the kenyons

Monday, January 5, 2009

monthly challenges

So I am sitting here with Kaya home from school. We helped dig out our neighbour from her icy driveway only for her to get stuck at the bottom. Meanwhile I watched vehicles sliding up and down our little hill ... I figured that we were already a half hour late for half-day kindergarten, so we stayed home to be safe and because by the time I got us out of our driveway and Kaya to school, I would have to turn around and do it all again. Not to mention all those other crazies on the road. We decided to stay home and the neighbour who is stuck at the bottom of her driveway is going to send her daughter over to play inside and out!

So I thought I would blog. Conveniently enough, the camera batteries are dead, so it will just be my ramblings ... lucky you! Feel free to skim if the details are b-o-r-i-n-g!

I had a friend who had a friend who did something I liked (got that?) and I am borrowing her idea. Basically the idea is this ... I am constantly coming up with things that I want to do better, be better at, or just have time and energy to focus on. What happens is I make up this gigantic routine incorporating ALL the things I want to improve on and then I just end up failing at all of them. Instead, I have decided (based on this friend of a friend's idea) to focus on one thing for a month - become an expert of sorts in one area. Then when I think to myself, "man I need a cleaning routine", I can do my best while reminding myself that I am going to be a cleaning expert next month and I will work on developing the habits and routine then. So here is my plan - I am putting it out there so that I will be accountable. Also, some of the things I am going to work on are things I will likely share.

January - Gourmet Chef
Since we are dealing with allergies in the family (mostly mine and Keidis') and we are jumping back into a routine, I thought I would start with cooking ... I am searching through recipe books, blogs and internet sites to find recipes that are mostly gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and corn-free. It is a challenge to say the least. I will post the menu planner that I have started, thanks Jen, and will share some of the recipes that I discover as we venture into the world of beans and rice - both very safe for us and something we are eating a lot of lately!

February - Cleaning Queen
Ugh! I am the worst housekeeper ... I REALLY struggle with this and I am trying to do better, so here we are. This is in February so I can get it over with! Plus I want to establish a routine/system that works. I am going to check out FlyLady (you can google it) and see how I do with that. I am going to try and be realistic AND keep a cleaner house. Two big goals for me in this area - dishes done (includes counters wiped and floor swept) EVERY night and cleaning up spills as they happen.

March - World-Class Gardener
I am VERY excited about this one. I had a pitiful little garden last year - just bought a bunch of starters of all varieties and planted them to see what happened. We had lots of swiss chard (a good one since Keidis can't eat lettuce) and I want to do spinach (another lettuce alternative). We had sweet peas that the kids picked off the vine, but not many grew and they got eaten by bugs lots. We had some jalepenos and cherry tomatoes that worked and strawberries. I would like to actually research what grows well here and how - through books, internet and visiting gardens in the area, start a compost, dig out and build some boxes, put in good soil and then plant and grow veggies and perhaps have a wee herb garden. I am doing it in March so I can plan and get the boxes built. I do recognize that this is just to get started and the work will continue into the fall.

April - Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness Guru
This is one I am feeling a bit urgent about. Especially since some food storage needs are going to change based on the allergies. I plan to update and complete our 72-hour kits, build back up our 3 month storage and make a plan for building up and actually storing our long-term food storage.

May - Skilled Scrapbooker
I want to develop my skills and organize my photos and be creative, so how better to do this. I may attend crop sessions at scrapbook stores, or have my own with friends. I will use this month to read scrapbook mags, look at samples on the internet and go nuts!

June - Organizer Extraordinaire
Closets, cupboards, paperwork and filing, toy storage and more are all going to get revamped. I plan to open, explore, and purge what I can. I hope to create systems for paper that comes into the house, artwork and school work by the kids, etc. This is not just a one-time clean-up, this is to develop a plan on how to keep our space more organized all the time!

July - Outdoor Enthusiast
Kaya is done school. I am off for the summer. We live 20 minutes from the ocean, 2 minutes from parks and a water park, 5 minutes from an outdoor pool, 15 minutes from forested trails, 1 hour from gorgeous mountains. We are going to get outside 4 times a week, if not every day (and not just me sending the kids outside, I want to play with them out there!!!).

August - My Own Personal Trainer
I want to get my behind in gear and get fit - I can control my eating and I actually lost about 15 pounds in November just by eating proper portion sizes. I can maintain that and actually work on the jiggle factor if I get myself into a routine - we have YMCA memberships thanks to my Dad and Cheryl and while we use them weekly, I would like to get into the habit of attending much more consistently.

September - Cake Decorator
I have been making cakes, getting tools and practicing monthly for the last year. I am going to keep that up and then in September I will actually take a class or two and get some more skills. I will practice with fondant and piping and making flowers and such. I am looking forward to this month. (A great one to come on the heels of my getting in shape month hey?)

October - Event and Holiday Planner
I am gearing up for Christmas and the next year's holidays. I will make plans and organize birthday and holiday things so that I don't have to stress. I would also like to do a Christmas card and picture for the first time in 4 years and prepare myself for birthday cards for the following year - it sounds lame, but we are seriously the WORST card-senders, letter-writers, special-day-acknowledgers ever and this is something we think about doing better every year! I would like to focus on our Christmas routines and create some meaningful memories ... including service to others, family and extended family time, and so on!

November - Family Home Evening Specialist
It is time to create a chart and thoughtfully plan our weekly family nights so the time is meaningful and fun! Each week we set aside Monday night for family night. We take turns planning activities, we use the time to have lessons and discussions on things that come up in daily life - tonight we are talking about helping with chores, other topics have been being kind, learning about $$, learning about how to treat babies, scripture stories, and others. We try to do some fun activity too, a game, baking, a craft, or we just skip the whole organized mumbo jumbo and watch a movie together or go to a baseball game or out for dessert. Lots of fun and I would like to get it together so that everyone has a chance to plan something each week and help out. I would like to add some things too that we can do monthly or every few months, like a show-and-share, a VIP night (like a we-love-daddy night), a service activity, and others.

December - first 2 weeks - Baker
I want to play with my baking this year, make some fun truffles, and other goodies to give away/share. I have LOTs of recipes to try.

- last 2 weeks - Book Lover
Ahhh - sweet release - I will have 2 weeks (well - I want 52 weeks, but let's be reasonable) to read as much as I want, in all my spare(ha!) moments. I have many books I want to read and being in a book club keeps me motivated to do it on a regular basis, but my list is growing and I want some time designated for jammies and books!

So that is it, that's my plan ... we will see if it makes it easier for me to accomplish my lofty goals if I don't try to start them ALL at once :) I have others I would love to add too, they will have to wait for another year (like interior decorator, seamstress, painter/art-eest, furniture builder, etc) and I assume some I will have to tackle each year (like cleaner, cook, organizer, personal trainer, etc). This is just a beginning!