.my new planner.

Each year, I look forward to buying myself a new planner.  It makes everything feel fresh, like a world of possibilities awaits me.  We’re religious users of our shared Google calendar, but I’m an old-fashioned gal who likes a paper//pencil planner that I can drop in my tote.

For years and years, I used a Lilly Pulitzer jumbo-sized academic planner.  It was fantastic in college and in the early years of my career, but it also felt like it didn’t leave enough margin.  Last year I swapped out my standard LP planner for an Emily Ley Simplified Planner and I fell in love.

I’ve been a long time lover of Emily Ley and her Simplified message.  I own and have read all of her books many times over and we both look forward to our bi-annual ruthless declutter challenge.  We’ve adopted her mantra of best, favorite, necessary and it has changed so much about our home and its functionality.  It felt natural to try out one of her Simplified Planners last year and I eagerly re-ordered a new Simplified Planner for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Simplified Planners come in several versions (weekly vs. daily and academic year vs. calendar year).  Last year I decided on the Academic Weekly planner and this year I made the upgrade to the Academic Daily planner.

Here’s a look at how I used my Weekly Planner:

Prior to a new month beginning, I’d check our family’s Google Calendar and import all of the information into the monthly spread in my planner.  Our Google Calendar houses our meal plans, our daily comings and goings, and (of course), the all-important football schedule.  We also keep track of our social obligations, civic obligations, and church events in our online calendar.

Once all of those things are recorded in my monthly spread, I take each Sunday evening to transpose everything into the upcoming week’s spread.  Coach and I usually do this together with our calendars so we’re on the same page, especially if one of us is working late or Annabeth has a playdate that interferes with football practice.

Having this little meeting on Sunday evenings seems funny, but it’s something we got into the habit of quite some time ago.  We love Sally & Clay Clarkson and in The Life-Giving Parent, they talk about the Biblical importance of numbering our days by taking advantage of having a regular planning date with our spouse (and even our children).  We feel grounded and ready to tackle the week after we’ve had our Sunday meeting.

My new daily academic edition doesn’t actually begin until August, but I foresee myself filling in each “week” from my monthly spread each Sunday evening because it refreshes all the things I have to do in my brain.

I don’t ever want to wish away my life, but I am looking forward to August when my new planner begins.  In the meantime, I’ll stick like glue to my current planner!

Do you still use a paper calendar?



PS:  Emily Ley has tons of free printables!


.packing for disney.

We’re just one of those Disney families.  People love to tease us, but we love it all–the atmosphere, the rides, the characters, the fine dining, and the top-notch customer service.  The top question we’re always asked is, “What do you pack for a Disney World trip?”

Well–a lot of that depends on the time of year.  On our recent Thanksgiving trip, I was able to get away with shorts, a t-shirt, and a pullover with tennis shoes.  At Christmas (just a few short weeks later), we needed toboggans and lots of layers!  Florida is an unpredictable beast with the exception of one thing:  rain.  You’ll always need a rain jacket or poncho at Disney World!


Thanksgiving 2018


Christmas 2018

I thought I’d give you a peek at what we like to pack for ourselves since we’re gearing up for another trip to the happiest place on Earth for our Spring Break.

Before I do anything else, I check out the weather.  TheWeatherChannel.com forecasts for up to a month from the current date.  You can also access yearly averages for specific months in the year.  For me, Disney World is all about strategic layering during the “winter” months and very minimal layering during the “spring” months (and who are we kidding–it can be 95 during the day and 45 at night).

For this upcoming trip, we’re going to be gone for seven days–this means that Josh and I will each pack nine outfits each.  I generally stick with soft t-shirts and shorts when the weather is warmer and I’ll also pack a pullover, my rain jacket, and maybe two pairs of capri leggings.  Josh will pack his daily uniform:  Red Raiders Under Armour gear (seriously…that’s the extent of his closet).  Josh has bad feet and protruding//fallen arches that have never been corrected, so he usually packs several pairs of tennis shoes so he can rotate them out.  I stick with my favorite Nike trainers or my Birkenstock sandals.

Once we’ve got our park schedule made, I open up Google Docs and create a table that includes where we’re going to be, where we’re going to eat, the weather averages//predictions, and what we want to wear.  Nearly everyone at Disney World wears athletic gear, but sometimes it’s nice to throw in a Lilly Pulitzer skort or sweet sundress if we’re dining with princesses or popping over to The California Grill (our favorite).

About a week before a Disney trip, I gather everything we’ll need.  I like to use our guest room as a staging area since we normally just leave the room closed off.  I lay out our suitcases and try to pack as much as I possibly can prior to the night before//morning of departure.  By getting such a head start, I alleviate the typical travel anxiety that I deal with.  The night before we leave, I try to round up all the odds and ends (our travel sound machine, our toiletries, Josh’s CPAP accessories, etc.) and use sticky notes with reminders.  After we get ready, all of those things go into our toiletry cases//backpacks and then we’re ready to go!

