One book I read this week & how it surprised me (+ what I plan to read next week)

The Adrenal Reset diet

This book wasn’t even on my list to read last week but after reading Erin’s post on Adrenal Fatigue, I was so intrigued by it and the changes she’s made that I used some of my Swagbucks to buy a Kindle copy of The Adrenal Reset Diet.

I’m such a paper/hardcover book girl so you know I was anxious to read this book if I bought a Kindle version and read it on my phone. Because I basically never do that!

However, I’m so glad I did because this book challenged and inspired me in some fairly significant ways. I was surprised to realize that some different symptoms I’ve been experiencing recently are likely the result of too much stress in my life and not enough sleep.

I’ve made getting an average of 7 hours of sleep per night a priority for quite a long time now, but reading the book and going through the Adrenal Fatigue quiz opened my eyes to some different things — namely that I haven’t been functioning at my best capacity for awhile now. Based upon what I read, I’m pretty sure sleep and stress are the culprits. And they kind of work in a vicious cycle.

I’m so much healthier and rested and sane than I was five years ago when I was completely run down, exhausted, and stretched way, way too thin. (If you’re interested, I wrote about my journey of hitting rock bottom and the steps I took to recovery in my book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.)

After reading The Adrenal Reset Diet, my eyes were opened to the fact that I’m not thriving as much as I’d like to be or should be. The book gave a lot of different recommendations, but the three that I decided to try for the next 4-6 weeks are: 1) Going to bed by 10 p.m. or earlier every night and shooting to get 8+ hours of sleep every single night. 2) Eating a high-protein breakfast every morning. 3) Not drinking coffee after noon (the book suggestions 9 a.m., but I’m starting with noon since I’m all about babysteps!)

We’ll see how it goes. So far, I’ve already been able to tell a marked improvement in just a few days. That’s exciting and encouraging!

Books I Read This Week

9 Books I’m Reading This Week:

Help Me, Jesus! I Have Nothing to Wear! — I heard the author speak at a conference not too long ago and loved her suggestions and tips for dressing well. I was so inspired, in fact, that I went and bought her book and had her do my color analysis at the end of her session. Can’t wait to dive into this book.

Parenting the Wholehearted Child — Can I be really honest with you? Parenting books aren’t my favorite genre. In fact, I typically steer clear of them.

I was raised in an age and culture where many families followed parenting books and discipline plans to a tee and, well, much of the fruit from all that didn’t turn out so great. It left a bad taste in my mouth for the whole “follow steps A, B, and C as a parent and you’ll be a Godly family/good parent” etc.

So yes, I kinda prefer to stay far away from anything that remotely resembles a system or method of parenting. Because I truly have come to believe that there are no one-size-fits-all plans.

At any rate, I was hesitant to start this book because it fell under the “parenting book” genre. But I’m so glad that I did. I’m two chapters in and it is honestly turning out to be one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time.

I just want to sit and read the whole thing in one sitting. But on the other hand, I want to process it slowly so that I can take it all in!

Unstoppable — I’m about halfway through this book and being challenged and convicted by it.

She Reads Truth Lent Study/Bible — I am loving the Lent study so far… as I have loved all the She Reads Truth studies. Seriously, one of the best things I’ve invested in for my personal spiritual development and relationship with God ever.

Stepping Heavenward — My new friend, Allison Burr, (who is not only been a huge blessing to my life by helping me with some business projects but is also just a week away from moving from Minnesota to just 15 minutes away from me — I’m so excited!) sent me this book and said it was one of her very favorites ever. Can you believe I’ve never read it? I’m working on remedying that stat.

Lizzy & Jane — So far, I’ve found this to be really engaging!

The Cricket in Times Square — I’m reading this to the kids right now and we’re about halfway through it. They’ve all enjoyed it and beg for me to read more chapters each — which is always a good sign!

Long Walk to Freedom & Kaffir Boy — I’m working through these as I seek to understand more about South African history.

What did you read this past week? Any must-read book recommendations?

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Educational Deals & Freebies Round-up

Here are some of the best educational deals and freebies available right now from Katie who writes at Cincinnati Cents:

Little Golden Books for $2.09: Amazon has their Little Golden Books on sale for as low as $2.09 each. The following titles are all priced at less than $3 each – Frozen, The Monster at the End of the Book, Sofia the First, Tangled, Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Richard Scarry’s ABC Book.

