Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bring out the toothbrush

It was late on a Monday night and I was trying to procrastinate going to bed so I wouldn't have to wake up and go to work in the morning (by the way that trick doesn't work). That's when I pulled up the site thanks to a post on PWO that was coincidentally reinforced by popping up on another blog the same day- I thought it must be a sign I needed help.

Flylady is the answer for living in CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome). I read the first page just because of the cool acronym. My first assignment was to make my sink shine. Apparently it's not enough to just wash your dishes every night like I had been doing. Flylady wants me to dry the dishes, put them away, and spend the next hour polishing the sink! (insert evil laugh here).

I'll admit the idea of soaking my sink in bleach for an hour had no appeal to me but as I read further about removing the rust in the creases around the sink, I sprung into action. I pulled out an old toothbrush and started scrubbing down my sink. Granted my sink didn't shine when I was done, but it looked really, really clean. Perhaps the cleanest it's ever been since we bought the house. Better yet when I woke up the next morning a bit groggy from my late night cleaning spree, I was instantly energized by my super clean sink and tidy kitchen. Maybe just maybe Flylady has something here...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

25 Things About Me

Part of living a focused life is knowing who you are and what you believe in. I had a lot of fun filling this out. Enjoy!

  1. I ran a marathon and it honestly didn't feel that long. Until the next day when I couldn't walk. Half marathons are the way to go.
  2. I tore my ACL and MCL during the Stowe Derby, a race only for crazy people (it's a downhill slash cross country course that starts on top of a mountain and you can only wear your itty bitty, no edges, cross country skis).
  3. I've lived abroad in both Sweden and Sri Lanka.
  4. At one point I could speak French, German, Swedish, and Sinhala. Now I barely speak English. :)
  5. I do not think credit cards are the devil- I believe people are raised in a culture that can't do math and has no respect for the numbers.
  6. I'm not a phone talker as my family and east coast friends will confirm. I'll probably pick up if you call me, but I'm not one to initiate calls. I'm much better at email or meeting in person. (So just hop on a plane and come visit!)
  7. I want to love cooking but it stresses me out. If it requires more than one pan, forget it. I do, however, love baking. I could bake all day or until I pass out from all the taste testing!
  8. My husband taught me to love Johnny Cash.
  9. I'm not a big soda or juice drinker. It's water or if I'm feeling frisky ...Vitamin Water!
  10. I need exercise and yoga to keep me sane. I'm a naturally anxious and stressed out person!
  11. I love Indian food!
  12. Ceasar Millan is one of my heroes. Not just because of his way with dogs but with people too. He is a true leader and I've read all 3 of his books.
  13. I told my husband I'd never marry a cop and 2 months before our wedding he signed on with the local PD. Yet, I still married him so I guess that makes me a liar.
  14. I fall asleep during movies- at home, at a friend's house, in the movie theater, and it doesn't matter what time of the day.
  15. I think my dogs are my kids because well they are! lol
  16. I can't relax in cluttered or cramped spaces. When I'm stressed out the first thing I do is clean, it's amazingly therapeutic.
  17. I have 2 rescued pit bull type dogs but it's the boston terrier you have to look out for!
  18. I have a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language and I used it for less than a year before changing careers.
  19. If you asked me what I do now, I'd have a hard time describing it. It's a cross between marketing, communications, and project management for a merchant processing company. Don't ask how I got here from teaching. :)
  20. I'm a professional delegater. I love to plan and organize things but want other people to do the dirty work. At times I think I've found the perfect job.
  21. My favorite color is red although there are times when I think it is hideous. I guess that's the Gemini in me coming out.
  22. I'm a proud police wife in a community that thinks the world doesn't need cops.
  23. I prefer to spend my Friday nights at home with my dogs watching Netflex.
  24. I have no qualms about drinking alone (you won't either if you spent most of your married evenings by yourself).
  25. I've been a vegetarian since 2002 but occasionally eat fish at restaurants if my only other option is fries and a salad.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Okay so this may not be finance related but aren't my dogs cute!

Bonus- I made the image with free shareware! Photoshop just is't in the budget for awhile.

Check out The Simple Dollar's shareware lists for Windows and Macs.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monthly Recap- Jan 2009

January 2009 was our best month to date!

