Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Goals {and a look back at 2013}

Here we are again at the end of yet another year! I've said it a million times already, but as I get older every year passes by faster and faster. And for someone like me who is really digging her heels in about aging and death in general, I'm really not liking it! It is inevitable, though, and I just need to focus on being happy and intentional with creating new experiences and growing as a person. Every December I like to make a list of some things I would like to accomplish in the new year that's around the corner.

  •  Make a compost pile/bin. I've been doing some research and am so excited to start a compost bin. I always knew I was pretty earthy and all that but in my adulthood, I've turned into a pretty crunchy, green hippy! :)
  •  Make homemade sauerkraut. Kristyn and I picked up some dill sauerkraut at the end of the season this fall at the downtown market. It was soooo good! I just finished off my jar and cannot wait to get more from the same vendor this spring. We've decided to try our hand at making our own, too, this year.
  • Get a pressure or water bath canner and preserve some foods this summer and fall. I've always been interested in canning and preserving food. I helped my grandma as a kid and also my mom when growing up in the house. Now that I will have my own garden I'm going to bust out my skills and see what I can come up with. My pickled asparagus and pickled beets have turned out great so I'm going to keep expanding my horizons.
  •  Make more foods, sauces, smoothies, nut butters, etc. in my Ninja Ultima (and get a review post up).  I love my Ninja! I need to make a few more things in it and then I'll share with you guys how awesome it is.
  •  Keep saving the cash. As I get older and Kaydin gets older and I keep growing in my job it's getting easier to save money. I'm not giving myself a number to hit by December 2014 but I do want to pay mostly cash (if not all) for my next car.
  • Go on a vacation with only Tim this year. We haven't had a nice big vacation just Tim and I in over two years. It's time we get something on the calendar. I keep asking him where we should go. We just need to take some time and make a real plan.
  •  Keep up meal planning. As most of you may know by now I am a grocery hoarder. And I do it on the cheap. I would always go off the ads and buy what was on sale. A great concept, although I never made a plan with those purchases. So my cupboards and freezer always had a bunch of odds and ends that was hard to make full meals out of. I still keep whittling away at my grocery stockpile but I've finally made myself make a plan for only one week and only buy the groceries for that week. 
  • Not use curse words around Kaydin. I don't do this much, but sometimes is still too often. I may even implement a payment system to her when I slip up.
  • Use my dehydrator a lot! Tim got me a dehydrator for Christmas (actually so did Mom! I ended up with two this Christmas after wanting one for a couple years!) and I am so excited to start using it! This summer I'm thinking it will be running all the time. Herbs, fruits, jerky, yay!
  • Live a healthy, well-balanced, happy life all throughout 2014. Yes, vague, but all those adjectives are super important to my life and I hold them as priorities. Not all goals have to have concrete measurements tied to them. This is one that takes some conscience effort and I intend to make it happen! :)

Recap of 2013 goals
  1. Purge my cupboards and freezer. Yes, my name is Mollie and I am still a food hoarder. I think the amount of food that spilled over to my hallway closet has grown, not depleted. I can say though, that I've freed up more space in my freezer. I'll keep working in this throughout the year. I've made some good headway and like I mentioned above, I buy groceries only for the week now instead of just random items with no real plan.
  2. Along the lines of food and groceries, I want to start tracking my spending in that area again. Overall, I really spend a small amount on food. I used to religiously track my spending. I would save all my receipts and track all spending by category in an Excel spreadsheet. I quit doing that about a year and a half ago. Not really sure why I did but I wanna start tracking again just to see where we're at with grocery spending per month. I tracked most months this year and came to the conclusion that I spend on average about $225-250 per month. Pretty good for rarely buying junk and convenience foods. 
  3. Learn to knit. For awhile I stalked the Michael's ads watching for yarn and needle sales. They came and went and I just never actually bought the supplies. I looked at them but never pulled the trigger to learn. This is the year! And hey- maybe I'll even make something worthwhile and usable. One afternoon my friend Kristyn and I started talking about how we wanted to learn to knit. So that day we went to Michael's and bought our supplies. I know how to cast on and the basic knit stitch. It's harder and more time consuming than I thought it would be. Maybe 2014 will be my year to complete a project. ;)
  4. Plan weekly meals. I didn't do very well with this in 2012. I want to try again. I know how and watch the weekly grocery ads anyway so I need to get commit to starting this up again. I would say that for about 3/4 of the year I had a meal plan. I love how much smoother it makes the week go. 
  5. Take another photography class or Photoshop class. I took a photography class at DMACC in October 2011. I want to keep learning more and expanding my knowledge! And I've had the Photoshop Elements software for going on two years now and haven't learned too much yet. Reading and taking some online tutorials could also fulfill this goal if need be. I bought a Groupon for a photography and editing class but none of the weekends worked for me to attend the class. I hope to get signed up for one in the early part of 2014. I did read lots of tutorials throughout the year and I would say my photography skills have improved some.
  6. Not use my credit card in 2013. I'm sure there will be events and times I'll have to use it, but I really want to cut back and only use when necessary. I did fairly well at this. I'm at a point where I rarely need to use it. Not using credit cards on the regular is now just how I work my spending, for the most part.
  7. Ramp up the blog and make the look more appealing. I want to add a custom header and make the site prettier :) I got a new blog header, business cards, added some new plug-ins and features. A fulfilled goal! 
  8. Make homemade nut butter. I made homemade peanut butter for Tim this year. So easy and so good! This year I plan to expand to other nuts and whip it up nice and quick in the Ninja Ultima.
  9. Make homemade bread. Yep, gonna try again this year ;) Fail! The bread machine is in my pantry so someday I WILL use the dang thing!
  10. Help organize an Iowa bloggers event. Something simple but fun! Who's in?!? I would say this goal was successful. Alex took the reigns but a bunch of us did get together in November. And we plan to make it a monthly thing. Any central Iowa bloggers that want to join in, let me know! :) 

What do you hope to accomplish in 2014?