Oct 082015
 

Day One in 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life could not be titled any more appropriately – Discipline is a choice.  Over the past few months I have chosen not to let self-discpline happen.  I have chosen instead to set things aside till ‘later’.  I have chosen to pile up papers instead of filing them away, put off following up on items that should have been addressed months ago, and not finish what I have been working on before starting something else.  I have chosen to blame the circumstances around me rather than view the real issue – I have chosen to not be self-disciplined.

This choice has resulted in a home that feels chaotic, kids who are responding accordingly, a husband who is already stressed feeling even more stressed when he comes home and myself not feeling at all restful or productive.  There are so many things we could be doing but I feel so behind I have no energy to make headway.  So now, at this moment, I am choosing to start changing.  I will show self-discipline and do the important things that need to be done so we can life and enjoy life later.

nature center bird feeders tree pond

Today is the day.  I have room to breath a bit and tackle the things that have been overwhelming me, or threatening to do so.  I have begun to take on one of the larger projects and work on smaller ones, but just as they come up.  From past experience I know that if I were to have a plan and a goal in mind I could be doing so much more.  So here it goes, my plan to get back on the ball, to start up some of those habits I began to drop a year ago when our home life was disrupted by work on the house and adding in home schooling.  I am excited to get going and see what changes can be achieved in the next 21 days.

It is still dark outside and Jack woke up.  Yes, it is 6:35 a.m. which is right at his wake up time, but I was hoping the darkness would give me an extra 30 minutes.  No such luck.

His first question of the day, “What are you doing?”

“I am trying to set my goals for today.”

“Oh.  What are they?”, he asks with an innocent voice.

“I don’t know yet.  That is what I am trying to figure out.”

A few sentences later I clarify for him that I have 3 top goals for today:

  • Finish his school work for today.
  • Clean the garage of as much drywall dust as I can: finish wiping down the walls of the garage, wipe down the washer and dryer, and clean the floor
  • Spend an hour cleaning the house: picking up and moping the kitchen floor to get as much drywall dust up as I can

The last two goals may sound like complicated goals that could be broken down, and they could, but in reality they are not that bad.

Moping the kitchen floor is a smaller goal I have had for a while.  It is the first thing we see when we come into the house and really set the mood for how I feel about the house.  With the drywall dust and work dust having covered it often these past few months, I have also noticed exactly how much it impacts the cleanliness of the floors in the rest of the house.  Don’t believe me?  I now have white foot prints everywhere to prove it.  This really, really, really needs to be done.  And to that end, it is also why I am wanting to clean the floor in the garage.  We enter the kitchen from the garage.  The two floors are united almost as one.

The garage is 95% of the way done.  Wiping down the walls and the washer and dryer should take about 10 – 15 minutes.  This part is a step toward working on my Mega Project.

Quick project to jump start the 21 days: mopping the kitchen floor

Mega Project: Paint the new drywall in the garage and house

I will need to sit down later today and break my Mega Project into smaller bits.  For now I am going to finish up the first step I started this past weekend, which was wiping down the walls and ceiling in the garage.  Below you can see what it looked like before being cleaned out and after.  It is harder to see exactly how much dust was wiped off, but it was enough to cover me and make the whole room look white.

new garage clean out

Is there a quick project that you have been putting off?  Make time today to tackle it, then share with us how long it actually took.

Sep 162015
 

birds eye view of garden june 2015(This post was started in June)

Saying “no” is not easy.  We grow so accustomed to our lives that it feels like there are things we just can not live without, or rather things that would not function if we were not involved.  We can not imagine not doing XYZ, because we have always done it.  Saying “no” means stepping back and taking an honest look at life, yourself and the assumptions you have made.

Things are better now than they were this past Fall/Winter, but they are still tough.  I can feel the stress start to creep in, the feeling of things being on the verge of crumbling in one big mess.  I take a deep breath and remember to just do the next thing, not to try to fix or do everything right now.

I told my MOPS group that I could not volunteer again for the upcoming year.  I loved helping in this group, but knew that my home, my kids, and my true calling came first.  Also, I was much better at getting to know new moms one-on-one, rather than as a leader.  I volunteered on the Steering Committee because I knew that I could do the job, not because it was really where I shine.  It was time for someone else to have the opportunity to step up.

I had to tell Olaf’s parents that I could not continue to watch him over the summer.  This was a bit easier, as they had more options with school being out to find other arrangements.  He still comes over some, but not several times a week.  We’ll see what the new school year brings, but I think I am going to have to continue to say “no” to this one.  With Jack being home school and beginning 1st grade, I am looking to set more of a routine than I did last semester.  Watching another kid for several morning a week really sort of limits what we can do.  This was one “no” that made me really sad, as I was doing it because I knew it was helping out a friend, not because of the money.  Jack and Olaf also get along really well and I know they miss seeing each other.

