Monday, January 31, 2011

Thrift Store Treasures

Woo! I made it to the thrift stores this weekend – and I made out like a bandit. I had two (two!) trunk loads of stuff. That I need. Of course. And I didn’t break my budget!

Saturday was the Salvation Army:
5 Board books
Booster seat
Chandelier for the dining room
Crib bumper (in the right colors!)
Sheer curtain panel
Table cloth (to become curtains for baby’s room)
Tote bag
3 Workout T-shirts for hubby
Check out that crib bumper!

Sunday was Goodwill: (a few things are new-in-package retail store leftovers)
Alphabet magnets
Book for hubby
Dump truck toy
Fish lamp for baby’s room
new Lampshade for fish lamp
Lawnmower/vacuum/popcorn toy
3 Pairs of baby shoes in the next 3 sizes
Pillow for baby’s room
3 Pull-behind toys
new Queen size bedspread (to become the batting and backing for baby’s quilt)
new Queen size sheet set (to become curtain sheers in baby’s room)
Scootch bike with wagon
new Toilet seat
Wooden train toy set

Sorry, I didn't take pictures of the Goodwill loot. Yet. It's mostly still in my trunk.

I have plans for the chandelier (black spray paint is in its future), and I now have fabric supplies to finish several projects. And toys! So many toys! I'm so excited, though Max hasn't figured out what's so cool about this yet, his favorite toy is still me.

The coolest part of the weekend was learning how to re-wire a lamp, using the fish lamp as the guinea pig. See? It lights up!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Back to Normal, Mostly

It’s been a rough week. As I mentioned on Monday, I was pretty sick on Sunday – so no sleep for me on Sunday night. Then Max’s head cold started getting worse. Very little sleep Monday night and virtually no sleep Tuesday and Wednesday nights for both of us. Poor little guy. I took him in to the Dr’s – no infections, just a virus. She suggested putting a few drops of olive oil in his ears to help clear out the wax and maybe reduce the pressure. That helped enough that we got a normal sleep last night, and a much happier baby and mommy! I was bummed that the weekend was going to suck as much as the week had, but maybe it’ll be ok after all.

Even sick and exhausted, I can’t just sit and zone in front of the TV. I used to be able to, but now I’m so used to being busy that I did a couple of projects to keep my hands busy while I semi-zoned in front of the TV. I’ll post photos later once I get them off the camera…

I crocheted green booties with tan ties for Max. He loves pulling on the ties, and chewing on them… One turned out ¼ inch smaller than the other, but hey, I was sick. Perfection was not my goal. They turned out pretty cute. I’ve been trying to find a crochet bootie pattern that I like for infants 6+ months but finally just made one up. I really should have counted what I was doing, then I wouldn’t have to make another set to write down the pattern. Oh well, he’ll just have yet another set of booties. I’m sure he won’t mind.

I also started up again on Max’s quilt. I started it when I was pregnant and haven’t had a chance to work on it. It’s an appliqué center with patchwork surrounding. I’d previously cut out and basted all of the appliqué pieces, so I machine sewed stage one of the appliqué, removed the basting, and then started cutting the squares for the surrounding. I plan on doing a post (possible series) on this project when I’m closer to finished.

Oh, and I never did get to the thrift stores with Mom. With everyone getting sick (including her) we just never made it that far. I’ll let you know when I do manage to get out and about to the stores, possibly tomorrow. We’ll see how tonight goes. Wish me luck – and sleep!

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Mother, the Hero

I wasn't going to post today because I'm extremely under the weather (which is impressive when it's -17 outside). But I have to brag about my mother, and thank her again.

I started to feel icky yesterday morning, and by 4pm I was run-to-the-bathroom-as-fast-as-you-can sick. My husband was traveling and wouldn't be home for another 5-6 hours. I needed help, and my mom called me before I could even pick up the phone to call her. "Do you need me to come over?" "Yes, please."

She swooped in, gave Max a giant hug, and saved the day. I went upstairs for a couple of hours, and then came down to hover supervise his evening routine. As much as it killed me that I was in no physical condition to care for Max, I was even more grateful for my mother. She stayed until 10 when my husband got home, when her normal bedtime is 8:30. And she hadn't been feeling well either, recovering from a migraine, but she put aside her discomfort to care for Max.

I'm getting teary just thinking about how much I love my mom, and how grateful I am to her. Not just for last night, but for everything.

Thank you, mom. You are a wonderful woman, a super mother, and an amazing grammy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thrift Store Wish List

My mother, Max and I are hitting the thrift stores tomorrow – woo! Watch out, we’re on the prowl for:

·         Ceiling light fixture for the dining room, preferably a chandelier
·         Two lamp shades, either matching or coordinating for my two milk glass candlestick style lamps
·         A framed mirror for over my nightstand
·         Curtain rod brackets (I have the rods, the rings… just no brackets. Though I have a DIY idea I’ll share later)
·         One or two sweaters to add to my rotation
·         A glass shade for my hall ceiling light

And I think that’s about it. I’m trying to stick to a list and not impulse buy. Not only do I want to save money, but I just don’t have time to start new projects that aren’t already on my to-do list. I’m hoping my mom will help remind me that I don’t need ____. I’ll let you know how it goes, and I’ll put up some pictures of my finds, provided I find something good!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Picking My Seeds

In the depths of winter, when there’s too much snow and cruddy road conditions, I like to pull out what my husband calls, “Jessie porn.” Also known as seed catalogs. Oh baby.

I got my first catalog of the season in the mail the other day from the Seed Savers Exchange, a company that deals exclusively in heirloom (not hybrid) seeds. And there are some really interesting ones. The ones that are currently getting me all hot and bothered:

Information and photography is from the Seed Savers Exchange Online Catalog:

Hungarian Heart Tomato
Said to have originated in a village 20 miles from Budapest around 1900. Huge pink oxheart fruits weigh upwards of one pound. Very few seeds and almost no cracking. One of our favorites for fresh eating, canning, and for making roasted tomato sauce. Indeterminate, 85 days from transplant.

I planted this tomato last year, and it is the only tomato I ever want to plant again. It was an amazing slicer and canner/freezer, and held its top-notch flavor through processing. A+++

Black Valentine Bean
Introduced in 1897 by Peter Henderson & Company. Shiny black seeds in 6" pods. A great dual purpose variety, use for fresh snap beans or dry soup beans. Prolific and dependable. Tolerant of cool temperatures. Bush habit, snap or dry, 50-55 days.

I haven’t tried this bean, but I love that it is both a fresh snap bean and dry soup bean. Dual purpose rocks my world.

Bull’s Blood Beet
Selected by Dutch seedsman Kees Sahin from the French variety Crapaudine for the darkest-colored leaves. Remarkably beautiful red-purple tops. The juice from the beets is used to make the only red food coloring allowed by Swedish law. Deliciously sweet. 35 days for baby leaf tops, 55 days for edible roots.

These beets are used for the only red food coloring allowed by Swedish law? That’s just awesome. That the words “Deliciously sweet” also appear in the description was just a bonus.

Two Inch Strawberry Popcorn
Small red strawberry-shaped ears are good for popping and gorgeous for fall decorations. Plants are 5-6' tall with 2-4 ears per stalk. 100 days.

Squee! Popcorn! Pretty popcorn at that! This is definitely making the short list.

Ok, I could go on and on (and on… just ask my husband) about what seeds I’m lusting after. But I’ll spare you, at least until the next time I want to pretend the view out my window is green and not white. I wonder when the next catalog will arrive...

These are just my opinions, I have received nothing from Seed Savers Exchange that I have not purchased.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Making Yogurt – in the Crock Pot!

I made yogurt in the crock pot the other day.

“You made yogurt? In the crock pot?” You may ask. Why, yes, I did.

We recently started giving Max yogurt to increase the protein and fat in his diet. I couldn’t find a yogurt that was up to my standards – fatty, not too bitter, no sugar, preferably no pectin/cornstarch/gelatin. So, I made some.

I tried making yogurt a few years ago, but had no luck because I couldn’t keep the temperature warm enough for the culture to grow - around 80 to 90 degrees for at least 4 hours. Crock pot to the rescue! Using this recipe as a guideline, I went to work.

Yogurt in the Crock Pot

6 cups 1% milk (what we had on hand)
2 cups light cream
2 cups half & half
1 cup plain, full-fat yogurt (I used Dannon)

Put the milk, cream and half & half in the crock pot. Cook on low for 2 ½ hours. Turn off the crock pot and let sit for 3 hours. Take out 2 cups of the warm liquid, put it in a separate bowl and whisk in the cup of plain yogurt. Pour that back into the crock pot, wrap the crock pot in a thick towel, and let it sit for eight hours or overnight. When you wake up, you get this:

I put some straight into containers in the fridge. The rest I put in a towel and strainer in the sink to let some of the liquid drain out, though it was already pretty thick. (Note: When I do this again, I’ll use a white towel. Some of the towel’s color leached into my yogurt, making it a pretty shade of pale blue. That part did not go to Max’s portion.)

When it had drained for a couple of hours, it was the consistency of softened cream cheese. After being refrigerated, it was the same consistency as cream cheese, and actually tasted a lot like it too. If I’d had a bagel I would have slapped some on there. Instead I ate it with a spoon and a smile…

I took the majority of the drained yogurt and froze it in ice cube trays for future use.

If you don’t know how yogurt works – it’s actually a type of cultured or fermented milk. There’s a certain type of beneficial bacteria that thickens the milk and creates the yogurt. That’s why you need the plain yogurt to use as a starter, and why you need to keep the warm temperature so that the bacteria can grow and thicken the milk. When you refrigerate it, the bacteria stop growing.

Keep in mind that I made this with a goal in mind – making it as fatty as possible. If you’re doing this for yourself you might want to stick closer to the original recipe. Or keep with my version, because it was so rich, and sooooo goooooood… You could taste the cream… Ungh, drool…

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

They Call Me Mellow Yellow…

Warning: This post contains references to toilets and the things that happen in them…

We (and by “we” I mostly mean “me”) use the mellow yellow method at home. As in if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down. (And if that’s still too vague: Flush poo, not pee.) I do this mostly for water conservation, and to prolong the life of our toilet. It makes sense to me that if you don’t have to use the flushing mechanism as much it will last longer, right? We don’t save any money by conserving water; we’re charged a flat rate for using under 10,000 gallons per quarter. So this is mostly just my crunchiness showing through.

I feel like this idea has been around long enough that it’s a pretty acceptable thing to do at home. If you have a guest over you do a courtesy flush, no big deal. And if you haven’t tried it, a good way to break into it slowly is to not flush at night. That’s how we got started, I was pregnant and peeing every couple of hours and didn’t want to wake up my husband every time.

Now, here’s a question and the motivation behind the post: Is this an acceptable practice at work?

I went to the ladies today and there it was - yellow was mellowing. I couldn’t decide how to react (besides hustling my pants down because I had to tinkle something awful). I do this so often at home that my very first reaction was not surprise. My second reaction was surprise, and my third was along the lines of, “huh, why not?”

In general I feel like it should be mutually decided on by all users of that toilet, but in a large office it’s not like you’re going to send out a memo. At a small office I worked at where it was mostly men they would send out memos regarding the bathroom, but it was usually humor related. You can imagine…

So, what do you think? Is not flushing pee acceptable at work? Does it matter what type of office it is? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And, for your viewing/listening pleasure:

Monday, January 17, 2011

What a Lovely Problem

My son has a wonderful problem to have: He has four grandparents and six great-grandparents who absolutely adore him, and we have had to figure out what to call them all.

As I’ve told all of the grandparents, I’m sure he’ll come up with his own system when he’s a bit older. He’s already working on it - my mother is Bah-wah (which is genius for a seven month old, in my not-so-humble opinion). As it is, the grandparents are Gramma/Grampa _____ (insert first name here) and the great-grandparents are Grandma/Grandpa _____ (insert last name here).

This weekend Max and I spent Saturday afternoon with my father’s parents, who live just a couple miles away. It was just lovely – Max was sleeping when we arrived and kept sleeping for 45 minutes. When he woke up he showed off his sitting up and backward creeping, and played with his Great-Grandma and when she asked him to say Mama he piped right up and said “Mama!” and started laughing.

When I went to get a teaspoon to feed him, my grandmother dug through the drawer and found two baby spoons left over from when my cousins and I were little. She’s been holding on to them and patiently waiting. Well, mostly patiently. She told me a few years ago that my (now) husband and I had been together long enough that if we were waiting to get married before having children, don’t bother wait for her sake!

It really is such a gift to be able to share Max with his great-grandparents, both for him and for me. While Max played on the floor, Grandma and I talked about babies, being a mommy, being a wife, trying to keep house and work at the same time (yes, she worked, kept house, and raised five kids). I have learned more about both of my grandmothers, and their mothers and family, in the last year than I have my entire life. We now share that mother bond, and it is a beautiful thing.

Great-Grandma - One Week Old

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Little Things and the Big Things

The Little Things...

Max and I are both wearing brown shirts and striped socks today, just because.

The Big Things...

He's saying mama. I'm so in love!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Italian Chicken & Mashed Potatoes

I was very uninspired to cook yesterday, but felt I should since I was snowed in and really didn’t have an excuse not to. Crock pot to the rescue!

Italian Chicken & Mashed Potatoes
Serves 2-4

4 chicken thighs or breasts
1 cup Italian dressing
6 medium potatoes, skins on

Put the chicken in the crock pot, pour on the dressing, and place the potatoes around the edges of the pot. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. Remove the potatoes and mash to the desired consistency (skins optional) using the liquid in the crock pot. I used frozen solid chicken thighs and Italian dressing straight out of the bottle.

A tip: If you have a stand mixer you can cut the potatoes into chunks and then use the mixer on the lowest setting for a minute or two instead of mashing (no longer than that or the potatoes may get pasty). It won’t make the pieces of skin smaller, but it sure beats mashing by hand!

A twist on the regular Italian dressing baked chicken, the crock pot makes it pretty fool-proof, and I loved the tang that the dressing gave the mashed potatoes. And, yes, that’s my plate with the absurd amount of mashed potatoes on it. What can I say? I love mashed potatoes!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Frugal Luxuries: Loose Leaf Tea

I love loose leaf tea. It’s generally much more fragrant and full-bodied than teabags. It always makes me feel a bit special that I gave myself the treat of a great cup of tea. It takes a little bit more time, but not a lot if you have the right tools. And it’s less expensive than good quality teabags.

Here’s the breakdown:
Pricing for both are based on what’s available at my local stores.

I use ½ teaspoon of black, loose leaf tea per 12 oz mug of hot water.
$12 for 1 pound, or 32 tablespoons, or 96 teaspoons, or 192 ½-teaspoons
$12 for 192 servings
I got my measurement conversions from here


$12 will buy approximately 4 boxes of decent tea with 20 teabags per box. That’s $12 for 80 servings.

I’d say that’s a big difference!

Now, the tools: (links are to show an example of the item, not to encourage sales of that particular item)

If you drink only a cup or so a day, a strainer basket is your best choice. I got mine at a kitchen store for $1.99, though you don’t need to spend more than $5. It sits in the top of your mug, you put your tea leaves in it, and then you pour your hot water over the leaves. When the tea has steeped you just take the basket out and it takes all of the tea leaves with it. Or at least the vast majority, if you have a finely ground tea there will be some residue.

There’s also the infuser ball on a chain or with a handle (aka spoon) for single servings. I never liked them as much, they’re a pain to clean out compared to the basket. But if you’re likely to spill the contents of the basket all over, you might like that they’re more contained.

For those of you (like myself) that drink a lot of tea, the best solution I’ve found is a French press. For my 1-liter press I put in two teaspoons of tea and fill it up with hot water from the kettle. If you’ve never used a French press before, it’s simple. There are two parts – the beaker and the top/plunger. Remove the top/plunger, put tea and hot water in the beaker, replace the top/plunger with the plunger pulled up to the top, let the tea steep, and when it’s done steeping press the plunger down and pour. Viola!

I make myself tea every morning. I set the pot to boil while I make my lunch, steep the tea while I feed the pets, and pour the prepped tea into my travel jug. I get jealous looks from my coworkers when they smell that Earl Grey every morning.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Servicing Your Appliances

Heehee – servicing your appliances. It’s like a euphemism from a bad romance novel.

