knitting and reading

I am currently knitting the heel flap of sock number 1, and I am happy that I am at this point!

This week has been kind of crazy with the kids, and every time I sit down to knit, something else comes up.  The days seem to move so fast, that by the time the kids are in bed and I am able to sit down to knit, I am ready for bed myself!

I'm hoping to get to some more knitting today, especially since the day looks dark and grey outside with some showers in the forecast.  

I haven't really been doing any reading this week.  Instead I have been moving around books.  We really have books everywhere in the house, and I love that we have so much reading available to us, but I need to get more of a handle on the organization.

We have had most of the kids' books on our built in shelves, but I realized that I keep losing school books because one of the kids or my husband will take a school book off the shelf to read and it will never make its way back to its spot.  I decided I better separate the school books from all the other books.

We have 5 cores from Sonlight at this point, and I am trying to figure out how to organize them.  We still read the stories from the P 3/4 and the P 4/5 curriculum, so I don't want to pack them away.  And Jack is starting to use the Kindergarten curriculum, while Emma is going back and forth between the 1st and 2nd grade cores, so essentially all 5 cores need to be accessible.  I really need a library in my house...that would be helpful!

What are you working on this week?

Sunday Quotes

Just living is not must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
~Hans Christian Anderson

Black Bean Salsa Recipe

I love batch cooking.  Preparing several dishes in advance so that I can just open the fridge and have food ready to serve is something I need to do more of.  Last Saturday I took the opportunity to do just that.

I roasted a bunch of root veggies we had in our fridge, and made several salads - one was the chopped fresh vegetable salad I made last week.  Another that was a huge hit was a black bean salsa type dish.

Fresh Black Bean Salsa

1/2 lb dry black beans
1 15 oz can of organic sweet corn
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 28 oz can of organic diced tomatoes
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt

Soak black beans overnight, or use the quick soak method (boil for 2 minutes, then let sit for an hour).  

Cover black beans with water and gently boil until they are cooked.  

Rinse black beans with cold water and then drain.  

Pour the black beans in a large bowl.

Rinse canned corn and put in bowl (or rinse 1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn under warm water until defrosted).

Add pepper, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime, chili powder and salt.

Mix together and eat.

I didn't put jalapenos in because I didn't want it too spicy for the kids, but I would add 2-3 jalapenos if I were just making it for Matt and I.

This was absolutely amazing.  I ate it as is in a bowl, but my kids and Matt all loved it with rice as a burrito.  I think this would also be delicious with eggs, although maybe less cilantro if I were going to have it with eggs.  We ate this all week, and my husband said he wants to have it on hand all the time from now on!  We also enjoyed it on our salads.

We love salsa in our house, so this was a great addition.  It had more vegetables and some protein with the black beans in it, and to me was a pretty complete meal.

Do you do any batch cooking?  What are some of your favorite items to have on hand in your fridge?

Top Five things People Wonder about Wireless #BetterMoments

I have been thinking lately how much technology has changed over the years.  Yesterday I saw a really funny post about the generation between Gen X and Millennials.  That is me – someone who was born right at the end of Generation X, and right at the beginning of the Millennials generation.  There are some things that I feel very comfortable technology wise, and sometimes I just want to throw my hands up and say, what the heck?!  This is also why I am thankful for a brother that has fully immersed himself in technology – so I can get help when I need it (often).

It is incredibly interesting to see the differences in how we use our phones these days.  I remember getting my first cell phone when I was in college – yes, college!  And it was used primarily for calling my boyfriend (now hubby) in another state, priorities people!

Now more than half of today’s wireless customers use their phones for everything from alarms to checking the news and weather.  Yet, there are still some questions that people have about mobile devices.  Here are the top five!

What is the best way to disinfect my phone?

This is one I wondered about.  I mean, my iPhone is in a case, is it really getting that dirty?  Apparently, yes.  The best way to keep your phone germ free is to use a screen protector like PureTek.  Then all you need to do is disinfect the protector with alcohol.  Just spray a soft cloth and wipe, done!  You want to make sure not to use pre-soaked wipes as they can cause excess moisture, and that can cause damage to your phone.  Just be careful around the charging and headphone ports.

How can I get my device to charge faster?

It actually is as easy as turning off your device to charge.  When you leave your device on while charging, all the apps going in the background are going to slow down the charge. 

Can my smart phone read texts for me?

Yes!  Most of the latest devices have this feature internally and you can set it in your preferences.  Some hands-free driving devices like Jabra FREEWAY Car Kit automatically turn on when you are in your car to enable these services.

How can I take a photo on a tablet without needing to use two hands to focus and press the shutter?

There is an awesome app called  Say Cheese Camera that lets you take a picture using voice controls – I definitely need this!  There are also a whole host of remotes and tripods to take pictures and video to the next level.

Can my smartphone alert me with something other than a sound or vibration?

Again, yes!  Most smartphones have LED lights that can flash different colors to alert you to e-mails, text messages and phone calls.  On the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users can enable the LED light flash, which will activate the device’s camera flash to signal an alert or phone call.  This is incredibly helpful when trying to put down a sleeping baby, even though I may have my phone on silent, the vibration still makes enough noise to disturb my light sleeping children!

With summer coming and kids out and about at different activities, don’t forget to download the parent-child wireless agreement to make sure you are on the same page as your kids as far as their technology usage.

This post was brought to you by US Cellular #BetterMoments.  I was compensated for this post, but the opinions are my own.

knitting and reading

I haven't made much progress on my knitting this past week.  My excuse is that the sun came out last week and lasted through the weekend, which made everyone rush outside, including me!

I have made it through the pattern once, and I really like how it is turning out.  I love the little eyelet pattern that is coming through, and I know that it will be adorable on my little girl.  The size of the stitches isn't really a problem anymore, thankfully!  All of my lovely readers who said the first several rows are the hardest, were correct!

My reading has slowed down quite a bit.  I have several books going right now, which is never a good thing!  I am reading Harry Potter and Emma to the kids, and Pride and Prejudice to Lucy before her naps.  

I did just finish The 5 Love Languages - which I thought was quite interesting.  I have heard a lot of people recommend that book, and I thought there were some great points.  I am looking forward to picking up the author's other book, The 5 Love Languages of Children.  

I also just read a large portion of the new devotional Savor by Shauna Niequist.  I love it!  I think the stories that she shares are so fun!  It also reminded me that I still have not picked up Bread & Wine to read through - even though it has been sitting on my shelf for over a year now.

I am also looking forward to going through all of the wonderful e-books for the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!  There look to be some great ones this year!  Have you checked it out yet?  You can find a list of all the e-books included here.

I know that I follow several of you on Instagram, but I would love to follow all of you!  If you are on instagram, please leave your handle in a comment below or follow me so I can follow you back!

What are you working on this week?  Are you out in your gardens yet?

I have included affiliate links in this post.  If you purchase something through my links I will get a percentage of the sale at no added cost to you.  Thank you so much for supporting my family!

Balance in Homeschooling

There are affiliate links within this post - thank you for supporting my family!

Balance.  I am constantly thinking about it.  How can I balance everything?  I want to keep all of the balls in the air at once; make sure that I am personally fulfilled, that my marriage is healthy, my kids are happy, we are eating well and taking care of the earth, all of it is important to me.

I haven’t thought as much about balance with homeschooling until recently.

Emma is getting more involved with her schooling.  She is interested in projects, but being just 6 she still needs a lot of one on one help from me.  She has quite the imagination, and thoroughly thinks through what she wants her projects to be like when she is finished with them.

I love that dedicated time that we take for school, but at the same time it makes getting “everything else” done pretty impossible – at least for me.

We have always focused on play, but now there is a crossover between play and projects. 

Currently Emma is studying turtles.  She loves all things turtles.  We have books from the library.  We have watched the Sci Girls Turtle episode at least 50 times, she is building a basking platform outside (there are nails and a hammer involved…), and she has a project board where she is putting her drawings and little facts.  It is fun, we are enjoying it.  But, she needs my help with it constantly.

She isn’t allowed to go on the computer by herself, so every time she needs help looking up a specific turtle fact or picture, I am there.  She obviously isn’t allowed to use a hammer and nails by herself.  She needs help spelling her words.  All of this I love doing, but when I turn around it is 5 o’clock and I haven’t started dinner, and Matt is walking in the door from work.


The school charts I made last week have been working wonders with getting all of our school accomplished.  Both kids want to check all their boxes as quickly as possible.  This has helped to not drag out school all day.  

I like to let the kids do as much school as they want, while still completing the portions that I have planned to cover throughout the week.  What happens is I have very excited kids and they want to keep doing school that needs my oversight!

I’m not sure how to have complete balance with homeschooling and homemaking and every other ball I have in the air, but I am working towards it. 

I am looking forward to going through some of these homeschooling books from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle that is on sale right now – especially the Year Round Homeschooling Planner.

How do you achieve balance while homeschooling?  Or is balance not possible in these early years of homeschooling?

Stressed about Homemaking?

Dear Homemaker,

Are the inmates running the asylum?

I hear you. Sometimes I look around my house and wonder how things got so out of hand.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed about getting married, becoming a mommy, and having my own home.
I imagined a home that was more than just 4 walls, a roof, and a mortgage.

I wanted to make a special place that was a magical mash-up of:
  • a school,
  • a playground,
  • a refuge,
  • a boo-boo “fix it” station,
  • a “you can do it” pep rally, and
  • a safe place for personal expression, sharing and growth.
And then real life happened…

…laundry, diapers, stretch marks, and never-ending meal prep… money worries, gritty floors, soap scum, and the stain that won’t come out of my son’s favorite shirt… holiday stress, and teaching my daughter to read (and master long division)… a husband who works long hours, a kid with the sniffles, stomach aches and a fever… and a secret dream to run my own little business from home.

And that’s why Erin and Stephanie created the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… because as rewarding as it is, homemaking is hard work and it doesn’t always come easily.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

To help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker – help, inspiration, tips, encouragement, resources at your fingertips…

… the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is just for you.
It is a complete library of carefully selected eBooks, eCourses, audios, online conferences, and printable packs designed to help you turn your house into a home… without all the overwhelm.

What’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

The first step in putting together this collection was to find the critical homemaking skills that you need to transform your house into a home.
Here they are:
  • Cleaning… create a healthy, toxin-free home
  • DIY/Homemade… fun and frugal ways to express your personal style
  • Devotionals and Faith… take a break from the daily grind to renew yourself
  • Finances… build a budget that works
  • Cooking & Meal Planning… serve easier, tastier meals in less time
  • Holidays & Special Events… brighten up old family traditions and create new
  • Homeschooling… homeschool with grace and ease
  • Marriage… heat up your marriage
  • Motherhood… find peace, balance & joy in mothering
  • Organizing… conquer the clutter and simplify your life
  • Pregnancy & Babies… enjoy a healthy pregnancy and prepare to nurture your baby
  • Health & Wellness… soothe aches & pains with natural remedies
  • Working from Home… hone your talents, live your passions and earn money to help your family
… a complete library of 99 eBooks and eCourses to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships.

Are there too many books in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

Let me ask you a question.

Have you ever taken your family out for a buffet dinner… and then been disappointed when you couldn’t eat every single morsel on display?

Of course not!

Sure. There’s that first, breath-taking moment when you see and hear and smell the amazing meal spread before you… and you think, “Where will I even start?”

But that’s the thing… because you do start… with something.
Maybe it’s a tender flaky biscuit, or a piece of delicious roast beef, or maybe you’re like me and start with a piece of pie (mmm, blueberry or apple with whipped cream)?

So relax, enjoy, and start anywhere you like. Come back to the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle “buffet” as many times as you like. It’s all here for you.

Is the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle worth it?

In a word… yes!

To be absolutely certain, Erin and Stephanie asked questions, tried techniques and just about drove themselves crazy making sure that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle was the very best homemaking resource anywhere.

They dug through hundreds of websites and connected with dozens of authors and teachers.
And then we all worked together to make these resources the most affordable possible.

And They Were Delighted to Help…

The result? This collection is a fraction of the price of what someone would pay for each resource individually!

For a short time, the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… a complete library of:
  • 76 eBooks
  • 6 eCourses
  • 1 audio download
  • 2 online conferences, and
  • 14 printable packs
…99 carefully selected resources designed to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships… is only $29.97. (A total value of $984.74.)
That breaks down to 30 cents per book.

Your 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason, you decide that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is not for you, then please send an email to and we will refund 100% of your investment. No questions asked.

Don’t Forget the Bonuses…

Of course, no Ultimate Homemaking Bundle would be complete without the generous, inspiring gifts donated by companies that understand homemakers like you. Every gift is yours to keep and enjoy.
  • Choose 1 FREE Online Class from Craftsy (Select from 24 of Their Most Popular Classes – Up to $60 Value)
  • 1 FREE Kids Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts ($19.95 Value)
  • FREE $15 Credit to Hope Ink PLUS 2 FREE 8×10 Art Prints ($71 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day “Good Deal” Subscription to She Plans Dinner ($15 Value)
  • Choose 1 FREE Stylish Spring Scarf from Deborah & Co. ($20 Value)
  • FREE $80 Healthy Moving Class Credit ($80 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day Pro Membership to ListPlanIt ($30 Value)
  • FREE 65 Tyndale Rewards Points to Be Used for a FREE Book or Towards Any Book of Your Choice ($15 Value)

Now It’s Your Turn

I think Laura Ingalls Wilder said it best…

“Just as a little thread of gold, running through a fabric, brightens the whole garment, so women’s work at home, while only the doing of little things, is just like the golden gleam of sunlight that runs through and brightens the whole fabric of civilization.”

The proven, simple, and effective skills you need to transform your house into a home are all waiting for you in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

This is your chance to get all the love, support, guidance and inspiration you need to nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker.
But time is running out! The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will only be available from 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, April 20 until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 27.
After that, the shopping cart closes and the deeply discounted price is gone.

Best wishes and happy homemaking!

Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

There are affiliate links within this post.  If you make a purchase through one of my links, I will receive a commission.  This comes at no extra cost to you.  Thank you for supporting me!

Sunday Quotes

Earth laughs in flowers.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fresh Vegetable Salad Recipe

As soon as spring arrives (regardless of whether or not there are leaves on the trees or snow is still on the ground) my body starts to crave fresh vegetables.  I love all vegetables, and am constantly looking for ways to eat them.

I wrote earlier this year about trying to make salads a main meal every day, and how I do that, but these big salads aren't the only way to get a good dose of veggies into my diet (and my family's diet) every day!

For Easter I made the most delicious quinoa salad.  It had lots of fresh chopped veggies, lots of parsley, and a super simple dressing.  It was amazing, and I plan to make it often.  

However, my kids are not a huge fan of the quinoa with the vegetables.  They like the quinoa and the vegetables, but separately.

Yesterday I decided to make the vegetable portion of the quinoa salad.  My kids and I devoured it as a morning snack - odd I know.

Chopped Vegetable Salad

2-3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large english cucumber, chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped (curly or flat, whichever you prefer)
juice of 1 lemon
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste

Chop all veggies and parsley, put in a large glass bowl.  Sprinkle with sea salt and mix together.  Put juice of lemon and drizzle of evoo on top of salad and mix again.  Enjoy!

*To make this with the quinoa cook 1 1/2 cups rinsed and drained quinoa with 2 2/3 cups water.  Let cool to room temperature.  Mix with veggies.  Make dressing as juice of 2 lemons and 1/4-1/3 cup of evoo.  Pour dressing over top and mix altogether.

I love the addition of all the parsley to this dish.  Parsley is incredibly fresh tasting, and is so good for you.  Parsley is a great source of vitamin K and vitamin C, and it also is a good source of folic acid.

Is your body craving fresh veggies these days?  Are you starting to plan your garden?

knitting and reading

A lesson in pattern reading.  Lesson 1 - read the pattern.  

I started these lovely socks last week, and as I was knitting, I was constantly miscounting stitches.  I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, I am typically extremely careful about stitch counting.  I thought that because the stitches were so small, maybe I was accidentally picking up stitches as I went along.  But, I kept knitting because I hate to rip things out.  I re-counted my stitches again and again, yes, I had the number of stitches I was supposed to cast on.  Then I pulled out the pattern again.

Can you see those instructions under "Leg"?  Decreasing 6 stitches?  Yeah, I definitely skipped right over that intro to the leg pattern.  So rip rip rip went the sock I spent so much time starting.

I will let you in on a little secret, starting the sock a second time has gone much faster.  You wouldn't see that by looking at the progress I have made, but it was much easier working with the small stitches, and having the correct amount  of stitches has also helped as I move onto the leg pattern!

This book is one that I have had on my shelf for a while, and started it several times.  But, I haven't read through it in its entirety.  Since all that I seem to be thinking about lately is my garden, and fresh vegetables, I want to try and read through this book.  Not for weight loss, but just for general information about eating a whole foods, veggie based, diet.

What are you working on this week?  Has spring sprung in your neck of the woods?!

Making a School Chart

I have talked a lot in the past about how I am much more a “rhythm” than a “schedule” person.  I used to love schedules, when I was in school, knowing what time to be wherever was important.  However, after kids, I wanted to be able to go with the flow a bit more.  That especially hit home when I would try and put my new baby to bed at 10 and 2, and realized she was more interested in sleeping when she wanted to sleep rather than when I put her down for a nap.

That little baby that loved to do her own thing is now almost 7 years old.  My, how time flies!  And she is a little less enthusiastic about surprises throughout the day.  Instead, she likes to have an idea of what comes next.

I think that is only natural, of course.  As children grow up, they want to know a little bit more about life and what they are going to be doing during the day.  I realized that my not so little girl loves to know what the plan is for the day.

While I always have a plan, she hasn’t been involved with it at all.  She has no boxes to check off; instead she just listens to what I tell her to do.

I appreciate that she listens to me, but I have noticed lately – especially with school – she isn’t as enthusiastic about completing one subject and then going to the next.

I wanted to test my theory a bit, to see if what I thought might be troubling her (not knowing the direction of the day) was the problem, or if it was something more serious like not enjoying the coursework we are doing. 

I decided to have a morning meeting with her to tell her what I expected of her through the day – what subjects we would be working on, piano practice, and a craft.  She responded the way I hoped she would, with enthusiasm.  Having that morning meeting where we discussed what she would need to do that day was a huge help.  I didn’t need to go into the specifics all that much, like the order in which to do them, but I did tell her what would need to be done before she could get back to playing.

I realized that what she needed was a checklist – much the same as my own checklist.  Giving that control to my daughter, for her to see what needed to be finished before she moved onto more free play was exactly what she needed.

My solution for the time being was to create a laminated checklist for her to use each week.  She has a dry erase marker that she can use, and she can keep the sheet in her school bin to check off as she completes tasks.  This is a very simple checklist, which includes the subject, and boxes under the days of the week so that she can check them off.  It does not include all the coursework I expect her to complete in each subject.  Just a general list of what needs to be done each day.

Some subjects are required every day – Bible, math, reading; while others are only a couple times a week, like science and history.  If she wants to do more than the required subjects each day, I’m not going to stop her, so I listed boxes for each subject on each day.

I think that we will have to adjust it as we go along.  I’m sure at some point she will want to have more detail such as what pages she needs to read, what math lessons she is doing.  But, for now, this is what we are working with.

Do you give your children a weekly checklist?  Do your kids want to know “what’s next” or are they content to go with the flow?

If you are looking for more help in the organizing and homemaking area, there is an amazing FREE e-course right now which will help decrease the stress level for you in your home - I'm loving it right now!  Find more information here

Creating a Master To-Do List

*Erin Condren Life Planners are currently 40% off!  If you have been thinking about trying them out, now is the time.  Get an additional $10 off through my referral link.  Sign up for an account and they will e-mail you the coupon code to use on your order!

I love lists.  I want to get that out to you right off the bat.  There is nothing I love more than making lists.  I love bullet points, and breaking things down into super simple steps. 

My love of lists started in high school.  Then it was taking notes, and that continued through college – this was before computers were regularly used in the classroom for note taking.  Instead, notebooks and pens – I know, totally old school!

As I got older, got married, and had children, my brain filled with more and more stuff to do, and I was starting to run around in circles, making the same list day after day.  There is constantly stuff going through my mind, sometimes not letting me move onto actually completing tasks.  I hope that I am not the only one this happens to.

I started making lists, many lists, all the time, on anything that I could find – sticky notes, pads of paper, envelopes from old mail.  There were a lot of lists, and they were anything but organized.

Often, I knew that I had written stuff down on a list, but then I couldn’t find the list, and so I would have to try and make sure that I could write everything out that I needed to do or buy again.

My lists tend to be huge brain dumps, where there can be stuff I need to do today – such as put laundry in to wash, or big things like clean out the basement. 

What I found was happening was that I would constantly make the same lists again and again, with the same stuff, so clearly my “brain dumps” were not actually working.  I was still thinking about the same things, most likely because I knew I would misplace my list (read: my kids would find the list and take it thinking they should make their own list).

Last week I had enough.  Encouraged by the many list makers on Instagram (search for #listersgottalist), I decided to turn one of my blank journals into a master to-do list

Wow, was that freeing.  I know, it probably sounds completely absurd to some of you, but having that spiral journal containing everything that I need or want to do was revolutionary for me.  I can add things as I go, check things off, or when I am trying to figure out what projects I should attack for the week, I can look there, realizing that I have a million projects waiting in the wings, and one of them will probably get accomplished if I am looking at the list!

It has worked exactly like a brain dump would.  I put everything down and made little boxes that I could check off.  I’m sure I will need to make changes to how it is organized at some point. 

What has worked is the fact that I can put everything in one spot, and I know I can look there for projects that I want to work on.  What it isn’t, however, is my general “daily to-dos” such as laundry and dishes.  I am re-vamping my daily planning worksheet to work better with how I want to organize my life, and my home. 

Subscribe to my newsletter above and you will get my new daily planning sheet!

While I still love notepads – and have many of them around the house – I think this is going to work better for me.  Instead of constantly thinking about the things that I need to put on my list for this week I can instead look at the master list and see what needs to be accomplished.

Being able to look back on all that I have done in the last year will also give me a great feeling.  It will allow me to reflect on the year, what I have done, what I haven’t, and what I want to change to move into the next year.  I often forget all that I have accomplished due to running around with my three kids every day!

As an added bonus, it serves as a list that my husband can look at – because I know that I will not be siding the chicken coop even if it is on my list!  Perhaps not a bonus to Matt, but a bonus to me!

I have only utilized this journal for a few days, but I feel so much more at peace than I had before.  I don’t know why.  I am probably slightly crazy, but not having to keep track of single sheets of paper is helpful.  Plus, who doesn’t love checking off a box when a task is finished?

Do you have a “master to-do list” or a project binder that you use as a brain dump tool?  Are you a list maker?

Sunday Quotes

The beautiful spring came; and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.
~Harriet Ann Jacobs

The Leadership Handbook by John C. Maxwell

I have to say right off that this book is not the typical book that I review on my blog.  But, when I saw that it was an option for me, I jumped at it!  

I have heard the name John C. Maxwell for a long time.  I think the first time was in college for one of my business management classes - yes, I was a business and economics nerd in college.  That is quite the change from my current life as a SAHM and wannabe homesteader!  

Most people, when they hear the name John C. Maxwell, think of leadership.  I have not read many of his books.  Actually, I think I only have read one other, required reading for the above mentioned business management class.  When I read a lot of reviews that said he is regurgitating a lot of the same information in previous books, I was happy, figuring this book would be a "best of" as far as leadership advice.

I have to say that I wasn't disappointed.  This is an amazing book!  I like that each chapter ends with application exercises as well as a "mentoring moment."  It is essentially giving you the path that you need to take in order to become a great leader.

Some of the information contained in the book - like following your passion in order to find your potential - is similar to what I have been reading in other books this year, and lines right up with my "Project Life" goals for the year.  I want to operate at my potential, not below it.  And seeing another awesome author talk about using your passion to find your potential solidifies that thought in my mind even further.

He goes through 26 critical lessons every leader needs to know.  Everything from being a good listener, to managing your life not your time, and being a continuous learner.

I really enjoyed how he made the point that leaders make mistakes, and that is how they learn.  It is good for a leader to admit their mistakes and make the corrections needed in order to continue to better themselves, as well as their team.

I think that this book offers a lot of great life advice.  Not everyone wants to be a leader, and that is ok, not every person can be a leader.  But, for those of us who do want to lead, knowing the right path to take, as well as being able to admit and correct mistakes along the way is obviously important.

This book would be a good read for any business owner, blogger, or person trying to make real change in an organization, whether it be a business or a church.  

I received a free copy of this book in return for my review.  All opinions are my own. 

knitting and reading

Can I let you in on a little secret?  I have never knit socks with sock yarn.  I always use worsted and larger needles - of course I haven't knit socks for anyone but my kids either, and the thicker socks seem to work best for them.

Well, I cast on a new project.  Socks, with the tiniest strand of yarn I could possibly find...The stitches are tiny!

It took me a good 45 minutes to get the 5 rows you see in the picture completed.  45 minutes.  I am a slow knitter, but that is extremely slow!  I hope that as time goes on it moves a little faster though, or else I will end up with one sock completed and the other never to see the needles.

These are not adult socks either, these are for Emma.  The pattern is called "Socks for Little Witches."  I am not sure where I found the pattern, but the picture of the finished project looks adorable, and something I think Emma will love...if I finish them!  I might need to pick a back-up project.

My reading is the same as last week.  I haven't had as much time to read the past couple of weeks, besides reading to the kids for school.  I am almost finished with the John C. Maxwell book, and we are still reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  I am also re-reading Pride and Prejudice for the 100th time.  I read it to Lucy before her naps, seems to do the trick of putting her right to sleep!

What are you working on this week?

Green Spring Cleaning

Here we are, in the first full week of April!  Can you believe it?  I certainly cannot.  Although, since I am pretty sure I said that at the beginning of March and also February, well I should probably start accepting it a little more.

Last month was all about de-cluttering for me.  This month, I am moving towards spring cleaning!

De-cluttering before spring cleaning is helpful for me.  With only those items I feel have beauty or are useful in some way, I am able to look at my home in a way to make what we have work.  

It might seem like a really long time – a month – to de-clutter or to do spring cleaning, but with three children and homeschooling, I will be happy to have the spring cleaning done in the actual spring season

Books, books and more books!

I have some bigger projects I want to get done, mainly our office, which has become a storage room.  Even though I de-cluttered the house, there are still some items that we are keeping that need to find a home – books, piles and piles of books.  That home right now is the office.  I plan to do my quarterly re-arranging of furniture to make my home feel like I am using it the best way it can be.  I also need to look into some more storage solutions.  With the above mentioned books I think some new shelving is in order. 

Between my books and the kids’ school books, we have a lot of books!  While I try to get rid of books that we are no longer using, there are a lot of books that I like to return to year after year.  I know I will never get rid of them, and they need to be put away properly.  I keep lobbying for a library in our home; perhaps fitting the office with new shelves will help that along!

Make your spring cleaning healthy for everyone!

One of the harder parts about spring cleaning is the cleaners we use to clean our homes.  These cleaners have so many warnings; I often don’t want to even touch the bottle.  Several years ago I tried to rid my home of most of these cleaners because of their toxic nature.  

That does not mean that I stopped cleaning my home, it does mean that I needed to find an alternative. 

While there are many green cleaning options available these days, I find that making my own cleaners is a cost effective way to decrease the amount of chemicals in my home.

That being said, I have a lot of empty bottles that need to be re-filled!  I love to make my own cleaners  – they are non-toxic and mean that my children can help with the cleaning.  Any help I can get is welcome!  I hope to share some of the recipes I use over the next few weeks to help you with your spring cleaning as well.

Gardening and outside the home.

We still have snow on the ground, unfortunately, and my garden is a complete mess.  I hope that over the next few weeks the snow will completely disappear and I can get started on outside spring cleanup – it is probably my favorite spring chore.  Raking out the gardens and seeing my day lilies start to come up out of the ground makes me so happy!

The kids started some tomato and sweet pepper seeds yesterday, but I know I want to start a few more things to go out into the ground in just two short months.  Figuring out which seeds I want to buy is on my to-do list for the week; also a trip to the greenhouse.

While I left for church in the middle of a huge snow squall yesterday morning, I know that spring and summer are coming, and when that warm weather is here, I want to be able to have my house clean so we can stay outside all the live long day!

Have you finished de-cluttering in preparation for spring cleaning?  Do you combine the two?  What are some of your favorite spring chores?

Sunday Quotes

but the angel said, "Don't be alarmed.  You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He isn't here!  He is risen from the dead!
~Mark 16:6

knitting and reading

I finished Emma's shrug!  I am so excited that it is done!  It wasn't a hard project, I love the pattern, but making the time to knit more than a few rows at once is difficult at this stage.  Everything takes just a little bit longer to make.

Emma is really excited to get this though.  She knows it is for her birthday in a couple months, and she is happy about it.  I thought about giving it to her for Easter to wear, but I decided I would wait until her birthday instead.

My little model is still asleep though, so I am without a good photo of it being worn.  I will try and post a picture on instagram later today after we finish school.

As far as reading goes, I haven't done any this past week.  Well, I am still reading Harry Potter to the kids, and the regular reading for the kids' school, but nothing really for me.

I was planning on going to the library on Monday, but when it started snowing I decided not to leave the house.  I can't bring myself to go out in the snow anymore.  Hopefully today we can head down to the library and pick up some new books!

What are you working on this week?