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My Monthly Goals

After reviewing my yearly goals, here is an update for October and a preview of the things I will be working on for the month of November…

I like to share my Monthly Goals with you here because it holds me accountable for one, and also I just hope that it can inspire you in some way to create goals of your own and find something that you can be working on. I believe that to be purposeful and intentional, we have to make an effort to do so. I like to make a plan of how I will accomplish certain goals, and I’ve found it to be really helpful for me. Your plans may not be as detailed as mine, and that’s perfectly okay. I’ve been doing this for quite some time now. Just start somewhere with something, and make a plan to be more purposeful. You’ll be glad you did!

Spiritual Goals:

This month I am studying, writing out, and praying God’s promises. I’m not following any specific guide or anything, but I might possible compile them all for a project later on. We’ll see!

Mothering/Family Goals:

  • Football season with Lawson – We ended our regular season undefeated, so we will be advancing to the playoffs this month.
  • Bi-weekly trips to the Library with my kids (They have been choosing to go spend time with Dad at work instead of going with me on my shopping days so this hasn’t happened like we planned.)
  • Linkin has a special goal he is working towards for a prize.. (Linkin met his goal and picked out two small monster trucks as his prize. Go Linkin!)
  • Lawson also completed one of his reading charts and got to pick out a small prize as well this month!
  • This month, I’d like to take the kids to the local children’s museum a few times. We need to use our membership there before life gets crazy with a new baby in the family. There are some Thanksgiving-Themed story times that I think will be great to go to.
  • We’ve also got some Christmas-prep type activities that I’d like to finish up with them this month.

Homeschooling Goals:

I might be reaching a point of home school burnout for this semester, but we’ve been chugging along still. It’s very possible that it’s pregnancy-related, and I’m just tired. I started doing what we’re calling “Math Drills” with Lawson where I give him a worksheet with addition or subtraction facts and time him to see how fast he can answer them. This is to replace our “Flashcard Drills”, and he likes it so much better because it’s a challenge for him to be competitive with himself and his timed scores, even though the problems are always different. I remember doing this in school with multiplication facts, and it was helpful to learn the facts the more I did them. Lawson will also be working on his first Reading Fair project this month.

Linkin is still doing the “You Can Read Sight Words” curriculum, and he loves the hands-on approach. We used one of my erasable, friXion highlighters and read through one of our books to find all of his current sight words in it, and he really enjoyed this activity. We are also still doing the Raising Rockstars Program as well, and his favorite part of this one is singing the song of the week. He loves music!

Layten is continuing with her Tot School Printables. We are currently learning letter “Jj”, and I’m impressed that she’s really learning things… especially the things that we repeat from week to week like colors and shapes. She can name several of them, and she does really well matching things up one-to-one so this has been a great way for her to learn – whether it’s using felt shapes with her shapes page or printing off two copies of her pages for her to match up. She loves to do school!

For more on our Homeschooling… you can visit our Homeschool Page. 

My Personal Goals:

Blogging –

This has been such a fun few months for me with blogging. Although, I haven’t been putting out a ton of posts, I’ve been doing lots of working and writing and learning behind the scenes for some future things. I did do a Vision Quest Email Series this month, so that was exciting for me since it was my very first series to send out solely by email. This month I hope to be sharing with you some Christmas-Themed Posts as well as some Baby-Related Posts as we are in our final month of counting down this pregnancy.

Home Organization –

(Kids’ Clothes)

As you know from my How to Put Together a Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe Post, I went through all the kids’ clothes in September to figure out exactly what we needed for Fall and Winter. Since doing that, I found another box in storage of really nice clothes for Linkin that we had missed, Lawson was given a big bag of hand-me-down clothes and had a grandparent purchase him some nice things as well, and Layten was gifted clothes for her birthday. We are for sure, all-set now! What a blessing!

(Baby Items)

Since we don’t know the gender of our baby coming in December, I used our last Home school Break Week to sort through all of our newborn things for both genders together to see what we have and what we still need. It’s funny that I put those baby things away in storage and then took them out to find that some of them were really stained. I learned that baby stains are different than other stains, as they have enzymes in them that are especially hard to remove. But alas, I did find the perfect solution that got 98% of the baby stains out that I will share with you this month. It was so much fun to sort though all of those little clothes and get excited about another baby that will get to wear them.

This month I need to do a little more baby-prep… Here’s what’s on my list:
  • Decide if we will stick with our current pediatrician or switch to a new one.
  • Get an infant carrier and install it towards the end of the month.
  • Decide if there are any other big baby-items we would like to get besides the crib and car seat.
    (Swing, Bouncer, Play Gym, etc.)
  • Prepare some freezer meals to make the postpartum adjustment period a little easier.
  • Prepare a Lactation Cookie Dough Recipe to freeze for later use.
  • Raise the crib mattress, and make up with bedding.
  • Register at the hospital.
  • Purchase accessories needed for nursing.
  • Check breast pump and sterilize its parts.
  • Print my birth plan, though I doubt I will even need it (especially if this labor is faster than the last one).
  • Set up the diaper changing area.
  • Pack hospital bags.

Marriage Goals:

  • Weekly Budget Meetings as a Couple to keep us on Track with our Goals (Sometimes these happen through text messaging, but we try to stay on track and keep each other updated.) These will definitely continue. It’s going to be a super-tight month as we finish up Christmas prep, prepare for baby, and do some traveling this month. We will definitely have to prioritize financial things this month.
  • Go out on a date. We haven’t gone out on an actual date since early September so it’s definitely needed this month, especially before baby comes.

Health & Fitness Goals:

This goal has definitely been put on the back-burner for now. I’d hoped to be able to work out throughout my entire pregnancy, but I have given myself lots of grace this past month. It’s mostly a mental thing, and not so much a physical thing. As much as I love CrossFit and don’t mind modifying things, having to modify literally everything is annoying. There are so many things I’m not allowed to do during pregnancy and so many lifts that I’ve had to decrease weight on so that my form wouldn’t suffer too much. So while I physically am just not allowed to do certain things, it was the mental aspect that got me. Don’t worry… as soon as I’m able to ease back into it, I’m so excited to do so. 2019, I’m coming for you!

Financial Goals:

  • Continue in the grocery store & drugstore game for saving money with our food, toiletries, & household purchases. We’ve been stocking up extra on things like toilet paper, cleaning products, and now diapers so that we won’t have to rush out and get those things when the baby comes. Nobody wants to have to venture out with a newborn.
  • Prepare for Christmas. I am proud to say that we are “almost” done! All that we’ll have left to get is what Justin and I will get for each other, if we’re able, and stocking stuffers. Everything else is done, and just needs to be wrapped.

What goals will you be working on this month?

If you’re just starting out, you can read my series on My Purposeful Planning. Choose one goal to start working on, learn how to reach that one goal, and I think doing this will only lead you to want to achieve more.

Whatever you do, let’s go make a plan to be more purposeful!

Vision Series

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Vision… why it’s important, how to write it out, and how having a big vision can help us to be more purposeful in life.

Vision – the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom; a mental image of what the future will or could be like; a vivid mental image, especially a fanciful one of the future

Do you think it’s important to have a Big Life Vision, or is it something you’d rather not even think about? If i’m being honest, which I always try my best to do here, I would tell you that although I consider myself a big dreamer and LOVE to think about the future and what I want to accomplish in life… other times – those big, lofty things are just daunting to me… they sometimes seem impossible, and I begin to ask “What is the point?”

Well, I’ll tell you the point. The point is that if you have NO vision, you are living a very purposeless life. That’s something I definitely don’t want to do.

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

If I were to stop there, I could easily read into scripture and think what I wanted that “the vision” is all about me and whatever hopes, goals, and desires I have for myself in life. It would be all good, all positive, and there would be absolutely no hardships or effort involved. I would just wake up one day, and life would be grand.

However, as I study this verse a little deeper and read it in different versions, I can gain more clarity from it. I did that, and I’m going to just share a summary of the different versions I read for you here…

When we have no vision…
When we have no revelation of God and His word…
When we don’t have guidance from God…
When we have no word from God, no prophecy…
When we can’t see what God is doing…
When there is no message from God…
Where there is no understanding of the Word of the Lord…

…then…

….we perish.
…we are unrestrained.
…we get out of control.
…we have no law and order.
…we stumble all over ourselves.
…we do whatever we want to.

And those things are no good. So you see, we NEED vision. But not just any vision. We need to ask God to reveal HIS vision to us, and pray that our desires and our hearts would line up with that vision.

I’d like to explore this idea of having a Big Life Vision more with you, but I want to also make sure that I do it in the right order. We can’t just write out the vision without God’s help. We can’t do this in our own efforts, or it just won’t work. (Ask me how I know that.) I’m going to break this down into a Vision Series where we explore each of the steps. I’d like to share at least some of the vision that God has placed on my heart, and I’d LOVE to share with you all of the aspects and ways that He brings those things into fruition. That part might be ongoing, but I’m okay with that as long as it’s all in His plan.

So, let’s put things back in order…
1. Delight yourself in the Lord.
2. Truly seek to obey Him in whatever you do.
3. See that your heart’s desires line up with His plans and purposes for you.
4. Watch him bless you abundantly, even more than you could think or imagine.

This will also be the order in which I’ll share my thoughts on this topic of Vision….
Monday, October 15th – First, we’ll talk about what it means to delight ourselves in the Lord. We’re going to get back to the basics here, and I’m going to give you a challenge for the week on how we can do that.

Monday, October 22nd – We’ll discuss Obedience… why our plans fail sometimes, how it sometimes falls on us, and what we can do to change that so that we’re ready and obedient to God, no matter what.

Monday, October 29th – We’ll talk about how we can actually write out our Big Life Visions… visions that line up with God’s plans for us. I’ll share with you some steps for doing this, and I hope to share with you some of the vision that God has placed on my heart as well.

We’ll wrap up there, but I hope to also be able to share with you, ongoing, how God is blessing me and my family abundantly… and I would LOVE to hear how he’s blessing you abundantly too. This is going to lead nicely into the month of November where we can easily focus on Gratitude and Thank God for all He’s done! See you on Monday for the first post of this three-week series!

Sign up for this 3-Week Vision Series! 

Join us as we refocus our hearts, seek God’s plan for our lives, and watch Him begin to reveal it to us so we can be more purposeful and join Him in that incredible plan! 

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    10 Parenting Strategies I’ve Learned By Having a Strong-Willed Child

     

    Parenting is one of those things that you are never truly prepared for. No matter how excited and ready you think you are for it, there’s going to be at least some aspect of it that totally throws you for a loop. For us, we thought we had it going on! You know, before we had our kids! Actually, we were still pretty prideful even for the first two years with our oldest. He is like the model child of high standards set for all our children to follow. Bless their hearts. I even thought I was going to write a book about parenting back then saying, “If everyone just did exactly what we did, then they would have perfect children like ours too.” Wrong. Wrong. I have never been more wrong.

    Our second son came along, the strong-willed one, and we quickly learned that we have no idea what we’re doing here, and I threw that book out. If I ever write a book on parenting, it will certainly NOT be about what awesome parents we are and how we do everything perfectly. We learned our lesson. Pride comes before the fall. We fell, and we fell hard. We have struggled for years learning how to do this parenting thing again as all of our original ideals were easily turned upside down, shaken up, and had to be reassembled into something new with child #2. In case you didn’t know, all children are different, and you have to parent them all differently as well.

       

    Our strong-willed child is four now. I really don’t like calling him that because those words tend to give off a negative connotation in these early years, but it is what it is, and we are just doing our best to steer it in the right direction so that he’ll use it for good as he gets older. We know that it really is a GOOD thing, and that will begin to show up when he’s a little older. My husband has often said, “I wish we could all be like Linkin. He just does his own thing and does not even care what anyone else thinks about it.” It true. He has his own ideas about EVERYTHING. He is super smart and intelligent… especially in the ways that he thinks. I often just wish I could see what’s going on inside his brain because he is just so creative and often totally unexpected in HOW he thinks about things and processes things.

    But as a parent, it puzzles me. I feel that he is so intelligent sometimes that he is always one step ahead of me in his thinking and his scheming… which can be a scary feeling for a parent. Sure, I do have some wisdom myself and the experience that 28 years of life has given me, but it often doesn’t feel like enough.

    It doesn’t feel like enough when he finds a loophole or argument in literally everything I ask of him. Obedience doesn’t come easily for him. Accepting that fact hasn’t been easy for us as parents. We expected our children to just obey because we are the ones in charge, and they are the children. We knew it wouldn’t just happen naturally, but we thought if we were consistent enough by following up their disobedience with a consequence and discipline, they would learn. But the truth is – it WASN’T working. Our method of discipline wasn’t what THIS child needed.

    We’d always heard that with strong-willed children, your will as the parent has to be stronger. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve never read the popular book by Dr. James Dobson that everyone recommends, but I always took that quote to mean something different. As it turns out, “strong” doesn’t necessarily mean what we think it means. I’ve looked up the definition for you to demonstrate this point. Thank you, Google.

    “Able to withstand great force or pressure”
    Synonyms: secure, well-built, indestructible, well fortified, well protected, solid,
    -(of a person’s constitution) not easily affected by disease or heardship
    -not easily disturbed, upset, or affected
    -(of a person’s character) showing determination, self-control, and good judgement
    -firmly held or established

    Being strong as a parent is not about exerting great force and performing physically demanding tasks. It’s about being strong enough to weather the storm, that is your child. It’s about having a good solid, foundation and being sturdy enough ourselves, as the parents, that we can endure the hardships that parenting brings us through.

    Now, I never want to come across as “I’ve got this all figured out.” In fact, that would be very untrue. I feel that God gives us our children, and he uses them to teach us. We THINK we are training and teaching our children, but really they teach us so much more. God uses these little humans to teach us and shape us, and I’m so thankful that He does. I’m so thankful that He loves me too much to leave me the way that I am, the way I often feel about my children as well. Here are some of the things He has taught me recently.

    10 Parenting Strategies I’ve Learned By Having a Strong-Willed Child:

     

    1. I’ve learned to not give up.

    I’m so glad that God had never thrown his hands up and given up on me… Lord knows there have been plenty of opportunities where He surely could have. So we just can’t do that with our child either.

    Just the other day my husband, Justin, said to me, “I wonder what things we are just so stubborn about that God is just up there shaking his head wondering when we’re gonna learn to trust Him.” It’s so true. We are just as stubborn and strong-willed as our child, and God has never once given up on us.

    2. I’ve learned to give grace and patience.

    As much grace and patience has been given to us, is how much grace and patience should be given to others… including our own children.
    (I’ll give you a hint… it’s a lot.) It doesn’t mean that I let them get away with every bit of disobedience, but I’ve learned that it’s about disciplining them in a different way to teach them the same lesson. God has never been harsh with me to teach me a lesson. I’ve suffered the natural consequences, sure… but he’s always given me grace and been patient with me. I can do the same for my child.

    3. I’ve learned how to be gentle.

    I’ve learned that I should keep gently steering their wills in the right direction, especially the strong ones. We have to be especially gentle with those. Harsh punishments aren’t always the best way for a child as each child will respond differently to these things. Sometimes when a will is strong, these harsh approaches only make those wills stronger and harder to turn. I have personally found that the more gentle we are, the more easily the wills begin to turn.

    4. I’ve learned that I should let go of anger.

    It’s easy to get angry when our children just don’t obey or they have plans of their own that aren’t lining up with ours. You might even think it’s righteous anger, as we did, because “you are the parent” after all, but I would like to challenge that and encourage you to take a different approach the next time you feel angry with your child. Think instead about how God would respond to your own disobedience to Him… and in turn, pray and ask how He would have you respond to your child. You might find yourself getting angry less often, the more you practice this.

    I learned so much about this by reading the book Pitchin’ a Fit by Israel and Brooke Wayne. You can read more about that in my post here.

    5. I’ve learned to love my children unconditionally.

    I want my children to know that there is absolutely nothing they can do that would make you stop loving them. It’s the way that God is with us, and our children need to feel this from us as their parents.

    6. I’ve learned how to be my children’s safe place to express their thoughts and feelings.

    In addition to letting them know that I love them, no matter what, I want to be the one that is always going to listen to them and hear what they have to say. I don’t always have a practical or appropriate response either. Sometimes, I just let them talk, and am there to listen.

    Before language skills were where they are now, this was much harder for us. I saw that strong will working, and I had to ask questions to try to figure out how my child was feeling and why he was acting out a certain way… “Are you tired? Are you angry? Do you feel sad? Are you hungry?” Now he is at an age where he can begin to tell me himself what’s going on and how he’s feeling.

    It’s important that we don’t just brush these things off. We can let our child be free to have hard moments, moments of strong emotion, real feelings – as long as we steer those in a way that’s not hurting anyone else. (Remember – sometimes we have real feelings and emotions too, hard days.) It’s good to have real feelings and learn how to express them in healthy ways. It’s taken me most of my life to learn how to do this, so I want my children to hopefully learn it sooner than I have.

    I also think this is going to be so important when we hit those teenage years. If your child doesn’t find you as their safe place to confide things as a young child, they surely won’t do it when they’re older. If you are worried about how you will respond to what they tell you and fear that you won’t understand and might even reprimand them for those things, they will instead keep those feelings inside instead of learning how to deal with them in appropriate ways. You are their parent, but part of that job is listening and helping to gently guide them to find appropriate responses to their real feelings and behaviors.

    7. I’ve learned to submit my own will to that of my Heavenly Father.

    Just like we can be that safe place for our child, God is always that safe place for us. We can tell Him our thoughts and feelings, and He is always there to listen. Then, we can take time to hear what He says to us too, and see how He gently directs us into handling things in the best way. We can let Him lead us in our parenting.

    8. I’ve learned to see my children as God sees them.

    God is such a creative God, and He’s done a remarkable job with each and every one of His creations, especially people -His favorite things that He has made. We can seek out the positive in our children. Look for the great personality traits and the gifts and talents they have been given. Thank God for these things. Praise Him for how he has made each of your children unique and special. Let them hear you doing this. Call out the positive traits and behaviors you see in them, and pray these things over them as well.

    I challenge you to try your best to only speak positively about your children. It doesn’t mean that you have to lie, but it does mean that you should be actively seeking out the positive things you see in them instead. Don’t call your children “bad”. Yes, all children are born bad and sinful beings. We all were born bad. (Romans 3:23) It’s our job as parents to teach them to be “good”. When you continue to call them bad and let them hear you say this, they claim that as their identity and accept it to be who they are. Continuing to call children bad is just an excuse to be lazy and not parent them well, in my opinion.

    9. I’ve learned how to develop a Family I.D. that gives our family and parenting direction.

    We did this through a church small group we lead, and you can read more about it here.  Ask God to give you a specific vision and mission for your family. This will help you so much in your parenting, because it gives you direction and a language to use with your children as you parent them. It gives you specific and strategic words to pray over them as well. We know we should pray for our children, but we sometimes don’t know how so this helps us to do that. We know we should steer and guide our children, but how can we if we don’t know which direction we’re headed? This vision gives you that direction, and the mission gives you a plan to carry out that vision and a specific route to take with your family.

    10. I’ve learned to be proactive in my parenting and to use the spiritual tools I’ve been given as a Christian.

    As parents, and Christians in general, we have to always be prepared to engage in the spiritual battle that is at hand. We have to be on guard ourselves. We have to be in the Word daily and girded up with truth so that we have the tools we need to fight… the spiritual armor of God. We have to do this ourselves, so that we can teach it to our children. We have to lay the foundation in our homes so that when we walk outside those doors and send our children out, they are ready to fight too. You know that the battle our children are facing today is even harder than the one we faced as kids, right? Our kids are being targeted so that they grow up to think things such as “sin” are normal and accepted. We have to keep a vigilant eye out for things they are being exposed to in media, in conversations with their peers, in their educations, etc.

    I’m definitely not perfect at these 10 things, and there are days I still struggle with getting angry or not being gently when I should. None of us are perfect, but we can learn from our mistakes and grow from them. We definitely don’t have it all figured out as parents, but we are learning. Each new child we receive from God is an opportunity for us to learn something new that He has for us. We are blessed, and we are thankful for these lessons learned and for these special blessings we call children. We are thankful for God’s grace for us and the direction He gives us daily. We celebrate these things as often as we can! I hope this has influenced you in some way. I’d love to hear from you if it has or if there’s something you’ve learned from parenting a strong-willed child. 

    My Monthly Goals

    After reviewing my yearly goals, here is an update for September and a preview of the things I will be working on for the month of October…

    I like to share my Monthly Goals with you here because it holds me accountable for one, and also I just hope that it can inspire you in some way to create goals of your own and find something that you can be working on. I believe that to be purposeful and intentional, we have to sometimes make an effort to do so. I like to make a plan of how I will accomplish certain goals, and I’ve found it to be really helpful for me. Your plans may not be as detailed as mine, and that’s perfectly okay. I’ve been doing this for quite some time now. Just start somewhere with something, and make a plan to be more purposeful. You’ll be glad you did!

    Spiritual Goals:

    Continue reading the One Year Bible & praying strategically

    Mothering/Family Goals:

    • Football season with Lawson.
    • Bi-weekly trips to the Library with my kids
    • Linkin has a special goal he is working towards for a prize, but I won’t share it here. (He’s almost finished!)

    The boys also asked how they could earn some extra money so that they can buy things they want when we go shopping, so I considered this. We don’t give a regular allowance for chores that are expected of all of our family members, so this would have to be something extra. I did come up with a few extra things that I would pay them to do. Lawson took me up on this twice, but since then nothing. I’ve offered it to Linkin too, but he really would rather not do extra work, so there ya go. 😉

    Homeschooling Goals:

    This month I started grading some of Lawson’s work to help me to better track his progress and to also make sure that things like handwriting and spelling actually get done correctly. I don’t know the correct way to teach this, other than to have him “fix” the mistakes so he doesn’t continue to make the same ones over and over. I introduced the “You Can Read Sight Words” curriculum to Linkin to test out. It’s a more hands-on approach, so I think we may either switch over completely or at least add in some of these activities each week. Layten is continuing with her Tot School Printables. For more on our Homeschooling… you can visit our Homeschool Page. 

    My Personal Goals:

    Blogging –


    I’ve got several small goals that I’m working on currently with this blog, and it’s all just kind of a big learning process for me. I actually merged my blog to a whole new hosting site this month, and you may have noticed my new newsletter feature. I’m trying to work at it at least a little each day and hopefully, I’ll get even better at consistency and gain some momentum. It’s all part of the bigger goal and vision that I have, but I’m just working through one thing at a time. Thank you for your patience with me and support!

    Home Organization –

    (Kids’ Clothes)

    I went through all of the kids’ clothes storage this past month to see what we have/what we needed for the upcoming Fall/Winter season. Turns out, we have plenty for them from all of the hand-me-downs we’ve been given, and it wasn’t necessary for me to take a shopping trip to the kids’ consignment sale this year.

    (Desk Solution)

    I didn’t purchase a new desk, but I did reorganize all of my office, home school, and planning supplies into bins on a 4-cubby shelf that I moved into the dining room. I purchased two chalkboards that we can use for school or our memory work. I can use the dining table as my “work surface”, and I just have to put everything away when I’m done. It’s working well for now, because everything has a place.

    (Baby Items)

    This month I will be going through all of the baby boxes we have. Since we don’t know the gender of our baby coming in December, I will get all of our newborn things for both genders together to see what we have and what we still need. We’ve got 10 weeks left, but I’m working on this mostly during our home school break week.

    Marriage Goals:

    • Weekly Budget Meetings as a Couple to keep us on Track with our Goals (Sometimes these happen through text messaging, but we try to stay on track and keep each other updated.)
    • Weekly Quality Time Together at home (This one has been hard to come by because our kids are so needy and demanding *insert chuckle*. We have movies we’ve started but not finished. We’ve got to get better at this one.)
    • At Least One Date Night This Month – We had an at-home date night this past month with take-out sushi, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and a movie.

    Health & Fitness Goals:

    Health, Smealth! I’m kidding, but this has been a FULL month so it has not been something I’ve been able to prioritize as much. I had several deadlines and things that needed to be completed so I didn’t prioritize making it to the gym to workout as much. I still made it about once-twice/week but it’s definitely not where I was used to.

    Financial Goals:

    • Continue in the grocery store & drugstore game for saving money with our food, toiletries, & household purchases.
    • I know I’ve mentioned sinking funds here before. We have tried for two months and four pay periods to make them work for us, but so far, we haven’t had much success in that area. I’ve had to cut some lines from our budget, and of course the sinking funds/planning ahead were the first to go, unfortunately. Maybe one day we will get it. It doesn’t mean we aren’t trying.
    • Prepare for Christmas. (Baby coming in December – I’ve gotta get on it!) I purchased a few gifts this past month, including one for our children, collectively, and I’ve been working on solidifying their Christmas lists with the things they tell me. I’d like to purchase or make a few more gifts this month.

    What goals will you be working on this month?

    If you’re just starting out, you can read my series on My Purposeful Planning. Choose one goal to start working on, learn how to reach that one goal, and I think doing this will only lead you to want to achieve more.

    Whatever you do, let’s go make a plan to be more purposeful! 

    Introducing… Commonplace Corner

    One thing that I love to do is to look at houses… I love seeing layouts of homes, looking at home pictures as people post their houses for sale online, real estate sites, design, decor, from the outside in… It’s just such a fun thing for me!

    Recently we were invited to the home of some friends of ours, whose home we’d never been to before. I loved the set up they had outside with such a great entertaining space, but of course I was curious what the rest of the house looked like as well. I think I may have asked a question of what a space was used for or something and maybe she could tell how interested and curious I was, so she asked if I’d like to see the house. Well, of course, that was a “yes”, so she gave me a quick tour. I just love to see how different families create a sense of “home” with the spaces that they have. I love that this family, in particular, regularly opens up their home to guests and create such an inviting atmosphere of fellowship and generosity with friends, family, and pretty much anyone they meet. It’s beautiful.

    Sometimes I get the idea that things like decorating and design aren’t really necessities in life, even though they are things that I really enjoy and feel a great love for. Some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow are decorating and design accounts. No, I don’t have the budget to purchase new things for my home on a regular basis or to do many of the ideas that I see on those accounts, but I still just love to see them – how they are creating such warm, inviting homes… places of comfort for their families. I just love it! And it does give me ideas! I think I have a list of ideas always running in my head of things I’d like to do in my home to make it a little more functional, a little prettier, or a little more cozy.

    I want it to be a space that functions well for us as we play, home school. prepare and eat meals, and even have guests over from time to time. Sure, I’d love to have a free budget and space to decorate however I want to, to make the space truly display my favorite design styles. But for now, it’s using what we have – our very limited budget, to create the atmosphere of home that will benefit us now. Most of the ideas I have are quite simple – to repaint this piece of furniture, hang something on that wall, or organize this closet to function for a us a little better. Sometimes it’s just a matter of thinking about our things a little bit differently, and I can use the things we already have in a new way to bring life to an area. I just love doing that, even though it seems that my project list sometimes never ends.

    So the more I think about this, the more I’m convinced that these are definitely not bad things… and perhaps, they ARE very important. You see, I am a homemaker. And you, you who are reading this – if you have a home, you can be a homemaker too. No matter what your current “work” or “vocation” is, you too, can create an atmosphere of “home” for your family and guests to come back to each day and relax, and to be restored.

    “Home is a place where we can serve, love, and encourage within the safe walls that contain the secrets, fears, dreams, life work, and love that knit the hearts of our family together.” -Sally Clarkson

    Have you ever heard of a Commonplace Book? It’s a book that often accompanies one that you are reading, where you write down the thoughts that strike you or speak to you. I’ve done this before, actually, but I didn’t know that there was a name for this type of thing, and mine has never been organized into one particular book- but rather a scrap piece of paper or sheet from my planner. However, I love the idea, and sometimes as I’m reading – something inspires me and I want to ponder the topic even further. It’s actually how this very blog post came about. I was inspired in my thinking and to write to you. My inspiration today is from the book, “The Life-Giving Home” by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. So I want to insert a few quotes or paraphrased quotes from this book to hopefully inspire you too in this idea, as I introduce to you one of the newest features on My Purposeful Planning…

     

     

    Jesus gives us a great example and model for serving our families when we think about that last meal that he prepared for his disciples before his death. Just think about how he probably hired the best chef in town to prepare that feast of succulent roasted lamb and the best wine. Even though he must’ve been so weary just thinking about what he was about to endure, he served graciously. He intentionally took things even a step further as he knelt down to wash each of their feet. He spoke to them his most life-giving words as he taught them the greatest principles he wanted them to know before he left them…

    Always His heart and words were focused on His beloved band of friends. Always He was thinking of how to prepare them, to strengthen them. Not even in His death did He focus on His own needs.

    Home is one of the places of refuge that many in our world have not valued or known in a personal way. There is no prepared place where they can come expecting to find solace, welcome, comfort, acceptance, truth, and ease. But I am determined that those I love will have such a place. And so, following Jesus’ model of service and hospitality, I choose to prepare for and serve those who share my home and those who enter my doors.

    It is the giving rhythms of home that provide the right atmosphere for passing on the essential heart attitudes and warm relationships in life. I reach hearts by cooking meals, by washing sheets and fluffing pillows, by reading a favorite book one more time even though I have it memorized. I do it when I clean and decorate a space to make it beautiful and comfortable and inviting. I do it when I choose to respond graciously to a question. Both literally and metaphorically, in my home I have the privilege of washing feet every day.

    Service begins with serving those who are closest to us, making home the very best place to be.

    I hope you have been inspired by these words from Sally, just as I have, and I hope you enjoy my blog’s newest feature. We can be homemakers and we can serve our families well. We can start today. 

    Let’s make a plan to be more purposeful.  

    How to Put Together a Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe

    One term you might have heard in the Minimalist World is the term “Capsule Wardrobe”. You can read some of my posts on Capsule Wardrobes here and here. Today, I’m going to be showing you how to create a Capsule Wardrobe for your kids. Even though it’s not cold yet here, I’m getting prepared for our next season’s wardrobe. I’m doing it now because this was the week of my favorite kids’ consignment sale that only happens twice a year… once in the Spring and once in the Fall. I went through all my kids’ clothing storage, and I’m so glad I did! I actually decided NOT to go to the consignment sale this year, for several reasons, but mostly because I felt like we had enough of a base set of clothes for each child – that it just wasn’t necessary to go.

    Now, I’m not super strict about anything when it comes to these capsules for my kids, but you can do this however you want to. Our family relies heavily on hand-me-downs for our kids’ wardrobes, so we work with what we have as best we can. Sure, I’d love to have a great mix-n-match capsule for them and work it like I do my own, but for the most part – my kids’ capsules are made up of simple tops and bottoms or two-piece matching outfits for my girl, and that works for us.

    I took a screen shot of this Insta-story Highlight from Kelsey Van Kirk to give me an idea of where to start and about how many of each piece we would need. Of course, she has only girls so ours will differ a little bit. For instance, obviously my boys don’t need dresses, but they are pretty rough on pants sometimes so having more of those for them makes more sense for us. Also, she lives a bit more North than we do so their weather climate might differ a bit from ours as well.

    For us in Mississippi, while we are fully embracing the Fall colors and current sales of the Fall/Winter clothing available to us now, it will still be a while before we actually need to fully transition to long pants, long sleeves, and jackets. My kids would burn up if I were to store away their shorts and short-sleeves now. So… with that being said, both sets need to be pretty accessible for us now shorts for now, and long-pants within reach – just in case we have a cold snap. This makes our closet look pretty full which, honestly, isn’t my favorite thing. I had to dig out some more hangers to make it work for us, and there was absolutely no way I was going to fit short and long pants of all three kids in one dresser. I’ll show you our storage and organization for it all in just a bit.

    So, let’s go ahead and start from the beginning of the process, and I’ll take you all the way through to the end to show you how we store it all in our family.

    Step One: Assess what you already own and what you can continue to use for the upcoming season.
    For us, this part of the process included bringing in ALL the kids’ clothes storage boxes and sorting through them to see what we could add in.

    When I did this, I found that I had actually missed a box of Spring/Summer hand-me-down clothes that my four year old could’ve been wearing all this time, just because my boxes weren’t properly labelled. So there was something I needed to immediately fix to be better for the next time I go through this process. The second thing I wanted to improve on is to purchase actual storage boxes. I used what I had… diaper boxes and Amazon boxes… to store clothes, and that’s just not the most ideal form of storage. As, it turns out…. we have PLENTY of clothes, and I have very few things that I will need to purchase for this next season for my kids. What a blessing!

    A. Bring in boxes from storage. I store hand-me-downs that are given to us for all three children – even in sizes that are too big for them, so it’s really nice to have these to pull out when we need them. We are so thankful for these! 
    B. Make labels for different categories as you go. Try to separate them by gender, size, and season if they aren’t already like this. (I even made a category for things to consign that I knew we would no longer need.)

    This is the part where you can be a little choosy. It doesn’t matter if it was a gift or it’s just worn out – you get to decide what things you keep and what you need to purge. I also posted two screenshots from Kelsey Van Kirk about this topic, which I agree with 100%. We are super blessed and grateful when we receive these gifts and hand-me-downs, but I don’t feel obligated to keep every single thing – just because it was given to us. I am the manager of my household and ultimately the one who does the laundry each week, so I have to sometimes purge so that it doesn’t become too much for me. It’s an absolutely necessary step for me.
     

    C.  If it’s something you think will fit and work for your child(ren) for this next season, add it straight to the hamper to wash. 
    D. Once everything is sorted into categories, you can probably stack your newly labelled boxes back up. I wouldn’t put them away just yet. You might have to add something to them if it happens to not fit properly or you find something you missed in the whole process.
    E. Wash and properly launder all of the clothes you added to the hamper. Sort them by size and gender again.
    F. Have your children try on anything you are unsure about.

    Step Two: Working on one child’s wardrobe at a time, take all of the items in a category (For example… bottoms) and lay them all out together so you can see what you have. Use the guide to see if you have enough of the particular item. Think about your lifestyle. Do you need more active-wear for your kids or more dress pants? Go ahead and make a note of what type of things you think you might still need to purchase.

    Linkin’s Bottoms (Long Pants)
    Lawson’s Bottoms (Long Pants)
    Layten’s Bottoms (Long Pants)

    Step Three: Do this for every category in the guide. Then, repeat this for each child as well.

    Linkin’s Pajamas
    Linkin’s Tops (Long-Sleeve)
    Linkin’s Jackets
    Lawson’s Button Down Shirts (Long Sleeve)
    Lawson’s Tops (Long-Sleeve)
    Lawson’s Jackets

    Step Four: Create mix-n-match outfits like a traditional capsule, or at least make sure everything has something that will match with it. Do you have a pair of navy blue athletic joggers with a lime green stripe down the side? Make sure you have an appropriate top to match with it. Do you need to purchase something to match and make them work, or would it be easier to choose a more neutral-colored pair of joggers that would work better with your other items? These are the kinds of things you should think about when creating a wardrobe. The last thing you want is items that just take up unnecessary space – or worse – that your children try to wear mismatched and embarrass themselves and you. 😉 Kidding, of course, but it’s best to eliminate those types of struggles before they occur. Am I right?

    I think with infants, toddlers, girls, and also boutique-style outfits… you might find that you have “sets” or “outfits” that easily go together instead of mix and match items for a traditional capsule. You can see an example of this with Layten’s wardrobe outfits. Most of them are matching sets already, but she also has a few that can mix and match as well… you’ll see that I added multiple options for bottoms that could match some of the tops she has.

    Step Five: Take your list of items you still need for all of your children to fill in those gaps, and head out shopping… or shop online! This is the perfect opportunity for you to shop a great kids’ consignment sale, but having that list in hand of what you actually need before you go is going to help you out so much and save you some unnecessary stress.

    This may seem like a long list, but all of these things I’ve listed are not “priority” or “must-haves”, but instead they are mostly “would like to haves” so we’ll just add them in as I find them on sale or as it fits in our budget. It’s all about making it work for you. Our base wardrobe is great already – they all have several pairs of pants and tops and even a few jackets to get them started… so I think we’re pretty good with what we have!

    Step Six: Once you’ve purchased everything you need, and you’ve filled all of the gaps in your kids’ wardrobes, it’s time to figure out the best way to store everything. If you’ve gone by the guide of suggested amounts, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the appropriate storage for everything, but having kids who share a closet or dresser could present a small challenge… although, it’s nothing that can’t be figured out.

    Closet and Shoe Cubby Shelf for Three Kids
    Layten’s Drawer with Pajamas and Shorts
    Lawson’s Drawer with Socks, Underwear, Undershirts, and Pajama Pants
    Linkin’s Drawer with Socks, Underwear, and Pajama Sets
    Both Boys’ Drawer for Shorts
    • I like to hang up all jackets, dresses, and tops.
    • We store pants, pajamas, socks, and underwear in dresser drawers. We have one dresser in our kids’ shared bedroom with 4 drawers, and it works perfectly for us.
    • Exception: If there’s a pair of pants that specifically matches a top we have, I like to drape those over the hanger that holds the top so they are stored together. This is the case with a lot of baby/toddler clothes as well as matchy boutique-type outfits that come as sets.
    • We have a cubby shelf in the closet for shoes.
    • And if we’re being honest, I should also admit that we also store several pairs of shoes in the car, unintentionally of course, and my little girl LOVES to try on everyone’s shoes, wear them for a while, and then leave them in various places all over the house – so there’s that.
    • Excess Storage: There was no way that I was going to be able to store everyone’s shorts, long pants, pajamas, socks, and underwear all in one dresser. Our three kids currently share a bedroom, a closet, and a dresser. I’m not interested in adding any more furniture either, so I was determined to make it work. I don’t love the idea of having under-the-bed storage, but I did decide to use these Thirty-one bins to store long pants for now. They’re easily accessible if we need them for church or a sudden cold snap, but I’m not ready to move them to the drawers just yet. As soon as our warm days are mostly over, I’ll transition the shorts and short-sleeves to storage, but for now, I think this will work really well for us.A few things to note:
    • Sometimes it’s hard to know what size your kid is going to be in for the next season. I think this is really just trial and error, and it does seem to get a little easier as they get older. Of course, I’m not sure that we’ve hit those ages with massive growth spurts yet, but so far – it’s always worked out that we have a storage of hand-me-downs for the next size up, which as I’ve mentioned we’ve been super blessed to have. It’s a little more difficult with infants and toddlers, as they seem to change sizes more quickly. Just do your best to make a good guess, and fill in with items you need as necessary.
    • It’s much easier if you prepare ahead of time and have a storage of “the next size up” for each of your children. This can be done by shopping End-of-the-Season sales and of course saving those hand-me-downs. My mom loves to shop sales like this, and she’s usually pretty great about buying the next size up for us to store and wear later when we need it. It’s great!
    • Brands aren’t everything, but sometimes they do really make a difference. There are a few things I try to stay away from… zippered pajamas from some brands tend to change shape when they are washed and dried. I’m sure it was something I was doing wrong with my laundry process, but I don’t have time to take separate steps for separate items like that at this point in my life. I noticed this most in infant sleepers, so I prefer the buttons or top and bottom sets. I also prefer Carter’s brand over anything else we’ve tried for pajama sets because they keep their size and don’t draw up in the wash. It’s super confusing when something says 2T and should fit my petite one year old but doesn’t at all because it’s drawn up in the wash. We also prefer cotton pajamas mostly. Pajamas can also look dingy and old if they are flannel or fleece materials when they are passed down, but of course that’s my personal opinion. It’s just something to think about if you rely on good sales and hand-me-down items like we do.
    • Hand me downs are great for clothes, but be prepared to invest some money into good shoes. These get worn out much more easily, and they aren’t always nice enough to pass on to others.Do you plan ahead for your kids’ seasonal wardrobes? I’d love to know how you plan, shop, and organize the kids’ wardrobes in your family!

       

    Our Family I.D.

    This Summer, Justin and I led a small group at our church called Family I.D., and it was phenomenal! I’ve been wanting to share with you the things that God gave us for our family through doing this small group…. Our Core Values, Our Vision Statement, our Mission Statement, and our Family Slogan.

    We weren’t sure how this small group would go. There were a lot of hands-on activities that required each family represented to do some “homework”. We didn’t know if it was something they would grasp ahold of and actually take the time to do or not. To be honest, we weren’t super excited to do the work ourselves. But as the weeks went on, the process became clearer and clearer, and God spoke to each of the families represented in our small group and gave each one a clear Family I.D.

    We started by selecting our Family Core Values. You’ve heard my mention these on my blog. The worksheet printable I created for you here at My Purposeful Planning is very similar to the one we used for this small group. We compared our lists with that of our spouse and discussed the similarities and differences in our lists. We took it home and also talked to our children about our lists. We narrowed our lists down to which Core Values we would like to best represent our family.

    In no certain order, here are the Core Values our family chose…
    Family & Relationships
    Humor
    Knowing God / Prayer / Worship
    Personal Growth / Growth
    Teamwork / Unity

    At first I thought that “humor” seemed like a silly thing to be included in our core values, but the more I thought about it, the more I loved that it was one that we chose. We want to laugh and be silly with our kids always, and we want to laugh and enjoy having fun with friends, family, and guests when they come to visit our home as well. Laughter and humor are good things. I think the rest of the values we chose are probably self-explanatory.

    We added verbs to help solidify these for our family…
    Celebrate Family & Relationships.
    Embrace Humor.
    Prioritize Knowing God, Prayer, & Worship.
    Pursue Personal Growth.
    Praise Teamwork & Unity.

    Next, we worked to write our Family Vision Statement. 
    “Having a well-defined vision statement will help ensure that no matter what life brings, no matter where we find ourselves, we can still get our bearings and stay on course.” – Greg Gunn

    “Your family vision statement describes where you are going in words that greatly motivate you to take action.”

    “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 ESV

    Our Family Vision Statement is… 
    “To collectively know who we are in Christ and use each of our unique giftings to fulfill God’s Purpose”

    After coming up with our vision statement and knowing the direction we wanted our family to go, we came up with a Family Mission Statement that would help us get there… “We will build solid family relationships that are grounded in God, Growth, and Grace.”

    And finally, we came up with a simple slogan that our entire family can easily remember to sum up all of these things… Our Family Slogan is “We’re Grounded!” I’m thinking it’s going to be fun to have shirts made for our kids to wear that tell the world they are grounded… (Pun intended). Of course the Mission Statement will probably be there somewhere on the shirt to, and hopefully we’ll all be able to explain what it means to us, in case people ask.

    It’s so important that we aren’t “just winging it” as parents. It’s too important of a responsibility that we’ve been given. Having a vision for WHERE we want our family to end up and then coming up with a mission for HOW we will get there is vital. Think about what you want your kids to be like as adults. How can you start encouraging these things in your children now?

    We personally love that this small group and these things have given us the verbage and language we needed to talk to our kids about the things God gave us for our family. It’s given us specific things that we can pray over each member of our family daily, which is really strategic in helping us move forward with the direction God wants our family to go.

    If you’d like more information about this particular small group curriculum, here’s a link to the videos we watched in each group session as well as the website with more family resources available.

    Have you done something like this for your family? Really pray about this, and take the time to do this with your spouse or partner in parenting. I’d love to know what you come up with!

    Whatever you do, Let’s Make a Plan to Be More Purposeful! 

    My Monthly Goals for September 2018

    After reviewing my yearly goals, here are the things I will be working on for the month of September… 

    Spiritual Goals:
    Continue in reading the One Year Bible

    Mothering/Family Goals:

    • Begin the football season with Lawson.
    • Bi-weekly trips to the Library with my kids
    • Linkin has a special goal he is working towards for a prize, but I won’t share it here.
    • The boys have also asked how they can earn some extra money so that they can buy things they want when we go shopping, so I’m considering this. We don’t give a regular allowance for chores that are expected of all of our family members, so this will have to be something extra.

      Homeschooling Goals:
      We are back to homeschooling, full force now. Layten will continue to work through Tot School Printables Curriculum with me. Linkin with continue to work through Raising Rockstars Preschool with me. Lawson will continue in Language Arts, Math, and Penmanship/Handwriting. We will continue to do Bible Roadtrip as a family. We will especially work this month on establishing a regular “Morning Time” for our memory work and read alouds. We’ve been getting this done, but having a set time for it would greatly benefit us I think.

    My Personal Goals:
    Reading Plans –
    I’m working to get my Hoopla app working so I can listen to audio books from the library. If I can get this to work, my plan is to listen to one or two books this month. I will count this towards my goal of reading 12 books this year.
    Home Organization –
    (Kids’ Clothes) This month I will be going through all of the kids’ seasonal clothes (and possibly also the baby clothes we have in storage). I’ll make a list of what each child will need to make a simple and minimal Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe. There is a Kids’ Consignment at the end of this month I plan to attend and stock up on everything we’ll need. I’m praying that our budget will allow for this because it will be so nice to get all of that shopping done in one day. We currently have all three kids sharing a room with one closet and one dresser, and we plan to keep it to that – especially with a new baby coming.
    (Desk Solution) I also have another home organization goal of replacing my large desk in our master bedroom with a smaller (but with more functional vertical storage) version that we can use elsewhere in the house (possibly the living room or dining room). I don’t love the idea of having a desk in the living areas of the house, but I do really benefit from having a desk and a place to keep my planning and blogging supplies… a place to spread out when I need to, but also have a home for everything too. The reason I’m looking to do this, is that we need that space in our room for our baby’s crib in December (except that now it’s currently taking up unnecessary play space in the kids’ play room) so the sooner, the better. This may not happen this month if the budget and time doesn’t allow for it, but the reason I’m thinking about it now is that we only have two more homeschool break weeks before the baby comes, and one of those is Thanksgiving Week – which I’d like to save for our travels and for Christmas decorating.

    Marriage Goals:

    • Weekly Budget Meetings as a Couple to keep us on Track with our Goals (Sometimes these happen through text messaging, but we try to stay on track and keep each other updated.)
    • Weekly Quality Time Together at home (This one has been hard to come by because our kids are so needy and demanding *insert chuckle*. We have movies we’ve started but not finished. We’ve got to get better at this one.)
    • At Least One Date Night This Month (We already had a date night this past weekend, actually, so if we have another it would just be a bonus.)

      Health & Fitness Goals:
      Keep doing CrossFit, even if I have to modify and scale everything. Keep meal planning and having healthy meals readily accessible for us.

    Financial Goals:

    • Continue in the grocery store & drugstore game for saving money with our food, toiletries, & household purchases.
    • Continue with sinking funds & reaching goals there.
    • Prepare for Christmas. (Baby coming in December – I’ve gotta get on that!) Purchase or make at least one gift this month.

    Professional Goals:
    Post about our Family’s Core Values, Vision, Mission, and Slogan
    Post about our Sinking Funds & Financial Goals
    What else would you like to see from me this month?

    What goals will you be working on this month? If you’re just starting out, you can read my series on My Purposeful Planning and hopefully be inspired with one thing to begin with and how to reach that one goal, which will only lead you to want to achieve more.

    Whatever you do, Let’s go make a plan to be purposeful! 

    My Monthly Goals for August 2018: An Update

    After reviewing my yearly goals, here are the things I will be worked on for the month of August… 

    Spiritual Goals:
    I’m finishing up the Seamless Bible Study by Angie Smith with Proverbs 31 Ministries this month, and next week I will begin the Medication study of Psalm 119 provided by Stone Soup for Five. (done)

    Mothering/Family Goals:

    • Sign Lawson up for recreational football. (done)
    • Family Trip to the book store for Lawson to pick out his new book as a reward for completing his Summer Reading Passports Program. (We have been doing this at the library instead.) 
    • Family Trip to the Trampoline for Lawson’s second reward for completing his Summer Reading Passports Program. (done)
    • Linkin has a special goal he is working towards for a prize too, but I won’t share it here. He will also benefit from Lawson reaching his goal, of course. (in progress)
    • Linkin will continue working through his Raising Rockstars Preschool with me. (in progress)
    • Layten will continue working through Tot Schools Printables Curriculum with me. (in progress)
    • Things still left on our Summer Bucket List: Float the Creek, Kroc Center, Zoo, S’mores, Aquarium, Campfire, Bike Ride on a Trail, Hiking Adventure, Make pickles, Snow Boogers, and the Trampoline Park (We completed the activities in bold.)

    Homeschooling Goals:
    After our Break Week, we will be adding in our Language Arts Curriculum on week 1, followed by Botany and Apologetics, which we go through slowly at our own pace. I’ll be posting in more detail about our homeschooling plans soon. (done)

    My Personal Goals: Reading Plans
    Right now, I don’t know if I can really prioritize this as a goal, but I might try to start a new book if one grabs me. We’ll see. No definite plans as of now for this month. (no plans = done)

    Marriage Goals:

    • Weekly Budget Meetings as a Couple to keep us on Track with our Goals (done)
    • Weekly Quality Time Together at home (done)
    • At Least One Date Night This Month (didn’t happen in August, but we’ve already had a date in Sept.)
    • Cheer on Justin as he competes in the first, annual Anchor Games this month. (done)
    • Work together on reaching goals set for opening the new CrossFit gym the first week in September. Exciting! (done) 

      Health & Fitness Goals
      Keep doing CrossFit, even if I have to modify and scale everything. Keep meal planning and having healthy meals readily accessible for me. (in progress)

    Financial Goals:

    • Continue in the grocery store & drugstore game for saving money with our food, toiletries, & household purchases. (in progress)
    • Continue with sinking funds & reaching goals there. (We had to use what we’d set aside for “sinking funds” in the month of August. Even though we have a strict, minimalistic budget – our income is still unpredictable. Our plans are to “catch up” with our Sinking Funds plan in September so we can still stay on track and reach our goals.) 
    • Prepare for Christmas. (Baby coming in December – I’ve gotta get on that!) Purchase or make at least one gift this month. Talk with family about holiday plans. (We didn’t have the funds for this in August, but we have been thinking and discussing our plans.) 

    Professional Goals:
    Post about our Family’s Core Values, Vision, Mission, and Slogan (still on my list)
    Post about my Grocery, Drugstore, and Sam’s Shopping Process (done)
    Post about our Sinking Funds & Financial Goals (still on my list – bumps in the road have made these posts difficult to write)
    Posts about our Homeschool Methods, Curricula, and Goals (done)

    Whatever you do, Let’s go make a plan to be purposeful! 

    My Homeschool Planner

    Today is one of my favorite posts because it combines some of my favorite things… planners, homeschool, and organization! I’ve been wanting to do this post for quite some time, but I had to get it just right before I did. To be honest, I LOVE when homeschoolers will post their plans and planners for me to see, but I also would get overwhelmed. How do they do so much in a day? How do they plan for all those little nuts and bolts of the big plan? I didn’t see their whole process, but I decided to just do what I could and take it one bite-size piece at a time. As I watched their YouTube video (nerd alert!), I would jot down a list of all of the components in their planners. Then, I would cross off the ones I didn’t need in mine, and add things that I did want to add and include. Little by little, I began working on a plan for each of those things whether it was a divider section or a pocket or a way to keep up with our attendance… and I found what works for me. I’m pretty happy with the results. Sometimes I add some stickers and a little washi here and there, but for the most part I really don’t. It’s more about function and use for me, so it’s mostly just pen and pencil and highlighters. I purchased a Teacher Planner that’s already pretty cute on it’s own so I don’t feel the need to spend time decorating it too.

    I love keeping it all together in this cover. It gives me extra pockets and a place to keep my pen or highlighter handy. It’s the perfect place for this sticker pack. The planner is this one. Last year, I used a regular classic-sized vertical Happy Planner, and it worked just fine, but I really love ALL THE SECTIONS that the teacher planner gives me.
    **It looks like the Teacher Planner I have is out of stock on the Mambi website. Be sure to check Michael’s if you’re looking to get it, or check out the other available options in teacher’s planners. If you purchase from Michael’s, be sure to use their coupon if they aren’t already on sale the week you go.

        

         

    I like to start out the year with a “Back to School Survey”. I’ve done this for about three years, and it really is fun to look back and see their answers from previous years. I made my own, and we use the same one every year to keep it simple.

    I also keep this “Plan your Year” calendar in the front where I planned out all of our terms for the year and planned breaks. You can learn more about our yearly planning and schedule in this post.

    Finally, here you can see my tabbed dividers… I have a section for our Memory Work, Knight Training, Reading, Planning/Scheduling, and Bible Roadtrip. I’ll share some samples from each of those sections.

      

    In our Reading section, I have printed a First Grade Reading List for Lawson so we can use this list as we choose books at the library each week and highlight them as we go. I also have a Read Aloud Revival Booklist. It’s 10 pages of different types of the best read alouds…. everything from Audio Books to Board Books, to Stories for Large Families. It’s got it all. I’ll also need to add a “Reading Log” to this section, but I’ll probably just do that with a simple notes page to keep it simple.

        

    In our Memory Work section, we have Linkin’s Raising Rockstars Preschool Memory Verses. I realize the page says “Kindergarten” but that’s because the verses are the same for both years, so next year will be a review for him. I like this page because we can easily see all the verses at once to review when we need to.

    We also have our Catechisms in here. I love these, and I’ve already seen how they can apply the things they’ve learned from just by memorizing them. They really like the question and answer flow when we do these.

    I’ve also included some other Memory Work samples for you to see. I like to have it at a glance for me so I’ll know what to review and introduce to them. I put previously learned things in here as well to review periodically. We’ve got scriptures, poetry, manners, safety rules, mottos, and skills like skip counting in this section.

          

          

          
       

    In our Knight Training section, we’ve got our Knight’s Code of Chivalry that we’re working through. We do one per week and discuss it from notes I took when I read the book. I’ve included some of my notes from the introduction of the book here to give you some ideas. I just love this for my boys!

       
       

    In the Planning/Scheduling section, I’ve got our current “Term Plans”. I make a simple six-week plan for us based on how far we got in our previous term and how far I think we need to get in this term. It just helps us to stay on track and pace ourselves. If you were to compare this term with last term, you would see that I’ve slowed down some things we do like doing only one verse per week of our Psalms Memory Work and taking two weeks to cover our Bible Roadtrip lessons. This is much more doable for us, but we’re still making great progress.

       

    Also, in this section I have “Just Because We Can” Days List… which gives us some ideas of some things we can do, really whenever we want to, and just because. I’ve also added some pages for ideas as they come to me in the form of Movie Mondays, Tasty Tuesdays, What’s New Wednesdays, Thoughtful Thursdays, and Fun Fridays. I like the idea of assigning various “extra” fun things to certain days, Otherwise, they may never happen. I also have some lists for Service Days, Playdates, and Fieldtrips in this section so that we can keep track.

             

    In our Bible Roadtrip section, I keep our lesson plans for the current term. I’ve included a full week for you here so you can get a little idea of what the curriculum is like. If you have older children, you would just add in those sections that would build on the others, but of course, I had no need for them so I didn’t include them in my planner.

                 

    I just love the cute dashboards and dividers in the Happy Planners, especially the “teacher-themed” ones this one has. You can see how I use the monthly spread page to keep up with our attendance, and I add in any reminders such as our weekly Memory Work review and monthly things to go over as well.

       

    I included my August lesson plans for you to see. I mostly write in our plans “after the fact” instead of making a plan before hand. Honestly, as much as I love to plan, I’m not really that great at carrying out really detailed plans so this works for me. I do kind of plan the week at a time for things like language, math, and Bible roadtrip. I write in the workbook or lesson plans a simple letter (M,T,W,R,or F) so I’ll know if I can fit it all in. Then, I’ll add it to my planner as we complete it to keep track.

       

    Of course, one of our weeks this month was our “Break Week” so I included that and added in some fun field trips we wanted to take (or did take), as well as some tasks I wanted to complete during the week. The final week I included is the first week of our Fall Term because the format looks a little different. I changed up the titles of the boxes. I left off our Summer Reading Program and included our Langage Arts curriciculum. You’ll also notice that I added in a “coupon”. These were a printable that I laminated and gave to Lawson a few years ago in his stocking at Christmas as a little treat. There are lots of different ideas included, and we grabbed a few of them randomly last year. I decided this year that I would punch them and add them to my planner. It helps us to “plan ahead” and actually do them this way… We can’t bake cookies if we don’t have all the ingredients. So now we are prepared.

          

    The teacher planner has a section for checklists, which I am currently not using. I’m not sure how I could use them in our homeschool, but maybe I’ll think of something. Instead, I’ve just used this section to keep our developmental evaluations and goal-sheets for each of my “students”. 😉

          

    And that’s it for this school year’s Homeschool Teacher Planner! Let me know if you have any questions I can answer for you.