20 for ’20 Goals Update

I started my 20 for ’20 challenge early, inspired by a friend’s goals in another group I belong to. I didn’t want to wait until the new year to start getting things accomplished.

Here is what I have accomplished so far:

1. Build a new garage – So far my hubby and I have been trying to look at every angle to this project. Do we truly want to tear down our old garage? Could we salvage it? Could we update it and slowly fix it up in stages? Is it worth even saving? We even looked at ready made Amish built garages. We definitely have crossed the brand new, big and beautiful garage from our list. We just can’t afford that. Any advice on this one guys would be welcomed. Stay tuned.

2 – Major cross-stitch projects completed. I purchased a beautiful new chart from Modern Folk Embroidery a few weeks ago and I am ready to start it. I have a small part of the border done but am working to finish the Autumn House first. The other large project I am looking to complete is the mystery SAL that Modern Folk Embroidery Offers every year. I plan on participating in that. Hopefully I can keep up!

3 – Projects completed in our house (not to include windows). Last spring a part of our garage’s roof blew right off leave our already dilapidated garage leaking. We knew we needed to get the roof repaired but we weren’t inclined to spent a lot on it. With advice from a handyman friend my husband has been working to get the roof repaired himself as best as he can. He hopes to have it done tonight actually! There are at least 3 other projects we want to work on over the winter and Spring which I will write about soon.

4 – Books read a month. After considering my reading goals for the months ahead, I want to include magazines in this category. One of the magazines I read this month was over 150 pages and I read it cover to cover. Here is what I got read in September:

A Glorious FreedomOlder Women Leading Extraordinary Lives By Lisa Congdon – This was a fabulous, inspiring, motivating book about women over forty following their dreams and having careers and accomplishments some into their 90s and 100s. It’s never too late! I highly recommend this book.

Where Women Create – Mindful Studios – Inspiring Wellness and Beauty Magazine – This was another inspiring, beautifully photographed read for me. I enjoyed reading each article sitting on my front porch everyday with my coffee. I was disappointed when I finished it because…I wished it hadn’t ended! lol. I plan on purchasing other editions of this magazine for even more inspiring articles.

Factory Girl Part 3 – By Stephanie Bond – I admit, I enjoy author Stephanie Bond. Her writing is easy reading and sometimes that’s just what I need at the end of the day. Bond is on her fourth serial e-novella. Factory Girl is her newest along with her previous series, Coma Girl, Comeback Girl, and Temp Girl. Each of these series are six months long and you can read ahead or like me read just one excerpt a day. I look forward to my daily Stephanie Bond installment. She also writes full length fiction as well. Check her out!

Magnolia Journal – Fall 2019 Issue – At first I was really engaged in this issue of Magnolia but by the end I fell a bit out of love with it. It didn’t get into the meat of why we aren’t feeling whole and the recipes and decorating ideas were few.

That’s it for books/magazines for the month!

5 – Windows replaced in our house. Nothing on this one yet.

6 – Blog posts a month. Only got 5 blog posts in for September. This post was going to be number 6 but I am a couple of days late. More posts for October!

7 – Movies at the theater with my family. My husband and mother and I went to see Downton Abbey last week! We are huge fans of the series and were very sad when it ended so we were thrilled when we heard the movie version was coming out in September. It did not disappoint! Seeing HighClere Castle on the big screen and all of our favorite characters again made our hearts happy! Even if you have never watched the series I still highly recommend the movie.

8 – Hours a month studying herbal medicine and/or herbology. I only got about 2 hours in studying herbology this month. It’s hard to know where to begin studying because there is so much one can learn on this subject. I hope to have a clearer path to learning on this for October.

9 – Birthday cards sent out to 9 friends. None sent out this month

10 – Small cross-stitch projects done for the year. I worked on multiple small projects this month but I haven’t finished any of them yet.

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11 – New herb varieties planted for the year. I won’t work on this until Spring.

12 – Recipes I teach to my son. I barely saw the boy this month so nothing accomplished

13 – Minutes of exercise a day. Ok I suck at doing this and that’s exactly why I put it on the list of goals. I officially exercised once this month. See what I mean about being terrible at it? I say officially once but unofficially I get a lot of exercise. Setting up and taking down for the farmers market each week is a lot of physical work. My part-time bakery job is great exercise. My gardening is exercise, and going up and down the stairs to help out my church put school supplies away for the year is also fabulous exercise. But it’s not specific targeting exercise that I need. So I will continue to work on this in October. (Hopefully).

14 – Walks a month. Again I only got one official walk in this month.

15 – $15,000 in debt paid off. check out my update in my Not Impressed with my Debt blog series coming tomorrow.

16 – Proper dates with my husband (planned). This is an interesting one. We had two official dates both kind of planned. Basically a date for us is just being together for a couple of hours without anyone else to entertain. My husband is one of those guys that likes to be “on”. If you know him than you know what I mean. A date for me is when I get him all to myself and he is “off” for the night. No one for him to impress but me.

Our first date was getting the oil changed in the Subaru. Fancy huh? It’s an hour drive to the dealership we bought the vehicle at so it gives us time to talk and then we go out afterwards for something to eat. While waiting for the oil to be changed we checked out all of the new models which is always fun and then we went for dinner. We usually try to go to our first date restaurant but unfortunately it had closed 😦 so we headed back closer to home. We had dinner at a local diner and had fun. Hubby even snapped a photo of how much fun we had. Can you tell I am not a big fan of selfies? Of course he posted the photo on Facebook and got some teasing from his friends that I didn’t look too thrilled on our oil change date night and suggested giving me a better night in the future.

Date number two was unexpected but we were given tickets to the musical La Cage aux Folles and boy were they fabulous seats! We really enjoyed this as our date night and my husband loved it. What I didn’t realize was he had never been to a professional production of any kind, ever! We have been together for 12 years and I never knew this. Well that will change now because I love the theater and will plan more dates like this for him and I.

17 – Etsy Listings posted a month. I got 18 listings done this month. Hooray! Check out my Etsy shop here Red Mill Vintage and New Etsy Shop

18 – Books of the Bible read. I am working on the book of Daniel and will give an update next time.

19 – New Recipes tried. The only new recipe I have tried so far is the cauliflower chowder recipe that you can read about here Cauliflower Chowder.

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20 – Visits with people. No visits yet. Now that the Farmers Market is done for the season I can dig into this goal more..

That’s all I have for now. I think I am doing pretty well! What kinds of things are you all working on? Catch you next time! -MM

20 for ’20 Challenge

I read a blog post by one of my fellow stitchers about 19 for 19.

19 for 19 was a challenge she was doing to motivate herself to accomplish specific goals for the year.

I have done yearly challenges before but none quite like this.

I am coming in late to the game for 2019 so I am going to start 2020 early. Why wait, right?

I like this challenge because I have so many interests and hobbies and 20 distinct goals will help motivate me in all of those interests and hobbies plus starting now will give me 16 months to complete things instead of just 12 months.

Here is my 20 for ’20

1. Build a new garage

2 – Major cross-stitch projects completed.

3 – Projects completed in our house (not to include windows).

4 – Books read a month.

5 – Windows replaced in our house.

6 – Blog posts a month.

7 – Movies at the theater with my family.

8 – Hours a month studying herbal medicine and/or herbology a month.

9 – Birthday cards sent out to 9 friends.

10 – Small cross-stitch projects done for the year.

11 – New herb varieties planted for the year.

12 – Recipes I teach to my son.

13 – Minutes of exercise a day.

14 – Walks a month.

15 – $15,000 in debt paid off.

16 – Proper dates with my husband (planned).

17 – Etsy Listings posted a month.

18 – Books of the Bible read.

19 – New Recipes tried.

20 – Visits with people.

Some of these are pretty lofty goals but I will post about my progress often.

If you did this challenge what would your 20 for ’20 goals be?

Here’s to the next 16 months! -MM

Week 12 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt – Wardrobe Problems

Ladies, has your husband or significant other ever packed your things for a trip? We were participating in a friend’s wedding this weekend and like usual I got hung up at the bakery and didn’t have time to pack anything for myself the night before.

Scott had to pack for me (he is such a good sport), I rushed home from work, jumped in the car with him and we took off for our three hour drive to the rehearsal, with me still clothed in bakery stained work attire.

I have to admit he did a pretty good job throwing all of my make-up and clothes in a bag for me. He even remembered the phone chargers!

But I groaned a bit when I saw the underwear he grabbed for me. Not that anyone but him was going to see me in them, but the elastic is shot on them and well, they are not one of my go to pairs if you know what I mean.

Then I thought to myself, why the hell do I still have them then?

Why do we keep ill fitting clothes? The faded, stretched out, torn, elastic shot clothes that we would be mortified if someone saw us wearing them?

I don’t really have an answer for that. Maybe we just dont want to be wasteful?

I have struggled with clothes lately. Because of our debt pay down plan I have had tremendous guilt about buying anything for myself.

With my new second job as a legal secretary though I need to have some decent clothes so I tried one of those home delivery box services where they send you clothes to your specifications and individual tastes.

The reason why I decided to try the home delivery is that going to the malls is too time consuming working seven days a week, the clothes never fit me properly and the styles malls offer lack imagination. The thrift stores, while cheap, still limit me greatly.

I have to say I was completely impressed with what the home delivery sent me. I got a pair of jeans a shirt, a blouse, a bracelet and a long sweater.

The cost of the box was more than what I am used to paying, but then again I have also been getting my clothes from thrift stores mostly.

