids on the weekends that do NOT involve shopping. I'm pretty sure that they think the only thing to do in this area is go to Target, or Home Depot, or Kohls (or sometimes all three!), and then go out to lunch. Not only is this a drain on finances, it doesn't give the kids an appreciation of what this area has to offer, and it doesn't give them a chance to experience new things/learn new things. As I mentioned above, we eventually want to move up to New England. We should take advantage of being in the national capital region while we are still here, and try to do some quintessential D.C. things. I imagine this will be easier once the weather is warmer, but no reason we can't make a list now and start crossing things off!


  1. Think these are very realistic goals, and I agree with all of them. . .make it work! You are one of the best writers I know. . .(not the least prejudiced!) and I love to read every word you write! Love, Mimi

  2. One of my family's favorite easy vegetarians meals is PW's Mexican Flatbread Pizzas:


    We skip the ground beef and just do refried beans. Jon and I put salsa and corn on ours but the boys like just bean and cheese. Sometimes if we are really lazy, we will just cook the biscuits for the boys and put refried beans on the side (they love to dip into it).

    I don't roll them out, I just press them flat with my hands. And I use TJ's biscuits instead since they have much healthier ingredients than Pillsbury.

    We split up quite a bit on weekends. One person will take the kids to a museum while the other does the errands. I was pretty impressed by the Air and Space museum, there is a big hands on room the boys could have stayed in all day!

  3. Have you tried making fish nuggets? I use a mild fish like tilapia, cut into chunks, dip in egg then breadcrumbs, and bake until crisp. The kids like them pretty well, especially dipped in ketchup. I think kids will eat most anything in "nugget" form.

    MoCo has lots of good races- 4 & 5 milers and 10k's. Search Washington Running Report or Active.com for races and I'm sure you'll find something! :-)

  4. Good luck with everything! I signed up for a half marathon on March 26th if you are interested? :)
    Good, quick meal:
    Enchilada Casserole - layer salsa, any type of bean, corn tortillas, peppers/onions (or not), enchilada sauce and bake! YUM! We also do a lot of "make our own" pizza (with a store bought crust) or calzones (with ready made whole wheat dough!