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A happy start of the 2nd month of 2022 to you. I hope the first was good to you. Mine started out not so great but it rallied. I started the year sick (you'll see below) and that was not fun. I'm hardly ever sick anymore so when it hits, I do not handle it well. And I feel like it throws everything off track! But I think I still managed to pull out some big wins for my goals for the month. So let's recap January and then look ahead to this month.

January Goals Recap

1. Get Married - Made a full list of tasks to get done and even accomplished the first one, which was getting in touch with a jeweler to reset a diamond into a new setting. Didn't go do it, but made the call! We go next week.

2. Happy House, Happy Spouse - Decluttering went well, as I knew it would. I really love getting reset for a new year, so the room by room declutter was perfect. I wasn't able to start it until halfway through the month, but it still worked out fine. As far as the weekly goals, I was mostly able to set up a clean home reset hour one day a week, which helps me stay on top of things and keep the house looking nice both for us and for any guests that may drop by. (Just that first week while sick that I couldn't get to. Technically not checked off for the '5th week' but that's because we're not at cleaning day for this week yet.) And then I deep clean once a month, which takes 4 hours. I was also totally on top of meal planning and prepping this month. When I'm being super strict with my own plans, I'm also great at staying on top of a solid meal plan for John.

3. Get My Concealed Carry License - Just an easy goal of heading to the shooting range this month: check! It's actually pretty close by. 10 minute drive from our house, 6 from my mom's, which is where we've been staying a few nights here and there, keeping the house safe, since my mom's in Florida until May. Again, didn't get to it until later in the month (literally last Wednesday) but thankfully it didn't matter that this goal came in just under the wire, it still got done.

4. No Spend Year - As far as the monthly goal, I did make my yearly spending plan. I looked ahead at each month and planned out what might be happening and what birthdays were coming, so I have a general idea of what expenses could arise. And then the daily section is where you can see what progress I made. If the spending was on the approved list, like bills, pets, and groceries, I gave myself the day's check mark anyway. Only non-approved spending meant getting a blank box, so no blank boxes for January! But here's the breakdown of what I spent in January:

  • $91.97 at Walgreens. Well this first spending of the year was 0% fun. It's also not a violation of my rules because medical is allowed, and that's what this was. I started the year sick. It was awful but my own fault. I went out and shoveled snow without layers and then got a stuffy nose which led to a sore throat and weakened immune system, so I spent the whole first week to 10 days of January with a head cold. And since John (a) was just sick before me and (b) generally has the immune system of one of those carnival prize goldfish, we were out of pretty much every medication in the house. I had to stock up on throat lozenges, nasal spray, throat spray, mucinex, elderberry, and nyquil. Plus more tea, honey, and gatorade for John. And we stocked pretty well so I don't foresee much spending in this category in the future. Fingers crossed, at least.
  • $467.16 on bills.
    • $54.99 security system. It randomly went up $5, so I called and they gave me a loyalty discount, so future bills will be knocked down to $39.99. Win!
    • $114 electric
    • $124 gas 
    • $174.17 TV/wifi
  • $294.01 on groceries. Let me know in the comments if you like this break down or if it's just annoyingly long. 
    • $101.52 at Costco. John's parents gifted us a membership for Christmas. So I stocked up on a couple of things. I actually separated the costs out for this one, for my own knowledge. I pay for all the groceries but John and I eat almost none of the same things, so I wanted to know how much my own diet is costing me. Just curious. So I'm going to keep it separate as long as I can, knowing that eventually I'll have one big shopping trip and be too annoyed.
      • $3.52 for white vinegar, which was a household supply. I use it for cleaning and laundry.
      • $55.15 for John (cashews, ketchup, bbq sauce, olive oil, canned corn)
      • $42.85 for me (black beans, garbanzo beans, quinoa, canned tomatoes with chilis, mini guac cups)
    • $79.82 at Revive. One thing I surprisingly suck at as a vegan is fruit consumption. I don't know why. But I love it in smoothie form, and I'm much more likely to make them when the different fruits are already together and portioned, like these cups. Which I only get on sale of course. This link gets you 50% off if you want to try it out. I just add water and blend. I think you can add milk too, but I prefer water. Since I was just starting out the year of no sugar (during which fruit is fine, even blended, just no fruit juice), I figured these would be a good option to have instead of a dessert at the end of the night. Particularly the ones with cacao added. And I was right, it was so easy to make a big salad for dinner and then have a smoothie after. Didn't even think about any additional dessert! I got 18 cups so it ended up being like $4.40 a piece. I honestly don't think I could make it cheaper on my own due to all the extra seeds and proteins added, along with the cost of fruit in Chicago in winter (and the pandemic inflation on groceries/produce in general right now.) But I do make my own in the summer.
    • $34.66 at Aldi. Just some other produce essentials, all for me - salad greens, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, potatoes.
    • $35.34 at Marianos. Meat and seasonings for John.
    • $42.67 at Marianos. This was my portion. I got some produce because it was on sale and it was the specific things I use to make lentil fritters (onions and zucchini), and I had a ton of lentils on hand. They freeze well, so it made sense to buy them now and start stocking the freezer. I got frozen spinach and broccoli for the same reason. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and apples were also on sale, which I like as snacks, plus mushrooms for my black bean burgers. Again, had all the other ingredients so why not make and freeze them? I also got sourdough pretzels, Mary's seed crackers, and real, nothing added peanut butter. I've been wanting some crunchy/salty snacks and when you're doing vegan and no sugar, options are limited! Oh and I grabbed two cans of Amy's lentil soups, which make a great emergency option for a lunch or dinner so I don't resort to take-out.
  • $66.45 on pets.
    • $15.47 at Amazon for dentastix
    • $50.98 at Petco for two bags of the food my mom's dog eats
  • $94.98 on goals. Limited goals spending is allowed under my goals, and I spent to go to the shooting range, part of my 'get my concealed carry' goal. I debated whether this should be entertainment though instead and thus needs to come out of my 'free money', but ultimately decided to place it under goals.
  • $0 on other.
    • I started the year with Amazon gift cards and I used part of that to order new storage bags for our Christmas tree. The old one ripped. Gift cards are fair game so no violation of my rules, I just want to track items coming in as well.
  • Things I almost bought but didn't: coffee from Starbucks and Dunkin, like 8 times; chipotle, twice; new slippers; a new ceramic canister for dog treats; two books (Sweet Poison and Encyclopedia of Norse and Germanic Folklore, both of which made it onto my gift wish list I share with John); lipstick.

