Goals Update – Week 11 – Lesson: Even a small success is a great motivator.

It has been a month since my last post. No excuses, I just didn’t feel like writing so I didn’t. Not writing however is not the same as not doing and there has certainly been plenty of that going on so I figured it was about time to give my long over-due Goals Update post (so much for at least once a week huh!).

Wow it has been so long I am actually having to refer back to my original post just to help me remember what they all are…
so I am just going to re-list them and include an update (in brackets) after each one:

I give myself one year to…

1. Post a new message on this blog at least once a week – more if I can find the time and have something worthwhile to post. (Pfft so much for this one, though I will try again starting… now)

2. Lose 26kg – I have it there to lose and I can honestly say I won’t miss it! (I have lost 6.4kg! I finally got a new set of scales – fancy ones even – and will be able to keep track much easier now. It is amazing how buoying it is to see positive results. I am more motivated now that I have had some success than I was in the beginning)

3. Improve my fitness – I am nowhere near ready for a zombie apocalypse and I have two babies to look after, I will need stamina. (Ok so I haven’t been working out anywhere near as much as I had intended but I am still doing way more than before (read – before nothing, now something) and that has to count for something)

4. Make it through an entire Pilates workout on the advanced level – I have never made it past the intermediate level and having not done it for so long I am back to beginner, I am sure touching my own toes should not be such a struggle. (Yeah about that… I haven’t actually dug my dvds out of storage yet… but I have been stretching so my flexibility is slowly improving. I still intend to achieve this goal so I guess I had better get on to it)

5. Kick my sugar habit – seriously I rely far too heavily on sugar to get me through the day! I am not going to give it up totally but I would like to get rid of the refined sugar at least. (I never thought I would ever manage to drink my coffee or tea without sugar but there you go, now I prefer it that way. It has also been over a month since my last glass of juice or soda – actually that is not completely true about the soda. I had a glass of diet Pepsi but didn’t enjoy it so I didn’t finish it, so to me that doesn’t count, it doesn’t does it? I have had a couple of cocoas in the evening but it is only once or twice a week, compared to the once or twice a day it was before I am pretty proud of this!)

6. Try one new recipe every week – even if it is just a new version of an old favourite. (This I have been doing, though I am totally crap at taking photos of them. I forget every time! Do you even want to know what I am making if I can’t show you a picture? Seriously, do you? Let me know if you do as I will happily post the recipes. I have made everything from yeast-less pizza dough to tortillas from scratch, sticky lemon chicken, brownies, empanadas, souvlaki and the list goes on...)

7. Complete a craft project every month – I really wanted to make this one a week but realistically most days I am lucky if I can fit 10 mins into the routine. (So this one is a little harder to report on. I have, in true ME form, started many new projects and, as yet, finished none – other than the ones I have already posted about. There are two reasons for this, firstly, I keep finding I don’t have everything I need to complete something and as I don’t want to spend much on any one project I have been putting them on hold until I can find what I need either free or super cheap. This has meant a few things are on a temporary pause. Secondly I am happiest when starting something new so rather than wait til I have everything I need I usually opt to go ahead and start. I am currently working on:
* my lanterns,
* finishing my home management folder,
* putting together a favourite recipes folder,
* a wall mounted herb garden for my kitchen,
* propagating seeds for my summer garden
* a papier-mâché rocket name-plate for Danger’s bedroom door
* a papier-mâché rocket for Danger to play with so he will stop hassling me to play with the name-plate
so just a few things on the go. Actually I don’t think the home management folder will ever be truly ‘complete’ as I think I will still be finding things to put in it years from now but that is ok, the perfectionist in me is not quite ready to share it yet. The Papier-mâché project is utilising things I have around the house, it is just taking quite a long time for it to dry between layers in this cold weather. I will hopefully have that done very soon as Danger is super excited by it and I would like him to have it before he loses interest. I have also found all of the missing pieces to finish my lanterns now hidden among the blankets in a little person’s bed and have done a few so here is a sneak preview before the actual post that I will hopefully be able to show next week..
.)
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8. Find and join (or start) a play group for my children – this I will make time for! There are a lot of children in the army housing but the only family my kids played with moved away so it is time to find new playmates. (I have collected a bunch of CDs of kid’s sing-a-long music I just need to convert them now so I can play them through my iPod and speakers, and get started collecting musical instruments for them to play with. I haven’t taken it any further than this as A-man and I are discussing our options re: moving house, and may end up moving just a bit further away from camp than I will want to travel. I will still likely start one if there are no adequate ones close to where we move but I just don’t know what is going to happen yet)

