Monday, August 30, 2010

EMM: Change Your Bulbs

Today is all about saving energy. As the daughter of a man who's worked more than a quarter of a century for the power and light company, I should be great at this. I definitely remember hearing "Turn out the light!" growing up. And it must be a part of my subconscious since I say it to Paul all the time too. Of course now there's more to it, you can switch out your regular light bulbs for the more energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) ones. That's the action for the day, pretty simple really. And that's just what I did. I purchased a pack of 4 and replaced the bulbs in the office ceiling fan. Not only should I save money on my electric bill and purchase fewer bulbs, but also prevent the release of carbon dioxide (apparently a good thing).

I did a quick inventory and will continue to replace those bulbs I can I the old ones burn out. We have 3 ceiling fans and a couple of lamps that I know I'll be replacing. We also have about 8 fixtures that have glass globes that I'm not sure the CFL's will work with but will try. Unfortunately, our dining areas, entry, bathrooms, kitchen and master closet all use specialty bulbs, so I won;t be able to replace everything but 15 for sure and probably some of those globes too. Not bad for something so easy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Done! Tagging

So I finally completed this task. I needed to get everything ready for this huge consignment sale that we have here. This always takes me a little longer because our home printer doesn't print the tags clear enough so I have to print them elsewhere. I have about 100 items I'm putting in the sale (I tagged about 20 more but they were summer clothes). Of course, this task is really never completed because Sophie outgrows her clothes constantly.

The crazy thing about the consignment sale is that I get most of Sophie's clothes at the sale...and consequently a lot of those same clothes are getting tagged to go back into the sale. One good thing though is that there are 2 different sales and whatever doesn't sell at the first one is ready for the second a month later. One tag, 2 sales. Done and done!

Done! Sophie's Wall

Before she could stand we had this over her crib.

Once she could stand, we moved it over to where the rocking chair was. My mom fixed a quilt that matches her bedding so it could be hung on the wall, but I am still worried that she will be able to pull it down, so until she gets out of the crib (or we have taller ceilings), I've decided to just put these vinyl letters on the wall.

I know it's really hard to see them in these pictures (and in person too). They aren't as big as the package's picture, but for now it will be okay.

Happy Birthday, Becky!

We went to the church tonight to celebrate the nativity of the church's Administrative Assistant. Her son (the guitar player in the picture) is part of the band and so she asked them to be the entertainment for the night. We had a great dinner of barbeque and then got to hear the great music. Sophie loved the sausage for dinner. I was hoping she'd dance for Becky but she got distracted by her lemonade.

Monday, August 23, 2010

EMM: Protect Yourself

This week the book looks at protecting yourself with Internet security. There are some common sense things regarding your passwords and such. We all know the tips to keep passwords from being hacked. Personally, I have a hard time with this because I have a hard time remember multiple passwords. Of course with websites requiring increased measures (i.e. longer passwords that include a number, letter, and symbol) I'm having to change passwords I've had for ages anyway, so I might as well create different ones for different sites. Below are some other tips to keep in mind to protect yourself:

  • Don't use automatic log-in features.
  • Utilize anti-virus software and a firewall.
  • Log off the Internet and turn off your computer when you are done.
  • Don't open emails from people you don't know.

So, now go change a password or 2!

Monday, August 16, 2010

EMM: Help the Hungry

Before we had Sophie, Paul and I helped out at a local shelter a few times. Our church provides and serves meals several times a year. Now that she is here (and too young to volunteer), we can still help by providing sack lunches. I know that the next scheduled time is already covered by our youth group but I will contact the coordinator and set up something for the next time.

I've also been trying to watch how much I buy at the grocery store. There are times when I am too ambitious about how much I'll need for the week and I end up throwing out food that has gone bad.

How can you help feed the hungry?

Monday, August 9, 2010

EMM: Write a Letter

Last week we got rid of junk mail and this week we are sending mail to a military hero. You can send something to a soldier you know or ask friends, co-workers, or chaplains to help you find one. The website offers some suggestions for what to include in your letter. It also has links to sites that will connect you with soldiers. I used the Let's Say Thanks site to send a printed postcard. It's not quite the personal touch you'd think, but I am going to have Sophie help me create a card to send later this week. My mom's group is also setting up an event to put together care packages for those overseas. Regardless of how you may feel about the military actions that are currently occurring, those serving deserve our respect and appreciation.

Done! Sophie's Money

We went today to open a savings account for Sophie. She had some money from her birthday, plus some piggy banks that are almost full.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Already Done & Still To Do

Here are some of the things that I have already done and some that I could still do.
(From the book 101 Things To Do Before Turning 40)

1. Take your parents out to dinner.
2. Date a 25-year-old, one last time. I've dated younger men and older ones, too. Of course, the last man I dated was 3 and a half years younger (and I married him).
3. Karaoke. I've done this a few times, but it definitely isn't my favorite thing to do.
4. Yell at someone. The idea is that you get to really express your anger to someone who won't admit their mistakes. Okay, maybe I haven't really done this. I'll to get that one done in the next few years.
5. Payoff credit card debt. This one has been done more than once. Now I leave most of the finances to Paul, but I did finally get the school loan paid off.
6. Control the future of your face. (AKA accept that your face will start looking it's age.)
7. Redistribute the wealth. As I've gotten older, how much I tip has changed. I truly appreciate good service and have no problem rewarding it. We have one particular pizza delivery guy who is very nice and polite, always acknowledges the dog, and is just so pleasant. I love when he is working and he gets tipped accordingly. We've also found that we feel a little guilty about the mess Sophie makes at restaurant, consequently Paul tips more out of that guilt.
8. Smell good. Paul and his mom make it easy for me to smell good, I just have to remember to use the perfume.
9. Unsubscribe. I've rarely had magazine subscriptions and never more than 2 at a time so this one almost doesn't apply. But I like the idea the author has of using magazines as a special treat, i.e. only buying them for trips or as rewards for accomplishing something.
10. Supply your own power. This one is about being technologically savvy. I don't think I know much about computers and such, but when it comes down to it, I really do. Of course, if you are just comparing me with Paul, I'd always come out ahead. He still can't figure out how to Tivo a show!
11. Sculpt yourself. This isn't about major cosmetic surgery, but more about the things we can somewhat easily change (weight-loss, muscle-tone, etc.). I'm not athletic or physically fit, I've just been blessed most of my life. But let's be honest, pregnancy and age changes a body, and no "body" is perfect. I recognized that mine was going to change drastically with the years if I didn't do something. So I started walking and then joined the StrollerStrides class. It's not much and I certainly don't push myself as hard as I could but I hope it will keep things in check for a while longer.
12. Teach a class.
13. Have a kid if you want one.
14. Say NO. This is one that I do in cycles. I'll add to my plate for a bit then start purging things off. I'm in the purging stage right now.
15. Ride a Harley. I'm not sure I ever actually rode a Harley but since my first husband raced motorcycles, I've ridden my share of motorcycles. I think back on those days and can't believe I ever did those crazy things.
16. Take a stand. One of the author's suggestions is to write a letter to the editor. This was also an assignment in one of my college English classes. I was one of the few that actually got their letter in the paper. Oh, and my
17. Master a mass-transit system, but know how to hail a taxi. This was one of the most anxiety-ridden times when I moved to Chicago. We spent weeks going places together using the subway and bus lines, but then I knew Jeff wasn't always going to be with me so I set out to do it alone (with him tailing me from several yards and one subway car behind). The next day I did it all by myself. Taxis in foreign countries still make me nervous though.
18. Cut someone loose. I've had to do this and unfortunately I've been the one cut loose too.
19. Enact a 2-drink maximum. Let's face it I'm a lightweight.
20. Strain your brain. This is one we should continue to do all the time. It's about doing things that keep our brains sharp. Paul and I will play the occasional Scrabble game and his family loves to do sudoku puzzles when they get together.
21. Play poker. I'm not necessarily good, but I can play. What beats a straight?
22. Go fishing. I grew up on the lake so we fished all the time. After college, I lived with my grandma on the lake and got to spend some time fishing again. I'm a catch and release gal (not a catch it, kill it and eat it one), but these days I'd just as soon forgo the fishing pole and just lay on the dock.
23. Fill up your jewelry box. The author takes offense at having someone else choose your jewelry as she sees jewelry as being very personal. I don't agree. I have a lot of jewelry, a mix of stuff I bought, gifts from others, and pieces I inherited. In all honesty, I rarely wear much of it, and have to make a very concerted and conscious effort to put on something different.
24. Kiss the frogs. As I alluded to above, I've dated a lot of people. I rarely turned down a first date, because I figured you just never knew how someone might turn out and I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. But that doesn't mean I went on lots of second or third dates. No point in wasting more than one night on a guy who wasn't ever going to be the one.
25. Sign each book you read. I actually suggested this to my mom before I saw it in this book. She and I end up swapping books so much that we couldn't remember which ones we'd already read, so we started signing them. The author suggests signing them as an act of immortality and a way to be an active participant. I find that a little silly, but she also believes every book should have more than one home in it's lifetime. As I've started purging more, I like that sentiment, so she;s not completely crazy.
26. Show gratitude. I've always tried to write thank you notes, mostly for presents and gifts. This is one thing Sophie will be doing as well as she grows up.
27. Ask a friend for help. After the divorce, I asked for help a lot. During the fertility phase, I asked for help a lot. And now with motherhood, I continue to ask for help.
28. Play matchmaker. Poor Brian, Paul and I have set him up twice to no avail. Thankfully, he didn't blame us (or if he did he didn't show it) and now he has a wonderful wife he found all on his own (with the help of his sister I believe).
29. Take a mental health day. I plead the fifth.
30. Discover your superpower. Not exactly sure what my superpower is but I know I have it!
31. Go to a movie alone. Having worked at a movie theater, I used to do this a lot. The author is right...getting to sit wherever you want and not share your popcorn is great.
32. Root, root, root. As in root for a team. I'm not much of a sports fan, but I don't mind watching as long as I have someone to root for. That's why Fantasy Football sucks, no clear person or team to root for while watching a game.
33. Be a boss. This one implies that you will supervise people at some point and wants you to be the kind of boss you want to be. I hope my teachers think I am a good boss.
34. Purge. I did so much of this when I was pregnant, and I continue doing it periodically.
35. Host.
36. Document your life. I'm a scrapbooker (and now also a blogger), so this one is covered.
37. Charm your way into or out of something. Apparently, I have this ability without really trying. At least on the maintenance-type men that I have to come out to the house sometimes.
38. Figure out what you want to be when you grow up. I have a great job (most of the time) and it allows me to work and be a mostly stay-at-home mommy.
39. Colorize. I do tend to stick to neutral colors, especially when it comes to wardrobe, but I will typically add in some color now and then. And we just bought brand new RED couches. That's a lot of color in the living room.
40. Never show up empty-handed.
41. Bring something back to life. This could be refinishing something or a little less literal, like adopting a shelter animal. We've done that. The black boys as we call them, were rescue kittens that I bottle-fed from the day they were about 2 weeks old.
42. Retreat.
43. Be your own Schneider. Having been single for so long, I learned to manage on my own to so me degree. Of course, my dad is always on call to help.
44. Lose gracefully. This one's easy because I'm not really competitive.
45. Boycott February 14. Not sure I would do this now that I'm married, but as a single woman, I certainly did.
46. Give something back.
47. Throw out any T-shirts with logos on them. I actually had my old t-shirts turned into a quilt several years ago. My mom did the same for Paul too.
48. Ride in a limo.
49. Divorce your hairstylist or at least cheat. Okay, this one's hard because my mom cuts my hair. But when I lived in Chicago, I decided I couldn't wait for her next visit and went to a salon. Hated it, absolutely HATED it!
50. Hang up your binoculars. As in, no more concerts in huge arenas where you can't see the band. I'm not much of a concert-goer, but when I go I prefer to spend the bucks and get good seats. If I can't see anything I might as well just listen on the IPod.
51. Let the spirit move you. I can always tell when I haven't been paying attention in church, something is just missing.
52. Have a male friend.
53. Ditch your college furniture. I've even started ditching the starter marriage furniture.
54. Take the long way home. And see your hometown through the eyes of a tourist.
55. Learn to tango. I had a boyfriend way back when who signed us up for swing lessons. We were the youngest people in the class (by about 2 generations) but we had so much fun.
56. Name something. Sophie Rose, I love you!
57. Lose the snooze. When I was single, I rarely used the snooze button, now I have to listen to about 30 minutes worth of snooze because of Paul. So annoying!
58. Do something romantically cheesy.

1. Admit to everything.
2. Confront bullies, racists, and homophobes.
3. Accentuate the positive.
4. Build a nest egg.
5. Rent the classics.
6. Stop the tchotchkes.
7. Put a lid on it.
8. Accept that forty is the new thirty.
9. Make a new friend each year.

Still To Do:
1. Get someone else to love your favorite movie.
2. Drive cross-country. The idea of this sounds like fun, but I'm not so sure about the execution!
3. Sleep under the stars. I guess we've done this, but it was at my sister's place so not really a true camping experience.
4. Reunite.
5. Give a really great toast. I'm not sure I've ever even had the opportunity to give a toast. I may have to create my own opportunity.
6. Drive a car that costs more than $50k. You don't have to buy it, just lease it for the day.
7. Surprise someone. This one would be hard. I'm not a good event organizer and the added pressure of keeping it under wraps just might make this one impossible.
8. Instead of a stage name, pick a stage age. I am sure there will come a time when I will lie about my age to at least one person.
9. Buy a piece of real art. I would much rather put photos on my walls, but Paul likes artwork too, so we will probably do this at some point.
10. Serve on a jury. As a former law student, I have always wanted to be on a jury. And I have NEVER gotten the notice. Everyone around me has (including my mom here in Texas and she doesn't even live here anymore).
11. Musically upgrade.
12. Expose the wizard. As in go behind the scenes of a TV show or movie. I think this would be great, of course, I would probably get really star-struck. I did do some stage managing for a community theater and it changed how I watched plays and musicals after that.
13. Throw an Oscar party. I have always wanted to do this. Of course, it's probably much better in my head than it would be in real life.
14. Break your own record. The only record I can think that I've ever broken was when I ate the whole medium pizza when I was pregnant. Not the record I really want to break, so I'll try for a new one.
15. Take a sabbatical. How great would it be to have a job that actually let you do this?
16. Habla sie Francais? Or in our case learn some Chinese before we go there and get Logan.
17. Play an instrument. I was one of those kids that hated to practice and parents never forced me to. I took lessons for both the guitar and flute during my childhood. I really wish that I'd stuck with it, but the author suggests it's never too late, so it might still happen for me.

Books I've Read

I had 2 books that I've been working on and finally finished this week. The first was a Baby Signs book I borrowed from a friend probably 6-9 months ago. I finally finished reading it and hope to actually apply some of the principles now that Sophie has started using a few signs.

The other book is one my dad gave me for my birthday several years ago when I was still single, called 101 Things To Do Before You Turn 40. It's geared toward single women, but can still apply to married ones with or without kids. I've probably picked it a dozen or more times and randomly selected one of the things, but now I've actually read it cover to cover. There are some things I had already done, others that really don't apply to me, some that I would never ever even contemplate doing, and some that I might still do. I'll post about each category separately.

Done! MIC Boxes

We opened the last of the MIC boxes tonight. Sophie has really enjoyed unwrapping the presents. I can't wait until Christmas...she will have a blast. I now have all this room in the top of my closet. What can I put up there? Oh, yeah, all the stuff that I'm having to take out of the guest room.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Done! 3 Items

I meant to get pictures for each of the items but forgot until after the fact. This bookcase was in our office (along with 3 more just like it). We are having to rearrange things to get Logan's room set up so I needed to move a bookcase out in order to move a TV in. Paul and I went through the books, pulling 3 boxes to take to Half Price Books. Paul also went through a couple of shelves of computer stuff and donated some stuff to the church garage sale. Once I got the shelf cleared, Paul moved it to the garage. We took the books to Half-Price Books and the donations to church. Check, check, check! Three things Done!

Monday, August 2, 2010

EMM: Get Rid of Junk Mail

The stats this week are just crazy:

  • 44% of junk mail is discarded without being opened, yet we will spend 8 months opening junk mail in our lifetime (I think that is probably double for me since Paul doesn't open any of the mail.)

  • 100 million trees are needed to produce the annual paper supply for all that junk mail

So what can we do about all this paper?

  • Ask that your name not be rented or sold anytime you enter a contest, purchase anything, and return a warranty card.

  • Contact the customer service department for any companies that are sending the junk mail.

  • Remove your name from national mailing lists (check the EMM website for links).

So how much paper can you stop from entering your house?

Done! August

One of the blogs I read occasionally is doing something special this month. I thought I would join her since I have so much I'd like to get done before preschool starts. Check out her post to see how it all starts. She even has a printable checklist you can download. She is planning on posting daily about the different projects on her list, but I don't think I'll do that. I'll just update periodically, sometimes with before/after pictures. I'll add my own list tomorrow, if you want to check back to see what I am doing this month.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

65 in 365 Month 7 Update

This will be a list of 65 things I want to accomplish in the next 365 days. (No, I didn't come up with this idea myself, I borrowed it from this Foster Mama, along with some of her items.) I'll update the list once a month (that's the first thing on the list). Completed items are in italics.
1. Update the 65 in 365 once a month (6/12)
2. Come up with 65 goals for the year (65/65)
3. Complete Sophie's baby album
4. Complete 2009 annual album
5. Attend average of 5 StrollerStrides classes a month (25/60)
6. Girls Night Out (or Mom's Night Out) at least 4 times (4/4) (02/27, 03/17, 03/25, 06/30, 07/15)
7. Go to the movies at least 6 times (4/6) (Avatar, Kickass, Date Night ,Iron Man 2, Karate Kid)
8. Finish reading 2 non-fiction books (1/2) (Home)
9. Read 4 fiction books (1/4) (The Help)
10. Payoff law school loan
11. Try 26 new recipes (10/26)
12. Make our wills
13. Participate in a fun run with Paul and Sophie
14. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; complete after 30 days (0/30)
15. Have at least one fresh fruit each day; complete after 30 days (0/30)
16. Take at least one picture of Sophie every other day; complete after 60 days (0/30)
17. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight
18. Come up with a system for backing up digital photos
19. Cooking lessons
20. Make bed everyday; complete after 30 days, will restart counter when I miss a day (30/30) (April)
21. Have date night once a month (5/12) (03/13, 04/10 or 17, 05/28, 06/10, 07/17)
22. Build a snowman (02/11)
23. Join a moms group (Jan.)
24. Set up a cleaning schedule and follow it; complete after 3 months (1/3)
25. Have lawn guys come on a regular basis
26. Take Wrangler to Kady the groomer 4 times (2/4) (March, June)
27. Purchase a jogging stroller for Paul to use
28. Put items in JBF Consignment sales, 2 sales each sales season (2/4) (Feb., Mar.)
29. Make and stick to a weekly menu and grocery list; complete after 5 weeks (2/5)
30. Decorate the tabletop tree for each holiday or season (snowflakes, hearts, green and gold beads, eggs, flowers, red and blue stars, apples, Halloween, fall leaves, Christmas)
31. Update a blog everyday or at least average one new post each day (208/365)
32. Go on a scrapbooking retreat (Jan)
33. Attend a scrapbooking crop every other month (4/6) (02/19, 04/16, 04/30, 05/01)
34. Complete 150 scrapbook pages (66/150)
35. Sign Sophie up for swim lessons (Mar.)
36. Attend one playgroup event each month (10/12) (01/28, 02/09, 03/02, 03/04, 03/17, 04/22, 5/28,06/03, 06/14, 06/21, 07/02, 07/07, 07/30)
37. Take Sophie to a library storytime/event each month (5/12) (02/01, 02/25, 04/13, 06/14, 06/29)
38. Attend a local Chinese New Year event
39. Have teeth cleaned twice a year (1/2) (Mar.)
40. Have Sophie’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny
41. Take Sophie to see a fireworks display (July)
42. Update the framed photos of extended family members
43. Attend Living Last Supper at church
44. Plan Sophie’s first birthday party
45. Take Sophie to visit another state
46. Take Sophie trick-or-treating in the neighborhood
47. Decorate outside for Christmas
48. Create our own family Thanksgiving tradition
49. Take Sophie to the zoo (May)
50. Establish Family Night/Day twice a month (not including MIC Meals); complete after 4 months (4/4) (05/31 Joe Pool Lake,5/16 Dragonboat Festival,4/3 Easter Eggs, 3/13 Stockyards, 4/18 Balloon Festival, 3/6 Swim Pics Shop Dinner, 06/12 Devon’s, 06/27 Olenjack’s, 07/03 Crow Museum, 07/05 Splash Pad, 07/17 VBS Picnic, 07/31 Zoo)
51. Frame and hang Sophie’s first year photos
52. Furniture for China child
53. Update Sophie’s wedding dress photo
54. Get a family portrait done
55. Daily devotional, complete after 30 days (0/30)
56. Create a list of happy things, one for each day (over 1000) we’ve been waiting for MIC (300/328)
57. Complete new adoption visa paperwork
58. Open a savings account for Sophie
59. Clean out and organize pantry
60. Attend at least 3 plays and/or musicals (2/3)(Wicked, Shadowlands)
61. Purchase fire extinguishers for the house
62. Get personalized tags for the pets (3/6)
63. Clean out flowerbed in backyard
64. Buy new couches (May)
65. Make a new list of 65

Done! List

This is my list for August. I'm sure I'll be able to come up with 3 more items to fill the whole page. The last item is to complete my list for work (but I'm not sharing that one here). I'll keep you posted on how I'm doing.