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My Goals for 2018

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My most important goal for 2018:

Octavius Baby Foot The Prudent Homemaker

Have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby in late spring!


 February Rain in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

Garden Goals:

1. Take out dead our peach tree and replace it. We may take out both peach trees in the back, as the other appears to be dying as well. I learned in my extension service classes that peach and apricot trees only last around 10 years here. We've had these trees for 10 years. They are the two above covered in pink blossoms, The one you see on the right died last year and the one on the left is the other we will most likely take out too.

2. Plant many more flowers for cutting and enjoying in the garden. I want to grow thousands of flowers in the garden this year for arrangements thorughout the year.

3. Plant more Swiss chard, lettuce, green onions, snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, alpine strawberries, squash, and beets than in past years.

4. Fix sprinkler issues and reseed the lawn in the bare spots.

5. Find and fix all leaks in the drip lines.


White Embroidery Detail The Prudent Homemaker


Sewing Goals:


1. Sew curtains for my bedroom. I bought the fabric over a decade ago, shortly after we moved into the house. I need to buy lining and something to hang the curtains (I think we will need to make boxes). I want to get this project done this year. We've had shades hanging for years, but they broke last year and I'm ready for my curtains to finally be up!

2. Sew the decorative bed pillow that I embroidered a cover for last year (pictured in-progress above).

3. Sew baby clothes using patterns and material I have on hand. I gave away almost all of our baby clothing, save a few favorite things I had stored in one box.

4. Sew four dresses for myself. (These have been on my list for a few years now; this year I want to finish the ones I've started and sew two more, and I already have the fabric to do it).

5. Sew birthday gifts for the children using fabric I have on hand. My girls have requested several things and I already have a list of what they want.


Purchase Goals:

These are my planned purchases for the year. While I'm sure we'll have other needs, these are ones that I already know will be part of my purchases for the year:

1. Purchase a few baby clothing items for the new baby. I've already registered at Target so that I can get a 15% off coupon to use towards baby purchases the last two months of pregnancy (they let you use one towards what is left on your registry at that time, but the 15% is only good for ONE purchase. I'll definitely buy diapers and possibly purchase some onesies and socks at that time). I also will look at garage sales for needed items. I was recently gifted enough hand-me-down 0-3 month onesies that I don't need any in that size.

2. Purchase a car seat for the baby.

3. Buy the following clothing items for myself: sandals, black flats, nursing bras, and a few more maternity items (I'll look for those in thrift stores) for warm weather wear. It gets warm here early in the year. I am needing new-to-me maternity clothing in a smaller size; I donated all of my old maternity clothing last year.

4. Purchase new shoes for the family.

5. Purchase tarragon and tomato plants for the garden. I'll also buy more dirt for the garden; removing tree roots will mean I'll need dirt to fill in those spots.


Financial Goals:

1. Refund emergency fund. This was depleted last year after some hospital bills.  We have other goals we'd like to add to this category, but this is the first and most important one, and we won't do any of the others until after this one is accomplished.


What are your goals for this year?



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My Goals for the Month of September

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Octavius September The Prudent Homemaker 


Garden Goals:

Weather.com is predicting hotter than usual weather for the southwest U.S. for September and October (and predicting an early fall for the Northeast and South). The heat makes it hard to want to work in the garden (just a couple of days ago it was 113ºF/45ºC), but work still needs to be done.  It's still too hot in September to plant most things for my fall garden (soil temperatures are 80-85ºF and air temperatures are over 100º, cooling down into the upper 90's by the end of the month) but I need to have the garden ready to plant in October.


1. Weed the garden

2. Fertilize fruit trees

3. Pull out dead vines

4. Deadhead zinnias

5. Start cutting down the dead peach tree. (My large Early Elberta tree died this year and I want to get it out so that I can replace it this fall).

6. Trim hedges

7. Fertilize roses

8. Pull out plants that died (several bushes and a tree) that are within the one-year warranty and return them to the nursery for credit. I will also take the pots back for credit, as they give a few cents credit for each of the larger black pots. 