Pro Tip:  If we’re driving versus flying, I LOVE to travel with a collapsible hamper to keep in our room.  It’s well documented that we’re both painfully TYPE A, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we unpack our clothing into the drawers in any hotel room we visit.  It’s nice having a little hamper to hold our dirty stuff until we’re ready to pack up to go home.  I pack any clean clothes in the bottom of our suitcases and then pack the dirty stuff on top so I know what to wash and what to just put away.

Are you a Disney Freak?  If so, why?  If not, what’s wrong with you?!?



PS:  Josh always carries a backpack into the parks.  We use it for our snacks, rain jackets, chargers, and diapering stuff.  I usually just carry this little hipster that’s big enough for my phone, some chapstick, and a small snack.

PSS:  This is an oldie, but a goody.  The Vera large duffel isn’t nearly as chic or elegant as the Delsey luggage that everyone seems to favor, but it sure does hold an awful lot!  It has been my go-to travel bag ever since my senior year of college.



.favorite toddler toys.

If you’re a longtime reader, you know that we value quality over quantity.  We’d rather have a few really nice things versus lots and lots of cheaper items.  We hope Annabeth will feel the same way one day and we’re trying to instill this value in her by supplying her with only a few toys of nice quality instead of lots of cheap toys.

Too many choices are overwhelming for adults, so I imagine that it can be even more overwhelming for kids (and especially toddlers).  We have Annabeth’s toys on a rotation:  every week or so we swap out the box of toys for a new one.  It keeps things fresh and makes old toys feel new again.  It also keeps her from being overwhelmed.  We do our best to choose toys that foster imaginative play because that skill seems to be so lacking in so many children these days.

With all of that being said, here are our five favorite toys that Annabeth seems to reach for time and time again:

  1.  Melissa & Doug Fold-and-Go Wooden Dollhouse ($30):  My mom is the queen of gift-giving and she knew that Annabeth would be obsessed with this little dollhouse.  Annabeth loves all of the little furniture and being able to carry it around.  We love that it keeps a low-profile and is easily stored away in a basket when it’s not in use.
  2. Melissa & Doug Examine-and-Treat Pet Vet Play Set ($27):  Annabeth received this from her friend Sahana for her birthday and she LOVES it.  She adores Atlas and our cats, so she has fun pretending to care for the kitty and puppy that come with the set.  She also loves all of the lotion/potion and ointment bottles that she can open and close to her heart’s content.  On the website, Melissa and Doug talk about the importance of building empathy in our children and this play set is designed to do just that.
  3. Disney Figure Play Sets ($12-$30):  Annabeth is a tiny little thing.  At two years old, she clocks in at 21.4 pounds.  She has the sweetest, most petite little hands and gets frustrated when toys are too big or bulky for her to grasp.  We discovered these little sets at Disney World and they have tons of options.  Annabeth calls them her “buddies” and she just loves them to death.  I think it’s because they fit in her little hands so nicely.  We like that they can easily be thrown into our diaper bag or Josh’s pockets and I think they’ll be super convenient when football seasons rolls back around.
  4. Bitty Baby ($60):  I realize it’s a little extreme that our two-year old has an American Girl doll, however, we are talking quality over quantity here!  She has a less expensive baby doll that goes in the camper, but Bitty Baby (named Josie) is our main gal.  We picked her up in Manhattan at the American Girl flagship store, but there’s really nothing better than getting an AG catalog in the mail and ordering something fun.  We like Bitty Baby because she makes gift-giving easy for family members–just order an outfit or accessory and you’re good to go!  Annabeth loves Baby Josie and it is the sweetest to watch her play mommy.
  5. Books, Books, Books (varies):  We began reading to Annabeth before she was bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.  In fact, we bought her first books at Barnes & Noble as a pick-me-up after taking a third very disappointing pregnancy test that told us not yet.  On maternity leave, I read Little Women and A Little Princess aloud to her and during her first summer, Josh read Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone to her cover to cover.  She LOVES books and will happily read and be read to over any other activity or toy out there.  Screen time scares us both, so we gladly buy our girl as many books as we can cram into our cozy home and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.

Do you have any toddler toy favorites?  I didn’t put this on the list, but sidewalk chalk is actually her ultimate favorite toy because our girl loves being outside in the sunshine.



PS:  We’re thinking about a toddle bike for Christmas–shoot me an email or DM if you have a good suggestion!

PSS:  We really liked Color Wonder products until Annabeth left some artwork on our dining room wall–I thought they were supposed to be invisible?!?

