Opinion Outpost Survey Review

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I am a stay-at-home-mommy. Shocker I know. ;) But for us it also means one income but that has never stopped me from looking for outside the home opportunities for side income.

Disclaimer, I NEVER EVER rely on what I earn. It’s like a farmer’s harvest; you plant the seeds and you do the work and you expect an outcome but there could be a famine, there could be pest, the crop could fail. Same in the area of finding side jobs and not relying on that as your main source of income. So while I expect to be able to help my family out, I don’t rely on it at all. If I make $2 that month or $2,000 (uhhh yeah right!) either way, I count my blessings and figure out how to budget that, treat myself to a Starbucks if the funds are there and praise God.

There are many opportunities now for sahm to make a little extra income; babysitting, selling second hand items, house cleaning, online jobs, etc. I happen to be a firm believer in not putting all your eggs in one basket. Each season has its own rewards. Don’t plant corn in December and expect high yield. ;)

One of the many things I do is online surveys. You’ve heard a lot about them I am sure and I have done a few but there has only been one company that I have consistently been with for about seven years and that is Opinion Outpost (affiliate link)
They have the “easiest” way to do surveys, I qualify for more of them than any other and remember we’re pretty minimalist here so I don’t have a lot of electronic gadgets or go to movie theatres often or buy a lot of new things so the fact that I qualify for some of these is pretty great and if you do have more in that field than you qualify for more.

They have a minimum of $10 payout. The survey’s range from .50 a survey to $2 a survey. For every survey you don’t qualify for, you do have the option of trying to play the lottery for trying. I have won that once or twice.

I have tried Toluna, Pinecone Research and Inbox Dollars. I have read successful reviews but that has not been my personal experience.

So, this is my personal experience that I am sharing out there for other women/men looking around for extra ways to earn income and need an honest review on all the different income earning opportunities.

Stepping it up as a Mommy

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I love my fitbit tracker. Well, “mine” as in I stole it from hubby. I thought I was a busy mom always running around but then this little band tells me I am not even making 10,00 steps a day. I was a little annoyed to say the least and thought I would show it a thing or two. And so, I would actively make sure I got my 10,000 steps in daily. It was a satisfactory feeling seeing that little number up there on my computer screen each evening.

But today as I was kissing boo-boos and reading books it dawned on me that fitbit doesn’t track all the mom moments like that. It doesn’t tell me the reason I only made 7,000 steps today was because I read an extra chapter in Tom Sawyer to the children or that “intense calorie” burning moment was when my two year old was crying bloody murder outside and I ran with all my might to investigate the matter. It didn’t tell me that the slower paced moments at 2:15 was when I was letting my daughter help me bake muffins for this week’s snack. And fitbit failed to mention that the deeper color on the screen around 5:00 when was we madly flew around the house picking up this toy and that and straightened up the couch cushions and throw some food together because Daddy was going to be home any minute. It didn’t tell me the times I smiled at my kids or blew on my bangs in frustration the next moment. It didn’t keep track of the times I said “I love you.” Or “are you supposed to do that?”


(Photo credit to Braelyn Rae Photography)

The fitbit is a tool. A electronic device without thought or feeling. You are human. You are a mom. It may be a wonderful feeling to see that 5 digit number up on the screen… but don’t let it steal the joy of the day you spent as a mom, as a wife, as a friend. Those moments will never be replaced.

 

Monday on the Homestead

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It’s a new week. A new beginning.  Ok, technically that was yesterday!  I’ve tried to be the good spiritual girl and focus on Sunday being the beginning of the week but I tend to always give Monday the credit. Monday we go back to routine.  Daddy goes back to work and the house goes back to school, cleaning and life.

Sunday’s are wonderful, I love my Sundays filled with fellowship of like minded believers that lift and encourage one another and help us become more Christ-like but there is something about Monday’s that says “Lets make this week better than last week.”

So this is my week’s goals (remember I kind of follow Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom here)

 Personal
Drink 100oz water daily
Remember to take my vitamin daily (tell me I am not the only one that forgets all the time?)
Books I want to read (at least 15 minutes daily)

Be up by 5:30 am every day
Daily- Sew, garden, and devotions with the Lord

Family
One family activity this week
Write penpals
Read: The Fox of Lorne
Exercise daily

In addition to all that; Today’s accomplishments are;

1 loaf of Gluten Free Bread made
1 batch of Gluten Free Oatmeal Bran muffins
2 batches of Strawberry jam made (compliments of my wonderful jam maker!)Spring cleaning of the children’s room.
Homeschooling (and learning about lady bugs today!)
and getting the green peppers planted

Do you make personal goals for yourself?

This week’s Erin Condren layout;

Sun Tea in the Desert

We have all this “free energy” here in the desert of sunny California.  I use it to line dry my clothes, grow some veggies all year round, and make my sun tea.

Well, here is my tea for today.  Chocolate peppermint my sister brought back from England and my personal favorite Lavender Chamomile Tea (found at the local grocery store but you can get some here).  I put about 6 tea bags in my half-gallon mason jars I bought myself last year for a birthday gift and fill it up with water.  If I am in an exotic mood I’ll add some lemon to it.  Then I place it outside, up high enough from little hands and let it “bake”.  Right now we are experiencing temperatures of 80F.

So here is today’s tea….

 

and here is today’s weather report…

 

Dilemma?  Weather report says 20% chance of rain.  I’ll believe it when I see it but in the meantime, cloudy with a no chance of sun tea.

 

Next time, I think I need to get one of these for my tea.  We just might put Uncle Si to shame with how much tea we go through.

Not just a Pinterest picture- our St. Patrick’s day Snack

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sodbusters

It is not just something you see on Pinterest or a photo that gets shared around Facebook, this is my third year of making this fun little St. Patrick’s Day Snack.  Last year I did the whole marshmallows for clouds and rolos for gold but I am trying really hard to keep my kids healthy. Since this was inhaled within 5 minutes, I would say it was a success.

Is it frugal? Well, banana was .25 at Walmart
Cheese was 2/$1 and I got 4. They made up the pot of gold and the clouds.
Grapes were $1.99lb and I’ll use them as snacks all week.
Blueberries were the most expensive at $2.50 for 8oz.
Strawberries are $5 for 4# and I’ll use them as snacks the rest of the week.
Almonds are from Costco and they created our Mountain look.  (Optional of course but I intended on this being a lunch so I wanted the protein)
Oranges were something I already had on hand but I saw that they are rougly $1# and you would need only 1 so less than $1 for that.
Boiled egg for our cloud and sun.

So healthy snack/lunch (I served some lunch meat with this for some extra protein)
Gave new meaning to “eat the rainbow”.  I crack myself up.

So I would roughly estimate about $6 for this and it fed all four of my kids. :)

Anyone have any idea for indigo?

Organized Mom Life- Link up

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I don’t actually know how to do a link up. But I stumbled across the podcasts and thought they had a wonderful viewpoint that I think everyone should hear.  They are all approx 20 minutes long.  I listened to them as I fold laundry, cleaned the kitchen and drank some coffee.

The podcasts can be found on Karen DeBuess blog,

She wrote a post on planners and organizing the other day and since I had just written all my posts (no! I am not finished ;)) on them I thought it would be good insight to read and listen. wow. Very inspiring.  Not saying I am going to change everything I am doing right now, its working for me, but I love how she got to the heart of the matter and that is where we should be focusing.

Organizational systems, charts and planners are not about keeping up with the latest trend or having a Pinterest perfect household, but finding a way that helps your household run smoothly so that the time doesn’t have to be focused on trying to catch up, but on spending more time together and building up one another and ultimately finding time to serve others and glorify God.

 

I said we would link up, the best way would be to share it in the comments! TO keep spam from taking over, I do approve each and every comment so make sure you share this with your friends and know that I need some time to approve comments but will do it daily. :)

 

An Organized Life for Momhood- Part 3

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(Sample of this week’s Erin Condren Planner, so much more pretty than my fauxdori) ;)

Confession, today I asked on a public forum for help on being more organized in my house home.  Despite my many ways to keep track of things, I always feel like I am falling behind.  Today as I show you my fauxdori planner, (Miss Vicky Bee is one of my favorite Vloggers) I will show you what I am currently doing to keep on top of the daily lists that don’t work so well for the Erin Condren Life Planner.

I have recently mentioned that it works well for me for at a glance view so I have an idea of how my day will play out.  But for all my lists and stuff, I love the fauxdori, when I have time I will set it more into a bullet journal style.

This was lovingly made for me by a friend. This is still my work in progress. I have played around with decorating this but to be realistic, it just doesn’t happen. I put the different lists down and go from there.  What are the lists?

Goals for today: This isn’t the task list, this is more of an attitude list.
Menu for the day
Must Accomplish that day
Tasks I would like to do
Appointments
and a note for what was actually accomplished.
Somedays I put a hyperdex stamp on there just to give myself an idea of what goes on realistically in my life. Stamp can be found here.

Here are a few pages I decorated but I am just really not ready to do more on this right now.

I am looking forward to more of a bullet journal (<– click the “watch Video”) with this because it will be nice to brain dump.

So, there is another way I try to keep an organized mom life. :)

 

Under the covers~ Book reviews

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Catchy title I know.  I’m sick this week. My planning posts have been put on hold.  I’ve been catching up on my Kindle reading and am happy to bring you a few books reviews that I have already had notes on.

First of all, I had no idea that this was book three. You get the feeling that there is more to the story but I didn’t feel like I was missing vital clues for this one. This is a new author to me. I will be looking for more books from Caryl McAdoo starting with the next book in the series (which doesn’t come out til May! GAH!)
This author did very well in showing that she is a Christian with faith, hope and love but I didn’t feel like I was reading Fordyce’s Sermons (fans of Pride and Prejudice should enjoy that). The characters were engaging and the book had plot twists that didn’t keep you dizzy but kept the story moving along.
The only thing I didn’t like about it was the whole scene where the heroine got saved. It just felt to rushed. Like the author had to wrap things up in a pretty bow to continue on with the story.
That being said, I highly recommend this book.
4 Stars.

Another book we have been reading is this one I requested from BookLookBloggers (formerly BookSneeze). It is the Duck Dynasty Children’s Devotional.
Confession, I requested this book hesitantly. We love Duck Dynasty over here. It is so much like growing up with my family… besides the whole gutting animals part but we had our share of those stories from my mother who did “enjoy” a life like that. As much as we enjoy them, I was kind of worried that this devotional would be dumb down. I was really pleasantly surprised. We haven’t finished this book yet but my kids are reminding me every day that we need to do Devotionals.
There are days that seem a little bit more watered down but as of our current reading, there has been nothing that I can find scripturally wrong with it. My husband and I aren’t really Disney fans so the reference for one of the Frozen songs as picture for the day’s devotion wasn’t wrong, its just not our thing. If that is the only complaint I have about it, then I am happily able to continue reading on.
Each daily devotion has a scripture (not always the same translation) and then a section with a story relating to that scripture. The story is usually centered around something that happened in the Robertson Household (poor Ms. Kay!) a prayer, and then a “commander in action” section that gives some thought on how to apply what they learned today into action.
I have no idea what kind of age to put this book at. I am reading to children from 10years old down to 1. The one year old is a bit restless but when I say, “time to pray” she will fold her hands and follow along.
I would recommend this to Duck Dynasty fans. If your children love the Robertson’s as much as mine do, this might be a good opportunity to have their full attention as you read from childhood lessons and experience with Biblical teaching and instruction. Even if you are not familiar with Duck Dynasty, I still would recommend this devotional. In fact, I may keep a spare copy on the shelf to hand out to friends that are always on the lookout for a good devotional with their kids. And that’s a fact jack!
4 Stars

The last book I want to write a review on is Karen DeBues’ book, Simply Homeschooled. I have followed Karen’s blog for a while now… I mainly stumbled upon her in my desperate search to find a simple way of homeschooling that wasn’t going to dumb my kids down.
When I saw Karen’s book- Simply Homeschooled, I have to say it was one of the first times I paid full price for a Kindle book… that being said, it is still on the cheaper side of the Kindle book price. :)
This book had me on the Preface page;
“I have always been a Little House on the Prairie girl at heart… longing for the simpler days of long ago. Truth is, life wasn’t easy back then. It probably was just as complicated, but in a different way.”
Amazing to think that I have often said the same thing!
There is so much I would love to quote in this book. The easiest thing I can say is, buy the book. It is not #1 best seller for no reason. Karen talks not only about simplifying our lives materially but also from the heart. It goes beyond physical clutter. We have all heard the talk so much but Karen gets down to a friendly chat with us an inspires me to continue this path of domestic simplicity. I can’t say enough about this book. Everything I want to write about just gives me more reasons to tell you that it will be the best amount you ever spent.

One Reviewer put it this way and I agree whole heartily;
This book is an amazing guide for our homeschool. It is so refreshing to read a homeschooling guide that tells me to do LESS with my children instead of trying to cram as much more in our days as possible. And by less I don’t mean lowering our standards, rather it means to find what is actually meaningful and worthy of our time, then focus on those things and eliminate the rest. The chapter on eliminating both physical and mental clutter specifically challenged me & I believe will be a great encouragement to all who read this book.

The constant reminder throughout the book to submit our plans, our curriculum choices, our schedules, our goals and each of our days to the Lord was a great blessing to me & really made me question where my heart TRULY is with regard to my family.

