Weekly Food & Fitness Plan {9.26.16}

Ohhhh man guys. It was a ROUGH weekend at our house. Sad to say I’m actually excited about coming back to school today and getting back into our normal routine. 

Never thought I’d be happy to get up at 6am on a Monday, but I guess there is a time for everything!

Mostly this weekend was just a rough time for Colton, and thus was rough on the rest of us. This weekend the poor little guy had some serious tummy issues (parents of toddlers probably understand where I am coming from here – it ended with an emergency trip to Walgreens for some Miralax), seasonal allergies that gave him a runny nose, an actual allergy to raw tomatoes that resulted in a rash over his whole face, AND he has a tooth coming in. Talk about a quadruple whammy. 

Needless-to-say, this weekend involved lots of coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. 

But thankfully we finally seem to be on the upswing again, and I am excited to get back to normal. Starting with some food and fitness planning!

Food & Fitness Plan

Last Week’s Workouts

But first let’s take a quick look back at how workouts went last week. I think that as great as it is to list everything out, it is equally important to be open and honest about how things actually WENT. 

Monday: Cardio + Arms

Tuesday: Tone It Up HIIT + Abs workouts at home I ended up volunteering in the morning and had to skip my planned workout. Then I got lazy and didn’t do it in the afternoon. 

Wednesday: Run  I just wasnt feeling a run, so instead I did cardio and legs!

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Legs + Abs Attempted to go to a pilates class that then got cancelled. So instead I did arms and abs. 

This week’s workouts

Monday: Cardio + Total Body (TIU Workout)

Tuesday: Yoga + glutes (TIU Workout)

Wednesday: HIIT + abs (TIU Workout)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Pilates class (hopefully it’s not cancelled this week!)

Saturday: Run/walk with the family

Sunday: Walking around at the Braves game!

This week’s meals

Grocery list and meal plan

Monday: Stuffed salmon with goat cheese + rice + roasted asparagus

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken + broccoli

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Venison chili

Friday: Chili leftovers

Saturday: “Healthy” nachos and grilled chicken wings (<– Football food!)

Sunday: Dinner at the Braves game!

 

Overall this week I am excited because I actually did some meal prep on Sunday (details in Wednesday’s post), so I am looking forward to seeing how that helps make life easier this week. I am really trying to get back into the habit of actually meal planning AND meal prepping, and am planning on taking you all along in that journey. 

I am also excited because I am going to be having a friend join me at the gym a few days this week! I always find it fun to workout along side of a partner, and I am going to introduce her to some fun TIU workouts! 

Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard week around here! Nothing too crazy, other than the Braves game on Sunday afternoon. We’re party animals over here. 

I hope you all have a great week!

So tell me: What is one meal on your meal plan this week? Are you a meal prepper? Any tips or tricks?

29 Things for 29 Years!

You know how some people have a mid-life crisis over age 30? Well I feel like I’m having a mini crisis, because today I turn 29. Which is almost 30. And that is CRAZY!! 

How I have been alive for almost 30 years??? Wasn’t I 21 like 6 months ago? 

Even though it is kind of terrifying, it is also quite exciting (Ok, mostly terrifying, but I am still trying to cling to the “exciting” part!) When I was younger I had all of these things that I HOPED to accomplish before I turned 30, and here I am with one year to go and I do feel like I’ve checked most of those things off my checklist. I am so blessed to have all the things that I have, so even though this day is technically supposed to be about me, I wanted to take a few minutes this morning instead to list out some of the things that I am so thankful for in my 29 years. 

29 Things I am Thankful For

1. My wonderful husband who has been my rock this summer during difficult times

3.2 for 32 Atlanta Hokies

2. My snuggly little toddler who is constantly teaching me patience and makes me laugh on a daily basis.

1 year cake smash

3. My family, who has all come together during a season of heartache and difficulty, to support each other even though we all live far away. 

4. My husband’s family, who welcomed me with open arms 8 years ago and continues to surround me with love and support. 

5. My friends who haven’t forgotten about me even though I up and moved 12 hours away to Atlanta!

6. Our church family, both back in VA and now here in Atlanta, where we have met so many of our friends and have had a place to turn for support.

7. Our new city, Atlanta, and more specifically our new neighborhood, where we have already been able to enjoy fun events and festivals!

