A Day In My Life

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.15.36 AM

We didn’t get home until later last night than I expected and I had some unexpected things I had to take care of when I got home, so I opted to choose sleep over getting this post up last night as I’d hoped to. :)

Here’s a play-by-play of how my day went yesterday:

6:30 a.m. My alarm went off. I had had a very full weekend and was tired, so it took me about 20 minutes to wake up enough to get out of bed. I don’t always have the luxury of being able to sleep in a little longer, but this morning I did, so I took advantage of it.

I headed downstairs to make coffee, light a candle, and read my Bible/go through the She Reads Truth Lent study for the day, and write in my Gratitude Journal.

I then started in on my morning computer and blogging work. Silas and Kathrynne woke up around 7:30 a.m. and I printed out their Daily Lists and got them started on those while I finished up my computer work.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.15.45 AM

All on her own, Kathrynne has been working with Silas recently in an effort to help him improve on his reading skills, so she worked with him on reading and sight words. (See a video of a little part of their time together yesterday — so sweet!) While they were working on that, Kaitlynn woke up, too.

I was finished with my morning computer work so I worked with Silas on his Kindergarten lesson for the day while Kathrynne made oatmeal for breakfast for the kids, and then we all sat down and ate breakfast and had our Morning Time together.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.15.57 AM

Once breakfast and Morning Time were finished, the kids got busy on Morning Chores and their Daily Lists while I worked on cleaning up the kitchen, getting the laundry started, and doing a thorough pick-up of the whole house — including closets and under beds. (Since we’ll have a film crew at our house for the next few days, I wanted to make sure things were pretty thoroughly cleaned.)

Kathrynne got finished with a lot of her school work and chores early, so she asked me if she could do some Paid Chores. I “hired” her to help with the laundry. :)

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.17.00 AM

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.17.07 AM

Once Silas was finished with his Daily List, he asked if he could be “hired” to work on the laundry, too. So while I was finishing up all the house-cleaning and pick-up, they folded and put away 4 loads of laundry!!

It was such a blessing to me as I had a lot going on yesterday and having them take care of the laundry for me was such a huge help. And it also reminded me that all those years of investing and teaching and training them when they were younger are truly starting to pay off in big ways.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.16.33 AM

This girl. There are no words for her. She walked into the room all decked out like this for her outfit-of-the-day… I’m not quite sure what look she was going for, but it sure cracked us up! :)

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.16.45 AM

Our poor kids. They just have zero personality.

;)

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.16.51 AM

Once I was finished with getting the house all cleaned and the kids were done with the laundry, Jesse got home and he took over with the kids while I finally got in my run and shower.

Ashley (my assistant) showed up around then — she’d been working at the office space in the morning and then running some errands for me — to meet some people at our house to set some things up for the filming. I met with her to go over some details and projects for the rest of the day while Jesse got the kids ready to head out to Kathrynne’s swim team practice and Kaitlynn’s ice-skating practice.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.21.19 AM

Multiple folks showed up at our house around then to prep our house for the filming/hang curtains, etc. Ashley stayed at the house to oversee things and finish a few projects and I left to go to the coffee shop for a few hours. I soaked up some quiet, reviewed the script for this week’s filming, finished up my afternoon blogging projects, and wrote notes to the kids and Jesse.

And then I met up with Jesse and the kids, we grabbed some Chick-fil-A for dinner, and then we all headed to our friend, Taylor’s, basketball game.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.20.04 AM{photo from Tam — because I totally forgot to take any pictures!}

Taylor’s team pretty well whipped the other team, so that was fun. :) And then we headed out to get frozen yogurt at Sweet Cece’s with Taylor’s family and our friends, Brent and Tam. These two families are some of our very dearest friends here and we feel so incredibly blessed that God connected us a few days after we moved here.

Like usual, we laughed until we cried tears — this week sharing all of our crazy airline and flying experiences. And we ended up closing down Sweet Cece’s. :)

It was a full day, but it was such a good day. We continue to be so grateful for our life here in TN. It’s much different than we would have ever imagined our life would be and I know that our lifestyle wouldn’t work for many families, but our family, our marriage, and our kids are thriving so much… and that’s such a gift!

Share This:

My 12 Goals for 2015 & The Progress I Made in February

My 12 Goals for 2015

Compared to January, February was a harder month, but it was still a good month.

There were a number of discouraging things that happened and multiple dear friends are going through very painful circumstances/carrying heavy burdens and my heart hurts so much for them, so those two things coupled with a fairly heavy work load and being snowed in for a week, contributed to me feeling stressed, burdened, and discouraged for a lot of the month. You may have felt that some in my writing here.

In the middle of my discouragement, though, I felt so much blessing because some of my dearest friends rallied around me and spent a lot of time talking, listening, praying, and just encouraging me. And by the grace of God, I felt much more peace, calmness, and joy by the end of the month.

I’m also grateful that the sunshine has been out some this week. It’s amazing what a difference that makes!

Here’s an update on how I did on my goals for 2015 in February:

My 12 Goals for 2015

Marriage

2015 Goals

Motherhood

Myself

MoneySavingMom.com

  • Hire a local personal assistant.
    • Done! And I’m so grateful! My new assistant, Ashley, started last week and she’s already been a huge blessing to my life!
  • Launch 2 courses (we’re planning one for spring and one for fall — stay tuned!)
    • We spent hours and hours of time working on the first course, Makeover Your Mornings. We’re beginning production/filming of it this week and we’re quite stoked. I think you’re going to LOVE it!
  • Launch our new product line (slated to soft launch in the summer).
  • Release my third book (slated to come out November 2015).
    • We’re now in the midst of copy-edits. Yay!

Money

  • Increase last year’s overall giving totals by 10% in 2015.
    • Part of my going to South Africa was to investigate the possibility of our family personally supporting the work of Take Action. After coming home, we both felt this was the direction we were supposed to take and our partnership with them will allow us to meet this goal. We’re so thrilled with what God is doing there in South Africa and, for those who have joined us in this through the #TenDollarTribe.
  • Finish funding our Rental House #3 Savings Account (we’re beginning the year at 35% funded).
    • This goal is currently on hold while we’re in the process of saving up enough to fully fund both of our IRA’s for this year.

How are you doing on YOUR goals for 2015?

If you set goals for this year, I’d love to hear how you are doing on them! Leave a comment telling us about your progress on them or leave the link over to your blog post about them. Here’s to a year of living with purpose, intentional, impact, and meaning!

Share This:

Earn Money from Home via TeachersPayTeachers.com

teaherspayteachers

Guest post from Sarah

About one year ago, my husband and I began experimenting with ways to supplement our income. As a long-time MoneySavingMom.com follower, I felt that I had a pretty good handle on a number of legitimate money-making ideas and began trying them, with varying degrees of success.

However, since I work full-time as a middle school teacher and am a mother to three children under the age of six, time is at a premium. I really wanted a more passive stream of income that would allow me to spend my evening and weekend hours how I wanted to — with my family.

That’s when I discovered Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), a website that allows teachers to sell lesson plans, worksheets, and more. Teachers earn 60% of the profit off each item they sell. If they choose to upgrade from a Basic Seller account (by paying $59.95 a year), they can earn greater profit. Teachers are paid each month through a PayPal account.

Aha! I already had boxes and computer files full of worksheets, quizzes, lesson plans, and novel units that I had created over my years of teaching. Why not turn them into passive income?

teachers pay teachers

I did… and have learned a few things along the way:

1. Strive For Quality Not Quantity

This may seem obvious, but it is actually the most important tip. Make sure that your products are high quality, interesting, user-friendly, and kid-tested. Check for spelling and grammar errors. No one will want to buy a worksheet with typos on it!

2. Create Unique Content

Try to find a niche area. Do a quick search of the TPT site and see how many items come up that are similar to yours. If the market is already flooded with “Frozen” themed addition practice, this may not be a good money-maker.

I’ve personally had success with novel units. For example, I had previously created a novel packet for the book, “A Boy At War”. A search showed that there were only two other unit packets for the novel, so I tweaked mine and posted it. It has been one of my biggest sellers.

3. Choose The Right Price

Pricing can be tricky. You want to demonstrate confidence in the value of your product, but you don’t want to scare customers away. First, search for similar products to see how they are priced.

Next, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. How much would you be willing to spend on your product?

Finally, adjust. If something isn’t selling, have a sale to see if customers will buy it at a reduced price.

4. Utilize Pinterest

Whenever you post a new product, there is a sidebar that asks if you would like to Pin it. Always say yes! This allows your product to enter a new market and attract more customers.

There are also Collaborative Pinterest Threads on TPT. You pin another seller’s items to your board, and they will do the same for you.

I have found that, with a little up-front work, Teachers Pay Teachers is a great way to utilize my talents and gain a passive source of income.

Sarah Wright teaches middle school on purpose and loves it! She is wife to Dan and mom to three children under the age of six. In her spare time she loves to read — setting a reading goal of 100 books this year. She encourages her students to set their own “ridiculously big” goals and chase after them.

Share This:

My Monday Morning Plan + Today’s Cleaning Project

My Monday Morning Project

We survived our very, very full week last week. And “survived” is definitely the word to use for how I felt… because some days I felt like I was just hanging on by a thread and being pulled in four different directions at once by people who really needed me right then and now.

I’m grateful that these types of weeks are much more of a rarity in our home these days than they used to be — and I’m also grateful that while this week is another full week, it should be much more manageable than last week.

Because last week was so packed, we got behind on laundry. So today’s cleaning project is to get completely caught up on laundry. I’m very hopeful that this actually happens because I’m kind of tired of digging through a big clean laundry pile to find something to wear. ;)

Here’s my plan for this morning:

  • Bible reading/journaling — start laundry
  • Blogging/Business work
  • School with Silas — switch laundry/start another load
  • Breakfast/Morning Time
  • Chores/quick house clean up — switch laundry
  • Get girls started on their independent work
  • Exercise/shower
  • Fold & put away all the laundry
  • Ready to go — lunch made — head to work at our office space

This evening, I’ll share a post about how my morning well and give you an update (with pictures) on how my laundry project went.

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.

Share This:

A recap of February: Our morning & evening routines, some changes we made this month, & much more!

I haven’t had a chance to post A Peek Into Our Week posts the past few weeks. So I thought I’d do a recap of February, instead. It was fun to review the month and see so many different things we did and tried and learned and experienced!

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 11.12.06 AM

We started a Daily Morning Time in late January and it’s become one of my very favorite times of the day. We all gather before lunch to sing, read from a few different books (we’re reading from Aesop’s Fables, The Children’s Homer, Portraits of Integrity — a book on how historical figures demonstrated character qualities, plus our current read aloud), and review our memory work.

My kids’ excitement over spending this time together blesses me so much! These are the homeschooling and mothering moments I will forever hold in my heart and cherish. And homeschooling moms, I cannot recommend the concept of daily “Morning Time” highly enough. It has breathed such fresh new wind and life into our home and family.

Watch the video here to get a peek into our Daily Morning Time. :)

unnamed5

We had our very first Say Goodbye to Survival Mode one-night event in Mississippi and were thrilled that over 140 people showed up — especially because the church that hosted it was in the tiny town of Purvis, MS!

The women in Purvis were amazing! So warm, friendly, gracious, and welcoming. I was incredible blessed and encouraged to be there. Thank you, all, for having me!

{Our next Say Goodbye to Survival Mode one-night event will be on June 20, 2015 in Acworth, Georgia — right outside of Atlanta. I’d love to get to meet you there!

There are a number of other churches and groups very interested in hosting a similar event in other areas of the country, so stayed tuned for more details on where all we’ll be holding these events in the coming months! In addition, if you’d like to bring this event to your church or women’s group, you can find more information on how to do so here.}

Movie Night at church

While I was in Mississippi, Jesse took the kids to a fun Movie Night at our church. They were supposed to wear PJs and had popcorn, movie candy, and this fun photo booth!

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 7.53.04 PM

As the kids get older and we’re training them to be able to help with more and more chores, I just can’t believe how much of a difference it makes in our workload and how much cleaner our house stays — without me having to do much work at all!

Moms of littles: keep on and know that one day soon, your hard work is going to pay off and you’ll be working yourself out of job… Don’t give up!

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 11.11.25 AM

This was a fun surprise to get in the mail in February! My first book, The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget, got published in Chinese. It’s my first time to have a book translated into another language and it feels rather surreal!

Our Little Helper Silas

Our little kitchen helper… This guy’s heart to serve blesses me so much! There’s rarely a cooking job that he’s not anxious, excited, and willing to help with.

A Peek Into February

My kiddos bought this bear for me for Valentine’s Day. And it just makes me so happy!

Every time I look at it, I smile… Not because I’m a big stuffed animal person, but because I know that so much heart and love for their mama is represented by this gift.

As a mom, I often make mistakes and have to ask forgiveness, but I’m so grateful for my children’s forbearance with me and their willingness to love me despite my shortcomings. God is good.

February Recap

We took a trip back to Kansas for 5 days (and it was so busy the whole trip that I failed to get one single picture!). We came back to TN to a blanket of snow on the ground.

This might not look like much snow, but in TN, this was a LOT of snow — and it ended up mostly shutting down the city for 5 whole days. There was a thick sheet of ice underneath the snow and, because the temperatures were so cold, it took days for things to finally thaw out.

A Peek Into February

We ended up staying home all day for five whole days because all of our activities were cancelled and the roads were icy. So we just stayed put.

I’m usually a homebody, but I ended up feeling quite cooped up after a few days — especially because it was so cold that I just wanted to stay cozied up under a blanket all day long. So then I had troubled motivating myself to get up and clean the house, which meant that it quickly got messy!

Someday, I’m going to miss the days of busy little people in my house who leave a trail of books, craft odds and ends, papers, stuffed animals, and random scores from claw machines behind in their wake. (My kids are actually claw machine pros — studying techniques on YouTube videos and constantly perfecting their abilities. Cracks me up since it flies in the face of my minimalistic, frugal nature. But they LOVE it, are so good at it, and they can usually get quite a lot for just a few of their quarters. So I just go with it since I figure there are many much worse vices and, in most all other respects, they are usually really great at money management!)

A Peek Into February

One of my favorite times of each day is the quiet morning hour before the house is awake. My routine is something like this: light a candle, spend time in God’s Word, go through the the current #SheReadsTruth study, and read a few chapters from the current devotional/spiritually encouraging book I’m reading.

This is my fuel and foundation for the day. A few years ago when I only had babies and toddlers, this wasn’t possible (I was doing great to get in 5 minutes of Bible/prayer most days!). Moms of littles: know that someday you will actually be able to have a consistent daily quiet time!

For now, just soak up the season you’re in, pray while you’re cooking or nursing or changing diapers, listen to the Bible and uplifting music on your phone throughout the day, and sneak in moments here and there to refresh and encourage your heart!

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 11.20.33 AM

It only took me about five hours of frustrated failed attempts and watching multiple YouTube videos, but I finally perfected the seed stitch! And now I’m working on making a head wrap for the cold winter days we’ve been having here.

It feels so gratifying to have learned a new skill, even if I’m a v-e-r-y slow learner. I love challenging myself to try different things and never grow stagnant as a person. I’m a better wife, mom, friend, writer, and business owner as a result.

February Recap

Kathrynne was feeling a bit under the weather one day a few weeks back so Silas volunteered to make her one of her favorites: boiled eggs. With my supervision, he boiled them, rinsed them, peeled them, and then served them with a smile.

When my kids take initiative to serve their siblings it’s one of the best momma-gifts there are!

February Recap

My bedtime routine is even more enjoyable than my morning routine. Here’s how it usually goes: clean up the kitchen with Jesse while our kids get ready for bed, snuggle with the kiddos/chat and then tell them goodnight, make myself a cup of herbal tea with cream, take my pills/vitamins & wash/moisturize my face, write out my to-do list for the next day, and then settle into bed with a good book or to watch an episode of Downton Abbey with Jesse and work on a knitting project.

I don’t always follow this perfectly, but I’ve found that even a loose before-bed routine followed consistently makes such a difference in our home. We all reap the benefits — not only in calmer evenings and better sleep — but it paves the way for a more peaceful morning the following day.

February Recap

One afternoon last week, I had to opportunity to do some filming with Kelsey Humphreys for her upcoming online TV show.

Every time I sit in front of a camera or stand on a stage, I’m reminded of the fact that God often chooses those who are least qualified so that He is glorified. I ran away from opportunities like this for years out of fear and insecurity.

I still struggle with feeling afraid and not good enough, but I’ve learned that when I step outside my comfort zone and say “yes!”, I get to see God show up and do great and mighty things on my behalf. What He can do through broken vessels who are willing to be obedient to His call — even when it feels so scary! — constantly amazes me!

February Recap

Speaking of stepping outside my comfort zone, I spent too much time last week putting together 14 different outfits for the 14-day course we’re filming this coming week. This is a minimalist’s nightmare — especially because it involves the trying on of many different outfits and attempting to piece together as many varieties as I can from what I already own.

I’d probably rather be slowly piercing my eyeballs with a burning stick. However, part of running a business is dealing with dreaded details like this. And so, I persevere in the spirit of pursuing a high-quality finished product and not utterly boring fashionistas worldwide with 14 days of the same outfit. :)

February Recap

In February, I read the book The Adrenal Reset Diet and committed to doing a better job of eating a high-protein breakfast evening morning, getting more sleep at night, and not drinking coffee after noon. So far, these simple changes are making a great impact.

Screen-Shot-2015-02-09-at-4.42.29-PM

We tried out Sarah’s idea to use Daily Lists to help my kids stay on task in February. The kids were fairly resistant to the idea at first, but after a little convincing and encouragement, they seemed to have a complete change of heart. And then, they’ve ended up loving it and it really has seemed to help them stay motivated and focused!

As a bonus, they’ve needed a lot fewer reminders from me on what they are supposed to be doing or encouragement to steer them back on course. We’ll see how it plays out long-term, but I’m really loving the idea so far! The kids get so much done, the house is staying so much cleaner, and everyone is happier all around. I highly recommend this idea!

6232578946_7e7b798f5b1

TOP 3 POSTS FROM FEBRUARY:

Want to get a peek into my every day life or hear about things I’m learning, trying, or mulling over in my every day life? Be sure follow my personal account on Instagram here.

Share This:

5 Fun & Free Ways to Shake Off the Winter Blues

5-fun-free-ways-to-shake-off-winter-blues

Guest post from Asheritah of One Thing Alone

If you’re anything like me right now, you’re counting the days until the temperatures rise and all the white stuff on the ground has melted and spring has arrived. And while booking a cruise to a tropical island sounds like a great idea right now, most of us just can’t afford that.

So to help you ward off the winter blues, here are 5 fun and free ways to make the most of these last few weeks of winter:

1. Build a snowman.

I know, I hear you: delving into the snow sounds like the last thing you want to do. But sometimes, heading outside can help make fun memories that make the time go by faster. So grab a friend (or your kids), bundle up, and head out in the snow. Who knows — you might just enjoy yourself.

2. Book a Movie Night

Getting snowed in is the perfect excuse to pop in your favorite movie and enjoy a bowl of popcorn. And since it still gets dark early in the evening, there’s no reason not to plan a movie night during the week, too.

(Bonus points if you set up a themed movie night. Morrocan dinner and Casablanca? Yes, please!)

3. Catch up on your Reading List

Most of us have reading lists a mile long. Rather than scrolling through our Facebook feed our watching yet another cat video on YouTube, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read.

You’ll soon find yourself immersed in another world, and the snowstorm outside your window won’t seem half as bad.

(For tips on how to read more as a busy mom, check out this post by Crystal.)

4. Join a Lent Challenge

Typically, Easter comes right around the dawn of spring, so why not spend the 7 weeks leading up to it doing something that will give you a sense of purpose?

Lots of people give up something for Lent and find the practice very fulfilling. Others read through portions of the Bible with a group of friends.

This year, every day leading up to Easter, I’m thanking the people who make my life special. If you’re interested, you can join me in the #40Thanks challenge here.

5. Cozy up under the covers.

So this might not be for everyone, but for those of us who are married, there may be a lot of free entertainment waiting in our bedrooms. Why not take these last weeks of winter to spark the passion in your marriage and rediscover why you fell in love with your husband in the first place? You’ll likely spark a fondness that will grow all year long.

These may sound simple, but a little creativity goes a long way in making the bleak midwinter just a little brighter. Try one idea for each of the next five weeks, and before you know it, the warm sun will be warming your face — no credit cards required.

Asheritah helps overwhelmed women find joy in Jesus on her blog and through her books. She’s also the instigator of the #40Thanks movement, a challenge to see Jesus in the kindness of others. 

Share This: