Monday, January 11, 2021

Goals for 2021

Man, weekly blog posts were delayed and other things I had planned just because the last, what, 11 days or so I was just bogged down trying again and again to do some kind of year in review post for 2020.  I would write, delete, write, delete and get frustrated, until finally I ended up with one sequence on the screen that I was happy with...

"2020.  Man.  2020.  It was a year, wasn't it?"

And that is as far as I got.  Trying to find a bunch of good in a year where my son saw every service he received dry up overnight (which despite my fighting spirit and multitudes of classes I've taken to try and fill numerous holes in my education to overcome has NOT been easy), the pool where my kids were taking swimming lessons and doing so well getting shut down permanently, every opportunity my children had for social interaction shut down, so many people suffering and seeing their lives destroyed, seeing our economy thrown into a depression, shortages of every type effecting day to day life,  not to mention sickness around the was really not going well on the "review and find the good in things" front.  So, see the above sentence and figure that is my year in review post at this time.  I might try to revisit the post in the coming weeks and try and come up with something that works, but in the meantime it's time to move on to other posts that I feel like I can actually accomplish by focusing on less depressing matters.  

So, let's get onto the goals for 2021 shall we?

Monetary Goals:

This year I HAVE to reduce debt somehow.  Not that I don't want to and I work on that goal constantly, but it really is going to be important for me to start getting debt paid down, somehow.  We still have a bunch of stuff that we need to get done around here, so trying not to slap all of that onto a credit card is the best possible outcome I can think of.

We do have some things that will hopefully help me to start paying down debt this year, which it is nice having things to look forward to this year, honestly.

Our mortgage insurance finally goes away this year.  Between this and a reduction in our escrow payment (by me putting extra money into the escrow anytime I could find even five dollars to spare, we ended up with an overage in the escrow which reduced our mortgage by 50.00 per month this year instead of the mortgage going up as it has in previous years), I am hoping to take the 200.00 extra dollars a month and putting 100.00 extra onto our mortgage principle per month and the other 100.00 onto our home equity loan and start paying that down some more.  

We really need to get the home equity line of credit paid down, as far as I can really, as we are going to need new gutters this year, new doors for the garage and I'm looking at having to redo my kitchen in the next year or so (the cabinets are finally starting to out and out fall apart and the countertops are separating and things...the kitchen is just reaching the end of its lifespan...I'm praying I'm wrong on how immediate of a need this is going to become, but things just keep bowing, cracking and otherwise making their "we're done" presence known the last bit, so to say I'm concerned doesn't even BEGIN to cover it).  We are also looking at having to replace the windows everywhere in the next few years as well as they are leaking air everywhere since the earthquake, so that's not good.  We also need to replace the laundry room ceiling after my husband repairs and redoes some things that aren't right for code, so hopefully the sheetrock we are going to purchase to repair the hole in the bathroom ceiling (see below for more information on that) will give us enough to replace the sheetrock  we had to cut out of the laundry room.  So, the home loan is becoming more and more of a priority as we might be needing all of help it can give in the next couple of years to finance repairs and remodels.  Honestly, I start to think about it and I get kind of overwhelmed and fight the urge to breathe into a paper bag, so I just try to think of it in little chunks and go from's the best way to keep an even keel.

If we get a decent tax return this year I'm going to take whatever money there is from that and use it to help pay for these things (gutters and doors for the most part this year...we'll see how far it goes if it goes anywhere at all) so that I hopefully won't have to accumulate as much debt to get these things done.  I'm not sure how stimulus payments are going to affect taxes so I'm just in a "wait and see" mode on all of that.

I took our latest stimulus payment, put some toward replenishing savings as much as I could (which isn't much) and threw the majority of it onto paying down a credit card that had some pretty big purchases on it for repair parts and things.  At least we are in less debt than before I did the payment, so that's something.

Household Goals:

Well, some of this has already been covered above, but I am going to continue to repair things from the earthquake damage we suffered.  We still need new gutters, new people doors for the garage (although my husband managed to temporarily fix the jams in the garage, so at least mice aren't getting in left and right) and I have some painting to do.  

