Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekly Goals: November 18, 2013

My progress on the goals for November 11, 2013:

My home will never be spotless.  I have two young boys, two cats and a husband whose natural gift is not picking up after himself or taking his shoes off at the door.  It is the season of life that I am in and I am choosing to embrace it.  I spent the last year or so, living with the philosophy to not worry about cleanliness and order.  My children are only here for a moment and a joyful marriage is more important than a spotless floor.  Cat hair, ripped napkins, and a litter box must be overlooked if I am wanting my boys to learn responsibility and empathy for God's creatures and have a furry friend to play with.  Although I still agree with the reasoning behind the philosophy, I have learned something about myself.  When my home is too cluttered and unclean, I feel grumpy, irritable, stressed and am downright unpleasant.  I need some sort of order in the midst of my chaotic life.  I need my home to be a restful haven.

I'm searching for a simple routine that I can easily follow that will allow me to enjoy life to the fullest and not be caught up in keeping things clean and organized. 

Here's the plan I have come up with so far.

Daily- Dishes, One Load of Laundry, Wipe Counters, Sweep Floors, Spend 5 minutes Removing Clutter.

Monday- Bathrooms
Tuesday- Vacuum
Wednesday- Sweep and Mop Floors
Thursday- Kitchen
Friday- De-Clutter
Even though I didn't get every single thing done, every single day, I did notice that getting a little done every day helped create more order.  This allowed me to relax and enjoy life more.  I'm going to keep at for two more weeks to see if this schedule is what I need to stick with.

1) Knit, Read and Walk  Yes, Yes, and No.  I think I need to get our treadmill fixed.  :-(
2) Menu for Thanksgiving and confirm plans with family  Done
3) Clean and Organize Basement and Den  Done
4) Start a Notebook for Business Account to keep track of money spent and money earned.  Done
5) Get Matthew started on a project  In progress...
Weekly Goals: November 18, 2013-
1) Continue with weekly cleaning plan
2) Organize File Box
3) Sort items for re-sale
4) Knit and read.
5) Pick up materials for Matthew's Project

Friday, November 15, 2013

Beyond Please and Thank You

Manners are a way of life.  Some choose to live them, others choose to not. 
My grandmother was a huge, huge stickler on manners.  Please, thank you, may I, walk softly, chew quietly, sit with your legs together, look at the person in the eyes when speaking to them, walk softly, etc.  (Yes, I wrote walk softly twice.  I apparently was a very, very loud walker.) 
When we tried to get around someone and said "Excuse me." she would ask if we had passed gas.  Excuse me is what you say when you pass gas or burp.  You say "Pardon me" when you want to get around someone. 
Oh, and the classic.  You ask "May I...?" not "Can I...?"  Anyone can, but you say may when asking for permission. 
But, wait!  There's one more.  You never say "I'm done."  A turkey is done.  You are finished.
Liam and Matthew are great with using their manners.  Although I am nowhere near as strict as my grandmother, we all use please, thank you, excuse me, bless you, etc.  I use them at home and the boys have just picked up on it.  (Even my husband's manners have gotten better after 12 years of marriage!)
It's a simple thing that we can do to be kind and respectful to others and to treat them the way we would like to be treated.
What do you do when it goes beyond just saying please and thank you?
We homeschool and I am with the boys for a majority of the day, every day. 
Now, don't get me wrong.  I love it.  I choose it and I wouldn't want it any other way.
We all need time to do our own things.
I need some time to finish a sentence with the first child before the other one demands something of me.
It needs to become a habit to use a respectful tone when speaking to others.
My boys need to learn when it is appropriate to ask a question and when they need to wait.
Our family needs to learn that respect means complying with a request that doesn't have to be finished with a consequence.

It will take some time, a lot of love, grace and patience.
Respecting one another goes deeper than a simple please and thank you.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Woman Who Fears the Lord #13

The Woman Who Fears the Lord
A Study of Proverbs 31
Verse 22
"She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple."

If you have read any of my previous posts about our gal Mrs. Proverbs, you should remember that this is an area where I am seriously lacking.

When I was single, before I had children and before I realized that our budget was tight, I bought clothes.  And shoes.  Now, my closet was never over flowing, but I certainly had plenty.

The last four years have been full of financial struggles.  We aren't homeless or hungry, but we have had to realize that we have to make some hard choices.  One area that has been cut has been my clothing allowance. 
(I'm pretty much the one who figures up the budget
and I'm the one who cut it.)

Mrs. Proverbs, you make your own blankets, sheets and quilts.  You dress in fashionable clothing that makes you stand out as a classy woman.

What can I learn from you?

