Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Going to the Beach: Create Your Packing List

One of my favorite vacations is renting a beach house with our friends and just relaxing. However, having a successful beach vacation takes some planning. So, I have created my Ultimate Beach House Packing List 2018 !!!!

Beach Needs
I think this section is pretty much self explanatory, but here are a few notes..
* Check with your local beach to see if you need to (or can) bring your own beach chairs and umbrellas. The place we are going this year does not allow you to bring your own, but has a rental kiosk.
* A soft-sided cooler is good to bring some drinks and small snacks...water is a must if you are in the sun for a while.

House Needs
* Sage is something we like to burn in the grill to help keep mosquitoes and flies at bay.
* Most houses do not provide toilet paper, or if they do, it is one roll. Grocery stores are mad houses on weekends at the beach, so just pack it, because you need it.
* Same thing with tissues. If your family uses a lot of tissues, just pack them.
* Clothespins are a must! The beach tends to be breezy, so when you hang your towels and bathing suits outside to dry, bring clothespins to secure them.

First Aid
This is a better safe than sorry category. The area we usually rent is pretty remote, so we like to have a lot of the things that we might need.

Kitchen Needs
We do a lot of our own cooking while we are at the beach, mostly out of laziness. So we like to bring things from home that we won't use all of, like spices and cleaners and containers. We also like to bring certain appliances, like a slow cooker and a griddle. Oh, and we never have enough pitchers! We mix up a lot of cocktails so our bartender doesn't have to be on call all the time ;)

We love a good game night. Some of our best beach memories are centered around game nights, so we like to bring new games and cards. We also like to bring movies because there is always going to be a rainy afternoon that needs to be filled with laziness.

This will be personal for every family. We don't always bring our laptops and tablets. It really just depends on what we have going on.

Clothes and Hygiene
I will do a completely separate post on clothes and hygiene items I like to bring along.

If you are stuck, I hope this helps!

What did I miss? Comment below!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Some Days You Just Need to Recharge - Motivational Monday

When this year started, I was gung-ho about making the most out of 2018. I was going to get my act together and figure out this housewife thing, improve myself and improve my relationships.

After my grandmother passed away in mid-February, I knew I needed to be gentle with myself, but that I also needed to keep up with at least the things I had in progress. I told myself I would give myself the season of Lent to keep the status quo, but that when I returned from our Easter trip, it would be full steam ahead again.

I kept to that. When we returned from our trip to Las Vegas, I had a renewed sense of energy and dove in to my spring cleaning. I had lists and I was going to cross everything off of those lists. To up the ante even further, after I finished most of the spring cleaning, I started my 100 Days to Destin journey.

Last week, I had a hard day. I was plagued by insecurity and frustration. I was overwhelmed with all of the balls I was juggling and it all hit me at once.

The next day, I let myself off the hook a bit. I still walked, did my morning routine. I cleaned the kitchen, but I couldn't get the energy up to mop or clean out the refrigerator, so I just didn't. I gave myself the grace I needed to just take a minute to recharge.

That night, we tried a new restaurant and went to a movie and it was just what I needed. A low pressure, low stress evening with my husband.

The following day I made myself get back to it and now I feel just as energized as I did when I got back from Las Vegas.

Those two days following my hard day two messages came through. On Thursday, Sam at Happily a Housewife talked about mom burnout and that sometimes just doing something fun with your family is enough to get back on track. On Friday, my meditation app drove that point further home for me. I'm in the middle of the Basics course of meditation on the Headspace app and the message for Day 5 was that some days, you need to take your foot off the gas so you can refocus the next day. (Lots of paraphrasing there). Hearing those messages made me feel less alone. I realized having a hard day and needing to recharge was not a sign of weakness or failure, it just made me human.

How do you recharge? Are you good at recharging before it becomes critical, or are you like me and push yourself too far? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, May 18, 2018

100 Days to Destin

In about 100 days, we will be going to Destin for our regular beach trip with our friends. When we go, I want to be in better shape so I can keep up and do all the things I want to do! I don't want to struggle to walk on the beach. I don't want to skip activities because I don't know if I can do it. That is not who I am and it is time I get this under control.

So I made a plan and I am sharing it to keep myself accountable. I did very well with Whole30 because I posted about it on Instagram ( @adventureswithjennie ). (I lost 45 pounds!) I also did very well when I was on a walking program a few years ago. (I lost 30 pounds!)

This plan combines both programs. The rules are in the graphic below.
Every day, I will walk for 30 minutes or take a 1 hour water aerobics class. I am going to allow myself up to 10 grace days.

I am going to cut sugar from my diet, except for my coconut milk and an after dinner snack of dark chocolate covered blueberries. I am going to allow myself 10 grace days (I want cake for my birthday!)

No more fast food! When I am at home. It is difficult to cut out fast food when we are traveling.

I am only going to allow myself 2 instances of dairy and 2 instances of gluten a week. Cheese is good. I know I feel bad when I eat cheese, but sometimes, I just want some sour cream for my baked potato or taco. Same goes for gluten, sometimes you just need a sandwich.

