Friday, September 1, 2017

Mixing It Up in the Kitchen ( 3 Clean Eating Recipes)

1. Veggie Lasagna Rollups:

These are an old fave around here. I don’t make it that often…but all of the boys love it! I make some trade outs from the traditional recipe in the link so it’s a little cleaner/healthier. Still just as delicious though, and you can sneak all kinds of veggies in!

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Ingredients:

  • brown rice lasagna pasta
  • 16 oz organic cottage cheese
  • 10 oz frozen spinach
  • 5-6 oz frozen kale
  • 1 1/2 diced squash & zucchini
  • 1/2 c mushrooms
  • pasta sauce
  • 2 c mozzarella
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • Italian seasoning
  • (It’s healthier if you buy the cheese in block form and shred it yourself. You really want to try to eat organic dairy & veggies from the dirty dozen list organic when possible. Our grocery store didn’t have what I was looking for this time, so I used mostly the GoVeggie “cheese” and just sprinkled a little of the reg moz on top. Add in whatever veggies your family likes! I think carrots, green peppers, mushrooms, and onions would be delish too!Jonathan does NOT like onions or chunky tomatoes, so I leave them out & try to buy sauce that isn’t super chunky.)

Directions: Boil lasagna noodles according to directions on the box. Rinse, drain, dry, lay flat. In the meantime, combine 16 oz cottage cheese, 1 c of mozzarella, veggies (thawed & diced if needed), salt, pepper, Italian seasoning & stir together. Cover 13x9 pan with pasta sauce. Roll mixture individually into lasagna noodles and fold up into a rollup. Place with seam down into the pan. Cover each rollup with sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. (I can usually fit 9-10 rollups in one pan.)  Bake covered on 375 for 25 min, uncovered for 5. Great leftovers too!

2. Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps:

This is such an easy peasy recipe. Awesome for a busy night because you can just toss it all in the crockpot & you’re ready to go! I added brown rice/quinoa mix too. I ate mine in lettuce wraps, but I think the boys would have preferred noodles.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small red, orange, & yellow pepper sliced
  • 1 white onion (we leave this out)
  • 1/2 c chunky peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 c bone broth (TONS of benefits!)
  • 1/4 c coconut aminos (or Bragg’s liquid aminos- both are healthy soy sauce alternatives)
  • 2 tbsp of honey (Monuka honey has tons of benefits too!)
    2 Tablespoons of honey
  • 1/4 c crushed peanuts for topping
  • large butter lettuce leaves for lettuce wraps
  • sprouted grain brown rice (quinoa or noodles would work too)
  • optional: cilantro as a topping (I think I am the only person I know who does NOT like cilantro!)

Directions: Place sliced peppers at the bottom of the crockpot with chicken on top. In a bowl, mix together peanut butter, lime juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, and honey. Pour sauce over chicken. Cook for 3-4 hours on HIGH or 6 hrs on LOW.  When 15 minutes remain of cooking time, shred chicken with a fork. Cover and continue cooking for the remainder of the time.  Remove from crockpot and serve with brown rice, noodles, or quinoa in lettuce wraps! Top with peanuts & cilantro if you want. (I bet a little bit of fresh grated ginger would go great with this too!)

3. Crack Slaw: I’m going to have to change the name of this one because I cannot stand calling it this, but this is the recipe’s name if you search for it.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 lb grassfed lean ground beef
  • 10 oz. cole slaw salad mix
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 stalk green onion

Directions: Heat your sesame seed oil in a large wok and crush 2 garlic cloves into it. Cook until fragrant. Add in a pound of ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Once your ground beef is browned, about 5-10 minutes, add in your slaw salad mix and toss to combine. Add in sriracha (I waited on this till after because I didn’t know if it would be too hot for the boys), liquid aminos, and vinegar & toss. Let this cook for about 5 minutes for the slaw mix to wilt. Season with salt, pepper and sesame seeds & serve with a sprinkle of green onion!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Do you use your college degree?

I was driving the other day and thinking about all of the people I personally know who do not use their college degree. (Myself included, x 3.) I decided to post on Facebook and ask friends to chime in if they do not currently use their degree and what they do instead. There were over 100 comments of friends who don’t use their degrees, but have some REALLY cool & interesting gigs! All kinds of things- photographers, event planners, newborn sleep consultants, personal trainers, stay at home moms, and of course a few AdvoCare distributors. I loved reading what everyone does! Many of them are doing what they LOVE, and many of them are very successful in their endeavors.

