Tag Archives: resolutions

Resolution Addendum

While walking the dog, I remembered something else (oh, and also, “walk dog more often for exercise benefits for both me and her”.)

I sell lesson plans here.  Just slap up some things that have worked well for me and every quarter a sell some stuff and get some pittance, like $30 or so, for what I’ve sold.  I got an email this week from the founder of the site, saying that someone sold $27,000 worth of stuff in one quarter.  Yee haw!  I think selling thousands of dollars worth of stuff is an unrealistic increase for me, but I’d like to increase my sales to triple digits, enough to pay for my personal maintenance each quarter (you think this kind of gorgeousness gets maintained into one’s fifth decade without professional assistance?)  So that means creating more products and posting them.  Because I’m sure doing that will help with feeling less overwhelmed.  Uh, yeah. . .

I am wearing lipstick and mascara today, so score one for me!


Resolutions 2011

Here’s last year’s resolutions and a brief summation of the results.

  1. Reduce overall monthly expenses by 10%. Totally done, but not in the way I planned nor with the results I planned.
  2. Move forward with our adoption. Mostly done.  Not finalized, no court dates set, still doing permanency counseling.
  3. Make more things from scratch. Ehh, maybe two-thirds?  I really slacked off on making bread.  I need to re-up my commitment here.  Making bread is easy.  Making desserts is necessary because of my commitment to avoid HFCS (except in pancake syrup.)
  4. Landscape. Totally done, but not in the way I expected.
  5. Reduce our paper towel habit. Totally done, but I’ve been buying paper towels again a bit, because nothing beats disposability when you have to clean up dog puke.

And for 2011. . .

  1. Look and feel less overwhelmed. I may *be* overwhelmed, but I’m sick of *looking* overwhelmed and if I look less overwhelmed, maybe I’ll feel less overwhelmed.  That may be a lot to ask of a lipstick.  There is likely a school of thought that says I ought to change my life so that I *am* less overwhelmed but there isn’t really anything that I’m willing to change about my life.
  2. Establish a proper emergency fund. I’m thinking two months living expenses, including day care.
  3. Make more things from scratch. Bread, yogurt, desserts, cleaning solution, waffles, hot chocolate– the current ones.  I’m adding gift bags here and maybe something else. . .
  4. Reduce clutter. Less stuff around means less stuff to pick up! 🙂


Have You Missed Me?

I’ve missed you.

Resolution for 2011 – more blog posts.

Um, also, merry Christmas to all and to all a good night, although I might be back again before the 24th.


Resolution Update, a little late

Here’s the June-ish update.

  1. Reduce overall monthly expenses by 10%.  We don’t qualify for Making Home Affordable, so now we’re looking at a standard refi.  I should know more this week.    We’re generally doing okay on this, but I’m still trying to tighten up a little more.
  2. Move forward with our adoption. As you know, Daniel is here!  For the next six months, we will have monthly visits with his social worker and our social worker and will likely legalize the adoption next spring.  We are settling in pretty well.  Daniel seems to be getting attached to us, we’re improving at managing three kids at once (luckily, they rarely all need me simultaneously) and Madeline and Daniel behave just as you would expect siblings to– that is, they are best friends one moment, wrestling like baby bears the next and tattling on each other the next (“Daniel took my bucket!  Madeline touched me!”)
  3. Make more things from scratch. I am slacking here.  I bought bread.  Purchased bread does, however, make a much better peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It has been sooooo hot in our area that I haven’t had the motivation to turn on the oven.
  4. Landscape. Need more woodchips.  Front yard looks better since the removal of overgrown bushes.  Picture soon.
  5. Reduce our paper towel habit. The greatest evidence of our success is John’s recent statement, “You know, I don’t even miss paper towels.” 

And, dear readers (all 11 of you), we still want to go viral.  Admittedly, this particular post is more for Mr. AFT’s and my benefit, but if you know someone who might appreciate my pith (perhaps another exhausted parent of 3 under 5?), please forward!  Since we’ve pretty well succeeded on #5,  I may have to add a new goal– PUBLISH.



k and the AFTHOTW crew

Daniel is Here!

Look at that face!  I assure you that he was laughing as I took this picture, because that’s what he does most of the time.

Daniel came to live with us full-time as of June 17.  We did back-and-forth transition visits for the week prior to that.  Now, we’re settling into our new normal, just like after I had Charlotte.  No raging hormones for me this time, but maybe that’s why I’m so tired.  Or maybe it’s having three kids under 5.  Just sayin’.

Daniel picked us on February 27, walking right up to John at an adoption event and asking for juice.  Our social worker said that he wasn’t the right little boy for us.  Daniel’s social worker wanted him to be the youngest child in a family.  John and I thought we were going for siblings, a little bit older. . . but Daniel is our boy.  I have great satisfaction in my soul when they are all playing together or when M and D are singing in the car or when they are all asleep in their beds or when Daniel pats my face before he falls asleep.

I’m not saying that having three little dudes is easy.  But it has its perks, too.

M and C are thrilled.  Well, M is.  C is reserving judgement until she can speak, but she seems to think Daniel is mighty swell.

The brain trust hard at work at HQ

Do you know how hard it is to get all four of them looking at the camera?

And this one, because M is so pretty. . .

. . when she’s not covered in mud.

More soon– two more days of work and then I’m all yours, all summer long. . . .

Resolution Update – Super Duper *Three* Month Edition

Haven’t updated you since early March, so there’s three months worth of progress (or not-progress, as the case may be.)

  1. Reduce overall monthly expenses by 10%.  I’m still doing battle with the mortgage company– which is to say, the new mortgage company (the third one since I started this adventure.)  If you are reading this and have successfully refi’ed with Ocwen or anyone else through the Making Home Affordable program, please let me know your secret!  Gas keeps going up, so that’s getting harder to reduce (I also keep driving more, with more regular sojourns to visit family in the aftermath of my SIL’s death.)  I’m trying *really* hard (at least I think I am), but I think I need a good kick in the butt to save a teeny bit more.
  2. Move forward with our adoption. Separate exciting update to come soon.
  3. Make more things from scratch. Still making all of our bread and yogurt.  Have adding making our own spray cleaner.
  4. Landscape. Big success here!  We gave up on grass in the backyard and now have reasonably neatly maintained wood chips.  There were potted plants for color, but M unpotted them.  She’s so industrious!  We’re looking into heavier shrubs.  We also removed the overgrown bushes in front of the house and Mr. AFTHOTW re-edged the lawn and put matching edging on the bed near the house.  It’s all nicely mulched and awaiting some plantings.  This is more progress than we have had on making the outside of our house look nice in the five years that we have lived here.
  5. Reduce our paper towel habit. Much better.  Jack’s sad demise means no more cleaning up doggy accidents and John is getting into the cloth habit. 

I count this as two clear successes with some other moments worthy of pride.  I’m going to have myself a cookie to celebrate.

Resolution Update for March

Two months in to the new year and we’re still more or less on track with our resolutions.  Here’s the blow-by-blow update.

  1. Reduce overall monthly expenses by 10%.  The final grocery total for February was so low that I think I must have made a mistake.  I came in about $97 under the 10% reduction goal.  John thinks it’s because I make so much stuff from scratch.  I think we had a really well-stocked freezer.  As far as the utilities, it’s a mixed bag.  Cable is way down.  Gas is about the same.  Electric is balance-billed.  Water is down a little.  Still looking for more economies there.  Our negligible clothing budget has been more than ample this month as I stocked up on kids’ clothes at a big tag sale– and got some free stuff too!  Free is my favorite price!  Among the freebies is an Ann Taylor skirt for me.  Just have to move the button.
  2. Move forward with our adoption. The social worker who taught our MAPP class will be doing our homestudy.  This is good, because she already knows us.  She is coming over a week from Friday with a preliminary first draft.  However, this is bad because we met a little patootie at an adoption party this past Sunday who we are really interested in/taken with but our worker thinks it is a bad idea.  He is only a year older than Maddie and has  some “digestive issues.”  Our worker said that she knows that we can do it and step up, but she doesn’t want to put us in that position because it would be hard work.  Uh, I never thought this was going to be easy . . .  right now, I’m really torn about how to proceed on this.
  3. Make more things from scratch. Made yogurt last night, made bread tonight.  Back to work tomorrow and that’s when the big test begins.  I’ve been meaning to make chocolate cupcakes for over a week.
  4. Landscape. Eh.  Just let it be spring.
  5. Reduce our paper towel habit. I think this is better.  I’m pretty consistent about using rags instead of disposables (unless I’m cleaning up a doggy accident or cleaning the toilet.) John still loves paper towels.

