Resolved: More Weight, Food, Spending; Less Organizing, Travel, Reading

You read that title correctly. My resolution this year is to eat more food, gain weight, and spend more. I also plan on less organizing, travel, and reading.

More Weight

I can thank Jenny Kuhn for this resolution. Here is a picture of Jenny and me, with her daughter Kathryn, around 2005.

Jenny, Katie, & I "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

She moved to Arkansas and opened Jenny’s Gym. Last October, she competed in the World Powerlifting Alliance competition in Portland, OR. She is now the WPA-APA World Powerlifting record holder in the squat and the deadlift for the 45-49 age group in the 132# weight class. She also broke the previously held accumulative world record (squat+bench+deadlift), see here.

Jenny lifting in her gym "Resolved . . " frugalfish.org

 

Jenny regularly posts clips of her clients lifting. Most of the clips are of middle-aged women who are strength training. Sometimes she posts informational clips. When she explained the proper way to do a push-up, it changed my life.Jenny Kuhn "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

I usually tried doing push-ups from my knees, but that does not use all the muscles correctly. You need the same form as you would use to plank. Now I do them off of the kitchen counter and will move to the ottoman when my arms are stronger. If I do not keep control of my arms, I bump my forehead! I know I am using the correct form now.

Since muscle is heavier than fat, I plan on gaining weight this year. I want to gain muscle, not fat, and will concentrate on that instead of my bathroom scale!

Eat More

For the past few years, I would weigh myself on Monday and plan my meals based on that number. It didn’t work! I would gain a pound and then try to cut way back on my food. Of course, that pound stubbornly stayed.

This year I am going to work my body and feed it what it needs. I will eat bigger servings of salad, vegetables, and more meat. I never have been a big bread eater, but my sweet tooth is my downfall. That is where I will cut back.

More Spending

I am a saver and try to buy everything on sale. That is not always possible. This year, I want to buy things when I need them and not do without. I have lived under the poverty level during childhood and as a mother. I have no problem telling the difference between a need, a want, and a desire.

In my wallet now are 2 months worth of allowance! I also have a note of a few things I need to order. (Hello, sports bra!) I have watched the sales for over a year and have the money. I just need to get online and order it!

Less Organizing

Marla Cilley, aka The FlyLady, says over and over, “You can’t organize clutter.” But I can, and that is the problem! I organize things that I should send to Goodwill or pass on to family members.

There is a box with “Graduation” written on it in my pantry. My youngest graduated in 2015. I am hanging on to it for my sister-in-law, Melinda. I need to just give it to her, even though Brayden doesn’t graduate for another year.

Less Travel

I will no longer feel guilty for staying at home. There are many opportunities to go places and do things, but if I have to take a round of Prednisone to go, it is just not worth it! (Or worse, go without Prednisone and then fight a flare for two weeks.) I don’t care that I only go out 3 times a week for four hours. I have so much I love to do right here at home.

I know my Facebook page is boring, but I refuse to compare myself to others. I will travel vicariously with my friends. (Sorry, Jill, I have no desire to go clear up to the Arctic Circle. Enjoy your trip!)

I really enjoy the posts from Australia on the travel blog, outan’about.com. It was interesting reading about celebrating Christmas during their summer!

Less Reading

I can speed read. It is a blessing and a curse. I would normally go to the library and fill a large bag with 18 books every other month. (No, that is not a typo; it is eighteen books.) We have a great library that is always getting new books and the community buys books in memory of loved ones.

Obviously, I don’t watch TV at night, in fact, I will only watch a movie once. My family will put in a movie, and if I have already seen it, I go to bed and pick up a book. I can read a 300-page book in 2 or 3 days. The problem is, I get close to the renewal date and I speed read through my stash. That is not as enjoyable as slowly reading, savoring, and even taking quotes from books.

This year, I will only check out 8 books at a time and will make sure one of those books is nonfiction. I am on chapter 2 of the book, “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg. There are many things I would like to do, but I get bogged down in laundry and cooking. I want to make those tasks more efficient to allow time for fun stuff!

Smarter Faster Better book "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey

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Worst Day of My Life

It started with a flashback of the worst day of my life and ended less than an hour later when I locked myself out of the house.

The worst day of my life started like any other day. I didn’t really like the outfit I picked, but I was saving my favorite outfit and it was okay for a Tuesday. I was sitting in Physics class getting ready to take a semester test when the principal came to the door and called me out into the hall.

“Your parents called. Your house is on fire. We are taking your older sister home. Do you want to go home or stay here?”

I chose to stay and take the test. When I sat back down, Tim asked me what was up because I was NEVER called to the principal’s office.

“My house is on fire,” I calmly replied, and started on the test. I was in shock.

