Rise & Shine Challenge: Day 2

Rise & Shine Challenge

Good morning… er, not so quite morning. :)

I know I’m much later in getting this Rise & Shine Challenge post published than I’d planned to… but I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to my inbox literally exploding with emails from the Grocery University Blowout Sale today. And I’ve just been trying to keep afloat all morning between the emails, texts, and details surrounding that sale.

We had expected the sale to be a success, but you have (once again) far exceeded what we could have ever imagined. You all truly know how to show up in force for a bargain. :)

Thank you for spreading the word and sharing in our excitement! You all are the best!

In between all the emails, texts from my team, taking care of the details of the sale, my morning blogging work, laundry, homeschooling Silas, and taking care of the most important priorities who live at my house (!), I haven’t gotten that much else done today. I did get in my morning devotions and a quick exercise session and a shower. But that was about it.

However, I truly cannot envision how chaotic my morning would have been had I not gotten up at 4:30 a.m. Just another reason I need to make this getting up early thing a regular discipline again!

I’m also so grateful for my amazing team — some who got very little sleep last night to make sure everything was in place for the sale this morning (I’m looking at you, Joy!). They’ve worked tirelessly to answer countless emails, fix glitches, and take care of all the little behind-the-scenes things that have to be taken care of to pull off a sale like this with thousands and thousands of orders.

And I’m incredible grateful for my wonderful husband. This morning, after we realized that this sale was going to take a lot more time than we had initial thought (a completely great “problem” to have!), my husband offered to take over the homeschooling of the girls this morning so I could stay “tethered” to my phone and computer for awhile. Yes, that man is the best. He also made me bacon and eggs for breakfast. For the win, I tell you! :)

At any rate, I have to say that I LOVED all your comments on yesterday’s Rise & Shine post. You all are so inspirational!

And I wanted to answer each comment individually with a long reply. I still might get a chance to do so… but if I don’t get a chance today, know that I appreciate each one of you so much.

{Want to know the truth? Yesterday flew by between our first day of homeschooling, prepping for the Grocery University sale today, and working on blog/business stuff. We spent the evening with dear friends and didn’t get home until around 8:30 p.m.

After we got home, I was really, really tempted to jump online and spend an hour just responding personally to all of your comments on this post. But then I realized that would be a little counter-productive… you know, to stay up late responding to all your comments on getting up early. Yeah, not so smart.

So instead, I was a good girl and went to bed. Aren’t you proud of me?!? ;)}

Today’s Rise & Shine Challenge Assignment

Today’s assignment is to consider your family’s sleep cycles and see how you can do better.

This is an area we’re really committed to working on, because we developed some not-so-great habits while we were on a few weeks of summer break. And I was the worst culprit of said habits.

So I’m really committed to training my body to start going to bed much earlier. I sleep so much better when I go to bed early. I feel more rested. And I wake up feeling so energized.

This, in turn, makes me much more energetic and productive. Plus, I just feel happier all around.

To help us make going to bed a priority, one thing we did was to set up our fall schedule so all work, school, cleaning, projects, etc. would be wrapped up by 6 p.m. This way, the evenings are free to just be together, hang out with friends, and — most importantly — wind down.

I love the idea of coming up with nightly bedtime rituals that the Rise & Shine Challenge talks about today. What rituals does your family have to help everyone go to sleep earlier and to encourage everyone to sleep well? I’d love to hear any and all your ideas!

This Morning’s Report

  • Got up at 4:30 a.m.
  • Checked my phone to find that the Grocery University sale had blown up while I was sleeping!
  • Answered some urgent emails. Started to read my Bible and devotional books, got an urgent text from Joy on my team asking me to call her. We got that urgent issue taken care of and then I went back to finishing up my Bible reading, reading some devotionals, and praying over my day.
  • Made some coffee, answered a lot of emails and comments. Did some more urgent blogging work.
  • Exercised, showered, dressed. Hung out with my family for a bit, handed over my morning homeschooling responsibilities to Jesse since my inbox continued to blow up and he suggested it’d probably be the best option for the day (and he was so right!)
  • Answered more emails.
  • Switched the laundry and took the big pile of clean laundry out to the living room couch to fold later today. (I’m still playing catch-up from our 12-day vacation!)
  • Cleaned out my inbox again. Scheduled some posts.
  • Taught Silas kindergarten.
  • Answered more emails and finally finished this post. :)

How was your morning? What do you want to change about your family’s sleep cycles (if anything)? What are some of your bedtime rituals?

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Gretchen’s Target Shopping Trip: $41 worth of items for $14!!

photo (8)

We are moving to a new house in a just a couple of weeks so I was thrilled to get a few items on sale that we needed for our new home.

3 (10 pk) Room Essentials Hangers – $1 each, used 20% off Cartwheel coupon (no longer available) – $0.80 each after coupon

1 Room Essentials Storage Ottoman – $12 (on sale this week – it is normally $19.99), used 20% off Cartwheel coupon AND 20% off Target mobile coupon (Text Savings1 to 827438) – $7.68 (The Cartwheel coupon is now only 10% off but this is still a great deal. These ottomans are really great quality and very sturdy.)

2 Up & Up Facial Tissue – $1.32 each, used 2 $0.75/1 Target printable AND 5% off Cartwheel coupon - $0.54 each after coupons

2 Suave Naturals Shampoo – $0.89 each, used 2 $0.50/1 coupon from the 7/27 RedPlum insert AND $1/2 Target mobile coupon (Text PACKITBACK to 827438) – Free plus overage after coupon

2 GE Halogen Light Bulbs – $5.99 each (These rang up Buy 1 Get 1 50% off), used 2 $2/1 Target printable AND 2 $1/1 printable - $1.49 each after coupons

Total before sales and coupons: $41

Total after sales and coupons: $13.92

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Are you ready to cut your grocery bill?!?

Are You Ready to Cut Your Grocery Bill??

Are you tired of spending so much on groceries? Do you wish you could find some step-by-step help to lower your grocery budget?

Then you’ll want to get up bright and early tomorrow morning to take advantage of our Crazy, Can’t Miss Sale on Grocery University that we’re running tomorrow only.

What is Grocery University?

Grocery University is a 2 hour, 19 minute audio course that will teach you everything you need to know about making the most of your grocery budget, regardless of whether you’re new to bargain shopping or have been a super-shopper for years.

This original, in-depth course goes deeper than anything you’ve ever seen before and will have you stretching your grocery budget further than you ever thought possible! It’s produced by my good friend, Carrie Isaac, a mom of five and owner of Springs Bargains.

In this course, Carrie has taken her years of experience teaching live seminars and developed a comprehensive strategy that’s proven to reduce your grocery budget. Carrie produced this course in 2010 and sold it successfully to thousands of people.

When I found out that Carrie was planning to discontinue selling Grocery University because her plate was too full, I approached her and asked if we could buy the rights to the course. We’ve been working on tweaking and updating the course over the past few months and it’s finally ready to be re-launched.

Grocery University

Don’t Miss Our Crazy Sale Tomorrow Only!

You won’t want to miss the re-launch TOMORROW. Trust me, the crazy, special, you-won’t-want-to-miss sale starts bright and early tomorrow morning and it’s worth getting up early for.

Why? Well, because the early bird truly gets rewarded:

5 a.m. CT – we’ll kick things off with the low, low price of $2.97
8 a.m. CT – price goes up to $3.97
11 a.m. CT – price goes up to $4.97
2 p.m. CT – price goes up to $5.97
5 p.m. – price goes up to $6.97
8 p.m. – price goes up to $7.97
11 p.m. – price goes up to $8.97

See, I told you that you wouldn’t want to miss out! :)

To get in on this deal, head over to GroceryUniversity.com tomorrow for this crazy Re-Launch Day Special Pricing!

These prices will only be valid tomorrow during the times listed.

P.S. If you want to share about this deal on your blog or on your Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook account, sign up to get your referral link here. You’ll earn 60% of all sales of this course made through your link tomorrow!

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Increase Your Income and Build Relationships By Renting Out Part of Your Home


Guest post from Lisa Joy of Eclectic

A few years ago, we moved from a tiny condo into a split-level home. We loved our new floor plan and knew we could expand to fill it — but we didn’t have to. We had an extra bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen downstairs; and since we didn’t want to waste that space, finding a renter seemed like the logical thing to do.

For the record, you don’t need an extra kitchen to have a renter. My parents, who are entering the empty-nest stage, have invited a local college girl to live in a spare bedroom upstairs. They have also remodeled part of their walk-out basement to be a small apartment.

Having a renter in your home can expand your family’s relationships while increasing your monthly income. Also, income earned from a renter has the added benefits of often being tax-free (you’ll want to research this as you do your taxes), and requires no continual work hours.

If you live in a home with a little extra space, or if you could consolidate to make that space, having a renter may be a good option for you as well. Here are a few things to think about if this is a path you would like to pursue:

Find the Right Fit

A renter can be a nightmare if it’s not a good fit for your family, but a good fit can be a huge blessing. We are just about to welcome our third renter into our home. All three have been single, Christian women who have just completed their undergrad degree.

To find them, we advertised through two local colleges. We make it clear that we are a small Christian family with young children. We will only accept females who are willing to keep quiet hours and respect our property.

We ask each prospective renter for three references, and we do a background check. We also ask them to come visit our home and share a meal with us, so that they can see the place and so that we can get a feel for their personality.

Set Clear Boundaries

I’m a private, introverted person, and having a renter only works because we have clear boundaries. Both we and our renters sign a lease agreement before they move in.

The lease agreement includes specification of what space belongs to whom. Some space belongs to us, and the renter is not allowed to enter without invitation.

Some space belongs to our renter, and we are not allowed to enter except in case of emergency. Some space is shared.

Because we have a split-level home, the entire upstairs is our private space, so I can wear my pajamas around without having to worry. Not like I would, you know, but just in case! ;)

We ask our renters to get a post office box, so we’re not sharing a mailbox. We also specify where our renter should park their car.

If you share a kitchen or bathroom, you can specify things like which cupboard or fridge/freezer shelf belongs to your renters. You can specify when your renter does laundry. We also make rules about the number of guests allowed, and ask our renters to get permission for overnight guests.

Our lease agreement includes basics like a security deposit to cover any damages, and a deadline when rent is due each month. And because we have small children, we set quiet hours from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Clear boundaries upfront protect both you and your renter, and help you find someone with a quiet lifestyle who will respect your privacy.

Enjoy A Mutual Blessing

I remember being a single woman just out of college, and it was challenging. Finding housing that is both affordable and safe can be difficult. Adjusting to a new area can be lonely.

Many single women welcome the opportunity to live with a family. In some cases, you may find that you are not just a landlord, but a friend.

A renter can also be a blessing to YOU. We hire our renter not only for baby-sitting, but also for getting mail and watering plants when we are out of town.

We occasionally invite our renter up for a meal and last winter we visited together when we were snowed in. Our children consider them almost like adopted aunts.

I had some initial misgivings, and of course there’s been a little inconvenience, but ultimately having a renter has been so worth it. I’m grateful for the opportunity to increase our monthly income, and to reach out at the same time.

Lisa Joy is a disciple of Christ, living in the Shenandoah Valley with her husband, son, and daughter, teaching part-time, fostering, homemaking, and blogging a little around the edges at Eclectic.

photo source

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48-Hour Giveaway: $50 Credit to Gabriel’s Good Tidings

good tidings
Gabriel’s Good Tidings is a small yet growing Etsy shop. Amy Gabriel, who is a frugal wife and homeschooling mom, loves to sew and loves creating and selling one-of-a-kind items via Etsy.

In the last twelve months, Amy has been able to supply 75% or more of her family’s monthly income through wholesale and Etsy sales as her husband completes his master’s degree and nears graduation this December. How amazing is that?!?


Amy’s most popular item is her clip-on lip balm holders.  They easily attach to purses, key rings, diaper bags, backpacks, and more and keep that lip balm from getting lost in the bottom of your purse!

She sent us some of these and we’ve loved them. My kids especially loved the various patterns — she offers a fabric style for just about everyone!

lip balm

She’s recently expanded her product line to offer personalized lip balm holders, glitter lip balm holders, and even has a clearance section in her shop.


In addition to lip balm holders, Amy also creates unique holders for 5 ml essential oil bottles. The available colors coordinate with popular label colors, and are designed to hold the Young Living 5 ml or similar sized bottles.

Gabriel's Good Tidings Giveaway

Like the lip balm holders, these essential oil holders also clip on to purses and key chains to keep essential oils easily accessible. She’s worked with many essential oil distributors to offer giveaways and discounts to those who love their essential oils.

Gabriel's Good Tidings Giveaways

These essential oil holders would be especially great if you have a few oils that you want to always bring with you when you’re out and about. Keeping them on your handbag, diaper bag, or key chain will guarantee that they are always handy when you need them!

Special Offer — 50% Off!

For the next seven days, Amy is offering 50% off to all MoneySavingMom.com readers!  In her Etsy shop, simply use the coupon code MSM50OFF at checkout and the savings will be automatically deducted.

Additionally, if you sign up for Amy’s email newsletter, you’ll receive a coupon code to save $5 off any purchase of $10 or more – and this coupon never expires!

You can read more about Amy and her journey to becoming a work-at-home momprenuer on her Etsy shop’s about page or on her Instagram page or Facebook page. Amy is based in Orlando, Florida and when she’s not sewing, she enjoys reading, swimming, and going on day trips to the beach.

Would you like to win a $50 credit to Gabriel’s Good Tidings? Click on the graphic below and type in your name and email address to be entered to win. This giveaway ends Wednesday, August 20, at 11:59 pm, CST. Winners will be chosen and posted early next week.

Enter the Giveaway

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