Sunday, January 18, 2015

Goals for 2015: Finishing what we started

Yup, that'd be me!
It's been a busy 12 months, y'all!  (read more about that here.)

However, in 2015, we have decided to be more intentional about slowing down and allowing for extra time to accomplish goals.  Basically, it comes down to finishing what we already have started and paring down life--intentionally not starting anything new, new.

Additionally, in order to appropriately prioritize, I've backed up a bit and have mentally made "tiers" of to-do--must's, should's, and would-be-nice's (wbn's....how'd ya like my new acronym?).  This should help us stay focused on what is truly important, and if something needs to get cut, it's easy to give it the ol' heave-ho.
  1. MUST: Get our city house remodeled and fully rented or sold (whichever the market seems to dictate). THEN we will finally start knocking away those student loans faster!   We hoped to have all my student loans paid off by 2017 (3-4 years ahead of schedule!), but we'll reassess how we land financially once we get this all done.
  2. MUST: Build Dan a workshop here--we're thinking about a hoop house.  With the city house all squared away, he won't have a workshop anymore, and having one right here is much more efficient for him.  It's a work requirement for him, not a hobby, man-cave.
  3. MUST: Taking care of business: getting mom's house simplified and squared away as she is in a time of transition for her life.
  4. SHOULD: Bees. Already have their hive built and most of the tools. This was on the plan last year but didn't happen. No reason not to this year!  I just need to order some and toss them in.  Nothing like an external deadline as a motivator! 
  5. SHOULD: Garden. Already have it laid out. Just plant the thing!  Our pig paddock from last year will make an awesome place to raise a ton of mangel beets, pumpkins, and squash to feed to our goats and backyard pig(s).   Green beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, spinach, kale/collards, beets, and salad greens are all things that we eat a lot of.
  6. SHOULD: Complete the last of the trailer projects that it will have done at this location--underside re-insulated, fireplace in, roof replaced, and a PORCH to help collect the mud outside.
  7. SHOULD:   Determine our core recipes.  
  8. SHOULD:  Build-up and pare-down my core/capsule wardrobe.  
  9. SHOULD:  Declutter and get down to a more "simplicitist" household. Get the extra, unused crap OUT! Quit spending life organizing your stuff and instead spend it LIVING your life!
  10. WBN:  Playhouse for the kids!  Although, I gotta say, we'll probably prioritize this one to maximize kids' outside play time and make it easier for us to keep them corralled while we do chores.
  11. WBN: Goats!!--what?  I have to have at least ONE new, new thing for the year!  ;)  Ok, I'll fess up, this has been on the plan for a while and we just got them yesterday, so it's already accomplished!
  12. WBN:  Get to making most of our own dairy--yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, and mozarella are high on that list. 
  13. WBN: Consider getting a cream separator.
  14. WBN: Paint the main living area and install baseboard.
  15. WBN: Remodel the master bath.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Year in Review: Taking stock of 2014




As I look over my goals for last year, I realize that as usual we were biting off more than we could

chew.  But that's ok.  Aim high, right?

Let's review....
  1.  Adding to the family: CHECK!  Not like we had much of a choice on that one.  ;)  The new baby man is super cute.  I think we'll keep him. 
  2. Buy trailer and move to country: CHECK! Plus as a bonus, we got a lot of remodeling done on it first so I have a nice place to call "home" and will have plenty of time to enjoy before we consider moving out of it.  I think the pregnancy nesting hormones were running super high at the time.  So much work, but SOOOO worth it!  I love my little house! (I'll try to get a "tour" up on the blog sometime soon--our fireplace is going in here in the next month, so I'm waiting for that. :) )
  3. Convert budgeted mortgage monies on city rental into faster student loan repayment: Not quite yet.  That's a HIGH priority for this year.  It MUST happen!
  4.  No soda x 6 months: CHECK!  And I have my shiny new Berkey. :)
  5. Sprouted/home ground grains: Meehhh. Nope.  And now that I have more time to think about it, I've decided that it's too much work.  When I did try most soaked recipes, we didn't really like them. (Soakingpur oatmeal was the only exception...we prefer it that way now.) Baking in general is a lot of work that seldom dmakes it on the to-do list and I'd rather just enjoy a quick bread or muffin or dessert as a "treat" and count it towards our 20% of splurging time--enriched, non-soaked, non-soured, non-sprouted white flour and all.  (I am super adamant about not using nasty fats though.  Only butter, lard, and other non-franken fats in this house!)
  6.  Addition of one new probiotic food: CHECK!  I gotta pat myself on the back here.  We added in BOTH saurkraut and LF carrots--dilly, garlic, and spicy garlic varieties.  SOOO easy.  No reason not to do this more.  Kombucha made it into our diet more, and we have home-made yogurt about 4-5x/week with our smoothies.
  7. All homemade cosmetics except mascara: CHECK!  I decided that I didn't like lotions for multiple reasons, and foundation/bronzer was super easy.  I'm pretty minimal here, so it wasn't too hard for me.  There's less to try to make if you use less to start with.  As a bonus, my skin cleared up SOOOOO much once I cut a bunch of things out and started using plain oil on my face.  (Future post coming on that!)
  8. Homemade beauty supplies: Yes and no.  I was able to swap out most of our dental care items, found a substitute for deoderant that works, and figured out my cosmetic situation.  Haircare? That's another story.  I have super-fine hair that still has been in post-baby hormone shock.  But with a 2 out of 3 "area improvement," I'm going to call it a success.
  9. Get bees and harvest honey.  Nope.  But I'm determined this year!  I accumulated equipment and just need to order the nucs!
  10. Grow all our own green beans and tomatoes: Nope.  In fact, our garden was pretty meh this year.  We got a few volunteer tomatoes and I had a meal or two with the sweet potatoes I set out (I waited too long and they got root bound).  Considering that you couldn't walk through it for the weeds last year, that seemed pretty good all things considered. 

But we did try some new things that weren't on the original list, raising pigs being the biggest. And I'm glad we did. It was a good learning experience.  And we've basically decided that we like pigs and would always wants to have a couple for personal use.  They're funny, a great way to cut down on waste around the house (they eat EVERYTHING!), and are delicious.

Mmmm...bacon.

For now, though, we're planning on giving ourselves until 2016 for more large-scale livestock rearing as we'll hopefully have some property of our own by then.

All in all, not bad.  Quite a few life changes for us this year, and we both still manage to work nearly full time (maybe 1.6-1.75 full time jobs between us?) all while avoiding any standing daycare for about 90% of the year.  What can we, say? We love our Little Men.