Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014 Goals

I won't call them resolutions, cause people hardly ever keep their resolutions

Let me start by saying I'm feeling much better than I was this time last year.  Last year we were in dire straits financially.  This year we're much better off.  We have been paying off credit cards monthly, are poised to pay off our 401k loan in the first quarter of 2014, just refinanced our mortgage (which will save us $1000 a month), and recently received a nice windfall to finally have a substantial emergency fund.  Knowing all this was going to be happening, we had a very nice Christmas.  Everyone got what they wanted (and more).  While Christmas isn't all about the presents, it did feel good to be able to splurge without having to worry about how I was going to pay the bills.  Whatever is left in our account when payday kicks in tomorrow will go into savings as well.

So here are my goals
My plan this year is to use our checking account only for budgeted expenses. Any fun expenses come out of savings.  I have two accounts set up already.  One will be the emergency fund (equal to 2 months of all expenses to cover emergency house stuff or any other unforeseen circumstances.  That account will be replenished with each quarterly bonus check), and another for fun stuff - vacations/ classes for kids/ birthdays/ going out /clothes shopping / big decorating expenses.  Those are all the things that killed me in the past, budget wise.  So I am taking them out of the monthly budget and will deal with those expenses separately as they come up.  

To keep us in this good situation, I plan to keep up to date with our budget, by using mint.  I know I've said that in the past but always got so depressed as we were over budget every month.  Now that we have more wiggle room, I will make it work.  

Contribute quarterly to 529s

As I write this I am 3 miles shy of my goal for the year of running 400 miles.  I plan on hitting the treadmill for those last few tomorrow.  Next year, I am going for 500 and plan to average a race a month (various distances but I would like to do another half).  It's hard to find winter races in Chicago so I may supplement with some virtuals to keep me motivated, and double or triple up in the summer months.  

Come up with a new weekly project list.  I did this two years ago, and got a lot accomplished.  This past year I didn't do it, and it shows.  I've already come up with a long list, I just need to figure out what to do when.  When you break it up one week at a time, it's a lot more manageable.

Along with the weekly list, I plan on setting goals for the month.  This could be bigger projects (like redoing a whole room), mileage or anything season specific

Make a cleaning schedule and stick to it. I came up with one last month and it worked pretty well until Christmas shopping got in the way.  Breaking it down to certain rooms on certain days will make it doable. 

So that's the plan.  I know I can do it, and I want to - the keys to making anything a success.  I may not be blogging as much but that means I'm doing something more important for me and or my family.  

Christmas Wrapup

If you think I disappeared, I didn't.  I just got caught in real life - in a good way, no new family drama.  We were able to give our kids a good Christmas this year (not that they've ever thought they didn't get a good Christmas)

My husband was on call Christmas Eve so we had a regular dinner that night and our Christmas dinner on Christmas Day.  He got called in at 4am but luckily was home before the kids woke up so despite being tired he didn't miss any of the fun.

My daughters fell in love with my old dollhouse when we were visiting my parents and since it was impossible to bring it across the pond, I decided to build them one of their own.  They will have to share it, they won't each get their own.  It still has a bit of work to go, but after all my evenings and doing some stuff during the day, this is how it looked Christmas morning.  I had taken a big risk as I told Little Man I was working on it, so I'd be able to work on it when he was home from school but they weren't.  Amazingly not only did he never spill the beans, but he stopped Little Reader from going in to our storage room one day when she was looking for something, with a very vague, "there are probably presents in there and you don't want to ruin the surprise". 

The outside will have railings along the two porches and the inside will have dividers on each floor to break up the rooms.  I wanted to wait to place the dividers until we actually are ready to decorate.  I figure it'll be easier to wallpaper/carpet etc, that way.  

There is a miniature fair coming up here next weekend and I am planning on taking them to that to get some ideas for decorating and hopefully find a better family than I have found on line.  

Along with the house they got tons of Legos and my daughters got a bunch of American Girl stuff (including new dolls from Santa).  Little Man also got Legos and a bunch of Superhero stuff including a Bat Cave and a remote control car from Santa.  

My husband and I bought a new iMac to replace our antiquated PC, and a few other things for each other.  This was the first time my husband actually took time to write a list so I did my best to get him everything on it.

He surprised me with tickets to the Hawks game on the 27th where they destroyed the Avs 7-2.  Coincidentally it was Sharpy's birthday and he scored a goal at 12:27, another at 27 seconds into the second period and a third for a hat trick.  Quite a birthday if you ask me.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sweet Child of Mine

Last night as the kids were getting ready for bed, Little Hugger was checking to make sure her clock radio was set and GNR's Sweet Child of Mine was on.  Little Reader started singing along and said, " I don't know why, but I have always liked this song"
Me: Probably cause I used to sing it to you as a lullaby
Her: What?  It's not a lullaby.
Me:  Maybe not with the guitar and Axl Rose singing, but a cappella it can be
She looks at me like I'm crazy, so I start singing my slowed down version, and she agrees

She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that
special place
And if I stared too long
I'd probably break down and cry

Sweet child o' mine
Sweet love of mine

She's got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain
Her hair reminds me
of a warm safe place
Where as a child I'd hide
And pray for the thunder
And the rain
To quietly pass me by

Sweet child o' mine
Sweet love of mine