Reading Digital Books, a 28 Day Challenge and More

Reading digital books and a book recommendation

A while back I shared that I thought one reason I hadn’t been finishing books recently is that I’d been reading on my phone.  My theory was that reading on the phone, or even Kindle, made it too easy to ditch the books.

It’s been a while since I started any books on my phone.  I used to buy books fairly regularly.  Kindle books, that is.  But for the last several months I haven’t been doing that.  In fact, it’s been so long that I forgot why I stopped.

But looking back, I remember thinking I would give more paper and ink books a try instead of relying on my phone and kindle to read.

The trouble is, I ended up quitting on the paper books just as easily as on the Kindle.  And I forget about the very few I did buy.

Obviously, I have a quitting problem.  Or at least a quitting habit that I need to come to terms with.  I do think that I read more when I read on my phone.  It’s handy.  It’s convenient.  And even if I don’t finish a book, I definitely start more when I give myself the option of reading digitally.

This week I bought Lisa Terkeurst’s book, The Best Yes.  I’ve heard so many good things about this book, but I was skeptical.  I thought it would be a lot of the same things you hear everywhere.

I’m only a few chapters in, but this one is really good!  It’s thought provoking in a way that has already caused me to take action.

I’ve been so scattered and distracted lately. My schedule has gotten completely out of control and I’ve let some bad habits creep into how I manage my time.  I’m not sure where the rest of the book is going, but the third chapter was worth the purchase price for me.

Rediscover Me – a 28 Day Challenge

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You may remember me sharing the fashion challenges that Alison has done before.  This time, she’s pulled together a 28 week journey to help women rediscover themselves.  Sometimes in the midst of mothering and working and all the other things that pull at us, we forget to take care of ourselves.

This program won’t be for everyone. In Alison’s words:

This challenge might be for you if:

  • You’re ready to regain your confidence and a sense of who you really are.

  • You’re stuck in a rut and not sure how to get out of it.

  • You’re wanting to rediscover a sense of your identity outside of your typical roles of mom and wife.

  • You’re an empty nester ready to reinvent yourself.  You may have a vague sense of what’s next but aren’t really sure.

  • Most importantly, you’re ready to dig deep and DO THE WORK.  This course is called a challenge for a reason.  It’s intensive and life changing.  I only want women who are 100% committed to it.

I’ve signed up and here’s why – It’s not so much that I feel stuck in a rut, but I do sometimes feel stuck in the gray of winter.  Sometimes just a little change is enough to perk me up.

And I’ve done all of Alison’s fashion challenges.  The programs she puts together have been top notch.  And the community that she builds around those programs are also amazing.  I expect the same to be true of her Rediscover Me challenge.

The challenge starts on Feb. 1 and the registration closes on Jan. 30.

Freezer Cooking – Virtually and in your own kitchen

I’m in the process of planning a Virtual Freezer Cooking Day event on the Eat at Home Facebook page.  Right now I’m planning on Feb. 21.  More details to come!

And in case you’re in the mood to get a head start on stocking your freezer, the 12 Slow Cooker Meal Plans ebook is on sale through the end of January.  All the details about the book and the sale can be found here.

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I’ve also got another video that I’ll be uploading next week.  This time I show how to assemble the meals for the February Slow Cooker Weekly Meal Plans freezer week.  That video will go up sometime next week.

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How I’m Trying to Kick my Migraines

This post is much different than most that I share. If you’re just here for the food, skip this one.  We’ll be back to the table on Monday!

The biggest goal I have this year is to get rid of my migraines and headaches.  I know.  That may not really be possible.  But as I thought about it, I do have control over a few things that could make a big difference in how I feel.

I almost didn’t share this post.  These things may not work for me.  Or for anyone.  The reason I decided to publish this is because maybe it will help someone.  People who deal with migraines will try all kinds of things to get rid of them.  But we also get tired of trying sometimes.  Right now I’m at the place where I’m ready to make a renewed effort.  If you’re at that place too, maybe some of these things will help.

This will be an ongoing effort for me, but here are the things I’m trying:

1.  Going to bed on time.

One thing that triggers migraines for me is being tired.  But I can make sure I get in bed by 10pm every night.  Or nearly every night.

2.  Yoga – particularly one set of poses for healthy neck and jaw.

I’ve been using Stay at Home Yoga since October.  I’m really loving this program!

Stay at Home Yoga

I like that it doesn’t require any special equipment.  And that I can do it in my living room.

There are full, multi-class series (my favorite series is Yoga for Desk Jockeys), mini yoga breaks that only take a couple of minutes and 3 short poses that focus on a specific need.

I’m committed to do the 3 poses for healthy neck and jaw everyday for at least 90 days.  I’ve logged 16 days so far (I started in December).  These poses stretch the exact muscles the massage therapist worked on last winter in an effort to treat my migraines.  As soon as I tried the poses, I knew I’d stumbled on something good.

Those poses only take about 5 minutes, so it’s easy to fit in.  Then I’ve been adding one of the other classes too.

3.  Essential Oils

After I had the flu/cold thing in November, with its weeklong headache, I broke down and bought Young Living Essential Oils.

I bought it mostly for the Thieves oil, which supports your immune system. (We diffused this when my daughter came down with the flu and no one else got sick.  You can read more about that experience here.)

I’ve been using peppermint oil and Stress Away to help ward off migraines.  As soon as I feel my shoulders, neck and jaw get tight (early warning symptom of a migraine for me) I rub Stress Away all over the area.  Then I apply peppermint to my temples, behind my ears and base of my skull.

I do think this has curbed several migraines.  And it also provides some relief when I do have one.

Young Living also has an oil called M-Grain that I’ll be trying soon.

4.  Taking vitamins daily.

I bought a big jar of gummy vitamins at Costco.  May not help, but it won’t hurt.

5. Magnesium oil

I’ve read that many people are low in magnesium and that can cause migraines (among other things).  One way to get magnesium is to spray magnesium oil on the feet each night before bed.  It’s absorbed best through the skin, which works for me because I hate swallowing huge pills.

You can easily make your own magnesium oil by boiling 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup magnesium flakes.  Put that in a spray bottle and you’re all set.  I added drop of Lavender oil because it’s good for sleep.

6.  No sweets until after dinner.

This is a personal rule I came up with to curb my sweet tooth a bit.  I think there’s connection between too much sugar (especially chocolate sweets) and my migraines.   Instead of going cold turkey like I tried last year, I’m taking a “small is big” approach.  I’m too likely to throw in the towel if I make it too hard on myself.  Knowing I can indulge a little late in the day keeps me on track.

How it’s going:

So far, so good.  I’ve taken  a lot less Treximet than I usually do.  Time will tell if these changes will reduce my migraines and headaches.  But so far, I do think I’m moving in the right direction.

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Weekend Links

 

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I made these Christmas Spice and Snickerdoodle Crispy Treats for the ALDI Simply Smarter Living Blog. These are some of the best crispy treats I’ve ever eaten, if I do say so myself.  I couldn’t stay out of them!  And since I hate rolling out cookie dough, this was a fun cookie decorating alternative.

I loved this story on how a kind word made a big difference for a tired mom.

Mom Advice shared this article on how Franklin came to join the Peanuts gang.  Short version is a mom decided she wanted to do something positive after the death of Martin Luther King Jr.  So she started writing letters to Charles Schulz.  The article is worth the read and there’s an interview with Harriet Glickman at the end that’s also worth watching.  She shares why she decided to write to Charles Schulz and more.

And this news segment cracked me up!  A morning co-host loses it on air when she’s announcing an incident that happened at a furry convention.  

Have a great weekend.  I’ve got some work to do, Christmas shopping to finish and a graduation party for my oldest daughter to plan (it’s next weekend!).  Make it a great one!

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Weekend Links

Last weekend I was in Disney World with Jim and my parents.  No kids.  We had a blast!  The Free Dining promotion was going on, so we ate in some great restaurants.  And we got to see the Osborne Family Lights at Hollywood Studios.

It even snowed on us there!

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That’s the best kind of snow.  Disney magic! 70 degrees outside with a light flurry :)

Here’s a video of the Osborne Dancing Lights.  So cool!

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Amy from Mom Advice shows how to make a DIY No Sew Blanket Scarf.  These could come in handy for the Style Me Pretty Winter Challenge (more info below).

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I loved this post on why kids love being homeschooled.  My own kids confirmed a lot of these.  50 Reasons Kids Love Being Homeschooled

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My friend, Lynn has been on a roll with creating allergy friendly recipes lately.  Last week I shared her Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls.  And now she’s created Dairy Free Sweetened Condensed Milk!

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A new Style Me Pretty Challenge for winter is about to start!  Registration is open now and the shopping list comes out just in time for all those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

This is the fifth Style Me Pretty Challenge I’ve done and they are all so much fun.  And so helpful to have the shopping list and outfit ideas.  I purchased that blue sweater above as soon as I saw it!

This winter challenge will have pieces from both the Basic Challenge and the Fall Challenge, so I’ll already own many of the items.  I bet you have a lot of the items in your closet too.  But just in case you don’t, some of the participants have started a Challenger’s Closet Facebook group where they trade with each other.

I really can’t say enough good things about the Style Challenges.  They’re a fun, confidence boost.  And the women in the private Facebook group are amazing!

 

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Weekend Links

Here are a few things that caught my attention this week.

My youngest daughter loves to sew.  This week she made a new bag for me, complete with a zipper closing at the top.  I love it!

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She learned to use a pattern for this bag last year, but she’s made a lot of improvements to the pattern.  She added interior pockets in the lining.  She made the straps wider and padded them.  And now she’s added a zipper at the top.  Pretty good for a 12 year old!  I can’t even sew on a button, so I’m super impressed with her!

I’ve been working my way through The Gilmore Girls on Netflix and loving every minute of it.  Here’s a fun drinking game to play while watching.  Of course, the drink of choice is coffee.  If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, you know why.

And that reminds me that I’ve picked up an afternoon coffee habit in the last few weeks.  I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but I don’t think it’s a terrible thing either.  So I’ll probably stick with it.

A 6 foot 4 inch cow!  Wow!  Blosom is huge.  So huge, she’s now listed as the Guinness World Record holder for largest cow.

Mia and I were excited to hear a shout out to homeschoolers on Wednesday’s CNN Student News during the roll call!  We love watching the student news everyday during lunch.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – My friend, Lynn at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures has developed a gluten free cinnamon roll recipe.  She’s been working on this for a while, and has had success!  Happy day for gluten free people!

Do you ever feel liked you’ve been smacked by Daylight Savings Time?  This video is hilarious!

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Weekend Links, Books and Thoughts

Books and Thoughts

I’ve searched all over the internet, looking for a post I read a long time ago on creating margin in your life.  I can’t find it, but the basic gist is that we need to have some white space and downtime in our daily lives.  Some need more of this than others {raises hand for more}.

We’ve had several very busy weeks in a row and not enough time to just Be.  The other day I found myself giving a friend that old, tired, worn out line about how tired and worn out I am.  Blech.  I hate feeling it, but when I start saying it, I know I need to find myself some margin.

I started reading Patsy Clairmont’s book, Twirl this week.

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It’s an easy read, but thought provoking too.  She has a chapter called Decorate.  In it she talks about changing your attitude and rearranging the furniture in your daily life (figuratively).

I read that chapter on Thursday morning, which was perfect.  Thursdays are usually frantic, with too many trips across town to shuttle kids.

But after reading that chapter, I decided to rearrange the furniture of my Thursday.  I cut out some of the driving back and forth, added a visit to the coffee shop for lunch and work, and hit the grocery store in between pick ups for the kids.  This worked out so much better than my usual routine. Sometimes I just need to be shaken loose of my preconceived ideas.

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Mia and I re-read a chapter from Little House in the Big Woods this week.  That led me to show her this post on making Head Cheese from Simple Bites.  I always wondered what headcheese was.  Now I’m pretty sure I’ll never make it, but it’s interesting to read about.

This Christmas Pledge from The Art of Doing Stuff (via Greenbacks Gal) is an interesting idea.  Use November to get ready for December, so that in December we can relax and enjoy (aka have some margin in our life).  I’m in.  What about you?

 

 

 

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Weekend Links

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A very encouraging post and a free printable of the image above from my friend, Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

On parenting, sports, realistic expectations and more.

This is just crazy and kind of scary. How can 4 girls, in two different incidents be led so far astray that they’d consider joining ISIS? (link via Joy the Baker)

My friend, Lynn discusses the price of butter with her readers on Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

Alison’s Fall Style Challenge is wrapping up this weekend.  The Fall challenge was the third one I’ve done.  It’s been a lot of fun and I still have a few of the outfits to try.  For several days I had a terrible cold and my OOTD was a bathrobe and slippers.  And there were a couple of days where it was too hot for a sweater or scarf.  I’m looking forward to trying the outfits I missed.

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And now registration for the Build Your Wardrobe Basics is open.  This one is geared toward women over 40, although women of any age who are interested in building a classic, basic wardrobe will be interested.

I’ve already registered for this one.  I expect that I’ll own quite a few of the pieces, but I also know I need to update a few things.  Like a good pair of black pants.

The thing I love about these challenges is the shopping list.  I hate to shop and I’m bad at it.  But with Alison’s list, it’s so simple.  It’s like the grocery lists that go with my own Weekly Meal Plans.

Speaking of Weekly Meal Plans – The November plans are being uploaded today.  If you want to know what you’re having for dinner each night, shop with a color-coded list and always have a well-stocked pantry then check out Weekly Meal Plans!

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Weekend Links – Laying around with a cold edition

I got hit with a terrible cold last Sunday and Monday.  Thankfully, that fell on our fall break from school so I had the luxury of laying around and doing nothing.  In between napping and taking cold medicine, here are a few things I watched/read/used.

 

Binge Blog Reading

I like to binge read blogs that are not part of my normal list. This time I read through a lot of Life in Grace. I met Edie at the Becoming Conference in August, when my friend and I crashed her breakfast table. She’s just as kind in person as she is on her blog.

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I love the concept of her workroom. It’s the spot where laundry, books, studies, crafting all come together. I crave a more minimalist space, but still…the books, the color, the idea of mundane work and creative work happening in the same space is very appealing.

And this description of an ordinary homeschool day is perfect.  Our homeschool has never quite looked like that, but the image is a lovely one.

I always love to hear about the books that influence so deeply.  Edie shares some of hers here.

 

Binge TV Watching

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I started watching Gilmore Girls and I’m really liking it. It’s like a “comfort food” show – a little humor, a little drama, fun characters. It’s on Netflix instant watch now.

Cold Comfort

I used a lot of Vick’s Vapor Rub, but I wish I had some of these made up too.

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Steamy showers are wonderful when you’ve got a cold, but some of these homemade Natural Vapor Shower Discs would make it even better.

 

Feed a Cold

Jim brought me a bowl of chicken pho from the local Vietnamese restaurant. It tasted so good! But what I was really craving was a bowl of Virus Killing Chicken Soup. My daughter made some the week before and still had a few bowls in her freezer. I thought about buying some from her.

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*note to self – update the photos in that post.

This soup is the best chicken soup you’ve ever had.  It smells amazing while it cooks and with every bite you can feel that it’s battling the cold virus.  It is a bit of a process to make.  So having it in the freezer, ready to go is a great idea.

What are your favorite comforts when a cold strikes?

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Weekend Links

Sometimes I use these weekend links posts to talk about things other than food.  But this week, it’s all food, all the time!

I was interviewed by RealSimple.com this week on the 10 Secrets of Home Cooks (and how you can become one too).

 

 

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My friend, Lynn wrote a post on 40 Easy Ground Beef Recipes.  She followed that up with a discussion on the price of beef in different parts of the country.  I was surprised to see the wide range of prices.  We’re on the high end where I live.  What about you?

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As I was browsing Pinterest the other night, I kept seeing this recipe for Crockpot Cinnamon Roll Casserole.  It looks fabulous!

Speaking of Pinterest, you can follow me there.  But I also have a question – Has your Pinterest feed turned into all one topic?  Mine is all food.  I’m wondering if others have seen the same thing.  Or maybe you all are more well balanced than me :)

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Weekend Links, Books and More – October 4

On Saturdays I give myself permission to share things other than food.  These are just things that caught my attention for one reason or another over the past week.  Maybe you’ll find some of this interesting too.

I’d love to have you share what you’ve been reading/thinking about/finding interesting.

For some reason, last night I decided to do a google search for candles that smell like books.  That led me to find Frost Beard Studio on Etsy.

Oh my!  What a fun place for a book lover to browse!  They’ve got candles and wax melts in all kinds of original scents inspired by books (and a few TV shows and movies).

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I bought wax tarts in Bookstore scent.  It promises to smell like, “Timber, driftwood, hazelnut cappuccino and a hint of leather”.

I also bought Oxford Library – Oakmoss, amber, sandalwood, with hints of tobacco and leather! A customer described Oxford Library as smelling like a “Freshly showered Sherlock Holmes.” 

I would love to buy The Cliffs of Insanity!  And I’m completely intrigued by Sassenach – Inspired by Claire’s herb collection in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series: lavender, thyme, basil and other herbs. Transport yourself to the Scottish Highlands with this therapeutic and invigorating scent.

A trip to Scotland is on my bucket list.  I’ve been thinking about picking up the Outlander series to read, since it takes place there.  Then I saw where Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy has started reading them and is loving them.  When I found this scented candle based on the books, I ordered a paperback copy of the first Outlander novel from Amazon.  (I’m waiting to order the candle until I finish the book.)

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Have you read the Outlander series?  What did you think of it?

I’m absolutely determined to finish the book I’m currently reading before Outlander gets here.  I’m about 75% of the way through A Woman’s Place by Lynn Austin.

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I’m enjoying it, but I’m the slowest reader ever.  And I haven’t been making time to really dive in either.  This weekend though, I’m finishing it.  For sure.

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Did you see my stand up desk hack on Instagram?  I got home on Thursday afternoon, after picking up my daughter and I could not face sitting down at my desk.  All that driving equals too much sitting.

I used to keep my computer on the kitchen counter and blogged from there.  I work more now than I used to though, so I’ve moved to a desk.  I like standing to work though.

I did a little searching for some way to convert my desk to a stand up desk.  Preferably something that I can take off easily when I want to sit down.  I think I’m going to try making this $22 version.  It will require a trip to Ikea, but I’m okay with that ;)

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The shopping list for the Fall Style Me Pretty Challenge came out yesterday.  There’s still time to register though.  Alison is giving us 10 days to do the shopping before she starts sending out the emails with outfit ideas.

The Facebook group is hopping with talk of clothes and deals and sales.  I was surprised to find that I have a lot of things already in my closet.  I also need to buy some things.  All of my old shirts from last year have those little holes in the front.  Do your shirts do that?

What have you been reading and discovering this week?

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