My one-word theme for this year is “achieve.” Over the years, I’ve had goals and plans to do things that never came to fruition. This year, I’d like to change that.

I have a lot to do this month! It’s going to be a busy month.


  1. Finish pruning all of the fruit trees, rose bushes, grape vines, blackberry bushes, and hedges. This is a large task that takes me a couple of months; I fill up the trash cans every week until the task is done.
  2. Spray all of the above with an organic dormant oil (neem oil) to kill overwintering pests and get rid of powdery mildew and black spot.
  3. Pull all of the crabgrass from the garden.
  4. Pull most of the peppermint from the garden. It has taken over.
  5. Bring in new dirt for the places that are low.
  6. Fertilize the lawn.
  7. Fix three water issues.
  8. Plant flower seeds.
  9. Plant cool-season vegetable seeds.
  10. Fertilize the trees, roses, berry bushes, bulbs, and potted bushes.
  11. Stake several trees


This year, I am working to organize everything in the house.

  1. Organize a section of my closet.
  2. Begin organizing my sewing room.
  3. Organize my desk.
  4. Organize my medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Home Decor:

  1. Design a gallery wall over my dining table using frames I already have. I will change out the images as well, though this month I might just get the frames hung.
  2. Figure out new pillows for the living room.


  1. Sew a pink velvet dress to wear for Valentine’s Day.
  2. Makeover a navy velvet maternity dress using the same pattern as the pink dress. I will be altering the neckline of the pattern to make it a boatneck instead of a scoopneck.
  3. Sew a doll dress to match the dress I made for my daughter for Christmas. We saw this pretty blush jersey knit fabric with gold polka dots at Hobby Lobby last fall. She asked me to make her a dress out of the fabric, which I did. I also made her a matching scrunchie. She would like a scrunchie for her doll too. These are the gifts she requested for her birthday. I may sew her something else as well, but for now, these are her only requests.

Weight Loss:

  1. Lose 6 pounds. This will get me to my wedding weight, but I don’t know that it will have me fitting back in my wedding dress. My final goal weight is my college weight, which is five pounds less than that. If I find that that isn’t going to get me there, I will readjust my goals to my high school graduation weight, which is another eleven pounds lighter. I’ll continue to use the Lose It app to track my food and exercise. My exercise is housekeeping and gardening. I’m already fitting in clothes the same size as I used to be, but I’d like them to fit a little better around the waist. My wedding dress bag has a paper attached with my measurements on it, so I know how far I have to go to reach my waist measurement (4 1/2″ to lose).


  1. Enjoy a Valentine’s date out with my husband.
  2. Teach each of my children how to cook something new.


  1. Complete a flat lay course that I purchased last fall.
  2. Continue a flash course that I purchased last fall.
  3. Purchase business cards.
  4. Learn more about SEO and work on SEO on my website.
  5. Prepare items for filing taxes.
  6. Attend the show floor at WWPI.
  7. Calibrate my camera lenses.
  8. Take photos with the spring blossoms.
  9. Have my husband take new headshots of me with my new glasses for all of my social media.


  1. Share more photos of the garden.
  2. Share my dresses (provided they are successful projects!)

I haven’t shared goals on the blog for a while. I’m not sure that this list is helpful to anyone but me, so if this is something you’d like me to keep sharing, let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Thanks for posting this! It inspires me to get busy and accomplish my list of goals. My Word of the Year is: Focus. I need to focus on my priorities and move forward. Thanks for the gentle nudge.

    1. That is a GOOD word – I have ADHD so struggle terribly with staying focused on things – I get the least bit bored and I am off to something else…..leads to lots of unfinished projects. I think I will post this on my frig – maybe it will help!

      1. Me too. I haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD, but I do have a tendency to get bored and not finishing things. My goal is to finish things rather than leaving them 90% complete. One trick that wotks for me is to set a timer and focus on a task until the timer goes off. Silly, but it works for me. I also write a to do list most days and do my best to get the items ticked off.

        I love reading your goals, Brandy. It, and everything you do, inspires me!

    2. I love reading your goals- it reminds me of some of my own that need to be done. You’re a busy lady that’s for sure☺️ So I say keep them coming!

  2. Your goals motivate me to have yearly goals. My word for the year is “move” – as in exercise, motion and activity. My job ties me to my desk and I need to exercise but I hate it.

    I start with five minutes of walking then convince myself to do three more until I’ve hit 20 minutes or half a mile. Nearly every day. This is quite an accomplishment for me. I hope to increase my speed and time throughout the year.

  3. This is very helpful! Inspires me to make my own list. I would love hearing more about low cost & zero budget children’s birthday parties! And dinner parties in general!

  4. Yes! Please keep posting your goals. It’s food for thought for me as well as motivation. My word for the year is cherish, as in cherish the time I have these two little ones in my home. They are growing up so quickly and it won’t be long till they don’t need me.

    1. I love this! Your children will always need you…just in different ways. Right now you are the center of their world. One of my dearest friends reminds me that as our children leave us a little more each day; their hearts are always with us.

      They do come home again sometimes as well. Tomorrow my daughter returns to her life in Chicago after 7 months of being home as my caretaker. She’ll be 26 in March. Cherishing builds both memories and unbreakable bonds.


  5. Don’t kill yourself trying to get those inches off the middle – when estrogen drops as we age it changes how we carry the weight. I would be focusing on core strength, not just the inches. I got sideswiped when my estrogen dropped over six months – it isn’t just hot flashes!

    1. Well, I’ve had nine children; the eldest is eighteen, and the youngest will be two in April. I’d like to not have a difference of three clothing sizes between my hips/bust and my waist, especially when my bust and hips are a size 4! So I will keep trying! I’m not in menopause yet!

      1. Just an encouragement—I lost 55 extra pounds two and a half years ago—AFTER I had gone through menopause! So it IS possible! It took me about two and a half years to do it. The last year I was only losing around one pound a MONTH, so very very slow to show up on the bathroom scale, but over the year it made a difference of 12 pounds!

