Looking Back on 2019

Taking the time to look back on 2019 before jumping into 2020.

Taking the time to look back and looking ahead...

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Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season. After taking a brief break, I'm ready to jump into 2020 with both feet. The time away from blogging was exactly what I needed to recharge the creative side of my brain. Now I have a list of new content ideas and a working publication schedule.

What I've created for myself isn't a new concept. Most bloggers operate according to a content calendar. It's something I should have been doing since the beginning... Unfortunately, I never made the time to build one.

This year, I'm hoping to change that. I've outlined the posts I want to share in January and have started outlining posts for February. My goal is to continue sharing our meal plans every Sunday and a Tidbits post every other Friday. Recipes, round-ups, etc. will appear on Wednesdays. Having a regular schedule

This is ambitious for me given my work schedule and my life with two young kids, but I'm up for the challenge.

But before I can look ahead, I want to reflect back on 2019 and give you a quick update on the goals I set for myself.

2019 Theme: Less is More

Goal 1: Reduce food waste

I was hoping to start composting last year, but it didn't happen. Instead, I focused on my smaller goals. I maintained a small herb garden over the summer. I made sure we made better use of our leftovers. I started making more food from scratch. I met my goal, but I think I was more motivated by the idea of saving money than by reducing actual food waste.

Goal 2: Reduce household waste

I challenged the whole family to help with this goal. We talked about the importance of "reducing, reusing, and recycling." After only a few months, we saw a dramatic shift in the amount of garbage we hauled to the road on trash day. I focused on buying sustainable products. I stopped buying chemical-filled cleaning products and started making DIY cleansers at home. We've reduced our reliance on single-use plastics. I've identified more things we can change in 2020, but I'm so pleased by how far we've come in just one year.

Goal 3: Read 25 books

Despite my efforts, I didn't hit this goal. I fell short by one book! So close. If you're curious, here are the titles I read in 2019:

  1. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  4. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
  5. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  6. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
  7. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
  8. The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines
  9. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
  10. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  11. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
  12. Lovely War by Julie Berry
  13. Oh My Stars by Sally Kilpatrick
  14. Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami
  15. Valencia and Valentine by Suzy Krause
  16. A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean
  17. Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson
  18. The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out by William Dameron
  19. The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane
  20. What You Did by Claire McGowan
  21. Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman
  22. The Ocean Liner by Marius Gabriel
  23. Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff by Myquillyn Smith
  24. Everything You Are by Kerry Anne King

Goal 4: Pay off St. Luke's bill

Done! At this time last year, we still had a balance on our hospital bill after I had Jonathan. Thanks to the payment plan we set up with the hospital, I made the last payment in August.

Goal 5: Pay off Stafford 1-04

Done! When I left academia, I had ten student loans to pay off, and I've been working hard to chip away at that debt. I don't want to still owe a ton of money on my education when it comes time for the kids to start college. So I've developed a strategic plan to help me pay down my student loan debt in a way that's manageable. This plan focuses on one loan at a time and pushes me to make monthly payments that are larger than the minimum. I've paid two loans off this way, including the targeted loan for 2019... Now I only have seven loans left to pay off.

I. Can. Do. This.

I'll be sharing my theme for 2020 in a couple of weeks along with my goals for the year... So stay tuned!

In the meantime, did you achieve all you set out to do in 2019? What are your goals for the coming year?


One year ago: Dark Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies
Two years ago: Our Monthly Dinner Plan (January)
Three years ago: Where I've Been
Four years ago: Find Purpose in 2016
Five years ago: Roasted Shrimp Cocktail Bites with Avocado and Bacon
Six years ago: Top 25 Recipes of 2013
Seven years ago: On the Side: Homemade for the Holidays
Eight years ago: On the Side: Some Resolutions
Nine years ago: Brunch at Il Bastardo
Ten years ago: Hard-Boiled Eggs Florentine
Eleven years ago: Creamy Crab Meat Salad in Belgian Endive Cups

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