My Goals for This Week for My Family & Business (And my personal planning retreat)

Whew, this week was really busy with unpacking, planning for my new eCourse (details coming soon), and taking care of sick kiddos. But I’m happy to be back for the second week doing my weekly goals. I had some unexpected things come up this week so I didn’t accomplish as many goals on my list as I would have liked, but alas, that’s life!

My weekly Goals (Personal & Business)

I’m finally getting back to my blogging roots and sharing more personal posts from my life and homemaking again and it’s given me a fresh energy and life for posting. Because of that, I’m working really hard this month to get things shaped up around my blog and I’m gearing up to bring you some amazing content in the weeks and months ahead.

My twin boys are due in July so I am in full swing of getting things planned ahead for their arrival. I’m working on getting my VA (virtual assistant) trained on some of the cyclical aspects of the blog (such as getting posts edited and scheduled). I’m working on getting a few more contributing writers to fill out the month with posts. I’m working on my schedule of series and posts so that I can have content planned out and ready to go during my maternity break. And I’m working on stocking up my freezer with lots of meals for baby. Read more about how I’m getting prepared in this pregnancy, and what I’m taking, HERE.

A big part of that planning for my blog is going to happen this weekend. My husband has booked me a hotel room for Friday night and I’m stealing some time away to myself so I can plan out my personal goals for this year, rest up since being 21 weeks pregnant with twins boys and having 2-year-old twin boys has left me exhausted lately, and plan out the rest of the year here on my blog. I’m excited for some time by myself which is so rare these days.

What We’ve Been Up To This Week

Like I said, my goals and plans this week were thrown off a bit by sickness, but I was happy to spend that extra time snuggling on the couch with my toddlers.

Early last week I was able to get a jump start on my baby-freezer cooking! I’m working on getting my freezer stocked full for this summer when our twins are born. So before the sickness hit our house, I made a few batches of whole-wheat blueberry waffles! Yuuum. My boys love them.

Whole wheat freezer waffles

Over six years ago, as we were preparing for our wedding, my mom gave me her old pots and pans set. We were so excited and thankful to not have to buy a set as we were newlyweds in college still. But six years later, after a few broken lids, a lost pot, and many many scratches, we finally saved up for our very own brand new set. Thank you Costco for making it more affordable!

Stainless Steel Cookware

Early in the week, I spent a couple of hours at my mother-in-laws house clearing out her garage from all the wedding stuff that was dumped in there after my sister’s wedding a few weeks ago. I came home with an entire mini van full of wedding stuff that needed to be sorted into our storage shed and put away in my crafting room/office. So this is what I spent Tuesday doing:

Unpacking all the wedding stuff!

When I don’t feel well, my boys are sick, and the house is a mess, the last thing I want to do is something productive that actually needs to be done. So I work on fun projects instead (at least fun for me, I know some people hate this kind of thing). I decided it was time to spray paint and get my photo wall collage started in our living room. Here’s the progress I’ve made so far. I’ll do a full photo tutorial once I’m done.

DIY Photo Wall Collage

So without further ado, here are my goals from last week and how I did.

Last week’s personal goals:

1) Get the house cleaned up after all the wedding mess For the most part we have gotten the house back under control and all the wedding stuff put away! See below.

2) Read the Bible and my personal devotional book (The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook) every day. I’m going to mark this one off as a success even though I missed a day or two this week. My babies (and I) got sick this week and my schedule was totally thrown off.

3) Read one chapter of Give Them Grace each night with my husband. I’m also marking this one off as a success. We have been out of our book reading habit since Christmas as so we are giving ourselves grace in getting back into this routine. We missed several nights this week but are working on making this a nightly habit once again!

4) Meal Plan and grocery shop for the next two weeks.

5) Make progress on getting our new home office set up (I’ll hopefully share photos next week). (Nope – didn’t get to it with all the sickness going around).

6) Exercise twice this week (I have to start out small with this goal). (Nope – didn’t get to it!)

Last week’s business goals:

1) Finalize my session outlines for a new course I’m working on that launches NEXT MONTH (I can’t wait to share the details with you)! The eCourse is coming together!! Almost ready to release the details.

2) Post 4 times this week on my blog. (I got halfway there. I posted twice!)

3) Plan and book my personal and business planning retreat in March. I leave Friday! I can’t wait :)

Here are my new goals for this week:

Personal Goals

1) Continue reading the Bible and my personal devotional book (The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook) every day.

2) Continue reading one chapter of Give Them Grace each night with my husband.

3) Exercise twice this week.

4) Tidy up the house, finish laundry, and leave my husband with plenty of food for this weekend when I’m on my writing retreat.

