Most Recent Posts

My 2020 Goals

Finally sharing my 2020 Goals or New Years’ Resolutions with you guys!

Now that the holidays are over and we’ve moved and are getting settled in, I can finally get this post published about my goals for 2020. What I love about planning and goals is that, you can set them any day! There is nothing magical about January 1st. You don’t have to feel bad because you are just now setting goals the last week of January, and you certainly don’t have to wait until next year if you’re already feeling behind.

You can set goals and begin any day! Actually this is the perfect time… consider this your “planning week” and January could be your “trial month”, where you actually begin in February! Let’s get it!

Now, since I’ve been thinking about my 2020 goals for several months now, I’ve been able to get started on them, even through us moving and all that craziness. I’m feeling pretty confident that this is going to be a successful year!

-Write down your goals.
Studies show that just by writing down your goals, you are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish those goals than people that don’t.

-Break them down.

I love to break down big yearly goals down into monthly goals, weekly action steps, and even daily habits. It may seem like a big list of “to do”s, but just know that I’m not focusing on all of these steps at once. I’m just doing the next thing on the list. One step at a time, one thing I’m working on, etc. It’s really nice to have a plan in place so I’m not just wandering about unsure of where to go next.

I’m also not fully prioritizing all eight of my goals at once. Some of them (like my pursuing health goal), I’m still thinking through and figuring out. You’ll see over the course of this year how my goals will likely change as I decide exactly what I want to do with them.)

-Review them often.
  I love to post my goals for accountability, but I also review them in my planner pretty often… probably at least once a week, I sit down to review and think through my goals. It helps me to “plan” my weeks and my days with more focus and purposefulness.

-Give yourself grace.
  Life changes. Things happen. We grow. We learn. We’re human. Learn to be okay with progress over perfection. If you didn’t read your Bible every single day this month, don’t beat yourself up. Instead be proud for those days that you DID make it a priority. That’s better than nothing, and it’s great progress you’ve made. Keep going!

-Evaluate and Revise them, if needed.
It is TOTALLY okay if my December 2020 goals look a little bit different than my January 2020 goals I originally set.
Yall know your life can change completely in 12 months, right? Anybody ever had a surprise pregnancy?? Yeah, I have experience with that one too, and it completely changes your yearly goals sometimes. 😀 It’s the perfect example of how things can change in a short time. It’s completely okay (and encouraged!) to review & revise your goals throughout the year, as needed. I actually like to do this seasonally now. My Fall goals last year were completely different than the 19 in 2019 I set in January last year. 😉

With all that said, here are the goals I’ve set for this year:

1. Love my [actual] life; Work on Contentment.

This one comes post-depression for me. When you are depressed, it’s hard to see All.The.Good.in your life… the things that DO bring you joy, the things you prayed for and now have. When you’re depressed the things that once brought you joy just don’t seem to be enough. So for me, this goal is mostly about moving on from that season of depression I have been in this past year.

At times, it feels like I am having to learn how to live life again. Everything seems like it’s brand new. I’m having to regain confidence in myself and my roles as a wife, as a mother, etc. I’m still figuring it all out, but here are some of my mini action steps for this goal.

Mini Goal 1: Create a Life I actually Like.

Starting Steps:
-Create a “Little Loves” List.
  (I did this in the My Purposeful Planning 2020 Workbook & Planner, using the Plan your Purposeful Year Online
       Course.)
-Brainstorm ways to implement these things into my everyday life.
-Begin adding these things to the daily pages of my planner to begin establishing habits for adding the things I love into my everyday; Write a “personal win” down every day.

Mini Goal 2: Cultivate Contentment. 

Starting Steps:
-Verse-Mapping with Scriptures on Contentment
-Listen to the Audio Book: Your New Money Mindset
-Begin writing down things I’m grateful for on my daily pages of my planner.

2. Create a beautiful, memory-filled home school experience that fulfills all of us.

This one took some visualization. I think visualization is a great tool for dreaming up and imagining what you want something to be. I want our kids to look back on our homeschooling days with joy and lots of fun memories. So it’s my job to create that while still giving them all of the tools that they need for educational success.

Mini Goal 1: Involve the kids in the planning process.

Starting Steps:
-Ask the kids what they are interested in learning and doing.
-Start an “Ideas List” where they can write all the ideas they come up with.
-Make a plan to consult the list each week (when planning) and pick something, grab the needed supplies, and actually do it.

Mini Goal 2: Work on a home school journal together.

Starting Steps:
-Let the kids rate the activity, book, field trip according to what they learned and if they enjoyed it.
-Let them write in the journal something they learned every day.
-Keep up with Bible verses, memory work, spelling words, any review items, etc.

Mini Goal 3: Design a beautiful “Circle Time”. 

Starting Steps:
-Pick a name and a time of day that works best.
-Use this time for Bigs to help teach Littles.
-Also, review Bigs’ work like spelling words and Littles can help name the letters in words.
-Review things like calendar, weather, preschool basics, memory work, Bible time, pray together, sing, play games, etc.

Mini Goal 4: Implement some incentives to homeschooling.

Starting Steps:
-Paying for A’s
-Monthly incentive charts (Complete all the work listed on your monthly chart, and you get to pick out a new educational game or book.)
-Homeschooling with a good attitude all week = fun snack on the weekend

3. Move into a home and make it our dream home where we can live out our dreams right now.

This past year, I stopped dreaming for a while… even though “Imagine” was my Word of the Year. I just felt so stuck in our financial situation. We had sold our home because we were overwhelmed by the burden of our mortgage, moved in with family, and it was just hard. It all felt very hopeless because we couldn’t figure out how to get back on our feet again. There only seemed to be more obstacles in the way. With the help of my husband trying to get me to dream again, we started to look at houses. To make a long story short, we decided that moving and changing our environment would be the best option for my mental health, even if it meant that our finances would be tight again. We walked forward in that, but we ended up walking away from a home we were planning to purchase because of some needed home repairs. When we made that wise decision to walk away, God provided another way – an even better way that we could’ve ever imagined. A beautiful rental home became available to us, in our price range, and it’s EXACTLY what we needed! It was definitely God’s provision and favor for us!

Mini Goal 1: Move

Starting Steps:
-Don’t pack much… most things are already contained in something anyway.
-Make a thousand little trips carrying things from place to place (what I can fit in my car along with 4 car seats). Put them away at the new house, and then do it again. (Wooden crates were amazing, by the way… especially for breakable things like dishes.)
-Have CrossFit friends and other heavy-lifting friends help with moving the furniture and big things.

Mini Goal 2: Set it all up.

Starting Steps:
-Decide what the function of each space will be and which furniture will go where.
-Hang things on the walls.
-Organize spaces as you go.

Mini Goal 3: Plan out the rest.

Starting Steps:
-Use the Home Management Planner Pack to plan out each space and list what’s still needed to make it homey and cozy.
-Use the Home Management Planner Pack to plan out new systems and routines for the new place.
-Put these plans into action.

4. Celebrate our 10th Anniversary.

This year, Justin and I will celebrate our 10th year of marriage. We have been through so much in these ten years, but I am so thankful for this man of God that I get to do life with. We haven’t gotten to get away much on our own (unless you count home school conventions or marriage retreats where there is an agenda with other people). We’re excited to plan a trip and celebrate each other this year. We might even renew our vows!

Mini Goal 1: Plan a little getaway.

Starting Steps:
-Decide where we want to go and what we want to do.
-Talk to a trip adviser.
-Book it.
-Set up a babysitter for our kids.

Mini Goal 2: Decide if we want to renew our vows this year.

Starting Steps:
-Plan it: location, attire, food, ideas, etc.

5. Lead a sermon-based small group that teaches women and mamas how to study the Word and live a spiritual life WITH their children in the mix.

This is something I’ve been really excited about lately. I’ve realized how many women don’t actually know how to study God’s Word. It seems difficult to them and hard to understand. I remember being that way too, but this is a barrier that I want to be able to break down this semester. I want women to gain some confidence in the life skill of Bible study so they can really grow spiritually! I’m also hoping that I can inspire women to put aside the “ideal quiet time picture” and all of the excuses of mothering and stress and just let God meet them where they are. I want us to learn how to invite our children into our daily time with Jesus too. I want to learn how we can do spiritual life WITH our children among us.