Have you ever set up your own program? What helps you succeed? Share below! Let's help each other!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

About Me

Two years ago, I left my job at a non-profit to embark on this homemaking journey. It has not been an easy ride. I have felt lonely and discouraged a lot of the time, but recently, things have been on the upswing. I am excited to share a little of my life and my journey as a homemaker.

Chris and I on a pirate ship in Grand Cayman
Here is the truth. I am a bad homemaker. I am improving, but cleaning is not my forte. I also hate shopping. I had a bit of depression that started a few months after I left my job and I really struggled to feel better. When I would start to feel better, I would get overwhelmed and fall back into the depression.

With some of my best friends
This is going to sound like a piece of propaganda, but in October, I did a Whole30 month and that was honestly the turning point. I learned more about food, I became a better cook, I felt better, my energy increased and my depression lifted. Then, I found the wonder of the YouTube cleaning video and the YouTubers have really kept me motivated and taught me a lot!

So why should you stick around?

I want to create a place to motivate you, lift you up and chat about homemaking. If I find a new cleaning hack, try a new recipe, go on a trip or find a great product, I will share it. And I want to hear your opinions too! Let me know if you have a recipe or a product you want me to try and if it is something that will work for us, I will try it!

So, who am I?

I grew up in a small town. I am a college graduate. I have been married for 11 years to my college sweetheart. We have not been lucky enough to have children yet, but we are researching our adoption options. I worked in the non-profit and retail industries until a couple of years ago when I left my job to become a homemaker.

One of my favorite pictures from our wedding day
Why did I leave my job?

We always planned on me leaving my job when we had kids, but since that did not happen, we decided it was time. Both of us were working exhausting full time jobs, usually with a lot of overtime, and with me staying home, I could focus on our house and family more.

Being a homemaker has given me the freedom to be where I needed to be for my family. I was able to be present when my best friends parents died, when my mom had cancer, when my grandmother died, and to help my mother-in-law with her medical appointments and home maintenance.

What do I love?
I love reading, TV, movies, and travel. I love to do puzzles and DIY home decor projects. I love cooking and baking.

In a cave on our Honeymoon
After my Whole30, I have cut a lot of gluten and dairy from my diet. I am still trying to reduce those even further. I had sugar completely cut out, but it has crept back in and I am working on cutting that out again.

Lexi. She is 18 years old.
Other facts: I love the Outer Banks. I have a cat named Lexi and a turtle named Harvey. I am obsessed with Disney. I hate peas and birds.

Me and Donald at Chef Mickey's at Walt Disney World's Contemporary Resort
I am excited to start sharing!

My feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time!
Follow me on social media:
Instagram: @adventureswithjennie
Pinterest: belle717
Facebook: Coming Soon!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

36 While I'm 36

Inspired by 18 for 2018, I talked to my friend Erin and talked her into embarking on another project with me...36 while we are 36. Erin turned 36 in January and I will turn 36 in July. So we split the difference and decided to start our year in March.

So far, I have hit this list running!

To Date I have:
Bought a new purse (#1)
Did something new in May (#3)
I have the house purge in progress (#5)
I started Meditating (#7)
I have a dryer vent cleaning scheduled (#8)
Bought new living room curtains (#9)
Updated dishrags (#15)
I have filed monthly (#17)
I have washed my car monthly (#18)
I bought a zoo membership (#22)
Mask Thursdays are awesome (#24)
I went to Wicked (#25)
I texted a friend daily (#28)
Weekly Power Hours are awesome (#32)
I am working on a digital declutter (#34)

Are there things you would like to do but have been putting off? Share some of them below!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

18 for 2018

I have never succeeded in keeping a New Years Resolution. I think that resolutions are fun to make, but I have never heard of anyone who kept one.

In December, my favorite podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, suggested we make a list of 18 things we want to do in 2018. If you search the hashtag #18for2018, you can see a multitude of lists that Happier listeners made with goals from buying a new purse to moving to a new country.

When I made my list, a lot of the goals were daily habits I wanted to institute, as well as a few major life improvements.

So far, I have been keeping up with the daily devotional, the one-sentence a day journal, the gratitude journal and learning German. I have purchased a shed. I have revamped my goal of completing 2 Whole30s, but I will write more about that in a few days. I have read 24 books. I am very close to getting my planner situation under control. I have purchased this domain and am working on my blog ;). 

Whew. I love this list and can not wait to make my 19 for 2019!

Do you make New Years resolutions? Are you a part of the 18 for 2018 craze? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, May 14, 2018

2018 Word for the Year: Flourish

As I was planning my goals for 2018, I was struck by the theme of improving myself and my life. I had a good life, but it felt stagnant. I have all of this time on my hands and I was not using it effectively.

After a lot of searching, I decided to use the word flourish. I had the vision of taking my normal life and creating a full and luscious garden of a life.

Over the next few days, I will be sharing my lists of goals and I think you will see what lead to using the word flourish.

Do you choose a word for the year? What is your word for the 2018?