Have you ever dreamed of your ideal life?

Take a minute. What would it look like? What would you do with your time? How would you live?

Are you living that now?

Most of us would say no. We would decide that’s just not how life is (sigh) and return to life as normal.

While we may not have every detail of our dream life within our grasp, there are certainly many things we can change in our day to day lives that would help us to be more challenged, more delighted, and more content with our daily lives.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to accomplish this year in order to bring more joy, challenge, and contentment into my life.

Here are my goals for 2019:


I’d like to conquer the four areas of clutter that bother me the most. These are the areas that quickly become cluttered and messy. As long as they are unorganized, my house feels messy to me, even if everything else is clean. They are:

  1. My nightstand. I can see my nightstand from the kitchen sink while I do dishes if my bedroom door is open, and anyone coming by to visit can also see it if the door is left open. It’s so easy to pile things here that don’t belong. I am going to aim to keep this area tidy every day.
  2. The chair in my bedroom. This chair is the dumping ground for everyone’s outgrown clothing. The pile on the chair quickly grows to include a pile under the chair, and then a pile or two next to the chair. I’ll no sooner put them away than some child will come to me telling me they have more outgrown clothing. Not wanting to get the ladder out and the boxes of clothing down yet again from my closet, they’ll sit until the pile becomes four piles again before they get put away. No more. I want to use my chair.
  3. My desk. It’s a desk. Is there more to say? Not only do I deal with mail, but I also have homeschool papers to deal with. I’ve got a trash can under the desk and two small drawers and sections on top of my desk. I’m going through it all this week and starting fresh. Into the circular file for as much as possible . . . .
  4. The kitchen counters. This is a huge goal, but it’s hard to cook when the counters aren’t clean. I cook from scratch for 10 people and we go through about 20 pots and pans a day (those are washed by hand) and run the dishwasher 2 and sometimes three times a day. I wish it was just the dishes, but there always seems to be other stuff on the counters, including the children’s pencils (that mysteriously belong to no one in particular), random screws that show up on the floor (from chairs falling apart? I have no idea), and other stuff that just keeps showing up every day.

Fall Roses The Prudent Homemaker


  1. Grow enough flowers to cut at least one if not three bouquets a week almost every week of the year starting in spring. I’d like to have an arrangement on our dining table, one on my entry table, and one on my nightstand. I took steps last year to grow more flowers but I had very low germination rates with my seeds last year. Flowers that have grown well for me in the past did not even come up, despite several sowings. I hope this year will be much better!
  2. Continue to grow enough herbs for our needs. I ran a bit short this year of oregano and parsley and we’ve been doing without until the new parsley is big enough and the oregano comes back after being dormant for the winter. All of my thyme plants have died, so I’ll be attempting some new ones this year.

Eyelet Dress Bodice The Prudent Homemaker


Last year’s sewing goals were pushed aside completely. I made one dress for a daughter. I started (and shared on Instagram) a second dress that I never finished; you can see it above. I never did sew the dresses for myself that I’ve been planning to sew for the last few years, nor did I sew the curtains or pillow for my bedroom. I made no Christmas gifts.

I’d really like to sew all the projects that keep getting pushed aside. At a minimum this year, I would really like to make the following:

  1. Curtains for my bedroom
  2. A lace dress for myself
  3. A dress for each of my girls (I have 5 daughters)
  4. A gift for each of my boys plus my husband (5 more projects)


I’m really striving to improve my photography this year. I’m taking online classes and practicing taking photos of other families and couples. I have several specific things I’m working to improve in my photos.

I will continue to improve my French each week. My goal is 15 minutes a week of study, broken up throughout the week. My French is much better than it was when I lived in France over 20 years ago, thanks to all of my recent study. This year, I want to improve all of my little mistakes. I can communicate just fine with French friends during video calls, but I know there are small grammatical errors that still exist in my speech. I will work to correct those as well as continue to increase my vocabulary.

In order to achieve my goals despite the many demands on my time and attention, I’m seeking to use my time more wisely. I already do several things that help me:

  1. I keep baskets in my closet for each load of laundry: whites (underclothes and socks), lights, darks, white shirts, darks delicate, and lights delicate. (For sheets and the children’s towels, I just have everyone bring those items to me on the same day for those three loads). Everyone sorts their own laundry into those baskets each day, and then I wash four to six loads a day, six days a week. I put a load in the washing machine after dinner and set it to wash in the wee hours of the morning before I am up. When I get up, I can put that load straight into the dryer and start the next load, which washes while I shower.  The children fold and hang laundry before breakfast while I do chores in the kitchen.
  2. I read while doing other things. I read in the bathroom. I listen to scriptures on my phone while getting ready in the morning. I read online and on my phone while nursing and holding the baby while he sleeps (he is a very light sleeper and we have spent a lot of time holding him to get him to sleep).
  3. I limit the number of trips I take to the store and time I spend running errands. Being home and not in the car as often gives me more time at home. Checking out e-books online from the library gives me plenty to read and I don’t have to go get them. Keeping a well-stocked pantry means I don’t have to run to the store for lots of little things.
  4. When I do go to the store, I seek to combine trips. Most of my shopping is within one and a half miles from home. Still, I will go to multiple stores while I am out to save time and gas. Whenever possible, I time my trips to the store to be early in the morning or after the children have gone to bed so that the stores will be less occupied, so I won’t have to spend 20 minutes in line at each store.

I’m looking for the small amounts of wasted time here and there throughout the day that keeps me from achieving my goals. I plan to read the news less often, as that is one area that takes more time from my day than I would like.

Instead, I spent a lot of time holding the baby, hugging and holding my toddler, changing many, many diapers, and helping my older children with their schoolwork and listening to them.

What are your goals for 2019?

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  1. This is such a great post. Many years ago, when my husband and I were living in a trailer and didn’t have much, I wrote a vision of my ideal life. I kept that for many years, adjusting the vision over time as I matured. Now we really are living that life, pretty much.
    I, too, had several garden failures last year. We were in a severe drought and even though I watered everything, some things just didn’t flourish as in the past. The drought appears to have broken and I am hoping for better this year. You have inspired me to grow more flowers. I also want to use more of the craft and sewing supplies I already own. I made a dent last year but could do better.

  2. Love all your ideas for using our time more wisely and findidng more joy in our home. Even tho I am retired and it is just me at home plus the cat!, I find myself wasting time. You gave me some good ideas. I am amazed at all you do with 9 children, cooking from scratch, etc, etc. I think you are very organized in all you do. But as you stated, we can all make changes for good in our lives. I hope you will continue to make some extra posts during the week, as you find a few minutes, love reading your blog. Happy new Year.

  3. What great goals! I love your honesty, too. Some of mine coincide with yours, Brandy.
    I joined the (free) Flylady community to bring some sort of sanity to my housecleaning schedule. I work full-time outside the home at a job with a one hour each way commute, and my husband never was one to contribute to housework — these days he physically can’t do much, so it’s all on me after being gone 11 hours, five days a week. I was killing myself each weekend and still not getting everything done. Let’s don’t even discuss the things like really cleaning the refrigerator or closets — that hadn’t happened in way too long. I vowed this year to change all of that, and started at the holidays. De-cluttering is top on my list!
    I’ve been working on Spanish with Duolingo, but I’d like to up my game. That’s one of my goals, too.
    I want to take charge of my health in a more active manner; I have an autoimmune disease, so it’s extremely important. My biggest issue is chronic lack of sleep, so finding a good routine, quick and easy recipes, and not allowing myself to be beguiled by a good book or movie when I so badly need sleep, is a top issue for me as well.
    I want to finish some projects I started. I think my change in housekeeping methods will help with finding time for this.
    Finally, I want to be kinder. I realize that, as a stressed and tired person, I have been snippy, thoughtless, cold, and unseeing of others. I hope that my above goals will help me end this attitude as well. I am consciously working to deepen my faith always, and that helps tremendously, but getting adequate rest is part of God’s plan for us, and I’ve not been following this part of his plan for too long!

