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Archive for posts tagged with ‘Goals’

2009 Financial Goals

Thoughtfully penned on February 2nd, 2009 and generally concerning Goals, Matt's Hard Earned Cash

About 4 years ago Matt and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. With the things we learned in the classes we were able to pay off all of our debt (except our house).

For the first couple of years we did really well, but as we got out of debt and started bringing in a little more income we got lazy with our budgeting and envelope system. So when our church decided to offer FPU we decided to go through the program again. This time around we’re focusing on getting our savings in line so we can do some things around the house and work toward paying cash for our next car.

Last weekend we sat down and worked out our budget for February. It wasn’t much fun, but, hopefully, it will all pay off when we are able to meet our financial goals for this year.

As of today, these are our financial goals for 2009:

1. Move our savings into an account that earns more interest – February 15

2. Have Life Insurance in place for both Matt and I – March 1

3. Create a Last Will and Testament for both Matt and I – February 15

4. Research Homeowners and Auto Insurance options before renewal – May 1

5. Fully fund 4 months of Emergency Fund – September 30

6. Prepare and file tax return – February 15

Each month I plan to revisit these goals to see what we’ve accomplished and to add any new goals to the list. I think having the information here and in print (in my budget book) will help keep us on track and accountable.

What’s on Your Nightstand? – October

Thoughtfully penned on October 28th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Reading

What's On Your Nightstand

It’s the fourth Tuesday of the month which means it’s time for the October edition of “What’s on Your Nightstand?” at 5 Minutes for Books.

My nightstand stack has gotten a bit shorter this month because I’ve focused on reading what was there before moving on to the rest of my Fall Into Reading challenge books.  Once again, I planned on posting a picture, even took one and uploaded it, but for some reason WordPress isn’t let me add it to the post; maybe next month.

So, here’s what’s on my nightstand:

Currently reading – The River Why by David James Duncan

Still there from last month – Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Pact by Jodi Picoult, Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Still there from August – Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

New additions:

The Englisher by Beverly Lewis.  I’ve read several of her books in the past including The Preacher’s Daughter which is the previous book in this series, Annie’s People.  The tales of Amish life and love that she tells are always enjoyable.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.  This one’s been on my “want to read” list for a while, so I’m looking forward to diving into it.

I don’t feel like I read much in the last month, but I managed to finish three books.

My Beautiful Idol – this book was great!  It is a memoir telling the story of one man’s (Pete Gall) journey with and toward God.  It’s entertaining, well written, and quite convicting.  I would definitely recommend this book.

A Wind in the Door – I finished the second installment in L’Engle’s Time Quintet and really liked it.  I thought it was just as good as A Wrinkle in Time, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series sometime in the future (probably this winter).

The Center of Everything – This was a fun coming of age book without being cheesy or “chick-lit”-y (um, yeah, had to make up a word there).  It addressed a wide variety of topics facing the narrator between the ages of 10 and 15 as it explored growing up in small town USA as a less-than-privileged child.  Look into this one for a well written, engrossing read.

I think that covers it for October.  Check out “What’s on Your Nightstand?” to see what others around the blogosphere are reading this month.

Happy reading!

Tackle it Tuesday: Confession Time

Thoughtfully penned on October 21st, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Housework, Tackle It Tuesday
Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I confess, I hate cleaning our shower.  I don’t just dislike it, I hate it.  But, you say, hate is a very strong word.  Yes, and I hate it.

Let’s just say that it had been a while since any serious cleaning had taken place in the shower in our master bathroom.  Don’t misunderstand, the bathroom itself is cleaned very regularly, just not the shower.

When I saw at 5 Minutes for Mom that CLR was offering the opportunity to try their kitchen and bathroom cleaner as part of Tackle it Tuesday I jumped at the chance and hoped that this would provide the motivation I needed to get the job done.  And it did.

