“I wanted to quit, but I didn’t give up.”

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Yesterday, I mentioned that the same day Jesse and I ran the Tough Mudder Race, our girls also ran the Mini Mudder with Jesse’s younger brother, Jon.

Let me tell you, this kid’s race was no joke! It was a mile long and filled with many different obstacles…

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It was pretty grueling and I’m so proud of them for not quitting and making it to the finish line. Kaitlynn told us at the end, “I really wanted to give up, but I didn’t let myself quit.”

Their faces show the fulfillment the experienced at the end for sticking it out, persevering, and not giving up.

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10 Goals For This Week + a peek at our new homeschool curriculum/schedule

So, it was a rather eventful weekend (more on that in a post later today!) and I am crazy sore from it, so I decided to skip my usual Monday morning Cleaning Project post and am just taking it super easy today.

We’re winding down our 2014-2015 school year and getting ready to gear up for our 2015-2016 school year. Since we travel multiple times during the school year and we find it works better to have a steady routine and rhythm going all year long, we usually don’t take much of a summer break.

We do have a more relaxed school schedule in the summer, but we still stick with most of the studies and projects like usual — mostly because we love learning and reading together so we might as well just keep going. :)

10 Goals for This Week

When this box came in the mail this past weekend was like a homeschool mom’s Christmas!

Jesse and I spent way too long looking at curriculum options and discussing/planning this next year. We had so much fun thinking of what would be best for our kids and what would work best for this season of our lives.

We finally landed on Sonlight Core D for me to teach all three kids together in the mornings and Jesse’s going to teach Math, Language Arts, and Science in the afternoons (we’re using Monarch Online for those subjects). This is our first year to do Sonlight and I am stoked about it!

I’m also completely spoiled because Jesse and I are splitting the homeschooling responsibilities this year. He took over some of the homeschooling this past year and loved it so much that he wanted to continue co-homeschooling.

I love that the kids get to spend so much one-on-one and one-on-three time with him as a result and that he’s so invested in their education. I know that this set-up wouldn’t work for a lot of families and situations, but it is such a great fit for our family right now.

Goals from two weeks ago:

Marriage/Mothering/Homemaking Goals

1. Take Silas on a special one-on-one outing for his birthday.

2. Write a love note to Jesse.

10 Goals For This WeekBirthday outing with Silas

3. Go through Kathrynne and Silas’ clothes & get rid of what no longer fits them.

Personal Goals

4. Exercise at least 3 times.

5. Finish reading at least one book.

6. Listen to at least two inspiring audios/podcasts while working/driving.

Local Ministry/Hospitality/Friendship Goals

7. Get caught up on thank you note writing.

8. Finish reading a friend’s manuscript & writing an endorsement for it.

Business Goals

9. Outline/write 3 substantive blog posts for next week.

10. Finish tweaking my presentations/slides for the Arlington Homeschool Conference this weekend.

10 Goals For This Week

At the Arlington Homeschool conference

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Mothering/Homemaking Goals

1. Start our new homeschool routine/curriculum.

2. Write a love note to Jesse.

3. Get caught back up on the laundry (I’d been doing SO good with this — until I went out of town for 5 days! Determined to get back on top of this again!)

Personal Goals

4. Exercise at least 3 times.

5. Finish reading at least one book.

6. Listen to at least two inspiring audios/podcasts while working/driving.

7. Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. every night.

Local Ministry/Hospitality/Friendship Goals

8. Have a coffee date with a new friend.

Business Goals

9. Record a short video for a project.

10. Get all details finalized for the Make Over Your Mornings Course Launch.

What are your goals for this week? I’d love to have you share your progress on last week’s goals and your goals for this coming week in the comments. Of, if you’ve blogged about it, leave your direct link below. Let’s cheer each other on to live purposeful and productive lives! You can download a free customizable weekly goal-planning sheet here.


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What My 10-Year-Old Daughter is Teaching Me About Courage & Confidence

What My 10-Year-Old Is Teaching Me About Courage & Confidence

Dear Kathrynne,

You don’t often show up in pictures or stories on this blog because when I ask for your permission to post things about you, you usually ask that I don’t share them. And that is completely okay. I respect that and want to honor you in that regard.

However, I am so thankful that you gave me permission to write this post. Because it’s something I’ve wanted to share for a long time.

Thank you for how you constantly challenge me to be myself. To not worry about what other people think. To let my personality on the inside shine out on the outside.

What My 10-Year-Old is Teaching Me About Courage & Confidence

As your mom, I couldn’t be prouder of you. Maybe our tastes in clothing are completely different. Maybe there are moments when I wish that you cared just a little bit more about what you wear. But then I realize, that’s my pride — and that’s me caring more about what other people think than about letting you be who God created you to be.

I’m so glad that you care so much more about people’s hearts and about reaching out and helping people than you do about what people think about you. I’m so glad that you are confident in your own unique style and personality. I love how you rock those gym shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes like nobody’s business.

