Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Goals: Final Progress Report

Since it is the last day of 2013, I thought it would be appropriate to share how I did on my 13 goals for 2013. Not too bad, eh?

1. Make my own cleaning supplies I made laundry soap and was planning to make some all-purpose cleaner but December was a bit of a write-off. I'm still going to cross this off though, since I have made progress in the right direction.

2. Buy more locally grown food We definitely succeeded at this one. While there is always room for improvement, we did a decent job of supporting our local community.

3. Take a yoga class I took a hot yoga class back in April and actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

4. Read 10 books Done! I made myself a new goal of 25 and then promptly stopped reading. I only reached 15.

5. Quit my job Last day was June 28th!

6. Gain 10 pounds Ugh, this one is so hard. I still have 6 lbs to go, which is totally not going to happen before Christmas. 

7. Reupholster couch cushions They are done!

8. Have an herb garden The outdoor one didn't exactly work this summer. And the indoor one I started seems to have come to a standstill. But technically I have had two...

9. Learn to parallel park This one didn't happen this year so it will get moved to my 2014 goals!

10. Plant a hedge and build a fence Done and done!

11. Learn to live on one income I totally think this is an ongoing one but so far so good.

12. Raise and sell meat birds Done! We raised a total of 39 birds this year and sold 21 of them.

13. Try 10 new recipes Done! I completed this the end of November. 

How did you guys do with your goals for 2013? Did you make any? Come back tomorrow to see what I have planned in the goal department for 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013

I'm Back

I am officially back to blogging as of this week. I apologize for my absence, but it was needed. The family emergency that came up was my Dad dying. I plan on doing a post with more details in early January but for now, we'll leave it at that. So after our 9 day stay in Quebec and dealing with the death of my Dad, I needed to just take some time to step back and breathe.

But now that it's basically a new year, I decided I'm good to come back and start 2014 off strong. This week you'll get to read about my goals, both from last year and ones for the upcoming year. I'll also be sharing a recap post of December, since I basically lost a whole month of blogging. As well as my newest knitting project, which turned out just as cute as I had hoped.

I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things quickly, but if I miss a day or two, please forgive me.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Away for a Bit

I will be away from the blog for a little while, as we are dealing with a family emergency. I will be back when I can.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Deck the Porch

It's that wonderful time of the year again! When snow comes, Christmas music is on and everyone is feeling festive.

This is from early last week
This year, my festiveness spilled over onto my front porch. For years now, I've been begging Dan to let us get outdoor lights for the front of the house and he finally caved last year when the lights were on sale after Christmas. So this year was the first year we could put them up!

But before putting the lights up, I decided the front porch needed a little bit more help, since it was looking pretty drab.

The hanging baskets were looking pretty bare since all the summer flowers died and I knew of a great way to make them look a little nicer using all free materials!

So with some leftover branches from our Christmas tree (more on that next week) and a few more pine and cedar branches from some trees along our property line, I made some pretty Christmasy boxes.

It was a quick and easy thing to do and I think it really adds to the front of our house. Once we had the Christmas lights wrapped around the railings, it was looking good!

I'm going to try and capture our house at night when you can actually see the lights but for now, this is all I've got. Aren't Mia and I cute though?

How are your Christmas decorations coming along? Do you do anything to the outside of your house/apartment/condo? 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Finale

This will be my last post in the Thrifty Thursday series. I have enjoyed sharing my money saving tips for the past 10 weeks and I hope you have learned a thing or two from them.

I'm going to finish off the series by sharing some final advice. Money isn't everything and you should not focus your entire life on making it or spending it. Money can easily become your idol and before you know it everything is wrapped up in money.

Be wise with the money you do have, spending it carefully. Save for rainy days, don't blow all your cash on frivolous things, stay out of debt, think before you spend. Don't hoard your money, use it for fun and for good. Donate to charities, give to your church, visit family, go on vacations.

But remember that you are lucky to have money, food in your fridge and a warm house to live in. Appreciate what you have.

And so ends Thrifty Thursday.

What topic would you like me to discuss next? I'm thinking something to do with food... thoughts?


Thrifty Thursday Mini Series

Week 1: Tracking Your Spending
Week 2: Monthly Budget 
Week 3: Just Say No
Week 4: Mini Emergency Fund
Week 5: Buying vs Making 
Week 6: Coupons 
Week 7: Debt
Week 8: Christmas Gifts 
Week 9: Thrift Stores 
Week 10: Finale 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

1st Gluten-Free Anniversary!

I'm actually two days late with this post, since my official anniversary was Monday, December 2, but I figured it's not a big deal. The fact that I have successfully made it a whole year being 100% gluten-free is the big deal!

A part of me feels like it has been forever since I've been off gluten and then another part of me feels like it really wasn't that long ago that I made this huge diet change. But I do remember the despair and complete lack of hope I felt just a short year ago. I was so sure that nothing would actually help me feel better and I went into the whole gluten-free diet change not expecting huge results. You can read my post that I wrote this time last year.

This past year has shown huge changes in how I feel. I still have crappy days (more so lately) and I'm still not back to where I want to be weight-wise, but I have definitely improved since last December. And for that I am thankful.

It has been hard to give up gluten and I definitely miss bread the most, but it has been worth it. I never thought that this would be my life but I'm okay with it.

So join me in celebrating my one year anniversary of being gluten-free and raise a toast to big life changes that can seem scary but end up being okay. Cheers!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Blanket for Button

When we first made plans to visit Jeff and Tory, I decided that I wanted to knit a blanket for their new baby that is due to arrive in February. They nicknamed their baby early in the pregnancy and have been calling her Button for the last 7 months.

When Tory told me that Button's nursery was going to have an under the sea theme, I knew immediately that I would have to make her a blanket that matched.

I found the yarn at Walmart and I used the same pattern that I used for my niece Alma's blanket, which you can see in this old post.

It took me a little longer than I had anticipated because I wasn't paying attention and knit too much so it was a long skinny blanket and looked pretty bad. I ended up having to take a bunch of it out, which is super time consuming and discouraging.

But I'm really pleased with how it turned out and with how well it matches Button's nursery.

Not to mention how exciting it was to be able to give it to Jeff and Tory in person. I can't wait for Button to be able to cuddle up with it come February!