    1. You will love Fly Lady. Don’t skimp on making your own morning, after work and bedtime routines. You will be shocked at how much you can get done in 15 minutes – or while making a cup of tea! I actually set an alarm for bedtime to make sure I go to bed on time, it might help.

      1. Jo

        I also have used Flylady and LOVE it! I am also away from home 55 hours each week, five days a week. It’s exhausting just to be gone from home that much isn’t it? Ugh! But, Flylady really helped me when I had kids at home even though I have always been fairly organized and neat. It helped with things that I hadn’t even though of. Love that site and the system in general.

        I think the biggest thing that helps me being gone so much of the day is to cook once and eat twice (or more). I make double batches of things to freeze (either uncooked like muffin batter,, which I would freeze in the cups and then bag for latter for putting in the oven frozen as I get ready for work) or fully cooked items for freezing and reheating. Sometimes even making “meal starters” for the freezer are a great help as well as the beloved crockpot!!! Who could do it without a crockpot, although I often have to put my food in the crockpot frozen because I am gone such a long time during the day.

        The other thing that has saved me huge amounts of time is slowly (in tiny increments actually) adding to a “bill pay” account so that I could get a month ahead on our monthly bills. As I got enough deposited, I would start an auto pay using my online checking account (so that I am depositing one month for the next month’s bills.). I now only go online once a week to check my deposits and check off my auto pay bills. This has saved me so much worry and time just writing out the bills.

        Love this blog. Brandy-you provide so much inspiration, remind me of my passions at home, and keep me inspired every week. You are a huge factor in keeping me focused on the things I am drawn to, like sewing, cooking homemade and frugal meals and making my money stretch the furthest distance so that I can one day retire. Thank you so much for carving time out of your own busy schedule for us. We learn so much from you!

        Best wishes everyone!

        1. Gina, so you have a programmable crockpot? It would keep your food warm but not keep cooking it when you are gone for a longer time. My niece works long hours and she has a month’s worth of meals planned out in her Google calendar, which she syncs with her husband. She puts the food in the crockpot after making breakfast, and notes if the meals needs something made when she gets home, such as rice or noodles. Whoever gets home from work first makes the rice or noodles (or toast, etc.) She said making the calendar took a long time, but it saves her so much time now.
          I love your bill pay plan! I have to agree that having it taken out automatically is a great help in my time.

  4. Goals for 2019

    Eat good food.

    Read good books.

    Go to interesting places.

    Make nice quilts.

    Do good deeds


    Love lavishly

    1. I absolutely love your list, Florence! I don’t nap much, so I’d replace that with “paint my closet”. Otherwise, spot on! Happy 2019!

  5. Good morning Brandy~
    Oh thank you sooooo much for posting your 2019 goals for this year. You have really inspired me~ and I needed some inspiration to get started. We have many very rainy, dreary months this time of year, in the Puget Sound, that all I want to do is stay warm, sleep and hibernate. My energy level gets low this time of year and it takes me an effort to get started~ . I crave the sun, I am currently taking Vitamin D supplements along with my daily vitamins to help. With so many overcast days, rain and more rain, I just get so sluggish.~ and my eyes just want to shut and sleep. I go through this each Winter. Thankfully, we were able to break away from Washington and visit my children in So. California for 9 days. So , your enthusiasm for 2019 goal setting helps me personally and brings me enthusiasm to set my own goals. 🙂
    My heart has been to be organized this year, especially in my home. and garage ( ugh) Our garage has been storage for so many things~ my grown children’s “stuff”, inheritance “stuff” from both my father and my dear Aunt, as well as our “stuff” I am overwhelmed. Finally after 6 years of waiting for my husband to finish his studies, and personal agenda’s~ I asked for help. January is the goal for getting the garage done ( I hope ). This weekend we started, and I actually can see a dent in the garage clutter. So I will name this project 1.
    Project 2 is my closet. I have started to organize this, and purchased a small organizer to add for some clothing. Going through so many things in my closet is very time consuming~ however, I am seeing the benefits and will continue to purge through. ~ This I have a vision.
    Project 3, like you, I am wanting to organize my desk and office area. I have stacks of paperwork to go through that I didn’t get to during the Holidays and visit to my children. I will start 3 piles, 1 for shredding, 1 to file, 1 for sentimental things I will put into a pretty box.
    Project 4: get ready and prepare for our “tiny garden” this year. Last year I had the smallest results from my garden~ not many tomatoes, or zucchini, carrots did not grow, and kale and chard did not do well either, nor did my strawberries and blueberries. I am scratching my head wondering why? I think I may need to test the soil this year and bring in new soil and nutrients for my 5 planter boxes~ and contact the local nurseries to ask a few questions. Our apple tree needs to be pruned~ and I was grateful to get 22 lbs of apples from my self pollinating 5 grafted apple tree.
    I love how you can be such a wonderful homemaker and mother, with a large family and that you share your time with your website and blogs. Your organization and creative skills have amazed me~ and for all you do in posting your homemaking skills~ thank you.
    Have a wonderful day ~
    Blessings to you and your beautiful family
    Patty from the NW

    1. Hi Patty,
      I’m just north of you in Victoria, B.C. Canada and understand the many, many months of grey sky and rain. This gloom really bothers one of my sons ( seasonal affective disorder I guess) so I bought him a light box lamp. He says it really helps improve his mood, and certainly helps him to wake up in the morning ( just like a sunny day!). Maybe this would help all of us Pacific Northwesters.

      1. Hi Marney,
        Thank you so much~ I will try a light box lamp too~ especially in the morning.
        I appreciate your suggestion. 🙂
        Blessings, Patty

    2. Hi Patty,
      I too live in the PNW (Seattle area) and I second Marney’s suggestion of a light box. I have one and used it until the battery totally died. If this is not in your budget, just exposing yourself to light in the morning (daylight + a bright lamp) can help a lot too. I used to have a lot of problems with being tired/sluggish/unmotivated in the winter, so I did some research and talked to my doctor, and found some things that really helped me. So here are some suggestions, and not all may be suitable for you of course:
      – Take Vitamin D3 (not just regular vitamin D)
      – Expose yourself to light, especially in the morning. Turn on lights and open window shades. Make sure it’s pretty bright.
      – Eat more animal fat: fatty meats/butter/lard/tallow. (Weirdly enough, this was probably the thing that helped me the most).
      – Exercise several times a week. I walk outside some days and work out at the gym other days. I have a raincoat and boots and often go out even when it’s raining. We live near a beautiful nature trail, and it’s wonderful to see the changes in the seasons. If you can exercise outside in the morning, that’s even better. Even just moving around indoors and doing physical work at home makes a difference.

      Also, if you have ever had any issues with low thyroid, this can flare up in the fall and winter, and make you feel very tired and sluggish. If you suspect this could be the case, you might have your doctor check your thyroid levels.

      1. Hi Tina,
        Thank you s,o much , I really appreciate your suggestions.
        I plan to get a light to help~ that sounds great! I also do take Vitamin D3.. had my blood levels checked and it is with in normal limits.
        I have been turning all the lights on in the morning~ it does help a bit, and I take my little dog out in the morning as well for a little light. Exercising is my downfall~ however my husband has a membership for me at the YMCA which should help get me moving. I will try to exercise int the morning per your suggestion.
        My thyroid level has been checked and is ok, so that is a relief.
        Thanks again ~so much. I hope you were affected too much with the heavy winds we had here in the Puget Sound. We lost power for a little while but I prepared and filled a couple of thermos’ of coffee and hot water.
        Blessings to you~

    3. Patty,

      I too am in the PNW . I live just outside of Vancouver. I am taking Vitamin D supplements faithfully and so thankful that our days are getting a wee bit longer. I just wanted to see if you had a local buy nothing Facebook page in your area, I love mine for “letting go” of clutter. I followed Flylady many years ago but still remember quite well “hotspots”, and all these years later I can’t think straight until my bed is made.

