#MyGoodLife is busy … How I’ve learned to refuel when I need an afternoon break

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Get tired in the afternoon? Take a break and enjoy new Stouffer's Mac Cups and Nestle Pure Life water.  What other ways do I replenish my resources in the afternoon? Find out.

 

I’m the first to admit that the schedule in the Smith household is a little “nontraditional.” With John working second shift (and lots of overtime lately) and me working from home and able to match my schedule to his, we often don’t find ourselves going to bed until 3 or 4 a.m. and getting up mid-morning. With us both working long hours, add to it the slightly oddness of those hours, and it can be easy to get worn down. I’ve learned to take better care of myself and try to take a break before I get too overworked. I recently got the opportunity through #CollectiveBias and #Walmart to talk about ways that I replenish in the afternoons and keep up #MyGoodLife in part using Nestle Pure Life water and Stouffer’s new Mac Cups.

3 Ways I get refueled in the afternoon

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A much needed ‘sabbath’ weekend and making new discoveries in Eureka Springs

This is the view from CR 309 outside Eureka Springs on my way to Christview.

This is the view from CR 309 outside Eureka Springs on my way to Christview. It was about 8:30 a.m.

 

I used to believe that “sabbath” meant a specific day and that you didn’t work unless you absolutely had to and it always involved some kind of churchy activity. It was the day you made sure everyone new you were church folk. After attending a seminar by my friend Cari Kaufman a few years ago, I feel I have a better understanding of what sabbath means.

It means rest. It doesn’t mean take time to make sure everyone knows you’re spiritual. It doesn’t make a specific day of the week more sacred than the other (after all, aren’t we to worship God every day? That part always puzzled me.). Keeping the sabbath holy means to make sure to give yourself time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. It means making time to refresh and refill yourself and your relationship with our creator.

Our sabbath weekend

This simple but beautiful arrangement is in the basement meeting room for Christview Ministries where we had our Captivating Heart leadership retreat.

This simple but beautiful arrangement is in the basement meeting room for Christview Ministries where we had our Captivating Heart leadership retreat. It’s a beautiful place for a pastor/ministry leader get away and mentoring.

I’m the first to admit I’m not really that great about taking sabbath time. I feel pressure to make sure I run my business, keep my animals alive and to do a myriad of other things I’ve convinced myself are necessary. When I do get brief respite, I realize how valuable it is to my mind, body and soul.

This weekend John and I got away for what I consider a “sabbath” weekend, which involved spending a couple days in Eureka Springs. He’s worked 8-10 hours of overtime each week for a couple months and I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, too.

The weekend started with the whole idea that I needed to be in Eureka for a day-long leadership committee retreat for the Captivating Heart Retreat team. I didn’t really want to drive all the way there and be there at 9 a.m. so I told John I might go the Friday night before to spend the night. He said he would take Friday off from work and we would make a weekend of it. He would spend the Saturday while I was at the retreat enjoying time alone watching cable TV.

Oddly enough, I got sick during the weekend and felt icky but still felt like my spirit was renewed. Both in time of worshipping with my Captivating Heart sisters and spending down time with my husband. Seriously, all we did was hang out at the hotel and go to one or two stores and out to eat. I never plugged in my work hard drive and only answered one or two work emails simply so I could let them know I would get back to them when I was back.

I didn’t get a lot of photos this trip and even that felt good. I had to snap a few that captured my attention along the trip (using my cell phone, hence the less than stellar quality).

This is outside the homestyle restaurant Granny's Kitchen in Huntsville. We heard it was good so we tried it.

This is outside the homestyle restaurant Granny’s Kitchen in Huntsville. We heard it was good so we tried it.

 

I can’t believe I never got any pictures of the Regency Inn in Eureka but we will definitely be back. Truth be told, we don’t go to Eureka that much because pretty much the whole town is very wheelchair inaccessible. Even most the hotels don’t have an accessible room and in many cases, their version of “accessible” is just … not. The Regency not only had a great accessible room, it was clean, easy to get to and the owners were a delight. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early to head to Christview Ministries for the Captivating Heart leadership retreat.

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That first picture I shared was the valley as I was driving there (I stopped…was not driving and picture taking). Here’s another view from the window of Christview later that afternoon.

