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.


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.


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!


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, there is an awesome beauty tip for the women here, that I wanted to share with all of you, go check it out!!

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

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):



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.



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


5 Ways To Earn $500 Or More Per Month Working Part Time From Home – Part 2

So many ways to work from home! Try one of these.

Last month I started a series that has become one of my most popular: 5 Ways To Earn $500 Or More Per Month Working Part Time From Home. As it turns out, there are actually 100s of businesses and jobs that you can do from home in this technological age. Since I want to take time to write about each one, I am breaking the list down and writing about 5 at a time. The goal is to have a 100 great ideas for jobs and businesses by the end of the series. Subscribe now if you want to keep up and get all 20 posts!

Disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links.

Freelance Writer – Freelance Writing has grown dramatically in the past decade with so many online sites wanting content. Plus, the classic magazine and book market is still there, along with the explosive growth of the eBook market.

If you are a beginner Writer, you may want to start out with what we call a “content mill.” Some people disagree with them, but if you don’t have any writing experience and you aren’t getting told regularly that your writing is great, then these are places to gain some experience and build up a portfolio. Two that I am familiar with are Textbroker and Demand Media Studios. Expect to earn $7 to $15 per hour.

If you are more seasoned in your writing, or if you have spent a couple of months writing for something like a content mill, you then may be ready to start looking for the quality freelance writing jobs. Blogs can pay anywhere from $25 to $100 per post and magazines can pay as high as $500 to $1000 for a large, quality article with a quality magazine. You can find writing jobs for the Christian Market with the Christian Writer’s Market Guide, writing jobs for the Secular Market with the Writer’s Guide, and some good blog / online leads through Rat Race Rebellion.


Virtual Assistant – Another work from home job that is seeing huge growth is the Virtual Assistant. According to Wikpedia: a Virtual Assistant (VA for short)  is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.

Many large blogs and websites use Virtual Assistants to manage day to day operations, do some writing, or manage their Social Media campaigns. There are a few books on the market to help you get started and a here are a few places to get started marketing your services: eLance, Upwork, and Freelancer. And there is my favorite site, Rat Race Rebellion with job listings (you have to subscribe to their site to get occasional listings in their newsletter)

Website Tester – Google how many websites are created each minute and you will find something like 500. Anyone who really wants to put a quality website out there should have someone else look the site over, give feedback for how usable it is, check for bad links, check spelling, etc… There are now business that hire the average person with some decent observation skills to look over websites and give feedback. Many people are calling this “crowd sourced web testing.Rat Race Rebellion has a list of businesses who hire for this kind of work. It isn’t high pay, maybe $10 per site reviewed (which should take nearly an hour for a good review), but for a little fill in cash here and there, it would be worth it.

Handcrafts / Etsy Shop – Do you make anything? Do you like to create, sew, paint, design, etc? Then one of the best ways to make money working from home is to open your own Etsy shop and start selling your goods. Etsy does not cost anything to setup and only 20 cents per item listed (you can have multiples of that one item type, however, for the same 20 cents). They have great tools to promote your shop, ship your goods, manage your shop, and tips and tricks to get more sales. There are 1000s of success stories on Etsy of people who have created their own, full or part time business from home. If you need a little more help getting started, here is a great book: Etsy Empire: Proven Tactics for Your Etsy Business Success, Including Etsy SEO, Etsy Shop Building, Social Media for Etsy and Etsy Pricing Tips (Almost Free Money).

Here are some great sites to get supplies:

Dreamtime Creations:

Shop Dreamtime Creations

Farmer’s Markets – Staying in the same genera as the Etsy shop, if you make something, a Farmer’s Market is a great place to sell it to your local community, especially if it is food related. I have a friend and her two teen girls make a great little side wage every summer selling goodies at the local Farmer’s Market. Our family went in with them a few times and I sold loaves of homemade, Artisan bread. You can also sell handicrafts and art at a Market.

To find a local market, just Google your nearest city and the words Farmer’s Market.

Haven’t seen something that you want to do yet? Subscribe to my blog as I will be publishing more and more of these posts. Also, feel free to leave me a comment. I would love to chat with you and ask you some leading questions to help you find the work from home that is right for you.

Join my Work From Home Moms Who Want More Than Spam Facebook Group to learn more about working from home and the opportunities available.

Could you use $10 right now? Sign up for Ebates and get $10 cash. There is no obligation, no surveys, etc… just a great site to get coupons and cash back on the majority of your online purchases!

Super Simple Homeschool: Homeschool Planning With My Favorite Homeschool Catalogs

Super Simple Homeschool Planning Time: My Favorite Homeschool Catalogs.

It is that time of year – homeschool catalogs start appearing in the mail and we all dream of the homeschool we would love to do, have, afford. Then, we get down to reality and start analyzing and comparing and figure out the homeschool that we ACTUALLY can have and afford:-)

This brought me to the idea that I would share with the homeschool community my favorite homeschool catalogs, why they I get them, and how I plan my homeschool year with them.

  1. A Beka – Although I had heard about A Beka for a few years, I feel like I just discovered them this last year. Somehow, I ended up with one of their catalogs, but I don’t remember if I requested it or not. However I received it, I am glad for it. Their homeschool catalog is easy to use and I could see how well a couple of their products, that were affordable to me, would be used in our school. Some of their products are very colorful and at or ahead of state standards.
  2. YWAM  – I love to support missions and YWAM makes is easy by providing great books for sale, with the proceeds going to the missions. Their catalog is a bit easier to read and use than the website (for me) and gives me the entire list of books on missionaries and their history series, along with the available unit study guides. There is also a large set of books for older students and adults. We try to order a set or two per year when we take a break from regular curriculum and do a special missions study.
  3. Christian Light Publishing – Christian Light Publishing is one of two providers of curriculum that we use that comes from the Anabaptists (i.e. Mennonites and Amish). Their catalog is so easy to use, easy to see the Christian influence, and see each grade’s curriculum, along with a few examples and support materials. We use their Bible Curriculum.
  4. Rod and Staff – Although there is now an independent business supplying Rod and Staff curriculum online, their main business comes through their catalogs (they are the other Anabaptist publisher and their business does not use the internet). To order their catalog, find their address online and write to them to order it. Their products are great in their simplicity, purity, and is completely Christian. We love their Kindergarten series.
  5. Queen Publishing – If you have ever been interested in a Charlotte Mason style curriculum, then you should check out Queen Publishing’s catalog. They have curriculum for every subject and lots, and lots of copywork! We use their Language Lessons series.
  6. Sonlight – I want to be transparent here, I didn’t actually get the Sonlight catalog last year because I did not order anything. Sonlight is more of a dream homeschool and unfortunately, out of my budget. I did consider asking Sonlight if I could purchase a catalog from them so I could have the book lists from each grade:-) But to be clear, I don’t want to take from them, so I would offer to pay for it unless I thought I would order at least a couple of books.
  7. Christian Books – The Christian Books Annual Homeschool catalog is like the uber catalog of homeschooling, which is why I get it. They have a lot of the titles from the previous publishers I mentioned, plus many, many more. I love to see all the options before I make my annual homeschool planning decisions. And since I do order through them a few times a year (i.e. if I need on title from one publisher and another title from a different publisher, CBD makes so much sense because I can save on the shipping and only ship from one place) I automatically get the catalog every year.
  8. Timberdoodle – I saved my very favorite for last. Timberdoodle is my dream homeschool. It is the most creative package of homeschool curriculum and resources, and I know my children would stay much busier if it was our homeschool. It is also one of the most expensive homeschool options. Unlike Sonlight, I do order a couple of items every year, mostly supplemental learning toys, to supplement our homeschool and give some more hands on / interactive learning. This is usually a holiday or birthday gift.

Disclosure: Some of these links may be affiliate links. Actually, I wish I had affiliate links for all my favorite providers, but alas, some simply do not do affiliate programs. If you would like to support my blog, you could order your books through Christian Book Distributors, which I do have an affiliation with.
Language Lessons - Charlotte Mason Style Language Arts
Sonlight Curriculum

Amazing Homeschool Deal Of The Day: Pentecost Resources


As I recently posted in Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Pentecost, Pentecost is May 24th. If you aren’t too familiar with Pentecost, not sure how to observe the day, or would just like to know more so you can incorporate it into your homeschool, I have searched for some resources for you. And of course, these resources are a deal, meaning they are on sale and/or being sold for a discount.

  1. The Bedbug Bible Gang ®: Pentecost Party! DVD
  2. What’s in the Bible? #11: Spreading the Good News! DVD
  3. Feasts & Holidays of the Bible: PowerPoint CD-ROM
  4. Feasts and Holidays of the Bible, Laminated Wall Chart
  5. Fifty Days of Glory: From Easter Morning to the Eve of Pentecost – eBook
  6. Feasts of the Bible DVD Curriculum Kit
  7. Christ in the Feast of Pentecost – eBook

If you try any of these, come back and let us know how useful they were.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Saving Money On Travel: Costco vs. Expedia vs. BookingBuddy

Want to learn a tip that can save you $100s on your travel?
Want to learn a tip that can save you $100s on your travel?

There are many ways to save money on travel. One way I have discovered can make the different of $100s is to compare the same trip or components of a trip between different travel providers. One may have negotiated a better deal here, but another has a better deal there.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

If you haven’t done much in the way of travel comparison, consider this a hands on lesson in how to compare travel across a couple of different providers. The providers I choose today are:

The three trips we are going to compare are:

  • Walt Disney World, including airfare, park tickets, and a non Disney hotel property for 8 days, 7 nights traveling from Seattle, WA.
  • Hawaii, including airfare, hotel, and car on the big island for 6 days, 5 nights traveling from Seattle, WA.
  • Cabo San Lucas, including airfare, airport to hotel transfer, and all-inclusive hotel (and food and drinks) for 5 days, and 4 nights) traveling from Seattle, WA.

We will make sure we are comparing apples to apples. That means it will be the same airline and the same hotel across each travel provider, so we get a clear picture of savings. Next blog post, I will compare apples to oranges, meaning I will look for the best hotel (same star rating / same basic services) in the same class and best flight in the same class from each provider and see who comes out on top.

Trip 1: Walt Disney World: Departing September 9th and returning September 16th from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4. Hotel: Buena Vista Palace Hotel, Air Carrier: Alaska Air, Tickets: WDW 5 day park hopper tickets.

  • Costco Travel Vacation Package (note: includes daily breakfast): $4418
  • Expedia Vacation Package (note: does not include daily breakfast, the resort fee is not included): $4309
  • BookingBuddy Vacation Package (note: no breakfast, resort fee not included): $4720

The Costco deal is the best.

Trip 2: Hawaii:  Departing September 9th and returning September 15th from Seattle, WA, for a family of 4. Hotel: Royal Kona Resort  Air: Alaska Car: Alamo

Expedia won this round.

Trip 3: Cabo San Lucas: Departing September 9th and returning September 13th from Seattle, WA for 2 adults. Hotel: Royal Solaris Air: Alaska

Costco wins again, but BookingBuddy beat Expedia this time.

As we can see, there is a $300 difference just between travel providers. It will be interesting to see next time the $$$ difference when we compare best of class for each provider.

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Pentecost


Pentecost is May 24th. What will God do in your life this season?

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” 

This text from Acts 2 is all many Christians know about the day of Pentecost. But Pentecost is actually 3500 or so years old!

Yes, the original day of Pentecost was when God gave the Torah to the Israelites at Mt, Sinai. It has then been celebrated over the 1500 years as a one day festival remembering God giving His Word to his people. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, it became a day of remembering of the giving His Spirit to his people.

How Our Community Will Celebrate Pentecost This Year

Our community will gather Saturday night, May 23rd for a time of worship, prayer and ministry. We will also have a baptismal setup. Since Passover, Our community has been praying for the salvation and baptism of our friends and family that need Jesus.

We have also been praying for:

  • That we will receive the Spirit or more of the Spirit in our lives.
  • That there will be healings – not just physical, but mental, emotional, heart, etc… We are especially focused on healing hearts and families this year.
  • That the Lord would give us visions for our lives, what He wills for us and our families for the coming year.

As I mentioned, most of the community has been praying (and some even fasting in some way or for a part of the days) since Passover for the Spirit to move in our community and beyond. Pentecost is the culmination of that time. We will then rest and celebrate together on the 24th with a community picnic for the afternoon / evening.

Every year we look forward to what God will do during Pentecost!

Learn More About the Biblical Holidays

If you and your family would like to explore the Biblical Holidays together, 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 AgesBy Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce / Heart of Wisdom PublishingThis 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.

There is also: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah In The Festivals.

Amazon: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our messiah in the Festivals

Christian Books:

292590: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the FestivalsBy Susan Mortimer / Eagle’s Wings EducationalThis large manual provides everything you need to know about celebrating Messianic Jewish traditions. Examining the Old Testament festivals through the lens of the New Testament, the author lines up the seasonal parallels, New Testament parallels, and current/future parallels in the Old Testament feasts. Worksheets, readings, games, songs, stories, crafts, prayers, plays, recipes, lessons, banners, and illustrated charts are included for Sabbath, New Moon, Passover, Pentecost, New Year, the Day of Atonement, Festival of tabernacles, Hanukkah, and Purim. Combining traditional activities with those the author created, this is a unique guide perfect for families with children. Both English and English transliterations of Hebrew words are provided for festivals and biblical words. 681 pages, softcover, with glossary and index.

Encouraging Children To Be Productive: How I Teach My Children To Sew At A Young Age

Encourage Your Children To Sew - Here is How!
Encourage Your Children To Sew – Here is How!

The photo above is my 4 year old daughter holding her first sewing / embroidery project. This post is about how I got her and her sisters started sewing, now my 8 year old has an Etsy shop, and her soon to be 7 year old sister is now joining her in sewing for it.

I had already started sewing with my oldest daughter (age 7 at that time) and I wanted to engage my just turned 6 year old and my almost 4 year old. They were ready to try, as they had both spent the past year watching sister sew and had been using sewing / lacing cards similar to these:
Stephen Joseph Lacing Cards-Garden
Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Pets
Lacing Shapes

Tali loves her pillows that SHE made.
My 6 year old loves her pillows that SHE made.

You can also make your own lacing cards:

  1. Get a medium thickness piece of cardboard.
  2. Glue a large, fun picture on the cardboard (we used kitties from an old kitty calendar).
  3. Cut out around the picture.
  4. Using a hole punch, punch holes about 1 inch apart around the edge of the picture / cardboard. Be careful not to do the holes too close to the edge of the cardboard or they will rip with a little tugging.
  5. Attach a piece of yarn to one of the holes. Make sure it is long enough to go around the card a little more than one time.
  6. Put a piece of tape around the end of the yarn at least 3 times.
  7. Cut the tape into a point.
  8. Show the child how to sew!

Children’s Beginning Embroidery

I came across some really basic embroidery kits in a catalog and realized that would be the best way to get them started and give them their first taste of real sewing. This is the kit we used: Stamped Embroidery Kit Beginner Samplers 6″X8″ 3/Pkg-Huggable Animals

Here is a very similar kit on Amazon that looks super cute – I just added it to our wish list: Jack Dempsey Stamped Embroidery Kit Beginner Samplers, 6 by 8-Inch 3-Pack-Outside Fun.

These kits come with a large needle (that isn’t too sharp), the embroidery thread, the design all laid out on the cloth, a hoop, and instructions. The designs are simple and something they really like.

I would sit with them and show them how to make the first stitches, then hold their hands for awhile while they tried it. They usually weren’t ready to go it on their own the first time, but after a couple of sewing sessions, they were ready to try their first solo stitch.

When they were done with the project, we ended up cutting out a piece of felt to match, turned them wrong side together, sewed the edges, turned them right side, stuffed them, and turned the embroidery project into little pillows. The pillows are still one of their favorite things!

Basic Things Children Can Sew By Hand

Once the children learned how to stitch with their embroidery kit, we moved on to a couple of sewing projects. We got the following book from the library, but I would recommend purchasing it because it comes with patterns: Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make .

Some things we made include:

  • Garden apron
  • Pin cushion
  • Stuffies
  • Cell phone holder
  • Pillows
My oldest with her best creation yet.
My oldest with her best creation yet.

Once my oldest daughter had learned to sew through a handful of the projects in this book, we then started her making little velvet pillows and opened an Etsy shop. We have just sold a couple of them, but it has encouraged her to keep wanting to sew, keep her productive, and show one of many ways she can earn money in the coming years. We are now adding larger, throw pillows and fun, drawstring bags to her shop over the next couple of months! Like or favorite her shop so you can be informed when she adds the products.

The Evolution of Mom

5 Ways To Earn $500 Or More Per Month Working Part Time From Home

5 Ways To Earn $500 Or More Per Month Working Part Time From Home

Yes, you really can make money working from home. There are 1000’s of great online jobs, businesses and opportunities. Unfortunately, there are just as many scams and cons out there.

I started this series after spending time on some Work At Home Mom FB groups, seeing how much junk and scams there were, and wanted to provide a resource to give people looking for a job or a business from home, good, legitimate resources.

Subscribe to follow the series – I will be writing about 5 jobs and/or businesses per post for a total of 100. Or you can keep an eye on the landing page: Work At Home Mom.

Blogging – Yes, there are lots of people making money blogging. However, there are lots of people not making money blogging. It takes time, continual learning, and hard work to make it as a blogger. There are also a lot of flooded niches, so you need to find what is “you” and hasn’t been done 100s of times.

Disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links.

If you really want to start blogging, don’t fall for the “get rich quick” blogging schemes out there. Take the time to really think about what you want to blog about and why. Get practice writing your first few posts and having friends and family critique them. Then start learning what it takes to grow your blog, gain followers, and make money from it. Two great starter books are: How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul & ProBlogger – Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. I have also written two posts about blogging:

How To Start Blogging

What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Blogging and What You Can Learn From My Mistakes


iBlog Magazine for Professional Women Bloggers

Customer Service – While Blogging is a business, doing Customer Service is a job. You should NEVER have to pay to find the jobs, get the jobs, and get paid by the jobs. There are many companies that now hire virtual Customer Service Reps and most of these are reputable companies with real, paid by the hour, jobs. I even saw a post once from American Express Travel  – they were paying $16.00 an hour for virtual travel agents!

Your two best bets for finding these jobs are doing a Google search like: remote customer service jobs (but beware, this will also bring up some scam sites) or using Rat Race Rebellion’s comprehensive list of Customer Service companies that hire remote / virtual reps.

Direct Sales – You may have also heard these called MLM (Multi-level Marketing) Businesses. Businesses, instead of selling through a retail store like Walmart or Amazon, sell their products through individuals, like you or I.

When you start an MLM, you are starting your own business. And just like Blogging, you can make a lot of money or you can make very little or no money. It depends on hard work and learning from other people how to build your business. Usually you sign up for such a business under someone else and they teach you how. However, there are 100’s of sites, books, etc… out there on how to grow and build your business also.

Some companies include: Avon, Aribonne,  It Works, Scentsy, Posh, Thrive, Plexus, Young Living, Useborne Books, and MANY more. If you know of a business that you have been considering or would like to know more about, I probably know someone who is working that business. Contact me and I will connect you.

I run one MLM businesses: Gifts With A Cause – Fair Trade accessories and home decor . I only do it because it is also a charity and it helps to lift women out of poverty in 2nd and 3rd World Countries.

Online Tutoring – In college, part of my work-study funds came from tutoring students who were struggling in math, especially Algebra and 1st quarter Calculus. Today, millions of students from elementary through college can find a Tutor online, and therefore, you can find a job Tutoring online.

You will either be paid by the client or by the hour. Usually the Tutoring company is the one providing you clients, but you may get bonuses for bringing in your own clients. Your best bet is to Google online tutoring companies or look in your local phonebook.

Surveys, feedback, samples – If you are not specifically looking to make a full living working from home, but just need a little spending money, Swagbucks might be for you. You can earn Swagbucks for registering, taking surveys, shopping online, printing coupons, watching videos, and playing games. Redeem the Swagbucks for giftcards from most major retailers (Amazon, Walmart, Target and many more). There is currently a $5 bonus for signing up. Although folks used to make serious money from these sites, these days you will only be likely to make $25 or $50 per month.

Join my Work From Home Moms Who Want More Than Spam Facebook Group to learn more about working from home and the opportunities available.

Could you use $10 right now? Sign up for Ebates and get $10 cash. There is no obligation, no surveys, etc… just a great site to get coupons and cash back on the majority of your online purchases!