Rise & Shine Challenge: Day 4


I’m very late in getting this posted, but this morning, afternoon, and evening just flew by and I finally have a chance to sit down and get this written! That’s life sometimes, isn’t it? Thanks for your patience as I’m not always the most dependable blogger ever. :)

I got up at 5:15 a.m. this morning. And I’m thrilled because today I felt really rested and energized when I got up. I’m hopeful that my body is starting to adjust to me being on an early-to-rise schedule again?

My One Nightly Must-Do: Create Tomorrow’s To-Do List

Today’s assignment is about creating a nightly checklist to encourage you to have better mornings. I love this idea and think it can be key to successful mornings.

I shared my evening routine yesterday — which sort of serves as my checklist. But I wanted to share one thing that has really helped me to wake up, jump into my day, and be more productive.

That one simple thing is to create a to-do list the night before. This one small thing makes a world of difference for my day. And I find that I sleep better, too, because I have mentally gone through the next day, thought through all the must-do’s and activities, and have created a plan for the day.

This simple exercise frees up so much space in my brain and truly relaxes me.

How it usually works is that I consult my Google Calendar (aka my “brain”) and see what is on tap for the next day — whether that’s a writing project that’s due, a phone call that must be made, an interview that is scheduled, an errand I need to run, or an activity one of my children has going on.

Once I’ve looked over my day, I then plan out our routine. We have a basic routine we follow everyday, but it varies based upon what needs to be done and what’s going on. So every evening, I write out my plan for the next day — including time blocks of when I plan to do everything.

This has been crucial for me, because it not only helps me go into the day with a Game Plan, but it also helps me to know if I need to bump some things I’d planned to do to another day or delete something I’d hoped to do altogether. I only have 24 hours in a day and planning accordingly instead of trying to cram in 36 hours’ worth of work into the day and then being frustrated and overwhelmed makes a huge difference!

I always try to include two to three hours of Margin Time — time when I don’t have anything scheduled. This is typically from 6-9 p.m. It doesn’t always end up being completely empty, but it allows wiggle room to finish things or catch up on laundry when inevitable interruptions or unexpected things come up throughout the day. It’s my sanity-saver!

This Morning’s Report

  • Got up at 5:15 a.m.
  • Read my Bible and devotional books. Prayed over my day.
  • Made some coffee, unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it.
  • Started the laundry. Made Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes (My second try turned out beautifully — yay! You can see pictures of my first flop and my second success here.)
  • Exercised.
  • Finally had a chance to wash my hair. (I usually wash it every three days, but I had gone for six days without washing it. Yikes!)
  • Opened the laptop, answered emails, answered comments, scheduled some posts.
  • And then it was time to start homeschooling. :)

How has your morning been so far? Do you have a Nightly Checklist? If so, what’s on it? If not, what would you LIKE it to look like?

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Primitives By Kathy Box Signs for as low as $7.99 shipped

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These signs just make me so happy! Right now, you can purchase your choice of these wonderful Primitives By Kathy Box Signs for as low as $7.99 shipped. One of my two favorites in this sale is this one shown above and also this one:

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Primitives by Kathy Box signs are so wonderful and they make great gifts! I love how they fit so well into any decor, and you can hang, lean or stand them up all over your home to send warm and inspiring messages.

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Primitives By Kathy Box Signs

Choose from:

All box signs are 1.75″ deep and can freestand or hang for wall display.

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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Free printable Freezer Cooking Mini Menu from Once a Month Meals

Freezer 102 #11.jpg

Looking for some new freezer cooking recipes?

Once a Month Meals is a service dedicated to helping you save time and money by showing you how to cook an entire month of meals either once a month (or every two weeks) with their patent pending process.

They help you create a grocery list, gives you detailed instructions on how to prepare and cook your food, and provides you with specific freezing instructions for the recipes.


Once a Month Meals offers a variety of make-ahead recipes to fit whatever types of menus work best for you — from traditional to whole foods to gluten-free and dairy-free to Paleo and more, they offer just about something for everyone!


If you are interested in having some help when it comes to planning your freezer meals, Once a Month Meals is a great option to check out. Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up for membership. You can choose either a Basic or Pro Membership, and choose to pay either monthly or yearly.

2. Select a menu. Choose from Traditional, Whole Foods, Paleo, Gluten Free & Dairy Free, and much more!

3. Print your resources. Select your recipes and the number of people you’re cooking for, create your custom menu, then print your resources.

4. Get going with additional resources. Find tips and tricks, freezer cooking groups, and more to help you get the most from your time and budget.