Taste of Smyrna

8. Our sweet puppy dog who is always up for some good cuddles and makes us laugh with her ridiculous antics. 

9. My school program, which has been both extremely hard and extremely rewarding already!

10. My health, and the health of Chris and Colton (despite the frequent daycare colds and HF&M!)

11. My awesome blog friends, most of whom I have never met before but who I have formed such a strong connection with over these past 4.5 years of blogging!

12. This blog in general has been such a fun way to share my journey and my life!

13. My new business with Usborne Books & More – it has been such a great way to share my love of reading with Colton, and to give our family some extra income! 

Peach City Usborne Books & More

Shameless plug, because it’s my birthday – check out my facebook page for my Usborne business. I am going to be hosting some fun giveaways there next month that you don’t want to miss if you have little ones in your life! 

 

14. For my planner, which keeps me organized when my brain is all mushy from school and mommyhood!

bullet journal daily spread

15. For beautiful sunsets and gorgeous (albeit HOT) Georgia weather!

Georgia sunset

16. For music, which has always been an important part of my life. 

17. That I have a husband and family that has been so supportive of me going back to school and pursuing my dreams

18. That I have been blessed this year with a fellowship to not only help PAY for my grad school but that has already afforded me opportunities to expand my knowledge.

19. That we have a daycare that Colton LOVES with teachers that make me smile every single day! 

20. For a new house that has been so fun (and occasionally frustrating!) to decorate, but that fits our family’s needs so well.

21. For the number 21, because it is my lucky number! 

22. For my HOKIES! Because… duh. 

Hokie Toddler

23. For a good book when I am feeling down. 

24. For bubble baths. 

wine and bubble baths

25. And a good bottle of wine. 

26. For COFFEE (I can’t believe it took me until #26 to be thankful for coffee!)

coffee

27. For the fact that even though it has been hard to fit into my crazy schedule, that I still am able to make it to the gym and am able to workout!

postpartum fitness

28. For all of the other things that I have in my life that I have forgotten to list!

29. For the fact that I am blessed enough to be able to come up with 29 things in my life to be thankful for – I know that this is definitely not the case for so many people!

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Sadly I’m going to be spending my birthday in class until 8pm today (how rude!), but Chris and I are going out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate instead. Just extending the birthday celebrations!!

So tell me: What is one thing you are thankful for?

Weekly Food & Fitness Plan {9.19.16}

Can I be a little bit open and honest with you guys?

I have felt really lost with my food and fitness stuff lately. Which is kind of ironic, considering I started this blog to talk about food and fitness. And have pretty much been talking about anything BUT lately. 

But the truth is, this semester started off at a bit of an Olympic pace, and I am just here in the back just trying to stay in the race. And as a result, my eating and fitness choices have really suffered. 

The problem is that I just haven’t found a routine/plan that really works for me. I have a crazy, completely unorthodox and inconsistent schedule that makes it really hard to get to the gym at the same time every day. Add to this the fact that my sleep schedule has been super out-of-whack lately (SOOO frustrating!), and thus mornings to have a STRUGGLE, and you basically have a recipe for a tired mama making bad food choices and skipping the gym. 

So I am thinking of going back to my roots a little bit here, and seeing if that helps. I am planning on trying out a few different fitness routines and meal planning ideas to see if that helps. And I want to document them here, so that the internet can hold me accountable. 

Food & Fitness Plan

Meal Plan

Lunches:

  • Tuna salad and crackers + veggie
  • Mexican chicken with broccoli

Dinner:

Monday: Chicken sausage with peppers&onions + sweet potatoes

Tuesday: Food Truck Festival (one of the last of the summer! boo!!!)

Wednesday: Salmon + spinach/goat cheese/sundried tomatoes + green beans + potatoes

Thursday: Out – for my birthday!

Friday: Buffalo chicken zucchini boats + quinoa

 

Workouts

Monday: Cardio + Arms

Tuesday: Tone It Up HIIT + Abs workouts at home

Wednesday: Run

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Legs + Abs

This week I’m going to try some of the Jamie Eason LiveFit Trainer plan, which I have done previously and really liked. I am not sure if the schedule is going to actually work for me given my crazy schedule, so I am going to try and use the workouts as inspiration where I can. I’m not sure how this is going to work for me, but we’re going to give it a try and I will report back next week!

As I said, I have really been frustrated with my food and fitness mojo lately, and want to find a way to get back on track. I always mentally and physically feel better when I get to the gym even just a few days a week and make smart eating decisions, so I need to find that motivation again even when my sleep and stress are working against me. 

I would love to hear from anyone else who is struggling a little bit in their food and fitness journey lately, to know that I am not alone!

