I mentioned the Lazy Genius in my last post, but for REAL you guys. She’s soooo good. I’ve been binge-listening to her podcasts, and now I’m super hooked. She’s got so many great ideas, but one in particular is really simplifying things for me. One of her philosophies is to “decide once”, and I’m leaning into that this week in a big way!
Ok, so we talked about Soup Saturdays – this is an example of deciding once. The rest of our themed meal planning throughout the week fits this principle too, but this is the newest one – and the most festive! The recipes will change, and maybe even the time of day, but at least for this season, I’ve decided once that Saturdays I will be making soup. Done. No stress. No back and forth about what we’re having. It just is. Soup! Easy and fun, especially for fall. This week’s recipe for Pumpkin Chili was super yummy! I’ll link that recipe below.
Another way I’ve decided once is in my weekly schedule. On Tuesdays, we don’t have school, so we will make any necessary appointments on this day whenever possible. It just makes sense. No need to over think it! On Thursdays, also not a school day, we will go do something super fun! It’s our field trip day, if you will. Last week we went to our local orchard, and it was so sweet and refreshing to just go have fun! No errands, no major chores, just a fun-filled day with the littles. I posted pics on my IG page, if you’d like to see my little men and all their cuteness checking out the apples and pumpkins.
Now here’s a biggie. Gift-giving. I think this is something we either love or it makes us break out in hives. I am somewhere in between. If I know you, know what you’ll like, and have the budget for it, I LOVE giving gifts. If I don’t know what to get or am stressing about the dozens of people on the Christmas list, I start to panic. This year I’ve decided once that for kid’s birthdays, we are going to be gifting a craft. Yep. Every single kid. Doesn’t matter the age or gender, they’re gonna get some sort of art/craft gift. It’s fun, it can generally be purchased ahead of time if I find something awesome and want to stock up, and it’s a fairly consumable product that won’t clutter up my home or someone else’s. This is gold! I love it. If I feel like we need/want to do more, I’m adding a gift card for Dairy Queen or McDonald’s. Decided. Done. I can still completely customize it for each kid if I want to, but I also don’t have to, and can go into my “gift closet” of pre-bought crafts. This doesn’t actually exist right now since I just decided this last week, but it will happen. I used to have a drawer dedicated to random small gifts and another for gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons, and an assortment of cards. It’s such a wonderful way to be prepared and be able to easily love on our people, and I will be creating this space again soon. It’s magic. And I think so is deciding once for things like this! I have some ideas for Christmas gifts and friend’s birthdays, too, but I won’t spoil the surprise here.
There are so many other ways this principle comes into play to simplify our lives… where/when do we get groceries? I added it into my schedule for a regular day/time now when it makes sense for our school pickups. No more, when’s the next available Walmart pickup? Crap. We’re out of… nope! I recently switched over to Instacart for my Aldi pickup (not sure why I wasn’t already doing this) and it’s SO great! And favorite brands of cleaning products, makeup, bath stuff… I am not one who loves to try lots of new things in these areas because I’m super sensitive to most of them. So instead of constantly getting frustrated with fails and wasted money, I went back to the basics and I just get my favorites on repeat. Oh, and I order them online and they get shipped to me. Even better!
Here’s to deciding once, letting go of perfectionism, and making more room for what really matters. ❤️
These are a few of my favorite things:
Instacart (this is a referral link)
Grove (this is a referral link)
I feel like there are two types of people. Some of you are stubborning clinging onto summer and cursing the cool winds of change blowing in. The rest of you, like me, are getting excited! Things are changing, fall is here, and that brings so many good things into our days! So if you’re the first one, you might not love this post. But who knows? Maybe a yummy soup recipe I plan to share will put at least a little bit more pep in your step. Either way, fall is here, and I am so excited that I had to start writing again after my long hiatus!
