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February Goals and Winter Fun List Completion

Well, I think I will just focus here on what I did accomplish especially since I’m not in a position and don’t the personality to make everything concrete.

~I finished sweater dresses for the little girls of a family friend and mailed them off (I’ll get pictures up soon).

~I was good with my money/spending, and I’ve got some good plans in place which I will probably discuss more next month (after I implement them).

~One big school accomplishment (not public yet).

~I got a temporary job for a few weeks (the nicest job I’ve ever had and the only one that I don’t dread going to, in fact I would almost say I look forward to going to).

~I read 7 books (5 new to me, 2 re-reads, and one of those was a borrowed book).

~I am (as of 3/4/2018) at 43% on Duolingo (I think I got up to 46% this month which is 4% from my target . . . and then I let it slip down).

~I already did some puzzles and game days when I made my Winter Fun List, but I didn’t do much after, and I think the only thing I really did was watch the Olympics.

February Goals

I think I got a little too ambitious for February, but we’ll see.

~Buy TEFL course and work on some other goals

~Start TEFL, work on other skills

~Work on habits chart and lose 5 pounds (try to aim for 50% completion rate on habits chart, at least for most important goals)
~Tech breaks: no tech on Sunday, 5 weekday tech-free days, 5 hour limit for at home days, 2 hour limit for work days, off by 7pm (probably should add tech control to habit chart)

Personal Development
~Reach 50% on Duolingo and equivalent on Tinycards
~Work on math, accounting, EQ, and interpersonal communication library books
~Listen to online library music

Travel and Explore
~Plan, ice skate

~Donate blood
~Finish gifts, plan baby blankets

Homemaking and Holidays
~Digital file conversion and back-up (work through this challenge I mentioned before)

Sewing and Making
~Finish 1-2 Craftsy and Creativebug classes
~Finish gifts, sewing with little girls, unfinished projects, and shadowbox

~Read 8+ new to me books, 2+ borrowed books, and 2+ unread of my own books
~Read a classic from another country (other than Russia and UK)
~Read from my category list
~Read 1+ Hemingway novel
~Complete most of Brothers of Karamazov
~Read 1+ book toward my U.S. history course
~Read poetry
~Read some essays

1st Quarter Goals

Here are my 1st quarter goals, edited a bit for privacy.

~Pay off student loan (probably too ambitious at this point)
~Purchase TEFL training
~Emergency fund

~Plan for school
~Complete TEFL training (I’m not sure I will be able to complete it because it is so far in)

~Focus on diet, hydrations, supplements, and meal plan
~Lose 10 pounds (I’ve gained 5 instead, but I don’t think I’ll be losing 15 in two months)
~Focus on stretching with walking, swimming, and abs & gluts work-outs
~Tech vacations
~Get a facial

Personal Development
~Reach 65% on Spanish in Duolingo (and keep pace in Tinycards) and work on geography with Seterra
~Complete two library math books
~Work through a few interpersonal communication, logic, EQ, logic, and critical thinking books
~Work through 1 Craftsy course, 20+ YouTube videos, and one library book on art
~Buy piano D.V.D.’s and listen to 6 new C.D.’s from library (I’ll modify this because I had forgotten our library has digital offerings)

Travel and Explore
~Take an exploration day (maybe in March, I wasn’t thinking of the seasonal aspect)
~Plan some day and longer trips (NYC and Anastasia . . . in my dreams)

~Donate blood
~Family time with no tech
~Finish gifts, start 1-2 baby blankets

Homemaking and Holidays
~Clear out digital files; get Lightroom & start editing
~Use up extra beauty products
~Plan Summer and Spring wardrobe (including proper outdoor and activities clothes and shoes)

Sewing and Making
~Working on stash busting sewing and knitting
~Work on finishing random projects and finish 3 Craftsy courses

~Read 25 new to me books
~Read 6 borrowed (from other people/the basement, lol) and 3 unread books of mine

My 2018 Goals

I have nine categories of goals. I’ve already changed some, and I’m sure others will be amended. Some items are hard to set in stone or I have/will learned of better options. Also, I will selectively edit what I choose to show, some of my goals are too personal or to uncertain for me to put here.

