The Job I Fell in Love with this Year

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yesterday was my volunteer day. That’s the one day per week where I basically go into work like most American adults. Ha! I put on my grown-up clothes–things like trousers instead of yoga pants–and I work for someone besides my family. I mean, I’m a mom, so of course I do work everyday, but on volunteer day I do a different kind of work.

I love it. I re-shelf books at the boys’ school library, and I help Mrs. Dubose with her current project. And once all that is done, I do my favorite part of all. I catalog, label, dot, stamp, and tape new books to go on our library shelves, all while being available to check out books for kids.

These are a few of my favorites for early readers, all on a 1st grade reading level.

This is the best job I’ve had in ages, and I do it all for free. Volunteering or trying out different jobs has been the only way for me to figure out what I enjoy doing and what I don’t.

Don’t wait around for someone to ask you to do a volunteer job. Figure out what you’d like to try and go ask to do that thing.

Otherwise, I’ve always found that if you don’t busy yourself with what you enjoy doing, other people will find work that you may NOT enjoy doing for you to do!

That’s happened to me a few times too. Nursery duty, anyone?? Aughhhhh!!! Every time I’ve ever been given church nursery duty, I lived in dread that week of Sunday because I didn’t want to do it. We all do a better job and help more people when we do what we’re good at, not what we just couldn’t say no to.

You may think it’s ironic that I love working in the library since I wrote this post: How We Got Banned From the Library, but my inability to return things I borrow on time actually doesn’t at all affect how much I love books and cataloging new ones and bringing order to shelves ransacked by tiny hands. How I love it!

I wish I could love restoring order to my house as much as I love tidying up the library. What is that? Why is it that it’s more fun to do things away from home? I got nothing. I can’t explain that phenomenon.

Job I fell in Love with this year

My VBS class made this this summer, and that’s when I realized I could totally be okay with teaching Sunday school. This was fun too! The older I get the more things I find that I enjoy.

So you know what I fell in love with this year? The library. Again. It’s a love I’ve had since childhood, though it worked so much better when I had my ever-responsible mother to make me return the books on time.

This time I’m loving being on the other side of the desk. I even have my own account at the school library now. You know why? You’ll laugh–I hope. See, I checked out a book on Caleb’s account, without his knowledge, and then I lost that book. I know. I still can’t find it!!

Well, my boys, believe it or not, never lose books and rarely acquire fines, so when Caleb went to check out a book and discovered that he couldn’t because he had a way overdue book, he was pretty upset with me…..So Mrs. Dubose did us a solid, and switched that book to my account.

Working in the library has also helped me find more ideas of good books to share with my boys.

That was a month ago. I still can’t find that book. It won’t be the first time I’ve bought a book that I’ve lost. Life will go on. The library is still a great privilege. It’s still saving us money to check out most of our books rather than buying most of our books.

Remember when I was a young adult, and I tried job after job, and felt like such a flake because I couldn’t find one that fit? Well, I’m 36 now, and I’m happy to report that I’ve found several.

Mom. Blogger. Writer. Librarian. Sunday School teacher.

I officially love all of these jobs. How blessed am I!? Sometimes you just have to give things time and trial and error, right?

How about you? Have you ever found your passion through volunteering? What jobs do you love?

 

 

My 4 Favorite Homemaking Hacks for 2018

I love Christmas break. Time off from spelling tests, chauffeur duties, graded papers, packing lunches, and best of all I’m not desperately rushing everyone to not be late…..oh how I love time off.

We always spend a few days at my parent’s house and a few days at Alan’s parents’ house, and it’s such a blessing to spend time with them and soak up the rest and good conversation.

With people you see on a daily basis, it can be easy to fall prey to simply talking about your shared problems and the annoying people you have to deal with. Ha! We all have them.

But when we get together with family at Christmas, we can re-focus on what matters and gain wisdom from others. We can always do that during the everyday too, of course, but I get the best ideas when I have some time and space to read and think!

Daniel and his favorite cousin at Christmas. They were born only a month apart.

I am reading 2 books and taking 1 online course that I’m gaining immensely from. One is on grocery budgeting and the other is on marriage. The course is about planning.

Alan even found an app for us to use for grocery shopping that has also been hugely helpful. I wanted to pass those along to y’all.

The Books

1.) How to Win the Grocery Game

I’m including an eBay link above for that one, which I do not make any money from. I just found the eBay price to be slightly better than Amazon.

This is an extremely practical book about saving money on grocery shopping. However, it was written in the 1970s and is extremely outdated. I’ve had to look for more modern ways to implement some of the strategies in this book, but it’s the strategies and the meal planning tips that make the book worth while…..if you can look past the insane price amounts on everything. You have to ignore those since this book is from the 70s!!

I’ll share with you a modern app I’ve used to help me do one thing from the book later in this post.

2.) Created to Be His Helpmeet

The above link is to the Amazon Kindle edition, but it is available in paperback on Amazon and other sellers as well. I do earn a small percentage when you buy through this link.

This book doesn’t even attempt political correctness with words like “hillbilly ugly” and “submit”. Ha! You have been warned.

But I’ve found it to be practical and helpful, a solid reminder. It has also helped me understand my husband better, as she divides men up into three groups: command types, visionaries, and steady men.

The book is about becoming a kinder, more helpful wife, and by doing that, you can’t help but improve your marriage, even if you’re married to the Grinch himself. I’m only 1/3 the way through it, but so far it has helped me to straight up be a nicer person at home with my husband.

I also love that it’s written by an older woman. She has walked through all the phases of life, and she’s sharing what she has learned.

Us with Alan’s side of the fam. Greg was MIA this year due to food poisoning. You were missed, Greg!

The App

As I mentioned above, I’ve found a more modern way to implement the grocery strategy, but it isn’t foolproof. I’m not sure if the database is leaving out all the goods from stores like Aldi and the Pig because they came up less frequently than I expected. Some work may still need to be done there.

But if you want an easy way to compare everyday prices at one store with sale prices from the circulars, this is an awesome app.

It’s called Basket.

You type in your grocery list. It gives you options for brands and lines them up by price. Try it out. You may end up spending hours on it like Alan and I have.

We put in our entire grocery list, and then we hit “compare prices”. It showed us that the cheapest way to get all our groceries at one store was to go to Walmart. However, the real issue was that Walmart was the only store that carried every item on our list.

To get the best savings, you can tell it to break it up into 2 stores. That gave us Walmart and Food Depot. In the list, it breaks down which items we should buy at Food Depot and which ones we should purchase at Walmart.

Wow, huh?

It was funny how it would switch stores as we put more groceries in!

However, Alan found that not all of the prices and sizes were available at Walmart, so checking your weekly circulars is still important.

I think this is a good tool, but it doesn’t truly replace searching through the weekly grocery ads.

 

Christmas morning

Chore Looping

Another exciting tip I got this Christmas is “chore looping,” which my sister-in-law, Amy, told me about.

For those of us who have trouble with other methods of keeping up with house cleaning schedules, chore looping is the way to go.

You make a list of tasks, like this:

  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Scrub master bath.

etc., etc. Add whatever rooms you have.

Then you work through it until you reach the end and start over, and it doesn’t have to be all in one day, all in one week, or even all in one month. You just work through the list as you are able.

Some tasks you have to write on your list more than once, like scrubbing that bathroom that all 4 boys use…bleh…

For Example:

  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Scrub master bath.
  • Vacuum.
  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Tidy up dining room.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Tidy up living room.
  • Dust the house.
  • Scrub hall bathroom….lol…again and again and again…

…And the list goes on until you’ve covered all the tasks you can think of.

Some days you do 3 or 4 of them. Other days you do 1 or none at all. It just depends on when you have the time!

If you do marathon clean, then you skip the repeats. I almost never marathon clean. Why? Because it’s exhausting, and I was always hoping I’d be affording a maid by now….lol

Daniel helping with the Men’s Pancake Breakfast at church

I’ll save my excitement of my new Brilliant Life Planner and accompanying online planning course for another day. I can’t wait to show it to you. In fact, I’m definitely going to do a Facebook Live all about this planner this week, on my Stories of Our Boys Facebook page.

I hope you all had an absolutely fabulous Christmas and are as excited about the new year as I am! Actually, I’m pretty nervous about 2018. Moving…deep breaths…deep breaths…I’m going to need all the organization I can accomplish!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ¬† ¬†Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

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2 Must Read Character Building Fiction Books for Tweens

2 Must- Read Character Building Fiction books for Tweens

 

Today I have the honor of writing this article, 2 Must-Read Character Building Fiction Books for Tweens, over at LikeMindedMusings.com, as part of Lee Felix’s 30 Days of Tween Parenting Encouragement!

For each day of May, Lee is featuring another blogging mom of tweens on her site to talk about this phase of parenting. There’s so much information out there for the years of parenting babies and toddlers, and then it feels like the older your kids get, the less people want to talk about it.

Here’s a snippet of my post. Be sure to check out the other 30 days as well!

“Farmer Boy was an easy sell for my boys. (I don’t have any girls.) They were definitely not excited about this next one, Secret in the Maple Tree, by Matilda Nordtvedt.

They protested at first, but then they grew to love it.

Yes, in this book, the main character is a girl. Her name is Hilda, and she is one of the most real, relatable characters you will ever read. Almanzo in Farmer Boy was naturally a very well-behaved boy. Hilda has to work much harder at it. This character is based on the author’s mother-in-law, Mrs Ebertina Erickson Nordtvedt, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants, who migrated in the late 1800s.

Also, I have more good news.”

Click here to read the rest.

 

Be sure to subscribe to the other 30 days if you are a parent of tweens!

 

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