Unlike the past 8 years, I started no garden plants at home. Zilch. I was trying to keep the house above freezing.  Getting the basement picked up enough to start plants was not exactly high on the list.  I gave myself grace to buy plants this year.  You know what?  I still somehow ended up with:

  • over 10 tomato plants
  • 26 pepper plants
  • 80 onion sets
  • tons of radishes
  • 3 cabbage plants (though I don’t think they will do anything)
  • Zinnias and marigolds
  • several handfuls of green bean plants
  • a zucchini plant
  • 3 unknown vine-ing plants
  • 4 or 5 cucumbers
  • and berry bushes/plants of various varieties.

I will say that I think it worked out okay this year.

school year 2015 2016 collage

Fast forward 3 months and I am in a slightly better place.  There are still a lot of things I have stopped doing, for now, but have picked back up a few.  I am also weighing whether I want to begin doing some things again in a few months when life calms down even more, hopefully.

As it turns out, Olaf does come two half days a week.  He goes to preschool in the mornings, so Jack and I are able to get his school work done before Olaf comes.  Usually.  Sometimes we are finishing as they are walking in the door.

The house remodel/work is nearing completion.  Not fully there, but oh so close.  My husband is finally able to see what I saw in my mind when we started this adventure.  The finishing touches on the drywall should be completed next week.  Then painting, finishing electrical work and install light fixtures, install a small HVAC system for the  new room, flooring, and finally trim and doors.  Yes, I know it is still not an extremely short list, but it is all quick stuff and some can be done simultaneously.

I have continued to say “no” to the produce stand.  A few people have asked me if I was planning to do it, to which I reply, “I have thought it was time to begin it several times lately, but was reminded that it was not time just yet.”  I was doing yard work outside today when someone stopped by looking for a particular item.  I did not have what she was looking for but told her I would see if I could find someone who did.  Seems roma tomatoes were not very popular to plant with gardeners in our are this year.  In talking with her, though, I mentioned I had hot peppers (that were planted to have something in that spot besides weeds) if she wanted them.  I would give them to her just so they could be used and not wasted.  And that, Dear Readers, is the extent of me ‘selling’ produce.

I also have not canned up any items.  There have been several bags of tomato soup added to the freezer, but nothing canned.  Thanks to previous years’ efforts I am still well stocked on most items and should be able to make it through to the next canning year.  I did relent and purchase commercially made spaghetti sauce.  I think pizza sauce will be the next thing I run out of and have to go buy.

There are more areas in life which have been affected by this attitude, the feeling that I have more say in my life.  It is a nice feeling to have when the expectations of others begin to feel more important than what you know is best for your family.  It is a nice feeling to have, to be able to clear things off your plate so you have room to enjoy the what is left.

nature center lounge

When my blog took an unexpected vacation, thanks to an error in a line of code, I was left examining the roll blogging plays in my life.  I felt a loss of the memories I have shared on here these past few years, ones that I have not journaled about.  This blog was begun at a point when taking time to hand write daily events seemed too overwhelming. It also provided a mental break for me, challenging me to keep growing while also being able to share a love of mine.  Was I ready to give it up at the drop of a hat?  Should I give it up?  Why not?  What if I did?  What creative outlet could I use instead, which would be realistic at this time?

These are questions I ask myself from time to time, but never faced with such a high likelihood of it actually happening.  This time, the questions felt very real, not just something out of the air to think through and debate.  I would rather have been thinking through which library books to get for Jack, new methods to help George get the next math step, or any other of the many decisions I could have been doing at that point.  These questions, however uncomfortable I felt thinking through them, had to be examined.  I was not willing to just keep going because that is what I have been doing for the past few years.

The thankfulness and relief I felt when the customer service representative told me the code had been fixed and that all should be back to the way it was, answered for me all the questions I had been asking myself.  It was a much different feeling from the relief I felt when I realized I would not have to be staying up for a few hours several evenings one week canning spaghetti sauce.

As I continue through the next few months, finishing up the work on the house, settling in to a home school routine, and going through daily life I am going to continue evaluating things as they come up.  It is so easy to let little things get added to your plate.  Before you know it, you have no room for the things you really want.

Aug 112015
 

Oak tree stand with path and bench park

There are things I wish I had actually realized, and not just known, a few years back.  This is one of them – The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning  While they are talking about tests and the stress put on students in conjunction with them, I read it in light of a parent of kids who had early childhood trauma.  No THAT is stress, and it does have an affect on kids of all ages.

