Tag Archives: bucket list

the 2014 winter bucket list: recap

winter bucket list 2014_edited-1Seeing that we’re more than two weeks into spring territory, it’s time to recap winter. I made my list of goals weeks before I decided to jump into the NTP program, so they definitely did not take into account that I’d be spending most of my free time learning and studying.

1. Attend Barre3 five times a week. I went five days a week up until we got a few weeks into class. Then I cut back to three or four. Then I realized that with all the studying I was doing, exercising indoors meant I was never getting outside. I ended my membership and started walking Alfred a lot more. It was a great decision – I just feel so much better when I get outside everyday for an extended period of time.

2. Bring breakfast to work every day, bring my lunch to work four days a week, and eat a homemade dinner five nights a week. I did really well with this. Over the course of ten weeks I think I bought my breakfast at work only three times. There was probably a week or two where I didn’t bring my lunch four days, but I really improved on not eating in the cafe everyday. As for dinners, for the most part we stuck to going out/take out no more than twice a week and some weeks I think we even did only one.


3. Redo our office. The major work is done, but I’m still finishing up some decorative aspects. Still loving our new set up and the additional light we are getting in our favorite room. I wrote about our overhaul here.

4. Create my craft closet. I got so far as to cleared out the closet and moved in a small desk. Between seeing what I was actually working with and knowing that the next year or more is dedicated to becoming an NTP and starting my own business (and if we’re lucky throwing a baby in the mix), crafting is probably not going to be high on my list for a while. I’ve decided to reorganize the closet (it’s about halfway done) to better store all my supplies. That alone is huge and with our larger work desk I have room to craft when I get a few minutes.

5. Finish closet and jewelry organization. Ha. Let’s just say it is not significantly worse than when winter started.


6. Organize the spice jars. The supplies were purchased and the work is mostly done. There’s probably an hour left, I just haven’t got to it yet. Maybe this weekend? I went with small jars to organize my every growing spice collection. More details to come in a post when I finally finish the project.


7.  See something new in Washington. We did! It wasn’t super exciting, but we had a fun family day down to Port Orchard.


8. Go on a winter getaway. Phoenix was not so good to us in 2014, but we got a few hours in the sun and we had a good time together. Maui 2015 is on the books (in my head), though Maui for Fall 2014 needs to get booked on the real books ASAP.

9. Replace two of our dog-chewed blankets with homemade ones. I made progress on two blankets but neither are near finished. I bought the fabric for a quilt and I’m about 30% done with a new knit blanket. I’m LOVING it and will happily admit I borrowed the idea from Elise (of course). You can see her finished product here and at some point I’ll be back to show you mine.

10. Send five cards. I did not start a snail-mail revolution. The only snail-mail I sent was monthly anniversary cards to my sister and brother-in-law (from her shower), which totally don’t count since I did not write them.

the 2014 spring bucket list

Per my arbitrary declaration, it’s time for the spring bucket list!IMG_4508_edited-2

On to the goals. I have a little notebook that is mostly always with me (currently its orange with gold circles from Target; highly recommend). The front part is my to do list and the back is random lists, plans, tracking sheets, etc. Usually once I post a bucket list for a season, I start a new list in my notebook for the next season. This way I can capture things throughout the months that I’d like to work on, rather than sitting down and coming up with ten random goals at one time.

I noticed a flaw in my system when I looked through what I had for spring. It was several hefty craft/house projects and some fitness goals. They are all fun and I’d love to spend my time doing them, but they don’t really reflect my priorities right now and through the next ten weeks. I decided to take another approach and first recognize what my priorities are, then make goals against those. Here’s what I came up with for priorities:

1. Family Time
2. Eating Real Food
3. Sleep
4. Work
5. Schoolwork
6. Exercise
7. Crafting/house

Having an actual list for how I want/need to spend my time was really helpful for coming up with a bucket list that will be realistic and not add stress. The point is to be intentional with my time and have fun, so adding goals that add stress is just silly.


The dirt, weeds, and stone should be grass by summer.

1. Start on fixing up the backyard. This might sound like it falls under priority seven, crafting/house, but it’s actually a project that Greg and I will work on together through nice weekends this spring. We’re both really excited about it and looking forward to doing it. It will definitely be good quality time together. There’s more we want to do to the backyard eventually, but for spring we hope to: plant grass on half the yard, clean up the plants around the sitting area, spruce up our small table and chairs, create veggie boxes for the unused planter, and lay down a ground cover (small white rocks?) around the veggie boxes.

