Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday Talk

It's Tuesday and time for another fun link-up! Ashley and Erika host this link-up once a month where we are supposed to talk about anything that is currently on our minds.

I read a book over Christmas break that really inspired me. I didn't include it in my usual Books and Beans Post because I knew I wanted to share it with you here. The book is called The Miracle Morning and it inspired me so much!

I blogged about my early morning routine HERE back in the summer, but, honestly, I had fallen way off track. By the time December rolled around I was in a terrible habit of sleeping as late as possible and then rushing to get out the door each morning. Not only was this hard on me, but I noticed a change in my kids' mornings too. Honestly, I was diagnosed with low vitamin D and that may have had something to do with it! Either way, I knew it was time to get back into my early wake up pattern (and take some supplements!)

Basically, each morning consists of silence, reading, exercise and just grounding yourself for the day. While I do stretch in the morning, that is not when I work out. Instead, I use that time for making coffee, stretching and reviewing my calendar for the day at the end of my hour. Afternoon workouts work best for me.

Here is the 60 minute sample:

For me, this means I get up at 5:00 AM. I drink a glass of water and stretch while my coffee is brewing. I head to my office where I read my devotional and One Year Bible. I then write down five things I am grateful for in THIS journal. Next, I pray. This year, I am keeping a monthly prayer list of things to pray for and add to it as things come up. I also record when prayers are answered. After that, I blog, read, or review my goals. Although my time is spent a little differently than the book suggests, I have found the last few weeks to be so amazing. I actually look forward to getting up and having that alone time. My brain is sharpest in the morning and this time centers my whole day.

There is also a 6 minute version on the website if 6 minutes is all you have! Do any of you do anything similar? I love that a book inspired me to make a small change to my schedule that has already impacted me so positively!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Favorites!

I'm linking up with fellow bloggers ErikaNarci and Andrea to share my Friday Favorites! 

I thought it would be fun to recap my top favorite things from 2017. These are the things that either made life easier, more efficient or are just plain awesome!


The EveryDollar App by Dave Ramsey has changed the way we budget and plan our money each month. We used to use an Excel spreadsheet to make our monthly money plan, but we only looked at it once a month. With the app, both Dan and I are logged into the same account on our phones so we always know how we are spending and if we are on track for the month. I blogged about our budgeting process HERE


I started my journey with essential oils last summer and am hooked. I diffuse them at home, at school, and also apply them topically for headaches and such. My kids use the Deep Blue rub for sports and muscle soreness. We are big fans of essential oils and use them as an addition to traditional medical interventions. I am so glad I started this last summer. If you are interested, click HERE to explore the options.


And all the busy mommas said AMEN! Grocery pickup changed my life last year and saves me both time and money. We use this so much that last week Mason asked me why I wasn't going through the drive thru when we were walking into Costco! :)

This year, I also discovered Olly vitamins, specifically, their probiotics. I have done a lot of reading on gut health and its overall effect on wellness. I now take these daily and love the convenience of the packaging for traveling.


I blogged about my top books for 2017 in THIS POST. I read so many great books last year but these two stood out as my favorites:


by: Taylor Jenkins Reid


Grace Not Perfection
by: Emily Ley


Between Nordstrom and Amazon, I may never need to leave my house to shop again. Unless it's to go through the "drive-thru" for my groceries! :) I found so many great casual wear additions to my closet this year:

this t-shirt in every color...

my Barefoot Dreams Cardigan that I wear more than I care to admit, this scarf, this long-sleeve t-shirt...

and my Articles of Society jeans which now are one of my favorite brands and currently on sale.

These are my top finds for 2017. I can't wait to see what we discover this year!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How We Wednesdays: Goals and Resolutions

I am so excited to be participating in a new link-up for the new year! I am linking-up with fellow bloggers Shay and Erika for their "How We Wednesdays" on the first Wednesday of every month! Today we are talking about how we do goals and resolutions. My favorite part about link-ups is all of the great tips I get from the other bloggers who join in. Here is the plan for the year:

Setting goals is something that has always come naturally to me. Once you start, it is motivating because you realize the power of having a plan for what you want in your life. One of the things I love best about working in education is that I actually get two new years; one in January and one in August when school begins. I like to set goals and resolutions that I revisit in six months to see how I am doing. It feels like less pressure than committing to something for an entire year.

(Image from www.pinterest.com - Rose Hill Designs)

Every year during winter break, Dan and I have a Goal Setting Date. Isn't that romantic? Ha! All kidding aside, it is actually one of the best things we do for our family and relationship. We either go to a coffee shop or cozy up at home with a glass of wine.  We use this time to review the past year's blessings and challenges, talk about our work, kids, marriage, etc.  It is amazing to see things we thought were far-fetched that have become a reality in our lives. We then dream up all of the goals that we would like to meet in the new year and write everything down.  To keep it organized, we use the following categories:

Forever (our marriage)
(...and because we ran out of "F" words...)
Things to Buy

Some of these areas are practical and some are where we cut loose and dream big.  Each year, we choose a theme that we want to incorporate into the new year.  For 2018, our theme is Quality Over Quantity. We are both feeling a bit overwhelmed and want to take a less is more approach in 2018.  Our theme from 2017 was Be Intentional and we definitely want to continue that as well. We will try to carry this theme into all aspects of our lives from spending time with our kids, blessing others, work and spending.  
One of the best parts of this time together is reviewing the prior year's list and seeing where we crushed it and where we need to work a little harder.  We also talk about and record our personal goals for the year and discuss how we can hold each other accountable.  I love this time with my husband and being intentional about the life we are building together.

