If there’s any outward thing that reflects and affects the state of my heart and mind, it’s the home. When my house is overly cluttered, it makes me feel more overwhelmed, and when I’m struggling to organize my thoughts, heart, and mind I have a hard time keeping tabs on the home. It goes both ways.

the state of your heart/home

This week’s Embracing Self-Care topic is peace in the home, and boy is that something I long for. Some of the chaos in my home is out of my control– kids being rambunctious and loud at times and well, childish, isn’t something I can’t avoid in this life season (and in our small home).

But there are definitely ways that I can contribute to the peacefulness in our home.

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Clear the horizontal spaces

This has been challenging for me. My husband and I have both been growing towards a simpler way of living in recent years, but we are both battling a propensity towards clutter, sentimentality and saving everything. I learned about the power of clear horizontal surfaces from one of my favorite (and sadly no-longer-updated) blogs, Small Notebook.

I like how Rachel is practical about it: “If it seems unrealistic to clear off every horizontal surface, clear the main surface in each room. When you have clear surfaces, your room is ready to be used. You can come in and set down your drinks and popcorn bowl on the coffee table. You can eat dinner at the table without sitting next to the paperwork. Your bed is ready for you to stretch out on it. The room welcomes you. It’s not a place to hold your stuff, it’s a place where you can live.”

counter before and after

She especially emphasizes workspaces and kitchen countertops: “We often treat the kitchen counter as a storage space, but it’s supposed to be a work space.” So I’m working on that.

Ongoing laundry

I used to wait all week and then plow through the laundry all at once. I thought that made my life easier, but really it just made more work for my weekends.

Now I try to do at least one complete load in every 24-hour period. Sometimes that means I start a load right before bed and throw it in the dryer the next morning, or if I’m unmotivated at night, I’ll start it first thing in the morning and the switch it a bit later.

I’m still terrible about folding and putting away, but thankfully my husband often picks up the slack for me there.

Soundtrack

I like to have music on in the background as much as possible. Sometimes if I forget and things get intense, just putting some tunes on will cut through the tension a bit. We have a variety of playlists for different moods, seasons and times of days, and I’m always trying new music as well. Have I mentioned how much I love Spotify lately? Plus, I like the idea of raising kids with eclectic music tastes.

Open-door policy

It might sound chaotic, but honestly, maintaining an open-door policy actually brings peace to the hearts of this family of extroverts. Part of our family mission statement is the goal of cultivating an open, laid-back, inviting atmosphere that reflects who we are as a family.

Close friends and family know that we don’t require notice if they want to stop by and we love having friends and family over for meals or to hang out. Gigi has a neighbor girl over right now, and is thrilled to have a friend to play with (and I’m getting to write a blog post in peace… win-win!).

As with the other areas of self-care we’ve talked about, the first hurdle is identifying what works for us before we can put anything into practice. These are just a few of the areas where I’ve been able to practically bring a little peace into our home.

jane austen quote

I encourage you to read through my friends’ posts this week, as they tackle other aspects of home life and techniques which I didn’t go into (such as meal planning, having a set but flexible rhythm, lighting candles, and more).

Beth at Red & Honey

Emily at Live Renewed

Krissa at More Than Mundane

Mindy at This Crazy Wonderful Life

Stacy at The Delightful Home

Leigh Ann from Intentional Grace

Next week I will be part of promoting an exciting bundle of eBooks and more all focused around homemaking. There are loads of products included that will be practical, inspirational and helpful in bringing more peace in various forms to the home. I’ve already shared some details about this in my newsletter and I’ll be sharing more here on the blog soon!

What are the key components to a peaceful home for you?



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Spring break!

by gidget on April 16, 2014

in life in general

Pardon my silence around here… it’s spring break, and we’ve been in the throes of potty training with a certain little one.

When learning something new, it's always nice to have the encouragement & companionship of a sweet friend.  #pottytraining

 

This week’s Embracing Self-Care post will be a bit late, but hopefully by tomorrow it will be up.

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10 on 10: April 2014

by gidget on April 11, 2014

in life in general

I’ll return to the weekly surf report and three little things next week. This week I’m linking up with Rebekah as I share a handful of beauty bits from my day yesterday.

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Good morning!

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Signs of spring at our CBS class.

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Fro-yo for lunch? Yes, please!

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She savors sweets treats.

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color.

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Our first bloom on the sugar snap pea bush!

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My new favorite spot in the kitchen/dining area.