Back to the point of the post… You should have your appliances serviced (giggle) every now and then. Probably once a year if you use it frequently, like a vacuum. Yes, you’re supposed to use the vacuum frequently.

I brought my vacuum in recently to the local Sew-N-Vac. You know, that store that you have no idea what they do? They fix and clean sewing machines and vacuums. They also sell those items, accessories, replacement parts, and lately they tend to carry sewing paraphernalia like fabric, thread, patterns, etc. I brought my beloved sewing machine in a couple months ago and kicked myself for not doing it sooner – all of a sudden my sewing machine runs smooth as butter and all of the fancy stitches started working again. And with the success of my sewing machine tune-up, I decided the vacuum was next.

It costs $20 to have the technician take apart and inspect the vacuum, and belt replacements are included in that. I had him replace the filter too for an additional $17. With tax it was only about $40 and it ran like new. Well, until another belt broke and I brought it back in. So, $60 and it runs like new.

A lot of people wouldn’t even think about getting an appliance serviced or fixed. We’ve been raised as good little consumerists, myself included, and when something breaks we throw that one out and buy a new one. What stopped me from doing the same this time? I’m trying to save some money, be more eco-friendly (forgive the buzz word), and help a small local business out.

Point One: Money. It can cost a lot to have an appliance serviced – my sewing machine (originally $200 over 10 years ago) costs approximately $65 each time I bring it in for a tune-up or repair. I could spend $75 on a cheap replacement instead of a quality tune-up. But right there I’m saving $10, and I’m betting that the cheapy machine would break before my tune-up wears out. With larger appliances, like refrigerators and ovens, a replacement part and labor can be much more expensive – but so isn’t the appliance. I’d rather spend $200 on a repair than $1000 on a new oven.

Point Two: Be more eco-friendly. You’re keeping that appliance out of the landfill and you’re not buying a new appliance that cost resources to make. Pretty straight-forward. Yes, you can recycle a lot of appliances, but if you can fix it that’s often a better option since generally not every single bit of the appliance will be recycled and some of it will end up in the landfill.

Point Three: Help out a local business. I try to keep my purchases local when I can so the box stores don’t win, but I also like to save money. In this case it’s a win/win (see saving money).

If you can’t think of an appliance repair place off the top of your head, try the Yellow Pages. I started typing in “small appliance repair” and before I got through the second “p” it had auto-filled the category for me. Bam! A lot of places make house calls too.

My vacuum will likely be going in for a clean-out/tune-up pretty frequently now since we have a crawling baby and I like our floors to be as clean as we can get them. Cat explosions are a common occurrence in our house and I don’t need Max having an excuse to eat more cat hair. (Once a friend was pet-sitting for a week and on day three freaked out because our beige carpet was suddenly covered in cat hair. She thought they were sick or something – no, they’d just been wrestling. Intensely wrestling.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Floor Time

Last night my husband asked me what I was doing. I was sitting on the floor, hanging out with Max who was in his saucer. My actions seemed pretty straightforward to me, but hubby was confused why I’d sit on the floor when we have perfectly good living room furniture. I explained a decision I had made, and the thought process that had preceded it.

I want to be able to physically interact with my son when I’m not holding him. As he gets older, I would love to be out in the yard kicking around a ball with him. Realistically, I’m not super athletic. But what I can do is be physically there, on his level. This is something that I want to do as a parent – I want to be where he is, open for and encouraging interaction.

I’m starting this now, while he’s young and just starting to physically explore his surroundings. As Max spends more time out of his playpen and on the floor, I’ve been joining him. We play with his toys, he helps me read (tear up) magazines, or we just sit next to each other and do our own things. Good times.

Yeah, I still hang out on the couch and have time that we’re separate because I do need to remind myself I’m also Jessie, not just Mommy, and Max needs to develop play on his own. But I am starting to really look forward to our floor time. It’s wonderful to enter his level, instead of bringing him up to mine.