I taught a “career exploration” class my final two years of teaching, and the standards of the curriculum pushed for a college bound pathway. I made sure to focus equally on technical school, vocational training, and especially entrepreneurship. I am definitely not against further education by any means (and am ALL FOR being a lifelong learner), but based on the response of that post & just thinking about all of the people I know, I think there’s a trend in society that needs to change. I know that everyone is not cut out for the same cookie cutter pathway that includes a 4 year (or maybe 5 year if you have a little too much fun) degree.

NO one should feel lesser than because they chose not to pursue a college education. It’s unfortunate too, because I feel like so many young adults just go that route because it seems like it’s what is expected of them. I mean, what else do you do?? (Heaven forbid them go straight into the workforce, or find a mentor in an area they’re passionate about, or start their own business, or go into ministry, or get married and start a family.)

Can you even imagine the MILLIONS of dollars spent on degrees and diplomas…the student loan debt still being paid on…for titles and positions people aren’t even serving in??  Shew! I bet everyone not using their degree would LOVE to have that money back, don’t you? (There was probably close to a million dollars for degrees just from the folks on that FB post of mine alone!)

I think about people like mine and Jonathan’s dads, who are both very successful business owners and entrepreneurs in the construction industry. Both of them probably started working in their family businesses to learn their trade before they were even ten years old. Neither went to college. Both were running their own businesses and supporting a family before the age of 25. And both have worked their tail off, yet still had the time freedom and financial freedom to provide extremely well for their families. Jonathan has also always had an entrepreneurial spirit, selling things on ebay, selling wheels and tires, helping his dad in his business, and eventually opening his own cabinet shop with a partner.

I think about the young ladies I taught in middle school and Sunday school. When I see them after graduation and ask what they want to do, I would say at least 8/10 of them have no idea or a couple of (totally unrelated) options they’re considering just because they seem like “good jobs.” I think about everyone I know (again, myself included) who changes majors. (Ladies especially seem to do this more often than guys.) Every once in a while I run into someone who knows exactly what they want to do & they are super passionate about it, but that is very rare. At least in my experience anyway. I wonder if some of them really just want to get married and have a family, but feel that is unacceptable so they just try to make themselves fit into some path that isn’t even truly their heart’s desire.

I think about all of the women I know who literally bawl their eyes out when they have to take their kids to daycare & desperately want to be home, but they feel like they have to work to help make ends meet(& especially to pay back their loans). Or the women who really just want to be a mom & wife, but feel like that’s “not good enough” so they pursue a career just because. Or the women who put off having babies to advance their career and education…or wait till finances are just right…and miss out on years of the blessings of babies. (Especially while you’re young & have lots of energy & bounce right back physically!) The Bible says “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” {And if you have kiddos, you know what a BLESSING they are!} Why in the world do we live in a society that tells us to “wait, wait, wait” when it comes to what God tells us are gifts and blessings? (I fell into the same trap. Here’s an old post I wrote about it called Attention Young Ladies: What I Wish Someone Had Told Me.)

I think about all of the young couples who enter into marriage with tons of student loan debt and begin life together already in a deficit. It’s hard to get ahead when you’re drowning in debt, and lots of times the strain of finances is one of the number one arguments in marriage. Actually, the last thing I read on the issue said it’s the #1 cause of divorce.

It’s not that I regret going to college.  I have great memories, met some lifetime friends, and it led me to the incredible man I get to call my husband. I learned lots of valuable life lessons and some independence I don’t think I would have gained if I had stayed home for those 4 years. (Now my Master’s and Specialist’s degrees…that’s a different story! Thankfully I didn’t have to take out loans for those, but I’d sure still like to have that $25,000 in our savings account!)

But, I do think we need to help our children think through some things before shipping them off to a 4 year school and hoping they figure it out. There are definitely some things we want to do differently with our boys than what I see is the general way of life for most kids now.