          1. When I read your post and you mentioned you were making over a maternity dress, I thought you were announcing a new pregnancy. It took me awhile to finally figure out you were making it “from” a maternity dress.

            1. It has so much fabric! I’ve barely worn it, because it’s velvet, and our winters are so short. The fabric is so pretty that I don’t want it to go to waste!

          2. Brandy, can you show us a before and after of the maternity-cum-pencil dress? You don’t have to wear the “before”–just hang it up so we can see. But we DO what to see the new, slimmer you in the pencil dress?

  6. I love the goals. Makes me think I need to make goals. I might get more done. My word this year is organize, so I guess people will guess what I’ll be doing.

  7. A maternity dress ???? I am hoping I missed something. Is there another dear baby on the way ???? I know I hit my head hard but a maternity dress is an incredible creation. Love from Atlanta.

    1. I’m making a maternity dress that I barely wore (and didn’t use my last two pregnancies, as it was too big since I lost weight between children) into a pencil dress.

      1. Oh my , I read that too fast. I see makeover now. A pencil dress will be beautiful. That’s mostly what I wear . I can always hope for future blessings. I feel so silly now.

      2. I too thought there was a pregnancy announcement hidden in there! But then it got confusing when you started to talk about wanting to lose inches. Now we are all going to be curious about this maternity dress made into a regular dress. Before and After pics please!

        1. Oh Definitely! It’s a maxi dress so I hope there is enough in the skirt to cut the bodice and skirt of a knee-length dress.

  8. I love hearing about your goals and l hope you’ll keep sharing them!
    It inspires me to refine and continue with my goals.

  9. Yes, please keep updating us on your goals. If I had 9 children, I’d just be so glad to make it through a day that I would never even dream of doing more. Your goals inspire me!

    Looking at February, I am having my kitchen and dining room painted this week, mostly to showcase my teapots and blue and white plates on the wall. I need to get all of them washed and put back up.

    We have one 1099 that doesn’t have to be sent to us until Feb. 15. I would then like to do my income taxes within 10 days.

    My BFF (and I mean forever…since she was 8 and I was 9) is coming to visit over President’s Day weekend. (She still lives in the Portland area). My 74th birthday will occur while she is here, and we are throwing a birthday party. I have invited 8 friends for a light lunch, lots of cake, board games…and party hats, too. (All from the dollar store, LOL). Obviously, a lot of cleaning needs to get done in the next week!

    My BFF is a quilter and is bringing scraps of seasonal and holiday fabrics to make scrunchies for my gift-a-month. I am planning to give scrunchies to my daughter for her birthday. My January gift-a-month was heated rice bags. I made 4 for gifts, plus 3 for us. I used fabrics from my stash and about $2.50 worth of brown rice in each bag.

    We are leaving Feb. 28 to visit relatives in Phoenix. (One of the rice bags is for my husband’s cousin). Before we go, I plan to start seeds. This year I am focusing on perennial flowers, although I’ll also be starting tomatoes. Most will have sprouted by the time we get back 8 days later.

  10. Good luck on your goals, these sound quite ambitious! Regarding your garden: Have you ever considered composting? You write that you fill bags of prunings etc. and on the other hand use fertilizer for beds and trees.
    It would be sustainable and frugal at the same time to keep your cuttings and everything in the garden to use as a fertilizer later. I am not sure how composting would work in a desert climate. I guess you would have to protect it from drying it out, but on the other hand it would be going much quicker with those high temperatures (compared to Germany).

    1. Several things cannot be composted. You can’t compost branches unless you are shredding them, and also some of the ones I cut have bug infections. Rose leaves and berry leaves should not be composted as they can spread disease. What I’m cutting is what would traditionally be burned in a farmer’s garden, but burning garden waste is illegal here. Most of what I am pruning is branches as I have 32 trees, 26 rose bushes, and around 10 grape vines.

      I have tried composting for years, and I will no longer do it. It never broke down for me. It would dry out and blow all over the yard, or it would mold. I don’t have enough brown to add to it (dead leaves) as my trees are small trees. I mostly had green grass. I also am limited on space; it is not a large garden, and every bit of it is being used in some way. I tried in trash cans; it molded and could not easily be turned. I will not compost again.

      1. I have issues with composting also. I’m almost done my master gardener program and I cannot compost to save my life. Here it’s very damp so I’m thinking I have your opposite issue. So we have compost pickup. I just send everything to them. But we can burn so I do burn some of the bigger stuff and diseased stuff.

        Can’t wait to see that new dress!

        1. I took all of the classes offered here that are also part of the master gardening, including a vermicomposting class. But learning I can’t do the worms outside was disappointing for both myself and a fisherman in the class who was hoping to have a worm farm of his own 🙂

  11. I love you lists. I also love see what you make and give your children for their birthdays. Keeping birthdays and Holiday cost down and simple gifts are my favorite blog posts. Beauty for less!

  12. I too love reading other’s goals. I have made a “20 for 20” list that includes goals, things I want to do or change & items to acquire. Some are simple 1 time things, others are longer reaching goals that will take the year to complete. I got the idea from a podcast that I enjoy, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Each month I choose 2 or 3 things from the list to work towards. One of my goals is to declutter the entire house, so this month I put declutter parlor & tv room on list. Also, exercise 3 times a week & to bring up a box of my husband’s books and items from the basement & settle into our bookcase.
    Wishing everyone good luck with achieving their goals!

  13. So happy you share your (very ambitious) goals. It’s fun and inspiring to read them! I do the same thing each month, with categorized goals (health, family, friends, household, blog, etc.). We share the same exercise routine, too! 🙂 Good luck with yours! Eager to see you in that wedding dress!

  14. Hi Brandy! I loved reading through your list of goals. I applaud your desire to be productive in so many aspects of your life.

