* Attempting to grow some of our own food. So far we have 7 productive citrus trees, 3 baskets of cherry tomatoes, 1 strawberry plant and some accidental mint. It's a small start, but I'm trying to take good care of the plants and learn what they need, so hopefully they'll live long enough to feed us! I'm endlessly inspired by http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/ which shows me endless possibilities for our small yard, and my friend Karen at http://ourlifelearningjourney.blogspot.com/who is also starting from scratch, though somewhat more zealously!
* Eradicating the excessive ant population from my garden. I'm not proud of this goal (I feel sorry for the ants being evicted or killed), but there's the truth. If I'm to succeed in gardening there have to be less biting bugs!
* Finding my own eclectic balance in the home education and unschooling continuum. I like the ideas at http://sandradodd.com/strewing. I also like http://melissawiley.com/blog/2007/11/16/the-tidal-homeschooling-master-list/ and http://www.nheri.org/NHERI-Research.html. There are so many choices and I'm always finding new ideas, but my main aim is to keep tailoring our home school to my children, enjoy my own ongoing education, encourage and serve others, love life and be led by God.
* My children. Their spontaneous expression and improvisation in music, dance and song, the stories they tell as they are playing cars, dolls, family and animal role play, shops, chefs and cafes, Bible heroes, kings and princesses.
* Watching less TV and not missing it. We only get NBN and ABC1, having not spent money on a decent aerial or set top box, and have cut down from very little to next to nothing. Over the years I find more shows boring, annoying or immoral. Not that I'm perfect, but I want to dwell on nice things, not crime shows. Not to mention the ads shown even as we watch the weather at 6:50pm, having to quickly turn it off if the kids are in the room. Shows we sometimes enjoy are Landline, The Secret Millionaire, The New Inventors.
* Having the Bible to guide my choices in books, movies, music etc. Philippians 4:8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
* Continuing to consciously raise our children the best way we can. I don't want to raise them in a bubble, and there are plenty of instances where I'll let them take risks and learn from their mistakes. I'm happy to discuss their choices and debate issues with them (as a firm believer that 4 and 5 year olds are quite capable of intelligent discussion). But I also think it's my responsibility to protect them from too-early exposure to excessive evil in the media, shops, books etc. http://www.kf2bk.com/help.htm goes some way towards the action we would like to see much more of, in relation to a wider movement of protecting children in general.
* Living with less ... I love filling bags with excess clothing, toys etc for the op shop. But no matter how much I give away we still seem to have much more than we need. As evidenced by the next point ...
* Organising what we do have ... it's an ongoing challenge to keep our books, art supplies and other 'stuff' in such a way that it is tidy, readily accessible but not in the way. We have 4 sets of shelves lining the garage walls, where things (like sports gear, paints, floor puzzles or sewing gear) are packed in boxes ready to grab as needed. A pantry cupboard in the garage houses my teaching resources, future workbooks and books the kids are not quite ready for. Another in the sunroom has stationery, worksheets, readers, maths manipulatives, games, flashcards, puzzles and more. An open shelf holds work boxes, textbooks, textas, frequently used craft supplies, whiteboards, art scrapbooks, and the CD player. More board games and toys are stashed in the linen press, kids rooms and TV unit. Then there's the main bookshelf, with sections for fiction, non-fiction and teacher resources. And the kids each have a shelf in their rooms with their personal favourites. Yikes!
* Cooking. I really love baking desserts, cakes, slices, pancakes and cookies, but then they need to be eaten. Uh oh. So the kids and I do that as a treat sometimes, especially when we have the opportunity to take them somewhere to share. I also like cooking stir fries with rice or noodles, pasta bake, homemade pizza and cutting up fruit platters. I'm not so familiar but getting braver with roasts, casseroles, soups, pies and pastries. It's all fun. I try to keep it a bit healthy, and limit the sugar and artificial additives. We go through a ton of fruit each week, but need to eat more veges and always wish we used even less pre-packaged food.
* Cleaning. It's never finished, and it's a living home, but I feel happier when the house is reasonably tidy, the bathroom cleaned, washing done and floor vacuumed. We need to repaint some walls, and I'm usually behind in window cleaning. I positively dream about the next day when I'll have my carpets professionally cleaned (it would've been this month if we hadn't come home to a dead hot water system, finally replaced yesterday for over $1000!)
* Aboriginal heritage ... we've discovered there may be some, a few generations ago in my husband's family tree, but it's proving hard to access all the records to confirm it. I wish it was in my blood! I've always loved learning about Aboriginal land, culture, art and so on, and feel a real affinity, but my grandparents quite certainly come from Holland, England and Germany. I don't envy the myriad problems our Indigenous people are experiencing, and hope the future sees a lot of improvement. This is a fascinating story unfolding.
If you're still reading, congratulations on your stamina! I can get carried away. There's plenty of other things I'm excited about ... outreaching, charities, travel, art, books and more, but I'm sure you've heard enough about me for one day. Why not drop me a list or blog link of what you're inspired by this year?