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happy new year. new years family photo idea.

Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year everyone! 2017 was a pretty great year for us. We did a lot of traveling (Tasmania, Mammoth, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, San Diego, Lake Mead, New York, Bar Harbor, Saint John, Milwaukee and Maui), celebrated big things like birthdays and holidays as well as the small stuff and created a lot of wonderful memories together. Here is our 2017 Christmas card – I’ve been putting a collage on the back for the past few years to show all of the highlight’s of our year. I love looking back on the year while creating this.

2017 Christmas Card. A collage on the back is a great way to showcase highlights of the year.

I’m excited to see what 2018 has in store for us and have to admit this time of year has me thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Are you a resolution kind of person? I used to set 5 goals for myself each year, but found that I would get discouraged if I didn’t achieve my goals. Last year, I completely dropped the goals thing and my only intention for the year was to cut myself some slack and be happy with the present. I really wanted to enjoy the journey and focus less on checking off boxes, which I think I did a decent job at. Perhaps because I had a year of no concrete goals, I find myself craving goal setting more than ever this year. Of course, I already know that my goals are completely unrealistic. In my perfect world I would be organized, we would all eat healthy, I would exercise regularly, I would de-clutter and re-decorate my house, I would keep up with backing up my photos and clearing them off my phone, I would blog more regularly, scrapbook more regularly, learn about photography, be better at self-care and me time, I would go on more dates with my hubby, spend more time with my kids and the list could go on and on. I think my type A personality and constant desire to be better often sets me up for stress and disappointment, but at the same time, I think it is important to make an effort to better ourselves. So my compromise with myself this year is to try out the one little word thing. Have you ever heard of it? You pick one word that will be your theme for the year. My word is STRUCTURE. I have been craving more structure and feel like a good routine sort of went out the window when I became a stay at home mom. I am going to start off by implementing a schedule and my hope is that by following that schedule, I will better be able to plan for fitting in some of those other goals I mentioned above. Instead of concrete goals, though, structure will be my overarching intention for the year that I can always come back to and focus on in whatever form it takes on. I’m excited to see how this works for me and hope it will help me make improvements without getting discouraged.

happy new year. new years family photo idea.

Now that I’ve shared my personal goals, lets talk my blog. I started this blog as a hobby and at times it definitely seems unrealistic to continue it, but I feel like I need this space. After having worked the first few years of the kids’ lives, I feel like this blog has helped fill a void I experienced when I stopped working. I know I could spend the little bits of time I dedicate to my blog relaxing, watching tv, pampering myself, scrapbooking, etc. instead, but I find that having a connection to the outside world and feeling like I can make a positive influence for others is really rewarding. I mean, I already do all the things I share anyways, so I always feel like if I can help even one person by sharing, it is worth it. Moving forward, as long as this blog remains a hobby, it will probably take a backseat to family life, but when I do have time to blog, I want to be able to focus on what people want to see. So, I looked at my most popular posts, my best performing pins on Pinterest and took a poll of my instagram followers and here is what I discovered:

Top Blog Posts:

Finding Dory Birthday Party (8,224 views)

Holiday Photo Booth – Elf on the Shelf Idea with Free Printable (1,296 views)

Elf on the Shelf 2014 (1,152 views)

North Pole Breakfast 2016 (918 views)

Halloween Bathbomb Gift (595 views)

Let’s Get Wild Party Animals Birthday Party (464 views)

May Your Coffee Be Stronger Than Your Toddler – Free Printable (427 views)


Top Pinterest Pins: 

Finding Dory Birthday Party (3.6K repins)

May Your Coffee Be Stronger Than Your Toddler – Free Printable (666 repins)

Let’s Get Wild Party Animals Birthday Party (287 repins)

Holiday Photo Booth – Elf on the Shelf Idea with Free Printable (273 repins)

Elf on the Shelf 2014 (108 repins)

North Pole Breakfast 2016 (103 repins)


Instagram Poll:

Parties/Holiday 23 yes 0 no

Motherhood/Family Stuff 20 yes 3 no

Printables 19 yes 5 no

Scrapbooking/Craft Stuff 18 yes 3 no

Travel Tips and Trip Highlights 16 yes 5 no


And just for fun, here are my top 9 posts on Instagram in 2017:

2017 best nine on instagram

So, it appears that my elf on the shelf posts are favorites, but since I can’t focus on those all year-long, I think I will try my best to focus on more holidays and parties. 🙂 Parties and holidays seem to be what my instagram followers want and those posts are my most popular too. 🙂 On Instagram, it seems like everyone also likes family stuff, so I will try to post more of that on there. I will also do my best to tackle some of the other categories such as motherhood (let me know specifically what you want to hear about), printables, scrapbooking, traveling, etc. 🙂 I hope you continue to enjoy my blog and if you aren’t doing so already, I’d love for you to follow along on Instagram and Facebook. I definitely share a lot more personal and family stuff on Instagram, especially in my stories. 🙂

I hope that you all have a very blessed, creative and happy 2018!