10 Ways to Lighten a Travel’s Load

10 Ways to Lighten a Travel’s Load

I’ve been planning a trip I have next week.  I am making lists and packing  and finding ways to reduce the amount of “stuff” I take.  I tend to be an overpacker, so I try at least shrink the size of the junk I am carrying.  If I have to have hairspray, then at least I can take a mini-bottle and not my 12″ monster.

I’ve got a few tips that I have learned over the past few years of traveling a lot.  With each trip I figure out something new, so I am sharing it here for 2 reasons: so you can use these tips if you want and so that I will remember them the next time.

travel-tips03

  1. Put supplements in teeny ziptop bags.  I take so many supplements that if I took all of the bottles it would take up 1/3 of my suitcase.  So I use teenty bags and make a little bag for each day with whatever pills I need.  This only takes up a speck in my travel bag.  For this I use a 2×3 bag.Great tips for reducing the amount of stuff you take when you travel!
  2. Pre-prepare your make-up remover.  I love my coconut oil + frankincense homemade makeup remover.  But I don’t need the entire amount for only a few days.  So I swipe a tissue in the remover and fold it up.  I make one for each day then stack them inside a small ziptop bag.  For this I use a 4×6 bag.
  3. Roll your clothes.  This tip has been around for years, but to add to it, I roll whole outfits together so I don’t have to dig around for the separate pieces when I am getting dressed each morning.  It really makes the mornings easier to have them all rolled together!
  4. Pack an extension cord.  This isn’t a reducing tip, but it is such a help and takes up hardly any space that I had to share it. You never know where the outlets are going to be wherever you’re staying.  Having an extension cord makes it easy to plug in chargers, fans, diffusers, whatever.  Plus it gives you a few extra places to plug in.  Just wrap it around the outside edges in the suitcase and it take up no room at all.
  5. Put your oils in sample bottles.  I travel with at least 20-30 essential oils so I need to reduce the size of the load.  If it’s one that I don’t need to put in the diffuser or use in my water, I like to put them in small roller top bottles.  I also get to use my label maker when I do this, which makes me happy.Great tips for reducing the stuff you need to take when you travel!
  6. Use an old spice jar for powder.  I love my powder and don’t want to be without it, but I keep mine in a large container I make it myself with cornstarch and essential oils).  So I put some in an empty McCormick’s spice jar and it’s perfect for travel.
  7. Audiobooks or Kindle.  One thing I love about traveling is getting time to read!  But I also get travel nausea if I look at teeny letters so an audiobook is the way to go for me.  I will have several books ready to start before leaving so I can enjoy them from the first minute!
  8. Take minimal makeup.  If you’re not going to an awards ceremony, leave the heavy makeup behind.  Dump out the old makeup bag and just take the 2-3 things you really need.  In my case that’s concealer and eyebrows.  Without those I look like I’m having a near death experience.  It’s really a favor to other people.
  9. Take a small purse.  I will fill up whatever size purse I have, so I take a small one that will only hold my essentials…money, ID, sunglasses, my phone, lip balm and a few teeny containers of oils.  Anything else I can do without and just enjoy the experience.
  10. Be fearless.  If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t take it!  Do you really need a whole package of batteries?  Or can you just take 2 from the package?  Instead of bringing along your shampoo bottle, put some in a small container that you can throw away once you’re finished with it.  Don’t take a whole tube of sunscreen, squirt some in a small ziptop bag and just use that!Instead of the entire pack of feminine products, count out how many you’ll need per day and just take that.  Those small changes will significantly lighten your load!

I tried to find some other great travel tips online for y’all so we could learn from the pros.  I’m sure there is a lot of useful info out there, but all I could find were super cool people traveling all over the world and experiencing life in a way that I can’t even think about.  Many of these blogs think a great place for a weekend break is somewhere like Morocco when I’m thinking more like hanging out at the nearest state park eating chickfila.  We just have different ideas.  And budgets.

While I am sure there are many great, more down to earth sites out there…great blogs with travel tips that are more my speed, Google wasn’t finding them for me.  Clearly I need to up my game though because I never go anywhere fascinating, unless we can count all of the countries in the back of Epcot.  If we get to count that then I am totally a world traveler!

Speaking of, I do have a post with 9 things you must have if you go to Disneyworld.  And here’s how I did the city of Chicago in one day all by myself!  And if you’re going to conferences of retreats, here’s one that you will like!

If you have more, hop over to Facebook and leave them in the comments….we’d all love to hear ’em!

