Thirty Before 30 Update: Number 13

30 Before 30 List
The Final Thirty Before 30 List

13. Bake all of my bread: I am happy to say that I haven’t bought a loaf of bread since December 25, 2011, when my husband gave me a bread machine. Truly, making homemade bread is a cinch with a machine. It takes no more than 15 minutes to collect and dump the ingredients into the loaf pan. Then, you plug in the machine, set it and wait about 3 hours. (Sometimes I scrape down the sides after 30 minutes, but this makes very little difference in the quality of the loaf.)

I’ve been asked if it’s cheaper to make my bread than it is to buy it. The answer is no. You can always buy a loaf that costs $1 at your local grocery store. But, I subsisted on that dollar bread when I was in school. And, you know what? That bread is pretty lame compared to the loaves that come out of my machine. I’d much rather spend a little more money on the ingredients.

This is one goal I highly recommend to everyone. Even twenty-somethings nowhere near 30. Invest in a bread machine! With the leftover slices each week you can make this:

Homemade Croutons
Homemade Croutons

Croutons! Cut slices into squares, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with seasonings of your choice. Bake at 350F until they become golden, crisp and oh-so-good and then enjoy!

Thirty Before 30 Update: Number 19

30 Before 30 List
The Final Thirty Before 30 List

19. Pay it forward: This is one of those goals I feel like never ends. I originally put this on my list because I wanted to repay or pass along the kindness that was given to me during the trials of 2011. It has taken on a slightly different spin. I decided not to do random acts of kindness where I bring cookies to firefighters or pay for the coffee of a person behind me in line.

It’s a little more complicated. First, I started using method products. After reading their book, I felt even more confident that their products have a significant impact on the environment and that the company is honest. These products cost significantly more than the store brand or value brand of their counterparts. I still have the mindset of the poor college student I once was and usually buy the cheapest product as long as I’m not sacrificing efficacy, taste, quality, etc.. But, then I thought, why should I save 40 cents on a bottle of hand soap and then turn around and make a donation to an environmental organization working to undo the waste I’ve done with my inexpensive purchases?

Hand soap (this bottle has been refilled with a different scent.)
Hand soap (this bottle has been refilled with a different scent.)
Laundry soap dispenser and refill bag.
Laundry soap dispenser and refill bag.

I’m not saying I won’t ever return to buying the cheapest cleaning products out there or that I will never donate to an environmental cause. It’s just that since I am able to afford these more pricey products and I know they’re better for the environment than their counterparts, why not?

Here’s an aside: method’s copywriting is ah-mazing. I’d love to have that job, but then I’d worry I’m not clever enough to carry on the legacy their copywriters have already created. (“Gentler than a thousand puppy licks.” Seriously. You’re killing me! This is what copywriters dream of in portfolio school–okay, it’s what I dreamed of and still do.)

Also, for a good year now, I’ve been volunteering with my local council of Girls on the Run helping their marketing committee and volunteering at their 5K races. Nothing has been more fulfilling. I dare you to participate in one of their 5Ks and not be impressed with all of the girls completing their first (!) race. Or, if you stick around until the very end, I dare you to not cheer on the last girl to cross the finish line and feel warm and fuzzy knowing that with a supportive coach, peers, running buddy and bystanders, a young girl can accomplish anything she sets to. It’s impossible not to be proud of those girls. The great thing about this program is that all girls can participate. No matter the background of the girls, they all benefit from the lessons learned during the 12 weeks of training and what they learn will serve them throughout their entire lives.

I plan to continue volunteering with GOTR and making more conscious purchases so I can really put my money where my values are. I’ll also be on the look out for new ways to pay it forward.

Thirty Before 30 Update: Number 6

30 Before 30 List
The Final Thirty Before 30 List

6. Make my mom a mix CD:  I’m a little late reporting on this one considering that I accomplished this one in October. My mom flew to Cincinnati and we hit the road for Illinois to surprise my grandma (her mom) for her 85th birthday. Needless to say, good times were had.

I made 2 mix CDs. Here’s the track list:

Mix #1
Mix #1
Mix #2
Mix #2

There was a time in my life when I was into discovering new tunes, listening to Pandora and such. But, not so much anymore. I haven’t bought any music since probably 2009. So a lot of what was on the mixes is old. Tunes never go stale, though.

Here are some pics from our trip:

Mom and I in our "Thelma and Louise" scarves and sunglasses. (We didn't drive over any cliffs.)
Mom and I in our “Thelma and Louise” scarves and sunglasses. (We didn’t drive over any cliffs.)

 

Mom and I with Grandma.
Mom and I with Grandma.

Another one to mark off the list (and I got a little road trip out of the deal!

Thirty Before 30 Update: Number 29 Done!

30 Before 30 List
The Final Thirty Before 30 List

29. Unplug for a week: Mark it off the list, folks. Done and done. It was hard. Ends up I troll Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. when I am bored. And, I wonder why I don’t read or craft more. Sheesh!