9. Pull out large bushes that fried in June. June had 117º temperatures (something we don't usually see until July) and a lot of my plants completely burned. 



Sewing Goals:

1. Mend 10 items of clothing

2. Hem three pairs of pants for my husband

3. Continue to work on whitework embroidery project

4. Sew a gift (or two) for my daughter for her birthday



1. Donate items to the thrift store

2. Tidy the garden shed

3. Organize school supplies

4. Organize toiletry cabinet 


What are your goals for September?


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My Goals for June

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White Embroidery Detail The Prudent Homemaker

It's been a busy year--so busy, in fact, that a lot of my goals have been put on the back burner while I work to keep up with my regular everyday chores (you can see my daily schedule here).  I'll be picking and processing fruit from the garden this month, organizing, and sewing every chance I get. As the heat sets in, I try to do my gardening in the early morning hours before breakfast (and in the late evenings after dinner) and do my sewing, organizing, and food processing in the afternoons when it's over 100º. We'll continue to homeschool throughout this month.



1. Weed and tidy garden

2. Pick blackberries as they ripen

3. Pick figs as they ripen

4. Pick apples as they ripen

5. Cut flowers for arrangements indoors

6. Plant seeds for more flowers and food

7. Fix a few water lines

8. Trim hedges

9. Stake trees and tomato cages to strengthen them against the wind

10. Plant the last of the bushes in the front walk



1. Continue to embroider the piece I'm currently working on (pictured above)

2. Finish two dresses I started last year

3. Finish hot pads


Food preservation:

1. Freeze blackberries and figs

2. Make and can applesauce if we don't eat all of the apples fresh

3. Can fig jam



1. Go through more outgrown clothing and donate it to the thrift store

2. Go through a box of papers

3. Organize garden seeds


What are your goals for this month?


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Red Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Dress: Amazon -- Earrings: homemade--Shoes: Naturalizer

Losing weight is one of the most common goals that people have. It's a big business, too, with lots of ads designed to make you think that you can't lose weight without buying new things: exercise clothing, exercise videos, diet plans, weight-loss pills, and more.

But you don't have to spend money on any of that to lose weight. 

You just have to eat less and exercise more.

Eating less is even more important than exercising more; you don't have to burn off calories that you're not taking in!

If one of your goals this year is to lose weight, but you're feeling like you can't afford to lose weight, you're not alone. I've felt that way many times. A few times, I succumbed to a couple of the myths below (#1 and #3) and neither made a difference. 

In the last 10 months, I've lost quite a bit of weight. Before you think, oh, that's just normal after-baby weight loss, I can tell you that I started my pregnancy weighing what I had weighed at the end of my first pregnancy. I've lost all of my baby weight from this baby (something I've never done with my previous 7 children), the 9 pounds I gained in between the miscarriage I had a few months before I became pregnant and the time I became pregnant with this baby, and an additional 13 pounds (weight gained in my first pregnancy and other pregnancies that I never lost in the last 15 years).

Myth #1: I have to buy exercise clothing

I don't like tennis shoes. I never have. I wear sandals most of the year, and loafers and boots in winter for everyday wear (and heels for church). One of the things holding me back before was feeling like I had to buy tennis shoes to go walking. I finally bought a cheap $5 pair when we were first married. I started walking to lose the 5 pounds I had gained after we got married. I walked and walked, and never lost the weight.

A couple of years ago, I bought some more supportive tennis shoes so that I could go walking (again, to lose weight). I hated spending the money on them, and I hated wearing them, since I always feel ugly in tennis shoes, and when it's 80º at 6 am in the spring, I'd rather be in sandals. Again, I lost no weight.

If you like to walk (or run) you most likely already have the proper shoes. Wear what you have. If you love it, you'll buy new shoes as a regular part of your budget. If, like me, gardening is more your type of exercise, you're better off buying some garden boots, where you know you'll get in your exercise on a regular basis. If you already have those, then you're already set.

The most important exercise is the one you'll do. And most weight-loss experts agree that losing weight is 80% what you eat and only 20% exercise, so focusing mainly on what you are eating is the most effective way to lose weight--which means you don't have to buy exercise clothing to lose weight. 


Myth #2: I have to cut all carbs and buy lots of expensive meat to lose weight

Carbs give energy, and we tend to forget that sometimes. Still, they're easy to overeat. Try cutting toast to 1 slice instead of 2 at breakfast. Eat a smaller amount of rice or pasta (1/4 of your plate).

Your proteins don't have to be expensive meats (or protein powders). Buy whole chickens on sale for under $0.80 a pound. Buy eggs on sale. Buy beans in bulk. Buy Greek yogurt in bulk and use it as a starter to make more yogurt with a gallon of milk.


Myth #3: I need to buy a new exercise DVD

There are so many exercise videos that you can watch for free online! PopSugar has a good number of ones that you can do with no special equipment. Try searching You Tube for some new exercise routines.

If you want to increase your exercise in general, look for simple ways to build more exercise into your daily routine: take more opportunities to walk, take the stairs, sweep the floor more often, or work outside.


Myth #4: I need to pay for a weight loss class/premade meals

Cooking your own meals is one of the best ways to save you money all of the time, and is especially helpful when you're trying to lose weight. You know exactly what is going into your food, and you're able to set good habits that you can continue even after you've reached your goal weight.  Plus, as you get into better habits of cooking at home instead of eating out, you'll find that you're saving money as well as losing weight. (Here's an interesting comparison on the calorie count for some made at home meals versus eating out that will encourage you to cook at home!)

If you need some ideas on great meals that will help you feel full while still losing weight, Pinterest is your friend. I've made a board here with links to lots of great low-calorie meal suggestions.

Vegetable soups are a great way to lose weight, and they're frugal too! If you're in the mood for hot food instead of cold salads this time of year, make some vegetable soups to have on hand for some quick meals!


Myth #5 I need to buy a fitness bracelet to track my steps/calories

If you want to track your steps, you can do that do it with a free app on your phone. You can count calories on your phone, on paper, or just in your head. Or, you can just eat sensible portions and be active during your day.


Myth #6: I need to buy bottled water and/or special drinks

Drinking water is one of the best things you can do to help lose weight. It's simple, and it doesn't have to be bottled, unless you live in a part of the world where the tap water isn't safe to drink.

I live in the driest state in the U.S. Our water is reclaimed and reused. Consequently, after being treated, it has a strong chlorine smell. If you want the chlorine to dissipate and the smell and taste to go away, fill a few bottles or pitchers of water and let them sit overnight in the refrigerator. We've followed this advice from the water district for years, and we always have cold, tasty water to drink.

Water has no calories and costs very little. Increasing your water consumption helps you lose weight, helps your skin, helps your digestion, and helps your energy levels.

Wondering how to drink more water? It's not hard. Here's what I do: (Note: I have 16-ounce glasses.) I drink a glass when I first get up in the morning right away. I drink another glass more slowly after that. At each meal, I drink a half glass (or more) before eating, and another glass and a half during the meal. I drink a glass or two before going to bed. When I get up at night, I drink 2 more glasses worth. Plus, I drink water all throughout the day. When you feel hungry between meals, try drinking water first. We often see thirst as hunger.

I am often asked about how I have the energy to accomplish my to-do list. A good night's rest, plenty of water, healthy food, and a multi-vitamin make a world of difference in my energy levels.


If there are things you're wanting to buy to help you with your weight loss goals, try Craigslist for used exercise equipment. Hand weights can often be found at garage sales.

As far as my own goal? I've got 10 pounds left to go! I'm watching what I eat, and the only exercise I've been doing is cleaning house, lifting the baby, and working in the garden. I'm looking forward to a cleaner house and more bountiful garden in 2017!

