Summertime Toneout

I am not a big fitness guru and workouts like "CrossFit" frighten the heckles out of me.  I've trained for marathons and I love being out on the road running with my friends until my legs feel like jelly.  I needed something I could do at home when the weather wasn't cooperating or my schedule was packed.  Something in the comfort of my pajamas when necessary.

I am excited about the daily "toneout" I've created for myself.  I've been developing this for a couple of months and being the designer I am, I needed to make it purdy.

Here is my Daily 20 Toneout:
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Squats
20 Second Plank
20 Side Crunches
20 Second Plank
20 Scissor Kicks
20 Push-Ups
20 Sit-Ups
20 Calf Raises
20 High Kicks
20 Tip-Toe Plie Squats
//Bonus Cardio //
20 Minutes of Dancing (or walking, jogging, biking, chasing my kids, etc.)

Without the cardio included, this workout generally takes me about 20-30 minutes.  Totally do-able with my kids around all summer!  If you are just beginning an exercise regimen, I think I'm supposed to tell you to talk to your doctor first, so do that.  You can begin this workout at your own pace starting with only 5 reps of each exercise and work your way up to more!  Try to do the exercises one after the other... the professionals tell me that's a good thing.

Feel free to print, pin, and share my Daily "Toneout" plan but, please give credit where credit is due.  Please and thank you.
Have a great workout... YOU CAN DO IT!

Confessions of a food hater.

Dear Abby,
I am a work at home Mom who hates the entire process of cooking. From the meal planning to the  shopping list right through to the dinner table, I hate it.  I know it is my duty to provide and prepare healthy meals for my family but, I just don't enjoy the process, at all.  I would much rather be scrubbing my toilet than deal with dinner. Oh, does that sound extreme? Well, that's my truth and I'm sticking to it.

I have tried couponing, various meal planning systems, and the ever-loving crockpot.  I have three of the most picky eaters on the planet so when I spend hours planning, preparing, and serving a meal only to have my kids stick up their noses to the food served, I'm spent.  I am a vegetarian, my husband is a total carnivore, and there is no telling when or what my kids will eat.  Hiring a full time chef is not in the budget but, definitely the first thing we will buy with our lottery winnings.

I see friends, bloggers, instagram feeds, facebook posts, and Pinterest pins of these other incredible women providing healthy meals for their families every single day and I want to be like them... really I do. I just can't stand being in the kitchen for longer than I have to [are you hearing me stomp my foot and pound my fist on the kitchen counter?]. Listen, I've got years ahead of me before I'm being fed daily meals in a retirement home (totally looking forward to my days of endless Bingo, by the way).  I know I have to cook so, I want to enjoy it!  How can I change my attitude and perspective about food?

Your advice is greatly appreciated.
Crying In The Kitchen (and it ain't just the onions)


Confession.  I have too many apps on my iPhone.  I occasionally go through and get rid of apps I don't use and re-arrange my folders.  I love discovering new apps that help me get organized, keep me (and my kids) occupied during wait times, and streamline my workflow.  The best way to learn about a great app is word-of-mouth.  You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine!  Here is a snippet of some of my recent favorites:
Goby  We found this app last weekend while looking for something to do as a family.  I'm sure this isn't new to the app world but, it was new for me and I am going to be using this A LOT this summer.  I am sure I haven't even discovered all of its capabilities.  This app simply helps you find fun things to do!
Open Caching by Garmin.  We did this last weekend with the kids and it was soooo FUN.  They loved it!  We found 4 locations and discovered 3 treasures.  We will be exploring new places and searching for hidden treasure with this app.
Return Guru.  I am not a big "returner".  I can't keep track of all my receipts and coordinate them with my items to be returned.  I have lost a lot of money from not being able to return things.  Goodwill loves me for this but, my checkbook does not.  This is a very practical and easy to use app.  All you need to do is take a picture of your receipt with your phone.  Return Guru does the rest!  It processes the image and adds it to my personal list of receipts.  I used the app yesterday to return a sweatshirt and it was easy peasy!  No more clutter from saving all those receipts!
Instagram.  This is a great app for sharing pictures with friends.  I love taking pictures of my everyday life.  Its fun to see what my friends are up to during their day. As well as discover new places and friends across the globe.  The app allows me to share with other media platforms (like facebook & twitter) and it has some great filters.
Phototreats.  This is currently my favorite app for adding fun filters to my photos.
YouVersion Bible.  This app has opened a whole new world for my quiet times.  I use this app on Sundays and for daily studies.  I love having different versions at my fingertips and an endless library of studies to choose from.  It also allows sharing on social media, bookmarks, note taking capabilities, and highlighting are just a few of the options.  Great Bible app!
Logos Quiz.  I love this game!  A friend of mine shared it with me the other day and I was instantly hooked.  It is amazing how many logos are in our minds...try it, you'll see what I mean!  So, that is just a few of my favorites.

Tell me the apps you must have on your device or have made your life simpler...

Milk Bubble Flower

I find such joy in the most simple details. God knows this about me. The other day I was drinking my milk, taking my vitamins when all of the sudden, I see this milk bubble flower.  I was instantly filled with joy.  Look at how perfectly the bubbles are sized and arranged!  I simply adore flowers.

I knew in that moment, it was a special delivery from the Lover of my Soul.  He's spinning the world but, He took time to deliver this perfectly simple, milk bubble flower.  It makes me giggle at the thought of Him reaching down to place it in my glass, knowing it would make my morning special.

Listen Ladies, we were created to be cherished. God is completely head-over-heels, in love with us!  You are beautiful and He adores you.

May your day be full of simple blessings.

Chore Charts

Raise your hand if you use chore charts.  We do and we love them!  They are a great tool for motivating, teaching responsibility, and helping kids learn basic household tasks.  Over the years we have gone through a variety of charts and lists, each one helping our kids learn at different stages.

These charts have also been a great way for us to teach our kids about financial responsibilities.  We choose to call their rewards "commission" instead of an "allowance".  The real world does not give you a paycheck just for showing up to work, you need to earn it.  We learned some very good tips from Dave Ramsey in his Financial Peace University program about raising financially responsible kids.  In the end, teaching our kids household tasks and responsibility is a win-win, wouldn't you agree?

I sat down today to work on our "Summer Responsibility Charts" and decided to share our most recent Responsibility Charts with my blog readers.

This is our current "after school responsibility chart".  This worked so well!  The kids knew what was expected of them each day after school.  Once they completed their responsibilities, they were able to have free-time until dinner.  Adding in the "extra chore" choice was to give them a little more control over their tasks.  This made the dinnertime/bedtime scramble a lot less chaotic.  It left us with more family time at night for reading together or playing games.
I printed it out and stuck it on the fridge.  Everyone knew where it was and checked it everyday (until they had it memorized!)  Another idea is to put it in an 8x10 frame and use a dry erase marker to cross off the tasks as they are completed.  Then you can see which chores are being done and wipe it clean for the next week!

The following  will be our chart for this summer.  This is completely flexible, it IS summer after all!  If we are gone for the day, then the responsibilities don't get done, plain and simple.  This at least gives us a tiny bit of structure during the break and keeps their brains learning (workbook, reading, etc).  It will also make the transition back into the Fall schedule much easier.
I hope these charts have been helpful and inspiring!  I have many other versions that we have tried in our family and that I have made for other families.  If you are interested in me developing a chore chart for your family, please feel free to contact me through ink & mouse!  Comment in this post and let me know if you use a chart system in your house and what has worked well for you.