I highly recommend this book to both new and experienced homeschoolers. I wish I would have read this book before any others when I began homeschooling. So set aside everything else and give yourself a period of rest, this is a quick read that will alleviate much of your stress and provide much needed comfort for the weariness that homeschooling often brings. ~Amazon Customer

Just a few books from the bookshelf or in my case, under the covers while I am reading away whilst getting over this cold.

Til Wednesday…

An Organized Life for Momhood- Part 2

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Ok, so I’ve shown you the planners I use, now I want to go into a little more detail about them.   Today I will show you more of my Erin Condren and how I make that work.

Erin Condren Life Planner

I get asked a lot about my Erin Condren Life Planner. It’s full of washi and stickers and everyone just loves to see it. Ever since I was little I was always drawn to crafts, stickers, fun, journaling (While I don’t have ALL my journals from childhood, I still remember each on in my heart and I have from age 13 on up) so something like this that is practical and yet still fun is perfect for me.

The biggest challenge I have with it, is being smart about it. It is VERY easy to overspend on stickers and all the do-dads to make it more fun and cute and whatnot but finding that balance between having something you love and using something functionally is a challenge. I have weeks where I am so busy and so much writing that I am actually dizzy by what I see (which is why I added the Fauxdori) but the stickers that are just a simple reminder with the décor stickers help break things up help keep things simple, clean and enjoyable. This is why the Erin Condren planner works so well for me. I actually want to look at it. Erin Condren has made a planner that is so easily adaptable so I thought I’d go into a bit more detail and show you how and why..

Finished February
Work in progress

First you have the month at a glance I use this to record what would be written on our main calendar—the one I can’t see because it’s hung up by the ceiling. So this is something I can quickly reference, write down appointments and birthday’s, play dates, bills, etc etc etc. I minimally decorate for this. I didn’t utilize this well in last year’s planner, but this year I’ve found a system that works. I love it.

Plain view

Then we have the week by week broken up into 3 categories, Morning, Day and Night. I actually use this thin washi and cover that up. I break it out into “To-Do”, “Reminders”, and “Personal/School (college stuff)”. How simple is that to repurpose it! On the left-hand side you have this section to write out “weekly goals and such”. I have seen this repurposed for so many things, menus, daily routine check boxes, errands, inspiration, some people just just decorate with washi everywhere. I actually recently got a couple stickers that I use here and they are; “To Buy” and “Errands” and then I can write what needs to be done. I also use my Mason Jar Water intake sticker here. I am trying to be very good about drinking enough water daily. I have these tiny stickers I got at the Dollar Tree that I use OR I’ll just use color coded pens to make little drops to mark how much I have drunk. While this is a rarely empty, I am still trying to get the hang of using this in the best functional way.

Along the bottom you have it broken up with four lines and above that Erin Condren wrote; Meal plans, exercise, daily to-dos” just to give you some inspiration on what to use it for. A LOT of people use this to put their dinner meals on and track their fit-bit steps. I actually use this for my Fly-Lady zone schedule and my Bible in a Year schedule.
week view


In so far as decorating and stickers and washi and whatnot, I am on a facebook group that actually has a poll where everyone puts their idea for the theme for one week. The top 4 or 5 with the most votes are the themes we use. I use those to kind of decorate. It’s fun, you learn to go outside what you would normally do. This week is Pixar week (actually, that was one of my suggestions so it’s fun that it actually ended up that way) I wanted to do Finding Nemo which is my favorite Pixar film.

So, quick tip, the cheapest Nemo stickers I found were $4 and they were bubble kind. A) I am not paying $4 and b) bubble kind make my planner thicker than I like. So I found fishes for only $1 and just played around with that and used other stickers that I got in a RAK (oh, yeah, see note for this) which have cute lil sayings like “Don’t forget” “Note to self- Don’t forget note to self” etc. And I thought this was a great Dory reference. I had some waves and anchor washi that was also RAK’d to me that I use along the bottom. So, despite appearances, I try hard not to over decorate. I need room for this to function too.   I wrote in the reminders and appointments I have for the week.


One way I function is writing stuff in post-its before the week has arrived and then when it is the current week I can adjust my stickies and reminders as needed to make this work best for my schedules.

I kind of shot down the idea about writing the weather along the top because it just seemed silly to write weather down. However, I recently read another reason people do it. One mom uses it to know how to dress her children and plan outside, and THAT made sense. So on Sundays I just do the first three days and then on Wednesday I will do Thursday-Sunday.

Another section in the Erin Condren Life Planner is their “Notes” section. This right here is why I LOVE this planner. I used to have spiral notebooks everywhere with scattered and random notes of things I was trying to keep track of and here in the Erin Condren I can have everything in ONE place and it’s easy to keep track of everything and not lose it.