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Four years ago today, we brought this guy home to our forever family. What a blessing. We love him so. (Also, hi, Amanda and random photobombing mustard guy!)

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“Chockit cake,” anyone?

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The most amazing s’mores spread I’ve seen yet at a beach bonfire– with toppings such as: milk & dark chocolate, PB cups, bacon (!!!), salted caramel and the giant marshmallows & organic grahams to boot! Booyah! Our community group peeps rock.

ten on ten button

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This week’s topic for the Embracing Self-Care series is sort of a biggie. It’s probably the biggest, in fact. If we’re not taking care of ourselves spiritually and physically, there literally is nothing left in us to care for others. It’s also the most constant work-in-progress category for me.

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Physical health

I’m very casual about exercising– maybe too casual. I was an athlete growing up and (thankfully) I still have the general physique of an athlete (although an athlete who’s birthed and nursed two babies), so when I do work out there’s a lot of muscle memory that helps me out.

By and large, my exercising has consisted of carrying and chasing babies/toddlers/kids for the last seven years. I’ve gone through seasons where I did regular gym workouts, CrossFit classes, gone surfing, and/or taken long walks, but nothing super consistent.  Now that I’m done having babies and am thirty-three, it’s probably time to get some kind of regular routine going. ;)

As for diet, I’m a primal-ish eater, although the emphasis on the ish has gotten stronger in the last few months. I could stand to be a little more disciplined with my eating again. Sleep is something that I’m working on as well. My goal is to go to sleep at 10:30 and wake up at 5:30– I’m getting closer to that, but it’s really hard for me to get to bed on time, especially because David is a major night owl.

Plan of action for self-care:

I really do want to take care of this vessel that God has given me. I want to be energetic enough to take care of and play with my kids, and even if I end up with some random health problem eventually, I want to know that I did what I could to keep myself as healthy as possible. I also want to set a good example for my kids of taking care of my own body.

My springtime goal is to workout at least three times a week: ideally I would do a park workout once a week and do this really cool (free!) workout tailored especially for (but not limited to) getting in shape for surfing called WaveShape two evenings a week. I also want to start doing squats or push-ups or sit-ups throughout the day. When summer hits, I’ll have to re-evaluate since I’ll hopefully be surfing and walking more.

Spiritual Health

There are a few disciplines that really help me feel like I’m tracking well with the Lord. These are areas where I constantly need to be mindful of or they will easily slip away from me.

First, is my morning time with the Lord. This is a vital part of my spiritual healthy. I wrote a little bit of detail about this part of my life a few years ago, and that post is still relevant and descriptive of how I basically like to do things.

If you’re feeling the pull to waking up early but needing help and encouragement, I can’t recommend enough the free eBook Maximize Your Mornings by Kat Lee and the HelloMornings community that grew out of that eBook.

Speaking of community, I also can’t say enough about the benefits of being immersed in encouraging, inspiring, authentic community. I see a direct correlation to my being connected to the body of Christ and my feeling spiritually healthy. A couple of resources that may encourage you in this area are my 31 days of intentional community series and my PDF prayer calendar for praying for those around you (free for newsletter subscribers).

embracing self-care: physical and spiritual health

Here’s where I need to grow: prayer

I’ve been feeling the Lord imprinting on my heart that prayer is a discipline I need to focus on more and spend more time doing. The season of life I’m in is a challenging one and I need to be really leaning on Him being more intentional about praying, specifically for my own heart in parenting, and also for my kids’ hearts to be softened and for their growth and development.

Time in creation

Being outside, especially at the beach switches on a big wave of peace in my heart and really tunes my heart to sing His praise. Prioritizing time at or near the beach doesn’t feel indulgent to me anymore because I know that it refreshes me spiritually, and oddly enough makes me a better mom. I encourage you to figure out what you can do or where you can go for that feeling of refreshment, the place where you take a big sigh and go, “ah, my happy place.”

It’s been such a good exercise to take a good, hard look at the physical and spiritual aspects of my health and determine where I need to be more disciplined and how I can best take care of myself. Remembering to do this regularly can only help me to be a better mom, wife, and friend.

How’s your health? Where do you need more discipline or growth? What disciplines come easy to you and which take more effort?

You can visit the other Embracing Self-Care hosts today, too!

Their individual posts for today’s topic will be linked up in the linky, or you can view their whole series by clicking the links below.

