Philippians 3:14 Friday

Today is Chickpea's last day of school!  I'll be so happy to have her home all the time!  Of course, this means my daily schedule is about to change dramatically, especially with regards to the time I spend at DangerBear's business.  I've been spending the mornings there 2-3 times per week, but I can't expect Chickpea to sit still for that long.  I think I'm going to try an hour or so each day.  Chickpea can bring along some quiet things to do.  We'll see how it works!

Goals-wise, I've been doing better than last week.  I've done a lot of recipe-gathering for the State Fair.  I hope to finish that up this weekend so I can start testing recipes in June.  I'm working on getting papers and e-mail under control, and am still messing around with finding a simple system that works well for me.

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See More Works for Me Wednesday

Here's a tip to save paper when you want to print a multi-page document, like an e-book:

Print four pages to a sheet, double-sided.

I can't give exact instructions, as it'll be slightly different depending on your printer, but you'll probably be able to find a "layout" or "page setup" setting where you can change the number of pages printed to a sheet.  If you choose four pages to a sheet, you can print a 100 page e-book on 25 pieces of paper.

If you're willing to experiment a little, you can go a step further by printing double-sided.  To get this to work, you need to be able to choose the "layout direction."  For example:

  • Horizontal: Page 1 will go on the upper-left of the sheet.  Page 3 on the upper-right.  Page 5 lower-left.  Page 7 lower-right.
  • Horizontal-Reversed: Page 2 on upper-right.  Page 4 on upper-left.  Page 6 on lower right.  Page 8 on lower-left.
Clear as mud?  Here's how it will look.  You first print the odd pages with the horizontal layout:

Then you put those pages back in the printer (with the correct orientation, depending on your printer) and print the even pages on the other side:

If you like, you can then cut apart the pages, hole punch them, and use book rings to make your own little book.  Here's an e-book I printed a while back:

This will take some experimenting.  Once you figure out how to do it with your printer, definitely write it down so you'll remember for next time!  You'll be able to print a 100 page document using only 13 pieces of paper!  (Or 25, if you don't want to mess with double-sided printing.)

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Learn More About Philippians 3:14 Friday

May Goals Update:  What Goals??

Well, that about sums it up.  I got distracted and totally forgot about my goals.  I've been taking Chickpea outside, and I've finished one of my books, but haven't done much with my daily and weekly goals.  I organized my kitchen cabinets, which makes me happy.  I can't even think of anything else to say about my goals!  I really need some get-up-and-go, as I've been really tired lately and generally not using my time wisely.  :(

Hopefully you're doing better than I am, so sign the Mr. Linky and join in!

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Check Out More "Works for Me Wednesday"

I'm not sure if this Works for Me, as I've just decided to try it, but even if it doesn't, it might work for you!

Daily Themes

If you've ever tried FlyLady you're probably already familiar with the concept.  (I think she calls it her Weekly Plan.)  It's basically focusing on one task each day.  Here's mine:

  • Monday: Laundry Day
  • Tuesday: Cleaning Day (Basic Housework)
  • Wednesday: Desk Day (Paying Bills, Filing, etc.)
  • Thursday: Fun Day (Fun Projects with Chickpea)
  • Friday: Kitchen Day (Dinner Prep for the Week, Baking)
This doesn't mean I'll spend ALL day on that task; my goal is to be done before 2-3pm at the latest.  It just means that once I do laundry/cleaning/whatever, then I don't even have to think about it for the rest of the week.  I've never tried having a weekly kitchen prep day, but we'll see how it goes!

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(Find Out More About Philippians 3:14 Fridays)

An Unrelated Story

The last week or so has been kind of crazy:  Lots to do at work, DangerBear got sick, and Chickpea was in two parades.  There's a Cute Little Town about 25 minutes from here that has a heritage festival every year, and Chickpea's school was marching in the parade on Thursday and Friday of last week.

Let me preface this by saying that I hate driving, especially in busy areas.  Let me also say that I am spatially challenged.  In other words, I can't read a map to save my life, and get easily confused.

So when we got to Cute Little Town on parade day, I parked pretty far away from the festivities.  I didn't want to deal with the closed-off roads and oodles of pedestrians.  On Thursday I remembered to write down directions from where I'd parked to the parade site.

On Friday, I forgot.  And I got lost on the way back.  As in, "walking several miles out of our way" lost.  With a very tired six year old.  I should have taken my GPS out of the car, just in case, but I didn't think I'd need it.  After all, I'd been to Cute Little Town plenty of times!

Praise God, I had my cell phone.  And the battery was even charged!  I eventually overcame my pride and called DangerBear, who got me directions.  We probably walked nearly five miles.  Chickpea was not happy with me.

