On New Years Eve we went out to a special dinner. This has become kind of a tradition. This year I had gone through my diary for the year and I wrote a list of the main things we achieved month by month. You forget! In January we had pulled the horrible carpet up in the bedroom and revealed gorgeous floorboards! It seems like years ago! I went along month by month and Andy was amazed!
We achieved a lot!
I also sat and added up my Vicky Challenge for the year. Week by week I had recorded everything. Now this is personal how you might do it but I recorded all the savings we made by doing things ourselves etc. I didn't count things we just do anyway like housework. But if you had a housekeeper then started doing it yourself you might like to count that in your savings. Anyway, I learned a lot from this challenge! And my savings were $39,243. That is tax free dollars too!
We were both amazed by this but I could look up any week and exactly where those savings came from. It doesn't mean we banked that amount. It means we lived a lot better than if we didn't do all of this stuff. It means we added to our emergency fund, pantry, home improvements, got ahead in lots of little ways and were able to invest in some really good things like a generator.
This amount was greatly helped by painting the house myself. It was quite amazing to do this. Even I wasn't sure I could do it!
I have never had any doubt of the value of my work in the home as far as building a home, looking after children etc. But to see it has such a dollar value as well was wonderful. It built up my confidence, skills and was very motivating!
I have to thank Vicky for getting me started in this!
Bluebirds is all about nesting. My mission has been to be a place of encouragement that the work you do in your home is not a waste of time. Looking after your family is not a waste of time. You are investing in something beautiful and your work will affect many generations. The world tells us a lot of things and there is a lot of pressure to do this and that and even that having children and caring for them is not a worthy pursuit! We are bombarded with suggestions and many of them are negative.
You have to know your mission. If you do one thing this week define your mission.
Define your mission and engrave the truth in your heart. With the world and the media you want to be thinking on the truth. If things don't line up with scripture they are not true.
There has probably never been a time that you need to hold tight to the truth more than now. If you are sure of the truth you are not blown off course by some dim wit trying to boss you around.
My verses on my heart are:
"Every wise woman builds her house"
"She looks well to the ways of her household."
Anyone who tells me otherwise isn't telling the truth!
That doesn't mean you can't work outside the home or do other things. The Proverbs woman is very industrious and enterprising. But your home and family and all the tasks that come with them are important. Mostly we are pretty influential in the tone set in the house and making it into a home. A place that is a safe sanctuary from the world. That's your nest!
My Mum gave me a brand new planner! I love a planner. This helps me so much. Writing things down is a big help!
Setting out your plan is a huge. A dream without a plan is only a wish. If you want something to happen you need your plan!
I have really discovered in the last couple of years two things:
The power of the daily routine.
And the power of the weekly routine.
Crafting daily stocked my present cupboard, taught me heaps of new skills, made me content at home, saved a lot of money, used things up and turned them into gifts!
Writing down our savings daily taught me a lot, motivated me to do more, motivated me to learn new skills and try many new things!
Building up my pantry weekly saw me fill a cellar full of supplies, expand my pantry and preparedness greatly. I was shocked how much doing something or adding to something every week would amount to!
Painting weekly saw my whole house transformed!
The things we do over and over really add up. Little bits really do add up faster than you think! The good old slow and steady really does win the race. Whatever it is that you would like to achieve this year divided into 365 small steps is the way to get it done.
After a lot of thinking my gaols this year are set and in my planner. Whatever they are it is the bits we do daily and weekly toward them that determine if they actually happen. So you want to have steps each day and week right away!
A good way to get a new habit going is to attach it to another habit you already have. i.e. if you want to remember your vitamins sit them next to your morning coffee. This really works!
It is two years since I first felt that I must use my cellar, build up my pantry and increase our preparedness. I have worked on it in different ways all this time. 2016 was the year of big storms, power outages, power shortages, computer hacks, bank and phone failures and for some of the ladies who regularly comment here it was also the year of sudden illnesses and surgeries, hurricane, floods, massive increases in expenses.... yep it was the year that said "be prepared"!
I am always saying "make hay while the sun shines." Seriously, if things are good and you can get ahead in any way then do it. Make hay while the sun shines!
This could mean a few things. The sun is shining when you have spare time, have spare money, spare resources, have a windfall like you are given a bucket of apples.... all kinds of things!
Saving all of this there are also seasons. When you are home with a new baby, sick child or a million other scenarios I can think of, then just keeping things going, getting everyone dinner and the basics are achievements. At the end of the week you have to think of how well you did as you kept things going and did your best. These are not times to be frustrated and wanting to more. You are doing a good job just managing! There really are seasons.
So bringing all this together... this year on Bluebirds Mondays are going to be about preparedness, getting ahead and pantries.
Wednesday we will have the Christmas Challenge and this will include Show and Tell and all sorts of craft and gift ideas, card making etc.
Fridays will still be Feather Your Nest Friday which will be a wrap up of our week where we look back on what we did rather than what we still have to do! I will keep counting my Vicky Challenge. It has become a habit now and very easy to do. I will combine this into my Fridays post. My new Vicky Challenge note book is the journal that Bridge gave me...
There are several things from yesterday that I need to write in it! It is quite exciting to start again!
I also have a new price book to keep track of best prices on groceries. Jane made me this cover for my book:
So I am organised!
I have a few other themes written down in my planner.
One is "use it up" and "evaluate my resources"
One is "things to NOT do anymore!"
Another is " simplify and organise"
What I love is that many things can be grouped together and benefit several areas at once. They are win/win situations!
For instance you might go through your craft supplies and work out what you could make as gifts to use these things up. In doing that you will save money, fill your gift cupboard for free, declutter, maybe learn a new skill, use the money saved on the gift to build up your pantry or emergency fund. Win/win!
If you want homework (I was the kid who loved homework!)
Work on a mission statement.
Write down your goals and break them down into daily and weekly tasks.
Try and attach the tasks to habits or something that will remind you to do them or write them into your daily planner.
Write down your resources. This could be anything and everything from a fruit tree to a shed full of wood or old stuff, a cupboard of craft items. You know, I saw a lady on Etsy sells gum nuts and seed pods. She saw her gum trees as a resource and made a business out of them! This could really get you thinking! This list will help on Wednesday when we start re building our gift cupboards. Even if you cannot think of a use for something still write down your resources.
Sorry for such a long post! I want to get off to a good start. I feel excited for a new year and ready to hit the ground running. Rachel said she was in training for the new Bluebirds year! I thought that was really good! And Patti said she had an extra guest over Christmas and she thought "never fear a Bluebird is here!" and produced an extra gift from the cupboard! I love hearing these things. Thank you so much for all you share here!
I hope this will be a wonderful year! What is it that you would really like to achieve in your home? What is your mission? You will get a lot of support here!
See you on Wednesday. We will get started on our depleted present cupboards!
Welcome to a new year! xxx