Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year End Review

It's that time of the year.  Time for reflection and anticipation.  So for the 'reflection' part, I looked back on 2015 and what I was thinking and planning this time last year.

 
One of the biggest things I have in my planner is 'putting myself out there', both with my art and my writing.  This coming semester will have me putting together a portfolio and learning how to get things to print.  I also just started a writing group this month and we are still in the organizational stage.  I am hoping it works out well.

Writing group - started and disbanded after a few months.  I just couldn't get a consistent group of people (sorry Matthew, you are consistent)

Putting my art out there - rethinking my priorities.  Finished with school for awhile, or at least until Texter finishes her schooling and I'm old enough to audit classes at our local college for very reduced rates.  I would still like to look at getting some of my artwork into print form, but it's at the bottom of the to-do list at the present time.

I am taking part in the Documented Life 2015 Project and also the 30 day Flow Journal.  I will be doing NaNo again, but hope to do more meet ups during the month.  I want to do monthly craft/artist dates with friends. 

Didn't do the Documented Life 2015 project or Journal 52 project.  Did start the 30 day Flow Journal.  And did do NaNo again as the municipal liaison and will do so again in 2016 (I think).  The artist dates....well, I have had a couple and will work on more, even if it is just for myself, in 2016.

I will be watching my pennies and to this end, in January, no fast food.  If it has a drive through, it's a drive "don't"...except Starbucks.

Ha, Ha, Ha!!!  "Nuggies and fries" solved a lot of issues this past year.  With the move, car, life in general, these were not achieved.  However, the no fast food is on the list for 2016, for me at least.  So Starbucks will be my drive-thru lapse/treat.  And the saving money bit!  Well, I have done better at paying bills (my credit rating, still dismal, is at least coming up).

I want to read 100 books in 2015 and receive 100 postcards via Postcrossing.

Actually, I hit 150 books!  But Postcrossing wasn't achieved.  I received 34 postcards.  I was doing well until we got ready to move and then I 'lapsed'.  So will be gearing up again in 2016.

There are 4 main areas I am going to track daily (I hope):
  • did I take my vitamins
  • how much did I write
  • how much did I walk
  • How much water did I drink

I did do pretty well in tracking these areas.  However, I do need to drink more water and write more.  A couple of my friends have FitBits now and we are consistently urging each other along.  And I did participate and finish a 5K this year!  And I need to definitely write more!

I would like to get my sewing machine out and at least finish up a couple of sewing projects.  There will be more hiking and biking going on.

I did manage to get more sewing done this past year and have several quilt tops awaiting finishing.  Don't know if I am going to try and quilt them myself or send them out to be quilted, which would cost money.  So am thinking on this one.  Hiking/biking was a bit of a fail.  I didn't get out near as much as I wanted to.  Did manage to make it to Yellowstone for a day hike/hot springs soak.  No biking as I don't have a bike yet.  But I do have a kayak!  So a paddle is in the budget and when weather starts permitting, will be relying on a friend to show me the ropes and get a lot of paddling in during 2016.

What did happen in 2015?
  • Savvy and CJ bought a house and we now don't have to pay rent (well, technically I still do) and we don't have to worry about moving anytime in the next few years.
  • Texter started school for her nursing degree.  So far, in her pre-nursing classes, she is making almost all A's (only one B so far).  Proud of her!
  • Savvy changed jobs and will be working a little less hectic schedule.  So more time for her to relax and for her and CJ to get out and enjoy socializing.
  • Won a kayak!  Or rather Texter won the kayak and gave it to me because I had been saying all along it was MY kayak.  Now for a paddle and warm weather!
Looking back on my pictures I had used in my blog over the past year to make the collage, it brought home to me how blessed I truly am and how life is only getting better year by year.  2016 should be amazing!






Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Quarter of a Century - Halfway to 50!

Yep, my first born hit a milestone birthday today - 

25 years old!


It's been a delightful 25 years and can't wait for the next 25!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Week in Review - December 20 - 26


The holidays are winding down.  Between days off as holidays from the library and some vacation time I took, my days are really screwed up.  I'm not at all sure what day it is, which bothers me.  I deal better with a 'schedule/routine' than I do without one.  I don't really "go with the flow" all that well.

Only real downer for the holidays was, for reasons, Texter and Lady K had to cut their trip to South Carolina short.  They came back last Sunday.


Lady K dealt fairly well with the two plane changes to and from.  Texter, on the other hand, swears never again alone!  But both are glad to be home.