Mini Goal 1: Sign up. 

Starting Steps:
-Fill out a Small Group Leadership Opportunity Form.
-Talk to someone special about co-leading this group with me.
-Pick a time for the group to meet.

Mini Goal 2: Recruit.

Starting Steps:
-Start mentioning to the group idea to women in the church.
-Social media posts about the group.

Mini Goal 3: Lead

Starting Steps:
-Set up a snack schedule.
-Plan & Study for the lessons each week.
-Text the group during the week.

6. Pursue health (in all forms of the word).

This one has definitely taken a backseat in my life the past few months. However, I know that I need these things in order to help me to continue to make progress in my other goals like loving my life again. I need a good diet to help me feel my best. I need those good endorphins from exercise to help my hormones level out as they should. I need to focus on the rhythms of renewal in my life.

Mini Goal 1: Begin a workout regimen again.

Starting Steps:
-Think through some ideas and pick something: Yoga Classes, CrossFit, Fitness Blender, Walking, etc.

Mini Goal 2: Eat smart.

Starting Steps:
-Focus on drinking my water.
-Meal prep.
-Timed meals.

Mini Goal 3: Wellness

Starting Steps:
-Wellness journaling with the 4 rhythms of renewal ideas in my planner.

7. Learn & Grow; Teach & Inspire.

I’m a 5 on the enneagram so I always love to read and research and learn new things! Give me all the knowledge! I also feel really fulfilled when I’m able to share some of that with others in order to help them in different areas of life… specifically planning a life of purpose. 😉

Mini Goal 1: Learn & Grow

Starting Steps:
-Read or listen to the One Year Chronological Bible & The Bible Recap Podcast.
-Read or listen to an audio book every month.
-Listen to podcasts while I do household chores.

Mini Goal 2: Teach & Inspire

Starting Steps:
-Social Media Posts
-Blog
-Podcast
-Write emails
-Speak

8. Focus on Finances.

After crunching some numbers this past year, I realized that (now that we no longer have a mortgage), we could be debt free in as little as three years. Now – that’s if all the odds are in our favor and we REALLY buckle down with it. But it’s still a pretty neat thought! So obviously, it’s one I’d love to pursue if we can. And of course, I’m sharing it here with you for accountability, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Mini Goal 1: Monthly Budget

Starting Steps:
-Adjust monthly budget using the Finance Planner Pack to fit our income and new expenses with moving, etc.
-Evaluate our budget monthly to make sure budget lines / amounts are correct.

Mini Goal 2: Set Up Sinking Funds.

Starting Steps:
-Make a list of most common sinking funds.
-Choose one or two to start with. (As debts are paid down, add in more as needed.)

Mini Goal 3: Debt Payoff

Starting Steps:
-Use the Monthly Debt Payoff Worksheets from the Financial Planner Pack to note how much we pay each month, minimally and extra debt payoff.
-Use the Easy Budget Debt Snowball Calculator to determine a debt-free date to work towards.

I’m so excited about this year! I would love to know that you are also setting goals and working on them this year. Leave a comment and let me know some of your goals! 2020 is going to be a good year!

Let’s plan a life of purpose, shall we?! 

Why Goal-Setting is Necessary

It’s that time of year where everyone seems to be setting new goals,writing out new intentions, and choosing a focus word for their year. I’ve talked to some people recently who don’t set goals, and I ask them why. They tell me things like “I can’t seem to follow through on them.” or “I write them, but then I don’t know how to actually make them happen.”

And I get it. I do. Of course, you all know that I LOVE to dream and plan, but I’ve also been one to get pretty bummed and disheartened when those plans don’t seem to be working out for me.

Take our finances, for example. We planned and followed many of Dave Ramsey’s suggestions, but yet we still couldn’t afford basic life necessities at times. It felt lame. Why couldn’t we get it right? We’d beat ourselves up for the times we had to use a credit card to make some purchases for important things like clothes our children needed or maternity clothes for myself, and honestly we were getting pretty religious about our finances if that’s even a thing. Rule following and not allowing grace for ourselves to just do the best we could. That, and our “plan” was results-based, not action based.

See, one thing about goals is that they could focus on OUR ACTIONS… what we can ACTUALLY DO, instead of the results we want. Sure, the results should be a part of the planning process, but when we only focus on the results, and for whatever reason they don’t happen, we get discouraged. So instead, our focus should be on the actions we take instead. We should be proud of our efforts and keep going little by little until we DO see the results we were after in the end. It’s really about having a GROWTH MINDSET, and not a FIXED MINDSET. We all have the ability to grow and change and get better. We are not stuck where we are now, but we have to do the work to get to where we want to go if we want to see it happen.

Anyway – sometimes when we do feel like we’re failing at something – and it makes us think
“Why even bother trying anymore? It’s not working.”

Well, here’s why. Two reasons.
1. God’s Plan is Bigger than our Plan.
2. Our Life has Purpose.

God’s Plan is bigger than our Plan.

We never know what He is working out behind the scenes for our good. We only see from our own vantage point (which is sometimes a skewed view) – We don’t always see from His big picture. That’s where faith and trust come in. When we believe, trust, and have faith that He is always working on our behalf we can know that He has good things for us. Even when we go through hard things and start to doubt, we need to take those thoughts captive and trust that He’s working it all out.

Here’s an example from our story… the short version if you can believe that. We’ve struggled with finances for nearly ten years – our entire marriage. We couldn’t seem to make our “financial plans” work. But we did do our part to not make things worse by acquiring too much debt that we knew we couldn’t afford. We lived below our means as much as we could and tried to steward what we did have well, even though many times, it did not feel like enough. We felt really burdened by our mortgage, and we proposed the idea to family for us to sell it and save money for a while until we felt like we could move forward towards another house. They agreed to let us live in their house in order to do this. We continued to make “plans” but really couldn’t see how they would ever work out. However, as we began to pray over these plans that seemed really great and would allow us to be debt-free in three years, God began to meet us in that and work on our behalf. We started looking for a home to buy, earlier that we had originally planned because we didn’t think we could afford a rental with our large family. The home purchase fell through because of needed repairs, but the very same day that we walked away from that option, God provided another way…. an ever better way! We weren’t looking for it, but it found us. It was a large-enough, beautiful home for us to rent where we could pay whatever we were comfortable with. A total God thing for sure! That’s how it usually happens for us… we start doing our part, making the plans, looking for what we can do with wisdom, and then God totally meets us with what we need and shows us that He was always working behind the scenes, even when we couldn’t see it.

Our Life has Purpose.

We all have purpose, and once we find that purpose it makes us want to LIVE life to the fullest and do that thing that we were created to do. We no longer want to “just get by” and keeping doing what we’ve always wanted to do…. just letting life happen to us. We want to see change and growth, and so we set out in pursuit of those things. We begin to live with intention and purpose, and to do this well – we need a plan. We MAKE life happen. It’s up to us to at least do our part.

It was hard for me to see Purpose in the middle of my depression. But God spoke it to me anyway. He reminded me of His plans for me and even gave me new ideas. I thought, “There’s no way. I can’t even function with the normal life responsibilities right now. There’s no way I can say ‘yes’ to any of that.” But still, there it was, and there it kept coming to me. My excitement for it began to grow, and my depression began to lessen. I had to choose to fight for my life and for my life’s purpose. Little by little, I’m inching my way towards that more and more every day. You can too. Ask God to reveal to you His ideas for your life… His plans and how you can be a part of what He’s already doing. He’s got something special for you too, something specifically designed Just For You, and you’re going to LOVE IT! 

 

My 2020 Word of the Year

Choosing Focus Words for the Year…. a Recap of the Past Few Years

My very first word of the year I ever set was “Intentional”. I wanted to be Intentional in the areas of life that were important to me – my relationship with God, my marriage, my parenting were among the top priorities. I didn’t do it perfectly… In fact, I was still trying to figure this whole goal-setting thing out then. My planners were a jumbled mess, and I remember a friend telling me how overwhelming my planner was to her. (That was back when I was trying to make a regular ole planner work for me and include all the things I need it to… it’s much better now that I’ve designed and created my own.) But I was working to be intentional, and it was the start of some pretty good things.

