12/28/15

Living Life

Since my hysterectomy I have quite a lot on my mind. I've been thinking about the close of a season and entering into a new one. I feel like writing is a piece of me but I have decided to take a long break from blogging. Instead I'm going to spend my time journaling and honing in on writing skills (because lets face it I need a lot of work). I also feel the need to quit chasing dreams and just enjoy life. Not that I'm giving up on my dreams, but I'm so tired of focusing on them and the future that I'm not taking the time to enjoy here and now.

I'm wanting the next year of my life to focus on who I am as a person, not just as a mom and wife, but also enjoy precious moments with my family. I just want to live my life.

I'm removing all the social media apps from my phone and will just be checking them occasionally on my computer.

So here's to 2016! I resolve to draw into God and love on my family and myself (something I have a very hard time doing). I want to eventually redesign and rebrand my blog, but for now I'm resolving to just live my life and take joy in the journey that the Lord has set before me.

11/2/15

Where Have I Been?

Can you hear the crickets chirping? I know I can! The blog has been very very quiet with exception to my fab contributors (thanks ya'll for posting and not letting my little ol blog shrivel up and die)! I know I posted an update recently but I feel like so much has changed since then and life has been well just nutty.

Yes, I'm still subbing quite a bit in hopes to use my pay check to pay for Christmas, but the main thing that's been going on has been some not so fun health stuff. In my last update I mentioned that my well woman visit didn't go as planned. I had to go back and have an ultrasound done. The ultrasound showed that my uterus is slightly larger than normal. That plus my symptoms my doctor believes I have adenomyosis. What is that and why am I sharing this? Well sharing for the woman, who was like me, and was trying to find any and all info on the topic especially real life stories.

Adenomyosis is when the tissue that lines the uterus actually grows into the uterus. It continues to act as it would in the uterus (thickening, breaking down, etc). It's similar to endometriosis but not the same because it won't spread beyond the muscle tissue of the uterus. However, there are some women that have endometriosis AND adenomyosis. The symptoms vary from woman to woman. Some show no symptoms at all where as other have intense symptoms. The main symptom is pain. You can google to find all the other symptoms but for me pain is the main symptom.

I'm not in debilitating pain (although I do have times of intense pain). Actually when I mentioned it to my doctor I was pretty certain I had a cyst. I was pretty shocked when the ultrasound tech said there were no cysts. Since then I have looked backed over my life and fit the puzzle pieces together. Heavy periods, clots, etc. I was in pain for several days after my ultrasound. As my doctor put it I finally have an answer.

As hopeful as that may sound the down side is the only real cure for adenomyosis is a hysterectomy. There are other options you can try. My doctor suggested an IUD and I schedule to get it but felt uneasy about the whole thing. After talking a lot with my hubby I scheduled another appointment with my doctor to discuss what would be the best options. After a lot of discussing, praying, and mulling everything over I am scheduled for a hysterectomy. I go in tomorrow and evict my uterus. I hit several stages of grief at the first diagnosis. The thought of loosing my fertility hit me HARD. I have wanted more children for a long time, but the Lord has given me such peace about letting go of my fertility.

The thing is, yes I can try other things but they won't fix adenomyosis, they will only suppress it. My hubby and I felt like those would only be "band aid" fixes. I just want to do what I can to be the best mom possible for the children I DO have and not wear myself down in the hopes to possibly have more children. I did not make this decision lightly and definitely wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think this is what is best.

I will admit I do have some fears I'm dealing with. The only way to actually diagnose adenomyosis is through pathology after a hysterectomy. So what if I have this surgery and they don't find adeno? This is what hubby and I keep discussing but we still feel like with the problems I keep having this is the route we should go. I'm also really nervous about recovery so I'd appreciate prayers that its a smooth speedy recovery. They also be looking to see if I have endometriosis and burn off any adhesions that are found.

Yes I love to do things naturally when possible but there are times when I feel we need to go with a medical approach, and I feel that for me this is what is right at the moment.

I hope to get some posting done during my recovery process and hey it could end up being really fun, who knows what I'll write while medicated!

10/27/15

WOW Hits 2016

This review is sponsored by Family Christian but all thoughts and opinions are my own
 
 
 
I just love music. I love the way it speaks to my soul. The Lord chose not to gift me with any musical abilities but if you ever ride with me for very long in a car you will quickly learn that has never stopped me from belting out lyrics to songs I love.
 
 
 
 
I was so excited at the opportunity to review WOW Hits 2016! I have a few other WOW Hits so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. There are 30 wonderful songs (and some bonus songs whoop whoop). These CDs is bouncing back and forth between my car and my house. I don't like quiet and when I'm home alone and just cleaning I usually have music blaring. The wonderful worship songs but a bounce in my step as I find myself sing and worshipping all throughout my house. It also stirs my heart to pray and just seek the Lord.
 
 
I love all the songs so very much (and especially love listening to my kids sing a long). But if I had to choose I think my top 3 favorite that are included would be Greater by Mercy Me, He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli, and Broken Together by Casting Crowns.
 
Make sure to hop over to Family Christian and order your copy! And yes its ok for you to pretend we are jamming out together ;).
 
