Winter Intentions ~ The Nitty Gritty

{All the photos in this post and last week's post on winter intentions are from our January ski vacation. Realizing I probably won't get around to writing a post dedicated to that trip I'm working photos of that trip into these two posts.}

When I shared my fall intentions last month (looking back) I promised to share my winter intentions also. It's about time I do that so I have them written down, and therefore have some accountability, before it's spring.

My fall intentions post followed the One Bite at a Time review and giveaway. Some of my winter intentions are based on Tsh's resources and I'll start with those.

Financial Winter Intentions

à la One Bite at a Time

  • 9. Streamline your receipt system
  • 21. Organize your files
  • 40. Set up sinking funds

Because we intend to keep downsizing our lives we are digitizing our files, ie: scanning and saving necessary paperwork and receipts that way. We are starting that process this year, from the beginning of 2012 forward.

We don't have a super scanner. So it's a bit slow but really not too bad. We buy less than we used to, we use cash for lots and don't need to keep many receipts for reconciling bank accounts and credit card statements, etc.

I'm an organized gal and I actually love "getting organized" but filing, oh... I've been putting it off since before our move last May.

The one financial management project I'm looking forward to doing is setting up sinking funds. I love saving money (not in the coupon or discount sale sense, I like the not spending kind of saving).

I've wanted to set up a sinking funds (within a bank account) system ever since we moved. But the work we've had to banking wise, to set ourselves up to even do this, has been monumental. I do not exaggerate. We are not simple folks in our banking requirements because of the work we do (on-line), where we live (the beautiful boonies), where our clients live (everywhere but here), our house in the states, living three places last year. Yada, Yada.

We're making progress, that's what matters.

So that's the boring stuff now let's talk about more interesting stuff - creative projects, making friends and eating well!

The Rest of My Winter Intentions

  • Launch one of my in-the-works creative projects.  We've regrouped and I have a plan. Some big dreams with small, manageable steps. Stay tuned. FIMBY folks will be the first to know, of course.
  • Make friends and connect in our community. This goes for all of us. We have already met neighbors and are becoming friends with them (so many people we meet are into backcountry activities so there is a real point of common interest there) but the kids want to find friends their age also, understandable. This is a high priority for me so we are scheduling time for outside-the-house community activities to meet other kids. It's exciting to make new friends.
  • A house of peace & welcome. Hospitality is one of our gifts and callings. It's been on hold for one year because of the intensity of our move. We are ready and longing to open our home regularly to friends and strangers. This is one way we intend to make friends (the above intention). We have a definite plan of action to make this happen - schedule it on our family calendar. Each Saturday night (and therefore afternoon for cooking) is set aside for hospitality - either giving or receiving. We love nothing more than being invited to someone's home for a meal. For our part, I have a set menu so I don't stress about "what to make". Since we're new here we're mostly inviting strangers - people we meet at the post office, the outdoor gear store. This is how you make friends. You be a friend. It's so much fun to meet new people and share hospitality, our whole family LOVES it.

  • A "Yes!" food culture. Remember my post-Halloween sugar post? Well, that experience - the sugar binge, getting sick, my writing, and your responses - got me thinking. I want food experiences in our home to be all about yes. When the kids ask, "Can I have fill-in-the-blank?". I want my answer to be, "yes!" Of course, there are budget constraints (see next point) but the way to make this possible is stocking healthy food and encouraging kid's participation in the kitchen. Working on that this winter.
  • Holding the line on the food budget. This is so hard, I don't even know where to draw the line anymore. We live in a northern climate. Food is expensive. Food is foundational to our health. There is a line here I need to walk. And it's challenging. I've been looking at each item we purchase - evaluating its place in our diet to decide if I cut it out, limit what we eat or just accept it as one of our non-negotiable food items (ie: salad greens for lunch). Many of you had great suggestions in the comments to this post and I plan to implement some of those through this year - stocking up in the summer and freezing, starting/joining a buying club, a summer csa share - all of these things I did in Maine. But for winter I have to just hold the line. 
  • Green smoothies. My goal is three days a week. I actually love them and would make them everyday I just always run out of time. I know - they're easy to make - I just don't want to be in the kitchen all the time. My plan to make this easier is to use easy baby spinach (processed food around here, no greens chopping), and make extra for the next day, unless the kids get to it first. So far, the kids keep wanting to share them (I had given up on them liking green smoothies) so there's little leftover but if I make them really rotten looking - berries and spinach make a nice puce brown color - they tend to stay away. 