So tell me: Have you ever struggled to find motivation in your fitness journey?

 

Today I’m participating in the #MotivateMe Monday link up. Thanks to the lovely Salads4Lunch and Run Mommy Run for hosting!

Determining what sparks joy in my life with the KonMari Method

Have you ever had one of those moments or events in your life where you feel like your perspective on THINGS just completely changes?

This summer has totally been that for me.

Over the course of these last few months my mom passed away, we moved into a new house, I started my new side business with Usborne Books & More, Colton went into full on toddler status, and I began my second year of graduate school with a goal of finishing up my thesis this year.

Talk about a crazy summer!

But what all of these things (happening all at once, of course) really made me realize is that I currently have a lot of STUFF that I just don’t really need. Stuff that has been sitting on my shelves/in my closet/in a box in the basement for years, but that doesn’t really get much use or love. Stuff that is just weighing me down, physically and emotionally, and doesn’t serve any other purpose.

So I am on a bit of a minimalizing mission, to rid my life of a lot of this extra clutter. Some of it (Ok, most of it) is tangible stuff. But some of it is also just emotional STUFF that has been sitting on my shoulders for far too long.

 

To help me with the tangible part of this minimalizing mission, I have been following the book by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I’m not going to lie, I was super skeptical about this book when I first heard about it. A) Because I have tried many organization techniques before and they all seem kind of the same to me, and B) Because from what I heard it was definitely written from a Japanese perspective, and therefore a little more “zen” than I usually like.

BUT I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and read it (it’s really short, so I read it on a flight!) and I was really intrigued by the whole concept. Essentially Marie Kondo has laid out an entire method (called the KonMari method) to help you go through your entire house and get rid of everything that is no longer serving its purpose for you anymore. While it sounds a little “touchy feely”, Marie has you pick up each item (again, in an systematic manner – you don’t just start walking around your house picking up things) and ask “does this item spark joy for me?” And if the answer is no, the item has served its purpose in your life and can be let go. But if it does still bring you happiness, then it stays.

Again, I wasn’t really sure about the whole “spark joy” thing at first, but after I went through my closet (step 1 of the method), I was amazed what a difference it made to pick up each item and ask “does this shirt/skirt/pants bring me joy to wear it RIGHT NOW.” There were so many items that I was holding on to because they used to fit pre-baby or they were in style at one point (even if that style wasn’t mine anymore) or because they were pricier items. But if they weren’t being worn, what was the point in keeping them?

I am really excited to continue going through this method through my WHOLE house and seeing what that does to lighten up the extra STUFF in my life. I’m not sure if this is something that you guys are interested in hearing about, but if so, I can definitely give you periodic updates on how things are going!

I would also love to hear if any of you have tried this method before. I know I’m a little late to the game on this, so if you’ve tried it out, please let me know any tips or tricks that you’ve discovered to really make this method work for you!

I am hopeful that by getting rid of some of the unnecessary extra STUFF in my life, I will really be able to make room for only those things that bring me joy. Because who doesn’t want to be surrounded by things that make you happy?

So tell me: Does your home reflect only those things that make you happy? Would you consider yourself a minimalist or a hoarder (me!)?

 

This post may contain affiliate links. But, as always, unless noted I purchased all items with my own money and all opinions are my own.

Playing Catch Up

Yikes, what day is it? Tuesday? Wednesday? 

It has been one of those kinds of weeks. In fact, thus far it has been one of those kinds of SEMESTERS! I feel like I’m constantly trying to play catch up between classes, meetings, assignments, and life. Probably doesnt help that we’ve been jam-packed almost every weekend with no end in sight. 

I see some major planner time in my near future to get all of this shizz under control! 

Anyway, since I haven’t really been sharing snapshots of my life with you all lately, I thought I’d do a little photo dump and show you what has been going on in the Freckle household. 

So here is what we’ve been up to lately:

Hanging out with this little crazy man
15 months old

We just had his 15 month check up last week, and we FINALLY hit a growth spurt (or all the other kids stopped growing and we did not) – he is now in the 65% for height and 52% for weight. 

15 months old

We have also fully hit the “copy cat” toddler phase. Hey, as long as he wants to clean my floors, I’m going to let him!

Going fun places like the Children’s Museum of Atlanta

Trying to keep a super active, super curious 15-month-old busy is no easy task. So we’ve been exploring some of the great things Atlanta has to offer, including hitting up the Children’s Museum of Atlanta for an afternoon of pretend grocery shopping, fishing, and science.  

