Sign-up to receive 9 Best Business Ideas

If you're like most of my readers, you're committed to your family and creating the best home life possible. But the truth is, if you've given up one income to homeschool your kids, you may be struggling to make ends meet. That's why I wrote this special report, The 9 Best Business Ideas for Homeschool Moms, in which I help you design the best business to complement your family's goals. There's only one way to get it—by subscribing to my weekly blog updates here:
 
 

Homemaking

The right priorities

And why am I always putting out fires?

Priorities… Everybody has them but everyone’s priorities are personal. While I cannot tell you what your priorities are, I can help you find them. And I can help you work on them more intentionally.

If I were to have you list out your top 5 priorities and then your top 5 time-consuming activities, they probably wouldn’t match up very well. Because the truth is that while we usually know what our priorities are, we struggle to find time for them.

Why? Because we are putting out fires, that’s why!

Let me demonstrate this to you using Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Priority Matrix. This is not new to you, but how we are going to approach it probably is. Continue reading How can I tell if my Priorities are Right?

Read more

just-start

So, start before you are ready!

If not now, then when? If not you, then who? Because it’s more about progress than perfectionism. Perfectionism is just a nicer word for… well, you’ll see…

This video is about an Ah-ha! moment I had this weekend. Sometimes we just have to start before we are ready, or we will never do the thing that we know we should be doing. You don’t have to wait until you are thinner, prettier, or more knowledgeable. Just start. Remember, we are aiming for progress, not perfection!

What do you need to start today?

  • Do you have a book that you need to begin writing?
  • A room full of memories that you need to clean out?
  • An exercise program to start?
  • A morning routine to set into motion?
  • A letter to write?
  • Forgiveness to request?
  • A business to start?
  • A new habit to form?

Comment below and tell me what’s holding you back. I wasn’t going to start my video series until I had lost a few pounds (like 30!). But I was encouraged to just start and walk into my fear. Maybe it will be a little less scary next time. 🙂

Read more

relationships matter - surprising

A week ago, Tuesday, I got the phone call no one wants to receive…

“Hello Terri, I’m calling to inform you that your mother collapsed. She is in a coma in the Cardiac ICU and her blood sugar is over 1000 (normal blood sugar is under 100). She’s not breathing on her own. Terri, your mom is on life support.”

Have you ever received a call like that? I’m sure you have. This is the kind of announcement that causes your knees to buckle and your head to swim. Suddenly, your day – once so planned out and organized – becomes a fog, a jumble of facts, phone calls, relatives, and swirling emotions.

And so, just like that, my day – correction, my whole week – became derailed.

What can you do when you become derailed?

Let’s face it, life is messy. It doesn’t always fit into our nice neat boxes like we want it to. As emotional beings, we can ride the pendulum from joy to despair and then back again, all within a single week, a day, or even an hour.

Here are 3 tips for getting through a rough day:

1. Connect with the ones who mean the most to you. Group hug your family, cuddle on the couch with your children, cry on your husband’s shoulder, laugh with your siblings, and listen to the ones who are hurting. Be an ear for those that need to process; be a shoulder for those that need to cry. Continue reading I was completely derailed…

Read more

homeschooling and home business

Discover the Magic of Mapping out Your Week

Homeschooling is a growing movement. More and more parents are choosing to teach their kids at home for reasons that include individualized instruction, efficient use of time, the abundance of excellent curricula available, and the quality time they get to spend with their kids.

But for many families, to homeschool means to give up one parent’s income, which can become a financial hardship. What many families don’t realize, though, is that homeschooling does not preclude earning a second income.

Everyone is allocated the same 168 hours per week. The important idea to consider is how we use these hours. Let’s break it down.

Homeschooling takes less time than traditional schooling, because school time is more focused and intentional. You don’t need to use any of your time for assemblies, roll call, bathroom breaks, lining up, etc. Most families can be finished with their studies before noon, if they start around 8:30 or 9am. So, if it takes your children 3-4 hours per day to finish all their subjects, then you can allot 15-20 hours to homeschooling each week.