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The retreat was just what my soul needed. I was in a place with people where I felt free to worship God in a way that fits me, not what church society says I should be doing. We also spent time going over every part of the schedule for the three-day retreat and made plans to promote it as much as possible. By the way, you don’t have to live in Arkansas, Missouri or Oklahoma to come to this. Those are just the closest states. Please come!

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After the retreat John and I went to a new-to-us restaurant called Mei Li Asian Cuisine. It was not as accessible as we were told over the phone so we ended up eating on the patio. That ended up making the entire experience delightful! I failed to get a picture of the sign but I linked to their Urbanspoon.

I was still feeling sick from earlier so we just went back to the hotel and enjoyed watching Animal Planet marathons all night! We don’t have cable and the only channel we truly miss is Animal Planet. I love that I’m married to a man who loves to watch hours of television programming that is nothing but cute animals.

The next morning we were ready to check out and had plans to go to another favorite Eureka Springs restaurant Rowdy Beaver. Not to sound like a broken record, but instead, neither one of us was feeling all that great and it just sounded too heavy so we went to our most favorite Eureka Springs shop and then headed home.

We discovered this shop a few years ago and we make a point to stop in every time we're in Eureka Springs. They had a lot of new stuff this time and we had fun looking at all of it!

We discovered this shop a few years ago and we make a point to stop in every time we’re in Eureka Springs. They had a lot of new stuff this time and we had fun looking at all of it!

 

As we got closer to home, we were feeling better enough and hungry enough to eat. On our way to Eureka (we took a different route than normal because we had to drop the dogs off to Dogwatch Doggie Daycare and Boarding), we had noticed a cafe in a tiny town called Goshen that sounded interesting. We stopped there and will definitely be back at some point! It’s only about 20 minutes or so from our house and would be a nice Sunday afternoon getaway.

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When we got home and got our cats fed and the dogs picked up (they got baths at Dogwatch! More rest for us!), we realized we were both still very, very tired. Our spirits were full but our bodies were not (both of us were up sick a lot the night before). We decided to take a nap and we both woke up feeling a lot better.

 

 

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Easy Spicy Chicken Stovetop Casserole recipe (don’t forget your Kraft coupons!)

New CB Disclosure 600px wideSpicy Chicken Stovetop Casserole has jalapeno sour cream dip, bacon, green onion, chicken, and shells & cheese. This same recipe can be revised to make a tasty breakfast (exchange the chicken for eggs) #shop

 

 

Remember last month when I shared about the manufacturer coupons that you could find on the Walmart website? These printable coupons are #PackedWithSavings and they are available for only a limited time. John and I took the opportunity to use some of these coupons (there’s printable coupons for like 20 different Kraft products!) to make up another casserole recipe. One of the activities we enjoy each weekend is whipping up some kind of delicious but balanced meal that has lots of nutritional value yet still tastes amazing. Continue Reading →

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Sharing Captivating Heart over at Coffee with Jen

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Earlier this week, I was incredibly honored to guest post at my friend’s blog, Coffee with Jen. Jen and I met at a scrapbooking shindig a couple years ago but have become friends through our love of blogging.

I am very grateful that she let me share about Captivating Heart and how that retreat and curriculum helped me through an identity crisis I didn’t see coming.

Go to her blog now and check out my article Solving an Identity Crisis through Captivating Heart (then go look around at more of Jen’s blogs. Great stuff!)

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“The world through Jamie’s eyes”

BlackEyedSusans

 

Isn’t it amazing how our perspective about something can be reframed when we hear how others view the same thing we are seeing? Sometimes that can be hurtful, other times it can be inspiring. Continue Reading →

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How we save money when medical bills start piling up (including paperless coupons)

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It’s no secret that about four years ago, I was laid off from my job and that makes finances tight under any circumstances. But we both came into the marriage with high medical bills that we were paying off and we both have incurred more in the nearly six years we’ve been married. We’ve been blessed, however, to be able to continue making payments on those bills because we found ways to save money where we could. With new technology like the ability to “clip” paperless coupons from Walgreens, saving money is even more achievable.

Here’s the top ways we’ve been able to save money to get out of debt from medical bills. I share this because I know that with rising medical costs, more and more people are going to find themselves in this situation. Continue Reading →

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Looking for great manufacturers coupons all in one place? Check out the online coupons through #PackedWithSavings

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Are you much of a couponer? I’m trying to learn more about it without spending tons of time scouring newspapers  for coupons that in the end, don’t add up to compensate me for the amount of time I spent searching for them then cutting out the coupons. Let’s just say I’m loving the idea of online coupons, including manufacturers coupons.