We lived in a small town of about 500 people and the fire chief was my uncle. When learning of smoke pouring out under the eaves, the entire town showed up. The fire was inside the walls and the smoke didn’t come into the house until they punched holes in the walls to get to it.

Those neighbors from Batavia emptied every closet, cupboard, and drawer on the first floor. They carried every stick of furniture outside and later moved them to the barn. A 17-year boy my dad had mentored, (who was playing hooky), unhooked the washer and carried it out by himself. Our next door neighbor, Linda, was the last one out of the house. She removed the drapes from the six windows in the living room and dining room.

They saved everything on the first floor, but not upstairs. I stayed after school and rode home with Carolyn. My brother and sisters had each been taken home by one of our aunts. They bought them a change of clothes and kept them overnight.

The furniture was in the barn and Dad was up on the roof with a few men putting a tarp over the hole the fire left. I went home with my friend, Pam. She was the best! We were the same size and she loaned me her favorite tee-shirt with her name on it and a pair of slacks to wear to school the next day.House Fire "Worst Day of My Life" frugalfish.org

Wednesday, they let us go upstairs to our former rooms for one minute. They instructed us to grab anything we wanted to keep. They had a door propped open to hold up the roof joists.

Everything was wet, melted, and black with smoke. I ripped some pictures out of my photo album and a few things out of my scrapbook. I made my bed that morning and my pillow was just wet. I took it and went back downstairs.

All I had left fit in an 8″ cookie tin. When I open that tin, I can still smell the smoke. I never got to wear that favorite outfit again, but I got an “A” on that Physics test!

$$$$$$$$$$$$

Today I opened an email that triggered that memory. It was from everydaycheapskate.com. She was replying to a question about a family that lost everything in a flood. She recommended the free app knowyourstuff.org.

I didn’t even finish the email. I hit the link, set up an account, and downloaded the app to my phone. Then I started taking pictures. I didn’t clean up the house. There were dirty dishes in the sink. I threw up the covers on the bed and tucked them in and kept snapping.Picture of Bedroom, "Worst Day of My Life" frugalfish.org

I took pictures of every wall, inside of closets, and even opened drawers in the kitchen to record contents. I know it can all go up in smoke in a flash. I also know the agony of trying to remember what was in each drawer, how many tee shirts did I own?

When I finished inside the house, I took pictures inside the garage. Then I went outside and took pictures of every side of the house. That’s when I locked myself out!

This is not an ad for the app. I will not get any money from them. I am sharing my painful experience in hopes that it will go easier for you should you have a disaster.

  1. Don’t wait until you have time.
  2. Don’t clean the house.
  3. Just get the app and start snapping pictures.

You never know when all you have left will be held in a cookie tin.

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Enough

I was at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party and I noticed she had a “Pack and Play” tucked in the walk-in closet of her master bedroom. I remembered when my granddaughter was a baby, I would put the “Pack and Play” between the bed and the closet door.

There is just enough room for the "Pack and Play"

There is just enough room for the “Pack and Play”

I would like to have a bigger bedroom but found there is enough room.

When my daughter moved out…again…I moved a computer desk into that room. We also keep an air mattress set up for those times my granddaughter visits. I rolled the comfortable office chair in there because I spend more time writing than David spends working on the finances! I was happy that there is just enough room in there for both functions.

There is just enough room to pull out the extension to write in the spare bedroom.

There is just enough room to pull out the extension and write in the spare bedroom.

Bigger is not always better. It is more expensive to purchase maintain. I am happy with just enough.

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No Ads, No Pop-Ups, No Donations

December 29th was this blog’s 6th anniversary. I thought by now I would be making a little money.

Nope.

Last year, I took a few blogging courses and my first post of the year was my most popular ever. Unfortunately, it was the post about my husband losing his job and a few months later that business, which started in 1926, closed its doors for the last time.

I would rather my husband keep his new job than to have another popular post!

One of the things recommended in these courses was to visit other blogs with which you have something in common. I visited several blogs that interested me and even followed a few. I would just start reading and a pop-up ad would ask me to follow that blog.

They were annoying.

I started blogging because I like to write. Starting a blog to make money, leads to disappointment quickly. Are you willing to write a post on Christmas Day? I spent four hours on Christmas writing a post that I just had to get down on paper.

This year I am starting with a new approach, “No Ads, No Pop-Ups, No Donations.” I never have requested donations, or set up any pop-ups, but I did have ads.

When debtproofliving.com ended their affiliate marketing, I decided to end all advertising. I didn’t make any money anyway. (It cost you to block advertising.) I went to my “word ads” page to see how much I have accumulated in the last six years.

$10.00.

They won’t cut a check until the amount reaches $100.00 and I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I set it up to keep all ads off of both of my blogs.

What’s my point?

