I completed the #75hard challenge yesterday and it feels so good to say that. To know I started something tough and finished strong. This summer, I was in a funk and knew in my heart that I needed to lean into something that would challenge me in all areas of my life, especially mentally. This challenge isn’t about fitness although it has those aspects to it. But it’s all about training your brain, gaining grit, and saying yes to hard things because those are usually the most important.
I’ve noticed certain patterns in myself that I just wasn’t proud of and the main one being that others could count on me but I couldn’t. I would flake on myself time and time again. I had no mental clarity, was exhausted, and felt like I was at a complete standstill in my health/fitness journey. I was going through the motions of everyday life.
I shared my journey on Instagram and you can find all of my posts in my “Grit” and “75 Hard” highlights. I put a call for questions and had several of you all ask away. I’ve never had a response on anything I’ve shared like I have with this challenge so I felt like it was important to take the time to share it with those who were interested or wanted to know my experience.
I also want to make note because I know that everyone loves before and after photos. I don’t feel comfortable sharing my body unclothed with strangers on the internet but I think you can tell with clothes on. More importantly, I gained such a better mindset for myself. I didn’t lose a ton of weight but I did in inches and put on muscle. Again, this isn’t a magic program and the goal isn’t to look a certain way.
I’m going to share my video below and I’ll also just share a few of the most frequent questions I had underneath it. I know the video is lengthy BUT it has EVERYTHING in it. My workouts, diet, reading, motivation, support, etc.
Below are the most FAQs from Instagram, which again, are answered in full detail in my video above.
What is 75 Hard? – It’s a mental toughness challenge that has several components you must complete each day. If you fail to complete them, you have to start all over from day 1. It’s like an ironman for your brain.
Two 45 min workouts. They cannot be back-to-back and ONE of them MUST be outside.
Read 10 pages of a non fiction book.
Drink 1 gallon of water.
Follow a diet.
Take a progress picture each day.
No cheat meals or alcohol/soda/sweets
2. What “diet” did you follow? – I counted macros. I’ve done this on and off for two years and really enjoy it. I’m not a fad diet person. I think we all need proteins, carbs and fats to function. My Fitness Pal is my favorite app to help track.
3. What made you choose this method? – I wasn’t going into this for a fitness challenge because it isn’t that. I needed to rewire my brain and change my mindset. I totally recommend that you evaluate your “why” before you start.
4. Do you think you’ll continue the habits you’ve created? – ABSOLUTELY! I’m so thankful that I stuck it out and did this. I won’t be doing it 100%, but I will for sure continue to drink as much water as I can, only splurge on occasion, read everyday, and get at least one workout in.
5. Are you planning to go on to do Phase 1/Live Hard? -Yes! But we are about to enter my business season at the store and also have a couple of trips planned. I need a break from doing another challenge so I’ll probably do that one in the spring. Honestly, I’d love to do 75 Hard again next year and am going to try to get my hubby to join me.
6. How do you make time for workouts? – To be blunt because that’s how Andy is: you make time for what you want to make time for. If you truly want to do this, you’ll find a way. Sometimes it’s waking up at 4:30 am or finishing at 9 pm which I did often.
7. What books did you read? – I LOVED this aspect of the challenge because I’m naturally a reader anyway its just one of those things like many others that I would put off. I read more than 10 pages a day but here’s a few books I finished. The first was truly life changing and I blogged about it. I’ll link those.
I’m thrilled to share a small business I have purchased from in the past and then recently came upon on instagram again a few weeks ago! Valley S Design Co. made by turquoise hoop dreams come to life and was so sweet to send me a few goodies to review (and a code-see below) for you all!
This was the very first necklace I purchased from her “YEEHAW” and is one of my favorite pieces to wear. This comes in a set and it so cute and versatile!
These are hands down the most lightweight hoop earrings I’ve ever owned! I love that they are also a statement earring and can be paired with a cute outfit or jeans and a tee!
