Category Archives: Lists

Goals for 2015


goals notebook

I started to write a post today about goal setting, and how I am actually pretty good about that. I set goals, or I would never get anything done. I was patting myself on the back for getting some stuff done, thanks to my awesome goal setting. Then I did a quick search on my own blog to see what I have said about goals before, and discovered my goals for 2014. Out of 7 goals, I did one of them, and that one was play more games with my kids. Well, with the boy at least; the girl is 17 and too busy to hang out with us.

So, I am working on a new list of goals for this year, and I need to add a habit to actually check in on the goals this time. I am working on some detailed lists and timelines, but I am sharing some high level goals here now. Some of my detailed goals seem embarrassing or too personal, but the high level goals are good for organizing anyway.

Continue to craft often Learn to use the sewing machine. Crochet blankets. Make whatever I can around the house (health and beauty supplies, art for the walls, whatever else I can make before I buy). I love making things, and producing rather than consuming.

Blog more often Make menu plans. Document projects. Review movies and books. Think about how I am living my life.

Get my house organized Declutter. Get a cleaning routine. Declutter. Try not to buy new things. Declutter. Re-line the kitchen cabinets. Declutter. We have so many things in our house, it is hard to put them away; books and craft supplies are the worst categories, but there are many other things I could get rid of, too.

Do fun things with my kids Take them to movies. Go to museums. Go to the board gaming convention. Play more games at home. These kids are growing up and will be leaving me all too often–especially that girl, who is a junior in high school this year!

Get my finances under control Eat out less. Plan spending better. Pay off 401K loans. Pay off credit cards. My finances aren’t utter chaos–I contribute to my 401K, I have (very small) college funds for the kids, I pay my bills–but I am tired of feeling broke when I make good money.

Develop a plan to travel more So many places to go! Save more money for trips. Find cheaper ways to go. Plan some shorter, closer trips. I love to travel, but it is so expensive; I won’t get it in unless I plan for it.

Also, one bonus geek goal: Watch more scifi series on Netflix I need to finish Fringe and Deep Space Nine, plus watch all of Star Trek: Voyager and Babylon 5. I seriously hope those are on Netflix. I know I have more scifi series to watch on there, but this is enough to start with, ;).

What are your goals for the year?


Goals for 2014



This year I am planning to be way more intentional. Less mindless TV and facebook gaming, more making, learning, and blogging. It is so easy to fall into a habit of coming home from work, doing something about dinner and settling in on the couch for some mindless relaxation. I am not entirely opposed to mindless relaxation–sometimes that is so healing–I just don’t want it to be the default mode.

With that in mind, here are some goals for the year. This is sort of a first pass on the goals. I would like to develop a longer, more detailed list, like the 52 Things in 52 weeks at Kincavel Korner, but I am not ready to dive directly into that list.  I am trying to put something quantifiable on each goal, because leaving things too open-ended is just a setup for procrastination, and then I can flesh it out into 52 items.

Learn to use the sewing machine. My mother gave me a basic sewing machine for Christmas in 2012, at my request. Since that time, I went out and bought lots of supplies for sewing and did about 6 inches of stitches just to get a start on learning to use it, but I have not even started making an actual project. Luckily, my daughter knows how to use the machine, and this year she is going to teach it to me. I am going to make at least one thing each month.

Crochet (at least) 10 blankets. This is an easy one–I love making blankets! I completed 12 blankets last year, and I have several that are close to being done just waiting for the last bit of work to complete them. I want to include it in the goals list, though, because it is not totally implausible that I will get distracted by other things and let this slip. For the purpose of this goal, finishing a blanket counts, even if the blanket was started before the year began.

Play more games with my kids. They love playing games, but I often feel too busy to sit down and play. I have been working on this the past month or so, but I want to make sure we keep it up. I’d like to play at least one game per week.

Do more upcycling. I make a lot of things, but I tend to go out and buy new supplies–new yarn, new fabric, new art supplies, etc. I wouldn’t say that I never reuse things, but it is more rare than I would like. I would like to do at least one project per month that reuses something that had another use–making tshirt yarn and crocheting something, making a blanket with old blue jeans, doing something with all those jars and wine bottles that I’ve saved in my basement.

Start an art journal. Technically, I have already started one, but I haven’t done very much at all–maybe 4 entries over the last year. I’d like to do at least one art journal entry per week.

Blog more regularly. I am aiming for three posts per week. This will actually help me with my other goals, as I need to have something to post about!

Get my finances under control. I don’t do bad here, but I spend more than I should, and I have a few debts I would like to get rid of, mostly related to my house and college loans. I pay my bills on time, and I don’t have creditors calling, but I would like to save more and be a bit more careful about what I spend. I don’t have a concrete goal for this one yet, but I want to have a plan by the end of January.

I am deliberately using the term goals rather than resolutions here. I don’t think that resolutions are really serious things. If I were substituting a synonym for resolutions, I would use wishes rather than plans. Goals are a bit more concrete–not quite plans, but a good basis for plans.

Frugal and Fun Holiday Activities


As I get older, time goes faster and faster. I know, it happens to everyone, but it still seems surprising to me. Remember when you were a kid and it seemed like Christmas would never come? Now I am always looking back at the beginning of January thinking about how many things I would have liked to have done that we never got around to doing.

It doesn’t help that we are low in funds this year after the unexpected car purchase. Still, I think we can find some fun things to do without breaking the bank. Here are a few things I would like to do between now and Christmas:

  • Putting up the Christmas tree – This is one we do get done every year, but sometimes it is worked in a bit here and there. If we schedule a night for it, we can enjoy an evening of decorating without stress. Cost: Free!
  • banksPainting porcelain banks – Last year we painted some Christmas village figures, and we had so much fun. This year these cute little banks were one of the few things I bought on Black Friday (I also got some yarn to finish some Christmas gifts), and I know the kids will love painting them together. Cost: less than $10 for all three
  • Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park – We have been meaning to do this for a few years, but haven’t made it for some reason. We can invite some friends, too! Cost: $10/vehicle
  • Crafting party – As you may know if you read this blog at all, I love homemade gifts. I love doing crafty stuff with other people, too. We did a kids’ crafting party a couple of years ago, and that was a lot of fun. I have a lot of crafting supplies lying around that we could use, and we could ask our friends to bring more. I think we could do this without buying a lot of supplies. Cost: Maybe $10-$20 for snacks and drinks
  • Family game night – The kids love playing games! We don’t do it enough. We can invite friends, too. This isn’t technically a holiday activity, but it is a good way to reduce the stress of the holidays and put the focus back on the family. Cost: Free!

Of course, I still have Christmas gifts to make and a house to clean, but surely we can get it all in with some good planning, right? What are you doing to celebrate the holidays?

Christmas Project Progress


button tree

People, Christmas is three weeks from today. Three! I need to get serious about what I want to do and what I will be able to do before that happens. It is definitely time for a prioritized list.

First, here are the things I absolutely want to finish before Christmas:

  1. Any pottery I want for giving needs to be ready for firing by this weekend. It may already be too late–December is a busy time for the kiln! At a minimum I want to finish up some of the small medallions I made to make into magnets and complete whatever coil trees I have already built. These things need to be painted with underglaze and fired, then dipped into clear glaze and fired again. Hopefully I can get them done quickly.
  2. Blanket for my brother
  3. Button tree collage for my aunt
  4. Crocheted coasters for my mother

If I get those things done, I will be happy. If I get them done with time to spare, I will do some or all of these things:

  1. Crochet a wreath for my front door
  2. Find the shawl I started last year for a friend and finish it
  3. Make some jewelry
  4. Make homemade lip gloss
  5. Make sugar scrubs

There is a very good chance that my list of finished projects will look nothing like this list, but I like having a plan to start with at least. I feel pretty good about the first priority items, although not entirely certain.

How are your Christmas projects coming?


Making Things: A Few Thoughts so Far


Today’s project is still in progress, and I suspect it won’t be done until late, so I am taking some time now to reflect on how the project thinking smileyis going in general. I know, it’s only day 4, but what is the point of havinga blog if I can’t use it for a little navel-gazing?

My biggest takeaway so far? I need to go upstairs to go to bed earlier each night. I am not saying I actually need to go to sleep earlier, although I do. I mean I need to stop thinking of going upstairs to get ready for bed as actually going to bed. I’ve been trying to write in my journal each evening, just a bit with some ideas and general thoughts, and it is hard to fit that in AND read for a bit AND brush my teeth and wash my face AND get enough sleep if I don’t head upstairs until 10:30 or 11:00 PM. That would be a fine time to go to sleep, but it is too early to start a before bed routine that takes an hour or more.

Also, if I thought I was obsessed with making things before (and I totally thought that), I was underestimating how obsessed I could get. Everything I look at now, I think about what I could make with it. Every piece of art or craft I see, I wonder if I could do the same, or use the same technique. I WANT TO DO ALL THE CRAFTS! ALL THE ARTS! It’s a little crazy. I thought making something every day would calm that urge. If anything, I worried it would *limit* my making; that I would make one thing and then move on to slothdom in front of the tv. Not so. I hope I keep up this level of momentum and inspiration.

On a related note, this could get very expensive if I am not careful. I want to save some money for a cool road trip with my kids this summer, so I have to be careful. I am thinking that I need to focus more on reclaimed materials. Here are some ideas I have for that:

  • Make some t-shirt yarn with the pile of outgrown t-shirts in the basement from my children
  • Visit Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for cool materials–I am particularly keen on doing something with old paned windows, but I also want to look at furniture and cabinets
  • Yard sales and estate sales in the spring are probably a good place to find all kinds of craft supplies
  • Do something with all the wine bottles and jars I have been saving from my own use–probably several somethings
  • Good will is another good place to look for materials

Where do you get cheap art and craft supplies?