    Regarding the pillows…I recovered some of my (very, very old) living room throw pillows last week. The pillows were originally given to me, so they cost me nothing, and I shopped for the fabric at Hobby Lobby on clearance right after Christmas. I am happy to say that I have less than $15 worth of three different, complimenting fabrics…and all 6 pillows look BRAND NEW. I’m so happy with them! (2 pillows are 21″ each, 2 pillows are 18″ each, 2 pillows are 12″ each)

    I, too, wanted something different. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to create, as recovering pillows is something I do every couple of years. I found these excellent tutorials for a “flanged” pillow, and they were so easy to follow. My pillows look professionally done, and when I texted a picture to show my husband, he showed them off to several ladies in his office who all want one. I am now taking orders, and have racked up almost 10! Not kidding!!! The beauty of this design is that it could realistically work for any size pillow, and can be easily removed for cleaning. I have a dog and children, so that’s a must.

    I found a beautiful, free Cricut monogram on Pinterest, and had a roll of iron-on vinyl that I was given for Christmas. I borrowed my daughter’s Cricut and ironed on our monogram onto two 21″ pillows. These are what everyone wants to order, and I told them $35/each. Everyone was fine with that….I am a little dumbfounded!

    I guess I’m actually more excited about it then I thought…as I was only going to share the website tutorial, not the rest of the story. But, how neat is that? I didn’t even go looking for it…it found me! I’m going to praise the Lord on that one. 🙂

    Here’s the website, and the specific tutorial I followed. I hope this helps! (Also, do you happen to have an email that I could send you a picture of the pillows I made so that you can see what I’m talking about? If you have a Cricut, or know someone who might let you borrow one, these seem like they would be along the lines of your style. Plus, with your sewing prowess I have no doubt that you could whip these up in no time if you are interested. Each pillow took me less than 20 min, start to finish.)


    1. I don’t have a Cricut.

      I made the last pillows myself. They’ve just worn out completely.

      I’ve looked at fabric online, at Hobby Lobby, and at Joann’s. I couldn’t find what I wanted. I actually ended up ordering pillow inserts and covers from Amazon this week as I could buy covers for less than I could purchase the fabric. They’re velvet covers, so I may change them out to a linen look in summer, but for now, I’ll try to them out and see how I like the size.

  15. I love reading your goals, but WOW that is a lot! It inspires me, however, to think about what goals I might want to set for my own life!

  16. I liked reading your goals. Like many others have commented, it is inspiring & motivational for myself to get similar stuff done. We have seeds for our garden just waiting till time to plant.

  17. you posting your goals got me posting my on my blog…then I decided to post them by the calendar…then Hubby asked if we could combine our goals and post them together on the calendar. SO we are now posting our separate goals and our joint goals on paper beside the calendar.

    I vote yes to you posting your goals

  18. My word of the year is Rejoice. I am going to rejoice in the small victories as well in the big. I have set weekly goals to check off this year and it keeps me more focused on what needs to be done,

    1. “Rejoice” is one of my favorite words! When I was little, I liked the sound of it, and hymns with the word “rejoice” always were so fun to sing, kind of irresistible to not sing along with.
      Perhaps the “re-” is important: be joyful over and over and over again.

  19. I’ve always loved seeing your monthly goals, and am glad to see them again. It gives me ideas about different kinds of things I would like to add to my own list. I think it is very practical how you set up the different steps in each category, like the garden or your business, that will accomplish your overall goal.

    My own to do list is rather stale, but with more time since I stopped transcription, and longer daylight hours coming, I find I am making progress where I was not before, so I will be adding a few new things in the coming weeks.

  20. I enjoy reading the goals, too. I’m in awe of how many you have!
    I have never done a “word for a year” any year, but since it seems like a handy thing to have, I thought about what my word could be. I settled on “uncluttering.” Is that really a word? I hope to have a lot out of the house by year’s end. I’ve done a few things already. It’s nice to see some space in closets opening up.
    I also need to prune my grapevines. It aggravates me to do that, knowing last year we got no grapes, thanks to unfortunate weather and critters. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this year.

  21. Yes please keep sharing these! You have motivated me to make a monthly goal list!!

    First step is starting seeds for the garden and tackling a pile of old mail.

  22. Wow, what great goals! I suppose my main goal for this year is to maintain a healthy pregnancy and to have a calm, healthy birth (I’m due with #2 in May.) There are so many other things I’d like to get done, but I suppose I should separate them into “nesting goals” and “maybe when the baby is sleeping through the night goals”! 🙂

  23. I love reading your goals! My word for the year is “Finish.” As in all the unfinished projects around our house. I made a list at the first of the year with everything but now I’m thinking it will be helpful to pick a few things each month to work on. Thanks for the inspiration!?

  24. Hi. I am in England but I do enjoy reading about what you are doing and also the comments. You mention about getting dirt for the garden. We call it soil here. We also make extensive use of compost heaps and wormeries which give us good quality (and free) soil/compost for the garden. Do you not do this in the US? Is it maybe because of the different climate? I would be interested to know please : )

    1. The ground here is white and hard like concrete. You have to jackhammer holes in order to plant trees, or soak the ground for four days and replace the soil with something good if you want anything to grow. Even though we compacted the soil we brought in (I call it dirt, because it’s half reject sand and half humus, which is more like shredded wood; it’s not loamy soil), it continues to compact further and the garden falls. Some places in the U.S. have green pick up for grass cuttings and garden waste, but our city does not. Most people have rocks in their yard instead of grass and very few plants (maybe 5 bushes and one tree in front of a house, and not much more in the back). I took a worm class, but they said it’s too hot to have them outside or in the garage; they would have to be kept indoors. That isn’t a great idea with small children, so I didn’t do that. Composting did not work for me; it would dry out and blow all over the yard. We only get 4 inches of rain (10 cm) a year here. I tried watering it and it just molded. After several years of trying, my husband asked if I could just give it up, and I said that would be fine, as it never ever broke down for me.

      1. Makes me feel fortunate to live in Oregon and be able to easily make compost and have weekly city compost pickup for anything I don’t want to add to my pile. Although, I wish we had a longer growing season. I do love your lists, Brandy. This one inspired me to get more ambitious with my February to-do list. I did have to do a double-take at your choice of “achieve” as your word of the year. I don’t know anyone, on the Internet or in real life, who accomplishes more than you do!

