I love hearing about what is making people’s lives easier and brighter. Want a few fresh ideas to make your days brighter? Here are some of the things lightening our load and giving us joy right now!
This post has taken me all week to write and finish, in part because I changed things up after we visited an awesome new park in our town. But as I have been thinking about what I had written that was waiting to be published, I have been a little conflicted. As if sharing these things I’m loving right now wasn’t quite the truth.
You see, I have been loving getting up early, but I have also been really tired the second half of the week. And I am excited to have found help exercising and am eager to get back into a healthier lifestyle, but I have not been as consistent this week as I have last week. And there are really wonderful things that are happening in our homeschool, but it is also really hard and a big adjustment for me in particular since homeschooling two children and still taking care of a baby and a toddler leave me with very little downtime.
I tell you this because, if nothing else, I want to be honest here. These things that I am sharing truly are things making our days happier, easier, and lovelier. But they don’t mean that our days are not still hard, that we are not stretched in uncomfortable ways, or that we have it all figured out.
I write these “What I’m Loving” posts because I want to focus on the good happening and I want to share the good with you, in case there is something that can lighten your load or make your days brighter.
So happy weekend friends! I hope that your cup is filled up as you enjoy Jesus and the good gifts He has given. And thanks for stopping by, it means a lot. If you have something you’re loving right now, please share it with us too!
What I’m Loving
For Me ::
Waking up early.
For about a month now, I have been getting up in the morning an hour or two before my kids. The quiet hours I spend preparing for our day have become some of my favorite. I sit at my spot at the end of the dining room table, on the bench in the midst of all our school things, sip my (decaf) coffee, and read and work.
Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Morning course gave me the initial motivation, but now simply knowing how much nicer my day is after getting up early is (usually) enough to get me out of bed.
She Reads Truth App
Chances are you’ve heard of this app, but if you haven’t you should check it out. It is an excellent app for Bible reading, plus they have a ton of book and theme studies, free lock screens, and more. Having a good Bible reading option on my phone has been great for reading in the dark when I’m taking care of the baby.
I have NEVER been consistent with exercising, partly because my metabolism was such that I didn’t really need to. But you don’t have to hate me, because now my age is catching up with me and I can no longer rely on my metabolism to do the hard work for me. I’m not going to lie, fitting into clothes is a big part of my motivation, but I am also really looking forward to feeling more energetic and less stiff and sore when we do something active.
A few friends recommended JessicaSmithTv on YouTube. I’m doing her ten minute flexibility training in the morning, and her knee-friendly barre workout in the afternoon. I love how down-to-earth Jessica is, and how su
pportive she is of starting just where you are. I even ordered some weights and a scale from Amazon to prove how dedicated I am.
In addition to the indoor workout videos, I’ve been jumping rope and… running laps around my house. Part of the charm of living in the country is not having a neighborhood to walk or run. So I’m making do with what I have and trying not to trip over the toys left in the yard.
Binge watching The Office.
Lest you think it’s all good habits and self-discipline over here, I have watched all nine seasons of The Office on Netflix in the past couple of months. I watched the last episode last night before bed (staying up later than I intended). At first I was watching episodes in the middle of the night while I nursed Josiah. The episodes were the perfect length to help keep me awake during a quick feeding session. But then I got hooked on the story and was sneaking an episode during nap time or watching one or two with my husband in the evening.
This was my first time watching all the seasons and I loved them. Though I am not too sad I’m done because maybe now I will get more sleep or get something done during nap time.
For the Kids ::
I have shared often about audiobooks here and on Facebook, but I wanted to share a few more that we have been enjoying, as well as how we’ve been listening.
The Chronicles of Narnia Radio Theatre is always a favorite to listen to– I have all seven books on my iPod and the theatre version makes them so engaging and easy to get through. This week we started The Silver Chair (book 6) and finished it in just a few days time. The first day my kids had asked to rest outside for nap time, and so they gathered blankets and pillows and spread them out under a tree in our backyard. I brought out our bluetooth speaker because I knew just sitting under the tree wouldn’t engage them for long. But with the story going, they rested and snacked for at least an hour.
We also used one of our Audible credits to start listening to Roald Dahl’s The BFG a couple of nights ago. I’m not kidding when I say it may become one of our favorite audiobooks. Roald Dahl is already one of my favorite authors (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, among others) and the reader for this book is really good too. The story is new to all of us, so we were all on the edge of our seats while we listened in our dark van to the account at the beginning of the book of the giant taking the girl from her bed in the middle of the night.
All of our audiobooks, with the exception of the Narnia books, are from Audible. I know that there are free options of audiobooks that you can find online, but honestly the subscription cost to Audible is worth it to me. Finding new books is really easy, I can save books to a wishlist, I can trust the production quality, and we keep all the books even after we end our subscription. If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, you can sign up for free 30-day trial and get two free audiobooks to start. (I suggest trying the BFG, though there are also some Sally Clarkson audiobooks I have my eye on).
