Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals for 2013

Happy New Year!

How are you spending the last evening of 2012? Husband has to work tonight (from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.), so we're doing a faux countdown at 10 p.m. before he goes to work. And I'll likely just watch tv, wish him a happy new year's over the phone at midnight and then head to bed!

I'm not a big fan of New Year's Eve (just another day in my books), and I also don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I don't like the idea that you should make a resolution on the first day of the year and try to stick to it. First off, if you want to change something about yourself, why wait until January 1st? And second, people tend to put a lot of pressure on their resolutions and expect things to change magically over night, but by February 1st, people crash and burn and go back to their old ways. It's a set up for failure, so I prefer to avoid New Year's resolutions.

However, I am a big fan of "to do" lists and goals!  So here are my ten goals for the new year!
  1. Save up enough money for the foundation work on the house (deadline mid-June)
  2. Paint the upstairs of the house (spare bedroom, office and hallway/staircase)
  3. Increase freelance income
  4. Get back to my wedding weight (deadline: May 1)
  5. Successfully complete my shopping fast
  6. Take French classes
  7. Read one book a month
  8. Learn to play tennis
  9. Try a new fitness class/activity
  10. Do something extra special for Husband once a month
Note: some of these goals are taken from my 40 Before 40 list.

Do you have any resolutions or goals for 2013?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

January goals

I rocked my December goals!
  • Finish Christmas shopping. DONE!
  • Decorate our house for the holidays. DONE! And I snagged some great Christmas stuff on sale after the holidays - some outdoor Christmas lights, a wreath for our front door, some cute little Christmas decor and ribbon garland for our tree.
  • Finish second freelance article. DONE!
  • Meet with lawyer to figure out the house stuff. DONE! 
  • Buy the paint! DONE!
  • Read Gone With the Wind. With 1,000 pages, I haven't finished, but I've started and am hooked!
  • Volunteer for two holiday charities. DONE! We volunteered for Operation Red Nose, which helps keep impaired drivers off the roads during the holidays, and delivered Christmas hampers to needy families. 
  • Enjoy the holidays! DONE! We had a nice Christmas! It was busy as always (three dinners, but they were at least spread out over three days). And the 12 Days of Christmas was a lot of fun! As much as I love Christmas though, I want to get away next year and just relax on a beach with Husband - no families, no obligations, no shopping - just us, the sun and a pina colada!
Here are my January goals. I'm hoping to start the new year on a great footing!
  • Stick to my diet. I was doing pretty good before the holidays, so I want to get back at it. Hoping to lose 5 pounds this month.
  • Put $500 towards our foundation savings goal. This will be on my list of goals for the next six months while we save for the big job.
  • Set up interview for my third freelance article.
  • Install new light in our master bedroom. We ordered a new light fixture, as the one that came with the house is a small chandelier that hangs right at the end of our bed and we're always running into it or knocking the beads off and it's driving us both nuts. Plus, it is very dim and casts almost no light.
  • Organize files and receipts. 
  • Paint one room. Doesn't matter which; I just want to get part of it done.
  • Start walking home from work again. I got off track last month - bad weather, I hurt my foot and it was a busy month which meant I was often rushing home from work. But I got some long underwear for Christmas and a new Lululemon top, so no more excuses!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 Days of Christmas

Husband and I had a ton of fun with our 12 Days of Christmas! Here is the final list of what we gave/received.

What I gave to Husband:

  1. One Home-cooked dinner (fettuccine alfredo with chicken). I don't cook, so this was a big hit!
  2. Shhhh! It's a secret.
  3. Three packs of Juicy Fruit gum (his favourite).
  4. Four litre jug of chocolate milk.
  5. Five passes to "get out of the doghouse free".
  6. Six socks (three pairs, six socks in total!).
  7. Seven kitty litter cleanings (this is one of Husband's chores, which I never do). 
  8. Eight ramekins.
  9. Nine mini Toblerone chocolates.
  10. Ten things I heart about you (post it notes/love notes around the house).
  11. Eleven dollar gift card to McDonald's
  12. Twelve months of Popular Science (subscription for the year).
What Husband gave to me:

  1. One ride home (I take the bus home or walk, depending on the weather, but he picked me up this day, which was very nice. I was grinning ear to ear for the last 45 minutes of work, after he phoned me to tell me I was getting picked up).
  2. Two homemade sushi roll.
  3. Three taxi vouches (i.e. I can use one if I want Husband to give me a ride somewhere - can you tell I hate driving?).
  4. Four pieces of French toast cut into the number 4.
  5. Shhhh! It's a secret.
  6. Six cute text messages throughout the day.
  7. Seven homemade muffins that had seven items baked in them (cashews, almonds, pine nuts, cranberries, apples and raisins).
  8. Crazy eights (he gave me a deck of cards and we played the game crazy eights that evening).
  9. Nine homemade granola bars.
  10. Ten dollars worth of scratch lottery tickets (and I didn't even win :( ).
  11. Eleven minute foot massage.
  12. Twelve roses!
You can definitely tell Husband loves to cook! And given how much he spent on my actual Christmas gifts, he kept most of his gifts to me homemade or cheap. We both had a lot of fun with this and I think it'll become a regular tradition each year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Santa was good to me!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We are going to our third and last Christmas outing today, but already Santa has been good to me!

Husband bought me a beautiful Pandora bracelet. I've been coveting one as I think it would be a great way to remember life events, trips or just general good times. I got the typical sterling silver bracelet, along with three charms to get me started:

A graduation cap, to honour me receiving my management certificate earlier this year:
Pandora Graduation Hat Dangle Charm

A cat to represent my fur babies:

And lastly, this gorgeous pillow with gold rings to signify our marriage:

He also bought me two spacers to keep the charms in place. They each have a ruby (my birthstone) inset in sterling silver with a nice etched design.

On top of that, he bought me a PS3 Move and a couple games! He went way over budget, but it's hard to get mad!

Yesterday evening we went to my sister's for Christmas dinner. The food was delicious (my mom's stuffing is the best!).

My sister and her wife bought me a couple of really funny cat books, including The Oatmeal's How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You and the movie Cinderella (my favourite Disney flick).

My mom bought me a new iPod nano in purple! My walks home will be so much better as my current iPod is quite old and the battery keeps dying quickly, especially in the cold.

In addition, she got me a cute bracelet, some more movies, a book, a yoga mat strap, a Lululemon headband and this beauty:

Lululemon's No Limits tank (in white, with a white and black striped sports bra).

We also had our Christmas with Husband's mom and brother on Christmas Eve. She bought us a CAA membership, which we will hopefully not have to use, but may come in handy. She also got me a scarf that will be returned (it's a hockey scarf and I don't watch hockey and I have a million scarves already :P). She's notoriously bad for buying bad gifts. But she did get me a cute pair of mismatched socks:

 My brother-in-law bought us a ton of solid tupperware (it was on our list and it's much needed/wanted) and a panini/sandwich maker. He also got me a gift card for the movies with orders not to go with Husband. :)

Tonight we're heading to Husband's dad's to celebrate with that side of the family.

After that, our Christmas festivities are over, but I'm on holidays until January 2nd! I'm hoping to get in some reading, cleaning and sleeping!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December goals update

Instead of Thursday's This & That, I thought I'd give an update on my December goals, which basically sums up what I've been doing lately anyway. 

I'm doing really well on my goals this month! I may even complete them all this month (if I can read fast enough!).
  • Finish Christmas shopping. Almost done! I thought I was done until I found out my brother-in-law is bringing his girlfriend to Christmas dinner. So, now I have to go find her something. Ugh! I'm thinking a simple (read: cheap) scarf.
  • Decorate our house for the holidays. DONE! Our house is very festive! We still have more house than we used to, so I want to buy some additional Christmas decor, but I'm going to wait until the post-holiday sales as it's not a must have. I'd like to get lights to put up outside (all we have our indoor lights), a wreath for the front door and just some general decor.
  • Finish second freelance article. DONE! I even got approval on it and sent it off to my editor already too - four months early! The first one is still pending approval from the subject, but I doubt I'll hear anything until the new year now. At least the bulk of the work is done.
  • Meet with lawyer to figure out the house stuff. DONE! The insurance company has denied our claim (which we knew about last month), but the lawyer has had more discussions with them and he thinks he may be able to fight them on their initial decision. He'd like us to hold off on doing anything re: the previous owners until everything with the insurance company is settled as it could impact their decision. So we continue to wait!
  • Buy the paint! DONE! Finally! We got white for the hallway/stairwell, a pale grey for the spare bedroom, along with a deep purple for an accent wall and then a steel blue for the office/Husband's cave.
  • Read Gone With the Wind. I started reading it last night! Not sure if I'll finish as it's almost 1,000 pages, but hopefully I can put a dent in it during my time off work.
  • Volunteer for two holiday charities. Husband and I, along with my sister, volunteered for Operation Red Nose, which helps keep impaired drivers off the roads during the holidays. This weekend, we're planning to deliver Christmas hampers.
  • Enjoy the holidays! So far, so good! Husband and I are really enjoying our 12 Days of Christmas! More on that later!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