The following year, for whatever reason, I didn’t set a word of the year… but as the year went on and I struggled and learned through some things, I set a word of the year to summarize the year I’d had instead. I could’ve used the word Insecurity to note the struggle of the year, but instead I chose the word Identity to summarize the positive growth I had that year.

Then, the next year I chose the word Increase. It was a word that God gave me for the year, but after a miscarriage the month before, I did not see how it was going to be applicable to my life, honestly. But I kept that word at the forefront of my mind all year, and by the end of the year I began to see it. We had increase in our finances, in our family (baby #4 exactly one year after my miscarriage to the day), and especially in our relationships with God. We decreased, and he Increased. It was a pretty amazing year.

This past year, my word was Imagine, and it has been such an interesting word choice. I started my year full of hope and excitement for whatever God had in store for us, and about mid-year, I began to deal with depression and stopped dreaming at all. I felt so stuck in life in many areas. Things felt hopeless, and I couldn’t see how our situation could get any better.

With the help of my husband pushing me to dream again, renewed vision and purpose in my life and God’s plan for me, and the decision I made to pretty much fight for my life…. I began to Imagine again. I also began to see pieces start to come together, and my goals and plans right now are even bigger than they’ve ever been before!

Looking Forward to 2020!

And as I was thinking about praying about a word for this year – 2020, I decided I would stick with the letter I again for one more year. Maybe next year, I’ll switch to a different letter for the next five years.

I wrote down lots of words that begin with I and circled a few that jumped out at me. I looked up the definitions of those, and I looked in the Bible for further inspiration and a purpose behind one of these that would inspire me.

Some of those words were…

Inspire – fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative
I thought this might be a good one, because I really do hope that I can inspire you all as you read my posts, emails, or
listen to my podcast.

Initiative – the power or opportunity to take charge on a fresh approach to something
This one also would’ve been good, especially because of my renewed vision for My Purposeful Planning, and the
incredible things God is teaching me and I can use to help others.

Innovative – introducing new ideas; original and creative and thinking
Again, this one reminds me of the planner I just designed and am still adding to monthly – how it is such a neat tool
that helps people plan to be more purposeful in their lives.

But… I needed a word that would speak to ALL of my life – not just My Purposeful Planning. And so the word I chose for 2020 is IMMERSE.

immerse – to involve oneself deeply in what matters

Yes! I want to IMMERSE myself in the things that really matter to me… Jesus, my family, my purpose. I want to be so enthralled, engaged, fascinated, and involved with these that I hardly notice the unimportant things.

Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. 1 Timothy 4:15-16

The Challenges of Opening my Shop & Lessons Learned

This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The things that are most worth it usually are the hardest, aren’t they??

I worked hard to get the planner finished and ready to sell. Of course there was an unspoken deadline because the year 2020 is fast-approaching. I wanted the planner to be ready by Christmas. I wanted to be done with it so that I could enjoy time with MY family instead of working.

So I did it. We worked hard at the end of November…. all of us. Justin helped me with the kids so much!

I faced obstacle after obstacle… everything from our spotty internet to issues with the printers. Since I had a deadline, I used the convenience of a chain store printer instead of a local face-to-face commercial printer. I was editing, re-editing, and printing a new copy almost daily until I got it just right. Then the “chain store printer” would print it all wrong, and I’d have to push to have them fix it to make it right. They weren’t too happy about having to do the whole project again sometimes. Then I would get home to find that there weren’t enough copies made, or that it was printed on the wrong type of paper. I learned my lesson.

But when I was pretty sure it was good, I opened the shop for planner sales. I made one big print order for that first sale, and guess what. The printers messed it up again. I did what I could to get those planner pages cut down to size, punched with my disk punch, and assembled. But there was a problem with the laminated covers. See, I’d paid extra to have a really durable laminated cover for the planners, but when they printed them incorrectly, and I cut them down to size, the lamination began to separate. I tried to re-laminate them but my home laminator wasn’t heavy-duty enough. Then I try to punch them with the heavy-duty punch I’d purchased, and I jammed it because it was now too thick. Boy, oh boy.

I ended up going out and purchasing new covers for these planners and eating the cost. And with that, I closed down the shop to future orders. At home, planner manufacturing may not be my thing. 😉

So if you got one of the very first *LIMITED EDITION* My Purposeful Planning Workbook and 2020 Physical Planner, you should know that you are special. I’m not sure that I will be doing that again after all of the trouble.
It was a Labor of Love for sure! At least that’s the nice way of putting it. 😉

(I’m not saying never, because I might possibly go back to my local printer and see if they’d like to help me out now that the deadline has come and gone.)

But here’s what I AM working on for right now….

  • Printable Planners and Planner Pages. I worked really hard on the insert pages of this planner, and I don’t want all of that to go to waste. (Of course, I’ve got my planner in hand so I guess it was worth it to have an actual planner that’s everything I want it to be and more.) But what I’m working on now is making the worksheets, goal-setting pages, monthly inserts, and daily pages available for you to be able to download and print yourself.

    You can currently download the My Purposeful Planning Workbook & 2020 Planner in it’s original size by visiting my shop. Mypurposefulplanning.com/shop

    If you have a printer that will print “Booklet Style”, you can easily print the planner in it’s current size on front and back pages, cut the pages in half, punch them with any disk-bound punch and assemble it – you’ll be ready to go! You can even download and print the covers I designed if you have a color-printer. You can laminate them yourself or have a local print shop do it for you. All you would have to purchase separately would be your disks to assemble the book, that is, if you want your planner to be disk-bound. I’m partial to the disk-bound system, but you could do whatever type of binding that interests you.

  • I’m also working on making different sizes available. I want this to be “your ideal planner” like it is for me, and sometimes there’s a size that’s your favorite. Currently, the size is 5″x8″ or 5.5″x8″ just depending on how you cut your pages. I’m looking to make a letter size and classic size next.
  • Planner Packs! Each month this year, I’ll be releasing a new Planner Pack to my shop! These packs will be FREE for my Patreon Members as a special thank you to them for their monthly financial support. You can join us there, and I’ll send you the new pack each month as well! Patreon.com/MyPurposefulPlanning

    Home Management Pack
    Finance Pack
    Spiritual Pack
    and more!

    I’m excited about what’s to come for this year. I’m excited to be setting goals again, and I’m ready to hit the ground running to work on all of these things that God has placed on my heart with My Purposeful Planning. And I’d love for you to join me in planning a life of purpose. Let’s make 2020 the most purposeful year yet!

My Purposeful Planning Workbook & 2020 Planner

*If you’ve found this page, by clicking a link in my email – rest assured – you are on the list and you’ll be one of the first to know when it becomes available to you!

Do you want to live a life full of purpose?!
You can plan a life full of purpose… one day at a time.
I’ve created the perfect planner to help you do that!


This is the Planner to Help you Plan your Purposeful Life.

Features…

  • Disk-Bound System that makes it so easy to customize your planner according to YOUR needs
  • Worksheets to help you evaluate your life right now and determine where you want to go
  • Goal-setting process to help you take your big picture ideas and break them down into bite size chunks month by month and day by day
  • Habit Trackers, Monthly, & Perpetual Calendars
  • Extremely versatile Daily Pages that can work for anyone!

    The first batch of these planners will be available in a *very limited quantity* for pre-order very soon. I’ve just got to get it back from the printer, assemble it, and do any final edits that might be needed. 

2019 Christmas Gift Guide

Hey, friends! I know Christmas can be a stressful time… I want you to know that it’s okay to not give gifts to everyone on your list if it means spending outside your budget. Pay your bills. Feed your family. Prioritize your list of people to buy gifts for. But if you have a budget set, and you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone, I really had a fun time putting this gift guide together. Let me know what categories you would add to the list! I hope you enjoy this holiday season and have fun shopping, finding good deals, and have sweet moments giving to others. It can be such a special time with family and friends!

And if you missed my Kids Gift Guide, you can find it here. I’ve added a few items to it since I originally published it. 


