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101 in 1001: Janaury 2012 Update

January Update for my 101 in 1001 Project.

#3: Go on a date a month for 6 months

#12.   Have a girl’s night once every other month (6/16): The Bachelor started back up this month so we had a viewing party at my house. Some girlfriends came over for pizza and reality tv.

49.   Join a Sunday School Class. We took the first step in making this happen. Our church doesn’t really have “Sunday school classes” but they do have newly married groups filled with 5 couples plus a mentor. The group focuses on the fact that we are all in the same stage of life and how to grow together in our spiritual journey. I am excited for this group which will actually start in the middle of February, however January we actually met our group and got connected for the first time.

51.   Do five random acts of kindness. (2/5). We went to Dinner with a gift card a few nights ago. It was a place we normally don’t frequent but the gift card was for more than we could eat or take home with us in one sitting. There was only some change left on it, but it still felt good not to waste it. We just asked the cashier to take it off for the person behind us.  Nothing big, but a little goes a long way sometimes.

#67 I am a visual person so it is fun to use Pinterest for recipe inspiration. A few weeks ago we made the bacon wrapped honey glazed chicken strips. It was intended for an appetizer however we paired it with mashed potatoes for our dinner.  It was fantastic. Check out the original recipe here.

82.   Cut coupons and try to save some $ for 3 months. (1/3). This was the first month that I only went to the store with coupons in hand. Now, I am not an “extreme couponer” but I did save  over $10.00 with coupons alone for just 3 trips to the grocery store in January. Of course these coupons were combined with store discounts so overall I saved $42.00 in the month of January.  In our house that is over 5 days of meals for free!

What goals did you accomplish this month for your 101 in 1001 challenge?

 

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101 in 1001: Date a Month

#3: Go on a date a month for 6 months:

Not only was this one of my 101 in 1001 goals, but it has become a weekly goal for our marriage. Marriage is all about learning more about each other and truly understanding one another. For me, I know I am loved through the act of quality time. The first 5 months of marriage have been lacking in that quality time due to the fact that my hubby has been busy with school, two jobs, and football. Now that it is a new year, new job, and no football it was time to commit to one another the act of quality time.

Our goal was to do something unplugged without cell phones, just the two of us, each week. The challenge for us was to make it something that was not common place, like dinner and a movie, and something that cost little to no money. For this month we decided to visit Callaway Gardens because they offer free admission during January. Obviously this is because the gardens are not very vibrant or colorful, however it is still beautiful for having a picnic or visiting the indoor exhibits.  Here are a few pictures from our day exploring the lake, butterfly house, and gardens.

A full recap of the date is on our joint blog. What ideas do you have for date nights that are beyond just dinner and a movie? I welcome the suggestions!

2011 Year in Review

Hello 2012. What a year 2011 was! I kicked off the year with a challenge for the next 1001 days. The challenge was created out of the fact that I was bored. I was bored with life. I was used to being busy and challenging myself but had been feeling less than extraordinary due to a  new found freedom that comes once you graduate and are not locked into a strict schedule every single moment of the day. The challenge to embrace change, grow in new directions, and celebrate life’s little moments were all part of the reason I wanted to challenge myself with 101 goals over 1001 days. I have made some progress over 365 short days and want to recap the highlights:

January began with the 1001 challenge. Some of the goals on the list seemed a little lofty to me and were designed to really push me out of my comfort zone. It would also allow me to try new things.  January kicked off with some travel and meeting a fellow social media friend.  I went to North Carolina and Indiana during January. I also went to see Beauty and the Beast at the Fox in Atlanta. One of the challenging goals on my list was trying 30 new recipes. My ability to cook 365 days ago on a scale of 1 to 10 was 1. I barely could make mac and cheese. I am happy to say that I am becoming more comfortable in the kitchen and over the last few months I have really pushed myself. January began the new recipe challenge and I am happy to say the Bacon Avocado sandwiches are still one of our go-to meals.

February began my journey of trying new restaurants. There are a ton of cool places to eat in Atlanta and I wanted to be able to try them all out. February also was about planning for marriage. One of the best books I have ever read was during that month, 5 love languages. It has helped us as a couple more than I can say. It not only helps me understand my spouse better but it also allows me to understand people’s motives, especially in the work place. I have grown a lot just by that simple book. Thank you Gary Chapman for writing a book that explains so much.

During March I challenged myself to a 30 day fry free zone. This was a big challenge mostly because I didn’t realize how many French fries I ate and how fee alternative options were available. During March I also went to Florida for a professional conference and assisted in some workshops there on social media.

April was a time for more travel, blogging, and meeting new people. April was the month I challenged myself to blog for 30 days straight. New restaurants were tried, three states were visited, and a wine was tasted.

May and June were busy with house hunting for our newlywed home and strawberry picking. The month was also filled with girls nights and reading The help. Work was busy for May and June so there was a lack of progress on the 1001 challenge, however there was a lot of planning and preparation going in to making the next few months a success.

The summer were the months that the biggest changes happened. In July I started my new job as a “career women”.  The summer seemed to fly by as I tried to squeeze in as much time soaking in the sun while juggling planning a wedding and working full time. My girls only trip happened in the form of the Bachelorette Party this month planned by my wonderful sister. I also embraced my singlehood and went pushed myself to go to a movie by myself. July was also busy as I took a dance class and went through Pre-Marital Counseling with Conner.

