Thursday, January 12, 2017

Journey of Loving my Family Well

Can I take a second to laugh at my boy, Tyler... I mean that boy gets so weird in front of the camera... he almost always looks like his eyes are about to pop out of his skull.

This year, I'm seeking out ways to love my family in more tangible ways -- to be present and love them in more effective ways.

How do I want to do that -- I'm thinking of Bible studies with John; daily devotions with the boys; date nights with John at least monthly; date nights with the boys.

I was thinking that the boy's date nights would work by dividing and concurring... i.e. James goes out with Mom one month then Dad the next month... and the same with Tyler. That way each of them has a special time with one of us each month.

I gave John a year of planned out dates as part of his Christmas gift -- so we just have to choose a day each month to accomplish them. I'm hoping that by the end of the month we can get January's date planned, but he is still working around the clock on a big project at work -- so hopefully it will wind up soon.

We got the One Year Devotional for Preschoolers 2


For our first trial run of doing this -- I wanted something very simple and short that we could read while they are having their dinner at night. Just a 2-3 minute talk and hopefully it will get them talking about things that the reading bring to their mind. 

Next up, I need to find a Bible study for John and I to work on together. We did get a really cool journal for Christmas -- so we're going to be working on that this year too. 


Those are some of my initial ideas for how I can work toward trying to be more dialed in with my family. Of course there are others that I am looking into -- so I'll let you know about those as I learn more.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Journey to a Clean Home

Oh, you know... I aspire to be so much better than my reality. I just run out of energy and fall short on this one so often. You know how something looks so daunting that you just decide to never really get started because it just seems like there is no way to make any progress. THAT is how I feel about getting my house clean.

I don't know if it's because I try to make everything perfect -- so it just makes me tired thinking about it... or if it's because I just get so worn out doing other things.

So this year, I've decided to try to take smaller projects on and see where we get. My kids are working on daily chores, and we are working together to get things done around the house.

I've made daily cleaning zones - and eventually it should only take us 20-30 minutes a day to get everything cleaned.

Each day of the week has rooms assigned to it for us to clean:

Monday is Zone 1 - The Kitchen/Breakfast Room
Tuesday is Zone 2 - The Dining Room, Laundry Room & Half Bathroom
Wednesday is Zone 3 - The Living Room
Thursday is Zone 4 - The Master Bedroom & Bathroom
Friday is Zone 5 - The 2 upstairs bedrooms, classroom, game room and bathroom
(the upstairs is lived in the least -- so even though it seems like a lot for 1 day -- there isn't too much to be done)

The daily zone is to be deep cleaned and decluttered -- so I've set a goal to get rid of un-necessary items from the house each week. Last week -- I threw out a ton of stuff... and got new living room furniture -- so that helped the room look less cluttered as well.

I want to take each week and find something that we don't use or need anymore and either throw it out or donate it to someone that could use it -- because all of this clutter around the house is driving me crazy. 

Along with the daily zone -- there is a 15 minute end of the day time set aside to pick up clutter from the main living spaces -- i.e. the kids toys from all over the house.

So wish us well friends... it's a battle I'm determined to win this year! 

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Journey to Getting Published

For as long as I can remember, I have loved writing. I process well through writing things out -- which was a big reason why I started ye ole blog. Then I had two babies in a year and lost my way with getting some writing done everyday.

I mentioned last fall that I really felt the calling again to finish my book and try to get it published. I felt the calling so strongly that I even sent an initial couple of chapters over to a self publisher.

They LOVED it, and even felt my writing was strong enough that I could actually edit the book myself -- although -- I would never try that. I've always known that when you're *THISCLOSE* to your story, you need fresh eyes on it to help weed out anything that isn't necessary. An editor can also help you find the spots that need a bit more flushing out because it isn't clear.

Anyway -- they sent me their recommendations and to say that I was FLOORED at the amount of money they wanted to publish my book would be an understatement. I mean sure, I *could* make it back and turn a profit eventually... it was a tough pill to swallow.

I mean we are talking $$ that I've never seen in my bank account at one time except maybe twice when we sold our house in Memphis or when John gets a good bonus at the same time as our tax refund comes in... it's A LOT.

Where does that leave me? Well, I could sign with them if money fell out of the sky... or I keep writing and praying that God will show me a different path. I've got plenty of work to do with writing still -- so I'm working on that end, but the process of finding an agent or a publishing company that might be interested in my book proposal seems daunting.