~Pay of debts and dues and stay out of debt
~Begin investing a significant portion of my income (this is new)
~Purchase a TEFL certification course
~Save and pay for CLEPs and tuition (including Spring 2019)
~Put certain amounts in a ROTH IRA, in an emergency fund, and in a savings account

~Work with Lumerit on my schooling (this is new; we are trying to find the best option for me)
~Achieve TEFL certification and try to find an online job
~Complete other career training and add good job experience to resume

~Achieve healthy/weight muscle balance
~Increase my flexibility considerably and improve my posture
~GO OUTSIDE! Make it a habit
~Get various beauty and health treatments
~Healthy sleep habits
~Take regular screen vacations and find a better usage system
~Build up better eating and hydration habits, and a decent recipe and meal plan selection

Personal Development
~Relearn math
~Work on EQ, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, and logic
~Learn Spanish and start a second language
~Work on geography
~Work on developing my artistic skills (complete all my Craftsy and Creativebug art courses and this YouTube course and work through some of our books and some library books)
~Work on my music deficiency and relearn piano
~Possibly take some lessons (dancing, ice-skating, horse-back riding, tennis)

Travel and Explore
~Explore my area (with my grandparents for some of this)
~Explore my state
~Visit 2-3 new states/explore states I’ve been to more
~Visit 1-2 new countries

~Finish overdue gifts, finish 4 baby blankets, be timely with gifts
~Spend more mindful time with family, particularly my grandparents
~Give blood a couple times

Homemaking and Holidays
~Redesign my room
~Reorganize and purge (finish all scrapbooks, photo editing, and photobooks; organize and streamline recipe and other folders/binders; organize, streamline, and back up my computer and documents; find a better place for Christmas, gift, office, craft, etc. supplies)
~Work on my cleaning systems
~Work on holiday/Christmas planning to minimize stress and maximize my enjoyment!

Sewing and Making
~Learn tatting, improve jewelry making and embroidery
~Develop my sewing and knitting skills along with my wardrobe (including hard items like lingerie, sweater dresses, cardigans, silks); complete wardrobe!
~Work on art/travel journals

~Keep improving in depth and intensity (see my 2018 reading tab for more details)

New Year Plans

I read a couple of posts that mentioned that in order for a person to read his/her goals said person must plan out and break down goals (light bulb). Is this one of the most obvious statements ever? Yes, probably. But I’ve never made goals for anything, I’ve never planned really. I’ve made lists, which mostly aren’t completed, and I’ve floated along doing or not-doing (the usual) activities as they came along. So, once college was completed, I had no plan, no steps, no practical knowledge. So I’ve been stuck/wandering in circles aimlessly for a while with plenty of random paths taken. Now, I will never be a one goal, one interest person, but I want to actually do all the activities I talk/dream about, and I really need to become more independent.

While on vacation in early January, I started typing out and organizing my goals. I highly recommend this since you can move everything around and continually add as you think of ideas. I was planning to buy a new bullet journal, and I wanted everything to be sketched out first, so my goals would be neat and organized. I had accumulated a small bookmark folder of New Year type posts as well.

When I got home I ordered the bullet journal, washi tape (12 designs which worked out neatly), page flags, sticky notes, pen holder, and pens. I love the concept of a bullet journal because as I’ve mentioned before I need flexible structure, and regular planners are far to cement structured for me. And that is also why I’ve always opted for a larger bullet journal. I used a (Letter-sized) Moleskine half-heartedly (I didn’t truly utilize it as a planner fully) for two years. This time I bought this Leuchtturm1917 journal in emerald with dotted pages (B5 is very close to our “Letter” just a tad narrower and perhaps a cm taller) and a matching pen holder.

I spent considerably time laying everything out. Its hardly perfect. I forgot to add monthly goals pages, so I have to use the “free pages” for that, and my calendar pages are a little rough, but I’m really happy with the structure. And I can always tweak things. I’ve recently added my book goals (I intentionally left that for a different page because I had so many, but they aren’t important in the way by other goals are, and I didn’t want to distract from those other goals).

