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Cupcakes n Crunches

My Secret

Posted by on Jan 24, 2017 in Motherhood | 1 comment

A few weeks ago I was leaving our weekly Bible Study and as I was herding the kids out to our car amidst the sea of minivans a friend stopped me and said, “How do you do it? You are always so put together and you make it look easy. I need your secret.” I laughed in her face and said, “Do you want to know my secret? Most days I feel like I’m barely keeping it together.” I’m not as put together as some may think (it actually surprises me to think that anyone believes I’m put together). But I guess if you saw me in passing, you may think I’m forging ahead with confidence, crushing all my life goals…maybe? I mean, you wouldn’t think that if you saw me in Target last week when I was in smelly gym clothes trying to explain to Atlas why he can’t have another toy while simultaneously trying to get Andi’s lip to stop bleeding because she threw such a fit that she ended up busting her own lip on the grocery cart. I guess it depends on when you catch me. If you’re looking at my Instagram feed, you may think my life is always pretty and I’ve got a great handle on things.

But if you’re reading this blog right now, I want you to know that my life is messy and I get confused and I second guess my parenting decisions on the regular. I go to bed thinking, “I was too hard on the kids today – they are going to wind up in therapy.” Or I go to bed and think, “I was too easy on them – they are going to wind up in jail.” I struggle. I doubt. I worry. I’ve got the adult acne to prove it.

Today I just want to be transparent with those of you tuning into read this little blog. Last week was a hard week. Actually, the last 2 weeks have felt extra draining. Nobody is sick. Nobody is hurt. But life with 2 toddlers has just been hard lately and sometimes when life gets really hard, insecurities overshadow the truth in my life.

Andi Rose is 18 months old and ‘no’ is her favorite word. We call her “Miss Personality” and that same personality that makes me laugh until my stomach hurts also makes me want to pull my hair out some days. Atlas is officially a threenager and he also loves to exercise his right to tell me no. He really likes to take it 1 step further and tack on the “I won’t do it and you can’t make me” line for emphasis. He plays hardball now.

I feel like motherhood is a game where the rules are constantly changing and just when I get into a groove and I exhale and think, “Okay! I got this now!” – The game changes again and I’m back to learning, googling all the things (rarely is that a good idea, by the way) and wondering what the next right thing to do is.

Last week I called my mom sobbing. I’m pretty sure she thought someone was seriously injured when she answered the phone. When I could finally talk, I only said 4 words: “Motherhood is so hard.” I told her how Atlas told me earlier that day that he didn’t like me because I disciplined him for throwing a bottle at his sister. I told her I felt like the kids were just running the house and bulldozing over me and any boundaries I tried to establish and things just felt utterly out of control.

She said, “That’s because you’re trying to be their friend! STOP BEING THEIR FRIEND! You are the PARENT!”

I’m not sure when it happened or how it happened, but somehow I slipped into the ‘friend zone’ with my kids – specifically Atlas. I love playing with my kids and I love taking them to do fun things and I hate confrontation, so I guess it isn’t surprising that I ended up in the friend zone.

What my mom said to me really clicked though. I am their mother. My job is to be a consistent teacher who guides and corrects them. My job is to love them. I pray that God blesses each of my children with precious friends, but I realized last week that right now, my job isn’t to be their precious friend. I am the authority. I am the boss. And things run better for everybody when I’m in charge.

But adulting is hard. Sometimes I see my children fighting and I’m thinking, “Good grief – I wish there was an adult around here to break that up.” But I’m the adult and as unqualified as I feel for this job most days, God (for reasons unknown to me) saw enough potential in me to give me not 1, but 2 babies.

 

I want to parent out of truth, but there are several times that I find myself parenting out of fear. For instance, the truth is God doesn’t need me to do a perfect job in order to lead my children to Him. He is more than capable of seeking them out. I sure hope I can help Him in His pursuit of their hearts, but His perfect plan for their lives isn’t going to fall apart because I can’t always keep it together, which is a real fear I struggle with. The truth is, if they don’t eat a vegetable for 2 days in a row (Hi Saturday and Sunday!), the world keeps on spinning. The truth is, sometimes as mothers we plant seeds of truth in the hearts of our children that don’t actually take root and grow to fruition for years to come. The truth is that sometimes things looks barren at surface level, but what really matters is how deep those roots are growing because at the right season we will reap what we sow. The truth is, I don’t have it all together and that’s actually okay. It’s okay for my kids to know that. It’s okay for you to know that. Because nobody has it all together. No woman out there truly ‘has it all.’ It isn’t possible. The secret is out. We are all doing the best we can and we all fall short at times and lose our way and I think the truth is, when we fall short and our kids are watching we are in the best position to show them how real life works.