I'm not giving up -- and don't get me wrong. It was incredibly rewarding knowing that a publishing company thinks my work is good enough to publish under both of their brands, but at the same time -- it's a little disappointing to hear that they want a huge amount of money to get your book going. (Especially when it's money that you just flat do not have access to)

I do have a goal of polishing and finishing a chapter or two a month this year and hopefully if I can do two a month -- I'll be able to look for an agent or publisher later this year. I know that as long as I keep plugging along writing for God's glory -- he will help me fill in the gaps in His time. 
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Monday, January 9, 2017

Journey to Better Health

There honestly hasn't been a year in my adult life that I haven't set a goal for better health... but I truly believe that this year, I can make it happen. I want to make small changes and be better overall... not just lose weight.

I'm going to give the Shred Revolutionary Diet a try this year. I've read through this book and the Cookbook as well... I've loved them both!


The plan seems like it might really work for me because it's a 6 week cycle, and each week is very different. So for someone that likes plans that offer variations at the same time as they spell out what you should do for the best results... this is right up my alley! 

I additionally plan to use the Core De Force workout plan at least for the first month of my workouts... I used 21 Day Fix for the better part of the fall and I loved it as well. I tried Country Heat too, but I'm just not much of a dancer... so it didn't really work well for me -- don't get me wrong, it is a lot of fun - it's just not my favorite plan. If you're more interested in something you can live stream into your living room -- you should check out BeachBody On Demand.

In addition to these things -- I'm going to step up my water intake, and do my best to try to get my medications under control. So I'm going to be working toward getting my health to a place that will allow for my doctor to decrease my chronic medications tapered down to a level that is less and less each time I go to see my doctor. 

I experienced that in November when my doctor lowered one of my medications based on my eating well and working out so consistently for the several months before I went to see her.
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Journey to Tame the Kitchen

I've been trying to Tame several things within my kitchen since last summer sometime. If you've been around for a while -- you might remember my freezer cooking journey back early last year or the late part of 2015... back then I was planning and making a bunch of recipes and it would take 1 day to shop, another day to prep, and then 12ish hours to make those meals. That system was called Once A Month Meals. It was very time and labor intensive.

 It often left me thinking... there HAS to be a better way to do this. Who has 12 hours to stand in the kitchen -- even if it did speed up the rest of your month's meals. The other issue was that you'd make their recipes to their completion, which often left us eating things that were overdone by the time we reheated them.

That's when I learned about Erin Chase and all of her programs -- and I'm a super fan-girl of everything she does! I found her just about the time she launched My FreezEasy... it's been an amazing -- you literally can make 10 amazing meals in 1 hour! She has preset meal plans for the month - or you can get a membership to be able to swap meals out for ones that your family might like better than the ones on the preplanned menus. Additionally, she now has an app you can use on your phone or iPad too!

She has a plan for most major dietary concerns:
  • Traditional Plan
  • Gluten Free Plan
  • Clean Eats Plan
  • Slow Cooker Plan
  • 20 Meals Plan
  • Zaycon Fresh Plan
  • All Chicken Plan
  • All Ground Beef Plan
  • All Pork Chops Plan 
** The great thing is that every month you get ALL new recipes planned!

With the Premium membership (I have this one) you can go through a database of all the previous recipes and swap out the ones that don't interest you -- or you can even make a plan completely from scratch! I've made two completely from scratch plans and it takes no time at all -- just the time it takes for you to look through the recipes and choose the 5 you want to make! 

Did you get an Instant Pot for Christmas and not really know what to do with it? Yep, Erin has a class coming up to help you get all of the ins and outs of using and cleaning your instant pot. It's on pre-order right now at a very reasonable price -- I'm signed up and can't wait! The start Date for the Electric Pressure Cooking 101 Class is set for January 24th. These classes will be short for your busy life, and you will be able to watch them at your convenience.

Click on this image to make it larger
 Finally, the last thing I wanted to tell you about is something that I did last fall. I took part in Erin's Grocery Budget Makeover Class -- it is a 13 week program that teaches you how to meal plan, and make the most out of your grocery shopping game. She covers couponing, sale cycles, and so much more! She breaks down every part of the grocery shopping experience and teaches you how to get the most bang out of your buck!  Think of this as the Dave Ramsey class for the Grocery Budget! One of the great things about this program is that Erin makes it available to you to retake it or go back over the information if you need a refresher at any time! You really have nothing to lose!

You can combine all three of these different AMAZING services like I have... and I will look for what protein is on sale for the week, and I'll try to make a Freezer Meal Plan based on that protein source and stash those away for all the busy weeknights when Mom feels the need to pull something out of the freezer instead of starting completely from scratch! I call that a Busy Mom WIN!
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