Never Underestimate the Power of Almond Flour

Never Underestimate the Power of Almond Flour

Yesterday I enjoyed an afternoon snack of almond butter on a slice of coconut bread.  As I was nibbling on my healthy creation I realized that some alien must have taken over my body.  In just 4 weeks I have completely changed my eating habits and I am not hating it or dreading every meal.  I know…it’s a surprise to me too!  Sure, I wrote a whole book that is selling in bookstores all over the country, but that pales in comparison with how hard it was to eliminate sugar (including fruit or any other sweet thing) for an entire month.

Hi.  I’m Lisa and I’m a sugar addict. {Hi Lisa!}

Plus, since April 16th, in addition to sugars, I have also been off of all grains, starchy veggies, dairy and basically anything with a flavor other than bitter.  I’ve eaten things like spinach soup (which made me feel like Popeye), more asparagus, kale, cauliflower, green beans and broccoli than I care to measure.  I got to have 2 eggs each day and you have NO IDEA how much I looked forward to those!  Plus I could eat a small amount of avocado, which in my opinion, was sent straight from heaven.  But then, what to eat it with?  Lettuce?  Mmmmm.

I’ve been aiming at getting rid of the candida (aka yeast) in my body.  And let me tell you….I can FEEL the difference!  The fog brain, rashes, bloaty feeling and fatigue are almost gone.  Although I am still a clutz.  Some of this is just the joy of being me!  I have also noticed a huge change in my moods.  I’m not on the edge of irritability anymore.  That has been my family’s favorite outcome of my new eating habits.  Myself, I am enjoying feeling better.  Oh, and I have lost a few pounds, but honestly that has not been my focus at all.  It’s just stevia-sweetened, dairy-free icing on the grain-free cake!

This diet started with a 7-day cleanse, then you move on to phase 2 which is a little more lenient (but just a LITTLE).  The cleanse phase is meant to really flush out the yeast and now that I have done it, I am onto a gentler approach which lets me have a bit more variety.

Yesterday, as my first day of the second phase, I got to add things like lean meat, nuts and yogurt back to my diet and believe me….I have been pretty excited about it.  I never knew that I could get so exuberant over almonds and chicken, but you should have seen me bound out of bed and rush to the kitchen for something besides eggs….I almost knocked down a few children.  I can now have more protein and vegetables, plus small amounts of nuts, seeds and coconut.  In fact, I spent some time over the weekend experimenting in the kitchen with flours made from these and getting my heart set on that yummy coconut bread with almond butter I told you about.

gf-food02

Believe me, it took me this entire month to get into that head space where I like this food.  I love me some junk food and chocolate anything.  The very idea that I would look forward to sugar-free-grain-free-dairy-free pastry makes me hardly recognize myself.  But feeling so much better has me actually looking forward to it.

Now, you should know that I am pretty much the worst in the kitchen.  I never get anything to turn out the way they promise in a recipe.  I can’t even get a boxed cake mix to turn out right.  So I am not the girl to be making alternative foods.  If my white flour bread turns out like bricks, you imagine what my coconut flour stevia bread would be like!

I want you to know how bad I am at cooking because I made some crackers that turned out great!  It’s solid proof that anyone can make these.  They were easy and yummy and I can see a LOT of uses for them.  I admit they aren’t cheap to make.  They require almond flour, which is expensive.  But I got mine at Costco and it’s still cheaper than buying gluten-free crackers and it has the added benefit of knowing exactly what’s in them!  (plus I also can’t have rice which is what most GF crackers are made of)

You can find the cracker recipe HERE at Elana’s Pantry (she has a ton of great recipes!).  I didn’t put the pepper in mine like she did, but I added some garlic powder instead.  I’m gonna try adding some essential oils next time like rosemary, ginger or maybe orange with cinnamon.  These crackers have the consistency of shortbread but don’t have much flavor which makes them perfect for going salty OR sweet.  A little cinnamon cracker with some almond butter on top sounds yummy!

gf-food01

In addition to these I made coconut bread that didn’t turn out as cute to look at, but it tasted pretty good.  It was very dense and crumbly, but was less crumbly on day 2, which is a hopeful sign.  Maybe it just needed to sit for a while.  It’s definitely nice to have something bready to eat.  I toasted a piece with a little butter which made it crunchier.  Just one small slice is satisfying.  I’m going to slice it up and freeze it for the weeks ahead.