I find pretty planners and notebooks at Home Goods or Marshall's to record my goals and plans in. Although we use a shared Google calendar for our family, I still keep a separate paper planner for myself, one for my blog schedule and one that hangs in the pantry so the kids can see what we have going on that week. 

Have you seen on social media where people choose a word to define their year? The words are usually healthy, organized, grateful, or something similar. I joked with Dan that my word for 2018 is NO. :) I am at a point where I want to focus on things that are eternally important and bring me joy instead of being pulled in a thousand different directions. As I move into my 40's I find that I care less about pleasing others and more about building an intentional life. Goal setting is a great way for me to see on paper what I am choosing to focus on.

Do you set goals and resolutions for the New Year? I would love to hear your ideas!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites on a Saturday? Why not? :)

I'm linking up with fellow bloggers ErikaNarci and Andrea to share my Friday Favorites! Don't you just love the new graphic?!


Since I didn't do much blogging over the break, you'll have to bear with me on all of the Christmas pictures. We didn't do much over break except hang out as a family and it was wonderful! We took a trip to Chicago the weekend before Thanksgiving for the lighting of the Magnificent Mile. It was so good to have all my people together in one place for 48 hours!

This trip can also be remembered as the trip I became obsessed with my Love Your Melon Hat. I then went on to wear it almost every day over break due to the COLD weather that invaded Illinois. I love this hat and their company!

Chicago and Christmas make my heart happy.


Whenever we are in Chicago, we like to make a run to Trader Joe's since we don't have one in the area. I had never tried this seasoning blend before but now eat it every morning on my avocado toast. It is sooooo good!


I spent a lot of break reading and sipping warm beverages. I love trying new recipes with my Ninja Coffee Maker!


Santa brought our family a puppy a few weeks before Christmas! We love our new addition and it was so much fun playing in the snow with her over break. Her name is Zoe and she is a mini Goldendoodle. Love love love!

It's back to work for me next week so I am off to enjoy the weekend. I hope you do the same!


Friday, December 29, 2017

Books and Beans~November and December 2017

Happy end of 2017!  I can hardly believe this year is over and I am equally surprised that I haven't blogged in forever.  Between a family, full-time job and taking another grad school class, it turns out I don't have much free time! I have big plans for the new year, though, and hope to blog without interruption in 2018.

I am combining my November and December books post so there a a lot of good reads to choose from. Remember, you can order directly from Amazon by clicking on the book title or image. At the end of this post, I'll also be naming my FAVORITE BOOKS of 2017!

(Image from www.pinterest.com)


I have been having a moment with my Ninja Coffee Maker
throughout November and December. #givemealltheeggnogandpeppermintlattes There is absolutely nothing better than a good book, a warm drink and a cozy blanket on a winter day.


Church of the Small Things
by: Melanie Shankle
4 out of 5 stars

I became a fan of Melanie Shankle through another author I love, Sophie Hudson. They have a podcast about nothing that always puts a smile on my face. After getting to know them through the podcast, I am now a big fan of their writing. This collection of essays from Melanie Shankle is all about celebrating the little things in life and it is delightful. It was so good, in fact, that I read another one of her books this month too.  It's safe to say that she will appear in future posts as well. If you like short stories centered around one main point and Christian non-fiction, this book is for you.

Winter Solstice
by: Elin Hilderbrand
4 out of 5 stars

I enjoy Elin Hilderbrand's Christmas books almost as much as her beach reads! She writes such sweet stories with interesting characters. If you've never read her winter series but like her other books, you would really enjoy them!

Everyday Chic: My Secrets for Entertaining, Organizing, and Decorating at Home
by: Molly Sims
4 out of 5 stars

I absolutely love Molly Sims' books! This is her second one and she covers all things entertaining and home. She has great style and ideas to use in your home even if you are not a supermodel like her. ;)

by: Melanie Shankle
4 out of 5 stars

I warned you about the second sighting of Melanie Shankle in this post! This sweet book is a collection of essays about motherhood. I literally laughed out loud during parts of this book. Definitely another Melanie Shankle win!

by: B.A. Paris
4 out of 5 stars

This book was so suspenseful! Although I was able to figure out most of the ending early on, I enjoyed the variety of the characters and felt the story moved at a good pace. If you like books with mystery and suspense, this one is a good choice.

