Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day Zero Project

The Challenge:

Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

I've been working on this list since December and I am finally finished. Here goes:

Start Date: September 2, 2010
End Date: May 30, 2013 (my 32nd birthday!)

working on it
haven't gotten there yet

1) Make a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days
2) Make sourdough
3) Switch over from tissues to hankies
4) Go to bed at 10pm for 3 weeks
5) Get up at 6am for 3 weeks
6) Take a yoga class
7) Fit into a size 12 at some point in the next 1001 days
8) Make everyone in my family an article of clothing, including myself (0/4)
9) Change my own oil/filter
10) Host guests at least once a month (0/33)
11) No Spend Month three times(0/3)
12) Get curtains up in our bedroom
13) Make cheese
14) Finish turning the office into a playroom
15) Finish turning the guest bedroom into an office
16) Organize our filing system in the office
17) Create a budget and stick with it for 3 months (o/3)
18) Do something MST related for Loren & Danae every month (0/33)
19) Do devotions with Brent everyday for 2 weeks (0/14)
20) Establish an evening routine and stick with it for a month (0/30)
21) Establish a morning routine and stick with it for a month (0/30)
22) Do a craft with Morgan once a week (0/143)
23) Complete FlyLady babysteps
24) Create a database of seasonal go-to recipes
25) Start menu planning weekly
26) Complete the Couch25K program
27) Run the Strides for Missions 5K at church
28) Start a Christmas club account
29) Do a local eating challenge
30) Get outside for 20 minutes every day
31) Complete the Heavenly Homemaker’s Healthy Homemaking Babysteps
32) Organize my photos on the computer
33) Organize my files on the computer
34) Organize and clean up my iTunes
35) Visit the library once a week
36) Go to a state I’ve never been to before
37) Go hiking 4 times
38) Buy a new pair of sweet roller skates
39) Take Morgan roller-skating
40) Do a read through the Bible challenge
41) Donate $10 for every task not completed
42) Make an emergency/first aid kit for the house & car
43) Can something
44) Go Kayaking
45) Make sauerkraut
46) Make an advent calendar
47) Go see a local play
48) Make something from “Handmade Home” by Amanda Blake Soule
49) Go on a date with my husband once a month
50) Scan our old pictures into the computer
51) Create a will
52) Video the kids once a month
53) Pay off our final student loan
54) Create a wedding photo book
55) Write a thank you note for every gift I receive
56) Maintain my teaching degree
57) Complete a “100 things that Make Me Happy” list and scrapbook it
58) Make an ABC book for Morgan
59) Make an ABC book for Jonas
60) Write in the kids’ journals once a week
61) Put more pictures on the walls
62) Use my crockpot once a week for a year (0/52)
63) Make a quilt
64) Fast from sugar for 31 days, 3 times (0/3)
65) Memorize a new poem
66) Have our new neighbors over for dinner
67) Clean out my inbox
68) Listen to 1 album from unheard of artist each month (0/33)
69) Plant a children's garden
70) Do a craft with Morgan once a week
71) Start a movie night tradition
72) Stop my weird tooth pressing habit that I recently discovered I have
73) Do my hair everyday for 2 weeks…like an actual hairstyle
74) Make a household binder
75) Get professional photographs taken of our family
76) Take a pic of myself everyday for a year (really hard, I hate taking pictures of myself)
77) Take my pills/vitamins every day for a month (0/30)
78) Handmade Christmas 2011
79) Cook dinner and take to a friend that I sense might need it
80) Have some really good Dim Sum…try to recreate Wo Fat’s
81) Plan a really sweet 30th birthday party for Brent
82) Take Brent out to eat on his birthday and make sure they sing to him (he has never had this happen to him)
83) Don’t criticize Brent for an entire week (if I say something critical, the week starts over)
84) Start and complete family tree mural project
85) Do another "Not Buying Anything New" challenge
86) Dye my hair red with henna (agh...this is crazy for me!)
87) Drink the recommended amount of water for 3 weeks
88) Read and complete "The Husband Project" (0/21)
89) Go screen-free for 5 days (computer/tv/movies/video games)
90) Make picture clock for the wall (idea from GH)
91) Start a small group at our church
92) Keep a prayer journal for a month
93) Do family devotions/worship
94) Try acupuncture
95) Yes day once a month (0/33)
96) Take 5 people on their offers for help when your first inclination is to say, no that’s okay (0/5)
97)Put up rain gutter/sling shelves in the playroom or kids' room
98)_______this to be added in 2011
99)_______this to be added in 2012
100)_______this to be added in 2013
101)Write a new list of 101 things to be completed in 1001 days