Another praise: The weather was gorgeous.  About five minutes after we found the car, it started to rain.  :)

My Goals

I've been doing really well with some of my goals:

  • Straightened up the house every day
  • Drank my water every day
  • Took Chickpea outside almost every day
  • Took my vitamin almost every day
  • Cleaned the kitchen most days
  • Ate breakfast most days
Some goals need a little help:
  • I've missed several days of Bible reading
  • I haven't written in my journal in a couple of days
  • I've only made dinner about half the time
Finally, some goals are on life support:
  • My well-intentioned cleaning schedule went *pouf*
  • Fruit with breakfast and lunch?  What?
Yeah, so I'm working on it.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is about improving, not being perfect.

How are you doing?  Sign the Mr. Linky and share your goals!

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I don't like having lots of little gadgets and appliances in the kitchen, although I love looking at them in Williams Sonoma.  I prefer to have items that I can use for more than one purpose.  Here's one example:

My Gravy Separator

(Yes I know the picture is sideways.  I've never had a problem with this, but Blogger was driving me nuts.  I have groceries to put away, so it's staying sideways.)

I bought it one year at Thanksgiving to, well, separate gravy.  For a while that was its only purpose, until I realized that I could use the mesh strainer on its own.

Now I use it for other things as well, such as...
  • serving the gravy, so I don't need a gravy boat
  • mise en place (holding water or other liquid so it's ready while I'm cooking)
  • sifting powdered sugar (it sifts right into the container so I can measure as I go)
  • dusting my work surface with flour
  • dusting baked goods (like cake or french toast) with powdered sugar
  • straining small amounts of jam or preserves
All that from one little tool!  That definitely Works for Me!

How do you get the most from your kitchen gadgets?

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If you didn't get a chance to download the new monthly goal tracker, you can find it here.

Here's what mine looks like.  The one you can download is a Microsoft Word document that you can customize with your own goals.

(Sorry it's so big, but I wanted you to be able to see it properly.)


My Progress

Daily Goals: So far this month (not counting today), I've...
  • done my Bible reading 6 times,
  • written in my journal 6 times,
  • taken Chickpea outside 6 times,
  • done my cleaning task 2 times (oops),
  • completed my dinner prep early 4 times
  • actually made dinner only 3 times (How'd that happen?!),
  • straightened up the house every day (7 times),
  • cleaned the kitchen before bed 5 times,
  • taken my vitamin and drank my water every day,
  • eaten breakfast 6 times, and
  • had a piece of fruit with breakfast 6 times.
Weekly Goals: Doing pretty well with these, but I have to write up my meal plan for the week.  I was supposed to do that on Wednesday.

Reading: Haven't started my books yet!

Projects: I'm almost done cleaning out my kitchen cabinets, and I'm working on preparing for the State Fair baking contests.  We finished digging up the grass in the garden; DangerBear just has to rototill it.  (Is "rototill" a word??)

So how are you all doing with your goals?

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Several of you were interested in the monthly goal tracker form (see my post here), so I made a more generic version to share with you.  It's a Microsoft Word document.  I don't really know what I'm doing, and I have a tendency to "reinvent the wheel," so if you have a problem or a suggestion, please let me know!

With regards to my downloads, I'd like to ask two favors of you:
  • If you'd like to share the download with anyone else, please refer them to my site to download it.
  • Please don't remove the footer at the bottom of the page.  I'm just vain that way.
Thanks!  =)

How to Set It Up

Once you download and open the document, you can customize it with your own goals and projects:
  1. The Date- Click on the month and year fields to fill in... the month and year!  Aren't you glad you have these instructions?
  2. Daily Goals- There's room for twelve daily goals.  Click on each field (labeled "Goal") and type one of your goals.  Try to keep it super-short; just a word or two.  If you don't need all the columns, just click the "Goal" field and hit delete.  You can just leave the columns empty, or mess around with deleting them.
  3. Weekly Goals- You can put up to seven weekly goals here.  Click the "Goal" field and type a goal.    To the right of each goal are five circles, each with a "Date" label.  You can just delete the labels if you want, or you can type in the dates you want to do the goal.  For example, I want to set up a playdate for Chickpea each Friday this month, so my circles are labeled 5/1, 5/8, 5/15, 5/22, and 5/29.  Clear as mud?  Just delete whatever you don't need!
  4. Reading- Depending on how many books you want to read, I put this in both columns.  The left column has room for two books, and the right column has room for a few more.  (When I did my own goal tracker, I had a bunch of projects and didn't have room for books on the right-hand column.)  You can delete them from wherever you don't want them.  Anyhoo, click on the "Book Title" field and, well, you know.  All the circles under each book are for chapters read.  There are forty circles for each book.  If you read books of that length, you have my praise.  Delete any you don't want.  =)
  5. Projects- There are, I think, ten project spaces in the right-hand column.  Just click the "Project Title" field and enter a quick description of the project you want to work on.  Then just type in your tasks; these are the individual steps needed to accomplish your project.  Just hit "enter" to add more tasks, and delete any project spaces you don't need.  If you can't fit it all on one page, well, maybe you're trying to do too much.  Plus, I didn't feel like designing a two page project planner.  :)
  6. I think that's it.  I've never made something quite as customize-able-ish before, so let me know if you have any problems/suggestions/chocolate.

