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A Peek Into My Life This Week (+ how I find time to read!)

Welcome to my weekly Sunday post where we take a break from money-related posts and I share about what I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.

What I’m Reading

Last week, I read Read the Bible to Your Kids by Rachel O’Niell (she’s a blog reader and she sent me a copy of her ebook to check out!). I was so inspired by Rachel’s encouragement that you don’t have to make Bible Reading with your kids some big complicated thing. Just reading and talking about a verse or two or three every day is a great start.

I also finished A Portrait of Emily Price and The Year of Yes. I wouldn’t say either were stand-out books. A Portrait of Emily Price was a pretty slow read and I didn’t fall in love with the characters as much like I have in some of the author’s other books. I did enjoy the references in the book to Rome as I got to visit there last year!

I thought that The Year of Yes could have used a LOT of editing down and it still would have accomplished the same thing. However, that said, as this is my Year of Yes, I thought it was a good book to help kick off the year. (Note: If you do pick this book up, it’s not written at all from a Christian stand-point and is crass at times. Consider yourself warned!)

This week, I’m continuing on reading books from my bookshelf from four different categories: Candles in the Dark (an old Christian reprint), A Trip Around the Sun (a spiritually encouraging book), The Giver (a story-driven book), and Grace Not Perfection (a book on life improvement).

I’m hoping to finish both Candles in the Dark and Grace Not Perfection this week. I’ll let you know how that goes next week! {See my Reading Goals for 2017.}

How I’m Fitting in Reading Right Now

Multiple people have been asking how I find time to read. This changes with every season of life, but here’s how I’m fitting in reading right now:

  • I’m spending 10-15 minutes reading spiritually encouraging books in the morning — I do this in conjunction with my morning Bible reading.
  • Then, I’m spending 10-20 minutes in the afternoons/evenings reading a non-fiction book or story-driven book. I’m doing this during my afternoon offline time (from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.) once our afternoon chores are done and before it’s time for dinner prep. I usually have a short 10-20 minute window here while the kids are busy doing other things. It’s a nice before-dinner treat for myself!)
  • And then I try to find at least another time either one night or on the weekends when I can fit in another hour of reading.

Between all of this, I can easily get through an average of at least 1-2 chapters of a book every day.

When people tell me that they don’t have time to read, I disagree. I don’t think you should ever say, “I don’t have time for XX.” Instead, choose to say, “I’m not prioritizing that because I’m prioritizing XYZ instead.” Which is totally okay.

But when you change how you talk about time management, it also reminds you that how you spend your time is a choice. We can’t control all the variables of our every day life, but we do have many choices and are not just a victim of our calendar or circumstances! 🙂

For me, because reading is a priority, I choose to find pockets of time to include it as part of my routine and then have made it a habit to include that in my every day life.

What I’m Loving

My dad got us a foosball table for Christmas and we have been loving it. It’s been the source of much laughter and hooting and hollering at our house the past week as we challenge each other to games.

Silas beat me one time this week — which he was SO proud of! I’m definitely going to have to work on learning some new moves and strategic plays because all his practicing is making him harder and harder for me to beat! 🙂

We also played an epic three-night-long game of Ticket to Ride. We played it on our Apple TV and just played for 30 minutes before bed every night as a family. It was so much fun and definitely is something we’ll be doing again. It’s a great way to wind down, it’s something we can all enjoy, and it brings out all of our competitive sides in a big way. 🙂

What I’m Watching

This week, I watched YouTube videos on how to be more successful at YouTube. Because that’s one of my goals for 2017! I’ve also been following a few YouTubers. One of my favorites is Happily a Housewife.

As a family, we watched Greater for our family movie night. It was a good movie with a great and very inspirational message (thanks to the reader who recommended it), however, I thought it was kind of slow to progress in parts and I was shocked that it had the language that it did for being rated PG. I’d highly recommend that you don’t choose it for a family movie night unless you’ve watched it first as parents and feel like it would be appropriate for your kids.

Did you see this video online? It went viral around Christmas and I’ve watched it multiple times… because the dad’s facial expressions and commentary and dry sense of humor just make me laugh! 🙂

What I’m Listening To

This week, I listened to my friend Karthi’s podcast with our executive pastor, Eric Hoffman. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that I’m involved in a discipleship group at church that has been deeply impacting me as a person.

Eric is the one who created the discipleship group curriculum, so if you’ve been at all interested in what we’ve been learning, these two podcasts will give you a taste of some of what we’re diving into in our discipleship group: Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. I think it would be well worth your time to listen!