In fact, I am going on vacation soon and need to find healthy snacks that will be easy for travel.  I think the crackers will be perfect!  Since most of my veggies require cooking and/or refrigeration I won’t be able to take those with me (I am flying and won’t have a fridge in my hotel room).  So I will have to just do the best I can in getting plenty of vegetables.  I’m not going to stress about it, but I am going to work to try a few more travel-friendly healthy snacks.

There are 2 other things (besides weird snacks) that have gotten me through this month of change.  God and my essential oils.  In that order.

This is not something I could ever do on my own.  I have been looking to God to give me the strength.  So each time I have felt the need to eat something that’s not on my diet, I ask Him, “Lord, please show me what it is in me that is craving sugar/wheat/etc right now.  Fill that empty space with your Holy Spirit and show me how to satisfy that desire with your love.”  I think of it as glorifying Him and honoring His promise that I am extremely valuable.  I don’t want to make this past month sound like it’s been easy, but it has been fulfilling in unexpected ways and I know He is giving me the strength!

Second, I’ve been leaning on my essential oils to help me through, as I get used to the new Lisa who doesn’t eat sugar or grains.

Here are some ways I have used oils for the past month:
– put a few drops of Slique in my water to make it taste great and to help with cravings
– use any citrus oil in the diffuser to boost my mood and cheer me up
– Melaleuca and oregano on the bottom of my feet to support my body as I flush out the yeast
– Joy and bergamot on my wrists and behind my ears to help encourage good moods
– Life 5 and Essentialzyme are the Young Living supplements I have added since making these diet changes

Of course, I use other oils daily and as needed.  I wish I could have you all over to just sit and talk about how we use the oils here…it’s been incredible for our family!  If you’ve been thinking of trying them, click HERE to get your kit and I’ll send you some extra fun goodies including a terrific starter guide!!!

I’d love for you to join me and we can take back our health together!

This week I will be trying a few other new recipes and I’ll let you know how it goes.  It may sound crazy, but I am hoping to keep it pretty simple and not be spending all of my time in the kitchen.  I don’t love cooking, but I can see that I am going to have to find a new rhythm to my food prep.  That’s OK.  If anyone can find shortcuts it will be ME!

Have a wonderfully healthy week!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I share more of my food adventures!

Weddings & Water & Wrecks….OH MY!

Weddings & Water & Wrecks….OH MY!

I expected this past weekend to be long, but I had no idea it would be like a piece of taffy being stretched, and stretched and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d.  It just wore me out.

We had 2 weddings to attend, each in different towns.  “OK,” I told myself, “You can do this, you just have to be prepared.”  I got the clothes ready in advance and made sure the car was gassed up and cleaned out.  Meals ready – check.  Plans for the kids that need rides – check.  Hard working husband taken care of – check. (he couldn’t go to any weddings because he’s a CPA and it was tax season weekend)

My 5 youngest kids and I headed early Saturday morning to Austin (2.5 hours away) for the wedding of one of my son Jacob’s best friends.  This is a precious family and I was looking forward to what I knew would be a Christ-centered ceremony.  It was absolutely lovely and I was glad we went.  But as an introvert, I find those things hard, mainly the reception.  I didn’t really know anyone and wasn’t likely to start up a new relationship, so I sat there at my table being mostly anti-social.  I did chat with a few people here and there, but overall I kind of felt out of place.  I wondered as I looked around the room if that happens to everyone or if I am the only person who often feels like a bird in the wrong cage.  What do you do in those situations?  Do you just walk up and talk to people?  Do you pretend to be busy feeding your kids?  Do you sit like a wallflower not talking?  I don’t expect answers to these questions.  I’m just pondering out loud.  Introvert problems.

wedding-weekend02

We left the reception and headed to have dinner with my daughter who lives in the same town.  We had a nice time with her and just as we were wrapping up and getting ready to drive the 2.5 hours home I got a call.  My oldest son Jacob (who had taken his own car to the wedding and stayed after to hang out with his friends) had been in an accident.  He wasn’t hurt and the woman in the other car was fine, but his vehicle was not drivable.

Now, this kind of thing shakes a mama to the core.  I had that angry/terrified/panic/relief feeling that sends adrenaline through your system and turns you into a mother bear.  “Get in the car kids…drop the burger and let’s go!! Jacob needs us!”  We left the restaurant, dropped my daughter off at her apartment and headed back to the area where the accident had taken place (near the wedding venue).

When I saw my son I may have hugged him a little too hard and hung on too long.

wedding-weekend03

Once I saw that he was OK I felt a little better.  We said our goodbyes (again) to the wedding party and made the long drive home in the dark, trying to forget the traumatic end to what was otherwise a lovely day.  We made it home and I was so tired, but still pretty wired from the excitement, so it took me a couple of hours to fall asleep.  If not for my oils I probably would have been awake all night.

Then it was Sunday and another wedding.  This time it was the son of one my MY best friends and in the opposite direction of the Saturday wedding.  We all decided earlier in the week that only two of us would go, the younger kids really don’t know this family well and we knew we would be wiped out from the day before.  My daughter and I would attend alone and enjoy some togetherness.  We ran a few errands in the city then headed to the wedding venue in the late afternoon, which was a bit out in the country.  We got about 6 miles away when it started to rain.  Hard.  Like, I can’t see the road at all kind of rain.

wedding-weekend04

I slowed to about 20 mph and inched my way to the location.  Each time we contemplated just pulling over and waiting it out the rain would let up enough that we could see a little better.  Finally, after a few scary low water crossings we made it.  Whew!  Next problem: we had to park about 50 yards from the building and we had no umbrella.  We sat in the car trying to decide what to do.  Do we sit and hope it lets up or do we make a run for it?  We ran.

And I am not kidding you, we may as well have jumped in the river.  We were soaked down to our panties, hair was stuck to our heads, my makeup was smearing all down my face.  Have you ever been to a wedding with no eyebrows?  ‘Cuz I have and it’s not pretty.

wedding-weekend01

I want to say here that earlier in the day when it was time to get ready to go I started to blow my hair dry and had a sense not to, so I left it curly and more natural.  I am taking this as a sign that I really do hear God’s voice…..I just wish I’d been listening when He was telling me to make sure we had an umbrella in the car.

Wedding #2 was gorgeous, even the rain pounding on the roof as they said their vows made it seem a little magical.  What wasn’t magical was the sound of my dress dripping on the floor beneath my seat.  I was still soaking wet 3 hours later when we got back to our house.  The drive home was no picnic either….hail and storms pounding on my car in the dark.  My knuckles are still white.

Even though it was sweet and scary and sometimes humiliating, nothing that happened this weekend was really about me.  I was simply an observer in all of it, which was nice.  I got to just smile and sit and drip quietly.  Everyone else that attended these weddings also has their own story and this is only mine.  I like to remind myself of that when I lose perspective and feel like complaining about not knowing anyone or looking like a drowned cat.

This next week it’s predicted to keep raining and I think I will just stay inside and recover from my harrowing wedding weekend.  And maybe hug all my kids a little extra hard, just to be on the safe side.

Have a good one!

The Summit is Like a Big Wad of Toilet Paper

The Summit is Like a Big Wad of Toilet Paper

The Summit….it’s like a big wad of toilet paper.

I mean that in the best kind of way!

Haven’t you been in a public restroom stall and you reach beneath the gray plastic holder hanging on the wall that’s supposed to contain a roll of toilet paper the diameter of an old 33LP (kids, that’s what we used to listen to music on before CDs or ipods were invented) only to discover that there is NO paper?!  There’s someone in the next stall so you tap-tap-tap on the wall and ask timidly, “Um, do you mind giving me some toilet paper?  There’s none over here.”

You hear the rattling of the roll rotating in the plastic holder and from under the divider comes her hand with 2 squares of tissue.  NOOOO!  I NEED MORE!!!!  But you just take it and do the best you can.

This is how so much of our interaction with others goes.  We are right there, next to each other, sharing space and time.  But our relationship is unsatisfactory.  “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, how are you?” “Fine.”  It’s two-squares, not sharing, not caring emptiness.

But then there’s that occasional time when, miraculously, from under the stall wall comes a giant wad of toilet paper so plentiful that you can probably leave enough extra for the next unfortunate soul who comes in.  Thanks to this stranger you have everything you need….she really understood and gave you all she could.

That’s what the Summit is like.  The women there give it all, love, joy, hurt, concern, sympathy, truth, grace.  The masks come off, we share our hearts, we are honest and open, we see each other and for the first time in a long time we feel understood.

Personally, I am terrible at chit chat.  I go to these big events or church or a party and I want to get in a corner with someone and dig into life and its messiness.  I want to laugh hard and cry the ugly cry and pray together and really, I mean really, care about each other.  But people don’t do that.  They hide.  We stay in our comfort zones and think we are safe.  But the truth is, it’s an illusion.  Let’s be real!  Let’s give grace!  I’ll share my toilet paper with you when you need it and make sure you have enough to give to someone else!

