Category Archives: Life Management

My husband read a quote on Facebook today:

“I was going to quit all my bad habits in 2017, but then I remembered nobody likes a quitter.”

Ha ha!  That quote speaks to what many of us are thinking about as the calendar changes to a new year.  We want renewal and change but our good intentions often aren’t fulfilled.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am kind of a New Year’s Resolution geek.  And my family gets to entertain my obsession with goal setting just because they love me and don’t really have a choice.  I only subject them to this once a year–when we do our family New Year’s Resolution/Goal-Setting night.

All kidding aside, I do think there are some great benefits for taking the time to work through goal-setting as a family; specifically two:

  1. Our kids learn the habit of self-reflection and the practice of change.   It is actually quite easy to move through life without looking back to analyze what we has worked for us and what we can improve upon.  Successful businesses do this annually (or even quarterly). They review the numbers or the growth they are trying to measure and make changes accordingly.  Why not do this with ourselves and our families?  In seeing what did or didn’t work last year we can then work on changing ourselves going forward.  I want our kids to learn the gift of self-reflection.
  2.  Our kids learn how to set concrete goals and steps for achieving  them. We have all heard how the road to bleep is paved with good intentions.  Well, I would love our children to learn the art of actual change and be able to look back on the year and see how their steps toward improvement made a positive impact on their lives. I want them to feel empowered in their lives with the ability to get “unstuck” if needed.

So in early January Jon, the kids and I sat down and worked through some questions and then talked about them as a family.  We gave the kids a chance to identify some areas of their lives that they were happy with and some areas where change might be needed or wanted, and we did the same for ourselves.  It was great and I would encourage you to give it a try!

If you would like to have a Family Goal-Setting Night, here are some questions for everyone participating to ask themselves:

  1. WHAT are some areas you would like to work on this year?  For kids some examples may be in academics or sports or cutting back on social media.  For adults some examples may be finding more time to connect with your spouse or goals with your work life or homemaking.
  2. What are the SPECIFIC goals you want to work on in the areas you picked?
  3. WHY do you want this to be a goal? This is one of the most important questions to ask–if we don’t have our strong “why,” the chances of change are pretty slim.
  4. What are the specific STEPS you can take this year to achieve your goals?

If you are like me and want a more structured plan than open ended questions, I created the FAMILY NEW YEAR GOAL-SETTING PRINTABLE

In the printable each family member can draw circles around areas where they want to set some new goals (spirituality, friendships, healthy eating, social media, screen-time, and family relationships to name a few) and then they can work through how to accomplish those goals.

EXAMPLE

Here is an example from my own life that I gave our kids as they worked through the printable:

One of my resolutions for 2017 is with meal planning.  Last year I put as one of my new year’s goals “to increase the variety and consistency of making meals for my family.”  Well, I totally flopped in achieving that goal, and it was a source of frustration for me all year.

But instead of feeling like a total failure as a kitchen maven,  I took some time to really look at why my goal didn’t work. In 2016, two of our children had their license, all were in sports or working, involved in youth group activities, and my husband traveled about twenty nights out of the month.  We had a revolving front door, with busy teenagers and constantly moving parts.

Even when I thought everyone would be home for a meal, I was constantly disappointed that I had made the effort to cook (something I don’t particularly enjoy) when plans would change and no one was there to eat it.  And when the kids did trickle in they were not hungry since they had eaten a snack at work or church.

So this year, I am still going to make it a goal, but tweak it a little. (In the printable I created, each family member can work through these four questions):

AREA: Homemaking

GOAL: Planning meals that work for my family’s busy schedule

WHY: This is still an important need for my family and it makes me feel good when our kids are served a nutritious meal at home.

SPECIFIC STEPS:

  1. To prepare a variety crock pot meals that the kids can eat whenever they arrive home.  This is far more flexible and appealing than a meal on a plate in the fridge that needs to be reheated.
  2. To make sure that in our family meeting on Sunday nights I am aware of everyone’s schedule and they are aware of what nights I am making the effort to cook so they come home hungry and expecting a meal.

