goals + recipes for the week of 9/28

Happy Sunday, friends! It’s a busy day around here. I’m off to do a little tutoring this morning before church; then after the church service we’re having a Young Adult potluck; and then tonight we’re having family dinner at my aunt Annie’s house before my Uncle Frankie heads back down to L.A. in the morning. Lots of friend & family time, which makes my heart happy!

Speaking of happy hearts, my sweetie’s birthday is this Tuesday! Last night I was invited to celebrate with him and his sister, dad and stepmom at the beautiful Clairemont Country Club. I wore my navy and ivory chevron dress from¬†this past Easter {thanks to Arianna for helping me decide on an outfit! My cousin is eleven years younger than I am but has waaaaay more style!} ūüėČ

chevron dress

And my other stylish cousin, Bianca, helped me bake red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for the birthday boy!

cupcakes

Speaking of yummy desserts, I have to share a photo of this aaaaaamazing butternut squash bread pudding I ordered for dessert on Friday night. I’m gonna try to recreate it myself at some point, perhaps using this recipe? Oh and yeah, that’s salted caramel gelato on top. With chocolate caramel cups mixed in. Yuuuuummmmm.¬†I want to eat this again, like, right now.

butternut squash bread pudding

Before I lose myself in drooling over this photo, let’s move onto¬†goals…

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:¬†
Рcomplete new draft of my novel-in-progress {wrote two new chapters; one more to go!}
–¬†finish editing work
–¬†prepare for first week of teaching/new semester
do yoga twice & core exercises five times
–¬†read 100 pages of¬†Into the Night Sky¬†by¬†Caroline Finnerty

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
Рcomplete new draft of my novel-in-progress
– celebrate Allyn’s birthday! ūüôā
– do yoga twice & core exercises five times
Рfinish reading Into the Night Sky by Caroline Finnerty

And here are some recipes I’m eying¬†this week:
crockpot asian pulled chicken via The Pajama Chef
creamy spinach & cheese green chile enchiladas via Two Peas & Their Pod
pumpkin cinnamon cookies via Two Peas & Their Pod
6 healthy crockpot chicken freezer meals via New Leaf Wellness & Money-Saving Mom
– my own curried butternut squash & apple soup

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + recipes for the week of 8/17

Happy Sunday, everyone! It feels like it’s been for.ev.er since I popped in to say hi… I guess it’s only been a few days since my mid-week meditation post, but it was one of those weeks where a lot happened!

  • I got back to the Bay Area on Sunday night, and there were all sorts of little errands and such I had to squeeze in to get back into my everyday routine. You know how it is, getting back to real life after “vacation mode” ūüôā
  • I taught a wonderful week of journalism and public speaking camp to a group of super awesome fifth graders. I was so proud of all of them!
  • I’m housesitting/dog-sitting for my aunt and uncle right now, so there was a bit of schedule juggling involved to make sure the doggies were comfortable and cared for throughout the day when I was at work. Everything worked out fine in the end!

poodles

There were also lots of fun events:

  • I got together with Dana for dinner at Pizza Antica — yum!
  • I got my first-ever professional massage {more on that coming soon!}
  • We celebrated Makena’s birthday on Tuesday and Bianca’s birthday on Friday! We had a joint party for them both on Wednesday evening, and it was so much fun. They are such kind-hearted and beautiful young ladies, inside and out!

m and b bday

This week is looking to be even busier! Tomorrow my grandma is getting much-needed hip-replacement surgery; she’s in a lot of pain, so we are all excited that this procedure will hopefully provide a lot of relief. Still, getting an operation is always a¬†little scary, so we would be so grateful for your good thoughts & prayers! I will be sure to keep y’all posted on her recovery.

me and gma

Then on Tuesday, my sweetheart comes home!! He is currently driving back to the Bay Area from New Orleans… I think he’s somewhere in the middle of New Mexico right now. Your safe thoughts for his travels would also be very appreciated ūüôā I am over-the-moon excited to see him!

me and al bday creamery

This week is the last week of summer camps for Communication Academy. I’m teaching a public speaking class for teenagers and I’m really looking forward to it. Gonna be a great week!

