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While reading the popular novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I knew I would want to create my own version of the potato peel pie. While it’s not the exact same pie that is depicted in the novel, I’m excited to share that my version turned out to be a delicious breakfast or brunch potato “peel” pie that you can serve to your family any time of the year! 

When Simply Potatoes® recently contacted me and asked if I would create an unique potato recipe for my readers, I hopped at the opportunity to try my hand at a quick and easy potato peel pie. 

You see, I had recently begun reading (and loving!) the novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I had already starting thinking about what a fun project it would be to make a potato peel pie.

But my search for potato peel pie recipes online turned up void. There was next to nothing available, and what was out there called for ingredients that my family either couldn’t eat (gluten), or they were admittedly tasteless and more complicated than they were worth.

Instead of getting disappointed, I was determined to figure out my own potato peel pie recipe that I could share with my family and friends.

I figured that I would be able to share about the novel each time I served this dish, which would make it even more fun to share!

So here’s the deal: I did some research, and a potato peel pie was a real dish back in the World War II era. Back during the war, food was rationed, so people were super limited in what ingredients they had to use to develop recipes.

The classic potato peel pie is made of potatoes, potato peels for the crust, a beet, and a teeny tiny bit of milk.

But we don’t live in the World War II era. Hence, we can make our potato peel pie fit the bill of the original–but make it oh.so.much.more.tasty (which remembering the World War II era and those who fought to survive with gratefulness and thanksgiving all the same).

With that said, my potato peel pie recipe is rich with ingredients like half and half, butter, onion, and even a little bit of cheese. Yet, by using the Simply Potatoes shredded hash browns (which are always fresh and never frozen), you can whip it up fairly quickly. 

Since this recipe requires no peeling or shredding, it can serve as both a satisfying and fast dish for any occasion!

While I think it would be over-the-moon exciting to host a book club brunch around The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—and serve this as the main dish, there is absolutely no reason why this potato peel pie can’t become a staple in your family’s breakfast or brunch line-up. 

I served it to my kids yesterday, and they devoured it!

Without further ado, check out my recipe for Potato Peel Pie. 

Potato Peel Pie Ingredients
  • 1.5 packages (30 ounces total) Simply Potatoes hash browns
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread 1/2 package of Simply Potatoes hash browns in the bottom of a greased 9-in. pie plate to make a crust.
  3. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F.
  4. Make the pie filling by combining the rest of the hash browns, half and half, butter, onion, and seasonings in a sauce pan. Stir until butter is melted and everything is well combined.
  5. Spread filling on top of the pie crust.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the pie with parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 1 hour on 350 degrees F. or until top if fully browned.


Want to WIN some FREE Simply Potatoes?!
Enter by:
  1. Click to the Simply Potatoes site here.* 
  2. Browse the different products for a few seconds.
  3. Come back and tell me which product you want to try the most! 
  4. Simply leave a comment with the answer to “What is your favorite potato dish?” & how you will the Simply Potatoes you win in it, and you will be entered in the giveaway! 

*Note: You must click to the site to quickly browse the Simply Potatoes to be entered to win! Winners will be announced on March 23!

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cooked Perfect® Meatballs. All opinions are 100% mine.

You’re going to be able to whip up this easy barbecue meatball recipe in no time. Whether it’s for a party, an easy weeknight dinner for your family, or to celebrate National Meatball Day, you’ll want to add these meatballs to your recipe rotation! 

I don’t know about you, but my kids love meatballs. I recently discovered that March 9 is National Meatball Day (who knew there was such a thing!), so I thought it would be the perfect occasion to share our super easy barbecue meatball recipe.

Y’all: This recipe is just about the easiest appetizer (or light dinner) you could ever make. We recently served them as the main dish for our guests at my son’s first birthday party. Kids and adults alike devoured them!

In fact, our own kids didn’t get to eat any meatballs that day! We had told them that they needed to let our guests eat first, and by the time we gave them the go-ahead to grab some barbecue meatballs for themselves, they were all gone!

(Don’t worry: I made them some more meatballs to eat the very next day!)

Ready for this easy barbecue meatball recipe? It’s seriously so fast, simple, and easy that you might blink and miss it!