So back in the note section I have, My Bible in a Year list, New Year Goals and then that is broken down into 3 tasks for each month, I have my Birthday list and gift section, My 52 week money challenge section, My Fly Lady Zone master list, My clothing budget and need list- this has the amount each of us has written down with enough space to write down what we need and what we pay for it. I can keep track for our expense and if I am out and about I can see what we need and its really nice. Another page has my babysitting hours for different clients. It helps keep track of what is due, what is credited and how much I have made in a month’s period. If I get checks, I can write down check number information and it is all located in one place. I have a list for books I want to read, review and blog about.   I have a financial section to help keep track of our monthly budget. I have a “blog idea” page. (I can check this one off!) I have a page for all the chapter books I am reading to the children. I try to write a start and finish date as well but since there is only one book written down so far for the new year, we’ll see how that goes. I have a list of books I want to read. I have a Christmas list with ideas for my friends and family members. I have a page dedicated to keeping track of the amount we have saved to be able to move. Each month has its own line for the amount saved and then there is a master line for the goal I want to have at the end of the year. I also have a page of phone numbers to remember. And I haven’t even used all the notes section! So much more! I plan on getting another page set up to write down when I have planted what and what our planting goals are for spring and for fall




So, there you have it. My “Brain” all wrapped up into one amazing planner. This thing is so durable. I have thrown it into my diaper bag. Shamefully it has been left everywhere. I have had it fall out and even seen a planner where it landed on the asphalt of a parking lot and got run over and you know what? These things hold up amazingly! That is mom planner for you right there folks! I could go on and on about this planner. I will answer any questions you may have as well.

Right now, Erin Condren has their Life Planners discounted. Using my referral link and signing up for their newsletter will give you a $10 credit. Once you receive that, you should put it directly into your account right away. That way you don’t loose the email or forget to use it at check out. Now, they are discounting this year’s planners by 25% when you use the code listed on their site right below the product links. Please note; I have no idea how long this savings will last and it can change at any given time to Erin Condren’s discretion.

I found this a fabulous deal when I thought about it as less than $1 per week for some sanity and organization and you are going to get a much better deal than that!

Hope that helps for my Erin Condren Life Planner post… stay tuned for another blog post as my series continues.

***notes***
RAK= Random Act of Kindness. This is another Facebook group for Erin Condren users that randomly send stickers, pens, washi tape, etc. to other members. You request a name and you can send packages out and in a few weeks, you can hope to receive some as well.  You can find their page here.

An organized life for Momhood…

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Organization: A blessing hidden in a curse. The thing about organizational systems is that it’s easy to create more than you can keep going. What is supposed to help you keep your life together can, if overcomplicated, become your nemesis and because of that I may have overloaded my organizational plate. I started off with a basic life planner and have slowly added in more—or tried to keep it slow and manageable. Needless to say, I’ve attempted to keep certain areas of my life separate in an attempt to stay focused and organized. My planners- My Erin Condren Life Planner- I use this for daily life tasks. By that I mean that I use it for things I must not forget. It is my calendar on the go that doubles as my life scrapbook. I use this for the daily reminders and such. It is my brain dump.
Fauxdori- This is something new in my life. I started this in February. I use this for all my to-dos (detailed lists that wouldn’t fit in my Erin Condren) my menu, my reminders, my notes (things I want to do more on) and etc.
My prayer journal- This is actually based off of a youtube video I found. I wanted to be more intentional in my prayer life but just having no system doesn’t work for me. I need to set up “rules” for myself and systems or I won’t do things. I used post-it tabs to mark the sections and the more I used this, the more I see which ones are being used and which I’ll have to change. I can just remove the post-it out and use it elsewhere. Wonderful invention those post-it stickies! I started this in January as part of my New Year Update You kind of thing (spin off of New Year Resolutions ;)) I recently found this on Amazon and LOVED it. I have a calendar on wall and I write events that affect the family on it for my husband and children but its hanging high so it’s more for my husband. I love that there was space on this to write out tasks, chores, reminders, for all to see and I loved that there was room for everyone to have their own section. I was thinking about using this as a family planner. Well, my AWESOME Mother got this for me! Showed up on my door one day and said, “Here. Enjoy.” So this will be our first week implementing this and I’ll update on that further on. Other things I have to keep up organized is; Week Menu’s (This month is my pantry/freezer challenge. I try to do this every quarter so that nothing goes bad or rancid.) Homeschool schedule Each Day activities and responsibilities for the children (who also have gotten into the whole planner thing) Daily Routine- family and personal So, every Sunday, I sit down and set up my different systems for the coming week. To be continued…

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