Saturday, December 18, 2010

Home Organizer, Budgets, and Christmas Homeschool Style

I began following a blog called Hearts of Wisdom.  It is a bit overwhelming at first, but I picked through it slowly.  It is an inspirational place for someone aspiring to manage and live a frugal, organized, and purposeful life.  There are a million ideas for a million topics.  One of the ones I recently dove into was a home organizer.  I have put mine together and put it to good use.  It has tips and ideas for meal planning and monthly freezer cooking as well.  Both are things I have done, but there is always room for improvement!

We went through our budget which will start our new year.  There has been so much improvement this year that it was fun to do it.  Now, we will be utilizing our envelope system to the fullest.  We have set aside money each month for things that will cost one lump sum like vacation, girl scouts, soccer.  Each month we will put the allotted amount into an envelope so when it comes time to pay for that, we will have it!  We feel so good about what we have accomplished and where we are going!  Good things are coming this year with great opportunities for us to grow and branch out. 

We have slowed down school for December but we have NOT slowed down cooking, baking, writing letters to Santa and learning about the giving, loving and gratefulness that comes with Christmas.  This means a little sacrifice, a little work, a lot of explaining and prayer about how to get our kids to understand Christmas is not about that letter and what's in it!  I suppose it is a bit of a process and a battle with society but so worth it.  That's what homeschool revolves around this time of year!

My recent moments...
-Mackenie's expanding vocabulary and behavior.  She just cracks us up!!!
-Anytime I have with Mike. 
-Coming home to a set up Christmas tree as a surprise from Mike!!
-Hot Chocolate with my girls at the Boardwalk.
-Walking into my sweet baby's room in the morning to hear an enthusiastic, "Hi Momma!!!" and get a pat on my back with a hug and a kiss!
-Madi still wanting to snuggle each night on the couch!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blogging through the bible and 10 ways to earn money at home!!

Continuing with Isaiah
10 ways to earn money at home
Our recent frugal efforts

Continuing with Isaiah

I mentioned in the last blog that Isaiah really hit home.  The entire book was a succession from realization to change and growth and everything in between.  You turn your eyes in the right direction and suddenly the path becomes clear.  There is the realization that your dependence falls on God and your life will begin to take a shape, follow a path, and have a purpose.  God then deals with you and your change.  It is so much more comforting to know that God is dealing with me than it is to have no dealing whatsoever!  The best part is that God is patient in allowing me to make mistakes.  He is alright with the fact that I don't always get it right the first time.  I am so UN-perfect and so unworthy of the patience he offers me, yet he does it with grace.  Whenever I feel condemned, I know its not from Him!  Jesus was regularly condemned and did not let it affect His purpose.  No shame shall come to one whose found their power and might in God's eyes.  That is His purpose.  He is there to guide us through those times we feel so alone.  I know in my future, when I feel powerless, down, even bored or sloppy and lazy, this is the book that will draw my eyes.  It is full of inspiration, like a revival of the spirit, proving that God's house really does dwell within us.  We shine outward even at our weakest with His light inside of us.  That is pure refreshment.

10 ways to earn money from home
I have spoken of Dave Ramsey before, especially of recent as we won $3000 from him during his Christmas giveaway!  It was very exciting.  We have been working very hard at living a frugal life. Sometimes, ah, who am I kidding, most times, we decide staying in, cooking at home, and shopping at the thrift stores, or not getting our hair cut, carefully planning and shopping for groceries, doing without the expensive calling plans or internet on our phone...the list goes on, are our life's work right now.  This $3000 enabled us to give a little more, save a little more, and even buy ourselves Christmas presents for the first time in 3 years!!!  Along with Dave Ramsey's education came date nights involving budgets!  Hmm, not so romantic, but we make it as fun as it can be.  Also comes creative income earning.  We have sold things on eBay that were doing nothing in some random closet, I have been writing articles online, and Christmas is when I sell the books I wrote a few years back.  I have looked at multiple ways to earn income and have come up with a handful of great ideas and linked them up to some of the resources I have found.

10.  Sell on EBay  This can be as simple as getting rid of "stuff" to becoming a seller with your own store. You can use thrift stores for this or or hunt down treasure!  Either way, there is a great profit to be made on eBay.  You can also use Upillar which is like eBay only without the fees!

9.  Have a bake sale or a small food business from your house.  Has anyone ever told you how great those cookie bars are?  Are you the one everyone turns to for a special appetizer?  Maybe you can make some in your very own kitchen and sell them to local businesses or to locals at their parties!

8.  Garage Sale  Don't want to bother with online selling or shipping stuff?  Sell it right out of your house and the get rid of it in the same day!  Garage sales are a great way to not only make money but simplify your life.

7.  Personal Trainer  This one takes a person who enjoys fitness but can be done on a very flexible schedule!

6.  Tutor/music lessons  If you have been a certified teacher or are an expert musician, you can take students in and make a decent amount of extra income!

5.  In home daycare  A lot of homes are finding one income too difficult and are left having to put their children into daycare.  As a parent, I know I feel better with an in home daycare.  They are more personal.  this is something you can do at home and with children!

4.  Write online  If you like to write and you have a topic you know a lot about, you can apply here and make a little extra cash!  If you have always wanted to write a children's book or a novel and don't know where to send it, The Writer's Market gives you all you could possibly want to know about publishers, agents and more!

3.  Coupons  There is a lot to be said for "how" to coupon.  It is money in your pocket.  We have cut our grocery bill by about $100 a week.  I'd say $400 a month is a decent income!

2.  Your own B&B  Have you ever dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast?  It is a possible 7 day a week business but can be pretty lucrative and allow you to stay home to work!  Some people have even begun renting rooms in their own homes as vacation rooms to Europeans visitors!  Something to consider if you have spare rooms in your home and live in a tourist destination.

1.  Make and sell  If you have a skill like quilting, painting, crocheting, sewing or anything of the like, you should consider selling your items in local boutique stores, at flea markets, or craft fairs.

I love the idea of creative income.  It takes matters into our own hands.  I am slowly making my way around this list.  But any income is good income. Post a comment with any ideas you may have right here, on Facebook, or drop me an email!  I love hearing new was to make money!  I will be sure to share them!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reading through the bible...Isaiah

I mentioned in my last blog that I had to catch up on blogging what I have read so today is about Isaiah.  I felt like this book has really struck home for me so forgive me in advance for possibly getting emotional!  I wasted a lot of years being down on myself for mistakes and poor decisions.  Too oftenI felt like I didn't deserve good things or good people in my life.  Sometimes this included friends.  A few years ago I began to feel as if I couldn't be any lower and that is when the reality hit me.  I was being stripped so I could be rebuilt.  Like an antique piece of furniture.  The beautiful part of this is that I know I have a lot more coming and I look forward to my restructuring...Isaiah pointed all of this out for me.

It begins with the recognition of the need for change and follows with God's desire to teach us His ways.  He takes away the earthly things so we will turn to and depend on Him and only Him. God is selfish like that!  It is His desire to use us!  How often do we want to be used?  But I can tell you, He can use me however He please because that means He loves me!  He has to cleanse us before that.  Sin has to be dealt with.  All of the years that I spent being so down on myself and feeling so undeserving, God was simply showing, teaching, and reteaching me until I could wake up and learn the lesson.  Why did I keep encountering the same problems over and over?  Because I was too stubborn to learn it the first time, the second time, and more!  I am pretty stubborn.  He knows I have a heart that belongs to Him even if it doesn't perform perfectly for Him all the time. 

God wants us to enjoy peace.  He knows what our lives need to be peaceful and He is the only one who has the qualifications to make those decisions.  One thing I have learned in the recent years of my life is when I can't seem to figure out why something won't go my way is to stop, take a step back and turn back to asking God to take the wheel.  Trust, faith and pixie dust, right? 

I have a lot more to say about Isaiah as it relates to the past and future, but I am pretty certain it is too much to fit into one blog, so I will leave this to be continued!