Family · movies · Reflection

Tully – Hidden Gem of a movie

As I sip coffee some mornings, it is not unheard of that I might be binging on a really great television series or watching movies, new and old. However, nothing beats watching a movie on the big screen in a theater with popcorn, a soda (or glass of wine), and my two best friends.

This past weekend we met up to see Tully. I regularly go to the theater but I don’t recall seeing trailers for this movie which feels like a gem hidden in the early swell of the summer blockbuster season. It could be that Marvel is overshadowing this a bit. (I saw Avengers too!) Nonetheless, mothers, this movie is for you.

As a fan of Charlize Theron I was eager to see it but I had low expectations. Anything about being a mother, my most important role in my life, gets my attention. And Charlize portrayed a woman, a real woman, a woman I could relate to.

I am not one to publish spoilers, nor am I one to write a review that tells of the plot. (See the link above for the official movie website.)

I want to share how it made me think and feel.

At many points in the movie I relived my own struggles as a mother with all of its challenges. I remembered the days that I put aside self care because taking care of little humans was all that mattered or that I had time for.

Having a child who is “quirky” is probably something every mother can talk about. The quirkiness can be so profoundly challenging that it consumes your every day. My best friends and I all have children with quirks. Our stories are as unique as the quirks as well as our survival tactics when we tackle the challenges. Our common thread and how we connected with the main character, is that we, all three, put our quirky children before ourselves with special diets, routines, doctors, selecting schools, and showering lots of love.

Motherhood bond. Sisterhood bond.

What makes us different than the character is how we move beyond the care of others and remember that we have to make time for self-care in a rational and healthy way.

I walked away from the film remembering the struggles my best friends and I have been through and how we have always tried to be there to lift each other up, encourage, and help with the heavy lifting of motherhood. It takes a village. So find yours and make sure your children know who all their special “Aunts” are so that the support system and relationships are strong and powerful enough to transcend the generations. Be a Tully…in the healthiest and most rational of ways.

And always love one another.

I hope you see this movie. It is surprisingly great. Take a tissue because between the laughter there may be tears just like in real life.

Back to sipping coffee and meditating on how grateful I am for being a mother and for being blessed to have friends who are my Tully during the highs and lows of motherhood.

Family · Goals · Planning

Managing Mondays-Busy Days with Lofty Goals Await

This week is full of fun and I have a lot to do around all of it.

  • Live Music
  • Movie
  • Mother’s Day
  • Work
  • Appointments
  • Writing
  • Home Organization and Cleaning

Will I get it all done? I have a plan. And I decided to color code my days with Work in pink and Home in Green.

This is a new idea. With so much going on I thought the segregation would help my mind focus and fight the clutter. Let’s see how it works.

If nothing else I love the symmetry it lends to the design. This layout is using 100% Happy Planner brand products. Well, and a pen.

I love busy weeks yet when I start laying out the week I get a bit anxious. The events are non-negotiable. Time with friends at movies or live music shows are Aces to me. I live for moments that make memories. And I am well rested and camera ready. By the time Sunday comes around I will definitely love the fact that Mother’s Day means I get to take the day off. No chores from this Mom! And my son gave me a ticket to the live show on Sunday which will make the day the best ever. Ending a week eating at my favorite restaurant, enjoying live music that I love all on Mother’s Day means my blessings are truly overflowing.

With a week ending in so much joy I already feel motivated to rock this week at home and at work. I know I can get it all done and more.

Back to sipping my coffee before I tackle it all!

Goals · lists · Planning · Vision

Reset – When Plans Need More Plans

Some weeks my planner needs more than the weekly spread. Honestly, I take a lot of notes on random pieces of paper. I make time during email blocks or between my many meetings to capture highlights on planner notes pages.

I also like to repurpose daily pages like the one below. Washi tape and stickers are by best planner friends. Truly they are!

My notes aren’t always pretty but I know what they mean when I come back to them later and ideally that’s the purpose they serve.

I have never shared and end of week spread so I thought I would.

I love seeing the check marks showing what I planned and accomplished each week.

But I often end up with notes and thoughts tucked into each week. Sometimes it is a to do list of sorts. Or just random ideas I want to look back at when I have time.

Every week I make some type of cleaning list. This is my latest favorite because it has daily, weekly and a focus area. I also love the cleaning tips and supply list. I delegate these tasks to the family via texts and check it off when I see it is done.

I love these daily pages for very busy days. I don’t always use the time slots unless I feel I need it because I am going from room to call to room to call and it helps me keep track where I am headed next when my laptop is closed to be respectful of the discussions in the rooms.

How about you? Do you have lots of pages in your planner? Any favorite formats or modifications? I love modified pages and would love to see ideas of what’s in between the pages.

Happy planning and many blessings!

faith · Family · Planning · Writing

Strength & Dignity-Keeping Faith and Trust Day by Day

Enjoying my coffee time when all is quiet. I cannot say all because the fur babies are awake and their paws are tapping away on the wooden floors. There are some days where I wish I had more rugs along their beaten path to muffle their clickety-clack. On days like today, I have to sip my coffee a bit more eagerly so that the caffeine kicks in and I can tune out their distractions.

I set aside 10-20 minutes in my morning meditation to journal Bible verses. In January when I built my Vision board I chose words Strength and Dignity. I choose to surround myself in reading, writing, praying, playing, and meditating on those words. And funny enough, I seem to run across or search for items and articles that focus on that positivity.

Today, I served up my java in one of those pretty finds that I came across at The Daily Grace. This site is a Women’s Bible Study ministry that is one of my go to sites for study tools and topics. I have acquired quite a collection of journals, pens, studies and accessories. And my cup is one of my most recent acquisitions. It is just so lovely.

Bible Journaling

I appreciate that there are many ways to study the Bible and journaling is a relatively new discovery for me and I enjoy how my love of writing and crafting are married with this mode of spending time with God.

Throughout each month I have 3 or 4 methods that I dive into every day. Days that are short on time you will find that I invest in only one. But invest I do. Time with my coffee and in the Word sets my day along a calming and focused path. There are days where I may oversleep and am sipping coffee on the go and the day seems to run me more ragged. On those days, I find a quiet time later, pour another cup of coffee, and just find my quiet chair in my room and ensure my day doesn’t end as it began.

I encourage you to find time with your favorite beverage and a quiet place to journal, meditate, and read. Start your day off this way and see how the day goes. End your day this way and see how your sleep is restful and healing. Do both and get a double whammy of positivity for yourself.

Here are some of the quiet time techniques that I enjoy.

Daily Verse Journaling

This is one of the simplest ways to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day. Pinterest is filled with themed monthly ideas for each day. I snagged a couple of ideas I planned for May below. I may not get to these every single day and spend a weekend morning catching up. I love how one of the many creators always seems to know what encouragement I am hoping to find in Scripture from one month to the next.

Wonder how to take this into practice? I have a planner for that. Here are some snaps from my January pages in my Happy Planner.

The Reset Girl’s Faithful Life

My girl, Cori, over at www.theresetgirl.com is so inspirational and creative. I consistently enjoy her easy way of incorporating crafting, journaling, and studying all in one space. She offers a free monthly prompt for journaling verses in a theme. Visit her website to find more.

Let me show you some past pretty pages I have made with inspiration from Cori and the Facebook Group.

This month she provided this idea and I am looking forward to some crafty journaling this evening.

Prayer Journal

Some days I really enjoy just writing out my prayers. It feels so much like writing to the best pen pal out there. I share my hopes and dreams. I thank him for the little things and the major things. I lay out my worries and I ask for His advice. I have so many journals , large and small. Everywhere I go I have one with me so that I can pop in and write a love letter to God.

Coloring The Word

I have an Inspire Bible and some days i just love picking it up and coloring the “coloring pages” in the margins while I read the verses and meditate on what I have read. Coloring is so relaxing. Many groups are out there who take this even further with mixed media and maybe some day I will explore further. These crafters have perfected such an amazing art form of beautiful expression. For now, coloring in the lines is it for me. Baby steps.

Focused Studies

In groups and alone I find time throughout the year to pick up studies and inspirational fiction and non fiction and dive in. My mornings are so quiet that I allow myself to go deep into the content and learn about God and about myself.

Some people really are neat about it. Me, not always. I confess that during some of these studies I write in my Bible and in the books. And I know when I look back that I am probably the only human who understands.

I honestly feel pleased as punch when I am in a group or self-study and a reference takes me to a place I have been. I get to see what I learned before and maybe even add something new. Continuous learning is important to me.

I have many studies in my to be read pile but I find new ones and often go back to old ones to read again. One that I regularly go back to is Fervent.

Getting through this pile is ongoing because I let the Spirit lead me through them. I never worry about them in a deadline sense. I always seem to pick one up and the context and learning is timely to my heart and need. I love that plan.

I have a group of friends whom I have worked with who are also part of the same church family. We often get together for fellowship, friendship, encouragement and study. We pick a word each meeting and go away finding related verses to study. At our next meeting we share our favorites and we discuss why. This has given me more opportunities to be crafty.

Here is one week where we studied Grateful whereI learned about a woman of the Bible I had never given thought to when I read the verses before. Strong and faithful women like Priscilla who are “every day women” are always so inspiring to discover.

So there you have it!

I like variety and flexibility. It keeps me out of a rut of boredom. So many options are presented when I am sipping coffee and asking myself what sounds like fun in the time I have each morning.

I hope that these ideas bring you blessing and encouragement. If it inspires you to change up your quiet time, please let me know. And please share with me how you spend time if it is something not presented in my ideas. I love finding new ways to learn and meditate.

I am headed back to sipping coffee.

Books · Product Review

Book Beau-A Book Lover’s Product Review

One morning a few months ago while sipping coffee I was browsing social media and saw something called a Book Beau. Have you ever heard of It? Have you seen It? Do you have one too? I felt like I was seeing it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I was like a fish looking at a baited hook. I needed to know more about it. I did my research. And went about my day wondering what the buzz was all about.

A few weeks later, again while sipping coffee, my social media feeds suggested Book Beau. I checked Amazon and discovered it wasn’t available there. I was hoping to read reviews. I did find some YouTube videos and as you can tell, my interest was piqued. Book Beau’s site was offering a sale on pre-order fabrics so I took the bait and decided to find out what this phenomenon is really about.

Who knew when I ordered these babies that it would take probably twice as long. I ordered them early March under the impression they would be made and delivered in time for Easter. Production issues caused a delay and they were here before May Day! Barely. The company did communicate a couple of times via email with new shipment dates and even offering a coupon on another order the second time they had to advise of the delay.

Now, were I a Beau addict, I may have jumped right on the deal. Having yet to own one, I was slightly annoyed. Perhaps in future they might consider a partial credit for first orders of at least the shipping cost. This is a young company that used kickstarter to get into the business. They honestly care about the product and customers and may not be in a profit margin that gives them much to work with. And honestly their production issues were probably so incredibly stressful for them.

But I have them now and I have been been test driving my beaus for a couple of weeks. I should really stop ranting and get to raving.

When I opened the simple packaging and pulled these too beauties out, I have to say I was nonplussed. Yes…speechless. I saw the online images and I don’t know why I was initially confused. But puzzled, I was.

Believe it or not these babies sat on the floor next to my work space for a few hours as I went to the internet checking into my sanity.

Then I decided to give them a test drive and fell in love.

We have sleeves and covers for our electronic devices and planners. Why not our books?

And they come in the right sizes for paperbacks. Do you toss paperbacks into bags and then they get contorted or damaged? Yeah. It happens.

What I love best is that my self-directed learning books also have room to have designated pens and highlighters stored together. When I am on the go everything is in a neat little package to grab from my bag to pick up right where I left off.

They also are made of water resistant fabric for rainy days and leaking bottles.

It is easy to spot your current read in progress versus your to be read books if using these sleeves too.

Needless to say, I am ready to add to my collection. They keep adding new designs and the sizes are great for mass market and Indie print size. This book lover cannot imagine life without them after only a week.

Time to rethink the budget to add more functional fun to my collection.

Watch for more fun in this space. And if you want to find out more about them or purchase one (I am not getting any perks here.) Book Beau has an easy site to browse and buy.

Have a great weekend. I am off to play with books!

Family · food · health · Planning · Recipe

Meal Planning -Delivery Kits Review

Coffee time equals quiet time around here and I was reviewing blog ideas realizing I owe you an update on some of the other meal kit delivery programs we tried: Sun Basket and Martha & Marley Spoon.

If you recall, I posted a few weeks ago about out family pleasing experiences with Home Chef. This Friday another delivery will be at my doorstep and I am excited. Next week’s meal planning is practically a fait accompli thanks to Home Chef.

The past couple of weeks we tried a couple of other offerings.