As soon as summer break hits I need to paint my master bedroom (and rearrange it so it will hopefully work better), paint my hallway and stairway and hopefully repaint the kid's bathroom as the paint in there is already wearing off (I wasn't happy with it to begin with, but I am really not happy with how the paint is holding up in there), so I need to put a few more coats of paint in there.  My husband also needs to repair the washing machine as it hasn't worked right since the earthquake and my husband is pretty sure it needs new bushings and things.  We need to rebuild parts of the front porch/landing (earthquake heaved the entire thing upwards and it isn't sitting quite right), reseal both the front stairs and landing as well as the back deck and stairs (after the new gutters are installed as the water is dripping and damaging the wood right now and would just wear the new sealant off of the wood).

On non earthquake related things, we need to fix the drains in both of the bathtubs (they won't plug the drain to hold water, so we are using plastic drain plugs instead, but both of the drains need to be repaired/replaced), replace the sprayer on our kitchen sink (it leaks), probably replace the ice maker in our fridge again (it is actually making way too much ice this time and we are constantly turning it on and off) and other things (some of which is covered above).

We will also need to, in the more immediate future, fix our master bathroom ceiling.  I was in the bathroom a few days ago putting towels away when part of the ceiling (nothing huge mind you, just a few inches) fell and now we have a hole in the ceiling.  The ceiling was dry, but my husband checked the hole and realized that there is old water damage in the ceiling and that is why the ceiling fell as it was brittle and just kind of collapsed.  So, he wants to cut a hole in the ceiling to figure out what is going on and see what potential damage we might need to fix.  So, now we get to figure that out and I'll have to, once again, repair and repaint in the bathroom once that is all figured out.

We will also need to get the septic pumped this year to stay on a regular maintenance schedule.  I'm determined to get that done as it isn't a horrible amount of money and will help the plumbing run better, so it is definitely a win-win scenario to keep on top of that.

So, yeah, there is a bunch of stuff that needs to be done around here.  So, stay tuned if you like home repairs *laugh*.

Sewing Goals:

Make new curtains for my master bedroom, again.  The ones I made aren't holding up well.

Make more masks for my husband for work.

Make new throw pillows for the love seat upstairs and the chairs downstairs.

Make myself and my daughter some skirts.

Organizing Goals:

Clean out and redo my master bedroom closet (BOY does it need's horrible in there).

Get den cleaned up/out and get exercise area set up for the kids (they need the physical activity and it seems like the best option).

Pantry Goals:

Keep pantry as well stocked as possible to accommodate shortages at the store (which are still going on.  Shopping this week was an experience as the stores were out of a lot).  Fill in holes as quickly as possible so as not to be caught flat footed when things aren't available.

General Goals:

Continue to pack husband's lunch for work every day (I've actually learned a lot by watching bento box videos on YouTube on how to make a better layout for lunches so that they are more nutritional, decently cheap to make and filling).  This is not only making him eat better (which he was raised on the fast food diet as he was working in the field all the time, so working a desk job for the most part is definitely a shift for him), but also saving us money.

Continue to explore different cuisines to keep meals interesting.  Right now I'm watching "Nordic Cookery" on Amazon Prime videos and having a huge blast as the program explores not just different dishes to make (like things I couldn't really make here, for instance venison isn't a common thing to get where I'm at), but also shows how you can use foraged ingredients in your dishes and uses a bunch of fresh vegetables and things in different ways, which will come in handy this summer (I hope :).  For instance, in one recipe I was watching last night he used pickled rose hips in a recipe.  I am so going to try to preserve rose hips that way this summer with some of the wild rose hips we have around here, as I always have a ton of rose hips and it will be a good way to make use of a free resource.

Lose seven more pounds (right now my target goal is the beginning of March and I'll be down to my target weight).  