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Here is the document I designed to help me keep track of my goals and projects for the month:
From Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?

Yes, I know I'm neurotic.  But I love it!  =D  Everything is on one page.  For the two books I plan to read this month, there is a circle to color in for each chapter, plus one for typing my notes.

If you think I'm crazy, just smile politely and back away slowly.  If you think this is really nifty and would love to do something similar for your own goals, let me know.  If a Microsoft Word document will work for you, I can offer this as a customizable template for download.  If you're interested, you can either leave a comment or e-mail me.

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Ah, it's Friday!  Not only that, but it's the start of a new month!  Goodness, April went quickly, didn't it?  I had a good time deciding my goals for May.

My April Goals: Final Report

Meh.  I lost my momentum and didn't do as well as I had hoped, but I have to remember that it's still an improvement.

Reading: I finished three of the four books I planned to read.  I decided to save the fourth book for another time because I went nuts at the library and wanted to read those books before they had to be returned.

Craft: I didn't even touch my scrapbooking stuff.

  • Papers/Information: I went through almost all of the magazines and catalogs that were lying around, which feels great!  I'm also continuing to fine-tune the way I handle papers, tasks, etc.
  • Garden: We're almost done preparing the soil for the garden, but are being held up by lots of rain.
  • Seasonal Clothing Switch: I went through the bin of summer clothing.  Now I just have to remove outgrown clothing and cold-weather stuff from Chickpea's drawers and make a list of the summer clothes she needs.
  • Dinner Binder: Okay, this isn't done, but I've got the basic setup and have typed up a bunch of recipes.  I just need to sit down and type one or two each day and I'll be all set.  So I count this as half-accomplished.

  • Laundry Schedule: I followed it for the first half of the month but then got off track.  At the moment I'm sitting next to a big pile of unfolded laundry and staring at a pile of ironing.  I'm totally going to get back on track with this, though!
  • Meal Planning: Still enjoying planning meals.
  • Straighten Up House/Clean Kitchen: Again, I lost momentum here.  I need to get into the habit of cleaning up after myself as I go, so the house stayed picked up.  As for the kitchen, my sink drain still isn't working, which is driving me nuts.  Sometimes I let that be an excuse for why I don't clean the kitchen, which is silly and lazy.
  • 15 Minutes Cleaning Each Day: Had a really hard time with this.  For May I'm going to create a little schedule of exactly what I want to clean each day.  This was a very easy goal to procrastinate.
  • Dinner Prep/Cook Dinner: I've done pretty well with this, though I still need to improve.  I'm starting to enjoy cooking more, and to enjoy using fresh ingredients, especially garlic. =)

Daily Goals:
  • Read Bible: I didn't finish the New Testament, but I read my Bible more days than not.
  • Park/Activity With Chickpea: I've done this almost every day, either going to the park or playing a fun game or what-have-you.  We haven't been to the park in a week because of soggy weather, but hopefully we'll get some sunshine soon.
  • Playdate: She's had a playdate each week for the entire month.  Woohoo!
  • Vitamin/Water: I've done this almost every day.
  • Breakfast: I've had breakfast each morning more often than not.  Usually just a very small bowl of cereal.

My Goals for May

This time I've created a one-page document that has all of my goals and projects on it, which I hope will make it easier for me to keep track of what I want to do.  I'll post a picture of it next week.

Daily Goals:
  • Read the Bible Each Day: My goal is to read through the Epistles.
  • Journal Each Evening
  • Play Outside with Chickpea (Weather Permitting)
  • Follow My Cleaning Schedule: Includes keeping the bathroom clean, vacuuming, and organizing the refrigerator.
  • Prepare Dinner Early: I'm going to try to do my dinner prep a little at a time.  When I make breakfast, I can start the rice, for example.  Or cut vegetables while preparing lunch.  We'll see what works best.
  • Cook Dinner
  • Straighten Up House
  • Clean Kitchen Before Bed
  • Vitamin/3 Glasses of Water
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Fruit: Eat a piece of fruit with breakfast and before lunch.
Weekly Goals:
  • Meal Plan Each Wednesday
  • Set Up Playdate Each Friday
  • Laundry on Monday and Wednesday
  • Organize Scrapbooking "Ephemera" and Photos
  • Paper/Information: Work on my filing, get e-mail under control, and get into the habit of using my running task list and calendar.
  • State Fair: Gather recipes and start planning!  I like to enter the baking contests.  =)
  • Garden: For heaven's sake, we need to plant!
  • Dinner Binder: Finish it up and start using it.
  • Organize Kitchen Cabinets: 'nuff said.
  • Father's Day: Decide what Chickpea and I are going to do for DangerBear.
  • Activities for Chickpea: Figure out what activities she can do over the summer, like sports, library storytime, etc.
Phew!  I'm going to be busy this month.  =)  How about you?  Enter the Mr. Linky below and share the goals you're setting for yourself!

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