Saturday, February 23, 2013

Friday's Fave Five (on Saturday)

 OK, so it's Saturday. Friday did not go as planned, with issues involving snow, cancelling planned travel to see my sister and nieces, and a bumper now hanging loosely off the side of my car. I think it's been a good week to look back on even the small things for which to be thankful, as is the theme of Friday's Fave Five hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

1. Hot Chocolate with Friends

This past week's activity as part of the "you can't beat it, might as well join it"/"embrace winter" project in the face of our snow and cold this year was crosscountry skiing at one of the local parks. The six-year-old and I went with a couple of my friends. I'm thankful for the friends as well, because they were able to help/encourage the six-year-old while I tried to get up hills and/or get up after falling down. They could also occasionally lift the six-year-old after she fell down.

I think the both of us need to really improve our skills before we can be thankful for the cross-country skiing ourselves, but the apres-ski hot chocolate treats sold in the park's visitor center, and the time spent with friends sipping said hot chocolate and letting the bunches of snow from our falls melt off our outerwear in front of the fireplace in their gathering room is something to be thankful for.

2. My Dental Hygienist

I had a routine dentist appointment this week. I actually look forward to these appointments, ever since I had to have a lot of dental work done during pregnancy and really bonded with this hygienist, who was expecting at the same time. Her son is about three months older than my daughter, so over the years, I have not only gotten dental care, I've gotten parenting advice about stages that lay ahead -- back when that three months made more of a difference -- and now, same-stage parenting stories, commiseration, sharing, bragging and bonding.

3. My Kitchen Apron

A few years ago, I bought an apron at a "handmade in Iowa" place while we were there on one of our Christmas travels to see family. It's blue jeans overalls that have been turned into an apron, and trimmed with a band around the bottom of the skirt, the tie band and a couple of patches made from fabric featuring bright pink tulips combined with fabric with a black background and white polka dots. Tulips are my favorite flower, I love polka dots, and I also really like the casual look of denim. The apron has a cheery look and is fun to wear; this week, I donned it to make zucchini basil muffins.

4. Hymns at Lenten Church Service

My church is trying a new format this year for the mid-week Lenten services, with almost the entire service being music. I really liked the way it went this week.

5. The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

I really enjoyed this book, and read it in only a couple of days. Now I'm trying to convince friends to read it so I'll have someone to discuss it with.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday's Fave Five

I've missed a couple of these (that darned inertia ..), but am participating again this week in Friday's Fave Five, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

 My favorites for this week are:

1. Ice Castle

Although I haven't (yet) in my life made it to the St. Paul Winter Carnival, they are hosting an ice castle at the Mall of America this winter -- through the middle of next week, or it might close early if temperatures are sustainably above 40 degrees (like *that's* going to happen this year). As part of my "embrace winter" philosophy this year, my mom, my daughter and I visited the Ice Castle last weekend. There were thrones, there were ice princesses, there were cool ice formations, and there was a little girl who spontaneously hugged me and thanked me for bringing her to the Ice Castle. It was fun.

2. Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake

My husband and I (it was a joint effort; I made the crust, he assembled the rest of it) made the Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Pie posted on MoneySavingMom this week for our family Valentine's dinner dessert, from some of the many raspberries we picked last summer. It was delicious. It's possible I'm eating some of it while I'm writing this blog post.

3. The "good china."

For that Valentine's dinner, we ate off the good china -- the kind that people used to traditionally receive as a wedding present. While we've regretfully never had occasion to use our full set (I think it's 12settings; I kind of rotate the ones we use for our small family), I still remember the fun of picking it out, still like my Forest Glen patttern, and enjoy using it. (Especially now that the six-year-old is old enough to use it as well, and has also expressed her appreciation for it.)

4. Family Game Night

While my mom was visitng last weekend, we had some fun with old-fashioned board and card games. I enjoy playing these, but my husband doesn't, so it's nice when we have someone else in the house to add another player.

5. Reading "Farmer Boy"

We're on the third in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series for our read-alouds. It's been a while since I've read this one, and I'd kind of forgotten how food-obsessed it is. It's fun to read about all of those things, and it's got me thinking of a few things to add to the family menu in the next few weeks (like maybe apples and onions, or some oatmeal).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Goals for the Week of February 11, 2013

So, I didn't post goals the last week of January, because I got sort of disgusted with myself for never getting some of these things done. So, that was intentional -- and then, I believe it's the law of inertia that states that things at rest tend to stay at rest. Which means that I haven't posted anything else in a while either. So, despite its being the middle of the week already, I'm posting my goals for the week in an attempt to give myself a (figurative) kick in the pants.

So, did I get anything accomplished while not posting? Well, ....

Last Week's Goals

Finances and Organization: 

- finish filing paperwork! (yes!)
- clear out catchall basket of catalogs, etc. that have piled up over past month (another yes! I actually did this while the family was watching the Puppy Bowl -- Super Bowl commercials weren't deemed appropriate for six-year-old eyes)
- finish calendar info transfer
- sort through and discard/file school papers
- submit for utilities rebate OR cancel
- make tax appointment
- update pantry inventory
- download will questionnaire and begin to work on it with husand
- determine budget for February (sorting through the paperwork was helpful here; I took real averages of our utility bills for the year, and updated a budget. I'm waiting to see what we actually spend in February before moving any overages from certain categories -- like gifts and/or entertainment -- forward from January, which was just sort of a thrown-together budget)

Spirituality and Creativity:

- continue catchup on chronological Bible reading plan, possibly complete (still working on this)
- continue using prayer books at meals (sort of, not as much as I would have liked)
- finish reading friend's book so can return it (finished it, enjoyed it, returned it at book group gathering)

Family and Friends:
- sign girls up for cookie club
- distribute Girl Scout cookies
- chaperone daughter to sell
- finish read-aloud of Little House on the Prairie
- spend time on a project or playing with 6-year-old (played with marble run she got for Christmas, did a couple of cooking projects, went sledding, had "family game night" with her choices of Uno, Go Fish and Telestrations)

And, on to

This Week's Goals

Finances and Organization:

- pursue/argue with/try to resolve final reimbursement from husband's 2012 FLEX account (there is some issue every year with his benefits administrator. I hate his benefits administrator. They changed to a different company this year, so we shall if things improve, but for 2012, we still have to deal with the old one.)
- compile records of goods donations, charity mileage and expenses for taxes (probably need to print out photos of clothing items I donated to food shelf's thrift store)
- clean out purse (this was actually already on my to-do list, but I was sort of forced to do it when I couldn't find a coupon I was looking for. Nice to have it done, though)
- request financial records from school (kindergarten tuition-we had to pay for full-day) and dance classes (a portion of "arts" instruction is deductible under Minnesota tax code)
- get business photos taken with discount promotion
- explore which business membership organizations that send me emails would be worth joining
- remember to listen to free business webinar offered through alumni association
- inventory gift box
- inventory (and organize) cards on hand (realized I was out of blank cards -- unless I have some I just can't find -- when looking for one the other day. If I know what I need, I can stock up through photo site deals throughout the year.)

Spirituality and Creativity: 

- continue catchup on chronological Bible reading plan (James, Titus and Timothy are on my list for this week)
- Ash Wednesday church
- consider Lenten/Easter resources/activities for/with child

Family and Friends:

- Valentine's Day: lunchbox notes, special meal, etc.
- use husband's spring break activities planning for further research, planning (i.e., discounts, hotel reservations)
- begin Farmer Boy read-aloud