Queen of Sweden The Prudent Homemaker

Queen of Sweden rose

January is one of the busiest months in my garden. Our winter is short and very spring-like (our first frost came December 18th and the last official frost date is February 15th) and there is much to do in January. I’ll spend a great number of afternoons and every Saturday physically working outside in the winter sunshine: pruning trees, roses, and grape vines, and shoveling dirt. 


Garden Goals:

1. Prune all dormant fruit trees

2. Prune grape vines

3. Prune roses. Strip any remaining rose leaves to force rose bushes into a short dormant period.

4. Spray dormant oil (I use Neem oil, an organic spray) on trees, grape vines, roses, and hedges to kill overwintering insects and powdery mildew

5. Plant spinach seeds in the garden

6. Plant radish seeds in the garden

7. Plant lettuce seeds in the garden

8. Fertilize asparagus (with blood meal)

9. Spread new soil in the garden in areas that need it

10. Cloche seedlings in the garden with canning jars to help them to grow faster

11. Plant daffodil bulbs


Organization and Cleaning Goals:

1. Donate unused items to the thrift store

2. Make a weekly housekeeping plan (i.e. pick which room to do each day type of plan)

3. Clean refrigerator

4. Clean vacuum


Sewing Goals:

1. Mend 10 items

2. Sew sheer curtains for a bedroom

3. Finish sewing new hot pads

4. Embroider cotton webbing with children’s names and sew to new bath towels


Personal Goals:

1. Lose 2 pounds

2. Take more photos

3. Watch some videos online on things I want and need to learn


What are your goals for this month?



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  1. Hello Brandy and everyone and Happy New Year to you all 🙂 .

    Like you Brandy we have a lot of tasks in the garden to do this month too.

    Here is our goals for the month –

    Financial Goals –

    – Continue to top up home emergency cash fund.
    – Use DH’s paid gardening work money to subsidise fuel this month.
    – Save up my earned craft and seed selling internet money to purchase a food dehydrator.
    – Continue to be frugal to save for our home with cash and replace funds used to purchase 2 new laptops.
    – Put away $245 at the end of each month to cover bills into our dedicated bill account and save $250 to top up emergency fund used to purchase laptops with.
    – Only use $180 of our $280 monthly grocery budget and save the other $100 to purchase bulk meat to top up the freezer.

    General household frugalities –

    – Continue to use our solar lanterns to light the home at night without turning on mains powered lights.
    – Hand water lawns and or vegetable gardens with saved grey water if this heat continues.
    – Meet all planned budgeting categories and hopefully go under.

    Home and kitchen –

    – Continue to cook all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Preserve by blanching and freezing all excess vegetable produce from the gardens.

    Garden –

    – Continue to collect leaves to mulch the vegetable gardens with instead of buying hay.
    – Save seeds from snow and telephone peas, dwarf strike green and butter beans, and continue to collect brown onions seeds off flowers on the kitchen table.
    – List saved excess vegetable seeds on Ebay to top up gardening budget and earn extra income.
    – Keep up with picking ripe vegetables from the gardens.
    – Work in the early mornings and evenings in the garden to avoid the heat of the day.
    – Continue to trench compost in between the vegetable garden rows as we have enough kitchen vegetable scraps.

    Sewing and craft –

    – Cut out and sew an A4 notebook cover, curtain tiebacks and 5 layer cotton eye masks.

    Firewood and kindling –

    – Collect all twigs from the yard under trees to add to our firewood kindling pile, I have them in piles but not yet brought them up to the veranda as yet.
    – Cut more firewood for next winter if the temperatures are below 30oc.

  2. Happy New Year. I have to clean my garden, it was never put to bed as the children and I were sick for months. I had vegetables just rot and freeze out there. What a waste.

    My husband and I are trying something new, and I’ll be shopping alone. Hopefully it will be more efficient and I’m sure I’ll avoid impulse buys. The children will stay home with him.

  3. Happy New Year! I was wondering if you had any videos you could recommend to learn how to take care of fruit trees–pruning, fertilizing, water, etc. Or any videos about learning how to crochet? I’d really love to crochet my kids some blankets.

  4. My goals for January are:
    – organize my sewing and storage area
    – prepare 3-4 recipes to have more variety of meals
    – read at least one book
    – finish reparing 3 articles of clothing (all have broken zippers)
    – watch 2-3 tutorials on Craftsy
    – no-spend January – staying on track with frugality

  5. Brandy, would you share a picture of the embroidered towels once you have made them. I like to idea and I’m wondering what yours look like when completed. You do such a wonderful job at making things look so pretty and elegant. I’d love to glean more ideas from your sewing projects this year.

