12 in 2012 Challenge!

I was looking for some great 2012 challenges already set up online for me to join!  I feel like when something is a challenge or a game, I am more apt to work at it and complete it.  But I couldn’t find any great all-around improve your life challenges that summed up what Robert and I are itching to do this year.  So we made our own…welcome to the 12 in 2012 Challenge!

Here you can make a list (or more than one list) that can be 12 exercises you will learn, 12 books you will read, 12 recipes you will master, 12 homemade projects you will tackle, whatever you want!  You can even make one list that includes a mix of anything too-they don’t have to be thematic.

I have drafted up my lists and Robert and I are working on household list too.

Here’s what we have so far with links:

RECIPES-
Souffle
Beef wellington
Fried chicken – I can’t fry food worth anything currently…
Donuts – See above!
Sourdough bread
Santa Cake
Rainbow cake in jars http://pinterest.com/pin/131589620331893711/ For my b-day!
Delicious cinnamon rolls!
Mole
Paella
Macarons
Butter chicken
Swiss cake roll
Pavlova

DIY-
Laundry Detergent http://pinterest.com/pin/131589620331909043/
Dishwasher Detergent http://pinterest.com/pin/131589620331909042/
Toilet paper wreath-Collect and create http://pinterest.com/pin/131589620331870653/
Update dressers in bedroom-maps http://pinterest.com/pin/131589620331728622/
Fill and hang up all photo frames
Get canvas and poster framed and up
Halloween or thanksgiving pumpkins http://pinterest.com/pin/131589620331909866/
Plant a pot of potatoes
Grow herb garden in San Antonio pots
Kill chickens http://www.ebeyfarm.blogspot.com/p/we-sell-chickens.html
Have a garage sale
Rainbow wreath http://pinterest.com/pin/131589620331914457/ For my b-day!

EXERCISE-
100 days challenge http://100dayschallenge.org/
Bike the Burke Gilman trail
Bike to church
Bike around bottom of lake
Bike around all of Lake Washington
Work up to 12 pullups
100 pushup challenge http://hundredpushups.com/
200 situps challenge http://www.twohundredsitups.com/
Couch to 5K completion http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
Run a 5K
Run 4 miles
Run 5 miles

On top of that, and our previous post’s dreams, I have a million other ideas, like…

Hang tight to see our household list of 12!

2012 draws nigh…

and We The Martins are preparing for it.  After 355 days knowing each other on Christmas Day, we find ourselves married not two months yet.  Life has been sweet but we have been sharing dreams and goals in order to aid in an even sweeter 2012.

If I had to use one word to describe our dreams for 2012, it would be Health.

We are praying and working towards health in our spirits/relationship with Christ, health in our marriage, for our families (especially my dad who is near kidney failure), health in our own bodies, health in our home, health in our church, health in our jobs, health in our environment, health in our finances.  You get the picture.

Last year I made a detailed life plan and not a single thing came through for me.  For example, I wrote that I wouldn’t have a crush on anyone.  And here I am married to a man I didn’t even know when I wrote that silly life plan.

This year, I just want to document what we aim to do and what we actually do.  Our list, thus far, is as follows.  Would you add anything?  Any advice?

In no particular order, but numbered simply because it makes online lists easier to read…

1.  Eat more whole foods, especially vegetables.  Presently, we have fresh carrots, onions, brussel sprouts, leaks, lettuce, cucumbers, and fingerling potatoes in the fridge.  I hope to finish almost all of them off this week.

2.  Get enough sleep.  Currently, we’ve gotten good at waking up early-usually between 5 and 7 depending on the morning due to a Wake Up Light/Alarm Clock and a new puppy!  It still never feels like enough sleep but so far, we’re usually attempting sleep by 10:30 or earlier.

3.  Pay off as much school debt as possible.  We just finished paying all of my undergraduate loans but still have three groups of grad school loans for both of us.

  • We made a budget! Great first step.
  • Though our budget has us paying off our next lowest loan by February but we are working hard to try and pay it off in January or at least as close as we can get.  Have extra work? Need a paper edited?  Need some photography done? Were available!
  • Though I have some clothes with small holes or bleach stains, I’m not planning to get any new clothes for a long time.
  • Tonight I had an epiphany, if I keep wearing the same slightly worn out clothes-I can actually completely wear them out and then will feel more able-budget and closet wise to get some new ones.
  • Use cash for the month of January.  We got a new debit account that requires 12 debit uses in one month.  With Robert having an ATM at work he can pull out cash for both of us to use for groceries, personal spending, etc every week to meet that goal without making unnecessary online debit purchases.
  • We still want to have a fun life and are saving money each month to set aside for vacations of which we have several planned already.  We need to actually get into Costa Rica while our resort still has credit for us!
  • As well as vacations, we also have plans for date night.  We have lots of gift cards still to be used from birthdays and the wedding.  Some are even for restaurants and movies.
  •  We’ll supplement these with various Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com deals that we bought previously.
  •  We also made a giant list of fun things, most of which are free or cheap, that we can pull out any time we are bored or looking for an activity.
  • For every other fun thing, we’ll try and use spare change-turns out the average household has about $90 of it sitting around.
  • We have begun meal planning for the last month now and work hard to eat out of our pantry as much as possible.  We just don’t see the need to have a massive pantry filled with food while never feeling like there’s a meal to be found in there.
  • After doing some serious drug store coupon gaming last year, we should have enough toiletries to get us through many months.  Our shampoo and conditioner piles might even get us through the year.  And Robert was quite pleased to find cold medicine in the middle of the night immediately in our own closet-thanks to coupon shopping!

4.  We would both like to get in better shape.

  • Drink more water.  Starting tomorrow, I plan to challenge Robert to drink at least two liters a day.  In 2011, we’d done two months of at least 3 liters a day and loved it, though the extra bathroom breaks take getting used to for the first few days.
  • Walk more.  With two dogs, this is great exercise for all four of us.
  • Actually train and finish the Couch to 5K program.  I once finished eight weeks, only to move in week nine and stop running entirely due to the hectic life upheaval.
  • Learn to work out at optimal heart range.  Robert and I are both famous for working out so hard that we don’t want to work out again for a week or a month.  Now, thanks to Christmas we both have heart rate monitors.
  • Oh, and PS. If we lose any weight, both of our wardrobes suddenly become bigger because let’s be honest, everyone has one or more clothing items they’d love to fit into again.

5. Start volunteering at church more. We’re praying about ways to get more involved after a great dinner with our Pastor and his wife recently.

6.  We have several vacations planned just for us, but we’d also like to read at least two marriage books together.  Any recommendations?

  • We are planning to read through the entire Old Testament together this year.
  • We are always working to make prayer a regular and active part of our married relationship.

7.  We both want our home to be a tidy, clutter free,restful place retreat for ourselves and anyone who needs.

  • I’ve been using FlyLady as a way to slowly declutter, tidy up after the wedding/and presents-thanks everyone!, and to keep the house clean from its great use-thank you two dogs!  She makes cleaning a way of blessing your home instead of a dreaded task, and she does it in a way that usually takes no more than fifteen minutes.  Even Robert has joined in to help even though he thinks following a website on cleaning tips is a bit silly.
  • I’d love to have something baked or ready to bake at anytime in case guests come over unexpectedly.  Right now we have choc/butterscotch cookie dough rolled out and ready to be baked as well as lots of pumpkin-cooked and processed ready to go into muffins, bread, cake, pancakes, etc.
  • I’d love to keep using Pinterest to make our home bright, festive, and seasonal.

What is your one word for 2012?  How are you hoping to achieve it?