Wednesday, January 17, 2018

On My Nightstand...52 Things Sons Need From Their Moms

Hi, friends!

I finished this wonderful book last week & just had to pop in here to share in case you were looking for a new book to read:

52 Things Son Need From Their Moms by Angela Thomas.

I know I have mentioned her books before and I have to say this one is just as good as the others that I have read. Angela always speaks to my heart.

This one left me wishing that I could be friends with Angela in real life because moms really do need a friend to run beside them (page 59) and I wish that I had a friend running the spiritual race along beside me all this time, helping me encourage my sons to make Christ the center of their lives.

Each chapter is short (there 52 and this is a skinny book, so it's a quick read).
I shared a page from this book on my Instagram the other day because Y'ALL!!!
I didn't even realized it had a name!

The FOG!!!
This one broke me down!
I had completely forgotten about "the fog" with Owen, but reading this made me remember how I wanted to pinch the plug out of him almost every day & cried more than once...
It broke me down because I have recognized signs that "the fog" is starting to creep into my house again, this time it's coming for Evan (& I dread it so bad).

I really enjoyed this one and feel better about the job that I'm doing raising these boys to be Christian men. No matter how old your boys are, I think you would enjoy this book.

This past November, I read another Angela Thomas book: Do You Know Who I Am?
I posted about it on Facebook, but forgot to add it to the blog.

Here's my original Facebook post:

I bought this book about a year ago but didn't get time to read it, so it's been sitting on my shelf in the "need to read" pile for forever. In the past two weeks I have been to both Books A Million AND Barnes & Noble looking for a new book to read. I COMBED the store looking...NOTHING sounded good to me & I both times I left empty handed. I realize now, it was no accident.
Last weekend something made me pick this book up off the pile and start reading (and when I say something, I know exactly WHO gave me that nudge) it was weirdly automatic like, "This one, I need to read this one, right now".
Long story short, this past week has been a challenge (and when I say a challenge I mean it was a raging dumpster fire) and more than once I've stopped and reflected on things that have been put in my path only to recall something I read just the night before in this book that gave me strength. They were words I needed to hear. God's timing is always perfect, I have not doubt about that now.
Angela Thomas-Pharr has been a blessing to me more than once with her wonderful books. Order this one, friends. It is SO good!

You might also enjoy her bible study: Stronger. I did this one a couple of years ago and it was so good! I blogged about it, you can read about that one here.

And, this is just THREE of the MANY books that she has written! 

Right now I am reading a new one by Max Lacuado and it is becoming apparent that He put this book in my lap for a reason as well. I'll be back to tell y'all about it soon.

Are you reading anything good?
I have about five books on my pile right now, but I'm always looking for a new one! 

Thanks for stopping by to visit today!
Book nerd friends are the best friends!

Stay warm, y'all!



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Giving Healthy Another Go

Just before Christmas I asked my great friend (who knows a lot about fitness and nutrition) if she would help me in devise a work out and meal plan in the new year.  

Last January (2017) I took the Restart Program, and she was the instructor.  A 6-week sugar detox, where we learned about the nuts and bolts of how our bodies digest food.  It was amazing, but one year later here I am still incapable of doing anything but sabotaging myself on a daily basis.  Anyone else know that feeling?

I have the knowledge and understanding of what I need to do, I just need a little extra direction on how to implement all of this wisdom.  So my friend and I sat down together and discussed life, my schedule, what we Loves like to eat and what's realistic.  

The plan was born.

I started the plan we (she) put together last week, and I feel like I am moving at a manageable pace!  

The best thing is that ALove and I have been able to make better decisions about what to have for dinner.  Unlike my insanely talented Crafty Southern Sister who excels at the culinary arts, my skills in the kitchen are quite basic.  I require explicit instruction in almost every aspect of life, especially meal prepping and planning.  

