"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

Current Weather Info

Current Sun and Moon Info

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Number 26: Go completely vegan for a week

Over the course of the last few years, I have incorporated alot more vegetables in my diet. I have continued to eat meatless at lest one or two days a week after I made "Meatless Monday" one of my birthday list goals a few years ago. The difference between vegetarian and vegas is subtle, but huge at the same time. Essentially, vegetarians dont eat meat (with some varying opinions on eggs and fish), but vegans dont eat any animal products at all. At first thought, that doesnt seem like a big difference, but in practice it is much different. No animal products means no animal lard/fat, no cheese, no eggs, no diary at all. Some vegans even go as far as to not use animal animal products like silk or leather for clothes either!

This ended up being much more difficult that I had envisioned only because so many processed foods include milk, cheese, or eggs even in small amounts. I did three days, then skipped a day because holiday food and that last day of school celebration tempted me, then I did three more days and made up the skipped day later on. In the end, I really dont have any desire to become vegan (or even vegetarian for that matter), but I wanted to give it a try. And now my vegan days are over :)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Number 25: Make all my yogurt, jam, and bread from scratch

I havent bought a jar of jam from the store for nearly 2 years. Or loaf of bread for well over a year now. Yogurt...I may have bought a few here and there especially in the summer when I wasnt home or while travelling, but when I'm at home I'm making in all myself from scratch. My jam has been a big hit for myself and also for my friends, especially the flavors that use tundra berries that I've gathered myself in the fall every year. I've been experimenting with yogurt flavors and have found that I really like adding honey and peach. Or just making it plain and mixing in some tundra berry jam when I'm eating it. The bread making has been a much longer, more complex process. I've been making sourdough bread about once a week for over a year. My bread making skills have improved with practice, a new oven, and better bakeware. I've expanded out to try bagels, cornbread, cakes, pastries...all with sourdough. I think I'll be a sourdough baker forever now. It's become a part of my life and I like it!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Number 22: Complete a 30 day challenge on EA active

Back in 2008 after I had first bought my Wii, I used this game along with some other methods to lose about 30 pounds. I never did finish the 30 day challenge though. Over the last couple of years, I've wanted to buy new workout games for the Wii, but I've always talked myself out of it based on the fact that I had never really "fully" played the ones that I already had. So this September, I buckled down to lose some more weight and complete the 30 day challenge. I got to day 18 before I decided that this game is just not for me. I could have finished the challenge, but I didnt because I dont like this game anymore now that my physical fitness has increased and I've been working out more during the last couple of years. The game is just too slow. I get frustrated with it because I dont want to wait in between exercises...I just want to DO IT. I'm crossing it off as complete anyway because I decided that I dont want to do the 30 day challenge. Not because I cant.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Number 30: Play frisbee golf at a course I've never played at

This summer I looked all over for frisbee golf courses close to the places where I was visiting/travelling. I did find several, but never got a chance to play any of them because I was always so busy with friends or sometimes because it was sooooo dang hot! Finally on the second to last day of summer vacation, I made it a priority to go play a course that was down the street in Highland, Indiana. Avery, Adam, and I went to go check it out. We loaded up and got over there to find that the course did not have any baskets. The tees were marked and you where supposed to just "land" the frisbee at a certain spot sometimes near a post or a tree or some other random marker. We played a few holes, but we never really knew if we were following the course correctly or aiming at the right thing. After about 3-4 "holes", we called it quits and went to get a slurpee :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Number 8: Fix my IRA and other retirement accounts

After the "powers that be" decided to start screwing over teachers in Ohio, I decided to get my retirement money from my first few years of teaching outta there. I opened an IRA, set up a monthly contribution, and rolled all my Ohio money into it. I also adjusted some of the beneficiaries on some of my retirement and life insurance policies in addition to updating my will. It's a difficult thing to figure out what to do with your money when you dont like your closest relatives...when your extended family doesnt need it...and when your friends really are your family. Well, it's all set up one way or another. What difference does it make to me? I'll be dead. Do I really care about what happens to my money after I die? Yes and no.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Number 27: Reduce my credit card debt by half

It's too embarrassing to tell you how much credit card debt I had at the beginning of the year, but let's just say that it was equivalent to about 50% of my yearly income. In order to pay off half of it throughout the year, I would need to pay well over a $1000 per month and stop using my credit cards completely. The $1000 per month was easy because I already had scheduled monthly payments of $500 on autopay for both cards. It was the not using the cards that was the killer. It is really unrealistic to say that I'm not going to use my credit card, because of where I live. Much of my shopping is done online and I use my Alaska Air credit card for just about everything so that I can accumulate milage points for free flights later.

Anyhow...with my scheduled $1000 per month, plus about other 400-500 a month extra to cover my monthly spending, a few thousand from my tax refund, another couple thousand from my pfd checks, and the use of some of my savings...I was able to pay down my credit card debt by nearly 60%!!!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Number 14: Buy an exercise trampoline and kettle bell weights

Earlier this year, I was going strong with a workout routine and had at one point lost about 20 pounds. During that time I had bought this adjustable kettle bell weight. I worked out with it a few times, but never got in the habit of using it. I made a deal with myself that I would wait until I hit a certain weight loss target before I bought a trampoline. I got within three pounds of that goal and then summer came. With summer comes travelling and friends and food and messed up routines. I have gained back most of what I had lost last year, but I'm back on the bandwagon starting tomorrow :) I'll still be working toward that trampoline, but for now the kettlebell will have to be enough.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Number 2: Take an exercise class

Here in Bethel, my friends and I have been doing a Bethel Biggest Loser challenge for the last year and a half. As part of our BL activities, we've had "last chance workouts" every sunday. This fall, I didnt attend workouts very often, but back in the spring, I pretty much went to every workout. These workouts are not a class, but more of a group. Group or class...whatever...I did it every week and took it seriously from Jan-May, so I'm counting it for my list.