Nearly a year ago, one cold January day, the kind where you’re in a bit of a New Year funk after all the fun and busy festivities, I wrote a blog post all about what to look forward to for 2019 in terms of family, home, blogging and personal goals. I thought now would be a good time to reflect on how the year has gone and to see whether we took steps to achieve the goals or whether they indeed didn’t work out for us. If they didn’t work out it’s fine as after all we change our minds and direction all the time and if some of the goals are still important to me/us then there is no reason why I/we can’t still give them a go over the next year. I have gone through the goals by copying in last year’s goals and then writing my update in blue.
Jan 19- To slow down- We used to be really good at slowing our family time down. Focusing on simple activities around the house, garden and very local outdoor spots. We have of late been busy filling our weekends up with days out and since we moved to Yorkshire we have been eager to explore a bit too much. It ends up with us all becoming exhausted and the kids end up taking days out for granted rather than a treat. So especially in the upcoming cooler months, we will make the most of what we have at home and slow our days down.
Dec 19 -I think I always have it in my mind the there are days that need to be slow and I take the conscious effort to encourage everyone in the family to stop more. I think we still haven’t slowed as much as I would like but being conscious of it throughout the year has certainly helped. I will definitely looking at ways in 2020 to do the same. I have also become good at saying ‘no’ when needed so that’s a start.
Jan 19-Creative- To help reduce screen time and build on creativity, I’m wanting the kids to be more creative and look to find other things to do instead of screen time. So I will be helping them to do this by making our craft boxes more accessible. I’m planning on rotating crafty bits, junk modelling, workbooks, play dough and anything else I can think of. Having them more accessible to me and them means I can just throw an activity out on the table, and depending on the activity, sit with them or leave them to play independently. Adding to creativity, Dougie has been working on after school time to practice their musical instruments. This is something that we wish to keep encouraging them to do.
Dec 19-This is one that between the two of us, we have really tagged teamed it. Dougie has really encouraged musical instrument time and now off their own backs they do more and more of it. I encouraged Daisy to try out a new sewing club at school and well I have now created a crafty monster in the house and she has recently ditched screen in favour of making. I really feel that now Florence is older, I could do with more regular crafty time with the littles, that just means I have to step away from other things to get that going.
Jan 19- Helping in the House- We would like them all to have more of an understanding of how the house works and how much easier it is if we all work together as a team, so I get more time to play and they get life skills. I’m all too guilty of just doing jobs like the washing myself because it’s easier. There is no reason why they all can’t help out with laundry and other household chores more. The youngest ones think chores are great fun, so I will be remembering to let them help me make dinner etc more often, when time permits.
Dec 19 – It’s been a long work in progress and of course the teenager and tweenager have been resistant. I think though after months of nagging at them, they’re getting it. Of course we have to do daily reminders and listen to some moaning but we do have days of chores being done without too much fuss. We do however need to shift a focus again in the littles especially Teddy and get them helping a bit more, with more time and patience from us!
Jan 19- Family Games – Over Christmas we played a few games and did a few jigsaws and it got me thinking we haven’t done enough of this since we’ve had the little two. So I’m hoping to work around finding games we can all do together or manage around the younger ones. We had a card game (Dobble!) before bath time on a school night recently and although it was only a quick 10 minutes but the kids loved it.
Dec 19- Apart from our Summer holidays and the very odd day, I felt that we haven’t made enough time to do this. Maybe a monthly board game night might be the answer for 2020 as realistically trying to work in more than that is not always possible. I think making a conscious effort to get out jigsaws and games for the littles would be good. One week whilst waiting for Teddy at swimming lessons we took a simple game with us. This would be a great way of having game and puzzle time with the others. One thing we have done is we have played the alphabet game* in the car often, the kids have loved doing this and it’s limited the car argument and got us all thinking and laughing!
*Alphabet game – where you think of a topic such as food, Christmas, cars etc and you take it in turns to think of a word related to the topic starting with A and B then C etc….
Jan 19 -Planning Holidays Carefully- As a large family going away is fun but totally exhausting. I would like to really put some effort into thinking how we can make family holidays easier and more relaxing for all concerned, ie myself and Dougie! I will report back later in the year of how I have got on with this one!
Dec 19- Reporting back a lot later! We really took a long time on deciding our Summer holiday this year. We ended up going away for 3 weeks as we had a few locations and attractions we wanted to visit. We thought a lot on accommodation and with our own sanity we decided that we wanted to stay in a house longer than a tent this year. it just meant for us we had a few more home comforts, down time in the evening without us all being up together in the one room and facilities to wash and fridge space for more than just daily shopping . We still had the fun of camping with the kids for a few days just not a long length of time. It definitely was still chaotic at times as we’re a family of 6 and also Dougie broke his hand on holiday, but it was tweaked slightly better and a bit more in mind for everyone’s enjoyment. We also went away with another family at Easter time to Centre Parcs which worked well as the kids had friends and there were extra hands with the littles. I’m not sure yet where our holidaying for 2020 will take us, I think we will start planning in the New Year.
