Saving More and Paying Down Debt: We keep making progress toward getting the home equity line paid off, but paying for little man's specialized preschool for speech has made this take somewhat of a back seat. With my small pay raise and having both spaces rented, we're still diligently chipping away at this goal though. We're looking forward to next year when we home little man will qualify for preK through our very good quality public schools, which would be free and save us almost $500/month in preschool fees. (Baby would still be home with Daddy.)
House and garden projects: This is the big list we've been chipping away at.
- Paint trim in boys room, including closet doors by March. (This includes new caulk, etc. where needed) Ha! Need to get this done...
Touch up trim/paint in rental spaces by end of January. Advertise upstairs rental through Samaratin's Purse and have rented by February, if not sooner. Advertise both spaces for August/when lease runs out and have filled by April for upcoming season.Both spaces are filled through December! Yay! We're actively advertising the upstairs space for spring with several prospects. Install Ecobee thermostat in apartment by January 15 (this is when our new tenant moves in). Organize garage space by March 15.This includes installing some drywall and pegboard, as well as generally sorting and storing tools, etc. Space is much more organized, but still needs drywall and pegboard. Have new mulch spread and gutters cleaned by March 15 (this is a job we will hire out).
- Paint shelving and trim in craft room downstairs by March 15. Paint chairs to go around table in craft room. Ummm, yeah... the space needs a general overhaul now from the paint and playdough debris that has overtaken it.
ove forsythia bushes to front bed andplant creeping Jenny ground cover. Have this done around the same time as mulch is spread so that mulch and compost can go here. (March-ish, depending on soil workability.) Partially done, still need to have mulched and plant creeping Jenny. Maybe can do this fall still. Mulch leaves with mower and add to compost by end of February.Now there's a new batch of leaves! Have mower serviced for spring by April 30.Thankfully, this was an easy self-repair after a chat with the friendly folks at Lowe's.
- Paint exterior doors in chosen new color by June 30.
- Have new front porch railings installed and bead board on the ceiling of the porch. Maybe an outdoor ceiling fan installed over the table area? by June 30
Can at least two batches of peach salsa and two of berry jam for Christmas gifting and personal use.Ended up freezing berries and peaches instead. Just too crazy with two little ones for canning this summer and heating up the house.
- Have both porches re-stained (we're thinking of hiring this out to a contractor who Benny does a lot of work for at the paint store). Still working on this, but we've got a contractor in mind.
Maintain garden beds with regular weeding and trimming throughout growing season.Prepare for fall/winter by October 30. I'm on the way to getting the garden beds prepped, the perennial beds are deadheaded and mostly weeded. Veggie beds need to be cleaned out and trimmed back. Just need to plant the garlic, but I have some donated straw, so won't need to purchase that!
- Make curtains for craft room shelves to hide some supply bins by November 30.
- Make reusable coffee sleeves for Christmas gifts by November 30. (And learn how to use new sewing machine)
- Make at least one batch of citrus marmalade by December 15 for Christmas gifting. Purchased citrus from the local high school band, so on the way to that soon!
Try two new recipes each month: We've done pretty well with this, especially with using our crock pot. I've really enjoyed trying things out in my copy of Not Your Mother's Slowcooker cookbook, including the marinara sauce, pizza sauce, and granola (this was more of a miss we had to tweak). We're slowly finding our cooking groove while balancing parenting two littles, but we've got a system that works now. It includes at least one crock pot meal a week, meal prep in the evenings after the boys are in bed, and making one breakfast casserole (eggs, baked oatmeal, or overnight french toast) a week.
Read at least 26 new books this year: Ha! Who was I kidding?! I did get to skim a new book for small group, read a few memoirs while home on maternity leave, browse two new cookbooks, and am now reading Farm City, Grounded, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. So, for a year with a new baby and a three year old finding his way in the wide world, I'd say that's pretty good!
Take at least 26 dates with Benny: We're doing well to average at least one a month, whether out or at home. Mom has been wonderful in helping to make this happen since little man is now excited about slumber parties at Nana's house. We are getting some time with a cup of tea and some conversation after the boys go to bed most nights of the week, so this is great for us. We know we're on our way to raising two awesome boys and we won't get this time when they're tiny back, so we're savoring the moments, grabbing time for just us when we can, and calling it good.
I feel like overall, we're doing pretty well with our goals and habits to cultivate for 2016! There are still plenty of house projects left to do, but I'm loving where we are as a family right now.
How are you doing with your goals and habits for 2016? I'd love to hear from you!