Hello, I’m Ginger.
I’m a Wife, Mama, Musician, Dreamer, Hippie, RV Traveler, Reader, Beach Lover, Minimalist, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Survivor, and a Believer, and I am always up for an adventure.
Resolutions Still Going Strong?
We all talk about New Year’s resolutions this time of year. It’s all over social media, and I’ve listened to multiple podcasts on different perspectives on how they’re made, how to stick to them, what to do or not to do. I’m not an expert by any means on any of this, but I do feel pretty good about what I’ve got going on so far. I would love to break down one of my goals and how it’s evolved since I made the resolution last year… and failed at it… and how this year is already going so much better!
I’ve made several goals for myself and my family for this year. Here’s a brief overview to hopefully inspire you and your family!
- We are participating in the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge, which is a fantastic page to follow on social media if you’re not already. This means that I will get me and the kids outside as much as possible (and track the hours, which is what I’ve been terrible at in the past), in hopes of celebrating milestones along the way and getting 1000 hours in by the end of the year. So far we’re almost at 10 hours, which is just about 10 hours more than I would usually be found outside when it’s cold out!
- We’re going to continue (and be better at tracking) our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten for both kiddos, also celebrating milestones along the way, in hopes of getting both boys to the finish line this year!
- I’m doing a Bible in a Year reading plan through The Daily Grace Co with a group of friends… I think that’s the key on this one. More accountability! I tried and failed at this without it last year big time.
- We’re going to move more! I’m not sure exactly what this looks like yet. I’ve done walking challenges in the past through 99 Walks and loved it! But I also go to the gym and am working on our house… so maybe just working towards my daily activity goals on my smart watch? Either way, getting physically healthier is going to be big focus again.
The goal I wanted to break down for you is my photo organization. Last year my main resolution was to make memories and get better at saving, organizing, and displaying them. I did a few things that worked, some that didn’t, and started new things this year that are already feeling like they’re working much better!
I restarted my digital baby book for both kiddos using Qeepsake (I’ll link a referral code below for a discount), which I loved, but didn’t do great at staying consistent with it. I adjusted the settings this year so that I get just enough prompts to make it meaningful, but not too many to overwhelm me and make me give up. My happy number is 2 questions a week, one per kid. So far so good! Highly recommend this product.
I tried to make monthly photo books with Chatbooks. I did two. I hated it. Narrowing down my entire month’s worth of photos into 30 and printing it every month was way too much work for me. I love the concept and the platform was great, but printing photo books regularly is not my jam. I’ll share below for those of you who are paper book people!
I use an app to share photos with family. I go back and forth with this one, but ultimately decided that as long as I don’t feel like I have to back up every good photo and share our every moment, this works out great as a way to share our lives with just those people we want to, without having to share on social media or send a million texts. We use Family Album, and I’ve gone back to the free version and am happy with that for our purposes (I’ll post a link below).
I printed some of our best moments on canvases and made a gallery wall with Mixtiles. I highly recommend this company! I’m thrilled with how they turned out and how easy it was to install (I’ll link below).
Here’s my biggest change, and I’m so excited about it! I’ve decided to use Amazon Photos as my main photo back up (it’s free for Prime members, and I upgraded to include more video). I am also using this platform to organize and share my photos. It’s so user friendly and I love the Explore this Day option. This is how I am cleaning up my photo storage this year. Each day I go through just that section (so every pic from that day in previous years comes up) and I get rid of screenshots and meaningless pics. I don’t overthink it too much, just quickly clean it up. And then we share our photos on our Firestick so they display on our tv! This was a huge lightbulb moment for me. We’re a digital family. We like technology. As much as I try to limit screen time and try to go back to paper, it’s just not us. We love having a ginormous tv to watch shows and movies together. And now, when we’re sitting and playing in the living room, that huge tv is a digital photo album currently displaying all of my husbands “favorites”. My four year old just loves it. He lights up and often yells at us to look at the photo on the screen and wants to either ask questions or tell us the story. This is what woke me up. He doesn’t pay any attention to the photo albums I printed. I don’t have to minimize our moments down to 30 photos for the month. I just have to filter out the photos I don’t want shared on our screen, which helps me keep my photo organization in check. And now my photos are actually going to be enjoyed on a daily basis, rather than just being stored on my phone! I’m so exited to have this new perspective and platform to share our family photos, and I’m hoping to stick to it so that my photo collection on my phone is cleaned up before this time next year. So far so good!
