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Happy New Year! A look at 2014 and goals for 2015

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Happy New Year to you! I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and are enjoying a relaxing day today. I’m taking some time to strategize and do some strategic blog planning today. This blog really got away from me in 2014 and I would love to make it a priority again. The best way for me to make it happen is plan and then share those plans with you!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2015

 A look at 2014


Why did my blog take a back seat? Well, life really happened in 2014. All four kids are back to homeschooling for the 2014-2015 school year. It’s been a lot of work for me, learning how to homeschool a preschooler, first, third, and fifth grader all at the same time. And, we traveled so much in 2014 – it’s a little ridiculous. Our first trip was a two week road trip to Georgia and Florida to visit great friends. One of the reasons I homeschool is so I can pack my kids up and go when we want. The winter was ridiculously cold last year and we sure appreciated the warmth we found on that roadtrip and the dear friends we don’t see nearly often enough.

In April, my husband and I took a business trip to Nashville. We are part of a 20 Club through the National Association of Home Builders and travel twice a year with our club. The trips are always fun learning experiences and we sure enjoy the adult time we experience twice a year during these trips. We learn a lot too! 😀

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In July, my husband I flew to Germany for my dear childhood friend’s 40th birthday party. I turned 40 in 2014 and when my German friend, Sarah, called to wish me a happy 40th birthday in April, she invited me to her party in July. I laughed and said I’d book the G6 and be right over (I said this in jest). But the more I thought about it, the more I decided I should go. I spent nine years in Germany as a child and then again as a college student but hadn’t been back in ten years. Germany has always been part of my identity. I speak German, lived and traveled over there for so long, and continue to have a lot of friends there. So we saved our money, pawned the kids off on their grandparents again, and flew commercial  in coach (sadly – we do not own our own private jet). We had a great time and I’m so glad we went.

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In October, I got away by myself to a blogger conference in Los Angeles called ShiftCon. It was an amazing, organic and totally non-gmo conference! I learned so much about the food industry in the US and met so many awesome bloggers – all dedicated to improving our food supply. Honestly, the conference was eye-opening and I loved it. I hope to go back to ShiftCon in 2015.

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Also in  October, I took off on another road trip with my kids. We headed to Upstate New York this time, to visit another great friend. Somehow, I was able to convince this dear friend to keep all four of my kids while my husband and I had our second 20 Club meeting of the year, in Boston. After our meetings were over, Robin brought all of my kids, plus her three kids, to Boston. We toured the area after our meetings were over and had a great time. It was an awesome learning experience for the kids as we studied the Revolutionary War beforehand and really enjoyed seeing in person some of the places we studied!


In December, my husband’s mom and dad took 18 people to Walt Disney World for a once in a lifetime Walt Disney World extravaganza. We’re not huge Disney lovers and family politics are always interesting, so I was a little apprehensive about the trip, but we we had such a great time. Turns out, I love Magic Kingdom! We toured Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center (my least favorite), Sea World, and Universal Studios. Everyone was well behaved and the week with 18 family members went off without a hitch – a real testament to my mother in law.

And as our Christmas present and to ring in 2015, my parents took my sister and me, and our families, to Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City jsut a couple days ago. It was our first time at Great Wolf Lodge, and I have to tell you, we loved every minute of it!

So, it looks like reality is going to be hard for us to accept in 2015. Life is about more than travel and theme parks for sure. We have a bit of travel lined up for 2015, nothing like last year, but I guess that can always change! Our 20 Club meets in Topeka and at our place in Iowa in 2015 – so no exotic locales like last year. I’m not sure if I’m up for big roadtrips this year…but…we shall see how cold it gets this winter! Enough of the 2014 recap, though. How about some goals for 2015?

My Goals for 2015


  • Stick to a manageable blogging schedule with two to three new posts per week – written in advance and scheduled! {This will be hard for me because I am a total last minute person, but I really want to make this happen in 2015!}
  • Once a month blog updates on our passive house progress until we move in – projected move in date July 4, 2015!
  • Share a monthly menu plan at the beginning of each month
  • One monthly update on going gmo-free at the end of each month
  • Write two new recipe posts per month
  • Share one or two new homeschooling posts per month
  • Write about topics I’m most interested in: gardening, homeschooling, travel, cooking, backyard chickens, simplifying my life


  • Crossfit two times per week
  • Drink water before coffee every day
  • Have smoothies  3-4 times per week
  • Continue to say no – I got a lot better at saying no in 2014. 🙂
  • Read two books per month (one entertainment, one educational)


  • Monthly date-nights with my husband
  • Once a week one-on-one time with each kid (at least 15 minutes) – other than school work. We get one on one time during school work, but I have some neat kids and need to do a better job spending time dedicated to each one.
  • Reduce screen time for my kids – they have gotten pretty bad with Kindles, iPads, computers etc and I really need to get a handle on their screen time.
  • Put my phone on the charger and leave it alone during the day – I think one of the best ways to reduce my kids’ screen time, will be to set a good example, myself. Touche!
  • Put in place, and manage correctly, a fair system of allowance for my children. I really struggled with this in 2014 and need to figure it out.

I think I’ll have to end this here. I’ve got some pretty lofty goals for 2015 and sure hope I can make good progress on them during this new year. I will try to keep you posted!

How was your 2014 and will you make goals for 2015? I’d love to hear about them, if so! What do you think will be the hardest to accomplish?




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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankHeather @ My Overflowing Cup says

    Thanks so much for sharing your epic year with us, Michelle. I’m looking forward to what you have in store for us for 2015.

    2014 was epic for me in that I was finally brave enough to take the blogging leap. I wrote an e-book and I’ve almost finished an full-length book on marriage that I hope and pray I can get published in 2015.

    Here’s to the future! Blessings to you and yours.

    • blankMichelle Marine says

      Congrats, on your books, Heather! That’s so exciting. I haven’t made the leap to that yet, but it’s something I might love to do some day. Keep me posted on the progress! 🙂

  2. blankKelli @ The Sustainable Couple says

    I loved reading about your 2014 travels, Michelle! And, I often make goals like yours for the new year, rather than one resolution. Among my goals for 2015 is to do a little more freelance writing work. I hope to take another year to travel with John next year and work on some huge sustainable, urban farming projects. I have about 5 months to figure that out before the school year ends! Eeek!

  3. blankRobin says

    You had a busy 2014!!! Love your goals for you and the fam – I need to set some of these for myself. Don’t forget to plan another epic journey to upstate NY! I’ll manage our “Magnificent Seven” anytime. 😉

  4. blankVal - Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids says

    What a great group of goals Michelle. I enjoy reading your blog, and always learn new things.

    My hardest goal for this year I think will be learning to speak Spanish. I have bought a program, but will need to schedule myself to actually use it. I also would like to do a better job of scheduling posts rather than just writing and then directly posting.

  5. blankTonya says

    Wow, you really went places last year!! Wowser. I love your goals. I am going to try to write some myself on my blog this month as soon as I can.
    Blessings to you for a great year in 2015.

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