I think that for me, that is the key - planning.  Never be caught without the healthier option available.  I work, I run kids around, I am the ringmaster of my own circus ~ that is real. 
Current state of chaos.
If there isn't a plan, it's widespread panic in the corridors of the Love house (not to be confused with Widespread Panic the band, which can actually be heard often in the corridors of the Love house).  And you know what's worse than running wide open all over town to work, school, church and everywhere in between with no plan?????  Being stuck at home on a snow day, holiday or weekend with NO PLAN. 

Actual picture of our snow day today.

I wanted to share kind of an outline of what we put together, maybe it will help someone who is like me and needs a little more extra direction....  
(Please note this is a general outline of my plan, everyone is different and we spent close to 2 hours discussing different things specific to my crazy life).

Workout Plan - Sunday to Sunday 
-She recommends for sure getting exercise every day, for me it's 20-30 minutes walking briskly on the treadmill
-1 Day Lower Body work out
-1 Day HIIT cardio
-1 Day Upper Body
(She also recommended trying for great workouts that fit your needs).

Self-Care Plan - Lower Stress 
Epsom Salt Baths

Food Plan
This is just a guideline of things she knows I like to eat, how to make it healthiest.
We came up with 5 dinner options as the core "go-to" dinner choices. 
My "go to" dinners are:
-Grass-fed burgers
-Tortilla Soup
-Wild-caught salmon cakes
-Grass-fed roast with root vegetables
-Grilled chicken or Baked BBQ chicken thighs or legs

**What are your "GO-TO" dinners???**

She gave me some very specific recommendations for meal prepping for the week so that we always have healthy options to work with based on what WE actually like to eat:
-Pick 3 veggies to make for the week
-Pre-make roasted veggies (turnips, sweet potatoes, radish red/gold or russet potato)
-Pre-make a sheet of bacon (antibiotic free)
-Keep cauliflower rice on hand
-Always have a dark leafy green on hand
-Make your own dressing (I'll need a little bit of practice with this one, I've never been all that inspired to make my own condiments)

Keep to Minimum:
-Anything with lots of ingredients with preservatives and added conventional sugars
-Sweets (even if made with friendly sugars like honey, maple syrup, dates, stevia, etc)

Also please note my kids are the picky type, so this meal plan really is for ALove and myself.  We incorporate other methods and tactics for those picky eaters.

So you see, we are all just doing the best we can, but when we have a plan it just makes it a little easier to take care of ourselves.  It doesn't mean I haven't failed miserably just in the last week (ahem, birthday cupcakes).

I'd love to hear about your healthy "go-to" dinners and snacks, do you have any side dish(es) you pre-make for the week?

Thanks for joining my circus today, I look forward to talking to you real again real soon!!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Spur of the Moment Fitness Resolutions & Other Nonsense...

Happy morning, friends!

It's a true Monday, as I sit here waiting for the Whirlpool guy to come repair our (brand new) fridge...AGAIN.
(You know, sometime between 8 & 12...)

I'll spare you that story,
I don't think I can be nice about it.
(It makes me want to go out in the backyard and rev a chainsaw!)

Somehow, it is MID-JANUARY!
Can you believe it!?!
Are you sticking to those fitness resolutions that you made?
I got smart this year & didn't make any.
(har har)

The bar is so low...
so, so low!

Which is why I truly feel like I had been selected to participate in the Olympics after I decided on a very simple fitness goal last week and actually followed through all seven days!!

(insert crazy applause)

I follow Candace Cameron Bure on Instagram (because I love DJ Tanner & am a sucker for Hallmark mystery movies, don't act like you didn't know I was that nerd) and I tell you this girl is impressively fit! She LOVES to work out & she looks amazing!

Last week she challenged her Instagram friends to do 18,000 push-ups in 2018!!
That is 50 a day for 350 days.
I read those first two lines while watching her do those military perfect push-ups in her insta video & my very first thought was "um, yeah...that ain't happening..." (because I've never been able to do push-ups, ever!!!)

But then she goes on to encourage..."YOU CAN DO IT", she says!!
Even if you cannot a real "regulation" push-up, you can STILL participate!


Even if you cannot do a real one, do them on your knees, lean up against your kitchen counter or even standing against a wall. Try to do ten at a time, spaced out during the day to achieve the total 50....I believe in you, she said!

Well, because Candace believed in me...
For seven days now, straight off of the couch doing modified push-ups off my kitchen counter...(that sounds lame & stupid, but it was real folks, because the next day I felt the burn!!)

The first few days I did ten push-ups spaced out throughout the day to get 50.
Last night, which was day seven,
I did all fifty at one time.
Simple fitness progress that involved no gym membership, no Lululemon, no nothing fancy at all except nibble of my time!

Today, I'm going to try to do them on my knees spaced out through the day.
Who knows, I might actually do 18,000 push-ups this year...
or better yet, be able to do just ONE REAL ONE! πŸ˜‰

Thanks for the encouragement, Candace!! ❤

You can view the video on Instagram here.

Last week (after I accidently watched the entire second season of The Crown & was scouring the lists for something new to watch) I ran across this Fitness channel option on Amazon Prime.
I've looked it over a couple of times now & have honestly considered trying it out!
Have any of you guys tried it?
I went through all the workout videos they had available, I was impressed at the list of instructors!

They had several Billy Blanks, Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, and even some old school Jane Fonda!!

If you like to work out at home,
it might be worth checking them out.

Whatever your fitness goals are for 2018, I know you can achieve them if you just strive to be the very best YOU that you can be (my favorite Will Taylor quote).
You can do it, friend!
I believe in YOU! πŸ˜‰πŸ’–

I'm hopping up here to get a few things done while I am STILL WAITING FOR THE WHIRLPOOL GUY to come fix our brand new fridge that we bought in June and have already had it worked on THREE DIFFERENT TIMES, so help me, give me a chainsaw!!!

Much love (& push-ups)!


Monday, January 8, 2018

Real Life in the Love Circus

Well folks, first day back to school is cancelled due to ice (nothing like what the deep south and northeastern folks got the other day, but for us it's disruptive).  

I was so ready for today!   Getting back into the routine with school and work, accomplishing some things, enjoying silence.  Our house is in shambles (which is actually a regular occurrence, it's just magnified when we are on breaks), and I really need some breathing room.  I feel like the house is closing in on me! 

BUT, plans change and I am quite certain God gives a redirect to see things, reflect and stop revving our engines for a minute.  So on our real last day before school starts back, I'm going do my best to take it slow and enjoy time with the boys.
Stay warm folks (like Victor there) and have fun today!!  Thanks for joining my circusπŸŽͺ for a minute :)

Victor Love in the red chair.  He burrowed a hole in the cushion so he could get real cozy. 
When the humans sit here, we have to put a pillow on it so we don't fall into the hole.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year ~ New Projects BACK STORY

I recently shared the Number 2 project that Aaron (ALove) finished over the holidays (shelves in the weird hallway).  So, I thought I would share with you my Number 1 project....

Moving backwards here for a minute: In August I dreamed up a master plan of DIY projects we could do on a tight budget to improve function and also mirror the mountain cottage look of our house. 

I have projects here and there that we have been working on to improve the interior of our home.  I am not a super organized person, but I absolutely crave functionality

Our home is not very formal, it is more of a cottage mountain style home, so I wanted to have the inside of our home reflect this.  In our dining room, we've had more traditional furnishings like china cabinet and such, but I always felt it was too formal for us and our house.  