Well guess what? Kraft and Walmart are teaming up to provide #PackedWithSavings and they’ve asked me, through #CollectiveBias, to share it with you. Seriously, check these out. More than $16 in savings and the coupons are all in one place!

I am always looking for new and fun activities to enjoy during the summer, but costs can start to add up quickly! Saving money whenever and wherever I can is important, especially during the summer months. Kraft Foods wants to help you save money without sacrificing on great taste and quality by offering multiple high value coupons worth $16.25. If you can cut back your grocery bill, that opens up the possibility for fun activities with your family and friends all summer long! Be sure to download these coupons now to begin saving! You can find all of these great deals on http://cbi.as/copy

 

Share these online coupons with your friends! 

 

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Southwest Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole Bake recipe

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A few years ago, we tried a few of the Great Value brand (Walmart) casseroles. I think this was around the time we were first married or perhaps when I was first laid off and we were trying to live on the cheap. Anyways, some were icky, some were OK and one was so fantastic we bought it every few months for years. The Southwest-style chicken pasta bake is not available in our closest Walmart now that we live in a different area of Northwest Arkansas.

Like other store-bought items we love, we often wondered if there was an easy, healthier version of the casserole but never did figure it out.

Fast forward a couple of years and we were trying out a new chicken/bacon/ranch casserole I had found on Pinterest. I’m not usually one to follow trends; in fact, I try to avoid liking certain things just because they are a trend! One exception is chicken/bacon/ranch combined in food. Salads, sandwiches and casseroles all are great ways to combine these three flavors.

What came out didn’t taste like traditional chicken/bacon/ranch. In fact, I couldn’t taste the ranch at all until John added a whole other half a cup of ranch dressing. But you know what it did taste like? Yup, you guessed it. A more natural version of that delicious Southwest Chicken Pasta Bake! Woo hooo! A couple quick notes before I share our version of the recipe, which was inspired by this blog. We try to eat as low sodium as possible because of John’s kidney condition and I’m not able to handle lactose so I can’t eat this dish in large quantities.

So let’s get to that recipe, shall we?  Continue Reading →

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Blogger Confessions Week 1: The real story behind those photos

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A couple fellow blogger friends came up with this fun idea to share weekly #BloggerConfessions to help each other realize that we all have hidden struggles when blogging and that a lot goes on behind those pretty pictures and eloquent words. Isn’t that fun? It also lets our readers see a bit of behind-the-scenes and who doesn’t like that? Each week, my friend Jenna will post a themed Blogger Confession on her blog and we all write on that topic if it pertains and link our blog to hers. Kinda like right here.

So, the first Blogger Confession week prompt is the photo behind the photo. As bloggers, we try to get interesting and pretty photos and sometimes that happens in not so pretty ways!  Continue Reading →

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When your husband loves blueberry, you love it when you find recipes like this smokey grilled blueberry crunch

Blueberry fixed

 

 

Most people who know me know I like sweets but because of health reasons, I only eat them in small amounts. My favorite is chocolate (especially chocolate with mint or toffee). My husband, though? Not so much. He’s developed more of a sweet tooth since marrying me but I swear he would have had steak as his groom’s cake instead of actual cake at our wedding if I had agreed to it.

The one exception seems to be blueberries. Not just anything flavored blueberry, either. I am always buying him blueberry flavored stuff and sometimes it hits the mark and sometimes it’s out in left field of dessert land.

So last year when he found a blueberry dessert on Facebook, we of course made it. And we both loved it. A lot. It’s a blueberry crunch dessert that you make on the grill, which means two things: no heating up the oven and it gets a rich, almost smokey flavor from the charcoal. Another aspect of this blueberry crunch that I like is that it uses pineapple to blend with the blueberry instead of the traditional lemon. John really doesn’t like lemon-flavored anything and I’m not a big fan of blueberry and lemon together.

I honestly don’t know where the original came from except for “Facebook” but I was able to find it in a couple of places like here. We used almost identical ingredients with some variations for taste or, if I’m being honest, because I got the wrong stuff. Continue Reading →

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