5) Finish my photo wall collage in our living room.

6) Clean out kitchen cupboards and closets and make a trip to goodwill.

7) Decide on our twin boys’ names. We are revolving around three options and having a hard time nailing it down!

Business Goals

1) Finish all filming of the video sessions for my upcoming eCourse.

2) Publish four blog posts this week.

3) Plan out my schedule for my writing retreat this weekend. I want to utilize this time as best I can.

What are your goals for this week?

You can join me over on Instagram where I show pictures every day of our real life, my homemaking routines, and behind the scenes here on the blog. Come on over and join me :)

If you are needing a little extra dose of encouragement and support, then join our Christian Homemaking Community on Facebook where we share our weekly goals with each other every Monday.

Join our all new community for encouragement, advice, and support!

What I’m Using This Pregnancy & How I’m Getting Prepared

Here I am in the middle of my second pregnancy (my second twin pregnancy to be exact) and this pregnancy has been a lot rougher. I’ve been talking to a lot of my friends about what vitamins they take, how they deal with heartburn, etc. and I thought it might be helpful to share what I’m taking this pregnancy and how I’m preparing to meet my twin boys in July.

What I'm using and doing differently in my 2nd pregnancy

As a note: We order most of our vitamins, supplements, and other natural things (like deodorant and toothpaste) from Vitacost. We have found their prices to be consistently lower than anywhere else on most things. There are a few things like this that I get from Amazon or Costco, but 90% of our household things come from Vitacost. You can get $10 OFF your first order too if you go through this link. You can also read my personal review of Vitacost.com HERE.

What I’m Taking

Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew

Mama's-Red-Raspberry-BrewThis is a special red raspberry tea blend from the Bulk Herb Store that also contains alfalfa, nettle, and peppermint. Red raspberry tea is so important in pregnancy as it helps to strengthen the uterus for pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. In my second trimester I’ve been trying to drink at least one large cup a day and will increase that to two cups a day in the third trimester.

As a note: Some doctors and professionals are cautious about taking red raspberry tea in the first trimester. So do your own research and talk to your doctor. I personally took it occasionally in the first trimester and increased that to one cup a day during the second trimester. You can read more about what red raspberry tea does during pregnancy from Wellness Mama. Also, I really really don’t like the taste all that much but I know the benefits are so worth it. The more I’ve been drinking it though, the more I’m coming around to the taste.

Prenatal Vitamin

Rainbow-Light-Certified-Organics-Prenatal-Multivitamin-021888800216During my last pregnancy, I just went to the store and found any old prenantal vitamin that looked good. Since learning more about vitamins and how synthetic vitamins are often not absorbed or used by our bodies, the fillers, additives, and chemicals used, and how certain vitamins block the absorption of other vitamins (i.e. calcium and iron), I’ve become a lot more picky about my vitamins. Especially during pregnancy.

During this pregnancy, I’ve been really happy with Rainbow Light Organic Prenatal Multivitamin. This is a whole food supplement that actually comes in a clear softgel so you can see the herbs, minerals, and vitamins inside instead of those hard pills that you have no idea how they are made. I did a lot of research on what vitamins and minerals should be in a prenatal and in what quantities, and Rainbow Light really stacked up well. Plus, it’s organic! You can also find it on Vitacost.

Cod Liver Oil

Twinlab-Norwegian-Cod-Liver-Oil-027434012065My family takes cod liver oil as a daily supplement anyway, but I wanted to mention it specifically for pregnancy since I think it’s so beneficial. Cod liver oil is a fish oil that supplies your body with essential Omega-3 fatty acids that many of us are lacking in western society. It’s packed full of vitamin A and vitamin D. You can learn more about the benefits of taking cod liver oil from Keeper of the Home.

My husband and I take this brand in capsule form (my husband refuses to drink it) and I add this brand to our toddler’s milk. I have found that Vitacost consistently has lower prices but you can also find them on Amazon: cod liver oil capsules and cod liver oil for kids.

Probiotic

Garden-of-Life-Primal-Defense-Ultra-Probiotic-Formula-658010114103A good probiotic is really important to me for pregnancy. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in your gut and fight off the bad bacteria which cause yeast infections and a decline in over all health. Probiotics are found naturally in fermented foods and in things like yogurt and kefir. So I try to make sure to eat plenty of those during pregnancy but it’s nice to be able to up your probiotic intake as well.

