Goals for the New Year

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So, we’re halfway through January and I’m just now solidifying my goals for the new year. Clearly we should begin with with “stop being such a procrastinator, Haley!”  Anyhow, I’ve never spent much effort on resolutions at the start of a year, but I’ve really been reflecting on what I want 2013 to look like. I’ve been very inspired by all the great posts about goal-making, particularly Mandi’s of Life Your Way. So without further ado, my goals for 2013:

Choosing a saint for the year: St. Therese of Lisieux. We don’t have much in common, she was a nun, I’m a mother of (almost) three. But I’m drawn to the idea of learning to love God through every tiny task in one’s life–that our path to holiness can be found in the ordinary. Sweet friends brought back a St. Therese medal for Lucy from Rome a couple of weeks ago that was blessed by the Holy Father. And I have been reflecting on her quote: “Tout est grace.” What would life be like if I really believed that all is grace? All. Every joy, every hardship: the Grace of Our Lord.

Spiritual Health: I really needed a concrete goal about prayer because I always neglect my prayer life. I’m starting out by trying to pray the Rosary every single day. It’s not a very impressive goal but at least it’s something. If possible, I start my Rosary before the children get up (usually little footsteps run down the hall before I’m done with all five decades) and then finish it during naptime. All of this relies on getting enough sleep for my tired, pregnant body, so I’m trying to go to sleep super early every night so that I have the strength to get up in time to have quiet and reflective time. If the Rosary isn’t a spiritual discipline you’re familiar with, I highly recommend Karen Edmisten’s wonderful book: The Rosary: Keeping Company and Jesus and Mary. It’s also motivating to pray the Rosary now that I have a special rosary with my husband and children’s names on it made by my friend Melanie of Trendy Traditions (see image above).


Books: You can read all about my reading goals for the year by checking out yesterday’s post. Be sure to read the comments because there’s great suggestions by readers, as well!

Physical Health: I used to be addicted to sugar which caused terrible headaches, brain fog, and excruciating fatigue, but I broke the habit about 2.5 years ago and have been so much healthier and happier ever since. I always crave sweets during pregnancy, though, so I need to make a concerted effort to stay away from them, especially since I usually gain 50-60 lbs during pregnancy and that’s not exactly….erm….recommended. Thank goodness breastfeeding helps lose it all!

Organization and housekeeping: I am terrible at organization, but I think with each baby I get a little more organized in order to survive. I’m trying to put my second trimester energy boost to good use by deep cleaning our house. I bought Tsh Oxenreider’s ebook about Spring Cleaning a couple of years ago and I return to it whenever I need help getting motivated and focused on deep cleaning our home. So I’m decluttering one room at a time, deep cleaning, and organizing and getting rid of all the stuff we don’t need. Our living room is now the cleanest it’s ever been and I’m halfway done with the kitchen. Baby steps. I’m also staying organized and motivated regarding household tasks by using Ann Voskamp’s charming printable. 

Homeschooling: I’m really enjoying using our preschool curriculum with Benjamin (Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven by Sarah Park) and want to finish it before the new baby comes. We took a long break when I was too ill to move (don’t worry, Baby Gwen, I love you no matter how many days I spent puking) so we’re just now finishing up Letter F. And I want to continue doing a couple of field trips a week to museums and historical sites before facing the big learning curve of how to transport three littles around town.  Who gets unbuckled from their car seat first? Who holds my hand and who gets carried? Do I have to actually start using a stroller? Oh, dear.

Saving Money: Surviving on one income (plus my afternoon a week of teaching ballet) is always a big challenge. One of the ways I can be frugal is to be organized with meal planning and stocking our freezer with meals (I mostly use From Your Freezer to Your Family eCookbook written by my friend Stephanie for real food slow cooker meals. My favorite recipes I’ve tried out so far are the Peanut Stew, the Thai Chicken Curry, and the Cumin-Cinnamon Beef Stew but I’m still working my way through the cookbook.) We also found three car seats that will fit in the back of our Camry so that we don’t have to buy a minivan! Hooray! We can remain a one-car family without a car payment and I couldn’t be more excited about that.


Homesteading: This year we’ll be harvesting our meat birds so that our freezer will be stocked with organic meat, keeping the layers alive so that we can have plenty of farm fresh eggs, and maintaining our vegetable garden. I’d like to build a fence around our garden so that I can weed, etc. and not worry about Lucy running into the street. Daniel does almost everything with the garden and I really want to be more helpful, but it’s hard to weed AND wrangle babies.

