Friday, January 30, 2015

Six Things We've Learned About Being Married

My husband and I are celebrating our 6th Wedding Anniversary this weekend! Compared to the rest of our lives, it's just a small slice of time; but we feel like so much has happened in these past six years that we wanted to share with you some things we've learned along the way.

1. Talk, talk, talk. 
Look at us, all cute and young! 
You can't say the word "marriage" without the word "communication" following close behind! Well, that's because it's true. We've learned the importance of talking about everything, no matter what it is. Get out of your comfort zone and have the conversations that you "feel bad" about having. Whatever! Have those conversations again and again until you work through what needs to be worked out. Don't settle; don't complain; do something!
Bonus: Don't just talk; listen. Be the best listener your spouse knows.

2. Make your marriage a priority, second only to your Faith.
Between kids, work, keeping up with friends and family, helping friends and family, maintaining the house and yard, focusing on health and good sleep, exercising, saving the world, etc., it can often feel like there is no time left for each other. Our marriage has felt the effects when we put everything else, even kids, first. Here's a little romantic analogy for you: have you ever put food on the back burner with a low flame? Guess what happens? It eventually burns. And then you get the fun job of scraping charred chili off the bottom of the pot for the next two weeks. Think of what would happen if you left your marriage on the back burner.


(How did I go from talking about keeping marriage a priority to chili? Such is the mind of Maggie M.)

3. Make time for dates. 
I cannot stress enough the value of spending quality time with each other! This isn't meant to break the bank or even require a sitter for every date. We schedule in time every month, week, and night for us to do nothing but be together. Yes, I said schedule. Our marriage is just as important as all the other commitments in our life that earn a place on our calender.

4. Make time for yourselves.
Yep, I'm going there. I can almost hear the huffing and puffing, "Ruh-ruh-ruh, that girl thinks you should be selfish and self-centered...omg...I don't need this kind of influence in my life...where's the remote...."
Well, now hold on a second. I'm saying make time for yourself, not flush your marriage down the toilet. You were born unique, completely different from anyone else, with talents, gifts, and interests straight from God. So what I'm saying is: cultivate your own hobbies and continue to be YOU. Be generous by giving each other turns to have time out with friends or, if needed, time alone. My husband and I are, for lack of a more humble word, freaking awesome about this. You should be too. And make it fair. If one person is the only one getting a break, then that IS selfish!

5. Learn Energy Profiling. 
Have you ever heard of this? I was introduced to Beauty Profiling / DressingYourTruth / Energy Profiling several months ago, and I cannot tell you how much it has positively impacted my life. It's not just a season analysis based on your hair and skin color. It's a completely holistic approach to understanding the four types of people. Everyone has all four in them, but they lead with a dominant type. Figuring out our own types was fun, but learning about each others' was amazing and downright life-changing. My sister-in-law said recently that DYT should be a part of marriage prep. I absolutely agree with her. 

6. Make amazing scrambled eggs. 
You're going to spend a lot of time in life eating together, so put a little effort into perfecting the dishes that you both absolutely love to eat. No, scrambled eggs are not our #mostfavoritedisheverinthewholewideworldomg. But learning how to make the best bacon-tasting eggs without leaving ANY eggs in the pan is probably one of our biggest accomplishments these past six years, next to having three kids.

Anywho...I'd love to hear something that has positively impacted your marriage, whether serious or silly! Comment below!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making 2015 Intentional

Back in January of 2014, I filled out an amazing Goal and Intentions Kit that really set the stage for what I wanted to accomplish in the next 12 months. I am happy to say that I reached many of those goals throughout the year, and it gave me so much satisfaction to highlight them as I did! 

Nearing October, though, I realized there were a few that I hadn't come close to accomplishing. And they were ones that mattered more to me than anything in the whole world. After a thoughtful step back, I purposely began to focus my attention and energy into these areas. It was time to get serious. 

A must-read, in my strong opinion!
Side note: I love to read e-books while nursing my baby to sleep. If I'm going to be completely honest, the main reason is because it keeps my imagination from running wild while sitting in a quiet, dark room for 20 minutes.

I am a major wimp.

So in the fall, I came across an ebook that I recommend to all moms out there: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. This book seriously and positively impacted my life SO very much. Instead of just reading the book and skipping over the exercises at the end, I actually did them.

How powerful it was for me to take the time to think, write, and then see my own words down on paper. It gave me such a clear vision of my priorities. It helped me start to say "no" to things that didn't jive with my personal priorities list. It also freed up a lot of time to focus on them too.

It was because of this book that I reached the goals of 2014 that were the most important to me: those about my family.

It was also this book that gave me crystal clear (pun intended) vision into how I wanted my 2015 to turn out. So in addition to filling out the new 2015 Goals and Intentions Kit by Jessica Swift, I also treated myself to something else that really pushed me. 

The 2015 Workbook: Create Your Shining Year.

I have to say: this book is fantastic. It arrived a few days before Christmas, so I spent my quiet evenings, listening to Charlie Brown Christmas, drinking caramel porter, and getting right to work.

One of the first things I liked about it was the bright, happy, and colorful design. My husband thought he was being so funny every time I was writing in it. "Got your coloring book?" he'd tease lightly, kind of in the adorable way I always imagined Gilbert Blythe saying, "Hey, Carrots!"

