Friday December 29, 2006

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions.  Not any more.  I used to make them all the time.  Talk about setting myself up for failure!!! If it is your custom to make resolutions, then I wish you the best in your endeavors. I found some interesting information concerning New Year’s resolutions at wikipedia that you might enjoy.  However, the fact that I don’t make actual “resolutions” at the beginning of each new year, does not mean that I don’t do some advance planning for the year ahead.

There are several times throughout the year that naturally lend themselves to a need for planning.  The end of summer always leads me to begin planning for fall and the new homeschooling year.  Mid-fall brings thoughts of planning for Christmas celebrations, gifts, etc.  Late winter and early spring usually pull my thoughts toward planning our garden and making plans for doing some outdoor projects.  January 1 is another one of those times that I’m naturally inclined to do some planning.  I think most of us find that January 1 is a grand time to do some planning for our homes and our families.  It’s even a great time to make some adjustments to our homeschooling days.

The retailers know about this January 1 phenomenon.  The flyers I’m receiving now are full of sales on things like calendars and planners, including electronic calendars and planners.  The discount stores have stocked up on storage containers of every shape and size for those who want to get organized.  Exercise equipment of every sort imaginable is now on sale for folks who are planning on getting in better shape.  January White Sales will soon be tempting us to buy new sheets, towels, curtain and rugs if we’re hoping to beautify our homes.

My planning this year will not require purchasing anything new.  The things I’m hoping to work on this year will not require any extra expenditure at all.  My motivation is simply from several verses in Proverbs 31 that I am hoping, with God’s help, to be able to implement more fully in my home in the months ahead.

The first verse I’m focusing on is Proverbs 31:15, “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.” (emphasis mine). I do feed my family , but I’ve fallen into a rut with my cooking.  It’s time to liven things up a bit!! I began last night by pulling out some back issues of Taste of Home magazine. I pulled out all my old December/January issues and looked through them.  I noted recipes for dishes that included items we normally have on hand or that my family enjoys that are inexpensive at this time of year (like Brussels sprouts!). I simply jotted down the name of the recipe, the issue it was from and the page number into a notebook.  I ended up with 38 new recipes to try!!

Now, I won’t be able to try all 38 recipes in the next month or two, but the long list gives me some choices when I’m planning my meals.  I have recipes listed for inexpensive new main dishes (featuring cut up fryers, turkey drumsticks and chuck roasts), some new potato dishes, three new carrot recipes, four new ways to prepare Brussels sprouts, a couple of winter salads, and even a brunch or breakfast-for-dinner recipe.  I even picked out a yummy sounding recipe that includes turnips, which I love; but I don’t think I’ve ever made them for my family before.  I’ll repeat this process with the various issues throughout the coming year. By year’s end, I should have introduced several new recipes to my family, and I’m sure we’ll find a few that are keepers.

I’m also hoping to continue to improve my sewing and knitting skills this year, and to, perhaps, learn to quilt.  Proverbs 31: 13, 21, 22 all bring to mind scenes of a woman working with her hands to provide clothing, bed coverings, etc. for her family and home.  My immediate plans for continuing to improve my skills in these areas include using some of the scraps from my Christmas gift sewing to make myself a new purse (navy blue twill, accented with a fun children’s western print), watching the sales flyers at JoAnn and buying a couple of nice prints to make up into skirts and tops with a pattern I already own, as well as making up a couple of jumpers for everyday from fabric and pattern already on hand.  With a new grandbaby due in June, I have a couple of knitted projects from Dani’s copy of Simple Knits for Cherished Babies that I want to make up.  I’m waiting until the January ultrasound appointment before choosing the yarn color, though!