  1. I wrote out my word (Bloom) and focus for the year (Discipline and Diligence) on the first place.
  2. I divided my 2018 goals into categories which I color co-ordinated; these took up the next four pages.
  3. I delineated my first quarter goals (again, by category)
  4. I laid out the first quarter months (for each: calendar of month with room for narrow sticky, monthly and Internet brain dump pages, free page, weekly page, habit tracker, weekly goals)
  5. I left a blank set of pages for second quarter goals and laid out second quarter months, and repeated for last two quarters.
  6. At the back of my bullet journal I left two pages for 2018 review.
  7. I’ve since added my book goals (trying to break them down a bit).
  8. I’ve also discovered, like I said that I need to break quarterly goals down into monthly. From there they are either in the habit tracker (things that should be habits/require discipline) or go to weekly and then daily goals (specific, unique goals). Although if they fall in the latter category, I’m more likely to wing it.

I’m going to do a separate post of my yearly goals, and I’m hoping to post my quarterly goals and monthly goals as appropriate. I’ve read bloggers who grade their monthly goals according to a letter system, and I find this a far more helpful system that did or did not because it shows how a person made progress even if the person didn’t complete everything. Again, not everything is set in stone (especially for some of the long term goals) because I’m learning new things and doors open and shut. And full disclosure, I didn’t accomplish much (in proportion to the time available to me) in January. But I’m trying to be growth minded; previously, I would think, “Well, then I’m done, I blew it,” instead of looking at the positive. I have too much of an all or nothing mindset which for me is usually nothing.

Anyway, here are some iPhone photos of my bullet journal:

Here are some links from my collection:

How to Stop Being Lazy

Internet/Social Media Vacations

How to Stop Procrastinating

Some Steps for Maturity (I hate words like “adulting”; just use one of the lovely words we already have!)

Winter Fun List


~Make this recipe for mac ‘n’ cheese

~Homemade hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows

~Go ice skating

~Game days


~Make a snowflake garland

~Make a snow globe on a pedestal

~Get a Chick-fil-a peppermint milkshake

~Watch the Winter Olympics (I’d totally forgot that was this year)

~Make and collect snowmen decorations

New Year’s Tag and Links

New Years Tag

What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
Drove downtown.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make one this year?
I had four general goals which I wrote down and don’t have access to at this moment. I doubt I reached them.

What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?
Well, it should be my sister’s wedding, but apparently I started going senile in 2017.

What was the best month?

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Paying off a massive amount of debt.

What was your biggest failure?
Not taking CLEP tests.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Paying off said debt.

What was an unexpected surprise? 
A pay raise before I even started the job.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having a job for more of it.

How did you spend Christmas?
With my family.

How are you spending New Year’s?

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:
Sometimes the best thing is to dismiss/ignore/stop people/events/books etc. who/that are stupid/mean/out of my control. That is a re-learn in some respects.

Compared to this time last year, are you: 
Happier or sadder? Happier.
Thinner or fatter? Probably about the same.
Richer or poorer? Richer

Five things I want to do in 2018:
Be a financial adult
Be healthier
Travel outside the U.S.
Significantly develop my talents
Learn things I’m weak in (math and languages)

What kept you sane?
Optimism and my family.

Did you move anywhere? 
Ha, no we are low moving family.

What countries/states did you visit? 
Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida (some of these of drive through or quickie).

Where did most of your money go?
Paying down debt.

What was the best thing you bought? 
New clothes and shoes? Brand new books? I couldn’t really make significant purchases this year.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, I’ve never suffered even a mildly serious injury, and I rarely get sick.

What did you want and get?
Lots of things from my gift list.

What did you want and not get?
So many things.

Did you fall in love in 2017?

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
27 and see here.

Did anyone close to you give birth or get pregnant?
No births but lots of babies in 2018; three family babies and one friends (so far).

Did anyone close to you get married?
My sister got married in April. Her wedding took up the first third of the year (she had a rather short engagement).

Did anyone close to you die? 

Who was the best new person you met?
I didn’t really meet anyone new.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

What was the best book you read?
Economics in One Lesson, Basic Economics, The Vanishing American Adult, and The Intolerance of Tolerance.