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September "No Spend" Challenge

First off, the title of this challenge is a little deceiving. I do not know anyone who can go a whole month without spending any money. We will be spending money in September. Perhaps it should be called the Very Limited Spending Challenge.

The No Spend Month originated over at the Small Notebook. We took the general idea and have tweaked it for ourselves. Here are our rules for the month. We will be paying our bills (mortgage, electric, phone/internet) but hopefully spending very little money besides. When the car needs gas we will put gas in it. Food is going to be a bit more of a challenge. We are going to be able to buy food this month, but have decided that we will only buy food that is locally grown or raised. Yes, ladies and gentleman, that means when the chocolate is gone, the chocolate is gone. And no, I didn't stockpile, but maybe I should have! In fact, the chocolate situation in the house right now is pretty bleak. I may only have some cocoa powder. Yikes! Yes, I do have a problem and I'm willing to admit it. That is the first step towards recovery, right? Of course it goes without saying then that eating out/takeout is out of the question.

After those basics any other purchases are off limits unless it is really and truly a need. Medicine is a need. Redbox is not a need. Get the picture? I'm looking forward to this challenge. It feels like it has been awhile since our family has a had a good challenge that pushed us out of our comfort zones. Here's to our September "No Spend" Challenge! I will try to blog about the experience, but given my track record for consistent blogging, I'm not making any promises :). There will be a post coming up soon about another personal challenge I will be embarking upon in a couple of days. Come back on September 2nd if you care to hear about it. Wish us luck!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Made from Scratch

We live in a society where homemade brownies come from a box and homemade cookies come sliced from a tube. Putting together a home-cooked meal involves opening some cans of cream of whatever soup and putting it on some chicken while microwaving some minute rice. Frozen dinners and mashed potatoes from a box are pretty normal in some households. Somehow we've gotten away from real food. A lot of this comes from how busy people have gotten. In many families both parents work, the kids are involved in all kinds of activities and there just isn't time for a true made from scratch meal. I totally understand. However, we are compromising our health because all of these boxed, canned and bottled foods are loaded with all kinds of questionable ingredients. High fructose corn syrup, MSG, refined grains, trans fats are the norm in these overly processed foods. I've been hearing it time and time again...we are overfed yet undernourished.

In our house we try to eat a lot of whole foods (however we are way addicted to sweets, chocolate in particular). I buy the bread at the store that is 100% Whole Wheat without the HFCS. I get organic yogurt and ketchup. However, buying these natural/organic products can be pricey. I'd like to start making more of our food from scratch. Part of the reason is for our health, part is for our budget, and partly I just like doing nutty experiments that drive my husband up a wall. Each week I'd like to try making something from scratch that I would normally buy.

Here is a list of food items that I would like to try making:
sourdough bread
bbq sauce
salad dressings
granola bars
soft pretzels
chicken stock
english muffins

Non-food items that I would like to try making:
Laundry detergent
facial cleanser

Does anyone have suggestions on what else I could try?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Our last day!

Friday was our last official day without meat. For dinner we had Potato Pancakes guessed it...the More With Less Cookbook. Here is the recipe:

Combine in a bowl:
2 1/2 c. grated raw potato (about 3 medium)
1 t. salt
dash pepper
2 eggs
2 T. flour
1 T. finely chopped onion
Drop by spoonfuls into a lightly oiled hot skillet. Fry until brown on one side, then turn and brown on other side. Good served with syrup, ketchup, or cheese sauce.

These past 10 days have actually been really great. It has made us realize that though we enjoy meat, we could seriously cut back and not feel like we are missing anything. I think we are going to try eating meat-free meals at least 3 times a week. Since Friday I have had a little bit of ground beef in a lasagna on Saturday night and some chicken last night. We do have to do better about cutting back dairy. This is really hard for us. We love cheese! We'll have to keep working on it.

Coconut Rice

On Thursday night our main dish was Coconut Rice from the More with Less Cookbook. As you can probably tell, it has become my favorite cookbook.

Coconut Rice:
Heat in heavy saucepan:
2 T. oil or margarine
1/2 c. chopped onion
2-3 whole cloves
2-3 cinnamon sticks
2-3 bay leaves
Fry until onions are lightly browned.
1/4 t. ground saffron or tumeric
1/4 t. salt
Fry a few seconds.
1 c. rice
2 c. coconut milk
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook 30 minutes. If desired, whole spices may be removed before serving and a few raisins, cashews or walnuts added.

This was yummy! It didn't have quite as much flavor as I would have thought with all the spices, but it was really good. I think I would add the raisins and cashews if I would make it again.

Lemony Spinach-Rice Soup

Sorry that we got way behind on our blogging. I have a few days to catch up on. We are finished with our vegetarian diet but I want to post some of the recipes we used so I will post a few blogs tonight. On Tuesday night I made Lemony Spinach-Rice Soup from this cookbook called "Creative Everyday Cooking". The soup is based on Greek avgolemono - egg and lemon soup. Here is the recipe:

6 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
2/3 c. raw rice
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 lb. fresh spinach or
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen
chopped spinach, thawed
2 eggs
6 T. lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and some pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, stem the spinach and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. If using thawed frozen spinach, drain well and squeeze out any excess moisture. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, remove about 1/4 c. of the hot broth and whisk it into the beaten egg. Beat the warmed egg mixture into the hot soup. Add the spinach and lemon juice and cook the soup over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes; do not allow the soup to simmer or the egg will curdle. Serve the soup hot. (Serves 6)

This soup was okay. I'm not sure I would make it again, but it was a good way to use up the spinach we had that was about to go bad. We had the leftovers on Wednesday night.

Monday, March 31, 2008

International Yummies!

Today we had an Indian lunch and a Thai dinner. It was a yummy day!

Lunch ~ Indian Spiced Whole Wheat Couscous with Yogurt Chutney

Couscous (from
2 1/4 c. vegetable stock
1 tsp. olive oil
1-2 T. dried onions
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
3/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala or allspice
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper
1 c. whole wheat couscous
1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Bring veg. stock, olive oil and spices to a boil. Add couscous & chickpeas; cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 7-8 minutes

Yogurt Chutney
Blend 2 c. chilled yogurt; 3/4 c. grated coconut; 1 T. sugar or sweetened condensed milk; a few raisins, cashews, or walnuts. Serve as a side dish or dessert with curry meal.

For lunch we were looking for a way to use a big thing of plain yogurt that was going out of date today. We found the yogurt chutney recipe in the More With Less cookbook and since it said it was good with a curry dish we pulled out one of our favorite recipes. We make the Indian Spiced Couscous all the time because it is quick, simple and really tasty.

For dinner we had pan fried tofu over rice with a spicy peanut sauce. We also make this Thai dish a lot, but we normally use chicken intead of tofu. I have to say that I didn't miss the chicken at all and neither did Brent. Maybe we could become vegetarians after all :) Vegan however is really tough. We were much stricter on our dairy intake the first few days, but it seems like it keeps sneaking its way in (though we did have yogurt for lunch it was only because it would have wasted otherwise). It is good though, we are definitely eating/drinking way less dairy than we normally do. It was a big part of our diet.