A New Year

last sunset 2013

I took a photo of the last sunset of 2013 and posted it on Instagram. Apparently it was a popular thing to do. I spend a bunch of time last night liking sunset photos from around the planet. So many beautiful ones!

Did you stay up to ring in the new year? Mr. Doodles was DJ-ing a fancy party so it was just me and the kids last night. We had finger foods including pigs in blankets, hummus and chips, berries, and lobster. So I guess our party was fancy too! My son checked out at 11 but my daughter made it and she and I rang in the new year with Ryan Seacrest from my comfy bed.

New Years is always a good time to reflect back and plan ahead. I like how WordPress sends bloggers an annual report. It included most popular posts, top commentators (thanks Pragmatic Mom, Blissful E, Mama Smiles, Mom, and Artchoo!), top referrers, and traffic info. If you are curious you can take a peak at mine here

2013 Accomplishments

  • I set up a new email subscription service with MailChimp and created Nature Numbers (an illustrated counting book as a subscription incentive).
  • I created a flexible blog series called I Spy in which I illustrate my drive-by nature/outside observation. These posts are fun for me and super easy so expect to see more in 2014.
  • I guest posted at Artchoo!, contributed a post about Cape Cod to “World Culture for Kids” at Mama Smiles (I also created the series button), and was interviewed for the series “Examining the Creative Mind” at It’s a Dome Life.
  • I completed PiBoIdMo (30 picture book ideas in as many days with daily inspiration from Tara Lazar and her guest posters).
  • I also reduced my blogging schedule because I took on more product design work and have started working on my goal of publishing a children’s book.

2013 Post Highlights

2013 Popular Posts

My most popular posts written in 2013 were Animal Tracks in the Snow, Egg Anatomy Printable, Red Light Green Light Go, All Signs Point to GREEN Fun, and DIY Chocolate Box. A few more posts I am especially proud of are Halloween at the Zoo, Junior Engineer, and Fog Art.

2014 Goals

  • I plan to sign up for 12X12 (12 picture book drafts in 12 months) with Julie Hedlund. I found out about Julie and all her fantastic resources for wannabe children’s book writers from Pragmatic Mom. I wonder if she will sign up too!
  • My blogging goals are pretty simple. Continue on an every-other-day schedule with an INSPIRE theme. In 2014 I plan to post about the creative process and share more resourceful, educational, and/or fun activities for kids like this xylophone.

P.S. On the health front I am in a better place emotionally than I was last year at this time when I was so afraid of what was happening to me. From what I read online having symptoms like mine can take years to diagnose but I also read early diagnosis is key. So there will be more appointments and test in 2014 and I will personally focus of eating well and exercising.

Have you reflected on your 2013 accomplishments and set goals for 2014? Please share!



I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! doodlesandjots@hotmail.com. If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


    • Thanks Elisa. I keep checking your site. It looks great. Can’t wait for when it is up and running!
      It really is so true after all we all have some burden to bare but we don’t have to see it that way.

  1. Wow, you accomplished so much last year! I am so happy that you are pursueing your goal of getting children’s book published. I think your books are terrific. I love reading about the 12 x 12 challenge so thank you for thinking of me. I am secretly working on a middle grade novel but I need a kick in the pants to get it moving!
    PragmaticMom recently posted..Reading to Two Kids on My Lap and GIVEAWAYMy Profile

    • I think that is a big part of why I am doing the 12X12. Thanks so much for telling e about it. I thought I would be further along having both my kids in school full time since September not I am not. I think I need the deadlines.

  2. Awesome Ann,

    Congratulations on a fantastic year! Your blog is awesome!

    You know, it’s funny you mention that wordpress email. I think I got something like that, but I didn’t pay much attention. I guess it just went by the way of the emails I get from the Kings and Queens of Kenya telling me that i have won 1,000,000,000.

    I haven’t really set any firm goals, other than to increase my readership. Haha! That’s my one and only goal. Well, that and continue to fight the onslaught of negativity that this world sometimes brings. But, i guess that would apply to almost everybody.

    My accomplishments for 2013. I really don’t have any – or don’t really feel like I have any. I guess I have to work harder in 2014.

    I am so proud of you and everything you accomplished this year. i met you late in the game, so i look forward to reading more of you and about you this year. I know you can’t share about your creative life, but I look forward to that picturebook. i wanna buy it!
    Lisa Nelson recently posted..Picture Book Review – Red Light! Green Light! Splat! by Melissa Perry MorajaMy Profile

    • Don’t really have any?! I think number of posts for the year would be a big one. You are very prolific!
      Hopefully I will be able to share more about the process although I don’t quite know what that looks like yet.

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