December goals check-in and 2014 recap

2014 was all about doing and growing and achieving. It was an incredibly full year, to say the least, and even though I didn’t blog about it (since, um, March), I thought a lot about my goals. Here’s how it went down.

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • 10 projects. Just two finished projects, the shelf liner I put in when I moved, and another I worked on nail polish swatches. It turns out that I have a lot of nail polish (132, to be exact.)

nails-ring

FINANCIAL:

Y’all, I killed this. I am super happy with how well I did, and I’m giving myself a gold star.

  • Pay down credit card from 2013. I not only paid off this card, but got two credit cards to drop interest rates by at least a percentage point. In July, I transferred all my remaining debt onto a card with 0% interest for 18 months. I’m on track to pay the rest off by Dec. 2015!

6619/1700 = 389%

  • I also made some good strides with my student loans. I consolidated them later in the year and cut my payments in half. Once I’ve paid off my credit cards, I’ll use some of that money toward my loans and pay them off earlier. 
    What I’ve learned:
    Ask for a reduction, whether it’s lowering your interest rates or consolidating. Automatic transfers rock my socks off—they let you “set it and forget it.”
  • Plan and stick to a budget. I didn’t do so hot on this one, in terms of making a spreadsheet, but I did really well when it came to buying things with cash, rather than putting it on a credit card. This year, I bought a new mattress, plus plane tickets to Ohio, Hawaii and Chicago with cash. I wouldn’t have done that in the past. I’m also trying that thing where you’re responsible and buy things like groceries on a credit card, then pay it off every month.
  • Save $2500. Done and done. I also repaid the money I took out for vacation in Hawaii.

3450/2500= 138%

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Drink 64 oz. of water a day. I don’t know why I don’t do this. I definitely feel better when I do it, and I was really good in the middle of the year, but then I quit for some reason.
  • Lose 45 lbs. Ehhhhh.
  • Walk 4,000 steps a day. I completed this 208 days in 2014. I walked 1.9 million steps—that’s about 856 miles, or the distance from my house to New York City.

208/365= 57%

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Reduce procrastination. I think I got better at this, but it’s hard to tell when everything at work is haywire.
  • Send one card a month. I definitely didn’t do this for very long!
  • Cut down on wasting time on the internet. Early in the year I said this, and it’s still true: Not so good at this. I am always feeding info of some sort into my face, even when I’m blow-drying my hair. I think I need to cut that out.
  • Write two pages/day, three days/week. This went how I expected: I started out strong, then petered out. However, I did finish a full journal, and that’s something I haven’t done for a long time.

However, the aforementioned travel really helped my mental state.

Kua Bay, HI

Kua Bay, HI

Rambutan in HI

Rambutan in HI

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Destin, FL

Destin, FL

McComb, OH

McComb, OH

TO DO:

15/15 = 100%

  • Go to four museums or Atlanta things. I didn’t go to museums, but I did “Atlanta things” like spending a lot of time on the Beltline walking to different places, going to new-to-me restaurants and attending festivals. My intent with this goal was to get myself out of the house and take advantage of what Atlanta has to offer. I’m calling this one a win.

4/4 = 100%

THE TOOLS:

I tried a couple of new tools to help me keep track of my goals this year. It’s not only that I love data (and I do), but they help remind me of the goals in the first place. Being very honest, I flat-out ignored YNAB, but I like the Habit List app, and the Fitbit app got a lot better this year as well.

How I felt about 2014

I like to post-game the year of goals before I set my new ones.

Here’s my list, as a reminder:

1. Work out more. While I am walking more, I’m up 8 pounds from where I was at the start of the year. I gained all that weight from January through July as I struggled to meet a different goal with Thomas. And that’s fine. What’s not fine is that not one pound came off after I stopped eating so much and tried to up my activity. So, improvement needed.

2. Make one new recipe a month. I hit my recipe goal, and liked it. I’m not really sure I need the accountability, though. I cook a decent amount for a working mom (dinner most nights, at least 3 of 6 meals on the weekend — usually more). Forcing myself to try new recipes instead of sticking to the staples is probably a bit much. I could do with some more easy vegetarian crockpot meals, though.

3. Make 10 projects. I made 8 of my goal of 10. Also pretty good.

4. Clothing budget. I came in under budget. It’s made me think about how I might want to change this for 2015, and what being under budget means. Since I’d also never been under budget, I had to think about how I wanted to approach that development. I decided to carry over my balance.

5. Fix/upcycle one clothing item a month. I did half of this goal. I still have LOTS of stuff on my mending pile, but I also see what’s realistic for my life.

