2019 In Review & Looking Ahead to 2020

Blog Update: a look ahead to what’s in store for 2020, and 2019 in review. Features favorite recipes from 2019, turning 60, and plans for the new year.

2019 was a good year…and a lot happened. Both of our children moved, we welcomed a new grandson, and thanks to you, this blog kept me busier than ever. Today I’m taking a look back at the highlights from 2019, and a quick look ahead at what is planned for 2020. At the end of the post, some of my best blogging friends are sharing their highlights as well, so I hope you have time to check that out. 

First, let’s look back.

blue and cream pitcher with flowers


The year 2019 brought my 60th birthday, and for the first time in years, I felt there was something to celebrate. Most years, I would rather just skip right over my birthday. However, this year I was very grateful for the blessings in my life, and felt I should acknowledge the milestone. No life is perfect, and no life is problem-free…but even with the ups and downs we all experience, I know I am very lucky. I have put on a few pounds, but generally, I’m in good health. My kids and grandkids are thriving and happy. At almost 86, my dad is still going strong, and is such a bright spot in my life. My husband rebounded from a few serious health issues, and is doing great. I don’t have everything, but I want for nothing, and my faith is stronger than ever. 

I hope that all of you can look back on the year with the same positive feelings. Even if life has thrown a few curve balls, I hope you can look back and find something good to be thankful for. 

organization ideas glasses in kitchen cabinet


I began 2019 with a huge chip on my shoulder about my kitchen. “Hate” seems like a strong word, but the honest truth is that I hated it. It was not functioning at all, it was not organized, and it just felt old. I knew that a new kitchen was basically impossible, so my only options were to either live with it and be miserable, or fix it and get on with my life. I chose the second option, and I’m happy to say that my kitchen organization project was a great success. It has stayed organized, and withstood the test of time. 

pyrex in kitchen cabinet pull out shelf

There is only one shelf, in one cabinet, that has become a bit unruly. It’s a catch-all shelf, and I plan to regain control of it in the next few weeks. All the other cabinets look just like they did after they were first cleaned and organized. The kitchen functions very well, and I have spent the last year being glad I took the time to make the changes. It was a big project, but so worth the time, effort, and expense.


finished berry chantilly cake recipe


I really love all the aspects of writing this website, but of course, I do have my favorites. One of them is making and photographing the recipes. For 2019, my goal was to update as many of the older recipes as I could, by adding new pictures and more information. I worked all year, and have made tremendous progress. I will continue to share new recipes in 2020, and will also finish updating the old ones.

Here is the best of 2019:

berry chantilly cake recipe fi
Simplified Berry Chantilly Cake Recipe
A simplified Berry Chantilly Cake Recipe that uses short cuts for quick prep, but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen! Makes a nine inch, two layer cake.
See this recipe
corn chowder recipe fi
Corn Chowder Recipe
Make this corn chowder recipe for a hearty and delicious fall or winter dinner. It's super easy and the leftovers are amazing!
See this recipe
brownie recipe easy one serving
Best Fudgy Homemade Brownie Recipe: Easy + Quick
Make this homemade brownie recipe (easy + quick) as a snack or dessert. It satisfies your chocolate cravings, cooks in the microwave, and is the perfect portion for one person!
See this recipe
baked blueberry coffee cake
Easy Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe
A delicious and easy blueberry coffee cake recipe that uses basic pantry ingredients and is so moist it will melt in your mouth!
See this recipe
waterford bowl with fruit
Sugared Cranberries Recipe
Learn how to make sugared cranberries to garnish your holiday desserts. They make a delicious snack, and are the perfect mix of tart and sweet!
See this recipe
sweet chex mix recipe fi
Sweet Chex Mix Recipe: Oven Baked
This sweet Chex mix recipe (oven baked) is the perfect snack for those chilly fall days. Pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar add the best flavor!
See this recipe


Our biggest project for 2019 was removing our rotted deck, and installing a poured concrete patio. I had specific goals for the space, and I’m happy to say that I met each one of them. It’s not grand or big, but it’s basically maintenance-free, which was my main goal.



I’ve decided to save the goal-setting for another year, and simply take one day at a time in 2020. Goals are wonderful, and they keep us accountable, but they can also be a weight on our shoulders. There are some things I’d like to do, but I’m not calling them goals. Here they are…

roses and boxwood in kitchen sink

Kitchen Renovation

One of my goals for 2019, which I did not meet, was to begin a kitchen renovation. As seems to happen to me a lot, other things got in the way. The patio project was necessary, but went on forever, and cost more than we had anticipated. By the time it was finished, there was no time, and no money, left for the kitchen. I don’t feel like I failed, but I am definitely disappointed. So, for about the third year in a row, updating our kitchen is something I want to do in 2020. It’s not exactly a goal, but something I want very badly. The ceramic tile counters are getting worse by the day, and everything needs painted again. I am praying that this is the year!


