Rise & Shine Challenge: Day 3

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Good morning! How’s your morning going so far today? I “slept in” until 5:30 a.m. this morning.

I was in bed by 9:45 p.m., but when my alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. this morning, I could tell an extra hour of sleep would do my body good. Because I’m trying to do a much better job of giving myself grace these days, I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. and went back to bed. And it felt so good.

Today’s assignment is about getting better sleep. I typically sleep really well. In fact, my husband jokes that it’s basically impossible to wake me up in the middle of the night if a child needs me and that he’s the one who always takes the night shift if a child is sick… which is somewhat accurate — at least the part about me being hard to wake up! :)

Unless I have some big something the following day and am feeling anxious or nervous about it, I sleep like a rock most nights. And I feel blessed that sleep is not an issue that I struggle with most of the time, because I know that many people do struggle with it.

That said, since committing to going to bed earlier, I’ve noticed that I’ve struggled to get to sleep at night. So I like the idea of being intentional about winding down at night in order to encourage restful sleep.

As I thought about it more, I realized that I actually do have a pretty solid Evening Routine/Before Bed Ritual — or whatever you want to call it. :)

My Current Bedtime Ritual

Here’s how it typically looks for me (note that I don’t always do all of these things, but I usually do most of these in this order):

::Do a quick clean up the kitchen/main living areas of the home — There’s something about waking up to a clean house in the morning that just feels SO good!

::Consult Google Calendar and write a to-do list for the following day.

::Wash face, take out my contacts, take pills/vitamins.

::Snuggle with my kiddos and send them off to bed. (Confession: I sometimes fall asleep right here — and then Jesse has to send them off to bed!)

::Make a cup of soothing tea and slather some essential oils or lotion on my feet.

::Turn off the electronics.

::Climb into bed. Chat with my hubby. Fall asleep.

The biggest thing for me is to start planning to go to bed at least an hour and a half before I actually plan to get in bed. It seems to take me that long to get everything done without feeling like I’m rushing through!

This Morning’s Report

  • Got up at 5:30 a.m.
  • Read my Bible and devotional books. Prayed over my day.
  • Made some coffee, opened my laptop and answered emails & comments.
  • Scheduled some posts — including this one asking for your input on my book.
  • Jesse came back from the gym and got Kathrynne up. They made breakfast together, and then she started on her independent work. We decided to let Silas & Kaitlynn sleep in this morning as they both seemed like they could use the extra sleep. :)
  • Finished this post.
  • And now I’m off exercise and shower, start the laundry, make some breakfast for myself (I’m going to try the Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes this morning), and help the kids with their chores and start in on our homeschooling for the day. We’re getting a later start because I “slept in” but we have a quieter day today so I think it will work out. And here’s to hoping I get in bed by my actual bedtime of 9:00 p.m. tonight!

How has your morning been so far? Do you have a bedtime routine of sorts? If so, what does it look like? If not, what would you LIKE it to look like?

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Would you like to increase your income? {Help me with my next book!}

I’m excited to be in the thick of working on my third book right now… and I think some of you are going to be pretty interested in the topic. And I’m spilling the beans today because I’m going to be asking for your help in the writing process this time around.

Well, not exactly your writing help, but in the next few months I’m going to be coming to you all fairly frequently with questions, quick surveys, and requests for you to nominate women for me to profile or interview in my book. You all are an amazing resource and wealth of wisdom and I can’t wait to hear you ideas and suggestions and answers to the questions as I go throughout this writing process!

So, what am I writing on? Well, in a nutshell, I’m writing a book on how women can increase their income and use that income to make an impact while at the same time maintaining a healthy balance of priorities.

I’m really, really, really stoked about this topic. Judging from the many emails I’ve received over the years, it’s something that many you are interested in. Not only that, but because I’m the girl who has made just about every mistake in the book and learned a lot from failure, it’s a topic that resonates so near to my heart.

My goal in this book is to empower you with practical ideas for not only how to start a business or find a creative way to make a part-time income, but to also challenge and inspire you to think how you can make a difference with that income — whether that’s to help your family get in a better financial position, to be able to fund a charity you believe in, to give generously to a cause you’re passionate, or whatever that looks like for you and your family.

What Do You Think?