9. Find a housework system that works for me and stick to it – I am much better at housekeeping since moving to a bigger house but I still have a long way to go to keep the house “company ready” all of the time. (Hmm, where do I start? Well it goes like this… approximately 1 hour before Action Man gets home from work I rush around like a demon-possessed maniac who’s super critical OCD mother-in-law is coming to visit and do all of my housework chores for the day. When hubby walks in the house is clean, calm and dinner is on the way. Eat dinner, get the kids off to bed, collapse on the couch and finally go to bed in my lovely looking house. Following day, rise with the children and proceed to watch in dismay as both they, and A-man when he is home, go about systematically undoing all of yesterday’s efforts, returning it to it’s pre-frenzy chaotic state. Repeat daily) (For the record my Mother-in-law was neither super critical or a neat freak, nor did she suffer from OCD, in fact she would likely have been far more critical if my house, and children for that matter, were always clean and tidy. Unfortunately she passed before Danger or Sunshine were even a twinkle in her beloved son’s eye but she absolutely adored Alpha-D and would spend her whole week planning what crafty endeavors they could get up to in their weekly sleepovers)

10. Graduate – this needs some explaining. I completed a Bachelor of Business degree in Marketing and a Diploma in Advertising many years ago. Somehow I managed to do my entire final semester without my student loan paying for the papers I was sitting and as a consequence I was not allowed to graduate until I had paid for it (and fair enough too). It took me a year to pay it off (no longer being eligible to put it on my loan as I wasn’t a student anymore) and by the time I had done it I forgot all about applying to actually graduate. Now many years later (and not even sure if I can anymore) I thought it would be quite nice to see the certificates on my office wall. (I have done nothing about this, nothing at all)

11. Sell all my excess stuff – I have so much stuff cluttering my life and house it is time to get rid of it. I will donate some but in order to achieve the following two goals I will need to make some money… (Close to nothing on this one too and this is something I need to fix, again starting…now)

12. Clear my credit card – my balance is not high (under a thousand isn’t too bad is it?) but with no income of my own it is a bit of a challenge to get rid of it. I want to do this without eating into our family savings or impacting on our budget at all. All of the items purchased on it were for the family (mostly nappies and baby gear) but I still want to do this myself. (Yep, nothing, still at $206)

13. Save for a holiday – destination to be determined by how much I manage to sell/save over and above clearing the credit card, luckily I have LOTS to sell. I have had only one overseas holiday as an adult and that was only three days and far too busy to be relaxing. It is time for a tropical island get-away I think, well in a year anyway. (just $796 to go before I can start saving for this, gulp)

14. Find a free online or correspondence course to do – I don’t want to work in advertising or marketing when my children go to school so I want to earn some new qualifications even if they are just certificates. At the moment I am thinking event management but who knows… I may find something else that inspires me more. (Do I even need to mention the nothing here? Did you really expect this would be under way? No, me either)

15. Don’t collect the ones. (Actually I am feeling pretty good right now!)

Although not strictly related to the goals above I have started a new, larger scaled project. I guess it is more of a new goal to add to the list so I guess I will state it that way…

16. Become fearlessly frugal.

Ok so this is not my term, I totally stole it, or rather I am borrowing it on a semi-permanent basis. How it works is this: I challenge myself (and my family by default) to reduce spending across all aspects of household expenditure. From groceries to utilities, entertainment and all other variable costs incurred in the course of living, I intend to maintain (at the very least and improve where I can) our lifestyle while spending less. The Spending Less – Living More idea is not new of course, just new to me. I will be starting with a grocery budget overhaul and moving on from there and will document my successes, failures and insights under a new category named, of course, Fearlessly Frugal. I welcome any and all input into this area and encourage anyone reading to comment with their tips and tricks, I will happily share them.

Goals Update – Week 6 – Lesson: Running from Zombies really does give you a little more motivation!

I am a day late in posting this weeks update. I didn’t think it was fair to write it yesterday when I was having such a blah day, you know the kind, where the motivation to wash the dishes is at absolute zero and the zombies on your running app were just not chasing you frequently enough to make you feel that you got a decent workout, you know what I mean? No? Maybe that one is just me.
It’s the day where you finally had to admit defeat over the lawns and call the local lawnmower man to do it for you and you woke up that morning and realised that, even though you had a lovely evening having dinner with your husband’s ex and their wonderful teenage daughter and the ex’s bubbly second daughter, that it was your wedding anniversary and that even though you have been together for 14 years and married for 4 you cannot recall a single time when you actually celebrated that fact together as husband and wife. It is supposed to be your husband and not his ex that you have dinner with on your anniversary surely? Or maybe that is just me too?