SO, we did some rearranging (as you know I am a semi-professional furniture mover).  I repurposed a repurposed dresser (formerly employed as an entertainment center in our living room, a great bulky piece that matched our rough little boys.  Formerly-formerly Crafty Southern Mama Mandy's bedroom suit a long long time ago) to serve as a long buffet.
The Idea
Same process as before with finding the studs and making sure all was level.  The difference on this project was the size of each board.  They were all 6 feet long, which allowed for us to fit 3 brackets per board in a stud (I think).  Also, I stained this wood with a quick drying stain.

Securing the brackets 

Securing the brackets

Boards On!

View of my cute little dining room, cozy and comfy
(and a huge mess)

The finished product. 
The finished product.

I love shelves simply because I can rearrange to my heart's content and feed the need for moving things around.  Plus, I love the functionality of displaying items we use.  We have a long way to go on the project lists (like refreshing paint colors and ripping up some carpet), but I love establishing function and purpose for our spaces.

Thanks for joining my circus today!  Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Quick Ramblings {of Things Not Frozen}...

Hey there, friends!!

I hope this blog post finds you toasty, warm & snuggled up by the fire {or as my little redneck child would say "the far"}.πŸ˜‰

Today is Thursday, January 4th and it is the first day of 2018 that we have Wi-Fi here at the house! Like most of the country, we have had bitter, biting arctic weather here for the past several days. Bitter and biting to the point that yesterday it was 31 degrees & we all agreed that we were having a major heat wave!! Insanity!!

I was planning to post a review about 2017, but didn't get around to it this year.
I did, however do a #bestnine2017 post on my Instagram.
This was easy to make. I just googled "best nine 2017" and it took me to a link where I put my Instagram user name in the box and hit enter. It took about 20 seconds and produced a nice collage of the top nine most liked pictures on my Instagram account for 2017.

You can make your own collage here: 2017 Best Nine Collage

Here's my "best nine" (which made a lovely wallpaper on my phone as well).

I do love Instagram!!

Well, the kids & I had to get out of the house yesterday after being cooped up since New Years Eve. We ran some errands, did a little shopping, ate a bite of chick-fila. It was nice to get out during that 31 degree heat wave! My thoughts in the past week have been exclusively about fleece lined leggings, fuzzy blankets, moisturizer for my alligator itchy, winter skin and what kind of soup I can fix next {today it's potato}.

Pretty exciting stuff, no? 

I have to ask this though, was last month a blur for you?
I swear, I have never seen a December fly by so fast in all my life!!
It seems like every year, no matter how early I start preparing for Christmas it comes rolling down a steep hill like a bulging snowball and sucks me right in! I end up in a heap of chaos when that snowball hits a tree, looking around wide eyed wondering what on earth just happened! I need to join a support group for Christmas organization or something!

I think December might have been a blur for me because I was busy on the sidebar being in DENIAL.
{I have a PhD in Denial, I might add.} 
{Professional caliber.}

I was really happy this summer when Owen decided to live at home and go to college here in town, Cumberland is a great school & I was thrilled to death that I was not going to have to face letting him fly out of the nest just yet!
{the dreaded But...}
He was not happy there and long story short, he decided to transfer after the holidays.
Today it is officially "after the holidays".
The car is loaded.
The bedroom is looking empty.
And the bridge of denial I've been standing on is starting to crumble beneath my feet.

In true Scarlett O'Hara fashion...
I'm going to think about that tomorrow. πŸ˜‰

In the meantime, I have been reading Angela Thomas' book, 52 Things Sons Need From Their Moms. I love her books, she speaks to my heart in every one that I have read! Last night while reading she said "your son needs a mom who will pray for the man he is becoming. A mom who asks others to pray for him. A mom who prays the powerful truth of scripture over him and for him".
And so I will.
If you have a moment, please pray for our sweet Owen as he heads off today taking the first real step towards leaving our family to become a man. ❤

I've handed it all over to God, He is in control.
Everything will work out exactly the way it is supposed to.