For the person who has everything

Everyone has one of those people on their list... that person who is impossible to shop for, seems to have everything he/she wants and can't give you any gift ideas other than gift cards or something very expensive. That person for me is my father-in-law.

After peppering Husband's stepmom with questions, harassing my siblings-in-law with various ideas that never panned out and throwing in the towel several times, telling Husband to worry about this himself, I finally found the perfect gift... a powerbag!
(Note: I am not paid to endorse this product. I found this item through good ol' google searches and reading articles and I just love the product!). 

A powerbag has a complete charging system inside, so all you have to do is charge the bag when you're home or around electricity, and then, when you're on the go and can't charge your smart phone, tablet, e-reader or laptop, the bag does it for you! It's the perfect gift for a student, business professional who is on the road a lot, a techie, or someone who loves to travel (like my father-in-law). The powerbag comes in either backpack or sling style, a messenger bag or briefcase. Prices range from $139.99 US to $249.99. We opted for a backpack style and split the cost with my brother-in-law so the price fit our budget.

My father and mother-in-law are going on a trip to Spain in the new year and this is perfect for their trip. Between the two of them, they have a tablet, a smart phone and two e-readers and this will carry and charge all four at once.

I'm really excited for him to get this bag on Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

What are you….

I just finished the last book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I had to know what all the hype was about... and I'm still wondering what it is... :P  Next on my list is Gone With the Wind.

I love crappy made-for-tv Christmas movies, so those are filling up our PVR at the moment.

Listening to?
Husband is watching football.

Candy Corn Bark, but using Reindeer Treats (the Christmas version of candy corn). My selected person for Secret Santa loves candy corn, so I figured this would be a great gift idea.

Happy you accomplished this last week?
I finally figured out what to buy my father-in-law and am now done Christmas shopping!

Looking forward to this week?
A much-needed haircut. I haven't had my hair cut since August!

Thankful for today?
My work may be going on strike sometime in the new year. While discussing this and what we would still need to pay for vs. what we can stop payment for (or just pay interest) with my mother-in-law #2 (Husband's stepmom)she said they could help us with buying food. I hope it won't come to that, but it's nice to that would help us if needed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday's This & That

  • My little girl had her surgery on Tuesday. She's doing well, even though she has to wear a cone for two weeks! She's like Houdini with a tail though and she can get out of it far too easily. We should have the test results in a few days (a week from the surgery date). Keep your fingers crossed that the tumor is benign!
  • Tomorrow I am spending the day at the spa! I'm so freakin' excited! A girlfriend is coming in from out-of-town and we're going out for lunch, then to the spa for a facial, body polish, manicure, and some down time in their mineral pool. Money is tight right now with Christmas, cat bills and house stuff, but with everything that's gone down in the past couple of months, I need this day and Husband agrees. 
  • Husband and my sister and I volunteered for Operation Red Nose this past weekend. It's a service that drives drunk people home in their car. It was really busy - we did 6 rides (about 10 people) and got to spend some time together, which was nice.
  • I am done my Christmas shopping! Stockings and all! 
  • I am re-watching an old show called Breaker High with a very young Ryan Gosling. Did anyone else watch this way back when? I loved the show when it was first on and it's a great blast from the past!
  • Our car battery keeps on dying. It's happened twice in the last couple of weeks. We're taking it in on Friday morning to see what the problem is. Thankfully the car is under warranty, but if we need a new battery, that wouldn't be covered. 
  • Today is the 1st day of Christmas! I am making Husband fettuccine alfredo with chicken. I don't cook and I hate looking at or touching raw meat, so this is a big deal!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

