Category Archives: Happiness Project

My Happiness Project Recap

Inspired by The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I created my own.  It was almost a year ago that I completed it, but I truly think it changed my life for the better.  As it’s been nine months since I’ve worked on it (strange how that coincides with finding out I was pregnant!  I guess I had other things on my mind…), I think I can take down this blog’s section that was devoted to it, but I did want to document my progress.    It was fun to go back and look at the changes that stuck, and ones that slowly slipped away (or never caught on to begin with!).  Reviewing these has given me a bit of renewed gusto as well – maybe I’ll try another happiness project in the future!

April 2010 – Organization
My main accomplishments this month were setting up and maintaining a weekly to do list, cleaning schedule, meal plan, empty inbox, do it now philosophy, and grocery item and price list.  This is the area where I’ve not only kept up most of my accomplishments, but have gotten better!  Yay, me!

May 2010 – Friendship
I continue to attend exercise classes at the Y (filled with potential friends), reply to friends’ calls and e-mails immediately, and occasionally use Facebook to keep in touch.  A big “oops” on the YMCA classes.  I didn’t continue them, and never really made any new friends.  I am better about using Facebook now, though.

June 2010 – Passions
I found that my passions are cooking, camping, reading, and exploring with my husband, and learned that while I am not passionate about blogging, it’s still useful as a documentation tool.  I set up 100 Things to Make to guide as a cooking goal.  I made 45 of the 100 things to make.  Not fantastic… but better than nothing!  

July 2010 – Travel
This month was focused on our Mediterranean cruise.  Among the many lessons that came out of the trip, I found that it’s advantageous to pack light, research a destination and refer to it frequently, bring a battery operated alarm clock, and prepare for jet lag.  Two other essential lessons: function trumps fashion, and always ask for directions.

August and September 2010 – Health
We eat balanced meals, and I got sporadically better at including vegetables into my diet.  I am taking a multivitamin nearly daily, and have established a better habit of exercising (including attending Zumba and 30 minute fitness classes).  I go to sleep between 9:30 and 10:30 and wake 7-8 hours later.  Sleep has taken a big hit since the Bean joined our family!  A multivitamin is still in play, though exercise and healthy eating need to step it up a notch.  All in all… I have not done well in this area.

October 2010 – Cooking
I started our “top ten” main dish list and am committed to becoming an expert at them.  I made a grocery list that revolves around these meals and so we can have ingredients in stock for quality meals whenever we’re ready.  I also took a step outside of my usual recipe books and made some meals using nothing but my own previous knowledge.  I’ve since taken a cooking class that was quite a bit of fun, and have expanded my cooking repertoire.  A success!

November 2010 – Blogging
I successfully blogged every day this month!  Surprisingly (though I suppose I should have expected it, with all of the practice), as the month went on writing posts became easier rather than more difficult.  Blogging daily made me see that anything can be a post – I just have to remember to snap a few pictures or jot down a few words so I can remember!  I didn’t fare well on this front.  But I’m back!

December 2010 – Family
I took a “blogging break” this month.  While I still posted fairly regularly, I drastically cut back the hours I spent surfing around on other people’s blogs.  This left plenty of time for my little family (just Paul and I!) and both of our families.  We had plenty of holiday fun with all, including an 11-day stay up north with my in-laws.  A by-product of not blogging is getting more face time with the world, so I’ve at least done that well.

January 2011 – Reading
The year’s off to a bang with a few books under my belt already.  I signed up for seven reading challenges – perhaps too many to handle, but some of them overlap.  I read seven books this month – hopefully this will increase next month, as I’m in the middle of five as of January 30.  I stopped keeping track, but have been reading quite a bit of baby-related books lately (mostly in the middle of the night with a babe in arms!).

February 2011 – Love
So far I’ve checked and started to read out a handful of workbooks and marriage-building books from the library.  We’ve started our once-monthly Sunday morning dates to work on our relationship.  Our relationship is still going strong, though we don’t have regular dates or relationship meetings.


His Needs Her Needs Review

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof MarriageHis Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley Jr.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was very hands-on and interactive, which I appreciated. It includes quite a few worksheets, quizzes, and personal questions. The only problem I had with this book was the “blame the victim” philosophy, though I understand how it’s helpful in preventing affairs.

