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9 Things Making My Life Easier

Whether its saving us time, money or our sanity—when I find a life hack, I feel like I've struck GOLD. Here are a few of our favorites right now. 

Ikea Step Stool:
This is not just any stool. This stool has now given my kids no excuse to do just about anything. Chairs slide and aren’t always tall enough and step stool are too low—this one is perfect. We have one in the bathroom + kitchen (you can order it online for $29 including shipping.)

Instant Pot:
I was skeptical as well, but this little magic pot has blown me away. I am terrible at waiting till the last minute to cook, so this baby was made for me. There's definitely a learning curve figuring out how to use it, but worth all the google + youtube "how-to" searches.  (Here's the link for my IP, but any electric pressure cooker will do.)

All the Bars:
Since getting pregnant with John, my kids have eaten a Clif/Grab-The-Gold/Lara bar 5 out of 7 mornings a week. Yes, I know making a legit breakfast is not hard—but I have been drinking my coffee for an extra 3 minutes each morning thanks to these "you can get your own breakfast" bars. Mama’s, free yourself up. Let them eat bars. (okay, and maybe some fruit)

Sheet Pan Meals:
Why am I just now learning about this?? And Why am I just now realizing there is a button on my oven that says ROAST. Throw all the things on a cookie sheet and roast it for about 15 minutes-ish and you are DONE. You’ll get the hang of cutting those veggies so they cook evenly, but this will change your life. This post breaks it down really well with some fun combos OR here's a Pinterest search for lots of recipes.

The Ticket system:
I’m not one for giving parenting advice, but THIS.IS.WORKING. My friend told me how its works so well with her kids, and out of desperation for a new way to discipline—we jumped on the ticket train. My kid are actually putting their shoes on when I tell them to, and I like them more than I have in a long time. In short—each child gets 3-5 tickets (we do 4) per day. A ticket is pulled throughout the day if not obeying. If all tickets pulled, they're in their room there rest of the day (or go to bed early). Here's another description, point #9

Kroger Pepperoni + Salami Packs:
I was so excited to discover these in the luncheable section at Kroger.  Nitrate free, hormone + antibiotic free—and my kids devour them. They go on sale often (down to 99 cents) so stock pile and freeze 'em.

Steam Mop: 
This new friend has given me hope for shiny floors again. The dried juice, play-doh, yogurt, weird smudges, and unidentified yuckiness on our floors are gone. (and our bathroom floors actually CAN look clean.) Again, why am I just now learning about this? (I have the Shark Genius)

Egg in a Hole:
I know this is not a new trick (and makes me sound super lazy), but when I DO want to eat an actual breakfast—this is usually how it happens. Set oven on 375, cut hole in bread, crack egg in hole, throw in oven (don't wait until its preheated), set timer for 10 minutes, walk away and assist all the needs of the tiny humans until the oven beeps and you remember you do get to eat breakfast today. Genius Mom move.

Coconut oil spray:
This has got to be one of the best, most helpful health-nut hacks in a while. Spray it on the pans, on the veggies, or anywhere you'd spray that Pam. (here's a link to buy) Also, I have my eye on this melt-your-butter into spray gadget I saw on Shark Tank—but I can’t quite justify $129. But maybe I can?!

Please tell me some of your finds + tips for making your life easier. 
I feel like it's our civic duty to share our genius moves, right? 

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Where God Meets Me {the playlist we have on repeat}

For years, whenever I've been in a funk, discouraged, or stuck in my head believing lies— God has continually used music—full of truth—to meet me where I am and redirect my heart.

It's funny, there have been times my heels have been dug in hard, and there's nothing in me that want's to trust the Lord or look to Him— and its like wa-baam. I hear a song, truth is sung over me—and I straight up can't avoid His kind, gentle draw back to Himself.  It happens all. the. time.

I re-remember The Gospel I've forgotten, and that Jesus is near and is good. 

EVEN if it doesn't always seem like it in that moment—somehow when I hear truth, I start believing truth—and slowly start trusting Jesus in whatever junk I'm in.

Worship take my eyes of me and puts them on Jesus—and it changes everything. 

So when the walls of our house feel like they're caving in, I'm getting stuck in my head over something, and the kids (and I) are getting bratty—we crank that music on, truth is sung over us, and I swear our home is different. 

So below, I wanted to share some of my favorites with you. The songs that my family are probably sick of me playing—but songs The Lord has so met me in lately.

I hope they are so encouraging to you where you are!

11 Grace-Filled Tips for the Goal-a-Phobic

If you haven't set any goals this year (or are rolling your eyes at the thought of it), I totally get it.

For years, all the New Year's turning-over-a-new-leaf and be better, try harddo all the things talk made my throat close up a little bit.

All of us with the big ideas and low follow-through (raise your hand type Bs) KNOW 3 weeks into January, we're going to start falling off the wagon and wish we'd never made the dumb "resolution" in the first place.

So instead, We. Do. Nothing. Just keep on keep'n on. May try a few new things here or there, but nothing too crazy. Because we haaaate feeling like a failure. (everyone does)

Until recently, that was ME every year. But thank GOD, through lots of wise men and women, I'm learning HOW to be intentional with my time and energy, and that I sure as heck don't want my fear of failure keeping me from growth and some purpose God's got for me (Ephesians 2:10).

I know, the word intentional is so overused (I think its because we all know we stink at it), but jeez, when I'm not intentional— I spin my wheels and feel like my only purpose is to just get. through. the. day. without my head falling off.