2. Deal with Alfred’s doorbell and stranger barking. This may not be the most fun way to spend family time but it’s seriously going to increase all of our quality of life.

3. Plan and have a fun Memorial Day weekend with my parents and the girls. We are loving all the visitors we have this year and my parents will be in town for Memorial Day weekend. Since we don’t typically have a five and three year old with us, I want to plan a few things that will be fun for everyone.

4. Render pork fat into lard. A new cooking challenge, a new item to use for cooking when it’s done, and creating freezer space! Win, win, win.

5. Buy amber glasses and regular alarm clocks. Sleep improvements! Since I’m usually on my computer until 9 and Greg sometimes later, we’re getting amber tinted glasses. (Yes, I’m aware I get weirder every day.) These glasses help block the blue light that comes from electronics, which throw off your body’s natural cycle of producing melatonin in the evening. Yes, getting off electronics in the evening would be better but right now that’s not going to happen. I’m also looking for some alarm clocks to use in our room instead of our phones.

6. Keep on top of NTP work. I’ve been both on top of my school work and a little behind (post Phoenix) and life is much less stressful during the on top if it phases. So I hope to keep it that way.

7. Get started on my community outreach project. It’s not due until October, but I don’t want to spend September scrambling to finish. My goal for spring is to outline the project.


We did our first walk on Monday evening and got in 2.3 miles. I love you, day light savings time.

8. Walk 50 miles with the doodle. I had so much fun doing this last summer and I don’t have any other form of exercise going on right now, so why not go for it a second time. This will get us both outside and checking out new parks while we rack up the miles.

9. Script class. I signed up for this class, bought the supplies, then promptly started my NTP class. Haven’t done much else but the class is available to me still as it’s online so I hope to get to it soon.

10. Finish the office and craft closet. After careful consideration, the craft closet is going to remain a closet and not a room. It’s been reorganized partially and already that’s made a huge difference. With our new desk I have plenty of room to craft. With the cleaned out closet, I have a place to neatly store everything. It’s working. Virtually no progress has been made on the office since I shared our update, so I need to complete the finishing touches and also clean out the last few shelves in the closet. Totally doable.

Next week I’ll recap my winter bucket list. Which turned out to be not quite as big of a miss as I thought it might be.


Sunday was supposed to be in the low 50s and partly sunny. I had grand plans for a fun family day to take advantage of the weather and everyone else in Seattle staying home to watch the Seahawks game. I did some research looking for a day trip to a new spot in Washington and came up with Port Orchard.

We drove into Kitsap County (a little over an hour) and our first stop was the Howe Farms dog park. It was huge – 4 acres of fields and trails. I typically hate the dog park but this one was fun. The scenery was really beautiful as well. It was only about 40 and super foggy – so much for the good weather. We were underdressed for the elements and stayed for only 45 minutes.

Next up we went into downtown Port Orchard. I thought we’d stroll along the main street, find a cute place to eat, and enjoy the afternoon along the marina. Besides the weather not being on our side, Port Orchard was a little sad. Most of the stores on the main street were boarded up. Definitely not what I had pictured.

We found a cute place to stop and eat though, the Home Made Cafe. It was a little breakfast and lunch spot in the basement of an old church. All the tables were dining room tables with matching chairs, very country kitsch. The food was good and they had hot coffee. We ate and headed back to the car. Trying to make the most of our adventure, we took the ferry home. I’m still somewhat in awe of driving onto a ferry even though this is probably my fifth or so time.

The day wasn’t really what I had imagined, but we still had a lot of fun and spent quality time together. And one winter bucket list goal is complete. portorchard

menu monday: meal planning 101

I’m bringing back Menu Monday and adding a new series of posts with it. A big part of my goal over the next ten weeks is to get a good handle on food, especially coming out of the holidays and some stressful times. I LOVE planning, routine, and process, but I know not everyone else does. I thought if I can share some of what I do to make healthy eating work for me I’ll both keep my self accountable to my goals and help friends and family as well. I frequently get questions about what I eat and how I manage cooking, so here’s the beginning of a look into my meal planning and prepping OCD.