Money is not a good motivation to start a blog. It is better to just live on what you are making now. Better, not easier…and I will be here to give you ideas, tips, and pointers.

2016 is going to be a great year!

A blank piece of paper.

A blank piece of paper. A fresh start.

 

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pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

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If We Were Having Coffee Right Now…

If we were having coffee right now…I would tell you I am frustrated with technology! I didn’t realize how popular I would become to hackers when I started writing blogs.

I jumped into the blogosphere with both feet. I even paid for a web site for one of them and was overwhelmed from the git go. I bought the book, “WordPress for Dummies” and forced myself to read a little bit every day. I learned a lot, but still hate the technical side of blogging.

I took an HTML class and learned enough to lock myself out of my web site three times. (Sigh.) After four years of frustration, I let the web site go and switched back to blog format. Now WordPress does the heavy lifting for me.

I don’t really like change. I am using the same email address that I set up in the 90’s. Today that email was hacked twice. I change my password every week and type out gibberish to use as a password.

Still they come.

When I went to the support page for my email, I was told it might be time to get a new email address. I don’t want to because I registered all of my warranties to that email and it is on my business cards. I don’t want to start over.

I have a backup email address from another provider, but I forget to check it.

My husband thought he was being sweet when he bought me a smart phone. I’ve wanted to throw it against the wall more times than I care to admit. I still hit the “caps” button when I want to type in a symbol!

I went without a cell phone for six years (see here) and never did get into texting. I’m usually home and I would rather screen my calls with the answering machine!

I was supposed to deal with today’s hackers this afternoon and I am embarrassed to admit I spent two hours playing Spider Solitaire instead. I guess I like the technology when it comes to games.

I wonder what email format other bloggers use?

 

 

You are Never Too Old

I ran across “Zigma,” www.zikken24.com when he “liked” my post from yesterday. I “liked” his post, “95-Year-Old Indian Man Enrolls for a Masters Degree.”

As I read about the man, I thought about my piano teacher, Pearl Pederson. Most piano teachers cease to teach at retirement age. Most students start learning when they are in elementary school.

My teacher was 74 years old. She offered me lessons when I was 12 years old. She was the piano player at church and she was looking for someone to replace her. She was amazing on the piano and no one wanted to follow her.

She had arthritis and her knuckles were twice as large as normal. She walked with a cane. She had a bad heart.

After teaching me a year, she had a heart attack and had to recover in a nursing home. She was released several months later and moved into an apartment a block from my home. I was surprised when she approached me and said it was time to continue my lessons!

We started where we left off and her health deteriorated. She could no longer live alone. She moved into a house with a friend and took her piano with her. I walked to that house for lessons.

Her health got even worse and her daughter insisted that she move in with her. Pearl insisted that I keep taking lessons.

It wasn’t easy for her and it was just as hard for me. We didn’t own a piano. In the beginning, I walked 10 blocks to our church to practice and then I walked home. Some days it was a bitter cold walk.

I practiced for two hours each day…after all I had to make up time!

Four years later, she went into the nursing home permanently and I started playing for the services. She taught me to play by note and to play by ear. The choruses that we sang during that time did not come with music. Someone would sing it to you and you would pick out the chords on the piano.

By the time I was 20, I was not only learning new choruses, I was writing down the guitar chords over the words and giving them to the others in the band.

I still play twice a week in two different towns. I don’t plan on quitting. I learned from Pearl that you are never too old.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

This is the last lesson book I work in with my piano teacher, Pearl Pederson.

This is the last lesson book I worked in with my piano teacher, Pearl Pederson.

No Matter Where You Go, You Are Always There

I used to think “home” was where ever my family was. First “home” was where ever Mom and Dad were. Then it was where my husband was, followed by any place our children were with us.

Then my health deteriorated and I became housebound. My life stopped, but may family’s lives did not. My husband still had to go to work and the kids still had to go to school. There were still ball games, concerts, doctor appointments, and I missed most of them.

I started planning special things to do when I was home alone in the evening after being home alone all day.

  1. I made a quilt out of my oldest son’s tee shirts.
  2. I made a quilt for the baby shower of my granddaughter.
  3. I made a shadow box filled with awards from my husband’s high school days.
  4. I made a shadow box of awards from my youngest son’s high school days.
  5. I restored 2 foot high cement penguins.
  6. I painted the embellishments on picture frames.
  7. I restored Aunt Nellie’s frog collection.
  8. I made curtains.
  9. I rearranged furniture.
  10. I rearranged the artwork on the walls.

As I worked on each project, I remembered when the kids were younger. I remembered when the room was a nursery as I sewed curtains for my new office. When my second adult child moved out, I made a quiet place for me separate from the office I share with my husband.

I have learned to enjoy those times when I am home alone.