If you sleep for 56 hours (8 hours per night) and reserve 60 hours to “other” activities (such as errands, cleaning, meal prep and recreation), you still have 32+ hours left that you can devote to creating a second income. I spend about 20 hours per week running our two businesses from home (4.5 hours on 4 afternoons a week).

So, the time is there, if we use it wisely. But that is certainly not the only obstacle to working from home. As homeschooling moms, we are responsible for the care and supervision of our kids 24/7. All working parents need some type of child care, even those who work from home. However, public school parents utilize the school system, which provides built-in childcare. Homeschooling parents who wish to focus on work or building a business just need to get creative. That’s not a problem since creativity is our specialty!

supervision 24/7

We are responsible for the care and supervision of our kids 24/7.

Here are some ways that creative homeschooling moms have carved out some uninterrupted work time: Continue reading Homeschooling & Home Business: A Match Made in Heaven

Read more

How can balance be achieved through scheduling?

Being a homeschool mompreneur can get a little wacky, throwing our families into a tailspin, if we are not careful. Balance is important for everyone, but it seems to be particularly critical for moms.

Scheduling and mindfulness provide better balance

Scheduling and mindfulness provide better balance

I have not always been very good at maintaining balance in my life. I have gone through times over the years when I couldn’t stop working on my business and times when I didn’t want to work at all; I have endured a messy house for days on end and then went on a cleaning and decluttering rampage to rid my family of the mess once and for all; I have eaten perfectly and exercised faithfully month after month only to fall victim to a deadly combination of delicious home baked goodies and frightful weather that shook my resolve and dashed my good habits.

Through the passage of years and experience, I am learning balance. I am learning that planning and mindfulness are the keys to balance in my life. I would like to bet that this is true for you too. When I make an appointment with myself, I am likely to keep it. If I make something healthy, I am likely to eat it. If I have an audiobook or podcast on my phone, I am likely to take a walk to listen to it. If I schedule a day-off and plan something with my family, I am likely to show up. Continue reading Scheduling for Better Balance

Read more

Do these results surprise you?

Last week, I asked my readers to take a survey about the direction of my blog. Hundreds of you were super helpful by filling out the 3 minute survey questionnaire here.

The answers were very revealing of this community. But in a good way!

6306132745_347e21a6e8_o

Most of my readers are married (but certainly not all) and are between the ages of 35 and 55. However, we have a good representation of youth and sage among us too.

51% of you have 2 or 3 children, 36% have more than that and 13% have fewer.

While 25% of you have been homeschooling for 3 years or less, 50% have been homeschooling for 8 years or more. That leaves 25% in the middle – homeschooling for 4-7 years. Wow, you all are amazing and dedicated teachers for your kids. Kudos to you! Good job!

Money is super tight for a small percentage of you; moderately tight for most and comfortable for some. It’s a classic bell curve. But if you had more money in the budget, these are the things you would do with it:

Continue reading Here are the Survey Results

Read more

Heads up, homeschool bloggers!

If you find great satisfaction in reviewing and promoting the best, top-notch products in the homeschool marketplace, then you will love what I am about to share with you.

If you blog as a hobby, but also to contribute to your family’s income, even if just for little extras that make the kids (and your husband) smile, then you will really be excited about this.

I want to tell you about a brand new affiliate opportunity that you will not want to miss out on. If you like promoting quality homeschool materials and receiving a hefty commission sum, then you will like this!

Have you heard about the Build Your Bundle sale coming up this summer? It is a unique sale that allows customers to bundle only the items that they really want. The prices are great without being ridiculous. The items included are quality, top-notch, award-winning products. We are thrilled that several of our products are included.