For a while my family has taken these PB8 probioics that our pediatrician recommended. We really liked them and they are very affordable. But a few of us have been having trouble with yeast and tummy issues so we decided to invest in a heavier duty probiotic for a few months to help boost our immunities and build up all that good bacteria. We are on our second bottle of the Garden of Life primal defense ultra probiotics and love them! We started noticing a difference right away. Note: These are currently cheaper on Amazon as of today, but the price frequently fluctuates.

Desiccated Liver

Liver capsules to increase iron in pregnancy Eeeeew. I know right? It’s actually not as bad as it sounds. It’s basically freeze-dried liver in capsule form. I’m not currently taking the liver as my last blood-test showed that my iron levels are doing really well but I did take it very regularly before getting pregnant and early on in pregnancy.

I had low iron in my last pregnancy and most iron supplements are from a form of iron that your body cannot absorb or use. So if my iron levels get low again, I will start taking the liver daily again. Because I would much rather take liver capsules than actually eat liver. Anyone else with me? I order mine from Amazon.

Ginger Chew Candies

ginger chews for morning sickness in pregnancyMy morning sickness has been a lot worse with this pregnancy than with my first. I felt like I tried everything and nothing gave me relief in that first trimester. I had tried hard ginger candies and teas in the last pregnancy but I’m really not a fan of how ginger tastes and nothing really seemed to help. Until one of my friends gave me a big bag of these Reed’s original ginger chew candies.

I don’t say they were a miracle or anything, but they really help to stave of the morning sickness a bit. I kept a baggie of them in my purse at all times until 15 weeks or so. We found them at a local health store but you can also order them on Amazon. 

Heartburn Tea

LOVE this heartburn tea for staving off pregnancy heartburn!This is my newest discovery. I’m in that part of pregnancy where heartburn is attacking each night. I’ve tried everything and nothing seemed to help very much. I stumbled across this Earth Mama Organic hearburn tea at our local healthy grocery store and I figure it was worth a try!

It has a wonderful pepperminty taste to it and seems to really help calm down the heartburn. I love this brand and I’m already ready to order another box. Amazon has got a good price!

How I’m Getting Prepared During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Workout DVD’s

Lindsay Brin's Workout DVD's for Pregnancy

I got this 4 DVD set from Lindesy Brin when I was pregnant with my first set of twins and it continues to be my go-to workout video for pregnancy and post-partum. I love that I don’t have to think about which exercises are safe for pregnancy since there is a separate disk for each trimester as well as exercises built in that are helping to prepare your body for labor the entire time.

I have read some reviews though that women who had a really rigorous workout schedule before pregnancy found these DVD’s too easy. Not the case with me. I found them to be a good pace and actually challenging at times.

Reading my Pregnancy Books

I guess it’s time to break out my old pregnancy and baby books to get re-acquainted with deliver and those newborn days. I feel like I’ve forgotten everything! Here’s what I’m re-reading/studying:

The Bradley Method

We took the actual Bradley class with our first pregnancy and I was so glad that I did! It helped me to feel so much more prepared and ready for both pregnancy and delivery. I’m going to go through my old class notes and our Bradley Method Workbook. I’m also going to go back through and refresh on Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and Husband Coached Childbirth.

Preparing for Twin’s Book

As this is our second set of twins, I’m largely more prepared this time than I was the first time around. But I am going to go back through my twin books to see if there are any new ideas that jump out to us or things we forgot about those early days!

Here’s what I read last time: Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More!, Twins-101Ready or Not…Here We Come! The REAL Experts’ Guide to the First Year with Twins, and Expecting Twins, Triplets, and More: A Doctor’s Guide to a Healthy and Happy Multiple Pregnancy.

Freezer Cooking

How to save money freezer cookingI am really wanting to get a jump start on baby preparations by doing a lot of freezer cooking now in the second trimester. Freezer cooking is one of my favorite ways to stay on top of my kitchen anyway, to save money on groceries, and to eat healthier. And this year, I’m hoping that freezer cooking helps me to keep my sanity with 4 little boys under two and a half years old!

I will post my freezer cooking plan later next week as well as all the recipes I’m going to use. But my plan now is to get as many things stocked in my freezer as possible. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks! I was on bed rest for eight weeks last time with my twins. Lord willing I won’t be on bed rest again, but I want to prepare ahead just in case.

 

What do you use during pregnancy and beyond? I’m always excited to find new things to try!

My goals for this week (For my home, marriage, & blog)

2014 was a really busy year for my family and I found myself posting less often and sharing less about our lives and my daily routine as a homemaker. So one of my goals for my blog this year is to get back into the daily habit of posting as well as making sure that I’m always real and open here on my blog.