    Although I’m not that great at planning ahead for the month, I do have one thing that I will be working on over the next few weeks. My husband, daughter and I will be taking our first trip ever to California the last week in January to the first week in February. We will be visiting Los Angeles, then traveling up the scenic coast to San Fransisco for a few days before going back to L.A. to catch our flight out. So, over the next few weeks, I need to get everything organized and packed for the trip. This means pulling out spring/summer cloths, deciding which ones to bring (with considerations of temp fluctuations in the 2 areas) and making sure we have enough clothing for the time we are away. There are a few other items to remember to pack as well, like the soft sided coolers, so we can purchase some groceries and take lunches with us to keep our food costs low. So excited to finally see the west coast!!!

    I have already discussed with my husband that we need to refocus our efforts on savings once we are back from the trip. We are starting to discuss our future life plans as well, since my daughter is about to enter high school next year. We have 4-5 years that we need to commit to living in this area. But once she graduates, we need to start thinking about what we want to do after that. Lots of options to consider and, thankfully, lots of time to think about it.

  6. January goals:
    All meals are cooked from scratch
    No eating out
    $25 weekly shop – to supplement what I have on hand
    Set up and complete a weekly clean schedule
    Work on health goals.

    A nice list for a household of one.

  7. Happy New Year, Brandy and The Prudent Homemaker readers!

    I love goal setting and recently posted my 12 Goals for 2017. I will be posting weekly progress reports.

    I really like that you are breaking your goals down to a monthly basis.

    Sadly, it will too cold for me to do gardening work for a couple of months. January and February are our coldest months, but by the end of February I should be able to start some lettuce and onions. Meanwhile, I hope to get some sewing done.

    Please stop by and check out my goals.


  8. I am doing the no spend January, along with the Frugalwoods blog, which means no unnecessary spending. I do that anyway, but there is always room for improvement. I am also doing The Compact for the year, which is to buy no new things, with a few exceptions. I buy new underwear and socks, but I usually buy the socks at the thrift store because they are $2.00 cheaper than other stores. I also buy new pans, usually, if I need a pan, because of the number of meth cookers in the area, I know about, because of my job. Many of us in my line of work are cautious about used pans because of the huge drug use in our area. I will buy upholstered furniture used, but only if I know the people, because of the bedbug epidemic. I do not plan on needing any furniture. My immediate goal is to resave for my emergency 1,000 dollar fund, which keeps on getting spent because of health emergencies with my kids or my car. I hope to save $6,000 this year. That did not happen last year. That was my goal, and I spent that much in healthcare or vehicle emergencies. Hopefully, 2016 will be better. The good thing is that the emergencies hit every month, so I was able to cash flow them. I have a child with a chronic illness, and I have bad teeth…lol. My goal this month, food wise, is to eat out of my pantry, and not spend more than $40 on things I am low in my food stockpile on, such as meat and dairy.

  9. I have a BIG goal for this month. Clean out my spare bedroom. It is full of things I need to donate. I will go through box by box and make a donation.

  10. I start school next week and i work full time, so my January goals will include. . .
    ~staying above water
    ~passing my classes, im so close to my AA
    ~since im going to night school, learning several good crockpot meals
    ~purge. …purge. . .purge
    ~i want to make my first vision board
    ~MOST IMPORTANT, pray that our sons adoption finally happens this month.
    ~stay up with my daily devotions
    ~lose 5 ilbs

  11. I have not put a lot of thought into this but there are a few things I KNOW I want to accomplish:
    deep clean the bedroom, which was started before the holidays but never finished
    go through closets and winnow out clothing not being worn to donate–this is a never ending task, as people keep giving us gifts of new clothing

    clean and organize the attic–the daughter and husband have essentially destroyed the organizational plan I started with, and this needs to be re-established. There are three times as many Christmas decorations as are needed and these also need to be winnowed out.

    The same is true of the second floor of the barn, which I had started re-organizing two summers ago and which now shows no sign of that organization. (I cannot carry very heavy things, which is why I blame husband and daughter for the disorganization–they put stuff where ever they think there is space, and I do not approve of this approach!)

    I would also like to convince my husband that keeping years worth of old magazines is a fire hazard. I am not sure this will be successful, but I’d like to try!

    Granddaughter has promised me some work-hours in the house to help me out. I will pay for these hours if she spends them productively and not goofing off. Test run sometime this week when she has time. I will abuse her by making her scrub floors on hands and knees!! Or she can bring her wet Swiffer if she prefers. I have some floors that need upkeep.

    If those jobs get done by spring, I will be more than pleased and will happily go off and work in my garden.