Sun Basket

I immediately unboxed and loved all of the paper packaging knowing how easy recycling would be.

I was not excited about the recipe book. A magazine style that included EVERY single recipes shipped to any customer. That meant I had to find the recipes by flipping through the pages. (Each time I made a meal.)

I was slightly annoyed that the ingredient list didn’t include measurements. Now, I get that it is all pre-measured but I am a girl that wants the ability to re-create a winner. What if I really like it and don’t want to wait to see it again in rotation?

We received a few meals and the first one we tried was the steak meal.

I really enjoyed this meal. It was easy and light. My dauggter, however did not. She thought the steak was bland. We both were not impressed in the quality of the steaks. We had much better cuts from Home Chef.

My daughter wanted nothing to do with the vegetable dish but I loved it!

The other two meals were really pretty tasty as well. As far as quality goes, if I were cooking foe just myself I might try it again, but no one in my family was adventurous enough to try. I, myself had plenty of options for lunch and dinner all week.

If you recall, Home Chef has very little waste for us. Sun Basket had far too many vegetables. Yes…even for me.

I have skipped the next few weeks because I want to browse the rotation of menu options to see if there may be another week to try again. But our initial review is only moderately pleased. Also, the cost per person was $1-2 more per meal on average. We all have to love it to make the cost worth it.

Martha & Marley Spoon

Did you know Martha Stewart had skin in the game too? I shouldn’t have been surprised.

So we ordered a box.

The unboxing made me smile. I loved the recipe card! The note making it seem more personalized was a nice touch. And the small magazine that introduces the team and concept was a nice addition. They didn’t send a binder like Home Chef did. And I guess that little organization perk tickled me. Not having one from Martha was disappointing but not a show stopper.

Did you notice the quantities and measurements? I was so happy to see them. Re-creation is a possibility. That made me happy.

When making this dish, the recipe was hard to follow. It is based on 2 servings with notes for 4 servings. I really struggled because the formatting, amounts, and discerning the difference between 2 and 4 servings just didn’t jive. Not sure it hurt the outcome but this wannabe mom chef did not find this experience enjoyable.

The dish was delicious! And I would make it again. My daughter is not a fan of rice so I may have over served myself and ate leftovers the next day as well. We went with the lower prices cut of meat and it was a good cut: much better than Sun Baskets option but still not on par with Home Chef. We could have spent a bit more for higher end cuts of meat. I didn’t and wouldn’t feel it made a difference.

Now Martha is new skin in the game and the menu options from week to week are very limited. Especially if you are trying to align to dietary needs.

I am not compelled to order in the next couple of weeks as the menu choices just do not interest me nor my family. I am going to skip a few weeks and jump in again. I feel Martha deserves another go to see if the one meal we tried was an anomaly in my struggle to discern the recipe and instructions.

Overall we were pleasantly surprised and are sad the menu isn’t more robust yet. Martha does give me hope to try again.

So many more to try: One Potato, Blue Apron, and Platrf to name a few.

Next month maybe we will give them a spin. But for now, I am sticking with Home Chef because they have delivered consistent winners.

Have you tried any meal kit deliveries yet? Which ones? I love having these as options on busy weeks.

Crafting · Family · Holidays · Recipe

Organizing Recipes – Decluttering the Piles

I have so many recipes in so many random places. Santa brought me a Happy Planner Recipe Planner a couple of years ago. And it is full of blank pages that are just waiting to get filled.

Over the past several months I have been finding recipes I have jotted down, saved as favorites, and printed. I look in a box, a book, or a drawer and suddenly a new recipe is stuffed inside. Instead of sticking them back, I have started putting them in the pocket folder of this planner and while I binge watch one evening each week, I WILL transfer them to my recipe planner. Finally!

I love the format and flexibility of this planner and hope that I can eventually have all of my recipes stored here.

As I use it I will also include love notes and memories in these pages for my kids to have for years. I can embellish with stickers and pictures and washi tape so that it can be another memory-filled and likely food-stained reminder of my crazy obsession of making things pretty.

And of course I have themed stickers to include in the fun!

How do you organize recipes? If you are looking for a binder like this I found mine along with expansion packs at Michael’s. I have also seen them on Amazon and of course, at one of my favorite sites, wwe.thehappyplanner.com

Share your way of organizing favorite recipes. Show me some pictures too. I would love to see them.