As a small business owner myself, you know how important it is for me that we support each other. Jennifer and I have a lot in common as farm and fire wives and we both raise longhorns! She is amazing at her craft and loves making jewelry people can wear everyday which is another reason why I’m drawn to her work.
She started making statement pieces that she found she personally would only wear at NFR and didn’t like that concept so she now focuses on the simple, everyday items.
You can shop her website here and she has been so gracious to offer the code: FARMGIRL for my readers to take 10% off your entire purchase!
My Grand pick up a box of fresh peaches for me last week and they were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. I decided to make my family some peach cobbler for a treat after supper (so sad I didn’t get any because I’m still doing 75 hard) but we did freeze some so I can make it again later.
You can make cobbler from canned of course but fresh is the best in my opinion. This from scratch recipe is super easy to do and comes out great!
Fun fact: peaches are probably my favorite thing to eat if I had to pick one. When I was pregnant with Paisley, all I ate were peaches and I’m surprised she didn’t come out smelling like one. HA! My great grandmother taught me how to can growing up and we canned a lot of things but our best prize always came from our peaches. We even one The State Fair of Oklahoma once and were featured in Country Woman magazine.
5-6 peaches peeled, cored, and sliced
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
6 Tablespoons butter (I always use Kerry Gold but if I had fresh that would be even more glorious)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
ground cinnamon (extra because, cinnamon)
Add the sliced peaches, sugar and salt to a saucepan on medium heat and stir to combine.
Cook for just a few minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. This also brings out juices from the peaches. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice butter into pieces and add to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Place the pan in the oven while it preheats, to allow the butter to melt. Once melted, remove the pan from the oven.
In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.) Stir in the milk, just until combined. Pour the mixture into the pan, over the melted butter and smooth it into an even layer.
Spoon the peaches and juice over the batter-I try to have them in an even layer so parts of the cobbler don’t have more peaches than another. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top. I like a lot so be generous!
Bake at 350 for around 40 minutes. I like ours a little crispy. Serve!
You can’t have cobbler without ice cream and one of our favorite hacks is getting the sleeves of the Bluebell mini cups to take to the hayfield. They are the perfect amount to go with a slice!
I just wanted to pop on and share one of our growing babies. If you’ve followed me on Instagram, you know that we decided to jump into the registered part of raising long horns last year and this is our very first registered baby we’ve raised. We have some big goals and plans for our growing herd and are excited to explore this part within TLBAA with our girls. This little bull calf is such a neat little dude and is already sold. He will be going to his new home in November.
Mulberry is such a great mama and I’m excited for more babies out of her. We pick up a new heifer and bull this fall and I’ll be sure to update you when we unload them on the ranch.
With juggling two girls, a business, farming, firefighter life and homeschooling, you can imagine the chaos of our day-to-day. Having a daily rhythm helps us all be as intentional with our time as we can. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s that I can waste a lot of time and feel overwhelmed with the remainder. I ultimately feel like my day is gone before it’s ever started. Being intentional and learning to adopt a rhythm rather than trying to stick to a strict schedule,(let’s be honest-like we could if we wanted to) for our days rids me of a lot of anxiety and helps me obtain some ownership of the day, feeling at peace and with a little control if our day ends up not turning out like we expected. I love a schedule and do try to be diligent about specific things within our day but I also try to have a lot of margin so if things don’t go as planned or if we just want to be spontaneous and change direction, there’s room and availability to do so. We don’t live a typical life as a business owning/homeschooling/firefighting/farming family so take this at face value when I say, we truly just do the best we can.
I’m your typical “Type A” when it comes to liking things so-so. Homeschool and juggling 15 other plates while riding a unicycle has really been the most delicious slice of humble pie, making myself crank down the anxiety knob and learn to go with the flow more while accepting baby steps and interruptions as blessings. As a working mama, having a daily and weekly rhythm frees me up to work when it’s time to work and rest when it’s time to rest while also giving me some margin for me. If you know me at all you know I despise “self help” or what it’s made to be in today’s world but that does not mean that I do not think everyone should have time to theirselves each day. You cannot pour from an empty cup and when mine has been drained, I’m not the best wife and mom that I want to be. Without this, I also can’t imagine we would be very consistent in tackling business at Farm Girl, completing our homeschool lessons, or getting anything done around the house because there is always something that comes up.
I’m learning that a daily rhythm isn’t permanent. It is an ever-changing element, always needing to be adapted to the ebbs and flows of our family.
Our Work Life
I own a rural boutique and general store that, as of March, operates on another cattle ranch outside of our town. Before that my shop was located downtown on main street for 6 1/2 years. In the summer I have a lot of flexibility and can really prep and work a lot to prepare for fall. Now that homeschool has started, we try to knock the majority of our curriculum out from 8am-11:30am. What we don’t, they can take with them and go to work with me or do it in the afternoon if they are with Dad or Nana/Grand. I also blog and take on interior decorating clients each month so on “shift nights” when the girls are in bed and husband is at the station, I work on those projects.
My husband is a firefighter and works 24 hours shifts every third day. So 24 on and 48 off. 1/3 of the year (usually more) he is absent from our home. He also helps my dad with his Hay Operation that runs May-October on said days off. It’s A LOT in the summer but also a blessing to us and something we hope to do ourselves one day. When it’s Hay Season, you’ll see a lot of my hayfield meals posts and it’s also “summer” so we don’t have as much obligation for school. During the fall/winter months he may have some odd jobs here and there when he’s not at the fire station but this is also when he will take over history in homeschool for the girls a day or two a week. It works out because my “busy season” at Farm Girl is fall/winter so he takes over a lot of the load with the kiddos while I’m cranking out work.
My children are currently 6 and 9 years old. Props to all homeschool mamas that have done this since day 1 or do it with multiple children from baby up. I can’t imagine how hectic it can be but I also realize, not many have the schedule we have so it’s hard for me to imagine adding that much more to my plate. Right now, I do both girls schooling with them at the same time, simultaneously. Paisley is really easy with a lot of things so I can get her started and then work one on one with Scout and switch off.
Outings and extracurriculars
We homeschool Monday-Thursday mornings. Fridays I reserve as our “Friday Fun-Days” meaning we can plan/do what we want to albeit a field trip, spend the day on horseback, have a picnic, or just stay at home. If we go on outings or to appointments during the week they are always in the afternoons or on a Friday. Friday’s also help me catch up a little on house work. My Nana and Grand are doing “electives” with the girls and teaching them skills so on Monday’s + Thursday’s, my girls do sewing and gardening with my Grand and on Tuesday’s they have cooking lessons with my Nana. I love that they are getting to spend some precious quality time while also learning some amazing life skills that will serve them well. Wednesday’s they are either with me or Zack and in the evening is church. Evening time at least three days a week we reserve for riding the horses in our arena and “lessons” for roping, rodeo, etc. Paisley used to take an art class which may be something we explore again and Scout has peaked an interest for gymnastics so if we have enough margin without sacrificing Family Time, we may consider adding those items to our week.
Our weekends vary depending on what we have going on the ranch, with family, farming, fire life, etc. Our goal is to keep them very relaxed while being together and filled with play time outside and cooking good food or working around the house. We like to squeeze in some fun treats like a movie or go somewhere once in awhile.
Our Family Daily Rhythm
Here is a quick glance at our typical weekday daily rhythm. I shared an entire post about our morning routine here.
I start my day around 4:30 am depending if Zack is at the station or not. If he is home, I try to get a workout outside or at my gym. I get back around 6:15 and grab a shower and get ready for the day.
6:15-8:00 Morning Routine
I shared all about our morning routine in depth here.
8:00-10:00 Morning Time and Individual Lessons
We do the majority of school in the morning so I will get them started and try to do a load of laundry and load/unload the dishwasher to keep up with some of the house. I’ll usually have Paisley start Math first and then I’ll do some one on one with Scout and switch on and off with each.
We will have a quick break here. My girls pretty much have every afternoon to spend time playing, outside, or with an elective so we try to be super focused on school lessons in the morning. We take this time to go outside, get a drink, etc.
10:15-11:30 Individual Lessons
Again, here we work on their lessons in Math, Reading/Language Arts, Phonics, etc. We do “Science” and history in the afternoons or if we work ahead, do those on the days we are caught up.
11:30-12:00 Gather Things and Out the Door
Since I’m spending less time at my shop, I really have to take advantage of my time when I am there. I try to be at the store by at least 12:30 if I have to run errands. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later. But I use this time to drop them by or they go to work with me and we take our lunches and eat them there.
Depending on when I get to work, I will eat lunch during this time while I answer emails and do book work. The girls will also if they are at grandparents or if they are with me.
1:00-1:30 Independent Reading / Pack Orders
The girls will have independent reading time wherever and I use this time block to print and pack orders.
The kids spend this chunk of time doing their electives. At work I’m creating batch content for our business, the blog, or working on our website with adding new products, ordering, etc.
3:00-5:30 Outings / Free Play / Store Work + Dinner Prep
If we need an appointment I’ll try to do them during this time. If it’s a regular day, this is free play time wherever they are. I use the remainder of the day for miscellaneous store work and try to be home by 5:30 for dinner prep. If it’s a day where I couldn’t fit my workout in the morning, I’ll go to an occasional afternoon class. If this is a horse lesson night, we will do the lesson first and swap and do dinner after.
5:30-7:00 Dinner Chores, Lesson, + Dinner
Again, this will vary depending on if we are doing stuff with the horses, roping etc. But we spend this time with dinner, tidying up the house, feeding, etc.
7:00-8:30 Time together + Bedtime Routine
All evening from 5 on we are usually together to connect if not, way before but this is for focusing on our little family and then we end the night with baths and bedtime routine.
8:30-10:30 Mama + Dad Time
This is our time to connect as husband and wife. We get to talk without interruption, watch one of our shows, etc. We usually end up falling asleep on the couch but always have good intentions of spending one on one time together.
If you have a crazy schedule and lots of balls in the air, I hope this gives you inspiration for an outline for your day! It’s helped me a lot to use time blocks and if we don’t get it done, we will pick it back up the next day.
I love this meal because it’s easy to prep and there’s no work on my part. It’s ready when I come home and easy to transport to the hayfield.
TIP: I like to marinate my roast overnight for extra flavor. I don’t measure but I mix garlic salt, onion powder, pink Himalayan salt, and pepper into a bowl and rub all over, heavily coating it. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.
To cook, grab your crockpot, quarter Yukon gold potatoes and cut your carrots unless you’re using baby carrots.
Add a layer to the bottom of your crockpot, set roast on top, add the rest of your potatoes/carrots, slice a white onion into strips and throw in, cover with water until all is covered. Pop lid on and put on low for 8 hours.
When you come home, your house will smell amazing and all you have to do is serve! I usually throw some green beans on the stove and cook hot rolls with it.
I’ve had a lot of questions come in about transporting food, meals, favorite products, etc. Today I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks regarding Hayfield Meals and will probably end up extending this to a two part post on down the road. For now, here are some tried and true things that I do to make hay season a little easier.
We all know the feeling of our vehicles being the mobile kitchen table, water wagons, and what have you. The entire back half of mine is usually dedicated to storing my “feed bag”, ice chest, and whatever food I’m delivering that day.
Get an ice chest that YOU can carry but will also fit your meals or whatever you need to keep cold. Most of the guys already have their own ice chests or backpacks in their tractors so it’s rare that I ever bring drinks. I love this one I purchased. It’s perfect size, I leave it in my suburban (which has also proved handy when going to the grocery store and needing to run errands-keeping my items cold) and it doesn’t take up a ton of space. You can deck it out and grab some pretty cool stickers from my shop too.
Another hack, The IceMule. You won’t regret getting him one and these easily fit in the tractor when a lot of ice chests don’t. It’s easy to carry and keeps them from having to stop to get drinks. I shared more about it on our Hayfield Meals Instagram page.
Have a bag ready with all of your supplies so you aren’t constantly having to gather every meal. I try not to be wasteful but it’s also a pain to cart ceramic dishes, glasses, and silverware to the fields and bring them back to wash. I have my plastic plates, cutlery, a roll of paper towels for napkins, a dish I leave in for left overs, a box of zip lock baggies, a pack of wipes, salt and pepper, a roll of trash bags, and a roll of aluminum foil.
Cookie sheets. I learned this one from my mom but they are awesome to cart and keep things together. I use this item more than I ever thought I would for transporting rather than baking.
Buy in bulk. It saves A LOT when I can get all of my paper and plastic (and even ingredients) from a place like Sam’s. Usually I only have to go once in the summer and I’m good until next season. Invest in a membership.
Make breakfasts ahead of time that you can freeze and reheat and bag up snacks when you meal prep. This is super helpful for them to throw in their cooler and go and all I have to worry about is bringing a hot dinner.
There’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned sandwich. Add extra fixings, a good sauce, and they will still be happy campers. But it’s also nice to bring some garden fresh fried okra, barbeque chicken, sweet corn and homemade mashed potatoes. They appreciate the hearty meals after a long day.
If taking sandwiches for several, wrap them in a paper towel and restack them in the bag the bread came in. It keeps the fillings from falling out and is much easier to cart.
Make more than needed. We love leftovers around our house and it keeps me from spending more at the grocery store. It’s also nice to be able to have plenty to feed any extra help that shows up and not worry about making an additional meal for lunch or dinner.
I feel like each year I learn something new, change a routine, or figure out how to work smarter not harder. As summer is a season of slowing down for many, its quite opposite for us so whatever I can do to make things easier for our family to better function, I’ll do it.
I hope this list helps! As I keep making notes of things, I’ll share another post soon of more tips and tricks.
One of the things I use the most in my daily life is a planner so when we decided to homeschool, I knew this would be a must have to keep us on task and organized with lessons. I also need some structure based on my personality and really like to plan “seasons” at a time.
I ordered this from Home and Haven and have enjoyed it so far! It’s simple which I think is key but also has some great elements like prayer for us to incorporate in our morning time, meals, and monthly/hourly/weekly layouts.
For now this is what I am using but am always open to other ideas. It’s served me well thus far and I love that it’s NOT dated. You’re able to start whenever you’d like. They have a digital option you can purchase here.
I’m so excited to finally share our homeschool/playroom with you all. We will actually do the majority of our work at our kitchen table so we can spread out but I also wanted to have a designated area for the girls to do some independent work, quiet reading, and just an area to enjoy some free time in. I didn’t do a lot in here as far as “getting it ready” to homeschool.
Both of my girls have shared a bedroom for three years and this has been our “playroom” the entire time. I already had everything in the room, I just adjusted and made it more “school” friendly. I moved the chalkboard, desk, converted the toy cubby (it was stuffed) into a mini library, made an “art cart” and organized the closet. Other than purchasing some supplies and their curriculum, I already had everything.
I’ve had some ask why they have backpacks if we are homeschooling……well, I still work and there will be certain days of the week that they have to go up to the shop with me therefore we will pack up their work and lunch to take with us. I’ve had these P + S hooks for years so I’m not able to link them but they were from Anthropologie.
