If you read my post detailing my 2017 Plan For Mindful Living, I listed four areas of my life I wanted to concentrate on cultivating and growing in a simplified, yet meaningful way: Home, Health, Family, Personal. I stated I would dedicate posts detailing how I would aim to achieve these goals. Today, I’m going to concentrate on Home.
I’ll break out how I mind(ful)-mapped this area and all it’s sub-areas:
- Meal Planning
- Try new recipes
- Meatless 1x per week
So I basically categorized ‘Home‘ into 4 components: Finance, Household, Garden and Decorating/Organizing then further broke down into tasks associated with those. I wanted this to be as simple as possible, concentrating on only those parts of Home that I either truly conquer on a regular basis or new ventures (such as canning) that I want to become routine as they would benefit us in the long run.
However, being the end of March, I have not been able to implement a lot of these Home tasks into a rotating basis. For those of you who follow me in Instagram you’ll know that hub and I have been in the midst of exterior and interior repairs on our house. We’re in the process of refinancing our mortgage along with a ‘cash-out’ and want to make our home as up-to-date as possible for a favorable appraisal. It all started out last July when we decided to paint the exterior:
But it soon escalated into a LOT more. This process has taken more time (and savings!) than we’ve cared to as 1) hub has been doing a lot of the work himself, along with two helpers and 2) due to his osteo-arthritis, he needs time to rest and recover in between days that require heavy labor.
Because of this, the Decorating/Organizing sub-task has been put on hold until the house is 100% back together. I’m not even doing regular cleaning because there’s just no sense with workers trudging through (on Ram Board duct-taped to the rugs!) and yukking it up. I do my best to surface-clean, but any thorough deep cleaning is being put off until right before the appraiser shows up. I have to say, the exterior came out really nice. The color is Tree House:
As for Garden, we’re on the tail end of winter, but plan to begin germinating certain vegetables for my area within the week – tomatoes and cucumbers first. April will attempt corn (after failing miserably last year) as well as germinating our cooking herbs rather than buying the plants at Home Depot and potting them in the stair rail planter off the back porch. I had great success growing tomatoes for the first time last spring/summer and you can read about that progress in a cumulative 2016 post I did here, but here are a few photos of them (yes, I’m very very proud 🙂
In the Finance department, the cash-out we’ll be doing on the re-fi is going to some short-term debt that had accumulated due to hub’s business being very slow as well as him being on a fixed disability due to his arthritis. I had never Budgeted in the past as in terms of writing up a list of what comes in and goes out every month because, as a bookkeeper by profession, it’s all up in my head. I knew what we could and could not do, but sometimes we had to do what we could not because we had to – thus the reason for the debt. Once all of that is settled after the re-fi, you can bet we will not get ourselves in that position again and plan to watch every expenditure, especially discretionary spending (which I track on a custom yearly insert in my Filofax Pocket Malden) Grocery shopping is our #1 non-fixed expenditure which I try to buffer as best I can with Couponing (here’s an old post from when I first got into couponing) As for major purchases, hub and I always talk them out first, when we should do them, how we should handle payment, etc.
Other than my car lease (which is coming up for renewal in June) we shouldn’t have anything major on the house at the moment. We do have bigger projects to undertake such as tearing out paneling, replacing all the windows as well as a kitchen makeover that includes refinishing the cabinets, new flooring, counter tops and oven/cooktop. But these things can be done at our leisure as there’s no rush to get them done. Our main focus once the re-fi is done is for hub to compete the work on his building to get it ready for rent. Once God blesses us with a long-term tenant, we can breathe a little better and put a good chunk away towards these bigger repairs and even pay down our mortgage faster. Or better still – our retirement!
Household is the one area that I haven’t been able to be lax on during the renovation uproar, especially if one wants to eat and not wade through a cloud of compound dust! It just occurred to me that I don’t have ‘cleaning’ as a sub-task under household, but I suppose I considered it more appropriate to Organize: Declutter. But a routine cleaning schedule is the last thing I’m concerned with right now (I’ll just settle for a kitchen table that isn’t covered with tools, hardware, and a plethora of Home Depot bags!) Other than the bathrooms, kitchen area, a once a week vacuuming/furniture polishing (oh, and laundry!) we’re waiting until we know exactly when the appraiser is going to show up to put everything away and clean thoroughly. This allows hub keep his tools and such nearby to finish up prepping the garage walls and floor for painting. Once everything is put away and in it’s place, I can better assess what’s left to Declutter that will either get donated to Goodwill, consigned for income or tossed.
Although meals have been more on the simple, convenient side (most night is heating up a dish at 8pm), I’ve always loved the idea of spending Sunday afternoons in the kitchen cooking for several hours to prep suppers (and my lunches) for the upcoming week. Again, for those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve embarked upon a fitness journey last June (which you can read more about here ) I prep my meals (and track their macronutrients) separately from hubs so Sundays afternoons are great to spend in the kitchen churning out several different dishes that both he and I can enjoy.
My main Meal Planning goals are to attempt at least 1-2 New Recipes per month (to spice things up, no pun intended!) and also to incorporate a Meatless dish or two in order to stretch our food budget as well as find more creative ways to use leftovers. One of my favorites I tried last year was using leftover meatloaf combined with rice as a base for stuffed peppers. Just top with some cheese and…..voila!
Canning is another venture I want to delve into more. So far, I’ve only attempted applesauce – both to refrigerate and using water bath method to store on the shelf. Below is what I made late 2015 from the apples from one of our trees:
Three months ago I found apples on the produce clearance rack at our grocery store and attempted the canning process using the water bath method. I got three jars that have been stored downstairs in our Zombie Apocalypse…..er….basement pantry
So far, no mold or bacteria seems to be growing and the seal is still nice and tight. I’ll take that as a win! With all the tomatoes we got last year from our 14 tomato plants, my goal is to can some for the pantry as well. Will continue to stalk the clearance produce for fruits and vegetables that I can get extended life from.
Between renovations, refinance work and the official start of spring being less than a week old, my mindful plans for Home have been moving along at a slow pace, but I still count that as progress. My hope is to begin germinating seeds by Sunday to get them started and sprouting. April is going to be a very packed month as I will be needing to get all of my quarter-end bookkeeping client work done, help hub finish up any little stragglers around the house, give it a major cleaning then hopefully get the re-fi papers signed before heading down south from the 20th to the 25th to assist my sister with moving my elderly parents up from Florida to their new digs in S.C. Due to these obligations, I may be taking April off and resume blogging my mindfulness process (and other ideas as well) in May.
Until then, take care, God bless and wishing you all productivity, health and mindfulness in all the areas of your life.