How’s your January going so far? As much as I don’t like the cold weather months, I feel like January has been going as well as a super dark, freezing month in which the sun sets way too early and I barely ever go outside can possibly go.
We still have nearly two weeks left in this first month of the year, but I thought I would share a few things that are making it more bearable!
THE AUDIO BIBLE
Every year, I make the same resolution. And almost every single year, I fail to complete it.
I always start off the year with good intentions of reading the entire Bible in a year. Because of this, I have read the book of Genesis at least 35 more times than any other book of the Bible. 🙂 This year, I decided that maybe I need to take the same approach to reading the Bible that I take to other books. It’s very rare these days that I actually read a book. Instead, I listen to them! I actually listened to 17 books last year, which was good, considering my goal was 12.
I assumed that downloading the entire Bible on audiobook would be very expensive. I found the One Year Bible (NLT version) on Audible, and couldn’t believe that the entire thing was only one credit. (It downloads in seven parts.) In fact, to BUY the entire Bible as an Audible member, the price was (hold on to your seat): $5.95. WHAT?!? Can you believe it?
OK. So, I’m not pretending to be a major Bible scholar here. Listening to the Bible on audiobook is definitely not a deep Bible study. But I totally enjoy reading it this way. The reader is really engaging and I love how he adds drama to many of the stories. (Plus, I don’t have to ponder how to pronounce any names.) There have been several days when I have found myself reacting with, “What?!” or “You have to be kidding!” as he reads the Old Testament stories. I often “read” when I’m driving or putting on my make-up or walking or even emptying the dishwasher.
I’ve also been spending more time on the treadmill this year. As long as I’m feeling well, I either walk or do the Couch to 5K running app every day. In order to do this, I had to break my two-year television fast. Come on! There is no way you can withstand the treadmill without a good TV show.
I recently finished watching, “Travelers,” which I totally enjoyed. I’m so sad that it’s over. Right after Christmas, I also watched the third season of “Broadchurch.” Both shows were just the right mix of mystery and suspense, without it being so over the top that I want to stay up all night on a Netflix binge.
Now that I’ve finished Travelers, I’m desperately trying to find another show to fill the void and help me wrap up week four of the Couch to 5K. Please, pleeeeaaaase give a girl some suggestions! I’m finding NOTHING that I like. (Don’t say, “The Crown.” I’ve tried. I’ve tried. I’ve tried. Can’t.)
I need to write a whole blog post on food. I keep thinking about this time last year when I was barely surviving as I tried to do Whole 30. It’s amazing that I basically did Whole 30 for an entire year! I definitely feel a ton better this year than I did last year!
I didn’t eat processed sugar in 2017 (MOST of the time), but starting last summer, I allowed myself to have raw honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar. This January, I decided to cut out those sweeteners, too, because my sweet tooth was getting out of control, and I gained a few pounds. A few weeks ago, I discovered monk fruit sweetener.
I’m still learning about monk fruit, but from what I’ve read so far, it’s supposed to be a zero-calorie sweetener that actually has health benefits. I don’t love it, but it’s nice to add a tiny bit of sweetener to things once in a while. Since it’s zero calorie, it’s working for me!
Everyone I know has been posting on Facebook about how sick they have been this year with the flu. I know I absolutely should not post this, but so far, I haven’t been sick at all (other than from gluten). I am starting to think that drinking Kombucha everyday really is helping.
One of the health benefits of Kombucha is that it is supposed to improve your immune system. Some people even go so far as to say that it helps prevent cancer.
I’ve been brewing my own Kombucha for about nine months now, and I’ve really gotten the hang of it! I’ve been experimenting with new flavors using fruits and herbs during the second ferment, and the results have been amazing! Maybe I’ll write a whole blog post about this later.
A friend introduced us to the game, “Qwirkle” on New Year’s Eve, and I had to go buy one for our family. It’s one of those games that isn’t too long. It requires some strategy, but not TOO much thinking. It’s great for lots of ages. And we can play with our whole family. (I think the box says up to four players, but you can definitely play with six!)
NATURAL SKIN CARE
January is also the month when our skin takes a beating in the cold weather. I really focused in 2017 on transitioning to skin care products with natural ingredients. I have learned that just as I read the labels on the foods I eat, I also need to read the labels on the products I put ON my skin! I know a LOT of my friends sell all different kinds of skin care products, so I really don’t want to get into recommending anything here. But I’m just happy to have found some great all-natural products that make my skin feel great.
I’m also brushing my teeth with “My Magic Mud” toothpaste (you can use this link to search for it on Thrive), which is made of activated charcoal and bentonite clay. So, there’s that. The toothpaste doesn’t have any fluoride, which many people believe can damage your thyroid. Oh, and just a warning… the toothpaste is black.
If you are interested in learning more about why these things are important, I got a lot of info from the book, Younger by Sara Gottfried.
A FEW MORE THINGS
Other things I’m loving this month:
Matcha green tea lattes (search on Thrive market)
My bullet journal
Did I mention Thrive market? (My order came today!)
and the book, “Sensible Shoes.”
So, what about you? I would love to hear what’s working for you right now!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through a link you clicked on here, I receive a tiny portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting everydaymom!
A few days ago, I was talking to some friends about our Christmas highlights. I mentioned that I was really excited about one of my gifts… a bullet journal.
No one in the group seemed to know what I was talking about, so I went on to try to explain. It’s a blank journal. And you fill it in with whatever you want. And you get to use colorful markers. And practice your handwriting.
They looked at me perplexed. A few of them laughed out loud.
“Explain it again… You do WHAT?!?” was the general reaction.
I thought that maybe if I just gave them more detail, they would catch on to the greatness of this hobby that is the bullet journal. It’s for people who love to make lists… or just love to write on paper… you create your own calendar pages… and you “journal” but in bullet points, I tried to explain.
Instead of falling in love, they became increasingly convinced that I am nuts! So, I guess most people aren’t that excited about a bullet journal, and if that’s you, that’s OK. I get it.
I tried starting a bullet journal back in 2016. I even wrote a few blog posts about my excitement about it! I started following Instagram feeds and blogs devoted to bullet journaling. But the more I learned about it, the more convinced I became that there was no way I could do it!
Some days, I can barely find time to even write out my to-do list, not to mention, create a colorful page with neat handwriting and carefully framed boxes to record my thoughts. But as I approached the end of 2017, I decided I wanted to give it a try. There’s just something about creating a bullet journal that is so appealing to me!
As I mentioned before, I love pens. I love writing on paper. I love practicing my hand lettering. I love planners. I love doodling. This is a hobby that’s also an organizational tool that incorporates all of those things!
I gave my husband a link to the Leuchtturm 1917, which seems to be the bullet journal of choice for many people. The pages have squares like graph paper, which makes it so much easier to plot out what you want to write on each page. The pages also lie flat, and each page is numbered.
He also got me a creative lettering book and some nice pens.
So, I’ve been bullet journaling for a week now, and so far I love it. Also, so far, my kids have been on Christmas break, and I was off last week and had a lot more time than usual to sit around and write in my bullet journal. Honestly, if I can keep this thing going for two weeks, I’m going to be happy!
Just to give you a taste, here’s what kind of pages I’ve created so far.
Getting started is the hardest part because you don’t want to mess up the very first page in your beautiful new journal. I decided to start by creating a record of our Christmas gifts. Not that we need a record of our Christmas gifts. But it’s straight forward. It’s easy. It didn’t require a lot of thought.
That was fun, so I decided to make some other lists from 2017, just as a non-threatening way to get started with my journal.
I wrote down some significant memories from each month…
…a list of the books I read and my favorite podcasts…
…and I started a list of new foods I tried last year… I still need to complete this list…
I was still a little worried about getting into the meat of the journal, so I used a few pages to just write words…
It’s not perfect or beautiful, but I like to try to write in different “fonts.” 🙂
So, finally, I started the calendar portion of my journal…
First, I created a “future log” with one line for each day of the year. This is where you can write all of the important dates of the year, like holidays, birthdays and days off school. I love that my journal has two bookmarks so I can mark different pages. The pages in this journal also are numbered, making it easy to create a table of contents at the front with the page number references for what’s in the journal.
Next, I created my January habit tracker.
You can imagine how much I love filling in these little squares each time I complete one of my daily habits for the month!
And finally, I started working on my daily spreads.
The fun part about a bullet journal is that you can make all of your spreads look different. I’m still a little intimidated, so I just copied this spread format from someone on Pinterest, and I created a week’s worth of pages in this format.
It includes a “to do list,” a box I labeled “healthy,” which includes my weight, what type of exercise I did that day, how much water I drank and how many steps I took that day.
At the bottom is a box marked “gratitude.” This is the “bullet journal” portion of the book, where I jot down in bullet points the highlight of my day. I’ve been surprised how much I enjoy filling in this box!
So, that’s my bullet journal. At this point, you are either laughing, completely confused or convinced this is something you have to try! Whatever the case, I get it. I can’t even tell you I will be bullet journaling a week from now, but it’s been a great excuse to cuddle up under a warm blanket with some hot tea and write with my pretty pens. And that, my friends, is my idea of fun!
Hey, I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever heard of bullet journaling? Have you tried it? Does it sound ridiculous? Or do you think it’s something you would enjoy? I would love to know!
One of the things I dread most about sending my kids back to school is shopping for their school supplies. With four kids, I’m always juggling multiple lists, trying to find all of the items requested by their teachers for the school supply stash. There’s always that ONE thing that can’t be found in any stores and ends up taking longer to track down than the rest of the school supplies put together.
However, once the kids are back in school, I love to leisurely browse the school supply bins for a few items just for me. The stores usually keep their back-to-school discounts for at least a week after school has started, but I get to avoid the rush of moms and kids all frantically trying to find the WASHABLE markers or the ALREADY SHARPENED No. 2 pencils.
I’m a complete addict when it comes to office supplies, so I have to work hard to keep myself under control when I’m looking at pens, notebooks and other supplies. I love making my to-do lists in cute notebooks, and taking notes in meetings with brightly colored pens. This year, I picked up just a few things that are adding so much joy to my day.
