Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review of Freedom Filer

For this months goal, I wanted to improve our paper system.  Our current system was not working, as there were always piles of paper around the house, I could never seem to find what I needed.  To start the year off right, I had been researching file systems online and came across Freedom Filer on Unclutterer's website.  The price of the system was a little steep at $42, for labels....but after reading multiple good reviews, I decided to take the plunge.

I was able to set up my files in less than 2 hours, and was amazed at how easy it was to learn the system.  Within another 2 hours, I had sorted thru all our documents.  It was great to see 4 garbage bags of paper we no longer had to keep, and everything we needed, fit nicely into 2 file bins.  I also set up an active set of files in our kitchen to aid the reception station as mail comes in the door.  I am so amazed at how clean my house looks now, that there is no longer piles of paper cluttering the space.  The best part of the system, it is a self purging system.  So never again will we have to sit for 4 hours sorting thru all of our documents.  If you are looking into an organization for your paper documents, I would highly recommend this one.

Monday, January 16, 2012

John Deere Green

We are on a smoothie kick and I thought I would share. It turned out really good and super healthy:) We named it John Deere Green.....aka the green tractor. :) 1/2 lemon, peeled 1/2 cup parsley 2 handfuls of spinach 1 piece (1/2 inch) ginger, peeled 1 cucumber, peeled 2 apples 1 stalk celery 3 leaves kale 1/2 cup water 1 cup ice Blend until mixed. Serves 2 ...... enjoy:)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tangible Ambitions 2012

After reviewing my goals for 2011, I realized I was trying to do too much.  This year, I hope to scale it down a notch, keep it realistic, and allow myself to enjoy things a little more.  Instead of having 20 goals like last year, I'm keeping it to 12. And focus on one goal each month.  Some of them will overlap, but hopefully this will make me a little more successful in completing the goals for the year.

1.  Organize a file system, backup/scan important documents (January)
2.  Declutter Basement: donate/sell unused items, purge and keep it that way (March)
3.  Organize Photo System and update Scrapbooks (March)
4.  Learn and Explore US history. Complete the Freedom trail, Visit DC (April)
5.  Reconnect with nature: Plant a garden, landscape around the house, start composting (May)
6.  CSA Goal: To preserve more and waste less (June, July, August)
7.  Take a photography class (September)
8.  Finish Christmas shopping (October)
9.  Be Thankful.  Donate to a local charity. (November)
10.  Enjoy the Holiday Season. (December)
11.  Complete 3 Quilts this year (High School Tshirt, ISU Quilt, and Joanna's Quilt) (ongoing)
12.  Read 2 books a month (22/24 read.)

2011 Goal Review

Below were my goals for 2011.  Although I didn't meet every goal, I think we made some good progress in the right direction.  

1. Each Sunday plan meals for week and stock up.  Completed most weeks. 
2. Each weeknight pack lunch for next day during supper to minimize stress in morning.  Routine was established, spent less lunch money from previous year. 
3. Make Christmas gifts though out the year.  Could have been improved, Although I knew what I was making from early on for each gift, it was down to crunch time in November and December. My wrists and elbows were sore for 2 weeks after Christmas from all the sewing.  
4. Make 2 quilts. Completed!  I made a baby quilt for my 4 month old Niece, and a Tshirt Quilt for my husband. 
5. Pay ourselves first: continue vacation fund, and continue to save 20 percent each month.  We did better this year, but def. need to revise and improve. 
6. Make an interesting treat each month.  Completed for the most part.  With the CSA membership, that forced us to try new recipes, cook with different food we normally didn't buy. Our favorite new recipes included stuffed egg plant, roasted vegi's, quiche.  
7.  Go on a date with Jon twice a month. We def. improved this and prioritized "our time" more this year. We had a lot of "running" dates, we did a lot of cooking together, trivia nights, movie nights, etc.  
8. Give back, donate to 2 worthy causes.  We sponsored a family during Xmas and purchased gifts for the children.  We also donated to CHAD.  
9. Expand the garden and landscaping. We put in a new driveway and sidewalks.  Mulched and planted "charlie" an asian maple wood tree. We nicknamed him charlie, because he's a little small right now:) 
10. Join a Community Supported Agriculture to support local farmers and increase our fruit and vegetable intake (Farmer Dave's).  Joining the CSA def. improved our meals and forced us to eat healthier.  We did utilize the food for the most part, and preserved a few things I knew we wouldn't eat in time.  Our thanksgiving meal was one of the best because of the CSA.  This year, I plan to improve and waste less.  Our new purchase of the Vitamix will hopefully help us minimize waste and help us preserve more, eat more things we normally wouldn't.  
11. Connect with friends weekly.  I think a little better, but as always this could improve. 
12. Finish the wedding scrapbook. This will go on the priority list for next year! didn't even touch it! but hopefully will be completed by our 5th year anniversary:) 
13. Declutter the basement and keep it that way! (In progress) Not enough to check off.  This is also the priority for the next year.  
14. Go on a vacation with Jon and Brady.  We spent a week at the beach in July, also went to Quebec City, Savannah, and Iowa. 
15. Make homemade bread.  This will move to next years list as well. 
16. Get Brady pet therapy certified. I realized early on this would be a huge undertaking.
17. Read two books a month. Failed. I read a total of 6 books last year:( So hopefully this year I will at least double. 
18. Explore the Freedom Trail in it's entirety. partly completed. 
19. Simplify our home so there aren’t any random homeless items and everything looks neat and tidy. Some improvement. See Gaols for 2012 for plan of action. 
20. Play the Piano.  Not so much. Played 2-3 times.  Would like to take some lessons again. 

Overall I think I had too many goals, and not enough time.  

Doll Clothes

For my very special niece, I decided to make a few outfits for her American Girl Doll for Christmas.  I scored some 18 inch doll patterns at Joann's, 5 for $5 and got to work. I also had been collecting bargain fabric, remnants at Joann's throughout the year for this specific project.   I decided I should make Alexa a matching dress as well.  I love the pillow case dress for little girls, and it's so easy to make. I also used my Serger Machine for the hems, which worked great.  Hopefully as my sewing skills get better I can move along to more complicated patterns.  

Here are the patterns I used for the dresses and apron:
Pillow Case Dress, Size 6: Simplicity2391
18inch Doll Dress: Simplicity 7083 **
18 inch Doll Dress, Pillow Case: Simplicity 2302
18 inch Apron: Simplicity 2761

** This dress took some time, so allow accordingly and plan to "step away" to destress!  

I think she enjoyed them! What do you think?