View all my reviews

Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage – Book Review

Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America's Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your RelationshipTen Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship by John Gottman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first looked at the chapter titles, I was turned off.  With chapters like “We don’t feel close anymore,” “You never talk to me” and “You don’t care about my dreams,” I was skeptical – we have a happy and loving relationship, and those problems just don’t apply to us. I had heard so much hype about the book, though, that I gave it a chance anyway – and I am so glad I did. It’s easily the best marriage book I’ve read since Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. The chapters are pertinent to many situations, not just the title problems. My favorite part? The activities to do (alone or with your spouse) that get at the heart of couple issues. One of the main threads I saw in the book was that couples should try to discuss feelings underlying problems as opposed to simply finding an immediate solution, and the activities seemed to facilitate that.

View all my reviews

Another Reading Challenge (and it’s a good one)

May I recommend yet another reading challenge?

The It’s Not What You Read But Where You Read It Challenge 2011 – read for an hour in each of seven categories (twist your house, place of commerce, move, nature, you don’t call home, probably shouldn’t, and in pairs)

According to the challenge’s creator over at I Heart Monster, the categories are defined as follows.  (My notes are in italics.)
Twist Your House
Read somewhere inside your house that you have never sat (or stood I suppose) and read before.  It could be the bathroom (but I won’t ’cause I think, ew gross), the bathtub, the corner, the closet, the guest bedroom, the dining room table – it just can’t be somewhere that you’ve read before.  Think outside the box.   Basement?  Yuck.  The closet?  Cramped.  This will take some creative thinking.  As I occasionally carry my book around the house with me, reading as I walk, there aren’t many places I haven’t read.

Place of Commerce
Read somewhere that things are sold.  Coffee shop? Sure.  While you’re waiting for your wife to try on clothes?  Absolutely.  At the fountain at the mall while you’re scoping out guys?  Uh, that’s a stretch but give it a try.  This is a good excuse to get a few refills on a cup of coffee at Copper Rock!

Read on the bus, on a train, on the light rail, on a plane, in a car, while you’re walking, while you’re on the treadmill at the gym.  It doesn’t have to be somewhere you haven’t read before, just somewhere where you are moving through space.  I think I’ll be bringing my book to the YMCA next time I go… but then again, that isn’t exactly unusual!

This one could be hard for city folk, but there is a park somewhere, right?  The requirement is that you are sitting/standing on something that isn’t manmade.  Man could have planted it, but not created it.  Granite countertop?  Um no.  Granite boulder?  Um yeah.  This one may need to wait a few months until the state isn’t covered with two feet of snow.  At that point, though, I have plenty of options!

You Don’t Call Home
Out of state?  Sure.  At your neighbor’s house?  Sure.  Hotel?  Yup.  But it can’t do double duty for any of the other categories.  An excuse to take a vacation, perhaps?  That might be stretching it… but just maybe…

Probably Shouldn’t
Think work, church, grocery shopping.  DO NOT READ WHILE DRIVING OR RIDING YOUR BIKE OR ROLLERBLADING/SKATING.  BE SAFE.  Be creative.  Hmm… another thinker.  How about tonight, when I really should be going to my grandparents’ 62nd wedding anniversary dinner?  No?  You mean I should actually go to that?

In Pairs
I don’t care where you are as long as someone else in the room is reading their own book too.  Before bed with the hubbie?  Sure.  In a hotel lobby?  Absolutely.  In a bookstore?  Dude, you get the picture.  I’ll have this one covered by tomorrow night.  It’s what we do on a daily basis!

How creative!  Any excuse to read is a good one.  I think that of all the reading challenges I’ve signed up for, this is the one I’m most excited for!

Fireproof – Book Review

FireproofFireproof by Eric Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a beautiful, inspiring story that was much more true-to-life than most other books I’ve read that are classified as “realistic fiction.” I’m looking forward to watching the movie, as this was a novelization of the screenplay.

View all my reviews

On the Bookshelf: My next 40 books to read

Kate’s bookshelf: to-read

Share book reviews and ratings with Kate, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Book Review

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The best Harry Potter book in the series to this point! Rowling’s writing in this book is far better than her previous two. My issues with her “remember when…”-ing in the second book (HP and the Chamber of Secrets) was dealt with. While the characters did reminisce at times, they did it in a way that was not distracting to the current plot. Two thumbs up, five stars, hooray!

View all my reviews