This is our last week of preschool (for Kaitlyn). We have adored our preschool and will miss it greatly. We are also excited about moving into a new chapter where I’ll be doing school with a preschooler and a soon-to-be first grader. I’m taking this time and using it as a second “new year.” For me, the end of the academic year comes with the same feeling of freshness that January 1 embodies- a chance to reflect, prioritize, and plan next steps. That has meant relaxing my self-imposed posting schedule, deciding on next year’s curriculum, and pinpointing areas I’d like to work on personally. I use an academic paper planner (#teampaperplanner), so I’ve been taking the time to transfer important items into my new planner and savoring the newness and possibilities it symbolizes.
In the process, I’ve come up with a few little things I’d like to do better and a couple things I think would make life run a little bit more smoothly. I’m writing them down to refer back to and would love to hear what small items or “life hacks” you feel are important or make life a little bit easier. For me, I’d like to step up my efforts on the following:
Wrap presents. Kaitlyn’s birthday was last week and it was the first time I noticed how much it excited her to actually unwrap a present. I’m the queen of Amazoning gifts to family, but there is something special about seeing a bright and dolled up package begging to be opened that makes it seem a bit more special than a plain brown box. So if it’s not super heavy and expensive, I’d really like to take the time to wrap presents I give to the people I love this year, even if my wrapping skills leave much to be desired.
Write down all birthdays and important dates at one time. I usually go through and write down all the birthdays of good friends and family, but I’d like to scribble in other important dates as well. Anniversaries, losses, personal celebrations, etc. I’ve experienced the warm feeling of people remembering milestones in my life and would love to return the sentiment.
Bulk buy gifts in advance. Recently I was at a friend’s house and she mentioned her gift cabinet where she keeps multiple gifts for kids a a range of ages. She said every year after Christmas she bulk buys the craft and science kits when they go on super sale, then stores them for when she needs them for birthdays and other celebrations throughout the year. Brilliant! She does the same with adult gifts, buying when they go on sale and then storing candles, kitchen goodies, and other knickknacks until she is in need of a gift. How nice it would be to have these all on hand and not feel the need to rush to Target at the last minute (speaking from experience here…).
Pre-stamp envelopes. I’ve had it in me lately to pay kindness forward. One way I’ve been doing this is sending one letter a week to someone that has impacted me, someone that needs cheering up, or someone I’m just thinking of. I’ve found I’m much more likely to do this if I go ahead and have personalized stationery on hand and pre-stamp the envelopes. For some reason, that small step makes a big difference.
Consider all my options and ask for outside perspective. I think it’s probably obvious I have been going through a period of self-reflection and planning. I’ve been trying to figure out a routine for our new school year (that will officially begin in August, though we will continue on a light schedule through summer). I thought I had considered all options and was frustrated that it looked like I just couldn’t fit in a consistent exercise time. I talked it through with David and he pointed out a very simple solution, but one I hadn’t considered because I didn’t feel like it was a real option due to mom/teacher guilt (it involves starting school an hour later instead of right after breakfast).
It made me realize how easy it can be to go straight to “I can’t” or “but it’s harder for me because” rather than to truly examine all possibilities available to us. Big choices aren’t easy but no matter our circumstances we all have options. I’d like to stop being unintentionally stubborn and really take a closer look at all of mine before choosing a path forward.
Continuously clear out our living spaces. I’m still amazed at the fact that the living spaces I overhauled using A Simplified Life method are still clean and organized. <the master closet> <Hailey’s bedroom><the kitchen desk and our bathroom> I have no doubt it’s because it forced me to get rid of my stuff, not just pile it up neatly. I’d like to continue to continuously get rid of things that do not serve us.
Buy less but buy better. On the flip side of the coin, I’d like to continue to commit myself to buying quality over quantity. After much deliberation, yesterday I bought a full-priced Pace Rival Skirt from Lululemon. I hesitated for a quick second before shelling out $68 but I LOVE it. and I will probably wear it to swim team everyday this summer. Considering clothes on a cost per wear basis puts a lot in perspective for me.
Live unapologetically. What is it about social media that makes me feel like I need to pick a side on all issues? It feels like I have to decided whether I’m green/crunchy or not. I’m either a from-scratch health-minded cook or I’m not. I live life much more in the middle than at an extreme in any category and I’m not going to apologize for being a blend anymore.
I try to be as natural as I can. I love dry brushing, diffusing essential oils, and using green cleaners, but I want to use more than coconut oil on the fine lines on my face. I love eating real, nutrient-dense foods. I’ll have a bowl of roasted veggies for lunch, blend up turmeric tonic for the mornings, and feed my kids sauerkraut but yet I still asked for the garlic sauce when they served Papa John’s pizza at Hailey’s Girl Scout party as I watched the kids eat their second piece of cake for the day.
In a day and age when influencers are told to pick a niche and become an expert in that area, I feel out of place. I can’t claim to be an expert in anything other than trying hard to live my “best life” and share the journey along the way. So I’ve decided to let go of feeling like I need to pick a side, a stance, or a niche. Less apologizing; more living.
A quick note about my planner: I use an inkWELL Press Flex Kaleidoscope liveWell weekly planner. I really appreciate it’s durability, the sturdy gold coil that allows it to lie flat, and the layout on the interior. It has areas designated for weekly top priorities as well as monthly focuses. This is not sponsored, but I am using an affiliate link, meaning I will get a small kickback of any sale made, with no additional cost to you. If you are looking for a quality, sturdy, and user-friendly paper planner for the upcoming year, I highly recommend checking out inkWELL. Oh! And use the code SLICE20 for 20% off your ENTIRE order!
Are there any small things that you would like to do better at?
Or any small things you already do that make your life run more smoothly?