 


10/9/15

Plum Paper Planner Review and Discount Code

I received this item at a discount in exchange for a review, but the opinions stated are 100% my own.


My life has just been so hectic ad crazy, so I knew I needed something to help me. I had so many calendars and to do lists everywhere that it was hard to keep track. I knew I needed a planner so I started looking.



First I asked on Facebook what my friends used. Several people recommended the Erin Condred planner, so I checked those out. There were a few things I liked about them but still didn't feel like it completely met my needs. I wasn't willing to pay the high price for something that didn't fully meet my needs. My friend (and one of our contributors) Jen recommended Plum Paper Planner (you can read her review here) so I thought it was worth a shot to check them out.

Oh my goodness I am so so glad I did! Not only does it meet my needs as a family planner but I also was able to include a blog and direct sales planner! I was so ecstatic when it arrived. I may or may not have caressed it and sobbed softly. I'm going to show you what's included with each!

Family Planner



I chose to order the family planner (the other sections I'll talk about were add ons and cost extra). I love my cover, and honestly deciding on a cover is THE HARDEST part! They have so many beautiful covers! I love the weekly layout of the family planner. It gives me a space to dedicate for all the different assets of my life. You can have the tabs on the side personalized but I chose to leave them blank. So far I have dedicated them to Me, Fam, House, Blog, and Usborne. That leaves me with 2 blank boxes to add whatever else I need to. At the top I write appoints or significant info for that day, like if its pay day for example There is also a place on the side of the weekly layout for notes and a weekly list. I haven't gotten into using stickers so my planner looks kind of boring but right now I just need it functional. I'll get creative with it eventually. The family planner also includes:
  • Note page (I purchased extras note pages for each month)
  • A full month view
  • Monthly tabs
  • A folder in the back to keep up with stuff
  • Year at a glance
  • Holiday dates
  • A place to write special dates
  • Contact info
  • Passwords

Direct Sales Planner and Blog Planner



I was so excited about the add ons and honestly these are what led me to get the Plum Paper Planner because I could have everything in one place. The thought of having multiple planners made me want to hyperventilate. The direct sales planner includes:
  • Monthly overview
  • Party planning list
  • To do list
  • Monthly tasks
  • Mileage tracker
  • Passwords
  • Hostess contacts
  • Lead contacts
  • Consultant contacts
  • Income and expenses tracker
  • Monthly expenses
The blog planner contains:


  • Monthly overview
  • Income and expenses tracker
  • Monthly blog tasks
  • Monthly blog stats
  • To do list
  • Advertising and sponsors
  • Giveaways and reviews
  • Blog annual planner

I just can't say enough how much I'm loving my planner! Its really helping me get my life back in some for of functioning!

(Coupon code is no longer available)
You know what's awesome?! You can get your own planner at a discount! Plum Paper had generously offered my readers a 10% off coupon!!!! Be sure to use the coupon code HIPPY10 when checking out!
 
 
 
Do you use a planner? What planner tips can you share? Have you ever heard of Plum Paper Planner before this? 


9/29/15

Why You Can't Give Me Books

The end of last week and over the weekend I wasn't feeling well (I was also emotional from being diagnosed with adenomyosis earlier in the week but that's for a later post) so I spent all weekend with my nose buried in a book. Let me tell you it was so nice! I just haven't sat and gotten lost in a book in so long my soul needed it. As much as I love to read you should probably know though its not always a good idea to give me a book.

And here is why:

  1. Most books once I start I can't stop
  2. Because I can't put the book down that means all normal everyday functions cease such as caring for my family and basic necessities such as showering.
  3. I get to emotionally involved with the characters. They laugh, I laugh. They cry, I cry. They go into a deep emotional abyss, well you get the picture
  4. The closer to the end of the book I get the moodier I get because I don't want it to be over, yet I can't stop reading.
  5. I'm obsessed about what I'm reading (see numbers 1-4). If I have to take a break from reading, to you know make sure we have clean underwear or feed the children, I can't quit thinking about the characters and mentally dissecting their lives. I think way to much about the plot and decisions each character makes and why, what he or she could/would/should do differently.
  6. Reading makes me realize that deep down I'm pretty dark and twisty. I love Jodi Picoult and Ted Dekker and usually don't often read romance type novels.
  7. I'll repeat the fact that I neglect family and friends while reading because well its pretty sad.
  8. I have a book hangover for days when I'm finished reading as I mentally visit each character and again dissect the story. I honestly think way to much about how things could have gone or if one slight change had been made.
I'm pretty sure if I asked my hubby to contribute to the list and he had time to think about my reading "problem" he might burn all of my books and then I'd be hospitalized for convulsions and foaming at the mouth.

9/23/15

Life Lately

Posting has been somewhat slow here lately so I thought I'd do a quick post about what life looks like lately!

  • I'm back to subbing and have already worked several days. Plus today I had sub training so just been running around trying to get back into the swing of things

  • My Usborne business is picking up which I'm so excited about! I ordered a ton of books with my commission for my kids for Christmas. Ssshhh don't tell!

  • I have a lot of brain storming ideas for series for this blog and trying to hash out all the details. I have an idea for a second blog but taking it slow and trying not to add one more thing to my plate.