  12. I have 3 goals for this month.
    Eat all meals at home.
    Participate in a month long pantry challenge. I will only need to purchase milk, fresh fruit and veggies and bread.
    Clean and reorganize my kitchen and living room.

  13. Brandy I would love to have a tutorial on the hot pads you make. I fell in love with the red ones you made for your nephew as a wedding shower gift January 6, 2013 and the towels to go with them. I want to, not only make them for myself, but as Christmas gifts for my sister-in-laws for Christmas 2017. I found where you made the towel with the embroidered initial, but would love to know how to do the hot pads.

    Thank you for all you do!

  14. My January goals:
    Clean under kitchen sink and discover where our night time “visitor” is coming in.
    Go thru craft tubs to consolidate, decide what to make, and donate the rest.
    Re-arrange the pantry shelves in the back room.

  15. Bravo for setting up goals just for this month!

    As for my goals:

    1. I want to get back into my exercise routine. I don’t work out to lose weight; it’s actually for health reasons, so I’ve been uncomfortable since I’ve fallen off the wagon. Oof!

    2. I’d love to grow my writing a lot more this month as well. I’m trying to maximize my down time so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted time each day.

    3. I want to try making homemade pasta this month. I found a few recipes that look really fun. I’d love to see if it’s better/cheaper than storebought.

  16. Great goals! My goals are very dependent on my dh’s heath situation as I have several appointments to take him to (and sit in on).

    make some very mild liquid type soups/meals for dh’s chemo days and dd’s wisdom teeth surgery
    use up a lot of freezer foods so I can defrost freezer
    keep to a menu plan as much as possible
    Find good, healthy recipes that dh will eat (a bit picky….)
    Try to keep to a smaller grocery budget due to income lose
    Go to used bookstore to get a couple cookbooks for dd’s birthday

    defrost freezer
    go through my clothes and get rid of what doesn’t fit etc.
    reorganize our linen/bathroom storage closet
    finish reorganizing living room (been working on it the last couple days)

    5 miles a week on the treadmill
    lose 2 lbs
    Get report cards done days before the deadline
    Make 3 games for my classroom
    read 1 book
    complete 2 afghans and 2 pillows for charity group
    Re-read your posts on living on a reduced income budget…..

  17. Hello Everyone,
    I have been reading Brandy’s blog and all the comments for several months, but this is the first time for me to post. There is another Dawn, so I will be Dawn in the Deep South :). I love the supportive environment and since I just resigned my job to care for my ailing mother-in-law, I need to learn more frugal ways of living. I started by taking everything out of my kitchen cabinets and figuring out just what I had in there. Who knew there were 9 cans of pumpkin lurking in the back corner? I then planned this week’s meals based on what I had in the cabinets and freezer. I only have a Kroger (which is actually pretty competitive) and a Walmart, where I hate to shop. Never heard of Aldi, but would love to have one. We may get a Costco and am keeping my fingers crossed that we do. Anyway, I don’t sew, but did hand stitch a coverlet seam back together, took a large load to Goodwill, organized Christmas bows/tissue/bags and cooked all week from scratch. We have curbside recycling with a huge rolling bin that is coded to our house. Every week when they pick up our recycling, we get points that can be redeemed and I selected several magazines free of charge with those points. I will be continuing to read all the great ideas and hope everyone has a wonderful week.

  18. Lisa, I jumped over to read your goals for 2017 and they sound like they may be an interesting challenge. I like a good challenge. It feels good when you accomplish them. 😉

    I have a few suggestions for keeping your daughter’s wedding costs down. Although my wedding was 17 years ago, these ideas should still apply. First, I had someone sew my wedding gown that was really good at sewing. I found a pattern that she modified to my requests and bought all the fabric that she needed (I lived in Toronto at the time and someone told me about some specialty fabric stores that had some great options. I’m sure amazon would be a great place to look now). My dress cost only a few hundred dollars, instead of paying thousands for a dress I only wore once. It was beautiful and really unique too…more of a historic costume than a typical wedding dress, including a blue velvet cape. Second, I made my own wedding invitations and printed them on a home printer, rather than buying over priced invitations. They just get tossed eventually anyways and the point is to have people come to the wedding, not impress them with an invite. There are so many more options and better computer graphics now for making your own than I had back then. It might even be cheaper and better quality to have them printed at somewhere like Staples. Definitely worth looking into. Finally, I made all the table centerpiece decorations myself. So many ideas on Pinterest now that I can’t imagine this will be hard to find inspiration for. Good luck and best wished to your daughter on her upcoming wedding!

