Monday, December 30, 2013

Goals & Gratitudes for 2013


Another year is drawing to a close, and once again I find myself wondering where on earth it went! It seems more important with each passing year that I pause for a few moments and take stock of the good things the year has brought, because sometimes it's just too easy to forget about the good stuff in the middle of life's challenges.

I have hundreds of things, large and small, to be thankful for (many of which I have a tendency to take for granted, like most of us do!). In my lists I want to share some of the "bigger" things that happened this year for which I feel especially grateful. I don't really think "gratitudes" is a word :) but it's a list of some favourite things that came into my life this year. 

1. I started out the year by getting my Food Handler Certificate in January (this allows me to do cooking demos and classes that require this certification, such as at the Farmers' Market).

2. I did regular cooking demos at the Farmer's Market (roughly one Saturday per month) and a 2 hour cooking class at a local supermarket chain.

3. I got some great local media exposure; I was on the local news (CHCH) 3 times, cooking live on the air on 2 of my appearances, plus had a whole sidebar of tips in a "local food" article in Hamilton Magazine. You can find links to all of these on the media page of my main site. Which brings me to my next point...

4. I got around to making myself a proper website at

5. I launched a menu planning service in July - more details about that are HERE (one of my major goals for 2014 is to grow this service!)

6. I rode 1000 km on my bike recreationally this year, which I haven't managed to pull off for a decade or so (this doesn't count any of my riding for transportation).

(I'd also like to tip my hat to the rest of the family for their accomplishments this year: My hubby Joe finally got himself a proper website, too at (check him out if you're in the Hamilton area and you need a Realtor!). My 16 year old son completed a month long student counselor training program at Camp Wanakita, earned his Bronze Medallion in swimming, and got his Basic Canoeing certification through ORCA. My 14 year old earned his Bronze Star in swimming. Yeah family!) 

1. I finally got to meet one of my closest friends in person! Yeah, I know that sounds kind of weird :) but I met my friend Linda online through a mutual friend over 5 years ago and we quickly became like sisters! She was living in New Zealand when we first "met" and is now in Albuquerque. She came to visit my family for about 10 days this summer and it was a BIG wish come true for both of us.

Linda & I at Queenston Heights

2. A laptop computer at last. This also came courtesy of Linda, who generously gave it to me when she came to visit (you know someone is a good friend when they give you their computer because "you need it more than I do"). I'm writing this post on it and it has saved me a world of aggravation since it came to live with me - previously I'd been making do with my 10 year old PC and trips to the public library to use their computers. A new computer has been on my wishlist for quite a while, but something else always seemed to take priority in our budget!

3. I made my first-ever batch of cold-process soap. This is yet another skill I've been hoping to learn for ages, and never quite worked up the courage to play with lye on my own. My friend Kerry Turcotte led a small group of us through our first soap making experience and it wasn't as scary as I had expected. I was thrilled with the resulting soap, much of which ended up being Christmas gifts for friends and family.

4. We welcomed an abundance of free furniture into our home, including two different couch and chair sets, 2 end tables, and a roll-top desk passed along to us by family and friends. One chair & couch set is now in residence in our living room, while the rest of the furniture is awaiting further progress in our great room reshuffling plan (which we hope to make some big strides with early in the new year).

5. I deepened my local food ties: We established a solid relationship with a local small-scale egg producer and a successful Egg Buying Group to buy eggs in bulk. This has worked out really well for all involved and allowed us to access great quality eggs from happy, free range chickens for a great price. I also had the opportunity to get involved in a variety of aspects of the Mustard Seed Community Grocery's development, which has been very exciting. I've gotten to watch from the "inside" the emergence of a brand new food co-op from idea to reality (the store is scheduled to open on January 24th!) and have met many amazing people as part of the process.

6. I had some more victories in the DIY personal care department: I finally got around to making a nettle tincture, which worked amazingly well for my allergies (and hubby's too!) and I created the most fantabulous body butter ever - check it out HERE.

Wow, looking over that list, it's no wonder the year seemed to race on by :)

What are some of your favourite accomplishments of 2013?
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  1. This is an awesome list Karen! As I work through my booklet and plan out the up coming year - i realize the importance of summarizing the past year and really revelling in the accomplishments. I find we forget so fast!

    1. Thanks Anita! It really is amazing how many things you can come up with once you start to write them down, and seeing it all captured in black & white can really drive home how much you *did* accomplish - otherwise it seems too easy to focus on the frustrations and the goals that you didn't quite reach.


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