10 Things To Do This Summer Under $10: #4 – Public Pool and/or Lake

10 Things Summer Swim
We love to swim!


So far this summer we have: started the summer reading program, played at the park, and done some arts and crafts during a rainy day. Now comes one of the best activities of summer – swimming.

Unfortunately, swimming can add up quickly – swim suites, floaties, the cost of lessons, etc… However, if you can get some inexpensive suites (think Walmart), or reuse what you have from last year or accept hand-me-downs (some people prefer not and I do understand), and not have to have all the other stuff, you can do summer swimming on a few dollars.

We have found for myself and our 3 children, it is $7 or $8 to take them to the local, public pool. If we add dad, then we come up to the $10 threshold. If you family is bigger, then the public pool could become expensive quickly.

Which brings me to the other option – public lakes. We have a couple of lakes within a 30 minute drive and it costs either $5 or $10 for day use for one vehicle (depending on the lake). Some are even free. We made it really frugal last year by going with another family in their cargo van. They paid gas and I paid the day use fee at our favorite lake.

We also know of a family who has built a pond on their property. They allow families to book a day or half day, for free, to swim there. What a blessing!

What is your most frugal way to go swimming?

Giveaway: Win a New Microsoft – Surface 3 Worth $499.99 !

Bing Surface Giveaway
Enter the giveaway to win a free Surface 3!

Could you use a new computer?

Well, Bing Rewards has offered A Simple Life Too and some other blogs the opportunity to host a giveaway of a Surface 3 Computer!

Have you seen the commercials for the Surface? Although I could contend that I am not stirred very often by media, I have been wanting a Surface since they came out! It is a very lightweight laptop and a tablet. It can run productivity apps and media. And, it is small and light, so very easy to transport.

Technical Details of the Surface:

10.8″ ClearType Full HD Plus Display – Makes navigation simple and presents media in rich detail.
Windows 8.1 – Allows you to stay connected and productive.
64GB storage capacity – Offers room for pictures, videos, music and more.
Quad-core processor – Intel® Atom™ processor with 1.6GHz processor speed, up to 2.4GHz Burst speed and 2GB RAM for efficient performance.
Wi-Fi – Allows you to connect to the Web while within range of an available wireless network.
Bluetooth interface – Lets you wirelessly link with compatible Bluetooth-enabled devices.
8.0MP rear-facing and 3.5MP front-facing cameras – Enable you to capture important moments to share with your loved ones.
USB 3.0 port – Makes it easy to connect peripheral devices.
Integrated kickstand – Allows you to prop up the tablet for a clear view of displayed content.
Magnesium body – Creates a lightweight, yet durable, design.

Enter The Giveaway!

Note: You do have to sign up for Bing Rewards to enter the giveaway. Bing rewards you for searching the internet and it is a free program. Here is a link to Bing Rewards if you want more info.

GUIDELINES/DISCLAIMER/RULES

“NO PURCHASE NECESSARY” 18+ US only! Contest starts 04/23/2015 and Ends 07/22/2015 11.59pm EASTERN. Entry options: Join Bing Rewards. Prize: Microsoft – Surface 3 – 10.8″ – Intel Atom – 64GB. “The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.” Winners have 7 days to claim their prize. If potential Prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, at the advertisers sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bing Rewards and I am publishing it because Bing, the Surface, and the giveaway rock!

Travel: 10 Favorite Disney Travel Videos

10 Disney Travel Videos
Could you use a little Disney Travel divergence today?


I don’t know if you know what it is like to be laid up and wanting edifying things to do with your time, but I have been on partial bed rest and light activity for over 4 months now. It really is challenging to make good use of that time!

I ended up with a little divergence this week – I decided to watch some videos about travel to Disney – Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Lines, Disney’s Aulani, etc… and now I am sharing the favorite ones I found. Whether you just want a little virtual vacation or you are planning for the real thing, this should be helpful and fun. I also took the time to update my Disney Contest and Sweepstakes post.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Disney Aulani – Best Vacations TV Show – this is a complete 30 minute TV show visiting the Disney Aulani resort. I so want to go there someday!

Save big this summer on your trip to Hawaii with BookingBuddy!

Disney Cruise Line Fall 2016 Itinerary – just a quick 2 minute overview. For one cruise itinerary, lucky those who live in the NY area. They get to cruise from NY, go to Walt Disney World, then to Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.

Get Cheap Cruises and Compare Cruise Deals at BookingBuddy!

Tour Of Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship – Activities, Food, Accommodations, Entertainment – OK, this is technically more than one video, but it is about the same ship, so I just consider it episodes of one, longer video. There is something for everyone to enjoy on this ship and its ports, and gave me my first real look into a Disney Cruise.

Disney World Fantasy Land Overview – I actually tried to find longer videos to see more of the attractions, but it seemed like they just covered the same things, so this ended up being the best.

Save BIG on Walt Disney World Tickets!

Disney World – New Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasy Land – I really felt like I was getting to experience the restaurant during the video and it is a must visit when we go there in a few years.

Disney World Base Ticket: Buy 4 Days & get 5th Day Free!

Disney World Dining Plans – A fun overview of the 3 main dining plans for those staying at Walt Disney World resorts and what they do and don’t include.

Walt Disney World (plus Islands of Adventure) in 25 minutes – Well done amateur video covering some of the major attractions in each park.

Cheap Orlando Vacations with BookingBuddy.

Disneyland Overview – A fun overview from a non-Disney production.

Disney California Adventure Overview – A quick, but inviting overview of California Adventure (a little old, not updated with the new Cars attraction).

Shop for the Best Prices on Vacation Packages at BookingBuddy!

25 Disney Park Secrets Every Fan Should Know – Did you know Epcot was originally designed to be a model society with 20,000 people living in it? and 24 other interesting facts.


Super Simple Homeschooling: 5 Books To Help You With Your Homeschool Vision and Planning

Top 5 Homeschool Books

I don’t know about you, but when I first started thinking about homeschooling my children, I went on the hunt for as much information about homeschooling as I could get. I mostly found myself being given books by friends, checking a few out from the library, and purchasing a couple. I also started to look over homeschool magazines, catalogs, and websites.

The following list is my top 5 books that helped me get started homeschooling and continue to help me plan my homeschool each year.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

1 – Mary Pride’s Complete Guide To Getting Started Homeschooling – Although a little outdated, this “tome” of everything homeschooling answers all the questions of a new homeschool parent and gives lots of resources useful for annual homeschool planning. It is still on our bookshelf and I will probably keep it as long as I homeschool.

2 – The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola – After getting an overview of the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling from Mary’s book (see #1), I wanted to know more and this book, The Charlotte Mason Companion gave me the deeper understanding I wanted. Although our homeschool is eclectic vs. just Charlotte Mason style, this book was still useful to give me a foundation of what a quality home education could look like.

3 – Cathy Duffy 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum – Cathy Duffy helps you walk through a process of evaluating your family and children for vision, learning styles, etc… then helps you select curriculum based on those factors. Our family really needs to get a copy of this book for our permanent homeschool bookshelf as we re-evaluate our homeschool each year.

4 – Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach – As our family has an interest in Hebrew Roots of our faith and a desire to make our homeschool Bible-centric, a friend of ours shared this book. It is a philosophy of a Hebraic approach to homeschooling (which looks a lot like Charlotte Mason meets Unit Studies) and a how to create your own studies using the Bible and living books. Unfortunately, I am have not been in a position to create my own studies to date, so this book mostly just helped us create our homeschool philosophy. However, if you want to create your own delight directed or Biblical based unit studies, I recommend it!

5 – The Old Schoolhouse Annual Print Magazine – I understand, this is a magazine and not a book, but the fact that it only comes out once per year in print format and that it is nearly 300 pages in length, I consider it a book. A very current and useful book, full of articles to encourage and instruct, and lots of ads of new and old curriculum and other resources. We get a copy every year.

What is your favorite and/or most useful homeschool book? Or, if you are new to homeschoolig, what is one pressing question you need to have answered?

Saving 101: Saving Money On Big Ticket Items + A Bonus For Bloggers

Saving On Big Ticket ItemsI have stated before that I am not a fan or frequent user of grocery coupons. I mostly purchase base foods and find store brands a better deal (most of the time, not always) than a name brand, even with a coupon.

