January 2, 2016

A New Year's Eve Reflection and Looking Ahead to the New Year

*I had planned to post this on New Year’s Eve, alas sickness took hold of our home, and instead we are posting it now!

The year 2015 has come to a close.  What an amazing year!  I always love to sit down and reflect on the previous year on New Year’s Eve.  There is something so incredibly satisfying to go through a list of questions for me and really think about all the important parts of the year.  It isn’t always the good stuff either, there can be plenty of challenges and struggles as well, but it is nice to have that time to reflect, to look ahead, to plan, to dream.  It is one of my favorite parts of the year!

Over the past year, one thing that I have recognized about myself is my love of the change of seasons.  Any excuse to sit down and look at what is working, re-evaluate, know what is not working, reflect, plan, look ahead, I love.

New Year’s Eve obviously fits those parameters.

Typically I use the questions that Tsh provides from The Art of Simple.  I think that these questions are specific enough to get my mind going, and open ended enough so that I can sit and write for quite a while about my reflections and experiences.  It is a lovely keepsake to have as well.  I enjoy sitting down and reading through previous years’ reflections periodically – typically when I am trying to decide if I should get rid of journals or keep them while I am going through a big purge of my home!

This past year has seen a lot of changes.  We went from an infant at the beginning of the year, to a full-fledged toddler at the end of the year, one who is quite mischievous no matter how sweet she seems!  I have seen Emma and Jack both excel at the school work we are doing, and see passions in them for specific subjects that I haven’t seen before. 

We had an incredibly long winter, think snow in April!  It was bitterly cold, and while we had a ton of snow, it was too cold for my kids to stay outside for too long, if at all.  That meant a lot of indoor time.  This probably explains why I was able to read so many books at the beginning of the year, but as soon as the weather turned to a bit of warmth, I was outside enjoying it, and not reading.

This spring we celebrated Emma’s 7th birthday.  It seemed like a significant milestone.  She is growing into such a little lady, and I love to see how her interests line up with what mine were when I was little.  Fashion, design, drawing, reading, My Little Ponies, a few of her favorite things.  It is also amazing to see her love for Lucy, and what a helper she is.

The summer of 2015 was a little different for me.  This was the first year since we moved into this house 9 years ago that I did not plant a garden. 

That may not seem very significant, but it was in my eyes.

I started this blog with the ideas of self-sufficiency, food security, and local eating as pretty big themes, having a garden helped with those themes.  Not having a garden, well, it may sound silly, but I felt a little lost!

Don’t get me wrong, the whole “no weeding” thing was awesome, but not having the option to go outside and grab whatever was in the garden for lunch, or to see the kids sitting in the middle of the garden eating all of my peas straight from the pods, or having green beans for dilly beans, and not one fresh from the garden tomato – that hurt!

Instead I frequented the co-op downtown, which the kids love, and I was happy to be fortunate and have another local option.

This summer I started my YouTube channel.  I haven’t really talked much about it here, just posting videos sometimes, but it is something I have been enjoying immensely.  I hope you will join me over there!

August 3rd marked the official start of our homeschool year.  We technically school all year, and take breaks where we need to, but our new books and curriculum officially started at the beginning of August.  I got my first *Erin Condren Teacher Planner because this was also the first year I decided to piece my own curriculum together.

Jack had a milestone birthday – 5 – and we had a big party for him.  

It was complete with bounce house and a little train the kids could all ride on.  It was probably the hottest day of the year, at least it seemed that way in our shade free yard.  I have loved to see how Jack has taken ahold of video as his medium of choice – definitely his father’s son.  He loves chess, drawing, putting together new worlds with LEGO and Super Mario figures, creating stories, stop motion videos.  It is fun to watch him develop.  He and Lucy share a special bond.  It is fun to see him in both the little brother and big brother roles.

Fall brought with it the first year for Emma to play field hockey, which she really enjoyed, and I enjoyed watching her!  It also marked the start of a new venture with a homeschool co-op. 

While we haven’t belonged to the co-op for all that long, there are definitely great bonds that have already been made, and it is wonderful to find a support system as we move into the first year of reporting to the state for homeschooling.  It is nice to have other moms to bounce ideas off of, and also to have those extra classes that I wouldn’t be doing at home!  I mean, they take a LEGO class, how fun is that!

I took part in the 31 Days  challenge in October again this year.  This year, my topic was self-care and I think that we all had a great time exploring this topic that seems to be ignored for a lot of women!

We celebrated Lucy’s first birthday, which was a fun milestone.  I had forgotten how much a baby changes that first year.  She has been an incredibly easy baby, sleeping well, not crabby most of the time, and genuinely happy.  She doesn’t like it when the kids go off to their rooms to play while she is downstairs, and she will stand at the gate and yell for them until they come down to see her.  We realized that this first year has completely flown by.  It seems as though every month ends faster than the last one. 

Overall, it has been a wonderful year.  There have been challenges, there always are, but I am choosing to think and reflect on the positive. 

