.january favorites.

Now that January’s 850 days are finally over (why is January so long?), I thought I’d review my favorites for the month.  As always, the categories include food, clothing, product, media, and Annabeth.

Food:

  • Breakfast Bowls.  This is our super simple go-to meal on busy weeknights and it’s a crowd pleaser.  We scramble up eggs, fry some thick-cut bacon, and build a mountain with the breakfast goodies + avocado, cheese, sour cream, and fresh salsa.  Annabeth goes nuts for breakfast bowls and we’ve added this into our weekly rotation (usually on Tuesday nights since those are especially busy).
  • Siete Grain-Free Chips.  We’re about 98% grain-free in our household.  I say 98% because the occasional cheat happens (yesterday we had Bojangles biscuits for breakfast and it was glorious).  This means no chips and salsa which is just kind of sad.  These grain-free chips are so good.  I sneak them in my bag when we go out for Mexican food and we eat them as a guilt-free snack with Daddy’s homemade salsa in the afternoons.  Grain-free life is not easy…in fact, it can be downright inconvenient.  Regardless, I feel and look my best when I don’t have grains in my system (and the patches of eczema that have cropped up thanks to yesterday’s cheat are proof that cheats need to be few and far between!).  These chips are great and make life easier.

Clothing:

  • UA Recovery Gear.  Just before Christmas, Josh did a leg workout that was so above and beyond what he normally does that he was complaining about it for days.  I love him, but the man can stub his toe and be incapacitated for a week.  I was annoyed at him hobbling around our home for days on end because of a choice he made, so in a majorly passive aggressive move, I researched recovery sleepwear to put in his stocking.  It’s pricey, but I found some on Amazon on a Deal of the Day and you can also find it at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s pretty readily.  My passive aggressiveness paid off because those doggone things actually work.  I don’t understand the science behind it, but if it keeps man flu symptoms from entering my home, I’ll pay any price.
  • Nalgene Bottles.  Not really clothing, but I always have a Nalgene in my hand, so I’d consider it an accessory.  I try to drink at least two Nalgene bottles of water during my work day and one in the afternoon/evening.  We both have Nalgene bottles that we picked up at our favorite store in the mountains, but you can find them pretty much anywhere.  They have a lifetime warranty–last summer my brother’s lid shattered and Nalgene immediately replaced it (the bottle was at least five or six years old).

Product:

  • Kristin Ess for Target.  The woman behind Lauren Conrad’s amazing hair has a whole line of haircare products at Target and they smell divine.  I’ve been using her purple shampoo for about a month now and I’m truly obsessed with it–I only wash my hair once a week so I need whatever product I use to be with me for the long haul and it does the trick.  I’m hoping to pick up some more of her stuff to try especially since Josh is so in love with the scent.
  • Jade Roller.  I turned thirty last year and have since become a slave to my skin.  I’m all for aging gracefully, but the Lord invented products to make that a little easier.  I drink tons of water, avoid sugar and grains, and use a quality line of skincare products, but this jade roller is so great for working my lotions, potions, and serums into my skin and it feels so good.  I keep mine in the freezer and roll it up my neck towards my hairline and it instantly takes care of any puffiness.  I feel like it would also be great to use for headaches.

Media:

  • Mary Poppins Returns.  I loved it so much I saw it twice in theaters.  I love Emily Blunt and I feel like she did the role justice.  It was super touching and the music was fantastic.
  • Make Something Good Today.  This book was so good.  I cried and laughed and read parts aloud to Josh and then cried some more.  I love watching Hometown because Erin and Ben Napier seem so genuine and this book only solidified that.  If you live in a small town (like me) and want your little corner of the world to be a better place, definitely pick this up.