  • I've had the black plague aka a sinus infection that has taken me out. I haven't been this sick in a while

  • Having issues with my PCOS (poly cycstic ovarian disease) and as my doctor put it my well woman visit turned into a problem visit, something everyone likes to hear. I think my ovaries are just a little too excited about celebrating PCOS Awareness Month.


  • My very first article is being published in a local magazine this month and I have to start writing my second article! I'm so excited about this and hoping to start submitting articles to other publications but my brain has been sort of mush lately.

  • My daughter is playing volleyball on the junior high team and goes to her first dance in a few weeks. Not sure I'm ready.


  • The most important thing that has happened lately will have to be another post for another day because its just so much of my heart I want to share but still trying to figure out my words. Let me just say that we have a merciful, loving, and gracious Lord who pours out His love and healing in incredible ways!

Ok so I know this was a real boring post and I had a lot of whit and sarcasm that I wanted to interject but did I mention I have the black plague? Yeah I'm a real joy to be around when I'm sick.

9/21/15

An Interview With Sally From Real Mom Nutrition


I am so excited about today’s post! I recently found a new (to me) blog Real Mom Nutrition and I just sat down and read it almost like a book. I am even more excited that Sally the author of Real Mom Nutrition agreed to let me interview her! Sally is a registered dietician, blogger, podcaster, and mom. I love her blog because its real life practical tips to get your kids to eat healthier. My favorite thing about Sally is that she doesn’t strive for perfection, she understands what it’s like to have kids and wants them to be healthy but understands that in life you can’t always eat perfect and some days you don’t get enough veggies and may indulge in too much sugar.


First of all Sally I want to thank you for agreeing to let me interview! Please tell us about yourself!

I’m a registered dietitian, a mom of two boys, an educator, and an author. I write the blog Real Mom Nutrition, which is about feeding kids and staying sane. When I’m not working, I volunteer at my children’s school on the wellness committee and at a local food pantry/resources center. I also love to play the piano and bake yummy things.

What exactly does a registered dietician do?

Dietitians have so many different jobs, that’s one thing I love about the profession. Many dietitians work in healthcare settings, like hospitals and long-term care facilities, others work in schools in foodservice, or at the university-level as a researcher or professor, others have corporate jobs working with food companies, and some do employee wellness. I’ve tried a number of different jobs over the years, such as weight loss counseling and diabetes education, but now I specialize in nutrition communications. I write my blog, Real Mom Nutrition, do freelance writing for magazines, and work with companies such as Stonyfield and Stemilt Growers writing for their websites too.

You have also written a book, can you tell us about that?

I collaborated with Cooking Light on a book called Dinnertime Survival Guide. It’s designed for busy families who have very real obstacles to getting a healthy meal on the table, like crazy schedules, a tight budget, or picky kids. Each chapter focuses on a different obstacle and provides solutions and recipes that target that obstacle. It includes very easy, family-friendly recipes using ingredients that you can easily find at the grocery store. I’ve gotten wonderful feedback on it from so many people, and that has been the best part of it all!

Why did you decide to start your blog?

I started my blog because when I became a mom, I realized that feeding myself and my family a healthy diet was much harder than it was made out to be. I felt like a lot of bloggers weren’t telling the truth about how hard it was, so I decided to tell the truth! I wanted to provide readers assurance, plus provide advice on what works for US, including kitchen tricks, feeding tips, and very easy recipes.

My husband and kids are hesitant to eat healthy and they really seem to resist any changes I try to make. Do you have any tips to slowly get hard headed husbands and children on board with eating healthier?

I think it’s imperative that spouses are on the same page with this because you want to present a united front to your kids on the family’s food values. And you definitely don’t want to have a spouse who undermines your efforts to eat healthfully.  I think partners should have conversations about their beliefs and values around food and try to come to a mutual understanding. My husband is wonderful at trying new foods—and if he doesn’t like something, he doesn’t make a big deal about it to the kids. I also try to be sure I am serving everyone’s favorites once in a while so people feel heard and understood. So we might have Brussels sprouts one night (not my husband’s fave) but then corn (which he does like) the next night. We’ll have curry one night (which my youngest doesn’t like) then spaghetti another night (his favorite).

I can’t remember if I heard you say this on a podcast or read it in one of your posts, but you said that you ask yourself before eating something, “how will this make me feel later” and it helps you when you are making choices. First I have to say that I love that! I’ve started asking myself that and so far it has helped me! My daughter who is hypoglycemic went to a football game and ate a ton of sugar and came home and was feeling awful, so instead of fussing like I’d normally (hello control freak mom) I was able to talk to her about her food choices and told her to start asking herself before she decided to eat something sugary “how will this make me feel later”. Do you have any other suggestions for discussing nutrition with our kids? Or ways to explain to them how different foods will affect their bodies?

I try to be as positive as possible. I try not to ever scare my kids; I would never say a food is dangerous or toxic or poison, words I hear used with food way too often! We talk about the foods that are best for our bodies, the foods that help us grow and make us feel good, and how we want to eat more of those foods than the chips and ice cream and cookies. (But those foods are still part of our lives!) We also talk about balance, especially as the kids get older. My goal is for them to understand how to put together a balanced meal or snack.

After listening to several of your podcast episodes I have realized that I’m sort of casting a negative concept on food with my children. Have you noticed specific ways parents seem to be sabotaging their efforts to get their kids to eat healthy?

Using food as a reward backfires. Telling kids they can have dessert if they eat their veggies is a short-term solution with no long-term benefits. All your kid is learning is that veggies are yucky and what you have to slog through to get to the “good stuff”.  My podcast partner, Dina Rose, talks about the “happy bite”. You want your kids to take a bit of broccoli because they like it and want to eat it, not because you’ve forced them to eat it. Nagging, bribing, and forcing kids to eat foods is never a good idea and creates negative associations that can last a long time!

I’ve heard family members and other parent say “well my kids are skinny, healthy, and have a lot of energy so they can just eat whatever they want”. How do you feel about this statement?

A person can be trim but not be healthy. We now know that the foundation of heart disease, for instance, is laid down in childhood. Kids can have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and we’re seeing that more now than ever before Eating habits are also established in childhood, and children learn habits early. If we set our kids up to eat junk, that  may be what they carry into adulthood. That affects not only their weight but increasingly, their health, as they get older.

Do you have any other resources that you would recommend for parents?

I love a lot of blogs about feeding kids like Raise Healthy Eaters, It’s Not About Nutrition, Just The Right Byte, and The Lunch Tray. Mom’s Kitchen Handbook is wonderful for recipes. I also have some books listed on my blog that I like for picky eaters, which are listed here.

Where else besides your blog can my readers find you?

9/9/15

When Common Is Made Clean

I really struggle with self worth. I look at myself and see no gifts, talents, or anything of value. I haven't contributed anything to this world other than marrying my amazing hubby and having two great kids. But honestly that doesn't feel like any sort of an accomplishment because despite my best efforts I fail daily in the whole mom and wife department.

I'm always assuming that I'm not enough and that others are looking down on me. And quite honestly I get mad at God because of all of my short comings. I'm not asking to be perfect, but would like to be a little more than mediocre. Why can't I have some sort of special skill or talent? Why do I feel like He forgot to give me any sort of Spiritual gift? Most days I hate myself.

This is by far one of my biggest struggles. I just can't seem to place much value on myself.

Then I read this....

"What God has made clean, do not call common." Acts 10:15

This was during Peter's vision when God was abolishing the Old Testament dietary restrictions. This was also to bring unity to the Jews and the Gentiles. I've read through this text several times before, but this time it hit me like a ton of bricks!

Sunday in church our pastor was preaching on finding our identity in Christ and coming out of the wilderness. If I attempted to explain out his sermon to you I would most definitely botch it, but several things he said during that sermon have played over and over in my head. I have been crying out to the Lord for His help in loving Him more and learning to put my flesh to the side. I've come to believe not only are the worthless thoughts rolling around in my head are straight from the devil, but are also an idol. Its taken up so much of my thoughts and focus and just another excuse to keep myself from drawing close to the Lord.

Monday night I picked up the book I've slowly been reading and yet it was another reminder of what the Lord is speaking into me.

When I accepted His Son Jesus as my Savior, He cleansed me from my sins. I don't have to prove that I'm of worth, because sending His Son to carry my sins on the cross and die for me is proof that He that He loves me. He made me clean and that means I'm not common. That means that there in fact is something special about me even when I don't feel very special.

I read those words as a command. I'm writing them down and taping it where I can see it daily.

Have you been made clean? Then dear sister you most certainly are not common!

9/7/15

13 DIY Natural Cleaning Products

I've been in cleaning mode! I've been organizing, decluttering, and deep cleaning so I've been on the hunt for some new DIY cleaning product recipes. Swapping out cleaning products is a great start when you are trying to switch to a natural lifestyle. Making your own cleaning products not only will be safer for your family, its A LOT cheaper! I teamed up with some fellow bloggers to bring you these amazing DIY natural cleaning products!



Check out these DIYs and pick one product at a time to start making yourself!
 
 
Natural Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

9/3/15

Grace For The Ho-Ho Eaters

I love the idea of all-natural living. Of living off the land, organic, chemical free, of never eating processed food. It all sounds so wonderful. But the trouble is, reality looks a little different from us at this point. I drink an occasional diet Coke. There is Hamburger Helper in my pantry, and the soap on my soap dish was not made by yours truly. And you know what? I think that's okay. 



Don't get me wrong- I still think that all-natural living is a great goal, and those people who do it and do it well? The cloth-diapering, chicken-butchering, elderberry-syrup-drinking folks? They're pretty impressive. And I'd like to be them when I grow up. I typically clean my home with vinegar, but I use Comet for those tough stains on my counter. I use essential oils for sore muscles and to help me sleep... but I also carry ibuprofen in my purse. Here's the thing- it's just not practical for me to be totally crunchy at this point in my life. It just wouldn't work. It's all about priorities, really. Right now, the biggest priorities for me are my faith, my marriage and family, and my hobbies (mainly, let's be honest, my blog).

