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Faith's Firm Foundation: What I Am Doing Now

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I Am Doing Now

I decided to post one of those "What I Am Doing Now" posts, but with a twist.  For me, January is a month that's a mix.  First, we live in Minnesota, so it can be gray and very cold, and I used to get somewhat depressed during January, being all cooped up, and not seeing the sun.  But I have realized in recent years that January is one of two months in the year--the other is July--when I have almost nothing on my calendar, and if I don't recognize that and use the month well, I've missed a golden opportunity! 

I now look at January as though I'm sitting at the top of the roller coaster of the year.  I'm about to go down and things are going to pick up speed rapidly!!  So, in January, at the top, I try to look ahead and see into the distance, and prepare.  Having to stay at home has its advantages:  it saves a lot of money on gas! And, you can get a lot done when you stay home.  Here are some of the things I'm preparing for, and questions I'm asking myself to try to be on top of things when spring comes!

  • Figure out Baby gifts--I know of about half a dozen babies being born in the next few months, so I'll be on the lookout for sales on baby clothes, both boys and girls, and stock up my gift shelf. I usually choose 12 months or older. I also love to give great children's books, which I already have on hand.
  • Graduation and wedding gifts and cards--there are always quite a few of these.  I have already stocked up on wedding gifts by ordering from Mikasa's online clearance site, when they had free shipping, and I got some really nice things for great prices.  So, now for grad cards and gifts. 

Will I make cards by hand, by computer, or buy them? I do have stamps, but I recently purchased a year's membership to American Greetings, so I can make printable cards.  It's really cool, because I can edit the cards, change the font, add pictures, personalize the card, and even rewrite some of the writing inside, if I want to!  Lots of things you can print, like invitations, too.  With a box of parchment paper, and a box of greeting card sized envelopes, which I already have, I'm set.  So, I'll probably do that.
Will I give money (much easier) or find something inexpensive, but special, that will actually be cheaper and more personal than cash? I'll keep my eyes open online.

  • Packing away all the Christmas decorations

(Yes, I'm still doing that--I like to leave them up, except for the tree, way into January, because I love them! and they add color to my home), I'm trying to see if there are areas that need decluttering, or maybe it's easier to see and clean an area now--like the cloth on top of the piano and the valance over the window--because I've removed everything.

  • Cleaning and DeCluttering

That Kitchen Pantry cupboard needs to be cleaned out once a year--maybe now?
Clear off the top of my cupboards and clean what's up there? Nothing attractive about an inch of dust!

  • Year-end Financial and Budget

Put a new checkbook register in my checkbook, and print out all the statements to have in one place.
Finish checking off in the checkbook all the checks that have cleared, and look for any discrepancies. My husband takes care of the finances, but he has me pay the bills, and carry the checkbook.  He took care of all the financial over Christmas vacation, but I just like every box checked and to have a feeling that I kind of am on top of things:)

  • Make a Record of Expenditures in a Spreadsheet

Become more responsible with my spending, and start a spreadsheet to record daily spending, especially in certain areas, where discretionary spending, though within acceptable limits, could be less.
Though we studied it in school with the kids, Kelsey never had to really do her own budget herself, so I'm having her make a spreadsheet, too, to keep track of spending and probably a budget later.
My husband doesn't like to keep track of every penny in areas such as spending on clothes--I'm not a big spender in this area, so he doesn't feel he needs to--but I really think it would be good to know just how much I am spending.  This is difficult to track, because it gets lumped in with so many other purchases on the credit card, and our kids buy much, if not all, of their own clothes.  So, I made a spreadsheet with this and other categories where I think we could cut some spending, and I will try to figure it out.  Could I save money in this or any other area?

  • Thinking about my spending habits

One of the things about good habits is that you don't have to keep track of what you're doing as carefully! You just do the same thing as you've been doing, and you stay within budget.  However, checking to see if I could do better is something I have a little more time to do in January.

