| jumpsuit and jacket c/o Anna from Cabi | shoes | backpack c/o Marley Lilly | Photos by Tara Nicole Photography |

I’m not one of those gals that can get on an airplane for a long period of time without being comfortable. Thank goodness for the athleisure trend, because it has taken my comfy time wardrobe to a whole new level! Leggings, jackets, and tennis shoes are now super cool and I’m ALL IN! This jumpsuit I’m wearing is my absolute favorite piece in my closet and I shared it in my last blog post, here.  One of the greatest things about it is that you can style it so many different ways and get so much use out of it, which is why I am wearing it on the plane to Florida tomorrow! It isn’t like most other jumpsuits either. It opens in the back, so it is bathroom friendly…therefore, travel friendly! lol 🙂

Where are we heading? The most magical place on earth, of course!  But, only for one day *on my birthday, how special* before we head up the coast to look at a few different properties (for my parents)…and then end up at Gulf Shores, Alabama. It will be an adventure, that’s for sure! You’ll want to follow along on IG stories for all the behind the scenes excitement.

 

 

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| jumpsuit c/o Anna Good Cabi Stylist | sweater (similar) | necklace (similar) | sandals | earrings c/o JTV.com | purse (similar) | photos by Tara Nicole Photography |

First off…this jumpsuit. It’s everything. I’ll be wearing it when we travel on vacation. I’ve dressed it up to go to church. You could probably sleep in it, because it’s so comfortable! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This Playsuit from by girl Anna at Cabi is probably my favorite piece of clothing in my closet! I will be sharing another look featuring it soon!

Summer break is in full swing these days! HOORAY! I know in my last post I mentioned what I would “like” to do or get checked off my list… Well, I now have a routine and man oh man does it feel good! Here it is: We wake up as a family and run before my hubby teaches summer school at 8am. Rypken is now up to a half mile without stopping. #impressive Little man and I come home and eat breakfast on the porch. (I like these fruit cups!) It’s at this time that I do my devotional for the day. You can catch that each morning on my Instagram stories (@jessicamclain)! I use the #WriteTheWord Journal by Lara Casey that you can find on my sidebar –> or click here. After our morning porch relaxation, we come inside and clean something. This differs each day, but I find that my house has been staying kept up by tackling one or two things/rooms each day. This takes us to lunch. I make Chris his lunch and Ryp and I take it to him…I don’t have to do this, but I enjoy it. We get to see each other and it breaks my day up. Once we get back I make us lunch, then it’s our “fun time”! Rypken plays in the backyard on his slip-n-slide and I soak up the sun while reading Emily Ley’s book, “Grace Not Perfection“. It’s a great summer read at the beach or in the backyard, like me! It reminds me that I don’t have to do it all or have it all to be accepted by God or by others.

Emily says, “Instead of calling us to be hopeless overachievers, He calls us to ‘walk by the Spirit… [with] love, joy, peace, forebearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (Galatians 5:16, 22-23) Nowhere in there did He mention perfect birthday parties, size 4 jeans, home-cooked dinners, or spotless homes.”

So, insert a bunch of GRACE into my summer routine and you have a great recipe for some balance and fun. In summers before I would feel guilty if my husband came home from work and the house was a wreck, but I had been home all day long…or the opposite. I cleaned and worked on other stuff and neglected Rypken’s fun time. I will keep you updated on Instagram, but so far…so good! As long as I give myself some room to mess up!

 

 

 

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I was sent an advanced copy of Lara Casey’s new book Cultivate two weeks ago. It sat in my inbox unopened for over week because I just couldn’t take one more thing. It was the end of the school year (and if you’re a teacher, you know how hectic that can be), my husband’s high school baseball team was coming to the end of their season, Rypken started tball (with my husband coaching), and I had my heart set on something I will share with you in just a minute. With ALL.THE.THINGS. piling up I felt like I couldn’t even open the advanced copy…but in all reality, it’s exactly what I needed! The full title is Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life. I don’t know about you, but when I read those titles of books, or Pinterest boards, or Instagram posts in the midst of my mess it just feels like another punch in my gut…another thing I just can’t do perfectly. *I’m a perfectionist, btw.* I should know better, because every single time I watch Lara Casey’s Instagram stories or Facebook Lives it’s like a breath of fresh air encouraging me to live on purpose, not perfectly. Her book Make It Happen was the same way…this though…this book is MORE. Much MORE! I was crying before finishing Chapter 2. I’m not a crier. That’s how deeply her words spoke to me. Why? Here’s why…