August 13, 2011 finally rolled around. Months of planning the wedding of my dreams finally came to reality this month. I also did some traveling outside of the United States this month to Jamaica. In my spare time I also joined the Junior League. This would be the platform where I could devote my 101 hours of volunteering over the next 1001 days. https://mandyvolpe.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/101-in-1001-august-update/

September began the volunteering as well as the wedding detox. By wedding detox I mean it was time to get my name legally changed, organize our wedding stuff, and sell all unwanted wedding decor. September was pretty busy in the fact that there was a lot of new things happening and the month really called for an establishment of a routine. I felt like that routine finally happened by the end of the month which meant that the chaos settled down too.

October was a fun month filled with date nights, dinner parties, and a girls night out. October was the 100th anniversary of my sororities charter on campus so there was a lot of celebrating going on!

November was laid back because I was busy traveling and preparing for the holidays. New recipes were tried along with some volunteering.

December was about family and “first’s”. It was the first married Christmas, first time getting a puppy, and first time for new traditions. December was a little slower and involved a little bit of relaxation. It also was a time for some crafting. December was a nice time for reflection of how lucky I was during 2011 and how much had happened. It was also a time of reflection on goals achieved as well as outlook to the future.

I am excited for the mystery of what 2012 has in store. Here’s to 2012.

101 in 1001: December 2011 Update

December 2011 was a time for holidays, family, friends, and giving back. I was so excited to send out first Christmas Cards as newlyweds (#9).

I also went to dinner with a dear friend during my staycation in December (#12). Other progress on the 1001 challenge included paying a stranger a compliment and volunteering for 3 hours during December.

A lot of progress has been made on my 1001 project since January 1. Check out the recap posts to stay up to date on the challenge:

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May/ June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

101 in 1001: November Update

Big Hello to the final 31 days of 2011. I am back with my update on the things I have been up to during November for my 101 in 1001 challenge.

(Picture via Etsy)

52.   Volunteer 101 hours (24/101) This month I volunteered a couple hours at the Fernbank Museum for their holiday celebration. I had never been to the museum before so it was cool to go inside and see the gigantic dinosaur structure in the main area. Since it was the holiday celebration they also had trees decorated by the different consulates and members. If you have time during the holiday season and are visiting Atlanta, make sure you go see it! I also did some volunteering this month at the Atlanta Food bank. While volunteering, we packaged over 58057 pounds of meat which equals 3,094 meals prepared for the community. It feels good to give back a few hours of time for such a huge impact on the community.

67.   Try 30 new recipes (10/30) This week I tried my first Crock Pot recipe. I made Chicken Tortilla soup which was the perfect dinner on a cold and rainy night. This month I also tackled chicken pot pie. I have been inspired by Pinterest lately for building my confidence in the kitchen. I know I am not the only one!

72.   Read 15 books (7/15). I finally finished Malled, a book that I had been reading for a couple months now. The book was all about retail and the in’s and out’s of being on the customer service side of the operation. While the book was interesting, it was really long and didn’t really have an epic ending like I would have expected. Now I am on to reading Bossypants.

Not a busy month in the 101 in 1001 department due to traveling, conferences, and holiday prep, but small successes none the less.

101 In 1001: New Recipe

I have been working up my confidence in the kitchen. One of our favorite recipes is for an enchilada casserole that involves frying the tortillas which ends up taking forever. After finding a recipe for what seemed like a slight variation of our family favorite casserole I decided to give it a try last night. Essentially the casserole was the same flavors but no labor intensive frying. It was a success.

My goal when going to the grocery store this week was to be smarter and plan meals that use the same ingredients so that they don’t go bad or become wasted on just one recipe. Since one of the menu items was the chicken casserole from last night I decided to try chicken pot pie. The recipe came from Pinterest but I used a pre frozen crust. Overall it turned out really good, even though the juice oozed out a little bit. Here is my finished pie.

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101 in 1001 Update: October

During October I accomplished the following goals:

#73: Date a month: Conner and I went on a Date night to dinner and a movie. Fall is very hard for us to take a break for date nights with school, work and football. Luckily we had a double date night in the fact that we only had a few hours on multiple nights so we just split up our activities for the weekend. One night was the dinner, the next was the movie.

#10: Invite people over for dinner: We had the inlaws come over for a fall themed dinner a few weeks ago. Conner cooked up some chicken and I made an apple dumpling reciepe that I found on Pinterest. The apples were awesome, filled with brown sugar/butter goodness.

#12: Girls Night: This past weekend was my sororities 100 year celebration of being chartered. Truthfully the whole weekend was girls weekend, but especially Friday night when we went for margs at our college Mexican restaurant. Spending 4 years with those ladies, and then fostering relationships with them even after graduation makes me so happy. I am so glad I went Greek and I will always have such fond memories of my time in school. I love even more that being Greek doesn’t stop at Graduation but rather continues afterwards into more of a volunteering and advisory role.

#52: Volunteer 101 hours: This month I volunteered with both the Junior League at the Nearly New Thrift Store and for Alpha Chi.

#67: Try 30 new recipes. I made the Banana Bread as I mentioned earlier as well as the apple dumplings. I am not very good at cooking, but I do love to bake.

That is it for October. On to November, the month of family, business, travel, and holiday prep.

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