Another thing I really liked about it as I filled out all the sections was the highly reflective nature of the layout. You don't just answer a few questions and move on. You are forced to dig deep, answer the questions a few times, and really put it down on paper.

I highly recommend this book if you are serious about changing your habits, if you have some big goals for yourself, and most importantly, if you are tired of setting those pesky resolutions and forgetting about them come Jan 22nd. You can either get the Life or Biz Workbook, or do what I did and get the combined one!

One of my favorite parts of the book was creating my word of the year. I even did the "bonus activity" and created artwork for it! (That was FUN!) I chose the word intentional because that is what I want my life to become.

When I'm working my business, I want to be focused.
When I'm with my beautiful kids, I want to be present with them.
When I'm with my husband, I want it to be in the moment.
When I'm cooking, writing, talking, thinking... I want everything to be intentional. On purpose.  

2015 Workbook

What is your word of the year? What speaks to you? 
What theme will you have for 2015?

Please note: All links in this post are affiliate links. I am compensated a small amount when you purchase through my links. Thank you! 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

When life hands you peppermint, don't dump it!

We really relaxed and spread things out this past Christmas. Instead of stressing myself (and everyone else) out trying to make 12 million cookies in one day, we'd make a dozen here and there.

Yesterday, since it's still the Christmas season, we went to make one of my favorites: Peppermint Melt-Aways!

Baking has never been a favorite activity for me. Especially since we went Gluten-Free, baking can be tricky. I feel like I take a gamble whenever I stick something in the oven. Sometimes it works out; sometimes it's doesn't. But I was ready to go this time! I waited till the baby was happy, had all my ingredients ready to go, and we started.

The good news is we had JUST enough peppermint extract for the recipe!

The bad news is Finn dumped the bottle when I wasn't looking.

Peregrin thought my shocked (staged) face was funny!

I was beating the butter with the mixer when suddenly the entire world smelled like peppermint. I turned around and saw my 3 year old, standing there, looking at me with his prepared, "Oops" face.

Not going to lie, my reaction wasn't exemplary.

"FINN! NO, BUDDY. WHY DID YOU DO THAT?" I asked, exasperated.

(As if he was going to give me any kind of answer that would satisfy me at that moment...? I mean really. I need to get better about not asking silly questions like that.)

The good news is I realized I didn't even care that much. I couldn't even find where he dumped the extract. I think there was so little that it evaporated before I could turn around. So, after telling him it was totally fine and not to pour things without me telling him to, we moved on.

And the good news is we had plenty of almond extract to make the most amazingly, delicious Almond Melt-Aways you ever tasted.

Really, I highly recommend it!

Monday, January 05, 2015

How 2014 Changed My Life

Looking back on 2014, I can sum it up in one word: LEARNING.

If you want to know what I mean by that, keep on reading! But if you're like, "Yawn, boooooring..." then just go away. IDON'TNEEDYOURNEGATIVITY!


I learned SO much this year. It was probably one of the most profound and memorable years of my life, to date.

No, I didn't go skydiving or rocky mountain climbing, or 2.7 seconds on a bull named...okay, you get the picture...I am not going to continue to steal Tim's song. But what I did do was more meaningful and eye-opening than getting any sort of adrenaline rush by crossing off multiple items on my bucket list. I learned a lot about what didn't work...and a lot about what did.

Here's my top three lessons:

1) Life doesn't just "happen" to me. I'm not a victim of events. Instead, what I learned is that I can create my own life. I can choose to be positive. I can choose to be calm. That doesn't mean I always am positive or calm. But I am learning to make that choice more often and more seamlessly.

2) Organization HELPS. Both planning out my week ahead of time and planning out my day first thing in the morning have made an enormous difference in my stress level. I am a huge stress-phobe. As soon as I begin to get stressed, I immediately back off. But especially with three kids and being a business owner, there is much to get done! Stress isn't completely avoidable, but thankfully, I can dramatically reduce the amount in my life by being proactive. Being organized, planning ahead, and having a to-do list always helps!

A lifesaver for me this year was the Family Planner from Plum Paper Design. Go check it out!

Now, if you're like me a few years ago, you'll be like, "Whatever...I don't need no fancy planner!" And you might not. But looking back to when I had those same thoughts, I was kidding myself. Just be honest with yourself. Get whatever works for you. I know some people who get along just fine with a notebook! My mom used a large wall calendar while we were all growing up. There are a lot of options, so pick one and stick with it for a while. But if something isn't working, change it!

3) Unplugging is not just a fad; it is a necessity. Okay, in case any of you didn't know, I absolutely love social media. I love that I can keep up with my family and friends in such an easy way. I love finding old friends, popping in to say "Hello" or "I love this picture of you!" But after giving up my smart phone in April and stepping away from a few of my random social media accounts, I noticed I had a lot more time to focus on what mattered. I realized I was spending so much of my precious time for nothing. 2015 will bring a much more "extreme" take on this, which I'll write about another day! (Be on the lookout for that soon - woohoo!)

What were your top lessons from 2014? 
I would love to hear about them!
Comment to tell me.