Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May goal review

I can hardly believe that we're already halfway through the year 2011. The older I get the faster life seems to move on me.

Anyway, I didn't do so well with May's goals. In fact, I pretty much failed all of them.

1. Lose 5 pounds. It's time to buckle down with Weight Watchers.
{I blame my lack of success in this goal on our trip to Chicago. However, I have been steadily losing all month, so I'm at least on the right track}

2. Try one new recipe a week. This has been successful in the past!
{Well, it wasn't a success this month! Though I think I might have tried two new recipes but I can't remember if those were this month or last!}

3. Play nice with Mint.com. Yes, again.
{I did pretty well on this one. We rearranged some of our goals to accommodate our spending habits and I think that will help a bit. Still, I will be happy when tomorrow rolls around and we start over!

4. Sell at least one thing on my Etsy shop. I realize this is really not something I can control, but I want to try to advertise more, and work on building my inventory up. Which should be another goal...
{Yay, success! My grandmother bought a pair of earrings for my aunt's birthday. Someday maybe I will get someone who isn't family to buy my items.

5. Add 3 more things to my Etsy shop.
{Another success! I added exactly 3 things last night, and two others earlier this month!}

Stay tuned for June's goals!
Did you set goals this month? If so, how did you do?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

52 letter challenge: Week 21

It's hard to believe that I've written (roughly) 21 letters this year! I say roughly because, as it seems to be habit lately, I've fallen off the wagon a bit. This doesn't discourage me, however, because I feel like the point is to keep going, rather than simply give up. If, at the end of the year I've only written 45 letters, I don't want to feel like a failure. Hey, no one's perfect!

Anyway, when we last left off 2 weeks ago, I had sent a letter to an old friend from college who I lived with and rented a room. I also returned a letter to my friend Elizabeth. I wrote 2 letters to catch up a bit. Last week I wrote a letter to my mother's small group. These ladies are an amazing group, and have welcomed me in when I was living at home and whenever I'm home to visit on a Thursday night. I just love them so much and they are so encouraging to me. They consist of my mom (obviously), my youth pastor from when I was growing up, an old family friend who has supported me in all my endeavors, and encouraged me to go to library school and a new family friend who I'm only just getting to know. These ladies prayed for me before I got married, advised me on married life, listened to me when I expounded on my own fears, and have generally been there for me (and, of course, each other). I long to have my own group of women like them, someday.

This week I've started a letter to Lydia, my penpal, but haven't gotten around to finishing it yet. I also picked up a few postcards from when I was in Chicago and plan to get them in the mail as soon as I get around to it, which hopefully will be this week! Do postcards count? I certainly hope so. After that...who knows!

Are you doing the 52 letter project? How are you doing? Please respond in the comments section below. I always love some comments!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday...er, Tuesday

This week's menu plan is being planned right now as I write this post. Thankfully I'm pretty aware of what we have in the house, so I think we can stick to this plan.

Breakfasts this week will be the usual oatmeal for me, and whatever Geoff happens to grab in his work cafeteria. I think he usually gets oatmeal as well.
Lunches will be a combination of fruits and veggies, sandwiches, a Weight Watchers spring salad recipe and, if all else fails, Smart Ones. The meat part of dinner will be things from our freezer because we have plenty of chicken and things stored up from sales and they need to be eaten!

Grilled pork chops and veggies; corn on the cob.

Wednesday: Dinner at church for youth group.

Thursday: Megg out (smoothie for dinner, thanks to a Living Social deal a while back), leftovers for Geoff.

Friday: Breakfast for dinner

Saturday: Grilled chicken and veggies

Sunday: TBD. Possibly just snacky stuff since we often go out to lunch on Sunday afternoons and aren't incredibly hungry at night.

What are you having this week?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

That's just (blog) life

I seem to have come down with a case of writer's block. I've been staring at this screen (figuratively) all week and I've got nothing.
In searching online for some (any) tips, however, I came across one that wasn't what I was looking for, yet still perfect. Don't write. Why write for the sake of writing? Why say someone just to generate traffic, or readers, or comments? I feel guilty for leaving my blog hanging (not that there are many people who read!) but why should I? So instead of trying to think of something meaningless, I'm just not going to write. I'm sure something will come up.
Meanwhile, I'm doing good. I'm happy, my depression is under control and I've even had permission from my doctor to cut out one of the less favorable medicines I'm on. So often my blog is an outlet for myself, but when I don't have a need for one...well, there's no need to blog.
So excuse me, I'm going to visit my thrift store because it's been a couple weeks and Home Depot to try to get some unknown weed under control and some black paint for a used, free bookcase we've had since we moved in. Pictures of that project to come, because I'm excited about it.
I'm going to enjoy the day alone (Geoff is out for a few hours) even though there's no sun. Why don't you do the same?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Save the tatas!

Remember my amazing grandmother, who survived breast cancer and is now 5 years free of cancer?

You should all be jealous that she isn't your Gramma. Anyway, it's time for a shameless plug for the yearly Komen Race for the Cure. This year Gramma isn't able to walk, so she is asking for people to sponsor her not to walk. She recently reached her goal of $1000, but that doesn't mean she can't earn more! Will you please consider supporting my grandmother and, more importantly, breast cancer research?

And while you're at it, ladies, don't forget to do your self breast exam! Breast cancer can often be caught with just a self exam as my grandmother's was. You are looking for a lump about the size of a frozen pea (sorry to be a little gross, but this is important!!) So get to know your tatas, and think about donating to a great cause!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy graduation!

Happy graduation to my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, favorite sister! I love you, La!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hanging it all out

This summer I'm hanging it all out to dry.

My wonderful, amazing husband set up this laundry line for me. I'm thrilled. It is a pulley system, and it's removable for when we have people over, or in the winter.
And yes, the grass really is that green. Geoff's been working hard on making it look good, and I can't say the rain has hurt it much!

Anyway, back to my laundry. Ever since The Non-Consumer Advocate posted about her clothesline, I started wanting one myself! This isn't an new desire, but the excitement of having a yard and a place to hang a line made me want it even more!
I was happy to see that it is going to be sunny for four whole days this week so I've been getting up early and hanging my wash. I've never been so excited to do laundry.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How does your garden grow?

One of the things that both excited me and sold me on our house was the big backyard. I had visions and plans for it even though we moved in September, and the yard was slowly dying as we headed into the fall and winter.
It wasn't gorgeous out quite yet, but it's getting warmer and it's getting time to do things in the yard! A couple weekends ago it was nice out, so we started our garden! I knew exactly where I wanted to put it, and when I saw the wood garden kit at Home Depot I knew it was perfect for our first real garden!

It isn't perfect, but it's a nice improvement on last year's garden. The container garden didn't work out as well as I'd hoped last year, so I'm happy to see this in our yard this summer!

Some of our plants are doing better than others. These guys are the romaine lettuce plants. They don't look like much, but trust me when I say they have definitely grown!
Our tomatoes are not fairing as well at the moment because there's not nearly as much sun as they'd like. As long as they can hold on a little longer they will be happy though!

On the other side of the garden, my broccoli are definitely growing, and the jalapeno pepper is growing new leaves! I'm really excited about the fresh vegetables we have this summer, whatever we happen to get!

Are you gardening this summer?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday...the boring edition

I'm not kidding when I say that this is a boring week, but that's OK! We re going away on Friday so a good chunk of our week is obviously not going to be planned, for obvious reasons! But one of my goals for April was to plan a menu this week and I want to keep that up!

Weigh in at Weight Watchers, so dinner will either be fast and out, or simple and in!

Tuesday: Grilled pork chops and veggies

Wednesday: Dinner at church for youth group

Thursday: Smoothie for Megg (I'm volunteering with the kitties!) and Geoff will probably have leftovers.

Friday we leave for Chicago!

This post is linked to orgjunkie.com

Friday, May 6, 2011

52 letter challenge, weeks 17 and 18

I'm behind again. Not only am I behind in updating about my project, but I'm also behind in sending letters. Worst of all, I had two letters returned to me this week! One because I didn't have enough postage (damn those square envelopes!) and the other because I didn't have the correct address. Oops.
So this week I re-mailed out the square envelope with extra postage, and the incorrect address is going to have to be delivered in person, since I'm seeing this friend in just a week when I go to Chicago! In an effort to catch up, I wrote a letter to my pen-pal Lydia, and my friend Elizabeth, who was kind enough to write back when I wrote to her earlier in the project. So I'm not sure if the returned letters count, but I did write actual letters, in addition to finding an unusually sappy card to mail to my mom for Mother's Day. I think this is acceptable!

If you are doing the 52 week letter challenge, how are you doing?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May Goals

I didn't do all that well with last month's goals, but I'm anticipating better results this month.

1. Lose 5 pounds. It's time to buckle down with Weight Watchers.

2. Try one new recipe a week. This has been successful in the past!

3. Play nice with Mint.com. Yes, again.

4. Sell at least one thing on my Etsy shop. I realize this is really not something I can control, but I want to try to advertise more, and work on building my inventory up. Which should be another goal...