**This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

For the Coffee Lover

Let me just tell you that since buying the Nespresso for our home, we have become such “coffee snobs”, and it is hard to drink regular coffee. I even love it better than ordering coffee out now, and that’s saying something! If you want an amazing coffee experience at home, Nespresso is the way to go! The pods are a bit pricier than regular K-cups or coffee grounds, but once you’ve tasted the Nespresso difference, I promise you, it will be worth the price! I have begun making all my friends “Nespresso-believers”, aka “Coffee Snobs” one by one.

What’s amazing about the Nespresso is that it adds in that layer of creamy froth as it pushes the air through your coffee pod, and it begins pouring into your cup within 30 seconds so it’s also super efficient!

If you are partial towards “Regular Coffee Makers” and want to save money on the coffee pods and buy regular coffee grounds or beans that you grind yourself, I recommend the Bunn. Bunn is always a great option because you want to duplicate that “coffee shop aroma” as much as you possible can each morning at home as you make your coffee, right? It’s all about the Experience!

If you want a simple upgrade to your coffee experience, try a milk-frother! There are lots of great options out there, but this one makes a great stocking stuffer! It’s the one I have and use everyday, and I love that it has a travel case because it definitely comes with me when I travel! I’ve been frothing my coffee for YEARS now, and it’s another thing I can’t go back on. Frothed coffee, for me, is a must!

You can continue to buy all the cute mugs if you want to, but if you want to eliminate all that clutter and find one mug that feels fancy every time, go with a glass – double wall mug. This just seemed like a necessary purchase after I got my Nespresso because I love to see those creamy layers that you can’t duplicate with a regular cup of coffee. Make sure you get a mug a little bigger than the amount listed on the pod to allow room for that lovely crema or any frothed creamer you plan to add.

I also think, if you’re going to get the Nespresso, you need a nice set of Espresso-size mugs as well. A friend gave me these, and I absolutely love them! It just feels a little funny if you make a 1.7oz shot of Espresso in a big ole mug, so these are necessary for your Espresso shots, which I like to make to pour over a bowl of ice cream. Yum!

If you know a Nespresso-lover, gifting them with their favorite Nespresso pods is a great idea! They’ve already fallen in love with them, can’t go back to regular coffee, and they will appreciate you getting something you know they’ll love! My favorites are the Alto Pods (because they make 14 oz of coffee!) and the Best-Seller pack that offers a few different intensities for regular-size cups of coffee.

If you’re looking for an easy gift for a coffee lover, you can’t go wrong with a coffee shop gift card! This makes a great stocking stuffer or gift in general. Everyone has those days where you just need to run through on your work break and go get yourself a treat. And let me just tell you that there have been quite a few occasions where I’ve needed a change of scenery as a stay-at-home-mom, so I load up the kids, we sing in the car, grab a coffee for mama, and come right back home with refreshed attitudes and moods. Works like a charm, most days! 😉

For the Loaded Tea Lover

This is the latest craze in nutritious “fast food” although they are becoming so popular so they aren’t always as fast as we’d like. 😀 I got hooked on this teas and shakes like everyone else, but then quickly realized these could be made so much cheaper and pretty easily at home!

My mom is an Herbalife Distributor, which is where these “Loaded Tea and Shake” Ingredients come from, so she gave me the hookup and helped me order. She’d be glad to help you too, and you can save money in the long run if “Loaded Teas and Shakes” have become your newest addiction. You can easily google or look for the recipes for your favorite Teas & Shakes and order the needed ingredients on her distributor site!

I use my Ninja system for this every time because I love that I can just blend up a “single size” for myself and not have to use the big blender. This system is also great because it’s a single blender, full-size blender, and food processor/mixer all in one! I love products that have multiple uses like this one!

The Blend-Tec is another blender people sweat by! I don’t have personal experience with it, but it’s the one you see them all use in the Nutrition shops. It always goes on sale on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, so be watching for that if it’s something you’re interested in!

My mom bought me an insulated, drink holder for my teas, and I love it! You can use it on the store-bought drinks or for the ones you make at home, and I love that it has a handle I can slide my hand in and carry more things when I’m out and about.

 

For the “Plant Lady”

Okay, so I’ll admit that I’m still just a “Plant Lady Wannabe”, and I’m still learning how to keep plants alive.
Children??I’ve managed to keep four alive, but plants are another story. I’m still trying though, and in my defense – the home we are living in now has no windows so the circumstances are a little more difficult. I’ve had one here for several months, and it is still going strong so I’m still hopeful for others to do well too. If all else fails, there are some really nice faux plants out there now I’ll have to try.

Nice, pretty watering cans to sit on your shelf for “Water Wednesday”. Sorry, I saw the elephant one and had to include it too… I have a thing for baby elephants.

Macrame plant hangers – how fun?!

Pretty planters & pots – I think using a plant pot as a basket to fill with goodies and small gifts would be a great gift idea for a plant lover! Succulent sets, growing kits, and did you know you could buy actual LIVE plants on Amazon?! Yep, I just learned that not too long ago too! The Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant and the Snake Plant are the “trending” plants these days, second to succulents and cacti. I think they are fairly easy to keep alive (maybe!), but I like the idea of buying a well-established 4 ft. Fiddle Leaf Fig versus a baby one.

And if you still need help as a plant-lover, you can pre-order Lua, the Smart Planter with Feelings. I have a feeling if I ordered these, I’d be surrounded with a bunch of sad faces. Hahaha! We don’t need all that negativity around here, but if you’re confident you can keep your plants happy or at least learn how to, go for it!

 

For The One Who Loves to Clean

Scratch that! Okay, I know there are actually people in the world that like to clean. But I would say that for the majority of us – it’s not that we like to clean, but we do like to have a clean home, and we get excited by fun, cleaning gadgets and supplies. Am I right? Okay, now that we’ve addressed that. Let’s get on to the list.

We’ve got a Roomba, because I’m sure anyone would love a Roomba, am I right? My kids even wanted me to get a Roomba… I think we had them at “Robot”. Then, there’s a carpet steamer… because kids = messes. So… necessary. Ecloths are great cleaning cloths that use only water to clean. But if you like to have special cleaning products, here’s a clean line for you… Branch Basics Starter Kit.

 

For the Homemaker

When I think about a “homemaker”, I think about someone who is working to make a “home” for her loved ones. It’s not just a house that we live in – but it’s setting up that cozy environment, that safe place that our spouses, children, family members, and friends can come into and relax, unwind, and feel at peace. Your home should be a place that you feel the most peaceful, and we have to work hard to create that cozy, homey atmosphere.

Scents and fragrance helps. Try an Essential Oils Diffuser & Oils. Don’t waste your time with store-bought oils. Invest in a starter kit if you’re new to oils.

Turkish towels are so beautiful when they are hung. If there’s something you’re going to be using everyday, it might as well be something beautiful that can act as decor for your home as well!  You can do this with so many things! Little by little, you can replace your everyday, household items with quality ones that are beautiful to you and make you excited to use them. If they excite you, chances are, they will also bring joy to your other family members or visiting friends as well. Start thinking about those every day items like mixing bowls or a nice wooden cutting board.

Have you heard of Woven Nook? They offer pillow cover sets that are already coordinated and matched up. (You can order singles as well.) But aren’t these coordinated sets amazing?!

You can’t go wrong with a Target Gift Card or maybe a gift card to Wayfair. I told my family, they could get me anything from the Hearth & Hand line at Target, and I’d be happy. 😉

 

For the Makeup Lover

These are my favorite palettes and skincare that would make great gifts! I love thinking of makeup as an art, and while I’m certainly no professional – it sure is fun to “paint my face”. I love these makeup organizers, and I have one similar. I mean – how genius is that vertical palette storage?! I also have the makeup travel case, and I love it for going on trips! If you don’t know what to get a make-up lover, you can’t go wrong with a Sephora or Ulta giftcard.

 

For the Organizer

Everyone loves to have a nice, organized and lovely space, right?! I love these drawer organizers from Ikea, these space-saving kitchen utensil organizers, and velvet hangers. Velvet hangers are such a simple upgrade, but they really make your closets look so nice! We’ve upgraded all of our closets to these, including the kids, and I couldn’t love it any more!

Also, I think this is a great time of year to be thinking about cubbies and shelves and toy organization because our kids are about to get an influx of them in the coming month. Having something great to organize it all is a must!