Children's Museum of Atlanta Children's Museum of Atlanta Children's Museum of Atlanta

FOOTBALL!!!

Most Saturdays in the fall look like this in our house:

College Football Saturday

But last weekend we made a special trip up to Bristol, Tennessee so that our view could look more like this:

Battle at Bristol Battle at Bristol

Sadly Virginia Tech lost (booooo), but we had a great time hanging out with friends and were super lucky to have Chris’ family come down too so that they could babysit Colton. 

Colton was not without his own Hokie spirit though, of course! Also, he thinks all selfies should come with the Snapchat dog filter!

Hokie Toddler

Running

Running

Ok this might be a slight overexaggeration. Instead of “running” it should really just say “A RUN”. Because that’s all I’ve really done so far – 1 run. BUT I really enjoyed it, and realized just how much I miss running. So I might try to incorporate more running into my routine, especially now that it is getting cooler. Who knows, maybe there will even be another race in my future…

Enjoying the start of fall

Fall is hands down my favorite season, and even though I hate that it starts to get dark so early in the evening, I do enjoy getting to see views like this on my drive home. No filter needed. 

Georgia sunset

That’s about it – like I said, life has been an endless line of meetings, school work, and trying to keep the little man occupied. I am really hoping that by the end of September we can be back into the school rhythm and in a less frazzled state! 

A girl can dream, right?

So tell me: Catch me up – what is one exciting thing that you’ve been up to lately that I may have missed?

What it is like to be a new mom in grad school

Since I quit my job and went back to graduate school full time, with a 2 month old, in August of 2015, I’ve gotten a lot of questions of what it is like to have a baby while in graduate school. 

Well to be more accurate, when I tell people I’m a PhD student and a new mom, I tend to get one of the following reactions:

  1. “Oh… wow…” – followed by a “back away slowly, this woman is nuts” look
  2. “Holy crap, you are like super mom!”
  3. “What is that like?”

Reactions #1 and #2 always make me laugh, because yes, I might be crazy and no, I am most definitely not super mom. Both reactions usually make me respond with some self-deprecating jokes because I’m equal parts embarrassed and humored by their response. 

But #3 is probably one of the more common reactions, and sometimes it even follows one of the other responses. It is also the one that I don’t always know how to respond to. But since I get the question so often, I thought I’d be honest on here about what it is really like to be a new mom while in graduate school. 

What it is like to be a mom in graduate school

What it is like to have a baby while in graduate school

If I could condense my answer down into a single sentence, it would be this: It is very hard, but also very doable. And yes, I know that that sentence basically contradicts itself. 

But what I mean is that having a baby while in graduate school is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done, and I’ll be 100% honest and say that I was a little bit naive when we decided that starting graduate school immediately after having a baby wasn’t going to be that hard of a transition. Because it absolutely was. 

And here is why: Being a mom, and especially being a new mom, is a full time job. But so is being a graduate student (at least in my kind of program). So you add 2 full-time jobs together, plus trying to eat, sleep, shower, clean your house, grocery shop, workout AND maybe, possibly spend some extra time with your spouse/friends and you quickly run out of hours in the day. 

And just like your child doesn’t care whether you have other things going on in your life (they are still going to need to eat/sleep/poop regardless), even the most family-friendly graduate program isn’t always going to care about the other things you have going on at school. Submission deadlines are still going to be there, professors are still going to assign way more reading than is actually possible, and you’re still always going to feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water in all of your work. And that is assuming that they are actually supportive of you. 

grad school mom

BUT I also don’t think that I am anyone special. I’ve managed to make it through a year of graduate school (and the infant stage) with a 4.0 GPA and a child who is happy and healthy. So if I can do it, I absolutely think it is doable for anyone else. 

If you are thinking about it, or wondering what it is like, here are a few of the lessons that I have learned over the past 15 months. 

Being a full-time mom and a full-time student is nearly impossible

mom car selfie

I do know of some people who have managed it, thanks to some VERY flexible schedules, but I knew that it was not going to be feasible to be a stay-at-home mom and a student at the same time. That first year of classes was super intense, and I was pretty much required to be on campus every day for some period of time. Thankfully, my university has a daycare and students/faculty get priority so we were able to get Colton into an amazing daycare that happens to be right across the street from my building. 

That being said, because I do have more of a flexible schedule than my husband’s true 8-4 job, I tend to be the one who picks Colton up when he is sick, stays home with him if needed, and takes him to doctor’s appointments. 

Learn how to manage your time wisely

Time is absolutely of the essence when you’re a new mom and a new grad student. The first year of grad school is usually full of coursework and assignments, just like the first year of being a new mom is full of being needed pretty much 24/7. So learn to maximize your time as best as you can. 

For example, even though I used to be a total night owl in college, I learned quickly that a lack of sleep + late nights did NOT equal my best quality of work. So instead of leaving all of my work to the end of the day, I instead tried to work an 8-5 schedule to get all of my work done during the day, that way I could come home and spend the evenings with my family. Plus that left post-bedtime time for school work if I had a big assignment or test that I needed to study for. 

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

Despite what I may think when I say yes to things, it turns out that even when you take on more things, there are still only 24 hours in the day. And sleep DOES need to be included in there (trust me – you’ll regret it if you dont). So I learned that I needed to prioritize things in my life, both at home and at school. 

For me, spending time with Colton between the time we got home and when he went to bed was a huge priority. It didn’t matter what my school schedule looked like or how much work I had, I made sure that that time was set aside for him. 

Bullet Journal Daily Lists

After that, I just made sure that I always knew what was on my priority list. Major assignment due at the end of the week? Yes, priority. 100 pages of reading that we may or may not even talk about in class? Lower priority. Spending at least 1 night a week watching TV with my husband? Priority. Watching some of my other nonsense shows? Less of a priority. 

Be willing to accept your limitations

I have always been a 100% kind of person – I throw myself wholeheartedly in to everything I do. But I also learned that I had to accept that sometimes I was going to have to do my best in the moment and be OK if it wasn’t perfect. Did I complete every single reading assignment? No. Did I proof-read my papers 5 times before submitting them? No. And while that frustrated me at first, I also had to learn that it was OK to not be perfect (in both school and parenting), and that all I could do was my best. 

Learn to laugh

Being a new mom is funny – poop explosions, not realizing your shirt has been on inside out all day (just me?), and getting covered in pea puree. Sometimes you just have to laugh, even when you want to cry. 

Mom fail

Graduate school is the same way. It is super stressful and the expectations on you are ridiculous, and most of the time you have this errant thought in the back of your head going “what I actually accepted here by mistake? Should I tell them that I think they made an error?” But you just have to learn to laugh and enjoy the time.

Because before you know it grad school will be over (or so I hear). Just like before you know it your kid will be a teenager (or so I also hear). So try to live in the moment and enjoy it, even when you kind of just want to cry. 

 

5 Things I’m excited about for fall

Guys, it is officially SEPTEMBER!!

And even though it is still like 95 degrees and sweltering most days (I’m still not fully adapted to this whole Georgia heat thing), I am officially allowing myself to start pretending it is fall. Bring on all things boots, scarves, plaids, and pumpkin spice lattes! 

Yes, I realize how basic white girl that sounds. But in reality, I am a basic white girl, so I’m just going to own the stereotype. I am who I am. 

(Also, as a side note, I realize that fall doesn’t technically start until September 21/22, but that is just a minor detail. It’s like when you celebrate your birthday month. This is just… fall month…)

So in honor of it (basically) being fall, I thought I would share 5 things that I am excited about for the fall. Some are pretty obvious, especially if you’ve been around my blog during the fall before, but some are a little more surprising.

 1. College Football

Remember when I said some of them would be obvious? Well I obviously had to throw this in there as my #1. Words cannot really express just how much I love college football. It has been such an important part of my life since my very first weekend in undergrad (marching band will turn you into a football appreciator, that’s for sure!), and continues to be one of my favorite things to do on Saturday afternoons. 

Now, this year will be a little rough with a toddler who has a non-existent attention span, but we are definitely going to do our best to catch as many games as we can!

2. Evening walks with Colton

SmarTrike ToddlerNow that we live out in the suburbs, I love that it is so easy for us to get out and go for walks through our neighborhood or to the local park. But since we moved in May, aka the start of the sweltering heat, it has been hard to get out and go for long walks without feeling like our faces are melting off. 

So I am really excited once is starts getting slightly cooler in the evening to take Colton and Laney out for an evening walk. Its a great way to get some fresh air, some exercise, and a chance for Chris and I to catch up on our days!

3. Putting ourselves out there to meet new friends

Truth-be-told, Chris and I have a terrible habit of being serious homebodies. This is amplified by the fact that we now have toddler with a 7pm bedtime that works as an easy excuse to stay in. 

