Time again for another 5 year plan. It makes me happy to think of our lives and future together as a family and a couple. This one will take us to 2018 though it seems impossible to believe. So many of our dreams and goals came to life after we created our last one in 2007
We found our sweet and feisty rabbit “Sugarfoot” dead under the cedars today. It appears it was of natural causes as there was not a hair out of place. He has been spending 90% of his time outside since July or August when he started hiding when I came out to fetch him for the night. I figured he may have a shorter life living outdoors, but it was definitely a happy and full one. He grazed in the long grass with the chickens, humped our cats, put the run on Huck, enjoyed plenty of scratches and pats and ate lots of kitchen scraps all while good naturedly letting the kids chase him around the yard. He had built a burrow under our porch and never strayed far. As the days grew colder he would come in for a snack and a nap then out he went again. His coat had grown nice and thick and he was healthy. He had simply laid down and died.
I have always wanted to do a 365 photo challenge, but always think of it too late or don’t start because I lack the staying power. This year, I was reminded on New Year’s Eve that I should get started. Of course, I hope to stick with this, but we all know the year is long and life gets busy, but I have started anyway. I originally thought I would just post a week’s worth here on Saturdays, but since I have been neglectful of this space of late I hope to find a way to simply blog it from Instagram. Some days it may be one phone or camera photo while other days may be a smattering of photos paired with a few words about our day. I may go weeks just keeping a photo journal and I may become inspired to leave a recipe or a fawned Friday or some thoughts. More often than not I feel I have nothing of great substance to say on the blog or have so much to say, I don’t know where to begin. I figure this might loosen the blockage.
I seem to constantly be changing directions with the blog and my ideas…I tried the sponsor thing and though I enjoyed it, it was a lot of time spent organizing, emailing, and posting for a very little bit of money and it seemed to dominate my blog space. I tried the tutorial thing, but again, it was a great deal of effort and time. I continue to walk the fine line of trying to find creative ways to bring in extra money and blogging for myself and my family. I keep coming back to the inevitable truth that my time is best spent trying to save us money rather than trying to make money (for now anyway). I would love to be a paid writer or photographer, but the reality is that those things are just hobbies I enjoy and not necessarily easy income. They take a lot of time and energy to do on top of trying to drum up interest (which seems to be non-existent). I read an excellent article on pricing your services and it really put things into perspective for me. I could take pictures for a song, but it isn’t worth the time I lose with the kids. So if I can’t find clients willing to pay, I won’t be doing it. Simple really.
This time of year is for turning inward. Our finances are at the top of the list this year (inspired by this post). It is time to get serious about our grocery bill and stop nickel and diming ourselves to debt (ha!). Usually I find the process of creating a budget empowering, but this time I am a little nervous, because we will be on a bit of a spending strike for the next few months in order to afford our truckload of wood, a very necessary chainsaw, and our taxes that will inevitably come due. We will also concentrate on paying for our freezer full of organic beef and paying down the line of credit that we were forced to dip into over the last year and a half.
I love shopping. I know, it doesn’t seem to fit with the lifestyle we are trying to live, but it is true. I have dreams about shopping sprees on a weekly basis I kid you not. That being said, I am also a bargain and thrift store shopper so I have managed to score some sweet deals over the years. I don’t leave the house all that often and when I do, I am rarely organized enough to think of snacks and drinks etc to get us all through the day. On my odd day out with the kids I will buy a snack or two, a drink or two, and a meal for us. I will often pick up some small items just because (clothes for the kids at Recycled Kids or a few items at the drug store), factor in the extra gas (it usually involves at least two extra hours of driving). We pick Mike up from work at 4:30 after being out all day so supper is either a bowl of cereal and some toast or we buy something on the way home. So you see, a day out per week can quickly add up against our monthly budget. I usually have hopes of doing our grocery shopping in the bigger town since it is so expensive around these parts, but trying to concentrate with two squirmy and demanding kids can be tough and I often end up being incredibly inefficient.
I know I will be ok without shopping. I love baking and cooking; there is snow to play in; we have bookshelves overflowing with unread books; I have a ton of clothes, fabric and yarn, purchased over the years, to use up; puzzles to be assembled; walls to be painted; movies to download; kids to chase and teach. It is just that I use shopping (as thrifty as I may think I am) as a reward for everything else we go without; an extra car, convenient propane heat, trips or getaways, cable, brand new clothes, and for staying home all day every day with two small kids. I talk myself into the fact that I deserve it, but when it hurts our bank account I can hardly justify it. Our goal is to get out of overdraft and pay off the smaller debts we owe and then begin saving up for bigger ticket items we want or need without guilt. Guilt and worry is far too heavy to carry around for another year.
Well, that was much longer than I had anticipated, but there you have it. Our plans, goals, and new directions and attitudes for the blog and the new year.
Make it a happy one.
go gently + be wonderful