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How in the world do you find time to read? πŸ“–

I get asked this question all the time! I love to read but I go through seasons in life when I just can’t seem to find the time. My ‘To Read’ list just gets longer and longer. I have a stack of books on my nightstand, a long queue list at the library and a ton of book screenshots saved in my phone. But I seriously love to read! So I decided I needed to prioritize and really do the things that make me happy.

We all find ourselves with ten or fifteen minutes here and there when we have time to kill. But instead of using those minutes wisely we scroll through the phone. What does that get me? 20 minutes of lost time!! We spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting at the doctors office. Waiting at the car mechanics. Waiting for our kids to come out of sports or after school activities. Waiting because we arrived somewhere early and don’t want to walk in yet. So I’ve totally changed my way of thinking. I always have a book with me. Whether you like hard copies or ebooks, you can always throw it in your purse or on the front seat of your car. It doesn’t take much planning to make sure you have it with you when you leave your house. Sometimes I have both the e-book and a hard copy. So now I read when I wait for my middle schooler to come out of cooking class. Or when my son has soccer and it’s freezing out, I’ll wait in the car and read. And I’m not much of a small talker so having a book on my lap in a waiting room really keeps people away πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ Believe me you look 100% smarter in a waiting room reading then you do staring blankly at a phone screen πŸ€“πŸ˜œ

Next …invest in a good book light. Not the crappy dollar store ones (believe me I’ve bought tons) but a good book light that attaches nicely to your book. This comes in handy at night in bed or even evenings when you’re waiting for someone in your car when it’s starting to get dark. When my husband is watching sports, a Halloween movie or a Carpenters documentary on tv πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ (it’s true) I’ll whip out the book light and can read without feeling like I’m disturbing anyone. My 12 year old now takes my book light in the car so she can read when I’m driving the girls to gymnastics in the dark.

Last, and this took my entire life until this past year to learn, if you can’t get in to a book it is ok to put it down! Don’t force yourself to read a book you’re not enjoying. I would hate to give up on a book. Then I would find myself re-reading chapters because I couldn’t understand things or I would avoid reading because the book just wasn’t working for me. So I have a 100 page rule. Some books just have a hard start but if you stick with them they are amazing!! So I try to make it to 100 pages. If I’m near there and still can’t get in to it, I allow myself to put it down. Most of the time I find that around 50 pages in it will grab me and pull me in, but if not I don’t feel bad moving on.

That’s it! It really just takes prioritizing a little bit. I enjoy reading and when I finish one that I really Love I’m so excited to start another. If you’ve read anything amazing lately let us know, there’s a little more space on my nightstand πŸ˜œπŸ“š

~Elena πŸ’–

Faith

Chapter 6 A time to Reassess

A time to break down, And a time to build up.

In order for us to know if it’s a time to break down or a time to build up, we need to know what season we are in. We need to reflect on the past (where we have been) and where God is leading us. To reassess requires us to prayerfully seek God.

I know that I am in a season of rebuilding. I have more alone time than I like but it has allowed me to spend countless hours reassessing my life. I had a vision of how I thought my life would end up and unhappily ever after was not the plan! Lol

Now that I am in my rebuilding stage, it is so overwhelming that it is paralyzing some days. I feel like God is opening a door somewhere and it’s immediately shut and the rethinking begins. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and give up. But thankfully each day is a new day to start again and allow God to take the wheel.

One thing I know for sure in life is that you can’t force things. So I’ll continue to open doors to only have them close until the right door opens. All I can do is continue to pray that He will work out the details. My trust is in Him.

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!

What doesn’t kill me, will only make me stronger! πŸ™ŒπŸ»

-Erin

Food

National Pumpkin Day 2018 πŸŽƒ

Well social media informed me it was National Pumpkin Day and what else is there to do but bake something delicious!!

I had printed out this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffin recipe back in August anxiously awaiting fall baking. So this gave me the perfect reason to finally try them out. And WOW they really are delicious.

I followed the recipe exactly and it was so easy. It made exactly 18 muffins. And by the looks of my son over the garbage licking his finished muffin cup 😳 I can tell they’re a hit!! Head over to the Novice Chef at the link below and give it a tryπŸ˜‰

https://thenovicechefblog.com/pumpkin-cream-cheese-swirl-muffins/

~Elena

Family

Parenting is hard….

This was a brutal parenting weekend! So much drama, arguing and crying spread out between all 3 of them. Sunday was the icing on the cake though.

I decided to take the 2 girls shoe shopping. This time of year is especially difficult because I only buy things they absolutely need. Otherwise I tell them to put it on their Christmas list. My kids do not get whatever they want and they certainly don’t get something because someone else has it. I don’t care what other people have and for myself I will more likely not get something because everybody has it. But nonetheless their feet won’t stop growing so last years shoes don’t fit. It started out fun and the girls were trying on shoes and strutting around the store laughing. But it took a sudden turn πŸ˜– Wanting one pair turned into 2, then 3 and then the talking back and arguing began. I must’ve given at least a half dozen warnings to get it together or we would leave empty handed. But it’s so hard out in public. You can feel people watching and judging, so I tried to be super patient, understanding and calm. At the same time I’m not one to let my kids act up or talk disrespectfully and then get their way.

