What I’m Into This June

What I’m Into This June

Can’t believe the last day of June is here already!  I’m joining up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into this June.

Shopping at Aldi

We have a local Aldi, but I had always avoided it because how different it was compared to other grocery stores. The biggest deterrent for me was not being able to use a credit card (as we earn travel points on our cards).

So when I heard that Aldi now accepts credit and debit cards, it was time to check it out again.  The oddities about Aldi (25 cent deposit for carts and bringing your own grocery sacks) don’t seem as odd after grocery shopping in Brussels and Berlin, where it is the norm. 

Because of those oddities, Aldi can pass on savings to the customer and some staples are ridiculously cheap!  

so yummy!

Aldi now carries many organic staples such as organic grass fed beef, produce, and baking items. My current favorites right now are the mango chipotle cassava chips, churros and 100 calorie guacamole snack packs!

Listening 

Besides my favorite podcasts:

Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next?

The Lazy Genius Podcast

The Simple Show

Happier

I’ve also discovered this amazing app when I don’t want to listen to random conversations poolside whilst reading the latest beach read. 

Yes, the app is h_ _ r


Just like Prince, this free app is in a legal fight over the name Hear and so it’s officially the app formally known as Hear.  You can find it here and even enter a contest to rename it!

Basically this app works when you plug in your headphones and distorts the outside noise into pleasant ambient sounds. I love to use this app when I read because it masks the chatter but allows me to focus on reading!

Reading

I’ve almost worked through my June reading

All so good except Eight Hundred Grapes


Besides the above books, I’m also rereading:

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving with the Self-Absorbed 

and reading:

Walk Two Moons

Morning Walks

We’ve had some scorcher summer days already this month. Usually I walk in the evenings with my husband, but the humidity has been killer.  So, I’ve taken to walking in the early  morning before the mugginess descends.   



I’ve seen so much beauty in the morning hours!

What have you been into this June?  I’d love to hear!


7 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

7 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

I’m joining Anne Bogel of  Modern Mrs. Darcy in sharing what’s saving my life right now in the throes of Winter!

I agree with Anne that February is the cruelest month and I’m excited to see what others share that keeps them sane during the winter months!

Sunfilled days during Winter save me!
 

So, here’s my list!

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning
 
1.  Good Cheap Eats Taco Seasoning Mix. I find awesome recipes all the time on Jessica Fisher’s Good Cheap Eats blog but was skeptical about her taco seasoning mix. I had tried other DIY taco mixes but hadn’t liked the results. 

But Jessica’s recipe rocks…it’s simple and makes enough for several meals (a bonus).   In full disclosure, I use regular chili powder (couldn’t find chipotle chili at my local grocery) and I substituted onion powder for the onion flakes ( had powder but not flakes on hand).  It’s still awesome with the substitutions!  I love Mexican fare and having this taco mix on hand really saves my life right now!!

2.  Ice Glazed Frozen Chicken Tenders.  Continuing with the food theme, the frozen chicken tenders save my dinner prep life!!  The tenders cook up so much faster than the frozen chicken breasts and a bag gets me through two meals!  #winning

3.  Walgreens App. I have a ton of photos held hostage on my iPhone.  I used to wring my hands to try and get a photo book together, beautifully curated of course!  With the Walgreens App I can quickly upload my most recent pics and choose the store location for pick up and within an hour they’re ready! There’s usually a discount code too.  I then display my recent photos on a simple string with small clothes pins!
   

Mexico on the left & Costa Rica on the right!
 

4. Traveling to a sunny tropical destination! Don’t hate me, but winter does affect our family’s moods and so we made a decision to travel to a guaranteed sunny destination during winter!

This year we traveled to Mexico over Christmas Break and Costa Rica two weeks ago. Spending time in a warm sun filled locale is a wonderful remedy to the cold grey days of winter. 

5. 100 % Pure Lanolin for Chapped Lips.  Winter brings on dry skin for many but for me it affects my lips the worst. I might even have a bad habit of licking my lips, even in subzero weather. Last year I highly recommended Dr. Lipp’s Nipple Balm (I know, that name!) here in an earlier blog post. I had received a sample in a Birch Box. But when I went to order a full size, the sticker shock drove me to find an alternative…because the only ingredient is 100% lanolin!

I saw where others recommended Lansinoh HPA Lanolin.  And you’re right…that’s a product for breastfeeding mamas but I bought a big tube of it at Target and it’s exactly the same thing!! What I love about lanolin is that it creates a barrier and keeps my lips soft, even hours later!  It’s also perfect for dry cuticles and skin.

6.  Podcasts!  I’m late to the game but I love listening to podcasts while on a long drive, flight or doing the mundane household chores. My favorites include:

  • The Simple Show
  • Happier
  • Stuff You Should Know
  • What Should I Read Next (Anne’s New Podcast!)

7. This quote:

    “O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the devil.” -William Shakespeare 

    Shakespeare always said it best! For some reason this quote deeply resonates with me and daily motivates me.

