Great Ideas, not the best delivery

I have been really into reading on the topics of religion and ways to become a more devout person. I picked up a copy of Your Best Destiny by Wintley Phipps through Tyndale Publishers. I was really excited to read this book as the title really pulled at me and was right in line with the type of message I have been searching out lately. I dug into this book as soon as it arrived on my doorstep.

It took a bit of time to get into this book, I struggled with the layout of the information and really did not see too much of a steady flow even within a chapter. I was finding enough nuggets of great insights that I kept going. I felt that this book ready more like a test book and does not offer the best structure to read cover to cover. It would be easy enough to pick up and start in any chapter as there is not much that relies on a previous chapter.

I wish there was more about the author and his story throughout the book. Although there were some snippets, there was not much overall about how he came to each of the conclusions he had, or came across some of the stories. He was a bit too impersonal for this style of book.

Though I have several spots that I felt inspired by the book I was overall disappointed.

Please note I received a free copy of this book through the publisher for my review, my review is 100% my own opinion of the book.

Your Best Destiny: Becoming the Person You Were Created to Be

 

 

We all have the abilities, lets let it shine! Oh and make some money while we are at it.

I recently received a pre-released copy of Crystal Paine’s new book Money-Making Mom that is due out November 3, 2015. I enjoyed Crystal’s previous book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode so I was really excited to dive into this book, and it did not disappoint.

Book Title Page

As I am working on developing my own business with this blog and trying to figure it all out, this book could not have come at a better time. I have already learned so much about why I have been struggling to get the things done and why some ventures I have tried have not worked for the long term. I have realized the dangers I have been putting myself and my family in by trying to do too much at one time.

The first thing I want to make clear is that this book is not a step-by-step guide to making a specific amount of money. This book is about how  to work through the challenges of creating a business, it is filled with real life tips, examples and failures. Crystal opens up about her failed attempts to get started at making money from home. She walks you through ways to identify your talents and abilities that you could turn into income and the stories of other women and how they did it as well. I was so inspired to hear from so many women.

When I started this blog I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I wanted a place to share my voice. I only kept it up here and there not really doing anything with it. I have seen so much about making money blogging or working from home, and with young kids I wanted to have more options. I love to write so I thought a blog would be something awesome but in a scary world full of millions of blogs, how would I ever get into this, am I too late to get in this game? These were all questions I had spinning around my head when I opened Money Making Mom.

Crystal is so open about how she is making it all work but also how things were not working. She has her own story of missteps and failures on her path to where she is now and of all the things she has learned. I know I have a lot to learn still and this has me fired up and ready to take notes. I have a long list already going on re-thinking things and slowing down.

I love this quote as it aligns to something I have said so many times but I need to remember more.

Quote

You may have noticed I have not posted as much and that is greatly due to reading this book, realizing that I was not really ready to devote the time that is needed to be where I think I might be able to take this blog to, I needed to step back and think smaller first. I am working on a full business plan to make sure I am not just flying by the seat of my pants (although my posts will still be my usual random, they will have a more direct purpose). The essence of my blog will remain but I am working on the long term strategy to help this be a monetized blog.

I am taking all the advice I can from this book and applying it here. I hope to share my experiences as I go so you can learn more about all the different ways you can earn an income from home as well. I know so many that are looking to supplement their current income to pay off debt, save for a vacation but I also know others that are looking to replace their income and be able to be home with their young ones or just get out of their stressful job. I highly recommend reading Money Making Mom and get working on your plan.

If you haven’t already checked out Crystal’s new book make sure you do soon. She has some really amazing freebies available with the pre-order, these will go away once the book is live, and will only return for a separate purchase price.

Check out these freebie offers!

  • Make Over Your Calendar: 7 Day Online Course—a comprehensive course to teach you how to simplify, streamline, and organize your daily schedule & to-do’s.
  • Crystal’s Top 10 Favorite Productivity Tools Tip Sheet—a printable PDF with links and information on Crystal’s favorite tools for better time management.
  • An Exclusive Live Q&A Call—an invitation to join Crystal for a special Q&A call to ask any of your Money-Making Mom questions

You can claim these offers after you pre-order the book by going to MoneyMakingMomBook.com, you also have to check out her outtakes at the bottom of the page, just hilarious!

