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2011 accomplishments

2011 Goals Revisited {Some Successes and Some Failures}

by Tara Kuczykowski on January 9, 2012 · 10 comments

Yeah, I know we're already into the second week of 2012, but better late than never... Right?

2011 was a big year for me on the business side of things. Deal Seeking Mom was chosen as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women on! Plus I had the opportunity to work on some really fun projects -- like the Whirlpool Moms test drive campaign, the Home Depot LED Light Bulbs project, and hosting the first ever NiceSave! Challenge for Walmart on Facebook to name a few. Oh, and I co-authored a book!!!

The personal side of things was just as busy. Between competitive gymnastics, baseball, football, the kids have kept us running on most weeknights and frequently on weekends too. And did I mention that we bought a new house and moved in the midst of all this too? Yes!

I just wanted to quickly recap my list of items I wanted to accomplish in 2011 and share whether I was successful or failed dismally so I can get a fresh start in 2012:

{1} Start making some of our grocery staples from scratch. This was overall a moderate success. I typically have my homemade Bisquick on hand, and I tried my hand at a simple basil pesto. We've also switched to making homemade whipped cream when needed, as well as homemade microwave popcorn for movie nights! However, I think I can do much better... I'd like to bake bread more often, and I'd really like to perfect the cornbread mix I've been working on.

{2} Make the switch to purchasing more organic grocery products. We joined a CSA this year and started purchasing a lot more organic items in our regular shopping trips. I discovered that Meijer has a fantastic line of store brand organic products, so we've mostly switched to shopping there for our weekly grocery needs.

{3} Start recycling. We did start recycling... but I definitely think there's a lot of room for improvement here. My husband has been making weekly trips to the community recycling bins behind our local Kroger store, but we could benefit from a better staging area in our garage for this items between trips to make it more convenient and efficient.

{4} Finish the Back To Basics series. This was a huge flop. In hindsight I realize that I should have set more specific goals for writing to keep myself accountable, so you'll see this on my 2012 list once again.

{5} Become better at time management. I feel like I've made some great strides in the are of time management this year, but I think this will always be an ongoing goal. Our lives are ever changing and so what works during one season, may not work the next. I've got a few specific areas that I want to target this year, and I'll share those when I post my 2012 goals.

{6} Organize my digital photos. This was mostly a big failure as well. I've started using iPhoto to organize my photos that are currently on my laptop. I love the fact that I can tag people, places and things to find the photos I want easily, but I still have years of photos to categorize. Perhaps setting some time aside weekly will help me get on track with this.

{7} Do a whole house decluttering. I can absolutely say that this was a huge success! We moved recently, and while we're not completely settled in our new home, I have done a TON of decluttering. My husband has made trip after trip to our local donations drop off, and it feels so good to lighten up and get rid of the items that we don't absolutely love.

{8} Save for a down payment on a new house. We blew this goal out of the water. Not only did we save enough to make a full down payment on a new home, but we did it early enough in the year that we were actually able to search for (and find!) the perfect home for us! We still have a lot of painting, organizing, and furnishing to do, but I'm so happy to have a space that actually works for our family now.

{9} Exercise at least 3 times a week. I never really got on track my an exercise regimen this year. I have some plans for setting mini goals, along with some other ideas for this year, that should help me turn this into a success in 2012.

{10} Learn how to knit. I bought the yarn and bookmarked some patterns -- does that count, LOL?

{11} Create a chore chart. We've made a lot of progress in doling out chores to the kids, but we have yet to institute any kind of a set schedule, let alone develop a chore chart. I'm happy that they're contributing to the upkeep of the house, so now we just need to focus on making lasting habits, along with a regular schedule. I'm not sure that an actual chart is a necessity after all, but it may be something we create to help with motivation.

Though I certainly didn't earn an A+ for the year, I learned a lot about what it takes to actually meet the accomplishments I want to achieve. I've learned to ask for help when I need it (and even hire additional help when necessary), and I've realized the need for creating baby steps to achieve larger achievements. I've also realized that, as a born procrastinator, I need to find ways to keep myself accountable for meeting my goals.

