Being All You Can Be. Part II: Self-Sufficiency.

As mentioned in Part I, being all you can be is not just about doing a great job, but also about reaching your fingers into as many pies as you can comfortably handle.

The next element to being all you can be is working out what to focus on. After all, you can’t do it all or have it all, but you shouldn’t really devote yourself to one thing forever either. The woman in the last example is a police officer for her paid work, a housewife at home and a writer in her spare time. What is stopping her from wearing more hats? And why did she choose those three?

She wears three hats because that is what her time allows. Once you’ve worked all day, sorted the house and written for a couple of hours, there isn’t much more you can do. And she chose those three because they represent the pillars of valuable work: finance, self-sufficiency and enjoyment. She gets paid, she avoids paying someone else to do her work and she does something she loves.

And we all have potential to embrace those three pillars and build them into the life we want to live. When that time arrives, we’ll be all we can be.

In Part III I will begin to discuss each pillar in more detail, so we can be all we can be.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!


For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Objectives 2015.

Well, this year’s been absolutely insane.

My objectives have moved around a bit due to rescheduling pregnancy, but I’m not doing too badly.

1: I am making well over £50/day between all my work. 100% accomplished.

2: I have finished both books and published them as well! 100% accomplished.

3: Speaking German? Whoops. 0%.

4: Certificates? Oh dear. 0%.

5: Deadlift, squats and shrugs nearly at bodyweight and we’ll be trying for a baby in March! 80% accomplished.

6: #NoNothingNovember2014 still adhered to. I feel much better for it too. 95% accomplished.

7: Ebay established and raking in the money. 100% accomplished.

Plus we are prepared for TTC, including my crazy diet plans; we’ve made, grown and got so many things for free or cheap; my garden hasn’t grown much, but it’s ready for next year and the foraging was a huge success; the blog has went well with regularly scheduled posts; I have done some reading and crafting, though nowhere near what I would like; I’ve kept dinner parties, events and celebrations rolling over, especially now I am making enough money to balance them, and the house seems great, the dog and cat are healthy and Jon seems incredibly happy with everything. So the year’s went well. Total targets around 72%. Not too shabby. 🙂

As for next year’s goals… I have no clue yet.

We’ll be trying for a baby in February-March, so around 9 months of the year are accounted for as “what happens happens”. Provisionally, my goals will be centered around that idea.

1: Keep eating my perfect-baby-diet until I’m breastfeeding and need to adjust it a little for milk purposes. This means 90% Paleo, sugar, dairy and wheat negligible, low carb with refeeds, high vitamin and mineral content, plenty of water, 2 cups of coffee daily (no more no less), no alcohol and as few meals out as possible.

2: Actually learn German this year. Honest. I need to put any time off work to good use anyhow.

3: Get stocked up with everything baby related cheaply or for free. If you have any money-saving or time-saving baby tips, please share!

4: ?

5: ?

6: ?

7: ?

Intangible goals are also a bit up in the air, so… 😦

Until the plans are more solid, that’s where I am. To be honest, I’m nervous about planning anything around my first pregnancy. I’ll have to wait and see how everything goes.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How To… let go of the old year.

Out with the old, in with the new. 🙂

1: Shake off all your old anger.

Any grudges, hangups, pains or worries you had, shake them off.

You don’t want to start over with all the bad energy from last year.

Write them down and burn the paper, make concise plans to tackle your problems or shout the anger away in an open field. Get it out of your body tonight.

2: Cross off all your old plans.

So what if you didn’t stick to your NYR? So what if you wanted to be X, Y or Z by now? If you’re not, you’re not. Time to start over and not linger on what you haven’t done.

3: Write a list of goals, objectives and plans for the new year.

Think of all the things you can accomplish in 52 weeks!

Write a list of weekly goals and long term objectives.

Create a weekly schedule where you hit milestones towards each objective and accomplish your goals.

Plan your success.

4: Write a letter to yourself for next year.

Think of how you feel about 2015 right now. And write a letter to the you of NYE 2016-2017. Tell them what plans you have, how you’ll feel about accomplishing or not accomplishing them. Tell them what great things you did in 2015 and ask about what they’ve done this year. Commiserate with them over the tragedies and celebrate their successes. The old you and the new you deserve to be connected.

5: Start everything afresh.

As I’m sure most of you know, I like to schedule my Monday, Tuesday and Thursday posts whenever I can so that if I have a busy day I don’t need to worry about not putting something “to paper” or not posting something. But this is the last one of the year. I have one scheduled for tomorrow and that’s it. Starting in the new year, I start over.

Likewise for almost everything. I’m not beating myself up over anything, or trying to let the tendrils of this year’s work grow into next year. I am sure I will work hard at everything tomorrow as well.

Have a fantastic new year, everyone!

TTFN and Happy New Year!

New Year Objectives.

First lets review last year’s objectives.

My tangible goals for this first year of self-improvement were:

1: Be fluent in French.

I met this objective. My French is to a level I can consider fluent, although I will always strive to perfect it. I can now work tutoring, translating and writing in French, as well as enjoy French news, films and novels.

2: Speak at least GCSE standard German.

I missed this objective by quite a margin, so I will recycle it this year. I started strong, but got waylaid as I delved into work and other objectives and my German level hasn’t really moved since May.

