Friday, March 10, 2017

How to Survive Winters...Alone

As many as you know or may not, I spent 1/4 of the year alone while Clint heads south to Texas to train dogs for the winter. Every year people ask me how I do it and honestly sometimes I wonder how I don't go a little cabin crazy myself. Or maybe I'm already too cabin crazy to realize that it has already happen. But in all honestly I keep pretty busy. It is almost like a "reset" to my year. He leaves days after NYE and doesn't return until late March. So here I sit for nearly 80 days with 3 dogs and a pig on 200 acres down a gravel road 20 minutes from the nearest gas station. I think spending time with yourself is really important. It makes you appreciate yourself more because let's face it---there's no one else to. Am I right? So if you ever find yourself with lots of free time alone or just need to survive the rest of the winter. Here ya go girl, I got it for ya!

1. Master a new make-up (or hair) skill
Last year I finally became a girl and learned how to curl my hair from watching way too many YOUTUBE videos. This year I dug out my makeup bag and practiced contouring. I'm not sure if I can call myself a master just yet but my confidence has grown for sure.  

2. Try a new workout
Obviously where I live the workout classes are limited to none, not joking either. Fortunately with my daily commute to work I pass probably about ten gyms. I have always wanted to try hot yoga but I don't think that's coming to rural Missouri anytime soon so second on my list was Barre classes! I have seriously fallen in love with Barre classes over the past 6 weeks. Not only do I feel a little more sassy when I leave I wake up the next morning with every bone in my body aching. It uses muscles that you didn't even know existed. I'm actually going to two different places right now and both are amazing. One is Barre cardio and it an hour long class and the other is more low impact and 30 minutes. Summer bods are made in the winter righttttt?!?! So I know new gyms and workouts can be intimating but they are so worth it, your booty will thank you.  

I've always considered myself somewhat as a minimalist (minus my makeup and hair products) and I'm not sure why. Growing up I was a pack rat but as an adult and moving several times throughout the past ten years I really have let a lot of things go and it is very freeing. I love to shop and love stuff but I don't like crap and I HATE clutter, Which is really surprising because my classroom is a disaster 99% of the time. Each year after Clint leaves I seriously tear apart the house to the point where if company came by they would be concerned for my sanity. I donate everything I haven't worn in a year, throw away all my old shoes, and simply get rid of anything that doesn't bring me joy. Cheesy? Yes, but life is too short and if it serves me no purpose I hope that someone else can find some with it. My advice, start by selling anything worth a dollar on Facebook Market or an app like PoshMark. I think I made over $100 in January selling clothes, accessories and other household items. If you're having trouble getting started...just click here. You can thank me later. 

4. Deep clean (and organize) until your heart hurts
After the purging and trash removal the cleaning begins. Me giving anyone cleaning advice is a huge joke because honestly I hate it. Its a vicious cycle at my house with 3 inside dogs. Nothing is ever clean and once it is clean it doesn't stay that way long. I usually start in the rooms that I won't be using in the winter: spare bathroom, Clint's office and the spare bedroom. I focus on one room at at time and once it's done I really close the door and move onto the next room. So far I've mastered 4 rooms of the house and with the end of March in sight I've been saving the ones I use everyday for last. This doesn't mean I skip my cleaning for three months (I wish it did) but I save the deep cleaning and reorganizing until last so they are fresh in March. This week I've been working on the kitchen which means doing a total wipe down of the tops of the cabinets and the top of the refrigerator. Tonight I straightened up under the kitchen sink, consolidated cleaning supplies and took everything out of my utensil drawer. That was a purge in itself unfortunately. So now when you enter my kitchen and open the drawers you think we have our lives together.

5. Learn to meal prep
I actually enjoy cooking when I'm preparing it for other people but cooking for myself all winter is something I have zero interest in. I started cooking on Mondays and using that for the whole week. It is seriously a game changer. I've found that quiche is really easy, delicious and reheats perfectly.(Here's my fav), I cook up broccoli, chicken, tons of sweet potatoes, and brussel sprouts to get me through the week..Don't worry that's not all I eat but it does make packing lunch much easier. Another one of my winter favorites is crock-pot apple cinnamon oatmeal!

6.  Start a budget and a Savings
I seriously can't even believe I said the B word. In all my years I've never budgeted my money until very recently. Luckily I think it is something I've always done naturally because I've always considered myself pretty frugal. I've been traveling more recently so that really took a dent in my teacher's paycheck. This winter I've sat down and really looked at my spending. Sticking to it is a whole different blog post though. We won't go there. Two or three years ago I started having money automatically taken out of my paycheck each month and added into a separate account. It is an IRA that grows interest. I wish I knew exactly what it is but I just trust my financial adviser that he knows what he is doing with it. It also gave me a greater refund on my taxes. If you're interest in starting one let me know and I'll hook you up! I highly recommend it.

7. Volunteer at work
Let's face it, a teachers whole job is basically volunteering. We come in early and stay late and do whatever is needed to get by. In the winter I always try to do more because I have that time to invest and I actually enjoy doing it. Volunteering to do extra stuff at work can be exhausting and add stress. I always try to do stuff that I enjoy doing so I don't look at it as work but more of something fun to do with the kids. This year I took on Media Team where we started making very short videos for the school. The kids love it so I call it a win.

8. Online shop for all your wedding and baby showers 
You guys!! I love shopping. Seriously, it is not a hobby of mine---It is a passion. And with the world at the the touch of a button I have shopped up or planned up for all my showers and weddings this year. I'm excited to share these things with you guys later. I love buying the perfect gifts for people and occasions. Teacher budget wedding gifts are coming guys. Just wait. I probably spend the majority of the time on my phone window shopping. I feel like I always had the best intentions of buying the best gifts in the past but always waited too long and then it was too late to order. Get on it! You won't regret being prepared.

10.  Get Crafty
Something I've really been interested in over the past few months is woodworking. In January I sought out the perfect kitchen table plans and started building it when the help from my Dad. We had a lot of fun and in the end build a beautiful table. My intentions were to sell it but I haven't had the response like I thought I would. I overpriced it purposely...maybe so  no one would buy it:) I love it so much. It needs a great home that will appreciate it as much as I do. I have several other things on my list to build too but told myself I have to sell my table first. It really is amazing what you can accomplish if you actually set your mind to it. With the proper guidance almost anything is possible these days. Seek out someone who is knowledgeable about the project. My dad was so patient and eager to teach me. I learned so much about different tools. An invaluable lesson for sure. Anyone need a table?

If you made it this far you clearly have enough time to sit down and think about all the things you want to accomplish this Spring considering there are 10 days left in winter!! Hooray! Hope this motivates you to get on it.