Friday, November 30, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 30

Today I am glad that the daily blog entries are officially over.  Although I have many things to be thankful for each day, they are sometimes a repeat of something else I've already blogged about so coming up with a "new" idea has been hard.

I've also found that my readership has waned over the last week or so which makes me think my readers are feeling that it's a bit mundane.   Good news!  I'm going to take a few days off and when I come back it will be with something new and fun and interesting (I hope).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 29

I don't have an alarm clock next to my bed, so I bring my cell phone into my room each night (that way I can also make an emergency call without getting it from somewhere in the house in the middle of the night if needed).  Anyway, one of the first things I do before even getting out of bed is to roll over, check the time on my phone and check email. 

So this morning, the email at the top of my lengthy list of new messages was a signed contract back from a seller.  I was expecting this contract to come back; we'd come to a verbal agreement so that's not what surprised me.  What surprised me was how quickly it came back.  I wasn't expecting it till next week.  So this morning I am thankful to wake up to a new contract waiting in my inbox. That means that I currently have 5 contracts that I'm working on. 

Another thing to be thankful for?  These 5 contracts are set to close in such a way that for the next few months I think our bills will be covered just in time if not a little early.  I love to see how God provides, don't you?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 28

Today I am thankful that knitting is a lot like riding a bike.  It's been a LONG time since I picked up the knitting needles but I did so again last night and I made some serious progress on a project I want to finish before Saturday.  Although I have a self-imposed deadline I also find it a bit relaxing (another plus).

I'm also thankful that a friend of mine introduced me to a website that has videos that help me when I forget how to do something... very useful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 27

Today I am thankful for my parents and the example they have set for me.  You see, today is their 38th wedding anniversary.  38 years ago, they were married in blue jeans and turtle necks, at sunset on a beach not too far from where I am living right now.  38 years... by today's standards that's rare.

My parents decided long ago to weather the storms of life together.  To say things haven't always been easy for them would be an understatement, but rather than play the blame game, rather than run away to where the grass seemed greener, they've stuck together and come out on the other side, together.  And as a stronger couple and even as stronger individuals in my opinion.

I love you both!  Happy Anniversary!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 26

Today I am thankful for "girl time" as my daughter likes to call it.  I had a little grocery shopping to do today and my daughter went with me while my son stayed home.  We got to talk, do some math (aisle numbers, estimating how many things we are buying, etc), and just be girls.  It was nice and I look forward to doing it again.

Gratitude Challenge - Day 25

Yesterday (yep, I'm a day late), I was thankful for the help of a colleague.  I had some concerns and she was able to alleviate them.  This colleague is also the reason I decided to go into real estate and she's also the reason I am working for such an awesome company (RE/MAX doesn't usually hire new Realtors).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 24

Today I am thankful for my yard.  Today I walked around my yard and there are 3 trees with oranges on them and a banana plant that has ripe bananas on it and another that is about to start to grow some bananas.  I also have 10 pineapple plants (none have a fruit yet), but it's a step in the right direction.

I can't wait till we can get our garden going.  I love having a space big enough to enjoy such things.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 23

Today I am thankful for technology.  So far it's:

  • allowed me to get some work done all from the comfort of my home (while in my PJ's and slippers too)
  • entertained my children while I was getting said work done
  • helped my children learn things they didn't already know (yeah for Netflix and Youtube!)
  • allowed me to talk to my little brother on the phone for almost an hour (we've both been very busy so it was long-overdue and we had lots to catch up on)
  • Add to that, modern conveniences such as a stove rather than an open fire, a dishwasher rather than doing everything by hand, and a washer and dryer so again I don't have to do it by hand and technology has been very good to me today.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 22

Today I am thankful for peer pressure.  Last weekend my family was on a camping trip with other homeschoolers.  While we were there, I had a few of the other families convince my hubby that we should go to Busch Gardens for Thanksgiving.  Since the other families were already planning on going and had gone last year, he was easily swayed.

Can't go to Busch Garden's without seeing animals.
Peer pressure was at work even further today because my daughter's friend convinced her to ride things she'd never ridden before. 


No my daughter didn't ride this, but the boys were on this coaster when I took the picture.

A good time was had by the entire family.  Add to that the fact that I didn't have to cook or clean any dishes except those from breakfast and I had a terrific day!

Lunch I didn't prepare + a Christmas show = priceless



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 21

Today I am thankful for a rather slow day, that was still productive.  After 13 hours of going non-stop yesterday and a very busy afternoon the day before that, it was nice to have a much more leisurely day.

