Back to School After 17 Months

I dropped all four of my kids off at school today.

This is significant for SO many reasons. For one thing it’s Elle’s first time in school. She started half day Kindergarten today!

That means for a couple hours all four kids are in school at the same time which is crazy to me. For the past 14 years there has always been a baby (or babies) at home with me. The fact that all of them are in school is mind blowing!

The other reason this milestone is a big deal is because we homeschooled last year and the year before that school abruptly went to remote learning in March. That makes 17 months since my children have been to traditional school. I have so many thoughts and feeling swirling around in the middle of all this and I figured why not dump them out on the internet in case anyone else is feeling the same way?

I know the topic of masks is polarizing! I have dear friends that are all about masks and vaccines and I have those that are the opposite. I’ve always had a holistic bend. We did home birth, cloth diapers, delayed vaccines, co-sleeping, and more. You can probably guess where I fall in the midst of all this pandemic confusion. For me it’s always been about trusting my body. That DEFINITELY includes listening to Doctors and taking medications, but I lean more towards the natural approach. I’ve always been like this. My mom had an unmedicated home birth with me so I guess you could say I was literally born this way. Add to that, the fact that my daughter is 100% deaf and even with cochlear implants she relies heavily on facial expressions, lip reading, proximity, and clarity of sound.

That’s why we ended up homeschooling last year. If you had someone deliberately design the worst possible environment for my daughter to hear it would include masks, shields, and distance.

So we homeschooled for all of the 20/21 school year. There were highs and lows, but I don’t regret it at all. It was the right choice for us. Then at the end of the year I felt led to put the kids back in school (for the upcoming school year). So I contacted out district and started sorting out what that would look like. I talked to teachers, therapists, and parents. I wanted to make the right choice and J and I prayerfully decided to enroll our kids for the 21/22 school year. Everything was working out great and masks were not mandated. That was until last week when the school decided that they needed to reconsider this decision. A board meeting was scheduled for less than 36 hours before the school year started. There was a heated debate between community members proclaiming why the school would be reckless and irresponsible if they chose not to mandate masks and the other side having the same feelings if they did mandate it. It was intense. I let the kids watch and we used it as a learning experience. We discussed both sides. We also talked about the best way to get involved  in a positive and respectful way when you are passionate about something.

Then someone appeared on the screen that we recognized. It was one of Z’s good friends wearing a mask and making a case for the mask mandate. “Wait.. is that…?” Zion mumbled. We all sat quietly. When he finished I paused it. I said “Did you guys know who that was?” and they said yes. “How does he feel about masks?” “He wants masks to be mandatory” Ezie said. “Z how do you feel about masks?” I asked. “I don’t like them”. He said. For the record I have never pushed this on him. He understands the rules and we always obey them. He wears glasses and hates how the mask fogs them up and his sister is deaf. He is entitled to his own opinion.

“Can Z and this kid still be friends?” I asked. “YES” they all agreed. “Was this kid brave and do a great job talking peacefully about this subject” “YES” They all said in unison.

The meeting lasted 4 hours and ended after midnight. We only watched little bits of a recording, we weren’t watching live. It was less than 24 hours before the first day of school when the school announced that the board had voted in favor of the mask mandate.

Afterwards I poked my head in Z’s room. He was on a message board typing a message to his friend that just spoke out at the board meeting. I asked what he was up to and Z said he wanted to tell him he did a good job. I tensed up a bit. I was worried this would cause conflict because maybe the kid would start name calling unmasked people or that his compliment would be confusing if Z showed up not wearing a mask. A number of scenarios rolled through my mind. But the conversation through text went like this-

Z: Hi.

Friend: Hi.

Z: Great job on your speech. I think it’s good that you care about your little sister like that.

Friend: Thanks!

Z: Do you have Rocket League?

Rocket league is a video game and the conversation went on from there. I tear up even writing that. With all the terrible mud slinging and division I have witnessed from all sides, my mind immediately went to the worst. I imagined a big rift or heated debate. I got out of the way though and let my son encourage his friend and it was fine. It was so beautifully refreshing.

