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Tag Archive: A Peek Into My Life This Week

An amazing deal on eggs, Oreo Cheesecakes, and a road trip to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana

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.

I got the best deal on eggs I think I’ve ever gotten this week. Check out the details here.

Speaking of saving, I was also excited this week because I earned 436 points on Fetch Rewards for my second shopping trip! If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards yet, I highly recommend signing up and scanning your receipts. It’s such an easy-peasy way to earn free gift cards!

(Want more details on Fetch Rewards and how it works? Read this post on How I Earned $5 in Free Gift Cards in 3 Weeks — just for scanning my grocery receipts.)

Since Kaitlynn was off school this week, she had fun doing a number of different crafts and also tried her hand at making Oreo Cheesecakes.

She brought the finished cheesecakes down to me while I was working one day.

They were yummy!

On Tuesday night, Silas had a baseball game and got to play pitcher position most of the game!

We had planned to leave on Tuesday and to go to Florida and New Orleans… but then the hurricane hit and Kathrynne had a lot going on at school and didn’t want to miss any days (her Fall Break was only for Friday through Monday whereas Kaitlynn and Silas got this whole past week off), so we moved the road trip to just be Thursday night through Sunday night.

It wasn’t the week-long trip I had hoped for, but I decided to just be grateful for what we could make happen and to try to make the most of it!

As some of you know, we have a big bucket list goal of traveling to all 50 US states and all 7 continents with our kids by the time Kathrynne turns 18, so we got to cross a few more US States We Haven’t Visited Yet off our list with this trip — yay!

BIRMINGHAM, AL: The Birmingham Civil Rights Museum was sobering… and we have had many good discussions as a result of our time there and at 16th Street Baptist Church. (Note: We thought the museum was over-priced, but I think the $$ goes to the Civil Rights Institute.)

Have any of you been to the Jackson, MS or Memphis, TN Civil Rights Museums and this one? I would love to know how they compare.

The Botanical Gardens were incredible — and we still can’t believe that they are free. We took so many fun pictures together and laughed so hard while trying to get good shots. (We enjoyed our time there so much and would highly recommend it… so much so that I’ll likely do a separate post dedicated to more details on it.)

Saw’s Soul Kitchen was a hopping place (thanks to the follower who recommended it!) and the food was unique and yummy!

WEST MONROE, LA: We finally made it to the Duck Commander headquarters — something Jesse and Silas had been hoping to make happen for a few YEARS.

We did the Duck Commander Tour (we got our tickets on Groupon) and it was interesting to get to hear the backstory to the Robertson family. If you are big fans of the Robertson’s and their TV show, Duck Dynasty, you will likely enjoy this tour.

Personally, I thought it was overpriced, but Jesse really enjoyed it! 🙂

We got to make our own Duck Calls.

And then the kids went outside and tried them out with the little duck pool they have (I’m sure these poor ducks have to endure hearing a LOT of duck calls!)

We also stopped by Miss Kay’s… but were sad to discover that it was too late in the day and had already closed.

The Realities of Traveling as a Family…

While you see lots of smiles in these photos above, I want to be honest and tell you that traveling isn’t always roses and rainbows. Take Saturday morning, for instance: We had driven to Jackson, MS, the night before and had gotten in late only to discover that the fully booked hotel we were supposed to stay in had put us in a smoking room that smelled so pungent we couldn’t even walk into it.

(Silas and I have asthma and can’t be around secondhand smoke, so we spent a long time waiting for them to find a new room for us… Three cheers for the incredibly gracious staff at this hotel!)

We were so grateful to finally crash into bed around midnight. But then, my head cold got a lot worse in the night and I spent much of the night awake and completely miserable.

I didn’t want to get up in the morning because of my pounding head… but I also didn’t want to miss out on this family road trip. So I pulled myself out of bed and went to workout — only to come back to the room to discover that two of the kids had woken up with terrible attitudes.

There was arguing and fighting. There was complaining. (“We don’t want to be on this trip! We just wish we could be HOME!”)

And then traffic was really bad because of Homecoming and we couldn’t find any parking (people were parked on the sidewalk and in the turn lanes on the street!!), so we gave up on doing anything in Jackson and drove to West Monroe.

I wondered if we made a mistake in working so hard to make this road trip happen (we had to rearrange a lot of things because our initial road trip plans fell through due to the hurricane and Kathrynne’s school schedule).

But by some miracle, the day ended well. Jesse got me some meds (I felt like a new woman!), the kids’ attitudes turned around, we had a fun time at Duck Commander, and the kids wanted to pose for this photo above and willingly smiled!

Traveling as a family always has its rough patches and sometimes we wonder if it’s really worth it, but then we end the day with practicing ball room dancing in the hotel room, laughing over silly things, and piled together watching Monsters University… and Jesse and I remember why we prioritize this.

