Initial Reflection: On Starting Out

Domestic Infrastructure

Through December: Weatherproofing

  • Insulation in attic and basement
  • Door replacement (in motion already)
  • Windows — something on some of them at least

This house is drafty. I can’t wait for some of these doors to actually keep cold air out. All of these things will make use heat, which we keep low anyway, more efficiently. This will help us keep our costs and energy usage down. Win-win!


Household Economy:

Through December: Reduce discretionary spending on food

  • Eat out less
    • Take lunches to school
    • Make meals/food in bigger batches
    • Use less canned foods and more dry goods
  • Buy fewer goodies
  • Waste less food
  • Get to Bryn Athyn Organic Produce Cooperative for groceries and bulk items at least once a month

This always seems easier for my husband than me. Food is the thing we like to spend money on. Being more conscious and frugal here will make a big overall difference I believe.

Resource Consumption:

Through December:  Use Less

  • Above goals apply to this — more motivation to focus on those
  • Gasoline and Oil
    • Seal A/C vents
    • Drive less by being conscious of consolidating trips

This seems kind of vague and small, but I want to focus on some of the other bigger, broader goals and intentionally kept this doable for us.

Cottage Industry and Subsistence:

Through December:  Homestead Preparation

  • Clear garden beds
  • Begin stocking goods
    • Decide on and clean a space for food storage
    • Look into companies to order from through Coop
    • Order beans, chickpeas, quinoa, rice

I am guessing we will be up to the December deadline on this one, for the garden clearing mostly. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was out there New Year’s Day getting something done just to not feel guilty for not having completed this garden goal to some small degree before going back to teaching.

Family and Community:

Through December:  Consciously Create Family

  • More face-to-face time (See Time and Happiness)
  • Organize monthly Family Fest with Darla and Jen
    • at our house — food and sleepover
    • one couple each month goes on a date at some point in the sleepover

Needless to say, as a working, breastfeeding attachment parenting mother this one goes straight to my heart. These are my feeble attempts to assuage my Mother’s Guilt and help us all remember who we are as adults and who we married.

Outside Work:

Through December

  • Sheila: Put together Life Restructuring Plan
  • Radha: Winter House Concert

It felt more realistic to have separate goals on this one.

The plan, this plan and other currently (somewhat) secret parts of my future plans, require time and energy. I felt it was important to acknowledge that time within the plan. Another part of Living Family is to not make my life and work so separate or my time so compartmentalized or vague. These blog posts, the discussions I have and notes I take are important to me and my family. I need to recognize the role they play and the time they take in my life.

Gopinath has had the idea of a seasonal concerts at our house. This winter I hope to have an “expanded family” gathering/concert with his group ONE.

Time and Happiness: Those things without which there’s really no point.

Through December: More face to face time

  • Sheila — Take one night a week completely off from work
  • Radha Gopinath — Less computer time

I thought I’d start with something I thought would be difficult enough but significant. One night a week off from work means I have to try to control the wandering and wheel turns of my mind as well. So far, if I was trying to make myself feel better, I could focus on how well I’ve done with this goal. I took the whole Thanksgiving break off from work to a large degree.

Gopinath’s goal of less computer time will surely rub off on me…..

Health and Fitness:

Through December:

  • Sheila — Drink as much water as humanly possible to support breastfeeding as long as possible and winter health and immunity
  • Radha Gopinath — Walk each day with the dogs.
  • Family — Walk with whole family, including dogs, once a week

I added this category, but my husband readily agreed and instantly thought of his goal. I think my goal is doable but illogically difficult for me in general. Water is vital for life, health and breastfeeding. Gopinath’s goal is actually necessary, but it is a past goal that has eluded us so I’m waiting to see what my role will be in that.

That’s it for now. I feel excited, even in the face of these somewhat daunting goals. Go Living Family!

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