I’m starting with Meal Planning 101. Keep in mind, this is what works for me and I change things up when I find it’s not working. Take what you want from it but make it fit your life.

1. Figure out how your week works. In my family, there are two adults and a puppy who doesn’t eat people food. My husband travels frequently during the week and we often have social plans on the weekend. We both organize our weeks Monday through Sunday, but I’ve learned that doesn’t work for me for menu planning and instead I use Saturday though Friday. I find that I waste less food because I usually know our weekend plans better if I’m planning just a few days before, not the weekend before.

2. Plan early. I try to plan my menu on Wednesday or Thursday. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it gives me ample time to get shopping done before the menu kicks in. ANY planning is better than no planning, so work with what you have on any given week.

3. Think about the individual week. This is what my menu plan looks like when I start (I recently switched from paper to a GoogleDoc – we’ll see how it goes). I highlight the nights it’s just me eating in blue (this is made up for this example, I’m smart enough not to post that I’ll be home alone on the internet) and the nights we’re going out in yellow. Normally I wouldn’t do the yellow, but since my current goal is to eat dinner out no more than twice a week, it makes it easier. For this week I also added that I want to make brunch on my birthday and try something fun. Include social events or make note when you might need to feed extra people.

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4. Know what you have on hand. I have an inventory of meat in my chest freezer so I know what’s available. I also start with adding the veggies that I have on hand. I add both ones leftover from the previous week and what I know will be delivered in my CSA on Friday morning. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 5.15.41 PM

5. Be reasonable. As you start to add meals, be reasonable. This is the number one thing that will make you successful or not. I will cook longer, fun meals on the weekend, but if I’m cooking on a weeknight I have a twenty, maybe thirty minute max. If I get home and find I have 45 minutes of prep with another 30 minutes of cook time, I’m totally calling for Indian.

6. Mix it up. Try to add a little variety, without going crazy. I try to make sure I’m using different meats as well as mixing the leftovers throughout the week so I don’t end up eating the same thing for lunch and dinner one day. Also include a mix of new recipes and tried and true ones. I generally plug in my breakfasts first as they are the easiest – something on the weekend then I eat the same meal all week at work. Next I do my big meals on the weekend, then fill in leftovers for lunch and weeknight dinners. Last I include easy meals to fill in any empty lunches or dinners. I delete the veggies as I add them to meals. Ideally I use them all, but if I don’t I leave the heartiest ones (beets, yams, onions) until the next week. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 5.21.45 PM

7. Set yourself up for prepping. Once I’m done with my plan (I suppose you could do it as you go, I just don’t), I set myself up to be successful. First, I write down the cookbook and page number of every recipe or save a link in my bookmark bar if it’s online. Then I list out what days any items needing to defrost should be moved from the freezer to the fridge (another reason you want to start a few days earlier than your plan starts if you can). Last I make a prep list. I do as much as I possibly can over the weekend.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 5.25.49 PM

8. Make a shopping list and keep it with you. Now that I’ve gotten in the habit of mid-week meal planning, I have a few options for when I can go grocery shopping. As I’m adding each recipe to my list, I add the ingredients I don’t have to the Groceries Reminders list on my computer. This syncs with my phone, so if I find myself with a few extra minutes I can go do my shopping. Typically I do it Friday after work, but sometimes I manage to get it done earlier since I have the list on me.

And that’s how someone who loves to plan creates a weekly menu. I’ll be posting mine again on Mondays, so feel free to just steal it if you’d rather. This might seem overwhelming, but on a week where I don’t have much time to deal with this, it takes maybe 15 minutes. On a week where I have a lot of time, I love to sit with a cup of coffee and browse recipes for as long as I can.

Coming up over the next several Mondays:

  • How I prep food for the week
  • Crockpot meals
  • Easy weeknight meals
  • Meals that freeze well
  • Portable breakfast and lunch ideas

Recipes listed above that are available online (for the rest, get yourself a copy of Well Fed and Well Fed 2):


the 2014 winter bucket list

winter bucket listMy first time writing 2014, so crazy. This bucket list looks a little less fun and a little more self-improvement, but I think if you start the first ten weeks of the year off with a solid foundation the year can only be great, right? Besides, in Seattle winter the days are short and dark. Might as well get all the improvements going in winter so the summer bucket list can be full of fun for long, warm days.