To Do List for Sunday


I really need to get back to my weekend list making, so I know what I am doing. The weekend is half over now, but I am getting my list in for what is left

  • Make some crafts. I bought supplies today to make cool bracelets and necklaces I pinned on Pinterest, and I want to get that done (or at least started).
  • Play racquetball with the girl. My friend is still hurting from pulling a muscle in her leg last Tuesday, but I don’t want to lose my momentum.
  • Go swimming at a friend’s house. I know, that doesn’t sound like a to do list item, but relationships are important, and sometimes it is easy to stay home like a hermit and ignore them.
  • BBQ with my dad for Father’s day. He dearly loves to BBQ for us, so we are heading over there, even though he smokes like a chimney and I hate that smell. It’s father’s day after all.
  • Make a menu for the week. Hopefully one that doesn’t require me to buy anything after last weekend’s expensive Costco trip!
  • Go to bed early. The girl starts summer cheerleading practice at 6 AM Monday, and I want to give her a ride, at least for the first day, so I need to break my staying up ’til midnight summer habit.
  • Finish the blog post I started today. It is a bit more drawn out than this list, so I want to take a bit more time on it. I hope I didn’t raise huge expectations there! I have been mulling a bit this weekend on full engagement and doing what I want with my life rather than drifting through it, and I think that merits a bit more time, including an extra day for reviewing.

So far this weekend, I have taken the dog for a walk, made dinner last night and did a few errands. Not much, I know, but I am feeling pretty good about tomorrow. I am going to get a bit more crocheting done tonight as well, which is always relaxing and fun.

What are your plans for this weekend? How are they coming along?

Summer Goals


Today is the first day of summer vacation for my children. I still have to work, of course, but they have lots of free time on the horizon. Today I left them asleep while I headed off to work, and I didn’t give them any directions for the day. It is the first day of their vacation, they should decompress, relax and enjoy it. Especially since things will be changing soon.

Last summer, my kids spent so much time watching television, I had to prompt them to reply to anything I said.
“I am really here in the room, not on TV entertaining you! Answer me! Have a conversation.” This year, I have vowed that things will be different. The TV will not be the primary form of passing the time. They will use their brains and their bodies for more than holding the couch down and watching other people far away do interesting things.

This is not the first time I have tried to get them to watch less tv. I work at home two days per week, but I am in the office the other three, and in the past, this has translated to at least three days per week of almost constant TV watching. To counteract that to some extent, I have decided that this year there will be goals in 4 areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Physical fitness
  • Science

The girl also needs to start thinking about a service project. She is entering high school in the fall, and she needs to start thinking about building her record for college applications. Plus, we need to do something to show her that the fact that I don’t buy her everything she wants as soon as she wants it does not mean she is disadvantaged, ;).

I broke the news to the kids over brunch this past Sunday. They were not impressed. They became a little more enthusiastic when I said that they could choose their own goals (although I have to approve–they must be an actual stretch). So far, the girl has decided to learn to play golf with my dad, and the boy has decided to finish a story about dragons who live in the sewer system he is writing with his best friend. They are still thinking about the remaining goals.

For the science goal, I have decided we will do one science experiment per week as a family, so they don’t need to come up with a separate goal for that. They can find something they would like to do, or I can come up with one, but ev

eryone has to participate. Also, to make this whole thing slightly more fun for them and less heartless, I bought the family pool passes. If they are at the pool, they are doing at least some moving around, and they won’t be watching TV.

As for me, I am making a few goals as well.

  • Writing: Establish a daily writing habit. I need to post more regularly here and at Gaming Angels. I am also working with a friend to start a crocheting blog for her new business. And I keep saying I write fiction, or at least I want to write fiction, but not doing any writing. It is time to change that. Oh, and here of course.
  • Physical fitness: Since I got the FitBit, I definitely exercise more. I take more steps, and I am less sedentary. I could do better, though. For the past 30 days, my average number of steps is 5,612–not terrible, but I can definitely improve. I want to be consistently at 7,500 per day by the end of the summer. I know 10,000 is the usual goal, but I want to try to get there a bit more gradually; once I have mastered 7,500 consistently, I will raise the goal again. I also want to make sure my total active time for each day (lightly active, fairly active, very active) totals at least 4 hours every day, with at least 1 ½ hours in fairly or very active.
  • Crafting: I am substituting this for science, since that is covered in the family goal, and I have a ton of crafting projects I want to do. For now, I will be relatively modest in my goals: 5 crochet projects and 5 non-crochet projectscompleted before school starts for the kids on 8/14. 

You may have noticed I didn’t put a reading goal in there; I am not sure what to do. I already read a lot, and I don’t have a lot of spare time to devote to reading more. All those goals up there will take a lot of my time spent not working, eating or sleeping! I am still thinking about this one. I haven’t made the kids finalize their goals yet, after all, why should I be done with mine?

Do you do summer goals? Or is it all loose and easy at your house?