August 3 2017

Back To School $ Savers

When the month of July comes to an end, it can only mean one thing. It is time to take advantage of all those great back to school sales. Now, some of you may be saying to yourself that you don’t have school age children. That’s fine. There are some really great deals to be had if you watch the ads. We used to buy the limit when we found ten cent spiral notebooks or fifty cent filler paper and composition notebooks.

Glue is another one of those things they like to put on ridiculously low sales. I thought we would never use those four bottles of Elmer’s Glue All that I had gotten super cheap, but then a project would come up where paper mache was called for and then it was the glue to the rescue. You’ll be happy to shop from your personal stash of supplies that you got for pennies on the dollar instead of full price at the grocery or drug store in the middle of the night when your child comes to you in a panic because the project is due tomorrow and they forgot all about it until they were almost asleep.

So my friend, even if you really don’t see yourself using these supplies, consider getting the super cheap ones and donate them to the local elementary school. There will always be students who don’t have the proper supplies and these often end up being purchased by the underpaid teacher. Often times an organization will put together themed baskets for a fundraiser silent auction. There is almost always a basket of school supplies. You can also make a coloring basket with twenty-five cent sale boxes of crayons and dollar store coloring books. The same idea can work with colored pencils and adult coloring books. Perhaps some erasable ink pens and crossword puzzle books would make another nice basket. A nursing home might have some residents who would love to have coloring books and crayons in the activities room for the residents to use. A homeless shelter would most likely be happy to take those unused school supplies off your hands. You may have to think outside the crayon box, but I’m quite sure you will be able to either put the supplies to use in your home or office and if not, then there are countless numbers of places that would be happy to have your few dollars worth of supplies.

Once school is in full swing, maybe September or October, keep your eyes open for clearance sales. We have gotten some wire shelves meant for inside school lockers, notebooks, binders, label makers and all sorts of great stuff that rarely goes on those super low sales at unheard of prices. Many of the things you might use to decorate a dorm room or send your college student off with will be on sale then too. Think about things like twin sized sheet sets, blankets, organizing bins, cork and dry erase boards and that sort of thing. Not typical school supplies, but very useful in many places that are not college dorm rooms or student apartments.

So, have I gotten you motivated to at least look at the sales flyers with a more careful eye to savings even if you don’t have students at your house?

Feel free to tell us about the best deals you have found on “school supplies” in the comments below.

July 27 2017

My Secrets to a Long Happy Marriage

Yesterday was mine and Hubby’s wedding anniversary. We celebrate being married for 31 years by going out to eat. Now some of you may wonder what it takes to stay married to the same person for so many years. I’m not sure IU am an expert or anything, but I will share some of my thoughts on what makes our marriage work or what makes it different from the relationships of many of the younger set I have met.

When we got married in 1986, we had known each other for almost four years and dated each other exclusively for the entire time. It might be of note that when we met, I was sixteen and hubby was nineteen. No, we weren’t high school sweethearts. I was still in high school, but hubby was in college. Back in those days, education was the top priority for both of us, so much of the time we spent together was spent doing our homework. Some of the time was spent in my family’s home and some was spent in hubby’s family’s home. On the days we didn’t see each other, we often talked on the phone. Now mind you, this was well before the cell phone and pager days, heck it was even before the cordless phone days. If you wanted privacy while you were on the phone, you better hope you were home alone.

Hubby used to be a bug man when I first met him. While I was at marching band practice during the summer or after school, he would often stop by and sit on the sidelines and watch us practice. Since he was supposed to be working and was really just on his way from one place to another, it was understood that he couldn’t stay long, but it meant a lot that he went out of his way to stop by and watch for a few minutes once in a while. He would also come to all of my performances and often pitched in to help move band equipment and his help was greatly appreciated by the other band supporters.

Because he was three years older than me, both our mothers were concerned about him being a bad influence on me. I was afraid one set of parents or the other would object and tell us we couldn’t see each other anymore, so I made sure that my grades were as high as possible. All the homework time paid off because My semester grades for the last two years of high school were straight A’s. Nobody was going to use my grades as a reason for us to stop dating. Apparently, hubby had not been one to do much homework before he met me, so the fact that we spent so much time doing homework must have improved his grades some too. Hubby and his parents came to my high school graduation. Because of hubby’s influence, I graduated 8th in my class from high school. Continue reading

July 13 2017

2nd Quarter Goal Check-in

Way back in January, I shared my 2017 SMART Goals. Half the year is gone and it is time to see how I am doing on those goals. In the past, I have made goals, written them down, shared them with a group, and then forgotten all about them until the end of the year when it was time to make new goals for the coming year.

That system wasn’t working for me at all. Then only goals I got done were the ones that were accidental, never because I planned to get them done. Usually, when I found the list again, I was pleasantly surprised if I managed to get any of my goals accomplished. This year, I am trying something different and if you are reading this, I could really use your help. I need you to ask me about my goals and check in with me from time to time to see if I am getting them done. This is the piece that was missing in the past.

