Planning Ahead in 2019

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Last year seemed to be the year of getting reset after our move. We have now been in our new state just over two years, though less than that in our new house. Some things I had in place in Small Town did not necessarily make the move or systems were not working here. While I was not really ‘behind’ I was not ahead of the game either. With some of the changes we have experienced during the past 12 months I was focusing on keeping the basics going.

As many other people have also found out, planning ahead can reduce stress and make events have less of sudden impact on your bank account. I was reminded of this when I found myself a few weeks before Christmas sending online purchases to my parents, where we were headed to celebrate the holiday, as they would not have arrived here in time.

One of the main goals I set for myself last year was to create a foundation in the garden (and at home) that I could expand and build upon this year. By not expecting myself to suddenly recreate years of systems all at once I was able to relax and enjoy the process. Usually. I was also able to also shift my plans as they began to solidify and I thought of other options.

Going into 2019 I began to see, again, the benefits of having done some thinking ahead last year, minimal as it was. This bit of encouragement gave me the jump start I needed to build on the foundations I had laid.

This past weekend I brought out the Valentine’s Day items I had bought last year after everything went on discount. The kids chose what they wanted, made plans for the other items. Today, 3 weeks before they are needed, the first of the valentines were started. No marathon session of creating and signing cards. No whining about hands hurting and “I don’t want to do this” after about 10 have been completed.

Further holiday planning has already started as well – Christmas 2019. A few gifts have already been purchased (items I am going to make), an overall theme has been set (to help narrow down the kids’ ideas), and a general gift making/purchasing plan has been formed.

Here is one idea the kids were thrilled to find they could do. They had found a few chocolate dippers on after Christmas clearance when we were shopping. We purchased them and they have had fun using them in their drinks. I then showed them how they could make some as gifts. Using projects like this to increase their executive functioning skills is one of the focuses of our schooling at home.

In planning some of the other gift ideas, I am using something we already have here at home – old spaghetti sauce jars. We like Classico brand sauces, among others. It is not always the most economical, though if I wait for a sale it is very comparable to the Aldi brand in price. I also like that they use mason jars when canning up their sauces. This means the jars can be used again for more than just cookie mixes and the like. (Though I hold nothing against cookie mixes.) So, for the price of pasta sauce we get free canning jars. I like that deal.

In general, I have broken down various activities into months or seasons to help not feel overwhelmed, nor to miss when things need to be done. For example, I know that in order to plant seeds for flowers this spring I needed to have the flower bed ready. While I would like to continue with the rock boarder around the house, taking a few days to gather cardboard and wood chips was more pressing so I can plant seeds in the next few weeks. (I pick up wood chips on Tuesdays, so need things in place before that morning so I can dump them as soon as I get home or else I end up with bucks and bins of woodchips sitting around for days.)

In keeping with the Plan Ahead theme, start your new year off right by earning free gift cards through Swagbucks! All throughout January you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before February 1st, 2019. You’ll get a 300 SB bonus for it!

3. That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned 324 SB since the beginning of the year. This will go toward my current goal of purchasing edging bricks for various beds in my garden.

During the month of February I am planning to:

  1. Finish at least one Christmas present
  2. Write out a planting plan for the yard
  3. Order seeds and plants
  4. Get in the habit of daily pick up of the main rooms of the house
  5. Organize utensil drawer and spice cabinet
  6. Finish each week’s school lessons by the end of that particular week. no getting behind! 😉

Those are some of my specific goals for this upcoming month, though I have more I would like to accomplish. Putting goals out there for others to see helps keep me on track and motivated to get things accomplished.

What are some of the goals for the upcoming year? Month? Week? If even that seems overwhelming, what is one goal you have for today? If you are not sure, let me encourage you to begin forming good habits. Even if it is not working toward a large goal, having good habits will set you up to be ready when other opportunities come your way.