Don’t Try to Figure Out What’s Happening ..

Whew! I’m having one of “those weeks”, and it’s only Tuesday.  Seems pretty cruel, doesn’t it? I feel like my week has been a big ball of frustration and stressful situations.  I’ve tried so desperately to seek the meaning for my troubles (that may seems so small, but sometimes small things feel so big). It just seems like the worst possible timing for a lot of it. 

A rolling pin that I haven’t used in probably 2 years or seen in 6 months fell out of my upper kitchen cabinet right onto my new iPhone yesterday, and I do believe it’s a goner.  I cried when it happened.. all I could see were dollar signs going out the window.  THANKFULLY that phone was free, but I know my next phone won’t be.  But anyways.. life goes on.  I have told a couple friends today that I feel like everything happens for a reason, and I was just trying to wrap my head around the REASON my phone needed to be shattered.  Especially right now, when I feel like I actually REALLY need it.  Was it satan trying to really get to me and cause unwanted stress? Or, what is God because I asked Him to help me be less dependent on my cell phone?  If it WAS God, completely destroying it wasn’t really what I had in mind, but maybe that’s what needed to happen to make me fully understand what it means to be less dependent on my cell phone.  I know that He will provide for us and that I will get another phone in the future, but this time – maybe I will do better about not being on it sooooo much.  I wanted to focus on what REALLY matters, right? I’m pretty much forced to now.. ;)

Today I had Shelby’s car, because he is using mine this week, and as usual I parked in my parking lot with my staff tag – which had been taken off of my car.  I went down for lunch, and I had a warning ticket on my windshield because I had a student AND staff tag on my car.   Doesn’t really make much sense, but whatever.  I had to leave my spot, and when I came back on campus I had to park in a different lot that wasn’t really for my staff tag OR Shelby’s student sticker.  I prayed that my car just wouldn’t get a ticket, and that next time I’d park in Shelby’s student lot and walk across campus.  I came out after work to a ticket-free car, and a promise to keep that I will park in Shelby’s lot and walk across campus..haha.  Is it satan causing me to stress over the extra minutes that it’s going to take to walk across campus on top of having to take both kids to school tomorrow morning .. causing me to more than likely be late? OR, is it God making me take that extra walk across campus because I asked for some more alone time with Him? 

I think my devotional from Jesus Calling is a perfect explanation of what’s happening this week : Approach this day with awareness of who is Boss. As you make plans for the day, remember that it is I who orchestrate the events of your life. On days when things go smoothly, according to your plans, you may be unaware of My sovereign Presence. On days when your plans are thwarted, be on the lookout for Me! I may be doing something important in your life, something quite different from what you expected. It is essential at such times to stay in communication with Me, accepting My way as better than yours. Don’t try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you, and they are good.

Can I just take a moment to say “Thank you, God”?   Thank you for giving me some insight to what’s going on lately, thank you for reminding me to seek YOU in times of stress or frustration, thank you for always knowing what’s best for me, even when it upsets me or causes me inconvenience.  

“Don’t try to figure out what’s happening” .. OK, God.  I trust you and I THANK YOU in advance for the good that will come out of it all.  

What’s For Dinner?

WEEKLY MENUIt’s that time again! I love having my menu planned out for the coming week.. it just helps things FLOW so much smoother at home.  

Here is my menu for this upcoming week (Monday – Sunday) It’s kinda boring.. and somewhat of a repeat from last week. What’s on YOUR menu this week?!

Monday 1/12 : Grilled Chicken Salad with Black Beans & Veggies – I like to marinade my chicken in something yummy and grill it up, toss it on my salad, and I’m good to go! I need to work on better salad fixin’s to add to it!

Tuesday 1/13 :  Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday 1/14 : Leftover Chicken Tortilla Soup

Thursday 1/15 : Beef & Broccoli with Brown Fried Rice

Friday 1/16 : Leftover Beef & Broccoli with Brown Fried Rice

Saturday 1/17 : Roast with Veggies (I use onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, white potatoes (for my family) and I make gravy for Shelby.  I may make some rice for Shelby & the kids)

Sunday 1/18 : Leftover Roast with Veggies – I MIGHT turn this in to a “beef stew” if I’m feeling frisky .. 

If I have a recipe, I’ve linked it in the post for you to check out yourself!  If there is no link but you’re curious about a certain meal – feel free to email me [ miratucci at gmail dot com] ! I have no secrets with my eating and am more than happy to share with anyone who’s interested!

I’d love to hear what YOU are having!!! Have a wonderful week! 

Slumber Parties!

