Do you spend part of your vacation reflecting on life at home and how you'd like to live it differently?
We're just home from a two week family road trip. (We learned lots about how to make a family road trip more affordable and fun. You can expect those posts soon!). We had a fantastic time. We learned that we have two kids who are awesome little travellers and we feel confident that we can plan some great trips in the years to come. We now know that they can hack a long, often-boring drive. But, I digress...
Whenever we are away on vacation I spend a lot of time thinking about life at home. It's strange how looking at life from 1,800 kilometers away brings the little things into better focus. What do I want to do more of when we're back to our normal life? What do I want to do less of?
Along with 6 loads of laundry, I also am working on a few ideas that I brought home from vacation with me.
- Sponsoring a child in need. Our daughter is starting grade 3 in the fall (woosh - time is flying!). She is getting really good at writing down her thoughts and stories. Our plan is to sponsor a girl in need who's about our daughter's age. Our girlie can write letters and send drawings, we can help a family in need and we can teach our kids about how life is different for so many other children. There's so much value in this idea for so many people. We may make this a tradition for when our son starts grade 3.
- Giving myself permission NOT to work more. I work part-time, 3 days a week, and now that my son is starting full-time grade 1 I am entering a new chapter in life which includes 2 days a week home sans kids. The possibilities are endless and exciting. My plan is to devote these days to caring for our family, our home and myself. Ed has been strongly advocating for this plan (over and over) while I lamented, "Shouldn't I find more work? What will people think if I don't work more?". I am finally convinced to listen to him. He's right, we have a great opportunity to add more quality to our living with one of us home regularly with more time and flexibility. There's lots of reasons we live frugally, including having more time for what matters to us.
- Fitting in more fitness. Have I ever come home from vacation without a plan for this one? Not once. Have I followed through? Maybe once. I have finally learned to keep my ideas less lofty. My simple plan is to wear my exercise clothes to drop off the kids on my "home days". My hope is to work my way up to a regular 5K run. I've heard good things about the "Couch to 5K" app.
- Adding a bit more responsibility to our children's weekly chores. We're planning to add: putting their own clean clothes away. They will need to have it done by Friday (allowance day) or we wait until they're finished to get their coinage. (In case you're curious, right now their chores are: putting their school lunch bag and school agenda's in the kitchen after school, cleaning and setting the table before supper and taking their dishes to the sink.)
|Visiting friends in Nova Scotia. Our daughter loved helping with the kids' farm chores.|
- Baking Lunchbox Treats each week. Our kids often lament about the packaged snacks they don't get in their lunch bags. There's lots of reasons we don't buy little packages of cookies, candies, fruit (like) gummies, etc. They add too much to our grocery bill. They add waste to the landfill. They don't add to our health. Our kiddos, begrudgingly, understand. While away, I came to wonder: would they feel better about our choices if they were more involved? Mos' def. So, here's the plan I cooked up:
- Each weekend we'll bake together the Lunchbox Treats for the week. Our kids love baking, so they will be jazzed with doing this more regularly.
- We will alternate who chooses the recipe for that week. One week boy, next week girl.
- I will have the ultimate choice. I'm going to pre-select a bunch of recipes from which they can choose. (I'll share them here for you too!) Sometimes they will be more delicious than healthy, maybe on short weeks. Most of the time they will be healthier choices, like these recipes we've shared on the blog:
or Best Ever Chocolate Cookies