6. Declutter. This will be a constant thing my entire life, I’m sure. When I was home for Christmas, I saw just how much my upbringing is affecting both my mentality of keeping things and my want to streamline. It’s a struggle, but I’m going to get there. Maybe this year, even.

7. Read 52 books. I read 18. Obviously I’ve been too ambitious. My life is different than it used to be and I have more varied interests and do lots of other hobbies that take time. There’s only so much time in my day, and I need to do all the things that make me happy. So, I’ll be setting a more realistic number for this in 2015.

8. Home improvements. Getting a new roof and the small projects I did were great this year. I have a couple in mind that I’d like to tackel for 2015, but again, there’s only so much time.

9. Go on dates. We went on one. I’d like to think that since Thomas is older, we’d go on more. It’s honestly been a product of being way too effing tired to consider staying out late and a desire to spend time with him. We love him. We think he’s fun. That said, I think Josh and I could do a better job of each taking him on our own places and giving the other person a break, and having “home” dates. And occasionally going out. We do have several babysitters that are T’s teachers from daycare.

10. Watch less TV. Accomplished. I don’t have time for new things, though I did start watching a few series that premiered.

All in all, I liked the balance in life these goals gave me. But, I still ended the year a bit stressed and overworked and with a messy house — all things I dislike. I’m still crafting my 2015 goals in my mind, but I expect I’ll find ways to put less pressure on myself, focus on things I really care about and add in some self care.

Here’s to a new year!

November and December 2014: Goals progress

1. Work out more. I’m still doing about 60K steps a week. Tracking food sometimes. I ordered fitness equipment for my office (balance balls and under the desk pedalers), and they’ll start into circulation in the new year. I’m happy about it.

2. Make one new recipe a month. In November, I made Leek and Potato soup in my slow cooker. And I made cranberry sauce from scratch for Thanksgiving. I made the soup again in December. I made two recipes in December that I don’t remember.

3. Make 10 projects. 7/10. I made a toddler felt Christmas tree (the one that everyone on Pinterest with a toddler is making). Thomas loved it. I also made a wearable blanket with feet for T to wear while we were in Ohio for Christmas. It’s definitely not my most professional-looking sewing (squiggly sewn lines for the zipper install, etc.). I should write a post just about it because it was great for him and really came in handy and was not as hard to make as you’d think.

UPDATE: It’s actually 8/10. I forgot that I made three finger puppets for Thomas to open on the plane on the way to Ohio. Not an intense project, but they did take me time, so they count. I truly do have to make a post/tutorial about them and upload my patterns so people could make them. They’re super simple.

4. Clothing budget. $399.44/$500. I bought nothing new in November. Or the early part of December. So I got to the last week and was all, “Hmmm, I should spend this extra $100 in my budget.” I ordered two pairs of pants, sweatpants and a dress/tunic from H&M for $66. I’m rolling my extra funds into 2015.

5. Fix/upcycle one clothing item a month. 6/12. In December, I used fabric paint to cover up grease stains I couldn’t get out on a T-shirt I love. It took five minutes, and I’ve already worn the shirt twice. If I remember, I’ll add a picture here someday.

6. Declutter. In December, I got rid of a dresser, bookcase and toy organizer that were in my garage that I didn’t want. Still have more to do. Always.

7. Read 52 books. 18/52. I don’t remember reading anything in November or December. I started a book on the plane back from Ohio after Christmas, but I didn’t finish it. This is my lowest year of reading yet.

My list this year:

The Secret in the Old Lace
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (yes, I’ve read this a million times. Still counts.)
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown
The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4) by Rick Riordan

8. Home improvements. The refinancing is done, several small home projects are done and we bought a car. That’s about as good as these two really busy months could get on this.

9. Go on dates. No dates.

 

Completed:

Watch less TV.

Project 7: Toddler sleepsack

(I’m still catching up on posts from 2014.)

Ohio is a cold place in the winter. Even colder is my parents’ house because my mother refuses to up the thermostat at all. It’s 68 degrees in the winter and not a degree more.

IMG_1405

 

 

 

 

 

 

When visiting for Christmas, that was a challenge I was thinking about before we left. Thomas is a roller, so a blanket wouldn’t keep him warm. But he needs the use of his legs (or TANTRUM), so a normal sleepsack wouldn’t work either. I found toddler ones with feet and ordered them, but the ones in his size were swimming on him. He’s tall, but skinny and they even were longer than I felt comfortable with.

