Friday, May 25, 2012

A Break For Me! Hallelujah!!!

 This sweet lil guy LOVES school! After 2 weeks of finishing 1st grade he begged & begged & begged to start up 2nd grade. I really did NOT want to, I needed a break! This past year was a whirlwind adventure in opening up about my past & the Lord opened many doors for me to travel & speak. As if being a full-time homeschooling momma didn't keep me busy enough, I was off doing events & press conferences a LOT! 
Now I completely loved every bit of it, even when it was hard, & depressing, because I know the Lord had me doing exactly what He had called me to do. But I'm tired. Worn out. Spiritually, emotionally, physically, & mentally exhausted! I had prayed & asked God to give me a break, some rest to regroup, refocus, & just be. Then my precious Brady comes begging & begging to do school again & I caved in. We started a little, but things kept coming up, knocking us off track & then he & his middle brother got very sick for almost 2 weeks. 

So in the midst of my tiredness & wanting a chance to relax I overloaded myself with more schoolin, not fully prepared & then stuck in the house with sick kiddos. I was at a breaking point. I cried out to God to show me what to do, where to go & He gave me peace, stillness, time to reflect. I asked Brady if we could please hold off on 2nd grade, Momma needed a break. And his reply?

"Sure. I just wanted to be in 2nd grade so I could be in class at church with my 2nd grade friends before they went to 3rd grade. But my teacher told me I couldn't change until August."

I died out laughing! So now, praise the Lord, I get a break! We are still practicing his math facts & reading of course & doing fun stuff with Rylan because I'm still doing preschool stuff with him. I must say I am so relieved! This summer we have a lot of fun stuff planned with VBS, play dates, & this will be Brady's 1st year to go to church camp! Lots of fun adventures await us.

I pray you all have a great summer as well!!

By the way, please come on over & visit us at  Schoolin The Boys!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sicky McSickens

Oh my word! Cabin fever has set in on us. Last week my precious middle son same down with a fever that never came down. Rylan was miserable. His fever ran as high as 104 & even with alternating Ibuprofen & Tylenol every three hours it wouldn't fall below 101.7. He even missed his last King Singer performance at church for the year. It was not a good week. After taking him to the doctor all he could say was that it was a severe sinus infection, hooked him up with an antibiotic & sent us home to recover.

Each day Rylan seemed to improve & then night time would come & so would the raging fever once again. After 5 days of this he finally woke up Friday morning feeling better, but his big brother did not. Brady ended up getting a viral infection & was having trouble breathing & his fever was scorching hot as well reaching almost 105!!!

So here I am a full week later & I'm still locked inside my house with a sick kiddo. I have enjoyed the extra cuddles & snuggles that sick lil ones need when they don't feel good, but with that has meant missing the fun of swimming & play dates we had planned. Brady has had to miss baseball practice & now a game. I don't know who's more bummed about that, him or his daddy ;P

I have been able to use these days to reorganize some homeschool stuff, do some deep cleaning & getting rid of stuff. Overall I must say that I am ready for everyone to be well & to get back our normal routine of things.

Wishing you & yours many WELL wishes & prayers for all the sickness in this house to leave are VERY appreciated!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saving Money & Living On A Budget

 My friend Shellie shares her family's tips on living on a budget & saving money:

We often have new goals, such as losing weight/exercising, getting organized, saving money and the list goes on and on! I’d like to share some tried and true practices that can help you save money this year. I’m not promising the following tips are easy (or popular) but they are all possible!

1. Tithe Cheerfully! I want to save money and you’re telling me to tithe? YES!  
Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 teaches “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 
We cannot disobey in this area and expect the Lord to bless our finances! I can testify to the Lord’s faithfulness!

2. Cut back on every bill possible:
      a. Cable- reduce your plan or even disconnect service
     b. Cell Phone Plans- it’s possible (even in 2012) to live without being “connected 24/7”. Remove your data plans and save big dollars over the course of the year!
     c. Save energy- you know, the stuff your parents taught you! Turn off lights when you’re not in a room, don’t take a 30 minute shower, adjust your thermostat to come on less & add an extra blanket to everyone’s bed during the winter. Use fans in the summer.

     d. Cut your grocery budget- make a week long meal plan of economic meals then make a grocery list of only the things you need. Once at the store, stick to the list! Use coupons and/or shop sales. Stay with me here. You don’t have to start extreme couponing to save money in this area! Simply shopping the stores sales will save you money. To save even more money – plan your meals around the stores weekly sales! Also, ask your store when they mark down meat & produce.

     e. Don’t eat out! Gasp! You can save some serious money here! Just plan well and eat at home! Pack lunches for your husband to take to work. You’ll be glad to see the extra money at the end of the month!

     f. Cut entertainment expenses- get the creative juices flowing and plan free dates (ex: on your patio with white Christmas lights strung under the umbrella) and fun family outings (ex: a new park, hiking trail, game night, etc)

     g. Shopping – if shopping is your downfall, STOP going to the stores! You can’t spend money if you’re not there! If a need arises, shop sales or at a local thrift store – you may just be amazed! Buy clothes at the end of each season for your kids’ upcoming sizes.

    h. Do maintenance on your vehicles yourself & save the labor charges.

     i. Make home repairs/ improvements yourself. There are many websites out there to offer advice & there are helpful people at local home improvement stores.

3. Extra Job - If you make all of the above changes and still come up short, find a side job. There are plenty of options out there; ex: pizza delivery, mow yards, clean houses, making & selling goods such as jewelry, gift baskets, candles, etc. If you’re a stay at home mom, look for a Saturday job or a work from home job – but research these carefully to find something legit!

4. Give your savings a boost by having a Garage Sale. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University! If you don’t have the extra money for that right now, I recommend setting a budget. If an envelope system will help you be better accountable, do it!

I urge you to give your finances to the Lord. Ask Him to reveal His will, listen, and then follow Him.  
Matthew 6:25-34 says,
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  

Resources – Financial Freedom – Home project help - Great crock pot recipes – learn how to coupon & find coupon match ups for current store sales
101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, Priscilla Y. Huff
555 Ways to Earn Extra Money, Jay Conrad Levinson

I am a child of the King, a wife of 10 years to my best friend from high school and a homeschooling mom of three precious boys! I enjoy reading, outdoor activities with my family and time with other moms! My husband and I have lived through some difficult times financially, but the Lord was faithful to see us through every time. He always provided for our needs. His promises are true!  

Luke 12:22-31 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. or shellie jones baum on FB

Making changes to our budget seemed monumental at first, even impossible. The world tells you that you can't live on one salary anymore--and I believed it! But the Lord showed me differently! Learning to live on a budget has been a huge blessing to my family! We know it is ALL the Lord's and want to be good stewards of what He so generously gives us!  

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Psalm 24:1)