Blogging: I really love writing, both as a creative outlet and as a way to connect with interesting and like-minded folks. I’m still going to write posts on urban homesteading for my friend Stephanie’s blog: Mama and Baby Love and maintain Carrots. I would really like to improve Carrots, but it’s hard to find the time to make major changes. I think in the future I will need to refocus this blog to move in a certain direction whereas right now it’s just a smattering of all the things I’m interested in. What are you most interested in hearing about? Anyhow, I’m going to be attending BlissDom this year to learn more about the world of blogging and for inspiration. Anybody else going?

What are your goals for the new year?

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  1. Sarah says

    Haley, I’m really curious if you are still using the Moira Farrell Home Catechesis Manual with Benjamin? My daughters are about to turn 3 and, as you mentioned about Benjamin in an earlier post, I am sensing that they are craving a little structure and learning to their days! I am looking at a couple different Catholic preschool guides. 26 Letters to Heaven is one, and Catholic ABCs from Catholic Icing is another. I am also interested in Farrell’s guide, but I can’t seem to find anywhere online that talks more about it in depth or has some screenshots inside the book. Thoughts???

    Blessings to you in this New Year, I’m always praying for you and little Gwen (love her name btw!)!

    • Haley says

      I’m still using it, Sarah! It’s more of an every couple of weeks sort of thing and In order to do the next lesson I’m saving up to buy the kids a “Mass set” of miniature items so that I can show them (and to be honest, learn) about everything little thing that happens in Mass and what is used. I need to do a full post on it and do some screen shots. Totally loving 26 Letters to Heaven. And thank you so much for the prayers!

  2. says

    In response to your blogging goals, I LIKE the smattering of everything better than a heavy focus one way or another. I have actually stopped reading blogs because they got too much into one thing (of course, if it wasn’t my area of interest!). I hope Blissdom is great for you! One of my favorite bloggers went to the conference 2 years ago now and it had the opposite effect I guess it was supposed to–her blogging dropped off to only every few months! But, it was good still I think, because she came back and said she realized that being a super-blogger wasn’t what she wanted while her family was growing. I’d love to go myself someday!

    • Tracy says

      Kelli Ann….I couldn’t agree with you more. I love this blog and find it perfect just the way it is with all things in one place. Haley may call it a “mishmash” but I finding intriguing, fun, and spirituality thought provoking. Just wanted to share our same feelings. Have a great day.

    • Haley says

      Well that’s so good to hear because I have the hardest time picturing what this blog would look like it I did narrow the focus. I wish you were going to BlissDom this year!

  3. says

    These sound like great goals! I’m looking at doing 26 Letters to Heaven next year (or maybe even the year after) with my son. It might be a good blogging move to narrow the focus of your blog, but I”ll just chime in and say I love it the way it is. I have certain food blogs I read, and certain Catholic blogs, but it’s so neat to have a them all in one place. We have some things in common, and others are new to me. As a reader I can see you more as a whole person by reading about a variety of topics you care about rather than just someone who cranks out articles on one topic you’re an expert in.

  4. Janet Bavido says

    On the subject of saving money: I know you would like to help your husband in the garden, but the cost of a fence can put a real dent in the piggy bank. I humbly suggest that your husband struggle on alone in the gardening department. Or you might want to make the cheaper investment of a baby monitor or other arrangement that would allow you to step out into the garden while little ones are secure in their beds.

    • Haley says

      Too true, Janet! The thing is, I think it’s really positive for them to help in the garden as part of homeschooling and learning about nature and agriculture and gastronomy. And it would be an investment but one that would make our yard prettier and more attractive to neighbors who aren’t thrilled about us using our front yard as farmland 🙂 Maybe when we get our tax return!

  5. Tracy says

    Just a few things before I get to my goals for 2013. 1) I’m aware that you are technically not Mother Theresa or St. Lucy, however any women that has three children (soon to be) and makes a positive difference in as many lives as you do should seriously at least be nominated for Sainthood. 2) One cant really understand the impact they will have on anothers persons life before coming in contact with them. I am also a Catholic Mother, Wife, and your average struggling sinner trying to make a happy and solid life for myself and my family filled with Gods Grace. I have had many hard times though when it comes to my family being supportive of my Catholic faith. Even though we were all raised Catholic along with my husband’s family as well they have all left the church and have been very open in their opinions of the kind of person they think I am for supporting what I believe in. Its truly unfortunate the discrimination I have received. When our daughter had her first communion many years ago her own God Parents did not attend due to the fact that they chose to become “un-catholic” as they called it after they had their cathedral wedding. They believed anyone should be able to get married at a landmark whether Catholic or not and were not happy to receive premarital counceling as a requirement to a mass marriage ceremony, hence rescinding their promise to our child and believing we should follow suit. My point to this little story is that in 2012 one of my goals was to find supportive Catholic women with my same ideals, goals, and spiritual intentions. By Gods grace I found you and through your blog and Facebook page have connected with other wonderful people. So without further a due I am thanking you from the bottom of my spiritual heart for all your writing and find that reading all of the things you are interested in is exactly what I need. please don’t feel rushed to change or improve because you are fantastic. 3) Baby Gwen’s name is so pure, beautiful, and angelic. My husband and I also chose to give each of our children Saints Names that were particularly important to us, Samantha Catherine Bernadette and Jameson Anthony Alexander. All quite a mouthful but I promise after 8 years of Catholic school they know how to spell all three names. Lol!

