Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Three New Projects

Warning: this post is long! It's because I'm excited!

I'm adding some new things to my every...I know, I know - am I setting myself up for burnout before I even begin my 30 days? Maybe but I'm doing it anyways. I've been feeling stagnant for a while now and if I have some get up and go...I'm gonna go.

a. Evening and Morning Pages

Evening Pages
I've started journalling. It's only been a few days but I like it. At the end of the day, after the kids go to bed, I open my notebook, grab a pen and I start by writing the date and Remember today. Then I write a bit about each person in our family, including me. It takes 2 minutes and it's not longer than a page. It's simple and not deep, like some of the other journals I've kept, and then burnt. P.S. Burning journals or writing things out and then burning them is super cathartic and I really recommend it! 

I can't wait to start re-reading the entries to refresh my memory about what goes on around here and who said what. Most days, weeks and months go by too quickly for me. It's a way for me to reflect and as well as a keepsake for later years.

Morning Pages
I was tempted to add Julia Cameron's Morning Pages (from book The Artist's Way) to my Thirty Days list but I didn't because I want to start it right now and do it for a long time. It was suggested to me by someone who has a lovely photo-journal type blog I think you should add to your reading list here. Morning Pages is about writing your stream of consciousness (it may come out negatively, petty, grumpy, etc.) long hand on paper for the purpose of releasing mental crap and clearing your conscious for the rest of the day. Here's some thoughts from another artist participating in this type journalling, from here:
"I compare Morning Pages to my morning shower. While I'm not visually dirty in the morning, I feel refreshed and ready for my day after taking a shower. Your shower takes care of your body. Morning Pages is a shower for your heart, mind, and soul. There's no visible "dirt," but there might be something under the surface that needs attention. Or maybe a dream or two looking for a place to land. Or maybe a list of things you want to get done during the day. Or just random thoughts that plague you like a song you can't get out of your head. 

When you start doing Morning Pages, you'll be surprised at the things you find lurking within. And, just as you feel refreshed when you step out of the shower, your mind, heart, and soul will feel refreshed after writing Morning Pages. You will walk a little lighter. Your mind will be more focused on the task(s) at hand. Your thinking will be more clear. Your heart will be open -- so you may find yourself more patient or less irritated with the day's events."
Sounds good right? My Grandmother compares holding on to "stuff" like carrying around a big, old, black garbage bag. Everything blah I "pick up" gets put into the garbage bag...eventually it starts getting heavy as I drag it behind me. Then it starts to smell (don't you just get the odour of a big, black, hot and stinky garbage bag in your mind as you think about it?). Gross. Imagine the feeling of getting rid of that dead weight? Lighter, more free, happier...all the things that appeal to me right now.

Get rid of it. I'll be writing it out and then burning the pages in cathartic intervals. Then I can use the burnings as compost and smile because the weight of my burden will likely be much lighter and the compost will be good for my flower beds.

b. Meal Planning

What's for dinner? I may as well learn to love (vs. hate) the question because it gets asked in a lot of houses, including our, most days. I really tend to fly be the seat of my pants when it comes to grocery shopping and meal planning. I've recently asked myself, "Self, is this stressing you out?" and the answer is, "I don't know."

I did follow a meal plan briefly (maybe 2 weeks) and it was nice going to the calendar and checking what was for dinner. It also gave my hubby a place to go check what's for dinner instead of asking me and me saying, "I have no idea." Sometimes I didn't say "I have no idea" very nicely, let's just leave it at that. 

Pinterest has lots of meal planning methods/ideas. This one caught my eye from here:

I really like the concept (cards, meals on front, simple grocery list on back, interchangeable) but I know this stuff is not for me:
  • Typing out all the cards (although I love the typed look)
  • Laminating cards
  • Making a frame I have to hang somewhere that I may think is ugly in 1 month
  • Spending money on extra supplies to make the whole board when I'd rather have the artichoke hears and sun dried tomatoes in aisle 4, or sushi. 
  • Side note: my daughter drew me a picture of "food" and said, "Here Mom. This is for you because you're a good maker fooder." Awe! 10 points > Me! Things can't be too bad, right?

So, although I like the pretty I've decided that some things in my house need to be work horses (meal planning strategies) and other things need to be aesthetically pleasing (art on the wall) - BUT THIS IS JUST ME. If i could have both I would but I don't have Martha's staff over here at #52. 

I digress...ok, so I came up with this idea:  

  • Collection card sheets - 10 sheets/$3.50, Walmart
  • 100 - 3" x 5" ruled index cards/$1, Dollarama

  • Cut index cards in 1/2 to (2.5" x 3")
  • Hand write 1 dinner meal on the front of card (eg. Grilled chicken, steamed rice, spinach salad) 
  • Hand write simple ingredient list on back of corresponding card (chicken breasts, rice, spinach, mandarine oranges, red onion - etc...you get my drift)
  • Sleeve 1 cards/slot (no doubling up, I want to see back of card for quick access to grocery list), and make it know that left to right, top to bottom = Monday = Sunday*
  • House sheets in binder to = 10 weeks of planned meals w/ simple grocery lists**
  • Maybe hang "active" meal plan on the fridge/pin board/inside of a cupboard where everyone who can read, can read it.
*There are 9 slots/page. I'll be using the 2 extra slots for a dessert card (maybe 3 different dessert ideas for the week?) and a snack card (why not)

**After cutting up my index cards I'll have 200 "potential" meal plan cards (whoa, let's not get crazy...), so I may store the extra cards in a recipe card box? Seriously, we'll see how the first 90 cards go, deal?

Imagine this, meal plans to go with the growing season? One day. I'll start with our family favorites and what we eat regularly. P.S. This doesn't mean I won't be up for ordering out though. Maybe I'll make some wild cards = sushi, vietnamese, invite ourself to a family members for dinner ;)

This is a lot and I'm not even done this post! Are you still with me?

c. House Cleaning Schedule

Here's how I've felt about cleaning the house in the past:


How's that for a go-getter attitude? Dumb + the house is still a mess (yes, it's part of having small children but I can't blame them for me not wanting to clean the house). Having a messy house (I'm avoiding using the word dirty but somedays I just shake my head) stresses me out and I never feel "company ready." Should you have to clean for your friends? Not necessarily, but it would be nice to have them over without needing to spend 8 hours preparing OR having them over just so we'll do a serious clean up (tell me I'm not the only one, please). 

I need some external motivation and I've found it here flylady.net There are lots of resources (calendars, apps, March is anti-procrastination month, etc), podcasts (like having a friendly aunt talk you through your house cleaning for an hour - prefect for someone like me who doesn't want to decide where to start) and you can sign up for daily motivational emails. It's good and if you're interested I'll just let you check it out. It's already helped me immensely. 

So those are my new projects + I'm starting Thirty Days March 1. See you then!

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