But since we have now officially lived in Atlanta for a year, and no longer have a newborn who really is keeping us combined to a short driving distance from home, we figured  that we should probably put in the effort to get out a little more and meet some new friends. 

We already took the initiative and joined a couples bible study that starts at the end of September, and I joined a mom’s study group that will start up after Labor Day, AND we found a babysitter that we like and trust. So now we really have no excuse but to get ourselves out there 1 day a week and meet some new friends. Bonus points if they also have small children!

4. The “start of something new” feeling

I am one of those people who always loved the first day of school. Dare I even say, that might actually be my favorite “holiday” of the year (#nerdalert). There is just something about that blend of excitement and nervousness, the feeling of brand new school supplies, and the beginning of something new and different… Ok, I’m getting giddy just thinking about it. 

I LOVE that feeling, and even though as a grad student I basically work all year round and don’t really get those first day butterflies too much anymore, the fall does always still give me that “start of something new” kind of feeling. So while some people really love using the first of the year to jumpstart new habits or goals, for me September always feels like the perfect time to set new goals and stick to them. 

This year I have a couple of big goals. I have a few big school milestones to check off my list, including one hopefully coming this fall, but I also have some fitness and habit goals too! I really want to get back in the habit of meal planning and meal prepping, because it really does make such a difference in my day and helps me make healthier choices! I also am determined to find a good fitness plan that gets me excited to get into the gym in the morning, a feeling that has been a bit off and on as of late. 

5. Pumpkin everything!!!

Pumpkin Everything Trader Joes

Yes, I know it is super cliche and super basic (see above for my thoughts on the matter), but I had to do it. I can’t help myself. I fall into every stinkin’ pumpkin marketing trap around. I just love it so dang much!

I hope that you all are as equally as excited as I am about the start of the fall season. And if not, don’t worry – I’ve got enough excitement for the both of us!

So tell me: What are you looking forward to most this fall? Pumpking: Yay or Nay?  

Why I decided to join Usborne Books & More

I am going to be 100% honest with you guys – I am SO not a sales person. 

I spent about 4 years in high school and college working in a book store, and while I absolutely love helping people find the perfect book to read or the perfect gift for a loved one, I could do so because I didn’t work on commission. That means that I could focus all my attention on their needs: their price range, their genre, etc, and if in the end they decided they weren’t sure if it was the right book for them? No harm, no foul. 

But anything that involves me pushing products on a customer? Nope. Nope, nope, nope. I would rather go hide in the corner. 

I know I hate pushy sales people when I’m shopping, so the last thing I would ever want to do is become one. 

Needless-to-say, I pretty much avoided direct sales like the plague. Or at least the sales side of things – sometimes you can find some pretty cool products. Like Advocare for example. I love the products, but I joined the company because I wanted the discount for myself, not to sell things (although if any of you all happen to want to buy them, I’m happy to help!)

But then I found Usborne Books & More through a facebook party from a friend and I literally fell in love with them. Well really, Colton fell in love with them, and I fell in love with anything that would keep my busy little guy still for 5 whole minutes. 

So then I started thinking: I love books. I love talking about books, I love reading books, and I want Colton to grow up loving books too. I also love THESE books. They are super interactive and engaging, and they do a great job of being both fun and educational! In fact, many of them are even used in homeschool curriculum, and while I’m not planning on homeschooling, I love the idea that we could use these books to supplement Colton’s education at home. 

I did a little digging into the company, and was overall really impressed with what I saw. No quotas, great discounts and commissions, and a really supportive community of other book lovers. All things that made me excited instead of terrified at the idea of direct sales. 

So I did something that I always said I’d never do, and joined a MLM with the goal of having sales. And then briefly questioned my sanity. 

But actually, it turns out that when you’re with a great company and representing a product you truly believe in, direct sales aren’t so bad! I absolutely LOVE talking about these books and being able to share them with other people. And while I know that they aren’t for everyone, I am also confident that kiddos of any age are going to love them (especially those non-readers!)

Not really sure what I mean by interactive books? Well I’m a visual person, so here is a great video from a fellow consultant that shares some of my favorites:

So why am I telling you all this? Well for a couple of reasons:

  1. Because, as always, I want to open and honest with you guys about the important things that are going on in my life
  2. Because I know I have lots of mom friends out there who might be interested in either buying some books for their little ones, earning FREE books (more info down below), or joining this company too!
  3. Because child literacy is important to me, and I want to be able to spread the word about ways to foster a love of reading in your kids. 