    I am so sorry this has turned into quite the novel but I had a rare moment to myself this morning and wanted to finally be able to properly share my gratitude and inspiration that comes from your writing. I also do not do NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS…. per say, but last year I chose to take your approach. What would I like to accomplish for Tracy and what are the steps I need to take to get to my ultimate happiness within? One of my favorite sayings is….Don’t give in to something you want today on a whim if it will ultimately cause you to faulter or interfear with your true long term plans and life aspirations”. So here goes…this is my list. I will try and keep it short since I have already taken more than my allotted response time.
    1) Mass is very important to me and I would like to be more involved in my church. I seemed to have let my attendance slip since my children aren’t in school anymore and are in college. I don’t feel at home or peaceful when I don’t feel connected to my parish.
    2) Keeping a positive attitude. I find when I am struggling with even the tiniest thing if I can just stop for a minute, say a small prayer, and take a deep breath then I am able to put things in a much better perspective.
    3) Finances….is this on everyone’s list? I have a goal this year for a set amount of savings that needs to be socked away for emergencies, something completely different than our other savings plans. Our parents are both quite I’ll and I don’t want to be caught in the situation of having to put everything on credit in case of tragedy or if our daughter needs something while three states away in college. This will help me sleep better at night.
    4) Get to know my husband again. I know him very well but this is the first time in our lives when we have had no children at home. Our first daughter was born 9 months after we were married and we were married at 20. We hardly knew who we were as individual and I certainly did not have a clear idea of what for better or worse or for richer or poorer meant. I think we are more in love today than 23 years ago and look forward to the new journey we are about to begin. We sincerely still LIKE one another and enjoy each others company.
    5)Look into what it will take to obtain my masters degree. This is something that was not possible for me while raising kids and especially one with Cerebral Palsy. I would like to make this happen in the future even if this year I’m just attending info meetings and securing the financial aspect
    6) Believe it or not I have a strong desire to also have my own blog/website and am in the process of making this happen. My blog will be for personal reasons and hopefully things folks will find helpful and interesting to read. It’s not my goal to do it for a living. My goal for my blog will be for purely spiritual, entertainment, cooking, gardening, marriage, and ME.
    7) Find a peaceful way to rid myself of unhealthy relationships and fully embrace those that are support beyond all means. I tend to be a people pleaser and have a difficult time setting personal boundaries. For my blood pressure, my inner spirit, and my poor husband this really needs to happen and should have been at the top of the list. I have found that its actually quite acceptable to wish the best for someone, pray for them, but realize this might just be someone that can’t be in your everyday life. I’m relieved to have figured out that letting go doesn’t need to involve hateful feelings on my part and that it’s OK for other to have their opinions even if I don’t agree.
    8) Last but certainly not least…to have the best vegetable and flower garden ever this year. I am blessed to live on 1.5 acres and after a few years of trial and error I believe this will be a successful year giving us more than enough. A huge bounty to can, freeze, eat from garden to table, as well as share with those in need. I will most definitely be posting photos and providing updates… positive and negative. Already started and its only Jan. We have to rid the back field of the pesky mole situation we have somehow inherited. Long term goal is to be all organic and a self sustaining as possible.

    Thank you again Haley and all the readers for always sharing and making this blog and Facebook page welcoming, non judgmental, inspiring, and so many times laugh out loud hysterical. Writing this morning was very personal and absolutely needed today. I’m ready to start my day fresh and full of hope. Again…sorry I wrote such a long reply. Something just took over and I needed to get it all out. Haley asked the right questions at the best moment possible for me. I hope everyone has a great day.
    Peace and Best regards,

    • Haley says

      You are too sweet, Tracy! 1) haha! My family would disagree! Probably especially Benjamin today when I got irritated with him for not buckling his car seat fast enough. (And it was totally MY fault that we were running late, by the way.) in addition to a thousand other faults that are constantly coming to the surface each day! 2)I am so glad that this blog has become a community that encourages and supports you! When I had no Catholic friends, blogs were my only way to connect with other Catholic women and they meant so much to me. 3)Thank you! I love your baby names, too 🙂

      I loved reading about your goals for the year! Thanks so much for sharing them and for all your encouragement! It means so much 🙂

  6. says


    How often do you eat sugar now? I try to do it just once a week but, being a recovering addict, sometimes it leaves me wanting more. I love the idea of making a dessert for everyone on the weekends…anyhow. I’m curious about how you kicked the habit and how often you indulge now.

