valancystirling: (Default)
January
Birthday--mine
New Year celebration


February
Valentine's Day or some reason to do heart craft projects
Anniversary/Groundhog Day
Plan garden, go through seed catalogs


March
Celebrate spring

April
maple festival
Birthday--Philip
Plant seeds

May
Prepare garden
Planting Day
Memorial Day, ice cream, barbecue

June
strawberry festival
celebrate solstice

July
Fourth of July w/fireworks and barbecue
camping

August


September
Apple picking
harvest dinners
End of summer barbecue


October
Halloween or some equivalent
Costume party
Apple picking
trip to pumpkin farm
Hay rides

November
Birthdays--Topie and Jake
harvest dinners
Thanksgiving


December
Christmas
Cookie Baking Week
Adopt a Family
Go choose a tree at a tree farm
celebrate solstice, days getting longer
valancystirling: (Default)
The great make-bedrooms-seem-bigger project
*sell sleeper sofa?
*buy small wood desk for playroom
*find twin or full size bed for former computer room
*move kid dresser to green room
*move one huge bookcase from computer room to basement, and one to playroom
*move barrister bookcase from playroom to computer room
**Turn playroom into office/studio and computer room into bedroom

Sell Jake's car
*call Geico re: how to handle insurance and selling car
*learn about selling car by owner
*clean out Jake's car
*photograph Jake's car
*list car on Craigslist, with Jake's help to write info

Gardening
*move seed trays to basement desk, water regularly!
*pull grass roots out of garden
*make four-square layout with pavers/bricks/whatever
*plant garlic
*plant potatoes
*plant root crops in tubs
*bean teepee
*set up trellises
*find place for watermelon and pumpkin patches

Landscaping
*get new flowering plants for front yard
*weed flower bed under playroom window
*mulch flower beds

Knitting
*finish Philip's shorts--just sew crotch
*finish Philip's cotton sweater
*measure Topaz
*finish French press cozy
*finish my aqua silk sweater
*make Philip a couple extra diaper covers

Spinning
*start learning about sheep breeds to determine best wool for Jake's coat
*spin Jacob fleece
*make something with my drop spindled yarn--diaper cover?

Father's Day
*what to get?

Kids
*schedule field trips--zoo, park, farms, etc.
*outside art
*outside play every single day
*teach Topie how to dial the phone for emergencies

Exercise
*ride bike twice a week
*morning family walks
*yoga when possible--free class coupons for Wednesday nights

Miscellaneous
*figure out how to get rid of home phone--still need cell phones and wireless at home
*small mirror for entryway
*keep watching for daybed, desk, gas stove, landscaping stuff on craigslist
valancystirling: (Default)
Christmas stockings for me and philip
advent calendar
christmas decorations
tree skirt

acorn dolls

large cloth ball
aprons for me and tope
tablecloths
chair cushions

braided or crocheted rag rug
wool rug

play food for the kids--maybe a knit cake/cupcakes and tea party foods

sweater/jacket for jake

sweater for me

more pants for philip

coats for the kids

dolls for the kids

dollhouse dolls and accessories

curtain for bookcase in computer room

playmat/quilts for the kids

So. I need to learn how to sew and relearn how to crochet.
valancystirling: (Default)
Each day will have an activity, a song, a poem or story, and a food/drink.

song:
poem/story:
craft/activity:
food/drink:


Ideas:

gift making--lots of ideas in the martha stewart books i have from the library
decoration making--ditto; ornaments, cards, wreaths, yarn wreath, pine cone and acorn projects, felt toys/dolls, pompom garland, paper chains, papier mache lanterns
baking--gingerbread men and gingerbread house, assorted cookies, yule log, etc.
activities--write out Christmas cards, make display for Christmas cards we get, paper snowflakes, decorate tree
watch Christmas movies
wrap presents
food/drink--hot chocolate, eggnog, mulled cider, cookies, candies, buy Christmas tree
set up seasonal table
take cookies to neighbors

http://www.blueberryforest.com/cooking_fun/brown_bag_butterfly_shortbread_pan.htm

TO PREPARE

assemble craft materials
decide on recipes
assemble ingredients
make advent calendar with bags/cards for each day's projects
netflix movies
get books on amazon or at library
choose poems and stories


Give me some ideas for all these categories! Do you have family traditions I could borrow? Favorite books/movies/stories/songs/recipes/crafts/decorations?
valancystirling: (Default)
I've been thinking a lot lately about how my choices of how I spend my time and money line up with what I claim to be my values. Theoretically, they should all line up perfectly. I care about something, I devote time and money to it. Seems simple enough. But I step back and take a look at myself and it's clear there's a disconnect.