 Maybe someday, living the granola life will be a priority to us. It's not one right now- not really. I still do a little here and there to reduce our environmental impact, save a little money, and keep myself and my husband a little healthier. It's taken me a while to get to the place where I'm okay with my half-way method of doing things. I'm typically an all-or-nothin' type of girl.

This is where grace comes in. I'm pretty terrible at giving myself grace- in the big things, in the little things, even when it comes to simply getting my laundry done. By giving ourselves grace, we find the freedom to live life to the full, without feeling guilty for buying non-organic chicken at the grocery store. It's okay to still be a work in progress. It's okay to not get it perfectly every time. Maybe you're the super-crunchy type. That's so great- and I think you just rock. I'm sure that you can apply this grace thing somewhere else in your life, though. As human beings, we're all pretty imperfect- even if our imperfection shows up in different ways. But! Even though we screw up all the time, we know that we're loved and worth it. Even when we mess up, we know that God uses broken people and scraggly edges all the time. There's nothing I could do (or eat, or clean with, or stock my pantry with) that will make Him love me less. So no, I don't plan on eating my placenta if I ever have children. I will continue my coffee-and-chemical-laden-creamer habit, thank you. And that box of Ho-Ho's on the counter? Yeah, I'm gonna eat that. Because there's grace, even for the Ho-Ho eaters.









...   ...   ...   ...   ,,,


Ally loves coffee, motorcycles, blogging, and Jesus (not in that order, although coffee is toward the top of  her list). An accidental country girl, Ally often finds herself wondering how she ended up on the back of a horse every summer and living on a 21-acre hobby farm. She and her husband work at a Bible Camp ministry in Iowa, where they are blessed to share the love of God practically and behind-the-scenes.
Ally writes about what God is teaching her, finds the joy, works on giving herself grace, and shares her blessings at A Home Called Shalom

9/2/15

Subscribe and Get 6 Essential Oil Recipes for Cold and Flu Season

Hi ya'll!!! I'm so excited to announce that I created 6 essential oil recipes for cold and flu season. And because I'm just so extremely fabulous (and not to mention humble) I'm giving them to you when you subscribe to my newsletter! You'll never miss a post and I have a lot of awesome things planned!



You can subscribe in the sidebar. Just put in your info and select how often you'd like to receive my newsletter, then you'll receive a confirmation email with the download for the oil recipes! I hope you enjoy them! And I can't wait to pop up in your inbox!

9/1/15

Girl Stuck in a 90s World

I was born in the late 80s so my childhood (the preteen years) covered the 90s. I can remember when I finally got call waiting, a computer, and caller ID. I grew up watching Nickelodeon with Stick Stickly, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and Clarissa Explains It All. My friends and I would spend our summer days at the mall and would have to use a pay phone to call our parents to pick us up. When I was in 6th grade our mall finally got a Bath and Body Works, aaahh Country Apple hand sanitizer anyone?



I have watched over the past several years as trends from other eras like the 70s and 80s made their way back. So I waited. Patiently waited. And finally last summer it happened. I saw a pair of overalls hanging in a store and I knew the time was coming. And that time is finally here. The 90s are back! Open a magazine and you'll find sunflower print and grunge on models. I'm way more excited than I should be! I knew it was official when I saw a ton of platform shoes at Target.

I'm really hoping though that the mom dresses with the big collars and vests (I'm looking at you DJ Tanner) don't come back. But to be honest some of the loose dresses like what Monica Geller wore on Friends I think I can get on board with.

Anyway that was my random nonsense for the week. If you need me I'll be singing along with TLC and trying to convince my daughter that jelly sandals are in fact extremely cool!

8/31/15

Printable Essential Oil Dilution Chart

A few weeks ago I showed you how to dilute oils properly. This is an important part of using oils and really shouldn't be over looked. I'm a visual person so I love charts and graphics, so to help ya'll out I created these FREE printables to help you remember how to dilute your oils!







 
 
 
 
One of them is plain and the other is a little cuter. I honestly couldn't decide which I liked better so guess what you get to choose!
 
 
 
 
 
I hope you love them and find them helpful!

8/26/15

I'm Bribing My Kids To Read More This Year

Sometimes as parents we rock and can teach our children lessons and get them to do the things the should, and sometimes we resort to bribery. My son is like his mom and loves to read. Last year he would read in the car on the way to school and on the way home. He would get through 2-4 chapter books every week. We started that school in January and between January and May he read 75 books. I was so proud.

My daughter on the other hand is like her dad. She doesn't read unless she absolutely has to. This breaks my heart as I really want her to love books. This year my husband and I told them that we would pay them .25 cents for every chapter book they read this year (I had originally said $1 but daddy dropped it down because Nathan would rake in a ton of money quick lol). Yeah we went there. Do I feel guilty for using bribery? No, not really. Whatever gets the job done!

 


To help us keep them accountable I came up with this chart for them to write down each book they finish. And I'm sharing it with you because I'm pretty great like that. You can download and print yours here.

So tell me what do you think, parenting fail or genius?

8/24/15

Let's Get Real

As I am writing this its Sunday night and I just put my kids to bed on their last night of summer break. I've walked around for most of the day with a lump in my throat and my emotions at the surface. Normally I dread the first day of school, but honestly I have been counting down the days since August 1st and that feeling has left me feeling incredibly sad today.

This summer has been rough for many reasons and my attitude has definitely matched. My anxiety is all over the place and feel like there is so much I need to do without the ability to accomplish it. I'm not going to lie because I have made poor food choices this summer it has left me in a bad Hashi's flare up and usually with that also comes anxiety. And with the anxiety comes guilt.

My hubby and kids are all laid back and can just be in the moment. I've written before that this is something that I struggle with. They like to run and laugh and play and just have a good time. I am always looking at the practical and what must be done NOW and can only see beyond to the consequences if things don't go the way I need them to. A control freak I am.

This summer year has been just one of growing, stretching, and learning. The Lord continues to show me over and over how little control I actually have over my life and my family and how I just need to let my grip go and trust Him. I just keep trying and trying to do it all and be it all for my family and frankly I just can't and it wears me down even more. I keep adding more and more to my plate and its burning me out.

I miss blogging. I haven't spent much time with my blog this month because I'm trying to get caught up where I've let my house go which only makes me add more and more to my to do list. I need to organize, but hey I also need to deep clean, but I also need to keep everything picked up, and I need to paint. But then again I also need to do more to pitch in with our finances. I need to book more Usborne parties and seek out other ways to earn money but be flexible to still do what I need to for my family. I need figure our budget out and cut back our grocery bill. But again I need to eat healthy so that my Hashimoto's flare up will get better and I need my family to start eating better. I need to be a better mom and a better wife I have been blowing it so much lately. Plus I have been neglecting friendships and helping my friends. The list in my mind just goes on and on.

In this moment I realize how much I need to take a step back and just breathe. I have stressed myself to the max. None of these expectations have been placed on me by anyone else this is all from me. Well mostly from me I think a lot of it is spiritual warfare.

I have definitely put the Lord on the back burner and pulled Him out only when I felt like I "needed" a little help. That's not the way it works. That's a one sided relationship that makes it all about me me me. Ugh my ugly selfish heart.

I'm so tired of typing out this same thing over and over. I tired of fighting the same battles. Lord I surrender to You. I give up, I'm tired of doing it on my own and being so focused on myself. I just need you.

As I'm writing this post I realized it took a different direction than I had intended, but this is me raw and real. I can't do this anymore I need Jesus. I need to rely on Him and love Him. I don't want to just seek Him to fix my mess I want to be deeply wrapped up in Him. I just want to truly and deeply love Him with all that's in me.

Sorry to go so deep and personal and I honestly have debated hitting publish but maybe there is someone out there like myself desperate and aching for His love and grace. Dear sister we can do this. He hasn't moved or left us we just shifted focus. Join me in putting our sights back on the Creator.

8/11/15

When You Don't Know What To Write

Today's post will be one of those where I break all the blogging "rules". There won't be a pinnable image, you won't learn anything, or be inspired or encouraged. No today I have nothing specific to write about. Only the need to just sit and write.

I'm feeling very tired and weary. I have struggled so much this summer with getting things together (although we are slowly starting to get back on track and for that I am thankful). I just don't have much in me lately. I just feel so tired and unmotivated. I told my husband I wish I could take a weekend trip alone and just sleep in a big comfy bed and not get up to do anything.

The past several years have been somewhat stressful and emotionally taxing. Ending friendships, leaving my church home, having a contractor rip our house apart and leave with a big chunk of our money, my beloved dog dying (he was my 3rd kid), having to go to another state for 7 1/2 months to care for my mother in law and during that time only getting to see my husband every other weekend (he still had to work) and learning to homeschool my children in the middle of doctor appointments and hospital trips, being diagnosed with PCOS, under going a D&C, being diagnosed with Hashimoto's, my kids starting a new school, started working as a sub, started blogging, getting mastitis (and not even nursing how unfair is that ha), then bam its summer.

I'm just so dang tired. I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel from the whirlwind season we have been in, but still the effects linger.

I have learned so much in this season though. Especially about myself. My eyes have been opened to some many things. The Lord has definitely been growing and changing me and pulling back the fake exterior I had been presenting to the world and showing me the girl that He created me to be.

I'm learning to prioritize, tackle things in bite size chunks, and learning what my best yes is. I'm seeing who my true friends are and those that love me for me. I'm connecting on a new deeper level with my husband and my kids, and stepping out of my comfort zone to experience new things. I have a huge fear of failure so I never would try to do things (anything really) because I didn't want to mess up.

I'm still tired. I am still worn and weary, but I'm finding that each day it gets a little better.

8/10/15

Creating a Cleaning Schedule

Since January I have had a hard time getting things together and being organized. It has made life extremely difficult. This summer hasn't been much better either. School starts back in just 2 weeks and we are going to be busier than ever so I'm trying to declutter and get my house organized.

Once school starts back not only will I be chasing kids and trying to run a home but I will also be blogging and running my Usborne business. And I was offered an AMAZING new job! Still waiting to hear all the details before its official so I'll share with ya'll then. Depending on how the schedule for the new job looks I may also still continue to sub, so I will definitely be busy busy busy.




