Sunday, December 30, 2012

intentional living in the new year: 13 in '13

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.
'Sourdough bread' photo (c) 2012, Jarkko Laine - license:

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.
'Candied Walnuts - Making Candied Walnuts - Robert Lew, Holmesglen TAFE' photo (c) 2008, Alpha - license:

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.

1 comment:

  1. I am so interested in seeing how your survival experiment works out! I'll be looking for your cheese posts especially. We regularly make yogurt and yogurt cream cheese, but I'd love to find another use for all the milk that the government bestows on us.
    - Emily