Play more board games with the family (this is actually important enough for me that I put it in my son's IEP goals this year).  I think this will be a good way for my son to explore a healthy social interaction setting and also a good way for us to spend time together and have fun doing something other than watching TV.

Garden Goals:

Plant a garden.

Have it not fail.

Preserve what I can from said garden when it does well.

Yup, I'm going for in depth garden goals this year *laugh*.

And there you go folks.  Some of my major goals for 2021.  Hopefully I can start to get some of them accomplished in the months ahead.  How about you?  Got any goals for this year?


  1. Wouldn't it make more sense to focus most of your extra money on paying down the home equity loan as quickly as possible? Paying down a mortgage is fine, but mortgage rates are usually better than loans. Perhaps you could commit to paying all the $200 each month to the home equity loan for the 1st 6 months, then switch to part of the month towards the mortgage and part towards the rest of the loan. Another alternative is to pay $150 extra on the loan and $50 extra mortgage payments. With all the repairs you need to do, you will likely need wiggle room on that loan to pay for everything when the work is completed.

    1. We might do just that. Everything is still tentative as we wait to see what taxes will bring. After that we'll reevaluate. If we pay down the mortgage once the mortgage insurance is gone we'd build up more equity which will get us better rates on building loans for things like redoing the kitchen and such so we are still figuring out which way will work better.

  2. I’m sending you a huge hug over there in Alaska. We were in the same spot you feel you’re in, back in the 80’s. It was not easy but we dug out. It took time. You have a partner and you know how to spend wisely so you’re way ahead of most people. Be patient with yourself and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
    No goals, here. I’m just trying not to get too depressed. I did join an informal YT slow sewing group. You make one little project a week. Right up my alley! I decided i just need to stay busy. I still work three days a week for which i am very grateful.
    Stay well!

  3. I'm really interested in your rose hip processing. I have three rose bushes and loads of rose hips each year but I've never done anything with them.

    I would imagine keeping the pantry stocked is huge challenge and every little bit from the garden helps so much. Did you ever solve your moose invasion problem or is that just not possible? I've had experience with deer but not moose.

    For the work you need done on your house, do you have Habitat Re-Use It stores up there? Here we can get cabinets, counters, fixtures, drywall, trim, paint, doors,windows, etc for super cheap. All items are donated and profits go to Habitat for Humanity. Some items are new but most are high quality salvage. We donated our old cabinets there with our kitchen remodel - they were solid hardwood and, while very nice and very sturdy, we're far too few for our new kitchen.

    We also found that paying off the unsecured debts (credit cards, medical debt and personal loans) were the biggest help when we refinanced our mortgage or took out the home equity loan. No one really cared about the mortgage (other than us actually having equity and paying on time) but they sure cared about the credit cards and medical debt!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how your goals progress this year! I always enjoy your blog, Erika!


    1. Wow, that was like the exact opposite of our experience when we got our loan. All they harped on was the equity we had in the house. Bizarre. Thanks for the input though, it is definitely good to know.

      With rose hips, I've made jam, syrup and fruit leather with them in the past. Check out the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service online for some recipe ideas :).

      We have a Re-Use it place, yes. So far we haven't found much there, but we will keep looking!

    2. Crud, Lea! I accidentally deleted your reply, so enjoy this copy and paste version with my apologies!

      "Thanks for the recommendation for Alaska Cooperative Extension Service - the info is VERY helpful for the rose hips! I'm in MN and ours wasn't anywhere near as helpful for that topic.

      So interesting about your loan experience! I wonder if it depends on who it's through?

      Have a great weekend! Lea"

    3. With the loan, it very well might depend on who it is through. I don't have a lot of experience with those things :).

      Glad you found the Cooperative Extension helpfull. I've been really happy with ours up here :).

  4. I'm curious whereabouts you live (in general). There are no shortages of any product where I am in the NorthWest.

    1. I live in South Central Alaska in an area referred to as "The Valley". Do you live in the Nome area of Alaska or are you in the North West of the Lower 48? Either way, super happy to hear you aren't having problems with shortages there!