What were your favorite books of this year?
The top-rated fiction books (that were new to me) on my Goodreads are Blood Feud, The Golden Road, The Nick of Time, and Daddy Long-Legs.

What was your favorite TV show?
I try find any new-to-me ones because I’m not a T.V. person.

What were your favorite films of this year?
A bunch of Hallmark ones like Love Blossoms and Summer Villa.

What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?
I don’t like concerts.

What song/album will always remind you of 2017?

What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don’t have any.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Do you notice I’m lacking in the music category?


Your Year in Review

Try this 12 month challenge or this one.

A Year of Sweaters. I really would like to try something like this, but for me, it would be more specific, like the year of cardigans. I’m not sure how much pullovers are my style.


Christmas Celebrations and Gifts

Christmas Eve’s Eve
My brother and sister-in-law asked us to let us do Christmas with them early, so they could be with her family on Christmas. We had a huge dinner and exchanged some of our gifts. Mom and Dad and my grandparents gave them their gifts, and we did our sibling gift exchange. My brother drew me (but as is often the case with married couples, lol), his wife picked out the gifts from my list.


Christmas Eve
We have an extended family gathering and potluck with my mom’s family. We have a family wide gift exchange for which we draw names on Thanksgiving (I got my grandfather and gave him seeds for his garden), a $1 stocking drawing (you contribute a $1 gift for the stocking of your sex and your name is entered in the drawing for the full stocking of goodies), and a $5 gift exchange (you contribute a $5 gift for your sex, the gifts are numbered, and then we draw numbers) plus the adults buy gifts for all the kids (which used to take forever, but thankfully there are not that many kids plus several weren’t there).

I drew Musicalmiss’s $5 gift; she hand-painted glass Christmas ornaments. Then Travelgirl had drawn me for the main drawing, and she got me two of the Barnes and Noble Leather bound classics from my list (!!!!!!). We had a packed Christmas season plus sick people, so only two of those at home and one married couple made it to this gathering; everyone else either didn’t enter the drawings or received their gifts after we came home. We didn’t have meringue trees, truffles, or peppermint fudge, but I did get some cake pops!

Christmas Day
My grandparents didn’t come this year. We had our family stockings and gift exchange and ate our cinnamon rolls (Dad tried Once Upon a Chef’s recipe; I wanted him to only try the dough, but he tried filling and icing as well; I definitely prefer the old Miserly Moms version on those two things).

All of us girls had Hallmark movies in our stockings. Musicalmiss got The Best Christmas Party Ever, Flowerchild got The Nine Lives of Christmas, and Babysister got The Lost Valentine (I think; it is not Christmas and isn’t one I’ve seen).


We then headed to my grandparents where Travelgirl and her husband joined us for lunch and gift exchanging. My grandmother got me the madeleine pan off my list.


Beginning Christmas

Time for Christmas posts.

A Literary Christmas Wrap Up
~Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
~Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. Tolkein
~A Merry Christmas, and Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott
~Stories Behind the Best-loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins
~Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: a Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp

Yeah, I finished all of two books. I switched to my Alcott collection which had far more stories, but I only got through the first few. I only finished one story in the Christmas carols book. I opted not to read the Voskamp book. The books I finished are kids books, but they are darling, and illustrated books are part of Christmas growing up. I should have pulled out some of the ones I grew up on. I wish I had a total list of the ones I grew up with because I am not sure we saved them all.

A Christmas Bucket List


I didn’t complete these all, and I fudged on a few (this year I was making gifts [I didn’t finish them all; I still have those plus really late birthday gifts to sew] plus we had an extra Christmas celebration because of conflicting in-law events plus we left for vacation the third day after Christmas).