5. No Sugar Year - Clearing the house of the damn sugar was a first hurdle! I thought I did a good job of not keeping much over the holidays but I was wrong. Thank god for firefighters who eat anything, because we just packed everything up for John to take in on New Year's Eve and leave there. The only sugar left in the house is John's stuff, which isn't anything I like so I can resist (he's more about gummy and fruity candy, and cookies. None of which I like, I'm a pure dark sometimes milk chocolate girl.) For the weekly goal, I planned to make myself a no sugar vegan dessert each week to make the transition easier. The first week was fruit smoothies, then my favorite, the vegan brownies, but then I actually found that I didn't need to bother. It wasn't a trigger any more, so I just had a chopped up apple after dinner each night. And as you can see in the daily section, it was a successful, almost full month of no sugar. There was just one minor screw up. John wanted Panera so I opted for the Mediterranean veggie sandwich, no cheese. But I completely forgot to change the bread and the one it comes with does have sugar. Didn't even realize until halfway through. I think it's a fairly minor infraction but I'm being totally transparent here. But I do also have to mention, I was very glad I made the medical exception. Since I started the year off sick, I needed throat lozenges and nasty syrupy stuff. Both of which were disgusting and I was happy to be rid of them but they did in fact contain sugar.

6. How Not to Die Year (Vegan Year) - I re-read the book, complete with tabs this time to mark all the best passages and ideas. Which will really come in handy the rest of this year, because I like to remember the 'why' behind what I'm doing. What disease does flaxseed help prevent? Why is broccoli the ideal cruciferous veggie? And as you can see in the daily section, I stuck to the vegan diet this month and remembered to take my vitamins like an adult (almost) every single day. Just missed the days I stayed at my mom's and totally forgot to bring the vitamins with. I also did my weekly weigh ins for Diet Bet and Healthy Wage, to stay on track with my weight loss goal as a continuation from last year. And as part of this goal, I also started the 75 Hard challenge (again) with my friend Megan. Which is only slightly related, but daily exercise is part of the How Not to Die lifestyle, so I figured this was the best goal to track it under. 

7. Kate Middleton Energy - I edited my makeup and skincare down as part of my declutter process. I feel good about what I kept and how that's taking care of my skin. It's also a pretty simple lineup, which makes the daily 'personal prep' goal a lot easier - makeup, hair, and getting dressed each day. A lot simpler when your makeup collection is just a few items. Obviously though, I still didn't do much by way of this goal. If I was less strict, I could have gotten a lot more passes. I would do like 75-90% of the routine most days, but I didn't get the check unless it was 100%. I'll have to come back around to this goal. If you care what I ended up with in my makeup/skincare collection, I can make a post about it. Oh and I did a digital detox day weekly, which isn't too tough for me I find. I allow Netflix, but no e-mails, work related online updates, social media, internet, news, all the mentally draining shit. I mostly just read and work on house things that day though, with a show I've seen before playing in the background. 