Easy Barbecue Meatball Recipe Ingredients
  • 2 packages Homestyle Cooked Perfect® Meatballs* (available in your grocer’s freezer aisle)
  • 3, 12-ounce bottles barbecue sauce of choice
*Save $1.00 on Cooked Perfect Meatballs! 

Place meatballs in slow cooker and drench in barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 3 hours. Alternately, you can simply place the meatballs and sauce in a stock pot or large sauce pan and cook on medium for 25 minutes. Enjoy your meatballs!

We threw a Superman-themed first birthday party for my son, and we called the meatballs “Meteorites.” They were the hit of the party!

While I like to cook from scratch, I’m also thankful for healthy convenience foods for busy seasons with four kids (and let’s be honest: It feels busier and busier the older they get!).

Along with the Homestyle Cooked Perfect Meatballs, my kids have also enjoyed the All Natural Italian Style with spaghetti, and I personally love the Turkey and Chicken Cooked Perfect Meatballs.

Every variety is crafted using select meats, real cheeses, and savory herbs then flame broiled to sear in the flavor. It makes dinnertime on busy nights oh-so-seamless to have these ready to go in my back pocket (or, literally, in my freezer)! (It’s also cheaper and faster to cook these than to call for a pizza delivery!)

Want to try some Cooked Perfect Meatballs? Save $1.00 on Cooked Perfect MeatballsBrowse more meatball recipes.

Do your kids like eating meatballs? Had you ever heard of National Meatball Day before? What’s your favorite meatball recipe? Have you ever tried an easy barbecue meatball recipe before?

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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Drinking my dairy-free bulletproof coffee the first thing each morning is a great way to boost your metabolism and protein right from the start of the day! This recipe for protein-packed, dairy-free bulletproof coffee is fast, easy, and packs a nutritional punch. 

Bulletproof coffee has been all the rage the past several years, and for good reason: It’s an incredibly easy way to fit in good fats and proteins at the start of each day.

I started drinking a dairy-free version of bulletproof coffee several years ago, when I was following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.

I’ve since ebbed and flow in following the plan (hello: I might have indulged a little too much during my most recent pregnancy!), but one thing I’ve kept up is the habit of drinking dairy-free bullet proof coffee each morning.

Traditional bullet proof coffee calls for blending butter with coffee, but I had to go dairy-free when I was nursing my third child. Since then, I’ve added dairy back into my diet (Hallelujah! My 4th child does not appear to be sensitive to dairy!), but I still limit it since I think the Standard American Diet is a little too dairy heavy.

I simply replace the fat in my dairy-free bulletproof coffee with virgin coconut oil. This gives the coffee a naturally sweet flavor. As well, I add a splash or two of a dairy-free nut milk to my coffee. To boost the protein content, I add a scoop or two of collagen. If I want the coffee a bit sweeter, I will add either a few sprinkles of stevia or just use a sweetened nut milk.

It’s as easy as that!

Want a specific recipe to follow for my protein-packed, dairy-free bulletproof coffee? Check it out below!

Protein-Packed, Dairy Free Bulletproof Coffee Ingredients
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1-2 scoops collagen
  • 1-2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil*
  • splash of nut milk (Target carries So Delicious Dairy Free in several varieties.)
  • stevia to taste

*If you do not like the taste of coconut oil, switch out the virgin coconut oil for a refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil is not quiet as healthful, but it is flavorless.


Blend all ingredients in a blender for 10 to 15 seconds. Serve immediately.

Where to find the ingredients:

I use the ingredients for this bulletproof coffee for a variety of recipes in my home, but I realize that they are not necessarily things that you might already have on hand. I get my coconut oil, collagen, and stevia online, but nut milks are now readily available in pretty much every mainstream supermarket or big box store. Target has a HUGE variety of non-dairy milks (see my image above for proof of that!).

Right now, from 2/18/18-3/17/18, you can get 20% off So Delicious Dairy Free nut milks at Target via the Cartwheel app! Woo hoo!! Check out the So Delicious Dairy Free store finder here, to see if your local Target carries the milks.

Have you ever tried bulletproof coffee? Try your hand at making this protein-packed, dairy-free bulletproof coffee, and let me know what you think!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of So Delicious Dairy Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
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He was five years old living in extreme poverty in rural Mexico. His mom struggled to take care of him and his siblings since his dad was in prison (and would be in and out of jail most of his life).