This was a great exercise for me to work through personally, and I hope you and your loved ones can find some time to do the same.

Click HERE if you would like to try this with your family!

~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you just got hives reading this post title, you may want to find something else to read.

But if you raised a curious eyebrow, read on–this is something I am really excited about.

About two years ago, I heard about AirBnB and started researching the company, wondering if renting out our house while we went on vacation might be feasible.  AirBnb is a owner rental company that has exploded in popularity over the last few years (it’s similar to VRBO, but is more “European” in style–you can rent out rooms in your house or your whole house where you currently live).

We love to travel and the idea of someone paying us to stay at our house (and for our vacation!) while we were not there sounded quite interesting.  After discussing this with the family, we decided to give it a try.  I was skeptical that anyone would want to rent a house in our Colorado suburb (after all, we don’t live in the mountains or in infamous Boulder), but took the pictures and created a profile.

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Within a few weeks people started contacting me.  We ended up renting out our house three times that year, once in the spring, summer and over Christmas–all times we were taking family vacations.  The experience has been nothing but positive for us.

And…my neighbor caught wind of what we were doing and she started renting their home too.  This summer her family traveled all over Europe because they were able to rent their house the whole time.

So you can really know how to do this well, I have included an AIRBNB RENTAL GUIDE PDF at the bottom.

If this is something you might want to try, here are the pro’s and con’s:

PROS

ONE:    Money!  (Of course).  We usually make between $1500 and $2500 for our rentals, depending on how many days people want to be in our house.  We put this money towards whatever vacation our family is taking–we have found that it allows us have more “yes’s” when we travel, doing the extra fun things that in the past have been outside our budget. For me it takes away the financial stress of traveling.  I feel like I have done my work (see CONS) and now we get to benefit by creating great family memories.

TWO:    Getting to exercise my “hostess” muscles.  I love hosting people in our home–even when we are not here. I enjoy creating a welcome notebook, having soft towels available, and a basket of goodies for our guests upon arrival.  It makes me happy knowing that we are providing a comfortable place for other people to make their own memories.

CONS

ONE:    Prepare to WORK.  At least for a few days before your guests arrive.  Everyone does their rental differently, but I have found the formula that gives me the most peace of mind (See Rental Guide PDF below).  This includes emptying out our bathroom drawers so that people aren’t seeing our personal items, stocking separate towels that are just for our AirBnB guests, and of course having clean sheets on all the beds.

It means putting away ALL the little piles we accumulate throughout the house, along with any personal items (such as banking, mail, dirty laundry, etc). There is also the cleaning out of the fridge and making room in the freezer, packing up the pantry (I’ll explain in rental guide) and of course getting the house cleaned (also explained in guide).

It can definitely get stressful, but I repeat the mantra, “I’m getting paid $2000 for two days of work, I’m getting paid $2000 for two days of work.” Pretty good return right? AND, after a couple of hours on a plane, especially if we are landing on a sunny beach somewhere, I take a deep breath and relax.

TWO:   The second con is not having peace of mind.  This isn’t a big one for me as I tend not to worry about what’s going on back home.  But if this is going to stress you out, you might want to consider if this is the best program for you.  We have only had positive experiences and everyone has left our home in excellent condition.

If you think you might want to try this for your next vacation, just download my free Airbnb Rental Guide laying out step by step directions for listing and preparing your house!  It has a CALENDAR COUNTDOWN and CHECKLIST for every detail, plus all the tips I have learned along the way!  Trust me, it will save you a lot of grief 🙂

Just click here:

AIRBNB RENTAL GUIDE

Hope you have a wonderful experience!

~Amy

I am always grateful if you would share on Facebook or forward this post to someone you know might benefit!

 

 

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I want to be a family that “lives healthy.” I want us to eat well, exercise, and be thoughtful about what we put on our skin and hair. But I often feel like we are missing the mark, especially with our children.

