When I write my yearly goals in January as well as pick my word for the year, it always seems like I have so many days to accomplish those things. Yet, as November begins and I think back through the past year, I'm amazed at how quickly it flies by. One of the main things that goal planning does for me is help me be more intentional. I know that I don't accomplish everything and that's fine but I do accomplish many things and that brings me joy.
November always brings me to the close of my goals in a way because I try to make December super relaxing and non-stressful. I like to enjoy the traditions, lights, and family fun during what is really the most joyful month of all! I like to try and accomplish as much as possible throughout this month while staying on task with school. I also work at trying to slow down our lives just a little as we come into the holiday season so we can just breath and enjoy.
1. Finances - I've said it many times - we live on a very tight budget. Yes, this is a choice because it is important to both Darryl and I that I stay home with the boys. The Lord has always provided - sometimes in mysterious ways (anonymous gifts through the mail that I receive every once in awhile - just a $20.00 bill - but it is always a blessing) but he does provide. This past year I have tried to make it a priority, almost my job, to be intentional with our spending. I've failed miserably at times but a few months along the way, I've succeeded. Amazingly, the harder I work at this "job" the more stress free and joyful our lives our because we aren't overwhelmed by finances. All of that to say my goal this month is to track. every. single. thing. This time of year with Christmas and another birthday always gets financially stressful. I want to alleviate that as much as possible by not spending on unnecessary items.
2. Cleaning - At this point, I've "deep cleaned" every room. Which really just means that I've taken time to intentionally clean each one and get rid of what doesn't belong. The main goal this month is to set up a routine of keeping everything clean. I love Flylady ideas of cleaning - I just need to own it.
3. Scrapbooking - My main goal this month is to finish November 2014 and December 2014 I have no goals of ordering any supplies or photos. Why? Go back to #1 listed above. I have plenty of supplies to use; I can make a list of things (stickers) that I want to add in and purchase them a little later. Generally though, I have plenty of what I need! November 2014 is done (I had some great scrapbooking time on November 2nd!!! which actually allowed me to finish November photos!)
4. Family Fun - I will be looking for some family fun activities to do. Inexpensive but fun!
5. Purchase all of Nate's birthday presents by mid-month.
6. Finalize what we hope to purchase the boys for gifts for Christmas and start saving for those items. Also make a list of other gift buying - you know, the ones that surprise you a week before Christmas - and start purchasing those items as well.
7. Decorate for Christmas. My mom is hosting Thanksgiving this year so I feel like I can get our decorations for Christmas out the week of Thanksgiving. I want to be intentional with our decorations. Put out what I love, get rid of what I don't love or have room for and make it easier to put things away in January.
8. Decorate outside for Christmas. I like to do this in November before it gets REALLY cold.
9. Finish November schooling current! I've been really striving this year to stay current and not get a few days behind on lessons.
10. Register for our winter semester at Agape. This technically happens the first week of December but I need to plan for it and set a little money aside to pay for it so the planning happens now.
11. Write our Christmas Letter, take a family photo, and make our photo cards. Last year, I figure out it is super cheap to turn a "photo" into a collage photo and use it as our Christmas card and it only costs a few dollars. It's the perfect solution to get it done at the right price. I also have stamps already so this year, doing one of my favorite things, is well within our budget!
12. Find a few Christmas projects to do with the boys. I love projects but the last few years I haven't planned well. I'd like to find something that they can make and enjoy!
13. I know I listed cleaning above but the basement is always its own category. Now the basement is cleaned and organized so now, I want to go deeper though. For example I have two HUGE bins full of baby clothes from the boys. I got rid of a lot, but kept even more because of memories :-) I feel like I am far enough removed from them now that I can re-sort them and keep only the super special ones and donate or sell the rest. Ultimately, I want to create a bin for each of the boys of things that I find special. That way I can add things like sports shirts, birthday shirts, etc. as the grow older. So, this month, I want to go through those two bins specifically and clean off my drafting table (it was my dads). The drafting table makes a great place to wrap gifts - but it is never, ever cleaned off!
14. Pick out the photos of the boys for my wall. This might also mean taking a photo as well. I worked in October on getting "the" photo but have really struggled this fall with great photos!
15. Clean out the big black rolling cart stored in my bathroom currently! It ultimately needs to go to the basement but first I need to clean it out :-)
16. Plan out our December intentionally. Things like our photo with Santa, our Christmas tree, seeing Christmas lights, the annual parade, and making Christmas Cookies (which I think my mom wants to do, or at least help do, this year) are all fun things!
17. Order my Christmas soundtrack and practice it; plus pick out the next song I'd like to sing.
18. Get the dog's nails cut :-)
19. Clean up the yard - put away the stuff like the hose, summer decor, ect. This has to get done before it's buried in snow! We will also have to move the pop-up camper but we are watching the weather for that - when they are forcasting inches of snow on the near frozen ground, we will move it to the side of our garage. Until then, it sits in the driveway :-)
There's my 19! In general, our November starts to slow down compared to October. We have more days at home and less days where we are running! I'm actually looking forward to some slower times - or at least a nice balance of time out and time at home. Nothing is better then being at home on the cold days, in snuggly clothes while we do school and drink hot chocolate! ;-)