Fall Life Savers

Here are a few things that are keeping me afloat these days, I just wanted to share in case you were needing a little pick-me-up yourself! You are probably too busy prepping for Halloween to notice. I LOVE celebrating holidays with my kiddo's until they actually happen, then I feel like it's a slow death. For instance, today we are marching in a Halloween Parade and I'm pretty sure people are throwing candy and hot dogs at us? I die.

So if you are needing some encouragement because nobody will wear their designated Halloween mask, and you're currently hiding in a closet eating Reeses pumpkins, I can relate-- check out these for some refreshment.

Instagram Accounts--

Lately I've had two favorites that help me find joy.

@thegraygang beautifully documents her family along with notes detailing her experience as a mama. This gal has taught me so much about embracing the season of life I’m in. It has constantly been on my heart lately that I don’t want to just survive these years but instead find ways to thrive. That is impossible to do in every moment but Tiffany shares little reminders like how our personal happiness and mood do more for our kids than things like big outings or special gifts. That it is truly an honor to be our child’s “first love” and she has shared ways to connect with your kids on a one-on-one level even when you have a bigger family. I love her!

@shannanwrites had a book come out in September, I am making myself wrap up two others before I start it but I love what she has to say about finding purpose and beauty in the mundane. She lives in a small, Midwestern town similar to mine (except she has a coffee shop --so, jealous) and documents her daily life with posts like these:

Connected Families Ministry-- 

I left the kids and hubby at home a few weeks ago and attended a Parenting Seminar by a couple I've heard about for years-- Jim and Lynne Jackson. This was my first parenting seminar, I don't attend those on the reg. I also am not a big fan of reading a lot of parenting books because it is so boring to read about my life when I am busy LIVING it all day long. I would way rather read about things that are totally irrelevant to me like rich, dramatic housewives in Australia (Liane Moriety!)

BUT-- a friend told me that the Connect Families parenting approach changed their lives, and my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-method is getting me nothing but dirty looks, sassy comments, and fruitless trips to the timeout chair. I can't even begin to tell you how reorienting this method is! It is super grace based but also teaches you how to illicit accountability and action from your littles without manipulating them. I literally tried to write down everything they said, only to find out at the end of the two hours that it was all on a DVD, hand-cramp was totally unnecessary. I also bought their DVD "Peaceful Mothering," um--is that an actual thing? Yes, please! It is gospel centered and both Jacksons have a background in psychology-- she as a behavioral therapist and him as a counselor to youth recovering from drug addiction.

Happy Hour Podcasts-- 

I Cant. Say. Enough. Good. Things. Never in my life have I subscribed to a podcast, walking around my house with my cell-phone talking at me seemed like extra needless noise. BUT, I have really been struggling with loneliness during this season of life and the Happy Hour makes me feel like I have these great (pretend) friends talking with me about the things that matter most in my life. Michal says he can tell the days he comes home from work and I've listened to it that afternoon. I am guessing this is one part that I'm happier afterwards and one part that I require less conversation from him!

Jamie Ivey is the host and she interviews a different "friend" each week, covering topics like parenting, adoption, marriage, friendships, finding your passion/calling, and at the end of each conversation she asks each person to share what they've been reading and loving so I am getting a ton of great ideas! It is faith centered but isn't too preachy. I feel like it is really relatable and the women that are on are so vulnerable and honest about hard things so there is never that glossy fake-ness that we can sometimes encounter in Christian circles!
If you're just starting out, a few of my favorites are:

Shay Shull- sharing about her journey of infertility and adoption
Bianca Juarez Olthoff- talking about her role in defending those caught up in human trafficking AND how she applies fake eyelashes while driving (my kind of woman)
Katherine Wolf- this amazing woman survived a stroke (that occurred while her two-year-old napped in the other room) and subsequent two-month-long coma and has amazing perspective on suffering that completely changed my outlook on many things I've been struggling with

You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll definitely thank me after listening to some of these women share their lives!

Vitamin D3-- 

The winter is coming, the winter is coming! Now that I'm all hippy dippy and have chosen to have a midwife this pregnancy, I am following her tips to be proactive against Postpartum Depression (which in my case seems to tag team my other best friend: Seasonal Affective Disorder) by loading up on the Vitamin D. I can already tell a big difference in my energy and mood-- especially since I have also given up my afternoon Diet Coke and can tell I don't really need the extra caffeine to get through the witching hour which is A SHOCKING turn of events.

Trader Joe's Chai Tea-- 

Buttttttt for all the days I DO need that extra boost around 3 pm, I am loving this treat.

Nature Boxes-- 

This was actually an assignment from my kids' preschool but it was a fun (and easy) project for us to do together. We walked around the neighborhood for a few weeks collecting leaves, sticks, dried flowers, walnuts, acorns, dead beetles, discarded trash, etc and filled a shopping bag.

Once Emmy announced she had enough, we got out old shoe boxes and decorated them (aka made a huge mess with glitter glue). It was a simple project and gave some more purpose to our daily walks!
Archie loves the fall leaves, too!

Halloween TV--

Does anyone else control their kids' holiday shows like a crazy cruise director? I WILL NOT let mine watch any Christmas shows until after Nov 1st! I have been pushing Curious George Spooky Halloween telling them they aren't allowed to watch it after Oct 31st and diligently search the tv guide for Halloween themed Disney shows to record. I actually spend my break time while my kids fake-nap looking for fun shows to record, it's a passion. Thank you Motherhood, for bringing me dumb crap to care about that I never thought twice on before!

Fall Festivals--

We of course, like every other flannel wearing pumpkin-spice drinking family in America, have made various trips to pumpkin patches this fall. I love clinging to these fleeting warm days, getting outside with my kiddos and spending $7 on a caramel apple.

Pumpkin Painting--

I am lame/lazy and have yet to carve a pumpkin in my adult life. Painting them is much easier and less dangerous! Last year I just got out our craft box and let the kids get crazy with the paint and glitter (our driveway is still stained) They loved it!
This is the extent of my fall decor-- mums that never get watered and a hay bale that will surely sit here through several snowfalls!

Neighborhood Party--

We are using this season as an excuse to invite our neighbors over. I'm making my favorite fall go to's mentioned in this blog post-- Sweet Corn Chili, Butternut Squash Soup, and "The Salad." We are doing a little scavenger hunt around the yard now the woods are less tick-invested and having the neighborhood kids assemble a candy haunted house I bought at Trader Joes-- because there will be a 9-year-old here to facilitate the operation. It is so easy to stay busy and just wave at these people in passing but we really want to be better at opening our home and getting to know the families God has surrounded us with.

What other fun fall things am I missing? Has anyone else started their Christmas shopping lists' yet? I casually gave Emmy a copy of the American Girl catalog to get her to stop asking me questions in the car-- HUGE mistake! Four just seems so young to me to start such an expensive hobby-- what say ye more experienced mamas?!


  1. Love those IG accounts! Also, do you have Netflix? We have been loving Room on the Broom lately!

  2. Ally...i need to know more about the vitamin D!!! our February due dates are going to be so brutal for postpartum + seasonal sadness (I say sadness because it sounds so much less intense than depression, haha) + lack of sleeeeeep. i am catching up on your blog and makes me miss you so very badly...


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