Our Christmas was fairly quiet and light.  First, we were not planning on Lady K being here so we only hung up some stockings.  Secondly, as Savvy said, "I bought a house!", so gift giving was light.  Well, except for Savvy's Christmas/birthday present which was a piece of art she wanted.  So we have our first piece of 'real' artwork, even if I spent a bit more than expected on it.  But when the artist becomes more famous and her pieces are selling for 4 or 5 digits, rather than 3 digits, it is an investment. But we had a big breakfast and dinner was a ham, which is now sandwiches for the next few days.

I did manage to work on my planner for 2016 and got four months, rather than three, in the notebook.


I inked some of the pages and added some scrapbook paper on the months.  After seeing all the different categories and 'stuff' others are putting in their planners, I went simple.  Under each month I have the following...
  • monthly goals
  • tracking grid
  • month-at-a-glance
  • weekly pages with room for journaling and notes
  • month review page
  • Swaps - tracking the swaps and QAL's and other projects I'm on deadlines with to be sure I am keeping up (or where I stand)
  • Ideas - present ideas, writing ideas, a dumping ground for just about everything else.
I think this will work well for me, but it is subject to 'tweaking' over the next few months, before I set up the next planner.


I do have to find another glue stick to use.  My Elmer's School glue sticks, well, just aren't sticking well.  And regular glue warps the pages.  Will have to visit the craft store to see what else I can come up with. More on my planner and other journals I use on a regular basis in a later post.


Did find another recipe I can keep for dinners - taco ring.  CJ and Texter like it, and they are my two picky eaters.  You use two cans of crescent rolls to make it, which is pretty big.  I did use the 'grands' size, however.  I think when I make it again, I will use the smaller size crescent rolls or only one can.  It's really too much, even if Savvy had been here, for the four and a half of us.  And it really doesn't reheat well (in my opinion).  But at least it is an easy recipe to make, fairly quick too.  But planning menus for the week is my goal for the New Year.  The amount of stress off me, (self-inflicted I might add) when I know what I am fixing, is tremendous.

In addition, the following occurred:
  • Two books finished (only 1 to go to meet my 150 book goal for the year)
  • Wrote 6 posts
  • Steps - 34,297 or 15.69 steps  However, two days didn't pick up any steps!  But I know I was slug-like those days, so maybe 40,000 steps for the week.  Update:  Synced my fitbit, so weekly total was 41,233 steps or 18.86 miles.
  • Texter and Lady K home early
  • Trip to Missoula for Krispy Kreme donuts and a bit of shopping
  • Fox Cowl finished for the daughter of a friend
  • Started 365 Saving Plan (doubling up each day because I want a trip to Seattle this summer)
  • DVR hooked up so I can do workout DVD's on the TV
  • Vision Cards on travel, money, creativity, health/exercise, spirituality, friends/family (a future post) created
  • Time spent reviewing where I want 2016 to go
This coming week...
  • Getting Lady K ready to start daycare on the 4th of January - have to label her clothes and stuff 
  • Savvy turns 25!  Must make a cake for her.
  • New Year's Day off work (plus a vacation day too)  so my last week of not being on a schedule 
  • Reviewing December goals
  • Planning 2016 long-term goals and January's short-term goals
More organizing and planning this week and then hitting the floor running for 2016!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Wrapping Up the Year With One Last Project

Christmas was special this year as Lady K began to understand 'presents'.  We had a quiet and low-key celebration this year.  As Savvy says, "I bought a house!".


I did manage to knock out one project while watching "Face Off" episodes.  The cowl is suppose to go to the daughter of a friend at work (at least that is my plan).  I think she will like it as much as the one I made for her mother, which doesn't have ears.  I really love working with the Lion Brand Heartland yarn.  It's really soft and makes working with it a delight.  This is a far cry from the early 80's (that's 1980's) when I learned to knit and you either had to be lucky enough to have a yarn store in your area (no internet ordering then!) or it was Red Heart acrylic yarn, which was like steel wool.

Now if I can find the pattern for the heavy sock slippers I want to make!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Gift 12 - Last but not least







A beautiful zippered bag!  In green!

The hardest part of this bag is what I want to carry in it.  It's big enough I could put all my pens and pencils in it.  Or my makeup (not that I wear all that much).  Sewing notions?  Or I just may carry it around empty, it's so pretty!


Ok, I confess.  I received the box before Texter and Lady K left for the holidays.  And Lady K is aware this year of 'PRESENTS' and they are there to be opened.  So being the softie I am, I let her open them up before they left.  Not quite the rules, but those big hazel eyes and little hands and a big grin tore my resolve down.  After all, she won't be here for Christmas Day and opening presents, so this was as close as I can get this year.

Thanks to Kaylee for being a great swap partner and the Chaotic Goddess group for organizing this swap.  I can't wait for the next one coming up in 2016.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gift 11 -


Nom, Nom!

Well, unfortunately, or rather fortunately, the dogs didn't get these.  But then neither did I.  Savvy saw them sitting on the kitchen counter (while my back was turned) and off they went.  Of course, since she is working a 12 hour shift, I really can't complain too much.  Well, maybe I can...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gift 10 -


Peppermint Vanilla Hand Soap!

Lady K already climbs up to wash her hands and this will have her at the sink all day.  After spending a day making bath products, I have some for me!  And in the vein of the 'flavors' I was making, peppermint and vanilla.  What I like, and hadn't realized about the Method brand, is that the top locks, so little hands can't just squirt it everywhere like she has done with other stuff.

Can't wait until tomorrow!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gift 9 - It's a Sad, Sad Story


I have a sad, sad tale to tell about this gift.  

See, I set the basket of goodies on my dresser so I wouldn't see it all the time, but it would be there to bring a smile to my face and to be out of the hands of Lady K.  Of course, she's 2500 miles away right now, so not an issue.  

What is an issue though are the two starving dogs which stay in my room while I am at work.  The two fat dogs which can barely jump up on my bed decided if I was going to leave them in my room on the heated bed, then they needed something to munch on.  Like the Cranberry Orange Dark Chocolate Bar.  

I think they enjoyed it.  They were both trying to blame the cat for eating it.  But it is the thought that counts.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Gift 8 and Week In Review - December 13 - 19


So gift #9 is a set of notecards with a fox in the snow.  Actually, any foxes around here are in the snow these days.  And as one of my 2016 goals is to be sure to write at least one letter a month to 'someone', then these will come in handy.  I'll show them what a 'fox' I am!

This week -


  • Walked 39,966 steps or 18.28 miles....only about half of what I needed to do
  • Wrote 11 posts, 1 book review and my wrote my morning pages every day
  • Worked on my plans for 2016 a bit
  • Books - Abandoned 1, finished up 10 books

Ok, so the book count seems high, but I had an extra day of and no Lady K around this past week.  So I blazed through books started already and added a couple more on top of that.  Now I only have 3 more books to read to reach my goal of 150 books this year.

  • Lead my last Nonfiction Book Group at the library
  • Completed Clue #3 for the Mystery Quilt
  • Made 2 blocks for the 1930's Farmer's Wife Quilt
  • Have the Fox Cowl almost finished
  • Sketched out plans for a possible wall hanging 

Today will be spent with my planner and finalizing plans for 2016.  Since I want to do some cutting and pasting I need to get it out of the way before Lady K arrives home to 'help'.  She does always lend calm for contemplation.  The coming week will be spend mainly with family due to the holiday. I have an extra couple of days off and with the weather cold outside, plan on staying warm and toasty.  Well, maybe a quick one or two trips around the block.  And a trip to the grocery store, of course.  

Maybe next week I will reveal my upcoming plans and goals for 2016.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gift 7 -


A journal!  Beautiful cover and the pages are decorated also.  What is great about this is while it has a spot for the date (always remember to date your journal entries), it is blank.  So I could use one page for a day or 10 pages and it would work.  It has a top spot on my stack of journals to be used next.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Gift 6 - Wiping Up the Gifts


A kitchen towel with a beautiful purple band across one end.  And it is not going to be used in the kitchen!

Actually, I have a little drop leaf desk in the corner of my bedroom which I got for free last year.  I had gotten it with the thought I would refinish it for Savvy.  But nothing has been done to it and it's sitting in the corner of my room, holding library books and things I want to keep out of Lady K's hands.  I have draped the towel over the drop leaf and it looks wonderful.  Adds some class to the desk.  Loving it!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gift 5 - Mini Notebooks


Mini-Notebooks!

I always need small notebooks for quick notes and lists.  These are a beautiful floral pattern and I can't wait to use them.  One is going into my purse/backpack immediately.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gift 4 - For My Planner

During this Christmas time frame, I am working on my planner for 2016.  And gift #4 is...


Cat Stickers!

How cute are these!  I can't wait to use them in my planner/journal.  But part of me is "wait, don't just waste them".  However, I need to suck it up and use them and not let them just lay around.  Can't decide which is my favorite kitty though, especially with a purple cat in the midst.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gift 3 of Swap


Soft, squishy socks with fox faces!  Of course, I probably won't get to wear them as foxes are Texter's favorites and she is always cold.  But, cute, cute, cute!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mandala Monday - Gift 2


Nope, not a mandala, but rather Gift #2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Swap.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love anything to do with journaling.  And I am trying to think 'happy' and 'positive' every day to manifest it throughout the day and make the days better, at least mentally.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week in Review - December 6 - 12


Couple of "BIG" things this week.  First, was receiving my gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas Swap with Chaotic Goddess from Kaylee of Chair in the Shade.  The premise is to open one gift a day for 12 days, starting today and ending on the 24th of December.  So the first gift is...


Memo pad!  It's now on the refrigerator to record my shopping lists as we run out of items.  I will probably take the little calendar post-it and use it in my journal, but want the pad there for my grocery list as we are really going to try and stop 'impulse' shopping at the grocery store.

The second "BIG" thing is Texter and Lady K left yesterday for 17 days in South Carolina with the other grandmother and family.  Seventeen days of no one but me in my bed at bedtime.  Going to bed when I feel like it.  Being able to read in bed at bedtime.  So what did I do on my first day of freedom?  Go to bed early and not read in bed!

For the rest of the past week...
  • Cleaned out fish tank and bought two fish to eat the algae
  • Found my compass I knew I had
  • Walked 60,822 steps/27.82 miles
  • Texter finished up her first semester at school with all A's and a B
  • Wrote 3 posts
  • Finished 5 books
  • Finished Clue 2 for the Mystery Quilt and cut out the strips for Clue 3
  • Started a jigsaw puzzle of "Starry Night"
So this week, where I have an extra day off by the way, I plan the following...
  • Finish up Clue 3
  • Work on the 1930's QAL
  • Read 
  • Start on my 2016 planner and goals
  • Lead the last Nonfiction book group
  • Enjoy the peace and quiet!




Sunday, December 06, 2015

Week In Review - November 29 - December 5

It's been a really busy week - 

  • Led the final write-in for NaNoWriMo 
  • Lady K to dentist
  • Toured day care center for Lady K to start on January 4
  • First Friday at 1+1=1 Gallery for ornament making
  • Worked on Clues 1 and 2 for the Mystery Quilt
  • Mailed my swap gift for the Chaotic Goddess 12 Days of Christmas Swap
  • Working on ideas for my 2016 planner
  • Wrote 7 posts
  • Finished 2  books
  • Walked 60,223 steps or 27.54 miles

But the 'biggie' was this - 


Tuesday was shopping for the remainder of the ingredients and then creating several different bath and body products.


The following was made -
  • Gingerbread Bath Scrubs
  • Bath bombs in 3 fragrances
  • Peppermint Bath Salts
  • Coffee Scrub
  • Candles
  • Vanilla Scrub
  • Coconut Oil Scrub
All the items were pretty easy to do, but the most time intensive (which wasn't much) was the bath bombs.  I filled my gifting requirement and then Texter raided it for gifts for about 5 people.  I have managed to salvage some of the 'rejects' and partially filled containers for my own use.  I have fallen in love with coconut oil!


My bath bombs were molded in plastic Christmas ornaments you can pull apart.  And of course, I had my helper.


And "the chair"...


Lady K has learned to move the chair to whatever location she needs to 'supervise'.  I am learning to dread the sound of scraping on the wooden wood, because I know someone will be right up under me in a matter of moments.  It can be at my desk, in the kitchen or at my sewing table.  I will have "The Chair" and "Helpin' " shortly.

For me, the coming week is fairly quiet.  However, Texter has a full week.  A couple of days of test taking and the semester will be over for her.  Finalize packing for her and Lady K to go to South Carolina for Christmas.  Next Saturday morning, EARLY, they will board a flight and then I will be on my own until the 29th!  Lots of reading, sewing, crafting going on while they are gone.  Maybe a jigsaw puzzle since little hands won't be there to remove pieces.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Planner Routine, Cats and Candles

Today's topic for the #PlanWithMeChallenge is my planning routine.  Since I am the 'early' morning person at home, quiet time is hard to come by.  But my basic routine is...

  • Let the dogs out to pee/poop (hey, no more walking them since we have a yard)
  • Make a cup of coffee
  • Do my "Morning Pages"
Then it's getting down to the 'nitty-gritty' of the day.


I have my journal, which if I have a longer thing I want to write about or if I feel the need to 'create' I will collage in it.  The black notebook is for my Morning Pages.  The purple, is actually by my bedside, and it's my gratitude journal which I have started writing in at night before bed.  Then my MAIN planner/journal.

Usually, between the Morning Pages and sitting down to use my main calendar, I have to refresh my coffee and change Lady K's diapers, turn on cartoons and fix a bottle.  If I am lucky, she is still asleep.

Then I open up my calendar and review email and Facebook, checking for anything I might need to add.  I look at my day to see what I have by way of work, taking others to school/work, or any events we might have coming up.  I check to see if I have listed any meal ideas for the day.  I review my 'to-do's' for the week to see what I might be able to get done that day or what I might have to add.


Then I look at my 'tracking chart' and note what I did the day before.  I will have to say, after looking at some other habit trackers, I will probably drop writing in actual steps taken and words written, I will probably just go to a check box for each habit.  There are a couple of habits I want to add to my list, so this will be refined before the first of the year.

Since this tracker is at the first of the month with my goals, I can double check my monthly goals to see where I stand and if there is anything I need to revise, migrate to a later date or can work on that day.

Then, if I have time, I will read posts on bloglovin.com.  I like having all my posts in one spot to go through.  I will have my planner/journal out while I read to make any notes I might want about the posts or any ideas which they might spark.

At night, before bed, I take a quick glance at my planner/journal to see if there is anything special about the next day and note down anything I need to remember or journal.


If I have to work in the morning, this is a sight I am liable to pass on my way to the library.  The first time I saw them I thought they were stuffed, they were so still.



How can your day not get off to a good start if you pass these handsome guys (or girls)?  And in one of my favorite shops to go into.  They 'disappear' during the day and only roam the store at night.


This is one of the candles I made.  I used a wooden wick on it and lit it to show Texter how the wooden wicks 'pop' and make fire noises.  Anyway, we have this issue with candles at the house.  It seems Lady K associates ALL candles with "Happy Birthday" and blows them all out.  So if I light a candle now, I have to be sure to put it up high so she can't see it or get to it, or it gets blown out.  Some days there is a lot of "Happy Birthday" going on!

My Planner

My planners have evolved over the years as my life as evolved.  I was part of the filofax/day runner crew in the late 70's, early 80's to track my work life.  Then when I moved from headquarters to reservations and was doing shift trades of all kinds, a calendar was necessary just to keep track of trades.

Then with kids and their activities and school schedule, including them on my calendar became a necessity.  So I have a month-at-a-glance, week-at-a-glance where I put my to-do's for the week, then journaling space.  At the back I have tabs for keeping Ideas, Presents, and Projects and an Index.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

December Goals and November Recap

Part of working my planner for 2016 is getting 'organized' and more focused and on track.  Of course, this coincides with what I am reading in The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan.  Those who kept gratitude journals got more accomplished toward their goals.  I have only been keeping a gratitude journal for the past 3 days, so I can't answer to that premise.  However, I do know writing down my to-do lists or my goals/steps toward my goals, does keep me more focused and allow me to make more headway on the things I want to accomplish.



So I am starting off December by listing my goals for December -

  • Set my word of intention for 2016
  • Make bags for my oracle/tarot cards
  • Set up my planner for the first quarter of 2016
  • Update my projects list and start assigning an order to them
  • Work on Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt
  • Catch up on the 1930's Farmer's Wife Quilt blocks
  • Look at scheduling a once a month writing get-together in 2016
  • Send off my Chaotic Goddess swap gift
  • Start mapping out garden plans for the front yard
  • Look for fabric for curtains for bedroom, bathroom and living room (I hate mini-blinds)
  • Read one book off my home bookshelf
My November goals were - 
  • Set December goals 
  • Draw a card a day
  • Complete NaNoWriMo
  • Gather fabric for Mystery Quilt
  • Plans for planner/journal
  • Nightly hot chocolate or hot tea before bed - well, 10 nights at least
  • 300,000 steps - only 218,457 as of the 29th, but have been under the weather
So I am happy with what I have accomplished and where I am headed for December.  Now to work on the two 'challenges' I am interested in!