That being said, I promise not to constantly bombard you with USBORNE USBORNE USBORNE. Remember how I said I really hate sales? Well I REALLY hate when people do nothing but shove it down your throat. So I’m not going to do that. 

BUT if you are interested in learning more about Usborne books or hosting a Facebook party with a chance to earn free books for your family (all of my hostesses have earned somewhere between $80-300 in FREE books!), there are several ways you can get more info. 

You can:

  • Leave a comment here
  • Email me at peachcityusborne@gmail.com
  • Check out my facebook page – Peach City Usborne (including a video today where I get very real about why I joined Usborne!)

Hosting a party is super easy and requires very minimal work on your part. Basically, you invite your friends (I even give you a script as to what to say) and I do the rest! And then you get to pick out your free books. Easy peasy!

OK, again, I know direct sales aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so this will be the only sales pitchy blog post you’ll see from me. But I thought it was only fair to be open and honest with you guys! Especially since it’s something that I’m so excited about and truly am enjoying. And because come on, BOOKS ARE FUN! :)

So tell me: How do you feel about MLM/Direct Sales? Ever heard of Usborne Books?

August Favorites

Happy Monday!

Just kidding, is there even really such a thing? I have heard of these mysterious people out there who actually love Mondays, but I refuse to believe it. Because everyone knows that waking up when it is still dark outside on Monday morning to go back to work (or school, in my case) is the absolute worst. No matter how much coffee, or Spark, you have. 

So even though it’s a dark and dreary Monday and I would much rather still be tucked into bed, we’re going to try and be cheery because it’s the end of August – and that means it’s almost FALL! And everyone knows that Fall is the best season ever. I mean, pumpkin spice everything, boots and scarves, and crunchy leaves – what’s not to love?

While I always look forward to summer, by the end of August I am also always ready to say goodbye and ring in September and the fall season. But before we fully say goodbye to August, I thought I would try something fun and talk about some of my favorite things this month! I don’t normally have enough fun new things to talk about my favorites weekly, so maybe over the course of a month I can actually round up enough to share. 

So without further ado, here are some (totally random) things that I have been loving during the month of August:

August Favorites

Favorite workout

Image result for tone it up

(source)

I know I have talked about this a few times now, but I am still on a total Tone it Up kick. I love that the workouts are really fun, incorporate some traditional moves with a lot of different, creative moves to keep things interesting, and have an easy mix-and-match style so that you can really target your workout to your goals and your abilities. It is also nice that I can do them in my basement with minimal equipment. 

I am hoping that they are going to start a challenge in the fall, since I came in a little late to the summer one, because you know I love a good planned out challenge! 

Favorite Grocery Find

Trader Joes Cold Brew Concentrate

My sister-in-law told me about this Cold Brew Concentrate from Trader Joes a few weeks ago, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m now several bottles in. It is just so good and SO EASY! I just mix 1/2 cup of the concentrate with 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup water, and a little bit of my favorite Natural Bliss Salted Caramel creamer and I am good to go. 

Definitely pick this up next time you’re at TJs. SO much cheaper than Starbucks!

Favorite Colton picture

Baby bed head

Poor Colton definitely got my bald baby gene, and is just now (at nearly 15 months) started to grow some hair. Which means that when he wakes up after a nap or in the morning, his little tufts of hair stick up every direction and it’s the cutest thing in the world. I always try to snap a picture but he is usually so busy trying to climb out of his crib that the pictures just come out blurry. This is the best I could manage. 

Favorite new purchase

I don’t have a picture because our room currently looks like an un-decorated disaster, but earlier this month we (somewhat on a whim) purchased a king-sized bed and it is GLORIOUS! So much space! We hadn’t originally planned on it, but things were getting a little cozy with both of us, and the dog (who likes to take up as much room as possible), and occasionally on lazy Saturday mornings, Colton too. 

Now we have oodles of space and Laneydog has her own pillow. #spoiled

Favorite baby item

SmarTrike

We got this SmarTrike as a birthday gift for Colton and it hands down might be the coolest toddler item I’ve ever seen. This trike is basically a 4-in-1 design so that it grows as your baby grows. For example, when they are younger it has the harness, seat back, and cage so that your kid is secure. But as they grow older you can remove those parts one by one until it looks just like a normal tricycle seat. Same with the handle bars and the peddles. The way they are set up now, I have control of them with the handle. But as Colton gets older, we can switch it so that he can turn the wheels and/or the handles to control the bike. 