When Jack and George were young I wanted to make sure they were not missing anything in any areas, academically and socially.  Early Intervention was called in early on, and George was enrolled in the Early Childhood program in our area.  If you had been a bug on our wall, what you would have heard around here might have sounded like an episode of Home Speech Class 101.  We talked in shorter sentences, encouraged the correct pronunciation of words, over exaggerated the sounds of certain letters, spent many evenings on the porch naming the kind and color of vehicles going by, etc.  I am pretty sure it would have been quiet entertaining as my husband and I are NOT speech therapist in any sort of way.

There were other areas we were trying to work on, but speech was top of the list.  That in itself was enough.  The stress our kids were going through at that time was more than any kid should have to go through.  Being taken from all you know and moved (several times) in a short time frame between people you do not really know, to then end up in an area that is unknown to you, in a family that has different routines and expectations … it is enough to stress out even an adult.

I knew trying to reduce stress was the most important factor to any kid learning and retaining information.  Even now I am fully aware of how extra stress will lessen the amount of information that can be retained.  What I did not realize was how little the stress needed to be.

The realities of standardized tests and increasingly structured, if not synchronized, curriculum continue to build classroom stress levels. Neuroimaging research reveals the disturbances in the brain’s learning circuits and neurotransmitters that accompany stressful learning environments.

Even neurotypical kids are affected by the levels of stress in a class room when it comes to test taking.  But the research did not stop there, thankfully.  They used this information to find ways to combat and reduce this stress level.

With brain-based teaching strategies that reduce classroom anxiety and increase student connection to their lessons, educators can help students learn more effectively.

This is what I am looking to accomplish with both our kids.  The stress after school, along with a very tired brain, makes doing homework with George very challenging.  With Jack, add in sensory issues that increases his stress levels, and the school day can be one big battle if we are not careful.  (After all, that is what was happening in public school for him.)

Knowing that adding pressure to the situation will only back fire on what you are trying to do, actually alleviates that situation some.  It means that I do not have to be more of a drill sergeant or require more practice at some things, though there is a time and place for that.  Sometimes it means that we need to look at the environment and see how we can make the kids more comfortable, relaxed.

This brain research demonstrates that superior learning takes place when classroom experiences are motivating and engaging. Positive motivation impacts brain metabolism, conduction of nerve impulses through the memory areas, and the release of neurotransmitters that increase executive function and attention. Relevant lessons help students feel that they are partners in their education, and they are engaged and motivated.

Positive motivation.  Now that is a goal I would like to work towards in the upcoming months.

Jul 102013
 

Third review of my goals for the year … not exactly a good sign that I am reviewing them frequently, now is it?

Here are my goals for 2013:

Children:

Encourage learning

  • Read aloud 8 books per month from Reading List {ongoing.  I did get a Reading List for Children put together of all the books I was interest in reading.} – We have continued to read from the list, as well as added in some other books found along the way.  I actually started reading a book I had gotten from somewhere, only to find that both I and the kid I was reading it too didn’t like it.  So, without guilt it is being passed on.
  • Help kids learn to count to 50, without missing numbers – We haven’t worked on this like I wanted to.  I can say that those learning to count are getting more confident in the numbers they do know.
  • Teach the oldest to read, or try to {We have been going through “Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Steps”.  I think it will take us more than 100 days at this pace.  Hoping it is just a slow start.} Update: I stopped the reading lessons as it was not fun.  I have started a ‘game’ with the kids.  I say a word and see if they can figure out which letter it starts with.  They love it and are surprisingly good at it.  Though not reading, they find it fun and it helps them associate words and letters.
  • Have daily walks or times to explore outside.  Nothing official, though they are often getting evening swim times in with either their dad or both of us.

Encourage the kids to learn more about the Bible and God

  • Morning Bible Times during the week Can’t say I’m doing better on consistency, but it does happen.  I find myself including God/Jesus in our discussions throughout the day more – sort of linking what they learn at church/in Bible Time with life outside those times.
  • Memorized the Disciples’ names  One kid has accomplished this!  Ice cream was enjoyed.
  • Help them memorize the books of the Old Testament by August  (about 6 per month) We still haven’t even started these.  I’ve decided to give myself grace and take time off from them memorizing things.

Encourage positive self-esteem

  • Teach oldest to ride a bike without training wheels – While this hasn’t happened yet, we have graducated to a larger bike with training whells that give when you lean on them.  I wasn’t sure what to think of them at first, but it seems to be working.  The bike is being held up more, rather than leaning to one side on a training wheel.
  • Swimming lessons – Taking place as we speak.
Encourage self-sufficiency
  • Assign 1 habit/chore per month for each kid to work on {ongoing} – It would have really helped for me to sit down and make a list of these.  What I have done is advance one to helping with the cooking more (adding things to pots, etc.).  This has resulted in a trickle down effect on the chores.
  • Keep up with former habits {ongoing.  I am having to break the old bad habit of letting things slide.  It is a slow start but we are making progress.} – We are now at a point that sometimes I can use one word reminders for things.  Other times they do them automatically, tell me this is how things are supposed to be done, or completely forget there was ever a  habit there.  