Tomorrow is my first day back to work.  It was supposed to be today but I had some kind of stomach bug.  Psychosomatic?  Details on the actual first day to follow.  Stay tuned!

Food Waste Friday – 2-26-10

I hang my head this week.  Look at this.

My worst week yet.  Let’s start at 12 o’clock high (well, a bit past 12.)

The cursed cilantro.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.

In the zip lock bag, gray and smelly bacon.  The bag is being tossed as well.

Moving down, leftover Thai chicken.  Usually we eat and eat and eat this because it is so good.  This time, not so much.  I suspect the absence of coconut milk (I didn’t have any, so I used half-and-half instead) reduced the usual deliciousness.

To the left, remains of Indian takeout.  Two orders of tikka is too much, one is not enough. This was spicier than usual, so not good lunch fare for Madame.

Above it, a melange of food past it’s prime.  Dried mango from over a year ago, the overly dense bread from last week, a forgotten half of a roll, the omnipresent grape tomato and four blackberries with white mold.


I think, though, I have finally learned a lesson.  If the leftovers do not get eaten for lunch the next day, they need to go in the freezer in individual serving sizes to be future lunches.  That’s what I did with shepherd’s pie and brown-sugar encrusted pork loin this week.

How did you do?  If you chronicled your food waste, cruise on over to www.thefrugalgirl and post.

Menu Planning Monday – Week of February 22

It’s my last full time week at home until April vacation. It occurs to me I should focus on double batch cooking, to freeze for future use. I’m not entirely thrilled about my return to work, but that is a post for another day.

Here’s what we are eating this week:

Monday – pasta carbonara (bumped from two weeks ago, not double-able but super easy)

Tuesday – It’s our anniversary, so we’ll be splurging on takeout Indian food.  All the joy of tikka masala without the stress of containing a toddler or finding a babysitter!

Wednesday -slow cooker brown sugar pork loin (new recipe – click here), mashed potatoes (bumped from last week)

Thursday – shepherd’ s pie.  I’ll make two and freeze one.

Friday – homemade pizza

Saturday – Buttermilk Pot Roast (click here for recipe)

Sunday – leftovers or soup and sandwiches.

So, only one easy to double recipe.  Hmmmmm.  Help me out– what do you make and freeze?

One Day Closer

There is action on the adoption front!  Admittedly, a small, small , teeny-tiny step, but we’re still excited.

A social worker is coming to do a pre-home study visit in one week.

From what I understand, the purpose of the visit is to make sure that our home is physically safe for a small child.  Sufficient fire exits and hand rails, no exposed live wires, decorative sword collection under lock and key, no bags of broken glass strewn about. Our home is pretty child safe at this point– you know, since two small children live here– but now we are going through the house with an eye to overkill and putting child locks on every cabinet. I’m stopping short of bolting the furniture to the walls.

What I really want to do is make sure Thor’s room is ready.  (“Thor” is our stand-in name for our pre-adoptive child.)  I need to clear out the closet, put away John’s books, make it more little boy friendly.  We’ll paint once we are matched.

As exciting as this is, I am nervous.  Every small step makes this course of action that much more real.  It’s not that I am having second thoughts (although it seems most everyone is expecting me to,) but we are now moving from the theoretical to the actual.  Part of our reason for adopting is that we feel God is calling us to open our home. Admitting to the call of God is just not something in keeping with who I thought I always was. Not to mention that people who hear and obey God’s call often end up sounding like unhinged fanatics.

One day closer to answering God’s call. One day closer to fanaticism? I hope not.