2021 Goal Setting!

Happy New Year! 2020 was an interesting year. I quit sewing for fun, and instead spent time sewing many masks and surgical caps. I started teaching from home and had to brush up on high school math and science skills. And, I found a new love of baking and being content with just being home!

I know that 2021 might not be so much different than 2020, but goal setting helps me long term plan and focus on positivity. These are the goals that we are planning here:

1. Continue baking!- I started cooking and baking a lot more over quarantine. I especially found a love for sourdough baking. I love the process and can appreciate the effort put in for such a delicious outcome!

One delicious loaf!

2. Growing cut flowers- It all started when a friend asked for a couple blooms for a photo shoot. I found a love for gathering and arranging the blooms. I also learned how much more some flowers bloom when you clip some off! I always left plenty for my pollinator friends though! I’m hoping to grow many beautiful varieties and create unique arrangements!

These arrangements made me smile!

3. Upgrade the yard garden- Last year we added a nice sitting area/patio and we have more plans for making the area prettier. More blooms and more veggies!

Every year it gets a little better!

4. Create a seed library– Last year I shared many seeds by sending them out and I put a seed library in our little free library. Next year, I’m planning on making a community one. I used donations from mask making to get the card catalog, but next up we will make it pretty and find a perfect location. The second part is hard with closure of businesses, public spaces and even our libraries.

Hopefully you won’t even recognize this beauty when it’s finished!

5. Create a workout area- This is more of the Mr.’s idea, but I think it’s going to be great! I’ve got my eyes on a sweet jump rope to work on some double unders! He’s more into lifting. But, maybe I’ll have some beefy arms by the end of this year!

6. Expand Blacksmithing area and production- The Mr. has been spending a lot more time pounding on metal. Everything that he makes is amazing to me. He takes a chunk of metal and magically makes it turn into a piece of art!

I think this is beautiful!

7. Travel somewhere!- We had plans of traveling last summer, but you know… 2020. We are hoping to break out the camper again and enjoy our time together!

Such a great time!

8. Focus in the garden– I have a tendency to grow beautiful things that I don’t enjoy eating. This year, I’m focusing on growing what we love. I’m not saying that I won’t have weird gourds, or a new variety. But, more of what we can and what people take off of the cart!

Food everywhere!

9. Up our creations!- Last year the Mr. made a lot more than he has before. I kind of got lost in the mindless mask sewing. I’m sure that I’ll still be making whatever the community needs, but I also want to make what makes my creative heart happy!

Our combo effort! Bag made by me and hooks made by the Mr.

10. Teaching some courses!: This would combine my love of teaching and creating. I would love to help others learn to crochet, take on starting plants from seeds, harvesting from their garden, preserving their yumminess, even learning how to use a pressure canner, make sourdough bread or whatever else we do. We will see if this is virtually or online!

Teaching about bread making to my students!

So, what are your goals?! Let me know! Even if it’s even just one goal! Happy New Year! And, keep blooming friends!

2020 Goals update

I’m proud to say that even though our life has been much different, we have still been able to do so much! Here’s where we are at since the last update:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– Since the last update, we have put work into cleaning up the garage. I have also been letting go of a lot of clothes that I have no idea why I was holding on to them. Over covid break the Mr. lost about 20 pounds and I lost 10. So, goodbye lots of poorly fitting clothes!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– Masks, masks and more masks. I made and gave away a ton of them. The money that I did receive will be going towards creating a free seed library for our town! I’m so looking forward to seeing people enjoying growing their own food and flowers!

I made hundreds of masks and many scrub hats too!
The future seed library! I’m so excited about this idea!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– This year I definitely had a bounty! My best growers were the cushaw squash, but I did get a monster Dickinson pumpkin! Plus, the pollinator garden turned out beautiful. I actually starting clipping blooms and sharing their beauty! Overall, I grew around 1,000 pounds of food!