.grove collaborative review.

This post isn’t sponsored.  Grove.Co, if you want to sponsor me, hit me up.  I do have a coupon code for a five-piece gift set that can be yours for the very best price:  free!

Maybe it’s just me, but becoming a mother was all about control.  I have very little control outside of my home, but within those four walls, my control reigns supreme.  I made all of Annabeth’s baby food because it gave me a little control over what she was eating and I knew that what I’d made was organic, clean, and high-quality.  I used an Owlet and a baby monitor because both made me feel in control.  Babywise?  All the way because it allowed me to feel like I was proactively in control.

People tease me for looking for natural products–I’ve been told time and time again that it won’t make a difference.  Even if using natural products doesn’t make a difference in the long run, it makes me feel like I’m being proactive as a mother and that makes a difference for my emotional well-being.  Small price to pay if you ask me.

Before we were expecting, we started using The Honest Company as a resource for cleaning supplies.  We kept our subscription for about a year before we discontinued it.  It was a good service, but I felt like many of the products weren’t great at cleaning and I had a backlog of products to use up (my laundry room looked like an Honest Company storefront).  Last fall my friend Braden told me about Grove and how much she loved the natural options that they have available, so I used a coupon code for my free five-piece gift set and got hooked.

Grove Collaborative offers multiple brands of natural cleaners (and tons of other stuff) all in one easy-to-use mainframe.  I have a box setup to deliver every two months and always have staples like Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap and my favorite Caldrea counter spray in my order.  I’ve also found other favorites like a really great detangler for Annabeth’s curls and some really awesome cleaning tools.

The yearly subscription costs $20 and that gives you access to Grove and covers shipping for the year.  My favorite part about Grove is that you can order as much or as little as you want.  With Honest, you were locked into spending at least $35 (or more) per box.  With Grove, you aren’t locked into any particular price point–just order what you need, when you need it.

The order timeline is totally adaptable to your needs and they are constantly offering free gifts to subscribers that they include with orders.  I’ve gotten cleaning caddies, hand sanitizer, chapstick, and scrubbing pads for free just for being a member and ordering things that we needed anyways.  I have found several brands that I really love and I feel good that they are natural and safe for our home.

I enjoy keeping a tidy home and having quality products that smell great and clean well are such an incentive to clean.  I actually find myself looking forward to wiping down our counters at the end of the day because the products smell so amazing!

What about you?  Are you a Clorox and ammonia kind of gal or are you full on crunchy?  I’m kind of in-between, but it feels good to clean my home in a more natural way.



PS:  If you’re Disney freaks like us, this Caldrea Tangelo Palm Frond room spray makes us feel like we’re at our favorite resort slurping down a Dole Whip!

PSS:  I think I’m going to order these next…do you use dryer balls?  Do they really make a difference?


.simplified mornings.


Are you a morning person?  I am.  Early mornings don’t bother me and the thought of laying in the bed until 9:00 or even 8:00 sounds kind of miserable.  Even on Saturdays and Sundays, the latest I can sleep is maybe 7:00.  Even though I don’t mind mornings, they’re still hard, especially with football, Josh’s running schedule, getting all the things done, and getting out the door.  Over the past year, we’ve worked hard to simplify our morning routines because when you take away the trouble of making spur of the moment decisions, life becomes a little smoother.

Before coming up with our morning routine, we identified our pain points.  These ranged from big issues (like being perpetually late) to small issues (like forgetting our gym clothes).  Once we recognized the hiccups in our morning, we came up with easy ways to counteract them.  Spoiler alert:  it all boils down to discipline over regret and if that’s not what you want to hear, you might want to scroll somewhere else.

  1. Pick out your clothes ahead of time.  For us, this varies from week to week.  Sometimes we’re really on top of it and pick out everything we need for the week on Sunday.  Other times, we just handle it each night before we go to bed.  I like a little spontaneity in my wardrobe, so I prefer the latter, but if anything needs to be ironed, it has to happen on Sunday or it won’t happen at all.  It takes literally thirty seconds to pull together an outfit the night before and thirty minutes to try and decide what to wear during the rush of the morning–I don’t know why, it’s just physics or something.  Eliminating a decision in the morning by completing it at night simplifies your day significantly.
  2. Pack your bags at night.  Pack your lunch and stick it in the fridge.  Pack your tote and stick it in your car.  Pack your gym bag and throw it by the door.  Again, the physics that cause these things to take seconds the night before and ages during the morning aren’t to be understood by us mere mortals–it is what it is.  Discipline over regret means you can hit your snooze and rest easy for those glorious extra nine minutes because you know all the things are already packed and taken care of.
  3. Drink some water.  The first thing I do when I wake up is drink a giant glass of water with a capful of Bragg’s ACV in it.  It wakes me up and helps me focus.  I use it to wash down my vitamins and then start in with the coffee or tea.  Americans don’t drink enough water as it is, so give your dehydrated morning brain the gift of a little hydration.
  4. Make your bed.  I talked about this a little in an earlier blog post, but we wholeheartedly believe in the power of having a made bed.  There is no greater treat than crawling into a freshly made bed at the end of a long day.  It takes us less than a minute–give it a shot for a week and see how you feel!
  5. Invest in yourself.  If you aren’t rushing around trying to make all the things happen while fighting against the physics that seem to work against the human race in the morning, you will probably find yourself with a little extra time on your hands.  I’m serious!  Use this time to invest in yourself and fill your cup.  It’s a great time to do your devotional and prayer time while enjoying a cup of coffee.  You can jot some things down in your gratitude journal.  You can have an actual conversation with your spouse.  How you invest in yourself is totally up to you.

What is your morning routine like?  Could you see yourself applying any of these disciplines to make life a little easier?



PS:  The second I wake up, I slap on my Apple Watch.  I can’t stand not closing all three rings and the sooner I put it on each day, the sooner I get them closed.

PSS:  I just started using this coffee creamer and it’s SO good.  No carbs, no sugar, and it’s dairy free!

.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.



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!

.blogs I love.

Even though I haven’t been the best at updating our blog, I do read a lot of blogs.  Here are some of my favorites:

  1.  Pretty Neat Living


Technically Jen’s blog, Pretty Neat Living, is more of a segue for her YouTube channel {also called Pretty Neat Living}, but she is such a great resource for beauty secrets, organization tips, holiday planning, and baby stuff {that’s new}.  When we were moving, I watched so many of her videos about home organization and her holiday prep videos are fantastic.  I love her product reviews the most, because she takes a really objective approach to whatever she’s reviewing.

2.  Southern Curls & Pearls


Caitlin is a Southern gal with a fantastic sense of style.  She posts really regularly and has really pushed me to think outside the box of my basic black wardrobe.  She’s really plugged into what sites and shops are having great sales and her hair is fantastic.  My most recent favorite post is her haircare routine.

3.  Jones Design Company


I’ve followed Emily’s blog since its inception and I love her vulnerability and her many crafty projects.  I’m not crafty in the least, but even I could manage to make these little flower pins.  My co-teacher and I are obsessed with her Emily font and use it for almost everything and her home decor tips are really tasteful and simple.

4.  Emily Ley


I love Emily’s products, especially her Home Base Binder and her Contacts book .  I also love her Weekly Top Ten and her Simplicity Series.  Emily is really pro-women in a way that is inspiring:  we should only focus on what matters most.  She’s also a blast to follow on Instagram because she has a really sweet sense of style and her babies are adorable.

5.  Classy Girls Wear Pearls


Sarah Vickers truly embodies that classic, East Coast style.  She and her husband, Kiel James Patrick are fantastic to follow on Instagram.  Sarah has a more subdued style than Caitlin, but I’ve gotten tons of outfit inspiration from Classy Girls Wear Pearls.

What about you?  What blogs are you currently following?  Obviously I lean more towards design and lifestyle blogs, but I’m open to suggestions!



PS:  this is Josh’s favorite blog.

I also love this Disney blog, because we’re obsessed.

I am so ready.  So, so ready.


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}.

photo 4

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?




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:

photo 2

New Year, New Goals {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!




Mopping Solution 101

Though I love my Swiffer Wet Jet for its convenience and easy-to-change cleaning pads, I do not like the cleaning solution that’s meant to be used with this system.  It’s bad for kitties, I don’t care for the lingering Febreze scent, and I don’t feel that it kills germs efficiently.  Instead of wasting money on the expensive refill bottles, I make a simple solution that cleans well, is safe for kitties and babies alike, and disinfects the old fashioned way.

To “jail break” a Swiffer Wet Jet refill container, you’ll need a small saucepan of boiling water and a thick dish cloth.  To begin, place the refill container twist-top side down into the boiling water for 1 1/2 — 2 minutes.  Remove and use the dishtowel to carefully twist the lid off.  You’ll hear a suction sound–that’s just the seal breaking.  You may have to repeat this step once or twice before the lid comes off completely.

Once the lid is off, combine four cups of hot water with 1/2 a cup of white vinegar.  I also added a few teaspoons of dish soap {I like this brand} to cut the vinegar smell.

To use your new cheap & chic mopping solution, simply twist the cap back onto the container and attach to your Swiffer Wet Jet.  It cleans like a dream and according to Good Housekeeping, white vinegar is 90% effective against mold and 99.9% effective against bacteria.