Martin was doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and lead a life of drugs and crime. No one thought he would amount to anything other than “un delincuente” (a delinquent). No one invested in or cared about a little boy who would probably end up in juvi. No one gave him the time of day or thought he was worth the effort.

All that would change with a simple shoebox and a handwritten note. 

After being invited to a children’s event, Martin received a gift that would forever alter his life and its course.

At this event, Martin received his first Operation Christmas Child shoebox. And while the toys and supplies inside were a blessing, the greatest impact came from a simple note that read, “God loves you and has a plan for your life.”

Through the struggles and challenges of life, Martin always returned to that note and the promise that God was working all things together for good.

Even through his father’s murder and his mother’s heart attack (where her heart stopped for 2 minutes), Martin clung to the hope he had found as a child.

Now, Martin is 26 years old and was taken under the wing of a local pastor as a father figure. He is training to plant a church in an area that has none. His hope and desire is to impact lives through God’s love just as his was transformed through a simple shoebox.

A Simple Shoebox

It was through the gift of a simple shoebox that the trajectory of Martin’s life changed. Martin needed love and guidance as do thousands of other kids around the world.

If you are unfamiliar with, Operation Christmas Child, it is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse that organizes a shoebox collection each Christmas season.

Families from all over the United States, Canada, and other countries are asked to fill shoeboxes with toys, toiletries, and school supplies. The ministry then delivers the shoeboxes to children all over the world all year long!

Provision Through a Shoebox

Time after time I have heard story upon story of how a simple shoebox has not only permanently changed the life of a child but has met smaller needs as well.

One such story unfolded in one of the events we were blessed to attend.

A 8-year-old little boy opened his shoebox, and out of all the items in the box – the toys, the school supplies, etc. – he was most excited about a pair of socks.

Ivan later told us that his dad worked in a supermarket nearby and that he was going to go to work with him to earn money for socks because there was no money for new ones.

As he opened the box and saw the socks, his face lit up over such a small thing that many might often take for granted.

Ivan saw God’s provision in a tangible way through a simple shoebox.

The Shoebox Process

These simple shoeboxes are collected a various local collection centers around the country. Churches, community centers, schools, and businesses all receive the shoeboxes, and those boxes are then delivered to a regional processing center. (Note: These collection locations do NOT open the boxes. They merely gather them to be delivered to a processing center.)

At the processing center, the contents of the boxes are inspected by volunteers, and they are taped shut and crated for shipment to other countries.

After getting through customs, the director for that country or area (a national volunteer of the country) distributes the boxes to regional leaders (also national volunteers). These regional leaders then work with district leaders to determine where the boxes should go.

All of these leaders are trained on how to hold events and what should happen at these events, including talking through Bible stories and handing out the shoeboxes.

Any church or ministry interested obtaining boxes goes through an interview process to ensure that the boxes will used properly to spread the love of Jesus Christ.

The churches then hold children’s events that they invite local children to attend. The children are not supposed to be told of the boxes beforehand. The events include games, songs, dramas, and a Gospel presentation. At the end of the event, the boxes are distributed to the children by the church members.

* Note: Due to time spent in the collection centers as well as the efforts it takes to get boxes through customs and then distribute them to leaders across the country, some of the boxes may not be distributed for months after they are packed. As such it is important to consider what is packed and how

My Experience and Takeaways

I (Will) recently had a chance to travel to Mexico to see how the shoeboxes are distributed once they leave the U.S. and arrive in other countries. People from the U.S. are usually not involved in distributing shoeboxes, but there are a couple of influencer trips that are taken each year where OCC invites a few people to experience the work that goes on.

Erin and I have packed shoeboxes for years, even during our newlywed days when we were struggling financially. As the years have passed, we have learned more about the boxes and how to pack them.

It was very interesting to me to see the final destination of the boxes and the distribution process. There were 5 main things that I learned on this trip.

1) Using Locals

One of the things that I love the most is that OCC uses nationals in volunteer roles to distribute the boxes throughout the country.

These locals know the language and the culture better than anyone, and they are keenly aware of the struggles of the people around them. It is not that people from the U.S. are coming in to save the day.

Typically, there are not even any foreigners present at the distributions except during these influencer trips so we see how the process works and share our stories.

These people are not paid and do all of this on their spare time while still working other jobs.

2) Event Location

We participated in 4 different events all at different locations. It was plainly obvious that they will use whatever space is available to reach out to these poverty-stricken communities.

One event we attended took place in an alley. Another was in a home, and a third was in a one room building that was packed from wall to wall with standing room only. I heard other stories from other groups that sat under trees or used a carport to host the children.

It just struck me that the ingenuity and flexible to use the resources that were available to them. It didn’t matter. They just made it work.

And the kids come dressed in the best clothes they have available to them. They all live in poverty and some of them come in school uniforms (even on a day when there was no school) because that is the best they have.

3) Training

Each of the events follow a very similar pattern. The churches or ministries have autonomy to interpret those things differently, but they are all comprised of the same elements.

The pieces of the event are designed to be fun for the kids and create more of a festive atmosphere. It’s not just someone up front talking to the kids. There are songs, games, dramas, stories, etc.

All of the regional and district leaders receive this training, and then those leaders train the local churches and ministries on how to plan and put on the event.

The materials are very specific and even talk about how to plan seating, etc. Granted, this is also flexible depending on the culture and space, but the principal idea is still there.

Many of the youth played major roles in these events…from leading to participating in dramas. They were active members of the project.

One of aspect that I was not aware of is that when the kids are invited to these events, they are not told about the shoeboxes. They are invited to a fun children’s event, and the shoeboxes are just a surprise. It doesn’t always work out that way, but that is the general idea.

4) Innovating

OCC is constantly looking for new ways to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the children and adults they serve.

I noticed at least 3 ways they are doing this:

  • Plastic shoeboxes – Over the last few years, many people have used plastic shoeboxes instead of the cardboard ones provided by OCC. This provides the family with a container that they may not have ad access to otherwise. The problem is that many of these boxes crack or break before they reach the child because of the shipping process and the extreme changes in temperature. As such, OCC has worked with Home Products International to develop a plastic box that will withstand the challenges and arrive intact to the child.
  • Technology – We live in a digital age, and technology is just a part of our world. OCC is finding ways to make technology work for their mission. They are currently developing a new app to deliver the message using a fun, specialized approach.
  • Conversations – As I spoke with several of the OCC team members, we had some positive but tough conversations about the work being done. I love that the OCC team is not afraid of having these discussions that move things forward and work out issues to spread the messages more authentically yet effectively.
5) Good News

The shoeboxes themselves are great gift for the kids, but they are not the end of the story. They are really just a doorway into their lives to meet physical needs. Meeting the spiritual needs comes in three forms with these events.

First of all, the children are told Bible stories that are presented with a drama during the event. The stories and the drama all present the Good News of the Gospel very plainly to the kids.

Secondly, each child is given a comic book title “The Greatest Gift” written in their language with pictures and words they can easily understand to explain the message of God’s love.

The booklet teaches the children about the greatest gift we can receive in Jesus Christ and the gift He has given us. The shoebox is a nice gift, but it pales in comparison to the real gift.

In addition, many of the children will also participate in a follow up discipleship class called The Greatest Journey.

This is a 12-lesson course that works them through the basic theme of the Bible. Halfway through the class, the children are presented with the Gospel and are then lead to grow in their faith.

I walked away from this weekend with a much better understanding of the earthly and eternal impact a simple shoebox can have on the life of child. It’s not just a simple shoebox but a powerful message contained within a heartfelt gift.

Have you ever packed a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child? Share your story in the comments.

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
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Back in December, I declared 2018 to be my year of healing.

I’ve been giving myself a word for the year since 2015, and I’ve found it a fruitful and focused way to intentionally navigate each year.

Designating a word for each year helps shape what I read and how I spend my time.

My "One Word" is....

Use the bubble map below to help you define what you hope that word will look like in your life this year. Start by writing your “one word” in the middle of the map and show how it will spread to all aspects of your life.

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In 2015, my word was boundaries.

I faced boundary challenges in relationships like never before that year. Sadly, I didn’t even read the book Boundaries until January of this year, as boundaries are still something I struggle with to this day.

In 2016, my word was discipline.

