April 27, 2016

Just Like Mom

This post isn't sponsored in any way (nothing on my blog is!). These are truly things I wanted to write about!

In honor of Mother's Day coming up, I wanted to write a post with my sweet mom in mind!

I want to be like my mom in so many ways. She is just wonderful! Something came full circle for me recently. For the entire 30 years of my life, I've seen the same Tupperware pitcher, salt and pepper shakers, and containers in her kitchen. Her pitcher was a mustard yellow color. I need to take a picture of my mom HOLDING her pitcher, but for now, here's a general picture of her model:

That pitcher, from the time of my birth, has held sweet tea in it. My mom made/makes it religiously. I just love everything that mustard yellow piece of nostalgia represents! 

My mom also had the red snack container. When I was in kindergarten, I needed to take snacks for my class. Details are fuzzy, but I ended up writing my name in permanent marker on the lid of said snack container I'M SORRY MOM. It's still there to this day! Again, I really should've taken pictures to prep for this post, but another general picture will have to do:

I decided that my kitchen would not be complete unless it's like my mom's. So I ordered myself the same style of Tupperware that my kids can become nostalgic about! I just went to the Tupperware website and placed an order! I found these styles under "Classics," which made me smile. I just pictured all of the thousands of women who have had Tupperware in their kitchen over the years, and how so many kids like me have their own "Yellow Pitcher "or "Red Snack Container" that makes them feel warm inside. :) 

Another way my mom has influenced me is with my skin. She has gotten me absolutely hooked on Rodan+Fields, and I LOVE IT! The last time I posted about R+F, there was a big response through emails and questions. I have gotten comments about my skin and people ask what I use, so I thought I would share again!

I actually gave my mom her first regimen as a gift several years ago, and she immediately loved it. She loved it so much that she decided to become a consultant! And I want to brag on my mom, because she is superb at what she does. She is so sweet and kind, and she is incredibly helpful. You will not meet a more loving, genuine person. I've watched her help women (both with their skin and helping them be successful as R+F consultants), which is truly inspiring.

I know you've probably heard and seen the R+F buzz, and there's a reason for that! Rodan+Fields is now the #2 skincare company in the United States! AND they are the #1 anti-age premium skincare company! That is HUGE. And if you're like me (I believe that popularity and sales speak for themselves), that tells you that these products are absolutely effective. A ranking like that does not lie.

You might have seen things in your newsfeed about R+F but you aren't sure how it works, etc. I use the Redefine regimen (formerly called Anti-Age). It's become part of my routine, and I really enjoy the [short] process of really caring for my skin.

It dawned on me a couple of years ago: I will be REALLY thankful I started using Redefine at 26 (4 years ago) when I'm 70! I've always thought that having a beauty "routine" is glamorous. In my imagination, this is me:

In reality, that's a big NOPE. But I DO have my beauty routine! :) Listen, I struggle with getting into a habit, so if I look forward to this at night, you know it's good stuff and easy to maintain! Along with my regimen, I love to add in the Night Renewing Serum (it's like velvet on your skin - can't say enough about it), and the AMP MD roller (it feels like an at-home facial).

There are other awesome regimens for acne, soothing problem skin, and reversing skin damage. When you visit my mom's website, there's a Solution Tool that helps you figure out what your needs are. It's easy and taught me a lot about what my skin goals even were! (And you know #goals are big right now on social media so. . . )

A lot of people wonder about the cost and how things like auto-ship work with R+F. The price varies by regimen, but you receive a discount and the auto-ship option when you become a PC (Preferred Customer). All this means is that your information is stored in the system and your products will be replenished every 60 days ONLY if you need them replenished. My mom is awesome - she contacts you and lets you know that you have a shipment coming up. If you need to delay your shipment, you aren't penalized or charged at all! Mom just delays your shipping until you're ready. But if you are ready for more product, you can order whatever you need (even if it's just a couple of bottles of something - it doesn't have to be the whole regimen). It's so flexible and so convenient!

Of course the business aspect of R+F is incredibly impressive. My mom has replaced her teacher's income with R+F, and she is able to do it all from home (and that means she gets to be Wife/Mom and Gigi FIRST, and then she works her business on her terms). Everything is web-based, meaning no parties, no inventory, and you aren't responsible for shipping items to customers! I've watched my mom become an amazing leader in this business. I've always gotten to see her encouraging nature
being her daughter, but now others are getting to experience how she makes you feel so special. My mom wants the best for people, and it shows in how she cares for those on her team AND her customers.

As far as results, you can find a million before and after photos of R+F (because people are obsessed with it). But I personally know this beautiful woman below, and her results are amazing! Way to go, K!!!

Just amazing!!

Mother's Day is coming up, and a regimen would be a PERFECT gift! You could even give the Serum and Microdermabrasion Paste (that stuff is incredible!!) as a set. OR get your mom ready for summer and pick out some items from the Essentials collection (sunscreen and body lotion that smell wonderful and fresh, lip shield, and my favorite - the sunless tanning foam!). I'm telling you, it's a one-stop shop for your mom (and yourself!). I highly recommend signing up as a PC before you place your order so you can get the awesome discount (and you can cancel being a Preferred Customer at any time - but you won't want to. Ha!).

Here's a fun announcement: If you sign up to be a consultant by April 30, you will receive a FREE regimen! There are several different options in starting your business, and I'm telling you - Rodan+Fields has an impeccable reputation. The Doctors that created a billion dollar business have now offered that opportunity to others. Results speak for themselves (and you won't find a better person to help you than my sweet mom!)!

So Mom. . .thank you for inspiring me to put sweet tea in a Tupperware pitcher and put quality products on my skin. And all of the inspiration, love, encouragement, guidance, and nurturing in between. I love you more than anything!

EMAIL my mom or VISIT her website! She would love to talk with you, and she is the most low-pressure, non-pushy person I know! ;)

April 16, 2016

We're Home!

Wow! We are home from the most incredible trip to Israel! I can't even put into words how amazing our time was, walking where Jesus walked. Descriptions are just inadequate!

I've found that with traveling, I have success in documenting through video. I'm able to capture what we're experiencing without taking 5 million photos and trying to put those into blog posts, etc. Of course I still take photos and it would be great if I could get my act together and create blog posts (maybe someday soon!), but right now video seems to really be working for me! 

So, with that being said, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel! That's where I've been posting my videos and where I will continue to do so. I find myself doing a hybrid of blog/YouTube lately, and I'm sure that will be a fluid thing of how I want to create and share. Who knows? :) 

If you want to follow along and see what we experienced on our trip, below you'll find the first three to get you started. Subscribe to see more as I get them edited and posted! 

I can't tell you enough how much this trip changed my life. I came back and when I opened my Bible it was like I had never read it before! It just came alive! But even more than that, I truly fell into such a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Jesus. I feel like I got to see who He was as an earthly person, in the sense that I walked in the physical places He walked, stood where He stood, and saw the same landscapes. I felt so closely connected to Him (it's really hard to describe). It wasn't a mystical or weird thing - I just knew I was growing closer to Him during the whole trip. 

On the way over to Israel, we flew out of Newark. We got to our gate and I sat down in the waiting area. There was a man sitting next to me with his wife and I didn't pay much attention. I happened to glance over and thought to myself, He looks really familiar. Like, really familiar. He looked EXACTLY like Dave Ramsey. I was so petrified of saying something and it not being him. So I did what any person of my generation would do: I got out my phone and immediately Google-stalked what Dave Ramsey's wife looked like. Yup. It was the woman sitting a seat over from me! 

I turned to the man and said, "Are you Dave Ramsey?" and he smiled a big smile and said, "Well, yes I am!" 

We started talking and he was taking his whole family along with a group from their church. It was so neat to thank him for all he has done to teach people Biblical financial principles. 