I have had a TON of questions about our doll house or what we call “the bunny house” and I plan to do an entire post on it soon! I’ll share all about the animals, furniture, etc. Fun fact though, parts of it were built from my bookshelf from when I was a little girl like the windows and chimney. :) The highchair + cradle was also mine growing up. Large canvas was taken by me of some spring calves we had a few years ago.
Kitchen set we’ve had since Paisley was two. She was OBSESSED, and I mean OBSESSED with Ree Drummond and used to play pioneer woman non stop and would choose it over anything on TV. That was her Christmas gift that year and it has gotten hours upon hours of playtime between both of my babies and their friends. We purchased it from Pottery Barn. The horse head is from my shop.
This cubby was filled to the brim with toys and in theory, it was a functional spot for them but with how many books we had, we were wasting a lot of closet space and it looked really junky. They weren’t able to find all of their toys without emptying all of the cubbies and it was a mess to get it all reorganized each time. Since we decided to homeschool, I thought it would be fun to make this spot a mini library and organize it so they could easily find their books instead of pilfering through the closet. I also wanted to make the top bookshelves a spot for our favorite read alouds or seasonal reads with what we were studying at that time. The basket also houses some of our favorite Usborne learning books, wipe cleans, and quick references.
I don’t have all of our books completely set up yet but I plan to organize by series such as Hank the Cowdog, Boxcar Children etc. in one cubby. Another with classics, one with picture books, and so on.
Next is the desk area. It along with the cubby, chalkboard and stool was custom made. I love this desk because the top opens and stores lots of supplies like large sketch pads that don’t really fit anywhere else. The large door has two shelves for more supplies. This is a great spot for when I’m working with one of the girls in the kitchen that needs more attention, the other can come in here to work independently in the quiet.
I’m sure you’ve seen these carts everywhere by now. I truly love them, especially because its so easy to roll it down the hall to the kitchen for projects and I can fill it with all of the supplies we need for the day. It doesn’t take up a ton of space but can hold a lot and also be rolled into a closet if need be. I have all of their art things, glue, scissors, erasers, sharpeners, dry erase markers and boards, rulers, and more packed in it for everyday use.
And now the closet. Remember when I said that the cubby used to hold most of their toys? They had to go somewhere right? I decided on a “tub” system for each type of toy and this has been the best solution I’ve found thus far for organizing all of the toys.
So top shelf holds their Legos, American girl salon, dress up, baby dolls, and the large blue tub is my “keepsake tub” of a few favorite things from when the girls were babies for my grandkids one day. HA!
Then we have their dress up items hung. The yellow crate has their American girl/target dolls, dress up hats, and a few toys that wouldn’t fit well in the tubs. Then we have a Barbie tub and one of Paisley’s projects she made.
The bottom crate holds their very large horses. The basket holds their ranch trucks and trailers. (plus Paisley’s ukulele)
Then we move to the tubs. I wish I would have done this sooner. My girls have a plethora of Breyer horses and ranch toys so most of the tubs are full of those. Then we have one for their vintage late 80s Fisher Price dollhouse accessories (that was mine – also folded and store to the left of the tubs) and then one miscellaneous for all other things. I divided them all based on how they like to play. Last night Scout wanted to just play Barbie’s so we pulled the tub, dumped it, and when they were finished it all went back in and back on the shelf. It’s made it so much easier for all of us.
That’s it! I hope this helps anyone who needs a little inspo. We have a smaller home that is only three bedrooms so we really have to maximize every inch. I love that the girls share a bedroom so we can have a spot like this one.
This was another book I picked up to read this month and I absolutely loved it! It wasn’t your typical “self help” book (which I’m not a fan of) but complete opposite. It offered a Biblical perspective on taking ownership of your daily life and putting your identity in being a child of God. Not your role as a wife, mom, business owner, or any other hats you put on-but as His child and that alone.
I really enjoyed and related a lot to Jordan and am thankful there is still material being produced that isn’t “ME” focused but “Christ in me” focused.