  6. It was very interesting reading your goals for the year, Brandy. While I don’t typically subscribe to New Years resolutions or goal making in particular, your post make me think a bit about what I want for 2019. Here are a few of my thoughts:
    *I want to improve my fitness level before we leave for our 1 month European vacation. We will be traveling to many places with backpacks in tow. I have degenerative disk disease in my mid back that can get pretty painful. So my hope is by increasing my fitness level, it will help minimize the pain level while we check off a number of things from our lifetime bucket wish list.
    *I plan to enjoy and appreciate all of the new cultures and places we will be visiting in Europe. I want to learn and experience as much history and culture as I can while immersed in the various communities within the countries we visit. I hope we can work through any language barriers with grace and respect. But most important, I want memories that last a lifetime.
    *I want to have a better season this year at work. My job has been a wonderful, joyful place to work in the past. However, there were a lot of stressful issues that took place this past season. Bad enough that I seriously questioned going back. I am not interested in working somewhere that I don’t enjoy going to each day (been there, done that, still have emotional scars…no thank you!). After speaking to our museum manager and really considering what I wanted to do, I decided I didn’t want to give up without giving it 1 more year. My hope is that things will improve, and the issues we experienced last year will not become the new normal. So I will give it my all to make my job feels like a happy, close knit family, again.
    *Recently, I had a discussion with my mom about us staying here in my mom’s home, until such time my mom passes away. My mother’s Will states that all her assets are to be divided between my brother and I. So when she passes away, we would have to figure out the cost of the home, divide the cost in half and pay that to my brother. We would then own the house (the house is owned outright by my mom). With this thought in mind, we will continue to save of course, as we will need money to pay my brother for half of the house. But the need for our savings will not be immediate. So my thoughts have moved to whether we should invest some of or savings. Looking into the best and smartest way to invest will be something I will work on researching over the next year.
    *We are looking to add a young puppy to our household. I am particular about where it comes from and breeding…no puppy mill or backyard breeders, I don’t need a purebred with potential genetic health problems and definitely no known tempermental type breeds. So a rescue puppy that has “friendly” breed types, from a shelter or rescue is what we are watching for. In our area, these are hard to come by. We will take our time, as I believe the right puppy will come our way when the time is right.

    So those are some of the thought I have for this year. I wish you all the best success with your goals, Brandy and all my frugal friends here.

  7. I am grateful for you posting this today. I have focused on our finances (in new home) and what we still need to get done etc…. but looked over the daily things that do bring me down without thinking of how to change it.

    SO I sat down and wrote it out on paper instead of surfing the news about the govt being closed.

    DESK…. heavens my desk…. I today ask Son 2 how he keeps his desk (he has one like mine and then another one as he works twice a week from home and two at work as he does 3 jobs at work). In and out box, in box is cleared daily. HE spends 30 min every night clearing his desk so he starts fresh in the morning. He put a bowl for screws etc that gets found (he thinks it’s the desk or the chairs losing them ) at work and home.He has a file cabinet for papers and a roll cart for supplies.

    My kitchen counters , sigh. I need to organize it more like when I was working as a chef. Large pots and pans sit on the counter after washing by hand. I need a better routine of washing , drying and putting away so I’m not greeted with the counter full.My over flow of what ever project I am working on aka gardens right now. I would also like to reorganize the refrigerators as I had some produce go bad because it got shoved to the back instead of being in the drawers.

    My health as I am not eating nearly enough protein and am starting to lose muscle because of it.

    The rest is here…but again Brandy THANK YOU for this post. I needed it especially today.


    1. Loving your list and wishing I could backpack un Europe! Something that has helped my back issues tremendously has been turmeric pills from Costco, as well as more activity and good shoes. Regarding the puppy, we recently adopted from the Humane Society… a 5 year old terrier mix who is well behaved, smart and brings much joy.

      1. Backpacking Europe has been a long time coming, Laura. Around 10 years ago, I found myself and our family at our lowest point ever in our lives. I had lost a very well paying job, we were over our heads in debt, motherhood was not what I expected, and I was severely depressed. We made the choice to sell our “dream” house, amid a massive housing crash, and move in with my mom. We would eventually find out, DD was Autistic, which explains a lot about the difficulty we were experiencing with parenthood. I knew I needed something positive in my life, so I went back to school and switched careers, which started the healing process for my depression. As for our finances, despite our best efforts to pay it down, after a few years of getting no where, we realized it was just too big of a load and we had to file for bankruptcy. That decision did not come easily, and it was very difficult for me to accept our failure. However, it gave us a fresh start, financially. My husband and I were determined that we would not waste this opportunity and to do thing right this time.

        We started to save as much as we could, were very careful with how we spent our hard earned pay checks (and still are), and learned how to be frugal to stretch that money as far as we could. Our goal was to save a down payment, so we could buy another home. Along the way, we helped my mom by buying new major appliances when hers broke (washer, dryer, fridge, and stove so far), we needed new-to-us vehicles to get us to work, and we found ways to heal our family through travel (as cheaply as possible). Travel brought us together as a family to have some much needed fun and reprieve from our very difficult daily lives. Dealing with an Autistic child is very stressful on the best of days and down right overwhelming, frustrating and depressing on the worst! Unfortunately, the housing prices in our area skyrocketed a couple years ago. Houses that used to be worth $200,000 shot up to $300,000 or more almost overnight. So we find ourselves saving for something that may be out of our financial reach, unless the housing market crashes, which may happen because the interest rate is skyrocketing. Thus, the discussion with my mom about taking over her home (to be clear, she brought up the suggestion, not us).

        Just to be clear with our travel, we always pay cash for our trips. My husband spends copious amounts of time researching the best deals…it’s his hobby in a way. We have been saving and planning this trip for 2 years now. It will only be hubby and I going this time, due to DD’s schooling needs. But I’m looking forward to reconnecting as a couple…and seeing several places that we’ve always dreamed of visiting! We have a long bucket list of places we’d like to visit, so it won’t stop here. We’ll just have to keep saving for our next adventure.

        Brandy asked what our ideal life would look like? Well, my life is no where near perfect, but we are doing our best to make it as good as we can with what we have. I’m much happier that I was 10 years ago.

        1. Have fun in Europe Rhonda! I’m glad you are happier! Travel is a dream of mine too. Someday, I hope to do it again.

        2. Rhonda A.,

          I’m not sure where you are planning on staying on your trip. Several people on my street have stayed at convents or monasteries while in Europe. Those on my street have stayed in Italian convents. There is a book entitled Lodgings in Italian Monasteries. The book is not expensive and is available on Amazon. Best wishes for a wonderful trip.

          1. I’ve heard of this, but not sure hubby is completely comfortable with the idea (I would just for the experience!). I was game to try staying in hostels, but hubby found the cost of a hotels were cheaper than getting a private room in a hostel. Probably because we are going on off season, which is one of the ways we save on travel. Everything is already booked, including flights, accomodations, Rail tickets, and some of the activities we want to do. Only thing we are still looking at booking are tours of things we know we want to do, but can’t to decide if we join a tour or go it on our own. We’re currently doing a bit of research on things to see in the places we are visiting, so we have an idea if there are “must see” places and things that would be nice to see if we have time. For instance, we are only in Berlin for 1 full day, but we found a really cool Medical History Museum (knick named “Berlin’s cabinet of horror’s”…we like learning about weird historical things) that is now on our “must see” list. Without realizing it when we planned the trip, we found out we might see the tulips in bloom in the Netherlands (we will be there mid-April, which is when they bloom apparently) and we’ll be in Poland for Easter, which will be so interesting to expeience how they celebrate.

        3. Rhonda,
          We have recently found a great love for a retired racing greyhound. She is hands down the best breed we have dealt with of thirty years of dog ownership. I would encourage you to look into one as an option especially with an Austic daughter as they make great therapy dogs. It may or may not be the right breed for you but we are 110% sold on them.

          1. I used to work at an animal shelter. We used to have a beautiful, purebred rough coated collie (a Lassie dog) that was a rescue adoption. She was older, well trained (former show dog) and the most wonderful temperment (former therapy dog). Unfortunately, because of her age, we only had her for a few years. We couldn’t have asked for a better dog and miss her greatly. But this time we’d really like to start with a puppy. Our local humane society currently has potcake puppies from the Bahamas (here is some info on this non-registered breed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potcake_dog). They are exactly the type of dog I’m looking for…the perfect mixed breed and size of dog I want. Unfortunately, they only have 8-10 puppies. The last time the Humane Society had a group of lab/golden retriever puppies we were 1 of 75 families who applied for one. We are waiting for the potcake pups to become available but have know idea if we will be chosen to take one. So I must hope for the best but prepare for the possiblity we will need to keep looking.

  8. I too find mysterious screws on my floor, I thought I was the only one. I have not written up a goal for my life but that is going to change. Your post is inspiring as always.

  9. I love your goals. And I love your blog, so thankful that it functions again. I still find so much inspiration from you.
    My goals for 2019 are:
    to continue with all that works so far – shopping lists, running the dishwasher and clothes washer at night to save power costs, growing some of our food.
    I want to have a white tablecloth on our kitchen/dining table every day. It means a bit more laundry, but it looks nice and the children already pay more attention to how they eat.
    I hope that we will be able to build a new conservatory. I want to replace at least one useless, ugly tree from the garden with a nice, useful tree (like cherry or something like that).
    We are currently building a room for our oldest boy. This should be ready by his birthday that is on Jan 22nd. The Oldest and my husband are working there at this moment, there is a good chance that it will be finished before the oldest turns 14. Also, we want to remodel a hallway.
    We want to live frugally so that we can save money for a new-to-us car.
    We also want to travel, certainly to London for a couple of days, but maybe we will get the plane tickets so that we will stop in Germany on our way back where we have friends, one of them is an used-cars-dealer… The chances to find a better car for us are higher in Germany anyway than here in Estonia.
    I want to sell more of my handicraft. I am not sure if a shop on Etsy would work, but maybe I will try. All income from my handicraft will go to travel and car fund.
    Personally, I want to live a happier, calmer life so that I can be a better mother and wife. With two teenagers and one practicing (9 years old, going to 15) it will not be an easy task but with God’s help all miracles are possible.

    1. Reet:
      I like what you wrote about the white tablecloth. The routines that keep a family together are very important, and eating together is a very important one!

  10. I always am intrigued by other people’s goals and passions. I have been working on my budget for several weeks. Unfortunately with such a low income it is almost impossible to alter much. We do have a small extra 100.00 a month this year that is being saved for anticipated problems. My appliances and water heater are about ten years old so their life expectancy won’t be much longer. Of course all efforts will be made to do any self repairs. I find that I use Swagbucks on a regular basis. I’m slack in optimizing Ibotta and using the drug store rewards. Those bonuses would be valuable and only take a few minutes each week. I have started paying attention to them each week. I also missed two great coca cola deals because I haven’t been checking in regularly. I have a kitchen trash can filled full of coke caps that we very easily could have redeemed. I am using Kodak ink which is no cheaper than the HP ink I used to use. I use about two sets a year. Staples doesn’t sell Kodak ink. By not buying HP ink at Staples, I am losing $240.00 a year in rewards I could use for other purchases. I will be looking to pick up a HP printer at the thrift store ( 5 to 8 dollars )so I can start turning in my used cartridges and redeeming my rewards. My old boss saves all the cartridges and gives them to sugar cookie. I currently have a second kitchen trash can full of used cartridges. That’s wasted money. Anything rewards will purchase just leaves extra money for us. Also, I see where I could have gotten several great Groupons for sugar cookie and I missed them. I just used swagbucks to get a Groupon giftcard. There are many outings I could take her and her friend on with these heavily discounted deals.I must pay more more attention to these things. I have been steadily clearing my home of stuff ! Clutter makes me feel bad. I just bought 20 large leaf bags and am hitting my family room. We do not use it. It still has boxes in it from when we moved in. Sugar cookie has dumped many boxes out looking for stuff. It looks like a tornado hit it. This week I am tossing stuff in the trash, other stuff for donation. That 400 sq foot room will be empty in a week. I have building materials on the far side of that room that I can’t get to. Over the next 5 weeks, I am going to put up drywall in several rooms and put primer on 7 rooms of walls. I am ready to have my home pulled together. I don’t really have any huge goals outside of the house. I mainly will be focusing on using any and everything I already have in the house to improve and brighten our days. I may not have much money but I am creative. I have all the time in the world to explore deals that provide sugar cookie with treats. I must be more mindful. I can’t wait to read all these posts and learn a new trick this week.

  11. I always enjoy reading what other people would like to accomplish in the new year 🙂
    My word for 2019 is “simplify” and part of doing that is to not run all the errands all of the time. It takes up sooo much time and I am trying to find a way to limit just that. You stated that having a well-stocked pantry helps alleviate last-minute trips to the store. I need to work on that aspect 🙂

  12. What an excellent and inspiring post! I have many goals this year as well:

    1. Spiritual Goal: My focus word is “joy”. Our family has been through a couple of harsh blows in the past couple of years that literally almost sucked the life out of us and we struggled to find our joy. Last year I worked on “gentleness” because I had found myself becoming critical and very snappy towards everyone. This year, I want to find joy in the simple things.
    2. Home: My focus word is “simple”. My home is clean, thanks to Flylady! I don’t have much clutter now that the storage room is cleaned out and I aim to keep it that way. So what if my home is not the new, modern look? I love the traditional look of dark wood, doilies everywhere, (and I mean everywhere, LOL), but it can become quickly cluttered with stuff. I gave away my rather large collection of antique hats, mainly because I couldn’t wear them, they were very fragile, and they were just taking up space. (Not so with the vintage gloves and handbags, LOL, I use those)
    3. Garden: My focus words are “productive beauty”. I want a garden and yard like yours! It is beautiful, but productive. I currently don’t have a garden space, but I plan to add one here at my new house. This will be a major goal for me this year. I haven’t had a garden in quite some time, so I am basically starting over. We also have many goals as far as the outside of our house in general. It will need a lot of work to get it the way I want it, but I am going to take it in baby steps.
    4. Work: I am a pretty organized teacher. My focus words this year is “manage”. This year, my goal is take enough classes to renew my license, but to take classes that don’t cost me anything. (They can get expensive). I also, at the end of this school year, have the goal of organizing all of the materials that I use on a regular basis. (Worksheets, games, lessons, etc.) into a more manageable system. Right now I have a binder system that works OK, but I still have to spend several minutes hunting for a particular game or worksheet, so I want to streamline it a little bit more.

    That’s all I think. I hope everyone has a blessed and productive year this year!

  13. Brandy,

    What ambitious goals you have.

    Here are some of mine:
    * Read at least 12 books this year. While this may not seem like a huge goal, it is more than I read last year.
    * Eat at home more. This will require planning and preparation, but it will help me feel better and save so much money.
    * Have a more streamlined schedule. I will do all my grocery shopping on a certain day, and the day before will be my “clean out the refrigerator day” to make sure all the groceries go into a clean, organized refrigerator.
    * Spend more time with and on my clients. Relationships are so important, and I want to make the most of them this year.
    * Set a time each day for housework.
    * I’m with you, Brandy. My desk needs help. I will look into how I can keep it more organized!

    Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  14. Your post is inspiring, Brandy! I, too, have high-clutter areas which need addressing. My laundry room has become a collecting spot for everything that doesn’t have its own “place”, so I hope to work on finding “places” for those things. Also, a goal I have for this year will be to choose curriculum for my youngest DD, whom we are planning to home school this coming fall. I am excited for this change, but nervous as well. Happy New Year to all!