Would you like to get in on the action? While you cannot promote the sale just yet, you can do two EASY things to get ready:

  1. 1. Sign up to become an affiliate, so that you can receive 30% commissions in the summer when you probably need the money the most (for vacations, for next year’s curriculum, for camps, etc.)
  2. 2. Recruit your friends to sign up as an affiliate too. Why would you want to do this? Because you get a 10% commission for every bundle they sell too. SWEET!

Click the image below to get started!

Psst… Jump in now BEFORE everyone knows about this!

Read more

If your home life is anything like mine, then you deal with chores and messes around the house on a constant basis. This is a fact of life for everyone, but for the homeschooling family, a messy and loud household with many opportunities for cleaning up is an ever-present reality.

How can we best manage our homes and maintain our sanity?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here are my 5 Best Tips for Keeping Your Home and Your Sanity:

1. Remember that this is a season!

I know that you hear it all the time, words like… “Oh, they grow up so fast!” and “This too shall pass,” and “It’s just a season.” It’s easy to just stop hearing these wise words and not really believe them anyway. As someone who has been raising kids for 20 years, I have now reached that place where I can say with emphasis, “Oh, they do grow up so fast!” But I am still raising little ones too, so I also know that 18-20 years of raising kids and helping them manage their life and messes is a long, LONG process!

Here is where I have landed on this issue… I like a clean house. I just do! But I also realize that living with children means that I will live with a little bit of a mess, sometimes a lot of big messes. My husband and I find ourselves looking forward to a home with less stuff, where everything is almost always in its place, but know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will miss the squeals and the fingerprints when we get there. So, we have resigned ourselves to a “lived in” look in our home, cherishing these years with all the mess and work that they bring with them.

But that doesn’t mean that we give up and decide that all is lost when it comes to keeping an orderly home. We have daily and weekly chores that must be done in our home both by us and by the children. Here’s how we tackle them and the big question that we ask ourselves when faced with an untidy or even downright messy house:

2. What Can You Do in 5 Minutes?

When I look around the house and I find it not up to my standards of clean and tidy, I try to ask myself this simple question… what can I do that would make a difference in the next 5 minutes? Sometimes, it’s doing a load of dishes or a load of laundry. Sometimes, it is clearing off the dining room table or the bathroom counter. Sometimes, it’s interrupting the kids and doing a quick 5 minute pick-up of the living room. If all you have is 5 minutes, you can make a measurable difference in one small portion of your home. Will your house be spotless in such a small amount of time? No, but you’ve made a difference.

When the children and I work together, we place bets on how long it will take us to accomplish a certain job. I usually hear the kids shout out anything between 2 and 10 minutes. We then work as quickly as we can, timing ourselves by the clock and see whose guess came the closest. We are always surprised by how quickly we can get a job done when we work together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This shot was candid and not staged!

3. Delegate, delegate, delegate!

You are not the housekeeper of your home, you are the homemaker. Big difference! Teaching our kids how to work is one of our primary jobs as “homemaker” and “parent”. In our home, our children have pets that they care for, daily chores to accomplish and weekly cleaning that usually gets tackled on Saturday. They also have to clean their rooms on a regular basis, but are encouraged to keep it tidy all the time (some children do a better job at this than others, that’s for sure!).

Draw up a chore chart so your children know what chores they are responsible for on a daily and weekly basis. This will make your job so much easier as you can just check the chart if kids need reminders. Better yet, they can check the chart and not even need reminders. It seems to take maturity and diligence to get them to this point of responsibility though.

4. Shoes Make You Feel More Energetic

I learned a long time ago from the Flylady (is she still around?) that wearing shoes make you feel more ready to do work. You feel more like you are “on task” with shoes on your feet. I don’t always obey this rule. I find myself wearing slippers quite often during the winter months. But I do keep this in mind if I have some significant house work to accomplish in a given hour of my day. If my husband takes the kids on a field trip or out for a hike, I will get jazzed up by the idea of an empty house, lace up my shoes, tackle extra housework in record time and then enjoy some much deserved R&R in the solitude of my empty home.

