Monday, December 31, 2007

Weekly Accomplishments

This week I actually accomplished things! I am so proud of myself! On Thursday I went grocery shopping with my Sister in-law and bought a bunch of staples that I have been needing to stock up on. I had a list, but didn't take any coupons. Honestly, nothing really had coupons and then only impulses were 2 tubs of sprinkles for $0.60 each. I also stayed withing my $50 weekly budget and S is on board to help me keep on track! Yeah!

S and I spent all day Friday cleaning our entire house! I was amazing! My in-laws still had our dogs from our Christmas trip and were bringing them back Friday night so we used the dog-free time to super clean! S was so great- he asked me where things when, put a hook in the wall for my bike to hang up and even organized the entertainment center and vacuumed the living room. To make things even better he made the bed with out me asking for most of the last few days!

C-dog actuality got a bath! S bathed her Friday night when she came home. It seems that she may have brought fleas home from her grandma's house (yeah). So step one was bathing her- no I have to begin the vacuum and spray process of every single cloth area of our house. Unfortunately this is not the first time we have had this problem!

Well I must now get ready for our New Years Eve trip! Yeah for packing and cleaning!

Happy New Years!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our 2008 Goals

Well I guess it is really more of a 2021 goal.

S and I have been talking a lot about money. He likes to make fun of my obsession with personal finance blogs and how I talk about what everyone did this week and how that has inspired me to do things in my own life. We have been working on starting out savings and preparing for the onslaught of school loan repayments to start early in 2009. It also looks like we are going to need probably buy a new car for me around the same time. My Rodeo is not doing well and we don’t thing it will last another year.

I have been trying to spur on motivation for savings and future planning and thing I have finally done it. I pulled out the magic word- “Millionaire”! Why this word sparks a light in everyone I am not sure, but it did work well for me! I figure that if I get us to start early enough we will be able to prepare for many things that catch others off guard in life (babies, medical bills, college expenses, etc.).

So I pulled out the GMAC calculator and started paling with numbers. S is 26 years old this year. I thought that I might motivate him by trying and finding an age for us to shoot for. Well, we started with him being 40- that’s 14 years away (In 2021). Sometime last month we started calculating our estimated expenses for after we graduate (may) and move (hopefully to Denver) sometime next summer. We came up with a base of $2,500. I am sure that we could make that number much smaller- but that is what we are thinking based on what we spend now, and the things we don’t pay for now, such as rent.

I started with a conservative 4.50% high yield interest rate started working the numbers to make it hit as close to $1,000,000. I hit the number of $4,266 a month (starting with $1,000 initial investment). Well, added together that is about $6,766 a month. Multiplied by 12 months that becomes over $81,000 a year combined income for S and I. A little ambitious I would say for starting out, but maybe realistic in 10 years of so.

Then I started playing more with the numbers and started using a very generous 10% annual rate of return. Using the calculator I figured that we need to save $2,735 a month, compounded quarterly (starting with $1,000). That is a little more comfortable. That makes monthly income requirement $5,235, and annual combined income of around $62,000. That is more like a stretch goal for two just out of college kids.

I am very excited to start 2008 and continue with my newly started $500 a month savings goal (account already set up) for our move and expenses starting this summer!

Lists of Lists

My original name for this blog was going to be Lists of Lists, but that was taken. One of my ideas was to just blog lists. I think this is going to become a main feature of the blog for a while- along with updates on the progress of procrastination and daily antidotes. I have finally recovered from finals and began to work out again (more on that later) and just feel back to normal.

So her is my current list!

Things I want to do SOON
  1. Actually clean the house
  2. Clean out the truck
  3. Change oil and filter on Rodeo
  4. Finish wrapping Christmas presents
  5. Start going through the 9 boxes of stuff in the extra room
  6. Find a good vegan brownie recipe (on failed attempt down)
  7. Try and make homemade dog treats
  8. Master "Fantasy Fudge" (recipe found on Jet-Puff Marshmallow Cream jar)
Well tomorrow is going to be a crazy day getting ready for travel on Sunday, but I think with a good list and something yummy baking in the oven I will do good. I am really hoping to impress my family with the dog treats so we will see how that goes. I even bought a little heart cookie cutter for $0.36 at Hobby Lobby today! I am pretty excited!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Taming the Budget

Finals are officially over. I took my last one this morning and my theater class loved the cupcakes that I took. They deemed the confetti ones the best ones I have ever made!

Unfortunately, that means that my week of no cooking is also officially over. This is our first semester, and therefore our first finals week of being married. I am by no means the traditional wife, and my husband the traditional husband. We work together as a team and for the most part I don't cook. I have just now began to bake and am loving every minuet of it! S and I have an agreement that S does most of the cooking and I do most the cleaning. These are not set in stone, as sometimes I do cook easy things such as microwavable things and a few recipes that I have mastered. Ohh- new post idea!

The whole "we don't cook during finals" started when S and I got engaged. I called one of my the "friends" and she just couldn't believe it! How was I going to juggle classes and coming home to cook dinner? Are you kidding me! Why would I ever worry about that? That girl and I are no longer friends (She got married a month after she graduated last year in one of the ugliest and waste of money weddings I have ever seen! Ohh revenge is sweet!!!)

So now the challenge is to keep on financial track by saving money and eating at home. Lunches should be pretty easy because I will be home most days and S gets free lunch on days he works at the bike store.

My plan is to stay on a $50 week grocery budget through the end of January. This will be our first real experiment with a good budget. All of our bills stay the same every month, and so does S's GI Bill and Marine College Fund check, so our spending and income is pretty predictable, but I am budgeting to try and spend less. We are about to start a savings plan in preparation for our graduations and moving this summer!

Ok- So now a list!

Things we can make from the food in my house
  1. Various pasta dishes
  2. Pizza
  3. Veggie Stir-fry
  4. Bean Burritos
  5. Waffles
  6. PB&J, PB&Honey, and Fluffernutter sandwiches
  7. 6 can soup
  8. Veggie noodle soup
Thats all I can think of the moment, but I haven't gone through the pantry before me weekly grocery shopping trip.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


My Small Obsession.

It all started with this book I found on called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule. I added it to my Amazon Wedding Registry (great invention). One of my bridesmaids, B, has been very supportive in our vegetarian pursuit and realized that I was getting fairly good at baking- so she gave it to us as a wedding present. She even read the intro to the book and their suggestions for supplies and bought us the cupcake pan they recommend as well as some fun papers and decorating kit! So far I estimate that since the first of September I have baked 300 cupcakes (S says thats a little overkill).

Well she is graduating on Saturday so she came out to our house today and we baked 4 dozen!

I think I like baking, and cupcakes because they are instant gratification. If you do it right you will know if 18-22 min. And as selfish as this is- I like the praise that others give me when I bake for them.

I have realized in my marriage and in relationships in general that if you want something, you should be giving it first.

For example, birthdays have always been a big deal in my family growing up- actually we got a whole birthday week where we decide what we do, get little surprises, and on our birthday everything we eat we get candles in! Therefore if I want people to pay attention to my birthday, then I need to pay attention to theirs!!!

So today we made some tried and true recipes, and some experimental recipes.

This semester I have been taking in cupcakes and cookies for my theater class. Basically it is a blow off freshman class that I just skipped, so now I am taking it as a senior. I guess I might have been scared that they wouldn't like me, so I started bringing in treats. Tomorrow is our exam and they were very eger to know what I would bring. One of my friends asked if I could make confetti cupcakes (the ones where you add sprinkles). So I found these great Wilson red and green Christmas dot sprinkles. They worked great! I just added them to my "Golden Vanilla" recipe right before I poured the batter. I thought for balance I would also take my favorite double-chocolate ones. I just make the basic chocolate recipe and add as many chocolate chips as I deem fit.