I felt great going to work in my new clothes and you know what? I don’t feel too guilty about it. I kept all the clothes because I loved all of them and I will do it again!

Hubby also got a new pair of shoes for the wedding which he really needed and we took advantage of the huge store closing sale at our Bed, Bath and Beyond store to invest in some decent sheet sets because of course ours were torn and stretched out and scratchy.

But the good news is that I didn’t use the credit card to buy any of it. We used our debit card and I still got a large payment made to the Old Navy card this week and we are able to double our contribution to our 401k which our employer matches.

I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to pay off this debt quickly but I have to remind myself that there are going to be things we need to take advantage of when we can to save money in the long run.

We are getting there! See you next week -MM

p.s. congratulations John and Beth!

Week 2 of 80 “Not Impressed With Our Debt” – The Rules

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Last week I wrote about the Plan for eliminating a big chunk of our debt. This week I want to write about the Rules I have set for us along this journey.

Plowing large amounts of money into your debt each week can get pretty intense and if you don’t have rules set up for yourself you will definitely fail.

When I was coming up with this plan I gave myself these following rules:

(RULE #1) As I am paying off one of the credit cards (right now its the Old Navy) I will pay only the MINIMUM monthly bill on the other two cards. I understand this is traditionally not sound advice and the experts would say pay the card that has the highest interest rate first.

I think that advice is stupid. Why? Because for me it’s all about cash flow. If I can get the lower or no interest rate card paid off first it frees up money quickly that I can put into another debt faster.

(RULE #2) While I am paying off one card I can still use the other cards in very small amounts.

Again not a good idea say the experts.

(RULE #3) If at any time we have an emergency, like the hot water tank goes or the car needs repairs I can take the amount we would have put towards the current debt for the week and use it for that emergency. Now, If I have a REALLY big emergency like something in the thousands I can take that amount for a month and just add that on to the end of my plan. So instead of 80 weeks to pay off my debt it may take me 84 weeks.

Does that make sense?

I know this plan is not fullproof and the experts say to have an emergency fund of six months salary or some other advice but realistically could I even save that much?

Also the experts say to pay more than the minimum each month on your credit card. I have paid more than the minimum for YEARS and it has done nothing for me. I called the credit company on one of my cards one time and asked…”I have been paying $200 over the minimum for over 2 years. Why has my cash advance balance not gone down in that whole two years?” You know what they said to me? “What you pay over your minimum payment is not enough to make up for the interest charged” What?? I don’t even own the car anymore I took the cash advance out for!

So I am done paying more than the minimum for the other two cards. Lets see what happens if I pay a lot on one card and the minimum on the other two.

As far as the emergency aspect of this plan, Let’s just use an easy number like $500. If I pay $500 a week into my Credit Card and an emergency comes up like the hot water tank goes and it costs $1000 to replace it, I would just take the $1000 I would have put into the credit card for the two weeks and pay the hot water tank bill. I wouldn’t charge it on my credit card and I would put the two weeks on to the back of the plan so it would take me two extra weeks to pay my debt. Not so bad, right?

Hopefully emergencies won’t come up very often but your never know.

Lastly I want to address using the other credit cards while I am paying off the one.

I am not talking about going crazy and buying a bunch of clothes and stuff. What I am talking about is while doing this “paying off debt” thing it can get pretty frustrating at times and instead of going on a super duper spending binge and blowing the whole plan, I am talking about blowing off a little steam and maybe taking the family to the movies some afternoon for $50 on the credit card. That’s all.

You have to give yourself some sort of reward every once in a while or you will have a breakdown and then you will give up.

I guess that’s just three rules but they are important ones.

Believe it or not I made my first extra payment to Old Navy last week and after paying the rest of the bills for the week I still had money in the bank account. That’s amazing for us! Today I will make another payment. Can’t wait to see what happens this next week!

Week 3 of 80 I will write about what is different this time around for us and why I think this plan will work. See you next week! -MM

 

June Garden Update

Hi all! Just a quick garden update for you today just click on the link below.

Lots to do still but I am pretty excited about how much we have gotten done so far.

Have a great weekend and I’ll update you again soon. -MM

**June Garden Update** click on

Random Thoughts

The last two months have been a challenge. I had surgery in September and was on a 10 lb. weight limit for lifting for 6 weeks. That in of itself was a big challenge because all I do is lift stuff at the bakery. Luckily the six weeks went by quickly and I am back to my normal self with only a few aches and pains here and there.

I have been restless though. All of the bills came in from the surgery and added thousands of dollars of more debt on to us. With our high deductible health insurance plan, what we had to pay out of pocket was way more than I expected. At first I was upset, which isn’t a surprise, who wouldn’t be, but after a phone call to the hospital and a payment plan later it will eventually get taken care of.