I had high hopes for the CLR cleaner.  I tried not to expect too much, because, really, anything short of a product that would redo grout – or better yet, redo tile – wouldn’t live up to my expectations.  I did, however, expect the product to cut the soap scum, clean off the mineral deposits, and, hopefully, make a dent in the mildew that I’d let build up on the grout and around the bottles (shampoo, face cleaner, etc) on the shower floor.

I wasn’t disappointed.  I followed the directions – spray on, leave to work for a few minutes, wipe down, let sit for 2-3 minutes, rinse with clear water – and the soap scum and mineral deposits wiped off and washed away with very little effort.  The mildew on the tile itself cleaned off fairly easily with the scrubber side of the sponge.  The mildew in the grout was a tougher kill (as I expected), but this cleaner cleared away some of the mildew stains completely and lightened or partially cleared most of the others.  I also might have been able to get more of the mildew stains taken care of if I had put more elbow grease into it; I will probably work on them some more sometime in the coming weeks.

Overall I was pleased with the results.  I would recommend using the product in a well ventilated area (as directed) due to the fumes; I opened the bathroom window and this seemed to provide reasonable ventilation.  (I generally use non-toxic cleaners (with the exception of bleach cleaners on toilets and in the tub), so I found the chemical smell to be quite strong and offensive.)  I don’t think I would use the CLR Bathroom & Kitchen Cleaner as an all-purpose cleaner for these spaces, but I will definitely use it again in the shower.

Most importantly, my shower is clean and I feel a sense of accomplishment because I finally made myself tackle it.  If you find a product that will do my tile and grout work for me, please let me know.

Happy Tackling!

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Thoughtfully penned on October 1st, 2008 and generally concerning Goals

It’s been a few weeks since I updated my “challenge” progress.  We just finished week ten, and the news is mixed.  

The good – I’m still losing inches; as of today I’ve lost 30 total inches (5 in pecs (above bust), 4.5 in ribs, 7 in waist, 7.5 in abdomen, 6 in hips)!

The bad – starting this weekend I’ll officially be “off” of my eating plan for a week. 

The ugly – I’m one stinking pound away from my goal weight.  Actually, it is only 0.6 pound, but my weight hasn’t changed in the last three weeks!  Guess I shouldn’t complain too much, at least I haven’t gained any weight.

I have a month until the challenge ends; hopefully my body will decide to give up these last few ounces soon!

What’s on Your Nightstand – September / Fall Into Reading

Thoughtfully penned on September 23rd, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Reading
What's On Your Nightstand

It is the fourth Tuesday of the month which means it is once again time for “What’s on Your Nightstand?” at 5 Minutes for Books.  Yesterday also marked the first day of Fall and, therefore, the beginning of the 2008 Fall Into Reading Challenge hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days.  Being the lazy blogger that I am, I decided to kill two birds with one post.

<br>I planned to have a picture for my “What’s on Your Nightstand?” post this month because, really, the number of books that reside on my nightstand is amazing and somewhat frightening.  Fortunately, they are not all in my “to-read” pile, the nightstand is more a gathering place for books that currently have no other home.  But my “to-read” stack is plenty big in its own right.</br>

Remaining in the stack from last month are The Center of Everything, The River Why, and Velvet Elvis; and I’ve just begun reading My Beautiful Idol.  New to the stack are:

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle – I first read A Wrinkle in Time in the fifth grade and wasn’t impressed; I didn’t really get into the fantasy genre as a child.  About a year ago I decided to give it a second reading and picked up a copy at the bookstore.  This time around I really enjoyed the book and decided to read the entire Time Quintet.  I’m just now getting to the second book.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman – After reading Neverwhere last month (see below), I’m really looking forward to this one.  Matt says it is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien.  Apparently I’ve embraced the fantasy genre as an adult.

The Pact and Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult – I’m excited to pick up more of her work since I liked My Sister’s Keeper so much.

Since the August edition of “What’s on Your Nightstand?” I’ve completed three books, all of which I enjoyed. 