DSCN8015

Personal:

Learn more about the Bible and God

  • Finish reading through the Bible (I’m over half way there) – I’m embarrased to report that there has been very little progress here.
  • Daily morning Bible (Quite) Times – I’ve been good about getting up earlier, but not so good about using that time for a Quiet Time.  

Take better care of myself

  • Run in a 5K {I’ve started walking several times a week to work my way up to this.} – I’ve been able to run 1.7 miles several times a week.  A several weeks long cold back in April/May really set me back by disrupting good habits.  I’ve been working on reestablishing them.
  • Get at least 8 hours rest – This happens sometimes, but not so much.  What has been happening is that the kids are finally starting to go to bed easily and at consistent times.  With this happening, it is easier to set a bed time goal for myself.
  • Play/practice my instrument weekly (it has been over 8 years since I played it.) – No progress.
  • Create a book list for myself. Read three books per month
  • Journal 3 x weekly – No progress.
  • Try new things – Grow {ongoing}

Marriage:

Stay connected

  • Go on at least one date a month {ongoing} –
  • Take time to talk each day {ongoing}
  • Say “I love you” meaningfully daily {ongoing}

breaded pork chop with peas cornbread muffins and carrot sticks

Homemaking:

Create a schedule that works for the household

  • See “encouraging self-sufficiency” under the children’s section above, as well as my goal of getting 8 hours of rest each night
  • Focus on one habit a month {ongoing}
  • Plan meals – menu plan on a monthly basis, do freezer cooking for 3 months at a time of at least 14 meals, organize recipe bindertry 24 new recipes I feel as if I’m in a new stage of planning.  Using the Plan to Eat website has given me the next step I was looking for.  I am giving it another two months to see if it keeps being useful through some changes and different seasons.
  • Read 4 books on organization, scheduling, or setting goals {Books Read in January}

Create a welcoming environment (Finish incomplete tasks and get rid of clutter)

  • De-wallpaper and paint upstairs
  • Repaint porch – The porch is set to be painted in the middle of July, weather permitting.
  • Replace siding on house – The house is set to be painted in the middle of July, weather permitting.
  • Label pantry
  • Finish painting around “new” trim
  • Finish closet in downstairs bedroom
  • Decorate my bedroom
  • Pick up, organize and declutter basement and upstairs closet
  • Declutter – reduce number of cook books, spend 5 minutes a day on hot spots, reduce number of toys out
  • Garage – attach counter top, finish putting up cabinets, organize cabinets, declutter, wipe down walls
  • Find art work or pictures to put up in main living areas

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family:

Keep in contact with family and friends

  • Skype once a week with my mother-in-law {ongoing}
  • Skype at least once a week with my nephew {ongoing}
Encourage those around me
  • Write at least two handwritten notes every month to encourage someone {ongoing}

DSCN7336

Stand/Blogging/Other Income Sources:

Create a schedule

  • Take Sundays off (schedule posts ahead of time, don’t put stand out, stay off computer) – {ongoing}
  • Create a blog schedule with certain days having themes (Menu Plan Monday, etc.)

Entrepreneurship

  • Earn money each month in Amazon gift cards (from SwagbucksBing and surveys) {ongoing}
  • Try new ways of making money – 
  • Sell what I have – repot aloe plants and sell, make starts of house plants, grow zucchini (something that does very well on our stand), objects decluttered from around the house (Craigslist, Facebook, etc.) – Aloe plants are sold, except for two.  Zucchini is growing, on the third try due to rabbits.

DSCN8010

Gardening:

Preserve produce for upcoming year – I recently picked up more canning jars at a garage sale with these goals in mind.

  • Can 60 quarts of crushed tomatoes
  • Put up 77 quarts of tomato sauce
  • Can 52 quarts of beets – Due to family things going on I think I’ve missed most of the beet season.
  • Grow, and freeze, 12 sandwiches bags of green onions.  Freeze their stems separately. Accomplished, June 2013.  Will still plant more this fall.
  • Freeze 30 bags of red peppers; 12 for meatloafs, 12 for soups, 6 for omletes and various uses
  • Can apple/pear sauce, as much as can be done
  • Grow enough basil, parsley and cilantro to not have to buy any during the growing season; preserve herbs

Grow lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers to supplement our weekly salads and zucchini for stand