If you have an organizer you are gifting for, you could do a giftcard to Ikea, The Container Store, or I’m currently in love with Wayfair. I’m also going to add Hobby Lobby gift card to this because my absolute FAVORITE furniture piece is from there. It’s the one with ALL the drawers, and I love it so much! It is GREAT for organization!

For the Reader

For the reader in your life, you could gift them with a tin of book darts. Book darts are little page markers that a reader can use to note something they want to come back to. They are also good for future common-placing. This is when a reader adds those notable things to a special notebook, also known as a Commonplace Book, and I’ve got some of these shown here too. I like to use my Frixion Highlighters to highlight as I’m reading something good. I’ve also included a set of magnetic bookmarks and a reading light.

If you’re unsure what to get the reader in your life, go for a Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or even an Amazon gift card so they can order more and more books. Or a nice bookshelf would also make a fabulous gift for a reader. You can never have too many bookshelves…

For the Christian who Loves Spiritual Resources

I love my journaling Bible like the one I’ve included here, and this version is such a nice gift edition. It’s a great investment into someone’s Christian walk. The Filament Bible is a pretty cool resource I’ve started seeing lately too that offers a digital app component with commentaries and other resources included! Bible journaling pens are a must for note-taking and doodles in your Bible.

If you’re looking for a good Bible study to gift, the Journal and Doodle Bible Studies from Kari Denker are my favorite. I feel like these really helped me to learn the skill of Bible Study, and the same with Kristy Camrbon’s Verse-Mapping resources. Phenomenal Tools!

I’ve included a few other commentaries and resources as well as a great devotional.

I love my Val Marie Paper Co. Prayer Journal! There’s also the Quiet Time Companion and The Give Me Jesus Journal that I feel like would make fantastic gifts as well.

 

 

   
   

 

For the Planner Girl

For the bullet journaling planner, these Moleskine Volant books are my favorites! The 5×8″ size is perfect because it gives you enough room to write and take notes, but it’s also small enough to fit in your purse. I also really love May Books. These are great because they already have the calendars, checklists, whatever you need already in the books for you. You can get them in the same size and mix and match them together. I add these to my Traveler’s Notebook covers. My favorite is my really nice leather one from Foxy Fix.

I really love Traveler’s Notebooks because they feel so nice and fancy, but I would have to say that a disk-bound planner is my ALL TIME MOST FAVORITE PLANNER… because the customizability of it is just fantastic! I love that I can take things out, add things in, shift things around, even print my own pages to add to my planner so easily! They are like a spiral bound book that you can open up flat or turn it inside out to write and take notes in as well. I’ve included my newest disk-bound planner cover here. It charges your phone. Say what?! I’m serious! I’ve never seen a planner cover that can do so much like this one. It even has pockets and a pen loop inside!

**Psst. If you haven’t already heard, I’ve just created a disk-bound planner of my very own for My Purposeful Planning. It has SO MANY GREAT features! Make sure you’re on my email list to get more details about its release. 

I added my favorite Pilot FriXion Clicker Pens here. I love the color-coding I can do with these, and they are ERASABLE! Like they really erase very well, and they are pretty much the only pens I use nowadays. I’ve also included planner clips. I love the decorated “paper clip” style ones because they lay flat, don’t bend your planner pages, and they stick out from the top of your planner so you can easily find today’s planning page.

And… of course I have to include Power Sheets in my “Planner” section. I LOVE my new Power Sheets Goal Planner. It would make a fantastic gift, as well as many of the other items on their website like their Write the Word Journals.

Wishing you happy shopping, great deals, and sweet moments of giving to those you love this Christmas!
Merry Christmas, friends!

2019 Christmas Gift Guide (for Kids!)

Usually my Christmas posts tell you about what we do for Christmashow we keep it minimal, our family traditions like Advent, how we budget for the holidays, and even the gifts we get for our kids. This year, we have decided to give our kids an “experience gift” so all of our gifts for them will focus around a specific theme. We want it to be a really fun surprise so we’re keeping that theme a secret until after they open up their gifts on Christmas morning.

But for now… I’ve had several family members begin to ask about ideas for Christmas for our little ones or friends ask for recommendations for their kids so I thought it would be helpful to put together a little Kids’ Christmas Gift Guide.

**This post does contain affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. 

But first, maybe you’d like a recap of last year’s gifts?? Aren’t you always curious to see which ones were hits and which ones were tossed in the corner a week later? I know, I am!

Here’s a Recap of What we Gave our Kids for Christmas Last Year:


 

  • Paw Patrol Ultimate Rescuer – This one was played with for a few months until we moved into our now minimal space. It has remained in storage since then and hasn’t been asked for.
  • Guess Who Game – We love games, and this one was a favorite, but it got destroyed by one of our little ones and so we had to throw it away.
  • Scrabble Junior Game – We began to lose pieces to this one, and since it’s one where you have to match up all of the letters to the letters on the board, they are necessary. This game is still played despite that, and I’m wondering if I could find a set of replacement letter tiles for it or if we could use regular scrabble tiles with it instead.
  • Checkers Game – We lost pieces and threw this one out. Apparently, we need to be more strict with our games as parents.
  • Drone – This was loved for a week or two and then lost at our old house and never found. (Lawson got another one for his birthday in June, and he played with it for a week and  then lost interest.)
  • Ikea Kitchen – This one is still loved and played with, not every day, but pretty often. I love it because it’s very neutral and instead of being like a toy, it goes with the decor of our home. Baby Lyndon is starting to pull up to it now.
  • LovEvery Baby Play Mat – We LOVED this play-mat and all of the things that came with it! Lyndon now crawls away from it because he’s extremely mobile, but he does play with all of the toys from it, and I need to set up the tent with it to see if that sparks his interest. My older kids loved using the play guides with him to teach him different skills at different ages.
  • Play-Doh Tubs – This was a hit and always is. It just about lasted all year, as I’m that mom who only lets them get one tub each out at a time so it works. (We keep three current tubs in our everyday play-doh storage with our tools, and the rest are stored out of reach.) This one will go on the list again this year.
  • Magnetic Building Set – These are by far the best toy we’ve ever owned! This was our second set to purchase for our kiddos last Christmas, and we even bought Linkin more for his birthday in May. They are so versatile and he plays with them in so many different ways.
  • Wooden Play-Doh Tools – I can’t remember if someone gifted my kids with this set, or if it was a last-minute add on gift from us last year, but they’ve been a hit. I’m not a big fan of the plastic play-doh sets that make spaghetti and the playdoh gets stuck in them and dries out… These, though, are fantastic!

Nativity Sets and “Elf on the Shelf” Alternatives

I personally love the idea of having a kid-friendly nativity scene available at Christmas for your kids to see and learn the true meaning of Christmas. I saw a family that had a separate nativity for each of their children that they could set up and play with themselves, and I thought that was a really neat idea. We personally have the Melissa and Doug Wooden set.

I also really like the Christian alternatives to “Elf on the Shelf”. If you do Elf on the Shelf with your kids, I’m in no way saying that’s a bad thing, but it just wouldn’t work for our family since we’ve never done Santa. I like that there are now different alternative options as well.


Now… on to the 2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Kids…

Baby and Young Toddler Gift Ideas

  • This ball tower was such a big hit with my kids. I think ours finally broke after we had it for several years, but it’s one toy I would buy again because of how much it entertained my little ones.
  • Layten has the piggy bank, and it is such a fun toy!
  • We’ve had a plastic set of the kids’ bar bell, and it was great to teach Lawson how to do simple and complex lifts before he was ready to move on to real weights.
  • Lyndon is into balls right now, so that’s probably going to be what he gets from everyone this year.
  • This Stella doll was a great first-baby doll for Layten. It’s so sweet and would be perfect for any little girl. They have LOTS of different options now!

 


Educational Toys

Wooden School Blocks

When I say, “school blocks”, I’m referring to the really well-made, thick blocks we played with in preschool and kindergarten. I actually remember being hit in the eye with one of the really big ones in preschool, and yet I STILL want a good set for my kiddos. I just love these as open-ended toys where my kids can build and use their imaginations in creative ways! I’m a fan of the natural-look versus the painted sets, but I’m sure they will end up with crayon marks on them at some point too. I’ve included a few sets here, a budget-friendly set, a more valuable set, and an architectural set.

Grimms’ Stackers

Apparently these are the hit toys for minimalists. They “spark joy” because they sit pretty on a shelf, but kids also love them because they are so unique, and they can be really creative and imaginative in how they build with them. They’ve been on my wish list for several years probably, but they are crazy expensive so I haven’t ever justified purchasing them. I would love to get a set just to see what all the fuss is about, and if you’re wondering… the large rainbow stacker seems to be the top favorite among these sets.

Art Supplies

I feel like art supplies are a hit among most children, but be sure to make sure the parents are also on board with this one because art supplies tend to bring a mess along with them.

  • I’ve heard great things about the Chunkies paint sticks.
  • Layten got the Alex Art Kit – “Tots Art Start” for her birthday last year, and it was a big hit! It was perfect for her as a toddler then because there was no glue or anything too messy with it. There was sticky paper for her to easily attach the craft supplies to, stickers, and child-size crayons. The boys were jealous because since it was her gift, I didn’t let them play with it.
  • Sketch books for painting and drawing are always necessary.
  • Chalk pastels are something my kids and I have really come to enjoy this year.
  • These watercolors are so much better than the cheapy ones we’ve used in the past. I thought all watercolors were created equal, but let me tell you – they are not. These are worth the few extra dollars, and they include more colors too. We have one now, but my kids share. I might invest in a few more of these pallets.
  • I wanted to include water color pencils because they are pretty neat. Kids use them to draw the picture they are wanting to paint, and then they just use water over them to make the colors blend and come alive like watercolor paints.
  • And Scotch tape, of course… A roll of this for each kid’s stocking – what kid doesn’t love Scotch tape?!

Technology

Technology is so important these days, and of course kids love it! I like the idea of educational technology and games because it gives kids a way to use it but not get sucked into the tunnel vision of “screen time” and watching all the meaningless shows (but hey! That has it’s time a place too. Kids also need time to relax and chill.)

  • Lawson had one of these watches, and we loved it until the band of it broke. They now come with replacement bands so make sure yours has that extra band if you order. They have games to get kids moving with a timer, and my boys always took that as a challenge to do a good workout together.
  • This globe I’ve heard really good things about. It’s pricey, but they also have a cheaper model that doesn’t do quite as much. It would be a great educational gift.
  • I keep seeing these Osmo learning sets everywhere! This uses an ipad or fire tablet as the screen, but the kids use the included manipulatives to play the games and do the activities in front of it to learn.

Books

Don’t underestimate the power of books as great gifts! The Treehouse books are kid-approved recommendations, and my kids love these other types of books that include lots of pictures and facts. The “anatomy” books offer hand-drawn images so kids could easily duplicate these into their sketchbooks or nature journals as you learn about different topics. I know the “Welcome to the Museum” Books would be a hit with my kids as well, especially Lawson. It’s a refreshing change-up from the chapter books I require him to read for school now.

 

 

Games

Our family loves games! They pretty much play at least one game every day! I like these options to add to our collection.


Outdoor Toys

My kids love to dig and play in the sand and dirt! We had a sandbox at our old house that they loved, and they have lots of dirt here now. They need durable tools that they can use when the plastic sets from the beach just don’t cut it anymore. They also love to get crafty and build structures. Lawson has gotten a few of these kits, and they’re always a hit when he has his own real tools and supplies he can use!

 

Boxes & Subscriptions

KiwiCo – These are subscription, craft kits that kids receive every month so it’s like a gift that keeps on giving. They receive a cool box of things to assemble for their age level. You can do the subscriptions for as short or as long as you’d like.

LovEvery Play Kits – This is the same concept, but the play items in these kits are more age-specific and are sent when your little ones hit another age milestone. They are also specific to infants and toddlers up to 24 months.

Raddish Kids Cooking Kits – These are like the meal kits that many are raving about these days, except it’s geared for kids and teaching them how to cook in the process!

We Craft Box is just like the name says… It’s a box of supplies to make a special art project or craft together each month. So fun!

We Craft Box 3-month renewing subscription
I love making gift lists for my kids! Isn’t it so much fun to think about and plan for gifts you know they’ll love?! For Lawson’s birthday this past year, we told him we were just going to get him something we wanted to give him instead of getting what he asked for. We gave him his motorcycle, and he has LOVED it! He keeps telling us how much better it is than something he would’ve come up with himself. So, we might be doing that for Christmas with all of them this year as well with our “experience gift.”

What would YOU add to the list?

2019 Bible & Spiritual Resources Gift Guide

I recently had a friend ask me for some Bible recommendations, and let me just say… I LOVE when people ask me for ideas for things. It’s so fun for me to let you know about all my favorites or do some digging and researching to help you find what you’re looking for.

So I thought I would put those recommendations into a post for her to have as a reference point if she needed it but also I thought I would expand it to include several age groups and other resources that I think are really helpful as well.

So, here we go! I’ve sorted it by age group for the Bibles, and then I’ve added a few more categories at the bottom as well.


**This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using any of these links, I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support! 

Toddlers

This is probably the first age where you would actually attempt to read the Bible to your kids. You need something super simple and easy to understand like this one. This is the very one we’ve used and loved.

Preschool

We love this Rhyme Bible because it’s so fun to read and tells the stories in a fun way, kind of feels like you’re reading a Dr. Seuss book, but it’s the Bible. The Jesus Storybook Bible is great for taking bible-reading to that next level of application but it a really simple way for little ones. 365 Great Bible Stories is the one we are currently using for our homeschool group Bible curriculum. They are short and sweet and to the point.
   

Lower Elementary

When your children are learning to read, having them help you read the Bible is a great thing you can do with them! After all, that’s our main reason for wanting our kids to learn to read anyway, isn’t it? We want them that to learn to read and study God’s word for themselves as they get older. These are great starter Bibles for that. We have the ESV Children’s Bible.

Older Elementary / Pre-Teens

These are still very much “Real Bibles” but they add in a lot of fun resources, visuals, and things that older kids would find interesting as they are reading and studying.

Older Teens / Adults

This Filament Bible is a new one that I just heard about recently and thought it was worth mentioning. It’s an actual “paper Bible” but it also has an app that goes along with it. Think of it as the Bible that comes with Bible study resources like commentaries and other study books that would be awesome to have in your Biblical library. This Bible has all of that in one!

And I can’t mention Bibles without mentioning my Bible. I invested in a really good Bible for myself after my Papaw L.J.’s funeral a few years ago. We enjoyed looking through his keepsake of a Bible filled with so many special things like flowers from each of our weddings, cards, and notes he’d written all in there. I think a really good Bible is a great thing to invest in for your spiritual life, especially if you know you’re going to use it and one day pass it along to your children!

This one has gone up in price since I got mine several years ago, but there’s also a smaller, thinline version that’s cheaper. Plus, there are several imitation leather and hardcover versions that are fairly affordable as well. I LOVE my journaling Bible though! I’m not the most artistic, but it has great margins for my thoughts, sermon-notes, and occasional doodles. I’ve had a lot of fun studying with it using the Journal and Doodle Bible studies from Kari Denker, adding washi tape to the edges for color and decoration, and color-coding different things from the scriptures as I study. I’m not a fan of the extremely artistic Bible entries where you can’t even read the page through it, but I love to use it for actual study and doing it in a way that seems fun is definitely not a bad thing!
 

 

Kids’ Resources

These are some Bible resources that we currently own and really enjoy. The Bible Infographics book is just one I picked up because it looked interesting. It reminded me of an Usborne book because it’s just filled with interesting facts. My oldest has really enjoyed looking at it. The Bible Animals storybook was given to my kids as a gift, and they really enjoy learning about the animals of the Bible and facts that go along with each one. 66 Books One Story is another one we use with our Bible Roadtrip homeschool curriculum as we introduce each new book to study. It lets my kids know what we can expect to learn about in that book of the Bible, lessons we will learn from it, and how we can apply it to our own lives.

   

My Favorite Spiritual Books

These are books that I’ve personally read and have made a huge difference in my spiritual life. I reference the Fervent book on a pretty regular basis when things get difficult in different areas for me or those close to me. It helps me to discern why and what strategy the enemy is trying to be crafty with. Together is a book that has really inspired me in reading the Bible with my kids. Treasuring Christ is full of so many mind-blowing nuggets as well.

