2020 is almost over, and boy are we ready. Before the rush of the holidays are here, let’s catch up and chat about life lately!
Before I dig too deep into this post, I want to preface it by saying that while it’s publishing on November 4th, I am actually writing it before election day. So, the fact that I’m not celebrating any particular candidate or discussing politics at all (outside of this paragraph) is not telling of anything except for the fact that I have no idea how things will turn out.
This year hasn’t been at all what any of of have planned, but even so, we’re heading into the holiday season. Regardless of what this year has brought us, we’re still choosing to celebrate and love during this time.
These life updates are always my favorites. To me, it’s a time to sit down, relax and chat like we’re friends having coffee.
What’s new? How is everyone? Anything exciting going on?
But, these days, I feel like these life updates are even more important than ever. I know one day, this whole weird year will be a distant memory, and it’ll be interesting to come back and look at the details of our lives during this time.
A Look Back
The last time we talked, pandemic restrictions were just starting to lift and we were heading into the summer full of cautious hope that things were getting better.
Since then, we’ve enjoyed a quiet summer, and things have gone (mostly) back to normal as far as our daily lives. We’re masked, hearing reports of Covid 19 every week, and in the middle of a pretty intense political climate, but day to day things are mostly as they’ve always been. The kids are in school, activities have picked up some, we’ve been attending a new church in person, and just generally focusing on finding that balance between busy and peaceful.
On the blog, I’ve really brought my focus back to clean living, with tips such as how to switch to natural cleaning products and start eating a real food diet. I shared my clean beauty routine, some great reasons to start a garden, and a tutorial on how to make your own aromatherapy candles. I even started reviewing and sharing some of my favorite brands and products (like Simply Earth and Thrive Market), with plans to continue with even more amazing collaborations this winter!
But, one thing I haven’t done in quite awhile is get personal with a life update. So, grab your favorite beverage (I’ve got black coffee, as always), get cozy, and let’s catch up!
We Started Our Third Year of Homeschool
This August, we started our third year homeschooling, and it’s so weird to me that we now have to clarify what kind of homeschoolers we are. That we were homeschoolers before a pandemic swept through our nation and sent kids home.
Who knew that one day I’d get to describe myself as the normal kind of homeschooler and that others would be coming to me for advice?
I sure never saw that coming.
And so, year three is well underway with a first grader and a middle schooler. And, I must say, it feels like we’ve finally found our groove.
After a couple of stressful years struggling to stay on task, I vowed this year to let go of expectations, focus on building a love of learning, and find what works for us.
We chose new curriculum that really caters to each girls’ strengths, and have stayed so much more relaxed this year than ever before. We also enrolled the girls in a co-op for the first time this year, which has really helped bridge the gap between homeschooling, and wanting to be around other kids their ages. For a few hours once a week, they get to “go to school” with other kids their age, learn from adults who aren’t me, pack a lunch, and enjoy some independence. Plus, mama gets a few uninterrupted hours alone. It’s been great!
Friends, if you’re newer to homeschool and not sure you can keep going, trust me. It gets so much better. It just takes time to find your groove sometimes!
This year, it was a big goal of mine to get back into gardening. I used to love gardening, and really got away from it after Charlotte was born.
In January, we started a hydroponic garden for greens, and this past spring, we re-built our garden outside.
We had a great first season back with as many cucumbers, basil, and tomatoes as we could eat, which was a lot of fun. The kids really enjoyed planting and watching everything grow. We canned somewhere around 40 jars of pickles and were up to our ears in pesto at the height of the garden.
We also planted Loofah vines, which were new to me, but such a cool experiment. Not only were they super fun to grow (the vines grow to around 30 feet long), but they are also the perfect thing to grow to reduce waste. We now have a ton of loofahs for the shower, for cleaning, for doing dishes, and even some to spare for friends!
I’ll definitely be growing them again next year, and they’re not even done yet for this year.
Once the majority of our spring and summer crops were done, we also started rotating in some fall crops. We’ve currently got another round of tomatoes growing, along with spaghetti squash and cucumbers. This past week, we also planted some seeds for a late fall harvest (hopefully) of carrots, spinach, lettuce, and chives!
I’ll be sure to keep you updated on those over on Instagram, so if you like chatting gardening, come join me over there!
Our Kitchen Renovation & Bedroom Update
This year, we’ve really put a lot of focus into our house. We’ve been in it for 8 years this month, and had really stalled on the renovations for a long time. Our kitchen was awful, and our bedroom hadn’t been painted or decorated once since we moved in.
Since my excuse has always been “we just don’t have the time for a big project,” this past summer and fall were perfect! Life has been slower, both because of restrictions and because we’ve intentionally slowed down. It was the perfect time for a few updates.
While a lot of what we did in the kitchen is more of a temporary face lift than a high end upgrade, I still have to say, I mostly love it. We’ll be updating the flooring (again) after the holidays, but overall, both rooms are 1000x better than how they started the year!
Thoughts on My 2020 Goals
Back in January, I shared several of my goals for the year. Not only did I have goals for my business, but I also had goals for life in general (check out that vision board above).
Of course, earlier this spring, I joked right along with everyone else that none of this mess was on my vision board.
Jokes on me, though, because looking back, a lot of it actually was. Obviously I didn’t plan for a pandemic and lockdown. But as a direct result of that quarantine, I had tons of free time to read more, spend more time outside, and start my garden. I also became more intentional about reaching out to friends, rescued two dogs, and I started really focusing a lot on body positivity. So, in a lot of ways, I still reached a lot of my goals this year.
As for my business goals, well…I think most business owners right now know that business goals in 2020 is almost laughable.
Like everyone else, I suffered a lot this spring, and the income this blog brings in took a real hit. Instead of reaching for those goals I set back in January, I was spending all of my time just trying to get back to where I’d started the year.
I gotta tell you, that’s a rough place to be. But, things are finally looking up the last couple of months. I celebrated 4 years on the blog earlier this fall, and I’m incredibly optimistic about the future here in this little corner of the internet.
So, that’s what’s been going on in life lately. This has been the weirdest year. While I try not to put too much stock into the idea of all of this letting up come January 1st, I sure am ready to put this all behind us. For now, we’re just looking forward to the holidays and focusing on gratitude as much as we can.