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Free Eat At Home Tonight Challenge!

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With the busy back to school season on the horizon, are you trying to get back in the groove of eating dinners at home?

If so, you’ll definitely want to sign up for the FREE Eat At Home Tonight Challenge! It runs today, August 8th, through next Tuesday, August 14th.

When you sign up, you’ll get a FREE meal plan, grocery list, and recipes from the Eat At Home Tonight cookbook. You’ll also be able to join a private Facebook community for encouragement and inspiration!

I’ve participated in the Eat At Home Challenge multiple times and absolutely loved it! This is also one of my favorite cookbooks!

Sign up here for the FREE Eat At Home Tonight Challenge.

The 3 Books I Read This Past Week (+ what we spent hours watching last week)

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

And it’s week #5 of reading 3 books in a week! I’m so excited that I’m continuing on with this trend!

Here are the three books I finished this past week:

1. The Broken Road

This book wasn’t what I was expecting, but as someone who has a very driven personality and who is prone to work too much or put my worth in my work, this story hit home in many ways and caused me to think and step back and examine my life and choices.

(I listened to this audiobook for free on the Libby app.)

2. The Orphan, The Widow, & Me

I really enjoyed this story (thank you to whomever out there recommended this book to me — I’m not sure of your name because it was awhile ago!). I did feel like the text could have been tightened up and the storyline made a little stronger, but overall, it was a good read and I’d recommend it.

3. Whispers of Rest

I absolutely loved Finding Spiritual Whitespace, so I was excited to read this followup book. It’s one you want to savor over a 3-4 week period (that’s what I did).

If you feel overwhelmed with your life or just need some encouragement to rest in the Lord and stop feeling like you have to control or micromanage or stress over everything, I think you’ll find this devotional helpful. Plus, it has a lot of practical ideas and advice, too!

One thing I wanted to note is that I found some parts fairly repetitive and I also noticed a number of typos. (If that kind of thing bothers you, I just thought I’d mention it.)

I flew to India yesterday and today (if you want to follow along with my trip behind-the-scenes, be sure to follow me on Instagram Stories). On the first flight from Nashville to Chicago, I had two empty seats next to me… and I made the most of it! 🙂

What We Spent Hours Watching

The CrossFit Games were last week, so we spent hours watching them live online over the course of a 4-day period. We are all pretty big fans and each have athletes that we were especially cheering for!

(We went to the CrossFit Regional competition earlier this year and got to see some of these athletes compete live so that made it even more fun!)

I love that this is something Jesse and I can enjoy together — and that the kids get in on, too!

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?

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

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! 🙂

This post contains affiliate links and we may be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.

As I mentioned, we spent almost all of last week near Mountain Home, Arkansas at Bull Shoals Lake. It’s a family tradition for us all to get together at least once a year at this lake.

The tradition started before Jesse and I were married over 15 years ago and has continued — and now there are 27 of us total (though my brother couldn’t make it this year because he was serving as a counselor at The Wild Camp.)

Here’s a little peek into our time together…

We played lots of games — including some fun rounds of Spot It.

My dad rented two boats for the week, so we spent a LOT of time on the water.

Some of the days were a little cloudy, but mostly, the weather was beautiful — not too hot and not too cold!

I fell in love with knee-boarding on this vacation and had so much fun attempting different things (I still haven’t mastered backwards knee-boarding, but I’m determined I’m going to get it!)

Most all of us went bowling one evening. They rented out the lanes for just $16 each for an hour, so we got three lanes and a BUNCH of us bowled for every minute of that hour and had a blast — and it only cost about $51 total!!

Close to 7 pm, they turned on the strobe lights for Cosmic Bowling!

Kathrynne planned games for the younger kids every afternoon and they earned tickets which they got to cash in for prizes at the end of the week (see below).

This roll the marble game was a hit! You had to sit or stand behind the line and roll a marble and you got points based upon where the marble landed.

Most of my nieces and nephews were better than me at this game! 🙂

We also played a rousing game of Whoonu — and my 5-year-old niece beat me fair and square!!

Have you ever played this game? It was a lot harder than I expected it to be!