My weekly Goals (Personal & Business)

My big goal in my personal life for 2015 is to develop more of a structure in my homemaking by developing weekly and daily goals. So I’m hoping to combine these two visions (for my blog and for my life) and share with you my goals, what I accomplished, what I failed at, and what our family has been up to each week. I hope this proves to be an encouragement to you in your own life and lets you see a glimpse into our life.

What We’ve Been Up To This Week

Before I share my goals for this up coming week, I want to share a little bit about what we were up to this last week. My house has been in total shambles because my sister got married on Saturday and I was in charge of all decorations, the flowers, and the cake. It’s been a crazy few months but the wedding was absolutely beautiful and worth every second of work.

My sister's wedding - The perfect day!!

I also hosted a lingerie shower for my sister on Monday and we had a great time with a small intimate group of girls at my house. I wish I got more pictures from the party but here are some of the decorations.

Lingerie Bridal Shower

Our whole family was in the wedding and it was a ton of fun! I was the matron-of-honor, hubby was a groomsman, and the twins were the cutest little ring bearers I ever did see. As a sidenote: It’s really not very fun fitting into a bridemaids dress when you are 20 weeks pregnant with twins. Oh well!

our family at the wedding

So now that the wedding is over and we are trying to get all those final wedding details done (like returning table linens and everything we borrowed from friends) I’m more than ready to get back into my normal swing of things.

Personal Goals

1) Get the house cleaned up after all the wedding mess

2) Read the Bible and my personal devotional book (The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook) every day

3) Read one chapter of Give Them Grace each night with my husband

4) Meal Plan and grocery shop for the next two weeks

5) Make progress on getting our new home office set up (I’ll hopefully share photos next week)

6) Exercise twice this week (I have to start out small with this goal)

Business Goals

1) Finalize my session outlines for a new course I’m working on that launches NEXT MONTH (I can’t wait to share the details with you)!

2) Post 4 times this week on my blog

3) Plan and book my personal and business planning retreat in March

What are your goals for this week?

Next week I’ll share how I did on these goals as well as my new goals for the upcoming week. I’m hoping to do this every Monday. Part of why I’m doing this is to be able to keep myself accountable. Here’s hoping that it helps! Join me over on Instragram where I show pictures every day of our real life, my homemaking routines, and behind the scenes here on the blog.

If you are needing a little extra dose of encouragement and support, then join our Christian Homemaking Community on Facebook where we share our weekly goals with each other every Monday.

Join our all new community for encouragement, advice, and support!

Spiritual Questions to Ask When Resolutions Fail

By Erica, Contributing Writer

It is inevitable. Most people will fail at keeping the resolutions they made for the new year. Large majorities of people now decide not to make any resolutions at all because they know they will fail. Some people have even jumped on the popular bandwagon of choosing “one word” they want to accomplish this year. I did this for two years and frankly both years by the time December rolled around it was not in my brain anymore. We are human and even the best laid plans can be forgotten or unkept.

What if you fail? What if your resolve dissolves?

When Resolutions Fail
Ask yourself these questions…

Was your resolution guided by the Holy Spirit? Did God lead you to make those resolutions? Where God guides, God provides. If you whole-heartedly believe that He did, then you understand that when you are weak God can give you the strength to carry them out. Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” When we believe God wanted us to make our resolutions then it becomes easier to rest in Him for them to be fulfilled.

Did you make your resolutions hastily? Quick emotional decisions will usually result in failure because emotions do not last. When the going gets tough then we will resort to making other hasty decisions and coming up with excuses on why we cannot fulfill our resolutions.

Were your resolutions based on guilt? Yeah, you may be carrying some extra weight that you need to shed but did you just make the decision to exercise because you felt guilty about the weight? One thing about the Holy Spirit of God is that when He is working in our hearts about things God wants us to change, He uses good old conviction. Most people do not like this word but it is that specific pin-pointed still small voice in your heart that tells you there is something you need to change in your life. When the Holy Spirit convicts, He never uses guilt. Guilt is a tool from Satan to motivate you out of fear to do things. God wants you to live by faith, so when the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart you can then be confident your resolutions are God-led.

What was your motive for making the resolution? Did you have a secret hidden agenda regarding the goals you wanted to accomplish this year? Are you motivated to better your looks or make more money to impress others? Do you want to gain in order to boost your position? Our heart’s motives (pure or sinful) will come out in the end and we will reap the consequences whatever they may be… whether they are good or bad.

Do your resolutions honor God and keep Him first? Many times people will make decisions and be faithful at carrying them out but then forget God in the process. For example, you may decide to exercise but forget about your devotional time in reading the Bible every day. Some people decide to spend more time with family but will often use Sundays as their “family time” and disregard Sunday as the Lord’s Day and quit being faithful in going to and serving in church. Resolutions should be prioritized but only in the proper order putting God first above all other things. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” Matthew 6:33.