So, I decided to make my own. I bought a remnant at Joann’s (75 percent off, which made it roughly $2), and a $2 zipper. I used an old T-shirt to make the leg hole casings. I added a flap on the inside to protect him from the zipper, and a flap on the outside to go over the zipper pull so it wouldn’t rub him.

IMG_1403

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He looks like he doesn’t like it in this picture, but he actually REALLY does. He hasn’t worn it since we were in Ohio, and tries to grab it out of his closet every night.

I sort of used this blog’s tutorial as a guide, but made a lot of my own stuff up as I went along. For instance, I drew my own pattern (tailored to fit Thomas and not be super loose), I did my zipper a different way (using this technique, which I always find easier, but was a bit of a challenge getting straight lines with fleece — you can see this in the top picture), and added the front flap with snap.

Worked perfectly too for being cozy. He wore it every night we were in Ohio.

 

October 2014: Goals progress

1. Work out more. I’ve maintained my higher amount of steps. Not quite 70k per week, but definitely in the high 50K-60K, which is better than the 45/46K I was doing before. I’m happy with that. I have been trying more to log my foods — that’s going to be the real game changer.

2. Make one new recipe a month. I made three. A kale-quinoa patty (can’t find it online), Homemade Mac & Cheese and Zucchini Noodles. Josh deemed the noodles a big win. They might be our new thing.

3. Make 10 projects. 5/10. I made a thing for Josh for our seventh wedding anniversary. I posted about it. I’m pretty proud.

4. Clothing budget. $345.46/$500. (Possibly $400.46/$500?) I spent $30 on a sweater from Target. I think I bought something else for $15-ish? I’ll have to think about it. I might have only considered it…

5. Fix/upcycle one clothing item a month. 5/12. No new items this month.

6. Declutter. I’m purging some more clothes, this time a lot of sweaters I don’t wear. Tasha would be proud. (I kept all the gray ones. Nope, not gonna, not gonna part with them.)

7. Read 52 books. 18/52. Two new ones in September.

My list this year:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (yes, I’ve read this a million times. Still counts.)
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown
The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4) by Rick Riordan

8. Home improvements. We’re refinancing. We’ll close sometime in November, but it means a home inspection. That lit a fire under me for some of the things I’ve been putting off. I bought new doorknobs for all our interior doors (black, instead of brass), new pulls for our hall storage cupboards (already installed), did some paint touch-ups, and have done a few other small things. It also means that as these projects get done, we’re that much closer to putting our house on the market in the next couple of years. Sadness and happiness.

9. Go on dates. No dates.

 

Completed:

Watch less TV.

September 2014: Goals progress

1. Work out more. I lost a couple more pounds in September. My work had a pedometer challenge and my competitive nature motivated me to walk more than 70,000 steps three of four weeks. I’ll take it. I’ve been covering for a coworker who’s been out on maternity leave all summer, and she’s finally returning. I’m planning to take a walk every day at work. Hopefully, that means that I’ll keep making progress on this.

2. Limit television. Fall TV came back. I haven’t watched anything other than things I’ve DVR’d in forever. Apparently this mischief is managed. I’m knocking it off my list next month.

3. Make one new recipe a month. What did I make, what did I make? I told myself I’d remember, but I forgot. As I do every month.

**UPDATE: I remembered one meal and it was delicious: Quinoa Enchilada Casserole. I made a broccoli quinoa casserole one night and had some leftover quinoa. A Facebook friend from HS whose family is very vegetarian-friendly happened to post this recipe. And I had 15 minutes, so I prepped it for the next night. It was awesome all around.

4. Make 10 projects. I made a pattern to make a tank top. (Already in October, I cut out the tank top — progress!)

5. Clothing budget.  $315.46/$500. I spent $18.96 on a tunic and a maxi dress. CLEARANCE!

6. Fix/upcycle one clothing item a month. 5/12. No new items this month.

7. Declutter. I axed that coffee table that I couldn’t figure out what color to paint. The new owners like the color. And some other things. And I started a new clothes pile to get rid of.

8. Read 52 books. 17/52. Two new ones in September.

My list this year:

The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown
The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4) by Rick Riordan

9. Home improvements. I actually need to better prioritize this because we’re going to refinance and think about moving in a year or so.

10. Go on dates. We went to a wedding.

August 2014: Goals progress

1. Work out more. I lost 4 pounds in August, but I’m still at my heaviest non-pregnant weight. I’ve really stepped up the workouts — more walking (including small treks during work) and running/walking at least a couple times a week on the treadmill after T goes to bed. I don’t know. Some of my pants aren’t as tight. Josh and I were talking about this the other day, and he said that I might have to give something up. He suggested I give up cooking dinner: “So what if we eat salad for dinner for a month or so?” He might be right.

2. Limit television. I’m not sure I’m even watching the TV I DVR. Though I have been watching shows on my iPad on the treadmill.

3. Make one new recipe a month. I made black bean soup in the crockpot (delicious). We did MOST of another week of The Fresh 20 (I bought a year’s access and have been systematically saving menus to Google Drive). So that’s five new recipes. And I’m sure I did others, but I never remember.

4. Make 10 projects. I’m making some clothes. It’s slow going. I only have a finite amount of free time, so I have to decide what’s most important, and it’s often not making clothes. :/

5. Clothing budget.  $296.50/$500. I spent $78.50 on two pairs of jeans, and a shirt from J.Crew (I sent one back).

6. Fix/upcycle one clothing item a month. 5/12.

7. Declutter. Freecycle 4 lyfe, yo. I’ve gotten rid of beauty products, furniture. We bought a new TV for the bedroom, which caused some shuffling and getting rid of other stuff, but it’s actually been great. So much more space in the bedroom. And I hung up four things on the walls, which got them off the floor. AND we got both of the TVs mounted on the wall — toddler AND earthquake proof.

8. Read 52 books. 15/52. Four new ones in August.

My list this year:

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Bossypants by Tina Fey*
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown
The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4) by Rick Riordan

(*EDITED: I was adding books read to Goodreads today and realized I read Bossypants back in May and didn’t add it here.)

August has been a weird month. How have I had time for all of this?

9. Home improvements. So many plan with no time to execute. I’d just like to take down the decorations from T’s birthday party. I did, however, finally request a replacement trash bin for our damaged one.

10. Go on dates. No dates.

July 2014: Goals progress

1. Work out more. I’m up pounds in July — I think it’s mostly from drinking the leftover pop from T’s birthday party. I could be down again by now, though. Hard to tell. I don’t weigh myself on a regular basis.

2. Limit television. This has been the easiest goal to accomplish. I have so much else to do that it’s motivated me to just do that stuff instead.

3. Make one new recipe a month. We did a week’s sample menu of The Fresh 20. We’re probably going to subscribe, but I need to wait until something is slightly less busy in my life. For instance, not doing work at home every night. Or not having to wash as many bottles. Something.

4. Make 10 projects. I finished the party favors for T to take to school. And I made a kimono. I’ll post a picture of that soon.

5. Clothing budget.  $218/$500. I spent $44 on two pairs of pants and a dress.

6. Fix/upcycle one clothing item a month. 5/12. I mended a sweater of Josh’s. At least it’s off my pile!

7. Declutter. I need to do some more of this. We’re really going to start whittling our stuff down. I’m planning to take some pictures this week so we can put stuff on CL and Freecycle.

8. Read 52 books. 10/52. One new one in July.

My list this year:

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown
The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4) by Rick Riordan

This obviously isn’t growing to 52 books this year. Still, even if I get to 15, I think that’s reasonable balance with everything else I do.

9. Home improvements. I have plans to touch up interior paint, paint a couple of ceilings and a couple other things. It might take me the rest of the year.

10. Go on dates. No dates.

Project 4: Birthday favors

So, there’s a trend at Thomas’ daycare of celebrating 1st birthdays. It started when one of T’s little friends turned 1 in the spring. The mom brought baby food pouches, which I thought was excellent. It’s ballooned from there. The thing with the food is, not all the babies are on solids. And other moms have given toys and candy — inappropriate for all ages.

So, I set out to come up with something that would appeal to all. And I came across some Waldorf toys that were good for teethers and toddlers. (Thomas’ room is 6 weeks to 2 years.) I treated the wooden rings (similar) with food-grade conditioner to seal. Because T’s birthday is July 4, added red, white and blue ribbons. And I included a stick-on mustache from the 99 cent store — because nothing is funnier to me than babies wearing mustaches. I used blue paper sacks and fastened them with brads (similar) I had from scrapbooking.

I was pleased with the results. I have heard nothing from any of the other parents. However, the teachers don’t always say whose birthday it was, so I’m not disappointed!

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Aaaaaagh.

You guys. I recently rolled all my credit card debt onto one card (this one – it had a 0% balance transfer for EIGHTEEN MONTHS when I signed up and is still at 14 months).

I just set up semi-monthly payments that will be tough but manageable. Here’s to being free of credit card debt!