The Moving Game: A Testimony to the Grace of God, part 3

My husband and I have moved seven times in four years. It’s been exciting, stressful, difficult, and exhausting. But God provided for us through the whole thing. I cannot help but share our testimony. (To start at the beginning of the story, read part 1 here).

God’s grace was so evident at this point in our lives. We were poor. We were seeking new employment. Our housing situation was uncertain. We weren’t sure what we were supposed to be doing with our lives.

In a miraculous instant, all of our questions seemed to be answered. My former supervisor from a previous job had just offered BOTH my husband and I jobs serving as missionaries. We would have income, steady work, housing, and purpose.

So, we packed up a U-Haul trailer and embarked on a the two-day drive to our new community. Our bank account was so meager that we had to borrow money from a family member just to rent the trailer and make the move. (I had been employed full-time but wasn’t earning much). We were extremely grateful for the help.

Once we arrived in our new place, our income situation changed immediately. We paid back the family member, started saving, and started being able to pay off some car loans and student loans. Praise be to God! He truly provided this for us.

We were also blessed with our first child during this time. And although I did struggle with some postpartum depression, we were so thankful for a healthy child and to become a little family.

The very first apartment we moved into was…. not nice. I mean, run down, dirty, gaps in the window seals type of an apartment. But it was pretty much the only place available in the town we moved to, where the local industry was growing like crazy and housing was so hard to come by. The rent was also ridiculously expensive.

Again, God provided. After just a few short months of living there, we met a local lady who owned a little “guest house” adjacent her own home. She offered to rent it to us at a much, much more affordable price. The home was clean and safe. We were so thankful! This little home was a much better place for our soon-to-be family of three.

We served as missionaries for two and a half years. We were extremely blessed to meet amazing people and be witnesses for the Lord. We paid off a lot of debt and saved. We started our family. There were countless blessings that God sent us during those two and a half years.

But we knew that this community was not somewhere that we wanted to stay. We felt it wasn’t the safest area for raising a family, and I was quite homesick (and dealing with the postpartum depression). I wanted so badly to return to my home state, but couldn’t see how that could possibly happen.

Guess what? It happened. And it all started with a letter from our landlady asking us to leave.

I’ll talk about that letter, and a series of other events, in part 4.

Dates: The Edible Kind

date fruit

Have you ever eaten a date?

I always thought they were some kind of raisin-y, olden time, snacking only type of dried fruit (read, I’d never try them). But recently, I did some research about the health benefits of dates and decided that I needed to give them a fair shot.

I’ve been trying to cut back, even eliminate, sugar from my diet. Dates are naturally very sweet. So, I tried one.

And then I ate two more.

And then I made some little cookie-balls using dates, coconuts, and a dab of all natural peanut butter.

Dates are wonderful! If you have a sweet tooth, give them a try. They are deliciously sweet and rich, just like a good dessert should be. You can eat them in place of a cookie (I do have a good chocolate cookie recipe if dates aren’t your thing) and not feel guilty about it!

Here are some health benefits of dates:

  • while very sweet, the sugars are natural
  • they are high in fiber
  • they are rich in potassium

Dates also have some protein and will help you stay fuller, longer. You can find all kinds of recipes and ideas online about how to cook with them and prepare them. They are not expensive, either. That’s a win!

If you have been searching for a healthy alternative to your favorite sweet treat, set up a date with a date! 😉

 

How to Make Money from Home without the Internet

Making side income from home doesn’t have to be limited to clicking and typing. Taking surveys, serving as a freelancer, and even blogging have all become popular ways to make money online. But what if spending your precious daytime hours in front of the screen offers little appeal to you?

As a stay-at-home mom, my primary job is taking care of the children and the home. But I also appreciate the value of bringing in a little extra income for my family. In Proverbs 31, the Wife of Noble Character “works with eager hands… out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously… she sees that her trading is profitable… she makes linen garments and sells them” (NIV). In addition to managing her household, she also works to provide some profit, too. She shows us that it is honorable for a woman to raise a family as well as provide for them.

Unfortunately, I still have yet to discover how to make any money from building block towers and washing the dishes. I have, however, found a few ways to make a little extra income without opening up a web browser.

make money from home

Here are three ways to make money from home without using the internet.

Make Money from Home without the Internet

1). Offer Childcare

Remember when you used to babysit? Or perhaps you were the girl who marveled at your other classmates when they talked about how much money they made watching kids over the summer (that was me… I still wonder how those girls did it). Offering childcare is still a perfectly profitable option, even for moms. If you stay at home, you already have a safe, child-friendly environment available. Would you consider watching someone else’s child or children, in addition to your own?

Providing at-home child care lets you determine what hours you are available, the age of the children you would be willing to care for, and the number of children you’d feel comfortable tending to throughout the day. You can set your own boundaries as well as your charges.

Offering at-home child care allows you to make money while continuing to care for your own children. Plus, many parents seek out alternative childcare situations other than daycare. You might find that your services are in high demand!

2). Provide a Service

What kinds of services can be offered directly from your home? A few ideas are: music lessons, tutoring, sewing and altering, or language classes. A service is something that you can provide to benefit others. The options are pretty endless; you can be creative.

Here is a real life example. I provided beginner piano lessons at my home. I started with one young student and charged $10 per half hour lesson. Now, ten dollars a week might seem pretty minimal. But if you teach, let’s say, five students, than ten dollars turns into $50 dollars a week, or about $200 a month. That’s a wonderful monthly contribution toward your family’s income!

Providing piano lessons is just one example. Do you play an instrument or sing? Do you have a skill that could aid others? You might have to do some thinking. But if you get creative and determine what kind of a need you could fill, providing a service from home might be a great fit for you.

3). Sell a Product

This is perhaps my favorite option, simply because the options are so vast and varied. If you’re crafty, creative, artistic, or agricultural, this option is probably a good one for you. What kind of a good or product could you make and sell directly from your home?

Some ideas are (but definitely not limited to): artwork, paintings, knitted items, handmade clothing, chocolates and candies, handmade greeting cards, baked goods, natural soaps and beauty products, maple syrup, honey, fresh garden produce, floral bouquets, hand crafted home décor, jewelry, stories and poetry, handmade puzzles and games, and… a plethora of other options.

It’s likely you have purchased a homemade good from someone you know. It’s a great idea to learn from them about how much time they spend on their product, how they market it, and what the overall commitment is like. I’ll bet they would be happy to share their knowledge with you.

Make Money from Home without the Internet

As you can see, there are still plenty of money-making opportunities that don’t require any tech-savvy knowledge. Maybe one of these options would be a good fit for you.

If you are a stay-at-home mom or desire to be a work-at-home mom, consider one of these options. Pray about it, and discuss ideas with your husband and family. If you’re hoping to earn just a little extra cushion income or even a significant amount, there are ways to accomplish your goals.

And if working online is the best fit for you, that’s wonderful! But in case computer work is not your first choice, think outside the box and get creative. There are still plenty of ways to make money from home by offering childcare, providing a service, or selling a good. How has the Lord blessed you in order to help others?

What kinds of ways have you made money from home? What advice would you offer someone who wants to try it?

 

Simple and Sweet Brownie Cookies

When you’re in the mood for something sweet, chocolatey, and easy to make, this recipe is for you. It combines the all-too-famous delicacy of the brownie with the simplicity of a basic cookie recipe. These cookies are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle. They’re dark and delectable.

I did some experimenting (with the help of my baker-extraordinaire toddler) and came up with a yummy combination. These cookies can be ready for munching in about 17 minutes (or less) and the recipe only uses six ingredients.

They’re an appropriate choice for the chocolate lover, the cookie lover, the sweets lover, and the baking lover. So… to cut to the chase, here is the recipe!

brownie cookie

Easy Brownie Cookie Recipe

Yield: about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stick of salted butter
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 7/8 cup of flour

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter and coconut oil. I just put both ingredients in a bowl and microwaved them for a little bit.
  2. Add in the egg and mix. The egg does not need to be well beat.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine. The batter will be thick and will resemble brownie batter.
  4. Drop spoonful size amounts of batter onto a non-stick cookie sheet. (You can also lay down aluminum foil on your cookie sheet). The size of the drops of batter will be about one and a half inches in diameter.
  5. Slightly flatten each cookie, and sprinkle a little bit of white sugar on top of each one.
  6. Bake the cookies at 370 degrees for 8 minutes 30 seconds.

Enjoy these delectable chocolate creations with your favorite little bakers and a fresh glass of milk.

 

 

Minimal Cleaning Supplies: Keeping Your Home Clean with only 3 Products

I’m a minimalist; I really do like to keep things simple.

Once our children arrived, I knew I wanted the cleaning supplies cupboard to reflect that personality trait. So, I set out every bottle, jug, and cleaning supply I had on my kitchen countertop and weeded down my stash to just three items. I’ve been using only three items for a few years now, and I haven’t needed anything else. Here are the only three cleaning supplies I keep in my home.

Three Handy Cleaning Supplies for a Minimalist Cleaning Cupboard

  1. Bleach. It’s kind of hard to do without bleach, as it comes in handy for laundry and tough stains. It helps to super-sanitize stinky dish rags and towels and helps reverse messes from potty accidents and other mishaps.
  2. All-purpose cleaner. I use my all-purpose cleaner on my floors, in my sinks, and in my toilet bowls. It’s a very useful item whenever something needs to be disinfected or when an appliance could use a thorough, deep cleaning.
  3. Glass-cleaner. This iconic blue spray-bottle cleaner is just… nice. Wiping smudges from windows, refreshing mirrors, or giving the glass oven-top a quick wipe down is so easy when you can apply a few squirts and wipe the grime away.

That’s it! Keeping my cleaning supplies minimal saves me money and saves me space. I store these three items up high where the kids cannot reach them. The only things that live in the cupboard under my kitchen sink are cleaning rags, a sponge or two, and some brown paper bags (you never know when you might need one, I guess).

If you are feeling overwhelmed by how cluttered your cleaning supplies cupboard has gotten, try weeding down. It’s nice to know that you can keep your home clean with only a few things on hand!

How to Decorate When Your Kids are Young

Making the home is plain ol’ fun. Many moms enjoy “feathering their nest” by arranging the furniture and decorating each room. But when there are little feet stomping around and busy fingers that want to get into everything, it’s pretty much impossible to create that Pinterest-perfect home design look.

I’ve come to accept the sight of my home decorated with scattered toys, dropped books, toilet paper pyramids, and breakfast crumbs. That’s just life. But I’ve also found a way to enjoy decorating my home while keeping things practical for the little ones, too. Here are a few ideas.

  • IMG_0081 (2)Keep things simple. The fewer of your precious items that are out and about, the less your kids will be temped to tamper with them. I love my vintage fan. By placing in the back corner of my antique corner table, the little ones can’t reach it. (That way I get to look at it and they can’t touch it).
  • Include kiddie items as a part of your furniture arrangement. This little bookshelf looks cute and is easily accessible for the kids.
  • Decorate with your children’s art. Believe it or not, that painting was created by my toddler. I simply put it in a nice frame, and bingo! It looks like a statement piece.

 

IMG_0079 (2)Here is another way to decorate with kids: combine one of your favorite items with theirs. This is my antique school desk used as a toy station. Inside the cubby are puzzles and search books. (By the way, don’t be fooled. My house is never clean. I picked up right before I took these pictures).

These are just a few ideas. Everyone has a completely unique decorating and homemaking style. Find what works for you and your kids. Happy homemaking!

 

 

Wet Shaving for Women: 3 Reasons to Try It

Old-timey stuff is coming back in style, and shaving is no exception. Over the last handful of years, the traditional wet shaving movement has been growing by leaps and bounds. There tons of new shaving products, new businesses, and new hobbyists. But, what is traditional wet shaving? It seems like a guy thing. Can women try it, too?

You bet!

wet shaving pic

“Traditional wet shaving” is the long term used for shaving with old-fashioned (or traditional) methods: a shaving brush, some shave soap, and a safety razor or straight razor (pictured above is a safety razor). Here is a really simplistic, brief overview of how wet shaving works:

The brush is moistened and used to create a fluffy lather from the soap and then is brushed on the areas of skin that are going to be shaved. The safety razor uses what’s called a double-edged blade (both edges of the blade are sharp and can be used for shaving) to shave the skin.

That’s basically it. (For more in-depth instructions, I encourage you to check out some YouTube videos. There are TONS of them out there and they are very detailed).

It looks kind of scary and daunting at first, but give it a try and you’ll be hooked. Here are my top three reasons why traditional wet shaving is for women, too.

Traditional Wet Shaving for Women

  1. It’s the perfect shave. Welcome to the closest, best shave of your life. Safety razor shaving truly cuts the hair right down to the skin without creating irritation. Your legs (and any other areas you wish to shave) will stay smoother, longer. Yes to that!
  2. It’s cheaper. In the long run, converting to traditional wet shaving equipment will save you money. If you’re like me, you dread putting cartridge razors on your shopping list and then scanning the store aisle for the cheapest option that doesn’t look like it would massacre your legs. When you learn how to use a safety razor, you’ll be saving money. (And you won’t look like you just walked through a thorn bush).
  3. You’ll feel pampered. This is my absolute favorite reason for wet shaving. My skin feels so smooth. The soaps are moisturizing, natural, and healthy for your skin. There are so many beautifully crafted soaps and scents to choose from. I look forward to every shaving session! (As a mom, getting some pampering time is definitely something I look forward too).

There you have it! Three great reasons why women can use traditional wet shaving. I hope this brief overview whet your appetite a little bit. I’m planning more posts about women’s wet shaving soon, including lists of my favorite soaps, brushes, and razor.

Are you a wet shaver? Why do you enjoy it?