For B's graduation we decided we must have cupcakes also. You know red velvet cake? Well we thought we could just alter the color and make them orange velvet! Funny thing seeing as how velvet cake actually has cocoa in it (two tablespoons for one dozen cupakes), its kinda hard to cover up with orange. But we tried. We added a whole bunch of jell orange food coloring, and then for good measure added a package of yellow and a package of red. Nope, no covering of the cocoa. We baked them and they didn't really set up right- too much food coloring? So after much discussion we made Golden Vanilla and added a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of orange jell coloring. They are beautiful! But it kinda confuses your brain because there is no orange flavor in them. I guess that is my next experiment!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Finals Update

2 down. 2 to go.

I had my management final yesterday. I finally started studying Monday morning. I studied almost the whole day with breaks to watch episodes of Heros and to eat. (S cooked the most amazing Eggplant Parmesan for dinner!)

I didn't wake up as early as planned yesterday morning. The alarm was set for 5:15 am and I didn't budge till S's alarm went off at 7:15. I then got up, got dressed (no shower), and started studying. We went to town and S dropped me off at my friend B's dorm. I studied there until it was time to trudge across campus to my final.

I really, really, really needed a B in this class. Between 25 attendance points possible and possible 100 on the final I needed 111 points.

Attendance kinda got all messed up because we use these "clickers" to show we are present and answer participation questions. Dumb really. Well, my clickers batteries were dead for several weeks. We have 3 class periods a week. I was there EVERY day, even the day before Thanksgiving and the day after I had food poising!!!

Needless to say I got only 10 of the attendance points.

This means I needed a 101 on the final. Impossible I know, but I was hopping for a miracle.

I got an 80.

No I didn't cry, although I felt like it. I am thinking about going and talking to the professor. He only has almost 1200 kids taking this course this year- he will help me out right?

Pray for me.

Proof of Procrastination: The Story of the Eggs


We rarely buy eggs. We are vegetarian and most of my baking is vegan.

I really wanted eggs to make my "Hey Finals; Eat This" cake that I had been planning for weeks. I have a box cake mix so I figured I would just whip it up sometime this week as a little stress reliever. I normal bake from scratch and use soy milk and vinegar as an egg replacement, but I was going for a quick fix here.

Last friday night we met the in-laws for a pre-finals dinner half way between their house and ours (about an hour drive for both of us). We had lovely Chinese buffet then proceeded to the Wal-Mart to pick up the family pictures we had taken there a few weeks ago. Well we were 10 min too late and the photo both was closed. Stupid stupid small town Wal-Mart! So we wondered the store looking for useless things we don't really need. I got a cute hat with ear flaps, wonderful winter cup cake liners, and sent S to the back of the food section to collect.... MY EGGS!!!

We are in the middle of some serious winter weather right now and it is cold. A while after we got home and brought everything I realized that the eggs didn't make it in the house. "Oh well," S said "its cold enough outside to keep them good." Fine. Whatever.

Well the eggs didn't make it in the house all day Saturday, the didn't even come in until Sunday morning!

We were iced in all day Sunday so no going to town for church or anything. But thankfully I had eggs to make my finals cake- which is almost gone!

(I am very glad the eggs are ok. We are pretty sure that they never froze, and I cracked them all in a separate bowl to check on them before adding them to the cake.)

Lesson learned: Put your boots and coveralls back on and trudge outside in the weather to rescue the perishable food that YOU left in the car. Honestly if that food gets spoiled then it is just a waist of money and a big mess.

Talking about this makes me realize how bad I need to clean out the fridge- I am sure that there is all kinds of things growing in some of those containers! Ahhh!!!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

One down, Three To Go

Moments ago I completed my first final of the semester. I am relieved it is over, but feel very guilty that I did not devote enough time to studying for that class. On the good side I did get my theater paper finished and turned in at 10:30. I am actually proud of my paper considering I started it at 9pm, worked on it till midnight, then got up at 8 to finished it by 9:30 to come to campus and print it off. It is a little fluffy with lots of elaborate descriptive words, but for some reason I felt it needed to be that way. I just hope that all my sucking up in that class lends me to an A. I have to final for theater a week from today- my last final.