  19. Dawn in the Deep South, welcome to the community. Now that you have resigned from your job, perhaps you can carve out a bit of time to learn some new skills, like sewing or another craft that is of interest to you. There are so many tutorials and YouTube videos on line now that it much easier to learn a new skill these days. It just takes time, patience and a lot of practice. Good luck with taking care of your mother-in-law. I hope you will continue to share your frugal accomplishments with us.

  20. Brandi, thank you for posting the picture of the rose. It is rainy and dreary outside and feels like the sun will never shine again. My winter garden is all under wraps and surviving quite well considering the horrible weather we have had. http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2016/12/decembers-garden-giant-cover-up.html

    I have also shared a post about how I have observed the Amish in my area preparing for the winter. http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2016/12/amish-preparing-for-winter.html

    My biggest goal will be to get the pantry cleaned out, organized and food eaten in preparation for the spring. Now is the time to enjoy summer’s bounty.

  21. Lorna,
    When I was reading you comment, I momentarily forgot you live in Australia and was wondering at how many veggies you were getting during the winter–enough to blanch and freeze. Then, of course, I remembered it’s summer where you live! I’m glad you are getting a good garden this year.

  22. I figure from your comment that you already know that it can be much more rainy and wet in San Francisco then in LA. My sister and I are taking the girls there in January as well (sooner than you are going), since she has a conference there. I will be taking the girls around while she attends the conference and then we will do things when she’s off. We were just discussing the need for coats and rainwear with Michaela (my niece) today. I don’t quite have that figured out yet for myself and Ja’Ana because we are packing light–only carry-on. That doesn’t leave much room for coats. Good luck with packing. Because we live on the west coast, we have traveled up and down it over the years. There’s lots to see.

  23. Becky yes I forgot to put hello from Australia, a bit confusing I must admit 🙂 .

    Thank you for the encouragement too and we try and blanch and freeze all of our summer produce so we have a full freezer for the year and also to get us through the frosts here in winter too and save all our seeds so we don’t have to buy any more for the year too.

  24. My goal will take several months to reach and will be ongoing but I am looking at it as taking it one step at a time.
    I have been offered a new position at work that will require a very big learning curve on my part and will require some overtime hours. So, my goal for January is to simplify my life as much as possible by:
    Meal planning
    Keeping my housecleaning schedule basic and easy
    Exercising 3 times per week for energy, weight loss and strengthening my body
    Eating to fuel my body rather than eating whatever I want 😉
    Getting enough sleep
    Enjoying weekends and time off by relaxing and spending time with my family

  25. Youtube how to make a simple crocheted blanket. Learning to chain and single crochet is the first step for a simple blanket. Use a larger hook w thicker yarn(or use multiple strands at once.). It will not take as long. I can do simple crochet, which I started learning at 6yrs old. I like to use cotton yarn and practice by making wash cloths. Small project that is still useful.

  26. I bought fabric on ebay. I ended up not getting married, but I got 10 yards of a velvet fabric for a renaissance/medieval style gown. Bought pattern on 99c sale. All trim was bought on ebay. Cost less than buying 3 yards of this fabric at store. Have like 3 extra yards left. Also got candy/soap molds to make favors. Granted I’m craftsy. I have multiple crafty friends. I sew and I know a few others that sew. I haven’t made any of it, but I still plan to. Even if I don’t get married…I will use the outfit for Ren faires and Halloween. I can make a simple gown that can be worn even for church or a nice dinner out. I was going to make the bell sleeves removable.(w elastic, not traditional, but for multiple uses.) I was going to do some other things, but honestly forget.

  27. Jan plans shell my walnuts. Inventory my pantry. Declutter my daughter’s clothes, that she’s outgrown and give to lady at work(for her nieces). Go through what she has to see if she needs anything. I know some jeans need knees patched. Inventory my Christmas stuff and gift box. That way I know what I have. (I purchase items through the year.) Will be a spend month except for good deal needed stock items. I’ve got a giftcard for Christmas and some money set aside to see two movies. We always go to matinees.

  28. We’ll pack some umbrellas, just in case of rain. We’re already planning to take a mix of clothing for both warm and slightly cooler weather, including both short and long pants as well as jackets and cardigans that we can wear over t-shirts if it’s cool in the morning, then take off if it warms up in the afternoon. We learned that lesson when we went to Florida one year in early February. We took all summer clothing with only a small amount of warm clothing to wear in the evening. Of course they were having a cold snap when we got there…so thankful I had forgot to take my mittens out of my jacket pocket! We did end up buying some warm clothes down there to help us get through, too. Lesson learned…be prepared for cold if you travel to warm places in the winter!

    The reason we are going to San Fransisco is that my husband wants desperately to visit Alcatraz. So we’ve incorporated this into our California trip. I think it works out well, as we are going to see a lot of beautiful oceanfront scenery because of it!

  29. I am really inspired by reading everyone’s goals.
    My goals this January include eating from my pantry and putting the money I don’t spend in savings. I really want to build up our savings this year. The last week in December we bought a new (used) car for cash and I want to build up that account again.
    I plan to finish cleaning out my sewing/craft room and list some excess supplies for sale on eBay.
    Organize all my tax paperwork by the end of the month.
    Sew a table runner from fabric I have on hand.
    Organize my seeds and decide what to order for this year.

  30. Goals for January are: read 2 books, deep decluttering in my 6 year olds room, donate some toys and kids clothes, pay off 1/4 of credit card balance on 1 card, earn enough Swagbucks to get an Amazon gift card and purchase some needed household items.

  31. Happy New Year all!!
    My first goal is to stick to and get thru the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet so I can then introduce things one at a time to pinpoint what is causing my IBS symptoms besides stress. And along with that, I plan on taking one of the dogs out on decent days for a walk which both of us need – eventually, I would like to be able to walk at least the 2 Danes together but that won’t happen til I get their leash manners up to par!
    Second is to go thru the entire house, one room at a time and eliminate any and all non essentials! This house feels like it is packed and it is ridiculous.
    And, I think that is enough for the month w/o stressing myself out OH I will be making my seed lists as well (and modifying it about 6 times before I place an order hehe)

  32. It is definitely too cold for outdoor landscaping in Ohio, but I have to take the Christmas decorations down. I have the bulk of my graduate portfolio to write this week, followed by two weeks of classes, a week break, and the beginning of my teaching practicum. I also picked up 8 shifts. My big goal is to complete my schoolwork and plan ahead to avoid eating out this month.

  33. I have an etsy shop that has been languishing for the last few months – I’ve had sales but added no new listings. I did take some photos of vintage Christmas items that I won’t list until next fall but will write them up as drafts so they are ready to go. I did take photos of vintage books last weekend so will get those listed ASAP.
    I will stay out of thrift stores – I’d been buying clothes as our grandson moves to a new size but they feel he has enough now so no matter how inexpensive – and cute! – some of those clothes are, we are not buying any more.
    I never remember to mail birthday cards and feel like wishing someone happy birthday on Facebook is pretty lame. I bought a Hallmark ecard year long subscription (found a 25% off coupon for it) and am aiming to use if not just for birthdays but all other holidays, thinking of you, just for fun, etc. I think I’ve already sent 6 cards since 12/23 and for $14.40, I think it will worth it. Our grandson (18 months) likes to watch them too!

  34. I made my first vision board with my art group last year. It was fun, but it needs to be hung up where you see it several times a day!

  35. Great goals everyone! Mine are:
    – finish setting up the baby’s room
    – knit a strawberry hat for her
    – cook a few meals for the freezer
    – line up everything for our taxes
    – spend some quality time with my husband and son before the baby!

  36. 1) take down Christmas tree
    2) birthday party for mother
    3) finish addressing January’s birthday cards, anniversary cards
    4) write letters to go in cards
    5) work on baby quilt for son and his wife
    6) write out end of year report for work
    7) take pair of birkenstocks to cobbler shop to be resoled
    8) tomorrow set up winter used book sale
    9) start working on taxes
    10) finish off 4 books all started but put aside in busy December
    11) make orange marmalade

  37. My goals for 2017:
    -Continue my recovery from knee replacement surgery in November. The knee is doing very well. But the therapy has caused my bursitis in the hip and sciatica to become inflamed. Will just take time.
    – Hire someone in February to help me with some deep cleaning. Our son has been staying with us, but is moving out February 1st. Due to my knee and some other health issues it is difficult for me to clean up high or down low. Not sure if that bedroom will remain a bedroom or go back to being a family room. I’m trying to decide the best use of space for when our other children and grandchildren visit.
    – I have been saving change in a jar for a long time, but I am now saving dollar bills as well. My husband and I are planning a trip to England this year, and it will be an expensive trip. The money from the jar will be spending money.
    – Go through 2-3 years of paperwork. This one I dread! When it’s purged and organized, try to come up with a filing system that will work for me.
    – Bake more. I cook a lot, but tend to buy cookies that are processed. Not good for us.

    That’s all I can think of right now. Plenty to get me started! Happy New Year everyone!

  38. I haven’t even set goals for Just this month. I barely decided on my year goal. But now i want to set goals for just this month. Thank you for always inspiring me to be better.

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