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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Fun Way To Date Your Spouse!

Creative Date Night IdeasNow that Valentine's Day has come and gone, and I've given Jake his gift, I can share with all of you what I made him.

First off, let me start by saying one of the things we are working on is having more consistent "date nights" :-) It can be tricky at times if we don't plan ahead because we don't have family here who can easily watch our son. We have to find a babysitter or friends to look after Toby if Jake and I want to go out alone. Too often we look back and realize it's been weeks, if not months, since we went out just the two of us.

We started trying to plan two dates a month in January. Being intentional has helped, but, for Valentine's Day, I thought I would take it one step further.

Do you ever get in a date rut, where you got to the same restaurants or always catch a movie? I feel like we are totally guilty of that! Haha! I mean, nothing is wrong with that, but the reality is you don't really talk or connect during a movie, and repeat visits to the same restaurant don't foster new shared experiences and fresh conversation—plus there's just so many great restaurants we still need to try!

Insert my Valentine's gift. It was a simple idea that I found thanks to Pinterest and I tweaked it to work for us—date night ideas that we could pick out at the beginning of the month to change things up.

All you need is:

  • Markers
  • A jar
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Labels or paper & tape

I chose to create 4 categories:

  1. At home date nights that are free.
  2. At home date nights that have a small cost.
  3. Date nights out that are free.
  4. Date nights out that have a cost.

This will work with our budget, babysitting availability, and keep us changing things up!

Some of the ideas I came up with include:

  • Board game night
  • Sunset picnic
  • At home theme night (like Italian and make Italian food together, listen to Italian music and maybe learn a few words in Italian. It could also be a movie theme, decade them, etc.)
  • Try a new food truck
  • Walk on the beach

To create my list I scoured the internet for ideas. I also added some things that Jake and I often talk about doing but for some reason never have. I also threw in some of our favorite things to do that are always fun.

Then I color coded the four lists and wrote them out on the popsicle sticks marking the top part of the stick with the right color. At the beginning of the month, we pick two popsicle sticks based on our budget and childcare availability.

The main reason I did an equal amount of at home date nights was that I was keeping in mind that we are expecting our second baby in April and getting out of the house might be tricky for a while. This way we won't sacrifice our time together during that crazy, sleep deprived season!

If you try this out, I'd love for you to share what some of your date night ideas are! I'm always on the lookout for a new ones :-)

Filled with HOPE,
Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My Miracle Morning Routine

How to start your day off on the right foot, before the kiddos awake!At the end of 2017 I realized I needed to commit to a new morning routine. Allowing myself to wake
up naturally and then try to fit in my morning routine that included time in the Word, prayer, and exercise before Toby got up WASN'T happening!

It's not a big deal to exercise after he gets up. In fact, I kind of like knowing that he sees me do it because it's ingraining in him a healthy standard. It's the other stuff that wasn't happening. I just wasn't finding the time to dig into my Bible and pray while an 18-month-old demanded my attention.

A year ago I read the book The Miracle Morning, in it Hal Elrod shares a list of best practices to begin each day:

S - silence
A - Affirmations
V - Visualization
E - Exercise
R - Reading
S - Scribing

Thousands of people have transformed their lives, their success, their mindset, their health, and their outlook by following this 60 minute morning routine. I figured, if it could work for so many other people, why not me? So I adapted the routine to fit the important activities I wanted to observe every morning:

S - Silence as I turned to Prayer
A - Affirmations
V - Visualization
B - Bible reading and Devotions
R - Reading
S - Scribing what I'm thankful for.

I'll break this down and share a little more of what I do in each section and how much time I devote to it.

The first 5 minutes of my routine I quiet my heart and pray over my routine, my day, and whatever comes to mind. I pray that God would speak to me specifically as I dive into His Word, and that I would feel connected with Him throughout the day.

The next 5 minutes I read aloud a list of affirmations that I printed out that speak to where I am at. Affirmations about being a mom, about not procrastinating, about attracting new clients and coaches, and about my coaching business. I used to think saying positive statements (that were or were not currently true) aloud was SILLY! But so many successful people do it, and so I thought I would give it a shot. What I've found is that the things you focus on are the things your mind guides you toward. It's not magic. It's not a quick fix. It's a conscious choice to believe you are capable of certain things and then you start automatically acting on that belief.

Another one that I thought was hogwash—but I've heard testimonies from way too many friends, mentors, and celebrities that it works, so, I figured, let's give it a shot!—is to visualize. I visualize how I want my day to go, what I want to accomplish, and how I want to feel at the end of the day. Then I visualize reaching my goals for that month, how that will feel, what I will do when it happens. I continue this for my quarterly goals, yearly goals, life goals, and any other goals that fit in the 5 minutes I do this.

Bible Reading and Devotions
I don't think I've read through the Bible in a year since I was a bible school student over 10 years ago, but I want to change that! So I found a reading plan and I read 3-to-4 chapters a day. As of this writing, I have not yet missed a day. I follow that up with a devotional, currently, I'm reading 100 Days To Brave, by Annie F Downs. If there is any time left I either read the study notes in my Bible or I spend more time in prayer.

Another 20 minutes is spent reading a book. My goal is to read 36 books this year, and since I just finished number 6 I think I'm going to make it! These books are based on areas I want to grow in such as business, leadership, parenting, marriage etc. Currently I'm reading Love and Respect In The Family, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I've already read Present Over Perfect, Boundaries With Kids and The Miracle Morning. The other books I listen to on Audible during my omorning walk with Toby. So far I've listened to 5 Second Rule, 10X Rule, and Get Over Your Damn Self (warning, this one does have some swearing in it, but I found the content to be good enough that I can look past it. And I use headphones so Toby doesn't hear!)

The last 5 minutes of my hour I spend writing down all the things I'm thankful for. I typically start with things I'm thankful for from the day before, answers to prayer, etc. Then I move on to thanking God for the things I am TRUSTING He will bring to pass, things not yet answered, but that I have faith He will! I've been doing this part since August and it's SO much fun to look back and see how many things on my "not yet come to pass but I'll choose to be grateful anyway" list have now become solid "thank yous!"

So, in a nutshell, that's how I start each day! Typically, Monday through Saturday, I begin at 5:30. Sunday, since it's a rest day from my workout, I allow myself to wake up naturally and fit in as much of the list as I can, starting with the most important of my bible reading, prayer, and journaling. I stay on track throughout my hour by having alarms set on my phone with a reminder of what begins at that time. Which means, if for some reason I want to sleep in I have to turn off 9 alarms! Haha!

I would love to hear about your morning routines. If you already do any of the above or would like to begin adding them to your day, drop me a line! You can comment below or send me an email through the Contact button on the top right!

And for the record, I linked all the books for easy access on Amazon for you! I don't get ANYTHING for you ordering, I'm not an affiliate, just another mom trying to make life a bit easier for you ;-)

Filled with HOPE,

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside