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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for Family and Finance

Sep
28

Breakfast and Lunch For Busy Mom

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Sunday nights are busy at my house because we do meal prep for the week so weekday mornings are easy and fast. Setting up breakfast and lunch on Sunday means you can worry about other things on Monday morning, like finding your kids left shoe, or their Chromebook charger. With food taken care of, I can get to working earlier. A lot depends on your kids personal tastes but here is what our family does for breakfast and lunch for school weeks.

 

Breakfast

I always have an assortment of cereals in the house – preferably not super sugary or marshmallowy cereals. Bagels and cream cheese, oatmeal, frozen waffles, and frozen cinnamon sticks are available too. But some weeks the kids want something different or it’s a test week and high-protein meals are necessary. Enter baked omelets. The recipe is so easy, mix a dozen eggs with some milk (or half and half, which my family prefers), add a little salt and pepper and pour into muffin tins until each cup is half full. Add in anything you like, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, spinach, ham, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, whatever your family loves in omelets. Bake for about 20 minutes on 350 degrees. The eggs will puff up as they finish cooking but will settle down after they cool. 

These microwave well and store easily in a large plastic container or even a zip-lock bag. When the kids wake up, they can place a couple of the egg muffins on a plate and microwave for about thirty seconds. You can make different egg muffins for different people. My husband loves pepperoni in his egg muffins but my kids prefer ham. I make one batch for each without a lot of extra work. I always sneak in a veggie, and as long as it’s not onions, the kids still eat them. Since you can make twelve egg muffins per tray and bake up to four trays at once, that’s breakfast for the whole week done in twenty minutes. 

 

Lunch 

School lunches may be convenient but the cost adds up and if your child has food allergies or sensitivities, packing lunch is the way to go. Making lunches every morning is a tiresome chore, try making all the lunches on Sunday night instead. Here is how we do lunch: 

  • You will need to get a few clear, space-saver bins to store the sandwiches in the fridge. 
  • Figure out how many sandwiches you need for the week. My house needs 15 sandwiches (three kids times five days). 
  • Lay out the bread you will need on a clean counter or table. Get creative and change it up every week. My kids favorites are flour tortillas or Hawaiian Sweet Buns (they make them in hamburger size or slider size). Sandwich bread does not tend to hold up all week like the tortillas or the buns. The options are endless for breads. 
  • Put condiments such as mayo and mustard first but only a thin layer as these sandwiches are for the whole week and no one likes a soggy sandwich. If you prefer, you can buy little packets of mayo and mustard and put them on the side to prevent sogginess. 
  • Next put the meat, cheese, and place any veggies such as lettuce or tomatoes on last. This order prevents sogginess. 
  • Meat choices are limited but cheese options can be changed often as can the veggies. My kids go nuts for aged white cheddar with ham but also love turkey with Colby Jack. 

Read More→

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Jul
16

What Chores Can My Children Do?

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Do Boy with Choresyou have children over the age of four? Then you have children old enough to do chores. Children need play time, trust me they will find the time to play, but chores are necessary for them and for you. Remember one of our jobs as parents is to raise children up to be adults that are an asset to society, not a debt. Teaching responsibility is one of the most important parenting functions. How do you teach responsibility? By putting your children in charge of cleaning up after themselves and others. Teach them young, so they will understand they will need to clean more than just their messes. When they become parents, if not sooner, they will be cleaning up after children and their spouse.

Here is a list of age appropriate chores children should be doing. They live under your roof, do not teach them their room and board are free, or they will expect life to be free.

0-1 year – Not a whole lot you can do at this age for chores. Let them learn to use their bodies, chores later.

2-3 years – This is the magical age where children want to use their new-found abilities to help so they can be a big kid and are capable of the biggest messes. Hand them a few plates to put by the sink, let them help unload unbreakable dishes. Let them retrieve the condiments for dinner and put them on the table. Most importantly, teach them to pick up the stuff they pull out. Many kids this age will want to follow mom or dad around and help because it seems big and they want to be big. Promote the idea of being big.

4-5 years – This age can clean their room without help, not well, but they can. Expect to go in and help organize every once in a while, kids this young seem to not understand organizing, make sure they see your organizing and understand why you’re organizing. Other chores include:
Sweeping up the dust after you sweep with a handheld dustpan and broom.
Cleaning the toilets
Cleaning the counter tops in the kids bathroom
Clearing the table after dinner
Picking up shoes around the house and putting them away
Picking up toys and trash in the backyard
Dusting furniture
Emptying the bathroom trash

The possibilities are endless. Do not put them in charge of a whole chore, instead a portion of a chore. Expect to send them back several times to do the job right, do not forget this step. You remember the old saying, “Any job worth doing, is worth doing right.” While they may need several tries and your head may actually combust from the sock they still missed on the third go picking up the backyard, they really can find that sock. Tell them the sock has chocolate in it, then they will find it, trust me. Read More→

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Jun
12

Summer Tips for Mom Who Work From Home

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerSummer is here. My three kids have been out of school for a full week and we are getting into a routine. I would love to sleep in now that I do not have to wake up and get the kids off to school but my cat is adamantly against me changing her eating schedule to an hour later. Is it legal or effective to duck tape a cats mouth shut? Sometimes she is lenient and lets me sleep until eight. Only if I am a good girl which apparently is not often. Moving on.

What I want to talk about is the sun. I do not let my kids outside (if I can help it) between the hours of noon and four pm for playing or recreation outside, including the pool. Reason number one: my daughter has freckles and red hair. She is more likely to burn… and fast! She also does not tan. Bri is like me. We are ghostly white or lobster red, with little in between. The other two midgets tan to a beautiful golden tan like their father and do not burn as easily. Freckle-Face does not want more freckles, so my hubby and I have put a few summer rules in place.

* No going outside, for more than a few minutes, between the hours of noon and four pm.
* If you are going outside, wear a hat.
* Sunblock is your smelly best friend.
* Pool time is before 10 am or after 4 pm because the sun loves the pool too.
* One hour in the pool and then some time in the shade.

With our summer rules, my children completely avoided sunburns last year. We also avoid places like amusement parks in the summer. They are much more tolerable and fun in the spring or the fall. Trying to explain to my kids they still need sunblock if it’s not summer is a yearly conversation if you are staying outside. Read More→

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mhBLNi8Over the past month, I’ve made a realization that has changed my life.

It’s so simple, but revolutionary: Taking a break from work is the key to getting more done.

I’m not just talking about a break from physical activity. I’ve found I’m even more in desperate need of a mental breather. The chaos that goes on in my tortured little mind is  exhausting.

This has been a radical concept for me. It doesn’t make sense, does it? We think that if we rest, we’ll fall behind. Forget something. Lose productivity. I have a very driven personality, so the thought of relaxing tends to make me stressed. I’m not sure how to do it. Yes, I have issues.

But something changed this past Easter Sunday.

As I pondered Christ’s incredible sacrifice, I felt led to pull the plug on all my normal activity that day and just let my mind focus on Him. I kept the computer shut down. No checking email or Facebook. No doing “just a little bit of work” to get a head start on the week. I resisted the lure of the remote and fought off the impulse to watch “Chopped.”

It felt strange – this mental rest – but I liked it.

At some point during the day, I realized I felt a sense of peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time. And I heard a voice inside me say, “Why don’t you do this every Sunday?

So I have.

It has had some amazing results that I didn’t expect:

  1. I’m more focused and disciplined during the week. I never worked a lot on Sunday, but now I don’t leave it as an option at all. Since I now know that everything work-related needs to be done by Friday or Saturday, I tend to stay on task better during the week.
  2. I hear the Holy Spirit more clearly. I’ve had such an amazing month of spiritual insights. And I directly relate that to my mental rest on Sundays. That discipline of mentally resting on Sunday has carried over to the rest of the week. I’m gradually finding it easier practice mental quietness at times during the week. That’s key to hearing the Holy Spirit speak.

So how does this affect our productivity? The Holy Spirit is our Guide. When we’re hearing Him speak, we go down fewer rabbit trails. We experience a sense of purpose and energy in our work that’s supernatural. Read More→

May
15

How To Spot a Scam Job Offering on Craigslist

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerAs a stay-at-home-mom, I seek opportunities to work from home. I need to be there if one of my midgets is home sick, or for holidays, and for school breaks. Boy was I happy the other day when I found an opportunity on Craigslist that looked promising. This venue has offered little success in the past but you never know. I went in with wide-open eyes ready to find any issue that would tell me this job was a scam. Here’s the breakdown of red flags:

Salary – The first clue a work-at-home-job is too good to be true is the job is for an exorbitant amount of pay. This job offered $600 bi-weekly for twenty hours of work. This was not a red flag, in fact, this gave me hope. The pay broke down to $15 an hour, which is reasonable for a virtual assistant. Be wary of a job offering hundreds or thousands for little to no work or experience.

 

Investing – Even better than a reasonable salary offer, the potential employer did not ask me to “invest” my money. If a job suggests you fronting money to make money working for them,  walk away. If you want to invest money than try MLM, such as Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, or some other such venue. Otherwise, save your money and invest in your own opportunities, not someone else asking you to front the money so they can make cash. 

 

Send Money – The opportunity I found did not have the shaky habit of sending money to potential employees. Who wouldn’t want free money? How could this be bad? You know why. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Why would they send you money before you have done any work for them? Better accept these offers are illegal and they are asking you to do illegal tasks with stolen money. Walk away. 

 

No Interview or Strange Interview – This was the first clue that this job was not real but a potential scam to steal my identity or money. The lady I was corresponding with wanted to communicate via Google Hangouts. She never interviewed me or asked me what skills I had. If she had not asked for my resume, this would have been more of a red flag. Either way, I was cautious at this point. Expect an interview. Expect to communicate via email, phone, and/or video chat where you can see each other face-to-face. Be wary of anything else. 

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Feb
15

Fight the Flu

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina Palmerheart in snowWith the flu season in full gear, us stay-at-home mom’s have the convenience of making a wonderful pot of homemade soup to help our children (and husband and ourselves) get well faster. Not just the flu, but Strep, and bronchitis, and mono, and all the other illness that like to keep our kids home on school days coughing, feverish, and miserable. I will share with you my simple and tasty chicken soup recipe along with a few other tricks I use to combat the woes that come with winter. 

Chicken Soup

3 handfuls of angel hair pasta or egg noodles or potatoes (5 medium potatoes peeled and cut)

5 fresh garlic cloves chopped fine

1 medium white onion chopped fine

2 containers of chicken broth or stock 

1 can of cream of chicken soup (preferably the Aldi brand or one without creepy ingredients like MSG)

1 bag frozen mixed veggies 

4 cups of water

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

 

To taste, sage, thyme, garlic salt, onion powder, bay leaves, salt, and pepper

Start by sautéing the chicken in olive or coconut oil then add in the fresh garlic and onion until everything is a golden brown. Pour in the chicken broth or stock and mix in cream of mushroom soup and water. Add in spices and bring to a boil. Next, put in pasta or potatoes and bring back to a boil until cooked through. Add in the flaxseed and allow to boil for another minute or two. Serve. 

Other tips I swear by (to compliment traditional medicine or by themselves):

Anointing oil – I pray over my babies when they are sick. God can surely handle a cold!

Essential oils in a diffuser – I love eucalyptus to help open the nose and germ fighter (also called four thieves) to kill germs in the air. Oils can also be mixed with a carrier oil and put on the body. I suggest lavender for almost everything.  

Wet sock treatment – This is a new one in my repertoire been using for a few months and found to be quite effective (please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns before trying). The purpose of this treatment is to force your (or your child’s) immune system into overdrive. 

Take one pair of white regular socks and place in a bowl to soak of ice and water. Soak your child feet in warm water in the tub or in a foot tub for ten minutes. After ten minutes, put the wet socks (wring them out first) on the child’s feet and then put dry thick wool socks (if you don’t own wool socks, use two pair of thick socks or fuzzy socks) put the child to bed and make sure they are covered up in a blanket and warm pajamas. This has brought fevers down every time and stopped others in the house from getting sick.  Read More→

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Feb
05

Leader…Or Not?

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Tracey Eyester - Every MOMent Counts

Is she, or isn’t she, a leader; Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin?  That question seems to be on everyone’s lips.  Lipstick or not.

That question has caused me to take a step back, peer into the mirror and wonder how I would answer that question about myself.

My initial thought…I used to be a leader.  I was a Paralegal in one of the top law firms in South Florida with offices on the island of Palm Beach.  The attorneys I worked for recognized my leadership abilities and trusted me with free reign on the projects I worked on.  I ended up becoming somewhat of an expert in my field because the firm specialized in Equity Country Club conversions and ultimately I ended up on the leadership team of a start up club in Stuart, Florida and then the Membership/Marketing Director of an exclusive golf club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  Not long after that, the unexpected happened – I was blessed with a pregnancy, though the doctors told me I would never get pregnant.

What is a woman (who is a leader) to do when faced with a fulfilling job and motherhood looming on the horizon?  In my opinion, a woman and her husband are to pray, seek God and determine what is best for her (and their) plans for the future.  Once you know God’s desire you then have to act on it, make that tough decision – even if it requires sacrifice.  Isn’t that really what leadership is after all?

In my leadership roles in the business world I have had the best of business plans, put them into action and then circumstances changed and suddenly the perfect business plan had to be altered.  To quote the US Marine Corps, “adjust and adapt” … that is the role of a leader.

Yes, I enjoyed my career, but the tough decision for me was to leave my job, and the sacrifice was to sell our large golf course dream home and move into a 1,400 square foot home in an entirely different type of neighborhood.

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Nov
30

Need an Upgrade?

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Takiela Bynum - Hope for Young WomenWoman in worship positionHave you ever felt like something is missing in your life? I think most of us have at one point or another. We’ve tried filling the “something” with all types of things. We may try drugs, sex, alcohol, food, friends, family, materialistic things, success, or even activities to stuff into that gaping hole in our soul. Soon we realize no matter what we try to fill the hole with, nothing seems to satisfy that missing element in our lives. Sometimes we wonder aimlessly throughout our lives in search of a way to fill a God-sized hole.

Let me tell you sweetheart, there is NOTHING on this earth that has the capability to complete you like Christ!

Yes, life can be a hard at times. There are days you may feel like everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. Not mention the days when you cry yourself to sleep or feel like screaming at the top of your lungs out of anger and frustration, plus the times when the blows of life will literally knock you off your feet.

Usually during hardships people will turn to drugs, sex, alcohol, etc. to help them cope with the issues they are having at that particular moment. However, this kind of coping mechanisms is temporary and when the high descends, the drunkenness sobers, or the binge has ended, the problem is waiting with an open hand to smack you back into the harsh reality of its unrelenting embrace.

This God-sized hole that we long to fill will not be satisfied with temporal fixes. No sweetie, that will never be enough! Read More→

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Nov
06

Are you a happy CWAHM?

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Most of us know that we moms are the ones who set the tone of our homes (for the most part). Usually our husbands and children know when we aren’t happy.

But do you ever reflect on your own happiness? Or are you so focused on making sure that everyone else is happy that you forget to touch base with your own feelings. As moms it is easy to be continually giving to the extent that we sacrifice ALL, without taking care of ourselves. It is important that we consider our own happiness. When we take care of ourselves we are able to serve our families better.

There are times when I have felt trapped by the pressures of having children, working, cleaning house, and serving at church. I was giving, giving, giving but feeling negative about myself and my ability to get everything done.

In my reading I came found this acrostic in What Happy Working Mothers Know, which helped me put my own happiness in perspective.

Healthy – both physical and mental health

Adaptive

Proud of your family

Proud of your work because that’s who you are

Young at heart

 

Healthy

In what ways are you taking care of yourself physically? Are you getting enough physical activity? I have found that joining a gym keeps me accountable to remain active, when I do so my mind is clearer, I have more energy, and I feel better about myself.

Health carries over to what we eat as well. Are you getting the protein and nutrients you need to carry out our day? I caught myself falling into the habit of not making myself breakfast or lunch while I was feeding the kids because I concluded that they weren’t going to finish what was on their plates anyway, so I might as well just make my meal out of their leftovers which consisted of a few bites of oatmeal from one child and a few bites of honeycomb cereal from another, besides I reasoned that while spooning the baby his mashed banana and cereal, catching the spilled milk from the three year old before it engulfs the table, and reminding the older one not to blow bubbles in his milk, how was I supposed to eat anyway? I’m learning to make sure I eat something substantial as well. The spilled milk can wait, the baby can eat one bite and wait a minute while I take a bite, and does it matter so much that blowing bubbles in their drinks is so entertaining?

Adaptive

Life without children was predictable for the most part. I went to work and came home. It wasn’t a problem getting something done as planned but that doesn’t work anymore. I try to have a general routine for each day, but I never know when it may get interrupted by a refusal to take quiet time, missing children’s shoes when we are trying to get out the door, a urgent need for mommy to help dress a baby doll, and a myriad of other things. When these things arise I am learning to take them in stride, and not expect to be able to adhere to my plan complete but modify it for the day or the moment, just keeping in mind the definite goal of what needs to be accomplished each day. When I become too stressed about carrying out my schedule as planned I quickly become UNHAPPY. Read More→

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Oct
24

Get Your Tickets

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My children are obsessed with electronics, which is completely understandable in a digital world. Most of us carry powerful computers masquerading as phones in our pocket. Everywhere you look are screens, screens, and more screens. Even billboards are digital now. You know everyone who says they have to work or go into the office are really saying, ‘I’m going to go stare at a screen for eight hours.’ Even as a stay-at-home-mom, I am staring at a screen right now. The difference between us parents and the children is we can have some semblance of self-control, our children not so much. Enter tickets to earn electronics.

Go to Walmart (or any other store that sells offices supplies) and find the raffle ticket rolls. I got one roll per child. Alex gets red, Bri gets blue, and Rick gets white. I almost attempted some convoluted method of ticket distribution but decided it was better for all involved if we kept the ticket system simple. I like my sanity, what can I say? So the system is simple:

Do something right and get a ticket.

Go above and beyond and get a ticket.

Do what you are supposed to do and get a ticket.

A ticket gives you 10 minutes of electronic time.

The kids choice of which electronic to spend their time on: iPad, TV, video games, etc.

We do not take away tickets for bad behavior. The only negative from this system is if you don’t do it right, you don’t get a ticket.

That’s it. Simple. We don’t allow our kids electronics on school nights. We want this to be time for homework, chores, playing, and reading, so on Friday night after dinner the kids can start using their tickets. Once they are out of tickets, they are done with tickets for the weekend. It’s our money system. And my kids are going to be hurting this weekend because they have not done their chores properly at all this week and have barely earned any tickets. Their problem, not mine. They had plenty of opportunities to be responsible and earn tickets.

Here are reasons my kids can earn a ticket:

They put their lunchbox and backpack away.

They did their normal daily chore right, without being told.

Their room was clean.

They didn’t leave their stuff downstairs.

They picked up after themselves.

They cleaned something without being told.

They helped each other.

They finished their homework.

They are passing all their classes with no low graded assignments.

I caught them doing something nice.

 

The options are endless for them to earn hours and hours of electronics. But it’s up to them to take the initiative and earn their favorite free time activities.

Now recently, I went to do a load of my daughters’ laundry and was annoyed to find I couldn’t walk into the laundry room without stepping on stuff. Clothes, shoes, and other random stuff was all over my beautiful laundry room floor. I spent a lot of money at Ikea to get the laundry room of my dreams and my kids were messing it up! On top of that, in the laundry basket I had to dig out hangers, books, toys, and clean folded clothes just to find the dirty clothes to put in the wash. I had enough. Now my kiddos have to wash their own clothes between Friday and Sunday. They have to wash, dry, fold and put away their own laundry and it costs them two tickets for the use of my dream laundry room. They think I am mean, but I don’t care. They were mean to my favorite room, and I was done. This wasn’t a one-time offense, this was a constant daily struggle. Now I can walk into my laundry room and walk on the floor, not stuff.

Parents have many jobs as a parent. The most prevalent is teaching your children to be an asset to society and not a drain on society. Moms, we need to make our children so independent that we put ourselves out of a job. Because someday our children are going to be all grown up and they are going to need to take care of themselves. That’s the job, to teach our kids to take care of themselves. Hopefully having to earn their electronics, and pay for the privilege of using my laundry room, will help my kids be a step closer to becoming independent children who will become independent adults.

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