Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Goals for This Week

   When there is a lot going on in life I sure find it helpful to my goals and lists of things that I need to get done down on paper. Not only is it fun to cross things off but I have also discovered that it really frees up my brain space so I don't feel overwhelmed and can think more creatively about the task at hand. When I have tons on my plate and I am trying to remember everything and think about getting everything done at once it feels like my brain basically goes on overload and starts to shut down (meaning I feel overwhelmed, a bit depressed and I just can't think as well).

   We are at a busy season of our lives (selling, building, homeschooling, homesteading, businesses, etc) and I am going to work at dutifully writing out lists so that Lord willing I can avoid that overwhelmed feeling that I just don't care for very much.

  Here are some of the goals that I have for this week: (And I certainly could have come up with a lot more but I am trying to be realistic. - I do however have a long term to-do list with a lot more on it)

Homeschooling Goals

  • Get the Achievement Tests done and sent off.
  • Get quilt squares done for the quilt I am making for pioneer day for our homeschool group.
  • Get our pioneer costumes ready.
Homesteading Goals

  • Plant seeds (we are getting a late start for our indoor seedlings but better late than never. We still have 5 or more weeks before it is garden planting time here. We did get quite a bit of this done yesterday.
  • Clean up garden area.
  • Prune bushes.
Homemaking Goals
  • Clean out kitchen cupboards.
  • Go through laundry room and organize and clean.
  • Touch up paint on front door.
Business Goals
  • Get wedding portfolios organized on my website.
  • Write quotes.
  • Add reviews/thank yous to my website.
Personal Growth Goals
  • Give two compliments every day. 
  • Work to develop a habit of praying immediately whenever I feel frustrated or impatient.
  • Find two ways to show respect for Ken.
Blogging Goals
  • Link to 5 blog parties this week.
  • Write 2 posts for repurposing series in May.
  • Share at least one post on both Pinterest and Facebook.
I wrote these out on paper yesterday morning but didn't manage to get them posted until now. Do you like to set goals and write out lists? What are your goals for this week?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Take Naps for Greater Productivity

The goats see the need for naps.
   Today I was reminded once again of something that I well know but every so often I like to challenge - I guess to make sure it is still so. I was reminded of the fact that I can function much better and be much more productive in a day when I have had my nap. I don't take the 2 to 3 hour naps that leave you completely groggy (unless you are sick and really need the rest) but rather I am speaking of a quick pick-me-up nap of 10-25 minutes.

  Our youngest child is 8 but still we have nap time nearly every day at our house. First we have our time of me reading aloud to the kids and then we each go off to our own beds and spend up to one hour there. I usually read for 20-40 minutes and then I set my alarm for 20 minutes later and go to sleep. My kids spend all of their time reading (only sleeping if they are sick) but still get some good time of rest and quietness. It has also been a good time for them to learn how to manage being happy alone and quiet. I started training them to do it when they were very young (just past the age of them napping naturally on their own).

  Here is why I really like naps: I like to be a very efficient worker and get things done quickly. I can easily do that in the morning but after lunch I start to drag a little bit - our little nap time gets me going again and I can once again be quick and efficient. For me a nap also really helps my mood. I have discovered that I can get cranky or moody much more easily when I have missed my nap (sound like a little kid you might know?!). When my kids were younger and actually needed sleep I would also notice a big difference in them if the nap was missed. For me I would much rather use a quick nap then dose up with caffeine (which I have never found to work for me anyway).

  A side note on my kids - they have all gone through times of not enjoying naps that much but that time seems to be pretty much over. They talk now about liking them and will admit missing them when something else happens. They are all bookworms now (I think our nap time encourages that) and so spending an hour reading during the middle of the day is actually pretty fun - you don't have to work or do schoolwork during that time so it is nice for them.

  Over all even with the hour that I miss in resting during our nap time I have found that I can get much more done in a day then if I would try to just keep on working and skip my nap. So just in case you struggle with productivity and feeling worn out come evening I thought I would share with you what works very well for me. Maybe taking a nap will help you as well!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Do you take naps? Why or why not?

I will be linking to some blog parties in my sidebar.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He Died for Us and Rose Again!

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:3 & 4.

Central to our whole faith as Christians is the fact that Jesus died for our sins but that He didn't stay dead but rather came to life again and is now in heaven with God and will come back to take us with Him to heaven someday. If we don't believe this then our faith is worthless.

 This is something to celebrate. It is also something to cause us to consider our life and whether we are truly responding to His sacrifice the way that we should. Romans 6:3-7 has some more insight into what Jesus did for us and how that should affect our lives....

 "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin."

What an awesome promise this is!!! Thanks be to God that He IS Risen!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Home Sweet Home ~To Use a Realtor or Not When Selling

I thought it would be interesting to share some of the things I have learned on the topic of selling your home and am hoping that if you have any experience with any of this that you will join in the conversation in the comments so that, Lord willing, we can provide a source of information that is helpful to those wanting to sell their house.

 When we decided to sell our house our initial plan was to use a Realtor. We have used one before and it was a positive experience (both for selling and buying) but then we started thinking about all the money we would save (around 6% of the selling price goes to the Realtor) and we thought maybe we would attempt selling it ourselves a little before listing it. Here are the things we tried:

  • Word of Mouth - telling basically anybody and everybody that we were wanting to sell our house. We did have one person come look at our house through this method. Some friends of ours probably do have their house sold by this method.
  • Using Facebook, or blog or any other social network that you are on to tell about your house being for sale. I did put it on both Facebook and here on my blog.
  • Think about any papers or newsletters that you could put a "For Sale" add in for free. I was able to put something in our local homeschool e-newsletter. From that I could link to my blog with all the information.
  • Put up a "For Sale" sign on your street.
That is all that we did. We didn't work that hard at it, partly because we were really busy, partly because we didn't want to start to early as we didn't want to suddenly be without a house while it was still early and partly because we had kind of planned on using a realtor so we were open to that option.

Here are some other ideas that I have heard of that might be able to help you sell your house yourself.

  • By the "For Sale" sign in front of your house also have a weather safe place where you can keep flyers about your house (with price details, pictures etc.) that people can easily pick up without ever bothering you. A friend said she was able to sell her house by this method.
  • Put it on Craigslist.
  • Hold your own open house (it is an idea but the friend that told me about it said it was a waste of time and money for them. So it probably would depend on where you live.)
  • Pay just a listing fee with a broker and get your house put up on the MSL listing.
  Some other details you would need to think about when you are selling your home yourself is how should you price it and then dealing with all the paper work when you sell. I am sorry but I am no expert in either field so I would love for others to chime in with advice!

 We did decide to go ahead and list with a Realtor at the beginning of this month. We did get 7 showings the first week and then soon after that they held an open house which attracted more people. Out of that we did get one offer (which didn't work out). So listing with the Realtor did indeed work very well to get some action that we hadn't been seeing. The time of year that we did list (just when it was getting warm) was also probably helpful.  Helping with all the paperwork is something else that is very handy to have a Realtor for. They also have helpful advice.

  What I don't like about using a Realtor is how much it costs and also that now for every showing we have to leave the house. It can be a little challenging to get schoolwork and other things done at home when we have to leave every so often so that they can have a showing. 

   Anyway - that is our story so far - I would love to hear yours! Have you ever sold a house yourself - what was your experience? If you use a Realtor what are your thoughts on that?

Friday, April 18, 2014

A DIY Project Gone Bad

 I have been meaning to make wool dryer balls for quite some time now. I had read up on it and saw quite a few tutorials which involved wrapping wool yarn into balls. I didn't do it at the time because I didn't have any wool yarn that I wanted to use up in that way and so the project was put off for quite a while.

  Meanwhile I was given some wool yarn that I wouldn't mind using for that purpose and then I started thinking it would be fun to make some with essential oil in it. Aaron spilled some essential oil the other day so I decided that would be a good time to make the balls. I sopped up the oil with some wool fabric scraps and then carefully wrapped wool yarn around it and then threw them in the dryer with my load of laundry.
 That was a big mistake! Oh, I forgot to mentioned I had decided to make two of them with a rock inside of them to make them heavier - well before long I started hearing the rocks go thump thump in a way that made it sound like they weren't inside the wool ball anymore. I went to check it out and sure enough they were quite loose and on their own and the wool yarn was completely wrapped around and felted on my whole load of clothes. What a mess!!!
It took quite a bit of working and cutting of the wool fibers to get our clothes recovered. It was disappointing but at the same time rather funny too. It made me realize that I maybe should slow down and check things out a little better rather than just jumping into everything like I can sometimes do!

I have checked out how I was supposed to do it now (better late than never). At DIY Natural she explains that you need to put your balls into an old pantyhose and then put in the washer followed by a trip in a hot dryer and then check for felting (you may need to repeat the process) before you ever send them in the dryer without the pantyhose. I think I might need to try again (and do it right!) especially after reading what she said about them reducing dryer time.

 Do you have any funny stories about a time that you goofed in your homemaking attempts? I would love to hear them! You can make me feel not so alone in my silliness. :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Birthday Girl

My sweet Megan turned 8 today.
It was a fun day filled with.....

  • Favorite foods: waffles and raspberries, grilled cheese sandwiches and apples, BBQ chicken, fried potatoes, green beans, garlic bread and lemon pie. 
  • Gifts: Homemade ones included a whole pioneer outfit for her doll complete with an original story by Mara and a bonnet for Megan made by me - The bonnet much to her father's chagrin (who would like to think we are normal) was worn all day - even while biking on the lane, going to the store and to church tonight. There were many other much enjoyed and appreciated gifts but the highlight was 2 baby ducks which Jonathan and Mara bought for her (with Jonathan's arranging and getting ready for them).
  • Decorating: My girl who takes after me with a love for having things be made special was quite delighted to have us hang up streamers for her special day.
  • Fun times with family and friends: All of our local family was able to come over to share supper with us before we all headed off for church to enjoy our time with our church family.
We are blessed that God choose to send Megan into our lives!


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