Saturday, November 29, 2008

November 29, 2008

Item #19: We have figured out what we want to purchase on behalf of Santa. I'll head to our local Toys R Us on Tuesday to acquire it, wrap it, and send it out!

Item #75: We went for our monthly visit to the Arboretum. All the leaves are off the trees, the sky was quite blue, and the air wasn't too chilled. We are hoping (okay, I am hoping, H is dreading) snow tomorrow!Item #99: We invested in an entertainment coupon book, and we found a number of restaurants that are near us that we've never tried before, so we'll be able to try out some new spots AND eat cheaply!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008

Item #19: We are so excited! We got our "Dear Santa" letter in today's mail! I am now going to research & use all my skills to see if I can find a dollhouse for less than $30! I doubt it ... but I'll try. Her other requests are a doll & a book bag (easy enough to accomplish for less than 30 bucks, so I'll start with the grandest request first) ... but we also have clothing & shoe sizes if we wanted to get her clothes. It's such a tough call with kids who are below the poverty line. I want them to be warm for winter ... but I also know the innate desire of a child to have something to play with!


Item #90: We went to the local Teavana store we'd located & sniffed about 8 different teas, and chose 4 to bring home. We've tried the Ceylon one so far (I found it a bit too smoky for my tastes, but H admits he may have used too much tea ... and now we learn, possibly too hot water and too much steeping). Yes, tea brewing is becoming an art! We'll try the other 3 flavors over the rest of the winter.

Item #95: We purchased 3 more holiday gifts today ... and we've been reminded why we do not shop at Woodfield Mall: parking insanity, too many shoppers, and now a 10% sales tax! HOLY COW! We will not be returning there anytime soon. Except, maybe to visit Teavana in January, since there is only a 2% tax on the tea -- must be because it's a food item? I need to purchase one more gift, on Tuesday, then most of the rest are handmade to some degree!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

Item #51: Depending on which scale I use (gym vs. home) I have lost somewhere between 8 and 9 pounds ... WOOT! H hasn't weighed himself in a while, so I don't know how much progress he's made. I am confident we can, over the course of the next year or so, accomplish this task, though!

Item #74: We are doing great with our credit card usage ... or more accurately, lack thereof! We've got a few more weeks to go ... and I am hoping that, like with Item #29 (no fast food for a month) we will decide to continue it, because it's working out very well for us!

Item #81: I should take a new picture of the "potions & lotions" closet shelf, because we are really making a significant dent in the stuff. We are now totally out of stockpiled shampoo & conditioner (except for one set that is for guest use), and we are making our way through hand lotion pretty fast, now that the air is drier! We do seem to have an excess of bath gel and body wash, so I'm making an effort to use it on a more regular basis, too.

Item #84: I now have on the calendar to attempt making homemade ravioli the weekend after Thanksgiving. Just have to buy the ingredients & set aside a few hours. I may even invite some friends, because I think it will be fun!

Item #90: This weekend, we are planning on going to Woodfield Mall & hopefully we can scope out the Teavana store there.

Item #94: I asked our friends' handyman to look at our closet door ... it turns out that one of the disks has deteriorated rather badly, so that is why it keeps getting stuck. I'll have to call the manufacturer to see if we can get a replacement part. But, hey -- progress!

Item #95: So far, so good with the holiday budget. I am doing my best to keep us on track. We are making several holiday gifts this year, which we often do anyway, to supplement our funds. I'm finding new & fun ways of stretching out a buck!

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

Item #19: I'm so geeked ... we received our solicitation letter from the Chicago Sun Times' Season of Sharing, which gives us the chance to play Santa to a needy child! We want to sponsor 4 kids over the next couple of years, but for right now, we've just asked for 1 letter. If our finances improve, we may sponsor another one, or we'll just do a couple next year!

Item #95: I'm also keeping a careful eye on our holiday budget. We're making several gifts this year ... but even so, I want to be sure we stay under our limit!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11, 2008

Item #83: Complete! We made our 4th crockpot meal during our 4th week! Tonight's dinner was Mama's Chicken Stew -- easy and yummy!

