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Project 333 – An Update

24 October, 2014
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A few months ago I announced that I was giving Project 333 a go – wearing only 33 items of general clothing (including accessories and pairs of shoes but not including workout clothes, pyjamas and “lounge wear”) for three months.

So, how did it go? It was pretty easy actually. Since I wear dresses, each dress is generally an entire outfit. There were some accessories I didn’t even use for the entire month, and a dress I didn’t wear at all (it is a good dress for going out for dinner etc). I had one dress develop holes that I had to replace, and I replaced my black shrug (that had become misshapen) with a new short sleeved black cardigan and replaced some of my leggings that always managed to fall down with some new ones. And I bought one new dress anyway. But I didn’t exceed the 33 items, just replaced as needed.

I also went on holidays with just ten items of clothing (by the same rules as the Project 333 rules) and didn’t have any issues. Three dresses, three pairs of leggings, two cardigans and two pair of shoes. For a week. No problems!

The outcome? I probably won’t change anything. I will sort through my basket of clothes that I packed away for the challenge and decide if anything in there is worth keeping. It’s also made me more decisive about future purchases as all my clothes (bar one outfit) fit into the black-white-navy-red colour scheme, and I can keep that in mind.

Would I do it again? Well yes. In fact, I basically do it all the time and will continue to do so. I really don’t feel the need to have more clothes than this. I will probably get out a few extra accessories but I will take a long hard look at them to decide if I will actually wear them…

Would I recommend it to others? Sure!

Liz’s Epic Quest Of Awesomeness – The Points System

23 October, 2014

To encourage me along the way, to be making regular progress towards my goals, I will award myself weekly points for working towards my challenges.  These points can accrue even when I have completed the challenge (so still get points for trying a new food, even if it’s my tenth new food that year) and, as such, the points achieveable will be higher than the points necessary to complete all the challenges.

My weekly points goal will be 100 points.  The points will be awarded as follows:

Fitness/Exercise Challenges

  1. Finish the Couch to 5k program.  Which means being able to run/jog for 30mins without stopping. – 10 points per workout.
  2. Achieve 50 parkruns (currently at 15). – 10 points per parkrun.
  3. Walk/Run 1000km across the year-and-a-bit (not in one hit!!) – which will set me well on my way to Mordor (I’m currently on 99km and The Road To Mordor is 2863km long). – 10 points for completing 20kms walking/running in the week.
  4. Be able to hold either a headstand or handstand (yoga) for at least a few seconds. – 50 points (to achieve these points second and subsequent times, I need to be able to hold the stand for a little longer than the previous time).
  5. Be able to do three proper pushups (on toes) in a row. – 50 points (to achieve these points second and subsequent times, I need to be able to do more proper pushups than the previous time).

New Experiences Challenges

  1. Try five new foods. – 10 points per new food tried.
  2. Attend a class, or a series of classes, to learn a new skill. – 40 points for a one-off class, or 20 points per class for a series of classes.
  3. Try an exercise class I’ve never tried before. – 30 points per new class tried.
  4. Visit three cultural locations (museums, art galleries, historic sites) I’ve never been to before. – 40 points per new location, although if it’s on the same day (say in a city I’ve never been to before) subsequent venues get 30, 20 then 10 points.

Book/Reading Challenges

  1. Read ten fiction books. – 20 points per book completed
  2. Read five biographies. – 20 points per book completed
  3. Read five non-fiction books (not biographies). – 20 points per book completed
  4. Begin ten books from my “I should read these classics” list, and complete at least three of them (to qualify as beginning the book I need to read at least three chapters/50 pages). – 10 points for beginning a book and 40 points for finishing (some books are half points, see the list).
  5. Read three novels aloud to our children. – 40 points per book finished.

Spanish Challenges

  1. Complete Rosetta Stone Level One – Spanish (Latin American). – 5 points per lesson, and a bonus 20 points once completed.
  2. Complete DuoLingo in Spanish. – 5 points per day completed, and a bonus 20 points once completed.
  3. Work through Laugh and Learn Spanish. – 5 points per (very short) chapter, and a bonus 20 points once completed..
  4. Complete Rosetta Stone Level Two – Spanish (Latin American). – 5 points per lesson, and a bonus 20 points once completed..
  5. Read a novel, in Spanish. – 5 points per chapter, and a bonus 20 points once completed.