Failure to Success

*Note: Links in this post may be affiliate links where I may be compensated for purchases made through the links provided. Thank you for your support!

Sometimes you need to forget the schedule

I love a schedule. Knowing when something needs to happen sometimes brings me the simplest peace. I struggle on the days that my 3 year old decides to take 20 minutes to put on his socks, or deciding whether or not he wants to change his underpants, or… well you get it. These setbacks in my schedule can easily ruffle my feathers. I easily get sucked into a mindset of what must be done and when it must be. What I end up missing out on in these situations is the silliness of my 3 year old and his peculiar determination of underwear specifications.

Eating cereal for breakfast
Eating cereal for breakfast

Being a working mom I often feel like I am missing out on things and stretched for time to get it all done. I get the kids up in the morning and get them ready then we are off to school and I head to the gym for a quick workout and get ready for work (this is actually a time saver in itself, really), work all day then it is back to school to pick up the kids head home, eat dinner and then it is time to start getting ready for bed…wait, where did the day just go?

So how do I balance this need to have the plan all figured out and not miss out on all the fun in life?

I am still figuring this out. but one thing is for sure, I am learning. The other day we arrived home it was still a nice enough day and we ended up playing outside for quite a while. My 3 year old was so excited to just run around. He challenged everyone to a race, he thinks he is the fastest don’t you just love the mind of a child! We had so much fun in that short amount of time I really made me think about what other ways can we work in more of that fun.

So excited to be running around outside, chasing his big brother
So excited to be running around outside, chasing his big brother

It won’t always be so spontaneous but when it is, that is okay with me. I still need to be able to get the basics done and get sleep in there somewhere but I am making more effort not to rush rush rush anymore. Not to mention coming into these winter months I will end up snuggled up in the house so much more and so I am reminding myself to go out and enjoy the nicer weather for the short time we have left with it this year, it will seem like a long time before it returns.

Snuggles before bed
Snuggles before bed

Real Life Religion

I just finished the book God for the Rest of Us by Vince Antonucci. Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, but the review is completely my own opinion. I was initially intrigued by the title and description of the book, but sucked in my the very first chapter.

Vince is not your typical Christian pastor. The way he brings the idea of God for all is amazing. He has had some unconventional ways of spreading the word and helping people find forgiveness. I can only imagine what it would be like to actually talk with him.

His style of writing just pulls you in with his quips about life. I could not help but laugh when I read his first note at the bottom of the page. The examples he bring to religion are far from what you would ever compare but that hammers home his point even more.

Vince takes you though various types of people and explains a story (or two) about someone he met and showed them the way with God. Taking it to extremes where people have often questioned if they were worthy but also the “everyday” folk just trying to figure it all out. I was deep into the book before I even realized how much he was retelling stories of the Bible and bringing them to the light of modern day experiences.

Not even done reading the book I was already making a list in my head of people I want to pass this book on to. I was just touched at having someone tell stories that spoke so clearly to my thoughts. I know that religion is often difficult for people to discuss because it can be a point of conflict or a sensitive beliefs; but why? I know that religion is serious, don’t get me wrong but why is it so difficult for people to allow others to think their own way? I know I have had a few heated discussions myself on the topic, misunderstandings can happen so quickly.

This book really brought perspective on the basics of the Bible as well as Jesus. I highly recommend checking the book out, especially if you have ever felt that God was not for you.

God for the Rest of Us: Experience Unbelievable Love, Unlimited Hope, and Uncommon Grace

Note: The links provided are affiliate links and I may be compensated for your purchase.

Product Review – Presse by Bobble

COFFEE!!! Sorry, didn’t know where else to start this post, I just love my coffee, and it had to be known up front. I recently received a FREE Presse by Bobble for testing and review through GenerationGood. I was really intrigued because I have always heard great things about making coffee with a french press and how amazing the flavor is (Thanks Mom!). I even have a french press but I must admit I have never used it, mostly because I would need to make the coffee and then transfer it to another cup to drink. The Presse is also travel mug!!!!

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Upon arrival I cleaned it up so that I could use it the next day. It was a really simple clean as the parts separated easily and I was able to hand wash quickly. *Note!* This entire cup is actually top rack dishwasher safe, I hand-washed the first time because I wanted it available faster than my next dishwasher run would allow.

Here are my pros:

  • Brews a strong cup of coffee (YAY!)
  • Stays cool to the touch with essentially 3 walls between your hands and the hot stuff!
  • Contents stay warm for hours (I had coffee on my desk for over 4 hours and it was still warm, not hot but definitely not chilled)
  • No Slip Grip bottom of the cup

Cons:

  • The top is a silicone top so it can get pretty warm on its own
  • The edges of the insert are a bit sharp, not knife sharp but I won’t be drinking directly from it for sure
  • The ring at the bottom of the insert to keep the seal tight is not fixed, I have some concerns for over time how this will wear and well as if anything will get trapped under it

Lessons to be learned:

  • Don’t transport coffee grounds in the cup to brew elsewhere, it gets a bit messy to open and add water

Overall I am really pleased with this and I plan to continue using it.

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*Please note the links in this post are affiliate links and I may be compensated for your purchase. Thank you!

Inspiring Words Go a Long Way

I woke up this morning and though I initially felt too tired and I REALLY did not want to leave my bed, I got up. I was able to enjoy a bit of peace (just a few minutes) before the chaos of the day began and I reminded myself of the events of last night.

I was getting my clothes ready for the next day when I was just sick of the pants I had, they were (thankfully!) getting too big and just felt so worn out. I was really ready to wear something new. I have been holding off buying new clothes because I am working on my size (we are not talking numbers here, they are only part of the story). I reached for the section of pants I have left untouched for some time now (Going on over 4 years!). I have not been able to rid my closet of these pants because I truly felt they were my inspiration to get my body back in shape. Not to mention the collection I had created over the years, I just couldn’t rid myself of the cost!

I tried them on…all of them!!!!!

The sad 3 hangers on the left are the general go-to pairs. (Note some pants are still in the laundry!)
The sad 3 hangers on the left are the general go-to pairs. (Note some pants are still in the laundry!)

I was really surprised when the very first pair slid (yeah with a little wiggle) on and I was able to button them up. 85% of them went on that way, only a small selection went on my top shelf for the,  “Yeah we need a bit more time” category. Though I am not quite ready to wear most of them to work, I am so close and I am ready to push myself harder to get there. I did find one pair that was an in-between size that I did wear today.

I was so inspired by the motivating and gracious words the trainer at the gym gave me yesterday about how well I was doing, that I had to just see if it really showed. I am so glad I did because going in to the gym this morning I was so refreshed and pushed harder than I have the last few weeks. I carried this mentality with me throughout the day and tried to spread the encouragement wherever I could.

To me this journey is really not about losing weight or fitting into a smaller size. I have had so many great things come out of this; I am creating new relationships that are helping me grow to be a better person, mom, wife, daughter, sister, etc. I have found confidence where I didn’t have it before.

I am taking these inspirations and turning them into something so that others can find the inspiration they need. It is sometimes the inspiration we see others get that can inspire us to do something we have been holding back on.

Found this taped to the mirror in the bathroom at work!
Found this taped to the mirror in the bathroom at work!

Defining success and setting the right expectations

It is easy to label a failure when the expectations are not set appropriately. I have had a number of people asking my about the Spend Zero challenge I am taking part in this October through Ruth Soukup’s LivingWellSpendingLess site. I thought it would be best if I explained a bit more on my expectations for this challenge and what I hope to get out of it by the end of the month. I really believe that this is a great challenge for anyone, spender or saver.

  • I do think that my family can save by cutting out some of the extra stops and added grocery items.
  • I do think that there are programs and services that can be reviewed, maybe even call to renegotiate a better rate here and there.
  • I do not think that I am going to save tons of money this month, but maybe a trickle in through the next few months.
  • I do think that there are services we had a trials that carried longer than they should have and can be cut.
  • I do expect that this challenge will help me find new ways to save.
  • I do think that seeing others try to save will be an inspiration.
  • I do think we are going to learn about our spending habits and create great experiences as a family.

One place I am already learning is meal planning. I have always known that meal planning is a great way to save for many reason. I know that it helps with the grocery planning and budget but also saves on time because there are less decisions to make. I love the concept but always falter on the implementation. We are good for a week or even two but then waver quickly. I loved today’s challenge task for the freezer meals because it makes everything easier. I don’t love the idea of a bunch of crock pot meals though. I am NOT a crock pot cooker. I am away from the house for too many hours during the day that anything will inevitably burn or dry out and end up in the trash. I will say though I had to make note of the lettuce wraps recipe even though it is for the crock pot, I just noted for it to be a weekend only recipe, love the lettuce wraps!

Ruth’s email today offered many freezer meal recipes and many were not crock pot meals. I jumped all over that and wrote down all of the names to go back to. I plan on having a larger grocery trip this week because we are low on the staples and I hope to get some of these freezer meals prepped for the rest of the month. This means my grocery budget the rest of the month should be minimal.

We are just finishing up day 6 of the challenge so there is still time to jump in and catch up if you want, or just start on day 1. The great thing about this challenge is that it provides the ideas for you to try but you can alter them to suit you better or just skip some. One of the days was a meal swap and that doesn’t work too well for us right now so instead I am going to plan a double batch cooking day to come. Also since I am at work during the week I can’t always to the challenge tasks the same day, sometimes they are a day or two behind and I do more than one in a day.

Six days in and I am so happy to have started this challenge. I am really challenging myself more that I thought I would be. As long as you are setting the expectations up front and be honest about it, there is so much to learn.

First Week of the Spend Zero Month

This week October started and so did the SpendZero month challenge I signed up for through LivingWellSpendingLess.com. I was a bit anxious as the new month approached because so much seemed to be popping up that was going to cost money. There was a new set of book catalogs at daycare, there was the bonuses from the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle that had not yet been redeemed, books I wanted to buy, the XM radio subscription was due to be renewed and so much more.

I asked my husband for his thoughts on a few of these, did we want to put the costs of any of these in September or would we just let them pass us by? We worked through each item and mostly decided to let things go. The books I was contemplating for the boys will go on their Christmas lists, the books I wanted I am looking for at the library or putting on my Christmas list. I looked through the bonuses that had not been purchased and decided I had redeemed the ones I was most looking forward to and not going to be upset for missing out on the ones left. XM radio, though I love it so, I decided to do without. It was wonderful to have it the last year but I had been without it before and survived (barely).

On the last day of September I completely blanked about packing my lunch and ended up having to buy lunch, I was a bit disappointed with myself as I had just gone the night before to the store to make sure we had lunch items.

October came and I was excited to get started. On the first day we were given a printable for a contract agreement so that the whole family could be in agreement. This included the “terms and conditions” of what you would commit to doing without but also the items that you couldn’t. One of the items we allowed for is my husband’s bowling league. He does pay each week, we didn’t try to prepay anything on it but we have it listed for his fee amount only, sorry hunny no drinks.

Just in case!
Just in case!

The second day we started to work through the pantry and freezer, making an inventory list so we would know what we have on hand. This also allowed for some clean up in the pantry area as well. I was not able to get to this since I had work all day and then a happy hour for a coworker who was leaving. Yup, a happy hour on the second day of no spending.

This was my plan for the Happy Hour
This was my plan for the Happy Hour

I had planned that I would just be at the happy hour for a brief hello/goodbye but it turned out to be a really fun (but long) night out. I actually didn’t spend any money but I did have soda instead of water.