What do I have left to do for this semester?
  1. Management final on Tuesday
    1. need to read the 4 chapters
    2. finish vocab note cards
    3. complete, print out and study the online quizzes for each chapter
  2. Post-internship
    1. schedule and attend end of course meeting withe professor (i.e. 30 min of being trapped with the most miserable person ever!)
  3. Intro to Grad Studies due Thursday by 5pm
    1. Complete take home test
      1. go to the library and find required book
  4. Theater Final on Friday
    1. flesh out review sheet
    2. attend review session Thursday night
As far as the rest of life goes I have been working on a grocery list (need to add cereal). I still need to go to the bank and set up a savings account and work on cleaning the house more. S washed his work out clothes last night so that was nice not to have to laundry while working on my paper.

We have both been feeling under the weather so I think we might just hole up in bed for a while and escape this dreary wet weather for the rest of the afternoon. Ice Cream would be a good addition to that scenario, but then again- I am addicted!

To Do List for this afternoon
  1. Relax and Feel Better!!!!
Why do winter weather, getting sick, and naps go together really well. Kinda a formula for more procrastination if you ask me!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Everything in Changing!

Being in College is hard. Had because every 16 weeks your life changes. Right n ow I am in the middle of "Dead Week", or the week before finals. Next week is finals. These are about the lease "normal" weeks of the entire semester! How am I suppose to create a routine, become more disciplined, and get a handle on procrastination when everything is changing!!!

This morning is a perfect example. Thursdays are weird days in my life. Normally S has class at 10:30 then work at noon. This means he normally leaves at 9:30 or so. Well today he had no 10:30 class so he was just at home till he was ready to head to work. Great- he is NOT in my routine yet! He wanted to watch an episode of Heros since we didn't watch one last night. My plan was to shower, eat breakfast, work on my theater paper then head to campus to finish the intro papers before there 3:30 due date! No such luck on my plan.

We ended up watching 2 episodes of Heros while HE ate breakfast. When he finally decided to get ready for work did I get around to making me some waffles. One he left I showered (yeah for me!), started a load of laundry (check on morning goal), and unloaded the dryer. I did fold the towels in the laundry, but nothing else. The rest of the clothes are still on the unmade bed.

Then I headed to campus. I had that overwhelming feeling to attempt to skip lunch so I wouldn't have to eat alone, but I popped into Taco Bueno and picked up my *famous* bean and cheese burrito, hold the chili sauce, plus rice (we are vegetarians). Very proud of myself I put the burrito in my backpack vowing not to eat it until I was hungry. I rode the bus to my building because it is frigged cold outside!

I finished the papers in about an hour and a half (yeah!). I printed them off and stuck them in my management book to keep them pretty.

I then waisted the 2 hours remaining before class by chatting with one of my teacher, eating my burrito and a cookie I got out of my department office.

I think my plan from now on out is
  1. Sit through this class (don't worry, I brought my Sudoku book!)
  2. Go over to B's house and work on theater paper
  3. Around 5:30 head over to the bike shop and get ready for the Christmas Parade!
  4. Then go home and finish theater paper and watch Heros!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Forced Productivitiy

Well I was almost/ kinda just forced to be productive. S and I are on campus and he is currently taking one of his exams. I brought all of my stuff to "study" and "write my papers" but my real plan was to hash out my day and what I did good (I did pretty good today!).

Well I am sitting in the basement of the education building (a not to bad looking Ved Med 2nd year is sitting at the table one over from mine) and I pull out my laptop. It started acting really odd so I opted for the restart. Well me just me and the Vet student down here it was a little awkward to sit here and do nothing so I pulled out my management book and started reading and working on my vocab note cards! Not to bad huh- I did something with the little extra time I found!

Well this has actually being happening all day!

This morning when S got up for his shower he asked me to make him breakfast (this is kinda our routine this semester on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays when he has to be at school at 8:30, and I don't have a class till 10:30). Well, I hemmed and hawed till he told me it was ok and to just stay in bed- so I did. (I hate the cold house in the morning!) So I waited till he was dressed, cooked and ate his breakfast and came in to tell me that he was leaving- to get out of bed. I have found that this is the best way to convince him that I actuality DO something when he is gone. But after I waved goodbye to the truck as it drove down the driveway- I made a beeline to the bedroom and stayed in bed for a whole hour more!

Then I felt guilty. I laid in bed thinking about how I should get up and what I should do before I left for school around 9:45. Then I rolled over and it was 8:30. I kept thinking that sleeping until 5 min before I had to leave was a terrible way to start my first full day of productivity. So I got up. I didn't feel like taking a shower so I just decided to get dressed. This was made fairly easy by the large amount of clean close I had to choose from- Hooray new washing machine!!! But then I felt bad for the large pile of clothes that I had been avoiding so I started to put them away as I got dressed. But the bed looked so inviting- So I made the bed! Since all the clean close were away- I put all the dirty close in the hamper! The last real "pick up" thing to do in the bedroom is to match the huge pile of clean socks we have accumulated!

So I took my excitment into the bathroom. Gross! The sink was very nasty. So I pulled (the last- must add to shopping list) roll of paper towels and put them under the bathroom sink. I think wiped down the counter and sink with one, put the toothbrushes and toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream, shower spray, and razor into the medicine cabinet where they go! (Side Note: I am highly amused by our medicine cabnet since I have never had one before. I have designated a "teeth station" in the middle where the brushes, toothpaste, and floss go- mouthwash is too big so it goes under the sink, and there is a razor area with S's shaving stuff, and the top shelf has general items like Q-tips, cotton balls and my extra hair ties! Yeah for a little organization!)

I then took my excitement to the front room where as I packed up my backpack I put away the blankets from watching Heros last night (Yup- all 4 episodes, but we did take a break between 2 and 3 for a 1 hour study session) I took all the socks and other various clothing/work out clothes to the hamper. I then felt bad because the hamper was looking pretty full. I remembered S was wanting some jeans washed so I stared the washer and sorted out a load of cotton darks.

New Plan: Every day I will start the washer when I leave for school! I don't like to sleep with it on, kinda makes me have to Pee. And at night I will start the dishwasher! Obviously with only the 2 of us, we don't make enough close and dishes for this to be needed EVERY day, but I will try it until I get these areas under control.

Ok- so for the rest of my day I went to school, had a super boring theater class, met S for lunch as a pizza place by campus (working on brown bagging lunches in one of my areas to tackle next semester), then had a review session in my promotional strategies class where I presented my chosen commercial and told why it was effective. After this class I met S in the education building lounge and he was not feeling well. He wanted to take a nap their but I felt he needed a proper nap- so I sent him home and told him I would come get him and bring him to school for his night class (currently in progress). He agreed and headed home.

I went to the resource room in my building to write 5 papers over 5 chosen professor's Vitas. They are due tomorrow at 3:30pm. I competed 3 till it was time for me to head home to pick S up. I am planning on finishing the other 2 tomorrow before class- along with my theater paper that is due at 10:30 on Friday. My reward for finishing tomorrow and not Friday morning is me and my good friend B are going to be in the Christmas Parade with our bikes for the bike shop that S works at! I am excited but it will be cold- I best remember to bring my warm close in tomorrow morning, don't think I will have time to go home tomorrow.

So over all a good day! I am proud of myself. I need to work on a morning and a night routine, I think that will help a lot.

So what did I knock off my list from yesterday?
  1. Clip and file cupons- well they are cliped, did that last night while watching Heros, but as far as filing goes, I cant find my coupon file! I can't go the grocery store till I find it. Guess that is now on the list for things to do tomorrow!
  2. Bathe C-Dog- did not happen. I think this will get moved to Sunday or Monday when I will have time to keep her inside.
  3. Theater Paper- no written progress, but I have started to work out the outline in my head. I also talked to others in my class today about what they did. Poor teacher- he is going to get 32 exactly the same papers- the play was just that bad!
  4. Start Intro papers- well, 3 down, 2 to go. Due date- 3:30pm Thursday.
  5. I worked a teeny-tiny amount on management- maybe more later tonight.
  6. Pick up front room- I did a lot of this and with little effort HOORAY!!!
To Do List for Tonight/ Tomorrow before 3:30pm
  1. Finish Intro papers
  2. More on management reading/note cards
  3. Find coupon file
  4. Start/finish theater paper
  5. Continue picking up front room
  6. Unload/reload the dishwasher and run during the night
  7. Put washer in dryer tonight, in morning fold/put away dryer and start another load in washer! (yeah for a system?)
I think I am making progress. I thought about this blog a lot today as I made choices about was to do with my time. I think this form of motivation/accountability might work!

