Top 10 Things I’ll Never Like Doing

Vacuuming, Cleaning Toilets, Exercise: Things I Hate Doing, But I Do Anyway

I once heard that the definition of maturity is deciding to do things you don’t want to do because they need to get done. If that’s the case, then I’m super mature. Because I feel like I spend a lot of time doing things I have to psyche myself up for. In fact, I think that’s why I was so exhausted at the beginning of this summer–I feel like so much of my life for the last few months has been slogging through instead of doing things that I actually wanted. This summer I took some time to relax and go camping with my hubby and I feel ever so much better.

But I asked on Facebook last night, “what do you do that you don’t like doing?” And I got some great responses!

So today I thought I’d share ten things that we do that we don’t like doing, and likely never will like doing, but have to get done–along with some thoughts on how to get these things done faster and easier!

1. Cleaning the Toilet

The #1 answer on Facebook was cleaning the toilet. We just don’t like doing it. And when you have little boys (or several big ones) it gets even grosser. But there’s something about having a bright, clean white toilet bowl that makes you just feel better.

How to lessen the pain: Keep the toilet bowl cleaner right next to the toilet, and any time you notice that it’s getting gross, just squirt some cleaner in and move that brush around, and it won’t ever get to the disgusting stage. Also, little kids really love cleaning toilets. Maybe not every little kid, but enough that I’ve noticed a trend. If you can catch them when they’re around 5 or 6 and get them started, they may start to adopt it as “their” job. There’s something about scrubbing with that brush and making all those bubbles. So teach your children to clean a toilet! Leave a basket of rags by the toilet along with some safe cleaner so they can wash down the toilet seats, too. We may not like cleaners being visible, but I always figure, if it’s within reach, it’ll get done more often!

2. Vacuuming

Perhaps ironically (given the title of this blog) this is my big one! I hate vacuuming–especially vacuuming stairs. And I think the problem with vacuuming is that feeling that it’s never done. You know that as soon as you vacuum, someone’s going to trek through and make more crumbs.

How to lessen the pain: Invest in a quality vacuum cleaner that does what you need it to do! If you have mostly floors you need a different vacuum cleaner than someone with a bunch of rugs. You may find that you actually enjoy vacuuming if you have one you love. And those see-through ones where the dust whirls around are really fun for kids. So check out your vacuum cleaner options.

Another thing: clean out the vacuum bag often, and if you have a central vac, clean out the unit. When I bought my first house I didn’t know you had to do this. I’m not sure where I thought all that dust went, but after six months of the vacuum not working I thought to ask my hubby where the central vac emptied. And sure enough, it was stuffed.

3. Doing Dishes

We hate dishes because they’re gross and they don’t go away. You wash a load and tomorrow there will be just as many.

How to lessen the pain: Have a rule that if you make dinner you don’t do dishes! Get kids involved. And here’s one that I’ve found works: aim to have the counter cleared before you go to bed. Even squirt some cleaner and shine it every night. If you see a clean counter, you feel so much better!

4. Making Breakfast

Probably the #2 thing mentioned on Facebook that people hated to do was cook. I hate it being 5:30 and not knowing what I’ll make for dinner. That’s torture. But I actually enjoy cooking–dinner, that is. I hate making breakfast. Mostly because I hate breakfast foods, and so does my youngest daughter, who is usually the only one home with me at breakfast time. But I know we have to eat! But if I don’t cook, I tend to head for the chocolate cake. Even this morning I ate one of Katie’s chocolate chip cookies she was given yesterday by a friend for her birthday (sorry, Katie, but you weren’t awake yet. So there). The problem is that we need protein at breakfast, but if we can’t think of what to make, we’ll tend to go for the simple sugars (which is what most muffins and cereals are).

How to lessen the pain: Think outside the box! You can eat leftovers for breakfast. And I’ve started making more “lunch stuff” for breakfast. I do hummus and pitas. I do those mini-pizzas on English muffins. And if you have any ideas for other creative breakfasts, I’d love to hear them. I’m just not an egg, pancake, oatmeal, or cereal gal.

5. Responding to Email

I get a ton of email everyday. Maybe some of you are in the same boat. And I hate it. For you it may not be email that you hate; maybe it’s paying bills. But it’s anything that is at the back of your mind, nagging you, saying, “you have to do this” and making you feel guilty. Email makes me feel guilty because there are always things I’m supposed to do. And I don’t like that.

How to lessen the pain: Whether it’s bills or email or other paperwork, set aside a specific amount of time you’ll spend everyday. Rather than leaving it in one chunk, do fifteen minutes a day (or whatever it takes). I find if I set the timer and try to get through as many as I can in that time, I’m quite productive. And then I can say, “well, if I didn’t get to that person today, it’s because other things took priority”. And that’s okay.

6. Getting that PAP Smear/Mammogram

Let’s go to our happy places, people, and put our feet up in those stirrups and try to ignore what’s going on. Or let’s go get squished!

As someone who has had to have an annual mammogram since I was 30 due to family history of breast cancer, I can tell  you it’s not fun. But it’s better than the alternative.

How to lessen the pain: I don’t think you can, really. For mammograms, take a Tylenol an hour before. For Pap smears, just live through it. Relax as much as you can (yeah, right). And remember that the new guidelines say that if you’ve only ever had one sexual partner, and he’s only ever had one, then you really only need one every three years (yay!). For those of you in that situation, you can tell your doctor it really isn’t necessary. Unfortunately, for those of you in the other camp it is, because cervical cancer is really dangerous. And it was through a Pap smear that they first found all the polyps and other things that were causing me bleeding issues, so it is important.

7. Exercising

I will never, ever like exercising, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the people who say they don’t feel happy if they don’t jog five miles a day are lying or deluding themselves. I have gone through periods of intense exercise in my life, and even then I didn’t like it. I just don’t. But I know it’s necessary.

How to lessen the pain: I’ve only found two things that work: listening to a sermon/speech/podcast while I jog or watching Netflix while I’m on the stationary bike, or else exercising with someone else. I bit the bullet and shelled out the money for a personal trainer for three months (had my first session yesterday!), because I just need the accountability. I also am starting to jog with my hubby again. Doing stuff together makes it more likely to get done.  I think admitting you’ll never like it, and stopping feeling guilty for not wanting to exercise, helps a ton. Just do it, and know you’ll hate it, but that’s okay.

8. Putting Laundry Away

I can do laundry. I just hate folding it and putting it away. It’s never ending.

How to lessen the pain: Fold it directly out of the dryer, rather than dumping it somewhere (or fold it as it comes off the line). Then you just need to deposit it in people’s rooms. Have older kids do their own laundry (or at least put away their own laundry).

9. Working Outside the Home

Here’s a sad one. I had a number of people on Facebook saying that they so wanted to be stay-at-home moms, but they needed to work for the income.

Sometimes we do need to work, and that’s still a service you’re doing your family.

How to lessen the pain: Learn as much as you can about how to save money on your big ticket items, like mortgages, insurance, cars, and groceries. Downsize as much as you can. Learn to live with less. Save as much of your paycheque as you can manage. Create a plan. If you can see that in five years you can start to work part-time, or that if you downsize you can afford to be home more, that can help tremendously. But get a plan for the whole family so that you can see how your work and your husband’s work contribute, and what you’re aiming for. You’re in this as a family, and you don’t need to feel like it’s all on your shoulders. And sometimes when you take a look long-term, you can see how it may not always be like this.

10. Battling in Prayer

I’m surprised no one, in the almost 200 comments so far, mentioned this one, but for me it’s a biggie. I know no one actually says online “I find doing my devotions hard” or “I find praying hard”, but I’m not afraid to say I do! It’s difficult to sit quietly and concentrate on reading the word. But I’m still way better at that than I am at praying. I can conversation-pray all day (and in fact I do). But you know that prayer where you’re going to battle, and you need to pray hard for something? Sort of like the prayer in Daniel 10 where Daniel prayed for 21 days, not realizing a huge spiritual battle was going on in the heavenly realms at the same time? I really battle with that. I can talk to God like He’s my Daddy for sure, but to get serious? It’s tough.
To Love, Honor and Vacuum

How to lessen the pain: Have a pen and paper handy so you can write things down as you pray. I find that helps me to focus and stops my mind from wandering. Have a different place you sit when you pray like this, so you’re not tempted to grab a book or glance at the computer. Use a prayer book, like the book of common prayer, as a guide for how to work through a prayer. And I’d love any suggestions you have in the comments section!

There’s my list of the top 10 things I hate doing! Many of these I’ve minimized by delegating to others, and if you find that you’re doing all of these yourself, you really need to get a hold of my book, To Love, Honor and Vacuum: When you feel more like a maid than a wife and a mother. Family is a team, a unit, it’s not mom doing everything while others do nothing. And if you feel like you get a bit of a break, your family will be a more fun place for all of you–while your kids also learn responsibility.

Now let me know: how do you lessen the pain of some of these things? Leave your one best solution in the comments (or more if you have them!)

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Top 10 Reasons Women Feel More Like a Maid Than a Wife and a Mom

Taken for Granted Moms: Why you sometimes feel more like a maid than a wife and a mom--and what you can do about it.

Ever feel taken for granted? Most moms and wives do at some point.

TLHV New FB AdAnd that’s why I wrote To Love, Honor and Vacuum. I wanted to help moms who feel unappreciated rethink how they do family so that instead of feeling like a maid, she can feel like part of a healthy family unit that’s all working towards the same goal. And a revised and expanded To Love, Honor and Vacuum is being launched this week–and it’s only $2.99 in ebook format until Sunday! So pick it up today.

On that vein, I thought I’d share the top 10 things that we wives and moms do that we think are helping, when really they can actually make our family situation worse. Be sure to read through to #10, because that’s the most important one–and it’s the root cause of all the other ones.

I asked on my Facebook Page last night, “when do you feel most like a maid instead of a mom?”, and many of these 10 things were mentioned! Now, of course, you could answer that question with “when my husband ignores me” or “when my husband sits on the couch all night and does absolutely nothing”, but I think it’s more helpful to give women strategies they can use to actually change things. We can’t change someone else; we can only change ourselves. So let’s look at the things that we women do to undermine ourselves, here on Top 10 Tuesday:

1. Doing all the housework yourself

One woman on Facebook says that she feels most like a maid when she’s doing the dishes–for the fifth time that day. I totally get it! Housework is exhausting. It’s never ending, it’s tedious, and no one really says thank you. So why are you doing it all yourself?

You cannot keep a perfect home and raise kids who are active and engaged all at the same time. Something’s gotta give. And one of the best ways to help you not feel like a maid is to make sure that from a very young age kids are doing chores, too. Tie the chores to an allowance when they’re young. If it’s a struggle with teens, change the password on the wifi everyday, and don’t give it out until they’ve completed their chores. Require your kids to work.