Ain’t nobody got time to drip dry.

OK, maybe this analogy is going a bit too far.

But I want you to really get a sense of what happens at the Summit so you will go next year and experience it for yourself!  We worship, we pray together, we let the walls down, we share our pain, we find healing, we get ready to go home changed.  Women last weekend testified that they had been able, for the first time, to let go of bitterness, confess secret sin, fall back in love with their husbands, feel equipped to mother their children, on and on each story humbled me over and over.

There’s a lot of laughing too.  I mean a lot!  In fact, my friends and I did a skit called, “Mrs. Homeschool Universe” and we took it to the extreme.  I can’t tell you the whole thing, but here we are finding out what the winner gets and when we heard that part of our prize was a whole week of uninterrupted showers we pretty much started to cry.

Those other 3 gals in the skit are the funniest people!  I had to keep from cracking up at their every word.

And they each are sharing on their blogs about their Summit experiences from last weekend.  Don’t miss their posts!  I’ll bet none of them even mention toilet paper, so they will be much more interesting.

Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschooler shared her “Top 10 Experiences of the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit
Heather at Joyful Socks Mom gives her “Why Finding My Tribe at Winter Summit Makes All the Difference” (Heather’s site is down right now, so check back!)
Connie at Smockity Frocks is sharing about “Winter Summit 2016 ~ Homeschool Moms’ Retreat

I also got to have two of my daughters with me, which was a double blessing!  They came to help serve the moms and I was just so happy to spend some of this time with them!

Aren’t they gorgeous?  Yes, I am blessed.  (and they both have blogs, J. Grace Pennington and The Epic Place)

Next year the Summit will be in Oklahoma Jan 20-21 and in Texas Feb 3-4.  Go register NOW!  You’ll get the best prices AND you can just put it on the calendar and start inviting your friends.  Like one gal told us all during a time of sharing, “I will never miss the Summit again if I can help it.”  She already registered for next year.  What’s stopping YOU?!

And be sure to book your room!  This year the hotel filled up and some of the gals had to stay at a different hotel.  The price is great, the rooms are all suites with plenty of space for at least 3 ladies and that keeps the cost low.

If you have a Summit story to share, hop over to my Facebook page and spread the news!

A Little Bit o’ Books and a Little Bit o’ Travel

A Little Bit o’ Books and a Little Bit o’ Travel

This post contains affiliate links.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back to a normal-ish routine.  The Christmas decorations are down and we are doing our simple Monday-Bible study, Tuesday-Church, etc.  No more big parties coming up or gifts left to buy.  I love Christmas, but I also love me some simple, easy going days.

With the Summit coming up this weekend in Oklahoma and in Texas just 2 weeks later, I do have some travel stuff to work on and my talks to nail down.  I’ll be sharing ideas from my book, “Mama Needs a Do-Over: Simple Steps to Turning a Hard Day Around”  If you can’t make it to the Summit, you could get the book.  My friend Roxanne will be speaking there too and her book is awesome.  It’s called, “Are You Enough?: Encouragement for the Overwhelmed & Exhausted Homeschool Mom.”  You’ll LOVE her!

Here are Roxanne and I from last year’s Summit pajama party.  I am telling you…we all have a great time!

Since I have a long drive this weekend, I am getting some audiobooks ready for the trip.  I really love a good book and audio is the way to go when you’re traveling!  I listen to everything from fiction to marketing and leadership guides.  As long as it doesn’t put me to sleep we’re OK.  I once got a book that was read in such a monotone that I started to snore before he got through the introduction.  It may have been a good book, but I will never know because I couldn’t stay awake.

Speaking of narrating audiobooks (see how I did that segue?), my oldest daughter is using her gift as a great narrator and she has a book that just came out (she didn’t write the book, she only narrated it) that is a sweet story.  I listened to it a couple of weeks ago and I am still thinking about it; I love those kinds of books….that stay with you.  It’s a good, clean, encouraging read.  It’s called “The River Girl’s Song: Texas Women of Spirit.”  I hope you’ll consider supporting this talented author and her ever-so-talented narrator.

In other news, I have been cleaning out my bedroom in sections.  I did one of the dressers over the weekend that serves as my official junk drawers.  There was everything in these drawers from people’s business cards to clothespins.  I had a couple of spoons in one (shhhh….don’t tell me kids!) and I found 3 USB drives (I wondered where those were!).  It’s always nice to have this kind of job done.  I tend to shove things in these drawers until I am forced to look for something which requires pulling everything out and wondering why I kept half of it.  Good times.