Did you count the cost? When you created the list of your resolutions did you think about what the specific decision would cost you? Or your family? Or your duties as a wife and mother? Or even financially? We quit at times because the cost is too high. It requires more work and diligence out of us then we may be willing to pay. If you decided that you would treat your husband better or go to bed early so you could be ready for when your kids needed you in the morning, then keep at it. Don’t quit because it gets hard or you do not “feel” motivated to carry them out. Have the character to be thorough, to finish what you’ve made a decision to do. Or are you willing to sacrifice your time with and/or serving your family for achieving a petty goal? The cost of losing your family in the long-term is greater than a temporary reward in your present life.

Wrapping It Up – What do you do if you realize you did make resolutions that were not thought out entirely? Then you go to God humbly in prayer and ask Him what He wants you to do. You get in the Bible and you read it until He speaks to you specifically about what changes He wants you to work toward this year. If the cost is greater than you initially anticipated, then you might have to humbly ask for forgiveness from those you may have neglected, and then make steps to set your priorities right. If you are God’s child, then He will speak to you and help you. You may have to make short-term goals instead of year-long resolutions because resolutions for the Christian woman are only their best when they are directed by God.

Why and How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions (Even if You’re Losing Steam)

By Katie Bennett, Contributing Writer

Surrounding the new year, I noticed some bloggers publishing posts to the effect of, “Don’t bother making New Year’s Resolutions; you won’t keep them anyway. Just look at these depressing statistics and give up before you start.”

I have to say, I found it discouraging.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much this does not have to be the reality for Christ-followers.

You see, we have power in us to make changes that the world can’t understand. It’s the Holy Spirit, and He opens endless possibilities for real and lasting transformation in our lives.

why and how to keep your new year's resolutions

Why You Should Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Maybe you started out with the best of intentions to make a change, but by February you’re losing steam and motivation.

You’re entertaining the idea of just giving it up.

Before you do so, remember,

God wants us to be self-controlled.

He wants us to take responsibility for becoming more like Him.

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7

That means discipline, diligence, and hard changes at times. That means relying on His power.

“Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

So, if you made a New Years Resolution this year that is in line with God’s will for your life, let me encourage you to keep at it! Even if you’ve missed days or weeks already, renew your commitment and ask God to empower you.

What’s more, if you didn’t make a resolution and want to, there’s still time! Nothing is magical about the New Year. Resolve to make a change today if God is calling you to do so.

Here are three practical ways to make your New Year’s Resolutions a reality:

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

1. Accountability

If you haven’t already, share your goal with someone and invite them to hold you accountable. It’s a powerful thing!

I recently realized I was staying up too late at night watching TV with my husband, which was hindering my productivity. I knew I wanted to be in bed by 10, but I was failing to exhibit the self-control to pull myself away and was spending the whole next day frustrated with my decision.

Finally I shared this goal with my husband and asked him to hold me accountable.

And you know what? Ever since that conversation I’ve met my goal every night (mostly thanks to his gentle nudges).

Sometimes, accountability makes all the difference.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17

I’m also part of a weekly accountability group, which I find hugely helpful. Read more about that here: Intentional Friendships: Why, When & How to Start an Accountability Group.

2. Reminders

Some of us have great intentions, and we’re motivated, but nonetheless, we’re still forgetful or easily distracted. 

Perhaps your resolution is to read with your child more, or clean more, or read the Bible more.

_D4B2624

All of these types of resolutions can benefit from simple, friendly reminders. Do you need to set a daily alarm? Do it! Or send an email to your future self? Try Futureme.com.

Maybe you need to post a message-to-yourself in a key location, such as by the refrigerator if you’re focus is healthy eating, or on your phone’s lock-screen if your goal is to spend less time on your phone. It works.

3. Focus on forming habits

Convincing yourself to do “something” for the rest of time can seem pretty daunting. However, setting your sites on developing a certain habit can take you equally as far and feel much more short-term and doable.

For example, I used to not make my bed in the morning. I would resolve to start doing so as the motivation grabbed me, but would inevitable fall of the cart at some point.

_D4B4414_5_6

Eventually I changed my focus to developing a habit of making my bed, (using many of the tips I discuss on my blog in this post: 21 Days to Developing the Most Life-Changing Habit Ever: Daily Time with God), and now I do it every day with ease and have for over a year!

Habits are wonderful things. They are powerful life changers.

As said by Aristotle,

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Did you make a new year’s resolution? If so, what was it and how are you doing?

why and how to keep your new year's resolutions 2