From My Heart…

I’m a world class fixer. Give me a problem and I will move heaven and earth to find a solution for you.

While this can be a great skill when it comes to running a business, it’s not a great skill when it comes to friendship.

Because relationships aren’t projects. People want to be seen and heard and loved — not added to your to-do list as something needing to be fixed.

I’m writing this more to myself than anything… because I desperately need the reminder. If you share your struggles with me, I can immediately jump into fix-it mode. I want to give you a website to check out, a book to read, and the next three simple steps you need to take.

In fact, just a few days ago, a friend who is going through a hard time texted me and said, “I don’t want counsel; I just want to share what I’m feeling.”

Ouch. That stepped all over my toes in a powerful way.

People are not problems to be solved; they are human beings to love.

Yes, sometimes loving well looks like helping to tangibly provide solutions. But many times, it means just listening and providing an empathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a safe place to confide in… all without any long-term agenda or plan for anything other than to love generously and well.

Let’s stop fixing and start extravagantly loving. I think it will probably be a lot more effective! Who’s with me? ❤️

Graphic made by my 11-year-old, Kaitlynn. Quote from @jessicahonegger

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: 65 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: 39 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 385 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: We’ve finished three books so far.

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

8. Go on a family road trip.While we didn’t get to go on as long of a road trip as we wanted to, we made the most of our Fall Break Road Trip to LA, MS, and AL (and checked off a few more states from our States We Haven’t Visited Yet list!)

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 almost done!

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

**Progress: We’re halfway to having this fully funded. We are hoping to finish this out before the end of the year — we’ll see!

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!

A date with Kathrynne and a girls’ trip to the beach

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.

Kathrynne wanted to take me on a date for my birthday. We decided to go to Barnes & Noble and she paid for the outing.

I got this yummy turkey and brie sandwich.

I already showed you the flowers my parents sent me for my birthday, but I have to show you another picture because they made me so happy!

And then on Thursday morning, I left on a much-anticipated girls’ trip to the beach.

I went with two of my closest friends — Jamie and Lauren. We had anticipated this trip for weeks and it was the best ever!

We’re so grateful to our husbands for their kindness to take care of things on the home front so that we mamas could have a girls’ weekend!

The last two months have been full and there have been a lot of weighty and emotionally taxing things I’ve walked through. So this time away was amazing and so soul-filling. I didn’t know when we planned this a number of months ago just how much I was going to need it!

We all need quiet spaces in our life to reflect, refuel, and recover. Maybe you can’t get away to the beach, but can I encourage you to do something in the next 24 hours to refuel and refresh yourself?

Maybe that’s taking 15 minutes to read a book or drink a cup of tea or or take a nap or call a friend or bake something or organize a drawer or sit with a child or watch a funny clip on YouTube or take a walk. Even if you don’t feel like you have time, you can find 15 minutes to slow down and intentionally rest and refuel yourself.

From My Heart…

For years, I believed the lie that I didn’t know how to be a good friend. Because of some past hurt and rejection, I told myself that I was a disappointment to those closest to me.

I let this lie become my truth and I built a thick barricade around myself to keep other women at arm’s length. I was self-protecting… and when anyone would get too close, I’d pull back.

I didn’t realize I was doing any of this, of course. I just thought that I struggled to make friends and felt lonely much of the time.

All this changed when Jamie and Lauren entered my life. Both of them pursued me… for months. They wouldn’t give up. They kept pressing in, even when I pulled back.

I’m so grateful for their friendship for how they have been used by God to help me recognize so many lies I was living under and have given me the courage to step into the freedom that comes from believing the truth, fully trusting people, breaking down the barriers, and letting people in.

Our time at the beach was an amazing time of laughing, reading on the beach, honest sharing, deepening our friendship, and just enjoying life together.

“We can’t win when we go it alone.” -Jessica Honegger

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: 63 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: 39 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 375 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: We’ve finished three books so far.

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 planning to make this happen this week. 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 almost 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!

Doughnuts, Spirit Week, a book signing, and my new podcast!

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! 🙂

(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.)

All three kids had Spirit Week at their schools this past week — which mean they had different themes for each day and they got to dress up accordingly. (Above is a peek at Silas and Kaitlynn dressed up for 50’s day… they came down to work out with us after they were ready for school!)

My friend, Jeannie, invited me to go to her sister’s book signing at Draper James in Nashville.

I had never been to this store (it’s not really the place for frugal people!) but it was adorable!

Jeannie is the author of two books that you all have heard me talk about so often — Mom Set Free and Parenting the Wholehearted Child. I’m so excited because Jeannie is going to be my guest on Tuesday’s podcast episode. We’re going to be talking about The Secret to Being a Happier Mom… and it’s truly a fantastic episode. You won’t want to miss it!