Learning Journey Match It! Spelling Set for $7.79: Purchase the Learning Journey Match It! Spelling Set for just $7.79. This set features 20 self-correcting puzzles that teach spelling, develop problem-solving skills, and expand vocabulary.

Magnetic Wooden Letters Set for $3.88 Shipped: Amazon has their Colorful Magnetic Wooden Letter Set on sale for $3.88. This set of letters includes free shipping as well.

Free 4-Week Trial of Reading Eggs: Sign up for a free 4-week trial of Reading Eggs. This is an online program that fosters a child’s love of reading through games and activities. Each lesson builds upon the previous lessons and focuses on five key areas – phonemic awareness and phonics, sight words, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

Orbo Jr. 4GB Android Kid’s Edition Tablet for $59.95 Shipped: Amazon has their Orbo Jr. 4GB Android Kid’s Edition Tablet on sale for $59.95. This tablet typically retails for $199.99 (a savings of 70%), and it features a lightweight, compact design for little hands, a silicone gel case to protect against drops and spills, 4GB of memory with room for expansion, and an interface that’s fun and easy to use. Plus, this item includes free shipping as well.

Personalized Calendars & Books for 40% Off: Shutterfly is featuring 40% off your entire order when you enter the promotional code LUV40 at checkout. This is an ideal way to create a classroom calendar that features important dates, upcoming field trips, and project due dates. As an alternative, you could also create a customized book that teaches a variety of topics (ABCs, numbers, parts of speech) by using pictures of family members, friends, and familiar places and/or objects. This type of book makes the learning process fun and familiar for your child.

Crayola Colored Pencils (24 ct.) for $3.02: Amazon has their Crayola Colored Pencils (24 ct.) on sale for $3.02. These pre-sharpened pencils are ideal for any art or craft project.

Free Bird Printable Pack: Download a free Bird Printable Pack from Homeschool Creations. This pack includes such skills as rhyming, adding, counting syllables, puzzles, and more.

Up to 50% Off Wonderworld Wooden Toys: Amazon is featuring up to 50% off their Wonderworld Wooden Toys. There are dozens of items on sale, and you can find the entire listing here.

70% Off Wall Calendars & Planners: Are you trying to find a way to keep track of your child’s school work, field trips, and extra-curricular activities? If so, DaySpring has you covered! DaySpring is featuring 70% off their wall calendars, appointment planners, and 28-month planners. No coupon code is required for this promotion, and prices start at just $1.50. This sale is valid through January 31st.

Liberty’s Kids Complete DVD Series for $5: Amazon has their Liberty’s Kids Complete DVD Series on sale for $5. This set received a 5-star rating from over 500 reviews and has over 800 minutes of run time.

Free Bear Snores On Pack: 3 Dinosaurs has a free Bear Snores On Pack available for download. This pack includes beginning sounds, matching, patterns, puzzles, and more.

LEGO Friends Sunshine Harvest Set for $15.99: Amazon has their LEGO Friends Sunshine Harvest Set on sale for $15.99. This set features a trailer, a fruit stand with cash register, fruit, cake, a tree with apples, a garden patch with vegetables, and a cute dog house.

Clue Board Game for $5.48: Amazon has their Clue Board Game on sale for $5.48. There are several other games on sale as well including Twister Skip-It Game for $9.71, Doc McStuffins All Better Game for $8.82, Jake & the Neverland Pirates Adventure Board Game for $6.99, and Jake & the Neverland Pirates Treasure Hunt Game for $12.98.

Katie is a wife and homeschooling mother of four who writes at Cincinnati Cents about saving money and having fun as a family without breaking the bank. She enjoys sharing new recipes, ideas for frugal family fun, and tips for spending less at the grocery store.

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5 Books I’ve Read Recently + 3 Books I Hope to Finish This Week

Books Read This Week

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a post about the books I’m reading. In all honesty, that was because I was so focused on finishing my own manuscript I didn’t have much extra time to read other people’s books.

And oh how I’ve missed it! It’s been so good to get back to regular reading the past two weeks!

