Monthly Archives: January 2010

Hello, 2010!

So, a new year has begun.  I really don’t make resolutions any more, because, like so many others, I set myself up to fail.  My past resolutions always revolved around trying to change habits, so they really never happened.  I realize that I am who I am, and some things will never change, though it is always good to strive for improvement!  So, instead of resolutions, I come up with some goals.  My big goals for 2010 are to become both physically and financially fit.  I’m off to a good start on both. 

As for becoming physically fit, I’ve joined my husband in weightlifting at home.  He started back in the fall, when I couldn’t stay healthy enough to join in.  Since I’ve been feeling better, I’ve been able to join him 2-3 times a week.  We’re currently moving the schedule a bit so I can get in all three days.  I’ve already noticed improvements in my strength and muscle tone and am happy to see results so quickly.  I’ve also started going to Zumba on Friday mornings.  I’m hoping to add another morning possibly this spring.  I plan to go at least twice weekly when the boys start preschool this fall, as the schedule works out nicely!  I really enjoy Zumba and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to work out but hates exercise.  It feels more like a party than a workout.  The moves and the music are fun and sexy and it just makes you feel really good.  I’m also hoping to add some pilates to the mix at some point to strengthen my core.  I took classes in the past, but haven’t fit it in my schedule in a long time.  If I still can’t fit a class in at some point, I may just find a good video to follow at home.  I really don’t have a weight issue, but I do want to improve my shape.  Overall, I just want to feel healthy and strong.  On a side note, since I’ve started all this exercise, I haven’t been sick!  I’m getting into a good routine for once and will try hard to stick to it.  It’s worth it to feel good!

As for becoming financially fit, I have a few things I want to accomplish.  I recently read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  While I don’t have a lot of debt and don’t plan to follow all of his ideas, it did get me thinking about money more than I ever have before.  I really want to try to get us living below our means so that we can do more to save and plan for a secure future.  We do already have some things in place, but it would be nice to grow the nest egg even more, as well as get college funds going for the kids.  I already started working towards this last year, with my adventures in lowering our grocery bills, and that has made an impact.  I know that there is more I can do though, and to get started, I really need to get a written budget put together.  One thing Dave Ramsey likes to say is to tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.  I’m hoping that within the next few months I can get a better handle on our finances and really start directing the dollars.  I want to trim some of the fat, so that when we do want to make a large purchase, we don’t have to feel guilty about it.  One thing we did recently, in the interest of fat-trimming, was to cancel our cable TV service.  We really haven’t been watching TV.  The kids love their DVD’s and hubby and I usually aren’t able to watch the shows we like when they’re on.  Instead of paying for DVR, we would just watch the shows online.  So, cable TV is gone, and in it’s place, for far less money, we got Netflix.  We can rent movies and shows we want to watch on DVD and there are thousands we can watch instantly online by plugging the laptop into the TV.  Throughout the year, I’m hoping to find lots of little ways to both save and maybe make a little extra money.  And, I will try to share those ideas as they come along.

One more small thing I’d like to try to do this year is be a little more “green”.  I’ve been trying very hard to remember to bring my reusable shopping bags to the store.  Not only am I not creating more garbage w/ shopping bags, but both grocery stores give you a 5 cent discount per bag!  I’m also making sure I properly recycle any plastic and paper shopping bags I do bring home.  I only have 3 reusable bags right now, which is usually enough, but the best part is, I got all of them for free, through online and store specials.  It pays to be on the lookout for freebies, not only when they can make a financial impact, but an environmental one as well.  I recently read a blog post about going paperless in the kitchen.  Another great green idea, but it will take breaking some hard habits.  We’ve become so accustomed to reaching for the paper towel roll, when we could just as easily use cloth towels that we can wash and reuse w/ far less impact on the environment.  So, I’m going to keep on the lookout for ideas like this and try to make some simple changes around the house so we can be a little more eco-friendly.

I guess that’s pretty much it.  My goals seem pretty big, but the nice thing is there are lots of little ways to accomplish all of them.  Each can be done using baby steps.  I think 2010 is going to be an exciting and challenging year!

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Goodbye, 2009!

Seeing as January is almost over, I’m a little late with this post.  But, thought it would be a good idea to re-cap the end of 2009 since it’s been ages since I wrote anything.

Blogging basically took a back seat to everything after September.  October was filled with a lot of illness, culminating in my hospital stay over Halloween weekend.  We had what seemed like an endless stream of cold and flu viruses hit our house.  Emily missed three days of school with a high fever, I missed several days of work and after being on multiple medications and antibiotics with no improvement, was admitted to the hospital for observation and a CT scan.  I’d had a chest xray to check for pneumonia, but it appeared clear.  Later, my CT scan showed some very sneaky pneumonia hiding in the lower lobes of both lungs.  So, I spent two nights in the hospital to rest and enjoy some IV antibiotics, blood tests, the H1N1 flu test, and of course, hospital food.  I missed trick-or-treat as well as my mother-in-law’s office Halloween party they throw for the kids, which was a huge bummer, but at least I was finally on my way to being healthy again.  It took a few weeks before I finally felt back to myself again, but there was another cold or two after that, that were thankfully short-lived.  By the time we all were healthy again, it was the holiday season!

This year we visited my family for Thanksgiving.  My sister, who moved out of state last summer, came home to visit for the first time and brought her new love with her.  We all really liked him and it turns out he will soon become a member of our family.  He proposed on New Year’s Eve.  So, congrats again to my little sis and her future hubby!  Back to Thanksgiving… it was really nice to see everyone and we had a good time.  We also celebrated my sister’s and the twins’ birthdays since all occur in November.  We had pumpkin pie AND birthday cake!  Can’t get better than that!  🙂  It would have been nice to spend more time with my sister, but it was good to see her even if it was short.

We didn’t have a party for the boys’ birthday this year.  Their birthday falls during hunting season and Thanksgiving so it can be difficult to plan around all that.  The start of winter weather makes it a challenge also.  So, we instead had separate celebrations with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and they were all fun.  The boys received lots of fun gifts and enjoyed all the attention.  We celebrated on our own the night of their birthday, where I was able to fulfill their request for an R2-D2 cake.  I made a 9×13 chocolate cherry cake, cut it into an R2-D2 like shape, frosted in white, and then decorated with blue and black icing.  I think it turned out pretty well!  The kids really thought it was neat.  After making that and my daughter’s horse cake in August, I think I’m getting pretty decent at the themed birthday cakes.  We’ll see what ideas they come up with for mom this year!

One good thing that happened last fall, amid all the illness, was that I got recruited into the Manitowoc Symphony.  One of my husband’s corporate superiors is the co-principle violinist.  He sent me and the maestro an email, got us in touch and before I knew it, I was invited to join.  I missed my first two rehearsals thanks to the flu turned pneumonia, but after that I made the remaining rehearsals and performed my first concert with them on November 21st.  As that was opening weekend for the deer hunt, my husband was away, so I thankfully had some great friends and family offer to babysit two nights for my dress rehearsal and concert.  The concert was great.  We had two soloists perform and they were amazing.  At the end of the last piece, just before the applause, someone in the audience said, “Wow!”.  I know it was the soloists he was referring to, but it sure felt good to have my “comeback” concert end so well.  I have truly missed being a part of a symphony and am grateful to have found a new one!!  So, I did make one of my previously unfinished goals for 2009, that I didn’t expect.  I’m currently rehearsing for my second concert and just ordered some much needed new strings for the viola. 

Christmas was very nice.  The previous year we were plagued by two separate stomach bugs, but thankfully we all stayed healthy for Christmas in 2009.  We did a lot more decorating this year, inside and out, and I think the house was prettier than ever.  I repurposed some old and some unused decorations to re-design my mantle decorations and everything coordinated so well it almost looked professional.  I was really sad to put it all away.  Can’t wait to see how I can impove it again next year though!  We spent Christmas Eve at home, which turned out to be good since it was snowy and slippery outside.  We had a laid back day and opened our family gifts at night.  The boys got the Packer blankets they requested, which I made for them (tied fleece).  Emily got a jewelry box for her necklaces and a cute little digital camera with Tinkerbell on it.  Brian and the kids got me a butterfly necklace with purple and green gemstones in the wings.  The kids helped pick out the colors.  The kids and I got daddy some HeroScape sets to add to his collection.  Emily made a card, gingerbread ornament, and candle for us at school.  She was very excited for us to see what she made.  We spent Christmas Day with my husband’s family as usual and it was a very good time as well.  It’s always nice to catch up with all the relatives that we don’t get to see often.  It’s also getting a lot easier to mingle and enjoy everyone’s company now that the kids can all play together and not get into too much trouble!  My parents and my brother were scheduled to visit our house this year, the Sunday after Christmas, but fate had other plans.  My brother got hit with the flu and was too sick to leave home.  Then as my parents headed out to travel here, they got a flat tire!  Since the weather was clear, we decided it would be best not to postpone our get-together, so my husband and I packed up all the food we were going to prepare, loaded the kids, cooler, and gifts in the car, and drove down to my parents’ house instead.  It was a bummer that things didn’t go as planned, but I was glad we were still able to spend a nice day with my parents.

New Year’s was pretty laid back as well.  We didn’t do anything special New Year’s Eve.  Just hung out at home with the kids and stayed up til midnight w/ Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest and Fergie.  New Year’s Day we had my brother-in-law’s family over for tacos and games.  It was a fun night and the kids enjoyed playing together.  Later that weekend we also visited some friends, which was long over due.  We’ve had several attempts to get together, where either we or they ended up being sick and had to cancel.  Finally we had a fun night together at their house.  The adults even got to chit-chat a bit while the kids kept each other entertained.

So, that’s the end of 2009 in a nutshell.  Here’s hoping that 2010 brings a lot of joy, happiness, and good health!!!

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New Year, New Theme

Thought I’d change things up a bit with a new theme.  I’m going to give this one a try.  It’s a much simpler layout and I can create a custom header, so that will be a fun project.  Hope you enjoy the new look (when it’s finished!).

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Long time, no blog

Have I really not blogged since September???  Wow, I’ve fallen behind.  I’ve had lots of things in my head that I’d like to blog about lately, but just haven’t found the time to sit and type them out.  Throughout this week, I’ll attempt to catch up a bit, on things that have happened in my life since Sept., shopping and money saving adventures, and other random stuff.  I still can’t believe it’s been that long.  It’s amazing how time can get away from you!

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