Ok, so seasonal changes have become super important to me, and I’m not well-educated on the moon phases or the solstices or equinoxes, or anything like that. But I just get this overwhelming feeling of excitement when things are changing. It’s like we get a fresh start, four times a year. Isn’t that refreshing? I used to think that everything had to depend on the first of the year goals. Magically on January 1st (in the middle of winter), I’m supposed to be all inspired to make life-changing decisions? Um, no. In January I’m about to lose my ever-loving mind over all the snow and ice and coldness and all that a midwestern winter brings. By changing my mindset and allowing for a seasonal refresh instead, I am able to make smaller, more reasonable goals. I manage my things more easily with seasonal decluttering and closet clean outs, manage myself with seasonal hair cuts, makeup and skincare refreshes… you name it. If I can see something as a seasonal event, it seems so much more doable. Make sense?
If you have followed me at all you know by now about my seasonal wardrobe switches, which are super fun and getting easier each time I do them! I’ve done a very intentional minimalist closest for a couple of years now, so I have my favorite seasonal touches sorted out. Fall means all the warm colors come back into my closet… bring on the orange, brown, wine, and mustard. It’s so much fun to look forward to my favorite things in these colors that I packed away last year! I’m getting better at finding my personal style, which I think today I decided could be described in one word “wildflower”. I know, it’s not a fashion word, or even an adjective. But it’s my word, and it reminds me to dress in a way that fits my unique style personality, and that’s ultimately all that matters! What? We get to make our own rules! Who knew?! Shoutout to The Lazy Genius for that genius advice. So yes, my closet is getting an overhaul again, as is my almost 4 year old’s and my 10 month old’s. It’s a lot more work with three wardrobes than it ever was with one. Yowza! But keeping it minimal really helps. With gifted clothes and hand-me-downs for the kiddos, I’m not always as good at a capsule wardrobe, but I do try my best. Because honestly they’re so much fun, and they make putting outfits together so much easier!
A new shift I’ve decided to focus on this fall is with my cooking. I love to meal plan, having theme nights most nights of the week makes grocery shopping and feeding the family fun and simple! But I’ve never really focused on a seasonal switch as intentionally as I am this year. Don’t get me wrong, I have already purchased tons of apple, maple, pecan, cinnamon, and pumpkin flavors of everything, and am working on a trip to hit a Trader Joe’s sometime soon for allll the fall goodness there- none of this is new. But this year, I’ve added a bit of a fun twist. Instead of just making a handful of soups on repeat all season (who am I kidding I only make taco soup and chili!), I’m pushing myself to learn how to make a new soup once a week. On Saturdays, of course, because “Soup Saturday” just makes sense. If you follow me on social media, I’ll be posting about this new adventure using #smithsoupsaturday. Also, if you have an amazing soup recipe you think I should try, please message me or comment! I’d love to get your suggestions.
On another note, an old friend recently asked if I’d be on his podcast to “share my stuff”. I said yes. And then I panicked! What exactly is my stuff? I struggle with perfectionism, and wanting to follow the right pattern for a good blogger, or social media account, that people will actually enjoy and get inspired by. But honestly, I think I finally decided that I don’t give a crap about all that. I get excited in bursts. I change my mind often. If I love you, I love you so hard. If I love a thing I try, I also love it so hard. It’s just who I am. My favorite thing to do is something I haven’t done before. My favorite place to visit? You guessed it. Somewhere I’ve never been. I love to be happy, I love to have fun, and I love to share all of that with my people. I am always up for an adventure, so if you’re up for it, buckle up and I’ll bring you along for the ride. When I remember. And when I feel like it. ❤️
Here are a few of my favorite things (right now) :
We’re keeping a low profile this holiday season. We planned on it ahead of time, knowing that we were due with our little turkey right around Thanksgiving. But add in multiple extra doctor’s visits for me and baby and unexpected hospital stays for me, and let’s just say, we are all exhausted! I do believe we are on the mend now, but although I’m feeling better, we’ve decided to slow down even more for Christmas than we had originally planned.
On a recent drive back from the hospital (it’s 2 hours each way so we’ve been in the car a lot!), I went through each calendar event on my phone for December, talked with my husband about them all, and deleted most of them. We picked the ones that would be the most meaningful for us, would be easy to navigate with the two littles and my post-surgery limitations, and ones we genuinely look forward to! Shocker, but you don’t have to say yes to those things that you don’t. In fact, it’s way more fun and easier to prioritize the stuff that does matter if it’s not surrounded by a bunch of things that don’t!