We want to… Encourage entrepreneurship. Teach them a trade and skill. Encourage LIFE education more than textbook education. (Things like tax planning, investing, multiple streams of income, residual income, tithing, giving generously, living beneath means, trusting the Lord to provide, being a good steward of what you’ve been given, going against the grain, beginning with the end in mind, having a vision for life and making choices that line up with that while working towards it, working hard as if working for the Lord, talking about time freedom and financial freedom, etc.)

And if we are ever blessed with girls, they will know that being a wife and mom is an incredibly high calling. It is enough, no matter what society says. In fact, I personally believe some of the greatest work you’ll ever do is in the walls of your own home.

I know that I am the most fulfilled I have ever been, in any of my jobs (pitching coach, assistant in hair salon, after school program leader, Jazzercise instructor, middle school teacher, yearbook advisor, camp counselor, daycare teacher, secretary, back-up photographer, babysitter, house cleaner)doing EXACTLY what I am doing right now. And there are no degrees required.

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Anyway, I just felt like that’s a message worth sharing.

Yes, we need some people to go to school. I am so grateful for the folks who make our world go round & use the knowledge and experience they gained in college. But, it’s not for everyone. And that’s okay. Personally, I think our young men need a little more “life training” and a little less schooling anyway. And our young ladies need to prayerfully consider if they want to be a “keeper at home” (Titus 2) someday and if it’s really worth investing years of time and money when you really know, deep down, (like I always did) that you want to marry your best friend and raise lots of babies.

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SEEK the Lord & his will for your life. Trust Him to provide. In case you’ve been questioning it, hear me loud and clear. It’s okay to go against the grain…

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Butler Academy: The Start of our Homeschool Journey

We (and by “we” I mean I) decided several years ago we were going to homeschool our kiddos. I feel like it has become increasingly more popular and more widely accepted,  but I do know there are still some misconceptions & negative connotations about it. To be completely honest, Jonathan wasn’t even fully on board in the beginning & was pretty hesitant to tell anyone when Jase was little. Thankfully he said he would support what I wanted in this particular area (since I’d be the one doing most of it) and it was never a fight. He just said he really enjoyed school and didn’t want our boys to miss out on anything. I respect that and agreed we could always reconsider after middle school if we felt led. (But for the record, over time he has come around and now is fully on board with us homeschooling. He even proudly tells people he’s the principal and PE teacher of Butler Academy. Ha!)

{I’ve had a few people ask me how I came to the decision to homeschool, so I’d be happy to share that with you in an email if you’re struggling with the decision.}

Now, I wish I could say the calling came without any reservations. Everyone assumes that because I have (a few- sigh!) degrees in education, this will be easy peasy. But it still feels very overwhelming! Homeschooling your own children is not at all like teaching in a public education setting. But, I know with His grace & lots of prayer, we’ll survive. Ha!

Jase just turned 4 years old in May, and pretty much everyone around us is starting their kiddos in pre-K. I saw everyone posting back to school pics & started to feel like “uh oh! we’re behind!” Once again, a great reminder that other people (and society as a whole) should never be our standard & I can’t fall into the comparison trap. God has equipped us with the wisdom to know what our children need & I believe He will fill in the gaps if we do our best to honor him in bringing them up. Thankfully several of my closest friends are also easing into the homeschool world, so that will mean we can all work together, give the kids plenty of social time, and most importantly encourage each other. I gotta feeling Imma need it.

After talking to a few friends about it, we decided to go with the Horizons curriculum for his first year. We are only doing a couple of broken up hours a few days a week & it is very flexible.

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We got a few puzzles, books, flash cards, magnets, and games (mostly in the dollar section at Target) to get us started. We ordered a 31 tote to keep everything in.

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My sister Tammie took the time to laminate all of the pages from our resource packet for us so we can reuse it. (Thanks, Aunt Tammie!)

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More than anything, I’m using this time to figure out the boys’ learning styles and preferences as I introduce new concepts. I feel like Jase already knows a good bit of what this year’s learning objectives recommends, so it’s really just reinforcing that & digging in to some of the Biblical stories and Scriptures. Jonathan really wants us to focus on teaching more common sense/problem solving, both of which I feel like come very naturally to him. And we also want to be intentional in pursuing teachable moments. For example, the other day I was making breakfast and Jase found a silver bowl that was reflecting light onto the ceiling. Jon stopped and explained to him how/why that happened. I think using our every day life and reading to them a lot is the best way to teach!