Before I head out, it’s goals time…

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week: {I bit off a little more than I could chew, as I am so prone to doing!}
– revise 25 pages of my novel-in-progress
–¬†teach a successful¬†week of camp
–¬†connect with three friends
–¬†finish reading Invisibility¬†by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
drop off donation to Goodwill

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– revise 10 pages of my novel-in-progress
–¬†teach a successful¬†week of camp
–¬†help take care of my Grandma as best I can
–¬†finish reading Invisibility¬†by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
salted caramel apple crisp via Panera Bread Co.
grilled zucchini and corn tostadas via Two Peas & Their Pod
–¬†chunky sausage and veggie pasta sauce¬†via¬†Chew Out Loud
dark chocolate chunk peanut butter blondies via The Pajama Chef
Рmy own coconut zucchini muffins

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + recipes for the week of 5/18

Hi friends! Hope you are having a lovely weekend! Mine has been busy with loads of good things! Yesterday I taught four writing and public speaking classes of energetic elementary schoolers, then took Bart into the city to attend an event with Allyn as part of his MBA program. I was super inspired by the smarts and passion of these graduate students, plus it was fun to spend time with my sweetheart and meet more of his friends.

This morning, I’m headed off to church, then taking my beautiful cousin Arianna out to brunch to celebrate an academic achievement award she received at school, and then hopefully squeezing in a coffee date with my friend Emy whose birthday was last week and who I haven’t seen in far too long! Later this afternoon my Grandpap is singing in a choir concert, and I’m excited to go support him along with my grandma, Aunt Mary, and cousins Bianca & Makena. Grandpap looooves to sing and it always warms my heart to see him up onstage, doing what he loves best! And then tonight I’m going to a dance party in the city with Allyn. Should be a blast!

Told you it was going to be a busy weekend around here! Before I skedaddle, it’s time for goals!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
–¬†write ten pages {didn’t quite make it to ten, but did finish a short story!}
–¬†send out three query letters/submissions
–¬†finish midterm evals¬†of students
Рread up to page 400 in Wolf Hall {but I did get sucked into & finish The Gospel of Winter}
–¬†go to two yoga classes
–¬†connect with two friends

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
–¬†write ten pages
–¬†send out three query letters/submissions
– send acceptances for new young writers project
Рread up to page 400 in Wolf Hall
–¬†go to two yoga classes
–¬†connect with two friends

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
–¬†sweet potato & black bean mexican salad¬†via Two Peas & Their Pod
–¬†spring vegetable stir fry w/lemon ginger sauce¬†via Two Peas & Their Pod
–¬†black bean mango quinoa salad w/cilantro lime vinaigrette¬†via the real-life rd
curried butternut squash soup w/kale & chicken¬†via Peanut Butter Fingers {similar to this recipe and this recipe I’ve made before}
–¬†homemade jello¬†via¬†It’s Progression
my own tilapia w/pineapple salsa

tilapia

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals for the week of 2/23

Happy Sunday! My friend Janet is in town and I am so excited!

me and janjan

I love soaking up time with this pretty lady!¬†Last night we went with my cousins Makena and Bianca to see a production of Guys & Dolls. So much fun! Today we have plans to go into the city and have dinner with some of Janet’s friends from graduate school. I’m looking forward to meeting them and checking out some touristy spots with Janet beforehand. And, of course, City Lights is on the agenda!

city lights

But before we’re off, time for a quicks goals recap!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
–¬†write 10 pages
prepare for new tutoring job
go to two yoga classes {I made it to three, hooray for a good yoga week!}
finish copyediting project
begin reading The Empty House by Nathan Oates
connect with three friends {plus I completed my year of Wooden action step for the week}

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– have an amazing time with Janet! go into the city, see a movie, take her to my favorite spots around town, and talk our faces off
– write 5 pages
– prepare for my new tutoring client
– go to one yoga class
Рread fifty pages of The Empty House by Nathan Oates
– have a blast at the AWP conference! {and I guess be sorta productive and learn something too} ūüôā

Questions of the morning:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What have been your highlights of this weekend?

fabulous friday #10

Happy Friday, friends! Hope you have some fun plans on the horizon! I am pretty dang excited for the weekend. Tonight I’m going to see best-selling YA author Veronica Rossi give a talk at a local bookstore. On Saturday I’m reuniting with my lovely friend Dana for a walk at the reservoir & lunch afterwards — we haven’t seen each other for a few weeks and I can’t wait to catch up! And Sunday I’m going to church, meeting up with a friend for coffee … and of course watching the Super Bowl! The one time all year where the commercials are actually my favorite part ūüôā My aunt is having a big party at her house which will undoubtedly be a good time.

