Survive and Thrive Year here on "The Make Do Homemaker"
When I thought of my goals for this year they were kind of all over the place. There were the usual, stress and immediately heartburn up in the throat, panic inducing goals of trying to get bills paid off or down, getting the rest of my husband's teeth done and blah blah blah. And then I realized that all I was doing was immediately stressing myself out for the long term. And the year hasn't even really STARTED yet. Not a good way to start a year. So, I tried to redo my thinking a bit and came up with some goals that I think I can accomplish, or at least hope I can, and not freak out about them all the time.
So, let's get to the goals!
1. Focus on Hearth and Home
This was a big one for me to come up with, believe it or not. Once I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to do gifts beyond my immediate family (and possibly my family back East) this year...it was like a tremendous weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I didn't realize how much of my energy was going into thinking of gifts, what materials I needed to buy to make said gifts, what would people like, how to keep costs down as low as possible while making the gifts nice, etc etc. You have no idea how liberating it was to walk through the used store a couple of weeks ago to go and get some snow pants for the kids and walk by the craft and material section and realize that I didn't need to buy ANYTHING this year to make gifts. Nothing. I think they could see my smile in Seattle.
A giant wave of, not quite relief, but more an uplift of energy, washed over me when I thought of not having to worry about all of it. To be able to focus on doing things like embroidery for my family, for my house, heck for me. To go through a canning book, not with a discerning eye for possible gift giving potential, but instead thinking in more pragmatic terms of what I could use in the pantry and not worrying about giving away jars and things.
So, this year I've decided is one where I'm going to focus my energy on my home and my family. I have some plans for small projects to make things more comfortable around the house, working on gifts for my family for Christmas, slowly throughout the year and things.
I want to continue spending more one on one time with my husband, probably once the kids are in bed, watching movies, maybe playing some board games and things like that. I'm hoping to focus a bit more on making sure I spend time with him as I know he tends to take a back seat because of my son taking so much of my time and energy and then my daughter taking what is left.
2. Smile More. Spend Less.
The struggle to keep cost of living down, for us (and I know many others) is tough. It's so tough. It's like you go through your day, not seeing the forest for the trees. Or, more accurately, not seeing the dollars for the pennies. Bills feel like a ship you are dragging by it's anchor around with you. All day long. Every single day. You get the bills paid and feel a split moment of relief and then immediately start worrying about the next month's bills. It's a pretty depressing and disheartening cycle to live in.
I'm hoping this year to weather the storms of financial hardships better. I know there are other areas I can cut costs in...I just haven't thought of them yet. So, I'm going to put brain power into doing that a bit and also I'm going to try to not stress myself out so much (which MIGHT be impossible, but we shall see) and try to enjoy life one day at a time. It's worth a shot :).
The one area I see myself being able to cut back costs a LOT this year is not going to the used stores as much. I don't go half as much as I used to anyway, due to lack of funds and all, but also I found that I was indulging sometimes in my own form of retail therapy. Sure, it was on the cheap, but I was just spending money on something that was neat looking or something I thought was cool to basically cheer myself up. And, while it works in the short term to cheer one up, the money could be spent better elsewhere and I really don't NEED any more stuff that doesn't serve a good purpose. Now if needs present themselves (clothes, something breaks, etc) sure I'll go shopping for that stuff, but now that I don't have to go the used stores with an eye toward Christmas gifts for a lot of people...I think my trips will go way down in that area, which will also keep temptation to spend money to a minimum. Same with yard sales. I just don't see the need to spend money on that stuff anymore.
I'm hoping, instead, if I really want to cheer myself up and such, to just create something out of materials I have around the house that we could use (like say a new pillow cover for throw pillows or something), but would also make me feel better in my general environment.
3. Become more self sufficient.
Ideally I want to expand the garden this year, which might or might not work, depending on how well I can dig by Spring with my arms kind of a mess, but if I can do it, I'm going to do it. Even if I have to dig a couple of rows out of the yard, plant some seeds and see what happens, at least than I can say I tried.
I also, ideally, would love to find the money to build some coops for a few chickens and at least one rabbit for the daughter for a pet...she's never asked for a pet before, but she really wants a rabbit. I figure if I get her a pet female of a good breed for meat production, she can have her pet rabbit and it'll be one step closer for me to start a small rabbit concern. Terrible of me, I know, but if you're going to get a rabbit, it might as well be with a bigger picture in mind.
Mind you all of that is hinging on money, so I'm definitely going to keep an open mind about it. Expanding the garden I can see making it work no matter how much money we make, but the chickens and rabbit...those require food and so you need to be able to afford to feed them. So, yeah, we'll see how that goes.
4. Start a future journal.
This is one of the "philosophical ideological" goals for the year. I was reading in a magazine (always a great source of universal knowledge *laugh*) that when people would start writing a journal like you would be writing it at some point in the future and start writing as if the goals or dreams you want to come true are already a reality that it seems to help guide people in the right direction and help reality kind of mold to those goals.
I liked this idea, honestly as just writing about how everything is going groovy, the son is talking and acting like he's never going to shut up again, how we're paying off our mortgage early and other things...it immediately made me FEEL better just kind of fantasizing about it all. So, why not write it down, cheer myself up about life in general and make myself realize that the NOW is here yes and it might be a bogged down mess, but the future is yet uncertain and everything might work out just fine? It seems like a neat project, so I want to do one this year.
5. Start Rotating Canning all Year Round
This is one that is going to be hard to start. I'm so used to doing "canning season" during the summer and fall that it seems odd to me contemplating doing more of it in the winter and spring. My biggest inspiration when it came to doing it, though, was trying to find room for empty jars all over the place and while I could stack them back down in the pantry, I don't see the point in the jars just sitting around if they could be holding food in them for future use.
Now I know I'm not going to be able to can all the time just because sales won't be there or the idea of sitting canner sitting for an hour and a half just doesn't fit into the schedule. But, I'm hoping to find the motivation to do things like can my own chicken when I find a really good sale, instead of going and shelling out way too much money for canned chicken that always tastes a bit metallic from the tin can.
6. Bake More
I want to expand my knowledge of cooking and baking, but mainly baking. Cooking I expand my knowledge on constantly and I really do get a kick out of it, but man...while cooking is fun and shouts "mess with me! Create!", baking is science. And work *laugh*. But, I do want to get better at it and make food more fun and interesting around here. I'm hoping that I can incorporate culinary adventures into the menu plan and just keep trying new things. One of the biggest problems with being broke is that food becomes monotonous and just so boring because you just are so tired by life in general you just kind of throw food on the table and eat it. I want to keep the joy in cooking and baking for me, so for me that means messing with things :).
7. Cherish Time With My Kids
Sometimes you really just get hung up on being mom. I've found myself spending more time lecturing the kids than I do laughing with them and while I KNOW that lecturing them is important to getting them to that all important goal of "independence" someday...I also want to enjoy the time I have left where my kids are...well..kids.
I'd love to have money this summer to go see things like the "Sea Life Center" in Seward and other outings, but we shall see, once again, how money goes. If nothing else I hope to at least be able to picnic with them at our nearby lake and things (it's a fee to get into the federal park, but I'm hoping not too much). I'm hoping to see a year with more fun in it this year. I started getting better about being broke and finding some fun, but free, events to go to in our area last year and I'm hoping to find more this year to go to. I'm optimistic that it's going to be a good year :).
Really, some goals to spending more time with my kids I've already gotten done so far this year. Things like, "Drink cocoa", "Watch 'Simon's Cat' with kids on YouTube" and other things are easy to do, give me quality time with the kids and I HOPE create some good memories for them. Oh yeah, "Finally figure out how to get a decent selfie with the kids" was one of the goals I had and am getting better at too (as seen above...well I think it came out pretty good anyway).
Oh and to anyone who wanted to see an updated picture of me...you asked for it *laugh*.
8. Declutter and Get Organized
This is one that has been tying into some of the things I've been doing already this year. I really am hoping to organize, weed and get things in the house running more smoothly. It makes it easier on me, of course, but also makes the family happier having things clean and mom knowing where stuff is (ha, I nearly said "knowing where all the crap is"...yup, I'm tired *laugh*).
So, yeah, I could probably ramble on for about five more pages about things I want to do, like *flips through pages on notebook* I know that "Taking naps" is in that mess somewhere and "making healthier meals", but I won't bore you for hours with the somewhat boring aspects of my personal goals for this year ;).
How about you? Got any goals for this year? Lofty, small or otherwise?