  15. My goals include extensive decluttering and organizing the ground floor of the house. I haven’t been able to unpack boxes because of my broken, now partly healing, arm. I want to grow nasturtiums and hollyhocks from seed. This will make the number of annuals I need to buy very limited in number.
    I want to become organized as to how I spend my time. More time to write books, poems, short stories, and to take photographs. I want to be able to spend a lot of time this spring and summer making superb hummingbird photos (or a lot less time if the h birds co-operate). It will take a lot of work to get organized but hopefully in 2020 I will have the entire house done. I want to plod on and finish the 2100 family photos (7 albums of 300 each) and finally get them (5 albums) sent off.

    When my arm heals, I’d like to make bread that I could knead (before that, perhaps I’ll make no-knead bread). I want to do my rehab physio exercises diligently. I have made a chart so I can complete which I have done on which day.

    I would like to have my kitchen cupboards reorganized to overcome the insane organization that one of my friends who looked after the house while I was away with the fracture did. For example, the base of the blender is on the counter while the glass jar for it is on the shelf fifteen feet high (above the cupboards on a ledge) and accessible to my short stature only by ladder. Ditto to where she put the plates (out of reach even if I didn’t have a broken arm). I want to have absolutely beautifully organized kitchen cupboards.

    my tv is broken so I don’t think I’ll get it repaired. I’ll read free novels from the library instead.

    Those are my goals. To sum it up, declutter, declutter, declutter.

  16. I should have mentioned that I want to continue learning new Italian vocabulary words. I am on level 22 on duolingo and apparently there are only 25 levels. I have reached this level 22 in 2.5 months but I think it will take me 2 months to finish levels 23-25. I hope in the end that I will have learned 5,000 new Italian words. That was my goal — to greatly expand my vocabulary. Ideally, I would have learned 10,000 but I think duolingo may be limited to around 5,000 words. Not sure. I am up to 3,650 words now. (I’m sure I will forget some of their meanings). And my goal is to keep my mind agile.

    I want to appreciate the beauty of where I live, — city, park, mountains, while I am able to do so. I want to enjoy my friends, especially one who is terminally ill while she is with us and able to enjoy things.

  17. Get hubby’s truck paid off

    Start applying extra money to my truck payment as soon as his is paid

    Financial goals also include starting a house down payment fund, living in the city is becoming awful

    Continue to declutter the house, last year I managed 196 bags/boxes. I got lazy towards the end of the year and didn’t keep track of everything so it was possibly even more

    Replace some broken furniture pieces

    My mom finally got on board with decluttering her stuff also in case something happens and she has to go in to a nursing home . My goal is doing one room a month

    Get in a yoga class and walk more

    Make time for myself once a month, even if it’s just planted on the couch for a couple hours reading

  18. If I could reach just one goal…and please know I try and pray about it….I would be more thoughtful and chose my words more carefully when dealing with my little grandchildren. I want them to see Jesus in me.

  19. For the outgrown clothing on your chair until you get to it….My aunt had something really pretty in the corner of the room. It was a 55 gallon cardboard barrel. Around the top edge, she had hot glued fabric around, made it somewhat pleated. It was within an inch of the floor. She didn’t use the lid that came with it. She had a piece of painted (or stained) wood for the top. A vase of flowers sat on the top. (they were fake, you can use real or a picture frame…something simple and not a lot of things). She stored donated items in it until she could take them to donate. She moved the vase, took the top off, threw stuff in…put the top back on, vase back on. Was done. You could use the same principle for the outgrown clothing, just throw them in until you can get to the attic and put them away.

    1. Dani,

      The houses here have neither attics or basements. I have the children’s clothing boxes up on a high shelf in my closet that I can reach with a ladder. I like the idea about the barrel, but I tried that once with my mending pile and it overflowed out the top . . . . sadly, my mending pile looks like that again! I didn’t put that one on the list for this year, because I think that might be asking too much of myself!

  20. Declutter and more decluttering. Going from room to room.
    Look for part time job
    go camping with hubby (daughter finally got her license i dont have to run her to work or go to work myself)
    eating healthy (No diet)
    finding a new normal for my hubby and myself ( our youngest daughter will be leaving for college that is 17 hrs away.)

  21. I’m so glad you are posting more Brandy . With your busy household, I know it can be tough but I love how you keep us grounded.
    For 2019 : I have already started making Christmas gifts for my grandchildrens teachers. Right now my son in law has been unemployed and I help my daughter by making gifts that she cannot afford to buy. I quilt and make jewelry so she always needs a little something if they get invited to events.
    So because I retired in June I can do this for her.
    This week I have been working on the 1st Christmas gift which is a quilted table runner, kitchen towel,matching placemats and coasters.

    I will make 4 more sets like this for the other teachers but I’m making them one at a time so I don’t get burned out and I want to make them well and professional looking.
    I make time to continue working on my own home projects.
    Brandy, I am living the life I want to live. I worked 27 years and now I just want to take care of my husband and home. I’m not collecting retirement yet because I want it to sit longer since the stock market is quite low. Lucky I have a great supply of sewing supplies so I can still see for us and for my children’s family.

  22. I noticed you said you put your clothes in the dryer. Why not the clothes line? A lot cheaper on electricity. And don’t worry about your French. Even the French , myself included , make errors.

    1. Lisa,
      We have a natural gas dryer. It is very inexpensive to run. I wash between 4 and 6 extra-large loads of laundry a day. I do not have the time to stand in the hot sun hanging clothes for a couple of hours (it would take that long; I have lived in places without a dryer and have had my dryer break before) that will most likely get blown down in the high winds. I hang dry (inside) two, sometimes three, loads of delicates a week and I hang all blankets. We have a lot of dust that blows here in our wind, it’s very, very hot most of the year, and the gas bill is so low that it’s well worth drying the clothes in the dryer.

  23. Goals for this year at our house:
    1. Watch our expenses more carefully. My position with my company has changed for the better with an increase in income. We have some debt to pay off and will be using all extra income towards that.
    2. We will be growing more than ever in our small garden this year. We live in zone 5 but I have several ideas for extending our growing season with at least some greens. I want more flowers to lure the hummingbirds and butterflies and more vegetables and herbs to feed us.
    3. I have 4 grandchildren and they have requested that I make them aprons. I have patterns for adult aprons and have made several. I think I could just downsize the pattern for a child’s apron.
    4. I want to get back to cross-stitching. I have a couple of patterns that I want to finish this year for gifts.

  24. Lovely post! I am nearing retirement, so my first and foremost goal is to pay off my house by retirement. I want to also do repairs to it, such as foundation work, and electrical and plumbing work. I hope to accomplish that this year, or, in the alternative, move to a closer retirement location to my children. I think that goal is probably not doable, because of the high price of housing where my kids live, and I could not have a paid off house there. I am not sure if I can pay off my house or not this year, but I will work on it. I also have a goal of more exercise (something I am sooooo lax about doing). I am not going to pay to join a gym, when I could just start walking. I need to make this a priority.

    1. Forgot to mention…to help simplify my life, I am goaling myself to make a pot of homemade soup every week in 2019. I did this last weekend and we had it for lunch Saturday and Sunday, too. I plan to have this for weekday lunches when we don’t have leftovers from dinner. I stocked up on Progresso soups when they were on sale for .88-$1.18 can and these will be used to fill in. Lunch each day (when there aren’t leftovers) will consist of soup and a piece of fruit. I got this idea either from Margie or Ellie’s Friend, and I immediately saw how it could work for me.

      1. Maxine, soup or leftovers are what we usually have for lunch here. Today we are having homemade turkey noodle soup.

        1. Brandy, any suggestions for turkey-based soups other than noodle, rice or vegetable? I have 3 half-gallon cartons of broth in the freezer. I am kind of leery about just substituting turkey for chicken broth in recipes, because it is so much more flavorful…kind of afraid of overpowering the rest of the ingredients. Suggestions from everyone are welcome!