Books I’ve Finished Recently:

Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life — Ya’ll. Do yourself a massive favor and go pre-order this book. It is SO good. Michele is one of the best communicators I’ve ever known. The way she paints pictures with words moves and inspires me as a writer. But her book is much more than beautiful word pictures; it’s the story of a woman finding hope and peace in the middle of messes, heartaches, and unexpected difficulties in life. Highly recommended.

Addicted to Busy — This wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read on white space and margin, and I sort of struggled through parts of it because it sort of felt like it was dragging on a little slowly (maybe that’s an indication that I’m addicted to busy? That I have a short attention span?? ;)), but overall, it made me think and examine my own life. Some of my thoughts on S-P-A-C-E were the result of things I mulled over after reading this book.

You and Me Forever — I thought this book had some valuable information in it, but honestly, I found it a little scattered in how it was laid out. While I’m not opposed at all to self-publishing a book (as this one was), I felt like it could have benefited from having some more editing for clarity, flow, and to further develop and strengthen the bones of the book. I still feel it’s really worth reading — especially if you want to have your mindset challenged on what constitutes a “Godly marriage”.

Me Before You — This was one of the most heart-breaking, compelling, and thought-provoking books I’ve read in a long time. I thought it was very well-written and found it hard to put down. In fact, I read the entire book in one day! Caveat: This book is not written from a Christian perspective, has quite a bit of language, and the plot line deals with suicide in a very raw form. I didn’t agree with the outcome of the book, but it made me dig deep and think hard… and books that do that are ones I feel are very worth my time.

Grace is Free: One Woman’s Journey from Fundamentalism, to Failure, to Faith — As someone who was deeply involved in what many would term “the fundamentalist movement” for a number of years of my life, I found this book’s title intriguing. One of our elder’s wives from our church in Kansas recommended it to me and I found it insightful, thought-provoking, and encouraging as I’m on a journey to walk by faith and live a live steeped in grace instead of being a performer, perfectionist, and people-pleaser.

Books I Hope to Finish This Week

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) — I’m really digging into this right now after setting it aside for a few weeks. Such thought-provoking stuff in it!

A Proper Pursuit — I finally started reading this one! It’s been on my to-read stack what feels like forever! I’m about eight chapters in and enjoying it.

The Best Yes — I’m working through this as part of my morning devotions and really finding it helpful as I think through my priorities and goals for 2014.

And maybe I’ll read a few others, too. We’ll see!

What have you read recently? What are you planning to read this week? Any good book recommendations for me?

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Clean Your House for Christmas: Day 4

Join Me For the Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

Welcome to the 5-Day Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge. Otherwise known as: Crystal really needs to deep clean her house and she needs the public accountability to get it done. Ahem. :)

{Thank you for humoring me. If your house is in great shape, please just skip over these posts. I may be the only one who has kind of let my housework and decluttering slide a bit the past few months.}

I got up a little late this morning as I stayed up late last night finishing up some business projects that I really needed to get done but just hadn’t had the energy for because I was sick. It felt so good to finally check those off my list!

I’m a little late in getting around this morning, but because my house is clean and the laundry is mostly done already, I’m still hopeful that it’s going to be a good day!

Today, we’re cleaning the bathrooms. I’m optimistic that this will be an easier job since there aren’t as many nooks, crannies, and cupboards for stuff to be hiding.

Here’s my plan for this morning (feel free to follow it somewhat, if you find it helpful… or you can get a laugh out of how detailed I am!):

This Morning’s Plan

1. Read my Bible, eat breakfast, and start laundry.

2. Blogging work/emails.

3. Exercise, shower, get dressed to my shoes. (Thanks, Flylady!)

4. Morning chores with the kids.

5. Get the kids started on their schoolwork. Kindergarten with Silas.

6. Switch the laundry.

7. Attack the bathrooms:

  • Surface clean.
  • Go through cupboards, drawers, and closet.

8. Read aloud with the kids.

9. Celebrate a productive morning, er day… because it probably won’t all get done by noon!

So, that’s my morning plan. I’m hopeful to have it all done before dinner time today. I’ll take pictures and will post an update later today to let you know how it goes.

Want To Join Me?

Are you joining me? If so, what room(s) are you planning to tackle today and what’s your morning plan? Let us know in the comments. If you are blogging about it, I’ll have a link-up that you can link your post to in my post later today.

photo credit

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