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Want to read more in 2019?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

If you want to do more reading in 2019, I’ve got just the solution for you to provide you with a pretty endless source of books you can read and listen to — without having to wait for them to be available from your library!

Through January 11, 2019, if you’re an Amazon Prime member you can get Kindle Unlimited for three months for just $0.99. It’s typically $9.99 per month, so this is a big savings!

I just signed up today and have been checking it out to see if it would help me be able to fit in more reading in the new year.

If you’re unfamiliar with Kindle Unlimited, it’s a service offered by Amazon that gives you access to over 700,000 ebooks and thousands of audiobooks.

My Honest Thoughts

I will be super honest and tell you that I was disappointed at first when I looked at the selection of books. A number of them are cheap and cheesy looking.

However, they did have some really great titles hidden amongst all the not-so-great titles. Here were a few I saw:

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up for a 3-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited for just $0.99.
  • Click on the Kindle Unlimited tab in your Amazon bar to search for available titles (you can search individually or sort by genre).
  • Add up to 10 titles to your Kindle Unlimited account. (You can check out up to 10 at a time.)
  • When you are finished reading a title, you can return it and borrow another.
  • You can read or listen to the titles on any device with the free Kindle app.
  • Be sure to cancel your subscription before your 3 month subscription is up, otherwise, you’ll be charged $9.99 per month.

For the record, I don’t think this service is worth paying $9.99 per month (the usual rate) for, but I think it’s every bit worth signing up for three months for just $0.99 — even if you only read 2-3 books from it, that’s still a really, really great deal!

Go here to sign up for a 3-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited for just $0.99 total!

Have you tried out Kindle Unlimited before? If so, I’d love to hear your honest thoughts on it!

Note: This deal is valid for new Kindle Unlimited customers only. If you no longer wish to continue with Kindle Unlimited after your first three months, be sure to cancel your subscription before it renews at the full price of $9.99 per month. Valid through January 11, 2019.

These two deals at Kroger end tonight!

I picked up these two deals at Kroger today and wanted to mention them in case you missed them or forgot to pick them up. These both end at midnight tonight.

  • Get DiGiorno Pizza for $3.49 per pizza with the Kroger Digital coupon (you can buy up t0 5 pizzas in one transaction at this price; coupon can only be redeemed once)
  • Get Kroger sausage for just $1.49 per package with the Kroger Digital coupon (you can buy up t0 5 packages in one transaction; coupon can only be used once)

These deals end tonight (December 31, 2018).

Note: I expected to get a $2 catalina good for $2 off my next shopping trip because I bought 5 pizzas but it didn’t print for me. Let us know if yours prints for you!

Target Christmas Clearance is 90% Off!

Have you checked out the Target Christmas Clearance?? It was up to 70% off yesterday when I went and it was up to 90% off today at our store!!

Our store was pretty picked over, but there were still a lot of great deals to be had. There were also a LOT of people scooping up the deals, too, so I’m guessing the best deals won’t last long!

I know some of you are going to think I’m crazy for this, but I don’t buy wrapping paper ahead of time since we don’t use much Christmas wrapping paper (maybe 2 rolls total at Christmas since we keep Christmas really simple and don’t buy that many gifts) and you can buy it at Dollar Tree for $1 per roll.

For me, it’s just not worth it to buy it ahead and have to store it for a year just to save maybe $1.50. 🙂 But if you do buy wrapping paper and store it year-round, they have some amazing prices. I picked up the tissue paper to use in gift sacks — and it was just $0.30 (originally $3)!

Here’s what I ended up getting today:

  • 3 boxes of Wondershop Baking Mixes — $0.83 each — 70% off
  • 3 packages of Pepperidge Farm cookies — $0.89 each — 70% off
  • M&M’s — $0.95 — 70% off
  • Tissue Paper — $0.30 — 90% off


And I got the Milano cookie packages for $0.29 and the Pepperidge Farm Brussels Mint cookies for $0.89 per package yesterday. (I hadn’t tried the Brussels before and they are SO good!)

By the way, I know that it’s New Year’s tomorrow and I should be sharing healthy recipes or workout plans and here I am sharing how to get great deals on cookies. #SorryNotSorry 😉

A few things to note:

  1. Don’t buy something you don’t need or can’t afford or don’t have space to store or don’t know what you’re going to do with it. It’s not a good deal for you if you can’t afford it or it’s just going to needlessly clutter up your home.
  2. Be sure to price check everything. Some items are only 30% off or 50% off or 70% off. It’s confusing since people have put all sorts of random things all sorts of random places. Use the price scanner or the Target app on your phone to check the price of everything to make sure it’s a good deal.