        1. Jen, there are things that have been on my list for 10 plus years. It’s time to knock them out!

    2. Jo,
      While Brandy cannot compost where she lives–it just doesn’t work, I can compost where I live. I live in Oregon and the climate in the part of Oregon that I live in is said to be quite similar to yours in England. It make a tremendous difference because my weather is much cooler, more mild, and it rains a lot, which all helps break things down. We just put it in piles in bins my husband built, or in piles where there isn’t a bin, and it just breaks down by itself, leaving wonderful soil for me to spread around. My easy, no-work method takes a bit longer, and there is never enough to go around, but it’s a great way to use up all those clippings and scraps. Like Brandy, I put my sticks into the trash (we do have yard debris bins) because they won’t break down like grass or leaves will.

      1. I’m in S. FL and our household composts everything. The organic matter in soil breaks down so quickly in the heat and rain that I need to add to my raised vegetable beds (and all soil, actually)constantly, and I don’t trust commercially available soil not to have toxins in it. I have a pile in the back yard for ornamentals, where we put somewhat questionable material, while my front yard has a smaller compost bin for non-pesticide vegetable waste, leaves, coffee grounds (we pick up from a coffee shop near us) and whatever else we can get.

        I’m so sorry composting doesn’t work for you, Brandy, because when it does, it’s so rewarding.

        1. Oh, I know it’s beautiful. But three years of trying was enough for me. I wish it worked for me. Some people get it to work here. They water it and do other things. I don’t have enough brown matter, which is a huge problem. I had plenty of grass.

  25. Brandy,

    I love your goal posts. I’m a serious goal orientated gal and relish being with like minded folk…even online. I didn’t realize so many others had a word or theme for the year. Last year mine was organize and organize I did. Every nook and cranny…even with the cancer! And both places…our house where we live and the cabin on inherited land. And the finances, insurances, autos (tires and such), and my address book. Such a good feeling to be caught back up…which was the actual goal organizing supported.

    This year I am “Trust”ing God and being “productive.” I want to produce some things…quilts, website with blog, moose items, and Christmas gifts. I also need to lose the weight I gained with all these treatments and regain my physical strength. These things should keep me pretty busy this year.

    Feb goals are simple:

    1. Finish radiation treatment
    2. Help my son with his upcoming back surgery
    3. Work on sewing projects
    4. Make a daily habit of Covenant Bible study
    5. send 5 encouraging notes
    6. Final shopping while in the city before the end of radiation. Buy ahead so we don’t have to shop for a month.
    7. a.) Continue snowshoeing b.) take out my cross County skis on the road…testing my balance before going too far c.) continue practicing balance on my Bosu ball d.) get prepared for public yoga/pilates classes
    8. Go to the expired food table weekly to see what I can save from the transfer station and help our food budget at the same time
    9. Finish reading 2 books and mail them off to my niece
    10. Rearrange some things after my daughter leaves Saturday
    11. Calculate the percent I’ve saved toward refilling our emergency fund and including it in my weekly frugal comments like Lorna does. I really like how she does that. So encouraging!

    So, yes, please continue with these posts if time permits.


  26. That’s a very ambitious list! However, I can say from experience that when I share my goals on my blog, I am far more prone to FOCUS on them and get them done, so I believe you will achieve your goals this month. I would love to see the clothes you refashion especially. I’ve made a goal this month to read more and to be creative daily. I got creative this week by filling the time of two little grandboys who stayed with us while Mama gave birth to baby sister, lol. I was tempted to think of this week as a failure until I realized that it took some thinking to entertain the 3 year old for two and a half days. The five year old was a little easier since he was at school each day.

  27. I think your goals are amazing, as I suspect you are a perpetual motion machine already! I guess my primary goal is just to keep my husband as happy as possible as he continues his journey through dementia. At this point he can still remember our earlier years, but not whether he ate breakfast or not. I have to remind him to shower, to brush his teeth, to change his clothes, and so on. Something comes up every day to remind me to be more specific, to explain more fully, to assume less, as I struggle to learn to do so many things he used to take care of. He can no longer drive, nor does he remember much at all about cars, despite having been a hobby mechanic for about 25 years, spending ALL his free time in the garage.
    My daughter, granddaughter and I use one particular corner chair as a communication device: I put all the things I’m saving for them on the chair, one side for my daughter and the other for my granddaughter. I had asked my husband the other day to clear off the COMPUTER chair and instead he whisked all the newspaper ads and coupons off the communication chair and into the recycling bin. When my DD came to pick up the coupons and ads for the week, they had disappeared. I looked in the recycling first, and there they were! The next day I wanted to use the COMPUTER chair
    and saw that it was still covered in magazines–and instantly understood what had happened. He didn’t know WHICH chair I meant. Another instance of needing to be more specific! Anticipating that I need to be more specific, and not using the same “we could finish each other’s sentences” approach that I have used for so many years is hard to learn. We just celebrated our 58th wedding anniversary this past week. But our relationship is going through changes now–I’m impatient when I need to be MORE patient. I trusted this man for so many years and I can no longer trust him for many things. It’s very difficult to realize I can’t believe what he tells me, and that he can’t do many of the things he’s always done.
    Our anniversary celebration was fun….since I do all the driving I could surprise him. He loves going for rides to get out of the house, so I took him for a ride. It was what passes for a really nice day here in February–about 40 degrees and sunny. I eventually ended up at a local chocolate factory so we had a look at the candy-making for the day, looked around in their retail shop, bought a 1 lb box of assorted chocolates in a plain box, not realizing until I looked at the receipt that they were “rejects”–imperfects that would have not been great in a gift box because some little smidgeon of chocolate hadn’t covered properly. Those went home with us. Besides the chocolate shop, they also have a coffee specialties shop but we ventured a bit further, and came to the ice cream shop. We had hot fudge sundaes with butter pecan ice cream–huge, half pecans, along with chopped nuts, whipped cream and a cherry on top! A perfect way to celebrate!
    So I guess my goals are anticipate, be patient, be specific. Yes, if I can conquer those, that will be fantastic!

    1. I think you’re doing a wonderful job! I am glad that he knows who you are. A friend of mine said that her father once said, “I don’t like this nurse. Get rid of her!” to which she replied, “Dad, we’re not getting rid of mom!” Her poor mother heard the comment.

      I know dementia can bring out anger and unkindness in people as well. This was difficult for my mother as her mother-in-law, my sweet grandma, changed personalities as she dealt with dementia.

      My husband’s grandparents saw hallucinations: monkeys dancing on the lawn and the bathroom walls on fire.

      So, when you struggle with patience, count your blessings that he knows you and loves you. I hope for your sake he will never forget those things, Marcia!

    2. Hi Marcia,

      You are doing a superb job with your husband. I am NOT saying he doesn’t have dementia but am wondering how his hearing is — it would be easy for a hard-of-hearing person to mistake the words “computer” and “communication”. Of course one can have dementia and loss of hearing co-existing. You probably have had his hearing tested but thought I’d mention it. My mother was tested at the hospital for her mental status and the psychiatrist did not put either of her hearing aids in and of course she was diagnosed with dementia. Of course, I insisted they redo the test (another story entirely). It is a possibility worth considering. Ann

  28. I’ve been reading (and sometimes commenting) for years. I honestly want to know, do you get burnt out/tired? You always are consistently so industrious, and do so many things, with so many kids. Do you get a lot of sleep/need a lot of sleep? Do you have days where you just don’t get much done and sit around? I’m always so inspired by you, and I am busy working full-time and with 7 kids (and single) but like tonight, I’m so drained, I just want to sit and read and not do much at all. Feel free not to answer if too personal, but I’d love any tips on staying “un” burnt out, if that’s a thing!

    1. I function best on about nine hours of sleep, but I am not able to get that much most days, though I would like to.

      Do make sure you are taking a multi-vitamin and getting plenty of b-12 in addition if need be. I tend to have issues with low hemoglobin levels (especially when I was pregnant) and not getting enough b-12 (because I sometimes forget) can wear me out.

      I dislike sitting around and not doing things; it makes me feel very lazy and frustrated. That said, last night I was frustrated for a different reason (because family can be frustrating!) and I decided to just go to bed, though I had planned to do some of my online classes last night. The baby cried and would not go to sleep for an hour, and by that time, I was just exhausted, even though my husband was the one holding him while he cried! So I went to bed and had more strength for today. Sometimes you just need to get some sleep and then you can start again fresh in the morning!

    2. After reading about your goals, I just thought, “Wow, I could never get all that done.” Personally, one of my own recent goals has been to learn to garden and start growing some of our food to cut costs and try to get better quality food. So far my efforts are very small. I decided to sprout seeds, an alfalfa and other seeds mixture. I had stopped sprouting alfalfa seeds in a canning jar with a piece of old nylon stocking over the opening years ago because of the disease danger from contamination of the seeds. But I remembered visiting a nursery where the woman was growing seeds and trimming them off to eat while leaving the seed part in the soil mix she grew them in. So, since I already had the seeds, I thought I would try it, but I couldn’t remember what the woman used for a soil mix. I happened to be in the Dollar Tree store where I saw some seed starting mix for a dollar a pkg. While I was there, I also saw vegetable seed packets and bought four different kinds of lettuce. I think the seed pkts. were four for a dollar. I thought, “Well, they’re probably old seeds and won’t germinate, but I won’t be out much money if they don’t work out. At home, I put the potting mix in two rectangular plastic tubs that spinach and salad greens came in from the grocery store. The tubs are clear plastic with clear plastic lids, so I thought maybe they could be like little greenhouses. In just a few days after planting, the alfalfa, etc. seeds popped right up carrying part of the potting mix up, too. Gently, I brushed the “dirt” off their leaves with a toothpick. The lettuce took a day or so longer, but it has sprouted, also. It is growing more like normal garden plants. Their leaves looked a little fuzzy when they first sprouted, and I thought, “Oh, no, they’re molding. I probably kept it too wet.” But my husband told me he thought they just looked that way when they were babies, so I decided to wait and see, and they seem to be okay. I did take the lids off and let them all get a little air, and then I put the lids back over the tops loosely. Actually, I only watered all of it in both boxes when I planted them and not again. Anyway, I think by the end of the week, I will be able to cut the top growth off the alfalfa, etc. plants. I think next time, I will try sprouting the alfalfa mix on a moistened paper towel inside the plastic box instead of the soil mix. I’m not sure what to use. If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate hearing them. I think I can thin the lettuce by pulling it out of the “ground” when it grows bigger. The plastic box the lettuce is planted in is a little deeper than the alfalfa mix box. Now that I know that at least some of the seeds from the Dollar Tree store are germinating okay, I plan to get some more different kinds. At the regular grocery store, I bought some beets to cook, and I thought I might try planting one in an old nursery pot I have to see if it would grow leaves, and I could get some beet greens up quickly. I have a black plastic cake plate a with clear plastic dome cover that a round store-bought cake came in. I thought I might cut a circle the size of the top of the nursery pot in the black platter and then mount the ring that’s left around the top of the nursery pot and put the clear plastic dome over the top of the pot and the potential greens to give them a warmer start. I haven’t done that yet, but that’s my next project. I have to scrub up and disinfect the nursery pot first. I used to work at a florist shop, and we were known for having longer lasting arrangements. The florist told me that a lot of our results had to do with cleaning and disinfecting all of our flower buckets, vases—any container with a non-ammonia-based dish soap and a touch of chlorine bleach and letting them air dry. Where I live, a quite cool, moist climate, air-borne fungal diseases are reportedly a problem for gardeners, and diseased plant parts are said to be best burned. So far, we haven’t had a problem with our one lonely little Liberty apple tree in the backyard. I would like to plant more fruit trees and bushes, if I can find some that do well in this climate.

      My next goal is to try to sew a church dress for one of my granddaughters, aged almost 13. She has outgrown most of her clothes. I haven’t sewn anything in years and have only the most rudimentary skills. I was going to make skirts, but the dress is more urgently wanted right now. I found some silky, lavender (her favorite color) fabric for half price ($5 total) at Goodwill that I think may be harder for me to sew, but I think she will love, if I can get it made up nicely. That has been my big goal. I have been looking for a pattern that will look good in that fabric. I thought I already had one, but can’t find it.

      Decluttering and organizing my home is another longer term goal that I am making slow progress with. It is interesting to me that the kitchen cupboards in my small kitchen that I asked God to give me wisdom to organize, because I had such limited space, a number of years ago are not cluttered and do not need to be reorganized. I plan to cull out a few baking dishes I do not use anymore, but those cabinets just need washed out, and they will be perfect. I think I will pray about the other three that need help. My sewing, yarn, and school books, etc. are another story. I should probably adding fasting to praying about that mess. I’m not sure where to start. Since I haven’t been using it, I should logically get rid of it, but I would like to start up doing those things again. Anyway, that problem is why I cannot find the pattern I would like to use.
      My goal to increase my personal worship time where I read the Bible, pray, and sing hymns is working out. I have a so much better day and so much less stress after I have worshiped in the morning. I still worry sometimes, especially about the cancer that has threatened our peaceful existence, but I am praying that God will guide into the best treatment options and heal, if that would be for the best. My family member who is ill has also been praying earnestly and will continue to do so, but they say they prayed until they have peace about the direction they are going with regard to treatment.
      Another goal is educational, and I set that aside because I felt too stressed to deal with it, but I will come back to it. I don’t know when.
      Thank you for providing this blog with so many good ideas and encouraging thoughts. Blessings to you and your family.

    3. Dawnelle, I was thinking about you question some more, and I realized that I had left something out.

      While I am up on my feet most of the day, every day, Sunday is different. When possible, I will cook things on Saturday for Sunday. I try to keep my cooking simple. I don’t do yard work on Sunday. I don’t do laundry on Sunday (unless someone is throwing up). I sit down on Sunday, at church and at home. I take a nap on Sunday occasionally (I would every week but that’s not usually possible).

      Mondays are usually my most productive days, after I’ve rested the day before.

      But when you feel tired, definitely rest.

    4. Dawnelle,
      I don’t know if you will come back to these comments and see this but I just had to respond. This morning after all the hassle of just getting my only child launched for the day, I was thinking about you. Did I read it right? You have a full time job? Outside of the home? In addition to being a single mother to SEVEN children?! Of course you are exhausted! I just wanted to give you a little shout out and offer you some encouragement. Ask yourself are my kids all dressed and fed for the day? Are they off to school? Were they happy today? If the overall answer is yes, well then Good for you! You are amazing! If by some chance you are struggling and the answer to the questions was no, the good news is that you are still amazing! You will do better tomorrow. You are not alone in feeling exhausted all the time.

  29. Brandy,
    I love reading your goals! Pink is my favorite color. I wore pink on the first date with my husband. I’d love to see your dress is sounds like it will be pretty.
    I have some goals too.
    1.Lose weight.
    2.Keep glucose numbers down.
    3,Exercise, after my cold finally goes away.
    4.Write more.
    5. Study French.
    6. Help son start a Chapbook of poetry.
    7. Start a Youtube Channel. (I had considered doing a podcast with my husband. We used to have a radio show and it was fun!)
    8. Plant a garden.
    9. Put the Children’s book my son and I wrote in book form instead of offering it only on Kindle.
    10. I should have put this one on #1, Read the Bible everyday. I’ve started doing this in the morning. This morning I didn’t feel like making breakfast for my husband at 3:30 am before he goes to work. But I picked up my Bible and opened it asking God to guide me and I just turned the page to Matthew 24 45-51. Amazing! Of course, My husband got a good breakfast after reading that!

    1. I agree with you, if I can just have one day that isn’t as busy (from early to very late w/o stopping) I feel somewhat rested/refreshed. Thanks for your honesty and response. Your blog is one of the only ones I read because you are truly genuine.

  30. Please keep posting your goals! They are so helpful and inspiring. They remind me that as a stay at home mom I can really get a whole lot done. Thank you for the encouragement to make my own goals.

  31. My husband found out today that his work contract will not be renewed. So he is looking for a job. We just moved for this job. We are thankful for the resources we have. But we are worn out. My goal right now is to survive.

    1. Kara,
      You are in my prayers. I am so sorry that you have just moved for a position that is ending. I went through that once and it is a tiring place to be. Hang in there.
      I was just thinking how thankful I am that my son has such a fantastic boss. He’s only a month into a great job and has been laid up with this sudden spinal injury. His boss even took him to his doctor’s appointment so I wouldn’t have to (I’m still in radiation treatment mode) and is allowing him to work from home until his upcoming surgery. I pray you and your husband find such a wonderful company/boss to work for.


  32. I absolutely love reading your goals! As a fellow entrepreneur and mother it keeps me motivated, and I love how you break it up into different sections. I would love to read about your daily routines these days also, if you feel inclined to post about it! Thank you for all that you share!

  33. I love the goal posts. I love the posts where you make things–lots of good ideas. I even love the grocery shopping lists, as mundane as they may seem. It’s just encouraging to me to know that there are many women out there who are all working hard to make their lives work with whatever God has given them, instead of complaining about what they do not have. I see that attitude on your blog, and I love it! One of the things that helps me stay positive is being creative, and I love to read how you and all your commenters stay creative and positive, happy and cheerful. I personally have known several people who spend quite a bit of time regretting all the things/trips/experiences/etc. that they do not have, instead of focusing on all that they do have. They are not happy people. I don’t think they will every be happy. So, it’s refreshing to see that there is a community of women who are happy, and practicing contentment with what they do have. Your blog fosters that attitude, and although I don’t believe you are going to act like Pollyanna every day of your life, and never feel down or upset as you face the everyday challenges that we all do, I do sense a deep contentment, that shows through all the ups and down of your days. And, that’s why I love your posts, whatever they say. They are happy, cheerful, encouraging, and show hope for everyone to get encouragement from! The goals post can remind us all that even if we set 50 goals and only get 25 of them done, we are much better off than if we had not set any at all:)

  34. Leapin’ Lizards! I work full time & it’s only my husband & me. I don’t think I get 1/4 of what you do accomplished. I’m 64 now but fit & in good health. I need to organize many items. Your ambitious list made me rethink my inaction. I am adding “Health” to my goals. I need to get a mammogram & colonoscopy soon. It was supposed to be done in 2019 but I had some complicated (and expensive) dental work that occupied my time & wallet in 2019. I did get one thing done yesterday. I spent hours online & on the phone changing dental providers. My insurance changed & I had to select a different dentist for me & hubby. It was a nuisance but glad it’s done. Maintenance appointments are set, online account created, & hard copies of new patient paperwork ready to be filled out. Whew!