A 3-year-old can dust a coffee table and can clean the bottom kitchen cabinets. A 5-year-old often LOVES cleaning toilets with that toilet brush thingy. An 8-year-old can clean a bathroom well and can certainly do the dishes. So don’t do it all  yourself.

Here’s an article on age appropriate chores for kids.

2. Not asking your husband for help

Many men do very little housework if they work outside the home and you stay at home. My husband always worked long hours, and when he got home, I didn’t want him doing dishes. I wanted us spending time together as a family. So I didn’t ask him to do housework (though he always picked up his clothes and took care of his own messes). But if you both work outside the home, you’re definitely going to need some help. Even if you do stay at home, you still will need help with the childcare (and men need to spend time with their kids) and you’ll certainly need help on weekends.

But too many women don’t ask for help. They assume that the men should know what to do, and if they’re sitting playing a video game or if they’re goofing off, they’ve actually decided not to help you. That may not be the case. I asked on Facebook a while ago how many women had actually asked their husbands for help, and I received story after story of women saying, I stewed for ten years about how insensitive he was, and yet when I finally asked him to do the dishes after dinner, he did them no problem. He just never knew I needed help!

Try asking. It doesn’t always get you the results you need, but don’t be resentful if you’ve never even asked. Men often think that because we have systems for things, we would find their help more of a pain than anything else. If you want help, don’t expect him to read your mind. Ask.

3. Allowing your children to treat you rudely

From an early age, make your children say “please” and “thank you”. If they talk back, discipline immediately. If they ask for anything rudely, they never, ever get it. Do not let them treat you with direspect.

When my oldest was five, another five-year-old once stayed with us for a week. That little girl whined all the time. It was her default setting–and I can’t stand whining. So I stopped giving her anything if she was whining. “Can I have some mi-i-i-lk?” she’d whine. And I would say, “when you can ask in a proper voice.” After three days she had stopped whining. I honestly don’t know how her parents stood it. It would have driven me beyond the bend if my kid talked like that all the time. Within a few seconds of her mom walking in the door, though, the whining had started again. Don’t ever reward whining or rude behaviour, or they’ll just keep doing it.

4. Picking up after everybody

Do you spend your life putting stray socks in the hamper and picking up toys? That’s exhausting–and can easily fuel resentment.

But people will keep leaving stuff everywhere if you keep picking it up.

If your ten-year-old comes in the house and drops his coat on the chair and his backpack–with his lunchbox inside–on the floor, and you pick those things up and clean out his lunchbox, you’ve taught him to treat you with disrespect. But not just that–you’ve also taught him to ignore the mess he’s making, so that he likely doesn’t even realize that he’s inconveniencing you.

Don’t pick up people’s stuff. Require them to pick it up–and have consequences if they don’t. For husbands, have a corner of the bedroom/house where you can put stray items if they drive you nuts, so that they can be his responsibility again.

Here’s an article I wrote on how to get kids to pick up their stuff!

5. Rescuing everybody

You’re running late, you’ve got to get to work, and you get a text that your 13-year-old forgot his lunch at home. So you drive back to get the lunch and drop it off, making yourself even more frazzled. Or  you mentioned to your husband that he really needed to send that birthday card to his mom, and he didn’t, and you notice it on the counter the morning after it should have been sent, so you run to the post office and send it express. You had to squeeze it in between appointments, but you did it–and you were only mildly late for the kids’ piano lessons.

Do you rescue everybody? There’s no problem with doing it occasionally, out of love. But if family members start assuming you’ll rescue them, they also stop taking responsibility or even making an effort. They’ve taken you for granted. That’s going to make you feel like a maid, too.

6. Overscheduling yourself and your family

If you’re busy and exhausted, you’ll feel like a maid. If your life is spent chauffeuring everybody, but rarely in the things that feed our souls, like down time with those we love, we’ll go through life with this chronic malaise like something’s wrong.

Beware of overscheduling your family.

Here’s an article on the time crunch with extra-curricular activities

7. Being disorganized

Are you the kind of laid back person who goes along life just fine for about five days, letting the messes get worse and worse, but having fun with your kids, until you finally realize OH MY GOODNESS THIS PLACE IS A PIGSTY and you go ballistic? And then you feel like you need to spend twelve hours in a row cleaning?

Sometimes the best way to feel less like a maid is to get a little more organized, so these crises don’t happen!

8. Asking your children to do things instead of expecting it and following through

When you ask your kids something, do you make it a firm command? Or are you wishy washy?

Compare this:

Johnny, it’s getting to be time to clean up your toys, okay? It’s almost time for dinner.

To this:

Johnny, start cleaning up your toys now. You have five minutes before we eat, and I’m setting the timer now.

In the first case, you haven’t actually asked Johnny to do anything. You’ve just made a statement about the time. You may feel like you’ve asked him, but you haven’t. And so he’s unlikely to listen and do anything, and you’re likely to get your blood pressure boiling! If you want them to do something, make it very clear. Ask firmly. Set a deadline. Expect follow-through.

9. Eating in a rush–and not at the dinner table

You’ve spent an hour making a great meal, but everybody sits at the table, rushing through it, with their phones on. Or else someone grabs it and heads to their room. Perhaps you all sit at the table, but the kids are whiny and picky and don’t like it and the meal is over in five minutes.

Make dinner a family time. Keep conversation starters at the table. Ask trivia questions. Have everyone say their “high” and “low” for the day. Start some family traditions where you really connect and talk over dinner. It’s an important family time–don’t waste it.

Here are some tips on getting picky eaters to eat!

10. Thinking that the goal is to make your family happy

Finally, here’s the most important one: You think that your job is to make sure your kids and your husband are happy. In fact, that’s likely why you do each of the nine things already mentioned. You want them to enjoy life. You want them to smile. You want to avoid unpleasantness. But in doing this, you’re likely inadvertently causing your own unhappiness, because you’ll feel taken for granted. But even more importantly, you’re missing the point.

To Love, Honor and VacuumGod’s priority is not that your kids are happy; it’s that they look like Jesus. And He wants that for you and your husband, too. If you set up your family in such a way that you’re enabling selfishness, laziness, and ingratitude, you’ll be miserable because you’ll always feel put upon, taken for granted, and like something’s off kilter. But the rest of the family will also not learn what it is to look like Christ.

That’s what To Love, Honor and Vacuum is about–it’s to change our perspective so that in everything we do, whether it’s housework or childcare or paid work or even how we do marriage, we’re encouraging Christlike behaviour from ourselves and those around us, rather than encouraging people to take us for granted. It’s amazing how the way that we do the little things in our home, like chores and dinner and school, can have such spiritual ramifications.

So be careful that happiness doesn’t become your goal. If it does, you’ll almost guarantee that everybody will be miserable. Raise a family to be responsible, though, and you’ll likely find that peace and joy you really want.

If this is resonating with you, pick up To Love, Honor and Vacuum! It’s available in paperback, too, but the ebook version is on major sale for $2.99 until Sunday. Don’t miss it!

Now tell me: when do you feel most taken for granted? What have you tried to do about it? Let me know in the comments!

 

Reader Question: If My Mom has Alzheimer’s, Do I Have to Give Up My Life?

Reader Question of the WeekHere’s the situation: you have young kids. You’re really busy. And now your mom has Alzheimer’s (or someone else in your extended family does), and people need you to drop everything and run. Do you do it? And what if the situation persists–so that you have to give up your life? What do you do?

Every Monday I post a Reader Question and try to take a stab at answering it. Last week I linked to an older post about setting boundaries with parents, and a reader wrote in with this really tricky problem:

My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s. My husband is one of 3 kids, and one of his siblings moved the mom in to his house. But they said that they’d look after her during the week, but on the weekends they want a break, so the other siblings have to care for her 24 hours every other weekend. I’m a stay at home mom; I could look after her during the week easier, but if I give up every other weekend, my family will hardly ever have any time together. We’ll only go to church together every other week, and the kids are really involved in church. We already have very little time. My husband thinks we should just do it, but I’m so afraid of losing my family. What do I do?

That’s a really tough situation, and there’s so much guilt involved. I’ve had other readers write in with similar problems. One reader had a sister-in-law with schizophrenia who lived in another city. She refused to sign any authorizations for the physicians to talk to her family about her condition or to have power of attorney. Yet every time she got into trouble and ended up in the hospital, my friend would have to drop everything and go to the rescue.

Here are just some general principles that I think need to guide us when we’re trying to decide thorny issues like these:

When your mom (or another relative) has Alzheimer's: Sorting our your responsibility to older relatives who need you.

1. Clarify: What Are Your Main Responsibilities?

Just because someone needs you does not mean that you have to meet that need. Lots of people have needs; the real question is:

What needs has God specifically assigned to you?

In most cases, those would include your children’s and your husband’s emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. We also must honour and care for older parents. Any community that we are a part of, though, also does have the right to expect certain things that come from being part of a community. When friends, extended family, or our church family has a legitimate need, then we are to step in. As it says in Galatians 6:2,

Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

So likely you have a hierarchy of those whose needs you are wholly or partly responsible for: your immediate family; your extended family; your friends; your church community. As the circle gets wider, then those responsibilities should be shared with more people. So while your own children have a high demand on you, and your parents have a demand on you, someone at church would be the responsibility of a wider number of people.

2. Clarify: Is this a Temporary Blip, or a Permanent Thing?

I once received a phone call from a panicked mom from my church. She had taken her child in to the doctor’s office that morning because he just didn’t seem “right”. The doctor sent the child for tests and within a few hours that little boy was admitted to the ICU with problems stemming from diabetes, which had not been diagnosed. She had to stay at the hospital with him.

But she also had kids arriving home from school, and she had no clothes for tomorrow, and her husband wouldn’t be home for a few hours.

I dropped everything, put some of the dinner I was making in a Tupperware container for the mom, headed over and picked up the kids from school, got them some pizza, left them with a friend, collected some clothes for the mom and the boy, and went to the hospital and delivered dinner and clothes–and a novel and a crossword puzzle book. I spent some time sitting with her and talking with her before coming home.

That was a temporary emergency, and I would hope that most of us would drop everything and run for that. But what my two readers are describing isn’t temporary; it’s something which will be a long-term responsibility. And that requires a different response.

3. Ask Yourself: What Am I Capable and Willing to Do While Still Fulfilling My Main Responsibilities?

The problem with decisions like this is that we have the wrong starting point.

We begin with: “My mother-in-law needs someone to care for her full-time, and there is no one else, so I’ll have to do it.” Or we say, “My sister needs someone to rescue her, and she has no friends or relatives except for me, so I’ll have to do it.”

We’re starting with the need.

