How “A Simple Life Too” Almost Became A Beast

A_Simple_Life_Too_Almost_Became_Beast

I have lost my way.

Somehow, over the past year, my blog went from being about how I can help others’ live a simpler life, sharing what my journey to simplify has been like, and what God is doing in my life, to being about how to make money with my blog.

A Simple Life Too became a “Beast” when I stopped blogging about my heart and what I wanted to write about and it became about “how can I make some money.”

I am sorry.

So, I am sort of starting over again.

No, I won’t get rid of the content I currently have, as some of it really is useful. But I am going back to why I am writing in the first place – by making sure everything I post is because I want to post it, because I hope it really is something that might be useful to others, and / or it is something that truly brings me joy.

I also am not going to fight my life to post more often.

I have a baby. I have three other children. I homeschool, nurse the baby, clean the house, spend time with my husband, and have quality time and  conversation with the folks in my church community.

I live, then I write. I can not continue to live to write.

I will write about our homeschool experience, from the humble perspective of what I have learned so far and what God is showing me WE should do.

I will write about what God is doing in my life and speaking truth. I will probably write about the Biblical holidays.

I might write about how I am working with my children and trying to encourage them. I might also write about our issues with food and how we are trying to eat healthier… and sometimes failing miserably.

I might write about how I really want to go to Disneyland / Disneyworld or some other aspect of my desire to travel. I might still write about trying to work from home… and what has worked and hasn’t worked for us there so far.

I might even come up with something new. We will see…

I would love to hear from you. What did you like and/or did not like from A Simple Life Too this year.

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Hanukkah

Biblical_Holidays_HanuakkahThis year, Hanukkah begins sundown Sunday, December 6th and ends sundown, Monday, December 14th.

Hanukkah is frequently referred to as the “Jewish Christmas,” however, that is quite far from the truth.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Hanukkah is actually the Feast of Dedication and is based on the miracles that God did for the Maccabees during the time of occupation of Jerusalem after the expansion of Alexander.

Basically, the Jews stated that they would not be Paganized or Hellenized, and continued to be faithful to Yawh even in the face of death. The Maccabees fought to take back the Jewish Temple, which had been desecrated. When they took back the temple, part of the ritual to re-dedicate the temple to God was to burn oil in the menorah for 8 days. However, there was not enough oil and it would take a week to prepare more.

Since our God is a God of miracles and loves showing His faithfulness to His people, He kept the menorah lamps burning for the 8 days with only the one day of oil.

We now celebrate this week every year and it is a time to re-dedicate our hearts to God / Jesus.

 



Learn about different ways Christians are celebrating Hanukkah through our Link-up:


Cancel Black Friday, Save The World

Cancel Black FridayMy movement (or cause) in my last post, Cancel Halloween, Save The World, just wasn’t radical enough. 7 billion of the 30 billion needed per year to end world hunger was a good dent, but I want more.

I want world hunger ended – and abortion and crime and lots of things – but I am trying to focus on one movement here!

Therefore, I propose that we end Black Friday. Just don’t spend that $50 billion dollars this year on STUFF!

Yes, that would do it. That would be more than we need or maybe just enough to help us get ahead of the problem.

Instead of purchasing the STUFF, donate the money to a relief aid organization like World Vision and their Gift Catalog. Purchase a cow for a family (or a goat or a well or a chicken, garden tools and much more). Then they can have some milk and start breeding the cows and make more cows, and then they can give a cow someday to someone else in need… and so on. What a great gift! And you can donate the gift in someone else’s name – a dual gift :-)

If you really want to give a physical gift to someone, consider purchasing a handcrafted, artisan gift through World Vision’s Gifts With A Cause or another Fair Trade organization. This is also a dual gift as the money mostly goes back to the artisan and their village and helps the whole community move towards self sufficiency. Please note that I am an affiliate for Gifts With A Cause.

What Cause or Movement are you fighting and praying for?

A Simple Life Too Gives Thanks

What_A_Simple_Life_Too_Is_Thankful_ForI am thankful for SO MUCH and I hope to encourage others to take time this year to think about what they are thankful for – so along with my list, I am participating in a link-up AND co-hosting the link-up with some other very grateful ladies.

I am thankful for…

  • God’s provision this year in the midst of job loss – now my husband has a better job.
  • The freedom to homeschool how God has shown me to, not someone else thinks I should. This is good since we are doing more delight directed learning and unit studies this year.
  • Blogging as a healthy, personal time outlet.
  • My girls and especially for my new baby at 45 years of age!
  • God, my husband and my community for getting me through a tough pregnancy.
  • Having place to live that we can afford and flexible landlords (who we are also blessed to call friends) that understand our rough time this year.
  • My husband, who is working hard to overcome much.
  • God who is helping me to overcome many struggles and issues.
  • Our church community, who has walked with us through all kinds of things and has loved and supported us.
  • Kind neighbors and friends for our children.
  • Grasping the understanding that God is good, that He wants what is best for me, and what Grace really is.
  • A fun provision in our family’s (the girls and I) pet sitting business.

There are probably more and I reserve the right to update this post as I think of them :-)

Now for the link-up. Please share what you are thankful for this holiday and/or any Thanksgiving related posts you would like to link with us. Please also visit all of the hosts and some of the other link-ees. Sharing posts of others is always a blessing.

Thankful

Alisha @ Alisha In Progress

Connect at: Google Plus | Pinterest

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April @ A Simple Life Too

Connect at: Google Plus | Facebook | Pinterest

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Hannah @ Shining Stars Magazine

Connect at: Google Plus

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Joy @ Artful Homemaking

Connect at: Facebook | Google Plus | Pinterest | Twitter

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Joy @ Blog Of Joy

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Leticia @ King Maker Blog

Connect at: Facebook | Pinterest

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Naomi @ What Joy Is Mine

Connect at: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

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The Ladies @ Radical Femininity

Connect at: Facebook | Google Plus | Pinterest | Twitter

 

Super Simple Homeschooling: How You Can Homeschool For Less Than $20 Per Year (Per Child)

Super_Simple_Homeschool_Less_Than_20_per_yearHave you taken a financial hit this year? Are you struggling to pay for your homeschool supplies, curriculum, field trips, etc…?

Maybe, like us, your spouse lost their job at some point during the year. Or maybe, like us, you have a new addition to the family. Or like us, your children are growing and consuming more and more. Maybe you have been struggling for awhile, ever since mom gave up her job and agreed to stay home and homeschool the children.

I am here to share with you our own experience and encourage you – you CAN homeschool for as little as $20 a year per child.



Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Acceptance

If you don’t accept where you are at, that you simply don’t have the money for all those shiny, new homeschool books this year, you can waste a lot of time and energy and you will have trouble moving forward and actually get going with your homeschooling.

Once I accepted that the money just wasn’t going to be there for workbooks, textbooks, learning toys, etc… this year, I was able to shift gears and get creative with what I did have, and I started to brainstorm what I COULD do for homeschool this year.

Get Basic Supplies

Most of your budget will to go to the basics: binders / notebooks, paper, pencils, erasers, glue, scissors and crayons.

If you opt to go with some of the free online options (see below) for homeschooling, then instead of the supplies above, you will need to invest your budget in printer ink and printer paper. We choose to make sure our children are doing some writing by hand and we are doing some learning online, so we got all the supplies – notebooks, paper, ink, etc… With the cost shared across 3 children, we are still well under our $20 per child budget.

We purchased the printer ink online with Amazon, the paper (both writing and printer) at Walmart, and the supplies at Walmart during their back to school sales.

Search The Thrift Stores

Next, find your local thrift store, especially any outlet stores, and take a few hours to go through their books.

I did not even come up with this idea. My brother-in-law, knowing that we were struggling this year, went to our local thrift outlet store called the Youth Ranch Outlet. He and his significant other spent an hour or so going through the large bins of books and came up with a dozen or so very useful books. Things like science encyclopedias and science experiment books, old math textbooks, barely used kindergarten workbooks and a great math games book.

We will make use of these by reading the science books, doing experiments with stuff we already have, having the children copy passages from the books, practicing spelling words, and more. They then get LA / English out of this too. We will use the kindergarten books for our kindergartener. I did purchase three kindergarten workbooks from Rod and Staff. They are only $3.60 each plus shipping. If you are a Christian based homeschool, they have some inexpensive curriculum available through Milestone Books.

I will state that we have half of our Story of the World History curriculum leftover from last year (which was given to us free), so that is how we are doing history.

For art, we are doing play-dough, creating our own paper dolls, coloring in dollar store coloring books, practicing drawing, making cards and looking for ideas all around us.

Find The Free Online Apps and Printables

For Math, there are LOTs of free online options. You really just need to decide which option you want. You could also use old textbooks for a baseline and write your own math problems weekly.

We have found some free online tests and games, free online printables, and we are also going to give Khan Academy a try, although as of this writing, we haven’t started yet.

There are many more apps and online learning sites to explore – more than you could ever visit in a lifetime. Just start with a topic and do a search. For example, if you want to teach your children about bugs, just Google “learn about bugs” or “homeschool bugs free printables or lessons.”

And Then There Is The Library

Even if your children don’t read yet or don’t like to read, you can read to them. Everything you would ever want to learn and teach your children is available. Have them copy passages of important information or summarize what they read.

I hope this helps you homeschool your family this year and you will be able to see it as a joy and an exciting challenge. This isn’t everything we are doing, so please ask questions about what you are wanting or needing in the comments below.

If you would like some additional encouragement, check out my post: Homeschooling From The Bottom 10%.

If you have a little more budget to purchase curriculum this year, I have curated some Books, Homeschool Curriculum, and School Supply Deals, Discount Codes, and Coupon Codes for you at: I’ve Got A Deal For That!

 

Cancel Halloween, Save The World

Cancel_Halloween

I am going to make this really simple – according the UN, it would take about a $30 billion dollar a year investment to eradicate world hunger. According to CNN, we spend about $7 billion dollars per year, just on Halloween. That is almost 1/4 of the needed money spent on one holiday. So lets just cancel the indulgence of non-food (i.e. candy) for one day per year and all the stuff that comes with it, and invest the money in seeds, farm animals, tools, wells, small business loans, and the such and the poor in the world will be that much closer to having what it needs.

Can it get any simpler than that?

I say start the movement now – CANCEL HALLOWEEN and SAVE THE WORLD!

I do have to add a little note. When you take your Halloween money and give it instead, please be sure to invest it into an organization with very little overhead so the money gets out to the communities. Also, be sure to invest it into an organization that invests in the community, not just gives handouts of food that will run out, but gives them what they need to grow, make, purchase their own food.

What other things can we give up to help the poor and get rid of world hunger?

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Gifts With A Cause

Amazing Deal Of The Day: 10% To 70% Off Of Children’s Clothing

Being a Mom Blogger means I am a mom. As a mom trying to clothe my girls in a pretty way, yet within a small budget, I spend a lot of time doing research, looking for deals and coupons, going through clearance racks, and more. Being a blogger means I have access to affiliate programs which allow me to find coupons and deals that I can pass on to you.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Here are the current deals and coupons that are available through my blog:

Children’s Apparel (Children’s Clothing)

Crazy 8 Sale On Now! Gymboree Sale On Now!
kids rain wear FREE SHIPPING
Find Styles Perfect for Any Special Occasion at Tea Collection

Amazing Deal Of The Day: $10 Off Holiday Photo Cards

I keep getting these great holiday photo cards in the mail each year and I love to put them on my fridge. You know the ones, with the beautiful, happy, smiling families with the brief happy holiday greeting, that usually comes with the family letter that I get totally envious about because I am just not that organized and together to actually put them together for our family!!!

25% off holiday greeting and invitation orders using the code FIRSTLOOK25, 8/12-8/18
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

But this year, I resolve to get our photos taken and use a great site like Shutterfly to make the cards and get them sent out to our friends and family.

If you haven’t gotten in on sending the cards yet or you are looking for a more professional service to create them with, here is a link with a promo code for $10 off your order: 10OFF10. Get started now, as this deal only lasts until the 18th of this month.

If you aren’t ready to order yet, watch my “I’ve Got A Deal For That” page, as I will add new promo codes as they come out.

The fine print of the promo:

Offer expires October 18, 2015 (11:59 P.M. PT). Offer is good for one free set of address labels or $10 off an order of $10 or more (after any other discounts and before taxes, shipping and handling) through shutterfly.com or our mobile-friendly site. Must select one of the two offers listed. Valid only for new Shutterfly customers (those who have never purchased from Shutterfly). Offer cannot be redeemed more than once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Not valid on TripPix, personalized postage stamps, other products, prepaid plans, gift certificates, Videograms, cards sent using mailing services, prior purchases, orders placed for in-store pick up and purchases made on the Shutterfly apps. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with other offers or credits. Not valid for resale.

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: The Feast Of Tabernacles

Biblical_Holidays_Feast_TabernaclesThe Feast of Tabernacles starts this year at sundown Sunday, September 27th and goes until sundown Monday, October 5th.

Have you heard that many Biblical scholars have determined that Jesus was born in the Fall, most likely during the Feast of Tabernacles? I know that is a shock for many people, but it makes so much sense once you understand the holiday.

Historically, the Feast of Tabernacles is a time to remember the Israelites time in the wilderness, a time when they lived in tents and God’s Spirit was right there with them – in the Tabernacle. God asks His people each year to celebrate this time in remembrance of what He has done for them, how He was with them, and how He delivered them.

When Jesus came to earth, He came to be a resting place for us and a spiritual Tabernacle. He is our protection and shelter. Looking forward (prophetically), when Christ returns, He will Tabernacle (or live) with us forever.

How Our Community Will Celebrate The Feast Of Tabernacles This Year

This week is a time of celebration, joy, rejoicing and fellowship.

We will have a brunch the first morning on Monday, the 28th. We encouraged to have our sukkah (tabernacle) built before that morning, and then invite people all week long to join us and feast with us.

For the final celebration, we will have a dinner, in a large tent at a winery, with all of our community and friends and family that want to attend with us. We did the same thing two years ago at the winery and I remember how beautiful it all was and how the full, harvest moon was dramatically displaying itself as we all left that evening.

Learn More About The Biblical Holidays

If you want to learn more about the holiday, either to celebrate it or just as an academic exercise, I recommend “A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays”. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

Christian Books:

181604: A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All Ages A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All Ages By Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce / Heart of Wisdom Publishing. This guide to celebrating Old Testament Biblical holidays includes historical/biblical background on the feast days, as well as activities and crafts, recipes, suggestions for celebrations, timeline charts, puzzles and games, Jewish customs today, readings, coloring pages and even a special homeschooler’s unit study designed to expand this book into other subjects. Information for planning, co-ops, resources and ideas to read & discuss; memorize; study; dramatize; video recommendations; investigate; displays; songs and more are included. Holidays are divided by season, and include the well-known feasts such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as feasts such as Yom Habikkurim and Sukkoth. A chapter on the Sabbath is also included. 582 pages; noted pages are reproducible for family use only. Softcover.

Here are my posts on the other Biblical Holidays.

Feasts of the LORD Linky Party

April at A Simple Life Too
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The Ladies at Radical Femininity
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Kathryn at Depths of Imagination
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Dawnita at Prairie Dust Trail}
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Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Day Of Atonement + A Link Up For Other Holiday Posts

Celebrating Biblical Holidays Day Of AtonementThe Day Of Atonement is Wed, September 23rd.

I will be honest, this is the hardest holiday to write about. Not because I don’t have enough to say or it is hard to say, but because I know that many (most) people don’t really want to hear about this day. Most people do not want to know that there was a day set aside each year for all of Israel to repent of their sins, and that today, even if we are walking with Jesus and declaring Him King, we still need to repent of our sins.

But, that is what this day is about. It is the foreshadow of the final days. The Feast of Trumpets declares the return of the Lord. The Day of Atonement is when we stand before Him in judgement. The Feast of Tabernacles is the rest of our lives, tabernacling (living) with Jesus.

On this day, I will come before the Lord and dig up things that I have been ignoring or burying in my head and/or heart. Today, I will come before the Lord and admit things that I did not want to deal with this year. Today, I will come before the Lord and let Him remind me of what I did not even realize I have been doing that is not good for me and He does not want me doing (or thinking or saying).

Today, I will come before the Lord and humble myself and repent of many things. Then I will try to practice this throughout the year…

How Our Community Will Celebrate The Day of Atonement This Year

We will fast from sundown Tue, September 22nd until sundown Wed, September 23rd.

We will gather at our church in the afternoon for personal worship. Our leadership will have setup tables that are geared to make us think about different areas of our lives and how we have (or have not) been following God’s call / Jesus’ teachings and leadings in those areas. My husband and I usually rotate on this – one will go with out the children, then come back so the other can then go with out the children. It is a very beautiful time and very emotional.

We then gather our children for the final worship in the early evening. In this time we sing (reverently), pray through a corporate prayer of repentance, then we have additional time to pray for each other, as the Spirit leads.

Learn More About The Biblical Holidays

I understand if this is a little much or is more than you want to know at this time. Maybe you just want to learn about the basics of the holiday for your homeschool or Sunday school.

I recommend “A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays”. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

Christian Books:

181604: A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All Ages A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All Ages By Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce / Heart of Wisdom Publishing. This guide to celebrating Old Testament Biblical holidays includes historical/biblical background on the feast days, as well as activities and crafts, recipes, suggestions for celebrations, timeline charts, puzzles and games, Jewish customs today, readings, coloring pages and even a special homeschooler’s unit study designed to expand this book into other subjects. Information for planning, co-ops, resources and ideas to read & discuss; memorize; study; dramatize; video recommendations; investigate; displays; songs and more are included. Holidays are divided by season, and include the well-known feasts such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as feasts such as Yom Habikkurim and Sukkoth. A chapter on the Sabbath is also included. 582 pages; noted pages are reproducible for family use only. Softcover.

Here are my posts on the other Biblical Holidays.

If you have written a post about The Day Of Atonement or a related post, please link it up here and then be sure to visit some of the other posts.

Feasts of the LORD Linky Party

April at A Simple Life Too
{Facebook} {Pinterest} {Google+}

The Ladies at Radical Femininity
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Kathryn at Depths of Imagination
{Facebook}{Twitter}{Google+}

Dawnita at Prairie Dust Trail}
Facebook} {Pinterest} {Twitter}​



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