Thank you for all your music suggestions last week. You reminded me that I should start listening to Pandora while I’m working on the computer. Truth be told, I’d kind of forgotten all about Pandora since we started using Amazon Prime music on our phones.

One reader recommended the Hymnstyles station on Pandora and I’ve been enjoying the majority of the songs that it plays!

What are YOUR favorite Pandora stations? I’d love to know now that I remembered Pandora exists! 🙂

What I’m Excited About

In 2017, I made the commitment to get back to goal-setting, become a paper planner girl again, go to bed no later than 11 pm every night, and be offline from 3 pm to 8 pm every day (among a few other goals).

We’re one week in and I cannot believe how much these simple tweaks have changed the flow of our days. Our house has been so much cleaner, I’m spending a lot more time with Jesse and the kids, I’m investing more in real-life relationships, I’m making time for fun, and I still have time to get all the important business projects done + have time for some things I love (like reading!)

Honestly, I think that the key for me has been compartmentalizing my time and committing a big chunk of my day to be completely offline. I can’t wait to see how the next few months play out, but I’m so hopeful that this routine is going to be a really fantastic fit for this season of our lives!

In Case You Missed It

My Posts This Week:
My #1 Tip for Finding Frugal Friends
Why Our 3 Kids Share a Bedroom
BIG Changes Are Coming to the Blog This Year!

My YouTube Videos This Week:
2 Habits I Want to Develop in 2017
My 10 Goals for 2017
My One Word for 2017

What are you reading, loving, watching, listening to, and/or excited about? I’d love to hear!

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  • Megan says:

    My favorite Pandora station (currently listening to it now) is Bethel Music Radio. My other favorite is Hillsong United Radio.

  • Shauna says:

    I have been rereading a bunch of Richard Paul Evans’ books. I just finished, The Gift, it is a great read. I love the book The Giver and I think I need to reread it also.
    On of your readers recommended Kubo and the 2 strings last week so we rented it. My kids enjoyed it and my sweet 7 year old son even shed a few tears while watching it.
    We love ticket to ride. It is so fun once your kids get big enough to play games. I had no idea there was an electronic version.

  • We LOVE the game Ticket to Ride! It can take a while to finish the game, so I’m happy to know that there is an online version.

  • Nancy says:

    I like Pandora’s Hymns on Piano station. Right now, any music with words is too distracting, so it’s just right for me. I much preferred Lowry’s Number the Stars to The Giver, but many people love The Giver. A friend who is a middle school language arts teacher said she thinks people’s reaction to it depends in large part on how they interpret the ending.

  • Iva says:

    Crystal, I listen to contemporary Christian music everyday after the students go home while I work on paperwork. I find that it keeps The Main Thing thr main thing. I tend to get not so overwhelmed at the endless paperwork that all teachers (but especially SPED teachers) deal with on a daily basis.

  • Amy says:

    An apple TV arrived for Christmas at our house. Is Txket to ride an app you purchased for the tv or did you purchase for a phone and just have it displayed on the tv? Thanks !

  • This week I’ve read two of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries (I love those!) and The Year of Yes (thanks to your recommendation). I really enjoyed most of The Year of Yes, and the chapter on saying yes to giving up the “mommy wars” was fantastic.

    • Naomi says:

      I just checked out the first book in the Maisie Dobbs series and am excited to read it as a result of your recommendation. Thanks for sharing! I am currently reading Dawn of Liberty, the last book in the Secret of the Rose series- excellent Christian historical fiction about WWII by Michael Phillips.

  • Kayla H says:

    Crystal, you may already know about this, but I thought it was worth mentioning just in case. There is a youtube channel called Video Creators, and it is all about creating content, engaging your audience, etc. Basically, it’s about how to build and grow a youtube channel from the ground up. There is so much useful information there. A guy named Tim Schmoyer created this channel. He is certified in Youtube audience growth, and also does private coaching among other things. He has a background in youth ministry, but now works full time from home. He and his wife Dana also have a vlogging channel called Schmovies where there vlog about how they and their 6 children are learning how to be become a family team. They homeschool the oldest 3, and they are just so much fun to watch. I think you would really enjoy their channel. They are also big fans of Dave Ramsey, and are debt free besides their mortgage and have been for many years now. They are also probably very close to your age. I think you would have a lot in common with them.

  • Melissa says:

    I just finished The Giver and loved it! Now I’m going to read the other three books in the quartet.