My sister’s daughter, Cadence, planned snacks for the younger kids on two of the afternoons (and my brother’s daughter planned snacks on the other two days).

One of the snacks was these cute apples that all of the kids got to make!

The kids really enjoyed making these!

The best part? They got to eat them after they made them!

There was a lot of double-slaloming that went on during the week. Here, two of my brothers are showing off their skills!

It was so peaceful and beautiful!

We had multiple swimming breaks in the lake.

Another shot of how beautiful this lake is!

The boys climbed up on the rocks one day and would have stayed up there for a long time if I hadn’t told them they had to come down (because I was a little afraid they were going to slip and fall!)

Kathrynne did so well at skiing this year — and even got up on one ski the second time she tried (I didn’t get a picture because I was screaming so loudly about how well she was doing!!)

And then Silas wanted to try skiing on the big skis. He’s gotten up on the kid skis before, but never on these larger skis.

The boy got up on his second try and stayed up for over 2 minutes!!

I was SO proud of him and I think he just might be able to slalom soon, too!

At the end of the week, the kids took all of their tickets and they got to cash them in for prizes that Kathrynne had in her “store” (all of these came from Dollar Tree).

The kids came in one at a time and got to redeem tickets for one item — from youngest child to oldest child.

And then, once the first round of ticket redemptions was finished, they got to do another round and choose another item.

We drove back home on Saturday — and made a stop at this place we found in Jonesboro last year. I love little coffee shops, even if I don’t drink coffee any more! (I got their cinnamon tea and had them make it like a London Fog.)

From My Heart…

This made me laugh and say ouch, because yup, there’s way more truth to it than I’d probably like to admit.

One of the reasons I chose the word SLOW for this year was because I knew I needed to work on being slower to respond. And it’s been so good to make it my goal to actually take time to think before I say something instead of just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.

It’s still a challenge and I still have had to apologize and stick my foot in my mouth, but I’m thrilled to tell you that by making this one word my mantra, it’s actually been making a big difference.

I’m talking less and listening more — and I’m taking more time to weigh my words before talking. And it’s really making a difference. I’m even not always having to get in the last word in a conversation or discussion… which is no small miracle!

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: 42 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: 31 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 290 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. (I have a plan for how we’re going to incorporate more reading into our schedule once school starts and we’re all driving in the car to school drop-offs every morning. For now, I’m just happy that we’re fitting in a little family reading a few times per week when we’re all in the car together driving to the pool or somewhere else. Something is better than nothing, right??)

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!

Slow Day: Week 31

Welcome to my weekly Slow Day post, inspired by Monica from The Homespun Heart. My Word for 2018 is Slow and, in the spirit of that word, I’m taking one day each week (Wednesday) off — I’ll be unplugged and offline and plan to move at a slower pace, take time to do things that refresh me, and just really focus on being present and savoring the moment.

Each week, I’ll be sharing a photographic peek into my Slow Day. Enjoy a little peek into our lives!

As I mentioned earlier, we spent all last week near Mountain Home, Arkansas at Bull Shoals Lake with all of my extended family (26 people total, if I counted correctly!)

So enjoy a little peek into our day at the lake…

We all contribute to the meals when we’re together. My youngest sister plans the menu and then put together a sign-up sheet that we all signed up on. Today’s breakfast was Baked Oatmeal, courtesy of my sister-in-law.

We all stay in different cabins, but we eat our meals (and hang out a lot) in the big cabin that my parents stay in.

The girls loved getting to spend time with their baby cousins.

It was an absolutely gorgeous morning!

Silas and I went out on the boat for the afternoon.

We watched Jesse ski.

And then he knee-boarded, too.

(I also knee-boarded,  but since I’m the one who usually takes pictures, we don’t have any pictures of me. 🙂 Silas knee-boarded, too, and you can see the video and read more about that here.)

Atlas and I spent a lot of time together this past week. He’s such a cutie and I love how much he’s learning how to talk and communicate!

The chaos before dinner. 🙂

Dinner was hamburgers, hot dogs, veggies, fruit, corn on the cob, and french fries.