We grew about 5 that size!
What a huge pumpkin!
Our beautiful blooms!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I spent so much time sewing masks, that I took a long break from sewing! I started baking everything sourdough, and I love it! I also started making my own calendula salve from my blooms! That’s fun too!

Sourdough bread
And the Mr. has been making so much in the forge too!

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious. There were no big trips, unfortunately! We spent most of our time here, enjoying sitting on our newly created patio. We did get to go to Northbay and do zip lining and a ropes course. That was a great time!

Our little patio that we made!
We had so much fun!

Secret goal! We accomplished this a month or 2 early! We are debt free! We are super excited about this! Read about it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2020/02/16/were-debt-free/

Even though everything has been strange and different, the garden brought me to my happy place daily!

Never a dull moment in there!

The world is weird right now, but I know that we have found a lot to smile about!

Keep blooming!

Amazing photo of my sulphur cosmos by tydrew photography!

March to May Goals Update

So, I haven’t been updating in a really long time! My momma was in the hospital for all of April. It was scary times for sure. It’s like life was the same every single day! But, goals are still being worked on and checked off!

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– We spent a nice chunk of quarantine decluttering. We majorly cleaned out the garage. We cleaned out closets and even gave away the teen’s bike that he’s too big for. It’s been great knowing that so many are getting things that they want and we are getting rid of clutter!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– I made several seed giveaways, since seeds were hard to find. I also made face masks for sooo many people. I’m so tired of sewing them!

Seed share at the master gardener little free library! (We had one in our little free library too!)
I’m sure that I made well over 100 masks! And then some surgical hats too!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I have planted out the backyard garden, the big garden and pollinator garden! Everything is growing!

The big garden
Pollinator garden
Backyard garden

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I mainly spent my time making masks! The two guys in the house built our new patio area and the Mr. blacksmithed a kindling cutter and wood rack.

For chopping kindling
(And he put a new handle on that hatchet too!)
Firewood rack (with some of my old derby wheels!)
New patio area! (I love that I can see my boy’s fingerprints all through it!)

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious. Oh my! This is hard to achieve over quarantine times! We did take a couple little trips out hiking locally! Great times!

Rocky Gap
Dan’s Rock

Secret goal! We accomplished this a month or 2 early! We are debt free! We are super excited about this! Read about it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2020/02/16/were-debt-free/

Overall, goals are still being checked off. I hope that you all are staying healthy and happy! Let me know what you’re growing at your place and if you’re still accomplishing goals!

Keep blooming! 🌸🌱💚❤️

February Goals Update 2020!

Goodbye February and hello March! We are continuing to chip away at our goals and here’s how they are going:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– We cleared out so much last month! The teen cleaned out his closet and dresser. (Turns out he has grown even more!) And I cleared out pointless decor, cleaned cabinets and even started on the garage. Busy!!

I got rid of over 500 things!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– The mail in seed swap went pretty well! We had about a dozen people participate. And, I’m in the process of helping to create a free seed library here in town and an Earth Day clean up!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I have winter sowed a bunch of native seeds so far and only have one more to add to that mix! I also just started my peppers! The tomatoes and luffa will be starting in March!

These are all happily enjoying the cold temps outside!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I finished the second row in February! My favorite is the one that looks larger. So many bees!

Pollinator quilt!
I also made a delicious apple pie! (Just thought I’d show that off!)

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious. Last month there weren’t any teacher of the year trips. We did take mom to a few doctor appointments in Baltimore, and we made the best of it! We also enjoyed going on a nice hike. We saw a little beaver, so that was awesome!

A little local like!

Secret goal! We accomplished this a month or 2 early! We are debt free! We are super excited about this! Read about it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2020/02/16/were-debt-free/

Hopefully in March we can get more plants growing and really start working on the garden!

Keep blooming! 🌸🌱💚❤️

Continue reading

We’re Debt Free!

Our secret goal that we’ve been working towards!

I have to start with our backstory! This wasn’t a quick journey or one that was just started without much thought.