The Birth House was an interesting read; the storyline follows a midwife in small town Nova Scotia fighting to keep her place in the birth room as modern medicine moves in and the new doc in town seeks to drive her out of practice.  The underlying story lines revolve around superstition and it’s effect on people, the women’s rights movement, and small town life during World War I.  Overall, I liked the book even though it didn’t flesh out the midwifery vs. modern medicine story in quite the way I had hoped.

Neverwhere was, by far, the favorite of the books I read this month.  This book reminded me of both The Matrix and the Harry Potter series although there is nothing specific I can nail down and say “this is what makes me think of it.”  it is a curious and somewhat disturbing tale of a world existing beneath the streets of London and the people who reside there.  If you enjoy fantasy, I would definitely recommend that you check this one out.

And finally, Chocolate Beach.  There wasn’t anything great about this book, and the constant pop-culture references really annoyed me, but I stuck with it to the end.  The characters are endearing, but it is standard Christian chick-lit which I generally find unappealing.  This is the kind of book that is perfectly suited for a vacation read.

That covers my nightstand and most of my Fall Into Reading list as well.  In addition, I hope to read the following books during the challange.

Non-Fiction
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Fiction
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Just Jane by Nancy Moser
Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser
So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

That should be enough to keep me busy for a while.

If you made it to the end of this post, you are quite the trooper.  Happy Reading!

Challenge check-in, week 8

Thoughtfully penned on September 10th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals

Eight weeks ago a friend and I embarked on a journey to improve our eating habits and lose a few pounds.  Although I don’t know that my eating habits have changed significantly, I have lost a few pounds.  

Doing something like this with a good friend is definitely the way to go.  We are walking together five days a week most weeks, but more importantly, we are there to encourage, sympathize, and hold accountable.  I really don’t think I could have done this well if I had tried to do it on my own.

To date my stats are as follows:

Goal – lose 10 pounds – I’ve lost 7.5

Goal – lose 4 inches off measurements of waist, abdomen, and hips – I’ve lost 5 inches off my waist, 6 off my abdomen, and 4.5 off my hips.

I also reached a personal goal (although, not a written one) of doing T-Tapp exercises 14 days in a row as she (the workout creator) recommends.  I’m now on to doing them every other day for the next 5-6 weeks.  I believe this program has really made a huge difference in the inches I’m losing.  And it only takes 15 minutes per day; as a busy momma it’s hard to fit in much more than that some days.

So, all in all things are going well for L and I both.  I hope that I can lose these last couple of pounds before we go on vacation next month.  And maybe, just maybe, I can even lose more than my 10 pounds goal by the end of this fifteen week challenge.  

 

Challenge check-in, week 1

Thoughtfully penned on July 23rd, 2008 and generally concerning Goals

Last week I mentioned that my friend, L, and I were embarking on a 15 week better health and weight loss challenge.  Today marks the end of the first week, so here is a quick check-in.

Goals:
Eat 3 balanced meals and 2 snacks
No eating after 7:00 pm
Exercise 5 days per week
Only 1 sugary drink per day
Lose 10 pounds
Lose 4 inches off areas where I carry my weight (waist, abdomen, hips)

This weekend was a bit rough because I felt so bad, but overall I had a good pretty good week.  I owe $3 to the penalty jar for breaking my “rules”; I had more than one sugary drink on three days.  However, my weigh-in and measurement check today was encouraging.  I’ve lost two pounds and an inch off my measurements!  That’s enough to keep me motivated for a few more days.

A challenging prospect

Thoughtfully penned on July 16th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals

After Little was born I dropped weight like crazy.  I was four pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight at my six-weeks check up and lost an additional 20 pounds by the time she weaned.  Not so with Boo.  I lost the first 20 pounds of my pregnancy weight quickly, but these last 8 or 10 are lingering longer than I would like.

So, my good friend L and I have decided to challenge ourselves to eat better, exercise more consistently, and hopefully drop a few pounds.  We’ve laid out some rules and set some goals and for the next 15 weeks we’re going to get down to the business of getting back in shape.  

