Three in Thirty – Back in the Game

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a #3in30 post.  I’ve been busy, getting things done, and doing the dailies.  I just haven’t  been goal setting (more like list making).  Buuuuuuuuuuut I’m back in the game now so here are my goals:
     1. (God Category) Read one inspirational book. Yes, I know.  This was a previous (unfinished) goal.  It didn’t work out. After my evening Bible time, I fall asleep.  Any suggestions?
     2. (Social Media Category) Empty the dining room of the 2 foot stack of magazines and catalogs. Really, this has nothing to do with social media.  Read about my blogger envy confession. Let’s just say I’ve got some commitment issues.  Maybe next month I’ll set and stick to a blogging schedule.  Don’t hold your breath, though.
     3. (Get Organized) Create a Home Management Binder.  I’ve actually completed this one.  It was a nightmare!  I printed all my lists and pages. I made and laminated front and back covers.  I took it to the local office supply/ print shop for binding and they RUINED it.  I had to start all over and you know what? They ruined it again!  Hours upon hours of work, costly paper, and precious printer ink made me want to cry. My wonderful, gallant, and always to the rescue husband offered to beat up the staff but I opted for buying a binding machine instead.  Much better for all involved, wouldn’t you say?  We have only one office supply store and I can’t afford to burn bridges with all the homeschooling supplies I need. (I did kinda’ want to show them my finished binder, though. Rub their noses in it.  I was successful on the first attempt! So easy. Alas, the love of Christ constrains me- after quite a bit of prayer.)

I can’t wait to link up and read about your goals/progress.  I always find encouragement, humor, and tons of great ideas! Let me know how you read in bed without crashing.

3in30 I'm In!!

Our New Curriculum

Back to school time is so exciting! I love shopping for school supplies.  Ah the feel of new pens, new folders, and the smell of crayons.  Heaven.  Yeah- I’m nerdy like that.  This year we are doing a Preschool Review through the end of the year.  We will start Kindergarten in January.  My son just turned four.  I figured rather than have two years of one and one year of the other, I could do a year and a half of each.  This way we can go slowly.  You know – let it sink in.  We have short days and take frequent breaks.  We took some time off this summer.  I doubt I will do that again because he just “lost” too much.

For finishing the year, we will continue to use a combination of Letter of the Week and Joyful Heart. These two programs have provided a great learning experience- for both of us!  I’ve posted before on how much I like both of them. He’s having a great time.  I’m not to thrilled with all the prep, though.

Sure I know its a part of the job- I just wished I would have invested in printer ink stocks.  Man are we going through the cartridges!  In the last year alone, I’ve spent over  $400 in just ink and paper.  That just stinks, People.  Stinks!

Well, that got me thinking (and crying).  If I’m going to spend that much I may as well invest in a more “turn key” curriculum for Kindergarten.  After much research I decided on Little Hearts For His Glory by Heart of Dakota Publishing.

I was amazed at how many books came with the package.  It was VERY reasonably priced too!  I just squealed opening the box when it came in.  This curriculum is awesome!  Very little prep work involved.  Thanks to the teacher’s guide I don’t even have to write out lesson plans.  How cool is that?!

I’m confident that this will be a great Kindergarten experience.  I will enjoy being able to “school” during the day and spend my evenings relaxing with my family more.
 Less work + more fun = happy mom!

Have fun visiting more Hip Homeschools at the

  Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Want to know a secret?

I have a love/ hate relationship with social media.  I love blogging- sometimes.  I love reading and learning from other moms in the trenches.  I love Twitter, Instagram and Pixoshere. BUT… I’m unreliable, undependable, you just plain can’t count on me for regular blog posting.  There, you have it: the cold, hard truth. I’m just a blogger wannabe.  For the rest of my dirty, little secret click here.  You’ll be redirected to MommieKate – the fun & fellowship side where I’m currently crying out for time management tips (and a maid).