40 Before 40

I am a total nerd when it comes to "to do" lists. I have them littered around the house and on my desk at work. I will even email myself things to add to my lists so I don't forget! So, it comes as no shock that I wanted to write a 40 Before 40 list of things that I want to accomplish before my 40th birthday. It seems like a long way off right now (I'm 31), but better to start now so I have more time to accomplish everything! Without further adieu, here is my list:

40 Before 40
  1. Pay off debt
  2. Pay off car
  3. Learn to cook a few simple meals
  4. Learn to sew
  5. Go on a road trip
  6. Go to Las Vegas
  7. Go to Temple Gardens (the world famous spa in Moose Jaw) 
  8. Donate money to the Winnipeg Humane Society
  9. Improve my French
  10. Go to Europe
  11. Caribbean vacation with Husband
  12. Fix foundation of house
  13. Fix roof of house
  14. Go to the Maritimes
  15. Paint the house
  16. Go to Pittsburgh
  17. Replace light in master bedroom
  18. Go camping with Husband
  19. Hot air balloon ride
  20. Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
  21. Walk across the Brooklynn Bridge
  22. Go zip lining
  23. Swim with dolphins
  24. Take a belly dancing class
  25. Learn to ice skate
  26. Go on a girl’s weekend/trip
  27. Write a will
  28. Horseback riding on the beach
  29. Get re-trained in CPR and first aid
  30. Read 10 classic books
  31. See 10 classic movies
  32. Have $10,000 in an emergency fund
  33. Own a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s
  34. Read the Bible
  35. Learn to play tennis
  36. Go without tv for one week
  37. Write a letter to Husband for him to read on his 40th birthday
  38. Organize my closet
  39. Send flowers to someone just because
  40. Do something that isn’t on the list, but should be
Does anyone else have a goals list for a big milestone birthday?

Friday, December 7, 2012

12 Days of Christmas

Husband and I are going to be celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas this year! I saw the idea on Pinterest (where I find everything these days) and I immediately wanted to do it. It's a very simple concept, but I think it'll be tons of fun!

December 13th (12 days before Christmas), is day one, so you give one present. The second day, you give two presents that are identical, third day three identical presents and so on. So by the time you get to December 24th, you give 12 presents of the same item. As we're not doing this in lieu of Christmas, we said the 12 Days of Christmas would be inexpensive or free items, so just coming up with the ideas is fun!

Here are a few of my presents for Husband:

Day 1 - a home-cooked meal for him (I never cook or if I do, it only involves boiling water or heating up, so this is indeed a present to him.)
Day 2 - two coupons for "Get out of the doghouse for free"
Day 3 - pack of Juicy Fruit gums (3 in a pack)
Day 6 - three pairs of socks (six socks all together!)
Day 10 - 10 Things I Heart About You (little love notes or post-its around the house)
Day 12 - subscription to Popular Science (12 months of the magazine! This is a bit more expensive, but as it's Christmas Eve, I'm counting this as a regular Christmas gift.)

Does anyone else do something beyond just giving gifts on Christmas?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday's This & That

  • We have bought paint! Success! For the spare bedroom, we got a light grey and a deep eggplant purple for an accent wall. For the office (a.k.a. Husband's man cave), a dark steel blue. Painting won't happen anytime this month, but I'm excited we at least have this done and it's a step in the right direction.
  • We met with the lawyer. I'll post a full update on what's happening in another post. 
  • We put up our Christmas tree and decorated it for the first time! Last year we bought the tree and put it up sans light or decorations, just to see how the fur babies would react (I was worried they would climb up the tree and it would fall over). This year we put lights and ornaments on, and we also decorated our stairwell and I love it! I'll post pictures soon!
  • I am so close to begin done Christmas shopping. Only a couple more gifts to pick up and I know what we're getting them, so I just have to get it!
  • My diet is failing miserably this month.I don't know why I even try to eat healthy in December.
  • I have an appointment for my free microdermabrasion this weekend (see this article for more details).
  • My little girl fur baby has to have surgery next week! We took her in as we thought she had allergies, but it turns out she has a mast cell tumor, which releases histamines and causes an allergic reaction. The vet has to remove the tumor and then run tests on it to see how far along it is. It's small though, so I'm hoping it's as simple as removing it. Apparently in dogs it is more aggressive and often requires chemotherapy, but not usually in cats. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012