At some point I decided we would get the shoes (one pair) but then I would take them away at home to be earned back after some consequences. But in the end I made a spur of the moment decision standing in line to check out. The talking back continued in line and after a final (and way too many) warning, I dropped the shoes and walked out the door. I had one kid behind me crying and one behind me still running her mouth. Oh my goodness it was a hard moment and I had to fight back my own tears. Driving home I went back and forth in my head if I had made the right decision, should we go back, should we go somewhere else so we can still get shoes, should I continue with the other errands I had…but we did none of those. I drove home with one angry kid and one sad kid, both really upset with me.

There’s no way to prepare for these parenting moments. There’s no manual with laid out scenarios and how to handle them. I think I made the right decision. It was hard and broke my heart but later on we talked it over. One realized her behavior was not ok and the other one knows it wasn’t her fault but also saw how our behavior even affects those around us and there are consequences.

Parenting is hard! πŸ˜”

~Elena

Faith

Chapter 5 A Time to Heal

Hope for the wounded

a time to kill and a time to heal .Ecclesiastes 3:3

In this chapter we learn about two types of wounds. The physical wounds, which sometimes take a while to heal and can be alleviated with modern first aid practices. Then there are wounds on the inside, unseen …which are the hardest to overcome. Whether emotional or relational they can be more complicated to heal.

God draws close to those who are wounded and broken hearted.

“Through His Holy Spirit, God comforts, encourages, and heals us in areas of our souls and spirits that medical science can’t explain.”

Throughout the chapter there are questions to help dig deeper and get you thinking. One of the questions that stuck out for me is ‘Which do you tend to heal from more quickly, the scrapes and bruises of life that people can see or the scrapes and bruises of life that people can’t see? ‘

I would definitely say the scrapes and bruises of life that people can see are much easier to heal from. People carry a lot of heavy things inside whether it is hidden sin, things that happened in their childhood, things that happened behind closed doors, or regrets from their past. It’s those things that eat at you, that make you question yourself, question others and cause you to have doubts. While some people are self destructive, others have had someone cause them hidden pain. The good news is there is hope if you draw close to Him.

Psalms 147:3 He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.

The same God that opened the eyes of the blind, allowed the deaf to hear, and the crippled to walk can heal your wounds!

Entrust yourself to God as your healer.

-Erin

Fitness

October Workout Challenge πŸ‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

It’s time for our October calendar!!

Are you working out with us??? If not you need to. Both of us have gotten so much stronger and fitter by doing some simple & traditional daily workouts. It doesn’t have to be crazy or hard, just consistent. Seriously, we’ve seen some workouts posted and people are doing crazy things that just aren’t a right fit for us. So we decided to make our own monthly workouts with simpler, tried and true workouts that really work if done with consistency.

Join us and let us know what you think!!

~Elena

Uncategorized

It’s finally Fall!! And turkey chili is what’s for dinner πŸ₯˜πŸ

My 5 year old daughter has been asking every day for about three weeks if it’s fall yet. Her wish finally came true, it’s Fall!! And the weather was so nice and cool for the weekend so I was immediately ready for some cool weather meals.

I have a crockpot chili recipe that I love but in true form I forgot to get it going early enough in the day πŸ˜– So I decided I would try to whip it up mid afternoon in the Dutch oven and simmer for a while. We’ve converted to turkey for pretty much everything that calls for ground beef. To me ground turkey can taste really dry so it has to be cooked with enough flavor and liquid so it isn’t dry and crumbly. I kind of threw this together as I went so there’s no recipe to attach.

I used 2 lbs of ground turkey, we like our chili on the meatier side. I hate when you order chili and you can barely find the meat. In the Dutch oven on medium heat, sautΓ© the turkey with one onion chopped and a few peppers chopped. I used 1 green, 1 red and 1 orange. When I’m cutting veggies like peppers, mushrooms or onions I always cut the whole thing or whole container. I use what I need and then put the rest in a snack size ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer. This way the veggie doesn’t go bad in the refrigerator forgotten and whenever I need a little bit I can just toss them in a recipe right from the freezer. Drain or use a baster and get any liquid out of the pot once the meat is cooked through. I don’t know how I went so many years without knowing to use a baster!!! It makes it so much easier to drain the liquids without dropping pieces of meat out of the pan πŸ™ŒπŸ»

At this point you can add a packet of chili seasoning if you have some. I didn’t so I sprinkled in some salt, pepper, minced garlic, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and Italian seasoning. (About 1/2 tsp each, 1 tbs chili powder) The more seasoning of course the spicier and more flavorful it will be, I err on the side of caution because my little one will complain ‘I don’t like it there’s too much seasons!’ πŸ™„πŸ˜œ

Add in 1 can of diced tomatoes with liquid, 1 can stewed tomatoes with liquid and 1 can of beans (kidney, black or chili beans) with liquids then stir well. Mix in 1 small can of tomato paste then fill can with water to get remaining and pour water in to the pot. Stir it all really well and let it simmer on the stove for a while. I think I left my on low for over an hour.

We learned while living in the south that corn chips are AMAZING with chili! So we toss in some Fritos, cheddar cheese on top and a dollop of sour cream… soooooo good!

Happy Fall πŸ‚πŸπŸŒΎ

~Elena