Bed coverings must have been a big thing back in the Bible says.  I typically close our bedroom door when we have guests and my husband is OCD about the sheets and blankets, so I just leave the bed coverings up to him.  We have a quilt that my mother made us and the rest has been purchased from a store.  No Susie Homemaker here.

How I dress is important.  I'm sure God doesn't look at my stained shirt and my ripped jeans and say, "Wow.  I'm super disappointed in you." 

But, God did call each of us to minister to our husbands and those around us.  For me, it's easier to have the confidence to talk to someone if I'm not wearing stained clothing and ripped jeans. 

(But that could just be the circle I run in.)

For my husband, I believe that I need to do my best to remain attractive to him.  This can relate to the above verse in regards to clothing but I believe it goes much deeper than what is on the outside.  My attitude, spirit and heart are key in maintaining a healthy and joyful marriage.  Not just my clothes.

So, again I will say that I had better be more intentional when it comes to clothing. 

Moving slowly towards being a woman who fears the Lord, one outfit at a time.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekly Goals: November 11, 2013

I totally lost my focus last week.  It started out well, but ended up in the toilet.  (And the toilet was still dirty.)
Weekly Goals: November 11, 2013
Daily- Dishes, One Load of Laundry, Wipe Counters, Sweep Floors, Spend 5 minutes Removing Clutter. About 1/2 the days this was done.
Monday- Sweep and Mop Floors Done
Tuesday- Vacuum: Done
Wednesday- Bathrooms
Thursday- Kitchen
Friday- De-Clutter
1) Save, Give, and Spend Jars Done

2) Start a Notebook for Business Account to keep track of money spent and money earned. Not Done
3) Read Done, I'm reading a challenging book called "The Artist's Way for Parents, Raising Creative Children" by Julia Cameron
4) Knit Done, I am working on a scarf that a friend wants for her son.  I also met with a friend who taught me how to crochet. 
5) Walk Not Done at All.  :-(
Weekly Goals: November 11, 2013
I really, really want to stay focused on this idea.  My theory is that if I am consistently cleaning a little bit every day, I will be able to focus, relax and enjoy life to it's fullest.  A cluttered and messy home really distracts me and I get grumpy.  Even if I don't get everything done every single day, it should make a difference if I am cleaning on a consistent basis.
So, I cut and pasted the goals, printed it out and stuck it on my fridge.
Daily- Dishes, One Load of Laundry, Wipe Counters, Sweep Floors, Spend 5 minutes Removing Clutter.
Monday- Bathrooms
Tuesday- Vacuum
Wednesday- Sweep and Mop Floors
Thursday- Kitchen
Friday- De-Clutter

Normally, I write my goals on Sunday for that week.  I had such an emotionally difficult day yesterday that when we got home after being gone for 9 1/2 hours, I went to bed.  (After taking care of the boys, of course.)  This morning I woke up and had such a long list of things I needed to get done today that I instantly felt overwhelmed.  I wrote everything down, decided what was most urgent and began taking care of those things. 
Here are my main goals for this week:
1) Knit, Read and Walk
2) Menu for Thanksgiving and confirm plans with family
3) Clean and Organize Basement and Den
4) Start a Notebook for Business Account to keep track of money spent and money earned.
5) Get Matthew started on a project

Friday, November 8, 2013

Giving Children Commision for Chores

A while back I read an informative book titled, America's Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides.  One of the ideas they gave in their book was to have commission for the children and to have timecards for everyone to show the tasks they had completed.  Do the tasks, get paid.  Don't?  Well, you don't get paid.  Matthew, who is 7 1/2 has been wanting to get a job to earn money and frequently asks to do things to get paid.  Liam is 3 and has no clue.  He likes money but that's about where it ends.

I figured we would start simple.  I call them their task sheets.  They each have three sections and there are three tasks in each section. Complete the tasks in one section and you get the agreed upon amount.  For Matthew, it is 15 cents.  For Liam, it is 5 cents.  On Monday we go through the task sheets, do some math together and they get paid.

Here's the List of Matthew's tasks:

1) Brush teeth and wash face
    Wipe Bathroom Counter
2) Unload Dishwasher
     Scoop Out Litter
3) Put jacket and shoes away
    Pick up toys
    Brush Teeth and Wash Face

Here's the  List of Liam's tasks:

1) Go Potty in the toilet
     Brush Teeth and wash face
     Get dressed
2) Go Potty in the toilet
    Unload silverware from the dishwasher
    Give cat's food and water
3) Pick up toys
    Go Potty in the toilet
    Brush teeth and wash face

My goals are 1) to get them to do their tasks without being told and with a cheerful spirit.  2) To learn how to delay gratification.  3) To learn how to handle small amounts of money so that they can handle larger amounts when they get older. 

All important life skills that I am including in the children's education.

Big dreams meet reality.

We've been doing the task charts and commission for almost 3 weeks now and let me tell you what's happening...

The first day was awesome!  The second day was okay.  Then Matthew figured out the message I was giving him.  He can CHOOSE whether he wants to do  his tasks or not.  So, he took some time off of work.  About two weeks now.  Liam joined him on his vacation.  They both say it's okay that they're not getting paid.

I need to re-think my message.  :-0

This leaves me to do most of the work.  Brushing their teeth and using the bathroom typically gets done.  The cat's get their litter changed when I remind Matthew that we will not be able cats to keep the cats if he doesn't scoop the litter and their father just says "You will unload the dishwasher, NOW."

I still like the idea of commission... 

I just need to figure out how it's going to work for our family and the ages are children are currently in.

Week One

Week Two

 America's Cheapest Family, A Book Review

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Simply Fun Game Review, "Share A Berry"

I had been a consultant for three days before I was able to unpack my box and look through all the products that came in my kit.  My two boys wanted to play all the games but since there are only 24 hours in a day, they each got to pick one.
Liam, who is 3 years old, chose "Share A Berry!"
I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect.  I guess I was expecting a game similar to "Hi, Ho, Cherry-O" and was pleasantly surprised to find out this game offers much, much more.
Matthew, age 7, and Liam, age 3, getting ready to play the game.
Each player has a path.  The berry path cards have numbers along with + signs to indicate the amount of berries that player gets to remove from the main berry basket and add to your berry string.  When it's your turn, you flip the tile over and add the number of berries indicated on the card to your berry string.  Everyone has a small basket to put their berries in while stringing.  That way you don't have to go chasing berries!

After each player has turned over all the berry tiles, the river path tiles are next.  Each of the river path tiles have numbers, - signs and a bear that is facing left or right.  When it's your turn, you flip the tile over and subtract the number of berries indicated on the card and pass it to the person who is sitting in the same direction the bear is facing.
After everyone has taken turns flipping over the berry tiles and adding berries and flipping over the river path tiles and subtracting berries, the player with the most berries on their berry string wins!
You can each count the berries on the string or you can line the strings up and measure who has the most berries.
Both boys enjoyed this game but it was Liam's favorite.  I was amazed when he independently recognized all the numbers.
Matthew enjoyed more of the adding and subtracting. 
He also counted by twos to add his berry string up.
If you would like to add this game to your family's game night, visit my website at
You can also "like" me on Facebook and stay up to date on product details and specials.
Below you will find the product information that is found on the Simply Fun Corporate Website.
It's fun to "Share a Berry!"
Players take turns flipping over their 4 Berry Path tiles, collecting the number of strawberries shown from the Big Berry Basket and threading them onto their string. When players begin turning over their River Path Tiles, they must remove the number of strawberries from their string and pass them to another player as directed by the bear on the tile. It's fun to "Share a Berry!"

  • Plus and minus as well as early counting.
  • Fine Motor Skills.
  • Right and Left recognition.

  • Box Contains:
    • 28 Wooden Strawberries
    • 16 Berry Path Tiles
    • 8 River Path Tiles
    • 4 Strawberry Strings
    • 4 Mini Berry Baskets
    • 1 Big Berry Basket
    • 1 Rule Booklet
    Ages 3 and up
    :30 mintues game play
    2-4 players

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Homemade Yogurt, A Slow Cooker Recipe

    Homemade Yogurt
    A Slow Cooker Recipe
    1) Heat 2 liters/9 cups of milk in the slow cooker on low for 2 hours.
    2) Turn the slow cooker off and leave milk to cool for approximately 3 hours.
    3) After you have allowed the milk to cool, remove 2 cups of the milk and mix in 4 Tablespoons of plain yogurt.  (I had to specifically buy plain yogurt for this recipe because my family will not touch the stuff.)
    5) Replace the lid, wrap your slow cooker in a towel or blanket and leave 8-10 hours or overnight.
    6) Remove 4 Tablespoons and put in a freezable container to have your starter for the next time you make this recipe.  (I've heard that you just have to remove the water before mixing it with the milk.)
    7) I added 1 tsp. of vanilla and 1 cup of sugar to the yogurt.  Since my family wouldn't touch the undoctored yogurt, adding these two things made it appealing to them.
    8) Place in a airtight container and refrigerate.
    This yogurt is much thinner than what you purchase in the store.  It looks like soup in the slow cooker but will thicken up slightly after putting it in the fridge.
    You can also add your favorite fruits to the yogurt to make it more like the store bought.

    My husband and oldest son, Matt, said it needed more sugar but Liam said "It's goodie."
    I think the other two need to give the healthier version a try.  I'm sure their tastebuds will adjust.

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    A Woman Who Fears the Lord #12

    The Woman Who Fears the Lord
    A Study of Proverbs 31
    Verse 21
    "She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet."

    This woman, our lovely role model and friend, Mrs. Proverbs has it all together.  I can't imagine that she had piles of clothes that her children have outgrown sitting in her basement.  I'll bet her son didn't walk around with a shoe that had broken open... for a week.  I'm positive that her husband's work clothes weren't stained and coming apart at the seams from years of wear.  I'm sure her clothes didn't have bleach stains all over them from work and half of her closet didn't fit her right anymore.

    It's doubtful that she dressed like a biblical supermodel, but it's pretty clear from the other verses in this chapter that she dressed well.

    Here's another verse where I fell like an epic fail at being a Proverbs 31 woman.  I'm trying to get better but with everything we have going on in our lives now, clothes are typically the furthest thing from my mind.

    Which leaves me to ask, what can I learn from this verse?

    We may not be the most fashionable family, but I try to have us dress in clothing that flatters us.

    We may not spend a lot of money on clothes, but I search high and low for great deals.

    We may not have outfit upon outfit to choose from, but we're fully clothed when we leave the house.

    If God cares most about what is on the inside, why does this verse point out what is on the outside?

    Our God provided for her and for her family. 
    Using the resources available to them, they were well taken care of.

    I'm not sure exactly where this verse fits in this season of our lives, but I'm determined to find out.

    For more posts about Proverbs 31, click on the following link: Proverbs 31

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Weekly Goals: November 4, 2013

    It's incredible how fast the last month has gone.  While I was working, time seemed to stand still and now that the season is over, time is in hyper-drive.  I'm still searching for a balance in our schedule.  I'm overwhelmed by housework, wanting to spend more time with the boys without being distracted, and needing to find a healthy way to fit the two news businesses into our daily lives. 

    Last week was a little whacked.  My youngest, Liam's, 3rd birthday, Trick-or-treating, a trip to a local pumpkin patch, working on getting one of the businesses off the ground, learning activities with the boys and day-to-day/mundane/drive me crazy if they're not done tasks commanded my schedule.

    Weekly Goals, October 28, 2013

    1) Write down an outline for balancing children's activities, housework, blogging and business goals.  In Progress 
    2)  Save, give and spend jars.  Not Complete
    3) Walk  Does Trick-Or-Treating 3 Times Count?
    4) Read  I started two books for me and am reading the 2nd Harry Potter book with Matthew.  Add these to the picture books for Liam and I would say this goal was done.
    5) Knit  Done
    6) Organize Liam's 2 year old photos.  Not Done
    Weekly Goals for November 4, 2013-
    Housework throws me off balance.  The work will never be done and ignoring it doesn't work for me.  Trust me, I've tried.  I get really, really grumpy when the house is a mess.   For the next four weeks, I'm going to try following a simple daily and weekly schedule for the housework.
    Daily- Dishes, One Load of Laundry, Wipe Counters, Sweep Floors, Spend 5 minutes Removing Clutter.
    Monday- Sweep and Mop Floors
    Tuesday- Vacuum
    Wednesday- Bathrooms
    Thursday- Kitchen
    Friday- De-Clutter
    1) Save, Give, and Spend Jars
    2) Start a Notebook for Business Account to keep track of money spent and money earned.
    3) Read
    4) Knit
    5) Walk

    Saturday, November 2, 2013

    The Lessons Learned From Our Spending Freeze Challenge

    Two months have passed since my husband and I challenged ourselves to spend no extra money and to spend bare minimum on what is absolutely necessary.

    We had some great results.

    - We've saved money for the earnest payment when we go to purchase a home.

    - We have half of our emergency fund saved.

    - We cut out our satellite television.  So far, this has saved us over $160.00.

    - I am more purposeful in what we do and how often we do it.

    - I'm really happy with being at home and staying home saves us money.

    - We don't need most of the things we think we do.

    - The little choices have big results.

    We're still learning.

    - It only takes a day or two of careless choices to throw us off track.  I feel like most of this falls on me when it comes to the biggest added expense--- eating out.  If I don't plan ahead, have food available and remember to take or send the food, we eat out.  I'm still working on this area.

    - I have to spend a little money to save a lot of money.  Shopping ahead and finding sales are not areas I excel in. 

    - I have to go to the grocery store to buy food.  This will prevent last minute purchases, unnecessary trips to the store and paying more for things.  I really don't like shopping but I need to put my big girl panties on and get over it.

    - The little choices have big results.

    This month I am going to be working on doing our main grocery shopping every other week.  We'll see if a little planning, a busy shopping day and hunting down the best sales will help us or hurt us.