I think when I get back from the Summit I will tackle the cabinet/desk otherwise known as the Black Hole.  Who knows….I may actually find my camera one of these days.  It’s been lost for 2 years.  Of course, if I do find it I won’t find the charger or memory cards with it because that would be way too easy.

I also like putting things back where they belong and getting rid of the messes.  It’s so nice to know that if I opened one of the cleaned out drawers right now I would be able to locate anything.  It’s the best feeling to know where your unnecessary junk is.

I hope you have a mah-velous week filled with normal-ish days and a little bit of organizing.  And don’t forget to register for the Summit!!!  You don’t want to miss this.  You NEED it!

Have a good one!

Let’s continue the conversation on Facebook!

Do NOT Miss This!

Do NOT Miss This!

The one thing I look most forward to all year is coming up in a few weeks!  The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is everything I need to refill my tank, my worn out mom tank.

I am talking about hundreds of other women in the same place you are….tired, needing encouragement, many in struggling marriages and with hopelessness.  Even though I am a total introvert, I love this event and wouldn’t miss it unless God dropped a 2 ton steel beam in my driveway so I couldn’t get out.  And if it helps, there are lots of prizes all weekend.

The first time I went a few years ago in Oklahoma I was not sure what I was getting into.  I had been invited and decided to check it out.  It was a long drive, 8 hours, but I felt it was something I should do.  I can’t tell you why now….it was instinct.  And the first night I was like, “What IS this thing?!”  There were women from all walks of life, some dressed up, some dressed down, some in heels and others in denim jumpers with sneakers.  There was a sense of excitement and peace at the same time.

Then one by one onstage women in costume marched across being described by the announcer, there was Debbie Drowning and Peggy Perfect and Sara Sporty and Helen Hanging-On.  They were funny, but tapped into deep issues we all face as moms.  After that there was worship and I was hooked.  Women being real, speakers encouraging us, praise and laughter?!?!  SIGN ME UP!

It was that same year I grabbed the founder and told her I had to be a part of this.  I wanted to bring it to Texas and do whatever I could to help.  And here we are now about to host the third Summit in Texas!!!  Hallelujah, isn’t God amazing?!?!

This year we are doing a few new things, including a blogger dinner and time of fellowship.  Connie from Smockity Frocks, Kris from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and I will all be there.  We want to meet you and spend time ministering to each other.  You can sign up for the dinner when you register. (the blogger dinner is only in Texas, but I will also be at the Oklahoma event!)

And at the Texas Summit we will also be doing a panel answering your questions.  Are you struggling with something?  Do you wonder how other moms do it all?  Have you reached the end of your rope?  Well, bring on the questions and we will do our best to answer them and let you know you’re not alone.  You can head over to my Facebook page and leave a question there.  We will answer some of your questions here too, so if you can’t come to the Summit, please go ahead and ask anything.

I hope you will consider attending the Summit.  I’d love to see you at either one, but the Texas Summit is near to my heart and I am hoping to bring a bunch of you with me!  And don’t tell me it’s too far because I drive 8 hours each year to go to the one in Oklahoma and I would fly anywhere in the USA to be there.

If you are worried because you don’t know anyone else going then I have a couple of solutions for you.  First, bring a friend (or 2 or 3)!  This is a great girlfriend trip.  Share a room and ride together and have a grand adventure!  Or, if that doesn’t work out you can consider me your friend to hang around with.  Even though I will be moving around a lot, I will make sure you meet some of the other amazing women there and help plug you in.

I have a $10 off code you can use, so be sure you plug that in when you register!  It’s PENNINGTON10

Here is my recap of the 2014 Summit.  You really don’t want to miss this.

Come join us!  January 22-23 in Oklahoma and February 5-6 in TEXAS!!!

