Goals – Making mine “SMART”

I feel very fortunate to be where I am in my life right now and love this quote (please let me know who’s quote this is, I can’t seem to find a source online):

“You are exactly who you are meant to be right now

When writing my Back to Reality post, I quickly wrote the post before running out the door to do some work.  I prioritized what was most important for me to accomplish over the Summer to ensure I would be successful in the Fall with heading back to work post LTD, surgery and career change.  The list was a mismatch of goals and tasks that over the Summer, I made into proper lists that I posted to my Dreamboard Goals page.

I have created to-do lists and set goals before but they were not always 100% achieved.  I knew from self employment/improvement courses that there are two things a person could do to increase the likely hood of being successful:  writing them down and making SMART goals.  You give yourself a 50% greater chance of being successful by writing them down because it makes those goals “real”.  Creating SMART goals increases your chances of being successful just by the virtue of how you write them.

I also knew not to set out with things like New Years resolutions or year long goals because sometimes goals need to be reviewed and revised over time and should be done every quarter/season throughout the year.  Things in our lives change over time as do priorities.  I will be revisiting, revising and adding to mine over the next few weeks as Summer officially comes to its end and we head into the Fall.

My Summer goals were focused on these three areas of my life:

  • Health and Wellness (including work/life balance)
  • Career (change and getting back to work)
  • Weight Loss and Exercise

I have been trying to get into a regular routine of blogging and taking photographs with my (not so new anymore) Canon Rebel T2i.  Setting these two SMART Goals has helped ensure I was maintaining those two hobbies.  As you can see from the progress on my Dreamboard Goals page, I am well on my way to achieving them and will most likely hit my targets before their goal dates.

You may wonder why I have Health and Wellness and Weight Loss and Exercise listed separately.  They are after all, the same thing, right?  In my holistic view, you cannot achieve one without the other and yes, they are very much intertwined but also very independent of each other.  I need to focus more on the Health in Wellness heading into the Fall (and set SMART goals) so I can be successful with my Weight Loss goal.

As you can see from my three SMART goals, I am well on my way to achieving two of them and need to work on the third.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be revising, reviewing and adding to my goals as we head into Fall.  I was skeptical of being able to achieve any weight loss during August but wanted to get it on the radar anyways.  I still feel I will be successful in achieving my weight loss goal by next Summer.

Have you set SMART goals before?  Were you successful in achieving them?

Canning Supplies Shopping List

Growing up on the West Coast of Canada, we spent a lot of time fishing for salmon in the Summer and canned several cases of it a year.  My grandparents had cherry trees and I always enjoyed my grandmothers canned cherries.  Since moving to the Okanagan, we have been doing a lot of canning to take advantage of all the cheap (and free) fruit we have access to.

I was fortunate enough to be able to buy both an 11 and a 21 quart, seven jar, black enamel canner on sale for cheaper then the regular price on the larger sized canner.  Both canners came with a rack in them and I picked up one of those five piece home canning kits which has come in very handy.

Essential Canning Supplies:

  • Hot Water Canner and Canning Rack
  • Stove (or other heat source)
  • Canning Jars, Canning Jar Rings and Canning Lids
  • Canning (wider mouthed) Funnel
  • Magnetic Lid Lifter
  • Jar Lifter
  • Tongs
  • Canning Recipes!
Useful Supplies:
  • Tea Towels
  • Cutting board
  • Baking sheets
  • Pearing knives
  • Cooling Racks
Optional Canning Supplies:
  • Jar Wrench
  • Cherry pitter
  • Air Conditioning (certainly nice to have in Summer heat)
  • Sturdy Shelf (no sun exposure)

We have been fortunate enough to get a lot of jars given to us by family and have found boxes of them by our mailbox.  We also re-use a lot of jars that our food from the stores come in.  I have heard people say they have had nothing but problems (cracking jars) from using them but we have never had a problem.  My MIL has jars that are probably 20-30+ years old from store bought items and they work just fine.

My mom always made raspberry jam (sealed with wax) and strawberry jam (sealed with lids).  We have found in making apricot jam and sealing with wax, that our jars of apricot jam have gone moldy underneath the wax even a few short months after they have been processed. (anyone have any tips or suggestions on this?) Because of this, we have started sealing them with hot lids instead to ensure they don’t go moldy.

When it comes to canning and the lids need to seal the jars, do not re-use the lids!  The lids are only meant to be used once for sealing.  But you can re-use the lids in between the jars in the hot water canner (to reduce them bumping together in the boiling water) or on the tops of jams that are sealed with wax.

Have any tips or tricks for canning?  Leave a comment below!

Canned Peach Salsa Recipe

Yield: ~2 pints (8 cups)

Canned Peach Salsa was an instant favourite in our family!  After having bought and enjoyed Peach and Pineapple Salsa from the store, I searched online for a recipe and decided on the one below that suited our tastes after mix-mashing a few different recipes together.  You can also alter the recipe to suit your own tastes.  I myself would love cilantro in the recipe but unfortunately, my partner hates it.

Peach Salsa Ingredients:

4 cups pitted, peeled and chopped peaches
1/2 cup chopped purple onion
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
2 jalapeno peppers, minced and seeded (if less spice desired)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 lime juice and zest
2 cups white sugar (*or a lot less if peaches are sweet)
* we made 7.5 times this recipe and only put in 4 (of the 15) cups of sugar for the whole 7.5 batches which was plenty!

Tip:  You can always add more to your batch but not take away.  Add less, taste and decide if your batch requires more of the ingredients and add more if required.

Blanching Peaches:

Ensure the peaches are ripe for the best flavour and natural sweetness.  Skins on peaches that have not fully ripened will not easily come off when blanched.

Peach Blanching

  1. Have a cold water bath ready to cool the peaches (such as your sink).
  2. Bring water in a large pot to a rolling boil.
  3. Completely submerge peaches in the boiling water and cover with lid.
  4. Once water returns to a full boil, set the timer for two minutes.
  5. Remove peaches from boiling water and place them in the cold water bath.
  6. Let peaches cool for a few minutes, they will be hot!
  7. Peel off the loosened skins with your fingers or a knife.
  8. Good time to also pit the peaches.

Tip:  Use a basket to easily get the peaches in and out of the boiling water.

Peach Salsa Directions:

  1. Prepare and measure all of the ingredients into a large pot on the stove.
  2. Bring pot to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, for one minute at a rolling boil.
  3. Remove from heat and continue stirring for five minutes.
  4. Let cool for a few minutes more before transferring to canning jars.
Peach Salsa

Canning Directions:

  1. In a small pot, sterilize canning lids in simmering water for 5 minutes.
  2. Use a funnel and soup ladle to transfer salsa to sterilized canning jars (we run ours through the dishwasher) leaving a 1/4″ head space.
  3. Carefully put the lids on the canning jars and loosely tighten the rings.
  4. Place the filled jars into the hot water bath canner and bring to a boil.
  5. Process in full boiling water for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the hot water bath and let cool on a cooling rack or towel.
  7. Listen for the “pings” of the jars sealing but don’t touch them until they cool!

Tightening the rings on the jars is risky business!  You want to tighten them enough that they won’t explode off the jar during processing but not too tight.  The ring should be screwed on just enough that you aren’t actually “tightening” it.  (clear as mud, right?)

Canned Peach Salsa Uses:

Do you have other uses for Canned Peach Salsa?  Or a variation of or completely different recipe you’d like to share?