Once a Month Meals has a special offer just for Money Saving Mom® readers right now. If you’re interested in signing up and trying out their monthly membership, you can get 25% off any Once a Month Meals membership when you use the coupon code MSM2014 at signup! This special coupon code is valid now through September 1, 2014.

Once a Month MealsBasic Membership gives you access to all the Once a Month Meals resources, and gives you the ability to customize those resources for your household by setting serving sizes and measurement format (standard or metric). Basic Membership is regularly $10 monthly, or $99 yearly. Use the coupon code MSM2014 to sign up for $7.50 for one month, or $74.90 for an entire year.

Pro Membership gives you added access to the Once a Month Meals Menu Builder, a program where you can pick and choose the recipes that suit your menu preferences. Menu Builder allows you to pick menus and swap recipes for alternatives that better fit your family. Pro Membership is regularly $16 monthly, or $170 yearly. Use the coupon code MSM2014 to sign up for $12 for one month, or $127.50 for an entire year.

Once a Month Meals


Sign up for the Once a Month Meals newsletter today and you’ll receive a FREE mini menu with five of my favorite freezer-friendly recipes so you can get an idea of how Once a Month Meals works — plus, get some yummy freezer recipes to try out!

These recipes can be swapped into other menus in the Once a Month Meals MenuBuilder when you join Once a Month Meals.

Once a Month Meals

{Note: This post was underwritten by Once a Month Meals. See our disclosure policy here.}

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Get a subscription to National Geographic magazine for only $15 per year!

National GeographicNational Geographic is one of the top-selling magazines in the world, and it’s also one that is very hard to find a deal on!

Which is why I’m excited about this very special offer I have for you today! Right now, you can order a 2 year subscription to National Geographic magazine for only $29.99 with code 57555 at checkout.

About National Geographic magazineNational Geographic is the quintessential cultural publication in the world that provides its inquisitive readers with a stunning array of photographic images from every corner of the planet, accompanied by in-depth, well-researched articles. For more than a century, National Geographic has been a very precise source of information, which has made it one of the most authoritative and prestigious publications in magazine history. National Geographic features striking photography and detailed illustrations that enhance the diverse articles on culture, people, natural marvels, the animal world, science and technology. National Geographic transforms its readers into adventurers of the world. National Geographic Magazine is in a class of its own with an editorial focus that spans the globe, probing the farthest reaches of the universe.

This offer expires Saturday night (August 23rd, 2014) at midnight EST.

(Note: The links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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Free Ebooks: Fruit Infused Water Recipes, How To Go Paleo, Detox Tea, and more

NOTE: The price of these ebooks is currently $0.00, but that could change at any time. Be sure to verify before checking out that it is still free.

Unless otherwise noted, these ebooks are specifically for Kindles, but you can go here to download a free application that enables you to read Kindle ebooks on your PC.

teaDownload a free copy of The Ultimate Tea Guide.

finfusedDownload a free copy of Fruit Infused Water: 101 Recipes: Your Natural Vitamin Water.

lowcarbDownload a free copy of The Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Diet.

organicdietDownload a free copy of The Green Gourmet Organic Diet Book: Your Guide To Healthy, Natural Weight Loss.

quickDownload a free copy of Quick, Easy, Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids.

detoxDownload a free copy of Detox Tea.

dlowcarbDownload a free copy of Healthy and Delicious Low Carb Cooking.

howtopaleoDownload a free copy of How to Go PALEO: Natural and Healthy Weight Loss.

cleanDownload a free copy of Clean Eating: How to Eat Clean and Stay Lean On a Budget.

Thanks, David C. Cook!

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DaySpring.com: Recordable Storybooks for just $5 (today only)

Dayspring $5 Recordable Storybook promotion

Today only (August 21, 2014), you can get Recordable Storybooks for just $5 from DaySpring!

These are regularly priced at $24.95, so this is a great deal on a unique and special gift!

UPDATE: Thanks to Quinn’s comment, you may be able to get an additional 20% off by using coupon code SAVE20GIFTS at checkout.

Dayspring Recordable Storybooks

Once you receive these books, you record the story (or you can have a grandparent, other relative, or special friend). As your child turns each page, they’ll hear your voice (or the voice of the special person who recorded the story).

Recordable Storybook from DaySpring

This would be such a wonderful gift to have for years to come! Maybe to even pass down to a future generation!

Note: This is a Flash Sale, good today only, and no coupon code is required.

See all of the Recordable Storybooks that are apart of this $5 sale here.

Want more details on each Recordable Storybook or how these work? Check out The Mom Creative for pictures, details, and reviews of each Recordable Storybook.

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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