So there you have it -- the good, the bad and the ugly. I'll be sticking with my "no resolutions" approach in 2012, but I'll be breaking each major accomplishment up into smaller mini goals to keep myself on track. I'll just leave you with my first mini goal for the year -- sharing my list of things I want to accomplish in 2012 tomorrow afternoon!

Did you meet your goals for 2011? What did you learn that will help you meet the goals you set for 2012?


11 Things I Want To Accomplish In 2011

by Tara Kuczykowski on January 3, 2011 · 56 comments

Notice that I did not title this post "11 Resolutions For 2011." I am horribly bad with resolutions, and I know I'm just setting myself up for failure if I go down that road.

So instead I'm sharing with you 11 things that I want to accomplish in 2011. Not all of these are about saving money -- in fact, most of them aren't -- but I want to share more of "me" on Deal Seeking Mom this year! (I guess if you count that, we're at 12 things, LOL.)

Many of you wrote to say how much you enjoyed the Preparing Your Home for the Holidays series, so I'd like to introduce more similar content by sharing my wins and missteps as I tackle these accomplishments over the next year.

{1} Start making some of our grocery staples from scratch. I've always wanted to try my hand at homemade yogurt, granola, and pasta to name just a few, and I'm planning to tackle at least one of these each month. You can check out my attempt at making sourdough starter on Unsophisticook!

{2} Make the switch to purchasing more organic grocery products. I'm concerned about how this will affect our overall grocery budget, especially with the quantities of milk my five kids are known to go through, but I feel like this is an important change that our family needs. Of course I will be looking for ways to save while doing this, and I'll be sure to share any tips or deals with you all.

{3} Start recycling. I've been growing increasingly concerned with the amount of trash that our large family generates. I've always wanted to recycle our waste, but we don't have the ideal space to store or recyclables between pickups. However, ideal or not, I'm committed to finding a place for it, and this will be a new family project for our household.

{4} Finish the Back To Basics series. I've had a number of you inquire as to whether I would be continuing this series, and I'm ready to dive back in! I have some other series I'd like to share with you as well, so look for more content posts in 2011 -- and of course, I'll still be sharing the best of the best deals that pop up each day.

{5} Become better at time management. I get a lot of emails asking how I manage to "do it all." I don't. I'm not Super Woman, and something has to give somewhere. I've made a lot of progress over the past year in learning to say no and cutting back on blogging commitments, but I know that there's still room for improvement. My time is valuable in its own right, so I'll be sharing more tips for saving time -- and time is money, right?

{6} Organize my digital photos. I have 8+ years of digital photos scattered across numerous DVDs and old, unused laptop computers. I don't want to lose these precious moments, so I want to get them organized and safely stored. In addition, I want to take more photos to document my kids growing up -- and I want to actually be in some of them. I'm usually the one behind the camera, so we have far too few family photos.

{7} Do a whole house decluttering. We have too much stuff, literally, and I know much of it we can live without, so we'll be working room-by-room to remove all of the extraneous items that are taking over our house and to better organize what we do keep. "A place for everything and everything in its place" -- a rule to live by.

{8} Save for a down payment on a new house. We haven't decided whether to build or buy, but our goal is to be ready to start looking by this time next year. We've got a good start on our savings, but we're really going to need to ramp it up to achieve this. I definitely think it's doable though!

{9} Exercise at least 3 times a week. This is important to me for a number of reasons. First of all, I know I just feel better when I exercise regularly. I was doing really well until I got a horrible sinus infection in November, and it's been pretty much downhill since then. I also believe that it's important for my children to see that I'm committed to exercising regularly because I want them to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle as they get older as well.

{10} Learn how to knit. Well, actually, I know how to knit -- I made the most adorable hat and booties that all of my kids wore as infants. But I really want to try some more challenging items. Plus I need an offline hobby that will allow me to relax and rejuvenate.

{11} Create a chore chart. It's become quite apparent that we've been underestimating our kids' abilities as far as contributing to the upkeep of our household. After all, two people can't possibly maintain the messes created by seven. So we've slowly been giving them more responsibilities, but I really want some sort of visual tool to help them keep track of their contributions and keep them on track. My challenge is that most charts are created for much smaller families, so I either need to do some more research or create something from scratch. Suggestions are welcome!

What kinds of things are you looking to accomplish this year? And are there other topics you'd be interested in seeing covered on DSM?