Speaking of refreshing I have been fasting for 21 days in August. Church of the Highlands is leading a 21 days of prayer event with a prayer guide and online services right now (click the link if you are interested). As I faced all of the confusion this week with the last minute mask mandate I have been reminded over and over that I need to trust God. He gave me a peace about sending my kids back to school last May. Then things started going topsy turvy and the Delta variant started springing up and my inner alarm was blaring. I doubted God, but He spoke to me in my prayer time. I felt him say that HE didn’t change. The circumstances around me may have changed but He didn’t. Then right when I was explaining to J about all of this a rainbow showed up at our front door reminding me even more that God keeps his promises.

No one wants this Covid stuff to continue. It’s been a nightmare. A friend of mine told me that she was reflecting on how when Peter looked at the waves he started sinking. We can’t focus on the storm. We have to focus on Jesus. We have to keep our posture in alignment with Him. That’s made all the difference for me in this time of uncertainty.

Against all the odds I am looking forward to a great school year.

By | August 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hatching Project

I am way behind on posting this update, but better late than never. Back in the spring our friend Dennis (the one we met when he adopted our rooster) came on April 11th to start incubating some fertilized eggs he had from his ducks and chickens. This was the best homeschool project ever!

Dennis has been such a great friend to us. He brought over learning materials like a poster and this neat Chick Life Cycle Exploration Set that shows what the inside of the eggs look like from day 1 to 21.

We mostly left the eggs alone in the incubator other than adding water on occasion to keep the appropriate humidity levels. Once a week Dennis would come over to candle the eggs. This is what it’s called when you hold a light up to an eggs to see a glimpse of what’s inside. Egg production companies do this to look for abnormalities before packaging edible eggs into a carton for groceries stores. We did it to see the developments that the embryos were making. It was awesome! Getting to see the shadowy movement of a duckling inside of an egg is coolest thing.

The incubator has an electronic feature that automically rotates the eggs to mimic what the mother does when she’s hatching eggs. On day 18 we took out the rotator tray out because this is when the eggs need to be on a flat surface ready to hatch. The final three days of the incubation process are called “lock down”.

I had a count down on my phone and we were eggstatic (I couldn’t help myself) for hatch day!

The first “pip” finally came on Sunday (day 20) at 4:00 in the afternoon. We could hear chirping and even see some eggs wobble or a little beak poke through, but we would have to wait 20 hours from the time we saw the first pip to the time that egg actually hatched.

That meant 20 hours (with a tiny bit of sleep) where we obsessively crowded around the incubator to see the action in hopes of watching a chick hatch. This was way better than Netflix!

Sometimes we woke up to find a chick or a duckling had hatched in the night, but we were present for many of the hatchings. When the chick first cracks the egg it will turn inside the shell and peck until it creates a “zip”. Once the zip is almost full circle it will push and hatch out of the egg! This takes a ton of time and energy. It’s an important part of the process though as the chick is absorbing the yolk for nutrients and building its strength. It’s so hard to watch a chick struggle. Our nature wants to help the weak, but this is more harm than good which is also a lesson for me as a mom (I’m still learning).

I took tons of videos and time lapses of the whole process, but the files are too large for the blog. I have them on my facebook album though if you want to see the time-lapse of chick or duck hatching! 

When the chicks are born they have a little “egg tooth” that is used to crack the egg open, but they loose it after a couple of days. The whole process is miraculous and fascinating.

Chicks are ugly when they first come out (in my opinion). They are all slimy and scrawny and can’t really stand upright. They get the hang of walking around pretty quickly though and then they become very playful and curious. You are supposed to leave them in the incubator until they are dry and fluffy. I was worried that their rambunctious behavior would disturb the unhatched eggs. Dennis said that’s actually a good thing, because the unhatched eggs hear and feel the activity and it gives them an insentive to come out! This was true for our little brood. Once the first egg hatched the chick went wild chirping and knocking all the other eggs around. Then more chicks hatched. They tended to hatch in sets. It was a bit of a domino effect.

In the end we hatched 12 chicks and 5 ducks, all various breeds, colors, and sizes.

The first pip was a Sunday May 2nd at 4:00 pm and we had activity all the way until the final hatch that Friday May 7th. So there were 5 full days of observing the hatches, caring for the new baby chicks, and having an amazing learning experience. We took care of the chicks and ducks in the brooder in our laundry room for the first two weeks.

We had so many visitors wanting to meet our fluffy friends. Our cousins who also homeschool got to come over and they actually adopted several of the chicks!

Dennis took the bulk of them back to his farm, including all the ducks. The ducklings were so stinking adorable, but they were messy and eat a ton so they were ready to go.

For those wondering why we didn’t keep the chicks or ducks it’s because we don’t have room for them. We live in a neighborhood and don’t have acreage or a pond. We are blessed to be able to have a coop and 9 hens, but we are all set! There was one thing I wanted to do though before we said goodbye to the babies… PHOTOSHOOT!!!

The lighting in the laundry room was not great, but I got out my professional camera and a makeshift backdrop and started clicking away.

Can you blame me?

By | August 4th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Book is Done… Kinda

It’s been three weeks since I did a blog post announcing that I want to have my memoir finished before I turned 40. I still have eleven months until my set deadline and I already have a rough draft of the book completely done! There were several things in place to make this possible. First of all I had quite a few chapters already written when I first dreamt up the memoir idea. Also, even the ones that weren’t covered I was able to pull some from blog posts. To be clear the book is not going to be blog posts in print, not at all. It helps a lot though that I wrote about my experiences along the way and I can pull heavily from that. I also looked through a lot of photos, receipts, emails, social media posts and calendars to put all the pieces into place. This whole memoir thing digs up a lot of stuff from the past. Some of it is heart breaking and I have definitely shed some tears, it’s been healing though.

Here’s the thing about the book writing process. I love writing, that’s the easy part for me. Once I get into that zone my fingers go flying over the keyboard and it’s hard for me to peel myself away. The thing I don’t have the motivation for is what comes next and that is the execution. I don’t even know all the steps it will take because I have never done this before! I do know I need to polish this first draft A LOT! After that I will need to figure out how to have it edited, then published, and promoted. There are probably infinitely more details than I even realize, but I am determined not to quit before the finish line this time.

Also, even though the blog has been quiet lately I do not want to pull back on writing on Messy Mom to focus on my book. On the contrary, I want to take things up a notch once school starts. For now though we are going to soak up the last 23 days of summer break. With that said here is a little photo dump from summer so far.

The first two weeks of summer we were in Texas. Even though the circumstances were not the best we were able to have a lot moments together as one big happy family.

Jeremy went ATVing with the guys. He ended up cracking multiple ribs and the recovery has been brutal. I think he would still do it all over again if he could, just maybe with a little more caution.

We went camping with some of friends from church and are looking forward to another camp out next month that will include caving.

Of course we spend time with the chickens every day that the weather allows. When we travel we have a neighbor that collects eggs and cares for them which is wonderful.

The Fourth of July was everything it should be. Hot dogs, lemonade, red white and blue, fireworks, and time spent with friends and family!

Last but not least we were able to take a trip to Michigan and the kids got to experience Mackinac island for the first time. Some aspects of this vacation were not “picture perfect”. We packed a lot into the five days that we were there and it took it’s toll on each of us. It was still the adventure of a lifetime. The awesome happy parts of the trip far outweighed the crabby ones.

On top of the family trips the kids have had their own separate exerutions. Z went to camp, Elle went to Florida with her grandparents and the older kids are going to DC next week. This summer has had really high highs and really low lows, but I’m definitely feeling grateful and blessed.

By | July 25th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Before I turn 40

I have never been a big “bucket list” person. I like lists, and I make a to-do list almost every single day, but when it comes to the far-off-adventures to check off I haven’t been strategic about it. However I do have one big milestone I want to complete. It’s not going to be something to check off before I die, but before I am what some refer to as “over-the-hill”. As of this week I am officially less than a year away from the big 4-0 and I have one goal in mind.

I want to write a book. I want to have a book with my name on it available to read before I turn 40.

This has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. It’s been something I’ve actively pursued in the past 6 years but every time I made it a priority to finish one of the books I started I somehow got interrupted, or distracted, or lazy, or whatever. This is my year though. I believe it!

The book is going to be a memoir from the season of our life when we were on welfare. It’s not really going to be about welfare, but the journey from having “the American dream” to having almost nothing and then back again. It’s about facing unemployment, poverty, disability and more while keeping our faith and family intact. I started this book years ago. One reason I never finished it was because I was waiting for the day that we were completely off of medicaid to consider this a full circle journey. Then at the beginning of 2020 we were finally self sufficient again (you can read all about it in the “Goodness of God” blog post, which is one of my favorites).

I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I am excited. I LOVE memoirs. I’ve read dozens of them. This is my chance to compile everything God miraculously brought us through in one big story. Even if it’s just for me or for our family history it will be worth it to have the words bound.

I need to be held accountable. If I fail at self publishing a book within the next year it won’t be the first time I fail to hit this target. Maybe this would be an appropriate place for an inspirational quote.

Seriously, I think I have some really good shot at it this time.

  1. It’s the ONE thing I’m focused on for the next year. Not at all saying I don’t have other obligations or plans, but it’s really the one BIG goal.
  2. This will be the first year since I became a mom almost 14 years ago that I will regularly have a couple hours to myself because Elle will be in half day kindergarten. It’s a very short class, only two and a half hours. I plan to maximize that alone time though. I told J that I have a job that I will be doing in that window of time and that I am a writer!

Speaking of J, can I just pause to talk about how blessed I am to have a man that really believes in me and in my crazy entrepreneurial endeavors? He has always encouraged me. I know that having a spouse who values creativity and dreams is a blessing. This photos was taken on my 39th birthday by the way.

I’ll keep you all posted and will probably need some feedback and help along the way. Thank you for supporting this little writing side gig of mine. It means the world to me.

By | July 1st, 2021|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Our Year of Homeschooling

In May we closed out our 20/21 Homeschool year.

I feel like I would if I ran a marathon- sore, exhausted, and out of breath, but so happy to have reached the finish line. I was telling my fellow homeschool mom friends that I was a little dissappointed because I really wanted to finish the homeschool year strong. I had typed out plans and had the best of intentions, but life inevitably interrupted. My friend reassuringly told me that she believes “finishing at all is finishing strong”. I receive that encouragement.

I took countless photos and wrote out so many memories along the way. It really was a wonderful year full of priceless moments and lessons. Here is a look back at my first try at homeschooling.

We started out with a bang at the beginning of August. I wanted to start early to allow more flexibility for breaks.

One of my favorite parts of Homeschooling was getting to do so many field trips!

We were somewhat limited because of Covid, but we did more than if they had been in public schools which is zero (unless you count the virtual ones). My favorite field trip was to Heritage Village where we learned all about Ohio in the 1800’s.

The curriculum we used was Miacademy. I mostly did my own teaching and lessons, but the kids used Miacademy for their core subjects. I was able to get our subscription for free because I contacted the company and told them I was interested in writing about our experience on my blog. This took a lot of courage for me to ask and I was fully prepared to be declined. They wanted to work with me though and it it was so rewarding! That’s just one of the many areas of growth for me throughout this experience.

One of the other really cool things that I loved about homeschooling was collaborating with other families.

We got to do a lot of activities with the kids’ cousins/grandparents and some of our other homeschooling friends throughout the year.

I have two favorite homeschooling lessons that we did and they were actually back to back. One was learning about Indigenous People on Indigenous People/Christopher Columbus Day.

We did several crafts and activities that week along with multiple field trips. It was so cool.

My other favorite lesson was when we had an election the week before the real election to learn all about the process. We had a campaign and took a vote for what we would eat for breakfast. We worked hard, laughed hard, learned a bunch, and ate some yummy breakfast (monkey bread for the win).

I can’t post about homeschooling without including a chalkboard pic. I wrote a whole blog post all about the chalkboard.

One thing I never blogged about, but it was really fun and educational was when we did a week on healthy lifestyle choices.

I guess I already said that I had two favorite lessons, but can I make it three? We went to Jungle Jim’s super market and explored a variety of foods from around the world.

We each picked out an exotic fruit that we wanted to try and learned all about each one as we sampled them. My favorite was the Kiwano Melon from Africa. It had a unique jello texture inside and a mild citrus flavor.

The school year wasn’t without its challenges, but I got to know each child’s learning style more than I every knew before. We bonded and grew not just academically but in a variety of ways. After it was all said and done we have decided that it’s time to go back to public school. I love homeschooling. I see the benefits and I may come back to it someday.

I feel empowered to know that I did it once I could do it again. Not right now though. I love our school district. I see the benefits there too and with most of the pandemic stuff behind us I am ready, and the kids are ready, to go back this fall. Look out Kindergarten, 3rd grade, 5th grade, and 8th grade… HERE WE COME!!!

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By | June 15th, 2021|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Memories and Dreams

My husband loves to be outside working in the yard and building things.

Every chance he gets (even as I type this) he is outside doing some sort of project. Lord knows we’d have a lot more livestock and homegrown produce if our property and city zoning allowed for it.
It’s our dream to own land in a more rural area someday.

This week I’ve been thinking about these dreams to possibly walk in the footsteps of my amazing father-in-law. Don has been on my heart and mind all week long since his soul went up to heaven to be with Jesus this past Monday.

He was so ready to meet his savior, which made a difficult loss a little less painful. When I remember Don, the list of talents and attributes goes on and on, but one thing that he was known for was the grit and ingenuity he had tending to his homestead. He has always been a skillful craftsman. If you look around at their gorgeous 11-acre property, everything from the gate, to the barn, to the house itself he built by hand.

On top of that, he could grow just about anything and work with animals too! He had an endless supply of knowledge about everything agricultural and mechanical.

One fun memory of Don that I can recall in great detail (because I documented it here on the blog) was a conversation I had with him about his upbringing. I asked him if he was raised on a farm.

He was hesitant to answer yes and needed clarification. In the sense of commercial farming as a source of income, he was not raised on a farm. They did live off of the land though (which back then where he was from was just living, not necessarily farming). They raised their own meat, milked their own cows, and planted their own crops. He shared memories of putting curdled milk in a pillowcase tied tight with a stick that would become cottage cheese. He remembered a wood burning stove, a root cellar, and a cantankerous rooster that when finally caught was slaughtered by his mother on the chopping block for Sunday dinner. He remembered that same rooster winking at his mother after being decapitated. She wasn’t able to kill another chicken after that day.

Don moved around a lot in his adult years, but his dream of returning to his country roots came true when they built a house on some farm land Texas shortly after J had moved out. They had cows, horses, cats, and a couple of dogs. It was true country living.


Maybe, when our kids are grown that will be our story too. Who knows.

When J and I celebrated our ten year anniversary we renewed our vows on his parent’s land. It was gorgeous and I’ve written about this special memory over and over.


I have even mentioned that we had photos of our wedding rings on some of Don’s old farming equipment.

One of my good friends took these photos. They represent us and our heritage so well. Another photo she took that day is this one of the two of us with our pastors and our parents. It’s one of my favorites!
It’s a big part of why we can have a thriving marriage after 20 years. All three of these couples were married young like us, they all went through struggles like us, and they all had a strong faith in God that carried them through. It breaks my heart that our patriarch is gone. We will miss him, but what he left that is even more significant than the things he built with his hands is the family he led with his heart.
We will carry the memories in our hearts, until we meet again.
By | May 23rd, 2021|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Isabella Then and Now

It’s been four years since SJ got the priceless gift of her very own American Girl Doll.

 

You can read the whole story here, but basically I wanted to get her a doll that could have hearing aids but knew there was no way I could afford an American Girl Doll. So, I posted this ISO on Facebook Market Place and received an overwhelming response.

I was just praying I could find a USED American Girl doll that I could afford and God provided above and beyond that! I received an American Girl Doll still in the box from a stranger which I was able to gift to SJ on her birthday.

It was the best birthday gift ever! The first year was really sweet and my mom brought SJ and Isabella to the American Girl doll hospital at the Mall of American in Minneapolis and she got hearing aids.

It could have ended there and it would have been worth it, but the fact is four years later she still loves her doll. It’s been such a treasure to watch her grow and change and still cherish Isabella. She’s 11 now and just got some new accessories for her birthday.

I know this imaginative play won’t last forever so I am documenting it while I can! Here are some of my favorite snap shots of SJ and Isabella throughout the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at how little SJ was when she was 7! Someone get me the tissues!

Here are a few other special memories with Isabella.

Isabella doesn’t go with her everywhere, but she’s been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in her four years.

 

 

She’s been known to wear Elle and SJ’s old baby clothes.

Oh and you’ve gotta love the bows. 

They’ve had their fair share of matching outfits.

The dress in this Christmas photo was actually SJ’s when she was a baby.

Isabella was there when the world shut down and the kids suddenly had to do distance learning (SJ’s on a zoom call in this photo).

Spotted this scooter at a yard sale this past summer.

When you homeschool sometimes you have to do your school work at the car dealership while your mom is getting the oil changed.

SJ has made so many cool things for her doll and I wish I photographed more of them but here is a stage made out of a pizza box and the mic stand is adjustable!

I wish you could peek inside and see all of the details of this little bedroom that SJ made.

This year Elle got a My Life doll and so that’s been a lot of fun for these sisters.

Up in the tree house

Reading time!

Time for bed.


It’s been a fun four years.

 

By | April 14th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Messy Mom Compost Pile

Several years ago I did a blog post called “Composting Without a Bin“.

I still get questions from readers about that process. It’s been 5 years (at two different locations) that we’ve been composting.

This was 2016

and this is me and my little composting helper now.

We still don’t have a bin, but we got a little more sophisticated recently by using some wooden pallets to mark off where the compost goes.

The pile principal is still the same though.

For now I use a pitcher or a bowl for our compostable scraps, but I am hoping to upgrade that VERY SOON! The lesson though, is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can truly compost without any special tools at all.

With official first day of spring behind us I thought now would be a good time to write up a little Q&A answering some of those questions I have received along with a few other things I’ve learned since starting this endeavor.

Does it stink? 

No, it smells like dirt. It’s not the same as fruit that is decomposing. It is “dirty” though, literally.  We are fortunate to have a large yard so we can have our pile a decent amount away from our house, but when our kids have friends over we have to let them know it’s not a play area.

Does it attract animals? 

I have had people ask me if we get rodents or animals that dig through our pile as if it were trash. That has NEVER been an issue for us. We don’t seem to have a lot of raccoons and we don’t have bears in the area, but we do see plenty of deer, chipmunks, moles, fox, mice and dogs. For some people, animals are something that could certainly inhibit your chances of doing a compost pile that is exposed. As long as the scraps are buried in plenty of leaves and you are certain you haven’t added any meat, dairy, or other noncompostable items to your pile you could be like us and have no issues at all.

How long do you leave your pile before using it? 

We use our pile in the spring when we garden and then we stop adding to it in the winter. So it has about 7 months to collect and then from November to March, we let the pile decompose. Sometimes I feel bad about throwing away scraps and we end up starting another pile. The hard part is we don’t have a ton of grass clippings, if any, in the winter. So it’s hard to keep the materials balanced. I guess this isn’t a clear cut answer. Some people use thermometers and special equipment for their compost. We just eyeball it. Our goal is to do the traditional three bin approach. One for starting the compost, one for letting it sit and heat up, and the last one to turn and use.

Can I compost weeds? 

Okay, this was a question I asked! I was worried that the weeds would try to take root in the compost pile and then propagate. Weeds are so stubborn! A quick google search taught me that I can and should compost the weeds I pull. The sooner the better so that the weeds don’t flower and seed. Weeds can grow in compost, but again if you are tossing, watering, and balancing your pile it shouldn’t be a problem.

We love having a compost pile. It’s eco friendly and a great educational tool. The kids even add worms when they find them. Our latest development is adding what some farmers call “black gold”. Can you guess what that is?

It’s CHICKEN POOP.

We’ve got 9 little chickens now. While chicken droppings alone aren’t great fertilizer because they are super high in nitrogen, if you cool it down with some carbon compost it’s natural miracle grow. I am really looking forward to the garden bounty this year. Especially with all the COVID-19 stuff having a little suburban green life has been good for us.

My take on composting is that it takes a little extra work, but it’s totally worth it.

By | March 29th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Pandemic Anniversary and Moving Forward

I’m sure I’m not the only one whose social media accounts are flooded with flashbacks from when we were all thrust into our first official pandemic a year ago.

I know that I personally was so blessed that the pandemic didn’t affect us anywhere near as badly as it did thousands of other people. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t struggle or feel scared and miserable at times! It was all so overwhelming. March- May was a very difficult time for me and as I encounter so many “seasonal” reminders of last year it makes me flinch a little.

It’s surreal to remember what that moment in time was like. I really thought the pandemic was only going to last a couple of months and here we are a full YEAR later.

Here is an excerpt of what I wrote on March 20th about my first week of social distancing.

“last week life was normal for us. I had a conversation with my parents in a Chick-fil-A on Monday (March 9th) talking about the Coronavirus and how in my little town in Ohio it wasn’t affecting us. My exact words were “we’ve been doing business as usual”. Then on Thursday (March 12) everything came to a screeching halt. As in- slam the breaks, no seatbelt, we are all ejected into an alternate universe. I was actually looking at my phone scrolling through hairstyles for my daughter to choose for the father daughter dance the next night. She was so excited. Then I got the text that it was canceled. I couldn’t believe it. It was 24 hours away, what had changed? Then I got the next update that school would be closed for 4 weeks. Tears welled up in my eyes and I even started to get angry…”

“Friday (March 13) was the last day of school for the kids. One thing after another was being canceled. First church, then restaurants, gymnastics, the roller rink where my daughter’s birthday party was scheduled to happen, dentist appointments and pretty much everything else. It really was like a real life apocalyptic sci-fi movie. I went to the grocery store to find rows and rows of empty shelves. I bought things I never would have like cans of peaches, and high priced paper towels because that was all that was left.

I had to pinch myself to see if this was really happening. I have daily to-do lists on an app and every morning I go through and delete the previous week’s list to add new ones. Here are some of the things that I did last week:

Go to the library

Dentist appointment

Meeting at church

SJ’s Gymnastics class

Pick Z up from Lego League

Make invitations for SJ’s Birthday

So every day (up until now) I looked at a snapshot of the week before, when those things were all very normal. Every day I was reminded that last week I was living my life not knowing my whole world was about to be turned upside down. I was devastated.”

 

 

Remembering all of that is difficult, and even though a lot of restrictions are still in place and people are still being affected by the Coronavirus I am seeing subtle changes. For example that birthday party that was cancelled actually happened a week ago!

The skating rink honored our deposit and I invited a whole new group of girls and we gathered together to celebrate.

I shared the photos on Facebook acknowledging that it felt very redemptive. I am hoping to see more and more redeeming moments like that. Last year we were all at home for Easter but this year we will be celebrating in person! My family is going to come over for our traditional egg hunt and lunch. Easter is all about redemption. Obviously Christ’s act of redemption is way bigger than something like getting to go to a concert that you previously missed because of Covid. However, sometimes when you see significance in the little details it sheds more light on the big things. I keep digger deeper into what it means for something to be redeemed.

We had so many things stolen from us last year, from relationships, to loved ones, to jobs and celebrations and the list goes on. My prayer is that this would be the year of redemption in all kinds of ways!

I feel like this FedEx commercial does a beautiful job of expressing these thoughts through their commercial. I’m not talking about the part about FedEx or the vaccine, but I do love how they are highlighting and reminding us of all the things that we’ve gone backwards on and how it’s time to start moving forward.

 

By | March 24th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Effective Ways Your Family Can Earn Some Extra Money

Boosting your income can enable you to achieve your financial goals and enhance your quality of life. Whether you want to pay down debt, save for a luxury holiday, or support your kids as they reach the next stage in their lives, increasing your annual income now will give you the flexibility and funds you need. To get started, take a look at these very effective ways your family can earn some extra money:

Start Driving

If you have a license and a vehicle, you’re already on your way to becoming a professional driver. From signing up as a cab driver with companies like Lyft and Uber to winning hot shot trucking jobs and delivering goods, there are a variety of ways you can turn your driving skills into a budding startup or side hustle. Just make sure you have the right type of insurance in place and you’re good to go. 

Become a Consultant

Whatever professional experience you have, you can optimize your income by sharing it with others. Setting yourself up as a consultant allows you to work with companies or individuals and share your knowledge and expertise. Whether you mentor new graduates and teach them how to succeed in your industry or provide advice to established businesses, capitalizing on your own hard work and professional success can be a great way to boost your income. 

Use Your Home

Your family home is probably your largest asset, so why not make the most of it and use it to generate some income? If you have a spare room, you could rent it out on a long-term basis or make it available to temporary residents via sites like Airbnb. 

Alternatively, unused space, such as garages or outhouses, can be transformed into handy storage units and rented out. If you have a large driveway and live near a town, city or event venue, you could even boost your income by making it available for parking. 

Pet Sitting

Not only is pet sitting a lucrative way to make extra money, but it’s also extremely fun! When you become well-known as a reliable pet sitter, you can be sure that your services will be in high demand. Whether you take pets in while their owners are on vacation or you walk the dogs in the neighborhood while their owners are at work, there are a variety of ways you can earn extra money and get all the benefits of having a pet without being an official owner. 

Sell Items You No Longer Need

If you could do with a little extra space at home, this will help you to declutter your living environment, as well as bringing in some extra cash. Decide which items you no longer need or want and get them listed on online marketplaces or local advertising portals before exchanging them for cash. 

Transform Your Family’s Finances

When you find fun ways to bring in some extra money, transforming your finances becomes a family effort. By getting everyone involved, you can teach your kids about financial management and protect their future at the same time.

 

By | March 18th, 2021|Frugal Living, Uncategorized|0 Comments