I get it, I get it. We’re well into January and everyone’s moving on, but I’m still savoring a few drops of 2017. I started a new journal for the new year and started writing. I thought back through the calendar of the year we’d just tied up and thought about all the things that changed my life this year: the big and the small things, because it all adds up to a lot.

I’m sharing some of the things that changed me this year because you might need some changes in 2018 too. Something on this list might be just the thing you need.

Things that made my life better in 2017

Voxer// Don’t know what Voxer is? I like to call it my walkie-talkie app. Download the app and record voice messages to individual friends. Start a group with a few friends and have conversations every single day. When messages come in, just listen when you get a chance. You can speed up the messages by 2x or more if you want to. Send pictures, videos, GIFs too. It’s just so fun!

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My friends and I have chatted, solved problems, cried, vented, and laughed–hard–with each other almost every single day this year. It’s been like a constant coffee date that I only pick up when I have the time to add to the conversation. Perfect for a busy homeschool mama.

Target Drive Up// I know, I know. This is SO first-world problem level, but honestly. When I figured out we had this coming to our nearest Target after a string of terrible colds, sleepless nights, and constant nose-blowing in our house–a little tear of joy might have popped out. Not every Target is offering this yet, but I hope it comes to yours. Soon!

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Through the app you choose your items and set it to “drive-up” mode. They’ll text you when your order is ready–always less than two hours–and you go pick it up! Just pull up to the special parking spot, click the button in the app that tells them you’re there, and BOOM! Your Target run is delivered to your trunk. It’s the best.

There is one drawback though. They don’t have capabilities right now with coolers, etc to deliver your groceries. I do get a lot of groceries at Target so that would be even better, but for now I use drive-up if I need to get just a few things that I can’t hold off on. SO helpful!!

Mini Vans// Yes, mini vans changed my life this year. More than anything, mini vans changed my MIND this year. A few months ago, my SUV totally failed me–alternator and computer panel crash while I was driving down the road. HUGE bummer–even more huge repair bill.

While we waited for it to be repaired, my uncle loaned us his mini van that they don’t drive regularly. I was so grateful to have the loaner, but was totally unprepared for how it would totally change my mind about mini vans.

I’ll admit it–I thought I was too young, too cool, and really how much more convenient can they be from my SUV?

Uh, a lot more. The sliding doors that open and close when you PUSH A BUTTON!?!?! The walkway through the middle bucket seats to the back bench seats??!! The fact that it’s lower to the ground and Vera can just step right in??!!

I was totally sold.

We’re going to hang onto my current car for a while longer–she does have a sparkly, new alternator and I don’t want her to be too offended. But this summer we’re going to start searching for a van!!

Who even am I!?!

I’m sorry, Mini Vans, for what I said when I thought I was too cool for you.

More things that changed my life in 2017

Vitamin D// I struggled a LOT this year with energy levels and feeling good. Loads (too many) of tests told me everything was pretty much on target except my Vitamin D, which was very low. I really worked hard on getting my levels back up this summer and fall and when I was tested again in October, it was right back up where it should be.

Vitamin D deficiency can cause all sorts of issues like sleeplessness or sleeping too much, weight gain, fatigue, and much more. It’s a really simple blood test to have it checked so it might be a good thing to have done if you’re feeling perpetually run down.

I used a good supplement from my chiropractor and went out in the sun a lot. Even now that it’s winter, I’ll stand in front of a sunny window for several minutes just to feel those rays on my face.

My energy is SO much better now than it was back in May.

YOGA!!!// I’ve never loved yoga. Ever. I’ve tried it lots of times, but usually ended the session with a fake smile to the other class members that seemed so into it, feeling like what did I just do for an hour?? I was under the assumption that in order to have a good workout I need to feel some kind of sore muscles or be dripping sweat for it to be worth the trouble.

This year though, I tried again and it must have just been the right place at the right time for me.

2017 was a year I stepped back from a lot of things and my body sort of forced me to slow down. Yoga has been the perfect mode of exercise to embrace the mindful and slower pace.

I wake up now craving it.

The Yoga with Adriene videos on YouTube have been my favorite.

Biggest thing that changed my life this year: You Need a Budget// Yes, I’m 35 and no, I’ve never been on an official budget. And no, I can’t believe we waited this long.This is so important to me that I want to devote an entire post to it, but basically You Need a Budget, or YNAB, is a budgeting resource to help you set goals, pay off debt, plan your budget, create new categories, and more.

It makes it so simple to budget because YNAB syncs with your bank account so when you swipe your debit card, your budget KNOWS! Then you can later assign that transaction to the correct category and see your balance adjust for that category.

When Jarrod and I went on a date earlier this month to talk about 2018 goals, YNAB was by FAR our biggest life-changer of 2017. Our only regret is not starting it earlier, but we’re not looking back, we’re looking forward.

You Need a Budget has a 31-day free trial, so if you’re looking for something like this, I highly recommend it!

Faith in the year to come

I didn’t make a lot of goals for the new year. There’s some things we’re hoping to do in our financial life and things we want to do with our kids. But mostly, I want 2018 to be about feeling healthier. My back has been a hindrance for me for over a year now and I want to work on making that healing a priority. I put off massages and appointments to the chiropractor and that’s stopping this year.

I want to read 50 books this year–a lofty goal, but I’m excited about it!

Other than that, I just want to savor and slow down and enjoy my kids and this current season I’m in.

Life is beautiful. And I want to take the time to remember that.

How about you? What changed YOUR life in 2017?



  1. I just recently began taking a liquid vitamin D supplement. Thank you for sharing your insights!

  2. Dude, I hear you on the yoga – I took it up a number of months ago. Yoga with Adrienne is a favorite for me as well, along with The Journey Junkie | Allie Van Fossen.

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