Getting Organized

Ready to get organized?

First things first turn on Pandora and blast Christian music. I find that as long as I have the worship music on in the background it helps keep me grounded. I find comfort when I am feeling overwhelmed or I’m dancing and singing along with the kids in praise for how awesome the day is going. Having the music on helps me keep my eyes focused on God.

You may or may not keep a cleaning schedule. Some people need to write everything down, because they are visual people, or you just find satisfaction in those little checks. Either way if it is working and your family is functioning then continue doing that. I think I’m pretty flexible when it comes to a cleaning schedule. I do what I can when I can based off my children’s schedule. I do have the kids (even the 3 year old) put their dishes in the sink, put their toys away before bed, and they help put their clothes away. I make sure the dishes and counters are wiped down every night, the toys are picked up and floor is vacuumed (sometimes I end up doing the next morning, depending how many crumbs I’ve stepped on). I dust, mop and do toilets once a week. I wash carpets, windows and do the yard (hate yard work!) once a month. I also organize the kids toys but that’s probably every other month unless I have “free time”.

My favorite go to products Mr. Clean magic erasers, Mr. Clean all-purpose cleaner and carpet cleaner.

My favorite go to products Mr. Clean magic erasers, Mr. Clean all-purpose cleaner and carpet cleaner.

When the school year rolls around it can be pretty crazy around the house. You might find a left over lunch box with food still in it from May. Backpacks that are not usable. And children that have grown way more than you agreed upon. To get ready for school we get the kids a new outfit for everyday of the first week of school. Thank you clearance racks. We do new lunch boxes and back packs depending how beat up they are at the end of the year (So pretty much a new one every year). New shoes are a must with us but unless they out grow them they will be the only ones we buy unless they are given new ones from others.

Back to school shopping is a must but is not extravagant.

Back to school shopping is a must but is not extravagant.

You might say ok, what about me the overwhelmed, unorganized; clutter magnet Mom. I’m desperate to get organized what can I do? Maybe I’m just genetically flawed, and not meant to be an organized person.

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It takes time to get a routine down and unless you have an entire day to yourself, it’s almost impossible to get the house cleaned in one day. The kids will destroy the room you just cleaned so be patient. It’s not just your kids that do that and they aren’t out to get you, so don’t take it personal.

I find focusing on the bathrooms and kitchen one day, then bedrooms another, and living room and dining room another really help me to not get over whelmed.  I would suggest having the kids help with cleaning and making it a game and if they don’t like your clean up game tell them if they don’t pick up toys or put their favorite shoes where the go you will throw it all out. That always works and yes I have had to throw toys out and yes the husband learned his lesson 😉

kitchen_bath

I love the art projects my children make but if I kept everything they ever made I’d be drowning in construction paper. I organize the items and evaluate how much I truly need it or want it. I have a must pile (bills, receipts, paperwork, etc) , a keep on fridge til kids replace with new art work ( throw out the old one!), and the pile of things I keep til the kids fall asleep and forget. Thank you Mc Donalds for your awesome happy meal toys.

What about cleaning out all those toys, and things? I definitely get rid of things. We give clothes away or try to sell as they outgrow. I DO NOT throw any toys away while the children are home. I wait til they are gone and get rid of toys I haven’t seen them play within 6 months or have batteries 😉

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Yes, I do assign my husband chores but that doesn’t mean he does them lol.

Thanks for reading..

 

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Finding Me in Him

I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, or even exposed to many Christians growing up. My Dad was an atheist (a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.) who later in life has became an agnostic,(a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.) and my mother would occasionally take us to Catholic Church mostly for holidays.

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I believed there was a God as a child, but it was a vague belief and I didn’t know anything about Him. As I became a teenager I started to party. First drinking and then pretty quickly started using prescription drugs and pot. My parents divorced when I was 18, and I was heartbroken. For the next 13 years I struggled with a very serious addiction to alcohol and prescriptions. I maintained some stretches of sobriety going to anonymous meetings like NA, where I was taught to pray to a “higher power” of my own making, but always relapsed. Surprisingly, during this time I got married, had a child and went to nursing school. All while either struggling to stay sober or struggling to hide my addiction.

My marriage was rocky, to say the least. My husband claimed to be a Christian, he was baptized when he was child and he thought that was all he needed. His life however did not show any fruit of salvation. We fought and struggled for 5 years and finally ended up divorcing. My prideful mind thought that he was my problem, and once I was done with him things would get better.
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But they did not get better, they got worse quickly.

I was working nights as a nurse and was completely dependent on my

prescriptions. Shamefully when my prescriptions ran out I began stealing medication from my job. During this time I was looking for a house to rent. I met a man that showed my some houses, and he could clearly see how fragile I was although I don’t think he knew the depth of my problems. He ended up sharing the gospel with me, giving me a Bible, and invited me to church.

I became curious about Christ, and started reading the book of Matthew. I felt so conflicted because I wanted to know Christ, but I felt trapped in my addiction. I felt like I couldn’t let anyone know how bad I really was. I didn’t understand salvation yet, that Christ died for my sins­ to set me free from the bondage of my secrets.

For about a month I wrestled with it, reading Matthew and secretly stealing and using pills. My addiction became the worst it had ever been. One night I went into work high as a kite. My supervisor confronted me, and I confessed everything to her. She is a Christian, and prayed with me as we waited for police to come.
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I was arrested and taken to jail. I ended up staying in jail for 7 days,

During that time I remembered the phone number of the man who shared the gospel with me. I called him and over the phone I prayed with him, repenting of my sinful life and asked Christ to become my Lord.
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I knew that I was done trying to be in charge, I knew that I NEEDED Jesus Christ. And I also knew that He was WITH me in that jail cell. I am starting to cry just remembering it, I wasn’t alone anymore. Jesus Christ was with me then and He hasn’t left me since. 

Jesus Christ was with me then and He hasn’t left me since. He loves me and and gave His own life to pay my debt to God for my sins. Praise God, He pursued me and saved me!
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My life changed dramatically. I have been clean and sober since then, but more than that the desires of my heart radically changed. I was given a hunger for the word of God, and a distaste for unrighteousness. I had always mocked “born again” Christians, I thought they were the weirdest people ever. Suddenly, much to my surprise, I was one of them! I was given a boldness for sharing Christ. God was precious to put solid Christian women in my life to disciple me, and He led me to an amazing church that continues to teach and feed me well.

My ex-husband, Chris, saw this change in me and immediately attributed it to being a “phase”. A few months into my new found salvation I began studying Matthew with Bible Study Fellowship, and I felt convicted to reach out to my ex and let him know that I wanted to keep the door open for us to reconcile if he ever actually became a Christian.

He agreed to meet with my pastor, who lovingly and honestly shared the gospel with Chris and asked him to examine his life for the fruit of salvation. Chris was incredibly offended (because he knew his life did not bear fruit for Christ) and told me that he wasn’t interested in anything that my pastor or I had to say. For the next year I watched in amazement as Jesus pursued Chris. His life was a series of struggles and trials that showcased his need for His savior.

Finally Chris ended up at my doorstep one night to pick up our son, and he broke down in tears asking for help. I reached out to my pastor, who recommended a solid Biblical counselor. Chris began meeting with the counselor and within a couple of months his eyes were opened to truth of his sin, and his need for repentance.

By the grace of God his heart was truly converted!
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It has been amazing to see the transformation in him. Just like me, his heart was given new desires. He suddenly understood the Bible in a way he never had. We started meeting with the counselor together, and were able to forgive each other for the terrible things we had done in our marriage and our divorce because we have been forgiven by Christ.

Matthew 6: 14­~15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Because of what Christ has done for us, forgiven our hatred for Him and our rebellion against Him, we are able to forgive any and every wrong that has been done to us. I praise God that July 2nd we were remarried, and our marriage is a reflection of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Colossians 1: 13~­14 “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Our lives and our marriage are now submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible. We have been given new purpose to glorify our Creator and share the good news of salvation with the lost!

Praise Jesus!