by: Debbie Macomber
4 out of 5 stars

What a sweet Christmas read! I don't expect much out of these types of books other than mindless Christmas break reading, but I really liked this story. The characters are fun and the plot involves an online dating situation that mimics the story line of the movie You've Got Mail...which I love! Such an entertaining and enjoyable book.

by: Emily Ley
5 out of 5 stars

Oh. My. Goodness. I love me some Emily Ley. Her writing speaks directly to my soul. This second book is chock full of good ideas to implement in your home to make life more manageable. I could write an entire post about this book...and I may just have to do so!

by: Mary Kay Andrews
3 out of 5 stars

This Christmas book was fun for the holiday season but left me wanting more. If you need a book to read and turn off your brain, this will do the trick. 

by: Nancy Thayer
3 out of 5 stars

Another Christmas beach read and this one was just okay. If you enjoy Nancy Thayer, you would like this book. I can't seem to rate one of her books higher than a three. I always find myself wanting more out of the characters and wish I cared a little more when the books are over. Overall, a good Christmas story.

by: Joy Mangano
3 out of 5 stars

I enjoy reading business/inspiration books and I love stories about single moms who make it big. I enjoyed the business aspect and family focus of this book, but the writing was a little off for me. It felt like it was trying to be conversational but read like a list in some places. Overall, her story is amazing and I would like to watch the movie. I just didn't enjoy the style of the writing and felt it detracted from the book. 

My goal for 2017 was to read 52 books; one book per week. I exceeded that goal and read 61 books! Be sure to check out my other Books and Beans posts if you are interested in everything I read this year. #booknerdsunite

January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017

Drumroll please! My favorite books of 2017 are:

by: Taylor Jenkins Reid


Grace Not Perfection
by: Emily Ley

Happy Reading and Happy New Year!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Favorites!

Anyone else have big Friday plans?

It's good to be back after missing last Friday's post!  I'm linking up with fellow bloggers ErikaNarci and Andrea to share my Friday Favorites!


Books are always one of my favorite things and you can find my October post HERE in case you missed it!


Operation Christmas Child

(image from www.samaritanspurse.org)

Have you ever heard of Operation Christmas Child? It is a wonderful ministry that sends shoe boxes full of Christmas gifts to children in third world countries. We have done this for the past few years and it is a great way to demonstrate the gift of giving for your little ones. We have our box packed and ready and Mason said he can't wait to send it to his friend who doesn't have any toys. We pay to track our box so we know where it ends up and we pray for the child who is receiving it. Drop off week is next week, so go HERE to learn how to participate!


Holiday Essential Oils
If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know how much I love my doTERRA essential oils. I put in my November order yesterday and I am so excited about receiving my Holiday Blend. It's about to smell like Christmas around here! The enrollment kits are 20% off during the month of November, so if you've thought about ordering one for yourself or for a Christmas gift, go HERE!



Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

I plan to knock out a big chunk of my Christmas shopping this weekend. I do most of my shopping online because, like the rest of you, I'm insanely busy, and I can save so much money buying online. My secret weapon is going through Ebates to search for the stores I want to shop at and earning a percentage back for each item I buy. I love getting my rebate check after the start of the new year and seeing all the money I "saved" at Christmas! ;) If you click HERE, you can get $10 just for joining and shopping!


Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies

(image from www.pinterest.com)

I am obsessed with the Hallmark Channel around the holidays. I'm not quite sure why I can't get enough of these cheesy movies at Christmas, but they make me oh so happy!  I'm hoping to decorate for Christmas on Sunday (don't judge!) and you bet this channel will be playing in the background.

I hope you all spend time surrounded by your happy things this weekend!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Books and Beans~October 2017

(image from www.pinterest.com)


Even though pumpkin spice lattes have my heart, I am having a moment with caramel macchiatos...yum!


October was a bit of a slow reading month for me with only three books completed. I have a head start on November, though so you will want to check back then as well. I can't believe I only have two more Books and Beans posts in 2017!

by: Kristan Higgins
4 out of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It centers around two sisters who are both dealing with loss; one the death of her new husband and the other a breakup of a long-term relationship. I have read Kristin Higgins in the past and this is one of her best yet!

by: Abby Fabiaschi
4 out of 5 stars

This book was good but a slow read for me. The premise is a mother who has taken her own life, leaving her husband and teenage daughter to pick up the pieces of what used to be their perfect life. The twist is that the mom is watching from beyond and orchestrating things in their favor to help them heal. This book was strange yet engaging and did have a good twist at the end. As you know, any book that can surprise me with a twist is a good read.

by: Kate White
3 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book because I have read and enjoyed Kate White before. This one was just okay, though. I never really felt connected with the characters and there were too many red herrings for my liking. I love a good mystery/suspense, but this seemed all over the place. I actually like this book more until I got to the last two pages. It then reads like an author on a deadline. Pretty good mystery, but if you've never read Kate White, read The Sixes instead!

I'd love to connect with you on Goodreads HERE, Instagram HERE or Facebook HERE. Let me know what I should be reading next!