Jan 19- Mealtimes and Healthy Eating – We cook most meals from scratch but I have become guilty as they’ve got older and fussier of not being adventurous enough and sticking to what I know they will eat, rather than experiencing more. I’m utilising my meal planning time into making a variety of meals and making sure they get used to seeing and trying more vegetables and healthy options on their plates. Myself and Dougie also need to inject more healthy portions on our plates as well. I also would like to work on the kids table manners as somedays it feels like we’re in a zoo!
Dec 19- Well, thanks to my monthly meal planning posts, I have become far more organised in changing up our family choice of meals and have been a little bit more robust in encouraging them to eat what is placed in front of them! They have all found different food items they thought they disliked and now like or even enjoy. We have however not made any inroads with their table manners they are still like zoo animals!
Jan 19 -Grow More – I would like to grow more fruit, veg and herbs this year. Last year the tomatoes and strawberries were in abundance and the little two loved helping me pick them. So this year I would like to be more adventurous and grow a pumpkin or two and some other veggies as well.
Dec 19-I had visions of growing many fruit and vegetables but it just didn’t happen. That said I grew a huge amount of tomatoes this year and they kept us going for weeks. Dougie made us a lovely new veg plot and the littles really enjoyed picking the tomatoes and strawberries. We will hopefully grow a pumpkin one day! this would definitely be a key way to slow down in spring by having more time in our garden.
Jan 19 – Laugh Together More- In our family we all have our own unique sense of humour that shines through, but when we’re all together it can be harder to remember to all laugh together. It can be so hectic and sometimes I’m so focused on routines and not being silly that we forget to have some belly-ripping fun together. I want to try and remember to break free for 5 minutes from routine and make sure we’ve all have a chance to giggle more at something.
Dec 19- This is a hard one to recognise as it’s not like you set aside time to just sit and laugh for half an hour daily! I do however feel that there have been more times recently where we have been more fun parents and I have certainly tried out a few things this year that my kids wouldn’t normally expect me to do. When visiting Legoland they were really surprised to see I was the one who loved the rides more than Daddy.
Jan 19- Appreciate More To find ways to encourage kindness and appreciation. I will make another post on how I plan to encourage acts of kindness with the whole family.
Dec 19- There is one member of the family who certainly took this on board. Daisy is regular doing all sorts of acts of kindness to her family and friends. She’s very thoughtful and Florence is even following in her footsteps and checks on people and cuddles them when they’re not happy. I think the boys need a little work on but they’re slowly seeing the praise that the girls get from doing so and so that is encouraging to them. Finlay has also started helping out at Beavers so that shows real promise.
Jan 19- Save More – This will hopefully fit in well with slowing our family life down. We would like to focus on saving more this year. Just looking into a few more money saving ways and putting them into practice. For instance I only just recently found out that if you shop online you can use companies such as KidsStart to convert purchases into small amounts of money to be deposited into kids savings accounts. So to find ways to keep costs down and save more is on our radar for the whole year.
Dec 19- As always this is a work in progress as we are a large family always with things that are needed. I really do need to look into some more savvy ways of doing so and sticking to them. One saving success was that we really made good headway on saving for Christmas throughout the year this year and it has made a difference.
I think it’s really important to have some time to reflect on what worked and didn’t work for you over the past year and how you would like to change things up or focus on for the New Year.
Jan 19- Earlier Alarm call- I would like to get up before the kids each morning (well mostly on school days and we will take it from there). I’m all too guilty on pressing the snooze button, and leaving getting up until the last necessary minute. I then fly around the house in unorganised chaos and then end up spending a good chunk of the day getting back on track. I would like to be able to have a few peaceful minutes whilst eating breakfast, to chat to Douglas without all the kids interrupting and get a few chores done before the school run. I think this will do wonders for my own sanity and lessen the days where I’m overwhelmed by life laundry.
Dec 19 – This is probably the one thing that I nailed this year! I even wrote a post on it, which you can read here. It really did transform my morning routine, in fact my day! I feel more in control of the day by getting up earlier.
Jan 19 – Move More – Hopefully by getting up early, this will in turn help me move more. With recent sciatica I have had days where my movement is more start/stop. So days where I’m less in pain, I want to get back to walking lots more, so taking Florence out in the pram and doing more brisk walks that I used to love when we had a dog.
Dec 19- I go through periods of sciatica but there is more of an improvement and I think my improved fitness and weight loss this year has really helped make the pain less. I would like to get the whole family moving more in 2020 and introduce some more team sports etc.
Jan 19- Read More- I’m sure this is on most parents’ lists! It’s hard to get time to read when you have young children but I would like to try and read more than the 4 books I read last year! Although that was an improvement on the year before when Florence was tiny and I don’t think I read at all! I tend to focus more of my time online, so my reading window is then set to being in bed where I inevitably end up reading the same page and falling asleep each night. So just by taking my book into the bath or going to bed a little earlier, I’m hoping will result in a few more books read in 2019. I would also like to start listening to a few podcasts as I go about my day, especially when I’m doing jobs whilst Florence naps or in the car when I’m not going through my repertoire of nursery rhymes!
Dec 19- I haven’t read much at all this year as blogging and editing eats into this time and by the time I pick up a book I fall asleep. I have listened to a few podcasts and enjoyed them and really hope to listen to more in 2020.
Jan 19- Play More- Having four children means it’s all too easy to let them play with each other or encourage them to work out how to play on their own. Both of these are exactly what children should be doing, however lately I have felt that I don’t play enough with them. Life is busy and I don’t want this to be about beating myself up over what I haven’t done, as this is not what these goals are about. I just want to remind myself to occasionally not say ‘wait a minute and Mummy will be there’ and instead to get down on the floor and play and discover things with them. This ties into the whole reason why getting up early will hopefully allow me more time in other areas such as this. And essentially playing with play dough is more fun than doing the washing! Also this can be tied in with some of my family goals of playing board games and having a crafting activity ready.
Dec 19- This is an ongoing goal which I’m still working on and reminding myself of. I find it doesn’t come naturally to me to play with them but I do provide them with play activities.
Jan 19 – Craft More-This Christmas I really fell in love with making a few decorations for the house. I love a celebration and a theme, so I would like to continue this and make more creations for me and the home throughout the year. Maybe take part in a few craft sessions somewhere and broaden my crafty capabilities. Watch this space as I will be sharing my creations along the way!
Dec 19- I have really enjoyed being more creative this year and have done a few seasonal decorations and more recently made a wreath. I would really like to learn some more crafting skills as I find it productive and rewarding for self care time.
Jan 19 – Blog Testing- I love that most of the time that my brain is continually learning and being tested by learning new things for my blog, so I will continue to grow and develop and discover new areas to learn and build my little corner of the Internet, to keep me on my toes.
Dec 19- Everyday is a school day with blogging and I’m continuously learning and finding new things out. Again this year I have learnt new skills and taken new directions with my blog. I haven’t spent as much time this year as I would have liked but it’s hard to find the right balance and juggle it all.
Jan 19- Self Care- To try and recognise when I can feel that I have taken on too much. To try and be kinder to myself and and work out strategies to help keep less stressed. To not forget me-time, have a few more baths or to know when to just focus my energy rather than spreading myself too thin. And recognise more that an early night is beneficial to everything!
Dec 19 – The early night thing hasn’t really happened, maybe occasionally a bit earlier! I have made small steps to my own time such as sitting in my garden swing in the Summer and appreciating peace and my garden. I parted with Flo in nursery for one full day, after initially feeling lost without her, I have learnt to enjoy my time to blog and do a few things by myself.
Jan 19- I really love the direction my blog has taken in the past few months and so I want to continue with the direction it has already taken but also re-visit the types of posts that made me want to start writing in the first place.
Dec 19 – I think that the direction I took this year kept me focused each month as it was monthly topical posts so gave me more structure. I still feel that I haven’t achieved going back to posts that I was passionate about in the start.
Jan 19- I want to continue to ramp up my Pinterest capabilities, Pinterest is a place that I love and use most days. So to continue putting my blog out there in Pinterest makes total sense to me and one that will benefit my stats and I enjoy doing at the same time.
Dec 19 – I really feel I have set out in the right direction with my Pinterest and could build it better from here on in. It is an area to blogging that I find enjoyable and gives me a creative satisfaction.
Jan 19- To up my game on SEO, promoting my posts and finding ways to up my stats will be in my mind this year. This has never been my priority since starting my blog, but it now seems a logical next step for me to work on.
Dec 19- This is an area that I feel I have learnt tips in some ways but at the same time my SEO has also taken a dip and I find it complex to understand.
Jan 19- To try out new link-ups. I love link-ups and so would love to try a few new ones this year. I would love to collaborate more with others as I did so recently and it was really fun working with others on a post. And who knows maybe one day I would love to host my own link-up!
Dec 19 – I have stuck to weekly living arrows and lots of dream team link ups this year. A few of the link ups stopped linking up, so will be interesting to see where the link up post will go next year.
Jan 19- I want to continue to focus on that blogging feel over on my instagram page. Sharing insights into our daily lives and my thoughts on the everyday. I find insta stories more enjoyable and popular, so for me they have taken me further away from vlogging. Although I haven’t ruled out going back to doing YouTube, it just takes up a lot of my precious family time doing both.
Dec 19- I have most definitely invested time and effort into instagram and while I don’t have a huge following it has grown steadily and I feel I’m mostly happy with instagram. My stories have been more frequent and I love to do them, I find it’s turned into more of a micro blog. As for YouTube only one video has been up all year. I still have the urge now and again but not the time. Laws on children and YouTube is a bit of a minefield and I have struggled more with putting us out there as a family on Youtube more than previous years.
I have tried to keep this as a reflective post for this year’s goals although a few of what I would like to do going forward have sneaked in. My mind is already whirring for next year as I tend to try and look forward to the next thing a bit too much these days! I will be creating some sort of a list for 2020 goals, so check back soon for that one.