Friday, January 7, 2011

An Unexpected Day

So today was an unexpected day. My husband woke up to a stitch in his side that had turned into a full-blown owie. Just putting on his socks was an exercise in panting and swearing (and pain, I'm sure). My car was in the shop, so since he works a mile away I was going to use his car and he was going to walk to work. He got halfway down the hill and turned around because his side - or rather his lower rib area - was hurting too much. So I called in to work so that I could take him in to the doctors.

We took Max to daycare, and then we went back home to wait for the appointment. And I got so much stuff done. I rearranged the back room which will soon be the play room - cleared the floor for shampooing this weekend, hung up three paintings, and dedicated one bookcase to child and young adult books in the play area (which meant first emptying that bookcase and finding room on the other grownup bookcases). I finished sewing the rest of the pocket diapers and inserts. I did two loads of laundry. I humored my husband and watched silly video clips on the internet. I replaced the zipper in his jacket. I loaded up all of our VHS's that we didn't want anymore and gave them to someone off FreeCycle. I had an early dinner with my husband, just the two of us. And then we picked up Max and came home, picking up my car on the way. Phew!

I didn't especially want to stay home today, I'd rather save my vacation days for, oh, I don't know, a vacation. But, I sure did get a lot done! And my hubby was so happy and thankful that I stayed home so I could take care of him. Maybe I'll get flowers or something.

It was a good end to the work week, and hopefully a good start to a productive weekend. I have a lot more projects on the list that can now see the light of day!

And, hubby will be fine, he pulled an upper abdominal muscle. Painful but not too serious, it mostly sucks because it lasts for 2-3 weeks and you have to use your abdominal muscles for everything. There's not much he can do, just painkillers and heat, and taking it easy at the gym.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Soup Quest: Savory Butternut Squash Soup

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is not into soups. Personally, I love soup, stew, boiled dinners, etc. It just says winter to me in a nice, cozy way. And I especially love soup in the crock pot – it makes my life easier, and it makes the house smell amazing.

For my second attempt at a soup that he’ll eat, I tried one that you can drink. No confusion on the texture issues, just like drinking a warm, savory smoothie. That tastes vaguely like chicken. The verdict: He enjoyed it! Woo!

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (OR see alternative version below)
1qt box chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all of the ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4. Let it cool a bit, then blend in batches (trust me, don’t blend it while it’s hot) or use an immersion blender right in the pot. Once you have a nice, smooth, drinkable consistency, warm it back up (1/2 hour on high should do it).

If you want a thicker consistency, reduce the amount of broth.

Alternate Recipe:
If you’re like me, you really hate peeling and cubing butternut squash. Or any winter squash. So here’s the other way to do it – but it does require an additional step in the middle.

1 medium butternut squash
1qt box chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the squash width-wise into slices, approximately 1” thick. Remove the very top, the very bottom, and the seeds. Put into the crock pot with ½ cup water and cook on high for 2 hours or until fork tender. Remove from crock pot, let cool, and scoop the squash from the rind. Put the squash back in the crock pot with the remaining ingredients, and cook for an additional 2 hours on high or 4 on low. Blend as directed above.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know it’s January 3rd, but my vacation is over and I’m back on the keyboard. So, Happy New Year!

I hate resolutions. The few times I’ve tried to actually make a resolution I get annoyed with having it hanging over my head like an annoying bug whispering in my ear, “That’s going to break your resolution if you do that…” Ugh.

Instead, I have a few goals. If I don’t meet my goals this year, I won’t beat myself up. That’s a goal too.

1)         Don’t freak out about missing goals/personal deadlines/letting the kitchen counter get messy.
2)         Get in (a different) shape. As in, try to redefine the waist I know is in there somewhere. I know there’s no way in heck that I’m going to get physically fit, I haven’t had the motivation to do that in the last 10 years and I have no desire to do it now. But buttoning my pre-maternity pants up without hurting myself would be nice.
3)         House projects – finish Max’s room (almost done!), finish the kitchen, finish the dining room, start the living room and upstairs bath.
4)         Landscape projects – fill in the swimming pool dent (it was an above ground pool, so it’s only 1’ or so deep), tear out the weird deck/garden/pond thing and refashion the space into a real flowerbed. Possibly do something about the fence.

What are your goals for the year?