5. Get Help

After 24 years of cleaning my own home with the help of my husband and children, I did something radical (for me!). I asked my husband if I could hire a teenager to come over every other week to clean the house. We actually argued over this one because Todd felt like we were “giving up” or not managing our home well enough by employing help. He also felt that it would make life too easy for our children if someone else did so much of the heavy cleaning. After I pleaded with him for a few weeks, he gave in and allowed me to give it a try.

We now have a young lady come over twice a month to deep clean our house. I must admit that I love it! We still clean thoroughly on the off weeks that she doesn’t come, but it gives me the breathing room that I need to focus on some other things, like school and our business.

Many people cannot or would rather not hire a maid, but it is working really well for us in this “season” of my life. She does a fantastic job and she works for a smaller fee than the large housecleaning services available. So, if you find yourself drowning in housework, employ some of the tips above. I’d rather give up some of my housekeeping duties and focus more on other things that seem more important right now. Besides let’s face it, a family of 8 will always keep me plenty busy with cooking, teaching, driving, piano practicing, and listening.

Question: What are your best tips for maintaining your home and your sanity?

Read more

People have been asking me how I get so much done. I would love to tell you!

In the past year, I have written and published a book (A Child’s Geography: Explore the Classical World), created a new magazine (Quest Magazine) that publishes a brand new issue consistently every month, developed a new site (Map Center) where you can download Map Trek maps by the piece, and am nearly ready to launch a new web application (Map Studio) where you can create exactly the maps you want for your homeschool lesson, workshop, sermon or classroom. Oh, and I am also writing a 4th volume of A Child’s Geography: Explore Medieval Kingdoms.

How in the world can anyone get this much done? I have 5 secret weapons! And they are:

1. I will hire or outsource the stuff that I cannot do, such as coding or editing for example. It just makes good sense. Why should I learn something that will take me hours to learn when someone else already knows how to do it and can do it quickly and hopefully, inexpensively. (Guess what? I also outsource my housecleaning twice a month to a high school girl who works both quickly and at a great price!)

2. I get up early! Yes, I can get more done in 2-3 hours in the wee morning than I can the rest of the day. And staying up late usually doesn’t cut it. Those are your most worn out hours of the day. Get up early and use your freshest hours to accomplish what you really want to accomplish, whether that be writing a book, assembling a digital scrapbook, planning your curriculum, etc.

3. I get away (very occasionally). If you really need to get something done, like you have a looming deadline whether self-imposed or imposed by others, get a hotel room for 24 hours and just get it done. It’s best if you don’t take your spouse along, unless the object of the get-away is to connect with each other. Those are highly valuable times but different from what I am talking about now. I am due for a solo get-away so that I can tackle more of my book. I just need that quiet and interrupted time (on a rare occasion) to get some momentum.

get-away

4. I walk every day. This time not only gets my blood pumping, but it recharges me. It also feeds my creativity. I will usually get some fresh insight while walking that I can use to push my productivity. I also use this time to pray, which is very good for my soul and emotional well-being, not to mention good for those who are being prayed for.

take-a-walk

5. I have an awesome husband that will help me carve out time to get something special accomplished. He really is an amazing man! And, in my work life, I have an incredibly talented administrative assistant, and it’s almost like having another “me”. Wow, what would I do without these two?

While I realize that most people do not have an admin assistant, nor does everyone have a supportive spouse, everyone still has the exact same 24 hours each day. To become more productive, you just need to know how to use those hours to your best advantage. Focus on just points 2, 3 and 4 and you will get more accomplished than you thought you could.

So, go out there and get something done!

Question: What is on your to-do list that you really need to carve some time out to accomplish? For me, it’s writing my book. What’s yours?

Read more

Figgy Pudding of the UK

“Now bring us some figgy pudding, now bring us some figgy pudding, now bring us some figgy pudding and bring it right here. We won’t go until we get some, we won’t go until we get some, we won’t go until we get some, so bring it right here.”

While I have always thought this sounded so rude, it has made me curious about figgy pudding and what it takes like. It must be pretty delicious if the singers are going to be so demanding about it.

Dating back as far as the 16th Century, Figgy Pudding is a Christmas staple generously shared with carolers throughout the UK during Christmastime.  It was later immortalized in the cherished Christmas carol, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”  Now … bring us some figgy pudding!

Christmas-pudding-flames

Would you like to try making Figgy Pudding this Christmas? Or maybe one of the other 15 international Christmas recipes featured in the FREE cookbook, Figgy Pudding, Stollen and Tamales. Download your free cookbook today!

Pavlova of New Zealand

After the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova visited New Zealand in 1926, cooks and chefs captivated by her solo performance as the dying swan in Swan Lake, created for her by Michel Folkine in 1905,  sought to honor her and the occasions of her visit with confections they created to capture her light and airy spirit onstage.  Over the decades to follow, the refined and traditional Pavlova became a Christmas staple.

pavlova2

Would you like to try making Pavlova this Christmas? Or maybe one of the other 15 international Christmas recipes featured in the FREE cookbook, Figgy Pudding, Stollen and Tamales. Download your free cookbook today!

Panforte of Italy

Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts, and resembles fruitcake or Lebkuchen. It dates back as early as the 13th century in Siena, a town in Italy’s Tuscany region. Documents from the year 1205 show that panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax or tithe which was due on the seventh of February that year. There are references to the Crusaders carrying panforte, a durable confection, with them on their journeys, and aiding medieval city-dwellers in surviving sieges. Literally, panforte means “strong bread” which refers to the spicy flavor.

Panforte

Would you like to try making Panforte this Christmas? Or maybe one of the other 15 international Christmas recipes featured in the FREE cookbook, Figgy Pudding, Stollen and Tamales. Download your free cookbook today!

Stollen of Germany

Around 1560, it became a tradition for the bakers of Dresden to present the King with two 36-pound stollens as a Christmas gift. It took 8 master bakers and 8 journeymen to successfully carry the loaves to the castle. This custom continued for nearly 200 years. Then, in the year 1730, Prince Augustus the Strong asked the Baker’s Guild of Dresden to bake a giant stollen for his farewell party for the army. The finished stollen was a true masterpiece, weighing in at nearly 2 tons and feeding over 24,000 troops.

… continued in the free cookbook, which you can download here.

800px-StollenSide

Yorkshire Pudding of the UK

Yorkshire Pudding, also known as batter or dripping pudding, is a dish named after Yorkshire, England, although there is no evidence it originated from there. When wheat flour became more common for making cakes and puddings, cooks in the north of England devised a means of making use of the fat that dropped into the dripping pan to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted in the oven. A recipe for ‘A dripping pudding’ was first published in 1737 in The Whole Duty of a Woman. Similar instructions were published 10 years later in The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse under the title of ‘Yorkshire pudding’. It was she who re-invented and renamed the original version. A 2008 ruling by the Royal Society of Chemistry has it that “A Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall.”

Yorkshire_Pudding

When you download the free Christmas cookbook, Figgy Pudding, Stollen and Tamales, you will receive a collection of vintage and authentic recipes from around the world. Not only are these dishes extremely tasty and satisfying, but your family will learn more about the traditions of other cultures as we celebrate Christmas around the world.

Other recipes in the book include:

Tamales of Mexico (Simple Recipe)
Tamales of Mexico (Traditional Recipe)
Baked Apples of Sweden
Rice Pudding of Sweden
Beurrée de Crème of Quebec, Canada
Sorrel Punch of Jamaica
Babinka of the Philippines
Lebkuchen of Germany
Kringle of Denmark
Santa Lucia Bread of Sweden

Gather the world around your Christmas table this year! Download your free cookbook today!

Read more