Experiences Challenges

  1. Attend four live performances, including at least one musical, one live music performance and one theatrical performance. – 30 points per performance.
  2. Visit four different museums, art galleries or other cultural locations (in addition to the new experience challenges). – 30 points per venue.
  3. See five movies at the cinema, rather than always waiting for them to come out on DVD and then forgetting about them. – 30 points per movie.
  4. Go to three different fesivals, carnivals, fetes, fairs etc. – 30 points per celebration.
  5. Go to High Tea in two different locations. – 40 points per High Tea.

Holiday/Travel Challenges

  1. Have a week’s holiday away as a family. – 100 points per holiday (it’s only going to happen once!)
  2. Have one night away with Mark. – 80 points (it’s only likely to happen once)
  3. Have one night away, without Mark and the kids. – 80 points (again, only likely to happen once, if at all).

The “I Should Read These Classics” List

22 October, 2014
  1. Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
  2. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  3. Emma by Jane Austen
  4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  5. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  9. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  10. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  11. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  12. Oscar And Lucinda by Peter Carey
  13. Dune by Frank Herbert
  14. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
  15. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  16. Atonement by Ian McEwan

The books qualified as classics by being on one of the following lists of the Top 100 Classics

The Guardian – The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time

Modern Library – 100 Best Novels

 

And the following books count for half-points, being “modern/popular classics”

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene
  2. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
  3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  6. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  7. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  9. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The books qualified as modern/popular classics by being on the Dymocks 101 books to read (2014) List

 

 

 

 

Liz’s Epic Quest of Awesomeness

21 October, 2014

About six weeks ago, I joined the Nerd Fitness Academy.  It’s a paid membership, although it’s free to subscribe to the twice-weekly posts on the blog.

The most recent blog post hit my inbox sometime in the night, but I got to read it this morning.  It was an update on Steve’s Epic Quest of Awesomeness.  It got me thinking about what I would set myself as an Epic Quest. Overseas travel is out of the question, at least from a financial perspective, as flights for seven people is… more than we can currently afford.  I could go on but, basically, Steve’s quests are going to look vastly different from my own.  Steve is a young, single guy living in America (where you can easily earn credit card points to turn into travel vouchers!) and I’m a not-so-young stay at home mum of five kids, including one with autism, living on a single income.  His dreams are different from mine and his idea of fun is different to mine.

Some lovely ladies on the Nerd Fitness Academy Facebook page suggested that bringing up five kids is an Epic Quest in an of itself.  Conquering the housework is an Epic Quest.  To a point, they are right, but they are quests that you can never just cross off your list, they are things that need doing again, and again, and again.  Even my psychologist (yes, I have a psychologist) has said that it’s important for me to achieve things, to do things that can’t be undone.  Once I’ve read a book, I can’t unread it.  Once I’ve done a 5km fun run, I can’t unrun it.  Once I’ve caught up on all the washing, give it a few hours and it needs doing again.  So I need to focus on things that I can’t undo (like weight loss).  Things that are done and ticked off and we move on to the next challenge.

And so, I am working on some quests so I can “level up my life”, as Steve says.

For 2014 we created an “Adventure Passport” with challenges for our three eldest children.  Things like going on a bushwalk, swimming in a natural body of water, visiting museums, attending live performances, trying new foods etc.  Some of them could be completed once and ticked off, some required multiple ticks to finish (such as trying a new food). So I am contemplating creating an adventure passport for myself, although I’m thinking it would also be awesome to have it laid out like a huge map (although I doubt I have the artistic skills to pull that one off).

The rules will be simple, although it’s a 2015 challenge, I am giving myself some wiggle room by allowing myself to start working on it from… well… now!  If there’s any caveats to a particular challenge, I’ll make it clear.  And all of the challenges must be ones that I cannot undo, like being a certain weight or having the house clean, and ones that I can’t completely mess up, like saying I’ll do something every single day/week, because life happens.  People get sick, crises happen.  Life happens.

Enough talk, on to THE LIST!

