Friday, December 31, 2010

End of Year Planning

I suppose some people spend the last week of the year coming up with resolutions and goals, but I hate resolutions!  Goals are okay, but I've learned not to make too many of them.  For 2011 I have one main goal: to lose 25% of my body weight.  I really like writing it that way versus a number with a # sign after it.  After I lose 25% of my body weight in 2011 I will be pretty close to my goal weight and I will spend 2012 losing it very slowly.

But resolutions?  That's just making up rules for yourself that you'd rather not follow (because if you already did you wouldn't have to resolve to).  The older I get the less I like making rules for myself; there are already so many rules we have to follow that I don't see coming up with more.

Now plans? I like plans.  Already this week I have revised our budget for 2011, as paying off our cars and saving six months expenses in an emergency fund have been accomplished.  It changes our cash flow and we have new financial plans for 2011.  I also decided to buy and use You Need A Budget even though it isn't targeted at people who already live within their means.  Still, it does what I was doing on paper and makes it easier for me, so I'll give it a go.  I did a paper ledger for four months at the end of this year after not finding anything to replace my beloved Quicken 2006 (which Intuit decided not to support any longer).  I've decided not to download my information but to enter it by hand and just use the program versus sharing my login information with YNAB.  I've really started to worry about all the hacking and compromised databases I read about.

I've also planned our homeschooling for the next quarter, took a look at the rest of this school year, and started making plans for the fall.  Doing that always requires that I revise our daily and weekly flow, so I did that too.  I make up very nice charts with time blocks and everything.  I may only teach my own children but I would have been very good at planning for a classroom.

I like to know what we are doing each day of the week, and approximately when.  It's helpful to know that the library, natural foods market, and banking are done on Monday afternoons.  They're done close together, as well.  It also works well for the boys to know that each evening after supper we all work together to tidy the house before moving on to reading or playing a short game.  With a strong rhythm I can quickly determine if we can accept an invitation or join a field trip as I pretty much know it in my head.  Wake up, eat breakfast, dress, do morning chores, homeschooling, lunch, quiet time, free time, working the dogs, meal preparation, dinner, clean up and tidy, family time, dog walking (while boys read before bed), bed time for boys, my bath, time with Papa, reading, sleep.

I planned our winter meal rotation and really didn't change much from the fall.  Because we bought a side of beef it forms the base for most of our dinner meals, and by now we've found meals that we all like.  For winter it looks like this:

Monday: Chicken, Brown Rice, Sauteed Greens
Tuesday: Beef and Bean Tacos with Cabbage Salad
Wednesday: Hamburger Patties, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans
Thursday: Soup (usually chicken, but sometimes a heartier soup such as split pea)
Friday: Pot Roast or Beef Stew, Brown Rice, Carrots
Saturday: Pinto Beans, Sauteed Greens, Whole Grain Cornbread or Corn Tortillas
Sunday: Steak or Roast Beef, Corn, Sauteed Green Cabbage

I'd like to get to the point where I make greens every night, but I won't make a resolution because we'd fail.  The boys don't love greens and eat them because they have to, not because they want to.   They do eat romaine lettuce almost everyday, so that's good.

And now it is New Year's Eve, and all the planning I can do has been done.  For the next couple of hours we'll simply be together, and dream a little, and then fall asleep with the prospect of an entire new year in front of us, unsullied and full of potential, and as always we'll enter into it hoping that it is a year of happiness and plenty.

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