 

10 Last Minute Gift Ideas

10 Last Minute Gift Ideas

Here are a few last minute gift ideas for those of you who have waited too long…

  1. Hickory Farms – You can usually pick up a package of sausage and cheese for someone in the grocery store.
  2. Books – It’s too late to order from Amazon, but the bookstores are still open.  Several of you have messaged me asking where you can get my book….it’s available in Barnes & Noble plus most Christian bookstores have it!
  3. Candy – Look around on Pinterest and there are tons of adorable ideas for ways to present candy as a gift.
  4. Printed image – If you want to order something just print the image of it and roll it into a paper towel tube and wrap it.  In fact, this would be a great way to present a Young Living Premium Starter Kit.  😉
  5. Gift cards – they are everywhere now, even the hardware store and the post office!
  6. Stocking – buy an actual sock and fill it with small goodies.  That’s fun!
  7. Shop your house – If you own a book that you love or a mug that is your fave, give it to someone as a love gift.
  8. Coupons – The old fallback, make a coupon for a movie together (your treat!) or lunch or to do something you know they would love.
  9. A weekend away – If you’re buying for a tired mom, consider gifting her a much needed weekend away at the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit!  (use my code: PENNINGTON10 for $10 off!)
  10. A donation – There is no shortage of needs around the world and making a donation instead of a gift is a blessing all around!

I hope you get everything wrapped up and can stop to enjoy the time with family and friends.  Merry Christmas!

Come over to Facebook to keep the conversation going!

Come to the Summit! (plus a note to your husband)

Come to the Summit! (plus a note to your husband)

Well?  Have you made up your mind or not?  It’s time to just jump on in and register for the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit.

Look, I know it’s hard to get away and we can feel guilty spending time for ourselves and we wonder how the family will survive without us for a few days.  But this, my friend, is what you need to fill your tank.

Moms get worn out, burned out, tuned out….. we NEED a break!  And it is OK!!  You can’t just go-go-go without stopping and being refreshed with energy and enthusiasm and God’s love.

And the best part is that you will get all of that AND MORE at the Homeschool Mom’s Winter Summit!  It takes place in Norman, OK January 22-23 and again in San Marcos, TX February 5-6.  The speakers, the prayer time, the worship, the laughter (OH so much laughter!) will all feed your soul and lift your heart.

The speakers will cover everything from marriage to motherhood to mere survival.  These are moms in the trenches just like us and they’ll minister you to all weekend while you hang out with your friends (and make NEW friends!).  Then we laugh.  And laugh.  And laugh.

It is my personal mission to make sure no one is there without a friend, so if you don’t know anyone come sit by ME!  I WANT to know you!  I want to spend time together.  You WILL NOT be bothering me!!!!!!

Please, don’t let doubt and fear or lack of funds keep you from this event.  If you have to travel, make it happen.  If you have to farm your kids out for a couple of days…. do it!  For the Texas event, Kris from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers is traveling across several states to come!  And Connie from Smockity Frocks will be there too!  And many, many other amazing women…. including YOU, I hope!

Use the code: PENNINGTON10 to get $10 off your registration fee.  And hop over to Facebook to let me know you’re going!  I will be glad to answer any questions you have and do what I can to help you get there.

summit02

I promise friends, this is WORTH it!  Ask for it for Christmas!!! If you share a hotel room with 3 other ladies (these are all suites and they’re HUGE!) it’s only $60 for both nights (not counting tax which might literally double that ‘cuz hotel tax makes me crazy and I can’t even get on that soapbox).  Let’s do a little math….

$109  (Registration)
– $10  (using my discount code: PENNINGTON10)
+$10  (to attend the blogger dinner if you’re in Texas)
+$60  (hotel)
+$25  (various food and miscellaneous)
= $194

For $200 plus the cost of getting there you get all of your food, nice hotel, time with friends, meet new amazing people, get prayed with, get loved on, hear wisdom, laugh ’til your sides hurt….GIRLFRIEND WHAT IS STOPPING YOU?!?!

(OK, now I want to talk to your husbands so just turn your computer over to him right now or screenshot this part and text it to him: Guys, my husband wants you to know how much going to the Summit refreshes me.  He makes sure I get there every year because I come home happier, more in love with him, more excited about the kids and feeling like I can handle what I have to face every day.  He wants to encourage YOU to send your wife to the Summit.)

Back to you friends….please come.  I want to help, I want to pray for you, I want to be a part of making your life better.

Summit or BUST!

Catch me on Facebook for more fun!

Getting Back to Normal (Kind of)

Getting Back to Normal (Kind of)

I am sitting in a hotel room in a small Texas town with my computer.  I am supposed to be catching up on emails and blog posts, but instead I am shopping all of the Cyber Monday sales.  I can’t help it.  I need these great deals to fill all of the stockings I have to fill on Christmas morning!

I am in this hotel because I drove 6 hours to Dallas yesterday and didn’t want to drive all the way back home late at night.  I am not good at night driving and now that it gets dark at 6:00 I start falling asleep by 8.  So I stopped about 1/3 of the way home and spent the night.  I was in Dallas to see my niece’s play and take my oldest daughter back after she spent Thanksgiving with us.  Another of my girls went along to spend the week there, so the drive was a fun fest of chatting and singing and planning.  I mostly love to listen to them talk to each other.  It’s amazing to have adult kids who really love each other and I just soaked in the sweetness.