Let me lay it on the line. My personal allowance is $75 a week. So in 52 weeks--one year--that's $3900 (holy crap). What do I do with that money that gets me closer to my goals or that contributes to causes I care about, or that really lines up with my values in life? Hard to say. I spend a lot of it on stuff. Just stuff. Starbucks and Panera have seen a lot of my money lately. I have all these criteria for what I buy (supposedly) but Starbucks and Panera don't meet those criteria and yet they keep sneaking in. Here are some of those criteria:

Is it something I want or something I need?
Will I still want or need it in two weeks if I wait and think about it?
Could I make it for less money/higher quality?
Would it be worth my time to make it?
Will it make my life better in some way, or detract from it?
If I spend some time shopping around could I save money?
Is it worth x number of hours that Jake worked for the money?
Is it a socially responsible purchase?
Could I make a MORE socially responsible purchase that would satisfy the same need or want?
Will this contribute to or detract from the overall health of our home and family?
Am I happy to give my money to the people involved in creating/selling the product/service?
Is there someone else I would rather support with my money?
Would I rather buy mass-produced or handmade?

There are other criteria that come and go, but this is the largely (by now) unconscious process that leads me toward or away from ay given purchase. It seems like a lot, but they've been added little by little and now I just sort of go through them all without realizing it. But I think it's a good idea to bring this list back to my consciousness periodically as a reminder to myself that I need to stop and really think before I part with the money I am given an which was hard-earned by my husband. In a very real way, every time I spend money, I am saying that the thing is worth Jake being away from us all day for me to get it. Or that it's okay to put off his retirement so I can have this thing. Or that the person I'm handing money over to is really worthy of it. And all these assumptions go into every purchase we make, whether we're aware of it or not.

Then there's gift buying. A whole new set of questions comes in to play:

Am I buying this just because a gift is expected?
Will the recipient benefit from/truly enjoy/appreciate this gift?
Do they need it?
Will it contribute to their clutter?
Do I need to get to know the recipient better so I can better answer the above questions?

So then we get to the list of my alleged values. Off the top of my head, things I claim to care about are:

the environment
the health of my family and myself
fair trade and social consciousness
reforming the birth industry
conserving energy/using alternative sources of energy
keeping my house clean
supporting local and small businesses and farms

And obviously that's not all, but I'm having a hard time coming up with concise ways of saying what I care about. I'll probably be adding to this list.

But how much does what I spend in terms of time and money contribute to those values? Certainly I have more stuff than I did a year ago. And out of all that money from my personal allowance, I have...well, this week's money because I haven't gotten around to squandering it just yet. Where did it all go? Did I propel myself further toward a goal with it? What did I do??

Well, I'm thinking that it's time to start paying more attention to where that and all our money goes. A couple of weeks ago, Jake took over our family finances, and I couldn't be happier about it. The first step is tracking all our spending, and he has this elaborate accounting system established to do that. After a few months of that, we'll look at spending trends and come up with a realistic budget for all the categories represented. And start a real savings plan, so that we can actively work toward our family's goals, have more freedom and options and security. I'm very glad we're finally committing to going in this direction, and I think a lot of good will come of it. Jake doesn't make a ton of money, but certainly enough that we should have some savings and be able to take real vacations once a year and plan the occasional large purchase when a need comes up--right now we need a bed because we've been sleeping apart for too long.

I'd like to make more charitable contributions. I need to put some thought and research into how much and to whom exactly, but what pops into my head initially is that I want to support those organizations that educate women on their birth options, some environmental protection organizations, and organizations serving underprivileged women and children. Certainly I can put aside some amount to contribute to those things.

