Apr 23, 2014

The Ultimate Homemaker's Bundle: Time-Limited Sale

Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle--Hurry: Sale 6 Days Only!

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

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.

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

Buy the PDF Bundle
Buy 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?

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


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

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!
  1. DaySpring—A FREE 10-pack of Premium Greeting Cards. ($20.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
  2. HopeInk—$15 HopeInk store credit to be used towards anything + a FREE 8×10 Art Print with order. ($39.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
  3. 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.)
  4. Marie-Madeline Studio—A $15 store credit for anything in Marie-Madeline Studio's online store. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies.)
  5. Once a Month Meals—A FREE One Month Pro Membership from Once a Month Meals. ($16.00 Value. No shipping required.)
  6. 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.)
  7. 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.)
  8. ListPlanIt—Free 3-month membership OR 3 free ePlanners from ListPlanIt. ($15.00 value. No shipping required.)
  9. 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.)
  10. Fit2B™ Studio—FREE 2-Month Online Fitness Membership at Fit2B™ Studio. (up to a $20.00 Value. No shipping required.)
Buy the PDF Bundle

Buy 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.

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.

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Apr 22, 2014

30 Relaxation Ideas For Busy Parents

30 Relaxation Ideas for Busy Parents #parenting #tips

This parenting gig is tough work! I don't know about you but with every passing week I feel like the days are getting shorter. There just isn't enough hours in the day! We can get so caught up in meeting our family's needs that sometimes we neglect our own. Here are 30 relaxation ideas for busy parents. I encourage you to take a moment and give yourself a break.

Ideas To Implement While At Home With The Kids
  1. Get out of the house and breathe some fresh air.
  2. Put in an exercise or yoga DVD. Invite your children to participate.
  3. Rest while your children are resting. You don't have to nap but you can postpone chores and enjoy a hot bath, a good book, or some prayer time.
  4. Take a bath or shower when you can. It does wonders for your mood.
  5. Control your thoughts. Don't think bad things about yourself or your kids... be positive no matter what's going on.
  6. Stay away from social media and the computer when the children are around. Something happens to our brains when we're distracted by electronics. It's easier to lose patience and sometimes, our temper. I'm certain there must be some study about this but I know that I've talked with a number of moms and they agreed that low patience seems to coincide with the distraction of electronics.
  7. Slow down. Don't hurry. Give your children ample time to get dressed, eat, etc. Rushing around does nothing for your health or your mood. 
  8. Make your atmosphere bright and cheery. A sink full of dishes is much more tolerable when there's a bouquet of flowers on the table. 
  9. Play with some clay or play dough (it can be so relaxing and therapeutic).
  10. Do some gardening.
  11. Make sure you are eating healthy, well-rounded meals.
  12. Drink lots of water and/or herbal teas. 
  13. Take up a hobby that perhaps your children can enjoy as well; sewing, knitting, painting, journaling, and scrapbooking are just a few ideas.
  14. Watch a movie with the kids.
  15. After the kids are in bed, have a date night at home. Open some wine, make some popcorn, play a board game, or watch a movie. Get creative and enjoy a special evening with your spouse!

Things To Do When Someone Else Is Watching The Kids
  1. Go for a haircut, manicure, and/or massage.
  2. Treat yourself to a hot beverage and a good book at a local coffee shop.
  3. Explore the local art gallery.
  4. Peruse a bookstore.
  5. Now is the time to go clothes shopping.
  6. Have a picnic in a community park.
  7. Go to the gym (a good workout can lead to a more relaxed mind afterwards).
  8. Go swimming. Enjoy a relaxing steam or hot tub afterwards.
  9. Go out for dinner or lunch.
  10. Get your car professionally cleaned and enjoy a magazine and treat while waiting. 
  11. Go dancing with some friends.
  12. Take a class. If you can't do a long term commitment, then try spending a couple hours at a pottery studio and craft yourself a new ceramic mug or plate.
  13. Go for a nature walk. 
  14. Go to a movie!
  15. Go on a date with your spouse. Make a pact to NOT talk about the kids. Need some conversation starters? Check out this post HERE.
Do you ever feel frazzled and in need of relaxation? What do you do to unwind and take care of yourself?