Saturday’s task was to do some meal planning. Now that the pantry was inventoried you would be able to plan out meals with what you have. Ok I was behind with the pantry inventory/ cleaning and Saturday came with a desparate need to clean. As soon as I got home from the grocery store (where I of course spent more than I try to keep to because we were out of some staples) I just started to clean, put dishes away and wiping down counters. My husband and boys woke up and came downstairs and it was just magic everyone just knew we needed to clean. While the boys ate their breakfast hubby and I ransacked the kitchen in a cleaning frenzy.

We decided it was time to bring up the corner hutch we received, even though it was not repainted as planned, it was needed. Once the little once was down for his morning nap the big boys (hubby and the 3 yr old) went outside to put away all of the summer stuff and I got to work on reorganizing and cleaning up the pantry. I brought stuff up from the basement pantry storage and added things to the new corner hutch. I was able to clear out a few items that had been open for too long and snack time took care of a few nearly finished items.

Original pantry in the kitchen, can't even tell I had already started to clean before the picture was taken, let alone find anything.
Original pantry in the kitchen, can’t even tell I had already started to clean before the picture was taken, let alone find anything.
New pantry setup in the corner hutch, love the glass doors on the top.
New pantry setup in the corner hutch, love the glass doors on the top.

I felt so accomplished but exhausted by noon. After lunch it was family nap-time! Just three days in and I am feeling so motivated. I also canceled a few things that would save us a bit as well, though most won’t save this month it is still a step in the right direction. I canceled a premium TV channel package we were really not utilizing, my Audible account is on the list, I just have to use my credit before I can cancel, and a few other items are on the list to review and hopefully cancel soon.

Are you in on the challenge? How did your first few days go? I can’t wait to see what the next challenge task will be.

Trying to catch up, when you are doing too much

My to do list has been getting out of control! I am barely crossing one thing off my list and write down two or three more. I have tried to brain dump and just get overloaded with what is in front of me. I have so much that I just want to get done but can’t seem to figure out what my first step needs to be.

Ok, take a breath and back away from the pen and paper. Stop and think, what can I do RIGHT now. The bags can be packed for tomorrow, pick out the outfits for the boys and set the coffee up. Great! I am feeling better already. Ok, now what can I get done, recycling, done!

Getting things off your list can be as simple as that but we all know these are not the only things that need to be done. There are so many things running through your head, I know I am there with you. Getting these simple tasks done and out of the way helps me create the brain space I need to work on the bigger items without (ok, with less) distraction.

I have found that if I can stop worrying about the little things like the dirty dishes all over my kitchen. The dishwasher was full and running so we were not able to load the dishes as we finished dinner like we usually do, so yes this is on my mind right now. Keeping order where I can helps me remain focused and less stressed.

So how do you find order when there is just so much chaos? I did the quick things that I could check off my list, then moved to the next thing that I could just do, but what happens when you have now spent your only 20 minutes available on cleaning the dishes up because it was the low hanging fruit and you don’t have time to clip the coupons before you head to the store.

Sometimes just checking things off your list makes it more difficult to complete the important things. When you just focus on what the next thing is, you lose track of the priorities. Although I am feeling overwhelmed with all the things on my list, my priorities are the same, I am simply adding too many things to do, that probably can wait.

I have been working on redoing my priorities list so that I can focus better on the must dos and start to let things go a bit. What are the MOST important things in my life right now that require my attention – I need these to practically smack me in the face every day right now so that I make sure to build the rest of my day to be purposeful for these things.

I am working on making sure that my daily goals and to-dos are focused around the big picture I am working to paint. This reorganization will help me let go of all those little things. Lets face it, making sure that the cupboard doors are all closed is not really going to help me write my blog posts any better, even though I would like to think it would.

Are you focusing too much on the little things and losing the time you need to be do actually working on the important things? How can you refocus yourself to let the little things go?

A De-cluttering Breakthrough, Finally!

The basement clutter was looming, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I put it up here to make sure I followed through and it haunted me.

I had cleaned up a few things here and there, but not much. Every day I went down to grab something for lunches or dinner, every time I switched the laundry around. It was staring back at me, taunting. I finally thought I was at my breaking point in trying to get to it.

I never get time in the house to myself where I can spend an hour or two to work through all of it. I couldn’t work during the kids naps because it would make too much noise. I made up my mind on Friday that I was going to skip the festival over the weekend that we go to every year. I plastered my “I am saying No” all over the internet and to everyone so that I would just get this done.

I hated making this decision just to clean up, but it had to happen. I talked it over with my husband and I was going to stay home while he took the boys to the festival so I could have the house to myself. How could I feel so excited, and disappointed at the same time. I felt like a failure for having to resort to skipping out of family time so that I could clean.

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It was pretty bad, this was months and months of build up. Every time we were done with some of the baby stuff, toys or anything that just needed to be given a home it went to this room in the basement. I have cleaned it up a few times over the last year, but only one part at a time and I always kept too much. I needed to be ruthless and just do it all in one day.

Saturday morning came, I went and did the grocery shopping in the early morning like I always do, came home and was trying to get a mental list of what I was going to do. I couldn’t get my head away from what I was going to be missing later in the afternoon when everyone else was going to head out to the festival.

I made a bargain with my self to try to get everything. I  went downstairs right after breakfast and got right to work. If I was able to get enough done then I would reconsider going to the festival.

I just stared at the disaster in front of me and could not figure out where to start. There was just STUFF EVERYWHERE, my brain shut down. In retrospect this is probably why I never really accomplished cleaning this are before. Since it was a combination of so many different things there were so many decisions that needed to be made.

I took a deep breath and realized I had already pulled out all of the old containers I had saved for a someday project. I had set them to the side to recycle so I grabbed those bins and took them to the recycling. Once in the garage I cleaned up a small bit of things so I could take pictures of the items I wanted to post online to sell. I reorganized a little and felt a ping of energy to get this done!

Back in the basement I just started to move, making quick decisions on things I knew. I packed up the baby stuff we were storing away and got those into the storage part of the basement. Then I moved some items to get to what I call the Gift box, a box full of the little items, I pick up here and there that  I use a gifts. I cleaned that up, and put in a better plan to not be buried. Then tacked the book shelves, removing the coffee cups we kept as overflow that are no longer needed (off to be sold) and just like that I was flying through some of these decisions.

I had a pile of things that truly belonged upstairs or needed to be reviewed my more than just me, a pile of things to put in the next garage sale, more recyclable and trash.

Honestly in less than an hour I had made a huge dent. There was still more to be done but I felt accomplished. I needed to take a break because with all the noise being made (I kept sneezing from the dust) the boys knew I was down there and kept calling for me. I took up the load of laundry that was dry (yup I was even getting the laundry done at the same time) and spent a bit of time with everyone. My husband was astonished by how different the room looked with the small amount of time I had actually spent on it.

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It was a good time to take a break so the little one could take a nap. While we worked on getting him down for a bit I played with my 3-year-old. We read some of the books I brought upstairs and enjoyed a bit of quiet time as well. unfortunately the little one did not take too much of a nap but we had fun playing around for a bit. Just before lunch time we decided to get ready to go.

After a quick shower I was getting ready but still feeling the urge to clean more. My bedroom is another sanctuary for the miscellaneous items in need of a home (my dresser especially). This is another room I wanted to work on in my time alone, but now feeling the need to go to the festival and not miss out on the memories with my family I had to let it go. Instead as I got dressed I took a hard look at some of my clothes in the closet.

I had just gone through the clothing recently and cleaned out quite a bit, but I still felt like there was more to do. I started to just pull things off the hanger and stared at it. If I didn’t see myself actually able to wear it in the next 6 months on the bed it was thrown. I was surprising myself with the quick decisions I was making. Some of the clothes that were once my favorites I was finally able to let them go.

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I was able to get all of my shirts back in order and found so much more room!

After all of that I was able to go and enjoy the family time at the festival. I know there is a lot more to get through in the basement and in my bedroom but being able to get it done without kicking everyone else out was a huge accomplishment for me.