8. Build a Successful Business - January boxes listed and shipped! I made a set number, as I'll do for each month, that just stay in the shop until sold out. I also managed my 3 content batching days, which make my life so much easier and the whole creation process more streamlined. I posted to Instagram most every day that I intended to. I take weekends off, but it started out a little more sporadically than that. I got better in the last two weeks though.

February Tending List

1. Get Married - Just two quick things on the list. First, make the appointment to get the ring done. Should be easy enough. Second, have a chat with John's sister to let her know what we're planning and the timeline. Her boyfriend proposed on Christmas Eve. I don't think she planning anything for this calendar year, because she wants a big thing not affected by covid and because they've only been together a couple months. But we need to make 100% sure she's not planning anything for the early summer. Because for as low key as what we're planning is, if we interrupt her schedule in anyway or take the spotlight off her for a second, the meltdown will be nuclear. And we'd like to avoid that, obviously.

2. Happy House, Happy Spouse - Part of this goal is hosting related so first up is Super Bowl! It's very small, we only ever have John's immediate family, but still. There's some prep involved in that. And I'm keeping the same weekly goals of doing the clean home reset and keeping on top of meal planning and prep. They remain on the list until I feel confident that I don't need the check mark to keep on doing it, and we're not there yet.

3. Get My Concealed Carry License - Pretty simple goals here - find a date for the class, and visit the shooting range again. There's an instructor John wants to use because he's a Chicago firefighter too, so it's actually on John's task list to get a list of dates from him, which I can then run past a couple other people who expressed interest in taking the course when we do.

4. No Spend Year - Not spending is always going to be in the daily section for 2022. Other than that, I have shopping grocery sales in the weekly section. I shop every week to 10 days, and we tried to work through what we had in January, so it's not like we have a ton of stockpile left. I almost never check the circulars to see what the good deals are, and produce (and groceries in general) is so expensive right now. Time to cut this bill down! Oh and in the monthly section, yes, gifts. I'm trying to spend little to money on gifts this year. Not that I won't get gifts for others, just that I plan on using other means to get them, like Swagbucks, cash back rewards from my credit card, or using the gift cards I already have. But I need to make a plan for that, which starts with knowing approximately how much I'm spending on people and list out some ideas.

5. No Sugar Year - Like no spending, no sugar will always appear in the dailies. And this month, I'm also specifically making a no sugar dessert for the Super Bowl. I don't know that anyone else will try it, but I need something to keep myself away from anything sugary that other people may bring (John's uncle always brings cookies, for example.) For this purpose, I want to re-read Year of No Sugar. I read it a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, and remember her talking about desserts quite a bit in there. Going to get some ideas and tips.

6. How Not to Die Year (Vegan Year) - No monthly tasks here, mostly dailies. Sticking with the vegan diet, which will be a daily task all year too, taking my vitamins because I still absolutely need a check mark to remember to do this, and of course to continue with the 75 Hard challenge I'm doing with Megan. I also want to complete my weekly weigh ins for WW and DietBet.

7. Kate Middleton Energy - I'm all about the serenity this month. Well I am all this year, it's my word of the year, but it did not go great in January. The contractor pissed me off too many times. But this month, I'm not rising to that nonsense. I'm letting John take over. Just going to try to remember 'serenity' every day, make sure nothing makes my blood pressure rise. And a big part of this will be creating and enforcing time boundaries each week. Our schedules will always be unpredictable and different, solely because of the fire schedule. 24 hours on, 48 hours off. Doesn't matter what day of the week it is. So I can't really say "I'll do this on Sunday, this on Tuesday" because what I can do in a day depends on whether John is home. Example: I can't wash all the sheets and towels on Monday if he works Sunday and picked up a Tuesday shift for someone, because the washer will be full of his uniform and bedding all day. I need more flexibility in my schedule. But I also have times of day where I work best mentally, so I need to block those on the calendar for work hours and not schedule errands then. All in all, I need to create better time blocks, which will allow me to be more calm and graceful.

8. Build a Successful Business - I sell boxes on Etsy every month, so that will probably appear as a regular task as well. Also this month I would like to clear out my task list for February and March. I have listed all the things I need to do and content I plan to create, so I'd like to finish it all this month. John is on furlough in March, which makes it harder to get work tasks done since he's home all day. Better to get it all done early! I also need to set and enforce week day office hours, as well as check in on the discord server each week.

What's on tap for you for February?

February Goals (Powersheets Tending List)

Tuesday, February 1, 2022