Still restless. I have been researching what it would take to earn a degree in herbal medicine. I am fascinated with plants and what they can do for us. Alas though, money and time are not on my side so I have been getting as many books as I can check out from the library and devouring them on the topic.

Restless still, I got a new phone after four years and this one actually works. It doesn’t shut off in the middle of using it and it keeps it’s charge. Unfortunately it works so well I can play games on it again. You know those Candy Crush and Pigs flying around kind of games that are super addictive? Yeah, I wasted 3 whole days playing a stupid game on my phone, ignoring my husband and home responsibilities for a genie and gems. I’ll never get that time back. I realized what I was doing and promptly went into the app and disabled it. I felt better after that. No withdrawal, but I felt stupid. A day later the little genie tried calling me back when she popped up on my notifications saying she missed me. Delete. No wonder we are addicted to stupid stuff.

Ok, this restless thing is making me restless. I am a grown woman but I can’t seem to make myself stay focused and get my work done. I know I have a lot on my mind and I can give any excuse I want but bottom line is I have no real routine anymore. Do you find this to be true for you too?

I was watching The Talk on CBS the other day and one of their topics was that Walmart was working on home delivery service for groceries. Great. But get this. Walmart is not only working on delivering right to your home but they will also put your groceries AWAY for you so when you get home your fridge and pantry will be well stocked. So someone will have a temporary one-time use security code for your home (if you have a security system), they will unload the groceries and put them away for you. Seriously people how lazy can we get. How impersonal and removed from society are we going to take ourselves? “I don’t have the time to go grocery shopping,” is what I hear from people. We all say we don’t have time to do stuff. That’s just bullshit. We do have the time.

Here’s an example. I saw a woman, probably in her sixties, cashing out canning supplies a few months ago at the store and I, being my friendly, nosy self, asked her what she was going to can. She told me she was working on tomatoes but she wasn’t doing it for herself, they were for her daughter and son-in-law. “They just don’t have the time,” she said. “They are so busy with their children and they are both teachers.” I tried not to roll my eyes. We are all busy with our children and families. You have to want to make the time.

I haven’t posted in a while other than my SAL (stitch-a-long) posts because, well, I have been doing stuff. My Facebook addiction is done. I don’t care about it anymore so I have been doing stuff. Actually cleaning my house, mopping floors and cleaning baseboards. You know, the glamorous stuff your mom used to do every week. I have been changing bed sheets every week and vacuuming under the couch cushions and down the back steps. I ripped apart the china cabinet and re-arranged and cleaned every dish and glass on the shelves.

My restlessness has gotten less restless. I still have my days where I am not focused and wonder if I need medication haha. There are also days that my brain won’t stop with creative ideas and I have to calm them in order to stay on task.

If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have the time,” stop and ask yourself what you can do to make time for that idea. What can you cut-out? What can you take off your plate to add this one thing you want to accomplish?

I want to make the time to finish painting my baseboards. I have the time for it, I really do. I guess I better get off the Internet then and get moving. I’ll put some music on and a pair of old jeans and I’ll be done by noon. See you! -MM

 

Food Preservation Goals and Garden Update September 13, 2017

The summer has flown by and we are now in the middle of September already!

I never got a second crop of anything in because I have been so busy with work now that the college workers are back in school. It has been a fabulous growing season mostly for us. The wet Spring damaged a lot of our fruit trees but the garden itself produced its heart out for us.

I am having surgery next Tuesday and will have a 10 lb. weight limit put on me for six whole weeks which will drive me nuts at work but will unfortunately cut my gardening season short this year as well.

It’s ok though, like I said our little garden out-performed itself this year and I actually kept up on it for once.

As far as the preserving of all of this lovely produce, here’s where I have been super busy!

  • Strawberry Jam
  • Grape Jelly
  • Peach Jam
  • Blackberry Jelly
  • Dandelion Jelly
  • Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  • Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  • Apple Sauce
  • Grape Juice
  • Pickled Beets
  • Canned Beets
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Blackberry, Peach,  Cordials
  • Frozen Corn
  • Frozen Peppers
  • Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  • Red Root Relish
  •  Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  • Chili
  • Stuffed Sweet Peppers
  • Frozen summer/zucchini squash
  • Shredded zucchini
  • Strawberry Syrup
  • Blackberry Syrup
  • Dill Pickle Relish
  • Sweet Pickle Relish

With my surgery cutting my growing season short, it also cuts my preserving goals a little short too. I still plan on getting the grapes and the apples done but the beets might have to wait until next year.

I made a gigantic pot of chili using my tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic and will get that in the freezer for easy meals today.

I have also been busy drying herbs. Basil and lemon balm so far. Chives will get frozen, parsley and sage will also get dried as well.

I’ll post one more update sometime in October to wrap up my season.

What have you been up to this summer with your garden and preserving? I would love to hear from you! -MM