Annabeth:

  • Castles & Crowns.  If you have known me for more than five seconds, you know I’m 100% traditional and also 100% extra.  Shopping for smocked outfits for Annabeth is one of my favorite things to do.  I discovered Castles & Crowns late last year and I have been so happy with the quality and with the prices of their products.  Seriously, y’all, they have SUCH good sales!  Josh was pretty resistant to smocked clothing until he saw a toddler who was dressed like a teenager, so now he’s all on board.  If you’re in the market for something sweet, give this brand some love!
  • Buddies.  Shocker:  our kid is obsessed with Disney.  Most toddlers are, but Annabeth didn’t really stand a chance.  There will be no Dreamworks or other off brand stuff in our home–it’s Disney or bust.  My mom discovered these Disney play sets at Disney World last fall and they’ve become some of Annabeth’s favorite toys.  I think she likes them because they fit in her little hands and she can hide them all over the place.  She calls them her “buddies” and it’s super sweet.  We pick up a set each time we head down to Disney World, but you can also find them online.

What are your favorites this month?  Did you also feel like January was 1,000 days long?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  I’m still so happy with all of our Grove products.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to use this code for FIVE free products (including lots of Mrs. Meyer’s stuff)!

PSS:  Did you have pretty weather last week where you live?  It was amazing to have 80 degree weather in February!

.five secrets to my tidy home.

 

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I wasn’t always tidy.  For most of my life I was the opposite.  Even early on in our marriage, I still had trouble getting dirty clothes into the hamper and I wanted to die every time I had to wash dishes.  Our Tupperware cabinet used to make my head pound when I tried to find a lid to match a specific bowl and instead ended in an avalanche of plastic.  Laundry was overwhelming. I could never develop a consistent routine. I also lived in fear of guests just popping in because everything was in such a disarray.  If you’re reading this and you’re shocked that people would just pop over for a spell, you’re obviously not from the South!

When we moved out of the farmhouse and into our current home, I took it as an opportunity to force myself to be tidy and it actually stuck.  I learned to embrace that outer order brings inner calm. These are the five ways I “tricked” myself into tidiness and became far happier than I’d ever been before:

  1.  Let it go.  Often, it’s hard for us to find a tidy balance in life because we have too much stuff.  I’m far from a minimalist, but nobody needs to hang onto old college textbooks, grungy towels that you’ve been meaning to cut into dust rags, and clothing that no longer fits.  Each year during July and December, we go through our entire home (closets, drawers, cabinets, the garage, linen closets, bookshelves, and toy bins) and ask ourselves what is actually worth keeping.  We use Emily Ley’s mantra of best, favorite, necessary to aid us in making good choices.  When we get ready for a purge, we take it room by room and make it a goal to have one empty drawer, cabinet, or bin in each room.  By only keeping the things that are the most important, most functional, and most sentimental, we eliminate tons and tons of clutter and free up some space to breath.  It usually takes us four to five days to complete the big purge and then we donate everything to a local ministry in town. Now when I need a lid to a Tupperware container, I open the cabinet and find exactly what I need instead of fishing through things that may or may not have a mate.  If it isn’t the best, your absolutely favorite, or 100% necessary, toss it.
  2. Create a routine.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to thrive on routine.  Our current lifestyle of football, football, football means we can either sink with a lack routine or swim by embracing it.  We’re highly scheduled people because we have to be. Our time at home is extra precious because Josh is away so often, so we don’t do a whole lot of spur of the moment scheduling (my favorite excuse is, “I’m sorry.  We can’t. It’s football season.”). We have a morning and evening routine that we follow to simplify our home:
    • Evening:  after Annabeth has gone to sleep (usually around 7:30), we set a timer for 30 minutes and do a whole-house tidy up.  We load the dishwasher, wipe down counters, sweep, straighten couch cushions, put stuff back where it goes, setup the coffee, lay out clothes, pack our gym bags, put away our load of laundry, and handle any lunch needs.  When the timer goes off, we’re done. We light a candle, turn on Netflix, and get comfy. Right before we go to bed, we gather clothing and start a load of laundry.
    • Morning:  each morning before Annabeth wakes up, we do our best to empty the dishwasher, transfer the laundry from the washer to the dryer, make our bed, and pack the car.

These routines are not fancy or complicated, but they make the mad rush of morning so much easier.  Taking the decision making out of the morning makes everyone in my household much happier–we’re ready to focus on the day at hand when the morning is smooth!