It has actually been a bit of a blah week all round, nothing going quite how I wanted it to and I don’t feel I have achieved anything really. It was the kind of week that had me second guessing myself and wondering if I shouldn’t just pack it all in and give up on the whole goal setting thing altogether.

Maybe my blah feeling stemmed from the fact that I have spent a lot of time crying this week. Not in sorrow mind you but in empathy. You see I was recently nominated by one of my readers for a versatile blogger’s award and part of the rules of the nomination are to thank the person who nominated you, which I have done but thank you again Elizabeth, and to pass it along to 15 other bloggers who have touched your life in some way. Well at the time of nomination I was only following half a dozen or so other blogs and so I figured I had better get reading if I was going to find 15 others to nominate. Wow. It is amazing how these small snapshots, these tiny windows into other people’s lives can have such an effect on you. I have read stories of beauty, redemption and discovery and so many of them have made me cry that I was beginning to wonder if I was becoming nothing more than a big blubbering sook! Pah, wondering nothing, I have always been a sook – I can (and have) cried over TV ads.

Anyway I didn’t want any negative feeling seeping into my post so I delayed.

Luckily today I am feeling a lot better which is surprising actually as I had a rather severe case of Pinsomnia last night. Here I was at 10pm, all the chores done, congratulating myself that I would be in bed by 10.30 tonight after a quick check of my emails… before I knew it the clock was reading 12.30am and I was in the midst of a pinning frenzy fantasising about all the fabulous places I want to travel to someday. Pinterest you will be the ruin of me I think.

So onto the achievements (or lack thereof) for the week. It hasn’t been a total write off, I just had more in mind is all.

I still have no idea if I have lost any weight. I now know what is wrong with my scales but am no closer to being able to fix them. I am officially admitting defeat in this area as well and will buy a new set. In the mean time I plan to take my measurements so I can see if I am getting any smaller as opposed to just weighing less. Of course I won’t know if I am until I measure again in a month but it is a start. I will not be sharing those measurements though, sorry if you were curious.
To my shame I have fallen off the 30 day challenge wagon. I don’t even have a good excuse, I got to day 17 and just stopped. I vow that today I will pick up where I left off. I have however been enjoying using the elliptical trainer and ‘running’ from zombies with the new Zombies, Run! app I downloaded onto A-Man’s phone. Hope he doesn’t mind, who knows he may even use it himself, he is a bit (lot) of a zombie fan too.
I have joined an online community called SparkPeople. It is a free program that allows you to count your daily calories, track your exercise and get tips and recipes from the site administrators and other community members. I have even followed along with one of their yoga videos which was interesting. I was a little more flexible than I thought but a lot less than I should be. I know a lot of people are steadfastly against counting calories but I have found success on Weight Watchers in the past and find that kind of system a lot more effective for me than anything else I have tried. I considered joining again but object to having to pay the $35 odd that WW charge for their online program and I sure as heck am not dragging my children to meetings for $15 or $20 a week! So far the 4 days I have completed on SparkPeople has been great and the exercise log means I can more accurately keep track of how much to pay myself.

I really thought I would have all my lanterns done by now but I think some sticky 2½ year old fingers got hold of some of my supplies and I am missing some components necessary for completion. If he remembers what he did with them he is not letting on. If I don’t find what I need in the next few days I may have to make a strip to the store though I really don’t want to.

I have not paid any more off my credit card either as I never did list any more items to sell online. I really will make more of an effort in this area, especially now the travel bug is hitting hard (thanks to my aforementioned bout of pinsomnia) and I need to get saving rather than paying off.