Fitness/Exercise Challenges

  1. Finish the Couch to 5k program.  Which means being able to run/jog for 30mins without stopping.
  2. Achieve 50 parkruns (currently at 15).
  3. Walk/Run 1000km across the year-and-a-bit (not in one hit!!) – which will set me well on my way to Mordor (I’m currently on 99km and The Road To Mordor is 2863km long).
  4. Be able to hold either a headstand or handstand (yoga) for at least a few seconds.
  5. Be able to do three proper pushups (on toes) in a row.

New Experiences Challenges

  1. Try five new foods.
  2. Attend a class, or a series of classes, to learn a new skill.
  3. Try an exercise class I’ve never tried before.
  4. Visit three cultural locations (museums, art galleries, historic sites) I’ve never been to before.

Book/Reading Challenges

  1. Read ten fiction books.
  2. Read five biographies.
  3. Read five non-fiction books (not biographies).
  4. Begin ten books from my “I should read these classics” list, and complete at least three of them (to qualify as beginning the book I need to read at least three chapters/50 pages).
  5. Read three novels aloud to our children.

Spanish Challenges

  1. Complete Rosetta Stone Level One – Spanish (Latin American).
  2. Complete DuoLingo in Spanish.
  3. Work through Laugh and Learn Spanish.
  4. Complete Rosetta Stone Level Two – Spanish (Latin American).
  5. Read a novel, in Spanish.

Experiences Challenges

  1. Attend four live performances, including at least one musical, one live music performance and one theatrical performance.
  2. Visit four different museums, art galleries or other cultural locations (in addition to the new experience challenges).
  3. See five movies at the cinema, rather than always waiting for them to come out on DVD and then forgetting about them.
  4. Go to three different fesivals, carnivals, fetes, fairs etc.
  5. Go to High Tea in two different locations.

Holiday/Travel Challenges

  1. Have a week’s holiday away as a family.
  2. Have one night away with Mark.
  3. Have one night away, without Mark and the kids.

That’s 27 challenges in total, which is a great number, being 3 cubed (yes I’m a geek).

I also have in mind a weekly challenge of sorts, where working towards my Epic Quests earns me points, with a points target each week, but that will come in a future post.

The Magic Donkey Ride

7 October, 2014

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Giles Andreae is another favourite author around here for the pre-school set. I’ve mentioned There’s A House Inside My Mummy, and I will post about some others, now that I’ve worked out where they are ;-).

But to the Magic Donkey Ride. I love the story of how this book was created (it’s inside the cover) when Andreae’ son asked Andreae to tell him a story about a donkey he could see in a field from his bedroom window.

The book has the hallmarks of young children’s fantasy books – a fantastical tale that happens at night, when everyone else is tucked into bed. Of sneaking out and sneaking back and the parents being none the wiser. Of flying through the sky on your very own magical donkey. And of secrets that are never told.

The rhythm and rhyme are great – I hate kids rhyming books with a clunky rhythm. Well worth a read!

Sleepy Bears

30 September, 2014

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I know I’ve featured Mem Fox quite a bit, but I can’t help it. Her books, on the whole, are readable and enjoyable for both parents and children alike.

Sleepy Bears tells the tale of a mother bear, calling her cubs in to sleep for the winter “Come in, come in, my beautiful bears. Winter is here and in winter we sleep”. She then goes on to speak to each of her cubs individually, telling them what they may dream of, as they drift off “to sleep” to hibernate for the winter.

It has a lovely rhythm to the text, with a sense of adventure, while still being a quiet, calming book, just right for bedtime.

Happy Birth Day

23 September, 2014

Happy Birth Day has some of the most realistic newborn baby illustrations I’ve seen. It is a great story, told from the parents’ perspective, to their daughter. It’s a hospital birth (with a midwife) and includes images of the baby being breastfed. It includes the baby being naked but not the adults.

It is also a good book for not depicting grandparents as gray-haired. It’s not as overt about it as “Our Granny”, but it’s there, nonetheless.

The author and illustrator also teamed up again to write the book Hi New Baby, which tells the story of a sister and the arrival of her new sibling. The girl in Hi New Baby, is the baby in Happy Birth Day. A perfect pair for a child anticipating (or dreading) the arrival of a new brother or sister.

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