Redo garden layout

  • Relocate raised beds; seed where beds were – put down grass seed and have grass growing.
  • Make raised beds deeper
  • Convert or build raised bed for strawberries
  • Create a herb container garden
  • Create trellis for beans under kitchen window – this has been delayed till the repainting of the house, which I hope to be soon for the bean’s sake.
  • Remove weeping cherry tree (plant blackberries?)
  • Create large containers for blueberry bushes
  • Remove brushes and concrete blocks under hackberry tree; relocate daffodil bulbs; flatten area
  • Build 2 rain barrels

 

Wow, I was a bit over adventurous this past January.  However, I do still like that there are areas I’ve been trying to work in, broken down into steps to improve in those areas.  That is one think I hope to do again this coming year.  It is very encouraging to see that I have been able to mark off several goals from this list.  I also have to remember that the year is only half way over.  There are still 6 months to go to work on these things this year.

Apr 212013
 

 pen and notepad

Look at this – My weekly goals and it isn’t even Wednesday yet!  Don’t get it, well let me explain.  The past two week’s have seen weekly goals created.  However, I didn’t get around to posting them till Wednesday or so of those weeks.  What is different about today?  I chose not to get dressed out of my Sunday church clothes till I sad down and did some computer stuff so that I could then focus on my goals the rest of the day and week.  I’ll confess, some of the posts this week will be scheduled.  Not all of them, but even getting a post started helps me remember what it is I wanted to share with you all and it makes it seem easier to finish if the “hard work” of creating a title and saving it is done.  (Yes, that was sarcastic, but in an honest way.)

fresh cut grass lawn mower

Yesterday I had every intention of cleaning out my shed.  And I did.  I got everything out of it.  Even got it swept and a few things put back in.  Then my great plan and its execution was overtaken by a required trip to the E.R. by one of the gardeners-in-training.  See, a bicycle just isn’t designed to go down steps, no matter how much you want it to.  Oh, and God made us to walk on our feet, not our faces.  So, the shed stuff is still out on the grass where it was left – my gardening gloves are even where they were thrown as soon as I heard the clatter of a bicycle on steps.  Or maybe it was the clatter of the bicycle hitting the ground and the thump of the little gardener-in-training.  Either way, they were thrown off as I walked ran and there they remain.

So, today my plan is to take advantage of the sunny, non-rainy day and finish up outside.  One thing I realized was that my plastic posts had multiplied during their stint in the shed.  These are plastic posts that you buy transplants and larger plants in.  There were also some old hanging baskets and bags in there.  Previous owners of the home had left a random glove and what I thought was a record,  The ‘record’ turned out to be a sharpener for a saw blade or something like that.  That particular item was immediately given to a neighbor who I thought would actually use it.  I don’t need more items sitting around.

2012 garden at end of season 2

 

The picture above is from the garden at the end of last year.  It shows the trellises, as well as the dead tomato plants, so please ignore those. 🙂

I also found that I had four tomato trellises rather than the two I remembered.  Amazing what a few months of not gardening will make you forget.  This takes care of my needing a trellis for bean plants.  Relief may be the word to use concerning this ‘discovery’ as I feel that this is becoming an expensive garden.  The addition of another raised bed, purchase of berry plants and a recent purchase of a heating mat for my seeds has left me feeling like I’ve been throwing money to the wind on this.  My hope is that this year will go better in the growing department compared to last year’s drought garden.  Already my onions are doing ten times better than in the past 2 years.  Perhaps my timing is just better.

Last week’s goals:

  1. Declutter all surfaces in kitchen
  2. Pick up basement main area – technically this got done, as there was water flowing across the floor.  However that would be looking at the letter of the law versus the intent.
  3. Vacuum and sweep all floors at least twice
  4. Wash all loads of laundry at least once (whites, darks, colored, towels, reds, microfiber clothes,kids) – I didn’t get to the reds or microfibers
  5. Change toys in the toy room
  6. Work on mulching and edging front walk way (areas: front left of bushes, under bushes on right, under bushes on left, along front of porch) – it was lightening too much to do much yard work
  7. Declutter shelves in dinning room
  8. Clear off the top of my dresser – I worked in my bedroom, but did quite make it to the dresser top
  9. Creating a cover to keep animals out of strawberry beds – temporary ‘covers’ were created, but I’m still trying to figure out a more permanent solution
  10. Get out planting area of deck (more explanation on this to come later)

This week’s goals:

  1. Clear off bedroom surfaces
  2. Pick up basement main area
  3. Pick up upstairs and ready for future use
  4. Wash all loads of laundry at least once (whites, darks, colored, towels, reds, microfiber clothes, kids clothes, delicate)
  5. Change toys in the toy room
  6. Work on mulching and edging front walk way (areas: front left of bushes, under bushes on right, under bushes on left, along front of porch)
  7. Get out planting container for deck (more explanation on this to come)
  8. Finish organizing shed
  9. Come up with more permanent pest solution for raised beds (not long term permanent, just something to use this year)
  10. Type up May’s monthly menu plan in the calendar form

shucked corn

There is potential for a visitor in May who will stay for a few weeks.  This means I need to prepare the guest bedroom for use longer than an overnight visit.  I also need to take a look at the menu and make sure I’m not planning to use meals that are just enough for us (i.e. leftovers such as X number of twice baked potatoes).  If so, those need to be at the first of the month, rather than later.