  • Steady scripture memory & quality reading. I'm so good at starting, not so good with the follow through. I love having lofty, life changing thoughts rattle around in my head (seriously). Lately, I've been consciously turning my attention more to the "good stuff" - quality literature, scripture, and ideas that have the power to transform me and change my life. This means tuning out some stuff to tune in others.
  • Meals on time. I get distracted sometimes or simply start too late and this affects our afternoon and evening in a negative way. This is very doable and is just a matter of discipline on my part.

That's about good for winter. On top of everything else I do as mom, homemaker, and homeschooler (smile). I hope to continue my pattern of regular exercise that I started last fall, I've noticed myself slipping a bit in this some weeks.

Very soon I will be posting my five favorite time management strategies because all of these intentions take time.

What are your winter intentions? Now that we're into February, how are those going?
« My Afternoon Ski
My Five Favorite Time Management Strategies »
  • Alexia

    Alexia on Feb. 7, 2012, 1:09 p.m.

    I live in Quebec as well and fresh food is expensive. As moms we do what we can. Your green smoothie sounds interesting, other than spinach, what else do you use? My February intentions; limit coffee to two cups a day (so far so good); get out more and enjoy the fresh air; continue to eat well; and remember to take a step back and breathe:) Happy Tuesday!


    • Nicole

      Nicole on Feb. 7, 2012, 2:13 p.m.

      Winter intentions here: figure out medical insurance (hubby has not worked since before Christmas and we were on his medical, nervous not having any since we are always out doing adventurous/dangerous activities!), learn how to better use Azure Standard's food coop that I just joined, make more food from scratch, play with the kids each day, exercise Leo Babauta style (fit it in all throughout the day in small time chunks), keep knitting projects going, and all the usual daily life stuff, which includes teaching second grade while Dear Hubby now takes kids to school and is stay at home Dad trying to figure out what to do next to make a living!


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 8, 2012, 8:05 p.m.

      I like Heather's Green Smoothie recipe. I use all sorts of the things and I don't follow recipes. I just throw stuff in and blend it up. Makes for some interesting combinations. The kids don't always like it but that means more for me!


  • Kika@embracingimperfection

    Kika@embracingimperfection on Feb. 7, 2012, 3:48 p.m.

    My intentions were for my 40th year rather than just for winter. I have started blog as intended, am three weeks into my diploma program (first test submitted today), continuing my gratitude list, planning another weekend getaway with husband for our Spring Break in March, etc. All is going well. I am having a hard time sticking to a "written in stone" type schedule, yet somehow am managing to get things done; I feel like it is important to prioritize people over my strict schedule.

    Something I am not doing great at and need to focus on is reading God's Word before bed. I am supposed to get into bed early (for me) at 9:30 to read His Word and other reading but lately haven't been following through.

    We are not good at hospitality like you but used to invite one-two families/month to our home for a meal and visit. We've gotten away from this and my husband (strangely) has been pushing a bit for its return. Anyways, what a great idea to have a fixed menu for hospitality. You may have shared it in the past but would you mind sharing it again?


  • Katja

    Katja on Feb. 7, 2012, 7:35 p.m.

    My winter intention is to cut on sugar and when the weather will be fine (now is really windy - to 200km/h) to go every day for a walk (we have two small children under age of 4 and wind is not our friend :)) and of course my big intention is to save a little bit of money :) not expensive gifts from us for friends and family (under 10 euros plus-minus 2€). We also have a fix menu for our friends.If they come around dinner time,then is definitely homemade pizza,if after dinner, then we eat some pancakes in the oven with curd.In every occasion there is wine ( even hot wine) or tea.


  • Kathleen

    Kathleen on Feb. 7, 2012, 7:43 p.m.