Katie 2

Katie 3

Katie

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Starting Your Homeschool Year

If you joined us for Our Journey in Homeschooling Series Then you might have wondered, “What Now?” “Where do I begin?” Well our contributing author is back and giving us a few basic tips on getting started with our homeschool year, which can be completely overwhelming.
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Beware of the comparison
Don’t compare. It’s easy to be discouraged by all the people “out there” or who you even may know that have their whole next school year planned to a “T” by June. It’s okay if you are still making decisions in July. If you haven’t ordered anything! Prayerfully move forward and make the best choices you can. Understand you will buy things, start to use them and realize you don’t like them or your kids don’t like them or it just doesn’t work for some reason you can’t understand. Take stock of what worked for you last year and what subjects you want to replace or branch out in. If this is your first year homeschooling, read and research! Pray and pay attention to what you are continually drawn to. It’s worth a try! Each year (this is our sixth year homeschooling) I have things I want to change up. By now though, I also have things I keep constant because I know they work.

Calendar

Calendar

Check your Calendar
Look at the calendar year ahead. Are there big things happening? Do you want to try a year-round schedule or keep a traditional school year? Write in the days and holiday breaks you want or need off. Know that life happens and people get sick or have appointments that you won’t account for. You might consider planning four-day weeks, using that fifth day for a catch-up day. Or just a fun day. You may have to school a little longer than you would like to that year, but the break may be worth it. (And learning happens even when you play!) Set a goal when you want to start your year. This helps you to know when you would like to have all your curriculum ordered so you can look at it and get a feel for it before the year starts. This deadline is a big help when you can’t seem to decide :).

Review your Curriculum
Once you have your curriculum, familiarize yourself with it. Read the suggestions and see if they have recommended schedules or plans already written for you. If you buy a core or box curriculum, they generally already come with lesson plans laid out. Great! But if you piece together your own curriculum, as I have usually done, you can easily write your own plans. Count up the lessons and look at the chapters. Where would be a good place to stop at Christmas? Set a goal to get to a certain place in each subject by the holiday break.

Some people like to write out plans for the entire year. This may be helpful, but I would suggest not actually writing them in your planner, or have two planners. Don’t date them. I plan two weeks at a time, so if something comes up and I have to change my plans, they are easily adjustable in my planner. Take two weeks at a time from your master plans and transfer them to your working planner. Or a week, or a month–whatever works for you. It is so much easier to make changes in two or three weeks worth of plans than in a year’s worth! And if you change up curriculum you can scratch out the old in your master planner and keep your working one neat!

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Set your Pace and Get Started!
We start the school year slowly, meaning we take a couple subjects (one of which is usually math, the other usually english) and start getting back in a routine in August. Then we add in a couple more. Then a couple more, til we are doing it all, hopefully by Labor Day! I found it was hard to jump in to all our subjects on one day. Two different grades and old curriculum and new curriculum I was getting used to, plus the usual high expectations of the beginning of the year all make for a big let-down. Starting slowly helps us all to adjust to routine, new things, and remembering what we may have forgotten on our summer break.

Remember we all have to start somewhere just getting started can be the hardest part of all, but I’ve discovered that once you’ve gotten into a routine, everything runs smoothly. I’ve done it both ways, where we just get up and lets see what happens that day. Which works fine when they are young toddlers, but when there are actual goals to achieve. Hitting certain marks are impossible with the free spirit approach. I still take that approach with my youngest one because she just is not ready. A few more months and we will jump into a more consistent groove for her. Don’t be afraid to cut out what isn’t working, and don’t feel like you have to live up to someone else’s idea of homeschool. Your house your rules, your groove!

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Pregnancy Tips

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During pregnancy we can get so run down, we pack our schedules because after all we have families to take care of. The world doesn’t stop for us. But we do need to take a moment to remember that something amazing is happening we are literally making a human. A real human person, this takes care gentleness, and most importantly it takes time. I collaborated with my dear friend and contributing author Rachel Gonzales, who is expecting her third child, to deliver some useful pregnancy tips.

Sleep is very important, adequate amount of sleep that is. Be sure to not overload yourself so that you can get to sleep at a reasonable time. I found this challenging at first, but getting a good amount of rest I see the difference in my productivity through it the day. On weekends/days off a nap (even a half hour) will leave you feeling recharged.

Sleep is very important, adequate amount of sleep that is. Be sure to not overload yourself so that you can get to sleep at a reasonable time. I found this challenging at first, but getting a good amount of rest I see the difference in my productivity through it the day. On weekends/days off a nap (even a half hour) will leave you feeling recharged.

Getting good sleep is vital whether you are pregnant or not. Though sleep seems extremely aloof when you are expecting

After 20 weeks sleeping on your left side is optimal to promote the best blood flow. Avoid heart burn, and try a body pillow to get more comfortable

After 20 weeks sleeping on your left side is optimal to promote the best blood flow. Avoid heart burn, and try a body pillow to get more comfortable

Pregnancy Wedge Pillow

Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow

Leachco Back ‘N Belly Pillow

. Make sure to eat right/stay hydrated. In the beginning I really was a grab and go kinda girl. But that left me feeling sluggish and more hungry. I now started to prepare meals ahead of time and pack fruit and trail mix to snack on throughout the day. Make sure to accompany your meal or snack with a cold water bottle (I always keep at least 1 or 2 on hand)

. Make sure to eat right/stay hydrated. In the beginning I really was a grab and go kinda girl. But that left me feeling sluggish and more hungry. I now started to prepare meals ahead of time and pack fruit and trail mix to snack on throughout the day. Make sure to accompany your meal or snack with a cold water bottle (I always keep at least 1 or 2 on hand)

~Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast is a big No No on a normal basis, but is very important to avoid when pregnant. Not eating breakfast can leading to early fatigue, nausea, and upset stomach.

~Eat food’s high in fiber, for both you and baby.


High Fiber Foods

~Foods that help with bloating Watermelon, cucumber, grapes.

~Nauseous? Avoid sugar at all cost. Sugar increases the nausea greatly.

~Warm tea is a great way to stay hydrated, and can also help you calm down at the end of the evening, or when you’re feeling over welcomed.

~Also remember, you are not eating for TWO! Though a common excuse among women to eat poorly, or to over eat. You are in fact not eating for two.

~Don’t skip the Vitamins

~You are already under enough of a fog do yourself a favor and feed your brain as much as you can.

Exercise. I use my breaks/lunches to take walks (if weather permits). I find that even a 15 minute walk is good for the body.

Exercise. I use my breaks/lunches to take walks (if weather permits). I find that even a 15 minute walk is good for the body.

Stretch often. Since I can't always get up and go for a walk, I will stand up every so often and stretch, especially with back discomfort and long periods of sitting stretching seems to bring a little comfort to me.

Stretch often. Since I can’t always get up and go for a walk, I will stand up every so often and stretch, especially with back discomfort and long periods of sitting stretching seems to bring a little comfort to me.

Before trying something new, speaking to your doctor and be sure that it is safe.

Before trying something new, speaking to your doctor and be sure that it is safe.

~A good sports bra is necessary when working out.

Title Nine
A good full coverage sports bra that won’t leave you hanging out all over the place. These Bra’s go up to double D.

Classic Shapwear
A good option for larger breast. They cover up to size I

~Address ligament pain with a belly band

Maternity Support
When looking for a band, you don’t want simply a B-band, which provides you some nice comfy room in your pants. You want a support band, to hold your muscles up.

~Do what feels good, change your routine slightly if you find aches and pains, or you’re just bored.

And finally
Make sure to divide your time evenly with your spouse and children and maintain your routine even if your more tired then usual. Engage in good conversation at the dinner table, during bedtime routines. After a long day I find conversation is a better way to unwind and interact.

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Our Sin Nature

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I don’t think there is anything that highlights our inherited sin nature more than looking at a toddler. When your a sweet, innocent 2-year-old just happy and care free, and you witness their quickness to lie, hide, steal, and hurt another child. You see that sin really is passed down. It is not a “learned” behavior. If a child is subject to no other human but their mother and she sweetly cared for them. That child is still going to bulk against the boundaries and limits she has set upon her or him. Because we cannot outrun, outbreed, or outgrow our inherited sin nature.
I witnessed my very own 2-year old, take a pair of scissors to her room, that she knew she shouldn’t have. She took it even further by continuously opening the door to check and see where I was. When I eventually came into the room she hid the said pair of scissors behind her back before I could see them. I never said they were particularly good at deception, but capable of trying to pull it off.

You know our biggest problem is not the sin itself. Our problem is not trusting the Lord Jesus with our sin. He alone has the power to defeat that sin. In fact He alone laid down His life to free you from that sin. The same one who created everything that was, and is, and is to come, He did that. The one who had the power to lay down His life and take it up again, He has the power that will enable you to defeat the sin that you are allowing to have power over your current circumstance.
Philippians 3:20-21 tells us where our true home is, and what transformation awaits us when we fully trust God.
What sin are you attempting to hide from Him? What sin are you to ashamed to bring before Him? What sin are you saying “no Lord this is just too big?”

Knock it off. Get over yourself. There is no hiding from the one who sees all. Before Him you are laid bare. You are naked with no place to hide, and He sees all of you. And He wants you. (Heb: 4:13)
Are you ashamed to bring your sin to the Lord? Maybe you have been flirting with a co-worker, smoking behind the garage, holding back tithes because you’re afraid you won’t make it through the storm. Refusing to submit to your Husband. Gossiping, drinking excessively. Whatever it is you are too ashamed to bring to Him. He has seen it before you even did it, He knows your heart, and that you want to be free from it. So don’t allow it to have any more power over you.

Do you think your sin is too big for the Lord to handle? Again get over yourself, He created the world by just speaking, what makes you think He can’t handle the sin you are fighting? But here is the important part, we cannot just stick our toe into the celestial pool. No we must dive in, deep down. We must submerge ourselves in the glorious riches of God’s loving mercy. We must let Him have every bit of us, all of us reserving nothing for a later date.
If nothing else remember this verse my friends from 2Timothy 1:12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.


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Journey in Homeschooling Conclusion

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Here is the final post of our Contributing Authors Homeschool series. If you are just now joining us in the series. Our fabulous Homeschoolin Momma, began our Homeschool conversation with Journey in Homeschooling. We covered curriculum in the previous two posts. Time for Curriculum. Where she introduced her curriculum experience. The cirriculum conversation was carried over in the post Journey in Homeschool Cirriculum. Continue with us in this concluding post and leave your resource tips below.

You can see which curriculum companies I lean towards–Rod and Staff, Memoria Press, Peace Hill Press…some of these others may love or hate. That’s ok, not everything works for everyone which is why we are blessed to have so much to choose from.

I have always picked and chosen what we like for each subject and planned it myself, but this year I did buy plans and a “core” from Memoria Press for my oldest. She did their accelerated sixth grade core with a few modifications, and I highly recommend the company and their products. It has been a wonderful year for her. Next year she is going to try Classical Conversations again, in the Challenge A program.

The twins and I will carry on picking what looks good from our tried and true companies, adding in what we love from Sonlight and Veritas Press. There are so many good books out there! I am apprehensive about Challenge, wishing we could continue in Memoria Press. But I am willing to give the year a try and see how it goes. A wise homeschooling mom once told me every year is like being a first-year homeschooler again. We are always in uncharted territory with our oldest. It’s where the worry and intimidation sets in. It’s where the insecurity sets in as I compare my own very public school, peer-dependent childhood with her very different day to day life. I tell myself that because her memories of childhood will be different from mine doesn’t mean they are bad.

I fall back on God’s mercy and grace and love and guidance for all my worries. It continues to be a struggle for me to live differently than most of the people I know. But I have found sweet homeschooling moms who will answer my questions if I just reach out to them. I am so grateful we have chosen this path.

Hello my name is Mom

Final thoughts

One more thing about homeschooling that I thought of were great books I have read and reread to keep me motivated or to help me as a mom and teacher. I love anything by Sally Clarkson, particularly The Mission of Motherhood and Seasons of a Mother’s Heart. Love, love, love those books. Her and her husband wrote Educating the Wholehearted Child which is excellent also, but more of a homeschool how-to than the others. The Well-Trained Mind is an excellent resource but can be overwhelming too. I don’t follow it to the letter but do like to go back and read parts of it here and there. I will try to think of others (I can think of others I’ve seen highly recommended, but I haven’t read them myself. For the Children’s Sake comes to mind. I own it but haven’t read it yet!).

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