  • Dana says:

    The Giver! I read that book in I believe 6th grade, so 1998ish. I have read it probably 5-6 times since then. It is one of my all time favorites and probably what got me into futuristic dystopians!

  • Jenna says:

    The ticket to ride link goes to another party no… I would love some more information.

  • Lauren says:

    Hi Crystal-Thanks for your post. I love this peek into your life! I’m going to check out Happily a Housewife now on YouTube and can’t wait for your videos. Are you familiar with Doitonadime? I just discovered her this weekend and love all her inexpensive, creative ideas for organizing, decorating, etc. I think you’d like it too.

  • Chelsea says:

    Since it is your year of yes, I think it would be fun to see something you said yes to in your weekly recap! I think my family needs to try that game, we love new game ideas around here.

  • Carrie says:

    The Giver is one of our family’s favorite read-alouds. 🙂

    Pandora stations? French Cafe when I’m feeling Frenchy. Indie Folk Revival. Ira Gershwin. I’m a GenXer so there’s always plenty of 90’s alternative rock, everything from Elvis Costello to Superchunk. Ska: Jimmy Cliff, the Skatalites (when I need an energy boost).

    I re-framed the way I talk about time after reading Laura Vanderkam’s book (I know you’re a fan too). I have time for anything, but everything isn’t a priority. It’s like saying “that’s not in the budget” rather than “I can’t afford it”.

  • Julie Crabb says:

    I see Happy planner flags, and the confident mom and your personal planner, and I also see project life cards in your picture… would you mind writing a post on how you plan? Or have you already and I’ve missed it? Thank you!

  • Tyla Milian says:

    This post was really informative.
    I love The Giver. I feel it was a book that really makes you think.
    I am interested in learning more about being an effective YouTuber. Could you post some good videos that you’ve found about how to improve your use of YouTube?
    Thanks for everything Crystal.

  • Mary says:

    I sometimes listen to Gregorian Chant on Pandora in the mornings as I go about getting ready for the day to remind myself that my home is a domestic church. Soothing.

  • Christine says:

    I just finished reading A Man Called Ove last night. It is kind of a quirky book at first, but it hides a secret sweetness that just oozes out by the end. It was just delightful! I’m also reading Grace Not Perfection as my sister-in-law gave it to me for Christmas, and I’ve been enjoying that. I’m trying to read more of a variety of books (and just more in general!) in 2017 so I will keep following your recommendations. Thank you!

  • Ashley P says:

    How I found time to read:

    I roped hubby into reading to me at night while I wash dishes and/or stitch. He’s my own personal audiobook! 🙂

    Currently, I’m doing a morning devotional on praying together as a married couple, but since that’s a short devotional, hubby and I just read it together before getting out of bed.

    I borrowed an audiobook from the library that I listen to whenever the boys aren’t demanding my attention (which isn’t often. I’m only on chapter 2 and I’ve had the book since New Year’s). It’s a Christian romance novel.

    And the book hubby is reading me is one I won in a contest (one of MANY I’ve won in recent months, by God’s grace) written by a friend of mine about a woman who died and became a demon-fighting warrior in the after-life. It’s actually a pretty interesting read as sci-fi/paranormal novels go. Most of them are rather cliché, but this one stands out. Can’t wait to finish it. The next one in my stack is about the Revolutionary War.

  • Bri says:

    The Pandora stations I listen to most are Classical for Studying or Yanni Radio. I know that probably sounds lame, but they play beautiful piano and orchestra arrangements that offset the screams and yells of a 7, 6, 4, & 3 year old running around the house. Plus I’d like for them to grow up knowing real music, not just what a car radio plays. Don’t worry, I wave my nerd – flag proudly 😉

  • Suzanne says:

    I just got Grace Not Perfection from the library today. Can’t wait to read it!

  • BarbaraS says:

    Am I the only one that uses Books on CD to listen to when I have chores to do? Cleaning out the closet, getting rid of clutter, folding laundry–all go faster when I am listening to a good book.

  • Deborah says:

    It intrigues me how different things/ books appeal or relate to different people. I loved A Portrait of Emily Price. 🙂 I loved the pizza and the uniqueness of her job and the grace poured into the ending. I put this book in my Favorite Ten Books of 2016 post.

    I always enjoy checking out your reading lists, Crystal!

  • Olivia says:

    A great Pandora station is The Piano Guys. Most of the music does not have words, so I find that it is less distracting. They have a lot of covers of popular songs, so I like that I still know the music.

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