Don't get me wrong, doing my weekly grocery shopping the day before Thanksgiving was not my brightest idea, but there were quite a few things I needed that go off sale after today.  And boy am I looking forward to poppy seed cake and pumpkin roll made from ingredients that were all on sale.  It's not like I didn't intend to do my shopping earlier in the week, I was just really busy showing houses. 

It also warmed my heart to watch my daughter give coupons to people shopping in the store (I knew I wouldn't be able to use them before they expired).  Not only did it surprise and make the people happy, but it was nice to see my daughter come out of her shell and not be so shy.

Oh, and I found out this evening that one of the offers I wrote up from those showings was accepted today so it was totally worth it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 20

Today I am thankful for others who've gone before me and found ways to help my family save money. 

In particular I'm thankful for www.TrueCouponing.com who is responsible for helping me cut my grocery bills by about half over the last few months.  I'm still getting the same amount of food, I've just learned how to do it for less.  They've also allowed me to donate free or inexpensive items without feeling like I'm putting a strain on the family budget.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 19

Today I am thankful for my car.  We bought the Fiat a little over a year ago.  The idea was that it would allow us to save money because at the time our only other vehicle was a Ford F350 diesel pick up truck.

Needless to say, that decision was God ordained.  After driving 150 miles today for work it became more evident that although my car can't necessarily fit my clients in the car it's ok.  I've had 1 client complain but my wallet isn't complaining like it could be.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 18

Today I am thankful for homeschooling friends.  Although I started my homeschool journey in Ohio and then moved it to Virginia for a while, it wasn't till I moved to Florida till I realized what it truly means to be part of a homeschool community.

Yes, everyone who homeschools is part of a community.  How can you not be, when you all have something so basic in common?  The way it's been different for me in Florida is because my family has numerous opportunities to participate in various activities with other homeschoolers.  We've gone on field trips and we've participated in co-op classes (and even helped teach them).  This weekend, we went on a camping trip with other homeschoolers and we've also been invited to spend the day with some of them on Thanksgiving. 

This weekend has meant so much to my family.  There is nothing like a camping trip to get your kids to come out of their shell and actually get to know other people.  Hey, it even got my husband out of his shell a little. 

Did I mention, hubby was the one who really thought we should go on this trip?  I was reluctant because I was afraid work would call me away.   And I was gone for 6 hours on Saturday, but you know what... they had a great time without me and it made me appreciate the time I was there even more.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 17

Today I am thankful for my church and my small group in particular.  We recently started attending a small group at our church.  We felt that was necessary since there are 3 church services each weekend and it's kind of hard to connect with people. 

Today I got to participate in an outreach our church did and I LOVE the fact that they even consider such things but also that they pulled it off quite well (at least from what I could tell).  You see, each small group was responsible for one small part of what they called a "Free family fun day" at a local high school.  Different groups set up various carnival games, gave away hot dogs and cotton candy and then inside my group gave away gently used tennis shoes and jeans. 

Considering the area we were in, it was very needed and you could tell by how the families reacted when they found out there was free clothing (they were not told about that part in advance).  Not only was it wonderful to see a small need meet for some of these families but it gave me an opportunity to get to know some of the people in our small group just a little bit better and it was fun.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gratitued Challenge - Day 16

Today I am thankful for my long-time friends.  I don't have many of them, maybe 4 that I know from high school and early college age that I still stay in contact with.  Today one of them in particular comes to mind because tomorrow is the last day of a hard-earned fight.  Tomorrow is the last day of J's college classes to get her bachelor's degree. 

This is a BIG deal.  A HUGE deal in fact, and I am very proud of her.  You see, J has been working on this degree for many years.  As someone who took 10 years to get her bachelor's degree I know how hard it can be.  There were many days I asked myself why I was putting myself through all the effort, through all the sleep deprived nights so I could get something finished in time. 

The last 2 years of my degree I was a stay at home mom with one small child.  J has been working on her degree while holding down a full-time job (where she is a supervisor which means she doesn't get to have 9 - 5 hours), being a hands-on mother, and a supporting wife.

She truly is an inspiration.  And I want to take this time to thank her for her friendship.  To thank her for the inspiration to never give up.  And to invite her to visit as soon as she can so that she can relax and get warm, but also so we can catch up.

Love you J!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 15

Today I am thankful for my extended family. 

My parent's have been such an example to me over the years and they continue to do so.  They listen when I need to complain, they give advice when that is needed, and of course they show me love on a regular basis even though we are many miles apart.

Although my little brother started out as a bit of a pain (he is 10 years younger ya'll) we have grown closer in recent years.  It's been fun for me to watch him grow as a person as he realizes his passion and follows it.  Again, what an example.