   

 

My Favorite Bible Studies

Again, these are Bible Studies I’ve personally done, mostly with groups at church, but some of them on my own as well. Seamless is the one that helped me to understand how the stories of the Bible from the old and new testament are all connected. I’ve heard Bible stories all my life but seeing the big picture is something I learned from this study.

The Armor of God study taught me so much about how to focus on the real enemy. I specifically remember that during that study was the height of my struggles and challenges as a mom, and I learned how to appropriately fight that battle by putting on my armor each and every day.

Discerning the Voice of God taught me how to obey God before He even asks anything of me. I also learned some important “Checks and Balances” for how to know if it’s really God speaking about something, or it’s just something I came up with on my own. Pretty vital stuff.

I can’t mention bible studies without mentioning Freedom. I’m now going through this study for the second time, and I can tell you specific things that God is working on me with each time I’ve gone through it. Before I did this study the first time, I remember thinking…. “I’m good. I haven’t really been through a lot of hardship in my life, but I’m just doing this as my next step.” And then God rocked my world by touching on some things in me that really needed healing. It’s the most life-changing study I’ve ever done!

     

My Favorite Spiritual Resources

I wanted to share with you some fantastic resources, but they are not all available on Amazon, so I’m going to post here for you the direct links instead.

The Yearly Prayer Journal from Val Marie Paper Co.
I personally have the Compose 6-month edition, and I love that it fits perfectly in my Bible or Traveler’s Notebook. I love that I can use each month to strategically pray for whatever’s going on in my life at that time. It’s SO GOOD!

Quiet Time Journals:

You guys I’ve recently found these amazing journals, and I’m having such a hard time deciding which one I want to get for 2020. They are both so amazing in different ways!

Give Me Jesus Journal  and The Quiet Time Companion

I’d love to know… what are YOUR favorite Bibles, Bible Studies, or Bible Resources? Let me know in the comments so I can check them out too!

[Ep. 011] – “Me Time” (The Self Care Episode) Featuring Audio Blogs from Amy Roberts

This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, it does give us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. We thank you for your support!

This episode is not sponsored, but we do have sponsorship opportunities including pre, post, and mid-roll as well as instagram and facebook. We would love to partner with sponsors to support their brands while helping our listeners find products and resources that help improve their lives as well. Contact laney@mypurposefulplanning.com for more information about potential sponsorships.

If you want more ways to interact with these episodes including discussion questions, applicable worksheets, behind the scenes info, and ad-free episode audio, be sure to check out the My Purposeful Planning Patreon community!

Show Notes –

In this week’s episode of My Purposeful Planning, Laney shares with us about “Me Time” and how her perspective on the whole idea has changed. She shares how she’s finding more beauty and fulfillment in her every day, instead of feeling like she’s overwhelmed and needs to run away. Motherhood is now seen as a blessing, not to be escaped, but embraced.

The episode features two audio blogs from Amy Roberts at RaisingArrows.net about “The “Me Time Myth”. Laney also shares some ideas for fitting self-care into our every day and enjoying life with our families to the fullest.

In This Episode:

  • Welcome
  • It’s not about me.
  • This episode features two Audio Blogs which are just Blog Posts from the Web shared with you in Audio Form
  • These posts gave me a new perspective of Me Time and Self Care
  • The idea is to find beauty in your every day instead of feeling like you have to escape your regular life to get “Me Time”.
  • Blog Post: “The Me Time Myth” by Amy Roberts from RaisingArrows.Net
  • Purposeful about Self-Care
  • Why does “Me Time” leave us feeling like we need even more? Returning to chores undone, the “Me Time” we get seems to never be enough.
  • Quit seeking “Me Time” where we search for fulfillment outside the God-given gifts of being a wife and mother.
  • There is an emptiness within us that needs to be filled, but only God can fill what you are aching for.
  • “The Lord is my portion,” saith the Lord. “Therefore, will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, the soul that seeketh Him. Lamentations 3:24-25
  • We must do our daily tasks cheerfully as unto the Lord. We must learn to enjoy being home with our families. We must find contentment in serving others. We should spend more time drinking in the beauty of our children, searching their eyes, holding their hands, being mom.
  • When we do feel neglected or overworked, we must immediately seek the Lord to refresh us and keep us from sin.
  • Our need for “Me Time” will fade when we begin to see motherhood as a blessing, not to be escaped, but embraced.
  • Blog Post: “The Me Time Myth Revisited” by Amy Roberts from RaisingArrows.net
  • Most mothers fall into three camps when it comes to “Me Time”… They either live for it, piously deny themselves of it, or feel guilty if they get it.  Very few seem to have a healthy view of this hotly debated issue.
  • “Me Time” shouldn’t be the air that we breathe. Suggesting that you cannot live without “Me Time” is absurd. It’s not a biblical idea. It shouldn’t be our lifeline.
  • We also shouldn’t be a “Me Time Martyr” where we are prideful against any type of self care. Galatians 6:4
  • “The guilty moms club” – They’re trying to do the right thing, and they truly love their families… but they are weary and need strength and encouragement to keep going. They love being around their children, but they have “off days”. They long for a peaceful home, surrounded by happy faces and cheerful hearts, but they just cannot seem to make it work. So they hide, and they escape into “Me Time” every chance they get, and they feel guilty.
  • A Healthy View of Me – The Christian mother has an opportunity to die to self daily as she learns to love her husband and her children. The answer to her struggle for more time, more energy, more joy… is worship.
  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
  • The sacrifices I make should never be about me. They should always be about Him.
  • There are ways and things you can do to take care of yourself so that you are presenting to God a sacrifice that isn’t merely hanging on by a thread, but a living sacrifice.
  • It’s okay to take care of yourself. It’s okay to stay home, and it’s okay to go out. It’s okay to exercise, and it’s okay to take a break. The thing you must always keep in the forefront of everything you do is that it’s not about you. This is worship.
  • The point is that you never completely empty out as a mother where you feel that you need to run away or have a spa day or take a break because we’re sick of our kids and sick of our families.
  • We need to enjoy our families.
  • When we are completely overwhelmed, we need to Pray without ceasing.
  • When we feel like we need to run away, we need to run into the arms of Jesus.
  • Fill yourself up so that you can pour out to others. We should never feel completely empty.
  • What else can we do to practice “Self Care”? It is OKAY that we take care of ourselves.
  • “Mother Culture” – a Rich Environment that Brings you Fulfillment Every Day and Never Brings you to a Point of Emptiness
  • Philippians 4:8 – “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
  • Find the white space and margin in your day.
  • My Purposeful Planning Blog: Printable Resources
  • FREE Printable Resource: Time Budget
  • FREE Printable Resource: Time-Tracking Resource
  • “Self-Care September Challenge” going on in our My Purposeful Planning Patreon Communty
  • Get some things in your life on autopilot. (Moving Beyond Survival Mode Challenge)
  • Don’t try to immediately fill your white space. Leave your white space empty.
  • Art : Look at and Enjoy Art, Using it as Home Decor, Doing Art Yourself, Painting Canvas, Painting Pottery, Online Classes and Subscriptions, Knitting, Crocheting, Sewing, Doing Crafts with your Kids
  • We were made in God’s image to be creators.
  • Think outside the box with art: It can be a meal, interior design, decorating for seasons, writing, blogs, podcasts, make-up, your wardrobe, planning, etc.
  • Literature: Giving ourselves some mental simulation.
  • Sally Clarkson talks a lot about this.
  • Charlotte Mason’s Idea of Mother Culture: Enjoying multiple books at once.
  • Sound Fiction, How-To, Self-Help, Theology, Philosophy, Bible Study, or something else that provokes thought
  • Song & Music: Spotify playlist with worship music, any kind of good music that lifts your mood, karaoke and singing
  • Nature: Nature Walks, Observing Nature  with Our Children (Toddlers are REALLY good at this when they find lizards, butterflies, or bring you flowers.) You can take this a step further by reading a story about the things you find or drawing a picture or painting it.