Right now we’re pretty motivated, but as we get a few weeks in I suspect we’ll do a little back-sliding, feel a little unmotivated, and have a desire to just call the whole thing off.  That’s why we’re doing this together; we’ll have someone else to encourage, motivate, and hold us accountable when those temptations come along.  We’ve also set up a “punishment” fine of a dollar for rule breaking; if we can’t motivate ourselves, maybe the bank can.  And in the end, when goals are met, we’ll reward ourselves with a nice evening out.  With no kids!

Here are our rules: eat three balanced meals a day and allow for two healthy snacks (gotta have plenty of food for this nursing Momma), no eating after 7:00pm, increase water intake while decreasing sugary drinks, exercise at least 5 days per week, and a couple others that are specific to our personal goals.  I may throw in a couple of other non-health related goals as I go along as well.  

It should be an interesting 15 weeks (especially since our vacation falls in here).  I’ll keep you posted.

Spring Reading Thing Wrap Up

Thoughtfully penned on June 20th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Reading

srtsm-2.jpg

A few weeks ago our temperatures reached into the upper-80s and 90s and I ceased to view the season as Spring.  However, today is officially the last day of Spring, and, thus, the end of the Spring Reading Thing. All-in-all, I’m quite pleased with the reading I accomplished, especially since we added Boo to the mix about a month into the challenge.

<br>These were the lists I started with:
Non-fiction:
John Adams by David McCullough
A Midwife’s Story by Penny Armstrong
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
The Complete Book of Sewing by DK Publishing (won’t finish this one by June)

Fiction:
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Austenland by Shannon Hale
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Mater Biscuit by Julie Cannon
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss</br>

Here are my answers to the wrap up questions Katrina posted.

Did you finish all the books you had planned to read?  If not, why?

I finished all of the books on my fiction list and most of the books on my non-fiction list.  The two I did not complete were John Adams, which I’ve begun reading, and The Complete Book of Sewing, which I haven’t picked up since the beginning of the challenge.  I just don’t have the time or mental capacity for sewing right now.

Do you think the challenge helped you read more? Or maybe helped you read books you otherwise wouldn’t have?

I’m a pretty avid reader, so I don’t think it necessarily helped me to read more.  However, having a set list of books enabled me to keep my reading focused and prevented me from “flailing around” unsure of what to read next.  These challenges do help me to read non-fiction as I’m generally unmotivated to pick up non-fiction books.

What was your favorite book you read this spring? Least favorite?

It’s tough to pick a favorite because I really enjoyed all of the books on my lists this Spring.  A Midwife’s Tale and A Thousand Splendid Suns probably stood out the most for their stories and style.  I really related to the sentiments portrayed in Stepping Heavenward and enjoyed reading it as well.

As for a least favorite, I would have to say Mater Biscuit.  It isn’t that I didn’t like the book, just not as much as the others.

What did you learn about your reading habits or interests?

I’ve always struggled reading non-fiction, but during this challenge I liked the non-fiction that I chose and got “into” the books just like I do with fiction.  I learned that I can read non-fiction easily and really enjoy it if it is a topic that I’m interested in.

Are you interested in another “Fall Into Reading” challenge this fall?

Definitely!

Visit Callapidder Days to see the other participant’s wrap up posts. Thanks, Katrina, for hosting another great reading challenge.  I’m looking forward to the next one!

Tackle It Tuesday – getting back in a groove

Thoughtfully penned on June 10th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Housework, Tackle It Tuesday
Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I’ve been out of the Tackle It Tuesday loop the last several weeks as we welcomed Boo and have been adjusting to a new routine.  We are also out of the house a lot these days enjoying summer fun with friends.  However, looking at my to-do list for the week, I think it’s time to jump back in and start tackling.

My big tackle for the past week was getting Cha-ching, my financial software, updated.  I was only a month behind.  Not only does this help me fulfill my need to play with numbers, but it allows me to see a little better where our money is going and how we might make budget adjustments for the future.

So, not very exciting for my first week back, but something that definitely needed to be done.  

For the upcoming week – create a schedule, write thank you notes, do some cleaning

Happy tackling!