I didn’t even realize I could paint. There are 3 penguins and at least 10 frogs that prove I can.

Penguin I restored.

Penguin I restored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Aunt Nellie's frogs.

One of Aunt Nellie’s frogs.

 

Embellished picture frame I painted.

Embellished picture frame I painted.

 

Another picture frame.

Another picture frame.

 

Tee shirt quilt I made for my son.

Tee shirt quilt I made for my son.

Better Than Point A to Point B

We were headed for a weekend get away and I decided we should take Great River Road. It is a scenic byway that follows the Mississippi River on the eastern side of Iowa.

It was a beautiful drive over hills and around farms. There just weren’t many towns between the Quad Cities and Dubuque. We knew the road would take us to Dubuque, but we didn’t know where we were.

The GPS on your phone is great when you are trying to go from Best Buy to Guitar Center in an unfamiliar city, but it doesn’t help when you will be on one highway for an hour.

I got out my 2014 map of Iowa. As we passed through a small town, I saw on the map it was the last chance to use a bathroom or grab something to eat. We ended up having lunch at Casey’s, a gas station, but the views were worth it.

The nice thing about the map is you can follow it with your finger. I guess I am a tactile person. I like tracing our route as we go along. We would see a sign for a small town to the right or left and I could see it on my paper map.

The map shows parks, colleges, and other features that you will not hear about on GPS. Did you know Iowa has an island? We drove by it.

I saw it on the map.

Old school map.

Old school map.

 

Home

We took a weekend trip, and after sleeping in two different beds, I couldn’t wait to go home. The first bed was hard and we tossed and turned all night. Luckily, they offered free breakfast and there was plenty of coffee.

The second bed was comfortable, but it had a feather duvet and I am allergic to feathers. I took two Benadryl and was dismayed to find there was only enough coffee for two cups in the morning. Mr. Frugalfish went searching for more without luck.

It did not include breakfast and the last time we paid $30.00 for the breakfast. I downed a few cups of coffee at lunch.

The second night was also in a more upscale hotel. I realized the room was about 2/3 the size of our home. We were paying for space. There was not a microwave in this room as there was in the one the night before.

How often do we pay for space?

What benefit is there in space when you are stuck in a Benadryl fog without caffeine?

I admit, my home feels small when all of the relatives are over; but on cleaning day, when I can zip through the job in 30 minutes, it’s just right.

We looked at larger homes for a few years, but realized our oldest was in high school and if we stuck it out for a couple more years it would be sufficient. Many buy a starter home, a family home, and then downsize to a retirement home. We managed to buy all three at once and let me tell you…living without a mortgage is indescribable!

Home is not perfect.

I was deeply irritated at my college age son when I got home to find he had unplugged the waterbed. He was sick and decided to watch TV in our room. He unplugged the heater to charge his phone. I was not happy.

I pulled out a comforter, put it on top of the bedspread and slept on top of it. We covered up with our wedding quilt, as we should since we just returned from a trip celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary.

We were home.

I Write Because…

There will be more posts from me over the next several days as I am taking a Writing 101 course. I am starting a day late….but not a dollar short…because I was out-of-town yesterday.

Personal Journal

I write because I love Laura Ingalls Wilder books. That may not make sense to you, but she lived a normal life during her time on earth. She wasn’t a hero, but she recorded the day-to-day activities of her life and that of her husband. I particularly liked “Farm Boy” because being a farmer was so different than the life a farmer lives now.

Someday, someone might be interested in reading about my life. This is the reason I keep a journal.

www.thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com

I love reading the Bible because it is full of wisdom. You can read the story of the richest and wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, in it. He wrote three books sharing things he learned: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. The subjects they cover are wisdom, life, and sex.

I know, that last word caught your attention! The basics for business, government, and life in general are taught in the Bible.

I wanted to read the Bible in a relevant way. I designed a Bible reading guide, “Relevant,” where you read the chapters about Easter at Easter and Christmas at Christmas. You start the year reading about the miracles Jesus performed and by the time you are through the gospels, you are hooked on reading it.

This is why I publish a daily post about the chapters assigned to that day. I want to share what I learn each day.

(I also wrote a “Babysteps” Bible Reading Guide that takes you through the Bible starting with the shortest chapter, 1 verse, and ends with the longest chapter.)

frugalfish.org 

Money doesn’t impress me. Things don’t impress me. I’ve found those with the newest and latest gadgets are usually the ones the deepest in debt. Being debt-free and sleeping at night are important to me.

The only way to accomplish that is through frugality. You have to spend less than you make. You cannot waste anything. You have to be generous. You need to save a portion of your money. There are a million ways to do that.

Twice a week, I share how I am living frugally and debt-free. That is why I publish to this blog.

Those are the three reasons I write.