Hello 2019!

Lake Michigan is one of my favorite places! Here’s to spending more time here in 2019.

“The way you spend your time is a result of the way you see your time and the way you really see your priorities.”

Stephen Covey

I love the start of the New Year. It’s a fresh page, a time to regroup and set new goals for the upcoming year. I get to break out a new planner and start dreaming, and then form a plan of action.   This exercise helps me to think about my values, and then align my schedule, my plan for my life, to match.

This fall I realized that I have become too busy and overscheduled. I was struck with the idea that life is flying by. Our children are getting older, and the time we have left with them still as children is slipping away. That time is precious, and we won’t be able to get it back. I also realized that the summer had past without taking a vacation, and that I didn’t want to repeat that mistake again!

I came up with a list of goals, both personal and business related, and then set about prioritizing them into my calendar. Each morning I review them as I plan out my day, making sure to keep them at the forefront of my mind.

A few of the goals that I have set for myself for 2019 are:

  • Keep God first
  • Pray the rosary every day of 2019
  • Summer vacation at the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan
  • Plan a Reece’s Rainbow fundraiser (plans include sparkly mica bath bombs!)
  • Show our customers my appreciation
  • Plan fun family activities – so far we have two trips to Florida, ski racing, our Frankfort trip, and a visit to Kevin’s family planned
  • Read at least one nonfiction book per month
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week (T-Tapp is one of my favorites!)
  • Konmari my basement – the last holdout of clutter in the house

I am excited to align my schedule with my goals to be able to plan them out. I am looking forward to living them as the year progresses. Have you taken the time to plan out your upcoming year? What do you want to make sure to include? What things do you want to remove from your life?

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Staying Organized Amidst the Chaos

Fall is now in full swing, the leaves are beginning to give way to patches of crimson and gold, and the holidays will be here sooner than seems possible.  While January is touted as the month in which we lay out our goals and prepare of the New Year, the best way to achieve our goals is to always keep them present in our minds.

One of the tools I frequently use to keep myself on tract is my Tools4Wisdom Planner.  It has spots to write out my weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.  I prioritize my activities keeping my goals in mind, and actively check to see that I am working toward them.  I also review my goals frequently to make sure that they still make sense.

Following Steven Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), I begin with the end in mind, and I try to plan out not just my week, but keep mindful of how what I am doing fits in to what I envision for 1, 5, or even 10 years from now.

Eating healthy while keeping up with our family’s busy schedule and special dietary needs is definitely an area that preplanning helps.  Preparing a large batch of quinoa and rice on the weekend, and planning crock pot meals on our crazy days make healthy homemade dinners possible.

I am also making a point to begin to plan our Christmas shopping earlier this year, so I won’t be caught scrambling last minute for gifts.

What area of your life could you be more organized in?  I know I have much to work on (like keeping my home neat and organized!), but knowing my weak areas and vowing to improve them is the first step.

 

 

 

10 Amazingly Simple + Free Ways to Show Love + Kindness

Part of our mission at Pure Goat Soapworks is to inspire you to show love + kindess. Here are 10 simple but powerful ways you can show love + kindness, and you won’t have to spend a dime.

  1. Share a cup of coffee or tea with someone special.  Every morning my husband makes me a mug of tea, and leaves it on the counter for me sealed in a Contigo insulated cup so it’s hot and fresh when I’m ready to drink it.  It puts a smile on my face, and I feel loved each time I see my cup waiting for me.
  2. Give a sincere, unexpected compliment. Did the cashier at Meijer have a smile on her face?  Tell her that you appreciate her friendliness.  Did your son have a good attitude despite losing his baseball game?  Tell him how proud you are of his behavior.  Did a business rival excel at something?  Let her know that she impressed you.
  3. Pick a bouquet of flowers and bless someone with it.  Even my 7 year old can do this – and he often does!  It melts my mommy heart to receive tiny dandelions and wildflowers.  Do you have any perennials growing in the flowerbeds around your house?  Surprise your daughter, spouse, or even a total stranger with a small bouquet.  She will love it, and it could completely change her day for the better.
  4. Play a quick game of ball with your children or grandchildren.  It might turn into a long game – we often forget how fun it is to play!  My 15-year-old soccer player delights in any type of soccer game, even if it’s playing with his slow, uncoordinated mother.   His eyes light up and I know he revels in the attention.
  5. Do an unexpected chore for your spouse, parent, or child.  Surprise him or her by taking on a task that he or she dreads.
  6. Turn off the devices (tv, phones, iPods, computers) and offer your full, undivided attention.  Checking social media, email, and notifications on devices robs us of our full attention.  Show your spouse, your child, your friend that they matter by giving them all of the time you have together, without the distractions.
  7. Visit with an elderly relative, neighbor, or friend’s parent or grandparent.  Our bodies will fail us all, someday.  Remember that the elderly person has value, and is often limited by a body that is unable function as it once did.  Your special visit will make them happy for days.  When I was in elementary school, our parochial school would make visits to nursing homes, and we would sing songs and then visit with the patients.  They had an “Adopt a Grandparent” program, where we would spend time with one of the residents during our monthly visits.  I didn’t understand at the time why some of the residents would cry during our performances, and why they were so happy to see us.  A simple visit, a half-hour of your time, can brighten someone’s day and allow them to feel valuable.
  8. Write a letter, or send a card or note.  In our digital world, receiving something handwritten is rare.  Surprise your mother or father, and let them know that you appreciate them. Send a note to your child in college.  Send a birthday card to a friend.
  9. Reconnect with an old friend or mentor.  Send a message to your college roommate that you haven’t seen in years.  Track down your old next-door neighbor you used to play with as a child.   Did you have a teacher or mentor when you were growing up mean a lot to you?   Send him or her a note (see #8) and share your gratitude.
  10. Pray for people who are hurting, or for people that you don’t even like.  When you find yourself thinking ill of someone, or criticizing them in your mind, stop immediately, and say a quick prayer for them.  Turn your mind to kindness and compassion.

A Look at the Sudio + New Lanolin Formulas!

Welcome to our studio at Pure Goat Soapworks!  Would you like a look around?  We make all of our products here, and are even able to host soapmaking classes, if you are interested!

Big-Blocks-of-soap

 

Our studio was built in 2015, mostly by the handiwork of my husband, Kevin.  An engineer by trade, he worked with me to plan our layout, and then began construction.  Our studio houses our commercial equipment, enabling us to make batches of 240 bars of goat milk soap at a time.

Our newest addition to the space is a double induction cooktop.  Since we usually use our large oil melter to combine and melt our oils, we weren’t able to make small batches or heat things independently.  Now we are free to experiment with smaller batches, new formulas, and make lotion.

Nichole-&-Induction-cooktop
Nichole formulates a sugar scrub (and hasn’t quite mastered a non-squinty selfie)

We are excited to be able to reformulate several of our products to add Lanolin, a wonderful skin protectant derived from wool. We are incorporating it into our Smooth & Soften Sugar Scrubs, Lip Balm, and are introducing a wonderfully thick (and yet to be named) hand + foot cream to our product line by summer.  We are looking for a few people interested in sampling our lotion, so if you would like to add a sample to your next order, be sure to let us know by sending an email to nichole@puregoatsoapworks.com!

Pictured above is our product creation space (left), and our packaging + photography space (right).