Saturday, January 9, 2010

ME First

Something I needed to do and I am now working on is putting "ME" first. You would think that caring for ourselves would be an automatic...but it never has been for me. How about you?

By putting me first, I mean making the time for exercise, taking the time to make healthy meals and finding time in my busy day to relax and do some things that I enjoy doing.

Since starting my etsy business, FourDogDay, my priorities have been screwed say the least. Etsy became the most important thing in my life. It took me a while to figure out that even though etsy allowed me to use my creativity and own my own had taken over my life. It got to where FourDogDay ran me, rather than the other way around and that is never a positive thing.

It took me a long time to realize that I just never felt in "balance" because I rarely carved out a niche of time for me. Now that I am learning to do that, everything else seems to be falling into place and life in general is more calm and peaceful and much more enjoyable.

What nice thing have you done for yourself today?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

I started walking every day after work this week, in accordance with my "plan" and Mother Nature has NOT been very cooperative. The first three days of the week were frigid. I mean cold enough where any exposed skin hurts like hell when you are out there...and I was out there all three days. Then Thursday it was a tad warmer, but it was snowing.

Some of our icicles
I don't own any good boots so I put on my hiking boots and headed out. It was pretty slippery....but I walked.

The start of my walk
I took my camera with so I could take a few pictures for you, but as you can see, it was still snowing and since I have no clue how to really use a camera....we have big white blobs all over the pictures....but it's okay, you'll get the idea.

Our neighbor's pretty covered in snow
One of the neighbors was shoveling when I walked by and asked me if I have had enough snow yet. "Not yet", I said. "If I have to have winter, then I'll take the snow." That wasn't the answer he was looking for. He wanted someone to commiserate with him.

Little lights peeking out of the snow

Big beautiful evergreens

I'm glad Irv puts my car in the garage every night for me.
I wouldn't want to get up to this in the morning.
Our Christmas tree waiting at the curb for the recycling truck
My empty squirrel feeders
My lilac bushIt was a nice walk and now I can cross that off my list for today.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Starbucks Costs A Latte Money

Okay, so get this. On Monday I used the last of my Starbucks Gift Card and enjoyed a tall (small) Chai Latte. That meant on Tuesday I would not be stopping at Starbucks. I am not going to be spending $3.28 for a tall (small) or $4.05 for a grande (medium) Chai Latte five days a week anymore.

For those of you that don't indulge....a Chai Latte is tea that is full of awesome spices, some sweeteners and then mixed with steamed milk. It is beyond yummy!

So, knowing that I couldn't get a Chai on Tuesday, I decided to get creative in the kitchen. I took a chai tea bag, plunked it in some hot water, warmed up some rice milk (I don't drink cow's milk very often), added a touch of honey, poured it into my cup and left for work.

First sip.....weak and a bit watery...not sweet enough....but out of desperation...I drank it all.

Yesterday I tried again. This time I took two tea bags and plunked them in less hot water, I added a little more honey and the warmed rice milk, put it in my cup and left for work.

First sip....not bad....not bad at all. It wasn't Starbucks, but I could almost like it. The only thing I might try is making it with skim milk, because I think the rice milk changes the taste too much. It will still cost some money....but no where near the cost of Starbucks.

Now the days I don't want to spend my hard-earned allowance on Starbucks, I can still enjoy a tasty warm drink on my way to work.

Does that not kick butt? Chee Hoo!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How Does This Happen?

I was in the bathroom Tuesday morning putting on my make up. I had the radio on in my workshop and the news came on. I heard a familiar name mentioned....followed by....arrested for armed robbery!

The name they mentioned was a kid that my boys went to school with. They weren't friends with him, but he lived one street over from us for a while. Michael played soccer with his older brother. This boy was a year older than Matt, my youngest and he was always the tough guy. He was a bit of a bully....but armed robbery? Are you kidding me?

His mom was one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet! I grew up with her and her sister. I didn't know his dad or his dad's family very well, but they seemed like nice people. We all went to the same high school.

We were just talking at work about this very thing on Monday. I always wonder what happens along the way, to make kids turn out the way they do. These kids all go to the same schools. They all play together. Some play sports together and even hang out together. Yes, many of them experiment with alcohol and drugs...there are very few perfect kids out there as much as many parents would like to believe. Even the smart kids from stable homes do things they shouldn't be doing...but what happens that some of them outgrow that immaturity and bad decision making and others just don't?

I don't know what has happened to him or his family since the kids were in school, but my heart aches for them all.

Do you ever wonder "why" when you hear about stuff like this? They all start out beautiful and innocent. How does one become successful and another one becomes a felon? What path did their lives take that lead them to make that kind of decision? If something had been different in their life....would they be different? It makes me sad.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's Tax Time

Oh joy! See this mess.....this is the exact reason I am trying to get more organized this year. I refuse to do this again. I already have my new checking account with debit cards for me and Irv so all of my business expenses will be in one place. Well, they were in one place this year...

See that nice blue book that says Monthly Bookkeeping on the front. I bought that book in January of 2009. I bought it so I could keep a nice record of my spending for my business.

See the blank pages? Yep! I never entered a single thing!

Well, my expenses were all in one place though. The receipts were shoved in between the pages of the nice blue book. No, not in the proper month....all just shoved in there so I wouldn't lose them!

So now I get to sit and sort all of the receipts into little piles for Joann's, Hancock Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, Menards, the resale shops and the Post Office. Then I get to sit and tally it all up. Once I have the totals, I will put it all on a spreadsheet of sorts and it will go to our tax guy with our personal tax stuff. Then we sit and wait for the news.

Why am I in such a hurry to do my taxes? Because IF we get any money back...that determines IF we get to go on vacation this summer....and I love vacation and I want to know ASAP if we get to go so I can start planning.

Last year we were out shopping when our tax guy called. He said, "Well, you are going on vacation." I asked, "Are we going to Hawaii, Colorado or Wisconsin?" He said, "Colorado," and that was just fine with me!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Small Success

Irv and I did our grocery shopping yesterday morning. If you recall, when our new budget starts on Friday, we are going to attempt to only spend $150 a week on food and household items. That includes any carry out food we happen to buy.

Well, I am happy to report that we only spent $100 at the store yesterday. Now before you start jumping up and down celebrating our success, let me add that we didn't need any laundry soap or softener or coffee or any "big ticket" this was strictly food for the week. I'm not sure what will happen when we need those things.

We shopped carefully, and I had looked in the cabinets and freezer to see what we already had so we weren't buying things we really didn't need. I didn't add things up as we went because I really wanted to see if we could do it and still buy what we wanted. We have plenty of food for the entire week and if we were on our budget, we would have $50 to spend on carry out if we wanted to.

Today I start working out and walking too, and I'm not sure how that is going to go. It's a lot to try to fit into an already busy schedule....but my plan is to put me first and that is what I am going to try to do. With that's time to get going. I have to work today!

Make it an awesome day for yourself.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I am pretty darn pleased with myself right now. A few of the things that I really wanted to get done, are done. Now, all I have to do is follow through with my plan and all will be well in my world!

Here is my little work out calendar. Notice how I only wrote down one week worth of exercise? That is just in case I am being a bit over-zealous and my plan needs tweaking after week one. I am really worried about finding this much time for working out and walking, but we shall see.

Next, I took a planner that we got in the mail with something and I turned it into my meal planner. I recorded what I plan to have for dinner next week. It's all written in pencil because I know that one of those nights Irv will make a yummy frozen pizza and then I will have to move things around. The neat thing with this is that I can write things in ahead of time if I think of something I want to make for the following week and then I can use that to help me make my shopping list for that week. I can also jot other things we need in the little note section.

Last is the shoe box with my envelopes for our new budget....they are just waiting for payday on Friday and then we will get started. We get paid every other week, so I have envelopes for week one and for week two....for things like food, gas, dog food and spending...the things that we normally use a debit card for, but won't be anymore, therefore keeping us from overspending. At least that is the plan!

It feels good to have some plans in place. I am anxious to get started. The first test will be when we go grocery shopping this morning. This will be our dress rehearsal. I am anxious to see how we do. My goal is to only spend about $120 today, so we have money left for carry out on the weekend. :)

Subject change....I listed my cute new little Sun, Moon and Stars tote bag yesterday and popped it on Facebook. My sister in SC saw it and immediately bought it! I finished this one yesterday and I will get it listed some time today. I hope it sells as fast! I love the little plastic "buckle" thingy. I thought it was such a fun thing to use to keep the top of the tote closed.

Well, we are off to the store. I'll let you know how we do. Make it an awesome day for yourself!

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