I’m hoping to get several things done this week, both around the house and in the garden.  Planning and preparing now will help make things go smoother as we transition over into summer activities.  Part of me will miss the more relaxed ‘schedule’ of winter, but I’m also looking forward to more time outside.

What are your goals for this week?

 

Jan 302013
 

The next 21 days will find me working on a project around the house that I have been putting off.  Like the first 21 Day Challenge where I worked on our front flower bed, this is something that has been put off for years.  Unlike that challenge, this one has only been put off for 2.5 years.  It was actually one worked on, then stopped.  So it technically is working on finishing a project.

Last November when I asked my husband what was the biggest project around the house he wanted me to work on, he mentioned our upstairs bathroom.  At that time I knew the next project I would want to work on was redoing our flower bed.  At that time winter was quickly approaching, during which time the ground would freeze. I decided to redo the front flower bed while the ground could still be worked and save the bathroom project for the very cold months when working outside may not be possible.

I had hoped to start this project a few weeks back.  However, it has taken me longer to get back in the groove of things after our trip than I thought it would.  The time has finally come for me to finish this project.  Over the next 21 day I plan on:

  • finish removal of wallpaper
  • replace pieces of drywall that have been damaged by water
  • patch places in the drywall where the wallpaper damaged it during removal
  • install a vent
  • paint
  • add handles to the vantiy
  • hang towel racks/hooks
  • decorate
  • organize and label closet

This is not intended to be a complete overhaul, as we are not quite sure what we want to do with this bathroom in the long run.  It is intended to get it back to a presentable and functional state.  When guests stay the night, this is the bathroom they use.  At this time, I am a bit embarrased by how it looks.

Here are a few current photos:

wallpaper pieces that did not come off the first time

wallpaper behind trim

view of bathroom from the door (that is not paint on the walls, it is drywall from where I removed wallpaper)

clutter on the counter

At this time I am the only one who regularly uses the bathroom, and only for showers. It also acts as the spare bathroom when the other one is in service and you really have to go.  All the clutter in the photo above is due to bringing stuff in and sitting it down instead of putting it away.  A lot of it found its place here after our return from our trip.  I don’t actually do any morning primping here.  Okay, I don’t actually do primping anywhere.  My morning routine involves brushing my hair, putting on deodorant and brushing my teeth.  My point being, if I did actually use this counter, it would not look like this.  The bathroom we all use for brushing teeth and such has a cleared off counter.  This is one habit I do have down – picking up after myself in the mornings.  It is the rest of the day that gets me.

Like the first challenge, I am going to be going through the book 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life.  The first time through the book showed me some areas that needed worked on, and I actually made some habits permanent.  I was also able to complete some smaller projects around the house.  As always seems to be the case, they didn’t take nearly as long as I thought they would.

I know this blog is mainly about gardening topics.  Don’t worry, I am not going to start writing about DIY home improvement projects.  Like I said at the beginning, it is COLD outside and not really conducive to outside projects.  There are going to be several more 21 Day Challenges in the upcoming months that are geared towards gardening or garden projects.  This happens to be one that has been put on the back burner due to life and gardening.  I would actually feel guilty doing a garden project while my bathroom looks like this.

Would you like to join me in the challenge?  Have you done this challenge before but have areas you still want to work on?  What is something you have been putting off and would like to finally have done?  What is something you may have been using gardening as an excuse to not do?  Leave a comment and we will go through these projects together.

Jan 242013
 

 

On Tuesday I posted about this past year and some of the things from this blog that stood out to me.  It was the first year for this blog and an interesting walk down memory lane.  It is amazing where it first started and where it is now.

Crystal, from MoneySavingMom, often says that public accountability does wonders for her.  I used to say, “It doesn’t work for me.  I only need personal accountability.  Whether people know I reached my goal or not doesn’t matter to me.”  However, now I disagree.  While putting together the links for the “2012 in Review” and remembering where I was this time last year, I do feel like I’ve grown because of writing out my goals in a place for others to see.   This growth has been both in gardening and non-gardening areas.

