Nothing like waiting until last minute to recap my year! For whatever reason I seem to put together a massive year-end to do list every year on the final day of the year. This is my 2020 Year Review. It’s been a tradition for me for many years now to write a year end recap on the blog.
Ah, where to begin? It’s been a year I would describe as… something that I truly could never have imagined. I’ve used the words crazy, bizarre, strange and many other synonyms, frequently this year, as I’ve read the news headlines, chatted with family and friends, and lived through this global pandemic.
2020 Year Review
More About My Year
New Year’s Eve also feels strange to me this year. I think many can relate. We have a bit of cautious optimism for the coming year. We also know that many things we are experiencing today, on the last day of the year 2020, we will continue to experience tomorrow and in the coming days.
Of course I don’t want my recap to be a complete downer. There’s been a lot of good this year, but I also want to accurately recap what this year has been. There were so many things we didn’t participate in or celebrate such as running 5K races, attending parades and seeing Fourth of July fireworks. I did not shop at garage sales or rummage sales.
Instead we spent a lot of time at home. I was home gardening and canning foods. I was cooking and baking. We bought and replaced some items around the home but didn’t do much work with contractors. We were thankful to already have a home office and internet services prior to March 2020.
Related blog posts:
• Energy Savings Tips for Your Home
• Gardening in Winter What to Do and When
• What to Do at Home? Stay Busy, Fight Boredom
• Basic Life Skills Everyone Needs to Have
On the blog front, it was certainly an ebb and flow as well. I had peaks and valleys with my work, sometimes busy, sometimes on the verge of normal. Other times little work was accomplished as demands at home took precedence during the pandemic.
This year was my 10th year blogging. In 2020, despite what seemed like challenges at the time, I published a whopping 85 blog posts. Of those posts, 10 were brand new. My focus quickly became condensing and improving content, rather than rapid expansion. I have now reduced my blog down to approximately 200 posts.
I am still running my final numbers but my blog traffic and income did surpass that of 2019. This places me on a four-year trajectory now of year-over-year improvement. I also broke many of my all time single-month records in April 2020 for page views, users, etc. as traffic exploded due to the pandemic’s influence on home baking and my popular sourdough starter post.
Pinterest traffic, which had been extremely high for me, dropped in 2020 after algorithm changes and a push by the platform to favor vendors over creators. I made up for this with a lot of SEO work. I feel like I fell behind in many aspects during the pandemic and am now trying to catch up with the latest social media trends. Instagram Reels anyone?
At the beginning of the year I had signed up again to attend Bloggy Conference in Sandusky, Ohio. As the year progressed it became apparently that pretty much all in-person conferences would be canceled, including this one. However, I was able to continue to meet with my blog accountability partner as we were already doing that on a virtual basis.
Now let’s move onto my month by month recap…
2020 Year Review
The year started out on a high note! I published another post for my work as a Huntington Bank ambassador, the one about What to Spend Money On. Also on the blog front, I had my first live TV appearance, on New Day Cleveland, where I promoted my blog and offered Energy Savings Tips for Your Home.
On the home front, we started the year off sledding on January 1 after a big snow, and our daughter took indoor swim lessons that month. The Imagination Library expanded to almost all of Ohio so we were able to sign up for FREE monthly books for our daughter which came in especially helpful during the remainder of the year!
We had some extra insulation installed in our home which forced us to clean out a lot of attic and storage spaces. I began reading and implementing The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
This month we attended The Great Big Home + Garden Show which is always a fun time and one of my winter “gardening” highlights. I also attended a blogger tea party which was really relaxing. We traveled to Toledo, Ohio for a funeral following the death of my last grandparent. This was difficult, but now, in retrospect, I am thankful to have seen family in February.
I also attended a Cleveland Creative Planners meet up and de-stash event. February seemed so busy and social now looking back on it. I shared Cleveland Home and Garden Show Information and I also updated my popular post about Milk Jug Greenhouses to Start a Garden Early.
2020 Year Review
Well this is when things started to get strange really quickly! I attended a parent-teacher conference at our daughter’s school on March 12. I also went grocery shopping and the store was packed. I then arrived home to hear the announcement that our governor decided schools would be shutting down statewide the next week due to COVID-19.
The next evening on March 13 I went out with a friend and we felt incredibly awkward about the pandemic. Masks were not even talked about yet at this point, but I remember being paranoid that the virus could be at the winery we met at. Little did I know that would be the last time I would see a friend in person for months.
Our state went under a Stay at Home order on March 16. I became a homeschooling mom and learned how to use Zoom. My husband’s office was shut down and he began working from home full-time. Thankfully we already had an office for my business, but the struggle to share it, while both working, would continue for many months.
Our church closed to in person services. My Master Gardener volunteer group canceled all in person meetings and events. All of my and our daughter’s routine medical appointments were, one by one, canceled. No haircuts, no dental cleanings.
I did continue with my allergy shot treatments as they had been deemed essential during the shutdown. I remember going in for my appointments at a nearly-empty medical building with only about 10 vehicles in a normally packed parking lot. I started video chats with friends, we cooked and baked a lot.
Our daughter and I walked the neighborhood looking for shamrocks. I published two posts that would be relevant during the pandemic, Gardening in Winter What to Do and When and What to Do at Home? Stay Busy, Fight Boredom.
This month the Stay at Home order continued. We celebrated Easter at home. I officially switched to grocery shopping once every two weeks. We tried to take daily walks outdoors to boost our moods. We walked the neighborhood looking for Easter bunnies (see a theme here?).
Poor Lulu was set to see the dog groomer in early April and her appointment was canceled the night before due to the pandemic! This led to several months of at home grooming sessions. Curbside pickup and drive ups became all the rage. I wrote about Canning Supplies Needed for Home Canning and Basic Life Skills Everyone Needs to Have.
In our state the Stay at Home order was lifted and businesses began reopening one by one starting around mid-May. However, we remained cautious as a family. We celebrated Mother’s Day and Memorial Day as a family. Homeschooling ended with the end of the school year in May.
My garden started growing like crazy which was the beginning of my busiest and most productive gardening year ever. Our daughter learned to ride a bike! I transitioned to working on my blog while sitting in the afternoon warmth of our front porch. We went golfing over my birthday weekend.
And on a more challenging note, my husband was laid off from his job on my birthday. Boy what a year. I shared Best Shopping Apps for Saving Money and Poshmark Coupon to Save Money on Poshmark.
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2020 Year Review
Openings continued: the gym, the city pool, playgrounds(!!!) and hair salons. We were able to continue some normal outdoor activities such as going strawberry picking. I canned strawberry jam and rhubarb jam. Our daughter had a preschool graduation drive through parade. We realized it would be a summer of no summer camp.
We celebrated Father’s Day and I saw a friend outdoors this month. I also discovered and began attending outdoor yoga classes, these classes continued until the end of September and were a saving grace as I did not feel comfortable returning to indoor classes during a global pandemic.
Without summer camp or other normal distractions we spent a lot of mornings in the garden. Evenings were spent taking a family bike/walk after dinner. I updated a few older, yet popular posts Natural Makeup Remover Easy Two Ingredients and How Accurate are GPS Watches for Running?
This month I ventured to the pool by myself. Thank goodness for the beach chair I already owned as they wouldn’t allow anyone to use their chairs and stores were quickly selling out of beach and outdoor equipment. We went golfing again, as this became the summer of golf for us!
We used the kiddie pool in the backyard a lot. Our neighbors all bought those jumbo pools – we were surrounded! We also played in the sprinkler. In the middle of July, we received the good news that my husband was asked to return to work at his former employer in a different role. We were so thankful for this.
I was sick at the end of July, monitoring my symptoms, which thankfully then subsided rather quickly. I think everyone was monitoring every sniffle or cough this year. I canned peach jam and we enjoyed eating fresh peaches from The Peach Truck. I wrote all about them The Peach Truck Review Fresh Georgia Peaches.
On the last day of July, I scored a Weber Q1200 Grill on markdown at one of my favorite stores. Learning how to grill and “fire up the barbie” became a major cause for excitement here over the remaining weeks of summer and into early fall!
The gardening continued and I planted my “second garden” which was a fall garden. I harvested so many tomatoes. I had a daily tally and was picking more than three dozen every week! I learned how to can tomato sauce and fresh salsa. I also scrambled to find more canning lids and rings as we experienced a run on canning supplies.
We continued to go golfing and visited a new driving range. I discovered a local Hispanic grocery, La Plaza Supermarket, and became obsessed with grilling plantains. This food was reminiscent of our trips to Key West, Florida.
I finally determined chlorinated water felt “safe” and took our daughter swimming at the city pool. I updated a few older posts such as What to Plant in August for a Garden and Hardneck Garlic Plant and Growing Tips.
2020 Year Review
We celebrated our anniversary by dining outside and sitting in our new pandemic camping chairs. Our church, still virtual for us, started some curbside kids options so we took part in that. I also made it to the pool solo one more time. Our daughter started Pre-Kindergarten, in person, which we’ve been so thankful for.
Life started to feel “normal” again, but I use that word cautiously. I realized my time continues to be spent differently that it was pre-pandemic. Shopping for groceries alone, stores continuing to offer strange and limited hours of operation, cooking a lot at home, etc. I tried to return to my previous schedule from February and it’s simply not attainable right now.
We golfed some more and went to the driving range again. One of our neighbors gave our daughter some children’s golf clubs and we also bought her some so she was able to begin practicing on her own! We went to Miller’s Apple Hill in Amherst, Ohio to pick apples, which we ate, baked and canned with.
My outdoor yoga classes ended with the beginning of fall. I updated posts about Save Money Apple Picking Valuable Tips and Pros and Cons of Adopting a Rescue Dog.
We tried to do the “pandemic vacation thing” and schedule a secluded cabin camping trip which turned into utter failure when we all got sick the day before with head colds and felt terrible. The trip was canceled, but not before I had purchased all the camping food. We ended up grilling hot dogs in the metropark and enjoying s’mores in the toaster oven.
We celebrated our daughter’s 5th birthday at home and tried to make the day as special for her as possible. We took socially distanced family photos in a rain storm. We golfed some more, and we visited Pickering Hill Farms in Avon, Ohio for the first time to select pumpkins.
We checked out a cute Boo Thru Drive Through event at Carlisle Reservation in LaGrange, Ohio. We attended a small outdoor Trunk or Treat event at our daughter’s school which was immediately rained out with a downpour and marble size hail! Seriously, what a bizarre year?!
We celebrated Halloween at home and I also signed us up in mid-October for a CSA through Murray Hill Farm. I updated posts about Get Rid of Rabbits in the Garden and Yard and Dog Ate Bread Dough? Here’s What to Do.
We had our first dusting of snow on November 1. Then we had a warm spell! I met up with a friend outdoors during that time. It would be our last time seeing each other in person going into a pandemic winter. That same warm weekend we also golfed again, also our last time for 2020!
Election Day came and I waited in line more than two hours to vote, which was absolutely unheard of for our polling location and the eight years I’ve been voting in this precinct. Lulu had her birthday and turned 10 years old! She also had her annual vet appointment which I “attended” pandemic style in the parking lot.
I signed up for an on demand yoga subscription for winter workouts. We celebrated Thanksgiving at home and walked the neighborhood looking for turkeys. I spent more time cooking and baking with our robust CSA share. I organized recipes. I picked the last of my carrots and kale and said goodbye to my 2020 garden.
I made a point to re-start daily walks to lift spirits and gain some Vitamin D. I also ordered new walking shoes, having worn out the ones I purchased in March! I wrote two new posts My Yoga Journey: A Look Back and Black Friday Cyber Monday Deals.
On December 1, we had a snow day and no school. We received at least a foot of snow! This month we also attended the Drive Through Christmas Lights at Carlisle Reservation in LaGrange, Ohio. We baked at home and we attended a virtual Christmas Cookie Baking Party.
We took many Christmas walks around the neighborhood with glow sticks at night. We also checked out the Magic of Lights in Berea, Ohio and a local Live Drive In Nativity. The highlight was seeing a live camel! School finished in person, and winter break began.
Mama got some new eyeglasses and we eagerly awaited for packages and mail during wild USPS shipping delays (which continue as of this writing!). We celebrated Christmas Day at home, ate lots of home cooked food and tried to find additional little ways to celebrate and enjoy each day. We also received our second large snowfall of 2020, about 10 inches, on Christmas Day. I wrote about Homemade Pecan Pie.
2020 Year Review
Wow. What a year that was my 2020 Year Review! It’s crazy how just writing up this recap I realized how much happened during a year that often felt so slow and dull. I learned to grill. We we able to enjoy golfing again. I became an outdoor yogi. I had the most abundant garden I’ve ever planted and canned so much food I filled an entire wall in my canning closet.
There was so much that was done without, or changed, or different, in 2020, but really there’s a lot to be thankful for and to appreciate as I look back on it. As we “cautiously welcome” 2021, I want to wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for reading my blog! To see more personal photos from me, follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
Other Year in Review Posts:
• 2019 Year Review
• 2018 Year Review
• 2017 Year Review
• 2016 Year Review