Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It’s Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams

There was a major event in our family this past Saturday that I feel is noteworthy.   My father, at the age of 55, graduated from my alma mater, Kent State University, with his Bachelor’s Degree!  Not only did he get his degree, but he graduated magna cum laud!!
My dad with his fellow graduates

To give you a little bit of background, my father graduated with his Associates Degree many many years ago.  He has always excelled in his position at a large nation-wide retail establishment, which is why we moved so much while I was growing up.  My father would whip a store into tip-top shape and then be transferred to work on another.  After 25+ years with said retail establishment, they let him go after giving him unreasonable numbers to hit.  It was pretty much a sham to get him out.  After all, they could pay someone 30 years old a fraction of what this long-timer was making (even if the results were dismal.) 

Many people talk about how bad the economy is and how it is “impossible” to find a job.  My father took this opportunity to do something he’s always wanted to do – get a degree in Accounting.  With the support from his wife, he did just that.  My father took two years to get his degree.  In that time, he was invited to several dinners to meet very notable speakers (for instance, Jerry from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream,) received several awards and scholarships due to his excellent grades, walked around a campus with the majority of the students 8 years younger than his youngest child, tutored students in need of help, and interned for a large accounting firm in Cleveland, OH, ultimately being offered the position to begin work just two weeks after graduation.

When the final graduation date was set, my father asked if I’d like to go.  He stated that if he were me, he wouldn’t want to waste a few hours of my Saturday to sit in a graduation ceremony.  Todd and I both attended the ceremony, not even thinking that it was a waste of time.  This man has made such a huge sacrifice and put in so much hard work to be able to accomplish his dream of becoming an Accountant.  We are both so very proud of him and what he has been able to achieve.

It was pretty incredible to watch my father walk across the same stage I walked across 9 years ago.  Todd and I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for the world. 

Congratulations, dad, on all that you have done!  I am so very proud of you!!!

My dad with his mother (my grandma) on graduation day

Monday, December 19, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 1 Time

Truly, all anyone really wants is time with those they love.  Even though I have listed 25 weeks worth of gift ideas, the one that really matters most is spending time with one another.  The best part is that it costs nothing, but you gain valuable memories together that will last a lifetime.

This year, Todd and I are giving our time to those we love and to each other.  Whether it is sitting around a table talking, or going out and about with them...we are focused on spending more time with those who are most important in our life.

Enjoy Christmas with those you love.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2012 Goals

With every New Year, I feel like I have a fresh start, and this year is no different.  This year, I am posting my goals for everyone to hold me accountable!  I will be posting updates every month as to how the goals are coming along.  This is what my personal goals look like for 2012:

  • Daily Devotional: Read The One Year Bible (I enjoyed reading the Bible in 90 Days, but I would like to slow it down this year!)
  • Find a church that is a fit for our family

  • Read one marriage book a month and put it’s teachings into practice
Health / Personal
  • Eat healthfully (more fruits and vegetables, less meat, carbs and sugars)
  • Create and maintain a cleaning routine
  • Lose 50 lbs (that’s only a pound a week – achievable!)
  • Decrease the amount of “stuff” in our home (Purge-A-Palooza 2012! - will talk about that next week)
  • Volunteer at the Happy Trails Animal Sanctuary (a monthly commitment) 
  • Sponsor a child in need
    • When I started making my list of goals in October, as soon as I had this goal listed, a fellow blogger wrote about how she and her family sponsor a child through Compassion.  After a lot of research about the ministry, we sponsored a child 11/11/11!  It is amazing how God put everything into place!!
    • It is our goal to sponsor another child, but this time, through another organization called Amazima.
  • Save $5,000 toward a replacement vehicle/maintenance
  • Invest 5% of our take-home income into a Roth IRA
  • Sponsor a pot bellied pig at Happy Trails Animal Sanctuary
  • Less pre-packaged food / more cooking from scratch
  • Reduce use of paper towels and paper napkins replacing them with cloth
  • Lower resource consumption (electric / propane / water)
    • Electric use of primary residence over past 12 months=15,298 kWh
    • Electric use of the house we own next door over past 12 months=6,876 kWh
      • We expect this number to be drastically lower due to the fact that we are no longer heating the shed, which was our pot bellied pig and puppy’s abode last winter
  • Install energy-saving power strips throughout home
Gardening & Preserving
  • Grow enough tomatoes, green beans, snow peas, squash and green peppers to be used through the fall and winter 2012 and spring 2013
  • Can at least 24 quarts of tomatoes (sauces, stewed tomatoes, etc)
  • Freeze at least 50 pint-sized bags of vegetables
  • Plant at least 3 concord grape vines

 What are your goals / aspirations / resolutions for 2012?

Monday, December 12, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 2 Soda Can Ring

Did you see that?!? Just two more weeks until Christmas!! EEK!
This week is a super-simple gift for those teenagers in the family.  I know we have a 3 teenage nieces I'm considering making these for.  Again, this was found on YouTube.

{{I'm having problems uploading the video, but you can go here to see the video.}}

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project. Be sure to check them out! Happy Crafting!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We're On A Podcast!

This week, our story was featured on JW's Financial Coaching podcast.  If you'd like to learn a little bit about us, you can go to this website and hear our story.

Jon White has a great podcast on how to become (and stay) debt free.  If you havent subscribed, I'd highly recommend it!


Monday, December 5, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 3 Button Earrings

Now that we are getting down to the wire for Christmas gifts, I have found some videos on YouTube for simple gifts that can be made in very little time.
This week, I found a DIY video on how to make earrings out of buttons!

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project. Be sure to check them out! Happy Crafting!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas is Around the Corner!

Christmas is just around the corner, and the little elves have been working quite a bit around here to prepare for the upcoming holiday.  This is what they have completed:
62 bottles of homemade wine (2 different flavors)
13 large bottles of homemade strawberry margaritas

52 bottles of homemade microbrew beer

Jars of applesauce & applie pie in a jar

Coming up in production:

Apple Butter

How are you preparing for the Holidays?