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A Peek Into Our Week (+ an update on my goals for 2018)

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! ?

I flew back from India on Monday evening/Tuesday (I’ll be sharing a few posts in a few weeks about my time there — once I finish sharing the posts from our South Africa trip!). Many of you asked me questions about the airplane bathrooms since I said that I wash my face/brush my teeth/take my contacts out, etc. on flights.

I try to choose a time when the lights are out and most people are sleeping so that I’m not “hogging” the bathroom when others might be waiting. And then I bring my bathroom bag in and my nose bottle and water bottle and do my nightly bathroom routine (wash face/take contacts out/brush teeth/do the sinus rinse) before getting ready to sleep and then my morning routine (wash face/put contacts in/brush teeth) when I wake up.

I then moisturize my face and put on my makeup when I’m back in my seat and we’re about an hour from landing. This helps me feel a little fresher when getting off a long 15+ hour flight! 🙂

After 25+ hours on flights and in airports, it was SO good to be home!

And we jumped right back into life because the kids had already started school when I got back!

Every year, we pray and talk and research and decide what schooling option is best for each individual child based upon their needs and where they are at both emotionally, spiritually, and academically.

Last year, we started the year with one being homeschooled and two in the same Classical school. For a variety of reasons, we ended the year with one in a new-to-us Classical school, another in another new-to-us Christian school, and one in the original Classical school.

Was it unconventional? Yes. But it ended up being exactly what each child needed and they were so happy we chose to go the routes we did.

This year, Kaitlynn and Silas are at the little Classical school that we fell so much in love with last year when Kaitlynn switched to it mid-year. Kathrynne is going to the same Christian school that she switched to mid-year last year. It has been such a good fit for her!

We’re excited to see what this year holds for each child and are so grateful for the teachers who come are walking alongside us in this journey and pouring into and investing in our kids.

Note: Kathrynne started this week with back-to-school camp, so she got to dress super casual, including sporting Jesse’s college sweatshirt! ?

How I Stay More Organized as a Business Owner

One of the best ways I keep my life and blogging/business work organized is by writing a time-blocked to do list every night before bed.

Yes, this takes some thought and effort, but it means that I am 150% more productive, focused, and calm the next day.

I look at my Google calendar (aka my “brain”) to see what appointments and events and meetings are scheduled for the next day + what projects and tasks I’ve assigned to that day to complete or work on.

Then, I sit down and hand write out my schedule for the day. I always leave buffer time in the afternoons and evenings to just hang out and be with my kids/husband. But now that the kids are back in school, our morning routine and my work time (from 8 am to 4 pm every day) is pretty regimented.

Having a time blocked to do list not only means that our mornings run much more smoothly, but it also means that I know exactly what I need to focus on in what order when I open up my computer for the day.

If you don’t have a plan, there’s a good chance you’ll spend most of the day going around in circles just putting out “fires”. And at the end of the day, you’ll probably not have a lot to show for it.

Whether you have 30 mins a day to devote to blogging or it’s your full-time gig, I encourage you to consider writing out a simple plan for how you’ll spend your blogging time. Put the most important priorities first on the list and the lesser pressing priorities at the bottom. That way, if you only get through half your list, you’ve at least spent your time tackling the projects that mattered most… and you didn’t just waste it scrolling through endless posts on social media!

From My Heart…

Earlier this week, one of the kids was struggling with their homework. I was working alongside them and they kept expressing their frustration, “I can’t do this! This is too hard! I’m going to fail all my projects!”

This is our perfectionist child and we’ve had to learn over the years that statements like, “Do your best! That’s all that matters!” don’t do anything but serve to further frustrate them.

In the past, I’ve even snapped at this child and said things like, “would you just stop being so frustrated?!? This is not that big of a deal.”

But in their world, it IS a big deal and they want to know that Mom cares and hears them and is there for them.

So instead of saying any of those things, I came up with a plan… because I’ve learned that a simple plan speaks this child’s language. I said, “This is a LOT that you’ve been assigned, but we have all evening to work on it. So let’s do this: We’re going to set a timer: 20 minutes to work on homework. 10 minutes to do something fun.” And back and forth between work and fun we went.

This made all the difference! This child went from feeling stressed to feeling motivated. We broke the projects down into small pieces and just focused on that one piece at a time. And then we took a break to have some fun. Then, we were back at it.

Within 2 hours, the projects were done and my child felt happy and satisfied. And I was so grateful… grateful that I didn’t just try to slap a platitude onto their frustration like I used to or, worse yet, shut them down by expressing frustration over their frustration.

This last year of changing how I parent and slowing down and really learning to listen to what my kids are actually communicating and then taking time to speak words of life to them has completely changed our home.

Often, our kids don’t need us to preach sermons at them; they need us to get down in the trenches with them, look into their eyes, let them know that they aren’t alone, that their frustration is heard, and then help them devise a plan of action to walk through the tough assignment.

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 48 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 33 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 300 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: I’ve finished two books so far and we’re working on a third right now.

7. Take the kids to South Africa. We took this trip in July. What a memorable experience!

8. Go on a family road trip.

**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this and are hoping to make this happen over Fall Break. Stay tuned!

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is DONE and the office is getting close to being done!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we launched Build Your List 101 in June!

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  • Hey Crystal, I have tried the time blocks for my writing schedule and I’m having a hard time sticking to it. I feel even when I over schedule a time for a project, I end up running over or messing it up somehow. So, if I have to write 2 blogs for a client and I schedule myself x number of hours and up not having enough time to write the blogs, I have no choice but to finish that work. So, it ends up pushing my schedule down. Something ends up getting pushed and I end up wrapping up things after dinner. I would rather not do that, but I’m having a hard time giving myself enough time for projects. One problem is that there are interruptions that come up that I can’t always ignore. For example, a client might need something that day that wasn’t on my list or I forgot someone needed something that didn’t get put on the schedule. Either way it trumps what I’m working on because the deadline is sooner that the other work. Any advice on how to create a block schedule that actually works?

    • I’d say to start with doubling the time you think it might take — especially with writing projects. 🙂 I always add extra for writing projects because those always seem to take longer. And then I always make sure I have at least an hour of buffer time built in to the schedule for the extra things that might come up.

  • Need Anap says:

    I always use the paper towels to lay on the counter before placing my stuff down (in public places that seem extra germy). But usually I forget to wipe the tray in front of me. 🙂

    • I just keep everything in my bag/on my bag… that way, it doesn’t touch anything else like a dirty countertop! And then I wipe my bag out with antibacterial wipes when I unpack it. 🙂

  • Theresa says:

    Hi Crystal! Looks like a busy week. I was curious if your kids are still involved in sports (baseball, figure skating, football). My daughter is starting gymnastics in the fall so it will be a schedule change for us. It made me realize that your childrens’ activities haven’t been mentioned much this summer.

    • Other than flag football and Krav Maga, they all chose not to do any activities this summer. Silas is doing baseball (it just started) and I think that’s all the extra activities they are going to be doing. The girls have both opted not to be involved in sports so that they can focus on school and be able to have time to hang out with friends and family while still getting enough sleep and having down time. We support their decision as we see them really thriving where they are right now and love that they have breathing room in their life for fun and creativity and friendship — things we feel are so important!

      • Theresa says:

        Crsytal, that makes so much sense! My mom let us pick if we wanted to do any extracurricular activities (athletic or not) and limited us to one per season. She didn’t want us to be overscheduled and stressed out. I understood that stance then and still support it today.

  • Amber says:

    Maybe you’ve written about this before, but would you mind sharing how or what prompted you to start parenting differently? Was it something you read, a change directed by the Lord, maybe several things? I feel like there are changes I need to make in regards to the tone I set in my home….kindness & compassion often go out the window when frustration sets in (unfortunately frequently). I seem to fall into or stay in bad patterns that are hard to break.

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