MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Tag Archive: A Peek Into Our 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!

A Peek Into Our Week (+ an update on our 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! 🙂

Kaitlynn and I did bubbly masks that I got in my FabFitFun box to unbox. These were kind of weird, but fun to do!

We took a hike and picnic to Stillhouse Hollow Falls with friends on Saturday.

This is pretty normal life around here — we’re trying to get a picture of the two of us and we get photobombed. 😉

Our family got there around 5:15 p.m. and it was the perfect time because almost everyone was leaving and we pretty much had the entire waterfall to ourselves! Read more about Stillhouse Hollow Falls here.

We had our Community Group over for a Bring Your Own Lunch get together on Sunday after church.

One of the families also brought brownies and ice cream to celebrate the recent birthdays in our group.

We hadn’t been together for a few months (we take a break from regular get-togethers for summer), so it was SO nice to get to hang out again — and it was so fun that everyone could make it!

I just love having older kids! Love it, love it, love it!

Sure, they are moody some days. Sure, they sometimes make wrong choices. And yes, sometimes they drive me batty.

But don’t we all do the same things? None of us are perfect and when I stopped expecting a ridiculous level of perfection from my kids (that *I* can’t even live up to myself!) it opened the door for me to just love them and enjoy them.

I love seeing their unique, crazy, and amazing personalities blossoming. I love that they are so different than me in many ways. I love that they teach me new things and push me outside my comfort zone.

I love learning how to motivate them and when they need me to just get out of the way. I love seeing them grow wings and learn to fly. I love watching them develop close friendships. I love seeing them excel and learn from failure.

I love our deep conversations and our ridiculous jokes. I love their sarcasm. I love making them laugh. I love it when they make me laugh.

I love their hearts for Jesus and others. I love that they know way more about pop culture than me and are always introducing me to new songs that they can’t believe I don’t know.

I love our long talks about their futures. I love listening to their dreams and hopes. And I love seeing them become more and more independent… and I love that they still want to hang out with me.

We’re in such a sweet season right now. I know that things are going to be changing in big ways in our home in the next five years (Kathrynne will be 18 and probably just leaving for college or some other big adventure!), so I’m seeking to just soak up every moment in my mama heart.

Speaking of which, as our kids get older, they have become more and more independent. They don’t need me to help them get dressed or clean their room. They can pack their own lunches and fix a snack when they are hungry.

But they still need their mom. It just looks a lot different than it used to.

I’m learning that the best thing I can do in this new season is to just make myself AVAILABLE to them — whether that’s to help them with a writing project, to take them to run an errand, to look at funny memes on Pinterest with them, to watch their favorite YouTube videos, to play Fortnite with them (this has won me mega cool mom awards!), or to just sit and listen to them.

One big change we’ve made to our schedule this year is book-ending our day with time together. We start our mornings all driving in the car to school drop-offs together (I read a chapter book to them while Jesse drives). When they come home from school, I make sure my schedule is cleared so we can just be together and I am available to them for whatever they need from 4 pm to 5 pm. Then, we sit down and eat dinner together at around 5 pm.

Even if we have things going on in the evenings, it means we’ve started our day with time together and we’ve “ended” our day with time together.

To achieve this…

  • I make sure that I don’t over-pack my work day so I can get most everything done from 8 am to 4 pm.
  • I make sure that dinner is planned and ready before 4 pm (either in the crockpot or ready to pop into the oven. We often make enough for two nights so that it saves dinner prep time on the second night).
  • I communicate with the kids in the morning about what the plan is for the afternoon and evening (if we have plans after dinner, etc.) so that everyone knows what to expect.
  • We also plan something fun to look forward to when they get home & have their homework done. (It could be as simple as planning that we’ll play a game of Fortnite before dinner.)

On the nights when we don’t have activities after dinner, I schedule one-on-one time with each child and they get to choose what we do! It’s the BEST!

On My Heart…

It’s so easy for me to feel stressed, worried, or frustrated about situations when things aren’t going like I’d hoped.

Maybe my kids are struggling or there’s tension in our marriage or a blog sponsor is being really difficult and demanding to work with or I’ve gotten a slew of hate mail or our website is having major issues or there’s miscommunication with a friend or that blog partnership we worked so hard to make happen fell through or it’s just one of those weeks when I have a really long to do list with a lot of pressing things…

Your list of things that can make you feel stressed or frustrated or worried might look really different than mine, but I’m sure you could write your own.

I’ve been challenging myself to put the energy that I usually would spend stressing over a situation into praying about it instead.

There’s something really life-impacting and freeing for me to just vent it all out to God. And then to ask Him for whatever it is I need for that situation. Sometimes, I don’t even know what it is that I need.

So I’ll just pray and say, “God, please help me. I feel so frustrated about this. It feels overwhelming and impossible. I need your help because I don’t have what it takes.”

Laying my burdens at the foot of the Cross means I can stop carrying them around and feeling stressed by them. He wants me to give them to Him. He wants to carry them for me and carry me through the very rough patches of my life. But He’s waiting for me to stop trying to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and to instead hold my hands out and say, “I need You. I can’t do this without You.”

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: 51 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: 315 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 almost finished with a third.

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 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!

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!

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!

A Peek Into Our Lives Last 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! 🙂

My sister and her family were driving from South Carolina to Kansas, so they stopped at our house to spend the night. The kids were SO excited and loved getting to have their cousins stay with us for the night.

Clayton is such a sweet boy and he and Kaitlynn hit it off!

We aren’t exactly sure when Quill’s birthday is, but Kaitlynn decided it was this past week and made a birthday hat for him. 🙂

I flew to Kansas with Silas on Tuesday afternoon and stayed until Thursday morning to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday. You can see a peek into our visit here.

And then we drove to Arkansas this weekend for our annual vacation at the lake with all of my extended family.

My dad is an incredible water skiier!

Hanging out on the boat.

Kaitlynn just can’t get enough of Genevieve.

This was one of my most favorite pictures from the recent photo shoot.

From my heart…

I don’t know what kind of pain or hurt or heartache or sadness you are carrying today. I don’t know the loss you have suffered or the disappointments you’ve endured.

But today, I want to whisper this to you, “Don’t give up.”

As long as your heart is still beating, there is hope, there is a future, there are possibilities.

You are not alone. You are not forgotten. You are not a failure.

Keep going. Keep clinging to hope. Keep reaching out. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep believing that there is going to be a beautiful ending to your story… don’t give up.

P.S. If you would love for someone to pray for you today, I would be honored to do so for you by name. Leave a comment or send me an email.

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: 39 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: 30 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 281 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!