Happy New Year! 2018. Wow. I should really understand by now that this happens every 365 days but sometimes I have a moment where I just think- wait, wasn’t I just partying like it was 1999 (as a sophomore in high school at my friend Rebecca’s house)? My new year’s eve looked a little different last night than it did 18 years ago, as I spent it sipping tea on the couch while waiting to see if my rundown feeling would turn into anything more. Lucky for me, it didn’t and I’m stepping into 2018 feeling pretty good and excited to watch my Georgia bulldogs take on the Sooners in the Rose Bowl this afternoon. GO DAWGS!
In the last few days, I’ve also taken time to reflect on this past year before looking forward to the next. I’d love to share this reflection with you and encourage you to do a similar look back before jumping into new resolutions. After all, how can we choose what direction to head in without understanding where we’ve been, what has worked, and what hasn’t, right? And with that…
By the Numbers:
This year, I published 181 posts. Last January was a high point, with 19 total posts. This October, I published 12, which was the lowest number of the year (but I’m still proud that I got that many done — it was a busy month!). In my reader survey I had people hoping I’d start post more times per week and others suggesting I post a little less, but longer posts. As I’ve been playing the Tetris with my planner, I feel I’ll most likely stick to my M/W/F schedule which allows me time to write more topical posts. I won’t be throwing day in the life posts by the wayside, but I do hope to dive more into the topics you’ve sent me. If day to day stuff is your jam, please connect with me on Instagram, where I often share clips of what we are doing and eating.
The blog received 4,468 comments, although about a third were my own — I love responding to all of you, and your feedback is always so appreciated. In fact, in the survey, many of you said that leaving comments is your favorite way to engage with me. <3
Also, some fun facts that I’ve learned about all of you thanks to the survey:
- Not all of you have kids, but the majority who do have kids in the under-2 and preschool range
- I have readers who are under 20 and over 60, but the majority of you are between 30-39
- You’ve been reading this blog for more than two years (thank you!) and while you say you like the recipes and the parenting tips, the most commonly given reason for sticking with A Healthy Slice of Life is that you want to keep up with me and my family — that means so much!
You also want to see more quick and easy meals, get tips for organizing the kitchen and kids’ toys, and you hope that I’ll keep posting about our homeschooling journey. (And I will!)
Also, it’s only fair that I answered some of your questions, too, which I did in:
Blogging is a funny thing, because some of the most-read posts in 2017 were actually published a year (or more!) ago. But here are some of the things that got the most love this year.
- How to Naturally Cure a Sore Throat in One Day
- Baby-Led Weaning: 8 Month Meals
- Kid-Friendly Frozen Greek Yogurt Drops
- How to Make the Perfect Over Medium Egg
- 10 Wives Tales for Determining the Baby’s Sex
- Chocolate Dipped Almond Butter Banana Bites
- The Lazy Mom’s Oatmeal Bowl
- Simple Grilled Shrimp Marinade
- The Secret to Perfect Garden Fresh Salsa
- Apple Cider Vinegar: What You Need to Know
No surprise here — some of the most popular posts above are a result of getting a lot of love on Pinterest! Greek Yogurt Drops got the most pins on Pinterest this year but my gift guides for 2-year-olds and 5-year-olds also made the Top 5. The banana bites and lazy mom’s oatmeal rounded out the list.
I made 284 Instagram feed posts this year, and who knows how many stories — a lot, for sure! (I love Instagram. Are you following me there?)
According to 2017bestnine.com, these were my top posts:
4pm bathtime and Christmas movies // a candid picture of me and Kaitlyn in the kitchen <3 // Hailey and the first 2017 snowfall // Friday dance party // a great and hard day as a mom // Kaitlyn will move mountains // a post-hike celebratory beer // Hoppy Easter! // reading on a cloudy fall day
Trips and Travel:
We absolutely love hitting the road with (and without!) the kids, and while it can be a bit of a challenge thanks to David’s busy work schedule, our homeschooling plans and of course, budgets, we had a great and adventurous 2017.
- The Last Game at the Georgia Dome
- Our Amazing Trip to Walt Disney World
- South Mountains State Park Family Hike
- 48 Hours in Georgia
- A Quick Mountain Getaway to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood
- Bachelorette Party in Fort Lauderdale
- Wedding Weekend in Saratoga Springs
- Grandma Betty’s 97th Birthday at Lake Oconee
- Family Road Trip to Augusta
- The Great American Eclipse in South Carolina
- A Family Getaway to Amelia Island
- 6 Glorious Days in Aruba
- Our Day Trip to Grandfather Mountain
- Thanksgiving Road Trip to Georgia
- Polar Express in Bryson City
Among all of these posts were some highs and of course, some lows. I shared the news that my dad has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, which is of course something we’ll continue to be going through in 2018. The outpouring of love and support has been incredible and we are going into this year with full hearts, hope, and determination.
I also talked about some of the most difficult parenting struggles I faced, like a rocky first day of homeschool kindergarten and trying to make real connections as a mom (who is also a woman and a wife and a friend).
And even David got in on the action, answering your questions in a post we called “From the Man Cave.”
As I look forward to 2018, I don’t really have a singular goal or resolution. Our 2017 focus was to simplify and solidify and I feel we made good progress on these goals. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished this year as a family and I’d like to stay on the same path.
In 2018 I want to focus on buying less stuff and putting that money towards experiences instead. I want to plan, cook, and eat wholesome, simple meals. I want to better invest in friendships that are meaningful to me. I want to get back to my natural hair color, as I’m tired of keeping up with highlights. I want to continue to grow this space, share more openly, and connect more deeply. Above all, I want meaningful time with my family. My dad taught me that your calendar reflects your priorities so I’m really dedicated to my planner in this coming year. I am penning in non-negotiables and committing myself to being purposeful with how I fill (or don’t fill, as I’m a believer in white space too) my days.
Thank you all for being such a big part of my life. Thank you for caring about my family, for engaging in conversation with me and with each other, and for sharing my posts with your friends. I’m so grateful for this space because it provides me an outlet for creativity and connection., but there’d be no connection without you!
Cheers to a full new year- full of joy, love, purpose, and promise. <3