As I promised to myself I have been trying plenty of new recipes lately though I am remarkably crap at remembering to photograph my creations. Although I try my meals never seem to look quite as beautiful as the ones in the book or magazine I copied from, so I don’t feel honest using their photo to show you, even if the recipe is the same (which it usually isn’t quite, I just can’t help myself but change it just a little).The one time I did remember (and even took photos of all of the steps) I forgot the dish in the oven so my final photo looks terrible and the food is about 6 shades darker than I intended. It is close to, but not quite, burnt beyond redemption so although it looked disgusting it actually tasted ok and the kids were happy to eat it too. I am still of two minds as to whether to share it though. I also had great intentions of trying some raw energy bars this week. It seems you can’t log onto facebook, pinterest or any food blog lately without it featuring some clean, raw or Paleo (or better yet – clean, raw AND Paleo) recipe. It seems to me that about 90% of them involve dates, almonds and coconut oil, maybe with one or two extra ingredients thrown in but the basics are always the same, and the other 10% require a juicer. Now I have all of those things but I don’t believe we are designed to live on dates, almonds, coconut oil and juice. I am not opposed to including them in my diet though so I got myself set up to make some of these miracle treats. Just before I started loading ingredients into the food processor though there was a wail from the bedroom announcing that Sunny was awake and kitchen playtime for mummy was over. On the way down the hall to collect her I shoved an almond inside a date and ate it. You know what? It was good, and that is good enough for me, I found a new snack and saved myself some extra dishwashing. Win!

Something that I am proud of this week is how I have thrown myself into the FlyLady system of home management. I am still not so hot on following all of the routines I have been trying to put in place for myself though when my dinner guests arrived on Tuesday I was not scurrying around the house frantically shoving clothes under beds and wiping bathroom sinks as I usually would be at the prospect of visitors. The house was already quite respectable and that felt good. I am still not caught up on all of the laundry folding that needs doing but I am getting there.

On that note I am off to fold another basket in front of the heater. The sun is shining but it is still rather chilly and my toes are cold.

What is that smell? Oh that – that is the smell of CLEAN!

Well it certainly amazed me but as I said the other day in my week 3 and 4 update “it is time to get my clean on” and that is exactly what I did today! Ok so I only did one room but boy is it DONE! Short of shampooing the carpet (which I intend to do next week) I don’t think there is much else I can clean in our lounge. All of the furniture was moved and vacuumed under and the skirting boards wiped , the book cases were de-cluttered and polished, the light shades are shiny white and I cleaned the photos framed on the walls as well as the ones on the mantle piece. The windows have been cleaned so that, even though you can’t see them very well behind our ugly lace curtains, I know they are sparkling and the mirror over the fire-place has also been polished (except the love note Action Man wrote on it before he left). We even had a massive broken toy purge! There were plenty of complaints but I just told myself firmly to be quiet and get on with it.

Now this is not really in keeping with the teachings of FlyLady but I figure if the motivation is there I should make the most of it and I must say I am pleased with the results. This is a novelty as I am usually disappointed with the amount that I manage to get through. My children, who, from now on, will be referred to as Sunshine (or Sunny) and Danger, are very distracting and quite capable of making mess as fast as I can remove it. Today however while not exactly helpful they were not really a hindrance either.

My lanterns are not forgotten (maybe I will have a bit of a play tonight with some colour mixing) but I actually had so much fun today that I think tomorrow… the kitchen.
Look out plastics cupboard, I am coming for you!

The Challenge

No-one who knows me would ever call me a slave to fashion. I have my own style, not quirky enough to be cool, not Nana enough to be naff, just me. Ok I wear black, just black generally but if I am feeling adventurous I will brighten up my look with a pop of colour… like grey. My best friend got married about 6 weeks ago and as her Matron of Honour she requested I wear white to match the rest of the bridal party. I don’t wear white – ever – so it is a huge testament to how much I love her that not only did I do it, I didn’t complain (much). I didn’t even wear white to my own wedding, but that was mine and I got to choose the colour scheme, this was hers so she got to choose but it illustrates how following fashion is not really high on my list of priorities. Every so often however a trend shows up that I want to follow and this time it came in the form of the 30 day challenge! They are all over the internet at the moment and it seems every body is either creating one, doing one or has just completed one. I even took part in one a few weeks back, inspired by some great girls whose page I follow on Facebook, you can check them out here (they are funny, real and very inspiring). Actually “took part” is not completely true – I started to take part in one, got about 12 days in, hubby got deployed, babies got sick and I forgot all about it. While I was doing it though I enjoyed the challenge and would like to try again. I was doing the 30 Day Squat Challenge but was also adding in some core and upper body work each day too. This time around I am going to incorporate a wider range of exercises and have devised my own 30 Day Challenge with the view to getting into the habit of working out on a regular basis. Most originally I have called it Toni’s 30 Day Challenge because, you know, it is really important to have a catchy title!