One of the “big” things we kept in our schedule was a trip to a local reindeer farm. We have been before and really enjoyed it. It’s small, easily walkable, uncluttered with people due to the required reservations this year, and we get to do all the fun stuff with our little guys! You can pet and feed reindeer, eat Christmas cookies and drink hot cocoa, and of course have a chat with Santa! We figured this would be our “one big trip” this year since we could do all of that in one spot.
We also chose to prioritize Christmas gatherings at each of our parent’s homes, which for us means three calendar events in different locations. But, I was able to connect with everyone early enough to prioritize their events on the calendar, and luckily it all on ended up being on different days and is doable without too much stress/crazy travel requirements! Whew!
Other things my family has chosen to prioritize this year…
- Putting up some of our decorations, both inside and out. (Emphasis on some).
- Christmas Eve Church Service at our church (no longer doing multiple services for everyone else)
- Getting and decorating a small and reasonably-priced real tree locally. (Emphasis on local and reasonable- in the past I’ve forced the family to drive hours for the perfect tree-getting experience, which honestly turned out to be horrible and stressful).
- Eating lots of Christmas cookies, candy canes, and drinking hot cocoa! (Note that I didn’t say “making” lots of cookies. We don’t have the space or energy for all that this year. And that’s ok! We’ll make some at Grandma’s, but we don’t have to make my entire Pinterest board of recipes. Also, the hot cocoa is a bulk box of good old Swiss Miss, not the fancy cocoa bombs I insisted on getting and spending way too much money on last year. Guess what? Nobody cares.)
- Watching Christmas movies. At home.
- Reading Christmas books. At home.
- Christmas family photos and cards. Yep, I’ll still send out personalized cards, but not as many, not as fancy, and will be ordering them from somewhere I can pickup locally same-day this year. Also, we will do a mini photo session in a studio this year, which is way more affordable and less of a time commitment!
- Christmas pajamas for a cozy, relaxed Christmas morning at home! The boys got new matching sets, and the rest of us will wear whatever’s comfy for us. (I used to stress out and drive to multiple stores to get everyone matching outfits for Christmas morning. Guess who appreciated that? Yep. Just me.)
- Gifts. We are doing gifts for our immediate family, and some for our extended families, but we are bringing it down soooo many notches. (We used to spend a small fortune on Christmas! It’s just not necessary to buy expensive gifts to show our love. I’m realizing more and more lately how much the thought really does count! Some of my most appreciated gifts we received recently were homemade meals and snacks, and simply being thought of as we arrived home!)
Things we said no to this year…
- Parades & Tree lightings (We used to travel to multiple events like this in every surrounding city)
- Train trip to the city for shopping and various holiday festivities
- Hosting Christmas brunch for my mom and siblings (I did enjoy this, and might resume another year, but it just isn’t feasible this time)
- Friend’s parties (this one was a little harder to say no to, but we want to keep our brand new baby away from people and germs as much as possible)
- Cooking – I’ll be bringing the same simple holiday dishes to each of our family’s gatherings. (Not trying new recipes. Not doing anything fancy.)
- Making things (I just don’t love being crafty, so I’m not going to keep trying)
- Baking all the things (I’ll do this again someday)
- Gifts for everyone we know (I haven’t even finished shopping for my kids as I type this)
What is your Christmastime shaping up to be this year?! Are you keeping it simple? Are you doing all the things? I’m curious to know what changes you’ve made over the years to make things more enjoyable and less stressful!
… for now. We’ve had some amazing adventures since we loaded up and headed out west in our camper, which I plan to share at some point. But for now, I’m going to put my time and energy into getting ready for our new baby.
You know, I recently found myself saying “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I have lots of different skills and some talents I enjoy using, but I don’t know what my real purpose is.” One night as I sat and stared at one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, it hit me. Yes, of course I know. I have always wanted to be a mother, and now that I am one, and am about to add another babe to the mix, I know exactly what my real purpose is without a doubt. I am going to be the absolute best mom I can be to my kids, and put all of myself into that job. It may not be a fancy career, and it may not be using my expensive degrees like I once imagined, and it may not pay me in dollars and cents, but I know my heart will be full and I will be forever blessed that I was able to spend all my time with my kids while they’re little.