My husband’s been coaching high school baseball for a couple of years now. These kids are the same kids that sat in my 5th grade class years ago. Watching them grow up, turn into young adults, all while having late night after late night kitchen conversations with my husband about baseball and life… Well, you get attached. The week of Easter rolls around and I have this gut feeling that Chris needs to invite these boys to our church’s Maundy Thursday service. I remind him and remind him to the point that I’m like an annoying little fly on a peach pie. He took the subtle hint and two of the players showed up that evening…the prayer leader on the team and another came with him. That night the latter of the two came to know Jesus with the help of his teammate.  I tell you this story because that Thursday night stirred up more of a feeling in me to work with older kids. I’ve been working with 5th graders for 9 years and I enjoy it for many different reasons, but God has been stirring up a hunger in me lately to work with teenagers. Scary, right? ha! I just feel like I can relate more… I mean, some of you who are reading this are probably teenagers.

“Trying to cultivate an intentional life without making a mess at times is like trying to garden in white pants.” -Lara Casey (Chapter 1 of Cultivate) This is where I am right now. As a certified teacher you can test out for different certifications. Well, there was an opening at the high school in our district, but I wasn’t certified… So, off I went to take a test I never went to college to get the full knowledge for. I failed…BY ONE POINT. I told them I had to wait three weeks and I would take it again. During the wait there was a board meeting, but they didn’t hire anyone for the position I was after. Bullet dodged. Studied. Studied some more. Went to take the 150 minute test again. I PASSED! I immediately emailed to share my great news feeling like I was on cloud nine! Called Chris and celebrated. Went to Starbucks, checked my email for a reply. They didn’t wait for me. Although we tried another route, it was inevitable… There isn’t a new season for me right now.

In Chapter 2, where I broke down, Lara says, “Sometimes God is showing His love more through what feels hard than through what feels easy.” Romans 8:28 reminds us…in all things God works for the good of those who love him. This book is about exactly what I am currently living. My life isn’t exactly where I want to be, but it doesn’t mean I don’t stop growing where I am or blooming where I’m planted. God obviously has something better in mind.

 

You can download the first three chapters of Lara’s book RIGHT NOW! FOR FREE! Just click–> HERE !!!

You can preorder the entire book right now with extra bonuses! Just click–> HERE !!!

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| dress (similar)| wedges | earrings c/o Kendra Scott | bracelet | wallet | sunglasses (similar) | Tara Nicole Photography |

Summer is here! That means warm weather, CUTE DRESSES, and longer days! I bought this dress to sing in the wedding of a good friend last summer and the gift to myself just keeps on giving! I got it from Chicwish, but it seems to be out…so I linked a similar one above and more at the bottom. Can you believe that it is Memorial Day Weekend yet again!? Bring it on, says this teacher!!! School is officially out of session, my hubby’s baseball coaching season has come to an end, and I am ready to C.H.I.L.L.  I can smell the sunscreen and bbq already! Summer has always been my favorite season…relaxation, fun with family/friends, vacations, catching some rays on the water, and no plans. Although, this year Rypken started tball and Chris is coaching, so that is on our agenda. Other than that, I plan to get back into running (I’ve already started), get my laundry caught up (I mean who does that?), and clean my house for the first time in like a month (#guilty). Here’s to you summer, old pal!

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What do you eat?

Since I took the MRT test and completed the 6 phase LEAP diet last year, I have gotten this question on my socials the most! (If you don’t know what I went through last year, read this post on “How I Lost 30 Pounds” first.) I’m the first one to tell you, I’m not the best food planner. I did it when I had to for the year I weeded out my health issues with my nutritionist using MRT/LEAP, but now I don’t plan or cook as much as I had been. #guilty However, I will share with you the healthy things I enjoy when I am not downing McD’s fries and sweet tea. 🙂

Breakfast: If I don’t skip breakfast, since my lunch is at 10:30am during the work day, I usually go for a smoothie. My favorite is the Naked® strawberry+banana. I don’t have time make the time to do these on my own, nor do I really want to…that’s not my jam. I find that this brand doesn’t have any extra ingredients and it tastes great! Now, if you are a calories person, it may turn you away…but you have to look at it as a whole meal! *Edit: I’ve recently read some controversial articles on this brand, but I also like Bolthouse Farms. There are also many other options!

Brunch: Only on Sundays. My family hardly ever misses a brunch at our favorite local restaurant after the early church service each Sunday. If you watch my Snapchat/IG Stories, then you know I’m a creature of habit. I go for the chicken and biscuits. I’m a sucker for the savory+sweet thing! It includes homemade biscuits and chicken tenders with pouched eggs on top. I ask for my gravy on the side and for a side of real maple syrup. *They are the only place in our small town that serves 100% maple syrup. This is huge for me, because if you read all about my MRT testing…corn was one of my highest reactive foods. All the other “maple syrup” that restaurants serve should really be called “Maple Flavored CORN Syrup”. 

Lunch:

  • At work my go-to is a rice cake with peanut butter. I like the Quaker® apple cinnamon flavor with Jiff® pb.
  • I also like toasting a spelt based bread or Udis® wheat bread isn’t too bad. *I find my bread in the frozen section. I slap some ghee (clarified butter) on it and sprinkle it with some garlic salt. Then, I take some lunch meat and pasture raised cheese and toast it on the stove for a few seconds on each side. I eat that sandwich with a side of my favorite Boulder® sea salt potato chips. I used to have to shop at Whole Foods, but I’ve found that these items have very little extra ingredients and work for my needs now. Which is great, because the closest Whole Foods to me is 1hr+ away… No fun. 

Snacks:

  • Granola is definitely a life saver when your tummy is talking to you! If you haven’t figured it out by now, I need quick and easy options. I’m a teacher and we don’t get many breaks during the day. So, something that I can snack on from time at my desk, or in between classes is what I need!
  • Fruit is another great choice. Grapes and pineapples are good for me because they don’t need much tending to. Apples are my favorite. I bought an apple corer and it changed my life! In 30 seconds I know have beautiful apple slices, no core, and I’m ready for a snack… I’ll even eat apples and peanut butter for lunch sometimes!
  • Nuts are also great snacks! I love pecans. I will share my recipe for candied pecans ASAP!!! I snacked on these non-stop through my LEAP diet! They were my desert! I also did the same with almonds…
  • Tuna is a good choice! I like it because…duh…it’s easy. It can also transfer into a meal with a side item like chips. My fave tuna is when it is in “sunflower oil” instead of just water.
  • Donuts! Yes, I said donuts! Gluten free/nut free/dairy free donuts that are oh so amazing… Kinnikinnick Foods has “Cinnamon Sugar” donuts that are to die for! If you watch my Snapchat then you’ve snuck a peek at these bad boys!
  • Halo Top “ice cream” is a must. My advice is to try ALL the flavors until you find a favorite. 😉 I mean, 240 calories for the pint? You can’t go wrong. *Strawberry, tho!*

Dinner:

  • The easiest meal for me to make that I LOVE is ground turkey + sweet potatoes.
  • I also lived on pork chops during my LEAP diet. I cover the chops with olive oil and almond flour, then sear each side before fully cooking them.
  • Another easy side is 100% potato flakes. Mix in some milk (almond milk if dairy is a problem for you) and you have instant mashed potatoes that taste great!
  • I also loooove Annie’s organic cheddar shells as another side.
  • My favorite healthy frozen pizza is “Against the Grain Gourmet” 3-cheese pizza. Slap some of my favorite uncured turkey pepperoni from Applegate and you have yourself yummy goodness in 10-15 minutes!

This probably doesn’t cover everything, but these are the things I usually gravitate towards! I hope I answered some questions that you all have been asking. Don’t hesitate to keep throwing them my way! Remember, it’s ok to not be perfect. None of us are. You’re going to slip up. You’re going to eat something you shouldn’t…but don’t let that get in the way of being the best you. If you don’t do it for you…do it for the ones you love! You want to be around for them! 

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