I am so inspired by your desire to attract friends who really care about you as a person and who want to love you for who you really are than about trying to change who you are in order to have other people like you.

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Thank you for how you continually encourage me to be true to who I am. To blog authentically. To live authentically.

Thank you for how you challenge me to stop caring what other people think and to be all that God has created me to be. Your courage and confidence as a person has motivated me to “come out of my shell” little bit by little bit.

You’ve challenged me to post more of the real-life stuff. To let people into our home and life — even when it’s messy and chaotic. To be okay that who I really am is not necessarily going to be exactly who people want me to be — but it’s going to be true and true is always better than fake.

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I’ve seen you step outside of your comfort zone in big ways this past year. You’ve joined the swim team, you’ve poured hours and hours into swim practice, you’ve worked hard to improve your strokes, and you’ve faced your fear of competing in front of large crowds.

Other people had no idea that you were sick to your stomach about having to step up on those starting blocks and dive into the water, but I knew. And my heart wanted to burst when I saw you hold your head up high, dive in, and attack the water.

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Moving away from your home and relatives and friends was very hard for you. But you bravely faced many new things — a new neighborhood, new church, new routines, new friends, and a new lifestyle.

You’ve experienced loneliness. We’ve cried together over what we left behind. And then you’ve dried your tears, punched fear in the face, and met new family after new family and went into new situation after new situation.

It hasn’t been a smooth ride for you, nor us. But you’ve trusted God through it, talked openly with us about your fears and hurts and sadness, and pressed forward — embracing the newness and choosing to live fully right where you are.

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Thank you for how you love well, care deeply, and give generously. I couldn’t be more proud to be your mom.

You are one-of-a-kind and God has some great adventures for you in your future. Keep charging ahead with brave resolve, contagious courage, and unshakeable confidence.

I love you, sweet girl. You’ve forever changed my life.

Love,

Your Grateful Mom

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5 Ways to Have a Happier Home — Guaranteed

5 Ways to Have a Happier Home -- Guaranteed!

My husband and I have been married for going on 12 and a half years and in those years we’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons the hard way.

In the last few years, I feel like we’ve both become a lot more comfortable in our own skin, we’ve become a lot more settled in our personal family principles and beliefs, and we’ve become a lot less worried about trying to do what works for others and instead just doing what works for us.

As a result, we’ve experienced a lot more joy, peace, and happiness in our home. We won’t win any contests for having everything all together, having the best decorated home, having the most put-together-looking children, or always getting places on time. But we’re good with that.

We’re a work in progress. We’re in this together. And we’re seeking to fully embrace life — right where we are.

As I think back over the lessons we’ve learned along this journey of life, I wanted to share five things that have helped us have a happier home. I think I can almost guarantee that if you implement these in your home, it will result in more joy, peace, and happiness, too.
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1. Spend Less Time Doing & More Time Being

It’s so easy to get sucked into the go-go-go, do-do-do mentality that pervades our culture. But is that really what life is all about?

I don’t want to reach the end of my life and have the only thing people know to say about me be something like: “She was always busy. She got a lot done.”

No, I want to live life to the fullest. I want to be available for people. I want to listen. I want to take time to care. I want to invest my life in the people closest to me. I want to have time for what really matters.

I encourage you to cut down on schedule clutter and unnecessary commitments so that you have breathing room in your life to take time for what really matters. Set up good systems so that you don’t have to spend extra time looking for things, moving piles, or doing busy work.

Teach your kids to work together with you so that the house runs more smoothly and you all have more time to be together. Stress less about having things perfect and be okay with imperfect.

Clear out the excess from your life so that you can focus on the few things that really matter. Doing this will guarantee you not only enjoy life more, but that you have a happier, calmer home.

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This picture makes me laugh every time I see it! I posted it on Instagram awhile back and said: “Could not figure out why the ‘cream’ I was pouring in my coffee this morning looked so watered down. And then I actually read the box. Yikes… Clearly, not all brain cells are firing this morning. Or, maybe I just discovered a new kind on Bulletproof Coffee. Or not. Yuck.”

2. Always Look for Something to Laugh About

Life is full of hard things. Life is full of potentially frustrating things. And that’s why it’s so important that we learn to laugh quickly, easily, and often.

Find the funny in every situation. Laugh at yourself. Share funny stories with your friends. Don’t take life too seriously.

If you need some upbeat encouragement or things to laugh about, be sure to follow the Money Saving Mom® Facebook Page. I try to post at least a few things on there every day that made me laugh. Here was one from this morning. :)

You’ll discover — if you spend any time around me — that I pretty much always have a good story to share. I go through life looking for the humor that others might not see — because we all need to laugh more than we do, myself included.

So I try to notice those funny things and share them with others, instead of focusing on the hard and stressful things of life. I don’t always succeed at this, but this is what I aim for.

My husband and our kids join me in this much of the time, too. And it’s amazing how much happier we all feel when we pepper our daily life with large doses of laughter.

5 Ways to Have a Happier Home

3. Find the Good & Praise It

I read this phrase in a book years and years ago and it has stuck with me and influenced me in so many situations when I wanted to get bogged down and discouraged by the hard and heavy things, when I wanted to feel irritated by others, or when I wanted to be upset that someone had done something all wrong or dropped the ball completely.

Instead, I’ve made it a point to look for the good. Because there is almost always, always something good to be found — whether that’s in your spouse, your kids, your co-worker, your relative, or an acquaintance.

Choose to dwell on what’s good instead of being bothered and irritated by what’s not so good. Praise the good. Show gratitude for the hard work someone is doing or how your spouse helped you in some way or a positive attitude your child exemplified or for how your co-worker took initiative on something… find the good and praise it.

Gratitude can transform your entire outlook on life. In addition, when you verbally express it to others, it can motivate and inspire them to work harder, rise to the top, develop character, and be the best version of themselves they can be.

A home built upon praise, rather than criticism, is always going to be a happier home.

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4. Be Generous With the Hugs & Kisses

In our home, we are highly affectionate. I believe that human touch is a powerful force — providing comfort, healing, and nurturing, and communicating love, care, and compassion.

Not all kids are probably this way, but my kids need a lot of snuggles and hugs. It makes them feel secure, loved, and appreciated.

So we do our best to dole out the physical affection — even in those moments when it might not be what we’d want to do. (I’m an introvert and not a complete touch-y, feel-y person, so sometimes I’d really rather have space than snuggles!)

Not only does it promote closeness in our relationships, but we’ve found that our kids are so much more cheerful when their love tanks are filled up. And this results in an all around happier home.

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5. Stop Worrying About What Other People Think

Of all the things I’ve shared in this post, this one has been the hardest for me, by far. I’m a perfectionist and people-pleaser by nature. I want people to accept me. But more than that, I want them to like me.

But I can’t live my life and we can’t run our home to please others. Why? Because there are just plain too many different people to please. So if we try to please everyone, we’ll run ourselves ragged and still fall short.

Slowly ever so slowly, I’ve been breaking free from the bondage of people-pleasing. I’ve been focusing on seeking the Lord with my husband for what God wants for our own family. We’ve been making decisions for our family based upon what we believe is best for us — not based upon what we think other people would want us to do or what others would think we should do.

Has everyone been supportive of our decisions? By no means! We’ve gotten plenty of criticism and questioning for choices we’ve made.

But more and more, I’m okay with that. I realize that not everyone will understand why we do what we do. Not everyone is called to have the lifestyle we do or parent the way we do or follow the path that we are on.

We’re all different in different situations with different families and different needs. What is right for one family won’t necessarily be right for another family. And sometimes, those choices won’t make a lot of sense to everyone else, but that’s okay.

What’s most important is that our family is carefully seeking God’s will, carefully and prayerfully making decisions based upon the needs of our family and children, and regularly re-evaluating to make sure those choices and decisions are still the best for our family.

When we let go of worrying about what other people think and instead focus on doing what’s best for our own family, we’re all much happier for it.

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My Monday Morning Plan + Today’s Cleaning Project

My Monday Morning Project

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start!

Jesse was gone on a business trip Thursday through Saturday morning and I got sick with what my kids had last week (congestion/fevers, etc.) right after he left. So, needless to say, I was very ready for him to walk in the door on Saturday morning!

I spent the weekend recuperating — mostly just resting, reading, writing, and watching a few movies. After many weeks of busyness, it was wonderful, despite the fact that I didn’t feel well.

I’m feeling quite a bit better today, but I’m planning to still take it pretty easy so that I’m fully recovered for Silas’s birthday and speaking at the Arlington Homeschool Conference later this week.

I only ended up getting to go through Kaitlynn’s clothes a few weeks ago, so today I’m tackling Silas and Kathrynne’s clothes — getting rid of things that no longer fit, organizing, and making sure they have plenty of clothes for Spring/Summer.

Here’s my plan for this morning:

  • Bible reading/journaling
  • Blogging/business work
  • Run/shower/dressed for the day I want to have
  • Pick up my room/make my bed
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Breakfast
  • Morning Time
  • School with Silas
  • Get kids started on chores/independent work/Daily Lists
  • Quick pick up of the house/kitchen cleaned up
  • Go through the Kathrynne and Silas’ clothes
  • Write thank you note/notes to kids/Mother’s Day card
  • Fold & put away all laundry

This evening (hopefully!), I’ll share a post about how our day went and give you an update (with pictures) on my progress on our house and the kid’s clothes.

Need some motivation? Check out my post on 10 Ways to Make Cleaning More Fun.

Want to join me? Leave a comment to let us know you’re participating! If you have time, tell us what your morning plan is, too.

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