My New At-A-Glance Schedule {2015}

Make your day run smoother by using an At-A-Glance Schedule! | RaisingArrows.net

For those of you new to Raising Arrows, let me quickly explain what an At-A-Glance schedule is…

An At-A-Glance Schedule is a rough sketch of your day.  It is not a schedule for the entire family.  It is Mom’s Master List.  It isn’t super structured or binding.  It is a bare-bones approach that keeps you on track without making you feel guilty.

I was looking back at my old At-A-Glance schedule and realized how very outdated it was.  We haven’t had piano lessons on Wednesdays in well over a year!  Ideally, an At-A-Glance schedule would be re-assessed as circumstances change, or at the very least, every year.  It may not need to be changed every year because remember, it isn’t a tight schedule, so you won’t have things like “Baby’s Nap” on there or other things that change often.

This past weekend, I quickly worked through my old schedule to create one I believe will be a good fit for this year.  By the way, when I say “year”, I mean “school year.”  About this time of year, I am going through all of my homeschool materials and resources to see what I need for the upcoming school year, and figure out what that school year should look like.  (I like to be able to share with my readers what the intricacies of our homeschool looks like, so expect upcoming posts that highlight the changes for the 2015-16 year!)

It really is very easy to revamp an old At-A-Glance Schedule once you have the template of your day, so if you can find the time to put together your first one, any that follow will be very simple to make!

{affiliate links included}

Here is a quick guide to creating your first AAG:

1.  Write down the natural rhythm of your day.  If you get up at 8 am, don’t write down a wake up time of 7 am.  If you start school at 10 am, don’t write down 9 am.  This is the REAL routine you follow.  There will be time later to decide if you need to change your routine.

2.  Make a list of the things you would like to do in a day that are not on your “natural rhythm schedule”.  Don’t get crazy, but do get it all out.  This is a good exercise in realizing what things you THINK you should be doing, and the actuality of what can be FIT in to your schedule.  This list is there to help you work through what’s in your brain and start releasing the guilt you have for not doing EVERYTHING.

3.  Prioritize, Plug In, and Cull.  Sometimes all it takes is being purposeful and plugging it in.  Sometimes you have to have the sense to just let it go.  By writing out the things you WISH you had time for and comparing them to the natural rhythm schedule you wrote down in #1, you can see if you really do have the time for those things.  For instance, I would love to get back to sewing, but this isn’t the season for that because there are other things that NEED to be in the schedule.  I can let go of the guilt of not sewing because I know the things I have plugged in are PRIORITIES.

When you have a list of things that truly NEED to be on the schedule, then you can think about where they go.  Again, your AAG is NOT a full-blown schedule, so you are not looking for a place to plug in every single thing, but rather you are making sure there is enough MARGIN in your day to accommodate the things that are truly important.

Margin by Richard Swenson is a good book to help you understand the WHY and HOW of margin in your day.

4.  Write it out, type it out, post it.  I always write a rough sketch, go over it in my head, go over it with my older children and my husband, and make sure it is doable and everyone who has a choice is on board with it.  Then, I type it out, laminate it (with this laminator) and post it.

I always make more than one copy.  One copy is near my “office”, one is on the refrigerator, and one is with my homeschool materials.  (In the new house, my “office” is separate of my homeschool materials.  You’ll notice in this post, my office and homeschool area are the same.)  The reason for this is so that you truly can see the schedule AT A GLANCE!  It’s everywhere you are when you might need a little EXTRA focus.

5.  Tweak as needed.  I know, I know – I ALWAYS say this, but it’s true.  I was an English major – every paper was a rough draft!  Every SCHEDULE is a rough draft!  This gives you permission to change something.  HOWEVER, just because your AAG didn’t work the first or second, or even third time you tried it, does NOT mean it isn’t the “right” schedule for you.  It simply means it is NEW.  If after a week or two of really trying, it still doesn’t work, THEN tweak.

You will find that your day RARELY goes the way you plan, but having an At-A-Glance Schedule will help keep you on a track that moves forward and makes sense.  It is never meant to tie you down or stress you out!

Would you like to take a peek at my new AAG?  You will notice a couple of things:

1.  We are late risers.

2.  I sometimes (not always) rely on audio and video to keep the younger crowd occupied during a section of school that requires me to stay focused on the older crowd (I just put it on the schedule as an option).

I’m also including some links at the bottom of this post that I’ve written about specific items mentioned in the At A Glance Schedule.   These will help you understand more about how our day runs and what I mean by certain sections on the schedule.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY AAG!

Helpful Links:
Morning Chores
Quiet Time with Small Children
Another Take on Quiet Time
Christian Mom’s Guide to Blogging
Table Chores
Schooling the Little First
Easy Homeschool Lunches
Laundry Ideas
Special School
Art & Artist Time
Special Night

Last Day to Get the Best Homemaking Resources of the Year!

This sale is over.

Well, this is it…the last day of The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

I was asked on my Facebook page if I really thought this bundle was worth the money.  I absolutely do – and I’m not just saying that because my ebook is in there!  Here are a few reasons why I feel this is money well-spent:

1.  It is NOT the same bundle as last year or the year before.  These bundles NEVER repeat.  This is FRESH content.  So, if you’ve purchased in the past, you are not getting repeat products.

2.  You couldn’t get ONE of the eCourses, let alone ALL of the eCourses for this price.  I told you before that the eCourses are my favorite part of this year’s bundle.  I maybe could have purchased one of the courses, but all 10?  Not a chance!  Here’s the list of those eCourses, so you can see for yourself how awesome they are:

  • The Healthy Home – an eCourse about using natural remedies and resources that are proven to work in your home environment.  You will learn so much without having to wade through a bunch of mumbo-jumbo!
  • Grocery University – A super well-done audio course on how to get started couponing.  I’ve owned this course for years and highly recommend it!
  • Homemaking from Scratch Online Conference – I had wanted to sign up for this when it first happened and then didn’t.  I am SO glad I now own it!  Great and godly information from some of the web’s most wonderful homemaking bloggers.
  • Living a Legacy Conference – I have not had time to listen to this yet, but with people like Kathy Brodock and Kelly Crawford, I am certain it is going to be good!
  • A Parent’s Guide to Natural Remedies – I just got started working through this and LOVE it!  It is a fantastic resource for treating childhood illnesses with natural solutions!
  • Happy Mom, Healthy Family Meal Planning Workshop & Cookbook
  • Marriage, Intimacy, & Sex:  Moving from Blah to Blazing in the Bedroom
  • (De)Clutter Buddies
  • 21 Days Savings Challenge
  • 14 Days to a Better Neck (from Fit2B Studio)

3.  The bundle contains over $1200 in product + $300 in bonuses and is less than $30!  Plus, the people who put this bundle together are Christian families who truly have your best interests in mind.  They have been wonderful to work with, and have proven themselves to be trustworthy and above reproach time and again.

 

I made the goal of selling enough bundles to be able to purchase a new laptop for my oldest daughter who does most of the photography for this blog.  (You can see some of her lovely work on her brand new blog, Diverse Reflections.)  I am REALLY close to making that goal, and I thank all of you who have purchased or will purchase today using my link!

If you have questions about any of the books or products, click HERE or feel free to ask me, but don’t delay – It all ends tonight at 11:59 pm Eastern!

 

The Mission Field in Your Home

One thing I often hear from stay at home moms is that they feel they aren’t reaching out with the Gospel of Christ.  They are so busy running a household, they have time for little else.  (Remember my post on What You Need to Know About Being a Mom Many Littles?)  These woman want to be spreading God’s Word, but they can’t find the time, the energy, or the babysitter.  I’ve even known some women who gave up homemaking and homeschooling in order to make a greater impact on their community for Christ.

What these mamas are missing is the mission field right in their very homes!

The Mission Field In Your Home - "Living and Ordinary Life in the Name of an Extraordinary Savior" | RaisingArrows.net

Before you hang up on me because I’m being trite, please listen to these words written to me in an email by a Saladmaster Cookware representative who visited our home last week:

“Your family is truly amazing and I felt I was on very sacred ground being in your home.  I am in homes all the time and see interaction in all sorts of wonderful families but have to say, yours is a real stand-out!  I consider it a privilege to have been among you.”

That blew me away.  Sure we get comments as we are walking down the aisles of the grocery store or in restaurants, but to have someone who had been around us for more than 10 minutes give such an amazing testimony to the Light of Christ IN OUR HOME blessed my busy homemaking/homeschooling mama heart!

My children as a mission field.

The Mission Field in your Own Home - don't miss it! | RaisingArrows.net

My mission field has always been my home.  I care for children all day long, doing my very imperfect best to instill the Gospel of Christ in them.  My intent is to raise them as arrows for the Lord to one day be shot out from our home and carry the Gospel with them.  Thus, the name of this blog – Raising Arrows.

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.”
~Psalm 127:3-4

Often, a mother of young children won’t see the fruit of her labor until much later, giving her the impression she’s not really reaching anyone.  However, a funeral we recently attended gave me insight into what a faithful following looks like at the end of the race…

The gentleman who was being remembered died at 93.  Although he was raised in the church, he did not become a true Christ follower until he was 40.  By that point, he had been married quite some time and had 4 children, but it changed his outlook and attitude dramatically.  However, he lived his life as an ordinary man, doing ordinary things; the difference was that he now did it for and in the name of Jesus.  Because of this, his impact on his world was EXTRAORDINARY.

All 4 of his children are believers, as well as most of their family and extended family.  All of them spoke highly of him and how he ministered to them as a family.  His work in the community was done in the capacity of his various jobs, and he was well-loved by those who knew him.

Once, he counseled Ty not to worry about taking the “right” job, but to do something he enjoyed and work for the Lord there.  He did a lot of work in the church, but again, it was done in the capacity of the gifts and realm of influence the Lord had already placed in his life.

Visitors as my mission field.

The day the Saladmaster representative came to cook us dinner, we all pitched in and cleaned the house.  That was the only thing I did to prepare.  In fact, I’m pretty sure half of my boys had on jeans with holes in the knees.  I had to leave the kitchen several times to change diapers, my 4 year old kept playing with one of the pans, and my 2 year old took off with the 1 pound fat glob the guy brought as a visual to explain how to cook healthy meals.  Perfect it was not.

But, it didn’t need to be perfect.  It just needed to be authentic.

Being a missionary is easier than you thought.

The Mission Field is your own Home - RaisingArrows.netBeing a missionary is a calling all Christians have and it has very little to do with your training or your location.  As a mama, it is about being authentic with everyone you come in contact with from your husband to your children to the mailman to the Saladmaster representative. It isn’t about saying the right thing or looking a certain way.  It isn’t about being the perfect hostess or reaching the most people.  It is about living an ordinary life, doing ordinary things in the name of an extraordinary Savior!

Your life, your home, your testimony - it doesn't have to be extraordinary to reach others with the Gospel! | RaisingArrows.net

So, next time you are tempted to believe you aren’t really doing the Lord’s work, or what you are doing is much too insignificant, remember WHO is doing the work.  It isn’t you.  This isn’t about you.  Be faithful where you are.  The Lord didn’t accidentally give you these children or this life.  It was planned with a purpose.  Work where you are FOR HIM, and let Him do the rest.

It’s Been a Rough Year {but I have hope}

I’ve had a rough year. It’s been a year of big changes and big emotions. There have been moments when I have felt utterly defeated and overwhelmed, and likewise, moments when I have been excited and equipped (unfortunately, those moments have been few and far between).

I’ve needed a lot of help this year just to keep going.  I’ve spent a lot of time crying out to the Lord to give me the strength and resources I need to rebuild my life after a year of such upheaval.

This week only, one of the resources that has helped me tremendously in this time of regrouping is available for only $29.97!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

This sale is over.

Every year, I look forward to this bundle, but this year, it came at just the right time for my weary heart.

“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,

to the soul who seeks Him.”

~Lamentations 3:25

There is so much in this year’s bundle that is a balm to my soul.  My own ebook, Large Family Homeschooling is included in the Bundle (Yippee!), but my favorite part of this year’s bundle are the eCourses.  You get the entire Healthy Home eCourse from Vintage Remedies (retail $95) which also includes a ton of FREE resources I have literally devoured – they are SO good! The Bundle also includes the entire Homemaking from Scratch eCourse (retail $29.95) Such encouragement and useful information!  And in the Bonus Offers, you can get a FREE scarf from Deborah & Co. and a FREE Craftsy class (we chose cookie decorating)! And this is only a tiny fraction of what is included in this wonderful resource!

So, if you’ve had a rough year like I have, or you are simply looking to better your homemaking, homeschooling, mothering, and marriage, have hope!  The Lord does provide in all sorts of ways.  It might be a new friend, a passage of Scripture you never noticed before, or a resource that comes at just the right time.  I encourage you to take a look at The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle this year.  It is my absolute favorite online resource of the year, and this year, so many of the resource spoke to me right where I was at.

 

Here’s the entire rundown of what is included for the $29.97.  You can click on any of the pictures to learn more about the products.  If you choose to purchase using my links, I certainly appreciate your generosity, as your purchase does equal a commission for our family.  Thank you!

Free Homemaking eCourse!

This eCourse is no longer available.

If you need a little pick-me-up, get-the-week-started pep talk today, you’ll want to snag this FREE – yes, FREE – Homemaking eCourse.  This was put together by my blogging friend, Erin from The Humbled Homemaker, along with her mentor, Holly.  There are 4 short videos that give a few very simple tricks and tips to make your day run smoother.

As a large family homeschooling mom, I had to tweak a few of the things mentioned, but that’s the case with just about everything I do!  I’m sure you will find some great ideas you can adjust for your own family in these homemaking videos.  Plus, you’ll be introduced to The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle coming next week!  YIPPEE!  I am about to burst at the seams in anticipation of letting all of you know what will be in it.  This is my absolute favorite bundle of the year, and next week you’ll see why!

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE HOMEMAKING ECOURSE!

Making Lunch Easy

It only took me 12 years of homeschooling and 9 kids to figure out how to make lunch easy.

Gah!  Why did I wait so long?

I finally figured out how to make lunch easy! | RaisingArrows.net

To be completely honest with you, what finally forced me to simplify our lunches was this new job/new house/new baby thing that all took place right around the holidays.  We did just about every major life change all in a matter of 6 weeks!  Go big or go home!

I was really struggling after Aspen’s birth (that’s another post) and needed to make life as simple as I could until I was back on my feet and fully present.  I made a list of all the things that were causing me stress, and one weekend I took some time away to pray and work through as many things on that list as I could.

Lunch was on that list, and the solution came in the form of 3 S’s:

Soup ~ Salad ~ Sandwiches

Make Lunch Easy with the 3's - Soup, Salad, Sandwiches | RaisingArrows.net

Soup

Last week, I told you about our Kitchen Sink Soup.  This is our go-to soup.  We make it a couple of times a week to finish off any random leftovers in the refrigerator.  I don’t really plan any soups besides this one.  When I originally made the 3S Plan, I was going to add in some “original” soups as well, but implementing that proved to be more work than I cared to do.

I try to keep a loaf of bread on hand to go with our soup.  I prefer it to be homemade, but will often grab some sort of specialty loaf from Aldi just in case I don’t get around to making something.  Sourdough or French bread are favorites here, as well as our homemade whole wheat buns.

Salad

Before I had Aspen, I ate salad almost every day for lunch, but rarely had the kids eat it.  Now, if I’m eating it, so are they!  The two salads we make most often are Taco Salad and Chicken Fajita Salad.  For the Fajita Salad, I buy chicken fajita strips at Aldi in the freezer case, warm them up and throw them in with salad greens and cheese.  Corn chips add filler to both of these salads.

Sandwiches

Because I need things to be as simple as possible, I purchase a couple of loaves of bread a week and keep sliced cheese and deli meat, peanut butter and jelly on hand at all times (although, I’ve never eaten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich myself, most of my kids like it).  If we have homemade bread, great, but if not, I know we can still throw together sandwiches with the store-bought loaves.  We will have the occasional deviation from these two types of sandwiches with something like my son’s fried egg sandwiches or my daughter’s grilled cheese or bagel sandwiches, but that is fairly rare.

This plan makes shopping for lunches super simple too!  My weekly list will always have these things on it:

Chicken broth
Shredded Cheese
Salad greens
Fajita Chicken
Chili Beans
Corn Chips
Peanut Butter
Jelly
Deli Meat & Cheese
Bread

I keep us stocked with those items so I always have what I need to make lunch easy!

**Huge sigh of relief!**

How have you simplified lunch at your house?  Or maybe you’ve learned to simplify another meal.  I’d love to hear your ideas!