  1.  Laundry everyday (yes, every single day).  We produce a significant amount of laundry, especially during football season.  For Josh, there’s a set of running clothes, a set of work clothes, a set of practice clothes, and his “relax” clothes (and y’all, that’s three pairs of underwear for him PER DAY).  I have my work clothes and gym clothes. Annabeth usually just has one outfit of play clothes unless we have something nicer to do. If I let all that laundry pile up throughout the week, it would be the size of Mt. Everest by Saturday.  Saturday is the only day Josh has off during the season, so spending the day washing clothes isn’t how I roll.  Each evening I collect everything we wore and throw it in the wash right before we go to bed.  It’s almost always enough for a full load. The next morning I throw it in the dryer when I wake up and then fold and put it away during our evening routine.  Is it fun? No. But it works. I’d much rather spend ten to fifteen minutes each day doing a load of laundry than hours on a Saturday or Sunday trying to play catch up.
  2.  Make your bed.  It takes us exactly 57 seconds to make our bed.  And yes, I actually timed it. Why do people often avoid doing such a small task each day?  We have made it a habit to make our bed each morning and I’ve actually come to love the 57 seconds it takes–we talk and work together and (most importantly), we know that no matter how awful a day gets or how tired we are once we get home, we get to crawl into a freshly made bed.  It makes our bedroom feel put together and if our bedroom feels tidy, we’re less likely to drop our clothes next to the hamper instead of in it. If I’m feeling fancy, I use some of our favorite linen spray on the sheets.
  3.  Friday reset.  Each Friday afternoon, I take 45 minutes to an hour for a Friday reset.  I sweep, wipe down surfaces, briefly scrub the bathrooms, throw out expired food in the fridge, plump up pillows and cushions, rotate Annabeth’s toy bins, and put away anything that needs to be tucked away.  I wash a load of towels, light some candles, and then take a deep breath and relax. We usually go out or order in on Friday evenings (and during football season Annabeth and I either eat with Mama and Daddy or she eats at team dinner with Coach and I grab a hotdog), so I don’t have to worry about making a mess in the kitchen cooking supper.  Taking this very short amount of time to tidy up means my weekend is free to enjoy with my family and even though I’m usually super burned out on Fridays, I embrace the knowledge that if there is outer order in my home, I will experience an inner calm in my heart.

*Bonus:  hire good help*  Full disclosure, we have a wonderful lady who helps us around the house every other Monday.  She’s our favorite person and if we could adopt her or convince her to move into our spare bedroom, we totally would.  She is one of the sweetest and most thoughtful ladies I’ve ever met and she does an excellent deep clean two to three times a month.  We’re not fancy people–just ordinary teachers–but we determined a long time ago that we’re okay with budgeting money for such a service each month, even if that means we have one less date each month in order to pay for it.  If you can find the room in your budget, definitely consider hiring someone to do the deep cleaning so you can enter maintenance mode during the in-between times.

*Additional bonus:  if your kids live there, they should clean up, too*  Annabeth doesn’t have many toys.  This is by design. We focus heavily on quality over quantity and as a result, she has a few things that are really nice that she really loves.  I could get on my soapbox about how too many choices is overwhelming, but we’ll save that for another day. We bought a chore chart for Annabeth and at 23 months old, she can clean up her toys, tidy her room, put away her books, and put her shoes in the appropriate basket.  No, we don’t beat her. No, we don’t coerce her with candy. She is just highly motivated by the chore chart and about how excited Mommy and Daddy get when she earns her stars. Even when we’re somewhere else like my parent’s house or church, we can mention her stars and she begins cleaning up.  Later, we’ll offer her a small allowance for handling her chores, but for now the stars are all she needs. If your kids live in your house, they have a share in keeping the space functional and neat.  Good habits take a lifetime to build, so it’s best to begin as you mean to continue!

So those are my secrets.  The core of a tidy home revolves around taking the guesswork out of day to day living–I know things will be neat because my routine causes them to be that way.  I’m sure that sounds incredibly boring, but our homes should be our oasis from the outside world and nobody’s idea of paradise includes mountains of laundry or lunch boxes that sat overnight in a hot car because you neglected to take care of them.  By investing a small amount of time each day into creating a tidy space, I reap major rewards by feeling at peace.