I began taking a once-a-week yoga class in early 2019. Much to my surprise, I really fell in love with the philosophy of yoga, and each class is a gift I give to myself. In 2020, I would like to add a class or two per week. I’m an early riser, and have a flexible schedule. There is no reason I can’t do this, so wish me luck!

hydrangeas and lavender in stone pitcher

More of the Same

One of the things I worry about is that you will all become tired of seeing the same old spaces, season after season. It’s needless worry though, because I cannot renovate and/or redecorate all the time. Not only is it unaffordable, it’s not practical. 

So…for 2020 and beyond, I will continue to bring you new ideas and inspiration for refreshing your homes with as little effort as possible, and for a reasonable cost. You may have noticed that I added a little tagline to my blog header, “where simple is best,” and it’s going to be our motto for 2020. There is much to look forward to, and so much to experience, but we’re going to keep it simple.  As always, I’d love for us to do it together. Happy New Year!

Now it’s time to take a look at what my friends are sharing!

End of Year Hop Tuesday 01

Designthusiasm | On Sutton Place | Maison de Cinq

End of Year Hop Tuesday 03

French Country Cottage | Thistlewood Farms | Town & Country Living

End of Year Hop Tuesday 02

Cherished Bliss | My 100 Year Old Home | Rooms for Rent

blueberry subscribe box inspire me button

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  1. Jeanie Nichols says:

    I love your blog, Ann!

  2. Ann, I like your new yearly motto! A lot of us who have blogs completely understand. The struggle is real. And, here’s hoping you get that kitchen renovated! Happy 2020! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  3. Dear Ann,
    Thank you for another lovely post.
    I am with you on not setting goals. If you set a goal that takes a long time to reach, you fail everyday that you haven’t met it.
    Please do not worry that your readers will get tired of looking at your home. I think the thing I like best about your blog is it doesn’t cause me to want to go out & buy new things all the time. I love your “use what you have” decorating philosophy. Your home always looks current & appropriate for the season. I appreciate that it doesn’t look like Pottery Barn.
    I made your Berry Chantilly twice this year and both times it was a big hit!
    Looking forward to reading all your 2020 posts!

  4. Happy New Year Ann! I have followed your blog all the way back when you were a school secretary. I enjoy your recipes, decorating ideas, your flower garden at every turn. At Christmas time, I bring out pillow covers you made and the darling stars and stocking tree ornaments. I taught till 2012 and was fortunate to teach at the same middle school with my husband for my last sixteen years. Sixty was sometime ago; I will be turning seventy-two in April. I thank God for my health. My most precious gifts are my seven grandchildren. My husband and I are their biggest cheerleaders. Wishing you the best in 2020 and continued success with your blog.

  5. Happy New Year Ann! I really enjoy your blog & I agree “simple is best” is a good philosophy to go by in the new year..we all need to simplify..keep on doing what you do & thank you!
    Linda S

  6. Love your blog Ann. I applaud your thoughts moving forward in 2020. I cannot wait to see what you do. Happy New Year!

  7. Carole Strawn says:

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. Your ideas, projects, and recipes are realistic and attainable. I sincerely hope that you get your kitchen renovation this year. Hope that 2020 is happy and healthy and that at least some of your dreams come true.

  8. I made your cinnamon icebox cake ,it was delicious!!! I shared the recipe with friends and family everyone loved it!!! Thanks for making me look like a good cook.

  9. I love how you mentioned that it is not practical to constantly update every room in your house. Sometimes the constant changing everything is totally exhausting and expensive. Love reading your blog and I ,also, love yoga. I started practicing four years ago and it has been such a blessing!

  10. Mary Michelle says:

    Ann, I’m so glad you’ve had a good year. I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you through your blog. I hope 2020 will be equally good or better. I love the tag line “where simple is best”.


  12. Ann,
    I almost feel as if I have gained a new friend in you this year! The commonalities drew me toward eagerly anticipating each of your posts – just turned 60, want a kitchen revamp, your wonderful and simple recipes, and a redo of an outdoor space are just a few. I even told our children that a couple of the recipes they were enjoying were from a friend! At our Christmas breakfast-for-dinner gathering, your alcohol-free Sangria was our drink of choice and the sugared cranberries were also a big hit. I hate you are not nearby where we could swap out sharing a cup of coffee on my porch or your patio. Please keep posting such delightfully simple and perfect ideas!

  13. Sue Daugherty says:

    I, too, turned 60 in 2019 and inspired by you, organized my kitchen and pantry for the first time in forever. We are moving in a few years and a complete renovation is not in the picture but it was amazing how much more pleasant it is to work in an organized kitchen. You are the one lifestyle blogger I subscribe to simply because you do keep it simple. You keep it real. I don’t have endless amounts of money to redo my house constantly (nor the desire). Simple IS best and I enjoy your honestly, faith, and style. Best wishes for a wonderful New Year and thank you for your blog.

  14. Hi! Ann,
    I’ve been a follower of yours for some time. I love your simplified style and easy-going attitude. I took on the challenge of organizing my kitchen cabinets and pantry in the same manner as you did. Whew! Every time I go to those shelves for something or other, I breathe a sigh of relief. Thanks for all of your inspiration, and I look forward to what the New Year will bring. Best Wishes!