  35. The flower ring is lovely! And it sets off the “February” so well; I think you use that type face a lot?
    I write a lot of lists for myself and like to cross items off, though I usually just group things by how urgent they are, or easy to complete. I hadn’t thought of categories before, and may try that. (Then I can cross off the category headings when the points are all completed!).
    My word for the year is “Reclaim.” I feel as though parts of me have just drifted away and I am not paying attention to my best self, which has degraded me, my family, my home, and other relationships. Being diagnosed with a massive Vitamin D deficiency, and correcting that, was a major first step.

  36. I love reading your goals lists, Brandy!
    I often read them and find something that needs to be added to my to-do lists or an idea of something would make our life better too. Trying to remember everything just needs a nudge sometimes!
    Like others, I also enjoy reading your shopping lists. They encourage me to re-think my own shopping.

    I truly love this online community that you have created here. So much encouragement and so many ideas! I feel like I have friends all over the world because of your site.
    Thank you so much!

  37. Brandy, I haven’t commented in a while but always read! You are always so inspiring to me. I love the goals. I’m enjoying working in the garden this month (zone 7b)and weeded around onions today. Not too many more frost days! I plan to start some broccoli seed and such over the next three or so days. You have done great with your weight loss. I love that you are not dieting. I’ve been interested in the French way of eating for sometime…that seems to be what you are doing? Oh it is so hard to not snack with free cookie jar access, not slice that extra slice of cheese while cooking or (gasp) not eat the child’s leftovers because it was hard work cooking that meal! Wow, so hard to change habits. Also after one portion, I still feel hungry! Did it take you a while to adjust to not feeling hungry with smaller portions? Also, have you ever tried to lose weight only to discover you are pregnant. (That’s me! Number 8…shhh!) But I plant to keep at it as I get sooo large and have such big babies!

    Nice to chat with you—can’t wait to see the progress and goal update!!

  38. My goals are pretty simple for February, but they will take all my time:
    – HEALTH
    – finish up a mama and baby fitness course and then take a free demo class elsewhere
    – get through my daughter having croup, and my husband and I getting cold after cold as well
    – BLOG – I recently purchased some affordable presets on sale that I can use in the free lightroom app to dramatically light up my food photography. I want to update my pillar content with lightened up photos, while still creating new recipes and posting content weekly, as well as creating new pinterest graphics for all pillar posts. And to start on the next section of the blogging course that I’m taking.
    – RELATIONSHIP – do something nice for Valentine’s Day for my husband
    – FAMILY – have my family over to celebrate my mother’s birthday, and make her a dessert
    – FRIENDS – meet up with work colleagues as well as friends to maintain those relationships
    – INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION – in addition to working on my blog, I want to read another parenting book, and then discuss it in my parenting bookclub.
    – PREPAREDNESS – I want to set aside a week’s worth of emergency meals, in addition to my usual pantry supplies, in case we are ever snowed in/quarantined, etc. I usually have a week’s worth of meals in my very small pantry at any given time, so adding one more week’s worth of meals should be enough for our modest emergency needs. We already store water, and alternate warmth/cooking and shelter resources.

    Brandy, I wanted to mention that a lot of bloggers I know highly recommend the course Stupid Simple SEO. You can get a teaser taste of it free by signing up on the site (which is what I’ve done, because hello blogging budget). I don’t know the cost of the full course, or frankly almost anything about SEO in general, but the course does have a good reputation. Thought I’d pass on the info! Best of luck on achieving all of your goals! I’m sure you will!

    1. Thank Margaret! I’ll look and see! I’ve got a few other SEO free resources I am reading as well. I’ll check this out as well.

  39. I love reading your goals. It helps motivate me 🙂
    My goals for February are to paint my ceilings. If the weather holds, I need to get limbs and the leaves picked up as well. I have been going room by room, and getting rid of stuff we simply no longer use or need.

  40. “Have my husband take new headshots of me with my new glasses for all of my social media.”
    Good for you!
    Many people have scaringly unupdated protos there. I mean, you understand that in their head they still look like on those photos which is kind of sad.

  41. I enjoyed reading your goals, Brandy. Personally, I have given up making a list of goals as the vicissitudes of life seem to prevent me from realizing them.
    If I had to organize a list, however, (fingers crossed no jinxing), it would be:
    – finish 6 photo albums and mail them off to destination (finally!!!);
    -finish research for book (just a bit to do) and finish book;
    -hand off book to volunteers for proofreading;
    -do the layout of book after learning how to use InDesign;
    – try to obtain more grants and financing for printing of the book;
    -enjoy being outside — both in the good and bad weather.
    -lose weight but don’t stress about it and don’t diet. Eat 5-7 servings of fruit and veggies per day. Don’t eat after 8 p.m.
    – supervise help to finish my little intermittent rock garden stream (which at the moment is a pile of sand, rocks and liner). I cannot do the work with my arm and won’t risk the good arm by doing it one-handedly.

    I just was on a “high” after seeing the Snowy Owl photos last week. Just absolute luck I got photos since I could not pan with my camera. I stood perched on the running board of the monster SUV and leaned against the door (not a recommended strategy) and the owl jumped off the post and into my frame.

