Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Blog News...

Throughout the last few months, I have really been thinking and dreaming about what I want this blog to be and where I would like it to go.  I have so many ideas, options, and possibilities that sometimes they overwhelm me because I want to do it all at once.  I am human and as the ideas pop in my head, I just want to share them all.  That would leave this blog scattered and completely random.  While that is how it all started for me, I realize that it might be best if I start to do some focusing and behind the scenes work to make my blog neater, a little more organized, and a little more intentional.  So that will be my work over the next few weeks and months.  
I always want my blog to be it's best so you will see some little changes as I get back to my roots at A Glimpse of Normal.
Way back when A Glimpse of Normal started back in 2012 this was how I welcomed you:
"Welcome to our blog.  This is where I will be posting about our life and the events happening in it.  You never know what you will get as my mind rambles from thought to thought.  We are a pretty simple family, just trying to live our normal, ordinary, everyday life while serving the God we love.  We home school, garden, cook, bake, play games, love movies, attend church, read, study the Bible, and so much more.  Out of these things are sure to come stories to share, successes and flops to relate to, things to learn from, and maybe some insight or words of wisdom, you just never know.   Come and join us as we start a new year and have many new adventures."
This is still what I want my blog to be about.  Because this is still real life to us.  We may have moved into our dream barn, we might be a little older, maybe but maybe not wiser, and we still homeschool.  This will continue to be the core of this blog.  Just A Glimpse of Normal everyday life whatever that means.

I also plan to continue doing book reviews because I do love to read.  When I find great books, I want to share them with you.  I plan to continue posting recipes as I get them written up.  I do love cooking and I am probably not sharing anything new with you, but I do like to share recipes we love.  I plan to do more baking this summer and hope to get up some posts about that.  You will also find me posting about crafts and DIY projects because this is my sanity.  I love crafting and DIY and I certainly have enough projects around that barn that I know I want to do that should keep me busy until about 2050 or so, give or take a few years.  I will continue to post about homeschooling because its what we do and how we do school.  I also want to post randomness that pops in my head - fun lists, activities, ideas...you really never know.  Serious stuff too because sometimes life is just serious.  

I just really wanted to let you know that as I organize my content and old posts and start adding new ones, you might notice a few changes.  Nothing big just more behind the scenes stuff to make this blog look cleaner, fresher, and more organized for you.  You might have already noticed that I have a form that you can use to sign up for the blog so that you automatically get a notification when I add a new post.  That is just an easy way for you to find me and for me to get out content to you.  I plan to continue working on that side of my blog too and hopefully send out some free pages, coupons, and more through that sign-up form.  Basically today, I wanted to let you know that I am not going anywhere and while I might be doing some behind the scenes work on the blog, I will also be getting more of the good stuff out there to you.  If there is anything you would like to see me post more about, would you let me know?  I would love to hear your feedback and hear about what you would like to see more of.  It does help me.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Review of Made For This by Jennie Allen

I don't know if you are like me and you are trying to figure out God's plan for your life, but that is where I am at.  Currently, I am a homeschool mom of two, but I know that position won't last forever and I am on the lookout for what will come next.  That is why I was interested in reading and reviewing Made For This: 40 Days To Living Your Purpose by Jennie Allen as a part of the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.  I don't know what God has for me after homeschooling, but I do know He has something and I was hoping this book would help give me some insight into how to know what is next.
Image result for jennie allen books
Made For This: 40 Days To Living Your Purpose by Jennie Allen is a 40-day devotional that is designed to be an interactive journey that guides the reader to answer the question "Why Am I Here?."  The hardcover book that I received to review has 276 pages and is divided into four main sections.  The sections are Part 1 - The Prayer, Part 2 - The Call, Part 3 - The Threads, and Part 4 - The Future.  The book also includes an introduction to the book and sections on How to Find God, Acknowledgements, Notes (these are the reference notes for each day's devotion), and an About the Author page.  Each section has daily devotions in it that you read and work through in order from day 1 to day 40.  Each daily devotional starts with a Scripture reference and then moves into a story that supports the Scripture reference and the topic of the devotion.  Sometimes the stories are Bible stories and sometimes they are personal stories from the author or people she has worked with.  These stories are meant to teach the reader as they work through finding their purpose.  After the devotional, there are questions to respond to.  These questions are designed to make you think in depth about the concepts you read about that day and how they might apply to your life.  Then there is a "Read and Reflect" section that has you read a selection from the Bible and see how God worked in that selection.  There are also questions for you to work through after this section too.  These questions are designed to help the reader figure out "Who are you Lord?" and "What does God want for your life?"  As the reader gets deeper into the book, the questions change a little to dig even deeper, but every part of this book is designed to help the reader figure out why they are here and how God can use them.

