Saturday, March 28, 2015

All these things that I have done

First, a little explanation of the personal goals. I purposely made them specific. Too easy to say I did it if the goal is vague. 
  • walk 10,000 steps daily - got a pedometer from someone on FreeCycle. I realized that I am nowhere near 10,000 steps a day but the pedometer is junk and so I'm just back to trying to move more without any numbers. One day, after moving A LOT, I looked at it at bedtime and it said 274. I use an app called Map My Walk when I go on walks outside but I often forget to turn it on.
  • do CBS lesson each night - not doing so good with this one, but it definitely better than before.
  • zero waste - more on this later but basically we're trying really hard to be conscious about making less trash.
  • go to bed by 10 - yeah, that's not going to well. I'm too side-tracked.
  • finish old sewing projects - I have a list in my little notebook for this one. Unfortunately the facing page also has a list now that says "New Projects" and I've already done one of those, but only 1/2 of one of the old ones.
  • read every day - not a problem, but sometimes the reason I don't get any of the other goals done
  • use up fabric stash - lots of new babies at church so the flannel pile is shrinking, but that also means more new projects
The goal of making less trash led me to making some changes in the groceries I buy. We eat a LOT of yogurt and with all the little plastic containers I was getting kind of sick to my stomach thinking about how much trash we've produced over the years. I started making yogurt and thankfully no one has complained about it. I use a recipe from our friend from church and it makes really nice, thick yogurt, as thick as the Greek stuff I was buying. I've also been experimenting with fruit sauces to add in - so far lemon, raspberry, blueberry and cherry. Lemon seems to be the favorite, but Erin usually just eats her yogurt with honey. A nice side bonus is that this is MUCH cheaper.

I've also tried my hand at English muffins. Very easy and cheap.

Don't those look nice?

The girls liked them. Luke not so much, which surprised me since the girls are usually my picky customers.

I decided to make the kid's sandwich bread now too since it's cheap and I know that it doesn't have any yucky stuff in it (Alec doesn't eat bread anymore). I'm on the 4th batch and I think I've finally found one that will work. The first batch feedback was "too crumbly." The second didn't taste good (it was whole wheat). The third was OK, but still a little fall-apart. This 4th one has a small amount of whole wheat and oatmeal so it seems to be sturdier. We'll see. Erin keeps asking for "regular bread."

I've also made tortillas for taco night. I'd like to try corn tortillas but I think I need a tortilla press first.

The 1/2 completed project. I still need to do the other window.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

More Snow Day Fun

The day has progressed well. I'm trying to save a few tricks because I think tomorrow will be another day home. We need things to do - especially since Alec is a little cranky and we need to stay out of his way. The dryer hasn't worked since Monday and he's having a hard time figuring out how to fix it. 

Here's Erin's project of the morning, a Lego marble maze:

Caroline played with the game "Rush Hour" for close to 30 minutes. It's basically the app game "Unblock Me" which she doesn't know how to play, but is entertained by moving around the cars and trucks.

I have no idea what she is saying here. She often makes up language and says it Spanish.

While I got lunch ready, they made zip lines for their stuffed animals.

After I put Caroline down for a nap I took Luke & Erin out for a walk. It was pretty - and also hard going sometimes!

Luke's favorite sign. Good for a giggle.

 So snowy we couldn't see across Lake Artemisia.

Erin was NOT having fun anymore. I think her boots are too small and her feet hurt. She was ready to throw that at me. And did shortly after I took this picture.

I spent a while looking at the trees while waiting for the slowpokes to catch up.

This is what your bathroom looks like after you come home from a 1 1/2 hour walk through the snow and your dryer is broken. True energy saving!

Caroline woke up as we were peeling off the wet layers. Perfect timing! We had some hot chocolate and now they are watching "How to Train Your Dragon 2."

Snow Day # . . . ?

I honestly don't know. I stopped counting. I do know it's the 3rd one in a week. Last night I made the kids write a list of things they wanted to do today so it didn't end up being a whiny, "I'm bored," sit-in-front-of-the-TV day. This morning before they got up I made a list of things I'd saved on Pinterest for these sorts of days. So far so good.

We made waffles. Two big batches - one regular and one pumpkin. Big batches to keep in the freezer and also use up some mixes that have been in the pantry for too long.

The floor is littered with Lego pieces. I don't care. No one is fighting.

We're listening to the Big Hero 6 soundtrack on Spotify. Current kid favorite. Mom doesn't think it's too bad either. Bonus.

Here is completed snow day project #1, courtesy of Luke:

A Lego candy dispenser!

And here's a little video of how it works:

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Goals & Habits

I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions because I think they are inherently doomed to failure. January is a depressing month (for me at least) and despite any good intentions, beginning something new just because the calendar got turned over really doesn't work. It's a false starting point for most goals. I'd rather start something as soon as I see it needs to be done instead of waiting for a certain date - or making something up just because it is a new year and you need a resolution for when anyone asks what yours is this year.

I've been trying to change some bad habits and start some new good ones lately. I've got a cool little Moleskine mini-book to help me out since the goals are pretty numerous (perhaps I need to add "break the addiction to cute/miniature office supplies"). I'm trying not to overwhelm myself with too much at once but since I think they are all worthwhile I thought that using the ol' blog again to keep track of progress and force myself to be accountable would be helpful. I don't even care if no one reads this, I just need a place to brain dump and I hate diaries/journals.

I'll keep a running record of the goals on the sidebar and then try to update a little every now and then. Ideally I'd like to say I'll do it every day, but that's a pretty unrealistic expectation and I'd like to avoid those if possible.

A little explanation about the goals first. I've broken them down into 3 categories: personal - things for just me to work on; kids - things I'd like to work on with the kids; and house - projects around the house, mainly related to decluttering. I also tried to keep the goals specific. For instance, at first I had "walk more" but changed it to the end goal of "walk 10,000 steps daily." Specific goals help in deciding how to accomplish the goal.

In keeping with the spirit of simplicity, that's it for today. I'll use the next couple of days to expand on the individual goals. Mostly so I remember why I have that as a goal but also in case anyone else cares or wonders.

In closing, this is one of my favorite posts from Ann Voskamp. It's about habits. I particularly like the part about a habit being something that is worn. Check it out - it's worth a couple minutes' read.

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to stay warm without turning on the heat

When you're too _________ (insert appropriate adjective: Dutch, cheap, stubborn, poor, etc.) to turn on the heat yet but it's only 65 degrees inside, here are some ways to get warm:
  1. Vacuum - it won't make the house warmer but YOU will be warmer. And your house will be clean(er).
  2. Move furniture - exerts a lot of energy and now your family room will be in position to use the baseboard heater.
  3. Bake something - when you're finished, turn off the oven and leave the oven door open. Why waste that heat? You've already paid for it! Plus you'll have something yummy to eat and your house will smell great!
  4. Chase your 2-year-old around the house - she'll think it's fun and you'll get all sweaty.
  5. Make another cup of coffee. Oh yes, I did. 
  6. Snuggle your kids while you watch a movie.
It's raining for the second day in a row and I've already done 1 through 5. Tonight is movie night so that means #6 is on the docket.

Stay warm, my friends.