There are so many other cool features, I feel like I could talk about this thing forever. But seriously, if you have a toddler or a preschooler, check this thing out! I feel like this is one of those rare toys that you can use for several years – which starts to sound wonderful when your house starts piling up with stuff that was only used for a few months before going into storage!

Favorite “Me time” activity

Bubble Bath

This summer has been a difficult one for me, and at first I really didn’t do a good job of taking care of myself because I was so focused on managing everything else. But thanks to the encouragement of a friend, I took some time to take a bubble bath (with a glass of wine) and now I’m totally hooked. It is such a nice way to take 30 minutes just to myself and relax, something I’m otherwise terrible at. 

It has done wonders for both my physical health (so great for sore muscles!) and for my mental health. 

 

Well there you have it – a few of my favorite things from the month of August! Now it’s your turn to share!

So tell me: What is one thing you have been loving this month?

 

FYI: This post may contain affiliate links. However, as always, any and all opinions are 100% my own. 

Grocery Haul {Week of 8/21/16}

Happy Wednesday, y’all! 

I am actually in a terrific mood this morning, which is somewhat a rarity since mornings are not usually my strong point. I have a doctor’s appointment later this morning, so we changed up our morning routine a bit and Chris took Colton into daycare. But I still got up to help get Colton ready (and to get in some extra baby snuggles because I have a late class this evening), and once the boys left at 7am I was able to get a workout in, shower, and eat breakfast – all before 8:30! 

I have to admit, as much as I hate getting up early, there is definitely something to this whole morning workout thing. I feel so ready to take on the day!

ANYWAY, today  I thought I’d bring back something that I haven’t done in ages: a grocery haul! As I’ve been sort of thinking about the changes I want to make around here and what I want this blog to be about, I have really been thinking about the kinds of posts that I love to read. Call me nosy, but I LOVE seeing grocery hauls! They always give me a ton of ideas, and I like seeing how other people go about their normal shopping routine. 

So today I thought I’d share my weekend grocery haul with you guys, and I hope that you are equally as nosy enjoy it too!

Trader Joes & Kroger

Grocery Haul from Trader Joes

On Sunday after church we made a quick detour by Trader Joes. I am trying to be more intentional about meal planning and getting ingredients that we can use in multiple dishes, so this haul was definitely a little bit smaller than usual (in a good way). 

Produce

Strawberries

Cherry Tomatoes

Red pepper

Bag of sweet potatoes

Bananas

Sliced mushrooms

Bag of spinach

Dairy

Vanilla greek yogurt

Unsalted butter sticks

Vanilla Almond Milk

Organic Whole Milk (for Colton)

Natural Bliss Salted Caramel Creamer – my favorite!

Crumbled goat cheese

Small curd cottage cheese

Cheddar Jack cheese cubes (snacks for Colton)

Other

Orange Juice

Pasta Sauce

2 Kombuchas

TJ’s Cheddar Rockets (snacks for Colton)

Fig Bars

TJs red curry simmer sauce

TJs peanut satay sauce

 

Other Groceries

We also picked up a few other groceries:

Peaches from Lane Southern Orchard in Georgia

On Saturday we drove down to central Georgia to visit Chris’ grandparents, and on our way we stopped by Lane Southern Orchards, which is a giant peach orchard and packing facility. Seriously, EVERYTHING you could ever imagine that could be made with peaches is made here. So of course we had to pick up a “small” crate of peaches (aka 16!) and have been pretty much eating them nonstop since. 

A peach a day keeps the doctor away? That’s what I’m going with at least…

La Croix CranRaspberry

I also made a stop by Aldi where I picked up a few small things (a bag of frozen salmon, some thai noodles, salad greens, etc). While I was there, I also had a couple of good finds, including this box of my favorite CranRaspberry LaCroix and snack-size PB packets, which are perfect to keep at my office in case I get hangry and desperate. 

Jif To Go packets

Overall, it wasn’t too shabby of a week for us. I am trying to be better about both meal planning and using up stuff we already have in our fridge and freezer (hence why I didn’t purchase any meat this week other than salmon), so I will definitely let you know how that goes. 

Well I hope you all enjoyed this little peak into my grocery shopping this week! I would love to hear what you think about grocery hauls – do you also like checking them out or do you usually scroll past? While I love them, I obviously want to make sure you all do too!

Have a great Wednesday!

So tell me: Grocery hauls – yay or nay? Did you have any fun grocery finds this week?