You probably have never wondered what my secret is. But just in case you ever have, then lean in a little closer and allow me to share my secret with you. I struggle. I don’t get it right every day. My prayer journal is filled with the words, “I don’t know how to…” And the truth is, I think that’s exactly where God wants me in life right now because when I don’t know how to do something, I eventually go looking to Him to lead the way.

And one little random story for your Monday:

Dave has been cracking up the last few days because I am in full blown parenting mode (I’m getting the HECK out of the friend zone) and the kids are so confused by it. I usually ask them a lot of questions like, “Are you ready to go upstairs and take a nap?” (Spoiler alert: they NEVER are) or “Would you rather have green beans or Mac & cheese?” (Mac & Cheese: 372 // Green beans: 0) But now I’m all, “Alrighty! It is nap time and you’re going to take a nap and you’re going to do great at it!” Or I’m like, “It’s time to get in the car and I know you can do it with a great attitude!” Dave thinks it is the funniest thing, but it is working better for us all. There are still meltdowns and tantrums, but I have been taking a deep breath and saying “I am the parent” under my breath and for some reason that helps me feel more confident and I’m finding that the more confident I appear, the more likely my kids are to obey right away. By omitting some of the questions I ask them and replacing the question with a clear command it just sets it up that the issue is not up for discussion. I’m no expert (obviously you know that if you made it to the end of this post), but it’s working good for us right now so I thought I would share it here in case any other mama’s are looking for some inspiration.

Five {Beauty} Favorites

Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 in Girly Things | 5 comments

Hola! You guys know I’m all about trying new beauty products, so today I’m sharing 5 products that are new to my beauty drawer that I am absolutely loving!

I purchased a few of these items myself and some were gifts I received, but this post isn’t sponsored and all opinions are my own. If a product is on this list it is because I genuinely love it enough to use it each week and repurchase it in the future, so that means I find it worthy of being shared on here with you! Some affiliate links are included in this post, but it doesn’t change the purchase price for you, should you choose to buy anything. And if you do buy something from this list, I so appreciate your support and I hope you love these products as much as I do!

Touch in Sol Liquid Foil & Glitter Eyeshadow Duo

This glitter eyeshadow by Touch in Sol is so pretty and I love that I don’t need a brush to apply it (because I’m all about that 5 minute make up routine). I purchased this in the shade ‘Eldora’ after seeing a beauty blogger rave about it and it is a very bold and pigmented gold color (so if you don’t like bold then skip this one). I’m obviously wearing it and loving it now, but I think this will be a staple for me in the summer because it just feels ‘beachy.’ I really want to try the plum color now because I love the gold so much. Does anybody else have that problem? If I find something I like, then I want to buy it in every color.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Foam Spray Blow Dry

This spray! Oh my gosh. If I had to pick a favorite from this list, I think this would be it. Now, let me tell you that I’m not usually a fan of Bumble and Bumble. I’ve tried a handful of their products and they’ve all found their way to the trash because they just weren’t for me. Either I didn’t like the smell or they didn’t do what they claimed to do (or perhaps it was just user error and I had no clue what I was doing). So, I was hesitant to try this surf foam spray and I waited weeks before finally trying it and now I don’t think I’ll ever be without it. Bumble and Bumble describes it perfectly: A part mousse (but way lighter), part salt spray (but less gritty)—for big, beachy texture with heat-styled polish for fine to medium, healthy hair. I wouldn’t use this if your hair is already thick because you probably don’t want it to feel thicker. However, I have fine hair so I love when my hair feels thicker and has some texture to it. Also, I do NOT like using this product if I’m just blow drying my hair straight. It doesn’t feel as soft and if I am going for bone straight hair, then I want softness to it (this product makes my hair feel a bit sticky). BUT, if I am letting it air dry and just hitting it with the diffuser to add some body OR if I’m blow drying it and hitting it with the curling iron for some waves/curls then this product makes my hair hold the look so well and it adds so much volume! I wouldn’t recommend this product to everyone (Mom – I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like it), but if you have fine hair and you want big, beachy curls with more volume then definitely give this product a go! You can get a sample of it for less than $20 if you’re on the fence about it. 🙂