Here it is…

Toni’s 30 Day Challenge

Ok so I wrote it after a couple of drinks last night (my first in about 3½ years), I was celebrating (mourning is more accurate) Miss R having weaned herself and got inspired. Reading back over it in the cold light of morning I am feeling more than a little intimidated by the figures on day 30 however full of trite inspirational quotes thanks to a Facebook conversation with friends this morning (I even attached some to the bottom of the challenge sheet as you can see) and flush with Mother’s-Day-overindulgence-remorse I am going to attempt it as is, I may even surprise myself! So to hype myself up, some more over-used inspirational quotes… No time like the present, seize the day, believe you can and you’re half way there and my favourite at the moment, suck it up and some day you won’t have to suck it in… and all that. I start today!

Goals Update – Week 2 – Lesson: Learn to be your own Cheerleader

What is it about writing these updates that I dread so much? I have employed almost every procrastination ploy I know, short of actually doing any real work around the house, to avoid writing this – hence it being a day late. I probably should actually be working on the housework but then I guess I am using this as a procrastination tactic for that too.

I intend to make a few posts over the next couple of days, however it is this one that I am reluctant about. Maybe it is my need to succeed, not in general terms but is everything I do. If one aspect of my goal achievement is not up to scratch I have difficulty accepting my successes in other areas. I read a quote the other day that went like this… Sometimes people expose what is wrong with you because they can’t handle what is right about you… It was in a post on Facebook by a popular New Zealand personality and she was talking about not collecting the 1’s. That despite the fact that 299 love you it is the 1 that doesn’t that has the power to bring you down. Why is it that the love/admiration/respect of the 299 is not enough to stop the 1 from hurting? I think I need to add a new goal into my list:

15. Don’t collect the 1’s

I am my worst detractor too, I know it. I am not happy unless everything I do is exact. I also know that my reticence about this post stems from only one of my goals not going to plan. Somehow being slim or achieving a steady rate of weight loss has become the benchmark by which I measure all of my success. The crazy thing is I have only just completed week 2 of my set time frame and have already achieved more than in any other 2 week (or probably even 4 week) period of the past year.

After a week of birthday cake and being too busy to fit in much (read: any) exercise I am almost positive I have put on weight. Note here that I said “almost positive I have” not “have”. In an effort to not collect the 1’s I have resolutely avoided stepping on the scales. I don’t want to know what I weigh this week, I don’t want to let it bring me down, in fact I am not going to step on the scales again until the end of week 4! Instead I am going to focus on what I am doing well in other areas, work at fitting more physical activity into my day and consciously making healthy food choices.

Although I said I didn’t manage any exercise I did mow our lawns. I have never actually timed myself but I think it takes somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours to do them. I split the job over 2 days and both times resulted in an elevated heart rate and a substantial glow (who am I kidding? I was sweating!) so I think that counts as a workout – I paid myself as though it was anyway. Current savings toward my new wardrobe – $11.00

I also listed a whole bunch of my stuff online but some of the auctions haven’t closed yet and the others haven’t had payment made so I can’t count them either. That means no change in my current debt status unfortunately. I will be listing more tonight though so hopefully the next 2 weeks (by the time payment is actually in my account) will show some significant improvement. It has been a very creative week though and along with the card I showed last week for my lovely Miss R I also made a similar card for my sister to go with her present (which I will make a post for this afternoon now that she has it) and made significant progress on my home management folders. They are at a stage now where I can show photos so I will post them as soon as I work out how to include a link to the sites I got my inspiration and printable inserts from – credit where credit is due I believe and as these were not my own creations I think that is only fair. I also have made a Mother’s Day card for my Mum but again I can’t show you this until she has it later this week.

There have also been a few new creations in the kitchen, some of them my own inventions too so I will post the recipes for those in the next couple of days. I will also include the recipe and photos for the birthday cake I made for Miss R’s first birthday celebration we held in the weekend. Most exciting though I have plans in the works to start a playgroup/music and movement group for my littlies and the other preschool kiddies in the Army housing area. Fingers crossed there are enough other Mums out there interested in joining as I really want this to work. My Mum started one for my sister when she was a baby and we were living in a small country town with nothing already set up. It was very cool and the kids loved it.

I think that is all to report this week in terms of goal progress. Reading back over what I have written above it doesn’t seem like much, but baby steps will get me there still and in my new determination to believe the 299 I am proud of what I have achieved!

cheer_ese