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Plus, boys need lots of time to be active too. It’s so good for their learning to be able to take frequent breaks and just RUN. (That’s part of why we’re looking for land- these boys need some room to stretch out!)

Kade is already in the mix too. He likes to sit and draw/color or sit in my lap and be read to, whereas Jase does NOT like to sit still to color (but will sit and build cool things with his magnets for hours). It’s interesting to see their differences and how interested Kade is in learning already. I made sure to get some things for him too, and he’s already so good at puzzles, etc.

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Honestly, this is not how I pictured us starting our homeschool journey. Living in a rental house with all of our stuff packed in storage. I figured we’d be in our own house by now and I’d have our “classroom” all set up. But, God is showing me once again everything doesn’t have to be “perfect” to be successful.

My theme for this year: GRACE. For all of us. Lots of flexibility as we figure this thing out. I know everyone is so different, so it’s really about finding what works for you and your child. And most importantly, keeping the main thing the main thing. My kiddos having a relationship with Christ is hands down the most important aspect of their “education” to me.

Every year I pray for all of the students, teachers, and school staff heading back into the school year. This year, all you homeschooling fams are on my list too! Hereeee we go!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

“I can do what I want!”

“I can do whatever I want!”

Does this not sound like something a bratty 6 year old would say?

Yes, but in reality, it’s a truth so many people {even adults} are living by in our society today.

We are one of the most selfish, entitled cultures…and it all starts with a lack of DISCIPLINE and self-control. I know, we have plenty of people who are generous & kind too, but by and large I do think it’s an issue. Don’t you? And it’s rooted in selfishness.

So many think we are causing our kids to suffer when we discipline them, when in fact, the opposite is true. If we don’t teach our children self-control (one of the fruits of the spirit), we are setting them up to experience some major difficulties and hardships later in life. The Bible is very clear that you reap what you sow. (And even people who aren’t believers seem to believe this truth!) So if we sow selfishness, gluttony, lack of self control, etc., we aren’t going to reap debt/financial struggles, broken relationships, insecurity, obesity & health issues related to it, etc.

I LOVE this wisdom from my friend Lori. She has been an awesome mentor to me and shares lots of Biblical wisdom through her Instagram and blog. (Not popular by worldly standards by any means, but shew….it’s some good stuff and based on the Word of God!)

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I know that’s not popular because people don’t want to “be told what to do.” But, we all have to answer to somebody sooner or later. And if we don’t respect authority & learn that early, that’s going to make us unemployable and struggle in our walk with the Lord.

A part of the reason we must discipline our children is because our heavenly father disciplines us since there are consequences for sin. I have to remind myself of this when I’m tempted to let my boys get away with too much. (I definitely tend to be more lenient than strict.) And if it’s always done from a place of love (& never out of anger or frustration) and with WAY more loving contacts throughout the day, there will be positive results. Children (& teenagers) actually crave boundaries, even if they don’t act like it.

And like Lori said, self-control is like a muscle….we have to practice it. It goes hand in hand with self-discipline. The BEST way to teach this to our children is to model it for them in our own lives. We can’t expect them to “do as I say and not as I do.” They are going to do what we do. (Ahem…put the PHONE down, Danielle.)

Lack of self control doesn’t lead to anything positive.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that. It’s so important for us to recognize this truth and teach it to our children if we want them to have abundant lives.

Jase’s i9 Baseball League

My mom signed my niece up for baseball this summer and begged me to let Jase play. Jonathan’s dad had been asked about t-ball all the time too, so we decided to consider an i9 league after hearing several friends rave about it.

I’m sure at some point our life will include LOTS of sporting events- practices, lessons, games, and tournaments. With three boys & some athletic genes, I think that’s pretty inevitable, but we do want to prolong the chaos as long as possible. I know our boys will enjoy the interaction since we plan to homeschool, and I think there are many benefits to organized sports. BUT, we aren’t ready for any huge time commitments yet, and for us it’s something we don’t want to get too serious about until the boys are much older. The i9 league only meets once a week on the weekend for 6 weeks. It’s a 2 hour block where they practice right before the games. That didn’t feel too overwhelming, and we also like that they have pretty strict rules for coaches and parents (#keepitclassy) AND they discuss positive traits each week (respect, enthusiasm, sportsmanship, courage, etc.).

