I've decided that instead of focusing on one thing in my life to change this year, I'm going to work on readjusting all of it. My resolution for this year is to make a lifestyle change. I want to be MORE. What more you say? I haven't completely figured it all out yet, but here's my outline so far. I'm sure that I'll be updating and adjusting it as I go along.
1. I want to be more eco-friendly. I want to be more recycle-conscious. Fort Bliss has given us a recycle dumpster and pays for pick up. All I have to do is separate our recyclables from our trash. It can't get much easier, so there's no reason I can't do it. I have started reusing old items such as painting old baby food containers and using them for candle holders, Calla's bows and socks and shoes all have separate reused containers for storage, spaghetti jars have been saved to be used as vases. I plan on discontinuing using paper towels and using rags and washable towels to avoid waste. While I'm squeamish about using cloth diapers and cloth wipes, I am looking into using the more natural biodegradable diapers.
2. I want to be more cost-conscious. Going hand-in-hand with recycling and reusing is saving money. It's crazy to me that I haven't figured it out sooner, but so much of our money is wasted on the new and disposable. I've started looking into Amazon's subscribe and save option for items we buy in bulk. We bought a Brita water filter that fits our tap for our bottled and filtered water and I use a water bottle to cut back on dishes. I'm seriously looking into the Soda Stream. Do you have any idea how much money that would save us?
3. I want to be more health-conscious. Home making food and other items saves SO much money! I don't know if I'm ready to limit myself on certain foods, like carbs or glutens or anything like that, but I'm definitely becoming more aware of additives and preservatives and fats and portion sizes. Slowly I am introducing wheat pasta and brown rice into our diet (with some resistance). We are having one fruit and one vegetable with our dinner, even if it's just raw carrots and apple. I am also incorporating wheat flour and bread into our norms. Almonds are consumed for snacks. Organic and all-natural products are purchased when possible (and we can splurge), I'm always curious as to what is most necessary when buying organic. Canning fruits and veggies is very appealing to me and I'm going to look more into that as the season approaches. Items that we would normally purchase, I'm trying to make more homemade in effort to control the ingredients and also cut costs. Items like granola and bars, we consume ravenously, and are easy enough to make. Pizza dough and bread are also becoming more commonly made - I am most interested in attempting the more complex recipes like sourdough, pretzels and bagels. I found great recipes for homemade coffee creamers, I detest the store bought ones and their artificial after taste. Also I've been reading lots of reviews and tips on using and incorporating coconut oil into a diet and am eager to try it. My latest conquest and achievement was making Smitten Kitchen's graham crackers - I could write a whole blog post about them, they are fantastic. I have just located Sprouts Farmer's Market, which is similar to a Whole Foods I think, and am excited to check out their inventory. There are so many foods I want to try to cook with, if anyone has a good recipe for any of the below, please let me know!
Any kind of squash
There are more, I just can't think of them off hand.
4. I want to be more active. I think this could play a part with the "health-conscious" but there's more to it than just exercising. While I want to get out and about more, go for walks, start working out again, I also want to be more active on Fort Bliss. I have recently signed up for a Spouse's Lunch to meet more newbies to the area and am looking into signing up for one of the walk-a-thons taking place on base. This is a great way for us to meet new people and connect. I've heard about an Army Community Services based group that meets on base for play dates and there are two story times at the on post library. I need to look into information about the school PTA and get involved. While I constantly over booked myself with group activities and play dates in Korea, I was never happier and miss the friends we got so close with.
5. I want to be more involved with my children. As a homemaker, I'm sure you're saying, "How much more can you be involved with them if you're home all day?" There are so many distractions that take my time and energy away from my kids. This blog, for example, is dedicated to our family but can consume hours at a time that I could be playing or interacting. I need to start limiting my internet usage. I need to devote time to each child individually, time that each child and I can interact and reconnect. That's not so hard with Calla and Zander right now, but with Gabe in school, he doesn't get much time alone with parents. Matt and I need to start creating events to do with just Gabe, so he doesn't get overwhelmed or feel left out in the chaos of the two small ones. I need to create daily activities for Zander that we can do together, hands on activities that get him involved in something other than causing trouble.
6. I want to be more optimistic. Moving is always hard, even if you're excited about where you're moving, it's still stressful and when you're not that enthusiastic, it's ten times more draining. Thankfully, we have adjusted reasonably well to El Paso so far. The heat in the summer will be the determining factor. All of the above will help me be more optimistic and positive in different ways, but there are also things I'm doing to reinforce my attitude adjustment. I am writing daily "I am thankfuls" on a picture frame in our living room to remind me of the positives. I am creating a weekly cleaning schedule, where I only clean certain things on certain days (i.e. living room on Monday's, bathrooms on Tuesdays...) hoping that it will eliminate some of the stress I have about maintaining a clean house. Gabe has started a daily "job" chart of ten things he can do around the house to help out, things like feeding and letting Charlotte outside, taking care of his clean clothes, and gets ten cents per job. Just having the daily list and reminding him to do his jobs helps me not forget what needs to be done. If he gets reminded three times to do a job, I do it and he doesn't get his ten cents. He is very excited about this and it makes me feel good about teaching him some form of responsibility and saving. Mostly, I need to let go. I need to put away the feelings of resentment if I don't complete every task I set up for myself that day. I am such a task and list oriented person that I have a hard time when I'm not successful at accomplishing everything I assign myself. This will be my biggest struggle and I'm not sure exactly how to overcome this. I'm hoping that between being more physically active, less internet active and spreading out the daily responsibilities, I will succeed.
Like I said in the beginning, this is so much more than a resolution to change one thing - it's a plan to make a lifestyle change and something I feel very strongly about. I'm not sure how it'll all turn out. I'll keep you posted on our trials and triumphs.