  15. Simple is best. I love all your ideas for refreshing because I am also unable to do any major renovations. Thank you so much.

  16. You don’t know how pleased I am to hear you say that your 2020 posts will probably be “more of the same” and use the word “refresh” rather than renovate or re-do. Most of your followers do not have the means to constantly and hugely renovate their homes. What we appreciate is a refresh or a tweak or an idea we may not have thought of ourselves, whether it be in decor, cooking, gardening or just living our best lives right now. That is, I believe, one of the major successes of your blog. You speak for the masses, not those who are raising ceilings, knocking down walls, re-plumbing, re-wiring and/or adding on to what is an already large home. Continue to keep us inspired on a down-to-earth level, please.

  17. I really enjoy reading your blog post. I am a crafter and really enjoy your ideas that you share and how to do them. I fail to tell you about it at the time I am making something you have shared with us but I thought as I read this that now is the time to say THANK YOU for all your time and effort you put into your blog and all your ideas. I haven’t been following you very long but I am not bored yet and I am excited when I see your email in my inbox ! Looking forward to your upcoming posts and may God bless you and yours in 2020.

  18. I love your blog. Everything is doable and affordable. Thank you for the great recipes and other tips and inspiration. Happy New Year to you!

  19. Ann,
    I’m quite intrigued with your ‘where simple is best’ 2020 title in your blog post.
    Not trying to re~establish every inch of our 1970’s Ranch style Home,
    I, too, am considering bringing about changing our home to truly, reflect
    our personal desires and needs.
    Looking forward to all the creativity that the New Year has to hold.
    Happy New Year!

  20. Ann,
    I have enjoyed your Blog so much this past year! I have tried several recipes and many of your decorating ideas.
    I, too, am in my 60’s and share the same philosophy as you this year.
    Simple…. is best!
    I also started yoga several months ago and love it!
    Blessings to you and your family! Have a wonderful New Year!
    I look forward to spending time with you.

  21. Ann, I have followed your blog for several years and I’ve not grown tired of you “same old spots.” That’s the reality of most of us so your simple refreshers are an encouragement to me as I seek to refresh my spaces without breaking the bank. Your blog is so well done. Excellent photography. Quality writing. A joy to receive. Thank you for being here for readers like me. Happy 2020. May your dream of a new kitchen be realized.

  22. Oh gosh! We’re both hoping for a kitchen reno this year! But, like you, we have other repairs to make first. Happy New Year, Ann!

  23. Love your blog and feel we are a lot alike.I like changing my home for minimal cost also.Good luck with your kitchen makeover and your yoga classes.I’ll be here with you keeping it simple.Happy New Year to you and your family.

  24. Hi Ann,
    I love the fact that you don’t change everything out all the time. I love that you try to use what you already have and it always looks so nice and fresh!!! So thank you for giving me wonderful ideas that I can actually do and afford. I sure do appreciate all that you do for all of us readers. Happy New Year Ann!

  25. I love your phrase – simple is best! This year in particular I have developed a ….shall we say ‘lack of enthusiasm’ for photos and posts showing a plethora of ‘stuff’. I am drawn to your blog and style because it is simple and welcoming in a home where real people live real lives. Congratulations on having such great 2019 – I loved your kitchen re-do series. And I am so glad you are taking care of yourself with your yoga classes! I do hope your kitchen dream comes true for you in 2020 – I know it will be a delight to watch.

  26. I love your goal to “bring you new ideas and inspiration for refreshing your homes with as little effort as possible, and for a reasonable cost.”
    I’m all in!
    Happy New Year!

  27. I look at your site often and admire your home. You shouldn’t feel that you have to constantly redo your spaces. It is heartening to know that you face the same challenges we do and that, sometimes, life happens.
    Regarding turning 60, time goes by quickly. Goals are okay when you’re young but now it is all about enjoying each day. I waited til 65 to retire and would definitely not wait so long if I had it to do over.

  28. Ann I only subscribe to a couple blogs and yours is my favorite. Keep up the good work and Happy New Year!.

  29. What I like most about your blog, and what keeps me returning to it, is its praticality and simplicity. It’s what we all need in our busy lives, and you have given it to us. I look forward to each new blog which is much like a letter from an old friend and very much anticipated! Thanks for all you share with us. Happy New Year!

  30. Dear Anne after my hip is replaced hopefully in February and I am allowed to move around I want to start yoga. I will be moving into my own place as it doesn’t seem my guy and his men will be returning any day soon. I hope you do not change your style to much. You are my first in the morning I look forward to. Quietly your words sink in. Just such a nice way to begin a day when I have had no sleep. Graceful and kind is your blog. Happy New Year.

  31. hi Ann,

    I noticed your photos! I rebranded last spring (formerly not a trophy wife) to Everyday Edits and spent the better part of the year, like yourself, updating photos and content. Happy Belated Birthday! Yoga is on my list too! laura