    Yesterday we had had more snow so I was trying to shovel one-handedly. It is difficult to be seen from the street but I heard a voice saying “Do you need help?” Well this wonderful neighbour (he lives quite a distance away from me but my place is on his walking route). Before I knew it, he had shovelled the rest of the driveway and put sand and gravel on it. I thanked him a million times and gave him a book about out local wildlife trail and natural area.
    I had to go to a funeral yesterday. It was a “thanksgiving” celebration of the woman’s life. She was 90 when she left this world on her next journey. It was a more modern liturgy and was very beautiful. We sang “All things bright and beautiful” plus several other hymns. Members of her family read the scripture, sang, reminisced. I thought it was one of the most beautiful services I had been at, ever.

      1. Thanks! I was having a rest at the time and hoping that someone would come along and finish it and that’s what happened! A miracle. And I am really grateful.

  42. That should read: Well this wonderful neighbour (he lives quite a distance away from me but my place is on his walking route) offered to do the shovelling.

    and it should read: “and gave him a book about our local wildlife trail and natural area”.

  43. And I forgot to mention one goal: to resupply a pantry with a good supply of food and water in case of emergencies. I am getting there.

  44. Brandy,

    I have missed these kind of posts. I love feeling inspired by what others accomplish as well as seeing how other homemakers run their home! Your posts remind me of Laines Letters from years ago which I miss more than seems reasonable! It was like having a good chat with a friend. Thats how I feel reading your posts each week. Thanks for sharing your February goals. You have inspired me to make my own goals even though the month is a third over.

  45. It has been so interesting to read everyone’s goals – I cannot fathom how some of you accomplish so much, especially when many of you have children!
    My goals for February are fairly small –
    . Get my apt. back into better order and cleaned! Decluttering has gone well but now it’s time to get the dusters and vacuum out!
    . Use up more of my stocked food – especially the food in the freezer. I’d like to cook more actual meals and get them into the freezer rather than
    just the raw ingredients. My goal is to have my small freezer section divided up between raw and cooked equally so that it is more useable for me.
    . I need to work harder at keeping to my weight loss goals – there have been a few too many carbs creeping in – and I don’ mean the good ones! 🙂
    .Got to get my paperwork up to date – I have been procrastinating on this one – just seems endless – but – I’ll get there.
    . Spend less money and save more! There isn’t a lot of leeway but I’m trying.
    . Finish my online course – i’s taking more time than I’d anticipated but I am enjoying it.
    . Read at least 1 book per week – so far this year I’ve been reading more non-fiction than fiction so it has been interesting.

  46. Thank you for posting your goals for this month. It inspired me to sit down and write my own goals. Having them written down helped me today to stay focused and make strides toward completing some of the things on my list of goals for this month.

  47. Hello Brandy! Thank you for your lovely post and blog. I personally am a person with absolutely no goals. I am a full time working mom of 4 and just having food on the table and clean clothes on a daily basis is enough for me. I do have a very small vegetable garden but not enough time for it! I have one question if you could answer it please: how do you apply the neem oil to your garden. God bless you and your family.

    1. You need a sprayer. I usually love getting everything from my local nursery, but the last time my sprayer broke, I found one for less on Amazon–and I like it SO much more. Plus, it was cheaper! I would share an affiliate link but this product is excluded from affiliate commissions, so here is a regular link to the one I got:

      The oil will tell you the amount on the package, but it’s usually a tablespoon to a gallon of water.

      You can still have goals! Maybe it’s wash two loads of laundry today, make sure to pay a bill, plan to make certain meals, plan a trip to the dentist, plan a shopping trip to a certain store. I’m sure you already do those things! My daily to-do lists have all those things on them.

  48. I have missed these a lot too!
    – exercise 5x/week. My office has a gym so I will try to do that’s at lunch
    – lose 4 lbs. I find when I’m a little lighter I’m so much more satisfied with my clothes and appearance!
    – buy the tile for our kitchen backsplash and do it!
    – cook one new dinner recipe per week. I need to get my kids to eat more variety
    – figure out how to be better at getting work done at work and not thinking about it at home
    – clean my office space
    – get out taxes done

  49. Brandy,
    I too have given up on a compost pile. It can be done, my husband doesn’t like it. Thinks it is messy. He doesn’t like I save recycling either. I have convinced him we pay a tax on those bottles and it is throwing $ away. So he tolerates it. My goal this year is too organize and minimize. I have more peace and contentment when there is less stuff and clutter about. I am looking online for a pantry and freezer inventory. So I can look at a sheet and see what I have. I know for myself when I have a to do list for the day I get more accomplished. There is satisfaction in crossing off an item.

  50. I loved reading Brandy’s goals, as well as the goals of all the other commenters. My goal word of the year is Balance. I have had some health issues come up and need to take better care of myself while accomplishing my many responsibilities. I need to balance more needed exercise with more needed rest. I need to balance working on household and gardening projects that need to be completed, with avoiding the sometimes necessary chemicals (painting that desperately needs to be done, and is not something we can hire out,) and sunshine while gardening (I have had my first skin cancer and others are likely in development) but the mosquitoes will be too vicious to work at dusk or dawn and long sleeves/long pants could genuinely put me at risk of a heat stroke. I need to also work at physically balancing by strengthening core muscles to prevent falls, as my osteoporosis has progressed from moderate to marked. Another thing I need to balance is getting the hundreds of unfinished projects ( both those necessary for household upkeep and those crafts that are a creative outlet that I seldom have time for) with spending time with my children and grandchildren and spouse during which time I get nothing accomplished. I do know that when I reach my latter years, the most important thing will be the time spent nurturing those relationships, not how many gifts I created for them, no matter how meaningful they may be. Still another thing I need to balance are the things I demand of myself with allowing myself to relax and just enjoy and participate in the life God has placed me in. I often feel like I walk a tightrope, and one small misstep will cause a disaster. Balance. My word of the year.

    1. A few years ago, after some talking with my parents, my children and parents both reached an understanding about birthday gifts. My children would rather have more time with their grandparents. So, my parents take each child out to lunch for their birthday, and give them 1-2 small gifts (often purchased at garage sales). It’s simple, it isn’t time consuming, and my children love it, and it works well for my parent’s budget as well (my parents always go out with coupons for meals!)

  51. Hi Brandy,
    Yes, having your goals posted was very useful to me, and interesting to see. Your list got me thinking about my goals, or rather, my need to create some goals 😉

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