          1. When I make soup stock, I often put both turkey and chicken bones in together, along with frozen veggie scraps. I’ve used this homemade stock in all recipes that call for chicken stock with no problem. If you are not a fan of the flavour, you can add a bit of powdered chicken soup base or chicken bouillon which can help. If you would like a suggestion for a turkey based soup, I recently made turkey barley and veggie soup, which was really good. I’ve also used the stock to make cream of potato soup, cream of cauliflower, cream of broccoli and three sister’s (corn, beans and squash) soups. They always turn out delicious! You could play around with other cream soups. I’m not a particular fan of turnip, but at our Christmas guild luncheon, the caterer served cream of turnip and apple soup. Many of the others in attendance really enjoyed it. I hope this helps, Maxine.

          2. I’d taste the broth before assuming it is too strong. I’ve never had an issue with turkey being overpowering. That said, soups that have a tomato component to the broth will dilute the poultry flavor. Minestrone comes to mind, either with or without pasta. Also pureed soups, like butternut squash. You can always dilute the broth with water, as well, which will make it stretch even further.

            My favorite turkey soup recipe (substitute spinach for the escarole if you like):

  25. This topic has got me thinking.
    Last week, in the frugal accomplishments thread, I posted that I spent over $300 at the chiropractor the month before and I intended to see my PCP for an Xray. Well, I did, and the results have thrown me for a loop. I have widespread arthritis and scoliosis in my back, all in the severe range. (I thought the scoliosis was just bad posture). I have no idea what I need to do to stay mobile in my old age, but my #1 goal is to find out and begin doing it! (Whatever it takes). Here are the rest, in no particular order:

    2. Finish making my new house my home, with special attention to finding places for things so they can be put back.

    3. Try to stay ahead on clutter, especially those little bits and bobs that end up on the end of my kitchen counters and then start breeding. (Do you see a pattern here?)

    3. I have a small raised bed to plant with edibles. Continue composting. I also bought a dwarf Brooks prune/plum in the fall and plan to get a dwarf apple and pear this spring.

    4. Continue to monitor our finances and to live mindfully, so that we don’t outlive our money. We’ve lost a lot (on paper) since the stock market dip. I have a lot of confidence in the underlying economy, though.

    5. Refinish my dining room table.

    6. I am an ace recycler. I’d like to do more to reduce the stuff that comes into the house and expend less effort getting rid of it ethically. I love reusing and repurposing things and I am always open to suggestions.

    I’m sure there are more, but the above should keep me busy! Thanks for this post, Brandy.

    1. Maxine, about turkey soup. My aunt used to make the most delicious turkey soup. The secret was that she grated everything, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes (and lots of them). It was delicious. If you are using canned soup, I would choose lower sodium soups that taste good. Even so-called “low sodium” soups have a lot of sodium. I am about to order a case of Primo soup (Harvest Lentil) which costs about 83 cents per can. ($20 for a case of 24 cans plus about $5 handling fee). It is the lowest in sodium I can find, is high in protein, etc. I might add a glass of milk at lunch. Soup is filling. I like that you’re going to make your own which is undoubtedly healthier. Ann

  26. Finish house so Son can move in.
    Find a way to make more money yet still take care of son.
    Have a big garden.
    Plant flowers and fruit trees.
    Study French, Spanish and Italian. If time maybe German.
    Save for needed upcoming bills and more.
    Save for an emergency fund.
    Save for a vacation.
    Lose weight.

  27. Home – My husband will finish his doctorate and be totally done with school forever!
    We will pay off both cars.
    We will do a major exterior maintenance/ refurbishment project (in cash)- replace the soffits and fascia and attic vents, fix the stucco, repaint the house, remodel the door porticos, pour a new patio, and install new exterior lighting, a pool (aboveground), hot tub, and an exterior kitchen, as well as get a new fire pit and patio furniture. I have waited a long time for this!
    Get a handle on the laundry room and pantry room (those rooms as well as the upstairs bath and master bath will be the subject of a major remodel next year)
    Clean out the attic – there’s a tom of stuff up there that we don’t even know – let alone use or need.
    Personal – be better about my own personal fitness and cut down on junk/fast food. I am too heavy and too good a cook to eat this much garbage.
    Work – add in more “fun” or out of my comfort zone activities for my students.
    I’d like to get back to quilting. I am setting a goal spend 2 hours a week working on projects. Once the cars are paid off, I will use 1 month of “car payments” to send off as many quilt tops as possible for professional quilting.

    1. Anne, her plans have changed time-wise. She is taking classes online right now and plans to apply to her school of choice later this spring.

  28. Patty, my dad called me and my brothers one day and said, “I want my garage back. You have 30 days to get what you want outta there or it goes to the dump.” We were all there within 10 days lol. My MIL did the same thing with her 9 kids and the 2nd floor! Highly effective!

  29. So this is my very first time commenting here from NC but I’ve been reading your blog faithfully for a few years. I’m also a real estate agent’s wife and this past year my husband started out on his own after working for someone else for 2 years. It’s been either feast or famine and definitely a stretching time this past fall/early winter with too many deals falling apart. You shared so many valuable tidbits on stretching what you have that helped me so much. Thank you!
    I loved reading your goals for the year, Brandy! Very practical things that make a difference in one’s life every single day. This past year my word was INTENTIONAL and I’m amazed looking back, at all the ways I’ve changed my life for the better with the Lord’s help.
    This year, the words God’s been impressing on me are ‘Embracing with Joy’ the season I’m in. You ask about living my dream life and I realized as I read this post that in so many ways I’m living my dream. With 2 little ones, I’m kept busy all the time but I want to not be bound to my planner’s to-do list but take the time to simply love my family well. Be it going swimming or taking walks or picnics or laying in the hammock. I’m asking God to fill me with more joy.
    We hope to build an upstairs apartment to use as an Air B&B this year.
    I’m also hoping to get chicks this year to have our own eggs and if possible get some fryers for butchering as well. Having grown up on a farm we both just know the healthy difference.
    I love gardening and started last year doing the Back to Eden method. I loved it! No weeding or watering- it was amazing. Our county makes compost/mulch with the leaves they pick up along the streets then give it away for free every spring. It’s the most beautiful black mulch! I want to raise more lettuce throughout the whole year as much as I can. I did some this past year but want to intensify that. I grew garlic for the first time last year and have a lovely bed of that going now- the difference between store bought and home grown is huge! And there’s hardly any work involved. I want to get the Bermuda grass conquered in the blueberry/raspberry bed. I am learning from you Brandy, to plant more flowers for lovely bouquets- last year I loved bringing in bouquets of sunflowers and honeysuckles and irises and roses and daffodils and this year I want to plant more. We just planted lots of daffodils a few weeks ago. I want to grow more herbs as they’re the best.
    My biggest goal this year is to tackle my full basement. I love my basement room for doing laundry and my large can shelves and freezers but I want to get it all cleaned up and organized so I can create a play area down there for the kids. Right now the largest part is just storage clutter that needs to be addressed. My mind will be so much more at rest once I know it’s all clean down there!
    I also want to declutter more- I have a bag I’m constantly filling with stuff for Goodwill and I’m finding out that less is more. I love it.
    I’m also sewing a bit for a friend’s Etsy shop this year for a little sidegig.

  30. Hi Brandy and you are so right there is not enough hours in the day to get most things done but using time more productively and cutting down on other activities works to give us a little more time.

    A rough list of things I would like to accomplish this year is –

    – Set specific times for sewing instead of just doing repairs in the home. No doubt these small jobs will disappear as we get more tasks done.
    – Save for some more needed machinery and hand tools for the farm.
    – Continue to save money each month.
    – Use up what we have and reuse what is here to create and repair and build new fences with.
    – Keep looking for bargains to increase our food storage, buy equipment and hand tools at cheaper prices.
    – Start setting up our vegetable gardens in April/May and save up for timber to create raised garden beds. We already have a local lady who dropped in to welcome us to the neighbourhood who can get free hay for us to help fill the bottom of the beds with :).
    – Pay off as much as we can off our mortgage to save interest and time.
    – I would like to also learn to preserve things by canning, finances permitting.
    – Buy and plant more fruit trees now we have more room.
    – Continue to keep learning more skills.

    No doubt I will come up with more during the year and I have heard from local gardeners about the different conditions here and what percentage shade cloth to use and what the soils here are difficient in. So I am more prepared.


  31. I started blogging weekly updates about my New Year Goals last year and it really helped me to keep up my progress during the year (like a 90% success rate). I highly recommend holding yourself accountable on a weekly basis for any goals you set for yourself…it works! Here are my goals that I hope to succeed with this year:
    1. Walk 500 miles (I did this last year and it was my favorite goal accomplishment)
    2. Read two classics or nonfiction books each month (I read way too many fiction books)
    3. Take each of my kids on an outing by themselves each month
    4. Have two family game nights each month
    5. Learn to knit and crochet
    6. Have one no spend week each month
    7. Buy nothing “new” during the months of January-November (too hard to find all my Christmas gifts used)
    8. Complete one home improvement job each month
    9. Publish my novel that I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year (lots of editing to do)

  32. My biggest plan/goal is to get my house back to normal!!

    We bought this house new in 2004 and the main floor has developed spongy spots. Not wet, but we think they used a too-thin floorboard and the meeting spots of the wood are sagging. My husband is pulling up the carpet a bit at a time and repairing them all himself. Ridiculous, that builders can get away with this. Anyway, he’s about half done and then we can finally replace our ratty carpet….looking much rattier from having been pulled up repeatedly. That’s the first big thing.

    The second is that I will be moving my craft room from the basement bedroom to upstairs. I CAN’T WAIT. I’m grateful I had room for one at all, but we’re getting to an age where the basement isn’t going to be a living area anymore. It’s a shame because it’s bigger than our last house!! But, it was pretty standard for all the homes we looked at here in Kansas, and going without a hidey hold from tornadoes is a big No-No. But for storage, some of the biggy appliances like furnace, water heater, etc., we’ll be living entirely upstairs. The craft room will become a guest bedroom as there is a full and private bathroom down there. We’ll also keep a couple of chairs & tv for any visitors.

  33. Hello Brandy,
    I so enjoy your posts and all the comments. This year is a huge transition for me. The last of nine children have left the roost other than occasional visits. Hubby is spending a lot of time in DC for a special assignment and I am faced with a quiet house that is full of stuff accumulated from 30+ years of raising children. Every day I am tackling something. I have emptied and unplugged the garage frig (will be keeping this as it is needed for bridal showers, graduations, etc.) and the garage freezer. Cleaned out the pantry upstairs and will attack the cupboards in the basement. Ashamed to say that in the last couple of years I lost track of some of my stock and have filled up the garbage can. ? The upside is that I know exactly what I have and will be months eating down the pantry and freezer. The basement is filled with years of living and my plan is to FINALLY start selling off all those “things”. My goal is to learn the ropes of EBay. I also will be increasing my prayer and spiritual efforts, and working on becoming fit and healthier (have a mother of the bride moment in October). It is bittersweet, somewhat daunting, but also very freeing. Thanks to all for the inspiration.

  34. I have the following goals for 2019 (and Happy New Year everyone!)

    1. Live off one income well. Still concentrating especially on the food budget.
    2. Organize & declutter. I want to concentrate on creating simple, workable systems so my house can run smoother. I am aiming for a simpler lifestyle.
    3. Improve our family’s health. I am concentrating this year on our food. For myself I would like to move toward a more plant-based diet. I also want to improve my son’s diet to help him with his Crohn’s. I also suspect digestive sensitivities with some other children. I also plan to continue to reduce our use of processed food.
    4. Personal enrichment. I plan to concentrate on discovering who I am and continue to find creative activities.
    5. Creating income. I have several possibilities in mind that I am excited about.

    I am still exploring what specific activities I plan to try monthly that will help me work toward my goals.
    I have posted my goals in the beginning of my planner and have committed myself to look at this list often to keep me motivated.
    My focus word for this year is awareness.

    Overall I would like to live simply. I feel that this would bring calmness and peace to my life. I am also determined to make my house a home this year. I have lived in this house for over 20 years and it still does not feel like my home. My house is filled with things that other people in my life have decided is my style. I would like to input a little bit of me & my family style into our home. Creativity will be the key here. I want to create a cozy, welcoming home.

  35. I too listen to Scripture while I get ready in the morning! It is a great way for me to start the day with the right mindset. Often times I get stressed or tired from my job and I find myself daydreaming about being able to go on a vacation twice a month like some of my wealthier friends do or even owning my own house, which often feels like a pipe dream since I live in California.

    But for 2019, I want to practice more gratitude for the things I do have (which is a lot compared to many people) than the things i don’t. I am thankful for all the little luxury gifts my friends have gifted me from fake plants that decorate my room to sheet masks for me to pamper myself. I am thankful for a loving hardworking husband and for weekends and weekday nights I get to spend with him. I am thankful for a lot of homemade food my mom makes, which helps cut my spending on eating out. And I am thankful for your blog with its inspiring frugal posts and beautiful photos. 🙂

  36. 2019 looks to be one of continued sacrifice and diligence as we work toward our goals with 2.5 years remaining – for me to return to our wyoming home full-time with our son graduated and in the military as an officer. We also want to leave our pay-as-we-go place in the east turnkey ready. And, we want our own land and cabin out west instead of renting. Lots to do for that.

    I am determined to lose the final weight to fit into my own clothing. Not sure why I gained the weight in the first place or why it is so difficult to lose. I have noticed that I have to work to keep my energy levels up as I age. I’m also adding balancing and stretching exercises to counter the loss of them for the second half of my life. Aging well is my physical goal.

    I also need to watch how my time is being spent now that I am transitioning into a life with adult children and working full time again. I’m rather organized, but have noticed bits of time being wasted. Waste not want not!?

    So, the lists have been made and they do look rather daunting at this point! However, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Small goals (made with lots of prayer) that are doable will provide the success and motivation to finish 2019 strong! A lot was accomplished in 2018, so I guess I’d best be getting to it!

  37. I love your goals! My main goal is to spend 15 minutes a day decluttering. I haven’t started yet so I have some catching up to do! I will also budget and track my expenses faithfully every month (we save so much money when I do this), menu plan from the freezer and pantry first, and spend less time on the internet every morning (starting with the 15 minutes I’ll be decluttering and building up from there).

  38. I just had emergency brain surgery to remove a benign tumor that was causing severe pain. It came as a real shock, and has changed our goals for our family. We haven’t had the time or energy to discuss the life changes yet as emergency surgery was just Monday the 7th.

    Recovery will be at least a month, but I am hoping for a more productive and joyous year without pain and with a clear head. I had no idea what I was missing, so grateful for more life!!!!

    1. Best Wishes for a speedy recovery but don’t be impatient about recovery. It’ll happen, all in good time. I had brain surgery, too, but recovery took a lot longer than predicted. I lost my sense of taste and smell. It was about 6 months before it came back — chocolate gelato never tasted so exquisite! I was so lucky and thankful because an ENT specialist told m later that sometimes it’s never recovered. In the meantime, enjoy your new life!

    2. Wow, that must have been so scary to go through, Laura Lee! I wish you all the best with your recovery. I also hope you find lots of joy and happiness without pain this year.

  39. I am currently working on writing down my goals, but have been hit with the flu. Here are some things I want to d:
    1) Declutter- we worked on this some last year, but I would love to get it finished. I have looked at FlyLady and I have been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix.
    2) Get a working written budget. This is difficult to manange.
    3) plan more gardening.
    4) Spread more kindness.
    5) Stop wasting time.

    1. Budgeting is an awesome goal! I can’t recommend highly enough YNAB – it stands for You Need a Budget. They have a 34 day free trial and they offer free classes on every budgeting topic there is…FREE I TELL YOU. You don’t even have to have YNAB to take the class, you just need internet or a smartphone to join in the class. It may be a place to get more info, it may be a program you love and want to use. They have a super simple ideology for budgeting but it was revolutionary for my budgeting. Get well soon!

  40. Best wishes for a speedy recovery — enjoy the new life you’ve been given! from a fellow brain surgery survivor. Ann

  41. Yesterday, I went to a bookstore while my friend went grocery shopping. I had had an errand to do, caught a ride with her and then waited for her in the bookstore while she did her grocery shopping. while at the bookstore, I bought a book for my neighbour who has a terrible disease. It was a belated Christmas present (she and I are usually late with the gifts). On the way home, I dropped it off to her. I went online to note down the exact title when I found that it was considerably less expensive online. (same online company as the store I had been in). I talked to the manager and she will give me a store credit. Next time, I’ll always check the online price first. I’ll be so glad to get it. Great customer relations.

  42. Thank you for this post Brandy – I honestly don’t know how you manage to accomplish as much as you do – you are amazing!

    FINANCES: Things are very tight financially so getting more PT work is high on my list of things to do. I am telling myself to be open to any type of work and also to reach out to others who have offered to help me find something instead of trying to do it all myself.

    I have cut back on spending and need to call the phone company and insurance company to either cancel some items or get them to reduce fees. I am also considering giving up cable for a year. I pay a ridiculous amount and find that I watch less and less. I have Netflix & iTunes, plus other streaming options on my computer so I think even a 6 month diet might be in order.

    HOME: I’ve done a good job of decluttering and only have about 20% left to go through = mostly paper and photos. I like my little apt. and while I would love a new couch and chair for the living room, new dining chairs, and a new bed – these items are all WANTS not NEEDS. I will put some items aside to possibly sell (it’s not something I will do myself but I do know someone who does this as a sideline for a fee).

    PERSONAL: I need to lose weight and get fitter – it’s a health concern not vanity – but I’ve been working on making it a lifestyle not a “diet”.and I’m getting there. I cook from scratch and eat from home about 85% of the time and I include lots of fruit & veg and find that cutting back (but not eliminating) carbs works best for me. As I eat down the meat in my freezer I intend to concentrate on buying more fish & seafood to replace at least half of it. I’m using online videos, my access to nearby parks and my small weight collection to exercise on a daily basis without any additional costs.

    I need to make an appointment at my university to go through things and find out exactly where I am as regards my BA. I believe that I have enough credits and being able to put that on my resume would open a few more doors as far as jobs are concerned. Not sure why I’ve put this off for so long – just feel as though a bit of inertia has set in and it’s been tough to shake it off.

    I also need to make better use of my time – I find myself siting around and watching mindless TV far too much of the time at the moment. I seem to get more done the busier I am so I’m lining up ways to keep busy. Oh I still have plenty of time for friends and for books but I do find that I need a bit more direction to my week now that I’m retired. Too much free time isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    My word for the year is “Contentment” – with where I am in life, with my home, with my wardrobe and with life in general.

  43. Brandy,
    My goal for this new year is to approach it with a more positive attitude.
    Years ago, I had great retirement plans but now as that time draws more near, it is clear that the changing world in which we live no longer supports my retirement dreams. I am having to create new ideas.
    One thing I would really love to do is use my gardening skills to make my small town more attractive. It could really use some sprucing up and I hope it maintains it’s small town feel even though it is growing faster than ever. I am planning to ask permission to plant some herbs and flower bulbs in the city park. Last summer I worked in the school garden and found that to be very enjoyable so this would be expanding on that. I will have to use my frugal ways to save some money to purchase the plants/bulbs as the city has no funds for this type of thing.
    I would also like to find a way to create a side income. It would be something I enjoy doing-this goes back to having to create new ideas.
    Brandy-thanks so much for encouraging us to think and plan and dream.

    1. Wildseed Farms sells wildflower seeds in bulk. These can be sown to come back every year if they’re in an area that is left wild. Have you ever read the book Miss Rumphius? It is about a woman who plants lupine seeds all around her town. She goes about throwing seeds around the whole place and then town is surprised when lupines flower in the spring–and every year thereafter. They are a wildflower that reseeds, so every year the place has more flowers. There are many other seed options as well, such as shirley poppies. Check out Wildseed Farms for what will grow in your area. You can buy pounds and pounds of seeds for cheap from them and they will tell you what grows in your area.

  44. I guess my word for this year is flexibility. Since my husband was diagnosed with dementia about 7 months ago, change is constant in this household. I am trying to concentrate mainly on taking care of him–this includes driving everywhere as he is no longer able to drive himself. He is my priority at the moment and I have to remember to let some things go in order to keep him happy and occupied. I am still dragging my feet about a person to help me clean and need to get that straightened out. Some help with gardening will be the next step after housekeeping. The house is too cluttered to make me happy but there is little time for decluttering. Cooking takes a lot of time because he prefers to eat at home, and also has gained a few pounds, which his doctor would like to see, so cooking will have to continue. I don’t mind cooking at all, but coming up with menus taxes my brain. I have a separate freezer so I don’t need to plan too far ahead, as long as I keep everything well stocked, which I mostly do. There is a lot of frustration involved for both of us in dealing with this new turn of events. Sometimes I have to set aside what I wanted to get done today in order to either find things he has lost, or fix something he used to fix by himself, and so on. He varies from day to day in what he can do and how confused he is, so it’s quite hard to plan on anything in particular. He has forgotten how to make the TV work, how to sign on to the computer, and remembers again other days. It’s a world of uncertainty which I have not yet adjusted to.

  45. Kim, I love your idea for beautifying your town. I used to know a woman who took responsibility for planting and maintaining a garden around her town’s welcome sign. If you have the ability to start seeds–or just to sow them in time to get blooms– you could plant a lot of annuals on the cheap. Cosmos usually reseed themselves and come back year after year. Also, about 15 years ago, I bought a package of Ed Hume petunia seeds in mixed colors and they are still coming back at my old house! (they weren’t hybrids). In June,after irises have bloomed, ask friends and neighbors for rhizomes. If you can get the ca$h for bulbs, plant daffodils in the fall…within a few years, they will have naturalized. My point is, think of what you can get for free or cheap that will come back each year, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can add to it, or change it around, each gardening season.

  46. Like what was mentioned earlier, I work full-time and my commute is an hour each way as well. So I broke my goals down in easier steps for me.

    A) Do 12 no-spend weeks for the year (1 week per month)

    B) Clean and waterproof basement walls (do throughout the year)

    C) More scratch cooking/baking.

    D) Sell more on local FB sell/buy/trade sites, eBay, Tradesy, etc.

    E) Spring/summer/fall – go through items in polebarn to sell on-line or possibly some yard sales.

    F) Save $350+/month for property taxes and insurances.

    G) Plot out garden to grow more food.

    H) Grow 250 lbs. of fruits and vegetables.

    I) Preserve and can extra food.

    J) Save $100+ for living room furniture, bedroom furniture and stove.

    K) Read 12 books

    L) Lose 25 lbs. (2 lbs./month).

    M) Walk more with Kenze (she’s my Brittany).

  47. So inspired by all the different goals. In 2019 I would like to-
    1) Use the word “decisive” as a guide when making decisions and move forward. I often overthink so often and waste time and talents.
    2) Continue to work on our home “fix up” projects.
    3) Sew a few things from my fabric stash.
    4) Enjoy my recent retirement with my DH. We feel very blessed to be together on this new journey. We have always been frugal and couldn’t be happier to see it’s continued benefits.
    5) Stay true to my beliefs and new routines.
    Happy New Year

  48. I love the word for the year idea. I’ve been thinking about one, but cannot decide between endurance or simplicity. Endurance to keep going with excellence and simplicity to focus on what is important to me in life. Guess I’ll keep both.

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