XOXO,

Court

PS–we have this little robot vacuum that we have scheduled to run each day about an hour before we get home.  It isn’t perfect, but it picks up pet hair, dirt, and debris pretty well. I clean the filter every other day and usually put a few drops of essential oil on the filter once a week.  Bonus: this thing is an Amazon Deal of the Day at least once every two months and you can find it as low as $132!

PSS–we use Grove Collaborative to order all of our favorite natural cleaners.  We love this counter spray, this dusting formula, and this is my favorite dish soap.  Cleaning up isn’t quite as much of a chore when you’re using things that make you happy. Use this link to get a free Mrs. Meyer’s gift set and caddy!

.what I love: September 2018.

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I literally had to request a new password login for WordPress.  It’s a little depressing because writing is so life-giving and I genuinely enjoy planning content and writing, but graduate school is a demanding mistress.  One day when I’m totally finished, I hope to blog at least once or twice a week–we’ve even thrown around the idea of starting our own YouTube channel just for the heck of it, but until I’m done with research, data, research, data, APA, and more data, I’ll have to settle for little pockets of time when my coursework is turned in, my husband is busy, and my toddler is sleeping.

Here are my favorites from September (PS, can y’all believe it’s October already?  And that it’s still 95 degrees everyday?):

Food:

  • Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips.  These are perfect when I throw them into grain-free pancake mix.  Josh and I are both dark chocolate lovers, but the milk chocolate chips are great, too.  I like that these don’t have that sugar alcohol aftertaste that you run into so often with sugar-free products.  And seriously, nothing is cuter than Annabeth Shealy when her face is covered in butter, melted dark chocolate, and bits of pancake.
  • Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers.  I’ll be honest, I miss the convenience of grains.  My favorite lunch is a tapas-style snack plate (cheese, a little fruit, some olives, cured meats, and some crispy, delicious crackers).  Sometimes you just need some crunch that doesn’t come from a pork rind!  These crackers are SO good–we love all the flavors.  I usually pack a handful of these to have with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge.

Clothing:

  • THML Tops.  I’m a boutique kind of gal.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll totally shop at J. Crew and Old Navy and Belk, but I love finding unique pieces at boutiques.  My recent favorite transitional pieces (because it’s still miserably hot here in Georgia) include lots of THML tops paired with white jeans and boots.  I love the intricate embroidery, rich colors, and the fact that most of them don’t require any ironing.  They also look great paired with a cardigan or green army jacket.
  • Tieks.  It’s usually around this time a year that I start wearing my Tieks on a daily basis.  In February we spent a week in New York City and I wore my Tieks nearly everyday and felt totally comfortable (walking 25,000 plus steps a day while pushing a stroller).  I sized up when I bought mine and have been super pleased with them.  They’re pricey–like, made my stomach hurt when I clicked “Purchase” pricey, but I have literally lived in them.  When you try to run a Google search for negative Tieks reviews, you won’t find many.  They’re a high quality product and the company has great customer service.

Product:

  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation.  Seriously the best foundation I’ve ever used.  It’s definitely a heavier foundation…if you’re looking for something lighter, the Water Fresh Double Wear is great, too.  I’ve been using Double Wear since May and I don’t foresee myself swapping out for anything else.  Bonus:  Estee Lauder counters will color match you and whip up a 10-day sample to try for free!
  • Clinique Moister Surge Intense Moisturizer.  My friend Cassie brought me a jar of this moisturizer when I was hospital after delivering Annabeth.  I hadn’t used Clinique in years, but this stuff is the best.  It’s so moisturizing that it makes my skin feel full, but it isn’t greasy.  I have super dry skin so I like the “intense” version of this moisturizer.  I also love that a little bit goes a long way–last year I only went through three jars.