I Like Coupons For Big Ticket Items

However, to be very very transparent, there is a time that I do use coupons – whenever I purchase just about anything else! When we go out to dinner, the first thing I look for is a coupon for a couple of places we would like to go. Just recently, we went out to the Outback for my birthday. I manged to find a 15% off coupon for our meal!

If I need to get the oil changed, when it is time for my once per year mommy shopping spree, when we need a new item of furniture or housewares, I will be found on the internet and checking my files for coupons.

I am very happy to share a new site with you that I have discovered : AnnCoupons.com. They have a very easy to use interface. I was able to quickly find a set of Outback coupons. The one I had used earlier this month was expired, but you can also sign up to receive new coupons as they come out.

Special Deal For Bloggers

AnnCoupons.com is connected with Ann Media, a Blogger / Brand program with opportunities for: Giveaways, Sponsored Posts, Banner Rental, and Affiliate Programs. Sign up today to start getting advertiser opportunities for your blog.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post through AnnCoupons.com. I only choose to do sponsored posts from brands and companies that I do or would use.

WAHM: What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Blogging And How You Can Avoid My Mistakes

WAHM Blogging Mistakes
Be a better blogger by learning from other’s mistakes.

I am going to be blunt, I wasted two years blogging.

It wasn’t that the blogging was a waste, but how I did it, giving up and taking long breaks, and the things I was not willing to do to actually make it work and successful, that is what was a waste.

If you are starting blogging or even have been blogging for years, I want to share a few things with you that I WISH I had known a couple of years ago when I started blogging.

Disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links. 

I Was Not Willing To Invest In Myself, I Was Not Teachable

I was convinced that I was so very smart and that I could figure out this blogging thing all on my own. I didn’t need any books, I rarely read site dedicated to teaching blogging, and I really just thought that I would do it my way and it would be great.

Well, it wasn’t great. My blog looked amateur, although there was a few good posts there was no real theme or order to my site, and I really did not know what I was trying to do with it or where I was going.

Once I was humbled and realized that I needed some help, I:

I learned a LOT in a very short time and I continue to learn now, it is part of my weekly blogging routine.

I Could Not Accept That I Would Need To Invest Some Money

I was convinced that I could build a business without investing one penny into it. Although starting a business on a shoestring or bootstrapping are good concepts, they don’t mean don’t invest a single penny. They just mean you might be able to start a business for $10 or $50 or $100 vs. $1000s.

Once I spent a few dollars on stock photos, useful books, getting my domain name and moving my blog to a host, I found my blog really started to grow and many more opportunities started to come my way.

I Wish I Had Purchased My Domain And Setup A Blog Host

I started my blog on WordPress.com because it was free. I won’t say it was a total mistake, but going back, I would have just started with a domain name and host from the beginning. The cost for a domain name can be as little as $2.00 and maybe as much as $20.00 per year. The cost for a host for a small blog is from $5.00 (which is all I am paying now) to $20 per month. A very small investment.

Most host companies will allow you to setup and purchase your domain also. I currently use A Small Orange as my host. A lot of people also use BlueHost, HostGator and GoDaddy.

I Wish I Had Learned To Use Graphics And Pinterest From The Beginning

I was so sure that I could grow my blog by sharing it with my friends on FB and they would share with all their friends and so on. Well, when crickets kept chirping when I shared on FB, I realized that there was a lot more I would need to do.

I joined some FB Groups, started participating and sharing my posts. I also finally go into Pinterest and saw the need for me to improve my graphics so that my posts would be “pinnable.” I started using a free online app called Canva to make my graphics, occasionally purchasing some quality stock photos from them. I have seen some amazing work done with Pic Monkey on other people’s blogs.


30 Days FREE $4.95 per month subscription after 30 days

I Wish I Hadn’t Spammed!

Unfortunately, when I got frustrated with my friends and family not really paying attention to my blog and not sharing much, I started spamming some blogs, groups, etc… My mindset was still focused on myself – come look at me – vs really caring about the people around me, what they needed, and if I was providing something useful for them. Changing my mindset changed how I approached promotion and I try to do it, in a real, organic way – but I probably haven’t perfected that yet.

Blogging Helps – Use Them Now!

There are so many sites, groups and resources out there to help bloggers. I wish I had taken the time to tap into these much sooner. I am still using many of them!

ProBlogger – As I mentioned about the book, the ProBlogger site is the ultimate how to blog site. 1000s of posts, lots of eBooks and courses to sign up for, a newsletter, etc… The Bloggers Guide To Online Marketing is on my wishlist!

Inspired Bloggers Network – The site includes lots of how to blogging tips and is a place to find some additional courses and the Inspired Bloggers University.

What else would you like to know about blogging? Or if you are a blogger, what mistake(s) would you be willing to share so others can learn?

Disclosure: Advertisements Follow

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Teaching Your Children To Cook: How To Get Kids To Eat Their Veggies – Raw Veggie Pizza Recipe

Raw Veggie Pizza Recipe
Is it hard for you to get your children to eat their veggies?

Is there a bigger dilemma with kids and eating than how to get them to actually eat enough veggies in a day or at least in a week?

Our family’s philosophy of eating is: Healthy, Simple and Cheap! I have stumbled upon a family favorite recipe that falls under this philosophy, and for at least one day will fulfill you and your children’s daily veggie requirement. The secret is that the children make these themselves, which seems to lend itself to an eagerness to eat it.

Raw Veggie Pizza Recipe

Ingredients: 

– Hummus (pre-made or make your own)

– Whole wheat flat bread or pita bread (again, pre-made or make your own)

– A selection of favorite raw veggies (organic if you can)

Bags of Raw Veggies
Lots of veggies to choose from!

Steps:

  1. Have children spread two tablespoons of hummus over their piece of flat bread, going out almost to the edge. This is the “sauce” on your “pizza crust.” Demonstrate to the with your pizza as needed.
  2. Let the children select their favorite veggies (but more than one kind) and decorate the pizza as they like.
  3. Eat. Parent can cut the pizza in fourths if needed.

It is that simple and now you have happy children happily eating their creation!

Want to learn more about cooking healthy with your children? Check out my ebook: Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way: For Ages 7+ With Parent Supervision

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links.

WAHM: How To Get Started Blogging


Blogging has become one of the biggest industries on the web. Mom blogging is one of the biggest niches within the blogger community. If you have wanted to start blogging, and just need a few helps to get started, then you have come to the right place. I am not a BIG blogger, but I have learned a few things along the way that could be of help to you, the new blogger, to get started and maybe even make some money blogging.

How To Get Started BloggingDecide What You Want to Blog About

As with any business or other endeavor, you need to have a vision for where you are going. Who are you and what do you want to share with your friends and family, your like-minded community, or the world? Before you setup your blog, write your first post, etc… Take a few minutes, close your eyes and dream – what do I want my blog to look like in a year or so? Now start writing down those ideas and let it form into an overall vision.

Using my blog as an example, my overall vision is: A Simple Life Too is for anyone who would like to learn how to make their life less complicated and more simplified. Whether this means decluttering and getting rid of stuff, getting out of debt and getting rid of an entitlement mentality, finding things, solutions and hacks to make things a little easier, or letting go of wrong thinking, this blog’s vision is to be a help and resource.

After you have the initial vision, break it down into simple, granular concepts. Again, using my blog as an example, I wanted specifically to write about:

  • Saving money, living frugally and simply
  • Making simple foods, making menu planning, shopping, etc… easy
  • Being able to help others
  • Encouraging my children and keeping them productive
  • Simplifying homeschooling
  • Share what God is doing in my life
  • Share about how we try to deal with illnesses naturally
  • How to work at home and keep it simple

This became the categories of writing that I would mainly focus on, giving direction to my blog and allowing me to brainstorm lots of post ideas. If you are not to sure how to brainstorm, let me know. I would love to help.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Get a Host

Although you can blog for free on WordPress.com or Blogger, if you want your blog to be more than for friends or family and/or your vision for your blog includes making money from it, then I highly recommend that you setup you blog from the beginning with your own, unique domain name, and you hire / purchase a host company to host your blog. The cost for a domain name can be anywhere from $2.00 to $20.00 per year and the cost for a host for a small blog is from $5.00 to $20 per month. Very inexpensive if you consider what it costs to start a more traditional business.

Most host companies will allow you to setup and purchase your domain also. I currently use A Small Orange as my host. A lot of people also use BlueHost, HostGator and GoDaddy.

Setup Your Blog

This is probably the hardest part for those w/o a technical background and are new to blogging – setting up your blog for the first time. While there are other software choices out there, I recommend that you create your blog with WordPress.

All the hosts I mentioned above have WordPress available (usually included in your hosting package) and I believe (please correct me if you find I am wrong) they all have a one-click install to setup WordPress on the host. Each of the hosts should also have (free) tutorials and help pages to walk you through the process.

However, if you would feel more comfortable, you can pay the host, or an experienced blogger that hires out for that kind of work, a small fee to set it all up for you.

Write Your First Post

You have a vision and now it is time to start on the path to making that vision a reality.

If the tutorials to setup your WordPress install did not include how to write a post, then you should search for one now (either in your host’s help database or through the internet). If you can write an email, you can write your first blog post with WordPress! However, you will want to learn more about what is available to you, so a tutorial or two is very useful.

As for the content of your post, go back now to your vision and your concepts. Your first post could be introducing your blog to the world and including that vision and concept list, or you could pick one of the concepts and start with it. Whatever you do, your post should be at least 250 / 300 words and for starters, probably not more than 1000 (there are times to do more, like the post I am writing, but probably not your first one). Make sure you stick to one theme, thought, concept – with the rare exception, posts should not weave in and out of various topics – no bunny trails!

Also, consider your title: Would you want to read the post if you saw that title on the web? Sometimes your title is all you have get people to read, so make it clear and concise.

Oh, one really important point: SAVE every 10 to 15 minutes while writing. Nothing is worse than a computer crashing, the phone ringing, the children crying or whatever, only to come back and find your post is gone. I have already saved this post 8 times!

Add A Graphic To Your First Post

In today’s world of 1000s of things vying for our attention, using a graphic with a blog post to draw attention to it is almost required. There are many ways to get and create graphics. You can create your own from scratch, using your own photos or purchasing photos. You can also create with clip-art and using graphic art software. If you have some experience with graphic arts, then this step will be easy. If you are like me, however, you could use a little help.

I use Canva to create most of my graphics. Canva is free to use with your own photos and they have a limited selection of free text and clip art. They also sell stock photos for $1 each. I use my own photos about 50% of the time and purchase Canva’s about 50% of the time. I think I have spent less than $20 on graphics this year.

Some bloggers love Pic Monkey. They have a free option or an inexpensive subscription option that allows the use of advanced graphic editing tools and such.

30 Days FREE $4.95 per month subscription after 30 days

Promote Your First Post

Now that you have written your first post and clicked the publish button (if you haven’t clicked the publish button, do so now), how do you actually get people to read it?

I have found the best way to get folks to start reading my posts is to share it with people I know, and some I don’t, through social media. I would be a bit surprised if you have not ever used any social media, so I will make the assumption that you are familiar with at least one of the following:

Facebook – Share your first post with your personal friends and family and ask them to read it and give feedback. However, don’t be discouraged if not many respond. There is an audience out there for your blog. Create a professional / business page and join some FB groups that are relevant to your blog topic / topics. You might be able to share your posts in some of those groups.

Pinterest – If you are already on Pinterest, then you probably have friends and family following you. Go ahead and pin the graphic that you created to one of your Pinterest boards or create a new board just for your blog. If you haven’t joined Pinterest and you are a female – do so now. Pinterest is currently one of the hottest ways to promote blogs. You can also join group Pinterest boards (I will share a resource at the end of this post on how to find some).

Google+ – There is lots of debate on the usefulness of Google+, but I use it because 1) Google is the major player in search engines and I know posting to Google has some tie into the search engine. 2) Because I can see that people are viewing my posts to Google+, I just don’t know what the conversion is to people coming to my blog and actually reading the post.

Twitter – I do not use Twitter, but I know some folks have 1000’s of followers and find this a good way to promote posts.

There are other social media venues, but I am not as familiar with them. If you are on something else, use it!

Monetizing Your Blog and Posts

If you want to make money with your blog, I recommend starting to monetize it from the beginning, even if you are only making a $1 per month to start. It helps set expectations that your blog is, at least to some degree, about making a living and that readers will be used to affiliate links and ads as part of your blog.

There are many ways to make money with your blog, but I am only covering a couple of ways for now.

Affiliates – These are folks that you choose to partner with. You then place text links, coupons and/or banners on your site and/or in your posts. Usually, when someone purchases something through your affiliate, you get a % commission. Amazon.com is one of the biggest affiliates out there. Here are some other affiliates worth checking into:

Moms Affiliate – Moms affiliate is one of my favorites because it is a hybrid of the 3 methods of monetizing your blog that I am sharing today. They have affiliate programs that are very mom-centric, a small advertising network, and they have opportunities for sponsored posts.

Commission Junction – literally has 1000s of brands available to partner and affiliate with. Are you writing a blog post about people with vision issues? This would be a place to find companies that sell glasses.

Share A Sale – also has 1000s of brands available to partner and affiliate with, but I also like the fact that many of the brands pay bloggers to send affiliates to the program.

Ebates – Ebates is an especially a good affiliate if you are going to write about any products that can be purchased online. Ebates gives people coupons and cash back on their online purchases, so it blends in good with review sites, fashion sites, book sites, gadget sites, etc….

Note: all of these programs are free to join. You should never have to pay to join an affiliate program. Ebates will pay you $10 to join them.

Ads – The most popular ad program is Google Adsense. However, it is not always the most profitable. Moms Affiliate, as I mentioned above, makes me more money. So does selling my own ads. You must be on your own host to run Adsense and related ads.

Sponsored Posts – Many companies like the feel of a sponsored post vs. advertising to get their message across. One example of a sponsored post can be a company giving the blogger free product(s), and then the blogger tells about the product and experience. Another can be that the sponsor company pays a cash fee to have the blogger write a post that highlights the company’s product within a useful, informational post.

I currently use IZEA and Moms Affiliate to find sponsored post opportunities. There are other sites too. Sponsorship opportunities are fairly limited until one reaches about 10,000 view per month to their blog.

For Further Blog Education, A Couple Of Books, Groups And Sites I Recommend

I hope you find this post a great starting point for your blogging career. However, there is so much more to learn and if you really want to be successful, you need to continually invest in your knowledge and skills. I have a few books, FB Groups, and web sites that I recommend to help you on your path.

Books

How to Blog for Profit w/o Losing Your Soul – The writer, Ruth Soukup is a very successful blogger with over a million views per month to her site, LivingWellSpendingLess. Her book starts off with assuming you have been blogging for a couple of months and does not cover any sort of blog start and setup. However, it is still worth a read from near to the beginning of your blog endeavors, as she goes in depth into creating your brand, your topics, what a great, share-able post should look like, how to use social media, and how to make some money with your blog.

ProBlogger – ProBlogger is the biggest “how to blog” site out there and may also be the most read book in the category. Co-authors Darren and Chris start the book for the new blogger and take you from conception to setup to promotion to making money, Even though I have been blogging for 3 years, I still have much to learn from this book.

Groups

Inspired Bloggers Network – I would not be where I am today if I had not discovered the Inspired Bloggers Network FB Group. Actually, I was commenting on another blog’s post (lamenting really) and she told me about it. The community is so helpful to each other and will answer almost any question. Just be sure to read the rules before posting.

Pinterest Collaborators – If you remember, I mentioned before that I had a great place to get included in some Pinterest Group boards? Well, this is the place!

Work At Home Moms Who Want More Than Spam – A FB Group that I created to encourage moms who are looking for ways to make money at home and a great place to come ask questions about blogging!

Sites

ProBlogger – As I mentioned about the book, the ProBlogger site is the ultimate how to blog site. 1000s of posts, lots of eBooks and courses to sign up for, a newsletter, etc… The Bloggers Guide To Online Marketing is on my wishlist!

Inspired Bloggers Network – The site includes lots of how to blogging tips and is a place to find some additional courses and the Inspired Bloggers University.

Come back and let me know if you start blogging (or if this was helpful even if you have been blogging for awhile) and leave a comment with your blog!

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Super Simple Homeschooling: Homeschooling From The Bottom 10%

If I can encourage one person in their homeschooling today...
If I can encourage one person in their homeschooling today…

Do you face any challenges with your homeschool? Are you not sure you even CAN homeschool? Are your challenges physical issues? Financial? Do you feel you lack the education or simply don’t have the personality to homeschool? Maybe you have child with special needs?

I am here to share with you that if I can homeschool through all of our families challenges, you probably can to!

Homeschooling From The Bottom 10%

I recently read an article in the 2015 print edition of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine – “Getting Started: Light A Fire”. In the article, Dr. Heather W. Allen uses some statistics from NCES – the National Center For Education Statistics, including Gross Family Income of Homeschool families. Guess what? Our family’s income was in the bottom 10% of all homeschoolers. Or to be clear, 90% of homeschool families make more money / have more income per year than our family. And yet here I am, paying for my children’s homeschool, staying home instead of working outside of the home, and somehow still living decently off of our meager income.

Now, do I love being in the bottom 10%? Not really. Do I wish we did have some of the things that most others have, like more choices in curriculum or a second car to go do more field trips and activities? Yes! Will I stop homeschooling to have more money? NO WAY.

God convicted me to homeschool, God promised to provide at least the basics of what we need, and He has made good on His promises. And so I continue on, even though it isn’t easy.

Homeschooling From a Broken Background

Unfortunately, I come from another “bottom” group, although you won’t find this one in the statistics article. This is my background. There seems to be this thought out there that homeschoolers must come from happy, well adjusted, Christian homes to be able to do what they do. I did not. I came from a completely broken background  – abuse, divorce, no encouragement, public school bullying and teasing, addiction, and more. I come from a place where most people would never consider that I could turn out to be someone who follows God and who homeschools.

I am not a woman of patience, an encouraging attitude, perseverance, discipline, gentleness, etc… And yet, God has been instilling these things in me throughout this process. He has been working them out in me by homeschooling. I literally change month by month, year by year, as I commit to the course.

I really am a story of Beauty From Ashes. When once, many years ago I did not even WANT children, I now find myself delighting in teaching them, spending time with them, growing them, and seeing them get to do and experience a better life than I ever did.

All Is Certainly Not Perfect

I still have much growing to do. We are still in our first years of homeschooling (4 so far) and I know there is much for ME to learn and change. I have encountered some serious challenges the past two years, mainly physical with a miscarriage and now a challenging pregnancy, but also a relational and spiritual setback.

My patience is a little “soft” right now and I have to repent and try again daily. I have seen that I have not been encouraging the children as well as I could and have been negative towards them at times. Again, I have to repent daily and try again. I have wanted to give up so many times, but I can’t and I won’t. So sometimes, we lighten the load and sometimes, we take a week off.  Sometime mom just needs a day to do something different. We do whatever it takes and still make forward progress.

Even with our imperfection and struggles, we still get complimented out in public at how well behaved (not great, but better than average) our children are, how happy they seem, how sharp they are, and how quick they are to make friends with those who they meet.

No, not perfect, but worth keeping on for.

If anything I said resonated with you, please let me know.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Hip Homeschooling

Helping Others: Yes, YOU Can Eradicate Community Poverty In Kenya

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Yes, YOU can eradicate community poverty in Kenya.

This community of Artisans in Kenya have been given a wonderful chance in life – to make a sustainable, fair living from making beautiful, creative goods from local resources. When World Vision found them, they were in extreme poverty – widows, orphans, people suffering from disease like T.B. and Aids. World Vision helped them organize a group, get the licenses, training, and equipment that they would need, and then they brought their products to market through Gifts With a Cause.

Here is a little more on their story (click the graphic to open the full page):

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Would you like to help this group or another group somewhere in the world to get started? You can!

Donate to World Vision

Become a Gifts With a Cause Affiliate and Sales Rep – scroll to the bottom of the page, under Company, click the Affiliate link and walk through the process. Contact me for more information or join my Gifts With A Cause FB Group.

Purchase products from Gifts With a Cause – click the banner below to see many of the Soapstone products from Kenya.

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Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Gifts With a Cause.