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Spontaneous trips to the park. It’s been gorgeous weather here this week, and when I spent the day with my cousins Makena & Bianca earlier this week we went over to the neighborhood park to take advantage of the sunshine. I love swinging on swings! And isn’t this tree beautiful?

swings

2. Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on creativity. A friend first shared this link with me a couple years ago, and after someone mentioned it at church this week I watched it again. So inspiring! I especially love this quote:

elizabeth gilbert quote

3. Trader Joe’s! I can’t get enough of this store. I have lately been addicted to their kale & shredded broccoli chicken salad, edamame hummus, and butter shortbread cookies with chocolate in the middle. {No, I did not take home this entire stash, but I wanted to!}

shortbread cookies

4. This song, “Giddy Up” by Dragonette. My brother posted it on my Facebook wall and it is my new morning jam! Such a rousing way to start the day.

5. Soaking up time with my super-fun cousins. This week I’ve gotten to spend lots of time with these beautiful girls and it’s been so great! Last night Arianna and I had a total girly night: pizza, watching 17 Again, doing face masks, talking about boys. It was wonderful! I feel so blessed that my cousins are not just cousins, they are truly my friends, too ūüôā

arianna and rocca

makena bianca

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • Do you have fun plans for the weekend?
  • Are you going to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday?

a year of Wooden: week 4

Happy Monday, friends! I’m enjoying a special day today with my cousins Makena & Bianca, who are off school for a teacher inservice day. We baked delicious apple cinnamon muffins this morning, and this afternoon we’re going to the movie theaters to see “Frozen.”

bianca makena

Last night we had a lovely family birthday celebration for my cousin Arianna. I really liked this new tradition we started while eating dinner: everyone went around the table and said one word they would use to describe Arianna. It was such a sweet & heartfelt way to celebrate her!

arianna bday

This year I am doing “a year of Wooden” following the teachings of Coach John Wooden, and in particular his 7-Point Creed.

a year of wooden

I‚Äôm beginning the year with the Creed’s first item:

  • January:¬†Drink deeply from good books.

This past week I read¬†Coach Wooden’s children’s book,¬†Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success. Even though I’m not a child anymore, I still deeply enjoy this book. I think sometimes grown-ups — more than anyone! — need to be reminded that true success isn’t money or material possessions or the amount of Instagram followers you have. True success trying your best, day by day, little by little, and being authentic to your own unique self. This charming picture book is perfect for the child in all of us.

To summarize this month’s challenge of “drinking deeply from good books” we read:
Wooden & Me: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach & Humanitarian to Help “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece”
Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off The Court
Inch & Miles: The Journey to Success

Since Coach Wooden was also a devoted Christian, I’m also going to work on reading more of the Bible this year. I’m participating in #SheReadsTruth, an online community of women that sends out a daily email with a Bible verse and contemplation questions.

Next week, moving into February, we’ll move on to the second monthly challenge in this year of learning from Coach Wooden!

Questions of the day:

  • What are your final thoughts on the books we read this month?
  • What is your personal idea of “true success”?
  • Do you have any fun birthday traditions in your family?

year of kindness challenge: week 42

year of kindness button

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope your week is off to a good start. ūüôā The BART strike continues up here in the Bay Area, and I feel so bad for all of the commuters into the city who rely on BART and now have to find other means of transportation. Please send good thoughts that the issues get resolved soon and the trains will start running again!

My cousin Arianna went to the Homecoming Dance this weekend and she looked absolutely gorgeous! I love this photo of her and my grandma … we were calling them our two ladies in red:

arianna homecoming

Yesterday was another family-filled day, and I loved it! In the morning I headed over to cheer on my cousin Makena in her soccer game — not only did her team win, but she scored three goals! I was so proud. She is quite the soccer star!

