14 in 2014


2013 was a phenomenal year for me in many ways. After a really rough 2012 with a PTSD diagnosis and a ton of therapy, 2013 was my year to try to let go of the past and focus on the abundance of loving family and friends I’m so lucky to have. In 2013 I accepted that my life isn’t over yet and I have so much more living to do. In fact, I was so blissed out in 2013 after being depressed, anxious, and flashback ridden for much of 2012 that I didn’t get very much accomplished. 2013 was a blur of travel, spending time with my husband and our boys, and practicing coping methods I learned in therapy when I started to fixate on the past or fall into a depressive state. So, what’s my resolution for 2014? I want to do all the things! Basically, I want to get things done. I want to look back on 2014 and not only feel happy, but also have a list of accomplishments. I want to know that I can be happy and productive at the same time. This is really hard for me. I’m not sure why. It seems like when I’m joyful I tend to live in the moment and when I’m sad I put all of my focus on writing, charity work, and blogging.

Happy. Productive. These are the two words I want to sum up 2014 when I look back on this year next January.

To make myself accountable (and maybe more productive) I decided to make a record of 14 things I hope to accomplish in 2014, and share it with everyone. I’m also going to make a page dedicated to my list and as I complete goals throughout the year I’ll strike through them.


Take the family on a trip that will broaden my sons’ outlook on the world. British will turn seven this year and Bruce will turn five. I think the timing is perfect to take the boys on an educational trip. I would love to take the boys to Scotland. We’ve got several books for children about Scotland that we read together quite often. I think they would appreciate visiting a country they’ve studied with me.

Go on at least one date night every other week with Nate.

Find a way to encourage British (my six-year-old) to read for fun. I’m trying hard to get British excited about reading, but he views reading as a chore. I would love any suggestions any of you might have about getting a first grader into reading.


Quit smoking. I cut down to 1/2 pack a day in 2013 from 2 packs a day, and I want to quit completely in 2014. It’s gross, unhealthy, and I stink 24/7 because of it.

Lose 15lbs.  I weigh 150 right now, but I look my best when I weigh 135.

Better utilize the herb garden and container vegetable garden in our everyday diet. 


Read every novel by  William Faulkner. Note To Self: Find out how many novels Faulkner wrote. Start reading now. (Somehow I graduated from University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in English Education without reading one novel by Faulkner. I’m not sure how that’s possible.)

Visit a museum I’ve never been to before in New Orleans and New York City. AKA: Stop going to the same museums over and over again (unless there’s a new exhibit I really need to see at The Met…).

Home and Garden

Master one recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. (FYI: My definition of master is memorize the recipe and not burn it. I set the bar high. Very high.)

Organize my closet. This one might take the entire year. My closet is the black hole that every bit of clutter in my house lands in.

Learn to make fresh kale juice with the kale I grow in my garden. I’ve been drinking BluePrint Juice as a diet supplement and it would be awesome if I could figure out how to make a drink similar to their green juice.

Professional Goals

Produce six episodes of the web series I’ve developed. The first episode is just about finished, and I’d love to put up a new episode every other month.

Blog often. I slacked off big time as far as the blog is concerned last year. This year I want to get back the creative spark I had in ’10, ’11, and ’12.

Feature other bloggers on the site on a regular basis. I thought of an idea for a new feature over the weekend. I’m going to call it My First Favorite Book. I think it would be awesome to have other bloggers (and authors) discuss the books that first ignited their love for reading. (For me it was The Runaway Bunny at age 3. 🙂 )

Here’s to a productive and happy 2014!

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  1. says

    Good luck with your list for 2014. Regarding the juicing, my brother has a good juicer (read expensive) and it blends that kale beautifully. But if you don’t want to spend hundreds on a juicer, I’ve also heard (and will be trying this myself) that freezing kale before blending is a great way to break it down from being too chewy.

    Faulkner…hmmm… I just finished LM Montgomery’s Emily series…could do with something of a different spin.

    • MandyBoles says

      Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely try freezing the kale first. I’m hesitant to drop money on a fancy juicer. I bought a pretty basic one, and I think the freezing tip should hopefully help me squeeze a little more out of the kale.:)

  2. says

    Good luck with your goals, especially to stop smoking! Carl quit in 2007 after 30 years of smoking. If he can do it, you can too! As far as getting your son to read, try not to stress over it too much. Buy him magazines and other fun things to read and just leave them lying around.

    • MandyBoles says

      Thanks Kathy! That’s awesome that Carl was able to quit! I quit once before when I had children and at that point I stopped for four years. Hopefully, I can quit for good this time!

      I’m definitely going to subscribe British to some magazines. I have a little mailbox in his room that I stick his mail in each day if he gets any. Hmmm maybe magazines need to start popping up in the mailbox? I think he’d love that!

  3. says

    You’ve got some very good goals set for 2014….but you can do it. I’ve missed your blog, no matter what you choose to write about I’ll be here.
    I do so hope you enjoy just being you!! xoxo

  4. says

    Yay for 2014! What a fabulous list of goals. The whole not burning the recipe is also my definition of mastery- best of luck, dahling! (And PS, I’m looking forward to hearing about how Runaway Bunny made you love books! Such a fun feature!)

  5. Dogeared Copy/Tanya says

    I know this may seem counterintuitive, but in regard to your “reluctant reader” you may just want to back off. From my own experience with a daughter who hated reading any sort of narrative, no amount of pushing, begging, ordering, begging… worked. There were times I thought I was being subtle, but kids catch on quick. Having a reluctant reader is hard especially when one of both parents are readers, but it will come to them in their own time. My own advice is to simply have books that correlate to their main interest around: For instance, if your son is into Legos, have Lego books around. If he loves watching Scooby Doo, there are S.D comic books…, etc.

    My daughter would only look at reference books. She loved to look things up, sort things, build things… but to her stories were “lies!” In third grade, she had a poor teacher who stressed reading skills and, as a result, my daughter only reads narratives of any sort when she’s mandated by the class program. The irony is that she still scores very high in vocabulary, reading speed and comprehension and, reads above her grade level! She’s in fifth grade now and, in addition to the school sanctioned reading, she also listens to audiobooks and watches movies based on books (and then reads the book! Oddly, she won’t do it the other way around!)

    • MandyBoles says

      Tanya you’re absolutely right. I’ve backed away from trying to make him like reading for a month or two because he was so reluctant. The only book he purchased at the Scholastic Book Fair was a gamer’s edition of The Guinness Book of World Records, so I think you might be right. He seems to really like reference books about video games, Star Wars, and Pokémon.

  6. says

    I love your goals. I especially love that you broke them down into areas of your life that are important to you. I’m going to borrow your lead and make a list of my own. Thanks for this!

  7. says

    maybe to get your son reading, buy him books in whatever he’s interested in. my sister wasn’t a big reader, but she loved arts and crafts, so any of those books were really fascinating to her.

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