So you know how my new friend Dave gives little small steps that eventually add up? Well here's mine: Start saving NOW to eventually make a trip to Israel. My dad plans to go every 2-3 years, and I can't tell you how it changed my life. Just start setting aside any little bit for as long as it takes. Even if it's 3 or 6 or 16 years from now - this is an eternal investment you will NEVER regret! Add it to your life list NOW.

I also shared this as we were heading home:

We have landed on American soil and it feels great to be almost home! So many people have commented or told me privately how much they appreciate me sharing our experiences in Israel. It really was my pleasure to show everyone what we were seeing. All of us on the trip had a really hard time putting into words what we saw and experienced. There is nothing like walking where Jesus (and countless Old Testament fathers of our faith) walked. My knowledge of the Bible has expanded and my love for Jesus is infinitely deeper. I urge you to make it a lifetime goal to visit Israel one day. You will never be the same!

Our amazing, wonderful guide Moshe thanked us for visiting, because he said so many are afraid. So many people think Israel is terrorized or unsafe, and while there are undertones of conflict at times, we NEVER felt unsafe! It's the safest country in the world, in a lot of ways. We went all over the country and had no issues. I urge you to do everything you can to support Israel. In just 10 days, I have grown to love this country so very much, and it's extremely important that we stand behind them. I'm so grateful to have visited this beautiful country where our Savior lived!

I'm going to try to put together some "highlight" posts with photos, but I really think the videos show how rich the experience was and the variety of all that we saw. I'm excited to share with you! 

March 29, 2016

We're Off!

Mazel Tov, people! We're off to the Holy Land! We can't wait to see where Jesus lived and walked. I'm excited to share the trip with you, hopefully once we get back!

March 21, 2016

Spring Favorites!

I wanted to share some of my favorites so far this season! Hope you enjoy!

March 17, 2016

Upcoming Fun

I feel like spring is officially here! The weather has been wonderful the last few days and we've been outside enjoying it all! With the new season upon us, I thought I'd share what we have coming up!

Of course Easter is a couple of weeks away! We have a new worship pastor at our church and it's been such a wonderful experience with him so far! Our worship ministry has been working on music for the Easter service, which I'm really excited about. It's a really exciting time at our church, and we feel thankful to be a part of it!

Two days after Easter, Kurt and I are going to ISRAEL! My dad is leading a group and my brother is going too! There are about 50 people in the group. Most are in our church, but some are traveling from different places to go on this trip! I'm looking forward to touring/traveling with people in my church on a trip that's for "leisure" and not for missions work. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE mission trips and the blessings that come along with that! But this will be fun to just tour together and enjoy learning. We will be seeing Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, and SO much more. We will also have the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River (where Jesus was baptized). I am SO excited for that experience! I'm reading through the entire Bible and it's making me so excited to go and see these places! I've heard that the Bible comes alive even more once you spend time in the places where events actually occurred. I do plan to vlog our trip (like I did for London), so it will be great to capture those memories!

I know April and May are going to fly by, because we are in major wedding planning mode! My little sister's wedding is June 25, so planning is in full swing. It's so surreal! We had Andrea's wedding shower at our church last weekend! Being around the ladies that have known us since we were little is always so special. I try not to take for granted that we ended up back at the church that had a big influence on me in my formative years. I'm having fun helping Andrea with all the details and seeing it all come together will be a great feeling!

In July we are going to the beach with Kurt's family! We always have fun on trips together and the kids are at great traveling ages. Of course a long trek to the beach is never easy, but thankfully I think we can come up with ways to pass the time in the car! It will also be nice to visit the beach after the wedding and enjoy time with Kurt's side of the family.

At the end of August I'm planning on visiting my best friend Grace in Seattle!! She is living there with her husband and two little ones while he is in residency. I've been wanting to make the trip for such a long time now, but the timing will hopefully work out in late summer! I can't wait to see her and spend time just being in each other's company!

