DIY · Family · Health and Fitness

2016 Resolutions: Competing with YouTube and Going Old School

New Years Eve ended really early at my house this year … like nine. It ended at nine.

But before I fell asleep with my electric blanket like an old lady, I took some time to reflect on the past year and decided on some resolutions for 2017 that mostly center on increasing family time and decreasing sitting-on-our-butts time (also known as screen time). We need to shake things up at our house before my kids graduate from high school and all I have to show for it is an impressively diverse Netflix home screen.

New Years Resolutions:

1) Get more exercise as a family: This doesn’t mean putting in our headphones and  smiling awkwardly at each other from across the gym (although the gym will be a part of all this). This means getting out more and getting dirty, sweaty, covered in snow and mud and having adventures. I swear, we’re going to have more adventures. It’s happening. I’m going to make it happen.

2) Spend less time staring at glowing rectangles: There’s no excuse for how much TV we watch. I mean, my family can watch eight straight hours of television shows on Netflix  without even batting an eye. We’re like a family of super-hero-show junkies. Even our dogs respond to the theme song from “Arrow.” It’s time to get the eff out of the house or at least find things to do IN the house that don’t involve starting wide-eyed at the television screen while our brains turn to mush.

3) Start a family “business”: A long time ago, my husband and I decided we wanted to make some rustic signs and such and turn it into a family hobby that would make a little extra money for fun-family times (see adventures above in item no. 1). We decided to transform our garage into a workshop and involve our sons, teaching them woodworking and the value of a dollar. It all sounded so awesome … but we haven’t done it. Our garage still looks like an areal photo of the aftermath of a severe tropical storm and we have made exactly ONE sign out of scrap wood that turned out OK … let’s just say I didn’t give it as a gift. We have a long way to go. This is the year I turn that all around.

Now, I’ve lived enough life to know that even one of these resolutions could be more than I can handle in a year. Even though I can plan and prep like a professional, I’m not GREAT at follow through. Since I’m not a fan of setting myself up for failure, I’ve decided to take this whole thing one step at a time. Baby steps. Deep breathing. No pressure.

Since adventuring is hard to do with flood and land-slide warnings, I’ve decided to take on resolution no. 2 until Northern California roads become a little less harrowing (I’m stoked for adventure but … you know … I have my limits).

Decreasing screen time is tough, especially with a teenager in the house. It’s like I’m over here making balloon animals while the Internet is blowing up dry ice bombs and showing drone footage of erupting volcanoes. What the heck?! So in order to check this resolution off my list I’m going to have to up my game and up it HARD. Something I’ve discovered about kids these days is that they are generally fascinated by doing things the “old fashioned way.” All these flashing lights and hilarious YouTube videos have left a hunger for simpler times, even among the tech-addicted teen types! So rather than trying to go complicated, I’m going to try going the opposite direction with some old-school activities and see how it goes. My first thought:

Soap Making

I’m way too much of a sissy to bust out the lie and go all “Breaking Bad” in my kitchen (was that a meth joke? What am I thinking right now?). What I mean is, the last thing I need is a huge mess or a toxic explosion. So I found the above link which is for (use air quotes here) “soap making.” Basically, I’m going to get my kids in the kitchen, melt down some already-made-for-me soap bricks and have them add their own essential-oil scents and textures (oatmeal, sea salt, etc.). The idea is to do something time consuming (involving them in set-up and clean-up) that doesn’t involve a screen and gives them something they can use and be proud of. Plus, soap makes an awesome gift so if we get really good at this Christmas next year could be a breeze! Who doesn’t love kind-of-but-not-really homemade soap?!

I’ll keep you posted on how all of this goes. It looks like the initial Amazon investment is about $30 for a bunch of soy-free, melt-and-mold goats milk (be still my granola-heart) soap bars and some basic (but adorable) soap molds. I already have a huge stash of DoTerra oils and plenty of oatmeal and sea salt, so I think we’re good to go. Photos to follow soon!

It’s important for all of us to keep in mind that New Years resolutions are about progress and about making a renewed effort. I know that it is very unlikely that my family will enter 2018 with a dust-covered, rarely-used television set, looking like the cast of a Subaru ad with a profitable, family sign-making business. There’s no way I can do all of that without driving my boys crazy, depriving my husband of his reruns of “American Pickers” and turning into a crazed fun-Nazi (they exist). Effort is key. Effort and actually taking the first steps toward these goals. Let’s make 2017 the year for first steps, shall we?


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