I'd like to use this money to solve some of my own problems, as well. I always have a list (or ten) of the household things that bug me, or personal things I feel like I'm lacking (like um, clothes that fit, at the moment), and certainly I should be solving as many of those issues as possible. This year I solved some issues by buying this laptop, and several bookcases, and a large cabinet for the living room. Storage has always been a big issue in this house, and I should absolutely be whittling away at it. Looking back, I think I have used my allowance to solve a lot of problems this year, and I'm glad about that. I'm always losing my keys/wallet/credit cards/library card and a hundred other things, so I sprung for a big purse (hasn't arrived yet) and I'm going to put a big hook on the wall by the front door, and I'll always know where all my stuff is. And EVERYONE will know where it belongs, should I get careless and leave something somewhere. Establishing a place for everything we have is an ongoing goal, and one that's hard to keep up with when more money is generally spent on stuff than on storage. Topie's birthday yielded a whole bunch more stuff that I'm going to have to find places for, so I'm thinking today we're going out in search of baskets and things.

I guess the point of this is to make myself think more about what I'm doing. Mindfulness is something I need to poke myself to keep up with. It's so easy to do things mindlessly, out of habit, without considering the ramifications, and there's just no place for mindlessness in my life. I eat too much because I eat too fast and don't pay enough attention. I spend too much because I don't pay attention. I spend too much time ONLINE because I don't pay attention. On and on and on. Time to pay more attention.
valancystirling: (Default)
Daily Routine

Wake up
get dressed
breakfast-----eggs, toast, muffins, oatmeal, cereal, fruit, etc
playtime-------wash dishes, clean kitchen, shower
read books
errands----grocery shopping, other shopping, post office, etc.
activities----ice skating, park, playdate, discovery center, library, clayground, etc.
lunch---sandwiches, steamed veggies, fruit, muffins, pasta, leftovers, etc
naptime----knitting, online time, reading, watching movie, etc.
snack---fruit, muffin, cookie, nuts, raisins, pickle, yogurt, pretzels, crackers, bread and butter, raw veggies, avocado, banana, grapes, fruit bar, etc
outside play
walk
art-------drawing, painting, clay, etc.
music------guitar, singing, instruments, etc.
cleaning-------one room a day
laundry-----at least one load a day
playtime------making dinner
Jake gets home
dinner
bath-----washing dishes
brush teeth
potty/diaper
put on pajamas
read books
music
bedtime
adult time

Go out 2-3 times a week for errands and activities.
Plan snacks for the week.
Plan meals for the week.

home school--
a letter
a number
day of the week
weather
season
chore
theme--incorporate into art, story, song, activities


EVERY DAY MAKE TIME FOR:
yoga/stretching
vitamins
maya abdominal self care
quiet time
reading
knitting
laundry
clean one room
wash dishes
walk
say something nice to jake
make dinner
shower
practice guitar
matcha
drink lots of water
real playing with Topaz
kegels
valancystirling: (Default)
So yes, bad mom. GO TO SLEEP, KIDS.

I've been working on my list of resolutions/goals for the next year. It's a work in progress, but here's what I have so far.

be nicer to jake
make more time for jake
control temper
cut back on computer time
wean topie off tv
drive less
eat less
be more present with the kids
keep better records/blog of kids growth and activities
pursue personal interests--photography, cooking, yoga, pilates, guitar, knitting
knit jake a coat or big sweater
knit something substantial for myself
use up yarn stash
work on getting philip to use toilet
spend more time in nature
have productive vegetable garden
don't buy too many books
try harder to be tolerant, forgiving, non-judgemental, uncritical, loving
make time for meditation
get myself in good shape (strong, feeling good)
prepare myself for another pregnancy
make sure kids are socialized enough
one or two trips to houston, one to florida, so kids get to know their extended family
save lots of money, establish savings plan
find a church
work on family rhythms, routines
learn to sew--housey stuff, kid clothes, gifts, toys
learn lots of kid songs on the guitar
treat jake with more respect
establish a place for everything
make our home comfortable, functional, inviting, organized, uncluttered, clean
don't be antagonistic/don't go looking for a fight
landscape yard
get a dog
practice being more grateful, humble, gracious
continue greening up our house
cut back on eating out
focus more on spiritual aspects
have more fun, enjoy life more
start family traditions, family hobbies
establish cleaning schedule
establish errands/shopping schedule
take more advantage of our beautiful surroundings/Ithaca
pay more attention to my appearance--buy nicer clothes, etc.
buy products with as little packaging as possible
reduce waste to one trash bag per month or less
learn how to be a good friend
get house organized, easy to clean, a place for everything
establish home preschool
get more involved/informed with local politics
get really good at something like shortbread or croissants or pastries

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valancystirling

December 2010

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