“Winter” is going to be Jan 6th – March 16th. It’s a little arbitrary, but going all the way to Memorial Day is too long. Easter is late this year at the end of April and isn’t a good cut-off either. Ten weeks sounded good, so mid-March it is.

1. Attend Barre3 five times a week. I recently switched up my exercise routine after taking all of December off. I no longer belong to my CrossFit gym and started Barre3, a combo of ballet, yoga, and pilates. Five days a week seems a little daunting, but I’m making it a top priority as my mental state seems to be so much better when I make exercise a part of my routine. My physical state could also use the health.

2. Bring breakfast to work every day, bring my lunch to work four days a week, and eat a homemade dinner five nights a week. Speaking of ensuring good mental and physical health, food is right up there with moving. We went WAY off track in December and ate more take-out than I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’m committing to making making our food a priority. Oh, and everything I make at home will be Whole30 compliant.

3. Redo our office. I mentioned this in my house goals post, it’s time we reorganize our office to better fit how we use it. We spend so much time in that room (it’s really more like a family room than an office) and we can improve how it’s laid out.

4. Create my craft closet. The second of our house goals that I want to attack in the next few months. Things are getting out of hand on my desk and with the office reorg Greg and I will be sharing one. It definitely will not work if my craft gear is everywhere, so into the closet I go.

5. Finish closet and jewelry organization. I started this in the fall and never finished, so it’s back on the list again.

6. Organize the spice jars. This might sound silly, but I have a ton of spices (and use them!) and they are a complete and total mess. It takes me a while to find anything and usually involves a few jars falling out of the cupboard while I’m searching through them. So far nothing has broken but it’s really just a matter of time.


7.  See something new in Washington. I really have seen so little of that state since moving here in 2011. I don’t have anything specific in mind and am leaving the options open for whatever might come up.

8. Go on a winter getaway. Last year’s long weekend in Phoenix was fantastic. We’re figuring out where to go this year to keep our (my?) winter sanity.


9. Replace two of our dog-chewed blankets with homemade ones. Right now I’m thinking one knit and one quilt, but we’ll see what I end up doing.

10. Send five cards. I’m going to start a snail-mail revolution.

holiday bucket list: the recap


1) Decorate the house. This year my goals are pretty simple: add only new decorations this year that I LOVE and that are homemade/upcylced (good thing Greg does not read this blog because he’d probably divorce me for using that word seriously); spend no more than $100 on decor; spend no money on wrapping (i.e. use up a bunch of stuff I have around the house already); donate all decorations I don’t LOVE at the end of the season; hang Christmas lights outside. // I made a table runner, wreath and card tree and upcycled the reindeer from my FIL’s farmhouse basement (minor discretion: the $3 JOY pillow I found at Target); probably spent about $75 on supplies for the runner and wreath and washi tape for the card tree; did not spend any money on wrapping – used brown postal paper plus ribbon I had left from our wedding and washi to write labels; we haven’t undecorated yet but anything that was not put out this year or loved is definitely getting donated; Greg hung lights on the house. 

no cost christmas

2) Participate in a Jingle Run. I’m not sure if I’m going to run or walk yet, but either way it will be fun.  And hopefully it will involve some sort of costume. // I got sick and my friend, Talia, had to deal with some family issues. That brings us to 0/3 for races we’ve signed up for and run. I think the universe might finally have gotten it’s message across. 

3) Take a fun holiday family photo. This is always a goal and maybe I’ll have something to replace the shadow picture from this summer as my favorite photo of 2013. // Truth be told, I kind of forgot about this one, but my FIL came to the rescue and we have a series of these, which I will cherish forever. Or until next year’s photo out does this one. 


4) Make Paleo egg nog. I’m not about the Paleo treats, in almost all instances I’d rather just eat the real thing on special occasions. But I don’t do dairy and I love egg nog, so Paleo egg nog it is. // I threw my no dairy rule right out the window and, conservatively, probably had twenty or so egg nog lattes this year. Grief + red cups at SBUX + living in Seattle are not a good combination. So yeah. Nothing else to say about that one. Oh except that those twenty (conservatively) egg nog lattes have formed a lovely spare tire. 

5) Spread cheer. Focus on the positive. Be merry. // I did my best and if I wasn’t spreading cheer I at least tried not to be negative. My dad repeatedly told us when we were little that only two things were required of us: try your best and treat other people nicely. Perhaps I’ve lost the exact wording over the years, but for probably the first time in a decade I thought about those two things over and over. If I managed to do both over the course of a day,  I considered it a success. 

a quilt for grandma janet


My grandma Janet recently started chemo. Since she is in southern California and I am not I wanted to do something special for her in lieu of being able to visit.

I’ve heard (okay, I’ve seen on TV) that it’s usually freezing in the hospital during chemo treatments. I’m not sure if this is true, but I decided to try making a quilt. I wasn’t entirely sure it would come out well enough to give as a gift but dug in anyway.

I followed a very similar color palate as the one from the tutorial I used. I was going for “cheerful” and these colors seemed perfect. I loved that orange fabric with the leaves but ended up cutting it the wrong size twice, and only had enough to use it twice.IMG_3778_edited-1

Action shots. The ratio of sewing to ironing is pretty much 1:1 in quilt making. I think I should probably upgrade to an actual ironing board for my back’s sake.quilt

I was super proud of finishing the top. I don’t know what happened with the red, but the seams on the other four colors actually line up much better than I was expecting.IMG_3820_edited-1

I worked on the project for three weeks, usually just an hour or two at a time. Quilting projects are made up of a million steps. It might seem daunting, but I actually like that there are so many steps to break up the work into. It makes it much easier for me to work on it for an hour after work versus clearing a whole weekend to complete one from start to finish. IMG_7643


I love the back. It’s really simple and definitely far from perfect, but I think the colorful striped thread is so cheerful.

IMG_7675_edited-1This was the second project I tackled from the Get Quilty eCourse, so again I’m not posting any of the specific steps. It was very easy to follow and I made a few improvements over my winter table runner. I learned how to use a seam ripper to rip only the seams, not fabric. I also didn’t have to stop every five minutes to fix something with the sewing machine. That was huge. I am guessing that is just coming from practice.


Project: 4/35
Time: 12 hours (?)
Tutorial: Get Quilty eCourse
Cost: $72.17 ($65.77 fabric, batting, thread; $6.40 1/5 eCourse cost)

This sounds quite expensive, but it’s mostly ‘start-up’ costs: I had to buy three more colors of thread ($10), to get all the different patterns I bought 1/4 yard of 19 fabrics and probably used just over half of each, I started with a gray fabric for the binding but ended up going with creams so that went unused, I got lazy at the last minute and bought the final backing and binding fabrics from a local shop without sales or coupons. My guess is once I collect thread in most colors and build up a collection of scrap fabric, a quilt will cost between $30 and $40.

finding my christmas cheer

One of my goals for the season is to be merry. I haven’t exactly been a ray of Christmas sunshine this holiday season. I’ve pretty much pulled the plug on 2013 and am ready for 2014.

Then last night I went to our annual holiday dinner and glassybaby exchange. We played a game of one good, one bad, and one holiday tradition. I went close to last out of eleven people so I had a while to think about what I wanted to say.

My good has been stirring in my head for a while but I think 2013 is the year I not only accepted that Seattle is home for a while, but also realized I’m happy that it is. When we threw ideas around over the summer about moving to another state, I suddenly felt a little panicked. What about friends? What about our house? What about our Sounders’ season tickets? This is home now and I’m really happy about it.

I shared a bad as well and was shocked to hear I was not the only one who shared the same thing. Not even close to the only one. When I left SF I had a group of girlfriends and girls nights once a month, not to mention countless dinner, drink, walk, and run dates with my ladies. Last night felt like the first time I was willing to share something deeper than surface level with a new group of people and it was nice. Really nice.

All that to say that this morning I woke up with a little holiday cheer. It’s amazing how one night with a group of good people can really change your outlook. All of these pictures were taken before I went to that party. Now I’m just seeing them in a new, Christmas cheer-filled light.

christmas spirit


recapping the fall 2013 bucket list

IMG_3149_edited-2Instead of being at our company’s holiday party, I’m home on the couch fighting a terrible cold. This will probably go down as one of the weeks of my life I’d least like to relive. But I’m reminding myself that the less than awesome times are what make the good times so awesome. I’m out of TV, don’t have the energy to work on my Project Life album, and reading seems really hard. Recapping fall seems like a reasonable task, so here we go.

1. Try five new soup recipes. // I made three new soups and they were all winners. You can find them here: sweet potato chili, curried cream of broccoli, sweet potato with bacon. Apparently it was a fall of sweet potatoes. 

2. Celebrate our anniversary. // We had a great first anniversary weekend in Bellingham. It was very much our speed – relaxing and full of our favorite foods. Over the course of the weekend we managed to eat all our favorites: sushi, steak, oysters, Mexican, and Indian. Since then, we’ve been making an effort to keep Sunday mornings free; free of plans and free of technology. We’ve gone out to brunch, taken the dog on long walks, worked on projects around the house, to name a few. It doesn’t happen every week but it’s great when we make it happen.first_anniversaryI love the TimerCam app for getting pictures of us together.

3. Enjoy trick-or-treaters. // We had a very low key Halloween trying to cram in work in order to leave our computers behind the next day as we traveled to Maui. We had several trick-or-treaters come by the house over the course of about two hours. I’m not sure we made progress with Alfred’s barking at the doorbell but we at least tried. halloween2013

4. Decorate for fall. // I was off to a good start with decorating, then we decided to do a “No Spend October”. I don’t own fall decorations so to keep with no spending I couldn’t add anything to my collection. The front porch and dining room table were a little festive, but that’s about it. We’ve got a lifetime of autumn’s ahead of us to collect a few perfect pieces.

fall decor

5. Make sauerkraut. // Nope. Just didn’t happen. Someday.

6. Learn to sew. // YES, YES, YES! I’m not good by any means, but I learned how to do it. I completed four projects in my beginner’s class then traded in my old iPhone for a sewing machine at Target. Since then, I’ve complete 3 projects on my quest to do 35 by the time I turn 35: cloth napkins, party banner, winter table runner.

7. Make the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls. // Nope. Thought about it on Thanksgiving morning, but cutting the recipe in half still yields 3.5 pans of rolls and that just seems ridiculous.

8. Do yoga once a week. // I did yoga a few times on my own at a home and a few times at a studio with a friend. I didn’t get anywhere close to weekly but it was great the times I made it happen.

9. Clean out my closet. // My closet floor is still a bit of a mess and my nightstand drawers are full of unorganized jewelry, but I did make some progress. After we got our new dresser I finally got around to organizing my clothes and three or four months later it’s not a mess. That might be a record for me.

10. Bake a pumpkin pie. // Obviously, food goals were not my thing this season. My plan had been to make a pumpkin pie for Halloween. I wanted to have a few friends over for a game night. That didn’t happen when it became clear we’d both be working late to finish up before going on vacation, and I never got back around to making a pie.

a winter table runner


Over the long weekend I finished my winter table runner.

I went with “wintery” colors over more traditional Christmas colors because I couldn’t get a good mix of red and green fabrics that didn’t scream COUNTRY CHRISTMAS across Jo-Ann Fabrics. Gray, burgundy, and gold felt right so I decided to call it a winter runner instead of a holiday one.


I worked on this for about two weeks on and off and didn’t keep track of the time exactly but my guess is I put in between 4 and 5 hours. IMG_3632_edited-1

I cut the strips and organized the fabric order at 4am one morning when I couldn’t sleep. One benefit of a traveling husband is no one knows you are a weird lady who irons fabric at 3:45am in the kitchen. Except now the internet knows. IMG_7250_edited-2

I’m not posting any of the specific steps because the tutorial I used is from an eCourse I bought and that doesn’t seem like something I should do. It was very easy to follow, though definitely the hardest project I’ve done to date. IMG_7256_edited-1

It is FAR from perfect and I found binding (the burgundy fabric around the outside) very hard. There are no close-up pictures for a good reason! But I love it. The first of my homemade holiday decorations. Now I am on the hunt for candle holders or something else to add to the table. Upcycled, of course.

Project: 3/35
Time: 4 – 5 hours
Tutorial: available in the Get Quilty eCourse
Cost: $32.09 ($25.69 – fabric, quilted backing, thread; $6.40 – 1/5 the cost of the eCourse)