5. Add 3 more things to my Etsy shop.

What are your goals for the month?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April Goal Update

Lets just ignore the fact that it's already May 4 and I'm just now updating my April goals. Hey, at least I'm updating!

1. Mint.com. This may be a recurring goal until I finally figure out how to stop spending money when we're out of our budget! I did fairly well on this one. We did rearrange our savings plans and have goals set up which I'm very excited about. It could use more work though.

2. Go to the gym at least 3 times a week. Uh huh, failure. I blame this on car problems this month. We brought my car to the shop once for new tires and Geoff's three times!! This was especially frustrating because we were down to one car and constantly (it seemed) running to the shop after work.

3. Try one new meal a week from our cookbooks (I don't feel like we use them enough!) Well, I tried 2 new recipes this month but I didn't take them from our cookbooks! We did use one cookbook but it was a recipe we knew. Oh well.

4. Post regular menu plans and link up to Menu Plan Monday. I can't remember if I did this every week and I'm too lazy to look back, but I did plan the menu at least 3 times this month. I've been very happy about how this has worked out.

5. Apply to at least one job a week. Yeah, another failure. Partially because I just don't have any jobs to apply for!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I have no words.
The thought has crossed my mind over the past few days that I should update my blog. Ideas for posts have been swimming around, but I can't seem to put them together into something meaningful. And somehow, posting about wasted food, or pictures of recipes, or general day to day events just seems meaningless and empty in light of the tragedy that so many of my friends are living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and around right now.

When the tsunami hit in 2005 I was shocked and sad. The hurricane in New Orleans made me sad, and the tsunami and earthquake in Japan upset me as well. Yet, for some reason, none of these things moved me to tears, or made me want to do anything I can to help. It's not that I'm an uncaring person. Quite the opposite. But many states away, in my comfortable house, it's easy to forget that there are many people suffering. Likewise, though I would give any amount of money I could do these causes, the truth is, we just can't afford to give much. And since I believe that being a good steward also means being reasonable with your money and what you can donate, oftentimes I just continue on with my life, praying, thinking, and moving on a few weeks later.

I heard about the tornado sirens and bad weather approaching the Tuscaloosa area on Wednesday and pushed the news aside. There had been a lot of that going around lately, so I assumed it was another big storm where people would hide in their bathrooms, then come out and everything would be OK. I went to youth group as usual, and a small part of me regrets that I didn't know at the time how bad the damage was, or we could have talked about it, and my girls could have prayed.
Anyway, as I was getting ready for bed I received an email and a text that both scared and alerted me to what was really going on. The email mentioned that there were already 15 confirmed dead in Tuscaloosa alone, and the text told me that a Taco Casa near my friend's old apartment was gone. It was then that I realized this was bad.

To you, the tornado in Tuscaloosa may be another "Japan", or another "Katrina". It's sad, tragic, but you'll forget about it in a few weeks when something else big happens. For me, however, this hit home. It's more than just seeing the pictures of places I shopped at and visited, a BBQ restaurant full of Alabama memorabilia that is completely gone, the Hobby Lobby my friend and I went to when she was visiting. That is shocking, yes. Strange and surreal, sure. But what hurts the most, what shakes me to the core are the stories. The people I know, or know of, who are in varying degrees of devastation. Some only lack water and electricity. Some have a tree through their roof, others have an unlivable apartment. Still others lost their homes completely. Many people I know are literally homeless, though thankfully a lot of people in less critical condition have opened up their homes.
I read these accounts and I cry. I cry for the people I know, for what could have happened but, thankfully, didn't. For what could have been worse, but also for what is worse. I cry out of guilt for not being able to be there to help, and relief that I'm not there. I cry for the people, the pets and animals, for the state of the economy down there, already so depressed. I cry for the loss of the normal I knew when I lived there.

And here, in Seattle, that's about all I can do. I can donate, I can pray, I can ask you to help too, but that's about it. I feel so helpless and yet so relieved that I wasn't there anymore. And then I feel guilty. And when I forget about this, when I'm moving on, and thinking about something else, or talking about shopping for large item purchases like patio furniture for the summer, I'm happy...until I remember. Then I feel guilty for moving on.
The need our help, and they will continue to need our help in the weeks and months to come. I have to keep reminding myself that it's OK to think about other things, but I don't want to forget about this, because living there? I can't even imagine what it's like. There's no escape for them.

As a side note, will you consider donating in any way you can? The Red Cross is probably the best way to get money to the relief effort, or you could always donate blood. It is possible to designate your blood to Tuscaloosa. If you can't or don't want to donate in that way, then pray, pray, pray. Continually and often. They need our loving thoughts almost as much as financial support...maybe more.

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