As for the quilting, I had thought about signing up for a class at the local quilting shop, but the classes are quite pricey and do not include the materials. Instead, I have my eye on three or four quilting books that include patterns I especially like.  The books include detailed instructions, and I am hoping I will be able to fumble my way work through them. I found them on Amazon, but my frugal side has me watching for them on e-bay instead!  Buying them on e-bay will not only be less expensive, but I can also bid using my My Points account and earn some points in the process.  Rather than planning an elaborate quilt as a first project, I’m leaning more towards a table runner, pillow top or small wall hanging for my home.

The last verse that I’m looking at is one that I am always mindful of, and always working toward doing better in follwoing . It’s the verse I leave you with at the end of every post.  Proverbs 31:27, “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Looking well to the ways of a household can mean many, many things.  I think it all depends on where you are in your homemaking endeavors.  For me, right now, it means not only maintaining my household routines and cleaning schedules (or perhaps I should say reimplementing them – my, how things can get off track during the holidays!); but I am also looking for some fresh new-to-me homemaking ideas.

One thing I am doing toward this goal is not new, but something I have been doing for a couple of years now. One of the categories I have in my reading basket is homemaking.  Currently I am reading Mrs. Dunwoody’s Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping , by Miriam Lukken . This is a book I picked up last summer through Book Closeouts.  I’ll be sure to post a review when I’ve finished it.   I believe that I will re-read Cheryl Mendelson’s book,  Home Comforts,  when I’ve finished Mrs. Dunwoody.  I’ve not read Home Comforts for a couple of years, but it always inspires me to try something new in my homemaking.

The other thing I am doing to find some new ideas is to borrow some of Dani’s back issues of Martha Stewart Living magazine. She has subscribed for several years and has neatly kept all of her back issues for future use.  I asked Dani this morning if I could borrow several of her past January issues. I will look through these in much the same manner as I did the Taste of Home magazines.   I’ll also watch for ideas on some of the blogs and web sites I visit.  I’ll jot down the ideas I find that I’d like to use and will look for ways to implement them using just what I already have on hand.  I’ll keep you posted!

How about you?  Are there some areas that the Lord has prompted you to work on in your personal life or in your home?  Are there ways that you can implement some new things without spending any money?  (We want to remember Proverbs 31:11, too, “The heart of her husband safely trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.”! )  If you need some inspiration, look first to your own bookshelves. Many of you are  avid public library users, and I know that you can find many books and/or magazines there that might help you work on a new skill or perfect an old one.

Whatever the first of the year finds you motivated to do, remember to commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established (Prov. 16:3).  I’ve found that when I do this very thing, commit my plans to the Lord, He will refine “my” plans and make them His own.  Let it be so in the coming year.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

Remember to pray for Karen! (Updated!)

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4 comments to Friday December 29, 2006

  • Sounds like you have great plans in the works. I have both the Mrs. Dunwoody’s book and Home Comforts. I like them both, but the stye of writing in Mrs. Dunwoody’s is more enjoyable to read. (my opinon only) 🙂

    Blessings in 2007

  • :wave: Hi there,
    My only resolution these past couple of years is that I don’t have a resolution… 😆
    I :heartbeat: those Taste of Home mags, and just recently started a subscription so I am making lots of new recipes, too.

    One project I have really really been wanting to learn for a couple years now is quilting. I know absolutely nothing about how to do it really, so have yet to start. Thanks for the book closeout info., looks like something I need to check out!

    I have seen some quilting tutoriasl online, too, so though I would let you know:

    http://quilting.about.com/od/stepbystepquilting/a/make_a_quilt.htm

    http://www.heirloomquilts.com.au/tut/tutorial1.php

    Jenn
    http://jennsnook.blogspot.com

  • Copper’s Wife, I am teaching myself to quilt as well! It is hard when you don’t have some one to show you but a book called I can’t Believe I’m Quilting by Pat Sloan has taught me everything I know. I have made potholders and am doing an actual quilt! I like this book because it goes in lessons and the lessons build on each other. I can not reccmmend this book enough!

    Blessings,

    Bethany

  • Thanks, Bethany.  I’ll be on the look out for that book!