Additional Links and Resources Mentioned:

Podcast Episode: Learning to Create a Mother Culture by Raising Arrows

You are an Artist! Chalk Pastel Classes

Nature Study Hacking

   

Find Laney:

Instagram
Facebook
My Purposeful Planning Facebook Group
My Purposeful Planning Community on Patreon
Email: laney@mypurposefulplanning.com

Listen to the My Purposeful Planning Podcast –

“Not” Back to School 2019-2020

Last year I did a series called “Not” Back to School where we focused on different aspects of Homeschooling including Why we decided to Home school, our curriculum choices, and our home school space. You can find that series here. Today, I’m here to give you an update for this school year. I get asked ALL the time about what curriculum we are using, and since we use a variety of things… not a boxed curriculum – it’s much easier just to put it all in a blog post! I also love sharing the resources and supplies that have become our favorites over the years.

Our printer is probably one that we get asked about the most because we do a lot of printing for our home school. We print some of our entire textbooks and bind them ourselves (with the disk-bound system) so we can’t just have a regular ole printer. We need a work horse. Our laser printer (now we have one with copying and scanning capabilities) is SO worth the price! The toner cartridge lasts us an entire year, and that’s with ALL of the printing that we do! Of course, I’ve linked it below along with all of our other favorites in case you are in the market for one or more of these things.

**This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I do earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! 

Our 2019 – 2020 Curriculum Choices

Layten Bradleigh – (She’ll turn 3 in October; Tot School)
She wants to do everything her big brothers do, including “school” so I decided to start working with her early, and she absolutely LOVES it! Basically it’s just a little planned out, intentional time that I spend with her each day to color and talk about things like letters, sounds, vocabulary development, counting, shapes, colors, etc. I’m not expecting her to master any of this right now, but she does do pretty well with it, even at such a young age.

We are almost finished with these Tot School Printables. This was a free, printable download curriculum which I have used with both Lawson and Linkin. I laminated and saved what I knew I could use again with my next kids, and I’m really glad I thought to do that. It seriously could only take us about five minutes a day, but since she loves it so much we usually spend more time on it. It’s very simple, but this curriculum is awesome and covers all the bases. I recommend it for toddlers Layten’s age, and it would even be great for toddlers that are a little older.

When we finish the Tot School Printables, we are going to move on to Animal ABC’s. This curriculum is a step up from the Tot School Printables. It adds in cutting and pasting skills, journaling/dictation skills, and beginning tracing as we learn about the letters again focusing on different animals each week.

Linkin – (age 5; Kindergarten)
I can’t believe that I now have two children who are old enough to officially be in real school, but here we are! For kindergarten I focus on Reading, Writing, and Math. He will be exposed to much more than that, but these are the only three that I REQUIRE from him at this age.

For Reading & Language Arts, we are finishing up The Good & The Beautiful Level K-Primer Course, and will beginning the Kindergarten Course next. (I did purchase the All About Reading magnetic tiles for him to supplement his learning with for a more hands-on approach. I’ll probably let him use these for spelling/dictation since we already have a separate handwriting course.)

For Handwriting, we are using Handwriting without Tears.

For Math, we are using Math U See. Linkin loves using the math blocks, and he’ll be learning his lessons each week using a DVD. Then, I’ll work with him on his worksheets with his blocks.

Lawson – (age 7; Second Grade)
Lawson will continue in his second-grade level Math course that we did last year since we haven’t completed it just yet. He is actually skipping second grade Language Arts to do the third grade level because he tested well enough to do so. This Language Arts curriculum is pretty intense so we may actually spend two years on this level if we need it. Lawson is adding in a Typing Course this year as well, also from The Good and the Beautiful.

Group Subjects:
While I don’t “require” these subjects for my kindergartener and tot-schooler, I do encourage them to participate. They are more than welcome to do these with us, especially the hands-on activities!

Memory Work: We’ll focus on the poetry from their language arts courses, catechisms focusing on the subject of Prayer first, and our scriptures that go along with our Bible Roadtrip curriculum.

Morning Time Read Aloud: Mom’s Choice (I’ve got a few selected to supplement our Science and History lessons.)

Bible: Bible Roadtrip Level Lower Elementary
For our group learning, I’m focusing on the preschool and kindergarten level. We’ll read the stories in our 365 Great Bible Stories book and do the basic crafts and supplemental activities. Lawson will take things a step further in his own quiet time using the lower elementary level where he will read the stories in his ESV Children’s Bible, answer questions in his notebook  as he learns the important skill of how to study God’s Word.

Apologetics: Who is God? by Apologia
Helping our children to establish a Christian worldview is important to us. This curriculum has been amazing to help us to explain why we believe the things we believe and why we do the things we do as a family and as Christians.

Science: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day by Apologia
I love that this is a Christian science curriculum, and we especially love the hands-on projects that go along with it.

History:Mystery of History Volume 1
I love that this is a Biblical history curriculum, and I am so excited to do map work and create a timeline book with the kids.

Extracurriculars:
Lawson – CrossFit, Football in the Fall, Baseball in the Spring, Piano & Music Theory Lessons with Mom
Linkin – Kids Cook Real Food (hopefully to be added in soon), Piano & Music Theory Lessons with Mom
Layten – hopefully Dance

Our Favorite Home School Tools & Resources…

  1.  My Happy Planner Teachers’ Edition & Accessories
  2.  Lawson’s Happy Planner Kids’ Edition & Accessories (He used this planner last year, and I wrote his daily homeschool assignments in the weekly spreads. This year, I’ve made him a checklist that we print off each week, which includes his daily chores, his assignments, and his grades.)
  3.  Our Pencil Sharpener
  4.  Our Favorite Pencils
  5. Frixion Erasable Colored Pens
  6. Frixion Erasable Colored Highlighters
  7. Erasable Colored Pencils
  8. Our “New” Favorite Watercolors
  9. Disc-bound Covers (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
  10. Metal Discs (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
    **I like this option better than bulky binders or having the pages bound because the spirals always seemed to come undone throughout the year which would drive me nuts. This way we have the customizable flexibility of a binder by easily being able to take pages in and out and also the ability to flip it around like a spiral-bound book. It’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
  11. Laminator
  12. Dry Erase Markers
  13. Wet Erase Markers
  14. Printer
  15. Label Maker
  16. ESV Children’s Bible
  17. 365 Great Bible Stories
  18. 66 Books One Story
  19. Window on the World
  20. Large Notebook (We use this for note-taking in our group subjects or in anything we’d use a chalk or white board for, except we get to keep it and refer back to it if we need to.)
  21. Spelling Power Student Record Book (This has been a game changer for our spelling lessons this year!)
  22. The Homeschool History Book of Centuries
  23. Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World
  24. The Student Bible Atlas
  25. Amazon Kindle Fire Tablets
  26. Wooden Easel (We originally purchased this for Typing, but we use it for so much more than that actually! I love to display a book we’ll be reading or something fun like that.)
  27. Jelly Telly App
  28. Teaching from Rest Book
  29. The Same Page Podcast (Great for car rides with your kids- even for non-homeschoolers!)
  30. Your Morning Basket Podcast
  31. The Homeschool Solutions Show Podcast
  32. The Homeschool Sanity Show
  33. Raising Arrows Podcast

 

Our Home School Wish-List:

Just ask any teacher out there… every single one will have a wish list. Whether it’s written down or just in their head, there’s always something else we’d like to add – whether supplies or resources. We prioritize the most-important things. These things haven’t made the cut… yet. (This is more of just a reference for me to have and come back to when I’m looking for ideas.)

Who Was… Book Sets
Kids Cook Real Food
Preschool Fall Video Art Lessons
Fall Video Chalk Art Lessons
Classical Collection History Art Lessons
Hymns Video Art Lessons
Illustrated Nature Journaling
Nature Study Hacking
LovEvery PlayKits: Lyndon
Panda Crate: Lyndon
Koala Crate: Layten
Kiwi Crate: Linkin
Tinker Crate: Lawson
Larger Set of Chalk Pastels with More Color Options

What else would you like to see?!

Our Homeschool Space for this year (How we Homeschool WITHOUT a dedicated homeschool room), My Homeschool Planner, or maybe my Homeschool Planning Process (it’s changed a lot this year!)? Let me know in the comments!