Friday, February 17, 2012

3 in 30 - February Check-in - Week 3

This year, I'm participating in the 3 in 30 Challenge. During January I had three goals and worked towards them each week. During February, I'm continuing to work on my January goals:

- Finish taking photos out of the scrapbooks that aren't photo-safe, and put them in boxes that are archival-safe. This should be done by the end of February.

I removed photos from 9 scrapbooks this week. There are 10 scrapbooks left to do and then I am completely done with this project.

Stack of photo albums before removing photos
from nine of them.

Finish the master bedroom by washing all the walls and windows; and then painting the accent areas dark green (behind the bed and over the window on the west side of the room) and the walls white.  I also want to go through the books on each side of the bed, and determine if they can be donated or I want to keep them.

I went through the books and paperwork that was on each side of the bed. On one side, were all homeschooling/children's books. These were put on the homeschooling bookshelf or brought to the general bookshelf downstairs. I'm donating three books that we are done reading.

On the other side of the bed, I had paperwork; things I wanted to do or read (including books from the library); and computers (iPad and laptop). I cleared everything off the shelf and put it in more appropriate areas (e.g., bookshelf, desk); and left only the two computers there.  What a difference! It looks so much simpler and peaceful without all the stuff there.

- Continue going outside each day for 15 minutes.

Some days I do go outside for 15 minutes, but others I don't. On the days when the windchill is below zero, I just don't have the motivation to spend much time outside besides doing what needs to get done. With warmer weather, this will change.

In addition, my three goals for February are:

1. Do a one-week fiscal fast. I did this at the end of January, and am in the process of doing another fiscal fast in which we try not to spend any money for one week. I started on Wednesday and will go through next Tuesday.

In preparation, I made sure that all the bills were paid; the pets had enough food for the week; and that a few essentials were on hand so I could cook homemade food for the week (e.g., dairy-free milk, dairy-free butter, regular milk, eggs, flour). Other than that, everything I'll be using will be coming from what's on hand.

The only possible challenge with spending during this fiscal fast will be getting more gasoline. Between volunteering, visiting the girls' grandparents (100 mile round trip), evening activities for the girls, and bringing in donations - there's a bit more driving involved this week than during the last fiscal fast.  I think being flexible with the "rules" - considering the nature of activites (e.g.,  volunteering, education) - is okay.

Wednesday - We started the fiscal fast with trying some new recipes using what we hand on hand: carrot bread, broccoli-cauliflower salad, and chicken rice casserole.

 Carrot bread.

We made these items plus snickerdoodles and donated them to Hope House as part of our 12 in 12 challenge that we're doing.

Broccoli-cauliflower salad.

The other good thing is that we're using up what we have on hand so that hopefully by spring things will be cleared out and I can gradually re-stock the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer with healthier food.

Thursday - So much for not spending any money this week. Went to a specialist today and had to get a prescription which was frustrating. At this point, it is one pill per day (or $65 for a one-month supply). However, if they aren't effective within the next couple of weeks, then I'll have to take 2 per day - or $130 per month.

I'm not seeing this as a feasible (or financially-possible) solution for the long-term. However, the doctor has 90 refills remaining which isn't a good sign - it looks like she is thinking this is a long-term issue. Am going back to see her again on March 9th for another test; review of blood work and test I had done today; and to determine the next plan of action.

I was happy that I didn't spend money on anything that I didn't need while I was out. Was tempted to stop and get a bite to eat after the appointment (since I didn't have lunch before going to see the doctor); and saw lots of things I would have loved to get (but certainly didn't need) at Target while waiting for the prescription to be filled.

Doing the fiscal fast made me very aware of one of the types of spending I do: emotional spending (spending money to try to feel better and provide comfort).  Any spending I would have done this afternoon - with the exception of the prescription which was necessary - would have fallen in that category.

2. Reduce diet-pop consumption and increase water consumption.

This week I have been able to meet my goal of keeping my diet-pop consumption down to only two cans per day. I've also increased my water consumption to two large glasses of water per day (sometimes three).

3. File everything so I can begin working on taxes.

On Wednesday, I went through seven grocery bags of paperwork that needed to be filed. I put everything in files (if it wasn't already), and then put the files in alphabetical order. By the time I was done, the files were 3'2" long.

Files in alphabetical order and
ready to be put in file cabinets.

Most of the files were from April 2011-January 2012, and were related to homeschooling and seasonal activities or holidays. However, I did find a couple bags that I had put in my closet to be filed which were from January 2011-March basically a year's worth of filing.

It was during this time period that caregiving responsibilities took the most time and were most stressful. I didn't have the time nor interest in filing since there were more important things to do. It was easier to just put things in bags and know that I would get to it eventually. I now have all receipts and bill statements together for doing taxes which was the primary goal in doing this project in February.

I enjoyed going through the files because I came across things that I forgot I had clipped from magazines that may be useful for homeschooling.

A volunteer holding a tarantula at the zoo.
We learned that they're not fast-moving spiders.
If approached by an enemy, it will rub its back leg
on the back part of the its body to release fine hairs.
The hairs have barbs in them which - if they get into the eyes of a predator -
will temporarily blind them so that the tarantula can escape.

There were articles I had about things that we just saw and learned about at the Minnesota Zoo on Tuesday - like tarantulas and bears - so it was a nice follow-up to that experience.

This bear and its companion were playing.
At one point, they both stood up which was very impressive.
The lighter-color bear came to the window where it
spent a lot of time by Sophia and Olivia, and interacted with them.
It was truly the highlight of the visit for us all.


Fairy Tale Mama said...

Sounds like you're doing great on all your goals! Good for you. I'm trying to get back on track this coming week. We were on vacation and then coping with some family drama so hopefully next week will be better. :-)

Nikki said...

Doing good! Keep it up!

Jeanine Byers Hoag said...

Oh how neat that you and your family got to interact with the bears!! And way to go on those SIX goals. Very impressive this week, as usual.

April's Homemaking said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, and have awarded you The Versatile Blogger Award. You can stop on by my blog to check it out. :)

Sherri said...

Awesome job this week!! I must say that broccoli, cauliflower salad looked yummy.
Wow on the paperwork. That in itself is quite the undertaking.

Rita said...

You're really doing well on your lists.
The carrot bread looks yummy! As well as the broccoli and cauliflower salad. :)
I hadn't heard that about tarantulas! Good to know.
Have a great weekend! Hope you get all ready for taxes. ;)

Karen Greenberg said...

Ug, just looking at your filing makes me nervous. I REALLY need to buckle down and get some of my tax preparation done. Have a great weekend!