    My winter intentions include: -Being more active with my kids when we go to the park (I live in Arizona so this is the time of year when we are outside the most). Although mentally I often like to sit and enjoy some peace while they play with their friends, physically it would be better for me to play with them (or do some exercises on my own). Hoping I can find a balance between both. -Making more snacks from scratch. Although we are good about making our main meals from scratch, I'd like to learn some new recipes for crackers, granola bars, etc. -More green smoothies! I am like you - I make them a few times a week but more would definitely be good. My 2-year old loves them (his older brother not so much) but I always love turning on the blender and watching my son squeal (literally) with joy about his green smoothie. -Spending less time reading other people's blog and more on my own. I only blog for myself and a few friends and family (the privacy settings are fairly high) but I do enjoy chronicling stories from our days and taking the time to reflect on myself and my family. I've already culled my Google Reader and thought about the types of blogs that really enrich my life (this is one!) versus those I can do without.

    That's all for now! Thanks for all your wisdom, honesty, open-ness, and courage, Renee!


  • Natalia

    Natalia on Feb. 7, 2012, 9:16 p.m.

    'A house of peace & welcome'

    I love this! We are lucky to have built-in community (we live on an Army married quarter patch) but this is something I aim to do.

    And I hear you on the green smoothies, but we only have a stick blender. Well, that is the excuse I use to only have them once a week :)


  • katy

    katy on Feb. 7, 2012, 9:33 p.m.

    Renee are you willing to share your "having people over" menu? As a vegetarian family, I always struggle with what to serve guests that will be satisfying to them, not a ton of trouble, and still in keeping with how we like to eat.


  • renee

    renee on Feb. 7, 2012, 9:56 p.m.

    Hospitality Menu:

    Baked Beans - a healthier version of this recipe on my blog. I've eliminated ketchup, replaced with tomato sauce, lowered the maple syrup. Someone recently asked me if I added pork, while taking a 2nd helping. He was a meat-eater. I took this as a compliment.

    Roasted Squash - a few pans of this.

    Asian inspired Coleslaw - this can even be assigned to someone to do, family or friends as they arrive. I make up a dressing each time but it has similar elements to this Asian Noodle Salad dressing. I like to add fresh lime juice.

    Beer Bread (in case I need "filler")

    Usually I don't make dessert but last week I made Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream - huge hit with everyone, including the non-vegetarians. Another idea is Peanut Sauce Noodles - super easy. This is a quick go-to supper that can be scaled up to feed a crowd. We are also experimenting with desserts and games. We usually play games with guests.


  • Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds

    Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds on Feb. 7, 2012, 11:23 p.m.

    We just started a sinking fund (we call it a freedom account) last month and I am loving it. As a family that has always been paycheck to paycheck (finances have always been a sore spot for me) there is an amazing sense of security knowing that I have the money for things like car repairs, kids clothes, and our homeschooling - all of which have their own category - when I need it. So I would say that keeping up with that would be one of my winter intentions. Getting outside more was one on my list but we have failed horribly on that and I am resigned to just wait until spring. We spend about 75% of our day outdoors when the weather IS nice and I don't have toddlers whining about the cold. My other intention is to keep working on housekeeping, adding one routine at a time. Your idea about anchoring actually helped me with creating routines.


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 7, 2012, 11:46 p.m.

      Stay tuned for a post of time management and homekeeping routines. I love anchoring, it works so well for me. Depending on where you live the weather may be warming sooner than later. We have winter till April so there's no waiting till spring - but I totally hear you. I'm a huge fan of "if you can't meet your expectations, lower them!"


  • Jill Foley

    Jill Foley on Feb. 9, 2012, 3:27 p.m.

    I loved this and it's made me think about what I want to be intentional about. I really liked your idea of having a "yes" kitchen. I find myself saying "no" so often to my kids' requests. If I don't want them to eat it, why is it in our kitchen?

    I'm about half way through One Bite at a Time and my first intention from that book is to create an essentials file.

    Other intentions include: exercising more regularly (I find I just have to be selfish and make this time a priority), practicing violin (same thing), memorizing Colossians and reading Pilgrim's Progress.


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 9, 2012, 6:58 p.m.

      The whole book of Colossians? You go girl. I'm slowly, slowly working my way through Romans 8. I think it will be year long process (smile). And do be selfish (smile). I am loving my exercise routine. 


      • Jill Foley

        Jill Foley on Feb. 9, 2012, 9:06 p.m.

        Yes...the whole book. It's 2 verses a week and will take a year. So far, so good. I think my "warm up" last year helped. I memorized 20 passages plus Romans 12.


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