I just read "30 Relaxation Ideas For Busy Parents" by @DeliberateMom #parenting #tips


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Apr 20, 2014

Happy Easter

It was my husband's birthday on Friday. Today I took the birthday banner down and had a thought... I could very well leave it up. Because of the ultimate death and resurrection I have life. New life. Today I embrace that truth. The very action that saved me. He paid the ultimate price. He died. He rose from the grave. He forgives my sins and makes me new and whole.

Happy Easter. Blessings to you as you celebrate this day with your loved ones.

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Apr 18, 2014

{this moment: haircut}

Inspired by SouleMama

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

"If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves."
~ Maria Edgeworth ~

Wishing you an amazing weekend full of memorable moments!

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win

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Apr 16, 2014

10 Sanity Savers While The Husband Is Away

10 Sanity Savers While Your Husband Is Away #parenting #tips

With my husband's new job he's out of town for a few nights twice month. At first I thought I was going to go crazy! How single moms and military wives do this all the time is beyond me... kudos to you ladies! After doing this routine for six months, I feel I have a grasp on what to do during these periods that my husband is away.

Plan your meals
I always plan my meals but when my husband is away, I try to plan really simple, easy to prepare suppers. If you have time, make a few "freezer meals" ahead of time. Making supper while you're solo parenting can be overwhelming, so make it as easy as possible for yourself.

Do the grocery shopping before he leaves
Stock your fridge and cupboards as much as possible prior to your husband's departure. Make sure you even have a supply of those necessities that you should require if someone gets sick (i.e. ginger ale, children's fever medication, sports drinks, etc.). Running errands with children is challenging enough as is, you'll want to keep such outings to a minimum. 

Get out of the house
This is especially important if you're a stay-at-home mom. You don't want to be cooped up all day, every day, and every night with your children. Take them to your community park, visit your local library, or take them out for ice cream. The change of scenery will do all of you good.

Make some plans
Prior to my husband's business trips, I try to plan some special activities for my girls. As I mentioned previously, it's important to get out of the house. It's always nice for you and your children to look forward to a play date with friends, a trip to the zoo, a movie night, or a sleepover at a grandparent's house. 

Planning craft activities is also a good idea. If the weather isn't cooperative, you'll be thankful you had the foresight to gather some supplies for a few art activities!

Get help
Make a list of who you can call on for help. Even if it's having Grandma watch the kids while you go out for coffee and pick up some groceries... you need a break! Let these individuals know ahead of time that you will be on your own and that you may call on them if you need assistance.

Enlist the help of older siblings
Pull out your loose change and pay them for their efforts if you have to! Older children can help with preparing dinner, cleaning, and can help occupy younger children. Prepare them for the prospect that you will be relying on them for help and put them to work!

Have some special toys in reserve
I know I've shared before how I have bins of toys for desperate occasions. These toys definitely come into the play rotation when my husband is out of town.

Drop the cleaning obsession
Even if you absolutely LOVE a clean house, this is not the time to obsess over it being spotless. Let go of some of your regular chores and conserve the energy for dealing with your children.

Take care of yourself
It may feel like there's no time to take care of yourself but this is critical. When the children are sleeping, do some Yoga, take a hot bath, sip some tea, and/or read a book. Do what makes you feel happy.

Do what you love to do
Make a list of things you want to do while your hubby is away. Is there a romantic comedy he refuses to watch? Pop some corn and watch it without him! Dedicate time to a craft. Do some gardening. Look at this time as a blessing and when the children are not underfoot, do what you love to do.

Do you have any survival tips or sanity savers when your hubby is out of town? Please share them. 

I just read "10 Sanity Savers While The Husband is Away" by @DeliberateMom #parenting #tips

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Apr 14, 2014

Homeschooling Reflections

About Homeschooling Challenges and Reflections #homeschool #curriculum

As I indicated last week... I'm striving to become the deliberate mom I want to be. With those efforts, there is a lot of reflection and sometimes, the awful rut of self-condemnation. That being said, I ask that you read my honest reflection on homeschooling without judgement. I am hard enough on myself... trust me.

I stood over my daughter and the words came out of my mouth: "You are not doing anything else until you get this work done. Get. It. Done."

It didn't take long for the guilt to overwhelm me. I distanced myself. I walked away. I cried. 

Homeschooling is not what I expected to be
I had all these big plans. I had ideas. I had visions of a creative learning process. This is one of the reasons why we chose to homeschool! I may sound like a broken record here but I am becoming the teacher I was afraid my daughter would get if she did go to school.

The prospect of this frightened me. 

I am sacrificing my relationship with my daughter
I am sacrificing my relationship with my daughter by "teaching" her in this manner. I love my daughters with all my heart. It pains me to see that I am teaching in an unloving way.

Workbooks and worksheets
Why have we gone back to workbooks and worksheets? Last fall I swore them off. I thought they could be integrated sporadically and I decided they would not become "everything" we do. However, months later, worksheets have become everything we do. 

I have realized that the worksheets aren't for my daughter... they're for me. They are a confirmation that I'm "teaching" my daughter, that she is "learning", that we are getting the work done. She's not "learning" from the worksheets, she's answering without thinking. She's jumping through the prescribed hoops to get to the destination that I've determined.

An intervention
After spring break we returned to "school" and things fell apart. On the first day, while we were homeschooling, my youngest gave herself a haircut. On the second day, my youngest got into the junk food cupboard and filled her belly with candy and cookies (resulting in a late night puking session). On the third day my youngest dug around the cupboards again and gobbled down at least four candy canes.

Something had to change. I started thinking of the option of doing evening and weekend homeschooling. I started thinking of waking my oldest up at 7 (she's usually up at 830) so that we could get some homeschooling done earlier in the day.

We were so close to being done our Grade 1 curriculum! However, I was feeling convicted about the way I was teaching and the impact that it was having on our entire family. 

My youngest daughter's behaviour facilitated an indirect intervention. 

Every few weeks our homeschool association gathers and the children get to explore a project together. Meanwhile, the parents and some facilitators gather and discuss curriculum, challenges, etc. I ended up speaking with our own homeschool facilitator. She sympathetically listened to me and then she uttered the words I needed to hear. "You're done. You've done so much already. You're done."

I had to question... "Don't we have to do all the work and fill out all the sheets?"

"No Jennifer."

2+2= 4   and   3+1= 4   and   4+0= 4
I recently shared how I am working on letting go of control. I have been reading Karen Ehman's book, Let. It. Go. In the book, Karen shares a friend's wisdom: "There are many ways to get to the number four."

There are a variety of ways to teach my daughter the curriculum she needs to learn. I don't need to follow a textbook, we don't have to do it like someone else. We can arrive at the same outcome by a different route and by our own educational journey. Indeed, there are many ways to get to the number four.

Moving forward
The challenges, the reflection, and the reassurance has made me completely change the direction in which I want to proceed. Even though we're "done", I will be using a fully integrated, everyday learning approach for the rest of the "school year."

This past weekend I scrawled out pages of plans. I wove my own curriculum on the foundation of a gardening project and incorporated social studies, math, writing, reading, health, Bible, and art into the curriculum. This is what is natural for me! This is what I know.

So for the next little while we will be rolling up our sleeves and getting dirty. I can't wait!

I just read some honest reflections by @DeliberateMom on the challenges she's faced while #homeschooling

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Apr 12, 2014

Make Your Blog Stand Out

Tips to make YOUR blog stand out! #blogging #tips

First impressions count. Here are some tips on how to make your blog stand out from the rest.

Blog name and description
If you haven't selected a name for your blog or you're planning to rename your blog, make sure its name is clear and easy to recall.

The description should be simple. Who are you and what is your blog about? If you need help figuring this out, maybe you need to work on a strategic plan for your blog. Check out this post HERE for more information. 

Page load time
You need the opportunity to make that first impression count! Readers won't stick around if it takes a minute for your blog to load. I use Pingdom to test my page speed. They offer unlimited and FREE page speed tests on their website. Not convinced page load time is important? According the Akamai study published in 2009:
"47% of people expect webpages to load in less than 2 seconds and 40% of consumers will wait no more than 3 seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site." 
Obviously web stores are different than blogs but this study shows how impatient we are... so make sure your website loads fast!

*Bonus tip: Sometimes an outdated widget will completely slow down your blog. Remove anything that is not working. Regular monitoring of your page speed will help you keep on top of potential issues.*

As nice as a blog logo is, a smiling face to associate the blog with is integral. Even if you hate to have your picture taken, this is key to a reader's first impression of your site! Most people want to see the face behind the blog... it makes it more personal.

*Bonus tip: Have the exact same profile picture on all of your social media sites. You want people to be able to easily identify you.*

If your blog doesn't have a logo, you should consider getting one. By pairing your logo with a consistent profile picture, you are building a strong, personable, and consistent impression of your blog. 

