I am ready to start the New Year off right! OK, I know its Jan. 4, so you may think I am a little late in this area but we traveled last week and there is only so much you can accomplish in an RV. But, I loved spending the time with Greg, Katie, Will & Amy. They are a blessing to be around and fun to play with and explore new places.
So here are some goals I would like to achieve, this year and beyond.
1. Spend more time reading my bible, praying & being quiet before the Lord. I spend alot of New Years Day praying for my family as we were driving around the Outer Banks. Some of my prayers included wisdom, discernment, and seeking the Lords Will for each of my children.
2. Pay off our house. This will take longer than just this year, but I would love to accomplish this before Greg retires in 5 1/2 years. What a blessing to not have a house note every month. I have been inspired by Crystal's story over at www.moneysavingmom.com. She and her husband came up with the idea of saving for a 100% downpayment for their first home. She has been updating every month this year and they made their goal in Dec. So this young couple with 3 children will be able to buy their first home and pay cash for it ~ what a totally cool blessing for this family and their future.
3. Make a more diligent effort to menu plan and shop around the plan. This would mean incorporating more sales and coupons and sticking with the plan. I would also like to cut the grocery budget $100 or more every month and put the leftover toward the mortgage. We have freezers, pantry and refrigerators full of food, so thats where the menu's are coming from this month. I will have to go to the store for milk, fruit, toilet paper, etc. When I share this goal with Greg, he was fine with it as long as I didn't compromise the ing. lists of food labels to save .50 on a can of food. In other words....still no HFCS or MSG. Not to worry there, I try to avoid those at all costs.
4. Venture into my vast cookbook collection and try new recipes. I love cookbooks and just love to read them. I got 5 cookbooks for Christmas. I especially like the recipes that use common ingredients and I don't have to buy lots of funky stuff. Cooking from scratch is a great way to save on the grocery budget. I want to learn to cook dried beans (not use canned), make hotdog and hamburger buns & rolls/biscuits. We've got buckets full of wheat just waiting to be used in some of these creations.
5. We are exploring different business opportunities. Our vision is to have a business or several that we can run as a family. We are getting some great insight from a CD series Greg ordered us from Vision Forum entitled "Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for the Christian Families". This set contains 20 messages on 20 CD's and we are ready to start CD #13. In listening to these messages (while riding to GA, VA, NC, SC, back through GA & AL) we have been inspired by their stories and advice. We will be listening again and taking notes and jotting down scripture references. We are also reading books on the Biblical Perspective of money. About 8 years ago, I started making doll clothes that fit the 18" dolls (AG) & the 15" babydolls. I sold them at consignment sales, through word of mouth, at the dance studio, etc. I've had them packed away and last month had a request for clothes and made 3 sales. While these didn't total alot of money, they did spark the idea of selling them on ebay. We are going to explore this and see if it can turn into a business opportunity for the girls & I. We've got enough "stock" to start and then will replenish when needed. Katie & Amy will get to cut out patterns, pick fabrics and learn to sew.
6. Expand our garden and plant enough to can for the winter. Especially green beans, which I love. We planted garlic & onions in the fall and will get to pick them in the spring. It will be interesting to see a head of garlic develop from the 1 clove that was planted. I am reading and re-reading a book called "The Backyard Homestead" that has some wonderful ideas for small space and container gardening. Planting and growing some of our food will help with the grocery budget also. I would love to have enough to preserve for the fall/winter. It will be healthier and less costly. Honestly, I lose some of this enthusiasm in the July/August Mississippi heat but maybe I can do a little better this year. We want to buy some netting to cover the blueberry bushes so that maybe we can eat some this year instead of the birds getting all of the berries.
7. We've got lots of household projects we want to start on. Greg wants to build some new garden boxes for the back yard, install our rain barrel for watering the garden, build a deck for his new outdoor kitchen (he loves to grill and smoke and we love to eat his creations), & turn our little outbuilding into either an art studio or wood working shop. I would also like to put a picket fence in the front yard and plant some dwarf fruit trees out there (this is still in the dream stage).
8. There are also some "crafty" items I would like to work on with the children and skills I want them to develop. We've got sewing projects and wood working projects to plan out for the year. I would also like them to help more in the kitchen & come up with recipes and menu's they want to be in charge of and learn to do.
9. Read, read, read, read, read & read. Books are wonderful and I love to read. Right now I am reading..."The Backyard Homesteader", "An Amish Christmas", "Family Feasts for $75 a week" and more. When we travel, I pack lots of books to take along. Mom has got 2 Beverly Lewis books for me to read, so they may be going to Honduras with me in 3 weeks!
10. Be open to what God wants us to do and how he wants us to do it. Greg, Katie & I are going to Honduras on a mission trip the end of this month and the end of June the 3 of us plus Amy & Will are going to Ohio on a family mission trip. He is leading us to a new church where we can worship and serve as a family. He is presenting opportunities and blessings to us that we are in "awe" of. One of the CD's we listened to talked about how our finite minds limit God. The Lord has no limits and we need to diligently work at seeking him and his plans for us. Yes, this directly ties into specifically #1 but also all the rest of the goals. With the Lord, nothing is impossible. He may very well have plans and opportunities that we have never thought of or considered.
This is going to be an exciting year!