We have teenagers who spend more time away from home than here, which means I have significantly less input about what they are eating or how much exercise they are getting.  Just this morning the thought crossed my mind that I’m not sure if my son has eaten a vegetable in the last two weeks.   It’s pretty sad that I breath a sigh of relief when he grabs a Vitamin Water out of the fridge.

Healthy living happens when you have a clear vision of who you want to be and how you want to feel in a week, in a month, in 5 years and in 30 years.  And it’s hard for adults to make changes with a “future mindset” let alone a 16 year-old.

But if my husband and I can model for our children what healthy living looks like than not only will we be taking care of our future, but we will be setting a great example for our kids.

That is why I am excited for a great bundle of healthy living e-books, podcasts, courses, DIY tutorials and much more that came out today!!!

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They are designed to cut through the clutter of information out there and provide people like you and me a library of extremely helpful resources that we can customize for our own family’s goals.

Because when you have the right info and tools at our fingertips, it all comes together so much more easily.

We know what to cook for our family. We’re more confident in choosing natural alternatives. We find ways to save money without comprising on what’s important to us.

We learn to replace store-bought products with DIY options that actually work and are easy to make. We feel better (and even look better, too). Healthy living becomes less stressful and more enjoyable.

We become educated and motivated–from exercise to gardening to essential oils.

You sort of need to see it to believe it, but the package includes 83 digital products and it’s worth over $2,400!

  • For the cost of a small bag of groceries, you’ll get a complete healthy living library to help you:
  • prepare whole & delicious real food
  • get the toxins out of your house for good
  • understand and use natural remedies
  • breathe new life into your exercise habits
  • learn about important women’s health issues
  • raise exceptionally healthy kids in an unhealthy world
  • plus learn about gardening & homesteading, meal planning, weight loss and so much more!

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…and this is only a sampling!

Plus, it comes with over $250 worth of bonus offers including:

1. Bloom Naturals – $15 gift certificate toward any product ($15 value)
2. Perfect Supplements – $15 gift certificate toward any Perfect Brand product ($15 value)
3. TriLight Health – $15 off select TriLight products ($15 value)
4. MadeOn Skin Care – FREE BeeCool Muscle Balm Stick and Natural Lip Balm Combo (value $15.25)
5. The Maca Team – FREE Organic Gelatinized Yellow Maca Powder, 8 oz. ($15.44 value)
6. Primal Life Organics – FREE 1-ounce jar of Dirty Mouth Toothpowder ($15.97 value)
7. Get Kombucha – FREE 2-week supply (15 ml) of Kombucha Pro: Liquid Probiotics (value $29.99) AND/OR a FREE 1-ounce bag of 8. Get Kombucha’s Custom Organic Kombucha Tea Blend (value $15.99)
9. Orglamix – FREE Mineral Eye Shadow Trio ($18 value)
10. Experience Life – 4 FREE digital guides (value $29.99)
11. Grove Co. – FREE Mrs. Meyer’s 64 Load Laundry Detergent, Mrs. Meyer’s Fabric Softener, 60 Day VIP Trial, and FREE shipping with a $20 minimum purchase for new customers ($32.66 value); FREE 1-year VIP Membership ($39.95 value) for existing customers
12. Meal Garden – 6 months of Meal Garden FREE (value $35.70)

Besides being so incredibly helpful and inspiring, one of the things I like best about the bundle is the price. By offering the bundle for a short time only, they’re able to give you access to over $2,400 worth of high-quality eBooks, eCourses and printables for a whopping 98% off!

That’s just $29.97 my friend.

Here’s how it works:
Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the green “Buy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.

 

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You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.

Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start making healthy changes!

The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available for just six days! After Monday night, September 26th, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

It’s even backed by a full money-back happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

I don’t know about you, but this is something I am excited about for our family.  I may not be able to control what my kids eat outside the home, but I can be creating an atmosphere of health inside our home.

Get your bundle HERE.

