Hello 2013


despite the poor quality this is my favourite photo from 2012

Reflecting on 2012 and gearing up for 2013 here. And trying to get a lot of long walks in as my due date approaches.

We grew in some areas and continued to cut back in others in 2012. Balance, right?

We moved into a bigger home. In April we moved out of our our little two bed flat, our first home on the island, and into a bigger three bed flat down the street.

Biggest reason for the move? I was struggling with the small closet like windowless kitchen in our first flat. It was challenging to safely cook while also keeping an eye on Henry.

Our new home has a modern kitchen with natural light plus an extra bedroom. We were hoping to add to our family and fortuitously the flat came furnished with a crib that converts to a toddler bed.

Adding to our family but not our stuff.

Any day now we’ll be a family of four.

Unlike my last pregnancy I have not spent this one buying random items off of daily deal sites or scouring the Internet for the perfect stroller. I’ve spent more time and energy going to prenatal yoga classes and enjoying these last months with our first born still being an only child. What little we did purchase for this baby was mostly second hand and we have been generously loaned the two most expensive items we needed: a glider/high back chair for nursing and a breast pump. I’ll need to pay it forward

Marked two years of car-free living.

November marked our second anniversary of living without a car. No car still makes sense for us and we continue to enjoy the health and financial benefits of not owning an automobile.

We’ve taken more cabs this fall because of bad weather and medical appointments that weren’t accessible by bus. Our transportation expenses have been higher but still nothing close to buying, maintaining, insuring and fueling a car. Interested to see how adding a new baby into the mix will affect our transportation wants and needs.

Continued to live debt-free and below our means.

Sometimes I wonder when or if we’ll slip up. I can’t help but think of Oprah rolling her wagon of fat on stage claiming she will never be overweight again. Will that be us ten years from now with credit cards racked up and applying for a line of credit for a vacation we obviously can’t afford?

I do know that two things help us with out finances tremendously: tracking all of our spending and trying to live with less stuff. We know where each penny or pence goes and we buy a lot less.

Simple Living Goals for 2013:

Take our budgeting to the next level. We’ve been using a reverse budget system for a year and a half. It’s worked to get us in the habit of tracking but we want to have a more in-depth budget, one that accounts for less frequent but larger expenses. We’ve laid out a plan and new system that starts this month. Wish us luck.

Avoid baby clutter. Still waiting on baby #2 but already keeping the clutter at bay. Decided against a double stroller for now. Borrowed our bigger items (thanks friends!). Bought some new to us baby clothing and nursing tops off of eBay. No nursery to decorate because the baby will room-in with us for a few months before sharing a room with Henry. So thankful we found simple living/minimalism before having a second child.

Personal Goals for 2013:

  • Run a half marathon. Last one was when Henry was 13 months.
  • Breastfeed for six months or more. This is my reminder that we will have a new small and needy person in our home and to keep my expectations and commitments realistic.
  • Read 24 books. Inspired by Natalie and her 52 books.
  • Finally learn how to crack an egg with one hand. This will be the year!
  • Self-publish a collection of non-fiction essays. Chickened out on this one in 2012.

These aren’t resolutions. I hate resolutions. They’re usually vague like “get in shape” or “spend less” and ditched by the end of January. I’ve done enough of that in my life.

Instead of resolutions I’m setting goals. Tangible goals that I can work towards and check off.

How was your 2012? What are you hoping for in this next year? If you are a blogger I’d love a link to any posts about your goals or resolutions for the coming year.

P.S. Great New Year’s ebook sale on for six more days. Five books, including titles from Tsh Oxenrider of Simple Mom and Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist, for $7.40 (75% off). I’ve read and can recommend Tsh and Joshua’s books and have heard good things about the other three.
BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

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  • I’ve been reading lots of posts from different people, and everyone seems split on whether goals are good or not. I like your concrete list of things that you’d like to achieve, and I think there is more value in those than general things like “eat healthier”, “diet” or “find happiness”. My first post of the year is a love list, inspired by Courtney Carver at bemorewithless.com and I love having it there. It was refreshing to write too. I’m viewing it as a source of inspiration rather than a list that I HAVE to complete. link below:


    All the best for 2013 and for the birth of your second child. :)

  • I came across your blog last summer and have since read many, many of your posts. I read your article in The Globe and Mail and read it to my husband a couple of days ago, after a long discussion about paring down the “things” in our lives. The term ‘minimalist’ sounds so extreme and limiting, but the idea of living with less is actually quite liberating. To be free of debt would be wonderful. To be free of clutter and unwanted items would be equally freeing. The passage “We know what we have, we know where to find it and we know what we use.” speaks to me almost daily. In just the past week alone, we’ve sold old items that were laying around or we were hanging on to for emotional, not practical, reasons. We’ve organized items so that we know where they are and how many we have. We’re a $150 richer and our house is less cluttered, but more importantly, are freeing ourselves from the burden that comes with having too much. And we’ve barely scratched the surface. There are a lot of things I’m happy I did in 2012, and finding your blog at the top of the list. Happy New Year!

  • I absolutely love your goals for the year. They are specific and concrete, but also realistic and family-focused.

    In short, they made me smile, as well as re-evaluate my own goals. Thanks for the food for thought.

  • Hi!! I’ve come across your blog a little while ago and been luking around a bit. I enjoyed all the entries I’ve read so far!! I share the minimalistic spirit, though I’m not anywhere close to you in the discipline to blog about it (I’m not disciplined enough to keep a blog on any other topic either actually). Congrats on you soon to be expanding family, and I think I might stick around for a while! happy 2013!!

  • i dont often comment because i agree with most of your posts. i think they’re wonderfully written and look forward to the next. happy new year. for a moment here, haha, i had a pause though. i had to google “oprah’s wagon of fat” because for just a second, i thought it was quite mean and completely unlike you. i don’t watch her so i didn’t know she quite literally wheeled a wagon of fat on stage. wow! the analogy is fitting now. lol

  • I enjoyed reading through your goals for 2013. I think breastfeeding and book reading definitely go hand in hand. I am able to read so much more when nursing since I’m forced to sit down several times a day! And, your note on learning to crack an egg with one hand made me laugh but I’m pretty sure I’ll now have to attempt that one myself.

    • Now I remember last time around I read the Hunger Game series (embarrassing to admit!) in just a few weeks while Henry was a few months old. Hopefully I’ll get some great reads out of nursing this time around.

  • When my second child was born, we were living in a much smaller home than the previous (we are a military family and move frequently). The baby gear literally occupied every flat surface. I wish I would have had your insight and discipline at that time. I think I would have enjoyed my space more. Instead of living smaller, I grew surly about my lack of space and a cranky momma is never any good. As far as goals, we are a checklist kind of family and all four of us (adults and kids) make tangible and cross-offable goals. I didn’t list any on my little blog but I did write a bit about our Simple Year project and our lessons learned.

  • I love goals for a year. I actually did my first real set last year. I managed fifty books, even juggling schoolwork and other stuff. I’m a junior in high school this year, and my goals look vastly different from last year, beyond trying to read fifty-two books again. I have half the amount I did. This year I have six, but two are experiences I’m already planning (it keeps me excited for them) and one is flossing because I am not as good about that as I should be. I might have to add crack an egg with one hand to my list though.

  • All the best with your upcoming baby’s birth, so exciting! I’m also due in about three weeks with #3. Even though I have two boys and I’m having a girl this time, I’ve only made 4 purchases for her (two room decorations, two clothing purchases) – the rest has been loaned or given to me. I never experienced this with the birth of my first son so I’m very appreciative this time around!! I’m pretty proud of myself for going minimal as it would be easy to go overboard with pretty little things.

    I made it a goal to read 52 books last year and surprised myself that I got there half way through the year! Reading is such a positive and relaxing way to spend time and learn. I don’t regret that goal, and will keep it up this year. I started off by using GoodReads to help me stay on track, but once it was a habit, I stopped putting in all my reading in there and just blogged about books I was reading.

    I’ve also made it a bit of a goal to leave more comments on blog posts I appreciate rather than being an anonymous reader.

    A very happy new year to you and your family from New Zealand!

  • Happy belated New Year to you!

    And on the slipping thing – I think accumulating body weight and accumulating debt are two very different things. Debt isn’t biological. So I’d say your chances of avoiding Oprah’s fate are good.

  • Congratulations on your upcoming birth. Such an exciting time. It is so wonderful that you have such generous friends to loan you some of your big ticket items. Breast pumps (unless it is hospital grade), however, are only meant to be used by one person. This is because bodily fluids get into the pump parts no matter how well you clean it and then are reintroduced into the milk of the next user. So if you do plan to use it please make sure that you know the persons medical status.

  • I can see why this is your favorite pic of 2012. :) Very sweet!

    I hope the nursing is going well; I know how hard we can be on ourselves. (Memories of me crying in the bathroom to hide from my then, 16 mths old, because Roree, the new baby would latch and would also nurse every 1/2 hour!)

    Hope you’re cutting yourself some slack. Cheers.

    • Thanks, Stephanie. Cutting myself a lot of slack in the “getting things done” column. Lucky the nursing is going well and while I love it, it’s a lot of time. So I haven’t completed any home tasks, my 3 year old has watched a few too many Dora shows and I still haven’t put the coat hooks up in the front hall. But we’re all fed, happy and getting as much sleep as we can.

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