So I’m done searching (for now). I’m done worrying about which skill or talent to hone in on to try to make myself feel useful or worthy or whatever else it was I was trying to prove. I am a mama, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a cousin, an aunt, a niece, am part of a church family, and I intend to make the most of my time with my people, and to be the best version of myself while doing so.
Will I still blog? I think so. Writing might never turn into a career for me, but I enjoy it and have found it incredibly freeing to share parts of my story I’ve not addressed in years. Will I be spending as much time on social media? I don’t plan on it. There are a few private groups I’m in on Facebook that really inspire me and encourage me. So when I’m checking in on those I’ll scroll a bit and check in on my page. Otherwise, I’ll likely post mostly on Instagram (and blogs on my website), most of which will be shared on my public fb page.
If you don’t hear from me and want to, you can find me at: www.livelikeadaylily.com, on IG and FB @livelikeadaylily, and if you’d like to contact me via email, feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, remember to live each day on purpose, and live like a daylily. ✌🏻
It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to travel as much as possible – exploring our country and beyond. I had planned to live in an RV for at least a year after getting married in my dream life (providing I found someone to marry who was as crazy and adventurous as I am), checking out all the states before deciding which one we would claim and where to put roots down. Obviously life happens differently than we plan most of time, and this just wasn’t possible in the life I was currently living when we got married.
But, as I shared with you over these past several posts, grief changes you. Loss makes you realize what’s most important and what can kick rocks. And so, I pitched it to my husband.,, Let’s simplify completely when the oldest graduates. Let’s get rid of anything tying us down and stressing us out – businesses, possessions, people… yep, I said it, even some people had to go. Let’s move into an RV and travel the country for a while. Let’s spend quality time together, heal, explore, rest… It’s the perfect time to do it, as we only have a 2 year old in the home now, and we wouldn’t have to make any decisions about school for a while.
So, we started to think about it more… how could this work? Was this really possible? What kind of RV did we want? How were we going to be able to afford it? Would we get one that required a truck to pull it? If so, how would we afford a reliable truck in addition to the camper? But we kept planning, talking about what we’d do with our free time, what we’d like to see, and how that would change our lives. We bought a huge map of the US and put it on our living room wall. We started watching videos about National Parks. We researched campers, and then we went out and looked at some to get a better idea of what we would need, but we were not taking it too seriously at this point.
And then, something crazy happened. A dealership in our tiny town had a motorhome for sale (they didn’t even sell campers at this time), and it was the same dealership we bought our family car at a year before. So, we went and checked it out. It wasn’t what I had decided would be our best option, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity that seemed like it was meant to be to at least give it a chance. So, we left to think about it for a day or two. If it was truly meant to be and what we were supposed to do, we would know. We weren’t going to force it or fight God anymore with our life choices. We were going to trust Him to guide us. And boy did He make this one easy. We ended up making a crazy offer that they denied, said that’s fine and left to go get ice cream, and before we even got to Dairy Queen, they called and accepted our offer.
We traded our family car straight up for our camper, without any financing. Wait, what?!?! That’s what our family said, too. What are you going to do about a car now? Well, we didn’t know, but we felt with all of our hearts that we didn’t need to worry about it. And sure enough, we didn’t. Shortly after, we sold our motorcycle and used the money to buy an adorable mom wagon. It was perfect for us, it happened to match our RV perfectly, and it was also paid off. I named that car Ramsey (for Dave Ramsey to honor our debt free journey inspired by his work). I will never forget that experience. No car payments, and yet we had exactly what we needed and what we had hoped for at the same time.
It was on our first “big” adventure with that RV to a beautiful beach in Michigan that I decided I was done fighting God for good. I couldn’t believe everything that was happening so perfectly, and although I could have been angry and bitter after losing Prudence, I went the other way. I had been brought back to the church and God in that trial, and one magnificent bright pink sky over the waters in Michigan that night finalized it for me. I felt like God was talking directly to me with that pink sky – the same pink I use as a reminder of Prudence. I sat there with tears streaming down my face, staring into the sky, and I knew my life was never going to be the same. Every sunset from then on would be there for me, to remind me that I’m not alone, and I never would be.