Friday, March 29, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 29 The End

Rise time . . . 6:00


Well today is officially the end of the challenge since the last two days of the month end on not only the weekend, but a holiday. I pray every one has a wonderful and safe Easter, celebrating the gift God has given us: freedom from sin.

This challenge really has changed my mornings and my life. I really enjoy getting up early and spending that time by myself, for myself. I have time to get right with God and ask him to guide me throughout the day. My attitude has been different. I no longer feel like there is not enough hours in the day. Around 6 at night I feel like there are too many hours as I'm waiting for my kids to finally go to bed. 

I hope this has changed your life too. Not every morning was a productive and successful morning but this challenge has taught me to keep going and never give up. Eventually there will be many more successful mornings then not. Don't give up.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Praying For Your Daughters

I have three daughters. They are beautiful and such a blessing. I enjoy them every day and look forward to my morning hugs and kisses. They are 4, 2, and 1.

It seems like a long way off before they are going to be sent off into this world as adults. Yet kids are growing up much faster then generations before them. They are less equip to handle situations then ever before. Raising daughters in the world we live in today scares me. I need to be ready to attack those negative images of women and show my daughters what true self worth is all about.

Praying for my daughters is one of the most important things I can do right now. It may not always feel like it makes a difference but God gave me these little girls to love, cherish and yes pray over. He and He alone will give me the strength and ability to be a good mother.

We are to ask for things we need. Why wouldn't we ask for our daughters to grow up loving God and others. Why not ask for their future husbands to be preparing their hearts for God and our daughters. Pray that God molds them into the young men we see as worthy of our daughters. That they would care for them as though they are a rare treasure sought by many but found by few.

Why not ask God to prepare their hearts for being good wives and mothers. That they would raise their children to love God and obey him. They would care for their husbands as the church is to care and love God. That they would give of themselves to God and their family.

Pray for our children's education, that they would be hard workers and do their best. They would receive a fine education and find careers they are not only happy in but can also bless others. Make them strong women ready to take on the world.

Pray that they will know the difference of being truly beautiful because they can love and be loved. Help them see that the way you dress or fix your hair is only outward and the most beautiful women in the world are often the most unhappy. True beauty comes from knowing that she is enough just the way she is.

I found a beautiful prayer from a young woman's childhood in the book Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women I want to share with you:
Heavenly Father, Thank you for a Daughter like __________.
Thank you for blessing her and putting her in this family.
Thank you for helping her find you at an early age.
Protect her tonight as she sleeps and tomorrow
as she goes through her day.
Keep her from the enemy and from harm.
Help her to find a Godly husband in your time.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
We have started saying this prayer at night. One thing I wish my parents did was to pray over me. I know they prayed for me during their prayer time but I never heard them. I want my kids to hear me pray over them. They will know that they were important enough for me to spend extra time praying for each of them.
Pray and pray often for your children. 

Early to Rise: Day 28 Pray

Rise time . . . 5:30
Prayer has always been a struggle in my life. I know how important it is and when I do spend time daily in prayer I feel more at peace about my life. I know that God is in control and that he will guide me to make the best decisions for my family and me.
We all tend to say little prayers when we need something. "God please help me find my keys so I can get to work." "God please give me strength to deal with my kids." We often plead with him at the last minute to do something, yet we could have taken it to him in prayer much sooner.
God loves us and doesn't just want to hear our pleading. Is that how you would speak to your best friend? If Jesus is your savior, why are you just spending time to plead with him? You should be on your knees thanking him for what he has done and what he has given you each and every day.
Thanking God is incredibly important. He is to be your best friend. When I talk to God, I talk as though he is next to me. I speak to him like I would any friend. He wants to know about your life, so share it with him. I love the days where I might be cleaning and just having a conversation with God, telling him what's going on in my life.
Is there something in your life you need help with. Divine help is as good as you can get. Ask him for big things and small things. He created the world and you. I'm sure he can handle whatever you need.
As a teenager I found it silly to pray over a lost camera, but at camp that is what I along with my friends did. After searching for several minutes, we prayed and within a minute we found it in one of my friend's bags.
As I started growing in my faith I really started understanding what Jesus meant when he said "ask and it shall be given to you". It may not always be what we want, but sometimes it is.
At 15 I went on my first missions trip to Monterrey, Mexico. On first day we went out to do our door to door and invite people to our program that night.
As supper drew near, we gathered and the leaders started to get everything set up. As they started setting everything out they discovered that we didn't have enough sandwiches. We were short about 20. They counted several times and every time they were short 20. Our leaders prayed over the food asking God to make it last.
Meal time came and the local church members we worked with went first, then the female participants, male participants, the female leaders, and finally the male leaders. Everyone received a sandwich. Not only that, but there was about 20 left over. Kids that were watching us eat and waiting for our program, were given sandwiches. I know that God answered the prayers of our leaders and showed his power to us.
After that experience I truly understood the power of prayer. God does answer. The hard thing is He can answer several ways. Yes is what we want to hear. Wait is hard for us to hear. No is never what we want to hear. We still need to keep praying. I would rather hear something from God then nothing at all.
Prayer is always going to be a struggle for me. I just need to keep praying and know that God is there. I need to be better about thanking him, asking for help with the little things, and also be on my knees asking for forgiveness each and every day. I am so far from perfect, but Jesus gave us the opportunity to washed white as snow. God can only be with us because we have been washed in the blood. Let's spend time with God today.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 27 Words do hurt

Rise time . . . 5:30
It can be amazing at times how God works with our quite time. Today my devotion was on respecting your husband with your words. To put it bluntly: Keep your mouth shut if you don't have anything nice to say. I have been reading The Proverbs 31 Woman and it has been so insightful. Today's devotion and the reading in Early to Rise had some similar points.

Those in our lives: husbands, kids, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, and the list goes on, shouldn't hear from us words that tear us down. If we want our relationships to work we need to list the good things and focus on those. When we focus on the negative personality traits we tear that person down and destroy a relationship.

Words are so hard to repair. Once they are said you can't take them back. Focus your energy instead on what makes a person great. Why do you have a relationship with them? There is something you really like about that person. When I think of my husband it can be very easy to tell people what I don't like about him, but when I focus on the good I see that he is a very kind person. He wants to help those in need. When it comes to being a husband and dad he wants to care for us and likes to think of himself as super dad and in some ways he really is. The girls love to play with him and he knows how to make them laugh. When I start listing the good, the negative things seem to disappear.

This concept can be used in all aspects of our lives. Instead of being frustrated with all the toys on the floor be thankful you have kids to leave the toys on the floor. Instead of wishing you had less dishes, thank God for giving you a house full of love and people for you to care for. When you are cleaning the bathroom, remember that there are people that don't have nice bathrooms like yours. There are many people with holes in the ground (I've seen them and had to use them. I am very thankful for my bathroom).

As you go about your day try to take every negative and turn it into a postive. Make your day great today. Be the best friend, parent, spouse, employee that you can be. You'd be surprised at how others will respond to you. Go make this a great day!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Need a little extra cash?

Are you looking to make a few extra bucks? Who isn't. Several months ago I signed up for Swag bucks. This actually works. I have made about $50 already and it takes almost no time at all. I save for birthdays and Christmas. A few extra bucks can really go a long way.

It is so simple. All you have to do is search the Internet. Sounds too good to be true right? Well that's all you have to do. As you search during your day you'll randomly get awarded swag bucks which get turned into gift cards. It comes out to about a penny a point depending on which gift cards you would redeem. 450 points gets you a $5.00 gift card to Amazon.

On an average day I get at least 15 points just by searching like I normally do. Typically I receive enough points for at least one gift card a month sometimes two. Fridays they give away big points and I recieve 30 or more points.

There are several things you can do to increase your points. One way is to click through their site when shopping online. Walmart, Target, and Kohl's are just a few stores that earn you at least 1 swag buck per dollar spent and it is better than 1% cash back. Some stores offer 3-6 swag bucks per dollar spent. There are also activities, swag TV, surveys, and other offers which allow you to earn additional swag bucks.

Check out Swag Bucks and get signed up to start earning a little spending money.

Early to Rise: Day 26 It's OK to be Alone

Rise time . . . 5:30
This morning I did not feel alone at all. It may have something to do with the fact that my 19 month old woke up at the same time as my alarm, my 4 year old was up a little before six, and my two year old was up before 6:30. We had a nice morning of cuddling, Blue's Clues, and My Little Pony. It has set me back in my morning and now I am trying to play catch up.
Today I am really seeing the importance of having time in the morning when I am very productive and can get many things done before everyone wakes. Yes I sometimes feel alone, but I have been feeling like that a lot lately. I seem to be changing my life for the better and find others thinking I've lost a screw or two. I want my life to be better and it has been the past 26 days. I like getting things done and not being interrupted several times. I like feeling like I'm accomplishing things around me.
I may feel alone at times about decisions I have made for me and my family, but I am happier and more content then ever. I know I am doing what is right or God wouldn't give me peace about my decisions. If you feel alone ask yourself one question: "Are you happy being alone in your decision?" If the answer is yes then you are doing something right.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 25 Share it!

Rise time . . . 5:30


This has been a wonderful journey. As I reflect on the past 25 days I really see the difference my morning time has made in my attitude and ambition. I really feel like I added hours to my day and in some ways I have. Once the kids are in bed my husband and I just watch TV for an hour or so before going to bed. TV is not a necessity so cutting out a half hour or hour hasn't been hard at all. I wake up refreshed and ready to start my day.

How has your journey been? Have you been telling your friends and family about it? Some may think your crazy. So what? Tell them to try it for 30 days with you and then see if it's crazy. Adding an hour to your day doesn't sound crazy to me.

Today try telling others close to you about your experience. Having someone do it with you, provides accountability. Accountability is what helps drive people to succeed. We are naturally competitive as humans. We have a drive to succeed and not fail. Having a partner always makes the difference.

Why have I done so well? I have others joining me through a challenge presented by I am not alone. There are many struggling just like me and succeeding just like me. In five days the challenge ends. Who is going to hold you accountable? Will your spouse? A friend? A sister? A coworker? Find someone that will challenge you to continue being better.

We've already learned that successful people get up early. Successful people are often called crazy as they begin their journey to be better. They are different and do things differently. Our lives aren't working, yet we the same thing over and over. Then we call those who dare to be different crazy. So who is really the crazy one?

Now that we are on day 25 SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! Prepare yourself and equip yourself for the next 30 days. Find others who want to experience what you have.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 22 Sharing the Moment

Rise time . . . 6:20

As you may guess my night did not go well and neither did my morning. I had a little visitor to my bed at 5:30 and I couldn't get away from her. When I moved she'd start whining and fussing and snuggling closer. Finally at 6:20 I was able to slide out of bed without disturbing her. I had about 20 minutes before my four year old got up. That's better then nothing.

I love the idea of spending time with my husband in the morning. I have been struggling with what to do in a few weeks when he goes back to work. He is seasonal so about four months out the year he is on unemployment and the other eight he works an average of 65 hours a week.

Most mornings he is up around 4:30 and gone by 5. I am planning on getting up and packing his cooler every morning. We can spend time talking on the phone as he drives to work (it's a 45 minute drive). It would give us more valuable time then snuggling on the couch watching TV at night. We would also be guaranteed time together, since he often gets home very late.

Every family and every household is different. You will just have to find what works for you. Think about spending time with someone you love. If not your husband/wife then maybe one of your kids. Spend a few extra minutes alone with them by waking them up 10 minutes early.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 21 Be happy!

Rise time . . . 5:50

Another long night of little sleep. It gets hard some mornings but I have never regreted getting up early, not even once. This has been an amazing ride for me. I am so happy I've done this challenge. Having time to myself, especially those mornings where I get 2 hours to myself, change my attitude and my day. I enjoy my kids even more.

Take a moment to look back at all you've accomplished. How do you feel? I hope you are smiling because you have done more the past 21 days then you have before. You are productive in your morning and if you have kids you have more energy to care for thei needs.

I've had good mornings and tough mornings, but waking up even 10 minutes before my kids has given me enough time to wake up my mind and my body. I am smiling this morning because I have not just survived 21 days of this challenge but embraced it.

What is making you smile about the challenge today? 

Check out the chatter at and finish the challenge with us.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 20 Silence is Golden

Rise time . . . 5:30
In my house, silence is very rare. A few times someone has had my 4 and 2 year old and I was left with a napping baby. I stood in the livingroom wondering what I should do. It was quite and I really had no clue what to do about it, except enjoy it.

My mornings are so peaceful. Even when one little girl gets up early, we have some snuggle time and still enjoy some quite. Right now I hear the refridgerator running and the coffee maker clicking every minute or so. I love the morning sounds. I know in a very short time I will start hearing "MOM!!!!" and it will continue for the next 13 hours.

For a short time in my day I can just be me. I'm not mom, wife, daughter, or sister. I'm just me. The silence gives me calm and peace about my life and family. For a short time I can feel that all is well.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easter: Keeping Jesus in Easter

Easter is a holiday I often have a hard time figuring out what to do. I hate that it has become so commercial. We do have baskets for the girls. A few pieces of candy and a little gift. It is hard at their age to explain what Easter is truly about. I have been collecting ideas that will help start traditions that will explain Easter and the Risen Christ. Today I will share a few with you.

Easter Story Mix: I am planning on giving this to my Sunday School class. A fun snack mix with meaning. A great poem to include. For school age kids this would be a great gift to give to their friends and neighbors.

The Easter Story: Using an old egg carton and plastic eggs, you can tell the story of Easter to your kids. This has been a tradition at our church and in our home. We've always enjoyed making them.

We Are That Family has 10 great ideas about keeping Easter focused on Jesus. There is a wonderful variety and can be done with most any age.

Resurrection Cookies I am hoping to make these this year. Make the cookies the night before talking about the resurrection and Easter morning the kids have a special treat to remind them that the tomb is empty, Jesus has risen!

Have a Happy Easter!

Early to Rise: Day 19 What will you do today?

Rise time  . . . 5:30

Now that we are over the half way mark, how are you doing with this challenge. I've had a lot of good mornings and some bad. It usually depends on how my night goes. I love my kids but when I don't get a good nights sleep, it's often harder to start my day out on a positive note.

I am a schedule and list person. I love love love them. I feel more organized with my time and I also don't feel so overwhelmed with what needs to get done. My daily schedule is fairly easy going since my kids are young enough to stay home with me and old enough to play with each other. Today's schedule for me is this:

5:30 Wake up, get coffee
5:45 Devotion, Write blog post, eat breakfast
7:30ish get breakfast for the girls
8:00 Clean up breakfast, Claire (my sister who has FASD and has to be watched) arrives
8:15 Hang diapers and liners in dryer, start a load of laundry
8:30 work time for me, check email, facebook, blog
9:45 Get girls in bathroom to brush teeth and hair, Get Claire ready to be picked up for school, Snack for the girls, switch laundry to dryer
10:30-11 Put youngest down for nap
11:00 unload dishwasher
12:00 get lunch for the two older girls and myself
12:15 mop bathroom floors
12:45 help girls mop tile in basement (chore for them)
1:00 me time again to do work until youngest wakes up and needs lunch, Claire arrives from school
2:15-4 work time for me, planning supper, breaking up fights, cuddling with girls, reading library books, snack time
4:00 get Ava ready for dance, get in van for dance
5:25 home from dance, get supper ready
6:00 clean up supper, dishes
7:30 get girls ready for bed
9:00 bed time for me

I'm looking at my schedule thinking oh my gosh do I really do all that? Yes I do almost everyday. I do have a few hours of free time each day but often it is interrupted very frequently. Most days I have a little one who just sits with me and cuddles for long periods of time.

My schedule does not control me, I control it. This currently works for my family. We may sound busy and I guess we are but we all know what to expect and it typically flows pretty well. Now that I am getting up an hour or two before anyone wakes up, I have time to work on my blog posts without interruption. I have more control over my schedule now.

Everyday is going to be what you make of it. If you don't take control of your day, your day will take control of you. We all know there are only so many hours in your day. What are you doing that could give you more time. Are you spending hours watching TV? Do you have a hobby that takes up much of your time? Your day will only be what you make of it. If you need more time in your day then find it. Shut off the TV for an hour and get something done. Be a better you so you can be better for your family.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 15 Halfway!!!!

Rise time . . . 6:08

Another night of someone waking up and needing me. Some days I wonder if this will ever end, but then I remind myself that they grow so fast that I will miss these days and wish there were more.

Hard to believe that we are halfway done with the challenge. How has it been for you? Will you keep at it and make it a new habit?

 I'm sure everyone has heard the statistics on how many times you have to do something before it becomes habit. Some say 7 weeks or 3 months. I've heard so many different ideas. I say it takes as long as it takes. Some might need two weeks to make it a habit others might need 3 months. Keep at it. You've chosen to particapate in this challenge so I know you want to make rising early a habit. Don't let those though mornings get you down. Remember what it felt like that first morning it was a true success and you felt great about getting up early.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 14 Make it cost

Rise time . . . 5:30

Well my three little princesses decided that they would give me a good nights sleep. Yes!!! When my alarm went off at 5:30 I had been awake for a minute or two and didn't even realize what time it was. It was extremely easy to lean over, shut it off, and get out of bed. I had coffee percolating and breakfast waiting for me in the fridge. I feel refreshed and ready to start my day.

I am very happy to say that the challenge of getting up in the morning has not be bad. The mornings that I struggle are the mornings I've been up with a kid or two during the night. Today's reading in Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days was great advice. If you make getting up late cost you, you will be more motivated to rise early. Since issued the challenge for it's readers, that has been enough of a motivation for this competitive girl. It isn't a competition but it is a challenge to see who can make it through the month.

Day 13 means we are almost half way done. Although I've done really well, after this challenge is over I will need other motivation. I am hoping that by getting up early for a month will instill a routine that will be easy for me to continue. If not I am going to have to take the author's advice and some how keep myself motivated. Maybe I will challenge someone else and I can start the challenge all over again. Buddy system works much better than going solo.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DIY Princess dresses

My daughters love to dress up. They really love to dress up as princesses. Not just any princesses but Disney princesses. I have tried a few and have had requests from my daughter for more dresses. For Christmas I made her a Rapunzel dress with a wig and her birthday in January I made her a Cinderella dress.

Christmas Morning

 Most dresses I find in the store start at $20. They also last a very short time since they are very poorly made. There are a few options for you if you choose to make your own. I used a few patterns I already had. Hancock often has them for $.99 or $1.99. I just pick and choose from different patterns what I need and adjust if I need to. My daughter didn't care if it didn't look exactly like the dress from the movies. As long as it looks similar. It really just has to be the same color and she's fine.

Another option is to follow a free tutorial. You may still need to adjust the sizes and sometimes draft your own pattern. The links below will provide you with tutorials for other princess dresses. I have tried a few and am looking forward to trying more. My 4 year old dresses up almost everyday. 
I haven't found a Tiana dress yet and that is what my 4 year old is currently requesting. If you know of any great tutorials for princess dresses please share with us.

Early to Rise Day: Day 12 Stop being avarage!

Rise Time . . . 5:39

This morning went better. I am still finding it hard to have the motivation to get out of bed but at least I had a good night sleep last night. No one woke up in the middle of the night. Hurray!

I was really inspired today by the reading in Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days. If you don't want to be average then you need to start going against the flow.
Let's think about successful people who are average . . . thinking . . . still thinking. . .
Now how about people who are successful. Well I can say that professional athletes are not average. They work hard and often go against the flow to be better than every one else. Bill Gates, I'd say he is far from average and a self made billionaire. Successful A list and even B list actors and actresses are far from average. Many worked their butts off in unconventional ways to fulfill their dreams.
Now lets look at history, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Dr. Martin Luther King, Ghandi, and Jesus. What do all these people have in common? They went against the flow. They made themselves better by being different.
Are you happy being average, being just like everyone else. Are you one of the cookie cutter people letting others tell you how to be happy? Getting up early is such a small part of changing your life. Mornings are your time to reflect and decide how you will spend your day and how. Will you be avarage and blend in with everyone else or will you be different and have an attitude that says I am different. Are you going to be happy and spread that happiness to others or walk around like everyone else who are frazzled, tired, and unhappy. Every morning and every day the choice is yours.

(If you popped over from MSM, I'd love to hear how you are doing.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 11 Change the World

Rise Time . . . 5:50

The challenge started out somewhat easy for me. I actually got up early in the morning without struggle. It seems to be getting harder to do the past few days. I believe it has to do with my poor nights of sleep I have been having. Last night I was woken twice and every night for almost a week now I've had someone waking up and needing me.

I am starting to really understand the importance of my morning time. When I can have a few minutes waking up and getting myself emotional and spiritually ready for the day, I feel much better and have more of a desire to get things done around the house.

Yes I want to get something accomplished but as the author discussed in Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Dayson day 9, there will be days where I will have to put my kids first. When that happens I need rememeber that I can try again tomorrow.

I will be a better mom if I have time to adjust my attitude and take care of myself for a change. My world is my home and kids. Greeting them in the mornings with smiles, hugs, and kisses sets a much better tone for the day.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 8 Ship Something????

Last night was a tough night with my 18 month old. Again she was up during the middle of the night and I struggled to get her back to sleep. Getting up early was really tough. On days like this I don't know if it would be better for me to try to get more sleep or start my day with little sleep.

I really love the idea of creating something to put out there for others to see. We all have an artist hiding inside us and there are so many different ways to express it. I love writing my blog. It can be a real release for me. I also love sewing. When I finish a project I am always so impressed with how it turns out. I often wonder if I really made that.

I have been using my morning time to do my devotions, prayer, and blog. Morning really is the best time to work. When the kids are around, writing a post can often be difficult. If I try to work on it at night my creative juices just aren't flowing. I love being able to share things with other moms and maybe some dads too. We all work hard taking care of our kids, sometimes it's nice to not feel alone.

 I always get excited when someone tells me they are enjoying my blog. I hope you are too. I am always looking for guest bloggers. If you have anything about kids or family you would like to share, give a try writing a blog post. Just click the link for more information. Guest blogger Information

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Saving money by cleaning with baking soda

Baking soda is super cheap and one of the best cleaners I've found. It can do so many things that I don't need multiple cleaners. I get a 13.5 lb bag at Sam's Club for $6.68 and it lasts several months. You can also purchase 13.5 lb Baking Sodaat

Now let me tell you a little about how I clean with baking soda.
  • My glass top stove: pour baking soda on dirty and caked on spots. Put warm soapy towels on the baking soda for about 15 minutes. (Make sure you ring the towels out so they are not too wet.) Scrub away those spots. Works better than the cleaners you buy in the store.
  • I pour about a 1/2 cup of baking soda in the toilet and then about a 1/4 cup of vinegar and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Scrub clean and voila you have a clean toilet. 
  • When kids spill on our carpet I soak as much as possible up with a towel and then sprinkle baking soda over the spill. I let it sit for around 12 hours and then vacuum it up. No stain!
  • Baking soda, water and a scrubby clean my showers and all the scum off the walls and tub. Just make a paste and scrub away.
  • My 18 month old gets very bad diaper rash with open sores. I poor a cup or two in her bath water and it helps clean it out. This works for any kind of rash. Use it on poison ivy, poison oak, bee stings, and mosquito bites.
Cleaning supplies can be expensive. I have found that the cheap in expensive ways of cleaning work just as well or even better than most commercial cleaners. The best thing about baking soda is I never have to worry about my kids getting into poisonous cleaners.

Early To Rise: Day 7 Creating Habits Brick by Brick

The only number that matters in building this habit is “1”.  
Habits happen one decision at a time.
Habits die one decision at a time.
Habits start one day.
Habits are the responsibility of one person.  
Habits are formed by people who realize they only get one life.
Habits are formed by the one person you can control: you.

Traub, Andy (2013-01-25). Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days

My view every morning. I really feel God's presence.
Rise Time . . . 5:39

This morning was the first morning I really had a hard time getting up. I hit my snooze button for the first time. I had a rough night with my 18 month old. For some reason she just did not want to go back to sleep.

Today is day 7. If you have being doing this challenge with, congratulations you've made it through the first week! You are hopefully discovering what is working for you and starting to get into a comfortable routine.

Today's reading in Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days reminds us that this is a process. Each day you are building a habit. Each day is a choice.

I often struggle with creating habits as I'm sure many do also. I have found that when habits start to stick, my life has become less complicated.

Since last summer I have been trying to start new habits that make my life more organized. I started with my cleaning schedule. That only took a few weeks to create a habit for a majority of my cleaning but still something I am continually working at. Next I organized bill paying, which worked wonderfully. That habit took days. The last habit I've been working on with my husband is our budget. Keeping track of our spending and making sure we are not over spending is a constant challenge.

Habits can be easy to establish, they can be hard. They will take time but we have to remember that today is what matters and today is what we can control. Let tomorrow worry about itself because you have enough to worry about already. Tomorrow is a new day with new choices. We are building our habits brick by brick, day by day.

If you are participating in this challenge I'd love to hear how you are doing. Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Early to Rise: Day 6 Adjust Your Attitude

Rise time . . . 5:40
This morning I set my alarm 10 minutes earlier in hopes of getting a little more time before kiddos wake up. As I write this post I've been up for 40 minutes without kids. I've gotten my first cup of coffee, had a devotion and prayer time, and read the short reading from Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days. I can honestly say that I don't feel like I've gotten up before six and I never thought I'd ever get up this early because I stay home with my kids everyday. When it comes to rising early, I have actually had an easy time getting up and this really surprises me.
 As I've already experienced in this challenge it is not going to always go the way I expect. In today's short reading in Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days the author discusses the fact that there are others in your house and you cannot control the time they get up. You can, however, still take the opportunity to make the most of the day. It really depends on your attitude. If your kids are little like mine, they won't understand they have to stay in their room and leave mommy alone. You can be prepared and have something they can do while you have some time, sort of, to yourself. Take that time to change what you wanted to do and maybe take the an opportunity to make some moments with your kids to cherish.

I spend more time with my 18 month old than my 2 and 4 year old. Having 3 little ones in general makes it hard to spend some one on one time with each of them. When my 2 year old woke up early the other day we snuggled on the couch and watched her favorite show while I finished up my blog post. It was really nice to start the morning with her. I was a little frustrated at first but then I took it as a chance to spend time with her alone I rarely get. My attitude changed about the moment I picked her up and said good morning. Because of my attitude change, we had a very nice morning.   

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chores, Kids, and Allowance

Now that my youngest is four we are seeing her want more responsibility around the house. We believe it is so important for kids to learn it from day one. For several weeks now we have been doing a simple chore chart. She has been super excited to complete the chores and put the stickers in the square. After the sticker is put on the chart she even asks what else she can do. Kids need to feel like they are contributing to their family. This may mean more work for me today but as she learns, there will be less for me to do. 

The chores she has are simple and things she has picked out herself. Some are done daily and some are done weekly. We have seven simple chores for her to do.

  1. Morning cleanup
  2. Evening cleanup
  3. Put away clean clothes
  4. Wash Dishes
  5. Wipe table
  6. Wipe bathroom counters and sinks
  7. Sweep and mop tile floor in basement 
  8. Vacuum 

With the chores we are starting to give her allowance. My husband and I agree that the allowance has to be earned. We want to teach them from the beginning to work hard and you'll get paid. The idea of a job and how important it is in the developing of character in our kids, is something that we feel is important to start teaching now. The more she does the more she will get paid. 

Each completed chore is worth 10 cents. Saturday we pay her and 10% goes in her piggy bank, 10% in a jar labeled church, and the remaining goes in a jar labeled spending. We have already taken a trip to target to see what she wants to save up for. In another week she will take her first shopping trip and buy something with the money she has earned.

Early to Rise: Day 5 Challenge

Rise time today . . . 5:50

Challenge is the topic of today's reading in Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days challenge. Boy has this been a major challenge for me, but not in a way you'd expect. We are on Day 5 and I still haven't had much of a morning to myself. Regardless of setting my alarm earlier everyday, one of my kids is up shortly after me every morning. Today I had almost 10 minutes before the first woke up. She was up an hour and half earlier than normal.

Day one, two, and three I had someone waking me up before my alarm clock. Day four, yesterday, I had about a half hour before my two year old woke up.

This is really frustrating because my husband is up early every morning and is not always very quite, but he doesn't wake up the kids. I am quite and tiptoeing every where and they wake up. I won't give up yet but I sure am feeling like there isn't much of a point if I am just sitting on the couch cuddling for an extra hour or so when I could be sleeping.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Early to Rise Challenge: Day 4

Today the alarm was set for 6:05 and I am proud to say I got right up. I am happy to say I had about a half hour before the first little munchkin woke up. Before she woke up I was able to have by devotion time in the stillness of our house. I am still planning on a goal of 5 or 5:30 by the end of the month.

Day 4 reading in Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days is so important to think about. Control is something I struggle with all the time. I worry about things I can't control and forget about the things I can. The past few months I have been trying to take more control over things I can. It has been easing a lot of stress in my life. Taking control of things like your morning rountine gets you off the hamster wheel you feel you are on and going no where. You are in control of your morning and not your morning controlling you.

Early to Rise Challenge: Day 2 and 3

Day two and three went about the same as the first day. Kids up at 6:30 when they usually sleep until 7:30-8:00. They seem to know I want a little time to myself in the morning and plan on sabotaging my efforts. Tomorrow I am setting the alarm for 6:00 and slowly extend that time back until I find the right time that will work for me.

Day 2 message from Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days talks about naming your alarm clock. Reading it you may think it sounds crazy but when you really take time to reflect on what the author is trying to say, it starts to make sense. When you are not a morning person the object waking you up become something you really don't like. When you stop hating the alarm clock and think of him as a friend, you start looking forward to your mornings and everything they might hold.

Day 3 message from Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days really spoke to my heart. As a mom of three I rarely get time to myself to do things that I really enjoy. Last week I got very little done because I had 2 kids cutting teeth. All my 18 month old wanted to do was cuddle. My 2 year old was a little more cranky than normal so the kids seemed to be fighting much more. This did not give me a chance to get anything done and by the time the kids are in bed, I am so exhausted I don't want to do much and I still have a husband who needs me.

Having that hour or two every morning just to do what I want and need is going to make me feel much better about what I've accomplished for the day. I will be selfish in the morning and take care of me so that I can better care for my family.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Adventures in Budgeting: Month Four

I am happy to say February was great in so many ways. We were under budget in many categories. I am finally feeling like we have control over the money and not the money controlling us. I feel much freer than ever before and so much more confident about our finances.

I am learning more and more how to juggle the money and spending on what we need instead of what we want. Our change of mind and attitude has made a huge difference in our checking account. We have spent about $500 less than we normally do by just asking ourselves whether our purchases are needs or wants and can we wait to buy this? We don't elimante all wants from our lives but instead decide what wants we can acutually afford and truely desire as a family.

This isn't easy. Watch a few commercials and you will be told that you need this car or this phone to be cool. Use your credit card and you can go anywhere or do anything. The problem is YOU have to pay for it. It's simple math. You can't spend more than you take in, if you do you will be broke and then some. Paying for things on the credit card or through loans will only have you spending more for something you could have saved for a few months and purchased with a discount.

As I look around at our neighbors and their brand new cars, boats, campers, snowmobiles, and four-wheelers I wonder how many actually own them. Our vehicles may not be brand new but we own them and never have to worry about someone else taking them from us if we don't pay. We feel like being "cool" is paying cash for things we want in order to stay away from being in debt to someone else.

Early to Rise: Day 1 Believe and Stand Up

Well this morning did not go as I had hoped. My alarm was set for 6:30 and my youngest decided to get up before six. Instead of some me time getting ready for the day we had an hour or so of cuddle time. At my point in life I can expect this and just hope that as this challenge continues I will start finding time in the morning for me.

In the past I have been one of those people who start something, do it for a few weeks, and go back to the old way. I have slowly been changing my life so I can be a better mom and wife. Starting this challenge is really a challenge to see if I can do it for the whole month. I know this isn't going to be easy as I've already seen on day one, but I can see the benefits of being up before my kids and taking time to prepare myself for the day.

Don't forget to purchase your copy of Early To Rise: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days and join us in the challenge. Joing the conversation at