Rewind way back to 2005. We started our year off by having a beautiful baby boy. I had just graduated college (with some debt) and didn’t have a job. The Mr. was working and bringing in a decent income. However, we were barely making ends meet and babies are expensive.

Fast forward to the end of 2005, my beautiful and healthy 25 year old sister passed away very I expectedly. She was so close to really getting to the good part of life. She had just landed a better job. She had a great boyfriend and was starting to make some money. But, life just ended.

Still in 2005, my mom was battling 2 types of cancer, bills are crazy with those treatments and money was tight. (Hang in there, I’m getting to where our debt free journey begins, but these experiences definitely have altered my thinking.)

Moving on up 10 years. I finally heard of Dave Ramsey, money envelopes and a debt snowball. We had lots of bills and not a lot of savings. We brought our nest egg up a bit, and achieved our first big financial goal. We paid off my car!

Now we are up to March of 2015. We still have quite a mortgage and a truck payment, but the debt snowball was rolling. We tracked our money and budgeted like we should have been for a long time. And finally started writing everything down.

Our repurposed financial notebook

We started paying down the truck by making double payments (since we were used to paying the car payment, we just continued putting that amount towards the truck) and finally got that beast paid off in February of 2018. Yay! All that was left was the mortgage and the solar panels. So, we started making extra payments on the panels (we put what we used to pay for the truck and car towards the panels) and by May 2019, those were paid for!

And last, but not least is the house. We had been putting any extra money that we had towards the mortgage. It had been getting paid down a little at a time. From May until now, we have been paying every extra bit towards the house. And here we are in February of 2019, and we just paid off the house.

Here we are in 2019 debt free. I’m not even 40 yet, so now I question how much longer I will continue to work. I enjoy teaching, but I also enjoy spending lots of time with family, sewing, growing food and spreading my love for the environment.

I’ll end by saying that I didn’t share our story to be braggers. We live in a much different way than most. We don’t drive new cars, have the newest of anything, eat out often, live in a high end neighborhood or go on amazing vacations. I’m proud that we decided to achieve this before we were old.

The take away is that anyone can do this with time and dedication. Your journey might be longer or shorter. I acknowledge that we are blessed with good jobs (teacher and trooper), but we did not come from money. We are very proud of our accomplishment!

Keep blooming friends! 🌸❤️

January 2020 Goals Update

January felt like it had 6,500 days, but I was able to start the year off in a productive way. And, here those goals are going:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– So far, we haven’t filled any trash bags. But, I was on a mending kick and fixed several shirts and a couple pairs of pants that needed holes fixed.

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– I am in the process of organizing a little mail-in seed swap. (Hopefully I get enough people to participate!) and I finally have the final weight of the amount of compostable trash that we kept out of the landfill!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I have ordered most of the seeds that I will be planting! So far, I have starting winter sowing some of the native flowers that will be growing!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I have decided to see another quilt this year and I already finished the first row. Hopefully I love this one as much as I do my chicken quilt.

The Mr. has been working on restoring restoring ’49 Ford F1 pickup with a 302 small block engine!

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious.

I really enjoyed my trip to Annapolis as the teacher of the year. I have seen so many nice places and met great people. Definitely an experience of a lifetime. I’m loving Maryland more with every trip!

Secret goal! I will be sharing this awesomeness at the end of the month!!!

I hope that you are crushing your goals! If not, you still have 11 months to get it together!

Keep blooming!!

2020 Goals!

I have been setting goals for close to five years. Writing them down and reflecting on what I have achieved makes me feel much more accountable.

One big change for my goals this year is that I’ve reduced the number of goals. I normally have about 12, but this year I have five main goals! And, here they are:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– I have been able to get my trash down to around 6 bags a year. I also want to get rid of the things that are not meaningful. I’m hoping to find a home for a lot of the extra things around here!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– I try to volunteer often, and I’m always looking for more opportunities where I can do more. I’d love to focus on volunteering that aligns with gardening, growing for the pollinators.