Yesterday afternoon our heater went out in the house.  It’s been in the teens at night here the past couple days, so we were sort of worried about not having any heat in the house until it gets fixed.  We are seriously so blessed, because we have heated blankets on all of the beds and enough space heaters to go around.  We haven’t really been that cold at night at all.  We decided to use one of the space heaters in the kitchen so that the kitchen pipes don’t freeze, so Tristan has got to have 2 slumber parties this week! 

Last night Tristan got to sleep with us.  He used to creep into our room EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, and sometimes I miss those days. (sometimes)  It was nice to have my little guy to cuddle with last night! He’s a heater on his own, so he kept us pretty warm.  Tonight Tristan and Kate are having a slumber party in Kate’s room.  It was 2 hours past their bedtime and I heard some random giggling.  I’m sure they’re going to be pretty tired tomorrow.  Maybe they will go to bed early tomorrow night. ;) 

I will say, it sure was nice being able to just come to my bedroom, put on my PJ’s, and slip into a nice warm bed and RELAX this evening.  I need to try and do this at least once a week.  Not worry about a thing, just do NOTHING.  I think Shelby liked it, too … because he was asleep before 8PM! haha! 

Tomorrow morning the heater guys will be back to replace some large part of our very old heater.  I feel bad for our landlord, because it’s not cheap AT ALL.  I’m so thankful for a good landlord who takes care of us.  I’m also thankful that tomorrow we will be able to stand being in the rest of the house! I might get some cleaning done to my kitchen ;) 

I hope everyone has had a WONDERFUL week!  It feels kinda good just blogging about the randomness of our day.  I used to do that everyday.. just blog about what we’ve been up do that day.  I like the simplicity of that.  I need to get back to that! That’s what this blog started out as anyways.  I like blogging about things I am passionate about, too.  I’m sure I can find a healthy blend of the two!

Tomorrow is FRIDAY! Hip Hip Hooray!

Kate wore some new PJ’s tonight, too .. I think she likes them!Kate PJ's

The Best Planners for 2015

Best Planners 2015I am very excited to talk about one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  PLANNERS.  This post is probably my favorite post to write each year, and I’m especially excited because I have a brand new planner to personally review!

My favorite aspect of this post is that I have wonderful ladies (and actual REAL LIFE friends!) to help by contributing their own personal reviews of THEIR personal planner.  Their help with this post means so much to me, and I am so thankful for such a great lineup this year! THANK YOU ladies for your help with this post!

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I feel like my gears have changed a bit this year.  I can feel myself being drawn to more simplicity.  I want to live a life on purpose, making the most of my minutes each day.  That desire has drawn me to a particular planner – The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley.

Simplified Planner Review

 There are so many things I love about this planner.  The colors just make me happy.  And I love the simplicity of it.  The name “The Simplified Planner” fits it perfectly.  

Simplified Planner

Simplified Planner

The planner itself is hard and feels sturdy.  I love that you have a “2015 at a glance page” and a “2015 bucket list” at the very beginning.  I’m so excited to fill in and mark off things from my bucket list! 

Simplified Planner

Simplified Planner

I’m a geek about holidays – I love that they’re right at my fingertips!

Simplified Planner

There is a monthly view, as well as a daily view.

Simplified Planner

Simplified Planner

On the daily view, there is a little section for notes.

Simplified Planner

I love this part so much! I always created a “dinner plans” space on my old planners.. this one has it!

Simplified Planner

It’s so nice that it has this strap to keep it closed.. it’s great if you’re putting it in your bag or backpack.

Simplified Planner

I would absolutely recommend this planner.  This is my first Emily Ley product, but I have a feeling I will be getting more.  I feel like the layout of this planner is perfect for me, and if I were to design a planner for myself .. I’d want it to be just like this one.

Simplified Planner

There is only 1 thing I don’t like … the metal spiral thing that holds it together.  You can’t fold this planner back on itself, it has to stay open at all times.  If you do fold it over, it will mess up the spiral thing holding it together and then your cover may fall off.  I put mine in my bag and it bent the metal a little bit.. now it doesn’t fit together like it should.  I think if it had a different type of thing holding it together, one that was more sturdy or easier to turn the pages with.. it would be that much better!

Simplified Planner

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The next planner I have to share with you is called a BlueSky planner by Dabney.  My sweet friend, Hanna, from Chef Meets Girl (this is such a fun blog, you guys!) has graciously agreed to review this planner for us! This is a planner she uses personally, and she loves it!  

BlueSky Planner

Blue Sky by Dabney

Like most well organized ladies, I am eternally in search of the perfect planner. This BlueSky planner is the closest I’ve gotten. Here are a few reasons why:

  • I write a lot – and this planner gives me plenty of room to do so. I’m in graduate school and I teach at the college level; that means I have a lot of assignments due and a lot of assignments to grade. This planner has a monthly calendar with enough room for me to write major events in each day, and also a weekly calendar that gives me plenty of room to write detailed information and take notes in meetings.