Kerastase Elixir Ultime Serum Solid

I got my hair colored a few weeks ago (my grey hairs are getting out of control) and I opted out of a hair cut when I was at the salon. I haven’t found a stylist in GA yet that I absolutely love and every time I let someone near my head with scissors in this state they botch my hair (I miss my NYC girl more than words can convey). So, I’m boycotting haircuts, but unfortunately I’m in desperate need of one because my ends are so dry. The girl who colored my mane put this Kerastase Elixir on the ends of my hair and it sealed up my split ends and made it look like I just had a hair cut. I was in the middle of telling her that I didn’t need 1 more hair product when she rubbed that cream on the ends of my hair, and then I was all, “Oh, girl! Put that on my tab.” It is a solid serum that you rub together between your fingers (a tiny bit goes a long way) and then you rub it onto the ends of your hair and it just makes your hair look shiny and healthy. Now, I want to be clear – my hair is still dry and in need of a haircut and the ends are NOT healthy, but when I rub this serum on the ends it does make it appear healthier than it really is. It’s all a facade, but there’s no shame in my game.

Also, I keep having these moments where I’m like, “You know what. I’m cutting a bob. I’m doing it. I’m going for the mom cut.” And yet I’m too afraid to even let someone trim my hair. I probably need to stop investing into hair products and invest into medication because I’m CRAZY!

Skin Ceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2

I got this lipid replenishment treatment for Christmas because I’m an adult now and adults don’t ask for fun gifts – they ask for practical gifts like anti-aging cream. This was seriously the ‘big gift’ I asked for. Is that sad or what? I’m not sad about it though because I love it. And listen – I’m going to be honest with you. I don’t understand a thing about lipids and fatty acids so I’m not even going to try and explain to you why this product is good for your skin because I don’t have a clue, but I do know that this stuff smells amazing and it makes my skin feel nourished and hydrated – like I just left the spa. I use it every night before bed and I love how it makes my skin feel fuller and healthier. I’ve been a fan of Skin Ceuticals for years and I think this is my favorite product I’ve ever tried from their line.

Charlotte Tillbury Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eye Shadow Pencil

I know there is already another eyeshadow on this short list, but I just couldn’t pick a favorite between these 2. I love this Charlotte Tillbury eye shadow pencil because I can apply it quickly without a brush. I have the shade “dark pearl” which is a smokey, purple-y, taupe-y color – perfect for brown eyes. The color is so pretty and I can make it darker if I want a more dramatic look or dial it down if I want it to be subtle. If you read the description of the eyeshadow on Nordstrom’s website you can see what shades are recommended for you based on your eye color. I’ve been on a Charlotte Tillbury kick lately and I haven’t tried a single product from her line that I haven’t absolutely loved! I’m a big fan! And now, I obviously want this eye shadow pencil in the amber color (its the other color recommended for brown eyes) because as I mentioned above – if I really love a product then I set out to collect it in every shade.

Your turn! What’s a beauty product you’re loving lately? I’m on the hunt for a good eye cream! Any recommendations?

Believing the Promise When You Can’t See the Proof

Posted by on Jan 16, 2017 in Bible Study | 1 comment

“There was a certain royal official whose son was ill at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and pleaded with Him to come down and heal his son, for he was about to die. Jesus told him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.’  ‘Sir,’ the official said to Him, ‘Come down before my boy dies!’ ‘Go,’ Jesus told him, ‘your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus said to him and departed. While he was still going down, his slaves met him saying that his boy was alive. He asked them at what time he got better. ‘Yesterday at seven in the morning the fever left him,’ they answered. The father realized this was the very hour at which Jesus had told him, ‘Your son will live.’ Then he himself believed, along with his whole household.” 

John 4:46-53

Hey, hey, hey & happy Monday to you! I wanted to share the above scripture with you because it encouraged my heart so much when I studied it. I can’t help but place myself in the royal official’s shoes every time I read that story – especially now that I am a parent. I picture this royal official kneeling helplessly beside the bed of his sick son, begging the universe for a miracle. I imagine him watching his wife endure agony so deep that he wonders if the death of their son will also be the death of her. I can’t help but wonder if as he watched the life slowly being sucked out of his precious child and felt the sting of death creeping into their lives – did he beg God to take him instead? Because we all try to barter with God when the rug of life gets swept out from under us, right? God, if you do this, then I’ll do that. Pinky swear, scouts honor and all that jazz.

And then, just when he thinks all hope is lost and he’s about to be pushed down into the valley of the shadow of death, someone comes to him and says, “Hey! That Jesus guy is over in Galilee and I’ve heard He’s healed a few people. It may be worth a shot to make the trip over there and see what He can do for your boy.” (Making this scenario up in my head, because that’s what I do when I read my Bible)

Jesus was 20 miles away from Capernaum, where the royal official lived. That’s 20 miles that the royal official had to travel by foot (or maybe a donkey? Either way – not a quick trip). So this royal official had to kiss his son goodbye, not knowing if it would be their final exchange, and travel 20 miles to see if Jesus was willing and able to help. I think I would have had to weigh that trip out. I don’t know if I would have had the courage and faith to leave Atlas on his deathbed to go in search of help that I wasn’t even totally sure would pan out. Those final moments of someone’s life are beyond priceless, and yet the official believed in Jesus so much he risked those moments with his son to go search for the man people called “Healer.” So, I personally am impressed by the royal official’s faith at the beginning of this story.

And then when he finally gets to Jesus – his saving grace, his Hail Mary, his last ditch effort – Jesus kind of blows him off and says, “You don’t really believe in me – you must be dazzled by my miracles to actually believe and that’s not really faith at all.” (paraphrasing there) The royal official again pleads with Jesus to come back to Capernaum with him. He calls Jesus “Sir” which wasn’t necessary, considering the official’s prestigious title. There was no reason for him to show Jesus any type of respect, but yet he humbled himself before Jesus because somewhere deep in his heart he believed Jesus had the cure and he was desperate for a miracle. All he needed was for Jesus to just go home with him and touch his son…or so he thought.

But Jesus doesn’t go home with him. Instead Jesus sends him home alone with nothing but a promise. “Go, your son will live.”

That’s it. That’s all he got. Y’all! That is all.he.freaking.got. A verbal promise. That royal official had to turn around and travel 20 miles BACK home ALONE, not fully knowing if he was going to walk through the door to a corpse and a grieving wife who I imagine would say, “You weren’t here! Our son died and you weren’t here!”

But the Bible tells us he believed what Jesus said to him. He believed that promise and I believe that fueled his faith with every step he took on that 20 mile trek home. For 20 miles, I bet he recalled those 5 words uttered by Jesus over and over and over again. “Go, your son will live.” He clung to those words, because his son’s life depended on them. He believed the promise when he couldn’t see the proof. And that’s real faith. That’s the kind of faith that moves the heart of Jesus. I’m not sure why Jesus didn’t go home with the official, but I do know the lesson it taught me. I think Jesus desires my faith in Him – not just in his miracles – but in Him. He wants me to have faith that He is good and His ways are good and His promises are true – even when I can’t see the immediate proof or feel instant relief.

Before the official could get to his house, a servant runs to meet him with the news that his son has been healed. He got his proof and as a result, an abiding faith took root, not only in him, but in his entire household. Jesus never went to the man’s house and physically touched his son, but yet because the official believed in the promise, Jesus was still able to touch the masses.

What promises are you failing to rest in because you aren’t currently seeing the proof?

