7 Days into the 40 days to change.


My household is 7 days into our own self-made 40 days to change experience.  We are not doing anything extreme, such as cutting out a thing or making a big lifestyle change.  We are not going on diets or selling all our belongings to backpack through the wilderness.  We aren’t even practicing zero spending.

As a homemaker I’ve kept a nice home, cook healthy food from scratch, I’ve been fairly frugal, and we are active.  But, and this is a nice sized but, I have slacked in the last year and a half.  I have been so into my writing of books and posting of blogs, doing all my own editing (not recommended) and publishing, marketing, and promoting…well, my home and family need some sprucing up.  So do I.

I have been feeling tired and irritable lately.  My home looks dusty and messy more often than I like, my spiritual practice is inconsistent, I have no schedule as of lately, I’m gaining weight and haven’t been aboard my Tread Climber in weeks, my kids are getting too much media, and I have succumbed to convenience foods more often than I will admit publicly.  My home and family life is out of balance with the writing life.  Also, my writing needed to be really worked and polished.

So, I’ve written a blog a few days ago outlining my desires.  I’m not stopping or starting anything per se, I’m working with what we have and improving it vastly.  I’m giving myself 40 days to explore new ideas and ways of doing things for our home and health and implementing what will work long term.  Each day I chunk out a bit of work to improve all the areas I’ve listed.

Thus far I have scrubbed and organized the kitchen and created a new menu and way of cooking for my family that is extremely healthy and gives me more time for play and work.  I did not choose one diet.  We have gone wacko in trying to be completely vegetarian, vegan, and then to the opposite end with paleo.  We failed after 3 weeks.  We enjoyed each diet and the benefits but, after trying again and again for 5 years, it’s obvious not one will stick.  I decided to combine the best of all three!  I have created a diet that is half vegetarian, with some vegan substitutes, and many of the paleo ideas…organic, nonGMO, free range, grass fed…

This may sound crazy but we have the best diet now.  I did not get rid of our junky food, I just created a cupboard shelf up high where I keep it all.  We love our junky food once in awhile and with it around it’s less of a constant thought and obsession, if I really want mac and cheese or to bake a cake I can.  I have also taken to doing, what I call, mass cooking every few days.  I will start the week off baking a big chicken, simmering a big pot of black or pinto beans, baking two loaves of whole week bread, steaming a big cooker of brown rice, and making a huge container of fresh, organic salad.  Oh, and a pot of homemade yogurt that lasts a whole week.  We then eat off all that good stuff for a few days or more.  You can make burritos, salads, or just have the rice and beans.  The chicken can last days by taking some to make burritos one night and a quarter of it for pasta another night, chicken salad the following night.  The bread is toast in the mornings and yogurt at lunch with apples and nuts and honey.

I find I have all sorts of time.  My mass cooking day really only takes a morning.  I have my coffee and turn on my Cuban music on Pandora and cook for a few hours and voila!  I have three days of cooking done.

To get really healthy I have decided that there are two great changes to our families diet that we can live with.  I have cut the sugar out completely for myself and the boys and husband never had that much to begin with.  I was the one hiding chocolate in the cupboards.  I have also upped our vegetables times 10.  I do green juices almost every morning and most days I add green smoothies.  We have salads every night along with up to 3 to 5 vegetables at every meal.  My kids were getting too into snacks and starting to snub the vegetable and that is why I have gone hardcore.  I also want to loose weight.  I’ve been watching sugar documentaries and I don’t want any of us to have adult diabetes or be obese thank you.  My kids are so incredibly healthy already.  This was the longest, coldest and wettest winter and they suffered a few days of a cold.

The other changes I started after getting the kitchen and cooking schedule in order was my exercise and spiritual works.  I had not been able to sleep the other night and caught Joyce Myers on TV.  Her sermon was perfect for me and so I pulled out her books that I had stocked up on months ago.  I also dusted off the tread climber.  I now read and work out an hour every day, combining my spiritual readings with my fitness.  I ordered The Case for Christ at the library and I’m off to see The Shack.  I love the Christian lifestyle, however, I’ll admit that I still have a lot of questions about the Bible and how to really connect to God.  I am open minded and love the metaphysical and I often wonder if the Bible isn’t filled with some parables to teach us through stories.  I just keep reading and researching until one day I find what feels true.  I know that faith feels good and a wholesome life is a good life.  I also know that you have to keep filling up on the good and spiritual works and continue to work on righting the mind.

As for the house, I rearranged the living room and stored some items in the garage.  I love uncluttering but found that I got too extreme with that also and now I miss some of my stuff (like the coffee grinder).  I now pack it up and store it if I may want or need it later.  I cleaned the house from top to bottom and created a daily cleaning schedule to keep my home tidy and kept up.  I do extra chores daily such as wash dirty walls or get the mold out of the tub.  I did have to go to a chemical bathroom cleaner for the tub.  It was so moldy and we have no window in there.  I tried a natural way and sometimes that doesn’t cut it.  I found a great cleaner that makes my shower/tub sparkle.  I took down some of my paintings because my walls looked cluttered and silly.  I run the vacuum throughout the house daily.  I have to, I have children and two dogs and long haired cat.   I either do a quick morning cleaning or have some tea and do an afternoon sprint of cleaning and tidying.

Now for the writing.  I have sent every one of my books off to be properly edited.  I thought I’d done a great job but have received criticism for my typos in reviews.  I want my books to be nice and neat.  I have also bought covers for the last remaining books.  People are more likely to buy books that have covers that don’t look free.  People respect a writer that doesn’t have grammatical errors in her books even if they are only .99 cents.

I also have fiction under a pen name and I have one book I’m working on and 3 on a back shelf that I had started and dropped for one reason or another.  I would like to work on getting these done and build my fiction library.

The last item for this week was house hunting.  I have been having some frustration and blues around what we can afford and what the market offers.  Right now we can get a loan for 130K and we have 30K saved to work with.  We are in California.  Yes, you see my problem.  There is hope believe it or not!  We live in Sacramento and that is now too expensive with the city folk coming on down.  I have found that we can still buy a house in Yuba City that is decent and in a decent neighborhood.  But we must be very clever.  I found a fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood yesterday and put an offer on it this morning.  It is a great old house in a charming neighborhood.  The catch is that it is trashed and filthy beyond imaginings.  The yard has cars and furniture and probably 3 years of dog poop.  We were asked not to go out in the yard.  We would probably need hazmat suits for that.  But hey, this is a chance.  I offered very low with the offer of buying As Is.  We would do all the cleanup.  Other potential buyers may give them their price but will want them to clean and repair all sorts of stuff and they don’t seem to be the “clean and repair” sort of people.   We will see.  They may tell me to go stick it or they may pack their overnight bags and be on their way to a trailer park nearby.  I’m working on my judgment too, did I mention that?

What else, what else…tried to give up coffee.  Not that I have an issue with coffee.  I love coffee and everything that is coffee and it’s cousin.  I turned to tea because I can’t seem to have my coffee without sugar or honey and heavy creamer.  I tried to do Stevia and milk to take it down a notch but detested it.  I also found I was feeling aggressive and not sleeping at night much.  Well, I did tea for 4 days and found I could barely stay on my perch alert during the day and still didn’t sleep great at night.  I was not happy without it and so I have gone back and now I find I don’t mind milk and Stevia now that I have been separated for some time.  I will never part with you, my dear coffee.  I now have my spunk back and my chores are done swiftly with a cup and a song.

Media and my boys.  They are now only getting an hour of PBS in the morning or an hour of Netflix in the late evening.  The weather is warm and sunny and they play outside all day soaking up the vitamin D and running, climbing, digging.  We play good music most of the day in the house and play or read.  Not to say that I don’t resort to Netflix more often at times when I need to conduct business and I can’t throw them outside.  There will be days where I will use it as a tool to get some work or peace accomplished.  I’d like to start turning the focus to ABCMouse daily for at least a half hour for the oldest to prepare him for his homeschooling that will begin at the end of summer.

So, there is my first week.  I’m feeling good.





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