What keeps you motivated? How do you keep yourself accountable for your time, actions, money, etc?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My First Post

I don't really know how to explain how I am feeling right now. I have just sat on my couch for over 2 hours watching shows on the internet when I told my husband that I would do a lot of things today- including writing the multiple papers that are due later this week and study for my monster exams next week. I did manage to feed my self lunch (4 mock-chicken nuggets, 1/2 a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and a glass of blue Gatoraid). I also fed and watered the horses- and just realized I still have to feed and water the dogs (Crud!).

This series of events has made me realize that I really am a procrastinator! S told me this morning as I danced around the bedroom refusing to change into real clothes and out of my PJ's, that if I would stop waisting time I would be the most productive person EVER! This made me feel he had faith in me that one day I will actually get all that I say I will do done- but when I came home this afternoon, what have I done? Waisted time! I honestly feel I have too much time for nothing!

So I did a google search on "procrastination" and found a website called I was fascinating! I started to realize what makes me actually do things (motivates me) and what doesen't. I promised a friend that I would sew somethings for her, and she would pay me for my work. She would then sell the products in her store. Great idea right! Well- I have had the materials she purchased for over 3 months now and I have hardly worked on them. Something just keeps me from completing the task! I have done dozens of other things in these three months that didn't really need to be done first, but I did them because- well, I don't really know why I did them.

Thing I do on a regular basis with no real problem.
  1. Pay Bills- If I don't, then they would be late and we would be charged late fees (I am not into waisitng money), and S would stress about money (we don't want that)
  2. Feed Animals- For the most part. They would die without us to take care of them! That is just plain Crazy!
  3. Homework- well sometimes. I am getting better at assignments with due dates, but studding for tests is a whole 'nother story.
  4. Grocery Shop- I guess if I didn't, just like the animals- we would starve!
  5. Eat Ice cream and Bake Cupcakes- these are my addictions. I try really hard to convince S that there must be something wrong with my blood sugar, and that is why I crave sweets.
  6. List make- I make lots and lots of lists. Grocery lists, things to do today, things to study, bills, etc. I even make Lists of Lists!
Things I do NOT do on a regular basis well
  1. What I say I am going to do- i.e., the sewing projects,
  2. Things I don't want to do- i.e., running errands, this is a big one- Waking up and getting out of bed, oh yes- and showers (I am sure there will be more on this later)
  3. Feed myself- trust me, lunch today was a major success. If I have to make food just for myself, then I usually just worry to much about what to make that I never get around to eating.
  4. Avoid naps- this is one of my major time waisting activities
  5. Fallow my lists- or even keep up with my lists for that matter. Every once in a while I start a list book! That just stresses me out to see how many lists I make!
So what have I learned from all of this? I have learned that I need to get off my butt, turn the TV off- turn the music up- and get to the things that I need to do. I also acknowledge that one of my main issues is being alone. I think I might make S help me bathe my dog so she can stay in the house with me during the days when I am alone. We will see if it gets done.

Ok- my To Do list for this evening and tomorrow-
  1. Clip and file Sunday's coupons
  2. Bathe C-dog so she can hang out with me in the house
  3. Start and finish my theater paper
  4. Start my Intro papers
  5. Work on management note cards (and read the chapters for my final)
  6. Pick up the front room
I feel this is a manageable list, and can accomplish it if I cut back on the procrastination and play. I guess I will not be watching Heros disk 3 tonight- well, at least not all 4 episodes.

What is on your list? Do you employee any great strategies for accomplishing them? Do you have some pressing task that for some reason you just cannot complete?