Blue Sky by Dabney

  • I love that the planner is spiral bound so I can staple additional pages in – syllabi and assignments – without threatening the spine.
  • The outer clear plastic layer is perfect for being stuffed into a messy bag. It doesn’t get bent up and I can spill on it without worrying.
  • There are a lot of pages for contacts in the front. I have an iPhone, I don’t need pages for contacts, but it works perfectly as a place to make extra lists and notes about things I need to do.

Blue Sky by Dabney

  • Finally, I love the monthly tabs. I keep a paperclip on the week that I’m currently in, but the tabs really help when I’m searching for something.

Blue Sky by Dabney

If you write a lot, this is the planner for you. It’s a bigger planner; it’s the size of a regular notebook, but that’s what drew me to it. I chose it for writing space and it has really lived up to my expectations.

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 Next up is the Life Planner by Erin Condren.  I’ve used this planner for the past few years, so I can vouch that it’s a great planner!  Today my SUPER amazing and so, so sweet sorority sister, Laura, is going to review this planner for us.  I wish she had a blog! (hint hint, Laura)

LIFE PLANNER

2015 is my first year using the Erin Condren life planner.  I usually get a cheap planner from Target, but with as much use as my poor little planner gets, I decided this would be a good time to upgrade.  I was torn between the Emily Ley Simplified Planner and the Erin Condren, and I waited so long to decide that the SP was sold out- choice made!  Ordering from erincondren.com was very easy, even with as many options as you have when you choose one of her products.  Videos are available to guide you through many of the processes, which came in handy for a newbie.  
 LIFE PLANNER
What I love: 
-The durability of the EC.  With other planners, it seemed like I was always trying to tuck pages back into the coil binding, or that the binding was coming undone and caught on something in my bag.  The coil on the EC is thick and doesn’t seem like it will be going anywhere, no matter how much I put it through.  The cover is very thick as well.  
-The EC is FUN.  You can customize so much of the personalization, choose the design, add a quote or photos, and order additional photo stickers.  Also, the covers are interchangeable, so when I get bored with this one (as I tend to do with planners), I can order a new cover without sacrificing all the work put into this planner.  With the calendar pages, each month has a color theme and all the weekly pages correspond.  The note pages also have fun designs.
LIFE PLANNER
-Stickers.  The EC came with 4 pages of stickers- birthdays, appointments, games, vacations, etc., plus blank stickers.  You can write on all of the stickers and- best part!- you can peel them off, move them, and they still stick!  As someone whose presentations and meetings frequently get rescheduled, this little feature will save a lot of headache (and white out!)
LIFE PLANNER
LIFE PLANNER
-Room to write.  The EC comes with a monthly calendar as well as weekly pages.  Each day has a column on the weekly page, and the days are divided into morning, day, and night (as well as a few lines at the bottom of each column for things like meal plans, to-do lists, notes, and the like).  I have pretty small and fairly neat handwriting, so the sections will be plenty big enough for me to write in.  People with larger handwriting may find that squeezing everything in is problematic, however.
LIFE PLANNER
LIFE PLANNER
LIFE PLANNER
What I didn’t love so much-
-The weight.  The EC is much heavier than my previous planners.  As someone who carries their planner with them, my arms might not like me for this.  However, I’m willing to make that sacrifice for added durability.  
-The week starts with Monday on the weekly pages.  I know that seems like a small thing, but it throws me off.  
- The “keep it together” zipper bag in the back of the planner arrived with a hole in it, and the 2016-2017 calendar pages are poorly printed- they looked like they were printed off my computer!  Those are super nitpicky things, and ones that don’t really bother me much, since I wouldn’t use either of those features often anyways.  
 
All in all, I’m super pleased and very excited about my new planner! 

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Next we have my super sweet and super neat friend, Anna, from Anna Who Is Magic! She is sharing a planner I have never heard of or laid eyes on before.. so I’m very excited to hear what she has to say about the Kate Spade Bella Bookshelf! It’s Kate Spade, so you know it has to be awesome!

BELLA BOOKSHELF

BELLA BOOKSHELF PLANNER

I have to admit what first drew me to this agenda was that I love all things Kate Spade! In my dreams, I wear her colorful clothes and fabulous shoes as I stroll about town with a bright green handbag on my arm. (With my BFF Kate Middleton in London if you must know the whole truth!) In reality though, I am a schoolteacher in need of an agenda, and I was so excited to receive this one for Christmas! The cover design features a bookshelf full of classic novels, which is perfect for a Language Arts teacher — Charles Dickens, Henry James, Shakespeare, and, my favorite,  Jane Austen, who I think would have been a Kate Spade gal herself!