Has your store gone to 90% off? If so, let us know where you live in the comments!

My Goals for 2019

One of my favorite things of the beginning of the year is to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming year.

(Did you read my post on how I did on my 2018 goals yet? If not, read it here.)

I actually start contemplating goals for the new year in November, but I start by looking back over the past 10+ months and asking myself what worked, what didn’t work, what I learned, and areas I want to grow in. I also choose a word for the year to make my focus in the new year.

It usually takes me at least 4-6 weeks of reflection to come up with my new list of goals for the new year and it’s something I carefully and prayerfully contemplate in light of my word for the year.

This year, my word for 2019 actually came to me in October. And it completely surprised me! In fact, it seemed so different than what I expected that I sat on it for 4 weeks hoping another word would surface.

But it didn’t. Instead, the word became more and more clear that it was the right word for me.

I usually tell you my word for the year first before I share my goals, but this year, I decided to share my goals first and then will share my Word for the Year on January 3, 2019. (But you’re free to guess my word if you have any ideas after reading my post!)

A Big Perspective Shift

I wrote this on Instagram this morning and wanted to share it here, too:

I’ve changed a lot this past year. I didn’t realize just how profound the change was until I sat down to review my goals for 2018 and how I did on them.

And I realized that I fell short and didn’t complete a lot of the goals — and I was totally okay with that!!

It’s not because I’ve grown lazy (though I have gotten into a rut in some areas and I want to work on that in 2019!), but it’s because I’ve really started to see life through different eyes.

The business didn’t grow this year (income-wise), and I am totally okay with that. Why? Because I realize that it makes enough — enough to pay our bills, to put money in savings, to give to causes we believe in, and to pay my team. I don’t need to hustle hard to take it to the next level because I’m honestly really happy and fulfilled with where it is.

In addition, it affords me the flexibility to be available to my kids and Jesse. If I were to try to work a bunch of extra hours to grow it more, it would mean I’d give up sleep and time with my family. Those are two things I’m just not willing to sacrifice.

After realizing how content I feel with where things are at, I sat down with Jesse and we ran numbers to see if we could actually downsize some areas in our life and in the business so that we could make even less and it would still be okay. (And we did — and this gives me even more freedom and less financial burden!)

If you know me personally (or you’ve followed me online for awhile), you probably know what a big shift this is for me! I was such a driver and Type A personality. And it came out in a big way in the business.

But I really woke up to reality this year and realized that Kathrynne is going to be 14 soon and I have less than 5 years left (probably) with her under our roof. And in 10 years, we’ll likely be empty nesters!

These are the golden years of mothering and I don’t want to miss them because I’m so knee deep in growing a successful business.

My Goals for 2019

Personal Goals

1. Read 40 books I already own (I’ll be sharing my list of books in a post this coming week. Also, I’ve finally caved and I think I’m going to use GoodReads to track my reading this year!)

2. Slowly read through the New Testament using the She Reads Truth Bible reading plans at the beginning of each chapter.

3. Listen to 2 audiobooks per month. (I use the Libby app to get these for free.)

4. Complete all of the Organize in 5 Diary tasks to get our home more organized and set up better organizational systems. (Psst! Did you get yours? It’s just $9 right now.)

5. Stay offline for 4 hours per day, 5 days per week. (I share more about why I chose this goal here.)

6. Leave my phone in the basement every night. (I talk more about what inspired me to make this goal here.)

7. Go to bed before 10:30 p.m. 5 days per week. (I’m using this little spreadsheet I made to track most of my personal goals)

Marriage Goal

8. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.

Motherhood Goal

9. One-on-one time with each child at least 3 times per week. (I am planning to dedicate 40 minutes per child after dinner each evening at least three nights per week to hang out and spend time with each child individually.)

Family Goal

10. Take the kids to at least two continents and 4 states we haven’t traveled to. (We’re hoping to travel to Europe in the summer and South America at some other point during the year. I have travel alerts set up to track the best prices for flights and am hoping to find a great deal to snag in the next 4-6 months!)

Financial Goals

11. Pay cash to redo our room and renovate our bathroom (we have to pull out the shower and put in a new one because it was installed incorrectly and is leaking and ruining the floor/wall and we want to do a few renovations while we’re at it + we want to finally decorate our room — we left it really bare when we moved in and decided to wait to prioritize it in the budget).

12. Pay cash to paint the main floor of our home.

13. Fully fund our Emergency Fund (This is a carry-over from 2018 and we are hoping to have this done in the next few months).

Business Goals

14. Redo/set up a much more intentional customer acquisition experience for all three of our email newsletters.

15. Finish launching the rest of our beginner Your Blogging University courses. (If you want to start a blog, be sure to check out my other site, Your Blogging Mentor.)

16. Launch a Blog Coaching/Accountability Group membership. (I’ll be opening this up to a very limited number of people in January of 2019. Stay tuned!)

I will be giving you updates on my progress on my goals — especially the books I’m reading, the organizational projects I’m doing, our travels, how I’m doing at sticking with a consistent bedtime and staying offline, and much more throughout the coming year!

What are YOUR goals for 2019? I’d love to hear! Let us know in the comments!

Psst! In the next week, I’ll be sharing The Best Books I Read in 2018, My Word of the Year for 2019, and The Books I Plan to Read in 2019.

Need more goal-setting inspiration? See the goals I set for 2018 here.

What I Learned From a Year of Taking Wednesdays Off

As you might remember, in 2018, my word for the year was SLOW and one way I committed to walk this word out was by taking Wednesdays off and declaring them a Slow Day.

(You can see a peek into some of my Slow Days from 2018 here.)

By the way, when I say that I was taking Wednesdays off, that meant that I was committing to be totally offline. Not only was my goal to not work or get on the computer, but I also tried to be completely off of email and social media on my phone.

In fact, I deleted e-mail and social media apps off my phone every Tuesday night before bed so that I wouldn’t be tempted to get on social media at all the next day. I found taking the apps off to be so helpful to keep me from being tempted to jump on social media or answer a quick e-mail.

I’m excited to report that I did, indeed, follow through with this commitment!

No, I didn’t do it perfectly. I admit there were weeks when I had to work at least a few hours or when I didn’t end up being completely offline the entire day.

But for the most part, I was mostly offline all day every Wednesday in 2018. And it was such a worthwhile exercise that taught me so much.

In fact, I learned some surprising lessons that I didn’t expect:

1. It’s good to be completely offline.

Being completely off social media and e-mail for a window of time is a really healthy thing. It clears my brain. It helps me to focus fully on other people and projects. It encourages me to slow down and savor life.

While I love social media (see point #2), I also realize that it can be a time-sucker and can distract me from staying focused. It can keep me from having breathing room in my life if I’m filling up quiet that my soul needs with picking up my phone and mindlessly checking social media.

I found that the stillness of being offline on Wednesdays gave me space to think, to have a sort of reset, and to be more available to invest in other non-techie/non-work-related pursuits.

In addition, I found that it was empowering to know that I can live without my phone just fine… as in, I’m not addicted to it and can enjoy time away from it.

Note: I’m currently reading Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World and it’s causing me to really think about the importance of having quiet spaces in my life where I’m free of the distraction that social media and much technology can sometimes be. I’ve been mulling on this and the best way to intentionally have spaces in my life to invest in Deep Work, as the book encourages.

2. I really love connecting with you all.

On the flip side, I truly missed getting to connect with you all online on Wednesdays in 2018. I didn’t realize how much I enjoy sharing through writing and live video and how deeply life-giving and cathartic it is for me until I was offline on Wednesdays. I mean, I knew I loved it, but I didn’t really grasp how much I enjoy it until I was offline from it.

It honestly made me so happy to realize this. That might seem weird to you, but sometimes, we don’t realize how much we love certain parts of our life until they are taken away.

One of the things I do on Facebook Live and Instagram Stories is share hot deals and freebies — many that are really time sensitive. I love getting to pass these onto you all and I know that oftentimes, people won’t take notice of a deal or freebie unless I do a video on it. So there were many hot deals on Wednesdays that were 24 hours only that I didn’t get to share and I wished I could have to help save you money.

3. Taking an entire day off from the business was stressful for me.

One thing I hadn’t really thought of when I initially committed to being offline on Wednesdays was how hard it would be to prep for and recover from an offline day.

Maybe if I were in a different line of work, it wouldn’t be like this, but due to the nature of what we do here (especially when it comes to sharing hot deals and freebies), there are many time sensitive things I am involved in on a daily basis: companies that want to run promotions with us ASAP, hot deals I want to do videos or posts about, e-mails I want to send out to my list about time-sensitive deals and freebies, social media posts to put up about these time sensitive deals, etc.

To prep to be offline for an entire day in the middle of the week, there was a lot I’d have to do the day before to make sure I was set up and able to take an entire day off. I’d have to make sure my inbox was all cleaned out, everything time sensitive was taken care of, and that my team had everything they needed in order for me to be offline.

And then when I got back online on Thursdays, there would always be so much to do and I’d end up having to work an extra long day on Thursdays to make up for being off on Wednesdays.

Working more hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays and feeling stressed about needing to get everything done just to be offline on Wednesday every week felt like it sort of defeated much of the purpose of being offline.

4. Taking an entire day offline caused stress and extra work for my team.

My small team is the BEST and they never, ever complained about my decision to take Wednesdays off. However, I know that it ended up causing extra stress and work for them.

Many times, things came up on Wednesdays where my team would have to figure out things on their own, or they’d have to handle a sticky situation, or they’d have to put in extra work hours since I was offline. They also weren’t able to move the ball forward on many other projects because they would have to wait until I was back online and could get back to them about something they needed my input and help with.

Plus, our business took a financial hit because we had to say no to a number of promotions and opportunities because I wasn’t available on Wednesdays. And, like I said earlier, I wasn’t able to tell you about time sensitive deals on Wednesdays via social media so I felt like I wasn’t serving my audience well because of this.

Why I Didn’t Quit Mid-Year

Now, you may have read all of that and wondered why on earth I didn’t just quit my commitment mid-year and decide to ditch the idea. Honestly, I did consider it. However, I’ve been working hard on following through with what I’ve committed to do and I felt like it would also be good to stick with it for long enough that I made sure I wasn’t just quitting when the going got a little tough.

In addition, I felt like it was a valuable exercise and I learned so much from it. Plus, I did enjoy many pockets of rest being offline on Wednesdays and I’m so glad I stuck with this commitment even though it didn’t pan out like I envisioned it would!

I loved that I proved that I’m not tethered to my phone, I loved the stillness and quiet I experienced from being offline, and I loved recognizing just how life-giving it is for me to connect with you all.

My Biggest Takeaways & What I’m Changing in 2019

Starting in 2019, I’ve decided not to take Wednesdays off anymore. Instead, I’m going to commit to having mini-Sabbaths on an almost-daily basis.

Here is how I’m planning to practically walk this out:

  1. I’m committing to having 4 hours of offline time 5 days per week.
  2. I’m keeping my phone in the basement at night.

Notice that I didn’t commit to having 4 hours of offline time every single day. As a self-employed online entrepreneur, I know that that is just not realistic. BUT, I do believe that I can commit to being completely offline for 4 hours per day 5 days of the week.

I also bought a real alarm clock (I got this one) and am using that instead of my phone at night. This way, there’s not the temptation to check my phone last thing before I go to bed and first thing when I get up. I’ve been experimenting with this and it’s been making a big difference for me!

(By the way, I made a checklist chart with these habits I want to develop + a few others in order to serve as a reminder and to give me a place to track my progress on these. I think this is really going to be a great accountability for me! I also made one for business habits I’m wanting to focus on/develop during my work hours.)

So there you have it! If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

HUGE Year End Magazine Sale: Best Sellers as Low as $3.75 per year!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

 

Right now, you can grab some great titles for as low as $3.75 per year in this HUGE year-end magazine sale!

This sale includes some titles we rarely see discounts on, like:

  • Taste of Home for $4.59
  • Food Network for $7.48
  • HGTV for $12.75
  • Pioneer Woman for $14.47
  • Gluten Free Living for $14.57
  • Peppa Pig for $13.87
  • Ranger Rick for $11.55
  • Consumer Reports for $18.74

You can also grab gift subscriptions or even use this sale to renew your existing subscriptions. Even if your current subscription isn’t about to expire, you can purchase at the renewal price and it will just add on to the life of your current subscription!

There are over 50 titles to choose from, and you can go here to see all of the titles included in this sale!

Valid through January 1, 2019.