My grandparents have all passed away, but my husband still has one set of grandparents.  Not only are they a wonderful example of a lasting marriage (they've been married for 60+ years), but they are a wonderful example of praying without ceasing.  I KNOW for a fact, they pray for us every day and it is felt by us.

My husband's parents have been a good example to us of working hard.  Although both of them don't need to work, they have both held jobs for many of the years since my husband entered college.  Part of this was to avoid boredom, but also to help others (my mother-in-law is a nurse), as well as be able to save up for retirement.  Although they have not retired yet, they do have the ability to visit us on a somewhat regular basis (which is good because we find it hard to get to them).  In fact, they are coming in a few weeks and we are looking forward to their visit.

Although my brother-in-law and his wife are relatively new parents, they have shown me the importance of not only working hard, but of having a good time.  A good time as a family, as a couple, and as an individual.

And for the rest of you... my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.  I love you all too and yes I have learned things from you as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 14

Today I am thankful for Craig's List and it's ability to help us make progress on our house.  Yesterday, we picked up a few pieces of furnture that help us complete the set for our master bedroom.  Less than a week ago we were sleeping on a mattress directly on the floor.  Now we have this.

Headboard, night stand, & dresser were purchased off Craig's List.

The dresser and trunk in the corner of this picture were left by the previous owner.
Including the mattress, sheets, dressers, etc...we furnished our bedroom for less thank $200.  I do plan on upgrading our curtains soon but that shouldn't add that much more.  Perhaps another Craig's List purchase in the making?

We've also found tile for our hallway on Craig's List.  It's too bad Craig's List can't help us find extra time in our schedule to get more things done, like getting said tile installed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 13

Today I am thankful that I found a temporary job doing bookkeeping while I waited for my real estate work to pick up.  Today I stepped away from the bookkeeping work because that real estate work is keeping me very busy. 

I'm also thankful they were been able to find a replacement who I got to work with today.  My job over the last few months has been to get them to where they are today.  My replacement is going to take them where God wants them next.   I think he will do a wonderful job.

God brought me the income when I needed it (and my services when they needed it) and now someone new has come along when it was needed.  God's timing is awesome!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 12

Today I am happy for warmer weather.  For the last few days we were getting down into the 40's or 50's at night.  That has made for some chilly mornings when I wake up.  You see, my bedroom is over a crawlspace and we have pergo floors.  Brrrr....  And until Saturday we were sleeping on a mattress directly on the floor (see pic for old bed vs. new bed).



I suppose I shouldn't complain since if we were still in Virginia the highs there are what my lows in Florida have been.

I was also able to enjoy the weather today while "studying" math today with my kids in the lanai.  Ah, the joys of homeschooling.


Homeschooling Help - Yippy!

As my regular readers know, my family is homeschooling.  We have done everything in our power to make it seem more like fun and less like work (very important when they are younger).  That is why I am so excited about an opportunity I was recently given.

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gratitude Chalenge - Day 11

Today I am thankful for all those who have or are serving our military.  I have numerous family members and friends who served in the military and I am very proud of them for their service.  It takes a special kind of person to serve their country and put themselves in harms way for complete strangers.

And for those who've paid the ultimate sacrifice: Thank you and I love you too.

John 15: 13  "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 10

Today I am thankful for yard sales.  Recycling at it's finest.  Last weekend we were able to sell some stuff we didn't use, and today we went and bought things we needed at a greatly reduced price. 

My favorite find for the day?  A practically pristine King size mattress, with box springs, and frame... all for the low, low price of $10.  When we found it we were in our Fiat so of course we thought about strapping everything to the roof (for like a second - cause it would be funny to see). 

So we went back home, got the truck and went back to pick up the mattress set.  Have you ever tried fitting 2 twin box springs and a king sized mattress into a truck with a topper?  It doesn't work.  So we had to strap the mattress to the roof of the topper.  Unfortunately, we were short on bungees and tie downs so we pieced together 3 small ones to make one large enough to reach across the mattress and the top of our truck.  The place where we found the mattress was only 1.5 miles or so from our house and the speed limit was never over 40mph so we figured we'd be ok.

WRONG!

About half way there, the middle bungee snapped and the mattress skittered off the back of the truck in the middle of a 4-lane road.  Luckily there was no one right behind us and we were able to stop the truck and get the mattress out of the road before someone ran over it.  We were eventually able to get everything home but needless to say, our mattress is no longer practically pristine.  Now it has scuffs and rips that I will be sewing closed tonight after the kids are in bed.  But hey, it's all good.  We only paid $10 for it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 9

Today I am thankful for the freedom and ability to homeschool my children.  That and the fact that my husband is willing, able, and quite good at helping out in this reguard.