So, with that said, as I’m still shaping the book’s message, I’d LOVE to hear from you:

Do you want to increase your income? If so, what are your greatest struggles when it comes to trying to increase your income? What do you feel like is holding you back?

Share your answers to these questions in the comments — or shoot me an email (crystal @ moneysavingmom.com) with your thoughts.

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8 Ways to Use Your Garden Surplus

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Guest post from of OneThingAlone.com

Are you drowning in produce?

Right about now, vegetable gardens around the country are bringing in their harvest. And if you’re a gardener, you probably have more cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes than you know what to do with.

Letting them go to waste is a shame, but exactly how many ways can you cook zucchini before you hear collective groans at the dinner table? With a little creativity, you can both save money and make others happy with your garden surplus:

1. Save it for later.

You don’t have to eat everything now, you know. Many veggies freeze well if blanched first.

Simply drop a handful of veggies (carrots, green beans, peas) into boiling water, boil for 30-60 seconds, and then “shock” them ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain excess water and freeze in zip-lock bags. They should keep until the next harvest and will come in handy mid-winter.

You can also save spices like oregano and basil by placing them in an ice cube tray and covering them in olive oil. Once frozen, you can pop them out and store in a freezer-safe gallon-sized bag.

Fruit can be flash-frozen on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes and then stored in freezer bags for yummy smoothies, muffins, or healthy snacks throughout the year.

2. Make convenience items.

With just a bit of work, raw produce can become the base for many quick dinners. Use tomatoes to make a few batches of pizza sauce, tomato juice, or spaghetti sauce. Peppers can be sliced and bagged with onions for a fajita kit. Berries make delicious jams and great Christmas presents.

Veggies can also be used in lasagna, pre-made pizza toppings, and kebab kits. Simple, healthy, and money-savvy.

3. Bring them to work.

Obviously, not everyone has a vegetable garden in their backyard. While you may be up to your ears in cucumbers, others may have cukes on their shopping list. Be generous with what you have and make someone’s day.

Note: if you leave cabbage in the break room, check to make sure it’s gone by the end of the day so you don’t come back to a stench.

4. Invite friends into your garden.

I love bringing friends into my garden and letting them pick whatever they want for dinner that week. Nothing says friend like free food, right?

I get rid of extra veggies and they get dinner on the table with fresh, local, and organic produce.

5. Make a stir-fry or stew with remnants.

If all you have is a handful of peas or a small bowl of green beans, combine them all together for a quick stir-fry. Or throw them all in a pot, add some onions, seasonings and sausage, and make a stew!

Bonus: you can freeze half of the recipe for a later time when you don’t feel like cooking or when eating out tempts your wallet.

6. Double up and send it out

Whatever you’re cooking, make a double batch and surprise a friend with dinner. Whether it’s a new mama, a friend with sick kiddos, or your new neighbors, everyone can use a cooking-free night.

7. Try a new recipe

Whenever there’s a particular veggie that overproduces, try searching Pinterest for yummy recipes, print them all out, and have them handy to reference when the basket is full.

According to Google, there are 30,000,000 zucchini recipes out there, just waiting for you to give them a try. Who knew that zucchini fries, zucchini tortellini soup, and chocolate zucchini soup could taste so good?

8. “Auction” it online

Everyone likes free. Give your local Facebook friends something to smile about by “auctioning” off your produce surplus to the funniest comment or the most embarrassing mommy moment.

Create your own giveaway and make someone’s day, or offer it in exchange for babysitting, lawn services, or help with a freezer-cooking day. It’s a win-win either way.

With a bit of creativity and effort, your low-hanging veggies can save money, make smiles, and brighten days.

Asheritah is married to her high school sweetheart, Flaviu, and together with their daughter, Carissa, they make their home in Ohio. She blogs at OneThingAlone.com about the One Thing that makes laundry piles and midnight cries worth every second: walking with Jesus. 

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Enter to win a FREE Pure Echo Mattress from My Green Mattress!

My Green Mattress Giveaway

Need a new mattress or know someone who does? Well, then you’ll be excited about this post!

My Green Mattress is giving away a Twin Size Pure Echo Mattress with Organic Cotton and All-Natural Wool to one of my readers this week. And there are multiple ways to enter to win!

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