My biggest obsession is pens, so I had to make a hard and fast rule this year that I wasn’t allowed to buy Sharpies. My Sharpie collection is out of control, but what can you do when you see deep discounts on a pack of brightly colored ultra fine tip markers? Ack! I did *slightly* break this rule for a 5-pack of plain black Sharpies for only $1 at Office Max. ONE dollar?! How do you NOT buy that?
I love trying new pens, and I’ve been wanting to try the Papermate Flair pens for a long time. I remember when I was a kid, my dad often had a few of these in red. I loved the thickness of this pen that was almost a marker, but not quite. I couldn’t resist grabbing a 12-pack for only $8 at Office Max.
I rarely write anything with a normal ball point pen. I love having an assortment of colored pens, and these are a nice medium tips. Not too thin and not too thick.
Notebooks are next on my list of office supply favorites. I go through a ton of notebooks in a year. I love to have one in the kitchen for my daily to-do list or any random thought that I need to jot down. I keep one in my work bag to take notes in meetings, and let’s face it, to doodle. I prefer unlined notebooks, but they are surprisingly difficult to find. I couldn’t resist picking up a few of these super cute composition notebooks for only $3 at Office Max.
It was also time for me to find a better way to store all of my pens on the go. I found a super cute little pencil bag, complete with lots of bling to store my pens in style.
Finally, I feel like I’m always in need of a sticky note to label something, jot down a quick reminder or leave a note for the kids. I wanted to try these tiny sticky notes to help me organize my notebooks and for whatever else comes up. We’ll see how much I use them.
That’s what my back-to-school supplies look like this year. Now, if I can just keep them hidden from my kids so they don’t steal them!
So, tell me… Do you love school supplies as much as I do? What are your favorites?
“If you want a change, you have to be willing to make a change.”
I have been listening to Gretchen Rubin’s book, “Happier At Home,” and that line has been ringing in my head. It’s so simple, but so true.
As you all now know from doing the math on my family date canvas, I’m 47 years old. I’m old enough to act like an adult. And yet, many times I seem to think I’m just going to start doing things adults do without any effort on my part. I will suddenly start adulting.
I will start making my bed every morning. I will send thank you notes on time. I will floss my teeth every night. I will feed my family nutritious and well-balanced meals.
But if I don’t ever take any action to do any of these things, why do I think they will magically start happening on their own? I’ve always loved setting yearly goals for myself, but after listening to Rubin’s book, I am realizing how powerful it can be to set a monthly goal.
In “Happier at Home,” Rubin took one year and gave herself a set of habits to accomplish each month. Many of them were so simple. For example, she decided to give warm greetings and fond farewells when her husband or two daughters entered or left the house. How easy is that? And yet, how often do the kids go off to school with nothing more than a “Bye, Mom!” shouted from downstairs while I’m getting out of the shower upstairs.
I also love how she used certain months to tackle larger goals, like actually uploading her photos to Shutterfly and getting her photo albums printed. I’ve been inspired to make a list of some nagging projects that I could accomplish if I would just set aside a few minutes each day to get them done!
At the beginning of October, I decided to start things off with a habit tracker for the month. At first, I tried creating one in my bullet journal, but I was quickly dissastified because it’s not nearly neat or cute enough. Instead, I redesigned it on my computer and printed it out to keep in my planner. (Here’s one you can download.) My habits for the month include reading my Bible everyday, making my bed (again!) and walking 12,000 steps each day. I’m also tracking my weight each day.
I’ve started a list in my bullet journal of the larger projects I want to tackle as well. I think it’s time for me to admit that our old home movies that are stored on VHS aren’t magically going to convert themselves to DVD. All of the photos on my computer aren’t suddenly going to show up on my door step in the form of a photo album. And we only have a few more years that these wonderful children are going to live in our home. I need to be more intentional in a few areas with them!
How about you? Do you have any new habits you are trying to create? What are the big projects that you need to tackle? I would love to hear!
Since I started my bullet journal a few weeks ago, I’ve started thinking in bullet points. It’s kind of fun to sum up your day in just a few short sentences. The last few days have been amusing so I thought I would share them here… #BuJo style.
* I wore out my crockpot.
* Who uses a crockpot so much that it actually wears out, and you have to throw it away? #winning
* I revived two plants from the dead.
* My plants are GROWING!
* After many failed attempts, I remembered how to make a friendship bracelet.
* I taught our 6-year-old how to make friendship bracelets. #addicted
* Matthew had to wear black dress clothes to his 8th grade band concert.
* He grew out of all of his black clothes.
* I reluctantly bought a pair of black pants for $55 because they were the only ones I could find in his size.
* When I checked out, they were on clearance for $5.50.
* Some days, I can’t tell you how much I want to eat a bagel, ravioli from a can, Ghirardelli brownies, a grilled cheese sandwich, Saltine crackers.
* Can Celiac Disease be over now?
* Andrew thinks our family dinners are so funny they should be a show.
* Every subscriber to the show should get a copy of my cookbook, Slightly Delicious and a Little Bit Nutritious.
*** What does the bullet point version of your life look like this week? I would love to hear about it!