3: Get to a point where my artwork is selling.

I only just met this objective by selling a couple of paintings and scoring three ghostwriting deals in the past month. Gods bless the internet.

4: Get to a point where my tutoring is providing the £50-100/week minimum I should contribute.

Objective met, hugely exceeded and I’m really glad it was, seeing as I may be the main earner for a few months in the New Year. Hoping Jon will find his feet quickly and get a new paycheck soon, but anything could go wrong, so I’ll need to keep earning around £300-500/week to keep us steady. In early January it may be hard, but from February it will definitely be back to usual earnings.

5: Get my garden and chicken-keeping started.

The garden has been kept beautiful, though it’s a bit dead and snowed under at the moment. The flowers are very attractive and I look forward to their return in the New Year. We got a great harvest of parsnips, broccoli, lettuce, herbs, beans and radishes and a moderate harvest of tomatoes, potatoes and courgettes. Heavens know what happened to the beets, swedes, pumpkins, melons and peppers, though! Despite the illness that took the flock, I have learned a lot about keeping laying hens and look forward to getting some pullets late next Spring.

6: Finish writing two books.

Not really met. I finished my novel and started the second book. And my guide to economizing is about 2/3 there. Haven’t started my book on beginners housekeeping yet. I’ve written a few children’s books, but that hardly counts.

7: Deadlift, squat and shrug my bodyweight.

Objective not met. My deadlift died a death when I started getting back tension that wrecked my form, but I’ll try again soon. Last I did them they were at 35/65kg for doubles. Squats are at 40/65kg for doubles at the moment. Shrugs are not on the rota right now, but are at 45/65kg for sets of five.

My less tangible goals for this first year of self-improvement were:

1: Keep fit and healthy.

Met. I have maintained my body weight, increased my weightlifting and flexibility, lost some fat and even decreased my WHR by shrinking my waist and “gaining” in the chest and hip areas. I’ve been generally eating well, even if I abuse carbs and coffee from time to time, have eaten plenty of organic vegetables, fresh meat, some game, own produce and foraged fruit. Almost every single meal has been cooked from scratch. As a percentage, well under 1% of meals were not made by me and under 5% included pre-prepared sauces or products containing dubious substances.

2: Learn as many skills as possible pertaining to running a home.

Met. I can now: darn, knit, bake, make jam, make pickles, make chutney, grow various plants, keep hens, keep a cat, clean a car, light and cook in a fire, control mold outbreaks, iron, hand-wash, bleach things, scent a house, cut and dry kindling and logs, make useful bags and household items, coupon shop, make compost and hold dinner parties. A total of 23 new relevant skills.

3: Be as self-sufficient as possible.

Met. We supplies our own eggs, greens, potatoes and beans. Soon I will not have touched benefits in a year. I have earned my keep through housework and paid my keep in moneyed work.

4: Read whenever possible.

Not fully met. I have had chances to read that I have used watching animes, documentaries or films whilst crafting.

5: Paint whenever possible.

Not fully met. I have slacked a bit in the past few months. Although general crafting has been continually productive.

6: Experiment more in the kitchen.

Met. I have worked out several ways of making Paleo baked goods, of keeping the WWW interesting, of using a roast or reusing leftovers. I have made my own chocolates and oat bars for Jon.

7: Keep the house in order and Jon happy throughout.

Seeing as this was something that wasn’t really for me (well, not directly), I am asking Jon to rate it out of 10 and add his commentary.

“House in order would be a 9/10. There have been times when we have been busy, but other than that it’s always been in order. She has kept me happy to the best of her ability, but with the issues I’ve had with work and health it must have been a difficult job.”

That gives me a total of 9/14 goals met, or 64%. Obviously the unmet goals are mostly at 50% completion, not 0%, but it wouldn’t be right to count them as successes. And 50+% success isn’t bad at all.

So, with everything in mind, what are my goals for the new year?

Tangible goals:

1: Make £50/day, 6 days a week minimum so as to keep us supported until Jon gets his first new paycheck.

2: Finish “On a Budget” and write “The Beginner’s Guide to Housekeeping”. Self-publish both.

3: Speak at least GCSE level German.

4: Get certified as a native speaker of Spanish and a fluent speaker of French.

5: Deadlift, squat and shrug my bodyweight before I’m pregnant.

6: Continue to adhere to my #NoNothingNovember challenge.

7: Establish the eBay shop once Jon’s back at work and I’m pregnant. No upper limit, but would like to break £50/week in profits at least.

Less tangible goals:

1: Work towards TTC, prepare for the baby and learn about basic childcare.

2: Try and avoid buying most things new. Make, grow, buy second hand, barter/trade, buy in a charity shop. Always consider the cheap options before buying anything.

3: Grow and forage more plants than last year. Document growing and foraging.

4: Keep the blog as active as possible.

5: Read or craft whenever possible.

6: Continue attending events and clubs and holding dinner parties as soon as we’re stable enough.

7: Keep the house in order and Jon happy throughout.

As stated on the objectives page, there is no minimum number of goals I must achieve. It’s just a list of things to give my life direction and make the most of the year ahead. These objectives will not change, but if anything interferes with them I may postpone them or prioritize another one. Hopefully I can exceed this year’s 9/14. 🙂