We are in our third week of homeschool now. First grade and preschool at home, usually at the dining room table, with a preschooler and a three-month-old baby. Yeah, it’s just a little crazy.
One thing I have found to help is to make certain I am prepared before the week starts. I have instituted a Saturday morning planning period to give myself time to pull out materials we need and sort them by each day we will use them. I also made a daily checklist to keep me on track (I’m kinda distracted right now), and I will fill it in for the week too. My planning period coincides with a new Saturday morning cartoon time for my kids. Happy coincidence, I’d say.
In Our Home ::
Can I just be honest and say that I’m having a hard time thinking of this one right now? Starting back to school has left less time for keeping up with things, so I’m still trying to figure out how to make it all work. I’ll let you know if I do.
Right now, what I would love is laundry that folded itself and put itself away, and kids who picked up their toys without being asked. #goals
my three little mess makers
With that said, there are still some things making a messy house just a little less messy. Keeping things organized really helps when it is time to pick up the house– everything has a place and everyone knows where it is. Our activity trays are also helpful because at least there are not too many toys out at one time.
Of course, remembering that there are very good reasons that my house is a mess is helpful. I keep telling myself it’s worth it and I won’t feel like this forever. And that usually helps. A little.
On the Table ::
Two new cookbooks.
I bought an Instant Pot on Amazon Prime Day and I LOVE IT! If you don’t know what an Instant Pot is, don’t worry, neither did I two months ago. It is basically an electric pressure cooker, but it can also do several other jobs. You can use it as a yogurt maker, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, and more. Since getting it, I have been using it almost every day. (Check out my Instant Pot board on Pinterest).
I have never owned (or used) a pressure before, though, and felt like I had a big learning curve to tackle. So I ordered America’s Test Kitchen’s pressure cooking cookbook from Amazon to study up and get a few trusty recipes. The cookbook has been such a great resource.
The other cookbook I have been using A LOT recently is also from America’s Test Kitchen. A while ago, I picked up Cook It in Cast Iron from Costco. This cookbook has been so great too. I have made recipes out of it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! If you have a cast iron pan (I have this one and use it ALL THE TIME), then this cookbook is a must.
Our coffeemaker broke at the beginning of summer and we have yet to replace it. When it broke, my husband started using our MokaPot to make coffee. And the coffee is so good we have no plans to get a new automatic coffeemaker. With a little milk, it tastes just like a latte from a coffeeshop.
What We’re Reading ::
Hubby’s Family Read Aloud: The Hobbit, Tolkien
Homeschool Read Aloud: Socks, Beverly Cleary
Audiobook: We just finished Little Men by Louisa May Alcott and started The BFG by Roald Dahl
Me: Teaching From Rest– Sarah Mackenzie, Lifegiving Home– Sally and Sarah Clarkson, & Fit to Burst– Rachel Jankovic
Hubby: What Trout Want: The Educated Trout and Other Myths, Bob Wyatt
What is making your life easier, tastier, prettier or funner?
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Heidi Goehmann says
I love that you include exercising and binge watching the Office. Both entirely important in this life! Audiobooks have really helped our family to gather around together without me feeling stressed. We listen in the car or when I’m making dinner or sometimes just for 30 minutes of rest all together. Gonna have to try that stovetop espresso!
I enjoy reading things that beautify your life. I think beauty can be immensely helpful in the trying phases of life. I’m certainly in one now.
Things that I’ve appreciated lately are: Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, watching pianist Valentina Lisitsa on YouTube, and clipping flowers from my garden to display indoors. Really, anytime spent with flowers is rejuvenating.
I found it humorous that you’ve been watching The Office. I watched it a few years ago and lately have missed Michael Scott.
Katie kleiser says
I love your outlook. To look for things in my life that make me happier… My 7 year old goes to a Christian school. But I’m homeschooling my 4 year old until kindergarten. Anyway, I love teaching him and interacting with him more. I need to implement a better planning period, so I’m more prepared. But I love this time with him.
I’m in big need of decluttering and organizing various places throughout the house. And it makes me happy when I can get a space looking how it should be kept.
In my downtime I like to read your blog and a couple of other ones. These blogs really inspire me as a mom and homemaker as well as a wife. I need these inspirations at this time in my life. As a mom of 3 young boys.
And living in the country alots us to enjoy walks in the woods of which is always a wonderful time to spend with my boys. There’s a trail we can walk on. I will love this even more when the weather gets cooler. As well as having picnics outside with my boys.
I have been hearing so much about Instant Pots lately, and that’s great that you like yours! I don’t think I’ll be getting one, since I already have too many kitchen gadgets and love my rice cooker, but it’s always fun to hear about them! That is so neat that you’ve been doing the Jessica Smith TV workouts! When I was pregnant I discovered her videos and used her prenatal cardio all the time (and now that my little guy is 2 months, I still use the prenatal cardio one when I exercise while wearing him). She is so great!