Over the course of last year, I realized how many of my goals, whether weekly or yearly, I had never actually said out loud to someone.  Posting them on here has been great for me, in that it created a place to write them down and review at the end of the week what got accomplished.  I know I am not always the best at this, but I am better than I used to be.  This is also one area I hope to improve on this year.  I have read through several books this past year, and even since 2013 has begun, which talk about planning or organizing your day.  These have included books such as:  21 Days To A More Disciplined Life, Attack Your Day, and 52 Mondaysicon.

I also subscribe to FlyLady’s daily emails, which help keep me going in the right direction, even if I don’t always get my list of tasks completed.  I like lists.  I like marking things off a list, even if I added it just so I could mark it off. (Thankfully the kids haven’t learned this yet when I say, while in the grocery store, “It’s not on the list, so we can’t get it this time.”)

Attack Your Day is actually a book I’m currently reading.  I may not be a fan of the writing style of the book, but I really like the direction it is going.  They describe what I call “planning backwards” much better than I have in the past.  They put it so clearly that it made me take a second look at the upcoming year.  My 2013 Yearly Goals list was made up when I started reading this book.  However, I decided to restructure the list after realizing that what I needed was to define my overarching goals.  The list had started to get very detailed, which is not what I wanted for the Yearly Goals list.  I plan on saving those for my Monthly and Weekly Goals.  If all the small details were put on the main list, then I could very easily see myself getting overwhelmed and lost in the non-important things.

By changing the layout I decided to give myself general goals (in bold) for each section.  These were then followed up with more detailed ways I could accomplish that goals.  After doing this I realized the reasoning behind several smaller goals was a similar larger goal that I was actually working towards.  So while the smaller goals were nice to work towards, if I missed the forest for the trees then I would have been disappointed with the results.

With all of that said, here is my revised 2013 Yearly Goals list.

Children:

Encourage learning

  • Read aloud 8 books per month from Reading List
  • Help kids learn to count to 50, without missing numbers
  • Teach the oldest to read, or try to
  • Have daily walks or times to explore outside

Encourage the kids to learn more about the Bible and God

  • Morning Bible Times during the week
  • Memorized the Disciples’ names
  • Help them memorize the books of the Old Testament by August  (about 6 per month)

Encourage positive self-esteem

  • Teach oldest to ride a bike without training wheels
  • Swimming lessons
  • Assign 1 habit/chore per month for each kid to work on
  • Keep up with former habits

Personal:

Learn more about the Bible and God

  • Finish reading through the Bible (I’m over half way there)
  • Daily morning Bible (Quite) Times

Take better care of myself

  • Run in a 5K
  • Get at least 8 hours rest
  • Play/practice my instrument weekly (it has been over 8 years since I played it.)
  • Create a book list for myself. Read three books per month
  • Journal 3 x weekly
  • Try new things – Grow

Marriage:

Stay connected

  • Go on at least one date a month
  • Take time to talk each day
  • Say “I love you” meaningfully daily

Homemaking:

Create a schedule that works for the household

  • See “encouraging self-sufficiency” under the children’s section above, as well as my goal of getting8 hours of rest each night
  • Focus on one habit a month
  • Plan meals – menu plan on a monthly basis, do freezer cooking for 3 months at a time of at least 14 meals, organize recipe binder, try 24 new recipes
  • Read 4 books on organization, scheduling, or setting goals

Create a welcoming environment (Finish incomplete tasks and get rid of clutter)

  • De-wallpaper and paint upstairs
  • Repaint porch
  • Replace siding on house
  • Label pantry
  • Finish painting around “new” trim
  • Finish closet in downstairs bedroom
  • Decorate my bedroom
  • Pick up, organize and declutter basement and upstairs closet
  • Declutter – reduce number of cook books, spend 5 minutes a day on hot spots, reduce number of toys out
  • Garage – attach counter top, finish putting up cabinets, organize cabinets, declutter, wipe down walls
  • Find art work or pictures to put up in main living areas

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family:

Keep in contact with family and friends

  • Skype once a week with my mother-in-law
  • Skype at least once a week with my nephew
Encourage those around me
  • Write at least two handwritten notes every month to encourage someone

Stand/Blogging/Other Income Sources:

Create a schedule

  • Take Sundays off (schedule posts ahead of time, don’t put stand out, stay off computer)
  • Create a blog schedule with certain days having themes (Menu Plan Monday, etc.)

Entrepreneurship

  • Earn money each month in Amazon gift cards (from Swagbucks, Bing and surveys)
  • Try new ways of making money
  • Sell what I have – repot aloe plants and sell, make starts of house plants, grow zucchini (something that does very well on our stand), objects decluttered from around the house (Craigslist, Facebook, etc.)

Gardening:

Preserve produce for upcoming year

  • Can 60 quarts of crushed tomatoes
  • Put up 77 quarts of tomato sauce
  • Can 52 quarts of beets
  • Grow, and freeze, 12 sandwiches bags of green onions.  Freeze their stems seperately.
  • Freeze 30 bags of red peppers; 12 for meatloafs, 12 for soups, 6 for omletes and various uses
  • Can apple/pear sauce, as much as can be done
  • Grow enough basil, parsley and cilantro to not have to buy any during the growing season; preserve herbs

Grow lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers to supplement our weekly salads and zucchini for stand

Redo garden layout

  • Relocate raised beds; seed where beds were
  • Make raised beds deeper
  • Convert or build raised bed for strawberries
  • Create a herb container garden
  • Create trellis for beans under kitchen window
  • Remove weeping cherry tree (plant blackberries?)
  • Create large containers for blueberry bushes
  • Remove brushes and concrete blocks under hackberry tree; relocate daffodil bulbs; flatten area
  • Build 2 rain barrels

 

This list is definantly going to be out of my comfort zone. There is a lot on here that I would love to accomplish, but don’t know if I have the courage to work towards.  The last goal in Gardening for example – “redo garden layout” scares me.  “What if I mess something up?  What if I fail at getting a good crop for all the effort?  What if …?  What if …?  What if ….?”  For those reasons alone I almost left that goal off.  I even went as far as trying to talk myself out of it.  However, if that would have happened I knew I would be unhappy all year.  I don’t want to be unhappy (about these particular aspects of my garden) for another year.  That is one great lesson my front flower bed redo taught me.  “Stop whining and just do it!”  So that goal was added.

Have you thought about the upcoming year?  Are there any themes or main goals you would like to work towards?  Are you already working towards them?

 

Note: Post contains affiliate links.

Nov 122012
 

This was all written up yesterday.  Today went I went back to reference the list I realized it had never gotten posted.  My apologies.  At least you know I’ve been working on it.  =)

Last week’s goals:

List four things for sale (online)

Order part for dishwasher – I didn’t order the part.  What I did do was find out where the model # was located (under the door panel) and decided to do that at a different time when I could take it apart without little hands being too interested.

Continue with the 21 day challenge

Call about repairing a window – They were able to find the order from over a decade ago, tell me the warrenty had expired, and also reassure me that the issue I had wasn’t really and issue.  We decided not to replace the ones we have.

Call about repairing the counter top – called, left a message, but never heard back.

Call about repairing the car – was able to get this lined up for a future date, when it wouldn’t affect us if it took longer.

Pull up the dead plants in the garden

Mulch leaves in yard – I was going to do this today, but think the strong winds would blow me away first.

This week’s goals:

Find the model # for the dishwasher

Find 3 quotes for prices on dishwasher parts, order the part

Call about counter top, again

Pull up dead plants in the garden

Mulch leaves

Continue with the 21 day Challenge

Buy bulb for light by garage

Buy bulb for light by back door

Install light switch for back door light

Weather proof back door (fill gaps)

Do Bible Time with kids every morning

Work on “My ABC’s of Thanksgiving” book (2 letters each day)

 

The list for this week is full of smaller items.  It seems a bit long, but none of the items should take very long.  Several are quick items that I have been meaning to do, but kept putting off.

 

Weather proof attic door (fill gap)

Aug 192012
 

 

Previous Goals:

Gardening:

  1. Can 3 batches of salsafinished this; ended up with 22 pints.  As an added bonus I got almost 3 quarts of juice from the tomatoes.

Mothering:

  1. Plan Fall Bible Time activities – Started this, but have not gotten a long way down.  I have about two weeks planned out.  I’ll share more when I finish.
  2. Make reading plan for rest of the year – I have the list of books, but need to break them down into months.
  3. Order books from list (above) from library
  4. Cut hair – I decided to wait a bit to do this; let some length come back to cover up some mistakes I made on my first ever attempt.

Household:

  1. Follow up with incorrect bill.
  2. Research cameras (mine is too old to find a memory card for easily)
  3. Take clothes to consignment store
  4. Put together backpacks for school
  5. Clear off shelf in kitchen
  6. Go through fabrics and find one to get rid of
  7. Change and hang cabinets in garage
  8. Order photos for picture frames

Personal:

  1. Schedule classes for date night (we decided to take some fun classes at our local community college; these are classes that run for only one night and cover something we both enjoy) – I didn’t get them scheduled, but I did decide which classes and which dates I want to actually sign up for. 

New Goals:

Gardening:

  1. Can or freeze 6 months worth of spaghetti sauce (24+ quarts)
  2. Clear off garden work space/counter

Homemaking:

  1. Finish planning Fall Bible Times
  2. Break book list down into months
  3. Research cameras
  4. Clear off shelf
  5. Change and hand cabinets in garage

Personal:

  1. Schedule classes