What to tackle next??!

Friday, November 7, 2008

November 7, 2008

Item #99: Today we dined at The Yardhouse, which is the 12th new local restaurant we've tried! Only 18 more to try! We had dinner/supper with two online WoW buddies & had a blast. We'll see them again tomorrow (they're visiting from Montreal) and may wind up at another new spot!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 6, 2008

Item #29: We extended our "no fast food for a month" item to be that we wouldn't have fast food more often than once a month ... and so we've patiently waited until today, one month later. I chose to splurge at Portillos ... and H picked Taco Bell. We're resetting the clock, now, and will wait at least one more month before indulging again!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In the spirit of making changes, both big and small ...

I sent out an email to my friends & family this morning. And then I thought it couldn't hurt to make it public, and see if any of my online buddies might want to get in on the action as well. So, here it is:

Okay, here's the thought that germinated in my head while biking at the gym this morning (a wonderful spot for pondering the universe, let me tell you): I would like to begin an email discussion with you about
positive changes that each and every one of us can make, above and beyond what we're doing now. I am inspired by the wave of enthusiasm and excitement from the election, and regardless of politics, I think each one of you will agree with me that the nation, indeed the world, will be a better place if we each step up and do just a little bit more than we are doing now. Whether we invest in our communities, our families, our government, our places of spiritual value, our environment, or some area I haven't considered, we have the potential to create a massive positive effect.

I know that many of you are excited about last night's election results ... and just about as many of you are sorely disappointed. I would like to step beyond the question of who has been elected and move on to the question of what will each one of us do in our own lives? Some of you I know are already actively involved in church activities, in deepening your spiritual self, in helping your community, and in other forms of activism. I think this is awesome, because you can inspire the rest of us to consider activities that we might not ever have thought of.

Here's my vision: I am sending out this email, asking if you'd like to participate in this discussion/brainstorming session. If you agree, I'll send out an email with some of my thoughts & ask people to reply with more ideas, to everyone on the list. It will not be an arena for political discussion, merely an opportunity to exchange ideas & to come up with plans of action. If you don't want to participate, that's fine, too -- I don't expect everyone to jump on this as it's got the potential to generate quite a few emails & to start up a larger process than some of you may want to undertake at this time!

If you want to participate, please email me back (hit reply, not reply-to-all, please) by this Friday, November 7th. If you do not reply, then I will make the assumption you prefer not to participate. If you have friends who you think might be interested in this little undertaking, please feel free to forward the email to them, and then have them email me directly to ask to be added. On Saturday, November 8th, I'll send out the first email to get the ball rolling & start the process of identifying different ideas ... it is my expectation that from there on out, it'll be a fairly organic process, but I'll try to step in and keep people on topic if they're straying a bit.

If, at any point, someone sends a flaming email or makes a nasty comment, I will contact that person for clarification. If, in my best judgment, I feel the person's having a negative effect on the process, I retain the right to rein them in and possibly exclude them from discussions.

So, are you up for it? Let me know! :D

If you are interested in joining, please contact me through my profile & I will add you to the distribution list!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008

Well, we are quite thrilled to have done our civic duty & voted today! We are eager to see the results of the presidential election & have our hopes pinned on Barack Obama. 'Nuff said. On to the 101 list progress for today:

Item #83: We made Enchilada Casserole in the crockpot, so the 3rd week in a row for a crockpot meal ... next week will be #4 & will mean we've reached our goal, but we may make it a trend for the remainder of the winter season, 'cause, gosh ... it's so super simple to cook like this! And it tends to make some pretty tasty leftovers for the next day or two! I'd share tonight's tasty recipe with you, by way of a link, but sadly, Cooking Light's partner, MyRecipes.Com is doing some kind of wacky overhaul & I can't access my saved recipes anymore ... and I can't find it on the site via search ... and I can't seem to get anyone to respond to my emailed requests for help. Ah, well. One more useful tool gone the way of the dodo. Maybe they'll sort it out sooner or later.