Looking at the calendar and how crazy everything is about to get I knew it was incredibly important that I create a cleaning schedule. It is small things I can do each day to keep my house going and not let the mess and clutter pile up.

You'll see that I am giving my kids a lot of responsibilities as well. This summer we have been working on them learning to do more to help around here. I want my kids to learn responsibility now and how to do things so that when they're grown they don't have to come running to mom to do their laundry lol. Anyway this is what I have planned for us (and hopefully we will stay on track with it):


Daily
 
 
 
Mom
  • Tidy up bedroom
  • Pick up around the house
  • Put away dirty clothes
  • Put away clean clothes
  • Wash 2 loads of laundry
  • Hand wash dishes
  • Make bed
  • Wipe down counters
  • Sweep kitchen
  • Lay out supper
  • 30 min deep clean
  • Pack lunches
 
Bailey
  • Pick up room
  • Bathroom job (making sure there is toilet paper)
  • Put away dirty clothes
  • Put away clean clothes
  • Load dishwasher
  • Make bed
  • Homework
  • Read for 20 mins
  • Get stuff ready for school
  • Pick out school clothes
 
Nathan
  • Pick up room
  • Bathroom job (empty trash)
  • Put away dirty clothes
  • Put away clean clothes
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Make bed
  • Homework
  • Read for 20 mins
  • Get stuff ready for school
  • Pick out school clothes
 
 
Weekly
 
Monday:
 
Mom
  • Mop bedrooms
Bailey
  • Sweep bedroom
  • Vacuum
Nathan
  • Sweep bedroom
  • Dust
 
Tuesday:
 
Mom
  • Mop rest of the house
  • Wash rugs and shower curtains
Bailey
  • Scoop litter box
  • Clean bathroom
Nathan
  • Sweep
  • Clean bathroom mirror and front door glass
 
Wednesday:
 
Mom
  • Wash sheets
  • Dust bedroom
Bailey
  • Put clean sheets on bed
  • Dust bedroom
Nathan
  • Put clean sheets on bed
  • Dust bedroom
Thursday:
 
Mom
  • Clean fridge and microwave
  • Start grocery list
Bailey
  • Scoop litter box
  • Vacuum
Nathan
  • Take trash to the end of the driveway
  • Dust
Friday:
 
Mom
  • Mop rest of the house
  • Billing and filing
Bailey
  • Sweep cat's area
  • Clean bathroom
Nathan
  • Sweep
  • Clean bathroom mirror and front door glass
Saturday
 
Mom
  • Get groceries
  • Clean car
Bailey
  • Empty litter box
Nathan
  • Sweep porch
 
 
 
I know this list isn't perfect and their are certain things that need to be done more often but I think this will be a good start. Tomorrow we are going to start trying to get back into our school routine and start getting up earlier (blah).
 
Do you have a cleaning schedule? Does it make life any easier?

8/5/15

What I'm Reading

This post contains affiliate links, purchasing through these links helps to support this blog.

I have slacked off on book posts and that's mainly because I haven't had the mental capacity to read lately. That's also why I have slacked off the past 2 weeks blogging. My brain has just been mush. But after several naps and long hot baths over the weekend I'm feeling more like myself again.



Here is what I'm currently reading. As you can see they are all Christian books. One is a devotional, one is a non-fiction, and one a fiction. I really didn't even realize that I was reading all Christian books until I decided to write this post. My spiritual life hasn't been great lately and I've just been pushing God away. I'm working on building my relationship back up with Him and my soul is just being drawn to Him and seeking out understanding to His love and grace, hence why I chose the books without realizing I was choosing them.

 
 
"Although we may go to bed at night believing the gospel, we wake up every morning needing to hear it again. Yet most of us don't have time to dive into a lengthy commentary on the books of Roman--the book Paul wrote in order to showcase the glorious riches of the gospel. Thankfully seasoned counselor and author Elyse Fitzpatrick makes the message of Romans readily accessible in 31 devotional-like chapters on what Martin Luther called 'the very purest Gospel.' Perfect for even the busiest of us, Elyse helps us grasp the practicality of the gospel message and experience the deep comforts articulated in the book of Romans."
 



"Mackenzie Allen Philips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years late, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the tieless question: Where is God in a world filled with unspeakable pain? The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. you'll want everyone you know to read this book!"

 
 
"Women today really do feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. Every morning we are greeted with a long list of to-dos: get the kids up and out the door on time, we have a meaningful quiet time, put in a full day of work (whether at home or at the office), spend an hour at the gym, prepare a healthy and delicious meal (organic and locally grown of course), and make sure the sink sparkles before you go to bed. Oh, and don't forget to look great and smile while you're doing it.  These are all good things to do, of course. The problem occurs when we start to feel as if our worth is measured by our to-do lists. And the messages we receive at church, on Facebook, and from the media only perpetuate these unrealistic expectations and create a relentless cycle of exhaustion."
 
 
What are you reading?
 
 
 
http://hippyjuicemama.blogspot.com/search/label/bound%20by%20books%20link%20party








8/3/15

He Won't Know It's Paleo Review

A few weeks ago I was given an ebook version of He Won't Know It's Paleo in exchange for a review. Ya'll! This cookbook is AMAZING! The recipes are easy to make and taste sooooo amazing!