Brand your blog with a profile picture and a logo. #blogging tips

Clean design
A clean, uncluttered blog is essential. Your visitors should be able to find your search bar and additional pages easily.

Be intentional about your design. If you're using a template, spend time customizing your fonts and colours. Design a header with a pictures. Make it appealing and keep it simple.

If you participate in blog hops or monetization programs, consider placing the buttons for those on a page of their own rather than cluttering your sidebar. 

Speaking of clean design, consider how many ads you'll have on your site. Lots of ads doesn't necessarily mean more payout. I used to have 8 - 125 x 125 ads on my site. I didn't receive any money from them.

I dropped the eight smaller ads and placed 3 higher paying 300 x 250 ads. I have received regular payouts from the three ads. I also run advertisements along the bottom of every posting but those only appear on the post's page, not on the home page.

Something to note, too much "above the fold" advertising will be penalized by Google and can affect where your blog shows up in search results. If you're not sure of what "above the fold is" you can use this nifty little tool HERE.

I personally find an ad-heavy site is often too distracting to read.

Give your readers a snazzy headline picture for each post. If possible, include pictures throughout the post. *Warning: pictures should be of good quality. Most readers don't like fuzzy, out-of-focus, and/or poorly lit pictures.* 

404 Page
What does your 404 page look like? Many big companies have been jazzing up their 404 pages as an additional way to advertise and build relationships with their customers/readers. Why not do so too?

Screenshot of The Deliberate Mom's 404 page. Make your 404 page original. #blogging #tips
Screenshot of my 404 page

Since my blog is hosted on Blogger, I can't do too much to my 404 page but I can make it a little more interesting. Here's a Blogger tutorial on how to customize your Blogger 404 page.

Don't have it. If you want a song on a post, include it in a player or video that the reader has to click on in order for it to play.

Content is king! We hear it all the time. Think about the content you write and make your postings count. Also, make sure to highlight your more popular content (i.e. on a rotating header or in your sidebar).

Be authentic
You are one of a kind. Your story is yours alone. Your blog is a unique reflection of you. Don't try to emulate the big blogger that "made it"... be yourself. Your commitment to authenticity will be rewarded.

This is the last installment of my blog building series. However, this isn't all! After the Easter long weekend I will be back with more blogging-related posts. They may not be weekly like this series, but when they are published, they will appear only on Saturdays.

Now it's your turn. What do you think makes a blog stand out?

Come visit the @DeliberateMom for tips on how to make YOUR blog stand out! #blogging #tips

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Apr 11, 2014

{this moment: sisters}

Inspired by SouleMama

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

"If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves."
~ Maria Edgeworth ~

Wishing you an amazing weekend full of memorable moments!

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win
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Apr 9, 2014

Life In These Parts

Last week was spring break. Even though we homeschool, I like to schedule my daughter's holidays at the same time as the school system. It makes scheduling a lot easier (especially when your child is friends with children who attend a "brick and mortar"school).

We didn't do anything spectacular, which made the week particularly enchanting. We lived our week being with each other and engaging with our community. Here are some moments from our week together.

On the first morning of spring break, I brought out some canvases and watched as the girls painted with acrylics. They worked for such a long time on their paintings.

My oldest daughter wanted to do a clean up of our neighbourhood. So I bundled the girls up and we went outside for a walk to pick up trash. We gathered one full bag of litter from our community.

My youngest recently got a new pair of rubber boots. She has been wearing them often, even while riding a tricycle, through the living room, in her pajamas. She can now pedal the bike all by herself.

One morning, my oldest daughter told me she wanted to surprise me... "the queen of our house". She told me to stay in my room and to come down when she called me. She intermittently appeared to ask me things like, if I could help her and her sister get dressed in their fancy princess dresses. Then she showed up to ask me how long she should microwave chicken nuggets for and what do queens like to drink?

When it was finally time for the surprise to be revealed this was the scene I beheld. My daughters (the princesses) had made lunch for their "queen".

There's always something for us to learn and explore.

My oldest daughter has been working hard to sell her Girl Guide cookies. We went on a family walk, and knocked on doors, eagerly asking people to buy these yummy treats.

It was a lovely week. I find some comfort in our return to routine. School is back in session and our schedule is once again on track. However, the time off has reminded me to keep the whimsy, the joy, and the spontaneity of our spring break. The time off reminded me once again how learning happens through the little things of living life in your community and exploring our world with the ones you love.

Wishing you a lovely day.

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