I completed
~Listen to New Christmas Music (my Bing Crosby C.D.; I had meant new to me groups or songs)
~Mail a Christmas Card or Two
~Create a Christmas notebook (this is still and was meant to be a work in progess; I need to add helps to prepare for next year)
~Watch a Christmas Classic (White Christmas; I had meant a new to me movie)
~Bake Bread from My German Baking Book (A Christmas Star; my pan wasn’t big enough because I used all the dough, so mine looks like a starfish)
~Bake Cookies from My German Baking Book (lebkuchen which is German gingerbread and has honey instead of molasses, white instead of brown sugar, and a tad more spice and more types of spices; see color difference below)
~Read a Christmas Poem
~A Photoshoot of Luna in a stocking (I tried; I was trying to keep her still, the photo focused, and yeah . . .)
~Christmas clean room and pack (well, it is neat, but I didn’t have time to vacuum before we left because I was sewing the morning of for the trip)
~Build a Gingerbread House (a graham cracker house at a friends; I made gingerbread dough for a house, and I amended my plans to build it there and then further amended the plan by making the dough into cookies. I had great fun though because I thought my castle was fun and easy and satisfying. The hostess had bowls of thick royal icing to spread on. Works MUCH better than tubes)
~Decorate for Christmas (I mainly decorated the neat section of my room; one half bookcase plus I hung a little bell wreath on my door)
~Buy or Make a Christmas Outfit (I really meant Christmas Eve; I wore a new gorgeous teal dress I bought from Thred-Up; one day I’ll have that dream dress made)
~Make a Christmas Craft (I’m going to count the calligraphy and stamped place names I made for my grandmother’s Christmas party)
~Participate in a Christmas blog event (I sort of participated in the Literary Christmas event)

Touches of Christmas






Best of Hallmark

I’m still of the opinion that lately Hallmark has put more effort into their year round movies, but I did enjoy a few this year. The last two are my favorites; the very last is classic favorite quality, I think.
Christmas Getaway
The Christmas Cottage
A Gift to Remember
With Love, Christmas
Christmas Next Door

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day Six: Winter

I borrowed questions and ideas from: herehere, and here.

~Winter Dislikes
When I’m too cold, having to drive in the dark, scary icy roads, ugly “green” Christmas type landscape.

~Winter Likes
The changing seasons, Christmas, Coziness, Fleece onsies, Movie nights, Winter foods.

~Do you like playing in the snow or enjoying it from the window?
Usually, enjoying it from the window, I should try sledding once in awhile.

~Any books you prefer to read in Winter?
I can’t think of any, but I should make some selections.

~When do you start getting excited about spring?
I’m usually ready for it when it is officially spring.

~Winter Dislikes
~Winter Likes
~Do you like playing in the snow or enjoying it from the window?
~Any books you prefer to read in Winter?
~When do you start getting excited about spring?

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day Five: Celebrations

I borrowed questions and ideas from: herehere, and here.

Christmas Eve
~Do you have a celebration?
Yes, we go over to my mom’s extended family for supper and gift exchanges.

~Do you open gifts?
Yes. We draw a name at Thanksgiving. We also have a $1 gift for the stocking of our sex, and a $5 gift for the gift exchange of our sex. The kids get gifts from everyone.

Christmas Day
~Have you ever had a White Christmas?
Yes, but not recently. We used to get more snow in December, but recently it has snowed a bit before Christmas and then tons in January and February.

~Christmas pajamas?
No, but Mom bought us fluffy onesies one Christmas recently, and we all wore them to Christmas lunch and supper at my grandmother’s.

~What are your Christmas morning traditions?
Dad makes home-made cinnamon rolls, and we dig into our stockings and open our gifts from our parents. For the last few years, we wait for my grandparents to come because my grandmother wanted to watch us open gifts, and she also gives gifts to her “grand-animals.”

~Do you travel for Christmas?
No, our family is local.

~Do you stay home or visit on Christmas Day?
We start at home and then move to my grandparents’ house (which is less than half an hour away) for lunch and supper.

New Year’s Eve
We usually have an open house for my parents’ church. Originally it was on New Year’s Eve until someone encountered a car driving the wrong way on the interstate then we changed it to New Year’s Day. The program involves smoked pork, home-made doughnuts, a ping-pong tournament, board games, too many people, noise, and it is not a good tradition. It needs serious modification. But we are going to be gone this year, so we don’t have to have it.

Haha. I like drawing them up anyway, and making grand plans.


If you want to join in:

Christmas Eve
~Do you have a celebration?
~Do you open gifts?
Christmas Day
~Have a White Christmas?
~Christmas pajamas?
~Christmas morning
New Year’s Eve