    What’s getting you through these winter days?  I’d love to hear from you!  Comment below! Or join the link up here!

    For Your Weekend | The Great Snow Melt Edition

    For Your Weekend | The Great Snow Melt Edition

    what a difference a week makes!

    Y’all, we survived Winter Storm Jonas which dumped over a foot of snow in 1 day  in southern Kentucky!  

     I give you Exhibit A for your consideration:

    Holy cow, that’s a lotta snow!!!
     

    If you notice footprints, you’re correct.  After last year’s blizzard, we parked our cars at the top of our driveway before the snow fell.  It was all very Little House on the Prarie.  Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t live during pioneer days!!  

    But like those hardy pioneers, we have amazing neighbors on our country road who help dig each other’s cars out of the snow drifts or scrape the roads/drives with their tractor plows.  

    So while others may be still digging out or bracing for another snow storm, the great thing about Kentucky is that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a while!  Today it’s supposed to be sunny with a high of 65…degrees…Farenheit!!

    Whether thawing out  or hunkering down, here’s some interesting links for your weekend!

     

    Yes, you need this book!!
     
    1.  Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington is available now!  As part of the Breaking Busy launch team, I received an advance copy and so can I say this…it is a practical road map to help you break busy!  And…Alli has just released a Breaking Busy Digital Toolkit that’s full of great resources!  You can read my review here.  

    Yay!!! image via Coldplay

    2.  Coldplay announces their US tour concert dates! And tickets go on sale next Friday, February 5th!!!

    3. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and this looks like a great no sweet/chocolate idea by Ashley Hacksaw at her blog Lil Blue Blue, Make your own photo pillow.  So cute!!

     

    It’s like that old Reese’s peanut buttercup commercial, when two good things combine!!!!
     

    4. I love listening to podcasts whilst doing house chores and two of my favorite podcasts are The Simple Show hosted by Tsh Oxenrider and Happier hosted by Gretchen Rubin.  My happier quotient went through the roof when I listened to Tsh interview Gretchen on The Simple Show.  You can listen to it here or if you’re used to iTunes Podcast App…find it under The Simple Show.

    So there you go!  How’s your weekend shaping up?  What podcast do you enjoy listening to?  Let me know in the comments!


    For Your Weekend | Mid-August Edition

    For Your Weekend | Mid-August Edition

     

    Celebrated our 5th Anniversary while in Brussels!
     
    During these dog days of summer, hope y’all are keeping cool and savoring the lazy last days before school begins again!

    Here are some links for your weekend browsing!!

      
    Y’all, Simply Tuesday releases in 3 days!!!

    So honored to have been among the first to read it!

    My biggest takeaway…God’s Kingdom always starts small, and I can embrace my own smallness, trust God with the outcomes because sometimes small beginnings lead to small endings.  We aren’t supposed to manipulate what a “successful” ending looks like, because following Jesus often looks like a failure to the world. 

    So much more goodness within the pages of this book!  You can preorder now at all online bookstores and check out even more resources on the book’s website:

    www.simplytuesday.com
    Also, meet up with our community by following the hashtag #itssimplytuesday on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on Tuesdays!

    #simplytuesday

     

    Awesome podcast hosted by Tsh Oxenrider of “The Art of Simple” blog
     
    One of my newfound jams is listening to podcasts whilst long car rides, household chores, and too long airplane rides!  All of the podcast episodes are great, but one in particular I’m highlighting here.  

    On Episode 6 Simple Show Tsh chats with Leigh Kramer about enneagrams (personality types).  This topic is interesting in and of itself, but Leigh said something that has stuck with me. Enneagram is based on ancient early Desert Fathers who took the 7 deadly sins (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, gluttony) and added 2 more sins…deceit and fear. 

    So…if we seriously consider fear a sin, how would we live differently as followers of Jesus?  Thought provoking and I’m pretty sure you’ll see a post here about it soon!

    The shiny, bright Atomium, one of the symbols of Brussels, Belgium

    We just returned from an amazing week long trip to Brussels, Belgium!  I’m still in the middle of laundry and adjusting back to our time zone, but until I post my comprehensive guide to all things Brussels, check out my Instagram feed here !

    I’m blessed to be able to travel and explore so you can follow along for Brussels pics with the hashtags #oakgrovesocialtravels #brussels #belgium  .

    And just for the record, I totally ❤️ Brussels!!

     

    I’m not gonna post a photo of the cicada, but believe me…they’re in this photo somewhere!
     
    The cicadas are back!!! And, they are rather noisy neighbors!  Information about 13 year/17 year cicadas is all over the place as there are also cicadas that come out each summer. 

    Nevertheless, these neighbors seem extra noisy this summer and a link  here from the University of Kentucky’s entomology department seems to verify that in my corner of Kentucky, we have the pleasure of hosting the 13 year cicadas!

    So, if you’re in a woodsy area, enjoy the cicada sounds (and try not to have a heart attack if they clumsily fly into you)!  Summer is singing its last song, so close your eyes, listen and marvel at how all of creation sings praises to the Creator!