The end of November will be very exciting because.........WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD! That's right, it's time for another trip! We are going with my parents and siblings this time! We are going right after Thanksgiving so we can experience the Christmas decorations and activities. It's hard to believe, but I've never visited during the holiday season! We normally go in January or February, but I wanted to try something different. It makes me really nervous any time we try something new, but I'm trying to research what there is to do that's "Christmasy," and hopefully the crowds will go down once everyone goes back to school/work after Thanksgiving. We are going to rent DVC (Disney Vacation Club) points again and stay in a villa (it's bigger than a hotel room so bigger families can be together). I'm so excited to go into "planning mode" again. I'm geeky and thrive on that sort of thing!

We have a full few months ahead, but it's going to be a lot of fun. I want to absorb all of these moments with my family and appreciate the little "every day" moments as well as the "bigger" things. :)

March 9, 2016

Homeschooling Update

I wanted to give a homeschooling update since I haven't talked about that in awhile! Evy is in 1st grade and Liam is doing some Kindergarten work (we are going to do two years of Kindergarten with him). It's been a great year and I wanted to share how it's going.

We are still LOVING homeschooling. I can't imagine doing anything else. That's NOT to say I don't have stressful moments and times when I am completely overwhelmed, but I have this underlying peace that this lifestyle is perfect for us. The flexibility has been wonderful and has allowed us maximum family time (that's really the greatest gift). The challenge is really the phase Lynley is in. She is exploring everything and wants to change costumes about 50 times per hour (and that's NOT an exaggeration!). She gets easily frustrated but demands to do things by herself, so I feel like I just can't be in 3 places at once. Every day is different, though. Sometimes she will find something in her room that occupies her for a longer time, and other times I'll put on a little show for her while I get work done with Evy and Liam. I'm just taking it day by day!

We are still using My Father's World curriculum. I can't remember if I wrote about this or not, but I MUCH prefer the 1st grade material to the kindergarten material. I can see how they build on each other (obviously), but the style is very different. Kindergarten allows a lot of "open space" for you as the parent to collect your own information to present, a ton of activities, etc. While this is probably great for some types, I really like the 1st grade style better. It's more of a traditional teacher's manual and the core subjects are more defined and laid out better (at least for my personality). There's still a lot of flexibility, but it's more task-oriented (worksheets and notebook work, etc.). Evy does really well with knowing what's expected of her and the predictability of that. So I'm very, very pleased with how she's doing! She's learning all the books of the Bible - and not just memorizing the order, she's actually learning the content of each book. She's reading up a storm and it's so fun to see her easily read through a book!

Liam is doing wonderful! He also likes the routine of the Kindergarten worksheets. This year I'm learning on letter sounds and number recognition. I'm thankful we're taking two years so we can tailor the curriculum to what he needs. Both of the kids do daily calendar sheets, and he's doing a great job with place value. He's also getting used to the handwriting aspect, and I'm so proud of him! He has less work to do than Evy, so once he's done he will go play with Lynley for the last remaining part of school.

Right now it takes us about an hour to do school in the mornings, but Kurt often does work with Evy once he gets home or if he's off during the day. He loves science, so he will read through that with her. Also, I can honestly say that we school throughout the day because there's just more opportunities for life-learning (grocery store, banking, etc.). But you don't have to be homeschooling to do that - anywhere you go can be considered an opportunity for learning. :)

Socially, we are at church twice a week, and Evy has dance once a week. I feel like this is a really good ratio and still leaves us some white space on the calendar. There are only two nights a week that we don't have something going on, so we are really careful about extracurriculars. We are also going to start Liam in an activity this fall, I think.

I'm sure we will go into the summer with our schooling this year. We took a lot of December off, and Kurt and I are going to Israel at the end of this month (!!), so we will school as long as we need to. Again, the flexibility is wonderful!

I really do love having my kids home. Homeschooling isn't for everyone, but I'm really thankful for the opportunity to teach them and spend as much time with them as I do!

February 17, 2016

Goals and Habits

Now that 2016 is well underway, I wanted to share some things that have really helped me in staying focused with the goals I've set for myself, and what I've really been enjoying in the new year so far! 