Media:

  • Jack Ryan.  We’re huge fans of The Office and this show (featuring Jim Halpert 2.0) was fantastic.  Josh has started reading the Jack Ryan/Tom Clancy novels in order because this show was so intense and amazing.  It felt like they literally ripped the plot from the headlines.  Bonus:  it’s only eight episodes, so you can totally binge it in one weekend.
  • Audible.  Audible is an audiobook subscription available through Amazon.  For $15 a month, you get one credit to use towards any audiobook in the Audible library (there are thousands). We’ve actually had it a long time and forgot about it, so we had a ton of credits built up that we’ve been putting to good use!  We each have about a 20 minute commute, so we listen as we drive and we also listen while we run.  Sometimes I listen to whatever I’m “reading” while I get ready in the morning or while I’m cooking dinner.  So far I’ve “read” The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (FIVE STARS), The Coincidence of Coconut Cake (FOUR STARS), America’s First Daughter (FOUR STARS), and I’m currently listening to Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.  Josh has been listening to Patriot Games and I noticed just yesterday that he’s already downloaded the next Tom Clancy book in the lineup.
  • The Greatest Showman Soundtrack.  Amazing.  I literally cry every time This is Me comes on.  We haven’t even finished the movie yet (I KNOW), but we listen to the soundtrack almost every day.  We especially love listening and dancing around before bathtime and Annabeth’s bedtime routine.

Annabeth:

  • Squeaker Shoes.  They’re super obnoxious, but they make Annabeth so happy (and it’s easy to keep up with her in a crowd).  I tend to stick to the classics when it comes to dressing Annabeth, so we’re not really into Converse or super trendy items.  These little Mary Jane shoes are cute and she loves wearing them.  When Josh took them off of her last night, she cried and demanded, “Shoes ON, Daddy!”
  • Dohm White Noise Machine.  Annabeth is a fantastic sleeper, but she’s pretty particular about her sleeping arrangements.  She’s a creature of consistency so she likes her blackout curtains, her Owlet (she can now request it by name), her Halo Sleep Sack, and most importantly, her Dohm.  I’m not quite sure how it works, but it sounds like a really loud fan, but it doesn’t blow any air out of it.  I actually don’t mind when we stay in a hotel room with her because I like sleeping with it, too.  It’s adjustable and has an on/off switch (most white noise machines that have timed options only run for ten hours and she sleeps for twelve hours each night).

Is it still super hot where you live, or do you actually get to enjoy some autumn weather this time of year?  We’re heading to the mountains next week and it’s supposed to be much cooler–I can’t wait!

XOXO,

Court

PS-Football season has been both wonderful and exhausting.  I’m dreading the end of it, but I’m also really looking forward to it.

 

.merry christmas.

Merry Christmas from Josh, Courtney, Annabeth, & Atlas!

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Josh, Atlas, Annabeth, & Courtney

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Annabeth sitting in my childhood rocking chair.

We’re spending the day with family before attending Christmas Eve service at church.  After that, we’ll head to Mother and Daddy’s house for grilled cheese, tomato soup, Scrabble, and A Christmas Story.  Traditions are so important to our family and I cannot wait to share this fun and festive time with my best girl.

We hope you have a safe and blessed holiday season!

XOXO,

Court

 

.nightly routines.

nightlyroutine

By nature, I’m not a great sleeper.  I hear all the creaky noises and I notice when my cats are wandering the house with their noisy little paws.  We live near a main highway, so the people driving by at 2:00 a.m. blaring something abysmal {think Florida Georgia Line} automatically become my least favorite people.  And the coyotes…well, they sound like screaming babies that have entered some kind of Mad Max/Hunger Games alternate universe.

Tomorrow is my first official day of summer vacation and I plan to use my time wisely and really focus on my self-care {more on that later this summer}.  I believe that a major component of self-care comes from developing a nightly routine that lets my body know it’s time to unwind and relax.  Here’s my plan:

1.  Eliminate screen time.  Just run a search on screen time before bedtime and you’ll see that researchers agree that it’s pretty bad for you.  Scrolling through social media or even reading on your iPhone or iPad make it harder to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.  Not getting enough sleep can trigger a lot of other health problems like obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.  My ultimate goal is to flip my phone to the “Do Not Disturb” mode around 8:30 every evening in order to let my body know it’s time to get ready to sleep.

2.  Remove my makeup.  I’m pretty religious about washing my face.  I love how relaxed it makes me feel when I combine hot water with the soothing scent of Noxzema {yes, people still use Noxzema}.  I use this moisturizer and I’ve been really pleased with the results.

3.  Slather up!  I have super dry skin and pretty bad eczema, so my moisturizing routine has to be pretty strict.  I use this lip balm every night and I love that it doesn’t get sticky throughout the night.  I use this moisturizer on my hands, elbows, and feet and I usually mix in a little Lavender essential oil.

4.  Diffuse something relaxing.  We use our home diffuser every single day.  Each night around 7:30 or so, we start diffusing a nice mix of Lavender & Stress Ease.  Just the scent of the oils lets my body know that it’s time to relax.

5.  Have a cup of tea.  My current nighttime teas are Tension Tamer {especially with a drop of Thieves!} and the old standby, Sleepytime.  Having something warm {and caffeine free} is yet another way to let my body know that it is time to unwind.

6.  Read a book.  I’m talking a real-life-can-still-smell-the-printer’s-ink-honest-to-goodness-book.  This summer I’m focusing on re-reading series that I’ve always loved like Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables.

I am a creature of routine, so I know developing practices that help me relax will ultimately result in better self-care for both myself and Josh.  I’m really hopeful that this is a routine that can stick!

What about you?  Do you have a nightly routine that works for you?

XOXO,

Court

P.S.

These nightgowns from Target are my favorite.  The fluid knit feels so soft and stays cool all night.

These linen sheets from Restoration Hardware are on my future splurge list.

These are two great examples of bedtime routines:  link & link.

.family supper club.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable, blessed Thanksgiving.  We ventured down to Augusta to celebrate with my Mama’s family.  After losing Mama’s stepfather and mother within 48 hours about two weeks ago, it was wonderful to be surrounded by family.

When Josh decided to go back to school in order to gain a teaching certificate, we knew our already hectic schedule would morph into this crazy monster.  I knew our precious quality time was going to be pushed aside for things like term papers, teacher work samples, and endless hours of studying for seemingly endless certification tests.

As someone who craves quality time, I was dreading Josh’s foray into graduate school.  By nature, I crave the quiet and the familiar.  Grad school + football season + wrestling season does not equal the time I desperately need at home with my husband and family.  Over manis and pedis, I confided in my mother about my concerns and she {as usual} came up with a most brilliant plan:

familysupperclub

Family Supper Club.  The concept is simple:  plan and cook meals with the people you love.  This isn’t meant to be a nightly dinner party or anything particularly fancy.  It’s a way to spend maximize quality time while minimizing both stress and grocery bills.  It also eliminates leftovers altogether, something that makes Mr. C very happy.

Our Family Supper Club has been going strong for nearly a year now and I cannot say enough about what a blessing it is.  Even during our most hectic weeks {those weeks where football season and wrestling season intersect…nightmare!}, we were able to sit down to home cooked meals instead of relying solely on fast food or take away.  Some weeks we rely heavily on Mama and Daddy and other weeks they rely heavily on us.  In the end, we typically have four to five nights plus a Sunday dinner together.

I cannot stress what a blessing my Mama’s little idea has been.  Instead of worrying over what to cook seven nights a week, I might cook three nights a week at a maximum.  It has also been a wonderful incentive to follow our chore chart each day to keep our house “company ready.”  Is it a perfect system?  No, but it’s a lot better than getting home at 7:30 in the evening and guiltily eating fast food.

plan

1.  Find Your People.  Does Family Supper Club have to be strictly for family members?  Absolutely not.  Find a core group of people that you love and you’re all set!  Our FSC consists of the “core four” of Josh, Mama, Daddy, and me.  Sometimes we include my Grandma and Pop in the mix.  Other times, my cousin Clay and his wife Lauren join us.  The most important thing to remember is that if you don’t want to cook for a group of twelve, keep it small.

2.  Plan.  This was the part of FSC that was most difficult at first.  If you don’t plan together with your group members, someone might screw up {or get their feelings hurt!}.  Mama and I sit down each Sunday either in person or via text to discuss our comings and goings for the week.  All members of the core four have access to one another’s Google Calendars so we know exactly when Josh and Daddy have fire meeting, I have cheer practice, or Mama has a board meeting.

After we’ve established the who and where, we plan the what.  I typically cook on Mondays and Wednesdays while Mama takes Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We keep Fridays and Saturdays open for date nights or whatnot.  Sometimes Mama and I go grocery shopping together and sometimes we don’t.  Regardless, we always have a plan in place before the work week begins.

3.  Prep on Sunday.  One of the best things we’ve ever done in our marriage is to go to the market and prep all of our meals on Sunday.  Anything that needs slicing, dicing, chopping, or marinating gets done on Sunday.  We also prep our breakfasts {chia seed overnight oats} and lunches {usually grilled chicken, a complex carb, and a roasted veggie} at the same time.  It’s such a relief on our scheduled nights when I can come home, play with Atlas, grab the gallon-sized Ziploc bag labeled Monday, dump the contents in a pan, and call it a day.

4.  Cook!  It doesn’t have to be fancy!  I love spending time in the kitchen and I especially love trying new recipes, but I’ve learned to save that experimentation for our summer holiday.  Mama and I both utilize the Crockpot quite often and we each have a handful of healthy, filling recipes that are both tasty and easy to prepare.

5.  If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry a hen.  Just kidding.  Working out the schedules of a family in the 21st century is a little bit like origami.  Sometimes our most well-planned weeks fall to the wayside.  Sometimes life just happens.  Don’t let one bad week ruin something that is ultimately meant to simplify your life.

Would you ever start your own Family Supper Club?  Or have you already got a similar system in place that works?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy Holidays!

XOXO,

Court

P.S.  My favorite recipe ever.

This makes washing up after FSC a breeze.

If you want to follow our FSC exploits, follow our hashtag #familysupperclub.

My Favorite Things: Cookbooks

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a great cookbook.  I keep them in stacks on my nightstand and read through them like my favorite novels.  The best recipes are like love stories, full of both richness and sweetness and hints of bitter.  Here are my top favorite cookbooks:

1.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking by:  Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, & Simone Beck

As a worshiper at the throne of the Great Julia, this was an easy investment.  The recipes are detailed and methodical and Julia is just so terribly charming.  I’ve read both volumes from cover to cover several times over.  Order here.

Favorite recipes:  Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic, Chicken with Mushrooms, Port, & Cream

2.  Foolproof by:  Ina Garten

The Barefoot Contessa is my favorite after school program {no, really}.  Ina is one of my top role models {a political analyst turned home chef!} and when my brother-in-law gifted me Foolproof for Christmas, I instantly ignored all my other presents to read through this gorgeously detailed book.  Purchase here.

Favorite recipes:  Perfect Poundcake, Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and Straw & Hay Pasta

3.  Nigella Kitchen:  Recipes from the Heart of the Home by:  Nigella Lawson

All cocaine charges notwithstanding, Nigella Lawson is an awesome home cook.  Every recipe is equal parts comforting, accessible, and sexy.  She’s delightfully entertaining to watch and she’s equally as entertaining in writing.  Many of the recipes in this book are quick and tasty.  Order here.

Favorite recipes:  Curly Pasta with Feta, Spinach, & Pine Nuts, Indian Roasted Potatoes, & Slut’s Spaghetti {no, really}

4.  It’s All Good by:  Gwyneth Paltrow

Set aside any preconceived notions about Gwyneth Paltrow & her goop lifestyle before reading this book and you’ll adore it.  The salad section alone is enough to feed us for the entire summer and the Captain goes nuts for the different dressing recipes.  This cookbook is especially helpful to anyone with Celiac disease or food allergies {like me}.

Favorite recipes:  The Best Chicken Soup Ever, Mexican Green Goddess Dressing, and Brown Rice Pasta with Tuna, Olives, Capers, & Parsley

5.  The Pioneer Woman by:  Ree Drummond

Technically I don’t own any of Ree Drummond’s cookbooks because I frequent her blog so often.  What’s more shocking than how comforting and simple her recipes are is the fact that so many people hate The Pioneer Woman.  Like, I’ve had other women harass me online because I’ve pinned her recipes before.  I think it’s because she’s not a trained chef and she sometimes takes shortcuts or maybe it’s because she’s built a profitable empire.  Either way, women tearing down other women online is not cool.  Ree is personable and her recipes are easy to follow.  You can access her recipes by clicking here.

Favorite Recipes:  Cajun Chicken Pasta, Salisbury Steak {no, really}, and Sunday Night Stew

What about you?  What are your favorite cookbooks?  Do you have shelves full of them like me or do you download ebooks on your iPad?

XOXO,

Court

Resolution Update

It seems a little silly that we’re already updating about our resolutions, but I made a crazy amount of progress on our 52-week organizational challenge today.  I drew five very satisfactory lines through weeks one through five.  You read that correctly.  Today I spent the day completely overhauling my kitchen and even though it’s 10:00 at night and I’ve got horrific dishpan hands, the feeling of satisfaction is so worth it.  It felt great to pull out everything, sift through the growing pile of unwanted junk, and sanitize everything.  I even had Josh pull the stove away from the wall so I could scrub up everything that had been hiding {greasy dust is the worst}.

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My cheerful kitchen which coincidentally mimics a lot of Pantone’s 2014 color choices.  Follow me on Instagram @courtneycallicutt!

What about you?  What resolutions did you make?  Have you already broken any?  What keeps you motivated?

XOXO,

Court

P.S.

We’re prepping for the Daniel Fast along with my parents, so Mama and I will be updating with fast-friendly recipes.

I’m super excited about Laken’s 14-Day Healthy + Wellness Challenge {it’s not too late to sign up}.

I was up to my elbows in this cleaning set today and it was amazing.

We have the world’s laziest puppy:

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New Year, New Goals {2014}

2014

In the past we’ve always posted our goals separately.  Men and women are truly different beasts and as such, our goals typically differ.  This year we’ve made a joint decision to build new habits in order to make our home a more successful place to love and live.

2013 was tough.  We were away from home far too much {for this introvert’s taste}, we ate out far too much, and our home was far too messy.  We both coach during the fall {Varsity Football Cheerleading for me & middle school wrestling for Josh}, and our home just sort of spiraled out of control when the two seasons overlapped.  Laundry was done on an as-needed basis, deep-cleaning never happened, and clutter piled up at an astonishing rate.  Coaching isn’t going away and neither is our busy schedule {or the traveling}, so last night the Captain and I sat down and listed our daily, weekly, and monthly goals to keep our home running in ship-shape {his words, not mine}.

Building good habits takes time and we’ve reached the point where we’re ready to make a commitment to change.  We’re implementing a 52-week organizational challenge, keeping each other accountable to our daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and making a commitment to making us better.

Here are a few of our weekly goals:

  • Wipe down the counters each evening.
  • Put away random clutter each day.
  • Cook dinner each evening.
  • Prepare lunches the night before each workday.
  • Stick to a consistent laundry schedule {wash, dry, fold, and put away clothes each Wednesday & Saturday}.
  • Follow the chore chart.

Here are a few tools I’m using to keep me organized:

The Simplified Recipe binder {on sale for $18, buy here}.  My MIL gifted me this binder along with the organizer sheets for Christmas.  I’ve already started filling it with menu ideas, shopping lists, and old family recipes.  Everything that has to do with food is in one place and as an added bonus, everything is pretty.

The Simplified Life Binder {starter kit, $54binder, $24}.  I love this product because it’s easily personalized to tailor-fit your needs.  I’d recommend buying the binder separately and purchasing the refill packs that suit your needs.  I love these dividers, the t0-do sheet lists, these goal-planning sheets, and these monthly/weekly calendar sheets.  You can also access tons of free printables for Emily Ley here.

The best part about blogging is the accountability we’re burdened with.  When we talk about a goal or plan, we feel extra pressure to succeed.  In addition, when we fail, we strive for transparency by being honest about it.  In an effort to stick to our 52-week organizational challenge, we’ll be updating you each week via our Instagram accounts.  Just check for the hashtag #52Callicutt to see our progress.  In addition, we’ll continue talking more about our daily, weekly, and monthly goals and how we’re planning to build better habits.  In the end, our ultimate goal is grace, not perfection.

What about you?  What are your goals for 2014?  Are you losing weight?  Hitting the gym?  Let us know in the comments section!

Happy New Year!

XOXO,

Court