Yay! (I’m kind of excited about this…)

~Amy

(Psst… the bundle goes away at 11:59pm Eastern on Monday, September 26th, so don’t wait!)

(This post contains affiliate links.)

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These were originally posted by my amazing friend Jen  (visit her at http://www.lifeinalargerstory.blogspot.com )

So these are sooo yummy–not only are they incredibly easy but a crowd pleaser too.  I share them on my blog every fall.  They have become a seasonal tradition for our family!

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1 30-oz can pumpkin  

1 12-oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Add all 3 ingredients to a bowl and mix (that’s it, you don’t need to add anything else)!

If you really like chocolate chips, toss in a bag and a half. Scoop mixture into lined muffin tins. They don’t rise, so I tend to overfill the muffin cups.

Yields 36.

Get ready–they don’t stick around long!

Enjoy!!!

~Amy

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A photo by Crew. unsplash.com/photos/rCOWMC8qf8A

Have you been through a season where you just can’t get a handle on “normal” tasks and commitments in your life?  When you just can’t get it all done? I just experienced one of those times.

Our family is just emerging from a season of change and transition with two house moves, a mission trip to Haiti, wedding in Yosemite, a home remodel and getting our oldest ready to head to college in Nashville (two trips out there) all in the past two and a half months.  All of this squeezed every last bit of margin out of my normal schedule, and I found myself doing things that I try hard never to do.

Like backing out of commitments (big ones).  Or saying no to invitations that came my way.  Or putting off meeting with good friends for weeks because I couldn’t find the time, and telling clients that I had to postpone or cancel their design projects for now.

I am a recovering people-pleaser and don’t ever want to appear flaky, so realizing I couldn’t show up or be reliable or even be present if I was there rubbed everything the wrong way for me.  But life just got too full.

The act of backing myself out of events or relationships or work obligations didn’t happen right away. Even when I knew this abnormal season was approaching I had difficulty switching gears.   The “I can do it!” attitude initially prevailed.  This revealed itself in my conversations with clients; “Sure, I can squeeze your painting project in (between an unpacking boxes and an international trip),” or with friends; “Yes!  We definitely should plan that camping weekend (even though I had no idea where any of our camping gear was buried in our post-move basement of boxes).”

The rational voices in my head went on red alert, “Don’t commit to that!! Don’t say yes to that!!”

Fortunately, I started listening to those voices this summer when the stress and un-manageability of my schedule knocked me upside the head.

I had to change my responses to invitations from “Yes!” to “No, I’m just too busy.” Or had to say no right off the bat (which is not easy for me to do).  I had to be honest with clients about my overbooked schedule.  And I had to tell good friends I just didn’t  have time to get together with them right now.  I said sorry a lot.

I even have struggled with this blog because I would say that I was going to post on a certain topic next and then I didn’t because weeks would go by with no time to write or focus.

All of this has meant possibly disappointing people or losing clients.  It has meant potentially hurting friend’s feelings.  It possibly affected the way others viewed my reliability or engagement with them.  And I may have lost readers on my blog because “zero posting does not make a blog reader well”.

But I have had to wrap my brain around the fact that all of this is sometimes necessary and actually okay.  Sometimes we go through seasons of change that derail our normal.  It could be an emotional struggle or starting a new job or taking care of a loved one or becoming a new parent.  It could be any number of things.  These seasons remove any margin we previously had to engage or commit or show up for people or things.

And we need to give our people-pleasing-highly-responsible selves a break.

 We need to accept that for a time (and we usually don’t know how long) we are shifting our focus to other, more important things.

I have learned this summer that people are incredibly understanding. My clients actually responded with huge amounts of grace and said it actually worked for them to do the projects a little later. My friends are my friends because they love me and know I love them, even when I can’t be present with them.

And the invitations I declined…well there will be more.

God knows there are seasons in our life for all different things (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). We can ask Him for courage to say no, wisdom to know what is important (and what is not) and for grace for ourselves when we feel like we are letting others down.

 

~Amy

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