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{ #2 is the number I wore in high school & college. }

He put his own hat on, and it was so cute seeing how he wore it.

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The only way I was going to let him play was if Jonathan would coach, and thankfully he agreed to help co-coach with another guy. I probably should have helped too since it’s hard to keep a 4 year old entertained & they need someone with LOTS of enthusiasm…definitely more of my gifting. (At this age anyway.) He was so great with them though, and it was precious (although sometimes a little painful for two super competitive parents)to watch. Ha! Repeat to self: “This is just for fun. This is just for fun.”

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Cropped this out of the team picture…so cute!

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They met EARLY on Saturday mornings, which was nice since it was still cool and we still had the whole day Saturday to get things done. It was a little difficult getting there on time since practices are 20-25 minutes away and start time was before our boys normally even wake up for the day! But, we did it with all 3 littles in tow. We finally figured out a system that worked.

Thankfully it was super laid back and no one minded that Kade wanted Jon to hold him half the time in the field. Ha!

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Jase’s Papa and Aunt Jimmy came to every single game too and were his biggest fans besides me & Jon. It became the tradition to eat donuts every Saturday after the game. That was their favorite part!!

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Overall I think it was a little too slow paced for Jase since there wasn’t a lot of action, so I think we may try soccer next time? He did like practicing with Jon in the backyard though (for short periods) so I think he’ll like it more when he’s older. I can’t wait to continue to watch him learn and grow.

Kade wants to do everything Jase does, of course.  Watching them together was one of my favorite parts! (I liked watching them together much more than I liked the donuts! #diabetes) Kade loves to play ball, so I think he’ll really enjoy it when he’s big enough.

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Seriously, is this not the sweetest??

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I’m probably checkin’ out the hot coach!! (Big Jon got it goin on.)

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It was a great group of kiddos and parents, & such a fun “season.” We are glad we participated and very proud of Jase. We’re taking the Fall off to do music lessons, but are going to think about getting started with something again in the Spring.

If you have littles and are considering organized sports, I highly recommend looking into seeing if there is an i9 league in your area.

Friday, August 11, 2017

When God Doesn’t Answer Prayers…

I believe in the power of prayer.

I know our God answers prayers, as I have seen Him do time and time again throughout my own life, many times in miraculous ways that could only be God.

I keep a prayer journal, and it is so neat to scroll back through the years and see so many PRAISES. To see how He was working different things out at different times, even when I didn’t recognize Him working. Even during trials, I can now see how He was moving or teaching us something through that.

God is NOT a genie in a bottle or Santa Clause in the sky. (Sometimes preachers/authors falsely describe Him in that way.) He is HOLY and MIGHTY…powerful, omniscient, & omnipotent. But, He is also a God who the Bible tells us works for the GOOD of those who love Him, who wants to prosper us, bless us, keep us, and wants us to walk in abundance here on earth. He is gracious and merciful and forgiving and loving. He IS love!

There are several verses that talk about God giving us the desires of our heart and giving us what we ask of him when we ask, seek, & knock.  The more we seek Him, the more our desires line up with His will for our lives & the more I believe we will see our prayers answered.

The other day Jonathan was telling me about a video he saw where the preacher was sharing a few Scriptures/reasons God may not hear our prayers in certain circumstances. I have thought of that before, but for some reason, it just prompted me to want to dig deeper into that subject. I started looking into some of the verses, and found the Bible does talk about some times God may not be hearing our prayers. The Bible says Jesus is seated at the right hand of God interceding for us- isn’t that incredible to think about? And we can talk to God anywhere, any time, under any circumstance. However, after studying this a little more, I do feel like sin, disobedience, marital strife, wrong motives, lack of faith/doubt, hypocrisy/insincerity, and unforgiveness can keep our prayers from being heard. I almost picture it as a glass ceiling. God knows all, and He knows our hearts. He can always see us, always loves us and wants what is best for us, and wants communication and relationship with us. But sometimes our own choices mean our prayers hit a glass ceiling before making it to him because our SIN is clouding them. We have free will and make choices that affect our relationship with Him. Not the love…because He loves us unconditionally. But sin separates us from God, and if we want reconciliation, we must ask for forgiveness and repent. I am so, so grateful for His mercy and grace!! Aren’t you? That He still loves me even when I am unloveable.