This planner’s practical features are no less fabulous than the cover. First of all, it’s 17 months, not just 12; however I was slightly disappointed to learn that the first five months are actually August through December 2014. I was really hoping the planner would run from January 2015 to May 2016, as I just started teaching school this past August and would have loved my planner to finish this school year and run all the way through the next. It wouldn’t be too difficult, however, to turn August through December 2014 into January through May 2016, using a little creativity and some stickers! (I am a gal on a budget, after all.)

And I love all of this planner’s other features! It has a hardcover with an elastic closure, and the spirals are hidden inside the cover, which is great so they won’t start becoming un-spiraled!  It’s also large, 9″ tall and 7″ wide. It features laminated tabs making it easy to find your place.

I have to admit what first drew me to this agenda was that I love all things Kate Spade! In my dreams, I wear her colorful clothes and fabulous shoes as I stroll about town with a bright green handbag on my arm. (With my BFF Kate Middleton in London if you must know the whole truth!) In reality though, I am a schoolteacher in need of an agenda, and I was so excited to receive this one for Christmas! The cover design features a bookshelf full of classic novels, which is perfect for a Language Arts teacher -- Charles Dickens, Henry James, Shakespeare, and, my favorite,  Jane Austen, who I think would have been a Kate Spade gal herself! This planner's practical features are no less fabulous than the cover. First of all, it's 17 months, not just 12; however I was slightly disappointed to learn that the first five months are actually August through December 2014. I was really hoping the planner would run from January 2015 to May 2016, as I just started teaching school this past August and would have loved my planner to finish this school year and run all the way through the next. It wouldn't be too difficult, however, to turn August through December 2014 into January through May 2016, using a little creativity and some stickers! (I am a gal on a budget, after all.) And I love all of this planner's other features! It has a hardcover with an elastic closure, and the spirals are hidden inside the cover, which is great so they won't start becoming un-spiraled! It's also large, 9" tall and 7" wide. It features laminated tabs making it easy to find your place. The number one feature my planner must have is being month-at-a-glance. I simply cannot do weeks only. This planner features both months and weeks, which is ideal. It also has a large section for notes as well as a list of 2015 holidays. My favorite feature, however, is the signature Kate Spade "line" that accompanies the beginning of every month. From "Lose your head in the clouds" that begins January 2015 to July's "Show your true colors" every month features a confidence-boosting line. I am really excited to tote this planner through my 2015 as I, as Kate Spade would say, "stop them in their tracks"!

The number one feature my planner must have is being month-at-a-glance. I simply cannot do weeks only. This planner features both months and weeks, which is ideal. It also has a large section for notes as well as a list of 2015 holidays.

BELLA BOOKSHELF My favorite feature, however, is the signature Kate Spade “line” that accompanies the beginning of every month. From “Lose your head in the clouds” that begins January 2015 to July’s “Show your true colors” every month features a confidence-boosting line.

BELLA BOOKSHELFI am really excited to tote this planner through my 2015 as I, as Kate Spade would say, “stop them in their tracks“! 

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The last thing I’m going to share with you is a little different from the other reviews above.  This isn’t an actual “planner”, but they’re extremely useful for making plans.  They’re called Power Sheets and they were created by Lara Casey.  I don’t own these… yet.  But, I plan to.  I wanted to share a little bit about these with you incase you’re on the market for something that can help you accomplish REAL goals for 2015.  

The Power Sheets are designed to help you determine what matters most to you, and to plan your year according to those things.  Why would you want to make plans for things that don’t really matter?  I love that she has “goal refresh” pages, because things happen and change throughout the year.  I also love that they’re undated – meaning you can start them at any time throughout the year.  Lara mentions that there isn’t anything special about January 1, and she’s right! You can make positive changes towards a better life at any time!

Since I don’t own these yet, I have no personal pictures of them to share.  I don’t want to “steal” any photos from Lara’s site, so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE visit her site and take a look at these for yourself! You won’t regret it!

 divideThank you so much for stopping by and reading our reviews! Are you a planner lover who wants to contribute to this post next year??  I would LOVE to have your help! I realize that 2016 is an entire year away, but each December (sometimes sooner) I start planning the upcoming planner post, and I’d be more than happy to include you!  Just message me through the CONTACT ME link above, and I will put you on my list for 2016!

First come, first serve .. Here are the planners I already have on the list : The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley – the rest are open!

I am so thankful for my planner girls!  Please take a moment to visit their blogs and see how wonderful they really are! 

THANK YOU