I suppose my main takeaway with these goals is to just keep trying. Try new ways of doing things. Figure out what works for you in the process, not focusing on what you’re failing at, but rather what isn’t working for you. Then find something else that does! We’re all so very different in how we organize, communicate, and process things, so of course the same system isn’t going to work for all of us. Here’s your nudge to find your way in whatever goals you made for yourself and your family this year. Don’t be afraid to change it up to fit you (and not the other way around)!
There are so many things coming at us right now: ads, deadlines, outside pressures, internal pressures, house prepping for guests, planning and packing for travel… I almost decided not to send anything out this month. But, I’ve found a few ways to keep my December slow and simple, so thought I would share to encourage those of you trying to do the same. Take what you want and leave the rest!
This year has been a tough one for us. We’ve dealt with stresses from all angles, and are currently dealing with some pretty intense stuff. But I’m not going to let that take priority over keeping the magic alive for my family this Christmas. Here are a few ways I’ve done that and I’m pretty excited about how it’s going so far.
- The decor. I decluttered our holiday bins big time a few years ago, and every year when I put things away I minimize and organize better. So this year I knew exactly which bins were most important. I got those out, decorated with our favorite things, and left the rest! I may do outside garlands and multiple Santas and all the things next year, but this year simple is much less stressful during our home renovation projects. And you know what? It’s lovely! I still have a touch of Christmas in every room… lights on a palm on the landing, lights around my closet, lights on the mirror and a Santa soap dispenser in the bathroom, sparkly garland around Jude’s bed… there are adorable touches everywhere, and I appreciate them all so much more than I usually do when I have too much out. Keep it simple!
- The tree. I want the whole Hallmark experience when purchasing a real tree, and usually we do our best to find places that let us get as close to that as possible. But this year? We bought our tree and a bucket of drywall mud in one stop at Menards. It was way cheaper, we needed to go there anyway, and we still had fun picking out the perfect one. It’s really pretty – honestly it’s one of the better looking trees we’ve had! We may do the whole day tree cutting down adventure again next year, but this year it would have caused way more stress than joy, and I’m super glad we avoided that. Keep it joyful!
- The food. My mom has decided to do a lasagna this year instead of our traditional formal dinner spread (that we’ve had all 40 of my Christmases). I’m all for this for many reasons, one of them being that this is my favorite meal my mom makes! But it simplifies so much for all of us, and I’m proud of her for making a change and starting a new tradition. She can make the entire meal ahead, we’re going to use her regular dishes instead of the fancy china, all I have to bring is a salad, and maybe my kids will actually eat more than bread! Maybe. And for our meals on Christmas Day at our home, we’re doing store-bought donuts, deli sandwiches, and crackers and cheese. I decided to do a quick and easy meal that reminded me of my dad, so I’ll be getting the traditional cheese and crackers and deli stuff he used to get for us, you know, before charcuterie was cool. I’m excited to bring in this tradition for my family, and thrilled that it means way less work and mess for me. Keep it meaningful!
- The expectations. I am learning that this is where it’s all at. We have expectations for ourselves based on years of doing things certain ways for other people. We have expectations for our spouses and kids that we wouldn’t normally have, just because of the pressures we feel to please everyone else. No naps? No quiet time? All the new toys and extra people and travel and excitement, and they are supposed to be able to sit still and eat at the dinner table with the adults on fine china? My 4 year old barely does that on a normal day. This year I’m doing my best to have grace for myself, my family, and everyone else involved in our holiday shenanigans. I mean, I’m about to go shopping with Mr. Smith today, and usually my goal is to be completely done, spreadsheet finalized, and wrapping coordinated by Thanksgiving. But I’m excited to do this together, and honestly, I feel like a more reasonable tradition for us is going to be a last minute shopping spree and dinner date combo a few days before the big day. Family celebrations have already been cancelled. The other one may cancel due to weather. We can’t control other people and we can’t control the weather. But we can make the best of what we can control, and slowing down, really paying attention to what matters to us, and letting go of the rest is where it’s at. Keep it real!
Have an amazing Christmas, everyone! I’d love to hear how you’ve made yours simple, joyful, meaningful, and real this year. 🎄❤️🎄❤️🎄
November Therapy is Scheduled.
No really, it’s almost winter, and that means I need all the help I can get to stay positive. Once October ends, I can immediately feel myself slipping. Jude’s birthday has come and gone, all the Halloween stuff is over… what’s next? Cold winds, chapped skin, ice, darkness, ugh. My sadness for the coming winter days comes so quickly… BUT, don’t worry this isn’t a post of depressing thoughts; instead, I wanted to share how I have decided to change it this year. And yes, I scheduled a therapist ahead of time, to help me stay on track. I’ll be doing this each fall, because I know what happens if I don’t! So why not prepare for it, right? I’m also working out, doing fun things with my kids and friends, getting rest, eating well… all the things we’re supposed to do to beat seasonal depression. It’s a real thing, y’all. And these are a few ways to combat it if you, like me, are not able to run off into the beach sunset at the moment. But my new focus is what I’m most excited about, so let’s dive into that!
November is now a time to be thankful. I know, I know, that’s what everyone else does every year. But this year I am taking it a different direction for myself and my family. For me, November means extra time to do all the fall things we haven’t gotten to yet. November is also extra time to get a head start on the Christmas stuff I want to be sure to do! We have a special little guy’s first birthday this month, so I’m also finding creative ways to celebrate our little Turkey during the week of Thanksgiving. This year for me and my family, November is a time to fit in ALL the holiday stuff so that October doesn’t feel so rushed, to celebrate Lennon, to visit with as much family as possible, and to fit in some fun Christmas stuff so December doesn’t feel so rushed.
We just carved pumpkins last night (Nov 9th, thank you Walmart for your everlasting pumpkins), we’re enjoying pumpkin hot cocoa (and many other seasonal Trader Joe’s scores), we’re still reading about Spookly the Square Pumpkin, and now I’m watching my Christmas Hallmark movies. I still have Halloween and Fall decor up, and am considering switching it out to Christmas earlier than usual, while leaving out our freshly carved pumpkins. I haven’t made my favorite apple crisp yet, or my pumpkin bread, but I will. I mean, who says we can’t do it all at the same time? Why not enjoy the holidays as we can, and not rush from one to the next without doing all our favorite things?
So, Happy Halloween-Birthday-Thanksgiving-Christmas from my family to yours this November! We’re doing it all this month, and I think I already love this new way of doing the holidays.
These are a few of my favorite things…
- Library visits.
- Amazon wishlists.
- The Christmas Gift App
- FrndlyTV (for the Hallmark Channels!)
- Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Body Butter
The days are long, but the years are short.
I know if you’re a parent, you have lived and breathed these words! I say this as my “baby” just turned four, and has just as quickly let me know that he wants a big boy haircut. So, soon I will be tearfully saying goodbye to those golden baby curls! Pray for me.
As moms, we know that days filled with whining and messes and hitting siblings (or us, ask me how I know this happens), and constantly looking for semi-healthy snacks, and missing shoes, and… all of the things that fill our days with littles, sometimes makes us feel like bedtime is so far away! But we love our little crazy people with all our hearts and know that we are to cherish this time, because before we know it, they’re old enough to tell us how they want to style their own hair. Lord help us.
But even on the days that feel very long, sometimes I get to bedtime and wonder where on Earth my day went. I barely managed to keep everyone fed and “mostly” clean, let alone get anything productive checked off my very long todo list. I tend to be a planner, but I also require the flexibility to fly by the seat of my pants. So I am constantly searching for that balance in my days. Housekeeping routines, meal planning, daily schedule, reading goals, outside hours goals… you get it. I need that structure to get anything done, but how do we actually do it all while enjoying ourselves and our families?
Have you ever gotten hit with the same idea from multiple places at once? It’s kind of like when you get a new car, you start noticing that lots of other people on your route have one, too. Over the last week or so, I’ve gotten the same theme repeated to me multiple times from a Hallmark movie, a podcast, and a blog post. I figure it’s worth sharing, so here it goes. We have to find systems that make things easier for us, so we have time to do the things that matter (spending time with family, making time for friends, and enjoying nature are some of my top ones, but you get to pick your own goal here).
The Hallmark movie I watched was called The 27 Hour Day, and the main character was a woman who was constantly busy, had no work/life balance, and had made it her life’s work to help people be more efficient with time-saving hacks for everything. She did this to make more time to be more productive, but in the end discovers that making time for other things might be a better plan. The Lazy Genius helps systemize things, being “a genius about what matters and lazy about what doesn’t”. Similarly, the FLYLady gives housekeeping missions in small, doable chunks. She says we can make a huge dent in just 15 minutes. She also says on the weekends to rush through the morning routine, throw something in the crockpot, and go enjoy our families. I absolutely love this and have been doing it as much as possible!
I think we could all benefit from finding systems that work for us, especially those that purposefully include putting down that checklist and enjoying ourselves and our families.
I’ve shared a few of my favorites, and I’d love to hear yours! Please comment or message me if you have a great life hack that frees up your days for fun, and I’ll share it on my IG stories.
These are a few of my favorite things…
Playing in the leaves.
Pumpkin patch visits.
You are Enough.
Man, these past couple of weeks have been hard. As I sit here writing this, a few things are coming to mind that I think are more pressing to talk about than my original ideas of autumn bucket lists and holiday planning. I am realizing that when I don’t prioritize doing the things that make me feel like the real “me”, I am not creative, I get more flustered when real life happens, and I don’t feel as accomplished or fulfilled, even if I’m going through the motions and continuing to check things off my never-ending lists. So, here it goes. What makes us feel like us, and how do we make sure we don’t lose sight of that amidst the other life stuff?
Quiet Time. This morning I was able to get through my morning routine (I’ll probably write about routines another time because my new ones have truly been transformational), get through preschool drop off, and get to the gym, for the first time in two weeks. I didn’t choose to skip my workouts, but I had two sick kids, vehicle maintenance, extra appointments… you get it. “Life stuff” got in the way of my “me stuff”. And these past two weeks have been TOUGH. In fact, this was drafted last week, and I’m just now editing it to send. Whoops! Yep, it’s been a week. But today, it didn’t. And as I was swimming laps (I do my best thinking there), it occurred to me that this ritual of having my quiet time and taking care of myself this way, is one of the very best things I can do to feel like myself. I’m going to make sure I remember that, even when things inevitably get hectic again!
Listen to Yourself. I also find that how I dress plays a huge part in feeling, or not feeling, myself. I have followed minimalist capsule wardrobe folks, fashion experts with seasonal planners, and various social media accounts for inspiration and guidance on how to minimize my clothes and maximize my style. It wasn’t until recently when I realized that I had been influenced by others enough. Anyone else hit that point with influencers? Enough, already! I can think for myself, or at least I used to be able to, right? Yeesh! A big one for me was how I dressed, so I’ll share my thoughts on that, but you can insert anything relevant to you here (home decor, hairstyles, makeup trends, shopping hacks)… ok, so I figured out what colors work best on me (and which ones of those I truly enjoy wearing most), I am now comfortable with which patterns, shapes, and combination of clothing pieces I prefer, and I have found out my favorite way to accessorize. Now I’m putting together outfits that are not only great for my current lifestyle, but I am also much more confident when I’m feeling like myself. It’s so simple, but somehow I had missed that in my pursuits of following what everyone else was doing. I’ve learned, I’ve tried new things, and now I’m simplifying the process of my daily wardrobe selection so much so that I don’t need to spend much more energy on it. It’s so freeing! Turn down the volume on what you’re bringing in. You’ll hear yourself better!
Friend Time. Spending time with people we enjoy and who lift us up plays a huge factor in how we feel about ourselves. I got together with a mama friend for our babies’ birthdays, and this time we both had another baby to bring to the playdate! We sat and chatted, drank coffee, and just relaxed while our littles played (and her new little slept). It was such a sweet reminder that sometimes my “me time” needs to involve my people! We have our next play date on the books for my youngest’s birthday next month. I now know without a doubt that who we spend our time with definitely contributes to whether or not we feel like ourselves, and it’s so incredibly important to be aware of these feelings and plan our time accordingly.
So, what makes me “me”? I’m a planner. I’m an adventurer. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m a talker-outer. I’m a doer. I’m a dreamer. I’m an organizer. I’m a friend. I’m a reader. I’m a homemaker. I’m an errand runner. I’m an appointment setter. I’m a cook. I’m a van driver. I’m a lot of things these days. But I can’t be good at any of them if I lose sight of who I am. I am me, no matter how I spend my day, how I dress, or how much I get done, and I am enough. And so are you! So let’s wear the fun hat (if only just for school drop off), go to the gym (even if it’s just to sit in the massage chair in peace), and schedule mom dates (I mean playdates) with the people we enjoy most. Because honestly, if we’re not being true to ourselves in everything we do, what’s the point?
These are a few of my favorite things…
Fall Hallmark Movies.
You’re Always Enough by Emily Ley
Fresh picked apples from our yard.
Olive and June in SC – “A deep bordeaux for a mani with depth and sophistication.” (20% off offer linked)
The sky is not completely dark at night. Were the sky absolutely dark, one would not be able to see the silhouette of an object against the sky.
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