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I love growing food for the bees/butterflies and some for us too! I have already made a few seed purchases of new varieties!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– In 2019 I didn’t do much crafting. I was officially in a crafting rut. This year, I’m going to work on creating and crafting! (So will the Mr.!)

My favorite creation from last year

I ❤️ watching him create!

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious.

I’m not too sure where we will be heading this year or how local it will be. But, we will be camping, seeing places that we haven’t been to before and hopefully hiking some trails!

Secret goal! I also have one not yet posted goal. I’m going to post about it when it is accomplished!! And, hopefully it will be soon!

I hope that you have created a couple goals for 2020!

Keep blooming!!

2019 Goals Finale!

Hello 2020! After staying up finishing my quilt on New Year’s Eve, I am proud to say that my goals went pretty well this year!

2019 can be best described as the craziest roller coaster ride that I have ever been on. The ups have been going fantastic places and meeting fabulous people! The rough part has been watching my favorite person battle cancer and have way too many complications.

Beekeeping in December!

Crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– ✔️ Yes, it’s finished! And I love it!

2. Keep doing good for our community.✔️ we have done a lot with our little free library and also decorated the town for Christmas. We helped organize the town cleanup and did a few of our own street cleanups.

3. Can and save money on our groceries:✔️ We has a pretty rocking garden this year. We canned so many green beans, some salsa, jams and some pickles!

Moon and stars watermelon

Dickinson pumpkins

4. Use that camper some more!: ❌Maybe in 2020!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so we couldn’t get the camper out.

Ocean City!

5. Compost!: ✔️We composted 148 pumpkins, several bags of leaves and over 100 pounds of holiday waste. So much future garden food!

Holiday composting

6.Little free library/seed sharing- ✔️The Mr. built it, so many donated books towards it and many have utilized it. And the best part, it’s in memory of my sweet sister who loved reading and always wanted to be an author.

7. Grow some new plants: ✔️We grew so many new plants this year! The ground cherries turned out to be my favorite! But I also love how different and pretty that the Dickinson pumpkins are! Plus, the nest egg gourds are beautiful!

Our last harvest of the year.

Nest egg gourd

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. ✔️We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We harvested zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

**we have some trellis ideas for this space and ideas of what we are going to grow next year!

The after!

9. Keep reducing our trash ✔️We took out 7 bags of trash this whole year! Since I have been away a lot this year, I can say that I missed out on always getting pictures! But, we will try to do better in 2020!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-✔️ It happened! We created a monarch waystation! That habitat was loved and used by so many pollinators! We released 186 butterflies (108 females and 78 males) plus a few swallowtails and even this beauty:

Pollinator garden in late September!

11. Teach the teen life skills– ✔️He had several tie tying lessons and he’s kind of getting it. Lucky for him, his momma is a good at that! Plus, he’s so much better at managing time and tracking his own grades.

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– ✔️We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We made some spending $ for his trip and lots of neighbors enjoyed the cheap and local produce!

The last garden cart of 2019

Disney World was a delight!

See you later 2019! I am planning out what I’m going to accomplish in 2020 in my neighborhood/home/classroom! I hope that you’re completing your goals and thinking about 2020!

Keep blooming friends!!

October 2019 Goals

Hello November! Yes, it’s already day 12 of the month, but October was still beautiful! The leaves were so colorful this year!

During October I visited Ocean City MD to attend a conference and then back to Baltimore for the teacher of the year gala. It was a fun night!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. Everything is sewn and I just need to quilt and bind it! ** I decided that this will be a December project!

2. Keep doing good for our community.

I had a book giveaway with Halloween. A few kids got a new book! I also finally got the plastic film collection box dropped off at town hall.

3. Can and save money on our groceries: I have been cleaning out the garden, so not much to be harvested! But, I did harvest all of those Dickinson pumpkins! Then, I roasted a couple and turned some into a pie!

The boys gave it 2 thumbs up!

4. Use that camper some more!: In October I traveled a few places to watch our teen play the bass drum in marching band. I also went to Ocean City for a conference and the gala in Baltimore!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so I don’t think that we will be doing much traveling this year.

Ocean City!

5. Compost!: We are taking in pumpkins, corn stalks and leaves in the months to come! (And getting a good many so far!)

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library has been having many guests! We got a few extra for Halloween too! Plus, we have been getting so many book donations that we need to go book bomb some other libraries!

7. Grow some new plants: We grew so many new plants this year! The ground cherries turned out to be my favorite! But I also love how different and pretty that the Dickinson pumpkins are! I’m starting to look through seed catalogues at new ideas for next year!

Our last harvest of the year.

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We are still harvesting zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

**we have some trellis ideas for this space and ideas of what we are going to grow!

The after!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 5. Bag 4 left the house.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-It happened! We have a monarch waystation! That habitat was loved and used by so many pollinators! We released 186 butterflies (108 females and 78 males) plus a few swallowtails and even this beauty:

Pollinator garden in late September!

11. Teach the teen life skills– the boy is growing up way too fast. He will be in high school next year. I want him to be ready to be an independent adult when he decides to leave the nest many years from now!

*he had several tie tying lessons and he’s kind of getting it. Lucky for him, his momma is a good at that!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We made some spending $ for his trip and lots of neighbors enjoyed the cheap and local produce!

The last garden cart of 2019

October was flew by! I’m still can’t believe that it’s November! I’m already planning out what I’m going to accomplish this year in my neighborhood/homes/classroom! I hope that your completing your goals and thinking about 2020!

Keep blooming friends!!

September 2019 Goals Update

Goals are meant to be crushed, right?! That’s exactly what I’m trying to do as a mom, teacher and organic gardener. But, I don’t feel like I have been focused enough on these goals. So, I’m going to be working harder in October!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. Everything is sewn and I just need to quilt and bind it! ** When momma feels up for it, we will quilt it!**

2. Keep doing good for our community.

We had a big book exchange in honor of my sister for her birthday! It was nice to see so many people utilizing the library!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We are still harvesting a good bit from the garden! (Especially cherry tomatoes, peppers and cucamelons!) So, not much preserving, but at least produce is still good coming in!

Purple potatoes!

4. Use that camper some more!: In September I spent some time on Tylerton Island (Smith Island) and learned all about the Chesapeake Bay and met lots of locals!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so I don’t think that we will be doing much traveling this summer.

Sunrise paddling!

Smith Island Cake!

That little dot is a baby crab!

5. Compost!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off. Plus, we compost everything that we can here! We will be taking in pumpkins, corn stalks and leaves in months to come!

Composting on the island!

Our compost is looking good!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library has been having more guests, since the garden cart has been out so much!

7. Grow some new plants: The ground cherries are still growing well! Now the Hawaiian peppers are taking off and I’m harvesting some gourds. In the garden, the Mexican sunflowers are a great nectar and pollen source!

Hawaiian peppers

Egg gourds

Mexican sunflowers

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We are still harvesting zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

The after!

Luffa gourd growing!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 4. Bag 3 was thrown out while I was out of town and the Mr. doesn’t take pictures of our garbage. 😆

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-It happened! We have a monarch waystation! That habitat is being loved and used by so many pollinators! We are still finding caterpillars out there. We have released over 150 and I have sent in our data for all of our tagged monarchs!

Pollinator garden in late September!

11. Teach the teen life skills– the boy is growing up way too fast. He will be in high school next year. I want him to be ready to be an independent adult when he decides to leave the nest many years from now!

*he has been learning lessons on time management! Between long practices, not getting back until late on school nights and lots of homework, he’s still getting his work finished.

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We are slowly making a little bit at a time! (We should be having a few more garden cart sales this year!)

September was filled with lots of fun events, and this whole teacher of the year thing is such an honor! I’m already planning out what I’m going to accomplish this year in my classroom! I hope that your completing your goals and thinking about 2020!!

Keep blooming friends!!