Tonight, my daughter and son both read to me and it warms my heart to see them improving.  My kids have also been happily working on their writing and math.  It's nice to get my husband's help with coming up with different methods of getting these things accomplished.  Sometimes a change is just what the doctor teacher ordered.

The ability to watch my kids grow, at their own pace, and while learning about what they want and not what others think they should know, is priceless.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 8

Today I am thankful for my families love of animals.  I have always been an animal lover.  I even thought about becoming a vet at one point (till I thought of the fact that some of my patients might die - I just couldn't handle the thought of that at the young age of 18).  To see that my family is just as enamored with furry little critters makes me smile.

That and seeing cute little faces like these.


Meet our newest foster kittens: 
Mork & Mindy 
(note: they came to us named)

They were found with their mother (a stray) so needless to say they are quite shy considering they haven't had much human interaction.  After being in our charge for only 24-hours they are already opening up to us.  Looking forward to some good cuddles from these 2 in the very near future.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 7

My job.  It truly is a gift from God. 

It came out of necessity, but the way I got this job is a testament to how God works.  I was flipping through Craig's List looking for jobs that would allow me some flexibility and I came across an add for a class to become a Realtor.  I had thought about it in the past, but hadn't thought about it in a while.  I then decided to ask the agent who had helped us buy our house for advice on who to take the class from and what other things I might do to prepare myself for a life of real estate.

She asked me to come in to her office to talk to her and her partner.  I was still thinking I was just going to get some advice, but I left with a job offer!  I hadn't even taken the class or passed the test.  That was a little over 4 months ago.

Things haven't always been smooth, but I can honestly say I am enjoying my job;  so far it is not only supplying for my family's needs, but it's allowed my husband to spend time with our kids (which they are all really enjoying).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grattitude Challenge - Day 5

Today I am thankful for my house. 

After traveling around the county I live in looking at 5 different homes today, I am very grateful that I have the home I do.  Yes it needs some work, and in one case probably less than one of the homes I saw today.  That said, I love where we are located.  I love how much land we have.  And I am so thankful we were able to buy it all.   If we were to try to get the house today, we probably would not get bank approval.

God's timing is AWESOME!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Grattitude Challenge - Day 4

Today's grateful will also be a summary of the last couple days.

Today I am grateful for my children.

Are they perfect?  No.  But neither am I.  I guess that's where they get it from.  :-)

The last couple days, my family has had a yard sale where we are trying to get rid of (and make a little money doing it) the stuff the previous owner left in the house when she moved out.  The kids have been real troopers helping us sort through things, set things out, and move things (on two different days no less).  It has also meant a strange sleep and meal schedule for the family for the last couple days.  Yet, my kids haven't complained.

To top all that off, yesterday started out pretty rough.  We "opened" at 9:30 but didn't get our first customer till 11.  That is so out of the ordinary for where we used to live in VA.  In fact, in VA we would have had people trying to come into our yard at 7AM (even though signs said 9) hoping they could score a deal as we were setting everything up.  With all the disappointment that this could have brought, my kids handled it surprisingly well.  Needless to say we didn't make that much money yesterday.  After the yard sale, I went to show a house to someone and I had 30 minutes to get ready to go to church and write an offer on the house I'd just seen.  My kids were instrumental in making sure we were only a couple minutes late to church rather than very late.

Today, we set up our signs in a few different places and considering where we live we had quite the stream of people.  We also got to meet most of our neighbors for the first time which was nice.  While all of this was going on, my kids were not only excited (they sold a few of their old toys), but they were very helpful when needed (for example when one family came in and bought 3 tables worth of Christmas decorations all at once and we needed to get everything boxed up).

Needless to say, the last couple days have shown what my kids are made of, and I really like what I see.  One proud Mama here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Grattitude Challenge - Day 3

My husband.

He is smart.  He makes me laugh.  He lives up to his nickname (for those that don't know it - MacGyver) which I think it very sexy.   He is becoming quite the chef.  And I love how hard he works to make money and or to help around the house.

He is just plain awesome! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 2

God's care and provision in my life.

Although my life has not always been easy I can honestly say I have always been able to see God's presence in my life.  Perhaps not during the trial I was facing (my fault for not looking hard enough) but certainly when it was all over.

Today was another example of that.  Today I meet with my tough client for the inspection of their hopefully new house.  Things went well so we are certainly moving forward.   Hopefully I will have money to buy some Christmas presents soon.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 1

Health. 

Today my son had his annual check up and my daughter had hers last week.  It was confirmed by their new doctor that they are both tall and thin and healthy.

These trips to the doctor also reminded me that this time last year we were dealing with a recurring illness for my daughter which I think we have finally been able to defeat.  It took a lot of research and a physician who would listen, but I think we are on the up side.