Then I headed over to the U.U. church a couple towns over {the closest one to where I live now} … it was my first time going to this particular church, and everyone was so welcoming and kind. The church itself is stunningly beautiful, on top of a mountain, and the chapel has a ton of windows looking out over the green hills and the valley below. I was definitely happy I made the drive, and I plan to go back next Sunday! It can be intimidating to walk into a new church, and it takes me a few weeks to feel completely comfortable and to start recognizing familiar faces.

In the evening, we got together for dinner with my other aunt’s family. Grandma and I made an apple cake with cinnamon crumb topping and brown sugar glaze … YUM! It was actually a very easy recipe, and was a big hit with everyone. Grandpap even went back for thirds! I’ll have to share the recipe on here soon.

apple cake

Now … on to the kindness! Last week’s kindness challenge was to advocate for someone, particularly someone younger or newer or just starting out on their career path. I sent a dozen or so emails to young writers with contest information I came across, and I also spoke on the phone to a few high school students about their writing and college applications. I always come away from these conversations inspired myself — I hope they felt the same way!

The Week 42 Kindness Challenge is to buy someone else’s morning java fix or afternoon caffeine boost.¬†This might mean paying for the person behind you in line at Starbucks or bringing lattes to your coworkers as a mid-week treat. Whatever strikes your fancy!

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn AT gmail DOT com.

Now I’m off to work on fellowship apps and then go for a run at the gym. Have a wonderful day!

‚̧ Dallas

P.S.: The archives were getting pretty loooooong below each new post, so head on over to this Year of Kindness Challenge page to see all the archived posts from the previous 41 weeks!

Questions of the morning:

  • What kindnesses happened in your life this past week?
  • Have you ever moved to a new town and had to start out at a new church? Do you have any advice about making the transition?

year of kindness challenge: week 34

year of kindness button

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m writing to you from my new home in northern California. Here’s a pic my dad snapped right before I hit the road:

20130823_093354

I’m getting settled in and enjoying a lot of time with my wonderful relatives, including my cute cousin Bianca who I have a feeling is going to become my baking buddy this year. Woo! I’m so excited to have someone to bake with. ūüôā

20130824_130522

This past week’s kindness challenge was to donate school supplies to local children who need them. I donated these notebooks and markers to a school supply drive in my community¬†that I found with a quick internet search.

20130802_152025

The Week 34 Kindness Challenge is to buy a sandwich and drink and give it to a homeless person you pass by on your way home. Another option: if you go out to dinner, box up your leftovers and give them to a homeless person.

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

Have a marvelous day!
– Dallas

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚Äď

year of kindness archives:
–¬†week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
–¬†week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
–¬†week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
–¬†week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
–¬†week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
–¬†week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
–¬†week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
–¬†week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
–¬†week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
–¬†week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
–¬†week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
–¬†week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station
–¬†week 13 challenge: give someone flowers
–¬†week 14 challenge: donate books
–¬†week 15 challenge: reach out and spend time with people
–¬†week 16 challenge: smile at everyone you meet
–¬†week 17 challenge: pick up litter/trash
–¬†week 18 challenge: write a kind note to a mom figure in your life
–¬†week 19 challenge: leave an extra-generous tip
–¬†week 20 challenge: donate blood/join bone marrow registry
–¬†week 21 challenge: visit a cemetery and pay respect
–¬†week 22 challenge: practice a little patience
–¬†week 23 challenge: call 3 loved ones on the phone
–¬†week 24 challenge: do something kind for a senior citizen
–¬†week 25 challenge: pay for someone‚Äôs public transportation
–¬†week 26 challenge: volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen
–¬†week 27 challenge: send a care package to someone in the military
–¬†week 28 challenge: give at least one compliment every day
–¬†week 29 challenge: do a favor for someone else
–¬†week 30 challenge: scatter lucky pennies around a playground
–¬†week 31 challenge: mail an empowering postcard
week 32 challenge: plant something
week 33 challenge: donate school supplies