In January of 2009 I wrote a post called, “One New Year’s Resolution I know I can always keep” and what I claimed there is still true today. Never make a new year’s resolution! I explained in the post that I still have goals of improvement, but I don’t let the new year dictate a need for change. Nor do I try to start trying to do a whole list of things differently all at once. Why? Because I fail every time, and then I get discouraged and burned out, and I don’t want to try again. I applaud all those who can make their new year’s resolutions work for them. But for the last three years I have taken a different approach to making changes remain permanent habits and mindsets for the long run. It has worked best for me to take just one thing I want to add (or stop doing, or do differently, or get in the habit of….) and commit a whole month to making it happen. Sometimes the things I want to do are super easy to tackle, such as only buy organic spinach. But I still stick with my plan, and I don’t try to be an over achiever, and I just do one and only one thing per month to ensure it becomes a habit. Then at the end of the year, I have 12 new “resolutions” that will last!
I wish I kept better track of each month’s changes over the years because it was such an encouragement for me, just now, to look back and see how much positive change has occurred when I skimmed through the list of the above linked blog. And what was humorous to me when I searched my blog posts for that particular one, is that I found two drafts with similar content. There was one post I never finished called, “a year in review” that was started on January of 2010 and another called “bring on 2011” that was last saved on January of 2011 :-) Each attempted post had listed and explained some of the monthly changes I was able to do.
side note – I think I have almost as many posts still in draft mode, and thus never finished, as I do actual completed posts!
Here are a few of the items that I had remembered in the 2010 recap post (bold items have a blog post associated with them):
*milling our own wheat for flour
*making our own granola
*no more chicken buillion cubes (use organic chicken stock/broth or make our own when we use whole chickens, which we do a lot of, in our cooking)
*no more coffee mate or artificial creamers – I will only use half n half in my coffee
*using prayer cards in quiet times (here is a link to someone who did a great job explaining them!)
*washing and reusing the gallon ziploc bags (unless they had raw meat in them, yuck! Then they go to the trash!)
*having an additional prayer time, for our day and time away from home, every time we leave the driveway
*use real butter,olive oil, and coconut oil in cooking and baking. But this just applies to me. When Rob wants to fry something he uses what pleases him)
*discussing everyone’s highs and lows at dinner time
*no canned “cream of _____” soups – instead I use ingredients that create homemade substitutes
*homemade pasta and pizza sauces
And here are some of the items for the 2011 recap post:
*homemade laundry detergent
*organic chicken (to make this cost effective, I buy and cook mostly with whole chicken fryers)
*chore charts for the kiddos
*drinking raw milk
*no sugar in my coffee (i.e., coffee that I make at home. I am sure the rare treat I have to starbucks most definitely has sugar!)
*commission for our kids (this is similar to an allowance, we just like Dave Ramsey’s word of ‘commission’ better)
*no more use of the microwave (it became an extra storage cabinet for us back in our Austin home, and we don’t even have one here)
*Bible reading plan (It will take me 4 years rather than a year to get through the one I am following. Because I want to make sure I journal on what I read, I am only doing about 1/4 of the suggested reading each day. But I am following one.)
Again, for my own encouragement and maybe to give ideas to other people, I wish I had documented all of the changes I have made. But keeping better track of things (and blogging) have all been on the decline over the years :-( And I should make known that some of the items mentioned above have been put on hold while we are sharing a home with Rob’s sister(in her basement), as our living situation makes it a challenge to accommodate all of them. Still they are all near and dear to me and engrained in my priorities, so they will fall back into place when we are living in our own place again.
Anyways… It wasn’t my initial plan to recap in such a way. My plan was to only mention the original 2009 post before I dived into what this post was all about. Then I got sidetracked (a common character flaw of mine) and this took on about 700 extra words! sorry :-) But it does all lead up to the reason for what I am blogging about today. This new post called, “At least 15 minutes a day.”
I want my girls to be outside at least 15 minutes a day. I know, this might sound crazy and one would think “doesn’t that just happen naturally, anyway?” One would think! And I feel so convicted that it has not been the case for us. Our time here in Boulder has proved its challenges for me in getting into consistent schedules with homeschooling. And somedays I will end the day being aware that we only came out of the basement for meals. Which means there was no sunshine at all on my girls’ sweet little faces. How awful!!!! Especially when we have such amazing sights to see here, just by stepping out the door. You can judge me, I deserve it!
So the habit I want to establish everyday is getting Halle, Dee, and Gracie outside. The company I used to work for had this thing where employees would walk around the building after they ate lunch (it wasn’t mandatory, but it was a popular trend), and I want to adopt something similar with my girls. Everyday since the beginning of the week, we have spent way more than 15 minutes in the great outdoors. I just chose 15 minutes because (pending blizzards, tornadoes, and maybe attacking aliens), it is an amount I can be sure to honor. And I won’t cut the time short when everyone is having fun (most days this week we were playing for more than an hour outside). While this may not be a change most families need to instill, I most certainly do. I realize that our girls need the vitamin D and the fresh air and the freedom to run and play and explore. And I need to do it with them!