I believe sometimes we are getting a delayed response because He is working things out that we cannot see, and as I have learned (both the easy and hard way), HIS TIMING is far greater and more perfect than my expectations. I also believe sometimes He has different plans altogether that are achieving a bigger purpose for His glory. But sometimes, we are just flat out getting in our own way of having our prayers answered. So if you’re like me, perhaps it’s worth digging into these verses, asking forgiveness, repenting, and bringing them before the throne with a clean, pure heart.

I cannot wait to watch the Lord continue to work in MIGHTY ways in our family’s life. I choose to pray continuously, with thanksgiving, and without ceasing.

Thank you Lord, for answered prayers. And thank you for revealing some reasons we may not be seeing answers so we can choose to walk in light, be obedient, have peace in our marriages, seek YOUR will & pray accordingly, be sincere doers of the Word, forgive, believe with perfect faith (or maybe just the faith of a mustard seed), & patiently trust your perfect timing.

Here’s the sheet I wrote out earlier today. I hope this is as eye opening for you as it was for me!

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How we stay HEALTHY while Traveling!

Okayyyy, so I wanted to share some of my favorite things I pack for us when we are traveling to help keep us healthy. These are all legit on my “to pack list” every time we travel, and especially when we fly. Obviously there are tons of germs in an airplane (and recirculated air means you get to breathe it alllll in), but it’s also pretty likely you may not sleep as well, eat as much fiber as normal and things may slow down in the bathroom, & you may not get as much sleep as usual. (If you have an early flight at the Atl airport, anyway.) Traveling just leaves ya run down sometimes, so these are my secrets to staying WELL while traveling.

{This little pink lunch bag is my “snack bag” and goes with me on every trip. If you’ve seen me at an event, you’ve seen it with me. May have even seen Big Jon rockin it a time or two! Everyone always comments on how nicely the pink goes with his outfit.}

**Also some proof I mayyyy need to go shopping since I’m wearing the same pants in every pic…different years… #cheap #imeanfrugal

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Butler Faves for Traveling:

AdvoGreens: These are a part of Jonathan’s morning routine.  (He likes to mix it with cherry Spark.) Great way to get some digestive enzymes, pre and probiotics, and some greens! I bring the snack shakes too in case we want a snack in the room before bed. (I always bring 3-4 shakers cups & we buy bottled water when we get there.)

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Aquasana Water Bottle: Confession: I am a TOTAL water snob. I am hard core about drinking “clean” water and will not apologize for that. At home we drink water from our Berkey water filter, & I bring my huge growler full of clean water whenever we go somewhere. I don’t necessarily love bottled water either, but to me it’s a better option than tap water. When we’re traveling, I bring this Aquasana water bottle because it has a built in water filter. I don’t typically use it unless we are traveling and it definitely gets the job done on the go. If I have my pick of bottled water, I prefer Voss, Evian, or Fuji. (I know, I know…$$$$…water snob. But Jon is pretty picky too so he’s okay with it! But we usually just buy a huge pack of whatever to keep in the hotel room since we go through so much of it.) This is the one I have:

Citrizinc Chews: I don’t use these all the time, but we keep them in the snack bag while we’re traveling (and also take them if we start feeling a little under the weather). They taste great & give that immune system a little extra boost.

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Probiotic Restore Ultra: I take them every single day anyway, but they’re especially important while traveling. Gut health + immune system are very closely linked, so it helps keep everything working like it should. LOVE me some Probiotics! I may even double up and bring the FastMelts too.

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Fiber Drink: I hate to be all TMI & talk #2 on here (not really, but at least it makes me sound more ladylike with that disclaimer, right?), but have you ever been on a trip and NOT gone to the bathroom regularly? I don’t know exactly why it happens- probably a combo of a few different things (like not drinking enough water, not eating as much fiber, disruption of normal routine/environment), but it ain’t healthy, friends. We should all be going to the bathroom 1-2 times every.single.day. Plus, it helps you feel more full so you eat less junk! I personally drink the peaches and cream because I love the way it tastes. It helps keep things moving right along while traveling.