Everything I have made so far has been just absolutely delicious! I cannot say enough how yummy the recipes are! I cannot decide if the Balsamic Pork Chops or the Pan-Fried Round Steak is my favorite. These recipes are healthy but they are sooo scrumptious.

Herb Roasted Drumsticks

The best part is, I was able to feed my family delicious food that they had no idea was healthy! I have also noticed that since I've been cooking healthier suppers that they are grabbing healthier snacks and have been requesting salads and grilled fish. It's funny how just small changes can have a snowball affect and inspire other changes.

Pan-Fried Round Steak

If you are trying to get your family to eat healthier but they are resisting I cannot recommend this cookbook enough!

You can order your copy here and check out their blog.

Balsamic Pork Chops

I am so grateful to have resources to great food that's not only yummy to eat but I know is fueling our bodies with nutritious food. Thank you Breanna for providing this awesome cookbook!

7/28/15

Back To School Shopping

I always dread back to school shopping! Usually by the end of summer we are needing to move up to the next size in clothes but I know we are so close to cold weather but still have another month or two of hot hot hot weather. I try hitting the sales racks as much as possible but usually they're picked over and mostly last winter's clothes is all that is left.




This past weekend I took my daughter to get back to school clothes. We cleaned out closets last week to see what we would need. Luckily my son was pretty set and just needs a couple of pairs of shorts and will need some blue jeans when it starts to get cooler. But my daughter on the other hand has hit a MAJOR growth spurt and basically had nothing that fit her any more!

Now I'm not a fashion blogger or a frugal living blogger, but when I find a great deal as a mom I want to do another mom a solid and tell her about it (and I also wanted to mention this isn't a sponsored post either but I wouldn't be offended if Old Navy decided they wanted to pay me in clothes for giving them a shout out) (I'm kidding) (mostly).



A few of our purchases

Anyway we hit Old Navy first and it was such a great decision! Old Navy is one of the few stores where I go to the sale rack first and I am usually not disappointed. This time however I didn't find anything on the sales rack but I feel like we made out like a bandit! They had a ton of cute t-shirts on sale for 65% off! We ended up with 2 pairs of shorts and 7 shirts and only paid $65! I happy danced all the way out the store. My mood was quickly killed when we hit Justice but I won't go there.

My favorite thing I love about the shirts from Old Navy is that they will easily transition to fall/winter wear when layered with a long sleeve shirt. I love shopping trips like that, it makes my heart go pitter patter. Now on to buying school supplies....



How is your back to school shopping going? Hit any big sales?

7/27/15

Jim Carey Ruined Mattew McConaughey

Mathew McConaughey use to be my Hollywood husband. If my husband and I (which we would totally NEVER do, or at least never tell each other about)  created a list like on Friends Matthew would've been at the top. He's just so pretty and that accent, oh that accent.

That was until Jim Carrey totally ruined him for me.

The hubs and I watched the SNL 40 year anniversary episode way back towards the beginning of the year and we watched the Jeopardy skit. Its kind of vulgar so I won't share it here but you can find it on YouTube. At one point Jim Carrey popped in as Matthew McConaughey and it was so spot on that it had my husband crying laughing and my jaw dropped. So in the days to follow I looked up more Jim Carrey/Matthew McConaughey videos. I can now never look at Matthew the same again.

And if I can't have him no one can so watch this video out!





Did you have a Hollywood spouce that was ruined for you?





7/21/15

5 Show I Wish Netflix Would Get

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links helps to support this blog.


We recently got Netflix again. We had gotten it a few years ago when it was the new hype but cancelled it a year later. At the time they rarely updated it (we watch through out Wii) and had already watched the shows that were worth watching. We are tv people. There I said it. We love to watch movies. If it weren't for sarcasm and movie quotes I would have no talents. I'm really loving Netflix again now that we added it back, but there are a few shows that I REALLY wished they'd get!



Tale Spins

This was one my favorite shows as a kid! I am just dying for my kids to see it!

 
 


ER

I LOVE this show and I was sooo sad when it ended! When my kids were little and would wake up a t the butt crack of dawn, ER would come on TNT and this was my morning show. But of course they quit showing it for some reason. I'm really wanting to watch it again.


 

Tabitha Takes Over

I have no idea why I have such an obsession with this show but I love it! I even got my daughter addicted to it. This blunt Aussie hair guru comes in and takes over failing salons and helps bring them back.

 



Dawson's Creek

So yeah I'm still living in the 90s and my obsession with Pacey is still alive. I just realized that Dawson's Creek is now on ABC Family but I missed the first several episodes and well what's the point if you can't watch every single episode!

 

All That

Yep you guessed it another 90s show. I'm just not ready to let it go!!! All That was a kid's version of Saturday Night Live and I think my kids would love it!

 

BONUS: Anything from the Outdoor Channels

If they had hunting and fishing shows we could cancel our satellite and just have Netflix, but the hubs needs his hunting and fishing shows.



If these shows are already on Netflix and I've missed them please tell me! What shows are you dying to see on Netflix?