i am not big on new years resolutions, but since graduating college i often make goals for myself at the start of every year. i often don't achieve these goals completely (this is hard for me to admit as i am an achiever!) but i do feel like its good to strive for something higher so that i am pushing myself and growing. overall, setting goals helps me to accomplish things i otherwise wouldn't.
this year i have decided to focus my goals on various life skills. i have settled on 13 skills (one for each month and an overall goal to do during the year) for 2013. i assigned each goal to a month of the year and even wrote it all in my calendar (that kind of thing helps me out a lot). here is the list if you are interested.
january: learn how to bake sourdough bread. now you may be asking, "didn't you win a writing contest about sourdough bread?". why yes i did actually. but almost everything i wrote about in the article related to sourdough in general, and not just bread baking. i make lots of sourdough baked goods with success: cinnamon rolls, crackers, english muffins and pizza crust to name just a few. but i have only attempted actual bread a few times, and with little success (meaning, i have baked several loaves of sourdough bricks). so in january i want to bake and bake and bake until i find a great recipe i am comfortable with, and perfect every aspect of bread baking such as the rise time, kneading, texture, etc.
i think i will start with rye bread or spelt bread, as these are low in gluten and see if esther can tolerate them.
february: cheese making. i already know how to make (and regularly do make) kefir (and kefir cheese), yogurt (and yogurt cheese) and cottage cheese. but i want to venture into real cheese making. so, my goal for february is to make homemade cheese. i plan to start with mozzarella, as i have heard that is one of the easiest to make (i think it can be done in under 30 minutes?). after that i am thinking about feta and maybe cheddar. we'll see.
march: self-defense. i took a self-defense class one quarter during college. not only do i forget most of it, but it wasn't really that hard-core of a self-defense, only very basic.
the last time we had to take CPR for our foster certification, we took it from a retired fire cheif who did an excellent job of teaching. he also mentioned that he does a self-defense class, so i'm hoping to take his class.
april: plant a new crop (squash). i already garden, but i want to branch out to some new crops. i have heard squash produces like crazy, so i want to try it out.
may: sewing clothes. i enjoy sewing but haven't ever attempted clothes (these sound scary and difficult!). thus far i have stuck with simple projects with lots of straight lines such as bibs, baby books, and repairing holes in clothes.
i will start out with making a couple pillowcase dresses for esther, and a skirt for myself (simple. straight lines :) ).
june: learn how to start a fire. hopefully we'll plan a camping trip some time in june to make this happen. if i'm adventurous enough i want to learn to start a fire with AND without matches.
july: roast coffee beans. apparently green coffee beans are cheaper and store longer than roasted ones. i got the inspiration from root simple.
august: research radiation exposure and buy potassium iodide. we live right outside of los angeles, and not too far from a nuclear plant. the chance of some kind of attack or disaster happening is probably slim, but i would rather research it and be prepared now than regret it later.
september: learn how to shoot a gun. i have a friend who is an olympic pistol shooter. during college, she offered to teach me how to shoot. i now regret not taking her up on the offer. maybe she will teach me if i visit her at the olympic training center? (i really think she would, she is sweet like that). if i don't make it out to CO, i'll have to find someone else. either way, i want to learn how to shoot. one day, i will learn to hunt. but that will be in the future. first step is learning to shoot :)
october: dehydrate things (or plant broccoli). if we are able to buy a dehydrator by then, i hope to preserve our harvest by dehydrating it. i would love to dehydrate everything from tomatoes, apples, bananas, herbs and zucchini to eggs, yogurt and beef (jerkey).
if we don't have a dehydrator by october, i'll plant another new crop: broccoli.
november: research infant survival and write another post for survival blog. my last post won third (which is what i was hoping for). this time i plan to write about infant survival, and hope to get second or first (so that i don't get the same prizes). i'll even take honorable mention as long as i win something :)
december: candy making. it might sound weird to label candy making as a life/survival skill, but its on my list of things to learn for two reasons: first of all, so that i can make healthier candy for my family to eat (though i but a priority on nutrient dense foods, i think treats are also important, and making them homemade makes them at least a bit more nutritious than store bought!). secondly: in the (unlikely but possible) event of something like a major economic collapse, i think that people will still want to buy candy, but wont be able to get the factory made stuff any more. i think candy is something people would be willing to pay a premium for, so it would be a good skill to have.
bonus: read a book about survival. sometime during the year (or it might take the whole year since i have much less time to read with babies!). haven't decided which book. any suggestions?
want to live intentionally this new year? here is a great list of questions to help you reflect on this past year and think about ways to grow this upcoming year.