Even through our income to expenses wasn’t as high as other months we had the lowest expenditures to date! I'm very proud of DH and I for how frugally we started off the year!


  • Our phone bill was up $7 mostly because I’ve been texting and sending pics to the family- I guess that's acceptable :)
  • Groceries went up $80 which is to be expected when you stop eating out
  • Porter had his annual vet exam- good bye $90
  • All 3 dogs got worms- $137 for fecal exams and medicine. Double yuck!
  • Restaurant budget down $130!
  • Extra $400 went toward paying down my variable rate student loan
  • Doubled our weekly automatic payment to savings account
  • No money spent on clothes, hobbies, or items for the house!
We are on target for an April 2009 for the bathroom remodel!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tax Time!

With a glass of wine in hand, I finished my taxes in a record breaking 2 hours sans tears! Yes, the keyboard was a bit blurry at times and I had 3 W2s to enter because of our dear failed bank but at least I had W2s to enter. I made it through and I'm getting some money! It's amazing how each year it gets just a little bit easier even though my tax life gets a little more complicated (marriage, mortgage, ect.). I would like to take this opportunity to thank Turbo Tax Deluxe- you are amazing!

Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that the state has enough money to give me my refund! I am a little bitter that we might get an IOU for money that I worked hard for and is rightfully mine. I'm thinking it's time to change my allowances on the good ole W4s.

Bathroom remodel here we come!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm an abstaining, half habiter

My biggest goal for 2009 is to establish better habits and to be more disciplined. My plan is to tackle 5 daily expectancies a month, repeating them as necessary until I feel like they are a true habit (in other words- an automatic action requiring little physical thought to complete).

Here's some good habit forming motivational reading-
2 Simple Ways to Form New Habits without Really Trying I like the idea of a half habit. I used the wii fit as a half habit to get me back into exercising daily and it worked like a charm.
Your Happiness Project: Do Something EVERY DAY I do find it much easier to do something everyday than 3 times a week and I have the exact same conversations in my head as Gretchen!
Quiz: Are you a Moderator or an Abstainer? I'm definitely an abstainer.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

3 Weeks Make a Habit

I've heard it takes 3 weeks to make a habit and only 2 days to break it. Meaning if you concisously do something everyday for 3 weeks it will become a routine for you that requires little effort to get done. However, if you get busy and skip the habit 2 days in a row it requires more effort to get back on track.

At the beginning of the year I created 5 daily expectancies to get me back on schedule. I gave a progress report a week later identifying some of my difficulties. It's been over 3 weeks and I'm proud to report I've got some new habits! Which also means it's time for some new ones for February.

Progress Report

  • Daily dish duty is an official habit. A few nights ago I fell asleep watching tv before I washed the dishes in the sink. A whiny dog woke me up at midnight and as I let him out the back door I saw dishes in the sink. I couldn't go back to bed until I did them! It only took 2 minutes and when I woke up the next morning it felt great to have a clean kitchen!
  • Making the bed is an official habit. It's so important now that DH and I have limited the dogs' access to our bed. Only Porter is allowed in the bedroom because his kennel is there. No more doggies playing on the bed keeps it nicely made and is also doggy hair free which is a bonus.
  • Excercising everyday is almost an official habit. I've switched up the wii fit to My Fitness Coach (still a wii "game"). It's more challenging and I'm doing it every weekday morning, but it's not quite automatic yet. I'm keeping this a focus for February.
  • Walking the dogs is in the same boat- I'm doing it every work day morning but it still takes some concious effort and self talk to get me out on those cold rainy mornings.
  • Cooking 4 times a week is well, not there yet. We are eating at home every night so depending on your definition of "cooking" you could say I'm meeting this expectation. I'm revising this goal for February to be more specific.
  • Cleaning calendar has yet to be created. I think I bit off more than I could chew for January. 5 goals a month is probably my limit since I didn't even think about this goal all month.
February Goals
  • Excercise every weekday so it's automatic and requires no thinking when I get out of bed.
  • Walk the dogs every work day so it's automatic and requires no thinking in the morning.
  • Cook at least 2 meals a week and have food available and prepared for eating at home the other nights.
  • Create a cleaning calendar for regular weekly, monthly, and quarterly cleaning.
  • And a new one: organize mail daily by immediately throwing away junk mail and putting bills to pay in the designated spot.
How are your resolutions coming along?