Hello Everyone and welcome to the seventh edition of The Nap Times! If you are receiving this and do not want a monthly newsletter from me, simply unsubscribe at the bottom. I totally get wanting to simplify and declutter your inbox and will not take it personally. Also, some of the links in this newsletter are affiliate links.


In this Newsletter, we will discuss:

1. Takeaways from Andy Crouch's The Tech-Wise Family

2. Favorite lunch boxes and packing more than one lunch at a time

3. Current things I have read/listened to/watched


The Tech-Wise Family Takeaways

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There are many, many books on the market having to do with technology. Its dangers, how it helps us, how it hurts us, how it is changing us… the list goes on. One thing I appreciated about Andy Crouch's book was the humility with which he wrote it. He doesn't see technology as inherently evil, and admits to the many ways he finds himself so attracted to all the ways his phone can easily distract him. I found myself taking note on what he had to say without feeling chastised or guilty.


While not everything from this book hit home for me, there were some points I found very valuable and challenging. I am going to share my top 3 takeaways below, as well as a few areas in which we don't follow tech-wise family rules. 


Please note, we aren't doing any of this perfectly. I see my newsletter audience as people who know my heart and believe I have the best of intentions. Nothing below is meant to make you feel bad. Perhaps some of it will challenge you, but know it's challenging me too. Technology is still so new and we are all navigating it as best we can. 


Also, for reference, my kids are 6, 4, and almost 3. This could look totally different depending on the ages of your kids. They are also watching TV as I write this (thank you, Gabby Cats and Justin Time, for allowing this to get written!)

3 things I found challenging and want to do better at:

  1. Devices “go to bed” before we do and they “get up” after we do. In essence, we don't rely on screens to put us to bed and don't let them be the first thing we see when we open our eyes. This is something I have worked really hard on over the last two years and have seen major benefits from. If my phone is by the bed, I lack the self-control to not scroll, or set one more reminder, or check my email one last time. I have to plug my phone in far away from the bedroom or I will check it. I will say, the latter part of this point is harder for me. I do like to check email and texts soon after waking up. Some days this is fine, and other days that simple little action can get me wasting a lot of time on my phone before the day ever begins. I do not have a job where my phone needs my attention first thing, and want to try not checking it quite so early.
  2. Be aware of your “nudges” and create ones that push you towards things you want to care about and give time to. The basic gist here is to notice things in your home that nudge you a certain way. This made so much sense to me, and really played into my love of habit formation; it reminded me of James Clear's advice in his book Atomic Habits to make things you want to form into habits more easily accessible and habits you want to break less desirable/accessible. The biggest change I made here was sticking a small devotional on the back of both of the toilets in our house. My hope is that this will be a small nudge towards reading something true and good in the 1-2 minutes I am in the bathroom as opposed to scrolling for that 1-2 minutes.
  3. Don't let your kids watch something you wouldn't enjoy. In essence, don't let them watch half the crap that is currently available on the TV! Y'all, I don't know why, but this really helped me. There are so many shows available to my kids that are not inappropriate or bad in any way…but they (for lack of a better word) suck. I walk past them as they watch and cringe at the weird characters and digital enhancements. There are also so many quality shows available these days! After reading this book, I started to give my kids a choice between 2-3 shows that I liked (not always the same 2-3, but 2-3 out of the 20 or so I think are pretty good) and told them to pick one. Bonus: This also really helped cut down on the amount of choices and time wasted trying to choose something. (For the record, we have nixed YouTube Kids completely…I found the quality shows to utter crap ratio was suuuper heavily towards utter crap!)

A few things from the book we aren't doing perfectly, or at all:

  1. No screens before double digits: Crouch advises not to give your kids screens before they are 10. Welp, this just ain't happening. And honestly, I don't feel guilty about it at all. We do limit the amount the kids get to watch, but if I am honest, their show time is one of the few times in the day I can say with complete confidence that they are not going to budge from the couch. I can read. I can take a bubble bath. I can get some work done for NTK completely uninterrupted. It's bliss.
  2. Sing together (create music) rather than consume the music of others: I gotta be honest, this one was sort of funny to me. I get where he is coming from, but I have personally found that the car is the perfect time to consume the right kinds of music. We do a lot of audio books, and often listen to  kids music that points to Jesus. For me, that's Ellie Holcombe's Sing Album, Shai Linn's Jesus Kids Album, and we have also been doing some catechism memorization using the Ask Me WhoOo albums. Other times, the kids are schooled in the artistic genius of Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Hornsby, and all the 80s hits. I want them to know solid truth, but I also want them to know the words to Prince.
  3. Use screens together for a purpose, not aimlessly and alone: So this one I think we are partly doing well, and partly not. I do make the kids all watch and choose a show together, and find this to be very character building for them. They are not in their own spaces on ipads watching whatever they want. However, I am not with them. I see their TV time as a personal break and have zero desire to sit there and watch with them (unless it's pizza movie night and we are watching something awesome).


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I gotta be honest, I haven't tried that many. This is not meant to be a full lunch box review. I am just going to tell you the two I use. One is major #ballinonabudget, and one is not. I'll give you a few quick pros and cons and we will close with my lunch box packing method.


First up: PlanetBox Rover lunchbox

We have had these for about three years and I am sold on them! They are super sturdy, wash in the dishwasher, and are the perfect size for a few snacks and a full size sandwich. The biggest con I hear from people is that it isn't leakproof. Here's how I have solved this issue: first off, it does come with two containers that are leak proof, so if you want to pack something like yogurt you easily can. Secondly, if I pack something with minimal liquid (think pickle or watermelon) I simply stick a paper towel underneath the item. Soaks up excess juice. No leaking. Easy peasy. There are a few different styles of the PlanetBox; we use the Rover and love it.


We also have the PlanetBox Slim Sleeves for the kids lunchboxes. These are slimmer than the classic lunchbox and slide perfectly into a bookbag. To keep things cold, I swear by slim ice packs. I have these from Amazon


Second: Ziploc (or any other brand really) plastic Bento style lunchboxes

These are suuuuper inexpensive and are a great starting place if you want to see if you even like packing a Bento-box style lunch. Most hold a full size sandwich and also a few snacks. These are also like a tenth of the price. (These also fit perfectly into the Planetbox Slim Sleeve and I just stick that same slim ice pack in with it).



I do not love packing lunches. For this reason, I aim to pack them twice a week. On Sunday, I pack for M-W, and on Wednesday afternoon, I pack Th-F. This is the main reason I say I love BOTH of the lunchboxes above. While I adore the PlanetBox, I am not going to take out a second mortgage in order to have tons of them. That's where the plastic ones come in. Each child has their lunch packed in a PlanetBox 2x/week, and packed in a plastic bento 3x/week. 


*Full disclosure: John Robert now gets school lunch. He likes it. I don't have to pack it. I am pretty sure he has chocolate milk every day and pizza 2-3 times weekly. Frankly, I do not care. It's amazing!!!!


I do want to note, you might not have the fridge space for that many packed lunches. If that is the case, consider making a ton of sandwiches all at once and sticking them in a large tupperware in the fridge. Use my paper towel trick to keep them from drying out! You could also cut up anything that needs cutting all at once and then just assemble the lunch box quickly each morning. We also utilize a lot of convenience foods for lunches: cheese sticks, applesauce pouches, etc.


*I am going to use this section to only share things I read/watched I would suggest to another person. I definitely read/listened to/watched some duds! 


I am currently reading Parenting by Paul David Tripp. This is a hard 180 from my Elin Hilderbrand beach reads, but I knew I needed to stop those if I was ever going to make myself actually read this book. So far, I am loving it. It's challenging and giving me a lot to think about. If you want a small taste of what it's about, my friend Nancy Ray did a book review on it on her podcast


Still chugging that Joanna Gaines kool-ade (remember in the last newsletter I told you I read Homebody LOVED it). Well, I have started reading her Magnolia magazine. Y'all, it's great. Really, really well done! It's got design ideas, recipes, essays, and usually something thought provoking to help you assess an area of your life. 



I listened to The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab on Hoopla. I have to be honest, that is not my usual genre, and I found parts a bit slow, but it was definitely a plot I had never read before. 


With everything happening in the world, I have been trying to listen to either The Daily Podcast (put out by the NY Times) or Up First (put out by NPR) for a quick snapshot of the most up-to-date events. The news is so very heavy and this has been a great way for me to stay informed but not consumed by the media. 



Nate and I watched Fleabag. Y'all, Season 1 didn't do it for us but Season 2…WOW! We loved it. I would call it a dark comedy; both hysterical and sad. I want to watch more, but I am also so glad there's no Season 3 because the way it ends felt perfect. It's heavy on the sex and cursing if that is something you don't want to see. But man, the plot and acting are fantastic. Andrew Scott….gah, he's amazing! Nate has been a fan of him since watching Sherlock Holmes, but I really came around to loving him in this show. Phoebe Waller-Bridge not only wrote the show, but also plays the main character, and let me tell you what she is fantastic. 


Again, the world is heavy. I am sticking to Friends (for comedy) while I cook, and The West Wing (for drama) whenever I get a little time to myself and feel like watching (both are on HBO Max). I have seen both of these shows so many times I don't have to pay great attention. If you have never watched The West Wing, give it a chance. It is truly one of the best shows on television. Bartlett for President, always. (I also have a very large crush on Allison Janney and heavily considered the name Claudia Jean for one of our children). 


Do you have a show you are loving? Nate and I struggle to find one we both love (drama for Nate, but not too scary for me).


That's all I have for you this month. Thanks for reading!