Here are the goals I set at the beginning of the year:

FAMILY FUN GOALS: (2/3)
1) Do a cabin weekend DONE!
2) April trip DONE!
3) Annual Hockey Trip for the kids’ birthdays (not scheduled yet)

FITNESS GOALS: (meh, but ongoing)
1) Get 6 hours of sleep a night (85/181 = 47%)
2) Drink 6 cups of water a day (142/181 = 78%)
3) Continue using MyFitnessPal app (180 day streak!)

HOUSE GOALS: (1/3)
1) Clean out my home office (Real progress on the parts that show)
2) Declutter the landing DONE!
3) Declutter my clothes (1st pass done)

PERSONAL GOALS: (1/3)
1) Do some genealogy (Does tidying up the paper files count?)
2) Take three writing classes DONE! (6 so far)
3) Read for thirty minutes a day (Consistent)  (47 books so far)

SPIRITUAL/CHARITY GOALS: (1/3)
1) Pray daily (Consistent & Constant)
2) Read 15 inspirational fiction books (9/15)
3) Crochet 26 hats to donate to charity DONE as of 7/8! Do you want to see photos?

WRITING GOALS: (ongoing)
1) Finish one of my previous NaNoWriMo novels (working on edits and revisions again during July)
2) Publish something (see writing goal #1 above)
3) Participate in NaNoWriMo (and hopefully win again)

OK, I know I am making progress. I have finished 5 out of the 18 goals I set! Two of those not done are not able to be done until a future date. Five goals are ongoing and cannot really be considered done as long as there are still days left in the year.

Editing and revisions to my 2016 NaNo Novel continue to be more difficult than I expected. The writing goals have proven to be much more difficult for me to feel like I am making progress on. I should have made a writing goal to write at least one blog post a week or 52 posts in the year would have been better. Becoming a year-round writer was one of my goals for 2014, 2015 and 2016. It took a long time and a concerted effort, but I am finally considering myself a year-round writer thanks to this blog. It gives me a reason to write and a place to post and the feeling of accountability and accomplishment.

I think the crochet goals was easily accomplished because it was reasonable. I think I made 30 hats last year and knew my carpel tunnel is getting worse, so I thought I would back off what I knew I had done last year. I chose 26 because making a hat every other week seemed completely doable. The reason for the early success is because we took driving trips over new years weekend and the trip in April, both of these gave me hours of riding in a car with hubby driving. I have discovered that keeping myself occupied while hubby drives keeps me from gasping in fear while he drives so I get a lot of crocheting done and even some reading. The reading goal is helped along because I take my nook with me to work each day and read for the 30-minute lunch break. It also comes along when we go to restaurants and on all trips. The best part about reading on my nook is that every book can be read with a large font if my eyes are tired and I can even read in the dark.

How are you doing on your goals for 2017? What have you learned about goal setting? I learned that I need to set more measurable goals and goals that are not ongoing. Those ongoing goals are nice enough, but unless you do them every day for the whole year you feel like you failed at least a little.

May 14 2017

Weekly Bullet Journal Spreads

It is time to share more of my Bullet Journal with all of you. Currently, I am about to finish with Week 19 in my bullet journal. I have learned a few things about what does and doesn’t work for me in the 18 weeks I have completed so far. The biggest thing I learned was what size boxes work for me. In the January Flip Through, you will notice there were only 2 weeks where I used the narrower boxes for each day in my weekly spread. Well, in truth, I knew after the first week I didn’t like that narrow size, but when I was drawing out week 2, I messed up and drew the skinny boxes before I caught myself, so I suffered through a second week with them. You will notice some subtle changes from week to week in the photos below, but the box layout is very consistent. I keep it that way because it works. Some days you will notice not much gets written in, while other days are pretty jam-packed.

Week 7 was the first week I tried using stickers to determine the theme. These are free stickers, recycled by cutting them off the free address labels that seem to show up from time to time in my mailbox. I never could use up all the addresses but the stickers to the left seemed too nice to throw away. So I have long made a habit of cutting them off and saving them. The hearts seemed like an obvious choice for the week. Continue reading

May 7 2017

Busy as a Bee

Do you ever find yourself flitting around from one thing to the next, always busy but rarely finishing anything completely? Yeah, me too. We find so many things to do that we are constantly busy. We find ourselves working on first one task then another task pushes in and interrupts us, so we try to give the new task some attention. Before either of the tasks can be given enough time and attention to get them completed, we find something else that demands our time.

Have you ever watched bees flying around? They seem fairly focused most of the time and if something chases them off task, they come right back to it. I recently found the time to sit still and just watch the bees around the cabin we stayed in for a week. I found myself fascinated and almost mesmerized by them. I decided to try to take some video of them. I was shocked that I didn’t mind having them fly around because I am usually afraid of bees because I am allergic to bee stings. These bees didn’t seem scary at all. They rarely came near me, but always seems to be plentiful around the exterior of the cabin.

Continue reading