5 things I get done before 7 a.m.

My weekday mornings begin early…I mean real early, girl.

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. This is partly because I have to get my kids to the bus stop early and I need a few moments to collect myself before they wake up for the day.

Here’s what my average Monday through Friday mornings look like during the school year. All of these things happen before 7 a.m.:

1: Upon getting out of bed, I’m immediately met by 5 (6, if you count the fish too, who’s not pictured) hungry–obviously malnourished–pets, on the brink of starvation. They get fed first because they’re loud until they’re fed. Who owns who?

2: Before I do anything else, I take my multivitamin. I LOVE this multivitamin because it’s a liquid and it tastes divine (peach mango flavor). As soon as this stuff hits my system, I feel like I can take on the world. For real. I buy it from my local holistic health care practitioner, but Amazon sells it too. Link HERE

3: Next up, coffee. In between the vitamin and coffee, I guzzle a glass of apple cider vinegar/lemon water. By then, my coffee is cool enough to drink. I got Kevin this coffeemaker for Christmas and we love it. Turns out that, when you have a 12 year old coffeemaker, you’re drinking some shitty-ass coffee and you might not even realize it. This new coffeemaker has upped our coffee game considerably. Link to coffeemaker HERE

This photo was taken one morning last week when it was particularly cold here. Tino was questioning my bus stop wardrobe judgement.


A few things happen between coffee and taking the kids to the bus stop. Actually, a lot more than a few: I empty the dishwasher, do my blog reading, make breakfast for the kids and assemble lunches for the kids (they make their lunches the night before, but I pack everything into their lunch boxes for them in the morning). None of these things are particularly photo-worthy though…

4: After all of that, it’s time to go to the school bus stop at the end of our street. The bus comes at 6:30 a.m.–which is stupid early, but when my kids ride the bus, it saves me from making the 20 mile (roundtrip) drive to their school, which takes about an hour out of my day. The kids like riding the bus–it’s social hour for them–so that makes it easier.

5: As soon as I get home from the bus stop, I make all of the beds in the house (provided that my husband is up already–sometimes he’s not and so I passive-aggressively slam bathroom cabinets and turn on lights around him to show my jealousy and remorse that he gets to sleep later than me). #supermaturewife #alsowelladjusted

To be fair, I enjoy getting up early. I need quiet time to myself in the mornings to prepare for my day ahead. I don’t think that I could function as well if I had to start all of my “mothering duties” the minute that my feet hit the floor. So, this is what works for me and my family. 

What about you? What things do you get accomplished in the morning? 

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2017 goals

I’m an action-oriented, list-making type of person, so I enjoy the beginning of a new year and all of the promise and potential that it holds. I’ve never really been a resolution-maker but lately, I’ve grown accustomed to setting some goals and intentions for myself at the beginning of the year. 

This year, I have some goals and I thought I’d share them here, in the hopes that they’ll inspire you and also hold me accountable.

Without further ado, here are my goals for 2017…

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5 ways to spoil overnight guests


…during the holidays and beyond.

Disclosure time: I consider myself a darn good host but I haven’t always been. It’s taken me years and years to perfect the art of making my house guests comfortable in my home. Let’s just say that there were some incidents, early in my hosting, that maybe involved a moldy coffeepot and cat pee on the bed. But, enough of that…

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A sober holiday gift guide

Sober gift guide

This time of the year, alcohol is front and center–have you noticed?

Whether it’s the assumption of alcohol-fueled festivities or the giving of every kind of alcohol (and alcohol accessory) as a gift, for a non-drinker, it can feel as though the cards are stacked against you when trying to find a gift that doesn’t involve alcohol.

Let’s face it: giving alcohol as a gift is sometimes a no-brainer. Who doesn’t want to receive a nice bottle of something? A person who doesn’t drink–that’s who.

From elaborate wine bags for gifting bottles of wine, to gift sets that include flasks, martini shakers and fancy glasses–at every turn, all you see are alcohol-themed gifts–many of them making light of alcohol abuse.


Hilarious to some, but a stark reality to many.

Now, (this is disputable to be sure) I’m not a fuddy-duddy AND–get this–I’ve even been known to give alcohol as a gift since I’ve been sober, but it can also feel very daunting to think of a gift to give a non-drinker this time of year when you’d rather encourage healthy habits. Also, if you’re newly sober and trying to find gifts to give to your friends and family who do drink alcohol, you certainly wouldn’t want to trigger your own demons by going on a shopping spree at the local liquor store in order to make your friends and family happy.

So, to help you, I’ve compiled a few gift ideas for non-drinkers that will delight everyone on your list–drinkers or not.





1: Teavana

Maybe, like me, you’ve passed Teavana in your local mall or shopping area. It’s a quaint, adorable shop that smells lovely–like the most fragrant teas on the planet. Maybe, (also like me) you’ve thought, “What a bizarre thing to sell in the mall.” In my opinion, there isn’t anything wrong with buying your tea–you know…like the rest of the country–in your local grocery store. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little Celestial Seasonings, amIright?

So, when I visited my dear friend this fall and she pulled out her collection of beautiful Teavana tins, full of the most lovely-smelling herbal teas I’d every sniffed, I opened my eyes to Teavana (and ended up leaving her city with a nice supply of newly-purchased Teavana teas to take home with me).

The best holiday gifts are those that the recipient might not buy for themselves and Teavana definitely fits this bill. Their teas feel decadent and the packaging is beautiful.