Beth at Red & Honey

Emily at Live Renewed

Krissa at More Than Mundane

Mindy at This Crazy Wonderful Life

Stacy at The Delightful Home

Leigh Ann from Intentional Grace



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park workouts: kids play, moms workout

It can be really hard for me to fit in exercise time. I’m not a runner, and now that my kids are a bit older and less inclined to stroller rides, long walks by the beach aren’t as practical. I did CrossFit for a while, and I really loved it, but it’s expensive and challenging to get to classes because of family scheduling.

But a couple of months ago, a few friends and I began meeting up and experimenting with a new system of working out. Maybe this is something you could try, too, if you’re looking for a way to exercise amidst being a mom.

park workouts: kids play and moms work out

Park workouts: how they work

My friends and I meet at a brand-new park late morning, after I’ve done some school time with Gigi. If we have time, we let the kids play at the playground for a bit.

Then, we walk down (kids ride or scooter) to the really nice baseball field– it has fake grass which is great because no one gets muddy.

We park the bikes and scooters and go in the field, and shut the gate, setting up camp in the outfield– a picnic blanket and some toys, like balls, books, coloring stuff.

It’s a huge enclosed area, so the kids just get to run free– they play imaginatively with their friends, hang out in the dugouts, hide in the soccer goal, kick the ball around, eat snacks, etc, all while we pull up a workout found on Pinterest usually, and get started.

Sometimes the kids follow us around, and occasionally the little ones cry if we try to run around the field, but for the most part, they occupy themselves and we get to work out together.

It’s all about figuring out what works for you. We just happen to have a great, new park with a field like this. We’d like to get in a weekly routine for doing these, but sometimes our schedules just don’t match up.

But whenever it does work, it’s golden: mom gets in a good workout and some (even better) good conversation, and the kids get to play and wear themselves out with friends.

I’m just starting to get some workouts pinned to my Get Fit board on Pinterest. Do you have any good workouts pinned you could share with me? How do you fit in workout time?

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I’m linking up again with Amy of MomAdvice to share three little things that are making me happy this week!

Then, going back to my Simple Homemade roots (where I did a weekly weekend links post), I’m going to start sharing a weekly list of favorites with you– links to articles/posts, books, music, etc. that I’m enjoying that week. Welcome to what I hope will become a weekly tradition that you enjoy… and that I stick with!

I’m calling this series Weekly Surf Report because it will include lots of places around the web you can surf on over to if you’re interested in what I’m up to, and well, because my blog is named after Gidget after all. ;)

3 Little Things making me happy

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1.  Baseball! Our family’s favorite pastime is back and it always feels like we’re back to normal mode during the baseball half of the year. It’s the soundtrack of summer to me, and anything summery warms my heart (literally and figuratively). I’m happy to have Vin Scully‘s voice on in the background for a few hours most days, between April and October.

2.  ¡Español! We just got Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish for Gigi through our charter school, and I’m thrilled to see her drilling away learning my second language. I feel like I’ve been a slacker (like the shoemaker’s kids not having shoes?) not teaching her more Spanish sooner, and I think she’ll really enjoy having a special computer program that she gets to use.

3.  Feeling loved… and heard. A few weeks ago, David started a new job. As he’s trying to get to know the guys at work, he’s gone out to lunch more than normal, and even experienced a department BBQ and a catered meeting. At one point I (half-) jokingly commented something like, “Must be nice! I wish my company would take me out to lunch!”

Well, sure enough, last night David asked me if I had plans for lunch and proceeded to tell me that “the company” was going to deliver lunch to me. Such a sweet, thoughtful (and playful) thing for him to do for me, knowing how I “work” long hours each day with the kids. Gigi was pleasantly surprised when I shared my pizza and salad with her while the others naps today. What a treat!

Weekly Surf Report

  • I’ve had this post by the Nester, on having guests when your house isn’t perfect, in my OneTab for a couple of weeks and finally read it, coincidentally the week after we had houseguests in our imperfect little home. I love what Myquillyn says (about the same friends we had visiting actually!), “So basically, the Simple Guru of the Internet is coming to my unfinished, fixer-upper, chaotic house. She actually came a few months ago, when our house was in even more chaos. So that helps me remember the words I write in this post. Because I too, have to remember that THIS is so worth it and that Tsh can be trusted with my imperfections. I know she can.”
  •  My friend Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas wrote a lovely defense of Fanny Price, and upon finishing my second reading of Mansfield Park, I wholeheartedly agree with her: “Developing a friendship with Fanny is slow going for the reader, but it’s worth it. She’s like the quiet girl in class that you didn’t talk to until halfway through the year and then turns out to be your new best friend. She’s the friend you can talk to for hours and who really listens. She remembers to call on your birthday and brings over a meal when there’s a crisis. Fanny knows that charming people only care about how others perceive them, not about what’s really inside.”
  • Speaking of Mansfield Park, you can join us for the second live chat of the book club next Wednesday, April 9th at 6pm PST.
  • We’re reading Persuasion next, and I’m also starting a few new books on my Kindle: How She Does It by my friend Anne, Mom Seeks God, and Baby Steps (which looks to be very funny) by a friend from high school (!).
  • I had a guest post this week over at Pick Your Portion, where I wrote about Psalm 5, and my experience with spending the early mornings with the Lord.
  • I also wrote a post over at The Art of Simple about the thrilling topic of insurance. ;) Seriously though, selecting insurance has been a definite learning curve, and I share in that post some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years.
  • Don’t forget - you can still share your blog post or comments with what you’ve been doing with your pins on this month’s edition of Pinterest to Real Life.

What’s making you happy this week?

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I’ll be honest, this wasn’t my most productive month ever. I had high hopes for things I pinned and wanted to actually do, but just didn’t get to.

pinterest to real life 2014 button

At home

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We rearranged our bedroom a bit this month– I love the motivation that having houseguests gives to really get things streamlined and organized. My sewing desk and all that that entails moved into our master bedroom closet and David’s dresser and our TV moved out (we’re going to mount the TV on the wall).

I finally got something I’ve been really wanting, to organize my thread collection (I bought it on Amazon), and I also moved my baby food jars of supplies to a shelf I recently got from my mom that my grandpa made. Now to tackle that huge mending pile under the desk.

I was really inspired & encouraged by this post by Ann Voskamp to bring more gratitude into my children’s lives. So we’re working on that.

In the kitchen

I tried a fun experiment one week in March– I slow-cooked for four days in a row. It definitely seemed to save some money and time. I try to use my slow-cooker at least once a week normally, and definitely will continue to do so.

Here are the recipes I made that week: 

In the schoolroom

I found a couple of neat printables this past month. 

What have you been up to this month? Made any good new recipes or completed any projects?

Affiliate links included. Thank you for your support!

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I loved the great response last week when I wrote the intro for this series. Not only do blog comments make me happy, but the truth is that it really helps knowing that I’m not alone in my need for taking a good look at how well I take care of myself. Today we venture into figuring out what our needs are, based on our personalities and the season of life we’re in. I hope you’ll join me in this valuable self-assessment. 

ESC_GGH

Only in the last few months did I discover my Meyers-Briggs personality type. It has been eye-opening to say the least.

I can distinctly remember a time when my childhood best friend bringing a book about personality types to the campground where my family was staying trying to quiz everyone on their personality types. This was probably during our college years, and I was thoroughly uninterested. I took Psychology 101 as a general ed requirement, but literally don’t remember learning anything that I found valuable.

I glossed over personality types like most science-related topics– I just didn’t care enough to see what it was all about.

Fast-forward 10-15 years, one marriage, and three kids later, and I can’t get enough of analyzing the personalities of myself and my family. It’s not about feeling pigeonholed or claiming my weaknesses as cop-out for responsibility or valuing psychology and science over God the Creator.

No, it’s quite the opposite actually.

Figuring out my personality has allowed me to embrace how God made me, identify strengths that I can embrace and weaknesses that I can work around and through, and praise Him once again for His amazing creativity and the intricacies of the human mind that He spoke into being.

So, what personality type am I, and what does it have to do with self-care?

A huge part of taking care of myself so I can take care of others is knowing my own needs. Being aware of what makes me come alive, what drains me, and maybe why I’m wired to react or respond in certain ways equips me to be able to set boundaries and take better care of myself.

personality and self-care

I myself am an ENFP. Here are a few ways I’ve been learning about how my personality relates to my self-care needs:

  • Supposedly, I know how to relax. So now I just need to embrace that, and not feel guilty about “scheduling in” some down time for myself (like my friend Stacy did, and my friend Anne, who schedules in an hour of reading for herself each day).
  • Saying yes. ENFPs are very sensitive and care deeply about other people’s feelings. This can cause them a lot of stress sometimes: people often look to them for guidance and encouragement, and the ENFP cannot always say “yes.” This probably contributes to my bad case of FOMO. I never want to miss anything and I want to make sure everyone else feels good. I probably need to try saying “no” a bit more often.
  • Difficulty with follow through: this is the biggee. I chose my word for the year before I even knew this was a known issue for ENFPs– I’ve always known that I’m a procrastinator with lots of unfinished projects– but now I feel a bit better better, knowing this is just a part of who I am. Now I can be more intentional about fighting against that.
  • Of course, related to that is: I’m curious, enthusiastic and full of ideas. I just need to harness those, and implement doable plans to keep going with them, and to keep things interesting. Accountability is good for me, too.
  • Routine (with margin!)People with the ENFP personality type lose interest quickly if their project shifts toward routine, administrative matters. They may not be able to stop their mind from wandering off. ENFPs loathe being micromanaged or restrained by rules and guidelines. They want to be seen as highly independent individuals, masters of their own fates. Even though it’s hard for me, I need a schedule routine rhythm that keeps me on track but also leaves room for spontaneity, and creativity, and rest.

Practically speaking, here’s how I’m going to focus on meeting my own ENFP-ish needs:

  • Usually, I can fill up my rest tank by reading. That means giving myself 30-60 minutes of reading time during the day energizes me to persevere through the afternoon/evening witching hour.
  • Really consider whether I want to say “yes” or “no” when opportunities present themselves.
  • Along with that one, I need to create/stick to a doable rhythm that leaves room for margin so that I’m not overscheduled– I’m in a pretty good groove with this type of framework right now, just need to be more intentional about the margin part. I borrowed Managing My Day to Day from the Kindle lending library and I’m hoping this is a good tool for me.
  • Write down ideas and goals- I’m loving the WorkFlowy app, and I also use Evernote to keep track of things. Recently I started Voxing myself verbal notes, although I need to go back in and revisit those, rather than forget about them.

Also of note, I’m an extravert for sure, but motherhood has pushed me more towards the middle of the spectrum, and I definitely need alone time to chill (and take a break from the needs of those little people in my life). For this reason, every afternoon includes naps for the little ones and “quiet play time” for Gigi where she spends some time occupying herself alone (in my room usually), and I get to tidy up, eat in peace some days, rest, read, or work.

*I learned about SMART goals from a book I’m reading, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine– SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.  This book is really timely for me, and I’ll share more about it when I finish.

If you don’t know your Meyers-Briggs personality type, you can find out here for free in 10-15 minutes.

You can visit the other Embracing Self-Care hosts today, too!

Their individual posts for today’s topic will be linked up in the linky, or you can view their whole series by clicking the links below.

Beth at Red & Honey

Emily at Live Renewed

Erin at The Humbled Homemaker

Krissa at More Than Mundane

Mindy at This Crazy Wonderful Life

Stacy at The Delightful Home

Leigh Ann from Intentional Grace

Taking a little while to analyze how God made you, and how to best meet your own needs does not mean you are purely navel-gazing or being selfish. I’d love to know in the comments what your MB type is if you know it! What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself recently?

And now it’s your turn! I can’t wait to see what you guys share about knowing yourself and your needs.



Affiliate links included. Thank you for your support!

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April Goals

by gidget on April 1, 2014

in life in general

I’m a dreamer, a visionary– not a very good goal-setter, or goal-achiever (in fact, I’ll talk more about this in tomorrow’s Embracing Self-Care post). It’s time for me to get serious, make a few goals (I’m starting fairly small) and do my best to follow through with them.

april goals

1. Read through my memory verses every day (I mentioned this last Friday, and I’m making it official now).

2. Finish 2 books.

3. Send 2 cards by mail.

4. Go through kids’ clothes.

5. Have a garage sale.

Linking up with (and inspired by) The Tiny Twig. Been inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy in this area lately, too– especially her measuring system.

Do you set goals? Use any good systems for tracking them? 

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3 happy things

Last week I saw Amy from MomAdvice write up a fun little post showcasing three little things that were making her happy– I loved it, and decided to jump in this week and link up with her!

I’m keeping it simple today… here are three little things bringing me some happiness this week.

1. Fresh cut roses– my sweet neighbors are visiting family in Brazil so I decided to take advantage of a few of their blooms rather than letting them fall apart on the bush. I just love roses in mason jars.

2. I’ve been really enjoying Ann Voskamp’s memory verse plan this year. I don’t have all of them memorized yet (although many are familiar) but I’m sticking with reading through them a few times a week at least. I want to do it daily– that’s a goal I want to make for the next week.

3. Our new field guide to California came in the mail today and it gets me super excited for getting out into creation and exploring (and identifying!) the beautiful things God has made.

I hope you have a great weekend!

What’s making you happy this week?

Affiliate links included. Thank you for your support!

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