  • Hospitality

Are there people that we've promised we'd have over, and haven't yet?  Call them, and set up a time.

  • Books I Meant to Read?

Are there books that I wanted to read and didn't get to?  I really like to fuel my faith at this time of the year.  It helps to stave off the depression and discouragement from the weather and lack of sun.  I picked up an old book that I'd read before and that God really used in my life a few years ago, "Echoing and ReEchoing" by Faye Huntington, and have started reading it again when I have a few minutes.  She co-authored many books with Isabella Alden ("Pansy"), whose writing I love, but this is a book she wrote by herself. 

You can get other great reading for wintery months, or summertime reading, for that matter, at the Keepers of the Faith website (it's .com, not .net, or you'll get something totally different!) and then click on books.  Check out their site for all kinds of activities, and teaching skills kits, etc., to complement your family's homeschooling.
So, that's what I'm doing now.  I hope you're not too bored by my list!

So......what do you do when the weather forces you inside for awhile?
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Blogger Jamie~ said...

Wow! What a fantastic, yet doable list. Your January is like our July and August when it's just too miserably hot to go out.

I'm a list person, so it's hard for me to be pregnant and not able to get the things on my list done like I like. My January and February are going to be taken up getting ready for baby (such fun) and getting my family prepared to have mama not up to par for a while.

I hope you get far on your list!


January 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Harter said...

Lol, my Christmas decorations are still up too... well, part of them. I took the outside ones down, and part of the indoor ones... but not all of them. And the ones that I did take down are still sitting in my living room in their boxes behind the chair... :(

January 18, 2011 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I hope your pregnancy is going well. I would love to be there to help you. (Wish I lived closer!) And to hold that adorable baby when he or she comes! What's your due date? (email me if you'd rather) I'd like to be praying as the day approaches. I know a lot of people who are due mid-February to early April, including one who's expecting twins! I love babies--what a blessing. Don't worry about your "list" now; your true list is making a baby grow and delivering it soon:) Hope you're able to get plenty of rest. Thanks so much for commenting--it was soooo good to hear from you!

January 18, 2011 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Well, I feel better! I'm in good company! I took down almost the rest of my decorations today, but they are sitting in the corner of my living room awaiting my hubby, who is excellent at getting everything packed into a small space, to pack them into boxes and put them up in the closet. I did feel very good at what I got accomplished today, though! :)
Thanks for sharing and making me feel better.

January 18, 2011 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger Annette W. said...

Great Post, Wendy!!!
I wondered if you give mentoring guidance on any of the sections??
When you wrote about spreadsheets that made me curious. I would like to know how you do that..

January is often a time for me to clean in areas that don't get it the rest of the year. Some examples are my desk in the little corner of the living room, linen shelves that are little used, and kitchen cupboards that I have to get down on my knees so to reach at things way in the back. I also read a lot these days. Also,I am germinating some small social-local events for the cold months. We wondered if folks here would be interested in a craft and tea meeting in our home once or twice a month through April or something like that. We are also considering moving; so that is much on my mind and heart.

January 18, 2011 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Kelli said...

Wow! I am so impressed by this list! Organization 101. I feel so much more "put together" when I can get things like this accomplished. Sometimes, 3:00 pm rolls around and I couldnt tell you what I did. I feel like I clean up the same messes only a different day! You have inspired me to get back on the "roller coaster!"

January 18, 2011 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Sure, I can tell you more about my spreadsheets, but I am not a pro by any means! I ask my husband a lot of questions:) Loved your list of what you're doing now! Craft and Tea Days sounds wonderful! But, I am praying (selfishly, I suppose) that YOU DON'T MOVE!!

January 19, 2011 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

So glad to have you here! Don't be too impressed, but I'm glad the Lord inspired you through what I wrote. It has helped me to be home consecutive days in a row, and not have phone calls, and just stick to "doing the next thing!"
I really appreciated your comment!
Please come often and continue the discussion--I'd love to get to know you better.

January 19, 2011 at 7:32 AM  

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