The Truth Hurts

I have a love/ hate relationship with social media.  I love blogging- sometimes.  I love reading and learning from other moms in the trenches.  I love Twitter, Instagram and Pixoshere. BUT… I’m unreliable, undependable, you just plain can’t count on me for regular blog posting.  There, you have it: the cold, hard truth. I’m just a blogger wannabe. I’ve tried scheduling my time, joining blog hops, even group accountability. Now I know that you, all twenty-four of you WONDERFUL, FAITHFUL, BEAUTIFUL followers have been holding your breath just waiting for my next blog-hopping post. What? You haven’t? Well then I know you’re not too disappointed.  Whew. That’s a relief! Thanks for loving and reading me anyway.

I have so many great ideas, so many posts in my head, so many photos to share…and no time. No motivation to wake up at 5am just to blog.  No push, no pressure, no DRIVE.  What I do have is a very flexible (yeah, that’s what we’ll call it: flexible) routine.  I have a huge house to clean, an active boy to wrangle and to educate, and a hungry husband to feed – just like most of you.  So how do the blogging divas do it? They have groceries, dishes and tantrums to deal with.  So what have they got that I don’t have? OK, that IS a rhetorical question. Please don’t even begin to answer that one!

I seriously love, and I mean LOVE writing.  So why is it so hard to do just one little post a week? I started blogging because I wanted to share the things that my Pastor’s wife (and very dear friend) had taught me.  Little things that profoundly changed my thinking and my life.  Things about keeping it real with Jesus, how to manage my home for His glory, and how to practically keep a family fed and happy on a budget.  I started with a few posts on how I save money and Practical Faith For Everyday Life was born.  As my son grew older I started researching homeschooling blogs for pointers.  I fell totally in love with the homeschooling community online and I wanted to branch out. Then came MommieKate.

I wanted to join all those lovely blog hops I had found.  I wanted to BE one of those women.  You know her- she works out everyday, pays only six bucks plus coupons at the grocery store for $500 worth of food, has faithful morning & evening devotions, has her housework done by 9:00am, homeschooling done by noon, and loves arts & crafts time with her genius, never- naughty boy.
The woman who does all that AND has time to blog about it. (That’s the part I really wanted).  I also have fantasies about photography, jewelry making, and mission trips but that’s for another (probably unwritten forever) post.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my Bible time. I can stretch a dollar a mile or two. My chores get done. The lessons get done. We get crafty every now and then. Don’t ask about the workout.  Oh, alright: I’ll confess. The PX90 is still in the closet – you guessed it: unopened. I get things done and I enjoy life. I just can’t seem to get a handle on writing about all these adventures.

I have blogger envy.  That’s my secret.  Now you know.

I would love to hear how you make it all work.  I’d really love you to send me a maid but while I’m waiting just clue me in with your time management tips.

Joy in the Giving

Often when we think of Christian love and charity, we think big: mission trips, feeding centers, large sums of money.  We think of our local tithes and offerings.  We think of the parable of the Widow’s Mite.  I have found myself thinking of her a lot lately.  I think of how in her poverty, she gave all that she had.  I think of how her humble heart caught the eye of the Master.   I think of how He praised her.  I’ve been contemplating the principles of Godly Giving and whether or not I measure up to His expectations.

While studying I noticed that God expects us to be joyful as well as generous in our giving.  I also realized that giving all I have is not just about money.  God expects more of me than just my envelope in the offering plate.  While I am obedient in my finances, I’m not sure that my giving has honored Him the way that Widow’s Mite did.

I want to honor Him so badly- to catch His eye.  I want to make Him proud.  I want to give ALL.  What a lofty goal. So daunting, really.  Is it even attainable? Can I really give Him ALL?   As I shifted my focus from money, I saw so many other opportunities.

I can smile more, not just when I’m happy.  I can smile at the cashier when I’m held up in line because she’s changing the tape roll and taking forever.  I can smile at the driver who takes my turn at the stop sign.  I can smile at my son when he’s struggling to do a big boy job all by himself when I could do it so much faster. (I can even smile at these rowdy teenagers who are distracting me while I write this post utilizing free Wi Fi at McDonald’s. )

In my routine shopping, I can get a few “extras” for others. I can pick up some extra can goods at the grocery store for the local food bank.  I can pick up an extra pack of diapers & wipes for the women’s shelter.  I can take a book of stamps and some paper to the alcohol & drug treatment center.  I can take my old magazines to the nursing home.

I can make (and give Him) better choices.  When challenged I can choose mercy.  I can choose forgiveness.  I can choose patience.  I can choose kindness. I can listen patiently as if for the first time when my grandmother repeats the same story for the 100th time.  I can be sweet instead of sarcastic when my husband forgets that it’s date night and volunteers to work a later shift.  I can choose peace instead of arguing my point when a neighbor oversteps her bounds.

I’m learning that giving all I have is so much simpler than I thought.  It’s so much broader than I imagined.  If I choose a positive perspective about it, I can even have fun looking for opportunities to give more, to do more, to truly serve Him in my everyday life. I can give myself, my heart, my obedience as well as my money.

Rolling Out!

Buckle up, Peeps, we are on the go!
I55 at St. Louis
Road trip! After months of searching we found THE camper that is just perfect for us.  We traveled 14 hours (one way) to pick it up.  Round trip we traveled over 1600 miles in just three days. Yes, it was exhausting but so worth the trip (I’ll dish on the savings later)!
Are we there yet?
I have to brag just a bit- my DS3 was an absolute champ!  I wasn’t very confident about his ability to endure such a long time in the truck without multiple melt-downs. Heck, I wasn’t sure I could endure the trip without multiple melt-downs! He was great! We all had a super time watching the scenery, singing along to the cd player, and visiting with each other.  The promise of a nightly swim at the hotel was a great incentive for good behavior, by the way.
Why on earth would we voluntarily embark on such a journey? To save a boat load of bucks, that’s why!  For us camping is a way that we can vacation without breaking the bank. We can do more, see more, go more often for a lot less money.  After a few attempts at tent camping, we decided that sleeping on the ground was not for us.  Face it, for me to consider it fun I have to sleep comfortably.  I want a cushy bed and air conditioning/heating at the end of the day. A microwave in case of a rained-out campfire helps too! 
We researched for months. We had to figure out what we wanted in a camper and balance that with what my husband’s truck could haul and with what our budget could handle. When we decided on a few models we started scouting dealers and classifieds.  We purchased our camper at Cheyenne Camping Center.  Even with what we spent traveling to pick it up, we saved between $5-10,000.00 for what the same model was going for locally.  We purchased a brand new 2012 model for LESS than the price of many used ones we saw for sale.  
Was this my original plan for seeing the world?  No. Sometimes you have to have to adjust. Even when your dream seems impossible I have found that there is always a way, ALWAYS. You just have to be open to new/different paths to getting what you want. Sometimes it turns out even better!
Our adventures begin!

Video Resources

I have (finally) boarded the YouTube train.  I know, I know… a little late.  Really, I thought it was all about bootleg music videos and weirdo exhibitionists. You know, the DARK side (play sinister music here). Yes, all that’s out there and more- but now I have found it to be a wonderful resource for preschool videos, books, music, and mini-lessons.  The subscription button is now my friend (that’s my tool for weeding out the yucky stuff).  I’m passing along some of my favorites.  Enjoy!

And one more just for fun!

Video Resources

I have (finally) boarded the YouTube train.  I know, I know… a little late.  Really, I thought it was all about bootleg music videos and weirdo exhibitionists. You know, the DARK side (play sinister music here). Yes, all that’s out there and more- but now I have found it to be a wonderful resource for preschool videos, books, music, and mini-lessons.  The subscription button is now my friend (that’s my tool for weeding out the yucky stuff).  I’m passing along some of my favorites.  Enjoy!

And one more just for fun!

Three in Thirty

I must admit: I’ve had a hard time picking my goals for April.  There just seems to be so much to do. Narrowing it down has been almost impossible.  Heck- I don’t even have all three.  I’m hoping that somehow as I type it will come to me.

My three categories are: to grow in my relationship with God, participate regularly in social media, and become more organized.  OK, it’s starting to come to me.  I want spend more time reading so I’ll make that a goal. #1 Finish a book of spiritual nature.  I didn’t do so well coming up with a blogging/writing schedule so I’ll keep that as #2.  Hmmm…#3…get more organized…hmmm.  I’ve started doing online surveys and swagbuck collecting.  I think for #3, I’ll create a form (and share it online) to keep up with my surveys and such and whether or not I’ve received compensation.

There you have it.  A week later but I’ve got it. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.  I can’t wait to see your April goals and progress.  #3in30 blessings to you!