2: Erin Condren planner

I know that once I got sober, I really craved lots of order and planning-ahead in my life. I liked to feel like I was in control of my life (in every aspect). One thing that I did right away was buy a planner and got my life in order. I still live and die by my calendar/planner, despite my husband’s head-scratching over why I won’t just embrace Google Calendar for once and for all.

Erin Condren makes a lovely, personalized planner that you can “pimp out” with all kinds of add-ons and stickers. It’s a bit pricey, so that really makes it a lovely gift for someone who might not want to spend that kind of money on themselves. Plus, if it’s a gift that they end up enjoying, you’ve got a built-in gift for next year as well.

3: Art Naturals Essential Oil Diffuser 

Essential oils are everywhere these days. Just ask any oil aficionado and they’ll give you a “recipe” for which oils to diffuse, given any obstacle. Apparently, there’s even an oil blend for sobriety.

An Essential Oil Diffuser and some essential oils are a brilliant gift to give someone who needs a little clarity, relaxation and peace in their life.

4: Spotify

I love music and music has gotten me through some rough patches in my life for sure. But, do you know that I still won’t pay for Spotify and instead suffer through the annoying ads every 30 minutes? How nice would it be to give someone the gift of a Spotify membership?

5: Cook Smarts

You know how I feel about Cook Smarts. Did you know that you can gift someone with a subscription to their meal planning service? What a wonderful gift for someone who’s interested in cooking more in the New Year but is intimidated by meal planning and cooking techniques.

Cook Smarts also has a fabulous 2017 Cook Smarts Calendar. It’s like gifting 13 beautifully designed, colorful cooking lessons for less than $12.00! This calendar would be lovely stand-alone gift, or a really nice add-on (and something to wrap up) to give along with a Cook Smarts subscription.

6: Momma Strong

I’ve talked about my love for Momma Strong here before. It’s an efficient, personalized workout, geared toward moms (but anyone can do it). There are varying degrees of difficulty, so even someone who is new to working out can feel stronger after doing one of the Momma Strong workouts. And, at only $2 a month, you can give your sober friend a great jump start on good health in the New Year.

Now, go forth and shop–knowing that, whether you’re a non-drinker or buying for a non-drinker, you’re giving the gift of health, clarity and love this Holiday season. 



What I did this weekend

…and why you should do it soon too.

What I did this weekend

(Also knowns as, “The latest installment of: ‘Jenny is bossy and thinks she knows what’s best for you.‘”)

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my favorite time of year. Once we get beyond Halloween, I get way too excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a toss-up as to which holiday I love more: Turkey Day or Christmas. 

I love Thanksgiving for so many reasons…namely, the food, the fellowship but also the unofficial start of the Christmas season. There’s nothing that gets me more excited than seeing the Rockettes kick to a Christmas Carol in their velvety Santa dresses during the Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade. 

The Rockettes
The Rockettes

Another thing that I love about the holiday season is “nesting”. We stick close to home, baking and hosting friends and family. It’s the one time of the year that my oven is preheating several times a day and I keep a ridiculous stock of cream cheese and refrigerated crescent rolls on hand at all times, to throw together an appetizer or dessert in a pinch, if the opportunity for a get together presents itself. (Some favorite recipes HERE and HERE)

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4 things that I do every Sunday


Every Sunday, I have a few things that I do. I’ve found that, by doing these few things every week, I can set myself (and my family) up for a successful, organized week ahead. For the most part, we lie-low on Sundays but Kevin and I each set aside a little time to plan our weeks and talk with each other about things going on in the week ahead that would affect one another.

Weekly planning


Every Sunday, I sit down with my calendar and plan the upcoming week. I include the big things (doctor appointments, after-school activities, birthday parties) but also the little things (vacuum stairs, buy cat food). I also like to set some goals and intentions for myself for the week ahead. Some weeks these goals and intentions are lofty as shit. Sometimes, they’re anemic, puny and sad, but I feel like it’s important to have goals to keep me on track.

Meal Planning

Along with my weekly planning, I also plan our meals for the week. Most weeks, now that the school year is rolling, we have a few days out of the week where we’re gone at dinnertime, so I really only need to cook a few times a week. I use Cook Smarts (see my post about it in my Friday Favorites here) for menu planning. Every week, we’re trying new foods and pushing ourselves out of our culinary comfort zone.

Cook Smarts grocery list

Purse Clean-Out:

I clean out my purse. If I can stay on top of the mess inside my purse, it doesn’t get as far out of control. So, every Sunday, I try to quickly dump it all out, throw away receipts that I don’t need and other assorted trash that’s been thrown in there throughout the week. (At what age, about, do kids stop using mom’s purse as a trashcan?) I also dump out about 1/3 of my change purse into our “coin bucket” every week. We use (primarily) a cash system, so I accumulate lots of change taking up space and adding weight to my purse.

I clean out the refrigerator

Ok…truth serum time:

This is a lie, friends. But, I really, really, really want to get into the habit of cleaning out the fridge every Sunday. You see though, I hate cleaning out the fridge. Like, I’ll do every other chore in the house over cleaning out the fridge. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when my fridge is cleaned out, tidy, wiped-down and is organized like some super-rich rapper’s fridge on MTV Cribs (is that show even still on?) but I really hate doing it. The few times that I have managed to clean it out on Sunday, it’s been wonderful to start the week with a clean fridge and with a firm mental inventory of what we have, what we need, etc before I head to the grocery store.

Tell us a little about your routines…do you have a special Sunday routine too?