For my first post of the year, I thought it would be fitting to do a goal post. I have always loosely set goals in the past. As a result, I often didn’t feel like I accomplished much during the year. This year I wanted to hold myself more accountable by displaying all my goals for the internet world to see. I will probably regret this a year from now, but I’m going to give it a go.
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1. Eat a healthy diet and cut down on the number of fast food trips we make. Last year, we didn’t eat the healthiest and bought many convenience foods. I will plan ahead this year so we eat many more meals at home.
2. Exercise daily. Get at least 10,000 steps per day and do at least 3 other workouts per week. I just got a new Fitbit Charge HR like this one. I love this Fitbit because it measures my heart rate as well as tracks my steps.
3. Lose 10 pounds. Over the last year, I have put on weight. Being just a little over 5 feet, a weight gain like that is rather noticeable. Part of the weight gain is related to my age. Being in my 40s, I can no longer eat the way I used to and I need to realize my metabolism is not what it once was. The other reason for my weight gain is due to a lot of unhealthy choices through grief eating. I spent a good portion of my time grieving the death of my mother-in-law by eating. Most of the time, I didn’t even realize I was eating. I’d pass by the pantry and find comfort in a few granola bars. Granola bars, no matter how healthy, can definitely pack on the pounds if eaten in large quantities.
4. Drink more water. I drink a lot of coffee, but I don’t drink enough water. At most, I drink 24 oz. per day. I would like to drink at least the recommended 64 oz.
5. Read 52 books this year. I joined the Goodreads challenge. If you have a Goodreads account, you can become my friend here to see what I’m reading. I am going to try an A to Z challenge where I read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet and then a book from an author starting with each letter of the alphabet. So far, I have read Animal Farm and am now reading The Book Thief. I found the idea for this challenge on Read 52 books in 52 weeks.
6. Reach out to family and friends more. We are so consumed with life’s mundane details that we don’t take enough time to savor moments with family and friends.
7. Grow spiritually. We go to church each week, but I know that is not enough to fulfill my spiritual needs. I would like to find a good devotional so that I can address this need on a daily basis.
8. Crochet or make one thing per week. I would like to fill my Etsy store with a lot more items. Right now, I am going to take an Etsy break until I have more inventory. I don’t know how to fit this in my schedule, but I want to figure this out by the end of the year.
9. Finish at least 2 Udemy courses or Skillshare courses per month. I enjoy taking online classes and have learned so much from them. I want to continue to learn a variety of skills during 2016.
10. Participate in the fatmumslim photo challenge and improve my photography this year. I love taking pictures and I want to learn more about photography. If you want to join in this challenge, you can find it at Photo a Day at Fatmumslim.com. I like her challenges because they cause me to take the time to be mindful about the process of taking a photo. I’ve noticed it also is allowing me to find moments throughout the day I might not have paid attention to before. You can follow my Instagram account here: Learned Mom’s Instagram account.
11. Spend more focused time with my kids. I get so distracted by everything that needs to get done at home that I feel like I’m not always giving my kids my full attention. I want to spend more time one on one with my children this year. I would like to set up a one-on-one monthly date with both of my children.
12. Encourage our family to do more for other people. We are extremely busy, as most families are, and it seems like we don’t spend enough time doing charitable work or enough time doing things for other people. I would like to get into a habit of performing one family act of kindness each week.
13. Go on a date with my husband at least once a month. I can’t think of the last time my husband and I went on a date. We spend a lot of quality time together at home, but we don’t ever go anywhere together without the kids. I want to make date time more of a priority. I found some great winter date ideas at this webpage: Club 31 Women.
14. Spend more time reading aloud to my kids. Right now we are reading Anne of Green Gables
Have you been following along in my reading series? As mentioned in a previous post, Great Rhyming Books, the first phonological skill developed is the enjoyment of rhyme and alliteration (developing around the age of 4). You can access the phonological development chart at Reading Rockets. Phonological skills are one of the building blocks to successful literacy. In the link of my post “Great Rhyming Books” listed above, I gave several examples of age-appropriate books which could be used to promote rhyming skills. In today’s post, I will give several examples of picture books which promote alliteration skills.
In a previous post, How to Raise a Reader, I discussed ways to grow a reader in the early stages of life. I mainly talked about the importance of reading to your children from an early age. In this post, I will talk about other ways to promote reading skills in your kids. I will also focus on which books to choose for developing rhyming skills.
A key component for learning to read is through the development of phonological awareness skills. According to a definition on Reading Rockets:
Phonological awareness is a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language – parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes.
With my background in speech-language pathology and library science, I have a special interest in reading and how reading aloud is crucial to promoting reading and language skills of an early learner. You can read more about my interests and background here: About Me.
When both of my children were under 5 years old, I had the advantage of working in the children’s department of a library. Working in that environment gave me access to all the wonderful picture books and chapter books I could get my hands on. The amount of books my family had checked out was embarrassing and upwards of 100 books at a time! My appetite for children’s books was driven by my knowledge of educational statistics and I wanted to make sure my kids could read by the time they went to school. Some of the statistics I found the most profound include: