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Looking Back

Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine

We’ve recently entered a new season in our lives where homeschooling is behind us. We now have 2 family members in college – Daddy and daughter. I’m starting to look at some non-traditional ways that I can bring in some extra money to help with not only the college expenses but also to pay down our mortgage faster.

Money Making Mom takes a good look at the variety of ways a mom can make income whether it be from a traditional job or non-traditional job, inside or outside the home. Crystal also dives into the reasons why we might want to make money and why getting rich shouldn’t be our primary focus. I really liked this quote as it sums up the feeling on the entire book.

We should focus on making money to impact our family and loved ones for the better. In addition, our focus for making money should be to help those who are struggling in our community and around the world.

At the time I’m writing this, we’re heading into Thanksgiving, so it was a good reminder that we need to focus on the end goals and not just on the here and now as we make various decisions relating to our finances. This seems to be the season to spend thanks to things like black Friday, cyber Monday, and just Christmas spending in general. If we make plans and a budget ahead of time with a specific goal in mind, then it tends to be a little easier to stick to those goals.

Money Making Mom helped me focus more on the hows and whys of providing for my family and helping others. I like that it’s not about getting rich, but rather making life better for those that I care about – whether family, friends, or neighbors. It gave me a great deal to think about for our plans for the future.

One of the things that I really like about Crystal’s books, this one included, is that she makes them very personal. She doesn’t try to act like she knows it all or has arrived. No, she says she, like others, is a work in progress. She talks not only about her success but also about the failures along the way. In other words, her books and the stories within (whether hers or others) are real.

Giving Thanks 2015 – Week 4

Beautiful Thanksgiving Day

It’s hard to believe that the final week of November has come and gone. It was a busy but good week. I’m thankful that I was able to move around the kitchen well enough to get the full Thanksgiving meal done. We had plenty to eat and the leftovers meant that I didn’t have cook as much over the weekend. :)

Both Munchkin and D had off on both Thursday and Friday, so we were able to enjoy extra family time together. Yes, they still had some school work to do over the long weekend, but having a little extra time allowed us to have more flexibility in our normal weekend schedule.

Our Thanksgiving was relaxing and enjoyable. We ate our main meal around noon and started our Christmas movie viewing as per our tradition. We then headed off to the theater to watch a movie. I was done cooking for the day, so we enjoyed leftovers for dinner and just relaxed. Making many of the baked goods in the days leading up to Thanksgiving allowed me to focus on spending time with my family after making the turkey, potatoes, and stuffing.

Once again, I was reminded how fortunate we are to be together as a family. We have plenty of food to eat and a comfortable house in which to live. We have reliable (for the most part) vehicles to drive. We have cute dogs, crazy horses, and adorable guinea pigs to keep us company. They are also rather entertaining with their funny antics.

Thank you Lord for our many blessings. May we never take it for granted.

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving Baking 2015

Gluten free baking for Thanksgiving has begun with homemade bread for stuffing, coffee cake for breakfast, cornbread, pumpkin pies, and multi-grain dinner rolls.

Drying out gluten free bread slices for stuffing.

Gluten free coffee cake for Thanksgiving morning.

Gluten free cornbread for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving gluten free pumpkin pies fresh out of the oven.

Multi-grain gluten free dinner rolls are also great to use for sandwiches after Thanksgiving.

Giving Thanks 2015 – Week Three

Giving thanks for health, family, and freedom of religion

Last week was an interesting week, and it really made me think about how thankful I am that my family is healthy. Yes, I’m still hobbling around with one crutch and suffer from frequent migraines. Yes, D has his shoulder issues. Yes, Munchkin is suffering from more frequent headaches these days. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, these issues aren’t so bad.

My neighbor, who has all of the heart issues, found himself back in the ER when he couldn’t breathe. It turned out that he had blood clots in his lungs. He spent a couple of days in the hospital and then was released to come home when he was able to breathe again. Later in the week, he saw his regular doctor who put him on a couple of new meds to help with the situation. He was pleased to find out that his heart was actually doing better than it had been a few months ago when he was told he would need to have surgery. While all of the health issues are bad, we’re rejoicing and giving thanks that he is okay and that his heart is a little healthier.

I’ve watched a friends have lost loved ones both young and old to illness or tragic accidents. It reminds, once again, how precious our time here with loved ones really is. We need to cherish it even if our days are filled with work and studies. Just being able to have them around is truly a gift that we must not take for granted.

The events around the world have definitely looked really grim, but we ultimately have peace in knowing that our eternity is secure thanks to our loving Savior. Even if we may not like what is going on in our country, I’m thankful that we still have the freedom to worship and read our Bibles openly. We never know when our faith will be put to the ultimate test, so we need to make sure that we are studying the Word and hiding it in our minds.

Along those lines, we never know when the opportunity to share our beliefs with others will present itself. Munchkin has had the opportunity – even at a public university – to share her beliefs both to fellow students and to more than one professor. Little things like wearing a sweatshirt have brought on conversations with others. She’s even found some students who share her beliefs – something of which I am very thankful.

Whether the week is easy, difficult, or somewhere in between, I know there is always something to be thankful for.

RZR: Making Some Improvements

Testing out the new RZR Doors

Since we live in the desert, Munchkin is able to drive the RZR to and from college classes as long as the weather cooperates. The ability to stay on dirt the whole way to the college makes this possible. It’s definitely a plus of desert life since Munchkin’s truck isn’t up and running yet. I’m sure we’ll eventually see that happen. For now, we’ve been making a few improvements on the RZR to make it a little nicer for the commute.

Add the clear back to the RZR

The first addition was a clear back for the RZR. We have a windshield on the RZR which can cause quite the dust swirl inside of the RZR. This can be cleared up by adding a back like the one above. Since we use the RZR around our place including moving hay, it also helps keep all the hay out of our hair and off our backs. While we don’t deal with much rain, it will also keep more of the rain and mud off our backs.

Taking off the old parts to make room for the new doors.

The next step was getting rid of the old nets. Those things were a definitely a pain to deal with as our feet were always getting caught on the net, and they were hard to fasten as the netting had dried out and shrank over the years. While the nets were easy to remove, the side beams were not so easy. There was a lot of grumbling going on during this part of the process, but it got done with some elbow grease and frustration.

Newly installed RZR door

The actual installation of the doors wasn’t too bad. The driver’s side actually ended up going in really well, but the passenger side still needs a little tweaking to get it just right. For now, it’s good enough to work. The door opens and shuts with ease and latches properly. The bonus that we didn’t expect is that these doors actually give us more room in the RZR. The only downside is that the doors will need to be removed if we want to go on the size restricted trails as they added another 3″ to each side which makes the RZR to wide for those trails. We’re pretty much in open desert these days, so it’s not a big issue.

Overhead RZR light bar

The final step, for now, was installing some new headlight bulbs to provide a little extra light on those dark desert nights, and a battery-powered overhead light bar for those times you need to see something on the inside of RZR.

I’m really pleased to finally see some of these changes as they are things that I’ve been wanting to do for some time, but I couldn’t justify them for goofing around on the trail. Now that the RZR is being driven almost daily, it was time for the upgrades. Some day, I’m hoping to add upper doors for cold weather and rainy days, but those will have to wait.

Munchkin is thrilled with upgrades as it makes her ride feel more like a little car rather than just a RZR.