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Lemons: Yes, I bring my own lemons, and no, I don’t care that it’s weird. Most places have hot water in the lobby so I can continue to make my warm lemon water in the mornings. It’s part of my morning ritual along with Spark and Rehydrate and it’s something I do every single morning when I first wake up to get things moving, hydrate/detox. Tons of benefits!

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AdvoGreens Meal Shake & shaker cup: Obviously we are eating out for most of our meals while traveling. I try to make the best possible choices & help control it by bringing our own snacks. But, it is SUPER helpful to be able to control at least one meal. We typically use it for breakfast, but sometimes we’ll do lunch if the hotel has a decent breakfast. The new plant-based shakes are my jammmm – Jonathan’s too actually. I like salted caramel and he likes chocolate chip cookie dough. (On the go we like to eat Panera, Chipotle, & Zoe’s.) 24 g protein & 24 g carbs is the perfect 1:1 ratio, & it actually fills you up.

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Sleep Works: I bring this for Jon because it helps him fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly but still wake up feeling refreshed. Sometimes it’s difficult to fall asleep when you’re traveling, so this is super helpful. I’ll get back on it when I’m done nursing.

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Socks in airport: I always try to remember to either wear shoes that require socks or at least pack a pair that I can put on when walking through security. Because barefoot on the airport floor? NO thank you.

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Spark + Rehydrate: Seriously, don’t go anywhere without it. Hydration is SO important, & we love the mental focus and clean energy the Spark gives us. The stick packs are more convenient on the go, but I’ve never had a problem flying with the canisters either.

AdvoCare Rehydrate® Single ServingsSpark® Stick Packs

Apples, homemade nut/seed mix, & Pro 20: I bring enough apples to eat one each day while I’m gone. (That way I know it’s organic and I’ve washed it at home.) There is truth to the ole “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” saying. (Seriously, research validates it.) We also love almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. so keep a glass jar full at home & just distribute into little baggies to bring with us. Quick, easy, & fills you up. We also love Pro 20 because it is an awesome way to help make sure you’re getting enough protein (20g of hydrolyzed protein), & you can fly with them in your carry on since they’re only 3 oz. #winning  Cuz let’s be real…my snack bag is coming with me on the airplane. If you have a husband who gets “hangry” (like straight up out of the Snickers commercials) without food, you get me! Haha!

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C-Grams: A little vitamin C when your body might typically be getting run down is always a good thing!

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Hand sanitizer: I have some from Ava Anderson I’m still using up, & I keep Babyganics in the kiddos’ bags. We make sure to wash our hands as often as possible too. I prefer good ole fashioned regular soap and NOT antibacterial, but I figure it’s fine while traveling.

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OnGuard Essential Oil: I’ve been using this since October and LOVE it. I typically diffuse it at home and very rarely use anything topically, but I do apply a little drop. I also have a roller ball with a carrier oil so it’s more diluted. I carry them both in my carry on (inside a double bagged plastic bag) & have never had any trouble.

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Sound Machine: Hotel rooms are almost too quiet for us now that we are used to sleeping with a box fan and air purifier in our room. I caught myself struggling to go to sleep on one of our trips, so we just started bringing one of the boys’ sound machines. Next time we will just download a white noise app on our phones. #duh

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Clear Mood & Oasis (for Jon): Because, have you ever driven through Atl traffic or gone through Hartsfield-Jackson airport? If not, congrats. And if you have, there is no explanation needed as to why this is essential.

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That may seem like a lot, but it’s all things we have on hand anyway, and it’s just second nature to pack it now. Jonathan has become accustomed to me taking care of us in this way too and he really appreciates that I have all of these things ready for him when we’re traveling. I just like to make sure the only thing we bring home is souvenirs and not any yucky sickness. Winking smile

Anything else you do to help stay healthy while traveling?? (I should totally start bringing our own sheets too after the video I saw the other day about hotels not changing out sheets….YIKES!)

Oh, and I’ll take alllll the tips I can get for unpacking, because I DREAD doing it so bad that I usually end up leaving the suit case on the floor in the closet for wayyyy longer than I’d care to admit. Unpacking is the worst!