Jennie Allen, the author, designed this book to help you dig deep into why you are here and what God's purpose is for you.  She is familiar with this because she has been there and done the work to figure this out in her own life and then she took what God has called her to do and began teaching other women.  She wrote this book Made For This as a guide for you to figure out where God can use you.  Overall I enjoyed reading this book and I would highly recommend it if you are trying to answer the questions "Why Am I Here?" and "What is God Calling Me To Do?."  I have gained a lot of insight from the book and definitely plan to read through it again.  I plan to read through it again because even though it says it is 40 days to living your purpose, I think it takes more than 40 days or at least it has for me.  I say this because I often found myself needing to really think through the devotions and the questions that went along with it because this book does challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and truly surrender everything to God.  There were times I needed to process it for a few days before I could move on.  That is why I want to read it again now that I know the format and the deeper level of thinking it requires.  I think the book is accurately described as a journey and I know for me, it will take me much more than 40 days to give it the proper time and thought to seek God's will for me. You can purchase this book to read for yourself here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Unicorns

I have been busy making a new unicorn pillow.  This one was fun to make.  How can making a unicorn not be fun?  Really?  This one was even better because it is for Missy.  She has waited very patiently for her unicorn to be made while I filled several unicorn pillow orders.  So I made her unicorn very special.  It sparkles and is rainbow.  I love that it turned out so cute and fun! 
I love crocheting and sharing my work with you.  Check it out on my blog, A Glimpse of Normal.
I am also including pictures of some of the other unicorns I have made. 


I also decided that unicorn pillows are perfect for my Etsy shop.  Did you know I ventured out and created an Etsy shop?  I decided it was time to figure out what to do with all my crochet work.  An Etsy shop is the answer so that I have a place to list my items.  My shop is a little sparse right now, but I am adding more stuff all the time so keep stopping by. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Stepping Up

I have been quietly working on me lately.  I don't post much about it because when I do, then I put all kinds of pressure on myself to hit some goals or milestones that somehow feel unachievable and then spiral out of control.  Anyone else out there like this?  I can't be the only one.  This year I decided that it would be different.  I can't handle tons of big changes all at once, but I can make some small changes one at a time.
Every one wants to get healthier and I am no exception.  Check out my blog, A Glimpse of Normal, to learn about a few changes I am making.
One major thing I changed was that I gave up soda.  Soda is a downfall and weakness for me.  It is something that I tend to think I can do well with and then I go off the deep end.  So for me, it was easier to just quit, cold turkey.  I haven't had a soda since January 2 and I can say that even though I have craved it a time or two, I haven't given in.  I know soda is full of empty calories and sugar and it is just easier to keep it out of my system.  I have also learned that I really only crave soda when I am sleep deprived or extremely stressed.  Giving up soda has helped me to see this and allowed me to replace this habit.  When I am stressed I chew gum or turn on some music.  When I am feeling sleep deprived, I turn to essential oils.  I like to diffuse peppermint and orange together which are supposed to help with energy.  I will also just sniff the peppermint oil sometimes and that really helps wake me up and give me actual energy versus a soda which just creates sugar crashes.  I drink a lot more water now too.

Another thing I started recently is going to cardio drumming.  My Bestie (love you girl) found a class and asked me to go.  My first reaction was no way, I will never keep up, I am so out of shape, and a hundred other excuses.  Ultimately, I ended up going to class with her on the first night I could.  I was so uncoordinated and out of breath, I thought I wouldn't make it through.  But I didn't die and before I knew it class was over.  I agreed to go back the next week.  I have been to class every week that I have been able to go and I was super excited that this week I was able to go to two classes.  So what do I get out of cardio drumming?  I get a great workout, stress relief from beating a ball with drumsticks, more energy, and my clothes are starting to fit differently.  I am gaining confidence even though there are weeks I still can't keep up, I am building muscles and stamina, and I am having fun working out.  Even though I am still uncoordinated and offbeat in some of the songs and there are times my muscles ache, I love it and will go every time I can.  It is just fun and a great way to sweat out all the stress of the day/week.  If you get the opportunity to try a cardio drumming class, do it!  It might look weird at first, but it is a great way to get moving.

Lastly, I have been working hard to get more steps in.  I wear an activity tracker that tracks my steps and have worn one for a few years now.  I go through periods where I am extremely motivated to get all my steps in and other times, where I just try to get the bare minimum steps in.  I have known for a while now that if I want to get healthy, I need to be consistently moving more.  I decided that I need to do my best to hit my step goal every day.  For me personally, I needed more accountability than that because it was way too easy for me to say "oh well, I get more steps tomorrow."  That is when I decided to bet on myself in a challenge that another blogger put out.  This challenge is on StepBet.  You commit to a step game and bet on yourself for completing it.  If you hit your goals every week, you get your money back, if not you lose and the other players get to split the jackpot.  So I have been hitting my goals because I want my money back.  I will finish my first game this Sunday and I have already joined my second game that will start soon.  If you would like to find out more you can see the second game I will be in by clicking here.  I know that StepBet isn't for everyone, but it is the motivation I need.  It is me taking a chance on me.  Since I have joined these games I have been hitting my step goals regularly.

I know that getting to where I want to be will take time.  I am just trying to change a little at a time to make the changes long-lasting.  I want to be the best me I can be.  What do you do for your health?

Monday, April 1, 2019

April 2019 Menu Plan

This month there will be no menu plan.  April Fools!!!!  The real story is that this month there was almost no menu plan.  Every time I sat down to plan out what was for dinner, I had just eaten so nothing looked good.  Do you do that too?  I can't think about food when I am full so I just had to wait until I was hungry to create this month's menu plan for you.  But never fear, I ended up coming up with a plan and here it is:Do you have a hard time planning out what is for dinner? Come and check out my blog, A Glimpse of Normal, where I have a menu plan all ready to go for you.

  1. Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry
  2. Cheeseburger Soup
  3. Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Chopped Salad
  4. Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole
  5. Grilled Pizza
  6. Slow Cooker Barbacoa
  7. Skinny Turkey Ranch Wrap
  8. Oven Baked Meatball Sandwiches
  9. Hearty Beef Barley Soup
  10. Slow Cooker Carnitas
  11. Shepherd's Pie
  12. Fooled Ya Pizza
  13. Skinny Licious Mexican Tortilla Salad
  14. Quinoa Fried Rice
  15. Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan
  16. Navy Bean Soup
  17. Salisbury Steak Meatballs
  18. BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Bowls
  19. Upside Down Pizza Pot Pie
  20. Mexican Haystacks
  21. Soup and Salad Bar (I'm hosting Easter dinner right after church so it needs to be easy)
  22. Buffalo Chicken Bowls
  23. Italian Sausage Orzo Soup
  24. Cheeseburger Tater Tot cups
  25. Crispy Southwest Wraps
  26. Italian Grinders with Garlic Aioli
  27. Sloppy Joe Casserole
  28. Chicken and Kale Linguine
  29. Copycat Greek Salad (I will add chicken to make it more filling)
  30. Sicilian Chicken Soup
That is what is for dinner this month at our house.  If you struggle to plan out a menu, start with one week at a time.  We have theme nights to help make it easier.  Fridays are always pizza related meals.  Tuesdays are always a crock pot or Instant Pot meal.  Then I branch out from there.  I look at our calendar and see what we have going on and how much time I will have to cook.  That is how I menu plan.  You can follow my menu planning boards for meal ideas on Pinterest like my April Menu Plan Board.  You can find recipes on there for all of these meals, plus extras I have used in the past just in case you want to make substitution meals.  What is for dinner at your house this month?