I am excited about what 2016 will bring, and can’t wait to share with you some of my goals for the New Year.

What was your favorite memory from 2015?  

*Get $10 off your first purchase when you sign up for an account through my Erin Condren Affiliate Link


  1. What a wonderful year you had! The kids are amazing and what a great way to look back and remember all you've accomplished. My favorite memory was our annual trip to Cape Cod. Things slow down there, we step away from social media and just reconnect. Happy 2016!

  2. That was quite a year! Sometimes I wish I had been able to homeschool my children in the elementary ages...I also love reading about your food co-op experience. I have thought about joining a newly developed one in my area.

  3. You had an amazing year! I understand feeling lost without a garden, but I love that you didn't let it stop you - you just found a co-op as a great substitute! We homeschool, too, although my kids are older now. I think it's so fun and customizable - you have a LEGO class, and one of my high schoolers is taking Auto Tech complete with an internship with a local mechanic. Love that these things are possibilities for our kids!

  4. wow great yearly recap, sounds busy but fun! I too didn't plant a garden this year as I had too much going on, but looking forward to at least doing tomatoes this year. Like you I have dreams of self sufficiency but it's a lot of work along with everything else.
    Have a great 2016!

  5. I bought an Erin Crondren last January, but only used it until July- I did get it on sale, but my Google Calendar works so much better for me. My mother is a fabulous gardener, so I always get her fresh produce as I do not have a green thumb- I have the opposite-whatever that is

  6. Awesome post! Even though my blog isn't "personally" focused, this post has got me the wheels spinning. I'm thinking I could easily write a post about all of the things I learned in 2015 and how it changed the way I work.

    Hope you're feeling better soon. :)

  7. Sounds like you've had a great year filled with love and progressing forward, I wish you all the best for 2016! I've had a jam packed year full of achievements and great memories with friends over the year. I'm excited for the year to come!

  8. My favorite part of the year was spending time with my son. It was very special getting to take him to see the rhinos in San Diego. Happy New Year!

  9. I am so in love with how you looked back in the year and did a quick over view. Such a good way to look back years in advance and remember all the great memories.

    My favorite memory was finishing up my 3rd year of uni and going onto my 4th! It was hard but well worth it!

    I am wishing you and your family a great 2016!

    Ana (dearanaaa.com)

  10. This is a lovely way to look back life in year 2015, and seems like you had wonderful one.My most memories was road trip around Europe and start my blog.

  11. Beautiful 2015 reflection, such great memories. Cant wait to read about 2016. Thanks for sharing

  12. Sounds like a great year you had! I've been wanting to try out a co-op too. Maybe that will be a goal for this year :) And I love the planner, just got my first and have been decking it out!

  13. Good for you for vlogging. I've been scared to start. Maybe I need to look into it. Happy New Year!

  14. Well done for beginning your vlogging journey. I look forward to seeing what the rest of 2015 brings to you lovely!

  15. You have a beautiful family and I enjoyed your recap of 2015. So many wonderful things, looking forward to reading about 2016

  16. You had a great 2015 and I wish you all the best in your jorney in 2016! XO

  17. I love taking time to reflect on the year and look forward to the next year. It looks like you had a wonderful 2016!

  18. It looks like you had such a great year! I can't pick just one memory from my year because we went on a lot of awesome trips and did a lot of cool things in 2015!

  19. Self care is an awesome focus for a challenge! One of my favorite moments was completing certification to be a personal trainer. And my son graduating from HS. That's a favorite too!

  20. 2015 was not a good year for my family, but I do have a couple of good memories, including going on a fun summer trip with my niece and nephew. They always make life fun. Thanks for sharing your year in review.

  21. Love this! I'm glad to hear that your 2015 was so enjoyable! Granted, time seems to go by whether we enjoyed it or not, but it does sound like you're more than aware of this and take full advantage! Being busy doing things is always nice, but taking time to stop and look around is important - as evidenced by your photos!
    2015 in my part of the world wasn't nearly as noteworthy, and certainly nothing to be proud of - just means that much more has to be put into 2016 so it doesn't just pass by!

  22. Wow, you had a really nice-looking garden - so much larger than I ever attempted. I can imagine how it must have felt to miss this past year. My favorite memories of 2015 were probably my trips to Michigan throughout the year – we drove there 3 times.

  23. I would love to plan a garden. One day.

  24. Love the recap :) And the photo in matching jammies at the end :) Your local co-op looks awesome too - tons of organic produce locally is a real treat. Wishing you all the best for a very happy and health 2016. Oh and thanks for the link to the questions - super handy - might just use them too :)

  25. It seems like you had a great year and congratulations on your YouTube Channel. My favorite memory for 2015 was getting to spend time with my family from Venezuela who live there and came to Miami for vacations.

  26. I just found your blog at A Bowl Full of Lemons and enjoyed reading your memories of 2015. I am excited to read through your blog to learn more about you and your family.


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