Are you exhausted, Mama? Because I am. But Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…learn from me…and you will find rest for your souls.” That’s a hard promise to cling to when both my kids are having meltdowns and my husband is working late and I burned dinner {again} and I just want to call my mom and cry about how tired I am, only I can’t call her and cry because I don’t have time to call anybody and cry. It’s easy to be like, “Um, Jesus! I NEED a nap right now. Can you please drop an unexpected babysitter at my door right.this.second? Hello? Where are you?” But Jesus promises rest IF I come to Him. There’s an important sequence that I think must be noted. Jesus told the official, “GO, Your son will be healed.” The official had to obey and leave. If I want to find rest, Jesus tells me to “Come.” And you know what? When I listen and I come to him in the morning before my kids wake up, and the day hasn’t even begun, he gives me the rest I need for my soul. He gives me what I need to make it through another day of meltdowns and burned meals.

There are so many promises to cling to as we travel from our place of hope back to our reality. Like how God promises to never change (Malachi 3:6). Or how His love is everlasting (Ps 100:5). He is faithful in all His words (Ps. 145: 13). He will provide every thing we need to do His will (Hebrews 13:20-21). He promises that when we trust Him, He will be a faithful guide (Prov 3:5-6).

God promises peace when we keep our minds on Him (Is 26:3). If we focus on the goodness of God and all He promises to His children, then we can walk in peace – even during the long walk home. We don’t need immediate proof to believe the promise.

Scenes from our Snow Day

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in Baby Andi, Family Fun, Giveaway | 3 comments

Good morning and happy Friday! Friday is, without a doubt, my favorite day of the week. I’ve been craving a cheeseburger like nobody’s business, so we have plans to hit up this amazing local joint called “The Burger Bus” and then I plan to sweat all that goodness out Saturday in hot yoga. I haven’t done hot yoga in years, so I’m a little nervous about the class, but I’m going with one of my girlfriends so it should be fun. I wish I had a shirt that said, “I don’t really stretch, I’m just here for the heat.” Because really, I just want lay in child’s pose and sweat. I’ve been working out at home, but I haven’t ran in weeks and I’m starting to go a little crazy. My body just craves running. January is a super busy month for Dave so he hasn’t been around a lot to watch the kids, which means I can’t sneak off for a quality run. I actually spent time today researching treadmills because I think it would change my life if I had one at home, but Dave isn’t feeling that price tag right now. He’s so practical. I’m like, “Think of how often that thing would put me in a good mood. I mean it would practically pay for itself in a month.” He’s not buying it (“it” being both my logic and the treadmill).

Anyways, we got some serious snow last weekend in Atlanta. And by ‘serious’ I mean 6 inches. It’s already melted. By Thursday it was 70 degrees outside and to be honest, I’ve just felt incredibly lucky this week to live in this fickle environment. I love that we got to play in snow on Sunday and then on Thursday we were outside without jackets riding bikes. It’s like the best of all worlds (as opposed to Florida which was 90 degrees year round or NYC, which was blizzard conditions for 5 straight months). The mountains of Georgia are my jam. It snowed on Friday night and Saturday and schools were cancelled until Wednesday! We were snowed in for a solid 2 days, which meant we pretty much stayed in pajamas and played by the fire, which was magical…until we all went stir crazy and the kids turned against each other and I began dusting all the blinds in an attempt to make the time pass. But I got to wear my snow boots so I wasn’t complaining!

You’re probably wondering what the point of today’s post is. There is no point. I’m just telling you random things and sharing a few photos of our snow day. The photos are mostly of Andi Rose because she was dressed like a bear and I think we can all agree that nothing is cuter than babies dressed as animals (except for puppies in sweaters – puppies in sweaters trump all in my book).

 

KitLife Giveaway Winner

And now for the KitLife Giveaway! YAY!

I want to thank each of you for participating in my giveaway on Monday and I also want to thank the kind girls behind Kit Life Planners for partnering with me on this giveaway! I loved reading all your goals for 2017 and each comment left me feeling inspired! You are all really and truly the best! ❤

And now for the winner…🎉

Kimberly K

Kimberly, I have messaged you to get your address so we can get your planner in the mail to you asap! I’m so excited for you and I loved reading all your goals! I hope your Kit Life planner helps propel you forward this year as you tackle each of them! 🙂

I hope you all have a great weekend that goes by nice and slooooow! See you Monday, friends!

Workout Wednesday: Total Body Cardio Blast

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in At Home Workouts, Circuit Workouts | 4 comments

Hey, hey, hey! Happy Hump Day, party people!