Back in 2014, I ordered a set of Lara Casey's Powersheets. I was intrigued by the concept (basically, it's worksheets that help you initially set goals and then sustain them throughout the year with small, tangible steps), but to be honest, I wasn't in the place emotionally or mentally where I could use them. I was overwhelmed just looking at them, and I felt like they were really only for people who are in the workplace or have lofty career/life goals. It just wasn't the right time. 

This year, I decided to try again, and I'm SO glad I did! My Powersheets have been the best thing I've ever used for figuring out what goals I even want to set, then figuring out small, measurable steps to keep myself on track. I think sometimes a method or product just "clicks" for you and it feels right. I just respond really well to the layout of the pages (very simple but thorough). You go through an initial "prep" section where you initially make sense (or start to make sense) of everything in your head. Then each month has a Tending List, where you can check off daily, weekly, and monthly goals. I just love it! Right now in the early months of the year, I'm just focusing on really establishing basic, life-sustaining habits (daily Bible reading, prayer, exercise, going to bed earlier, etc.). I've already noticed that certain things are becoming normal and second-nature to me, which is such a wonderful feeling! I struggle with self discipline and this has been really helpful. I highly recommend Powersheets

Another goal I've set is to finish books I've started. This is a major undertaking because I am CONSTANTLY starting books! It's not that I necessarily lose interest; I just get sidetracked and excited about a new book all the time! One of my daily goals is to read for enjoyment, and this has really been a good thing for me. Instead of scrolling a social media newsfeed (something I'm making major efforts to cut down on), I pick up a book. It's been refreshing to eliminate the "noise" of article-sharing, opinions, and ALL THE STATUSES. I do enjoy social media - but I'm trying to create new boundaries in that area. 

I am usually always reading a book by Sally Clarkson (she's one of my heroes that I adore), and right now I'm in the middle of Seasons of a Mother's Heart and her brand new book, The Life-Giving Home. The Life-Giving Home is one of the best books I've ever read on the subject of home! It perfectly reflects the goals I have for my family and the environment I desire to create. I highly recommend it! 

As far as my daily Bible reading, I use the YouVersion app on my phone. I do keep my Bible with me while I read, so I can highlight passages that I want to remember (I also use the highlight feature on the app). I just enjoy the way the app lays things out for you. I've tried to read the Bible through in its entirety several times, and I've never completed that goal (I'm not proud of that, but I believe in being honest and just sharing ways I struggle - see "self discipline" above). I actually started last fall and I'm almost halfway through! If you commit to doing it everyday it really does become a habit and practice of your life! I am using the New Living Translation for my first full read-through because it reads so easily (but still stays true to the text). 

A big catalyst in me getting serious about daily Bible reading was completing the Bible study "Seamless" by Angie Smith. It was absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!! If you struggle with understanding the Bible or even if you consider yourself fairly familiar with it - you will LOVE this study! Angie has such a relatable, real writing style and she handled a HUGE concept so well. I did this study alone. I just purchased the member book and then downloaded the video sessions from Lifeway.com (it was about $20 total for all the sessions). I can't recommend this enough. It will open your eyes to the entire STORY of Scripture. 

On the exercise front, this has been a struggle through my whole "adult" life (once I had Evy, I should say). I have never made exercise a consistent habit, and it's something I've really wanted to change. I found the Blogilates app (and coordinating YouTube videos) and I've loved it! I think Pilates is my "thing." I love the stretching and that you simply use your own body weight. I also really enjoy Cassey's style of instruction. I know it's really personal how you respond to a teaching style, but I think she's so sweet and fun! I'm doing the Beginner's Calendar through the app, which gives you a calendar of workout videos to do each day. I even bought a mat and some cute workout clothes (something I've never done before because I just felt too intimidated and I felt like I shouldn't spend money on workout clothes when I really wasn't working out). I've been doing this since the beginning of January and I still enjoy it, so I consider that a huge success! 

These are all resources that have REALLY become lifelines for me this year so far! My word for this year is "Discipline" and I've really been taking daily steps to improve in many areas. Here's to keeping up the momentum! 
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