I cheated. (Some will read that statement and say, “duh.” I’ll tell you some other time how to cheat at the game of Battleship.) I used my email more than I thought, mostly passing a quick message or two with one of my sisters. I did have to get onto Facebook for work reasons and while I was able to not scroll down on my feed, I did read my messages. (I was concerned they’d have urgent news.) Yesterday, I got onto Pinterest to update my “2012 Books Read” board.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Social media can get you down if you’re on it too much. My friends and family have amazing, fun lives filled with love and happiness. They (and I) put their best foot forward on social media and show the good, good stuff (and I’d have it no other way). But, sometimes it makes you a little blue if you’re already a little down. It’s important to remember: best foot forward, that bad foot hasn’t figured out social media yet and still likes sending snail mail.

2. I started to slow down and appreciate life. I often found myself thinking, “Ooooh! I should put this on Facebook!” and because I couldn’t, I took a picture of it and enjoyed it for what it was truly worth, no “likes” needed.

3. I figured out how to download ebooks onto my iPhone. Thank you, The Public Library of Cincinnati! I swear, I will always pay my overdue fines and will happily pay taxes and support funding for this fine establishment so I can continue to enjoy “free” reading! You know my bored problem? I think ebooks could be a cure. Each “page” is only a paragraph or two making it easy to steal a moment or two of reading. Also, I pretty much felt like a speed reader since I got to turn the “page” so often. Go me!

Here are some pics from my week that you won’t see on Facebook or Instagram:

Hiatus_12
I baked Chocolate Krinkles for the family.

 

These stickers went onto the home-canned goods we gifted and some Christmas cards.
These stickers went onto the home-canned goods we gifted and some Christmas cards.

 

Christmas morning. My in-laws gave me a waffle maker. These are buckwheat blueberry waffles. I made the second batch this morning. (It was a double batch so we can have waffles throughout the week.)
Christmas morning breakfast. My in-laws gave me a waffle maker. These are blueberry buckwheat waffles. I made the second batch this morning. (It was a double batch so we can have waffles throughout the week.)

 

Tiny knitted gnome magnets. Need I say more?
Tiny knitted gnome magnets. Need I say more?

 

C, T and 2 dino krazy straws. We have a thing for initials and dinos in my house.
C, T and 2 dino krazy straws. We have a thing for initials and dinos in my house.

 

And then this happened: homemade cranberry liqueur with club soda. Delicious!
And then this happened: homemade cranberry liqueur with club soda. Delicious!

 

Burt's Bees. Even the boxes are good.
Burt’s Bees. Even the boxes are good.

 

Some years later, it's finally framed. English major for life!
Some years later, it’s finally framed. English major for life!

 

Snow! Snow! Snow! Key to driving safely in the snow: 1. Leave early. 2. Don't freak out. 3. Leave late. 4. Turn your car into Rudolph (optional).
Snow! Snow! Snow! Key to driving safely in the snow: 1. Leave early. 2. Don’t freak out. 3. Leave late. 4. Turn your car into Rudolph (optional).

 

Speaking of Rudolph: my sister made this jawesome diorama of my Rudolph car. The antlers are off of my car now, but I just may call my Vibe "Rudy" year-round.
Speaking of Rudolph: my sister made this jawesome diorama of my Rudolph car. The antlers are off my car now, but I just may call my Vibe “Rudy” year-round.

 

First fire of the season.
First fire of the season.

 

Corey the Cat! finally figured out how good it feels to snooze on a human's lap. (Those are my legs under that plaid fleece blanket.)
Corey the Cat! finally figured out how good it feels to snooze on a human’s lap. (Those are my legs under that plaid fleece blanket.)

 

That’s it, folks. It was a pleasant social media-free week. I’m officially back, but I may only be checking Facebook/Twitter/Instagram–gasp!–once a day. I’ll catch you here or there.

Happy new year!

 

Thirty Before 30 Update: Number 29

30 Before 30 List
The Final Thirty Before 30 List

29. Unplug for a week: I’m a Facebook junkie. And, why shouldn’t I be? With 5 siblings scattered across the country and friends from Palmer, Fairbanks, Atlanta and Cincinnati, I like using Facebook as way to keep up with all of them. It’s quicker and easier than writing regular emails.

But, it doesn’t stop with Facebook. I also enjoy checking Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. So, I’m shutting down for the week: from December 24th to December 31st.

No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. No Pinterest. No personal email. No reading/writing of blogs. No random Internet surfing.

Of course, as with all things, there are some caveats:

1. I will be using my phone for phone-things: calls and texting (people need to be able to get in touch). I’ll also use it as a camera as it’s the easiest camera I own to use.

2. I will check my email via my phone to weed out commercial messages (you wouldn’t believe how many store/website emails I receive in order to stay up-to-date with trends. (I really don’t feel like opening an inbox with a million messages once I’m back online.) Also, if I receive a bill via email, I will pay it via Internet–we do live in the future, folks.

3. I’m probably going to be online for work–it is kind of the business I’m in. And, I’ll probably have to log into Facebook for work-related reasons. It’s just the biz. I’ll just stay focused.

4. If there’s urgent information relayed through Facebook messages (one of my family’s favorite ways to tell everyone some news at the same time), I will break my hiatus. Of course, someone has to tell me, probably via text or phone, to check Facebook.

I think that’s it. I’ll see y’all back on January 1, 2013 and let you know how things went! I’m hoping to return refreshed and revived.