I’ve got a fast paced workout for you today that works your entire body and is sure to leave you looking like a sweaty mess! Sounds appealing, no?

Funny story about this workout – when I was going through the exercises I grabbed a little watch that Atlas has so I could time the exercises. (My Garmin was downstairs and Lawd knows I wasn’t walking downstairs just to get that watch because even though I love to workout, at my very core I am incredibly lazy.) Atlas was building a train track while I was working out and when he looked over and realized I was wearing his watch he Fuh-reaked out. He goes, “Mom – why are you wearing my watch?” I explained to him that my watch was too far away and I was just trying to blow through these exercises super fast before Andi Rose woke up from her nap. He was all, “Mommy, NO! Don’t wear my watch – go get your own watch.” So I was like, “Geez, fine – here’s your watch back.” He responded with, “EW! No! You’re all sweaty. I don’t want that watch back. You can just buy me a new one that doesn’t have your sweat on it.” He’s such a little darling.

Anyways, the message found at the end of that rabbit trail is this: Do this workout and you’ll sweat and be gross. Yay!

I finished this workout in 28 minutes, making it the perfect nap-time workout. I used 8 pound weights for the weighted punches and 10 pound weights for all the other weighted exercises. You may need to go heavier/lighter depending on your personal strength.

Take breaks as needed, but try to go through this as fast as you can. I tried to take a quick recovery every 2.5 minutes (so after completing each circuit once). Focus on good form for the weighted exercises and really push hard for those 30 second cardio intervals. Those jumping stars are no joke, but good gravy they WORK!

If you follow me on Instagram, there will be a video of a few of the exercises in this circuit posted on my page later today. (Specifically the weighted punches, curtsy lunges, plank pull throughs and cross crunches.)

I did this workout at home, but I filmed the exercises at our gym. I let Atlas & Andi Rose play in the room while Dave & I shot the videos of the exercises and they were so funny trying to workout with me. Atlas had a donut and he would not put it down for anything because he trusts nobody when it comes to good food (can’t say I blame him – I would have probably eaten it if he asked me to hold it). And don’t worry – Andi Rose had a donut too, but her approach with food is more of an “eat it as fast as you can” method. She was done with her donut before I was done with the first circuit of this workout, then she spent the rest of the time trying to entice Atlas to share his donut with her. #thatsmygirl

And on that note, I’m off to bed. We are watching the National Championship game as I type this and I just can’t hold my eyes open anymore. Football makes me sleepy.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. If you give this workout a go, I hope you like it as much as I did!

How are you getting your workout on this Wednesday?

Kit Life Giveaway + An Official Hashtag

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Books, Girly Things, Giveaway | 17 comments

Good morning and happy Monday to you! I hope you’re checking in today after a restful weekend. We got snowed in, which hijacked plans I had to go to Florida for a quick trip, but we made the most of the cozy weekend at home and enjoyed our first Georgia snowfall.

Last week I shared some of my personal goals for 2017. Today, I’m popping in to share one of the tools I’m using to help me stay on track with my goals!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you’ve probably read about my love for a good ole’ school planner. I know in today’s world, everyone keeps their life on their digital device but I still cling to my paper calendar because I love the joy that fills my soul when I physically cross something off my to-do list. I also feel like writing tasks and appointments down by hand helps me commit them to memory. And I just don’t trust technology. The other day I accidentally deleted a note from my i-phone. Suddenly, there was a “whoosh” and it was gone and I was freaking out because I couldn’t figure out how to get it back (I’ll fast forward to the ending of that dramatic story for you: I never did figure out how to get it back).

This year I am using the Kit Life Crown Planner to keep track of my daily to-do lists, appointments, reminders, birthdays, vacations and goals. I’m already in love with this planner and we aren’t even half way through January yet!

I initially fell in love with the Kit Life Planner because the cover was beautiful. That’s right. I judged a book by it’s cover. Don’t act like you’ve never done it.

But upon opening it and diving into it’s pages, I realized this planner was even more beautiful on the inside. This calendar is designed for the girl who wants the ‘big picture’ to guide her life, rather than being driven by random daily to-do lists.

