Who runs the house

The last two days I have not felt well and have depended on my children to at least behave. They have gone above and beyond that by making me tea, telling me not to eat candy (LOL) and making meals IN ADDITION to acting nicely! All I can say is WOW! They have taken care of the baby, did some laundry, did their schoolwork, and cleaned the living room! If it wasn’t for the fact that I feel so miserable I would say I should be sick more often. ;)

How did they get to the point where they could do this? Simple…I don’t send them in the other room when I am working. This is part of their regular day and almost second nature to them. This is how we learn our math, history, science, reasoning…you get the idea. So my challenge to you is:

Get your children involved in anyway possible even if you don’t think its ‘age appropriate’. Did I mention my oldest 2 are 6 and 4?

Concentrate on occupying your time with activities that will enrich their learning experience instead of impressing the Jones’. One way to do this is to jot down what you have done all day and make a list of things the kids could be doing, things that are unnecessary, and truly valuable activities. If there is time left over after rearranging responsibilities look at the ‘when they get older’ or ‘that’s cool, but where do they find the time’ lists and incorporate some of those things.

Good Luck!

Let me know how you did. :)

What’s your excuse?

I was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning and it came to my attention (not surprise) that financial restraints are a major reason for not listening to God’s calling. This may include a new ministry, a new baby, adoption, or a job change. But how do you know if it is God telling you to do something? Hmm…that is a tough one. I have seen people ‘know’ God wants them to do something and then they fall flat on their face after doing it. Was that God? Maybe. Sometimes God wants to prune us or humble us in preparation for something bigger. Sometimes we are just wrong. Whatever the circumstance, it is certain that God is always with us and ready to help and bless us when we follow Him. But what about all those successful and happy people that don’t follow Christ? They are working for the world. It’s as simple as that. God is greater than anything on earth and blesses FAR longer than anything worldly. So why am I talking about this? What does this have to do with economic destruction? A LOT!
In the past year I have read about or known families that have moved because they cannot afford their house, gave up being stay at home moms for the money, given up the chance for another child because its so expensive, and been afraid to listen to God. All of these circumstances are missed blessings. If God says to do something…DO IT! I know this isn’t like Old Testament times where God physically talked to people who prayed to Him, but we have the Bible that WILL speak to us. READ IT! (you know the one, it’s the dust covered book on your shelf) Even if you are in the Word every day…HOW are you reading it? WHY are you reading it? I am not at all professing to be an expert on how and why to read the Bible, but here is my insight:
If you are reading the Bible to memorize verses and stories then your reading is shallow. If you are reading the Bible to learn the Laws and ‘connect the dots’ throughout history then that is deeper. If you are reading the Bible to be able to hear God speak specifically to your life in the exact moment that you are in then you are developing a relationship with Him. Of course this is just my two cents. I am sure you know that money is used over 100 times in both Old and New Testament scripture. Doesn’t that say its important to God for us to know how to use it? YES! “But we just don’t have enough! The bills keep coming in faster than the money!!!” I understand, BELIEVE ME I understand. I am a stay at home mom and my husband works hard, things are tight, BUT we are always with PLENTY. I know some families where both parents work and they are worse off than we are. What does that tell you? PRIORITIES! Again, not saying I have it altogether, but I am confident in my position to stay at home. I homeschool our kids, I grow a large garden, and pinch every penny I can to enhance our life despite the one income household.
There are so many websites out there telling you how to pinch pennies and save money living frugally and that is GOOD, but it still doesn’t completely work if you don’t have the confidence and direction from God. SO, I encourage you to get in the Word, get an accountability partner, and GET MOVING FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!!!

review of Download N’ Go Firefighter Unit Study

Product Review for Download N’ Go Firefighters

Ages:  K-4

Cost: 8.95 each, however the more you buy the cheaper they get.

Supplies Required: Paper, notebook, cardstock and internet access.

Preparation: Time beforehand to print and set up materials.  This took me about 3 hours.

Download N’ Go by Amanda Bennet has been a blessing to our house because each study is filled with exciting and easy activities presented in a realistic timeline.  This particular study was fun to do for my boys because it was a subject they both enjoyed and were familiar with.  Download N’ Go unit studies are available in many subjects either in print or in PDF format.  Each unit study is designed for one 5 day week and we have found about 30 minutes is sufficient to complete the day’s activities.

This study was right up our alley as my 3 year old is obsessed with emergency vehicles and my 6 year old loves to learn anything new.  We learned about the specific tasks a firefighter is responsible for and the equipment they use including a robotic arm.  Both boys particularly love learning about the robotic arms.  The way this unit study was presented was easy to understand, simple to construct, and fun to do.  Because I have boys that don’t like to do much more than color a couple of pictures, the lapbook part of this study changed a little for us.  We did pop-up books with the materials presented, but tried to stay as close to the study as possible.

Each day presented new information and an activity that reaffirmed what they had learned.  They have their books now and read them as if they were regular books on our bookshelf.  The activities were easy enough for my 3 year old, but could become complex enough to satisfy my 6 year old.  While we were doing the study my 1 year old played with fire trucks on the floor.  Everyone felt included which is important to our schooling.  This is certainly a study that could be done over and over again at different levels and possibly be connected to a career study.

review of Download N’ Go Exploring Australia

Product Review for Download N’ Go Australia

Ages: K-4th

Cost: $7.95 per unit.  The more you buy at one time the cheaper they are.  These can be used as many times as you want.

Supplies Required:
Paper, notebook, cardstock and internet access.

Preparation: Time beforehand to print and set up materials.  This took me about 3 hours.

We had the wonderful opportunity to review Amanda Bennet’s Download N’ Go Australia study.  The Download N’ Go series is set up as one week studies on a particular subject to be completed in 5 days.  Each day includes a video to watch online, text to be read, and activities to do.  Each lesson takes approximately 30 minutes, but I am sure you could go on for hours if you wanted to expand the lesson.  Since my son is in the first grade we found it necessary to finish the lesson in 30 minutes, however we did return to the information we learned later in the day with a more interactive activity such as a visit to the zoo or library and making food.  We made a ‘book’ out of the activities by simply sliding them into sheet protectors which sit in a binder.

When purchasing a lesson from Download N’ Go you are buying access to a pdf file which means you still need to print everything out.  This is not a bad thing!  Instead of buying a bunch of pages you simply don’t need you can select only the pages pertinent to your student.  The savings can be significant; however more time is spent on the teacher’s part to organize the printouts.  This is a minor drawback if finances are tight.  In addition to my first grader I also have a high spirited preschooler who also benefitted from this study.  Of course he was unable to sit though videos and extensive reading, but he loved the coloring and games.

The only negative comments I would make about this study are the time spent printing out (which I addressed above) and the way in which the worksheets were laid out.  My first grader had a hard time writing in the small spaces provided so we just used other pieces of paper, which made our ‘book’ look a little funny.  I am sure the pages could be enlarged or presented a different way if someone took the time.  All in all I think this study was well worth doing and introduced other regions and cultures to my children.  Thank you Amanda Bennet!

Ring in the new year

Hopefully this note finds you smiling in the new year.  If not, look at the pictures below to perk you up!  Our year has been good with regular ups and downs, but here are some of the happiest times and some oldies.

All Aboard!

Sometimes its hard to get family to agree with the changes being made in order to run a more successful household.  This can be as simple as turning off the lights when leaving a room or remembering what goes in the compost pile.  Whatever the struggle, it is important to keep a positive attitude and remember that family members have other responsibilities such as work, friends, etc.  Keeping open lines of communication and understanding what things are worth fighting for will help in the overall atmosphere created at the house.  Likewise, something that makes sense to one person may not make sense to another person so a family meeting may eliminate some of these struggles easily and painlessly.  Once it is determined what the important ‘chores’ are around the house it is imperative that they get delegated appropriately.  It doesn’t make sense to put the duty of taking out a pot roast for dinner on the last person up in the morning.  If chores and lifestyle change are new ideas to the family then scheduling a weekly meeting (with promise of reward) may be the way to start.  Between meetings a suggestion box or board can be used to create the agenda.  Just because the housewife is the organizer of the home doesn’t mean she thinks of everything and in no way is it always perfect.  A family needs to work as a unit otherwise one person may ‘sink’ while no one notices!

layoffs and homesteading

what a great time to get serious about homesteading.  People are being forced to cut back on luxuries they can’t afford and figure out creative ways to get the things they need.  Evaluating the ‘budget’ (I use that term loosely) will determine where money could possibly be cut or reconfigured.  For example, with the rising costs of groceries some friends and I have started bartering for food items such as beans, pickles, and honey.  These are things we harvest in the summer and always end up with a surplus of.  Sure, it doesn’t create a TGI Friday’s menu, but it satisfies the need to eat and can be tastefully done.  Likewise it is time to determine talents or possessions that can be used to make money such as soap making and snow plowing.  These are at least barterable ideas that will save money.  The unfortunate thing for families like ours is that we have cut back just about as much as we can and are pretty much left with our mortgage and utilities.  So that is where our focus is.  If I spend $400 to insulate the rest of the house I will save that in the next three months with the heating bill.  If I menu plan around the things I can barter for that will save money as well.  The most important thing to focus on is not living up the the ‘jones”.  Think of things like how to harvest rainwater, grow your own food, cut back on unnecessities, and have faith.

send thank you notes to your clients

In a tough economy it is hard to drum up business so thanking current and past clients is crucial to continued business as well as reminding them you are still in business.  Word of mouth referrals from past clients only work if the client remembers and is motivated about the services you offer.  Thank you notes at the end of the year not only reminds them you still exist, but is an opportunity to show personalalization with your business that seems to be lost in today’s “do or die” economy.

holiday greeting cards for sale–>$2 a piece

Sometimes the best thing you can send someone is a card in the mail, especially if it has a personalized message.  I make simple cards that allow the emphasis to be on the message you want to personally express to the sender.  In respect to the economy this holiday season some special things can be included in the card to express simple and thoughtful kindness.  My cards include my personal ideas of what these should be.  This wraps up the desire to send a card and gift to special people or even bulk mailings to employees or co-workers.  Contact me for special bulk pricing as well as individualized printing for business or personal use.