    I loved reading these goals. Mine are, basically:
    – learn to sew, relearn to knit, make use of the skills
    -amp up my garden
    -become more organized with cleaning and homeschooling (write out history core curriculum for Laith’s 1st grade year in the fall)
    -save money! (I’m with you on the meal planning, whew)
    -keep chickens again
    -do yoga everyday and run 3-4 times per week
    -read more and write more
    -play my guitar everyday

    I love your blog as is, by the way!

    And congratulations on 3…it is a fun learning curve. I’m still not sure I’ve go it all figured out now, and Noni is 2, but they’re all sleeping through the night and in the same room, so we’ve accomplished something!

    Much love.

    • says

      I second the questions about sugar. I’m a crazy super addict, and every year of my resolution is to “cut the sugar!” That lasts about as long as it takes me to walk from my computer to the cupboard…How’d you do it? Cold turkey?
      My resolution:
      Do the dishes every day. Weird. I know. I’m working on the whole “good home-maker” thing…
      Just found you a couple days ago, and must say, I LOVE your blog. My husband and I had quite the chuckle about AFP.

    • Haley says

      Well, all bets are off during pregnancy. Sweets nauseate me and then they’re all i want in the second and third trimesters. But in normal life, I probably have sweets once or twice a week. That’s a big change from sweet treats after every meal and a sludge of sugar in my coffee. In fact, cutting out the sugar from my coffee in the morning and skipping the toast and jam (just egg and maybe bacon or sausage) made a huge difference in how I feel all day and helped me not crave the sugar so much. When I cut it out I did go cold turkey (otherwise I have no willpower once I start.) And anytime I needed a sweetener I used honey and maple syrup instead of sugar. But after a couple of weeks the horrible headaches were gone and the brain fog AND best of all I would wake up in the morning after a good night’s sleep and not feel like a truck ran over me! Yay!

  7. Megan says

    I echo the request that you not refocus the blog. I find it very focused as it is! There’s a statement I love in your “why I quit grad school” post that explains my feelings on this. You say you don’t want to live a compartmentalized life, but an integrated one. I think that’s what the “broad” scope of Carrots represents!
    I hope all the outcry about change is encouraging to you rather than discouraging. Every topic you post about is challenging and just plain fun to read about, and I think we are all afraid to miss out on such a sweet blessing.
    p.s. I believe the proper goal making time for a year is whenever you actually do it! Usually Jonathan and I set goals together on our anniversary weekend in September, but this year it is on our road trip right now. Nothing like entire days in the car to discuss your goals!

    • Haley says

      That is incredibly encouraging, Megan. I’m convinced. It just feels more natural to write about whatever is inspiring me. And I love car trips with Daniel. It’s rare that we have more than an hour together to just sit and talk and plan. Some of my favorite memories are driving together 🙂

  8. Cathy says

    Haley, I love hearing about the smatterings that you are interested in. Your’s is my most favourite blog of all the ones I read. My children are much older than yours but I love hearing about where you are at. I particularly enjoy the posts about what you are reading and how you have special family celebrations to be mindful of the liturgical year. Hearing your thought on family relationships, motherhood, etc makes me wish I knew about you when we were starting our family. Keep up the good work:)

    • Haley says

      Oh girl, my answer is CREAM CREAM CREAM 🙂 We just got a french press for Christmas that you should come over and try out. Had so much fun yesterday! Can’t believe you’re so close to meeting baby (and I’m totally guessing boy ; )

  9. Rashelle Gillett says

    I love your blog as is:) I like the variety. I don’t feel overwhelmed after reading your posts because they are real and authentic. Thanks!!

  10. Angela says

    Wonderful goals. This was the first year I heard about choosing a patron saint for the year. I just love the idea. I also chose St. Therese as my saint of the year. I chose her because I really need to work on doing “the little things with great love.” I definitely struggle with grumbling while doing chores, cleaning up after the kids and husband, and when doing things that have been asked – even though I know the asker is TOTALLY CAPABLE OF DOING IT THEMSELVES! < See… struggle with doing the little things with love… I also have had trouble seeing the usefulness and the goodness in the everyday stay-at-home life that has become quite mundane at times. However, already this month I have been more aware (not always successful) of when I am struggling and saying a quick prayer while doing "the little thing" has definitely helped. It has brightened my days a bit more. I hope you find the same. (I'm also looking forward to teaching my kids a bit about her and how they can do the little things with love. Plus we are going to have a big shebang for her feast day!)

    • Haley says

      That is so me! One of the surefire ways to infuriate me is if Benjamin says, “I CAN’T PUT MY SHOES ON!” or some other task when I’m trying to get Lucy ready and out the door when I KNOW he can because he does it ALL THE TIME HIMSELF. Starting the day off with at least part of a Rosary is helping me not fly off the handle (as frequently.) But those lessons are exactly what I need to learn right now: doing the little tasks with great love.

  11. says

    I agree with the others in that I think your blog is just perfect the way it is – don’t change a thing!! This post helped me to finalize my resolutions and narrow it down those that are the most important.
    1. End my addiction to sugar. I had NO IDEA how dramatically it was altering my mood and energy levels and ability to really be there for my girls. No more cookies for breakfast.
    2. Wear clothes. I usually wear the same two pairs of navy track pants with a variety of ancient sweatshirts and Ts. I justified it by saying that, “I’m a minimalist and clothes aren’t important.” Then I read that making yourself presentable should not be looked on as an act of vanity, but an act of charity. So I’ll attempt to be more charitable this year.
    3. STOP decluttering. You can really only get rid of so much before your kids start hiding things and putting Post-Its on thing that say, “Please don’t throw me away”.
    4. No more parenting books. I haven’t read one yet that actually made me feel more capable.
    5. Start blogging again. If only to remember all of the fun things we do around here.
    Loved this post! Again, don’t change a thing!!

    • Haley says

      Thanks, Michelle! I am with you on #1. I’m just no good to the world when I’m crashing from sugar intake. I feel grumpy and foggy and just terrible and all I want to do is lay down and have no one bother me. Eggs first thing in the morning (and coffee!) gets me going and I feel like a real human 🙂 I feel like I’m never striking a good balance between caring about clothes too much and then swinging in the other direction and just wearing pajamas every day…something for me to work on. 🙂

  12. Cristina says

    I wanted to recommend a beautiful resource (and my Christmas gift to myself this year) that fits in perfectly with two of your goals: a 2-CD set called Praying the Rosary with St Therese of Lisieux! There are lovely (short) quotes from St Therese related to the mysteries at every Hail Mary. I also usually have to break up the rosary into decades throughout the day, and the meditations from St Therese are great reminders for this sometimes-harried mom of four to keep the focus on love.
    (btw, I ordered it from Amazon, listed as “used” but I think it came directly from the people who make it, and seemed brand-new.)

  13. says

    Because I love the comments you made about St. Therese, I have to tell you that it sounds so much like what I love about Brother Lawrence’s book and Madame Jeanne Guyon’s book (which I recommended in the comments of your reading 2013 post. I am totally going to read up on her. I am not Catholic, but I definitely feel like I have tons to learn and gain from the Catholic tradition and the many incredible people whom the church has Sainted.

    • Haley says

      The saints are wonderful! I’m so glad you mentioned Brother Lawrence’s book because I’m adding it to my list. I wrote it down a few weeks ago and forgot about it.

  14. says

    I’m going to add my voice to the chorus saying not to change your blog focus! I really like the variety. I casually follow alot of blogs and I find myself more and more drawn to the more personal ones. I enjoy the projects I see on the crafting blogs I follow, but the bloggers who really share their lives and what’s on their hearts are those I feel more invested in and want to read more often.

  15. says

    Have you heard of/read “Keeping House: the Litany of Everyday Life” by Margaret Kim Peterson? It is an encouraging book that could fit in a few of your categories up there. It is basically a theology of keeping house. I can’t recommend it highly enough, and it’s one that I pass around to my friends.

  16. Meg says

    Have you heard of the FlyLady website? It’s a (free) housekeeping/organization/loving yourself site dedicated to helping people learn how to keep house by establishing habits and routines, without having to tackle huge projects all at once (15 minutes at a time). It’s a loving, forgiving, funny and down-to-earth place run by a great team of people – I highly recommend checking it out and giving it a try, as even if it’s not your cup of tea there are a lot of helpful tidbits you can glean from it!

    • Haley says

      I’ve heard of it, but never checked it out. Once I get my house actually decluttered and clean (part II of the kitchen is happening this afternoon!), then I really need to find a routine that works for me. I’ll look into it, thanks!

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