I've identified my weaknesses so that I can work to keep my weight off for the long-term: I tend to snack while I'm cooking, and I serve myself portions larger than I need. I've been making my meals on smaller plates (just like I serve to the children), watching my serving sizes, and working on not going back for seconds. I fill half my plate with vegetables. Cutting calories has been the key for me, and it not only doesn't cost more, it costs less, because I'm eating less!

I'm enjoying my meals, I don't feel hungry all the time, and I'm now the size I was before I was pregnant with my first.  I'm spending my money where I would rather spend it: on a new wardrobe!

Remember, the most important thing you need to lose weight is will power, and no amount of money will buy that!

Blue Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Dress: $6.99 at Goodwill -- Necklace: $1 at a garage sale -- Earrings: homemade using beads from a broken piece of jewelry I've had since I was a teen -- Shoes: Naturalizer


Do you have a free ap or exerise video that you like? Share your favorite weight loss recipes, free videos, and free aps in the comments below!


Note: Every individual's situation is different, but don't let a lack of money stop you from trying to lose weight if you desire to do so!

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Goals for February

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Sod The Prudent Homemaker

It's a short month, and I've got a ton to do!

Last month the baby cut his first teeth, and wanted to be held all the time. I didn't manage to get any sewing projects from last month done, and now most of those will have to wait until March.

In addition, we had a lot of rain (for which I am very grateful!) and also a lot of wind. I didn't finish pruning the trees, so I need to prune and spray dormant oil (rather quickly, as the buds are close to opening!) 

Our last frost date is February 15th, which makes February our busy spring planting time.

I've made the decision to remove most, if not all, of my espaliered apple trees. Despite reading that the varieties I chose did well in hot areas, most have not flowered. In addition, they have decided to grow away from the wall, and are taking up precious space in the center of the garden bed. This is an additional plan I've made to my original plans for the garden for the year, but it's one I've been debating for several years. Removing them will allow me to plant something else there, making for a more productive garden.

The weather is beautiful (in the 60's and 70's!) so working outside is a pleasure.


Garden Goals:

1. Replace sod in a few areas in the garden

2. Manure lawn (spread manure with manure spreader and rake it in)

3. Finish pruning fruit trees

4. Spray fruit trees, bushes, and vines

5. Fertilize fruit trees, roses, and berry bushes

6. Plant seeds in the garden every week for food and flowers

7. Repair leaks in the drip lines

8. Purchase more asparagus plants for the garden

9. Purchase tomato plants 

10. Cement column in the garden

11. Use Liquid Nails to attach garden urn to column

12. Plant roses when they arrive (the replacements from the ones that didn't make it last year)

13. Run new drip lines in areas where the old lines need to be replaced

14. Remove espaliered apple trees

15. Remove grass that is growing in garden beds


Sewing Goals:

1. Make birthday presents for two daughters

2. Embroider new labels for towels


Personal Goals:

1. Lose 4 pounds. I know it's a short month, but I also know that if I'm diligent with watching what I eat, I can achieve this goal. The semi-annual garage sale I go to is April 8th, and I want to be at my goal weight by then so that I can buy clothes for myself in a new size.

2. Study French every day

3. Watch some videos to learn new things

4. Read 2 books on French culture: The Bonjour Effect and Bringing up Bébé, both of which I requested from the library



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My Garden Goals for 2017

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January is the month where I spend the most time in my garden, pruning, tidying, and planting. I'm outside working for several hours almost every day.

I have some goals I'd like to achieve in the garden this year, and a lot of those will come from good planning and preparation done this month. This year, I want the garden to be both more productive and more beautiful. Here's how I plan to make that happen:

Pea Seedlings The Prudent Homemaker

Snow Pea Seedlings; these are the 30 day "Little Snowpea White" that I also grew last year; I love the short time to harvest!


More Productive:


1. Bring in new dirt to the garden. This will refresh the area and also fill in where the garden soil has settled over the years. 

2. Fertilize more often. Fruit trees should be fertilized here 3 times a year (February, May, and September), and roses every few weeks. I generally only fertilize my fruit trees once a year (I never get around to the other two times) and roses once in a while.

3. Plant more often. I want to make sure to do lots of succession planting (where I plant again every few weeks), especially with lettuce.

4. Plant earlier. I want to plant more before the heat sets in. Our last frost date is February 15th, which means warm-season crops can go in the ground then.

5. Add new plants. Last year I added 2 more pomegranate trees (in pots), a mandarin tree (in a pot), male and female pistachio trees, and 2 new blackberry bushes. This year I want to add at least 5 more blackberry bushes (and if I can figure out a way to add more trees, I'll do that too!). 

6. Make the shady areas more productive by planting more of what works well in the shade in these areas. This includes Swiss chard, New Zealand spinach, parsley, and Vesca (Alpine) strawberries.

7. Plant more squash.

8. Spray more often. I lost part of my grape crop last year to powdery mildew (and almost lost all of it). I will spray neem oil a couple of times before the leaves come out in March/April, and again in April or May if needed.

9. Bag grapes in paper lunch bags (stapled on) to keep the birds from eating the grapes.

10. Plant more snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, and red noodle beans. To do this, I am unrolling some homemade tomato cages (made from 6-inch concrete mesh) and using stakes that I already have to use the flat mesh as a trellis (pictured above).

11. Plant more chives and green onions from seed. 

12. Plant more artichokes.

January Sundial The Prudent Homemaker Four of the new rose bushes surrounded by flowering cabbage


More beautiful:

Last year I added 14 new rose bushes to the garden in back. Five of these did not make it; the company will be sending me replacements in February. The plants are small to start, but the ones that I planted last year should start flowering this year.

I planted a few hundred flower bulbs over the last few weeks, and I've still got more to plant. I'll be planting those this year.


1. Plant 250 daffodil bulbs in the garden (hopefully all this week if I can).

2. Plant small hedges along the walkway in the white garden. 

3. Dig 6 large bushes from the white garden (from the planting areas along the walkway, seen in the photo below) and transplant them into pots on the back patio. I have been growing these for 3 years and pruning them to become spheres. By the end of this year, there is a good chance they will have reached the size and shape I've been planning.

4. Plant another hedge in the garden in back. I'm going slow on this and using cuttings from existing bushes to grow the hedge. It will take many more years to grow it this way, but it doesn't cost me any money to do it like this.

5. Plant nasturtium seeds in all of the potted fruit trees on the patio. The seeds are ones we collected from the garden last year.

6. Plant rows of flower seeds in between the vegetables.

7. Resod and reseed grass in areas where we lost grass last year (we had some larger areas die due to broken sprinkler issues, as well as some of the normal loss due to grubs, for which we always reseed in spring).

8. Purchase a new edger and learn how to use it. I'd like to have sharp edges on the grass around the beds this year.

9. Prune hedges 4 times a year to keep them looking good.

January Walkway Planter The Prudent Homemaker

The start of changes to the front walkway: I just planted daffodils in this bed last week as well as these pansies. The large bushes will be transplanted into pots in the backyard and will hopefully finish growing into the sphere shapes I have always planned for them to be (but now they'll do so in the backyard). I'll surround each of these 4 planters by the walkway with smaller box leaf euonymus hedges; I've put in 2 small ones already at the top of this planter (near the other large bush in the planter) and I am waiting for the nursery to have more for sale over the next few months. The bed is soaked from a wonderful rain we had a few days ago; this bed is in full shade all day and will be for the next couple of months.


The local nursery will be having many sales over the next four months, and they'll have coupons too, so I will look for sales on the blackberries and box leaf euonymus as well as coupons to make those sales even better deals.

We're enjoying temperatures in the 50's and 60's this week; a frost is possible this month and we'll likely get at least one night of it sometime later this month, but for the most part, it's spring-like weather with lots to do!

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