{but Lord, please make this child behave himself...amen}

Well, that's all I've got at the moment. 
My fitbit is telling me I need to get up off my hiney & do some step action!
I guess I better head outside and check on the chickens and probably break the ice in the pool again so our pump doesn't blow up (I thought salt water was not supposed to freeze).

I'll be back to talk about some goals I've made for the year and some projects we have planned out here at Crazytowne Manor (I need to trademark that), some books I am reading, some shows I'm watching AND just some general rambling nonsense that no one but my mother is actually going to read. πŸ˜‚

If you missed it, here's a link to Kim's first project of the year!
Her husband, Aaron
(Yes, you read that right. Her husband's name is Aaron. My husband's name is also Aaron. Generally we refer to mine as AP and hers as ALove. But I don't think either of us ever even call them by their actual names, so it's not confusing at all.)

Anyway, her husband Aaron has been on a marathon of woodworking projects in the past couple of years! He has built an awesome treehouse for their boys out in the backyard and now she has talked him into building a few things inside the house.

Their latest project is a functional (but simple) set of shelves for the most odd spot in their adorable house. I can't wait to visit them an see it in person!

Here's a link with an easy tutorial telling how they built them.

I'm jumping up!

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit, friends!
Stay warm & Happy New Year!



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year ~ New Projects

Happy New Year!!

Well, it's time to start back to the reality of life and get back on schedules. We sent Aaron back to work today, and he didn't seem very sad about it πŸ˜‚.  Honestly, I'm pretty jazzed about trying to get organized for 2018! 
Me getting organizedπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ (Victor standing randomly in the background)
At home I have projects here and there that we have been working on to improve the interior of our home.  I am not a super organized person, but I absolutely crave functionality!  In August I dreamed up a master plan of DIY projects we could do on a tight budget in our house to improve function and also mirror the mountain cottage look of our house. 

Over the break, Aaron😍 made my dreams come true by completing Number Two on my project list by building a set of shelves in an area of our house that I call the Weird Hallway (also, Stupid Hallway and sometimes Worthless Space Hallway).  Which is a hallway between our dining room and kitchen, below the picture is taken from the kitchen through the pass-through, you can see the dining room doorway on the right there and to the far left is the doorway to the mud room.  

We've lived in this house 10 years now, and I have never been able to make anything work in this corner!!! I am serious, I have tried almost every piece of furniture you could imagine here. 

I was inspired while visiting my best friend in Connecticut this summer, she is kind of a design genius (more on her later).  She has some beautiful built-in shelves in her kitchen that house her special dining pieces, cookbooks, and some drawers on the bottom for extra storage.  SO, with that in mind I wanted to use these shelves as a place for my pretty cookbooks, and colorful kitchen pieces that normally sit hidden in a cabinet.

To put together this project, we purchased the following:
-10 Black decorative shelf brackets (originally bought 15 to have 3 brackets per shelf, but once we got started felt confident that we only needed 2 brackets and a lip/brace at the corner wall)
-5 Whitewood boards 1" x 12" x 6' like these (honestly the boards are personal preference, you just need to find what you like best for your area)  
*you can stain or paint your boards for added detail, I was just so anxious to get the darn thing put together I figured I would do that later 
*Note Aaron used 2 1/2 inch flat head cabinet screws like these to secure into the brackets into the studs instead of the hardware that came with the brackets.

Next Aaron cut each board to fit our desired area, keeping the scraps to fashion braces for the corners.

Securing the brackets.
Securing the brackets, making sure all is level. 
Aaron is so good at making things level (unlike myself πŸ˜‚)

Fitting the boards.

Fitting the boards.

Boards on, now ready to secure to the corner.

Corners secured!

I could hardly wait to start trying different things on the shelves.

This was a super simple project, and cost us about $150 in materials to complete (we already had the screws from a previous project).  I am ready to tackle the next project (but will give Aaron some time to recover πŸ˜‰).

Well, thanks for joining my circus!!  I'll have to share with you my Number One project from the plan soon too 😊!!


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