If you do that, the need will suck you dry. And I do not believe that God wants you exhausted, and unable to tend to your main responsibilities (your kids). You can only do so much. He only gave you so much time, so much energy, and so much money. You need to be a wise steward of those things.

So instead, ask yourself: what am I capable, willing, and called to do?

BoundariesI believe that there are times where we are definitely called to sacrifice–especially for our parents. However, even this does have its limits. There are times when you just can’t do it all.

The woman with the mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s, for instance, is willing to do some work on the weekdays. She’s willing to give some weekends–just not every other weekend. And it’s okay to take a look at your life and say, “I’m able to do this much, but no more.” It’s called setting a boundary, or setting a limit, and the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend is excellent at explaining how to do this and showing how healthy boundaries are actually part of a healthy Christian life.

Sit down with your husband and say, “this is what I can do. I can give one day a week during the week, or one weekend a month. But that is all, because I think any more than that will exhaust me and harm our own family.”

He can choose to spend more of his time; that is his choice. But you are being clear about what you can do and still be emotionally healthy and able to raise your children well.

Here’s why it’s important to do this: Often until we say, “I cannot meet all of these needs,” we don’t find the solution that God actually wants for us. We throw ourselves totally into it and we make ourselves exhausted, but perhaps God had another option. Maybe you could pool your money and pay for a week of relief in a home every month. Maybe you could see if there’s a volunteer agency that could send him help once a week. Maybe there’s a government program she could qualify for. Maybe there are other friends who might be willing to help on a rotating basis if it was manageable, like once every two months. But you don’t start exploring these options until you say, “I can’t do this.”

4. Accept that Others May Not Be Happy

It’s messy to say no. Other family members get mad. Sometimes our spouse gets mad.

In this case, one family member has taken on a HUGE responsibility by having her live there, and it’s easy for that family member to turn around and say, “I’m doing all this, the least you can do is every other weekend.” Put like that, it does seem selfish to refuse.

But here’s the thing:

You never asked her to take the mom in to live full-time.

Part of having boundaries  is also letting other people have their own boundaries. This other family member needs to be told, “What you’re doing is wonderful, and we thank you for it. But we can only help this much. If that just isn’t enough, we would be happy to sit down with you and try to figure out a better solution, since it doesn’t seem as if we can do this.” Just because someone else has decided to give X amount does not mean that you are likewise required to give X amount. We are each solely responsible for our own choices.

Just because someone has a need does not mean you need to be the one to meet it. It means you need to run to God and pray and listen and wrestle and seek His calling for your life. It will be uncomfortable. And sometimes we are asked to sacrifice so that we can care for a relative. But the answer isn’t the same for each family, because each family has different schedules and different demands. So pray about it, and then draw a boundary. Say, “This is what I’m able to do. If that isn’t enough, I’m happy to throw my energy into finding another solution.”

There always is a solution that will not require you to burn yourself totally out, because I don’t think that’s God’s will for you. So seek it. Run after Him. And ask Him to show you and give you wisdom. Don’t let guilt make you do things that aren’t yours to do.

Wifey Wednesday: Division of Labour with Your Spouse

Chores with Your SpouseHow do you approach chores with your spouse?

It’s a tough question in most marriages, and today I thought I’d run an article I wrote for Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family magazine last year.

Early in our marriage, our apartment often suffered from lack of attention. One morning, in frustration, I worked myself into a cleaning frenzy. Unbeknownst to me, that afternoon while I was out, my husband had the same impulse.

Over dinner we simultaneously announced, “I cleaned the whole place today!” Neither of us was amused at the other taking credit for our effort. Our misunderstanding soon became clear. To my husband, Keith, clutter mattered. To me, dirt mattered. I could walk past clutter as long as the faucets were gleaming. He, on the other hand, didn’t notice marks on the mirrors as long as the towels were neatly folded.

All of us start marriage with different ideas about what goes into running a household, and our natural tendency is to value the work we do and minimize the work our spouses do. Throughout the stages of life, our situations change and require us to renegotiate the division of chores. Each time we try to divide responsibilities, there’s potential for anger and resentment. But with the right attitude and some planning, chores don’t need to be something that drives us apart.

Don’t aim for a 50-50 split

One landmine to avoid is the 50-50 split. A 2012 study done in Norway found that couples who split housework evenly were also more likely to divorce. The problem isn’t housework per se, but rather the dynamics of splitting it down the middle. Kurt Bruner, pastor and author, says, “If you are keeping score on such things, you have already lost the relational battle.”

A better model involves both spouses putting 100 percent effort into creating a well-organized home. Fawn Weaver, founder of the Happy Wives Club, spent six months traveling the world interviewing couples who have been happily married for more than 25 years. She says, “Each couple, no matter their culture or socio-economic class, had this in common: They worked together as a team. There was no my work or your work. It’s our home, so it’s our work.”

Honor your spouse’s preferences

Happy couples also realize that housework can be a way to demonstrate love. Amy and Brad Saleik have been married 15 years. They inadvertently found a perfect way to organize household tasks. Amy explains, “We had only been married for a month or two when I offhandedly asked my husband what chore he hated. He quickly said, ‘Laundry. What about you?’ I replied, ‘Dishes.’ Ever since, I’ve done all the laundry, and he’s done all the dishes.”

Another strategy to honor your spouse is to ask each other, “What’s one thing I could do to make you feel more ‘at home’ when you’re at home?” I learned that strategy the hard way. When my children were 6 and 4, I was very active with them. We hosted playgroups in our home. We made crafts. We baked. Our home was fun, but it was also always a mess.

One day Keith told me he was tired of arriving home to a disaster. He could handle a little clutter, but he wanted to be able to walk through the kitchen without stepping on Polly Pockets. I didn’t take that well. I think the words maid and Neanderthal escaped my lips. But later, I realized that was a selfish response. While Keith wanted a place that reflected his beliefs about what a home should be, I was more interested in what I envisioned for the family. Eventually, I realized that spending 10 minutes tidying up the front room before he arrives home costs me little, yet offers a priceless opportunity to show my husband I care about him.

Attention to your spouse’s needs builds good will. Sarah Mae, co-author of Desperate, a book for overwhelmed moms, explains that stay-at-home moms also crave consideration. She says, “Without space to breathe or a little help here and there, you can feel like you’re drowning.” Even if both spouses are working all day fulfilling different tasks, at night one spouse may especially need a break — and quite often it’s the spouse who has been chasing the children all day. Holding down the fort while Mom has a bubble bath can bring peace to her and the home.

Finally, honoring your spouse involves honoring his or her opinion of what constitutes clean. If your spouse thinks it’s clean, it’s considered clean, even if it would never pass your aunt Mabel’s white-glove test. You both live in the house. You both should have a say.

Fostering a selfless attitude makes identifying practical ways to divide chores much easier. Before you split them, though, agree on what they are. It’s all too easy to focus on vacuuming or dishes and dismiss doing the finances or mowing the lawn. So sit down and list all the things that go into running a house, from supervising homework to cleaning bathrooms and even buying Grandma a birthday present. Then you can decide who does what. Allocating those jobs, though, can be a bit tricky. Here are two models for how couples can manage chores.

Model No. 1: Embrace Specialization

Personally, my husband and I have always lived by the adage “The man should have to kill the bugs.” Other than that, we’ve been flexible regarding household responsibilities. Pam Farrel, co-author of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, says, “Instead of dividing up chores along stereotypical lines, we have seen it works best to give the responsibility to the person who is most passionate about that task.” If you really care about the lawn, you get to do the lawn. There’s one more caveat from Farrel: “The person who has the task gets the authority to do that task his or her way, in his or her time, and the spouse just commits to saying, ‘Thanks!’ “

David and Kelli Campbell have been married for 10 years. Both work full time. David enjoys cooking, but last-minute meals aren’t his specialty. So Kelli prepares a two-week menu plan to help things run more smoothly. David cooks, vacuums and cares for the exterior of the house, and Kelli does the rest of the interior cleaning and the laundry. Knowing who’s responsible for what helps them navigate their busy schedules.

Model No. 2: Establish Work Hours

Nothing irks me more than doing dishes or vacuuming when the other three members of my family are on their computers. So our family adopted my grandmother’s golden rule: If Momma’s working, everyone’s working. If you’re a family who thrives on flexibility rather than defined tasks, this model may work better for you, too.

Assigning chores to individuals isn’t as important as everyone simply doing whatever needs to be done — all at the same time. You can even turn it into a game: Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much mess each of you can pick up! Kurt and Olivia Bruner have the whole family draw straws with chores on them when a chore day is needed. If you’re all working at the same time, you can later relax at the same time.

Recruit help

Finally, if you need another pair of hands, follow the Bruners’ example and recruit the kids. Rather than running ragged making your children’s lives easy, you can involve the kids in daily chores. In fact, we should involve the children. Kelli Campbell reports being forever grateful to David’s mother for rearing a son who knows how to cook. What an investment his mother made in his future marriage! With children heading back to school, now’s a great opportunity to create new routines to involve kids in caring for the home.

After working out responsibilities, someone — or everyone — can still feel overwhelmed. You might want to re-evaluate and possibly trim your list of chores. Perhaps not everything on the list needs to be done — or done as often as you’ve been doing it. Do you really need to dust the picture frames every month? Perhaps you can clean the bathrooms every other week, instead of every week.

If you try these strategies and find chores are still causing conflict, consider hiring outside help. Shana Bresnahan is a full-time consultant, and her husband, Casey, is a full-time teacher. Shana says, “After cleaning came up in counseling sessions one too many times, our counselor said, ‘Can you make room in the budget for a cleaning lady?’ For the last year we’ve invested in a semimonthly visit from a maid service. We call it marriage insurance.”

Chores need to be done, but they do not need to cause a wedge between you and your spouse. Instead, chores can be one of the vehicles that help you feel and function more like a team. Together, choose a system that works best for your family and commit to honoring each other through it. You’ll feel more valued and loved, and your floors may just stay cleaner, too.


Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! It used to be a linkup party day, but for various reasons I’ve decided that instead I’ll share my “best of” suggestions from other marriage bloggers on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, this week I didn’t have time to fetch any, so I’ll just put up some that are here on the blog.

Getting Kids to Pick Up their Stuff
My Husband is Lazy!

And if you didn’t read my post yesterday, please check it out:
10 Ways to Initiate Prayer with Your Spouse

Now let me know in the comments: How do you split chores with your husband?

10 Ways to Make Your Birthday Meaningful

Top Ten“It’s my birthday! Now what?”

Ever felt like that? You want your birthday to be special and meaningful, but sometimes it can be a bit of a letdown. You had expectations of what other people would do for you, and those expectations didn’t always come to pass.

My birthday was on Sunday, and I had a great day! Perhaps more importantly, though, I have other things that I’m putting into place to make sure that the year ahead of me starts out on solid footing. So I’d like to share with you today, on Top 10 Tuesday, 10 things you can do to make your own birthday special and meaningful.

These include a few ways to make sure you enjoy your actual birthday, but also several ideas about how to use your birthday as a springboard for taking stock of your life and making sure that you’re on the right path.

Remember our Top 10 Tuesday philosophy: you don’t have to do all 10 things! Find 1-3 ideas that really speak to you, and put them into practice! That’s the way to make your life better: read a bunch of things, but then actually DO the few that you know would make the most difference in your life.

So here we go: 10 Ways to avoid the “It’s my Birthday!” disappointment, and start your new year right instead:

It's My Birthday! 10 Ways to Make Your Birthday Meaningful

Make the Day Fun for You

1. Plan Your Own Day

If you have certain things you want to do, or certain presents that you want, tell your family. If it’s vitally important to you, then don’t take the risk that it won’t come to pass. My husband is relieved when I tell him exactly what I want for my birthday or exactly what I’d like him to do, because then he doesn’t have to plan it or risk choosing the wrong thing.

Doesn’t that make it less romantic or less special?

Perhaps. But I’d rather have the guarantee that we’ll do what I actually want to do! If you don’t have a clue what you want to do, or if you have a family member who is really good at thinking up the most fun surprises, then by all means just go with it. But if you have something specific you’d like, let them know. Don’t expect them to mind read.

2. Get Outside

Think back to your most meaningful memories over your life. How many of them are spent inside, in front of a screen? Likely few. How many of them are spent outside in nature, or in a car heading somewhere special, or browsing through new shops? Probably many more. We remember things that are special.

So try to get out of the house on your birthday and do something special! Explore a quaint little town near where you live with some friends. Take your children to a special park and giggle with them. Visit a zoo.

3. Let Yourself Splurge on One Thing

Have you been depriving yourself of something? Maybe you’ve cut out all chocolate, or you’ve cut out coffee, or you’ve cut out pop. Maybe you haven’t let yourself read a novel for a while because you have too much to do.

Let your birthday be the one day a year when you’re allowed to partake in ONE thing that you’ve been saying no to. Obviously this won’t work if it’s a major addiction to something bad, like alcohol or smoking, but sometimes this can work wonders! I told myself when I quit Diet Pepsi in December that I could have as many as I wanted once a year–on my birthday. So at 6:30 a.m. on my birthday I cracked open a Diet Pepsi for the first time in 6 months–and found out I hated it. I’ve been craving it for months, and now I think that craving is over because my tastes have changed. So I’m glad I tried.

But knowing that I could have some once a year made it easier to give it up. I wasn’t saying “never again”, after all!

Take Stock of Your Health

Every year, on your birthday, you’re supposed to change the batteries in your smoke detector. In my neck of the woods they’ve been trying to push this as a new habit for years, and it does make sense. We never forget our birthdays; if we think of birthdays as a time to change those batteries, they’re more likely to get changed.

So why not think of birthdays as a time to take stock of your health, too?

4. Make Sure You’re Healthy–or Do what the Doctor Says

This time last year I had a blood test requisition hanging on my fridge door. I had been to the doctor in April, and she had said I should probably get some blood work done. But I had two issues with that: I figured I was perfectly healthy, and besides that, who likes needles?

That requisition sat there, until finally, last November, after almost collapsing from exhaustion after a speaking engagement, it occurred to me that there might actually be something wrong. I went, and discovered I was severely anaemic. And now I think I’m on the road back to health.

If I had just gone and had that test this time last year, my blood levels would probably only have been slightly low, and I could have avoided a lot of misery this year.

My mother had breast cancer at 43. I’ve been going for yearly mammograms for over a decade now.

I’d like to be here for my grandkids, and I’d like to grow old with my husband, but that means taking care of my body now. Let each birthday be a reminder to you to check in with the doctor, and make sure everything is okay.

5. Check Your Weight–and Your Measurements

I know this doesn’t sound like fun, but making a birthday meaningful isn’t just about having a pile of fun. It’s also a reminder that life is fleeting, and we want to be able to enjoy it and serve with purpose for as long as we can. I make it a point to check my weight and my measurements (waistline, hip measurement, etc) every birthday, just so I get a sense of where things are going. I’m perfectly at peace with getting a little bit bigger. That’s part of aging. But I’m not at peace with growing by 10 pounds a year, because if we do that every year, suddenly we’re up 100 pounds in a decade.

Making sure I have something to measure against every year is helpful. I have a special notebook for that, and I just pull it out every year to look at the direction I’m going. That way I know if a course correction is urgent, or if I’m doing well.

Take Stock of Your Purpose

Birthdays are great times to reflect on the year that has past and get inspiration for the year ahead. Here are some of the things I’m thinking about:

6. What’s Your “One Word” for the Year Ahead?

Have you heard of the “one word” challenge? People pray for one word that encapsulates what they want to work on this year.

I definitely know my one word for the next year. It’s PASSION. I’ve felt lately that I need more passion in my life: passion for God, passion for nature, passion for my husband, passion for my family. I’ve been living my life lately too much by rote, pushing myself to do what needs to get done, and I’ve forgotten how to be passionate about it.

Now that my health is getting better, I want to find that passion again in all areas of my life.

When you think of what God is trying to teach you, what word comes to mind? Pray that God will give you a new word.

7. What’s Your “One Song” for the Year Ahead?

I also ask God to give me a song. I don’t want to share all the details here, but God so often confirms things to me through certain songs being sung at key times. And so I often ask Him–what’s the song that you’ll speak to me with this year?

Last’s year’s song for me was “Enough”, originally written by Chris Tomlin. Here are the Barlow Girls singing it:

And guess what song was sung at church on my birthday? That was a cool God moment.

So I’m asking God for a new song this year, one that I will listen to everyday, and sing in the shower, and meditate on. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’m asking!

8. What’s Your Verse for the Year Ahead?

Last year the verse that kept coming back to me, over and over again, was Philippians 4:13:

I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.

Perhaps it was because I was so tired, but I needed that verse.

This year I’m asking God for a different one, one that will help me orient and keep my eyes focused on His purposes for me this year. And when will I get that verse?

9. Plan a Yearly Retreat

I know my “one word”, but I don’t know my verse and I don’t know my song. How am I going to figure them out? I’m planning on taking a weekend by myself to pray through decisions I need to make, relationships, and work. I’m bringing some heavy duty planners so I can look at all my responsibilities and ask, “do I want to keep doing this particular thing?” I’m going to figure out where I’m too busy, what I need to cut, and what I need to add (I haven’t been knitting enough lately. For my own mental health, I need to knit more!).

I have the luxury of being able to go away for a weekend because my children are older now. If you still have little ones at home, maybe this sounds like a fun activity for your birthday? Gather all your planners and go to Starbucks, or better still, pick up some snacks and head somewhere outside. Get some extended peace and quiet by yourself so that you can plan, focus, and clarify.

I can’t do my retreat on my birthday. My book 9 Thoughts That Will Change Your Marriage is due at the publisher June 20, so I’m frantically editing until then. But I’ve already set the date and put it in my calendar.

Take Stock of Your Relationships

10. Thank Your Family, or Make Amends

You’re getting older. And over this last year you’ve either grown closer to your family members or grown further apart–or perhaps a combination.

It’s a good time to think about the key relationship changes you’ve had this year. Have you had a particularly difficult year with a sister? Have you reconciled with a mother? Have you been sharp and critical with your husband?

Pray about it, and if God brings someone to mind, write a letter or arrange a special date to either make amends or say thank you. Personally, when I need to say thank you, I like doing it in a letter so people can have it as a keepsake. When I need to apologize, I like doing it in person, face to face. Don’t start a new year without making your relationships right.

I know we don’t tend to think about these things as “birthday” issues, but then, changing the batteries in  your fire alarm aren’t birthday issues, either. Yet it needs to be done, and I believe all of these things need to be done, too. If we can start seeing birthdays as a time to take stock and make sure that we’re heading in the right direction, then I think birthdays can be a source of inspiration, energy, and peace for us, rather than a day of expectations that everyone else has to do everything right.

I’m planning my Retreat right now. I hope that you all can take advantage of your birthday, too, so the passing of another year can actually be something meaningful!

How God Used a Leaky Faucet to Fix My Attitude

how God used a leaky faucet to fix my attitudeToday’s guest post is from Shaylah Coogan from There Once Was This Girl, where she shares her life-changing story about her laundry room and choices that helped fix her attitude.

I am not particularly proud to admit this, but I had a bit of a breakdown this past weekend.

It was the last weekend of Spring Break, and I had the morning to the evening of every day planned out.   I was doing the breakfast dishes Friday morning, and as I opened the cabinet below the kitchen sink, I noticed water where it shouldn’t be.  I pulled out the dish-washing detergent and some other junk I had in there. Lo and behold everything was covered in water.  Not only that, but the wood cabinets and the back wall had really soaked in the water draining from the sink…or I should say not draining through the pipes as it should.

The sink, the pipes, the faucet…all old.  We had a small leak at the faucet for some time now that we became comfortable with–ignoring since it wasn’t really causing any damage.  And about a year ago we noticed a few drips from the pipes below, but it was nothing a bit of patch work couldn’t fix up.  We should have known better that small, simple signs of damage are actually signs of impending doom to your budget.

Oh the budget!  I can’t very well leave that part out.  My husband and I have been on a kick for a few years now of paying off our debt.  We are making much headway with the exception of the house, two credit cards and my glorious student loan (I used the word “glorious” in an extremely sarcastic tone in order to refrain from the other words I would like to use).  In order for us to reach our financial goals, we stay on a fairly tight budget and it works!  For a good portion of the year, we are a one-income household which is nothing new to me as a former single mom.  

So over the years, I have learned to stretch a dollar in many, many ways.

Like using coupons, menu planning, stockpiling, creative cooking and freezing and also finding ways to cut costs around our home and in everyday expenditures.  This gives us more money for the fun things to do as a family, vacations and saving money.  We pay cash for things and if we don’t have the cash then guess what?  We don’t buy it.  It’s a simple philosophy that really works but really took some getting used to on my part.

I was a financial mess (did you think I’d say guru?!) as a single mom.  I didn’t know how to budget or save and I seemed to make dumb mistake after dumb mistake with my hard-earned money.   My philosophy was if I don’t have the money to pay the bill AND I don’t see the bill then the bill doesn’t exist.  Don’t judge me….I never claimed to be the smartest mom in the world especially when full of stress and anxiety.  For me single motherhood created this massive and overwhelming amount of stress that many times I couldn’t see the forest for the trees…if you know what I mean.

So…God blessed me with a budgeting genius for a husband.  Funny how He knows just what I need.

Lets go back about two hours prior to the “kitchen catastrophe”.  We are halfway through the month, the budget was already set and we had a trip planned in there for the end of March.  As I was checking my emails, I had two emails reminding me of two different upcoming invoices due at the end of this month.  One was a complete surprise to me and the other I had forgotten about.  So needless to say, neither were budgeted for.  The stress, anxiety and past emotions from my years as a single mom were starting to fill up the machine that releases my tears.  I fought back telling myself that these are things to not worry about.  Rely on God and give Him my stress, anxiety and worry.  And I did…and it worked.  Thank you Jesus.

“Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks.  And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

The only way I can make sense of what happened next is that the enemy heard my voice give this worry to God.  The enemy felt my mind erase my past experiences and emotions and felt me relax in peace of His presence. An hour later and we have a kitchen disaster.

I didn’t panic or stress out.  At least not right away.  At first it looked as though it was an easy fix then we discovered that the previous owners shoddy repairs and cheapness topped by our band-aids now meant a brand new sink, facet and plumbing.  I think many women might get excited about that prospect.  And I would have, IF the expense had been planned for, budgeted and saved for.  I began to think about the weekend plans wasted, the budget ruined, money gone and my mind quickly took a left turn and hurdled into my past struggles.  If only I could run that fast AWAY from those thoughts.  I lost my “Christ center” as I like to call it.  It’s my stillness where only He can calm the waves and helps me weather my storms.

With my “Christ center” far, far away, I became short-tempered with everyone.  Now I was the one ruining the weekend.  This was spiraling out of my control.

So I went to the one place where I was certain and with out a doubt, guaranteed to be alone with my tears, my anxious thoughts and worries.  A place where I could attempt to restore Christ at my center.

The laundry room.

No one touches that room.  I often wonder, do they even know how to find it?  Everyone goes out of their way to avoid the laundry room at all costs for fear of me popping my head out to say “hey come help me.”  So it’s become my sanctuary…all that’s missing is a comfy chair.  I don’t like to break down especially in front of others.  I refuse to be weak, is what I began to tell myself.  Once those thoughts passed and my toughness was breaking through my tears, I realized this was the enemy at work again and was pulling me into a prideful mindset that kept me in trouble so many years ago.

I remembered the Lord said “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now shall it spring forth; shall you not know it?” – Isaiah 43:18-19

The reminder of my past financial mistakes and the enormous consequences of those mistakes were creating roadblocks in my mind, once again adding distance from God.  He tells me in this verse that in order to look forward with joy in all things (even a small kitchen disaster), I must first let go and not dwell on my past.  Doing so will keep my focus on my past failures and the emotional turmoil of those failures and off of what God has in store for me now.

I felt as though God was telling me it is okay.  This is not a big deal.  You are stirring up old emotions and worries that have no place here.  My acceptance of this truth caused me to turn to leave my place of refuge and in walks my husband.  Straight into the dreaded laundry room to hug me and say this is not a big deal.  Don’t worry.

God is so awesome.

This “new thing” God suddenly sprang on us was lots of time together focused on solving a problem.  We messed up the plumbing and install a few times, learned from our mistakes (thank you YouTube!) and yes it messed up our budget a bit but that’s okay.  If there is one huge thing I have learned from my single motherhood days is that worry and peace cannot coexist and that every minute given to me each day is filled with choices.  Choices of peace, prayer, worship and thankfulness which bring me closer to Him.  Or choices of worry, stress, anger, resentment and anxiety to push me further away from Him.   It’s an easy choice.

shaylahShaylah Coogan is a Christ loving, 40 year old mom of two and a wife to a very patient and loving man.  As a former single mom, she has been following her purpose and calling by providing encouragement, support and guidance to other single moms in hopes that none of these amazing women have to live a life on the verge of breaking. Find her at her blog, There Once Was This Girl, or on Facebook.

I Love Freebies!

We’re in the middle of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale, an awesome bundle where you can get $850 worth of products, including almost 80 ebooks, 2 audio files, and $200 worth of freebies, for just $29.97. But it ends Monday at midnight!

So today I thought I’d focus on the free stuff, because everyone loves free stuff!

What are the Ultimate Homemaking Bonus Offers? ($200+ value)

bonus-images

These deals are worth over six times the price of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

Card Bonuses from UHB

Freebies to Encourage Each Other

Reach out and touch someone! I talked a while ago about being careful we don’t DIScourage people in ministry. Here’s a way to ENcourage them!

DaySpring—A FREE 10-pack of Premium Greeting Cards. ($20.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)

These are lovely! You get to choose from 10 Hope and Encouragement cards, 10 All Occasion, or 10 Inspirational Holly Gerth ones. We don’t send cards enough anymore. Here’s the chance to change that and be a little more personal!

See more about the bonus here.

Read the complete list of books in the bundle here.

Freebies to Inspire Each Other

HopeInk—$15 HopeInk store credit to be used towards anything + a FREE 8×10 Art Print with order. ($39.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)

HopeInk has such gorgeous art prints, and you can make your home more peaceful just by having them on the walls. I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure and exhaustion lately, so this is the one I chose:

ArtPrint

But I was really tempted by the knitting one–I was knitted together in my mother’s womb! Lovely.

See more about the bonus here.

Read the complete list of books in the bundle here.

You get ALL THIS in The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

Freebies to Make You Feel Beautiful!

Homemakers can still fight the frump! And here are a bunch of items that can help you feel beautiful–and more energetic in the process.

Redeeming Beauty Mineral Makeup—3 FREE eyeshadows of your choice from Redeeming Beauty. ($16.47 Value. Standard shipping applies – only ships to US and Canada.)

eye shadow

These are gorgeous! And you can use the eye shadows as an eyeliner by mixing with a bit of water, too. It really does work! I chose three neutrals, but you could go for darker ones if you wanted to do the eyeliner option. They just look so luscious! And they’re not much money, either.

These are made by a stay at home mom using natural ingredients. So much better than things you’d buy at a drug store! This was my favourite thing to choose for myself. And within the U.S. shipping is only $3.

See more about the bonus here.

Read the complete list of books in the bundle here.

Fit2B™ Studio—FREE 2-Month Online Fitness Membership at Fit2B™ Studio. (up to a $20.00 Value. No shipping required.)

Here’s the one I’m most excited about. I actually enjoy working out, but I have very little time. And I certainly don’t have time to go to the gym.

With Fit2B Studio, they give you streaming videos of over 100 fitness routines that are perfectly targeted for moms–women who need to work on their core, or pregnant women who want to stay in shape. The routines are short, so you can combine two by choosing what exactly you want to target. They have 5 foundational videos, and you choose one for each day during the first month. Then you can add on others. I love it, because you can get a good workout in 20 minutes, and it really strengthens your core! For those of you who have wanted to find your tummy again after giving birth, Fit2B focuses a lot on women who have lost muscle control in their abdomen, and helps us regain it. It’s a great program, and I can’t recommend it highly enough! I’m so excited to get the two months free myself, too.

They even have workouts you can do with the kids–or workouts designed for preteens, etc. So the whole family can get in on it! Seriously, this is $20, and the cost of the bundle is $29.97. It’s worth it just for this!

See more about the bonus here.

Read the complete list of books in the bundle here.

TriLight Health—Get a FREE 2 oz. bottle of a liquid health formula OR $15 store credit from Trilight Health. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates apply.)

trilight

Speaking of pregnancy, if you’re looking to feel better during pregnancy, or if you want to jumpstart your metabolism and lose weight, or if you want to deal with PMS, or if you have just about any concern, TriLight has herbal formulas for every need. Full disclosure: I ordered the PMS one. Enough said.

See more about the bonus here.

Read the complete list of books in the bundle here.

Bulk Herb Store—Instant download of the instructional video Making Herbs Simple Volume 2 for FREE from Bulk Herb Store. (up to a $15.00 Value. No shipping required.)

Want to learn more about using herbs to help you lose weight, get healthier, or revive your skin? This great video is a wonderful introduction to the uses of the different herbs.

See more about the bonus here.

Read the complete list of books in the bundle here.

Get ALL of these eBooks for 1 LOW Price! One Week Only!

Freebies to Help you Get Organized!

Okay, I love organization. I’m really big on it. Doesn’t mean I actually GET organized, but I love the IDEA of it. And for that reason I love planners! If you’re like me, you’ll love both of these things:

Once a Month Meals—A FREE One Month Pro Membership from Once a Month Meals. ($16.00 Value. No shipping required.)

So fun! Choose from regular menus, vegetarian, paleo, whole foods, weight loss, and more. You just pick your menu, and they create a menu plan, a shopping list, and then detailed directions to how to make everything in your one big cooking day a month. Once a Month Cooking is tiring on the cooking day–but then every other day during the month you’re home free! It’s just so practical.

And you can swap out recipes, too, if there’s something you really don’t like. I’m going to have fun with this!

Finance EPlanner

See more about the bonus here.

 

Read the complete list of books in the bundle here.

ListPlanIt—Free 3-month membership OR 3 free ePlanners from ListPlanIt. ($15.00 value. No shipping required.)

I chose the 3 free ePlanners, and bought the Financial Planner, the Personal Planner, and the Planner Planner (yes, that’s not a typo. It’s a Planner Planner, with all the schedules and calendars you’ll ever need!) But there are ton more, perfect for organizing your homeschooling, or your chores, or your vacations, or parties, or anything. And you can type directly into the .pdfs, so you don’t HAVE to print them out (although I did, and I have them in a binder. I also printed out the blog planning kits from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle because they’re awesome, too!

Freebies to Help Your Homemaking

Marie-Madeline Studio—A $15 store credit for anything in Marie-Madeline Studio’s online store. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies.)

Are you a sewer or a quilter? Or do you just love quilts, aprons, and more? Here’s your chance to get some really high quality cotton fabric that is absolutely gorgeous!

fabric

DizolveFREE 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for you PLUS a Free 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for food banks. ($25.98 value. Standard shipping [$3] applies. Only ships in the US.)

This is really cool: It’s a laundry strip that dissolves totally in water! No more extra packaging. So eco-friendly and cheap. And when you buy a box, they donate another box to a food bank!

dizolve

I totally wish this shipped in Canada. I’m getting mine shipped to my assistant in Colorado (you’re welcome, Holly!). Which reminds me: If you’re not eligible for these bonuses, or if you just plain don’t want some, you can always gift them to someone else! In fact, that’s one of the benefits of the bundle: you can use the whole thing as a bunch of different gifts. When you checkout, you’re even given an option of adding 2 bundles for the price of 1, so you essentially get 3 for the price of 2, if you get my drift. So it’s a great thing to gift to a sister on Mother’s Day!

So there you go–over $200 worth of freebies in the bundle! I love it.

I know some of you have other bundles, and you haven’t gotten through all those books yet! But these bonuses pay for the bundle already. I’m cheap and I bought myself a bundle–even though I got one free–just to give the bonuses to some friends (and to give away the books to other people).

So don’t miss out on this deal!

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

And remember, after you purchase the bundle, send me the receipt and you can be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card! More here.

I Have No Energy for My Marriage!

No Energy for Marriage

Sleep is a marriage issue.

I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again: often the biggest impediment to a good marriage isn’t sex, or finances, or other disagreements. It’s simply feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and oh, so very tired.

Two weeks ago Keith and I spoke at a FamilyLife Weekend Getaway in Banff, and one thing that I stressed in the women’s talk is that we need to prioritize our marriages. But for many women, when you even say that they get tired.

Really? One more thing I have to add to my to-do list? It’s not enough that I have to keep the house in order and care for the kids and likely work (at least part-time?) I have to care for him, too? Isn’t he an adult? Shouldn’t he be able to look after himself?

I understand. I really do. But here’s the thing:

The best gift you can give your kids is to love their dad.

When they know that you are stable, then they feel so much more secure!

So I believe that making time for the marriage, even if it’s just to go to bed at a decent time, together, every night, is crucial. Having energy left at the end of the day for your husband is also absolutely crucial.

And this doesn’t have to be a big project. Often we can make very small changes everyday to help us feel more organized, more invigorated, and more able to devote our attention to our marriage. Even little things, like greeting him when he comes in the door (or when you do!), can change the whole tone of the marriage.

I’ve already written on this at length, and here are just a few posts that can help you:

Adults Need Bedtimes Too!

Finding a Good Morning Routine

Are you a Better Wife or a Better Mom?

Perhaps Balance isn’t All it’s Cracked up to Be

Today, though, I’d like to share some resources from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale that will help you save time and energy, and help you be able to prioritize your marriage without feeling exhausted, like it’s one more thing on your to-do list.

With the Bundle Sale you get 84 ebooks and printables and downloads, plus $200 in bonuses. And these are all NEW books–only 3 or 4 have EVER been in a bundle before. So you can have such fun going through them and finding ways to use them to make real changes in your life.

Today let’s look at how to get more energy. I’m going to start with helping you streamline your day and get more energy, because it’s hard to think about the big picture issues when you’re just exhausted.

Step 1: Streamline the Things You Do Everyday

Taming the Laundry MonsterTame the Laundry Monster

Laundry takes up so much time–and so much energy! For me, it’s not putting the laundry in the machine that’s the problem. It’s the folding and the putting away.

In Taming the Laundry Monster, Angi Schneider shares about how to figure out a laundry routine that works for you.

She doesn’t just tell you to adopt HER laundry routine. She takes  you through all the steps to figure out what will actually work for you and your family.

And she totally encourages you to get the kids involved, too!

Ask yourself: If I could get my laundry more organized, would it relieve some stress? If so, then this is a marriage book! :)

Taming the Laundry Monster is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

Try Freezer Cooking

One of the biggest stresses is standing in front of the fridge at 5:00 and not knowing what to make.

No Cook Freezer MealsWhat would happen instead if you devoted one day every month or so to getting meals ready–and then freezing them? You could defrost a meal at night, stick it in the crockpot in the morning, and you’d be all set to go! It’s easy peasy. And it reduces so much stress. No more knots in your stomach driving home from work as you dread walking in the door and being faced with the fact that everybody needs to eat, and you just want to curl up on the couch and relax!

And if you stay at home with your kids, you can play with them until the afternoon, and then just put the finishing touches on dinner, instead of having to start from scratch.

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has a variety of books on meal planning, once a month cooking, and more! There’s even a meal planning e-course. I find cooking so much fun and so relaxing, but it’s likely because I have teenagers and not toddlers. If you’re feeling stressed about meals, then getting more organized and planning can help get rid of that dread you have when evening comes, and help you enjoy your family–and your husband–more!

And then there’s an awesome one-month membership to Once a Month Cooking–a website that helps plan your menu, your shopping list, and even your cooking routine so that you cook once, and eat all month. It’s awesome! And it’s a free bonus with the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

Ask yourself: If I weren’t as stressed at dinner time, would it make a difference in how I treated my family?

Figure out a Homemaking Schedule

Creating a Perfect ScheduleI truly believe that making small changes that make us feel more organized is often all it takes to turn a marriage around. When you’re less stressed, then your husband isn’t one more thing on your to-do list. He’s someone whom you love, whom you want to spend time with, who can actually resolve your stress rather than adding to it.

So get organized!

Blogger Amy Roberts, who homeschools a large family, wrote this great book on figuring out your routine–or your schedule. And she’s quite adamant that they are two different things. Some people love a schedule, where every minute is planned. Other people prefer a routine, when you tend to do this, and then this. Know your organization type, and then work towards it. She gives you the tools to create a schedule (or a routine) that works for you, and lets you feel like you run your day, your day doesn’t run you.

If you do that, you’ll end the day feeling like you accomplished something, not feeling like everything got away from you and you’re one big failure. I love the way she outlined the book (and there’s a section for homeschooling parents, too!)

Step 2: Learn How to Prioritize Your Marriage

TLHV2 Audio DownloadFigure out laundry, meals, and homemaking, and you’ll likely feel a whole lot less stressed already. Now it’s time to figure out the big picture of our marriage and our lives, and look at how we can nurture our marriage!

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has something from me–an audio file of one of my most popular talks, about how to figure out your priorities as a wife and a mother.

I’m talking here about how to put first things first. How to get your kids to help more around the house, how to foster a feeling of respect so that you’re not always feeling put upon, and how to stop feeling so exhausted.

If you’ve ever wanted to hear what I sound like “in real life”, here’s your chance!

Plan Your Goals

live for himI always find that if I take time to sit down, pray, and take stock about what I REALLY want to be doing with my life–and listen to hear what God is telling me He wants me to do–that I start to feel much more optimistic and excited about life. I find that there are lots of things I can begin to say “no” to because they don’t fit into my core values or my core goals, so that I can begin to say “yes” to the things that matter–including my marriage.

Leigh Ann Dutton has written a great book to help you plan, dream, and identify your goals. Take a week and work through it, and you’ll find that it’s much easier to prioritize your marriage, too.

And I think that this is such a key thing to do every few years, because you’ll find that your goals and your priorities change. When we don’t think these things through, we tend to operate on auto-pilot. And that’s when we start to feel like we aren’t being purposeful and we aren’t making a difference.

 Step 3: Think about Your Husband

Intentional MarriageYou’ve got your day-to-day life running more smoothly so you’re not as panicked. You’ve thought through your goals and what your priorities are in life. And now you’re likely feeling more peaceful and more purposeful, and so you can start to think through the specifics of how to make your marriage thrive!

Crystal has written a great 31-day devotional called Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband. Here’s what I like about it: It’s supremely, supremely practical. It’s not like each day is learning a big spiritual lesson, like how to forgive. It’s more like each day is teaching you to do something small which, when added up, becomes something big. It actually reminds me a lot of my book 31 Days to Great Sex! For instance, one day is simply “greet your husband at the door.” Seriously, this one little thing can turn around the whole feel of your evening together! Another day is “send your husband a verse”. And then there are some heavier days later in the month, but you get the flavor of what I mean. Little, practical things that build on each other that you can actually do!

So there you go–a look at how you can make major changes in your life, a little bit at a time, using resources from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale. Yesterday I shared about how to get your finances in order, and today I’ve concentrated on marriage. But this bundle has so many awesome resources that you could pretty much choose any goal–helping your kids read better, deciding to make healthier meals, getting your housework under control–and you could create a two-month plan to make major changes in your life that STICK.

Get your Ultimate Homemaking Bundle now! It’s available in .pdf form, or specially formatted for Kindle.

A Two Month Plan to Get Your Finances in Order

It’s the Ultimate Bundle Sale week at To Love, Honor and Vacuum! And today I want to talk about developing a two-month plan to get your financial house in order.

I know not all of you are interested in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and that’s okay. You can still get a lot out of this post, because the principles are universal: take stock, make goals, and then make small changes incrementally that add up.

But if you’re wondering why I keep talking about it, it’s because I honestly do believe it’s a great deal. As an author in it, I got access to all of the books and bonuses about three weeks ago, and I’ve had such FUN going through all of them and making plans of how I’m going to tackle them (seriously, it’s a TON of FUN to have this many new things on your computer!). I really do believe that you will love it.

This Bundle is TOTALLY NEW. If you’ve bought bundles in the past, rest assured that you’re getting an entirely new collection here. I think only 3-4 books have ever been in ANY bundle before.

And this may interest you: the money that I’m making for the sale is going to become seed money for a new business venture I’m starting to employ university students as virtual assistants. I’m setting up the business this summer, and the money will pay for the legal and accounting fees. With my daughter in university, I have a special heart for helping kids graduate without debt, so I’m looking at starting a business that can help them do that!

Oh, and one more thing: don’t forget that when you buy the bundle from me, if you email me your receipt I’ll send you the link to enter yourself in a contest where you can win a bunch of prizes, including more ebook grab bags and a $100 Amazon gift card! More details here.

Financial House in OrderWithout further adieu, here’s my two-month plan to get your finances in order!

My husband and I have never fought about money. We’ve hurt each other about sex, we’ve had disagreements about housework, we haven’t always seen eye to eye on parenting. And yet money has always been a breeze for us.

It’s not because we’ve always had money; we haven’t. We spent the first seven years of marriage living in tiny apartments, even with babies. But I think it comes down to the fact that we have very similar values about money. We both are determined to live within our means; neither of us has expensive tastes; and we both are truly committed to giving money away.

I respect my husband so much in this, because he’s one of the few physicians I know who has never in his life owned a new car–or even a really nice car. He doesn’t have the most expensive clothes or the most expensive shoes. He just lives out his values, and I can’t think of a better man to be married to because of that.

Yet I know that money is one of the biggest sources of tension in so many marriages. Well, I have some awesome tools that can help you sort out money–and start living with a feeling of abundance rather than poverty. In the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle which is for sale just until Monday, you’ll find a TON of books that can help you figure out your finances. Here’s the step-by-step plan that I would use, over two months, to turn your attitude and your wallet around!

Budget BreakthroughWeek 1: Get a Big Picture View of Your Budget

Budgets. We may not like them, but there really aren’t shortcuts. You need to know how much money you have, and you need to know how much money you need to meet your current obligations.

Kimberlee Stokes, in her book 5 Days to Budget Breakthrough!, writes this book not as someone who has had it all figured out, but rather as someone who has lived in the trenches–and seen how her poor money decisions have really affected her family. She writes:

For me, the wake up call came when I had to return to full-time employment for the third time (even though I felt very strongly that we should home school our children) and I saw the consequences in my children’s lives. I finally realized that money wasn’t the problem…

(Cue dramatic music.) I was.

I realized that I was making excuses rather than taking responsibility for my choices. I had to break through my denial, acknowledge that we had a limited amount of money and stop spending everything I had. In other words, I had to grow up, and since I am pretty sure that being over 30 qualified me as an adult, it was about time I started acting like one.

She has worksheets you can use, great suggestions on how to track your spending, help for changing your mindset, and really practical tips for actually saving instead of going into debt.

The best part of the book, though, comes in what she says about our attitudes, which I think is the key to making financial change. She writes:

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

“We can’t afford that.”
“There is never enough. We need more money.” “We have to go without.”
“We can’t make it.”

Impoverished thinking makes people discontent, always striving and never arriving. No matter how much money they make, they can never be at peace. A poverty mindset is based in fear and makes you feel out of control and helpless.

So how do you overcome a poverty mindset? What if we change those statements to:

“We choose not to buy that because we have other priorities right now.” “We have exactly what we need.”
“We choose to make do with what we have.”
“We can make this work.”

Empower yourself by recognizing your freedom of choice.

5 Days to a Budget Breakthrough is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

coverflat250x300Week 2: Consider Minimalist/Simple Living

Not all of us are minimalists. I have 14 plastic rubbermaid containers full of yarn in my storage room–yikes! I even have a storage room. Minimalists don’t have storage rooms.

But I’ll tell you, Rachel Jonat makes sense. She’s arguing that most of the stuff we spend money on we don’t even need. And the more stuff you have, the harder it is to find the stuff you need, so we end up buying doubles. Or triples. And it never ends!

At least, it doesn’t end until we say, Enough is enough, and really start trying to live with only what we need. It’s totally freeing!

Rachel wrote this book for moms of babies, but I don’t have babies right now, and I STILL loved this book. It made me think so much.

So what I’d suggest, after doing the hard work in Week 1 of actually making budgets, is that you take a week to read through this book. Write down the things that really speak to you, and then start putting small things into practice. Even if you don’t become a full-blown minimalist, it will likely change your outlook enough that doing the rest of the work to get your financial house in order is actually fun!

The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

TNH Meal Planning Made Easy COVERWeek 3: Plan Your Meals

We’ve done the big attitude changes. Now let’s do the practical changes that will make it so much easier to save money.

How often do you order pizza because you don’t know what to eat? Run for fast food at lunch because there’s nothing in the house? Or buy a ton of vegetables in a “let’s get healthy!” frenzy, only to see 1/2 of them turn into a slimy green mess in the fridge before you can eat them?

Planning your meals is one little change you can make that will also bring a real financial boost!

The Nourishing Home provides all you need to plan your meals–including worksheets, grocery lists, and even meal plans of their own you can use.

Take week 3 and make out a month’s worth of meal plans that you can then cycle through–and help you save money at the grocery store!

Meal Planning Made Easy is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

Healthy lunch BoxWeek 4: Save Money on Lunches–and Earn Everyone’s Envy, Too!

Now that you’re meal planning, let’s take it one step further and help you get creative with kids’ lunches–and with lunches to take to work for you and your hubby, too!

This is such a FUN book. You won’t even feel like it’s work! And many of her ideas end up being cheaper than the traditional bread-with-expensive-lunch-meats that we often use. You can eat healthier, use up leftovers (including those veggies that threaten to go bad), and earn rave reviews from other parents!

The funniest part of the book is the story of how author Katie Kimball started writing it. She says,

I have known for a while now that we eat differently than most of the rest of the world. I knew most kids probably don’t use reusable sandwich bags and stainless steel containers at lunch. But I didn’t realize that our lunches were really that different from the norm until my son went to summer camp, where he ate a packed lunch among 350 other kids for five days.

Then I found out that camp counselors were sharing pictures of his lunch on Facebook.

You’ll love it.

The Healthy Lunch Box is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

front coverWeek 5: Make Your Own Cleaners

Food is one of the biggest expenses we have at the grocery store, but it’s not the only one. There’s also cleaners.

And what if you could make cleaners with regular household products you already have? Even things you would throw away–like lemon peels?

I started making my own cleaners last year, and it is FUN! First, I feel so frugal (and almost righteous :) ) making things that are so cheap. But second, they smell so wonderful!

It’s also a great activity to do with children. The cleaners are safe, non-toxic, and easy to make, so kids can participate. And if the cleaner is non-toxic, it’s no problem giving your child a spray bottle and a cloth and having a 3-year-old wash the bottom of the kitchen cabinets.

DIY Natural Household Cleaners is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

Week 6: Let’s Get Couponing!

Now we’ll get into some serious money saving.

Cover_Its-Me-Or-The-Coupons-Beth-CranfordBeth Cranford explains, step by step, how she uses coupons to drastically bring down her grocery bill. She tells you how to use the concept of “stock pile” (as opposed to hoarding, which is a definite no no!), how to organize your coupons, how to get double deals on your coupons, and even how to find coupons!

If you’ve thought the idea of couponing sounds too much like WORK, I understand. But she lays it all out here, and it looks like once you’re organized it won’t take that much time.

But think about it this way: how much could you make at a job? $20 an hour? $15 an hour? Even $30 an hour (depending on your education?) If you spend 2 hours a week (and it shouldn’t take that long) organizing coupons, you’ll save more than that. And so it’s like you ARE working.

It’s Me or the Coupons is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

Week 7: Earn Some Money from Home

Sometimes saving money isn’t enough. Sometimes we actually have to generate income!

Rather than highlight just one book from the Working/Blogging at Home section of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale, I want to point you to all the great ones that are here. First, if you’re a blogger, the two different blog planners are absolutely amazing. They’ll tell you what to do to actually market your blog, get you organized, help you track your expenses and your income, and help you plan. And if you do all of these steps, you’ll find that you’re starting to actually make money–through reviews, or giveaways, or affiliate sales, or anything!

I love the way the blog planners are laid out. If you already blog, but you’re not really earning an income, these kits will help you go in the right direction.

But what if you’re just not sure how to blog? Or if you should speak? Or write? Alyssa Avant, whom I’ve known online for years, shares about taking a “FaithLeap” and figuring out how God has called you to share your message.

These are all great books (and I’m already printing out the blog planners!)

Week 8: Have Fun with Your Kids

76 free thingsYou’ve spent 7 weeks trying on new money habits. You have a new attitude, new organization practices, and new planning tools.

But remember the difference between a poverty mindset and an abundance mindset that we talked about in Week 1? I want to end this two week financial exercise with that feeling of abundance. There is so much you have–and so much you can do!

This book is chalk full of 76 ideas of what to do when your kids say, “I’m bored.” The things don’t involve having to pay money to do anything. They’re all fun things you can do at home, with items you already have, or out of the house, taking advantage of some of the great things around your community.

76 Free Things to do with Kids is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

We can live a life where we do tons of things, enjoy each other, and are able to give to others when we start having this attitude of abundance rather than an attitude of poverty.

Take this 8 week challenge, and you’ll find so much of your stress has evaporated. And your relationships will be blessed, too!

In the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale there are 77 ebooks, plus printables and an audio download (from me!), that will help you get different parts of your life in order. I’ve shared just some ideas about money today, but I could have written a similar post on how to get real with God, how to plan a better schedule, how to teach your kids to read, and more! This bundle has so much in it.

And the freebies are awesome, too–over $200 worth of great products, including eye shadow, laundry detergent, herbal teas, and more.

Get your Ultimate Homemaking Bundle now! It’s available in .pdf form, or specially formatted for Kindle.

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is Here!

Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle--Hurry: Sale 6 Days Only!I know I normally post Wifey Wednesday on Wednesdays, but today’s the first day of a 5-day sale I’m so excited to tell you about! Wifey Wednesday will return next week, and the linkup party will be here next week as usual. You’re going to love this sale, though!

By popular demand, 100+ homemaking bloggers are bringing back The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and it’s better than ever!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of great eBooks on homemaking—a truly valuable knowledge base you’ll use for many years to come.

Unlike a library, though, you don’t have to spend years building it up. The Ultimate Bundles team has done the hard work for you, searching the web to find the very best eBooks from top homemaking authors and combining them into one essential collection that you can buy in one simple purchase.

These books are entirely new. Only about 3-4 have EVER been in ANY bundle before. So if you’ve bought a bundle in the past, rest assured that you’ll get a whole library of new books.

Act now to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price.

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

I’m confident you won’t find a more comprehensive set of homemaking resources anywhere — and certainly not at this price. Bought separately, they’d cost a total of $698 (not including $200+ in bonuses!). But you can have all of them for just $29.97!

Or, for just an extra $10, you not only get the full set of PDF files, but also a bonus set of Kindle editions, perfectly formatted for easy Kindle reading. This has been a popular request over the years and I’m excited to say it’s now available!

I believe it’s the best deal on homemaking eBooks anywhere on the web. But it will only be available for six days. So grab yours before it’s gone!

You get ALL THIS in The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

This huge wealth of information and guidance will be right there on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or Kindle, whenever you need it.

Here’s what you need to know about the sale:

When? 8 a.m. EST Wednesday, April 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, April 28

What? 78 eBooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle here.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth nearly $900, and it’s selling for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?

Get ALL of these eBooks for 1 LOW Price! One Week Only!

What’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? ($698 value!)

Homemaking

  • DIY Natural Household Cleaners: How To Make Your Own Cleaners…Naturally by Matt & Betsy @ DIY Natural ($9.99)
  • Filling Hearts While Cleaning Homes: Five Minute Devotions for Families by Jenn Thorson & Lindsey Stomberg ($8.00)
  • Hospitality: The Duty of the Christian Home by Kathy @ Teaching Good Things ($4.97)
  • How to Build a Strong Christian Home by June @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home ($4.99)
  • Life Your Way Printables Download Pack by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($7.00)
  • Sewing School 101: Simple Tips to Get You Stitching by Nicole @ Gidget Goes Home ($11.99)
  • Taming the Laundry Monster by Angi @ SchneiderPeeps ($3.99)
  • The Best of Visionary Womanhood: Volume Two by Natalie @ Visionary Womanhood ($4.99)
  • The Homemaker’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy @ Raising Arrows ($4.99)

Food

  • Bliss Balls for Beginners: 21 Recipes to Get You Started by Luschka @ Keeper of the Kitchen ($3.50)
  • Dairy Free 101 by Becky @ For This Season ($5.00)
  • Just Making Ice Cream: Over 70 Delicious Recipes Made with Nourishing Ingredients – 2nd edition by Marillyn @ Just Making Noise ($12.00)
  • Happy Mom, Healthy Family Meal Planning Workshop + Cookbook by Lisa @ WellGroundedLife ($29.00)
  • Meal Planning Made Easy by Kelly @ The Nourishing Home ($6.99)
  • No Cook Freezer Meals by Kelly @ New Leaf Wellness ($5.99)
  • Simplified Dinners by Mystie @ Simplified Pantry Cooking ($12.99)
  • The ABC’s of Freezer Cooking by K.M. @ KMLogan.com ($2.99)
  • The Healthy Lunch Box: Sandwich-Free Secrets to Packing a Real Food Lunch by Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship ($9.95)
  • The Sweeter Side of Candida: Desserts for the Holidays, Special Occasions, & Everyday Sweet Treats by Paula Miller & Sarah Ives ($14.95)
  • {Healthy} Make-Ahead Meals & Snacks by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($5.00)
  • Real Food on a Real Budget: How to Eat Healthy for Less by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home ($18.97)
  • Simple Cooking to Save You Money by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($4.97)
  • The Frugal Secrets of Real Foodies by Shannon Miles, Sarah Nichols, Kristen Smith, Kate Tietje, and Katherine (Katie Mae) Stanley ($9.97)

Motherhood

  • Discipleship & Discipline: Practical Parenting Help for the Desperate Mom eCourse by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae ($17.99)
  • Pieces of Mommy: Putting Yourself Back Together by Sarah @ SarahStrausbaugh.com ($7.99)
  • Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood by Jamie @ Steady Mom ($9.55)
  • The Cherished Home: Protecting What’s Important by Mary @ The Encouraging Home ($14.99)
  • The Pursuit of Motherhood by Caroline Allen, Jennifer Allen, Mary Clendenin, Kelly Crawford, Jasmine Cucuta, Sara Elizabeth Dunn, Jacqueline Fitzgerald, June Fuentes, Heather Knopp, Melinda Martin, Richele McFarlin, Melanie Moore, Amy Roberts, Lindsey Stomberg, Jacinda Vandenberg, and Melanie Young. ($7.99)
  • Undivided Mom: Finding Christ in the Chaos of Motherhood by Kayse @ KaysePratt.com ($4.99)

Marriage (I’m in here!)

  • 31 Days to Build a Better Spouse by Ashley @ LIFE by Ashley Pichea ($7.99)
  • Dear Wife: Letters from a Help Meet by Misty @ Beautiful Ashes ($2.99)
  • Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband (A 31 Day Devotional) by Crystal @ Serving Joyfully ($3.99)
  • The Ultimate Marriage Vow: 21 Days of a Life-Long Commitment by Darlene @ Time-Warp Wife ($2.99)
  • To Love, Honor and Vacuum Audio Download by Sheila @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum ($2.99) – This is me!!!!

Faith

  • A Heart Prepared: A Simple & Effective Scripture Memory System by Jami @ Young Wife’s Guide ($9.95)
  • How To Manage Your Mouth: A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge by Connie @ Smockity Frocks ($5.97)
  • Restoring the Lost Petal: A Journey Through the Loss and Restoration of Sexual Purity by Danielle @ More Than Four Walls ($8.99)
  • Set Apart: Becoming a Woman of Virtue in a Modern World by Anjanette Barr, Whitney Cornelison, Jennifer Fountain, Virginia George, Crystal Hatcher, Sarah Nichols, Rachel Marie, Ashley Roe, Kendra Stamy, Danielle Tate, and Karli Von Herbulis ($3.99)
  • The Homesteading Wife’s Christian Devotional: Finding Biblical Truths on the Farm by Susie @ Our Simple Farm ($3.99)

Faith {For Kids}

  • Be Thankful: Cultivating Year-Round Thankfulness by Amanda @ The Pelsers ($7.99)
  • Character Badges by Caroline @ The Modest Mom Blog ($9.99)
  • God Gifted Virtues by Sara @ Your Thriving Family ($8.95)
  • Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit Family Devotional by Michael & Carlie @ Learning to Speak Life ($9.99)
  • The ABC’s for Godly Boys/The ABC’s for Godly Girls by Lindsey @ The Road To 31 ($19.98)
  • The Warrior Weekend: Helping Dads Raise Boys to Be Godly Men by Patrick & Ruth @ For the Family ($4.99)

Financial Stewardship

  • 5 Days to Budget Breakthrough: Change Your Money – Change Your Life by Kimberlee @ The Peaceful Mom ($5.95)
  • 76 Free Things to Do with Kids: A Real Mom’s Guide by Shannon @ Growing Slower ($5.97)
  • Advanced Penny Pinching: Stockpile – Strategize – Save by Tabitha @ Meet Penny ($3.99)
  • Cash Flow Your College: Knowledge in Your Head Without Getting in the Red by Kayla @ Renown and Crowned ($2.99)
  • Christian Wealth Building by Michael @ MichaelPink.com ($77.00)
  • It’s Me or the Coupons: How a Busy Mom Can Win the Grocery Budget Battle by Beth @ Eat Better Spend Less ($10.00)

Health & Wellness

  • Healing With God’s Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies by Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama ($7.95)
  • My Simple Healthy Life: A Minimalist Approach to Herbal Remedies, Beauty & Natural Cleaning by Tammie @ Simple. Healthy. Tasty. ($5.95)
  • Simple Natural Health: Wellness Made Easy by Nina @ Shalom Mama ($10.00)

Holidays & Special Events

  • 100 Days of a New Year 2014 eBook by Jennifer @ ListPlanIt.com ($8.00)
  • Christmas Printables for Kids by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($2.50)
  • Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year by Daniel & Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas ($7.99)
  • More Than a Holiday: A 25-Day Christmas Devotional for the Whole Family by Scott and Sarah @ Simple Life Abundant Life ($7.95)
  • More Than Candy: A 25-Day Christmas Countdown that Counts by Sarah Mae @ SarahMae.com ($4.99)

Homeschooling

  • 101 Independent Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers by MaryEllen @ Imperfect Homemaker ($4.99)
  • 1777 New England Primer Cursive/Manuscript Printable Alphabet Sets by Jacinda @ Growing Home ($5.98)
  • A Simple Homeschool Planner by Tsh @ The Art of Simple ($4.00)
  • The Charlotte Mason Way Explained by Dollie @ Teachers of Good Things ($7.99)
  • The Preschool Journey by Angela @ Teaching Mama ($6.99)
  • Weekly Homeschool Planner by Jolanthe @ Homeschool Creations ($20.00)
  • You Can Read by Carisa @ 1+1+1=1 ($10.00)
  • Write Through the Bible: Exodus 20 (KJV, Manuscript) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00)

Pregnancy & Babies

  • Baby Ready: Preparing For and Adapting to Life with Baby by Monica @ Happy and Blessed Home ($7.99)
  • Breastfeeding Twins, Triplets and More! by Jennifer @ Growing Up Triplets ($10.00)
  • Cloth Diapers: A How-To Handbook on the Basics of Cloth Diapering by Rachel @ Intentionally Simple ($5.99)
  • The Breastfeeding Lifeline: A Guide to Navigating the Newborn Days by the authors at Breastfeeding Place: Anjanette Barr, Michelle Ferguson, Jennifer Fountain, Trisha Gilkerson, Sarah Harkins, Shary Lopez, Kristen Smith, and Rhiana Wackenhuth. ($5.95)
  • The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel @ The Minimalist Mom ($4.99)
  • Topical Devotions for Pregnancy: 13 Devotions to Nourish Your Soul by Becky @ Purposeful Homemaking ($3.99)

Self-Care

  • 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal @ Money Saving Mom ($4.99)
  • Equipped: Because You’ve Been Made to Live On Purpose by Elisa @ More to Be ($6.99)
  • Live for Him: A Grace-Filled Look at Planning by Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace ($2.99)
  • The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight: Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years by Heidi @ The Busy Mom ($10.00)
  • Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day by Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker

Working from Home– Blogging

I totally love this section! If you’re a blogger and you’ve ever wondered how to monetize your blog, or you want to get more organized about blogging, these books are awesome! Tons of printables to help you organize, too.

  • Blog Planner 2014 by Sarah @ My Joy-Filled Life ($4.99)
  • Blog at Home Mom: Balancing Blogging and Motherhood by Christin @ Joyful Mothering ($4.99)
  • FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom’s Guide to Passion, Purpose, and Profits by Alyssa @ AlyssaAvant.com ($4.99)
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do: A Tutorial to Using PicMonkey with Professional Results by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($8.00)
  • The Blog Planning Kit: A System to Maximize Your Blogging Efforts by Kat @ How They Blog ($15.00)

What are the Ultimate Homemaking Bonus Offers? ($200+ value)

bonus-images

In addition to all the amazing eResources, this bundle includes the best bonus offers it’s ever had. These deals are worth over six times the price of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. So you’re up on the deal right away!

  • DaySpring—A FREE 10-pack of Premium Greeting Cards. ($20.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
  • HopeInk—$15 HopeInk store credit to be used towards anything + a FREE 8×10 Art Print with order. ($39.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
  • Redeeming Beauty Mineral Makeup—3 FREE eyeshadows of your choice from Redeeming Beauty. ($16.47 Value. Standard shipping applies – only ships to US and Canada.)
  • Marie-Madeline Studio—A $15 store credit for anything in Marie-Madeline Studio’s online store. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies.)
  • Once a Month Meals—A FREE One Month Pro Membership from Once a Month Meals. ($16.00 Value. No shipping required.)
  • DizolveFREE 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for you PLUS a Free 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for food banks. ($25.98 value. Standard shipping [$3] applies. Only ships in the US.)
  • TrilLight Health—Get a FREE 2 oz. bottle of a liquid health formula OR $15 store credit from Trilight Health. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates apply.)
  • ListPlanIt—Free 3-month membership OR 3 free ePlanners from ListPlanIt. ($15.00 value. No shipping required.)
  • Bulk Herb Store—Instant download of the instructional video Making Herbs Simple Volume 2 for FREE from Bulk Herb Store. (up to a $15.00 Value. No shipping required.)
  • Fit2B™ Studio—FREE 2-Month Online Fitness Membership at Fit2B™ Studio. (up to a $20.00 Value. No shipping required.)

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

And when you buy it from me, you have the chance to win a bunch of awesome prizes, including a $100 Amazon gift certificate, or another bundle of ebooks. Just email me your receipt and I’ll send you the link to enter the contest!

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale PrizesSend your receipt to me here! Or you can get a more complete list of the prizes here.

Wondering how you access ebooks, read ebooks, or organize ebooks? All the info you need is here! It will tell you how to use these books on your iPad, computer, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or even your phone.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.