Five Friday Favorites: our favorite apps for staying organized in the new year

Most of us enjoy being organized, and others of us want to be more organized. Some of us fit into both of those categories. Better organization and a more simplified life is at your fingertips…look no further than your smartphone.

There are a few apps that have proven indispensable to our family and I’d like to share them with you.

1. Cozi family organizer (free, premium version available)

Do you have two or more children with several activities on the calendar? Do you struggle to plan meals, keep track of schedules and to-do lists? Cozi is for you!! We use it to catalog recipes, share shopping lists and keep track of schedules via the calendar feature. Each week, it emails all members of your family the events for the week.

2. Spotify Family

I was already a Spotify Premium user and I originally tried to share my account with family. This worked great until we all wanted to listen to something different at the same time. For less than $20, you can have up to five members on one account…not much more than one Spotify Premium account. We also take advantage of their under 12 account, where you can block explicit content and see what your kid listens to.

3. Poshmark

Are you cleaning out closets for the new year and getting rid of outgrown clothing? Make a few extra bucks by selling those clothes on Poshmark. You can also save a few bucks by purchasing gently used clothing for your fast- growing littles. We do!

4. My Macros

Take charge of your diet and fitness by keeping track of your daily food intake with My Macros! I have used this app for about a year and a half now and I love how easy it is to track my calories, fats, carbs and proteins. I highly recommend it.

5. Instacart

No time to grocery shop? Uncomfortable going into the grocery store? Give Instacart a try! I have been making a weekly grocery cart, adding to it throughout the week, and finalizing my order when it’s finished. Then, I arrange a pickup time, drive to the store, and pick up my order. I pay online so my stuff is already paid for when I get there, and they even load it for me. It saves me so much time.

What apps do you use to keep your family, food and fitness on track? Comment below!

2021 Winter Home Tour

After the splendor of fall and the grandeur that is our home at Christmas, winter is a time for me to simplify and just let my house breathe. We do so much decorating for Christmas that my home sometimes seems bare after we take it all down. I do like to keep some of our wintergreens and red berries out for winter, and fill in the gaps with other things (and by other things I mean snowmen). We do very simple decorating for winter and I’m very happy with the results this year.

This cute little vignette didn’t change much following Christmas. It sits on our sofa table in our front entry.
Our mantle: winter evergreen wreath with plaid ribbon and red berries, faux snow, white glass houses and zinc houses.
To me, this just feels cozy. There is a little left over Christmas but nothing that feels overly Christmas-y.
In our kitchen. This vignette hasn’t changed a lot since Christmas but we traded a white ceramic tree for a cute little snowman.
Isn’t he cute?
Beside our kitchen sink? More snowmen.
On our living room table? A trio of snowmen.
In my girls’ bathroom? Snowmen
I think that snowman used to hold a roll of tea towels. Maybe he needs to hold toilet paper since he is in the bathroom.
This is in our master bathroom. Wouldn’t you know? More snowmen. The one on the right is a tea light holder.
This is on our dining room table. It doesn’t have any snowmen but there are some in that room.

I may just have a snowman problem. Who wouldn’t? They’re cute, they’re wintery, and we live in NC, so we rarely get to build one. And there are worse things to love than snowmen 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Best 2021 Agendas: Our Favorite Picks for Staying Organized and Sane in the New Year

My agenda is pretty important to me. My husband jokes that I have the next six months of my life planned out in it and if I lost it, I’d have to be committed. He’s only half wrong. 🙂

I myself use a Prayerful Planner in the undated version so I can customize it and use it to reflect my school year rather than the respective 12-month calendar year. I like it because it’s an agenda, prayer journal, and devotion book all in one. A one-stop-shop, if you will. It helps me keep my family’s activities and my daily activities, as well as my walk with God on track.

See what I mean?

Please ignore my “first thing in the morning” handwriting.

If the Prayerful Planner sounds like what you need, then I highly encourage you to get one. But if it just isn’t your thing, rest assured that there are plenty of other options.

1. Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner, $60

The things I love about my planner are also the things I love about The Simplified Planner. The planner contains pages for planning and reflection, and the layout is very clean and uncomplicated.

2. Erin Condren Life Planner, $68

There are a lot of similarities between the Life Planner and the Simplified Planner. Just like the others, this one also includes planning/reflection pages, monthly layouts and weekly layouts, and it’s bright, colorful, and has plenty of room to write. You can customize and personalize it as well.

3. Day Designer Planner by BlueSky $15 (SoftCover) and $60 (Hardcover)

I wanted to include amore budget friendly option for all you moms, who (like me), like to save a few dollars. You can get this planner in a hardcover format at a price that is more comparable to the others, or you can get it for less than $20 in a softcover. Before I started buying the Prayerful Planner, this was my go-to. The pages are clean, well laid out, and have plenty of writing space. This planner even has reflection and planning pages, but it does not have the amount of extra pages that its more expensive counterparts have.

You may chose a planner I have featured today, or you may choose something completely different that works better for you. Either way, I encourage you to use a planner to simplify your life and organize your schedule. You will be glad you did! Have a great day!

What I learned in 2020…and why I’m not writing a typical “year in review” post.

Every year, I write a “year in review” post where I list the biggest and most important things that happened throughout the year. Since 2020 wasn’t a normal year, I’m not going to write a normal post.

2020 was a difficult year- I don’t do well with the unknown. I’m a planner and a control freak, so not knowing what comes next is super hard. As a Christian, we are called to trust God always, but sometimes it’s hard to let go of YOUR plans and trust in HIS plan. I learned some things from this crazy experience we called 2020.

  1. Things can change in an instant.

We were doing life and everything was great and normal, and then a global pandemic showed up. I thought we’d be out of school for two weeks. We went back to school eight months later. Then, all of our additional activities were shut down. We literally had nothing to do and nowhere to go but we spent lots of time together and we made it work. We even managed to have fun.

2. Be grateful for what you have.

You may not have everything you want. Most of us don’t. When you actually have time to stop, sit still and reflect, you will find you have more than what you need and plenty to be thankful for. 2020 taught me to be more gracious and actually make time to do so.

3. Find joy and beauty where you can.

bright blooming goldenrods on thin stems in field
Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

I very clearly remember walking with my neighbor one day and noticing a goldenrod flower on the side of the road. Goldenrod is a weed, and it’s pesky, since most of us are allergic to it. However, the flower was a vibrant yellow and even thoughI typically regard it as a nuisance, I noticed just how pretty it really is. Have you ever seen an entire field blooming with goldenrod? It’s beautiful.

Put your hope in the right thing- JESUS.

Jesus is the only thing that can bring us out of the place we are in. Healthcare, vaccines and practicing good hygiene are all important, but they can’t save us. If there is one thing 2020 has taught me loud and clear, it’s that Jesus is the only thing in my life that is constant and certain. Everything else can change in an instant, but He will always remain. God has a plan, and while we rumble through this life not knowing his plan or why things happen, He knows. That’s sometimes hard for me to swallow, but it’s true.

Lessons aside, 2020 wasn’t all bad. We had to cancel a vacation, but we were able to save some money. We were finally able to complete a large remodeling project we have been trying to finish for seven years now. We were also able to spend a large amount of time with one another and enjoy each other’s company. We were adopted by a stray cat and a stray dog who have both become members of our family. We finally replaced our aging, no air-conditioning van. Some good things happened in 2020, too.

I genuinely feel like we learn something every year. 2020 taught us a lot. While it wasn’t all bad, I am sure I’ve never been so happy to see a year end before.

Happy New Year, friends. May 2021 bless you and bring you great joy.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from all of us at Lumber in my Minivan!! We hope the year 2021 brings you a renewed spirit and many blessings.

Our office will be closed for the holiday and we will resume our regular schedule on Monday, January 4.