I feel like I am still recovering from our Thanksgiving, which was wonderful!  We had 4 families over and there was so much food that I am still full.  We emptied out the living room to add 2 extra tables and everyone brought their favorite dishes and we stuffed ourselves.  There was so much pie that it was slightly shameful.  We could have opened a diner with as much pie as that.  After the food was put away we played games and that is where the magic happened.  We laughed so hard I had sore muscles around my rib cage.  There is nothing better than a day with good food and great friends!  I hope that your holiday was just as wonderful!

We did go Black Friday shopping which turned out to be not so great deals, but a good time anyway.  I had 2 of my girls with me, my 16 year old son and his friend.  We ran around the mall and Target, saw “Mockingjay – Part 2” and ate Chickfila.  I think we spent a grand total of $25 on deals, but it wasn’t about buying.  It was really about the time spent together.

Once we got home from shopping and ate some leftovers, I was worn out.  I laid in my bed at 8:15 and Levi (my 8 year old) came to talk to me.  He scootched under the covers next to me and started to tell me some of his ideas about a book he wants to write and how I can help him with his Disney collection and on and on.  But I was so tired that I kept falling asleep.  He would hear me snore a little and push my shoulder, “Mommy!  You fell asleep again!”.  I tried to stay awake and he kept talking until finally I must have fallen so hard that he gave up because I woke up at midnight with the lights on and he was gone.  Poor kid.  I will make it up to him with a good listening session one night this week.

I am so happy that it’s Monday and we can get back to school and normal activity.  Or as normal as it gets when you have to boil all of your water like you’re living in circa 1807.  Our hot water heater died and we are struggling to figure out what we want to do.  The plumber has been working with us to figure out if we should change over to an instant hot water system or replace the tank.  I don’t really care as long as I can get this settled within the next few days.  When an appliance goes out on Thanksgiving week you really get to discover what you’re truly thankful for.

AND since they say things happen in threes, I am praying this is the last of our appliance deaths for a while.

I need to get back to my cyber shopping before I have to check out of my room.  Have a great week, friends!

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

I should be starting this morning with enthusiasm.  I have grocery shopping and Bible study, answering emails and getting the house ready for Thanksgiving all to do this morning.  But instead I am drinking hot tea in my jammies and considering a 10AM nap.

Our family was on vacation last week and now I am so worn out from all of the running around and eating and keeping up with active boys that I need a break from my break.

We went to Disney World.  It was wonderful and magical, but I got so tired that by the time we pulled in the driveway on Saturday night at 10:00 I wasn’t sure if I could make the walk from the van to the house.  Yesterday I stayed in bed until noon while watching trash TV.  After that I dragged myself to my recliner and stared at the walls, not even trying to get anything done.  I slept almost the entire day and I still don’t feel caught up on rest.

I’d like to stay in my post-Disney stupor today too, but life won’t let me.  We are having a houseful of people here for Thanksgiving, which is such a wonderful blessing!  Since I love my friends, I can’t just lie around wishing the holiday elves would bake the pies and find room in the fridge for all this food.  I have to actually get up.

This morning while I was unpacking my suitcase and putting away the vacation memories, I decided not to put my hair supplies away just yet.  You see, I got a little obsessed with doing fun things with my hair for Disney.  I created a different style for each themed park and it was so much fun that I am thinking of doing some more things with my hair for the holidays.  Maybe a Christmas tree or some kind of fountain.

Here are the styles I did last week.  I got so much interest in them on social media that I will do individual tutorials for them over the next few weeks.  I just need time to recover first.

Right now I have a week filled with baking and shopping and cleaning and hopefully getting some rest before I have to get up at 4:00 on Black Friday to take my teens shopping.  In preparation for Thanksgiving Day, I made a Pin board with some great tips, games and recipes.  This will help me when I get to the store and forget what I was planning to cook.  If you have a great Thanksgiving recipe, I hope you’ll share it with us over on Facebook! I need all the help I can get.

We will be moving all of the furniture out of our living room to make space for a few more tables on Thanksgiving.  I am not sure where the sofa is going to go, I may be crawling over it for the next 4 days.  Hopefully I can still get a few naps in while we get ready for our guests to arrive!

Happy Thanksgiving week my friends!