Every 3 months, there is a quarterly check-in page. This page makes you stop and think about not only where you are in relation to your big picture goals, but also what your intentions are for the next quarter. It allows you to pause and rejoice over what you’ve accomplished and also refocus on the areas that need some extra TLC. It also has a space for personal inventory, which I think is so great. You can jot down the current details of your weight, sleep, overall health, etc. I wrote all these things down on the last day of 2016 and while I was content with my weight and activity levels, I made sure to note that my sleep patterns have been atrocious, causing me to feel less than healthy. Something about actually writing that down made me realize that I’ve got to make my sleep a priority. As a result, I decided to commit to reading a book each night before bed (instead of working on my laptop in bed). I’ve already seen a drastic improvement in my sleep + I get the bonus of quality reading time, which is another goal I have in my planner – to read more books this year (I know, how cliche of me).

As far as the actual day-to-day pages go, my favorite feature is “The Big 3” box. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this box is, but I have personally made it my space for writing down the 3 most important things of the day – and those ‘things’ aren’t necessarily tangible tasks. For me, they are usually the things that can’t be quickly checked off, but rather thoughts I want to keep in mind as I navigate my day. So for example, one day last week I just wrote “Embrace my children” I wanted to be sure that as I went about doing laundry, responding to e-mails and paying bills that I consistently took a break to embrace my kids in the crazy, loud and messy stage they are in. Another day I wrote “Lower my expectations of this world” and that worked out nicely since that was the day I took Atlas to the dentist to find out he’s got some cavities. When I looked back at my calendar to schedule his follow up appointment, I was reminded that this world isn’t supposed to be perfect and free from trouble and pain.

The other section I love is the “Gratitude” box found on each day. I’ve been writing down 2-3 things I’m thankful for before bed in the evening. I find that it’s a positive way to end a productive day (or not-so-productive day…because let’s be honest – those unproductive days are common during this season of motherhood). This tiny section has big implications for me because it reminds me daily that I am balancing so many blessings. Whether I am running a sick child to the doctor or I’m drowning in laundry (or both), I can always find something to be grateful for. I am constantly muttering the phrase ‘balancing blessings’ under my breath as I go about my day because it helps keep my stress in perspective. Because I say it so much around my house, I’m going to start saying it on social media too. I’m going to be using the #balancingblessings this year and if you like it, feel free to use it too! I’m declaring that the official hashtag of Cupcakes n Crunches. Wait, can Cupcakes n Crunches have an official hashtag? Please say yes! Don’t crush my dorky dreams.

Anyways, other cool features included in Kit Life Planners are:

  • The Peek at the Week: This allows you to see an overview of your week ahead – I like to think of it as my ‘bird’s eye view.’
  • The Wellness Box: This is where I write my daily workout goals and dinner menu. This is also where I’m reminded that I don’t drink enough water each day (8 glasses is a lot, ya’ll). I seriously find myself chugging water at night now just so I can cross those dang water glasses off my day.
  • Monthly Page: This page appears at the beginning of each month and is filled with fitness tips and fun facts about the specific month ahead.

There are a few more features that I love, but this post is getting lengthy so I’ll wrap it up and get to the good part!

GIVEAWAY

YOU have a chance to win a Kit Life planner of your own! One lucky girl will win a Kit Life Classic planner this week on my blog. If you crave organization and you are hoping to live 2017 with more focus and intention, then this giveaway is totally for you!

To enter the giveaway you just have to:

  • Follow me (AshleyMarieAndrews) AND Kit Life (KitLifePlanners) on Instagram
  • Like the picture on my IG associated with this giveaway AND leave a comment on this post telling me a goal you have for 2017!

That’s it! Easy Peasy!

*For a BONUS entry, you can comment on my IG post associated with this giveaway by tagging a girlfriend! Every girlfriend tagged counts as an extra entry!*

The giveaway closes on Thursday night at 9pm and I will announce the winner in Friday’s blog post, so be sure to enter by Thursday night!

I owe a HUGE thank-you to the sweet girls at Kit Life for partnering with me to bring you this awesome giveaway! I love sharing my favorite products with you guys and not only do I adore my Kit Life planner, but I also believe in the company’s mission and I love the girls behind the brand. I’m so honored to get to partner with them to share the love! 🙂

Now, let’s make the best of 2017 and balance those blessings like a boss, shall we?