Speaking of my podcast, it was a pretty big week for me with launching The Crystal Paine Show to the world. And your kindness and excitement and support of this new endeavor meant the world to me. Truly, thank you so much!

(In case you missed the big announcement, you can read it here.)

Kathrynne was nominated by the students at her school for a special award. So she got special recognition at the Homecoming Game on Friday night. I’m so proud of this girl and how much she has come out of her shell in the past few years. I used to think she was incredibly introverted. Now I’m beginning to wonder if she is maybe a full-fledged extrovert for how much she loves people and spending time with her friends.

Speaking of Kathrynne, she got all decked out for the Glow in the Dark Homecoming Dance this week, too. (Dress was casual — which she was thrilled about!)

I used to be the mom who shot down my kids’ ideas. I would come up with valid reasons for saying no… we didn’t have time, it would cost money, and so on.

But if I’m being honest, I usually said no because it would be inconvenient or uncomfortable for me. It would require extra time and effort or it would disrupt my plans and schedule.

The older my kids get, the more I’m realizing that life is short and I don’t want to look back and regret all the times I said no and missed out on fun opportunities, memorable experiences, or blessing my kids.

Case in point, on Thursday night, Silas asked if we could bring doughnuts to his class at school on Friday. Instead of saying no, I told him that if he could make sure everyone was ready to leave at 7 am, we could buy doughnuts at the little airstream shop on the way to school.

And so he made sure everyone was ready early! And I wish you could have seen the glow on his face as his proudly walked into school (dressed up for school Spirit Week, in case you were wondering about the baseball uniform!) carrying his bag of doughnuts.

I can’t always say yes to every idea my kids have, but I want to say yes as often as possible. Because I don’t want to spend this one shot I get at parenting shooting down my kids’ ideas.

Let’s say yes to doughnuts and memories and bringing joy and delight to others today — even if it means we have to get out the door a little earlier or tweak our plans to accommodate those yeses. It’s worth it!

Did you see this deal? You can get 10 audio dramas from Lamplighter Theatre for just $20!! (As you can tell from the photo above, we might just be a wee bit of a fan of these dramas!)

 

 

Links You Should Check Out:

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: 61 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: 37 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 368 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: We’ve finished three books so far.

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 planning 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 almost 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!

TopGolf, baseball, homework, and snacks

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 week, I enjoyed getting to make some more meals in my crockpot and share them with you as part of the Eat at Home Challenge.

I wrote a post on How We Afford Snacks on a Tight Grocery Budget.

Silas pitched his first inning of a baseball game and did a great job!

His new school is really stretching him academically but in a way that motivates him, not frustrates him (well, most days!) I’ve been so proud to watch him really put his head down and work so hard on his projects and papers and homework and to see the sense of accomplishment he gets from working hard on something and completing it well.

We celebrated Jesse’s and Brian’s (our friend) birthday by going to TopGolf with friends. I’m not skilled at all when it comes to golf, but we still had a great time together!

I love watching this boy play his heart out on the ball field.

From My Heart…

They started fighting one night last week during the before dinner prayer.

One child began praying and the other child cut in upset that they weren’t getting to pray and said heatedly, “It’s MY turn to pray tonight!” And then started their own prayer.

You guys. This is life sometimes. I have visions of these heartwarming family dinners together — and then we can’t even make it through the before dinner prayer without arguing and fighting.

And of all the things to fight about… they are fighting about who gets to pray!!!

But despite the rough start to dinner, we ended up having great conversations around the table and had fun picking a new show to watch together after dinner (we’re trying out Monk — have you seen it?).

No day is perfect. Just like no family picture is perfect…

My parents hired a photographer to come take group photos and family photos when we were together in Breckenridge — which was an amazing idea.

Only thing is, we had a really full week that week and had packed at the last minute and hadn’t really had time to think through what we were going to wear for pictures to coordinate with everyone else.

So it was a bit of a mad, scramble, dash to pull off pictures! What you don’t know is that I’m hiding my shoe strap that is broken. (I forgot it had broken until I put them on minutes before pictures!) We had to run to Walmart at the last minute to find a shirt for one child who forgot to pack something for the pictures. And the girls borrowed my scarves the morning of the pictures because they didn’t like their outfits.

Despite the mishaps, there is beauty. And that is really how I’ve been trying to live my life… looking past the discouragements, the daily frustrations, the mishaps and miscommunications and mistakes… and looking for the beauty.

Because there is beauty and goodness around us, if we will be stop to take notice of it. And the more we look for it, the more we will see it in the middle of our imperfect and messy lives.

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: 58 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: 36 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 358 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: We’ve finished three books so far.

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 planning 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 almost 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!

Costco, Tough Mudders, Crockpots, and Camping

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 posted asking you all about whether you thought I should get a Costco membership and MAN, you all delivered! There were 100+ comments on the original posts + so many other comments I got on social media and emails you all sent in! Part of me just wants to try shopping at Costco for a few months, but the other part of me thinks that many of you are very right: I won’t be able to beat the prices I currently get.

Also, I found out that you can buy seaweed at Kroger (I had no idea since I’ve never purchased it before!) and you can usually get it for less than a $1 per package by pairing coupons with sales. I also heard that it’s even less expensive at Asian grocery stores. So I guess that 10 packages of seaweed for $8.99 at Costco wasn’t such an amazing deal after all!

I started the Eat at Home Challenge on Thursday and I am so enjoying getting on Facebook Live at 6:50 a.m. in the mornings to share what I’m cooking for dinner.

Plus, having dinner all made before our day starts makes the afternoons and evenings so much calmer! I’d love to have you join me live tomorrow morning, if you’re up at 6:50 a.m. CST!

I got this new book in the mail from my friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee. AND I got to interview her on my soon-to-be-released podcast! It officially launches next week and I am crazy excited about it and have been having so much fun learning a brand-new skillset! (Sign up here if you want to get to hear the very first episode before anyone else does!)

Jennifer sent me a copy of her book and these beautiful cards that made me smile! 🙂

On Friday, we left for a weekend camping trip with our Community Group. I brought my Instant Pot for the first time to use for dinner — and it worked like a charm!

Psst! Looking for some of my newbie camping advice? Check out my post from our last camping trip on How We Prepared for Our Very First Camping Trip.

After we got camp all set up and ate dinner, we began with a reading and prayer from our pastor.

(Kaitlynn took some amazing pictures of the lights.)

He was the only boy on the camping trip, but he did great at holding his own and having fun with all the girls!

One of the families brought their dog — and the kids enjoyed playing with him! (Not sure why Silas had one shoe on and one is missing! Who knows?!)

They made a bunch of mud creations with the clay in the lake. The girls then painted them and sold them to the parents. I thought it was quite creative entrepreneurship!

A good ‘ole fashioned game of “chicken”.

We rented a camper trailer this time around in order to try to help us sleep better, make the set up and tear down quicker (since we had the Tough Mudder on Sunday), and help our outdoor allergies not be so awful from camping like they were last time we went tent camping.

Well, it was the best thing ever! We rented it from an RV share site and got it for a day and a half for less than the price of a hotel room. And we absolutely loved it! I’ll probably be writing a complete post on our experience because so many people asked me to do so after I shared about it on Instagram Stories.

By the way, it only took us a few hours to get all packed up and out the door this time — as opposed to 10 hours last time. It helped tremendously that we already had most of the supplies in tubs and I had put together the Master Camping List last time around.

(You can read my post on the Master List of Things You Should Take Camping here.)

The four families who came (one family from our Community Group couldn’t make it, sadly!), all were each in charge of their own breakfasts and lunches, but we had Communal Dinners and everyone pitched in and brought stuff.

We did hot dogs and brats the first night (I brought all of the ones I’d gotten from various Kroger deals and markdowns the last two months — I had them in the freezer and it was plenty to feed all 20 of us!) and then we did a Taco/Fajita night the second night. This worked so well and made it so that no one had to do a lot of work.

Sunday morning, we got up bright and early for the Tough Mudder. It was our third time to participate in a Tough Mudder (see details on our first Tough Mudder here — look how tiny our kids were then!!)

I had been looking forward to the Tough Mudder so much because we had convinced some of our best friends to do it with us. It had been SO hot on Saturday, so we were worried it was going to be too hot today. But it was perfect. Warm, but cloudy and the perfect temperature.

We loved getting to hang out, walk 10 miles together, push and encourage each other on the obstacles, and challenge ourselves outside our comfort zones.

(We didn’t get any pictures on the actual course, but one of the volunteers at the finish line offered to take these pictures at the finish line and text them to us!)

I ended up only skipping one of the 23 obstacles this time — which I was super excited about since I had always bypassed three obstacles in the past. I wasn’t able to complete two of the obstacles that I tried out (both requiring upper arm strength — something I really need to improve in!), but the fact that I didn’t chicken out and went for it and tried it encouraged me.

Plus, the entire Mudder as a whole just felt so much easier and fun than the two we had done in the past. I think that the more you do hard things, the less scary and daunting they become!

If you ever get a chance to do a Tough Mudder, I highly, highly recommend it.

By the way, the tickets are expensive, but you can sometimes find them discounted on Groupon (that’s where we got ours) or you can get in free or highly discounted if you volunteer at the event the day before.

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: 58 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: 34 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 348 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: We’ve finished three books so far.

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 planning 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 almost 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!

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!