This word manifested mostly in me being more disciplined with my eating habits and exercise, as I intentionally focused on eating the Trim Healthy Mama way during the first half of the year–and incorporating gentle exercise through Fit2B into my daily routine. I also focused on getting a good amount of sleep each night.

The result of this discipline is that I felt better than ever, got pregnant (even when we had been told it was no longer possible), and I was somehow, miraculously disciplined enough to write the manuscript for my first book during that year.

In 2017, my word was savor.

This word came to me at the end of 2016, after we had begun preparing our home for our new baby boy. When I looked over at the bassinet just waiting to be filled, the word “savor” immediately popped into my head. I knew that the Lord wanted me to savor my son’s first year.

We knew that, most likely, he would be our last child. Our family went through many struggles during our daughters’ newborn days, and I wanted to really savor this last time of having a baby.

And savor I did. I got less work done than any other year in 2017 (I mean–writing a second book and launching the first book definitely kept me busy, but I stopped running on the hamster wheel of blogging so much), but I can say with 100% certainty that I savored the year.

It wasn’t without resistance, though. We spent the first half of the year going from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment and therapy appointment to therapy appointment as both Baby Boy and I had injuries from the childbirth.

But when things became frantic, I was able to stop, breathe, pray, and savor all of God’s blessings around me–our new son, our 3 daughters, our home, and God’s provision for all of our needs.

Back to my 2018 word: Healing.

When I look back at 2017, I accomplished savoring to a T, but the year was also extremely stressful. Most of those stressful events and circumstances were outside of my control, but late in the year I realized that I was starting to feel burnt out again–perhaps even sinking back into adrenal fatigue.

I needed to re-focus on taking care of myself.

Busy wives, moms, and homemakers are notorious for neglecting themselves, and I’m no different.

When it comes to self-care and healing, it can feel like we’re up against an uphill battle. At least I know that’s how it’s felt for me in the past–and especially here lately.

For 2018, I’m seeking healing in a variety of areas of my life:

Healing in my Marriage: As I recount in my memoir, More Than Just Making It , my husband and I have been through intense marriage crisis in the past. At the time, we had very little money to pour into counseling. When our financial situation turned around, we made the excuse that we were “too busy” for counseling.

We now know that we will never not be “busy” in some way. If we want to find healing in our marriage, we have to make time to do the work. So in late 2017, we began marriage counseling.

Healing in my Physical Health: Without going into too many details, I’ve had some symptoms of hormonal imbalances since our son was born. I also have a strong family history of diabetes and cancer (my father and sister have diabetes and my mom had ovarian cancer).

I don’t feel like these are things I can ignore, so I’ve been taking steps to be very proactive in both healing and prevention. I’m seeing both my general practitioner who is a holistically-minded MD as well as a naturopath. When I feel like something is off, I don’t hesitate to seek out advice.

(And please do not take offense to this, but do not take this information as your sign to email me about a supplement you are taking that has “changed your life.” I am working with highly-educated professional healthcare providers who have done testing and know my entire history and have made a customized wellness plan for me.)

I also see emotional and spiritual healing as a HUGE part of the physical healing. I don’t think we can separate them from each other! With that said, the aforementioned counseling will also helping with healing in these areas–as will specific books I am reading.

Healing for my Business: Ok, so this one might sound strange. How do you find healing in your…business? And what is my business?

My business is this blog, and in the midst of my savoring of 2017, I cut way back in this space. Really, I spent time writing my books. But I also cut out contributing writers and did the bare minimum to keep the blog afloat while I focused on my son’s first year, part-time homeschooling my older children, running my home, and writing my books.

I’ve witnessed a sea of bloggers who began their sites around the same time or shortly before I did begin quitting or selling their blogs. I don’t want to do that. So I’m currently working with a business coach to learn how I can bring “healing” to The Humbled Homemaker–ways in which I can truly encourage you and point you to grace-filled, overwhelmed-less living in your own life–without neglecting my family or burning myself out.

If you’re looking for healing of any sort of 2018, I’m excited for you join us here in this space. Since 2011, my heart for this blog has been to encourage women to live a grace-filled life. No guilt, no shame.

Just come as you are, and we can learn together to overcome overwhelm and cultivate a grace-filled, natural life.

It’s not too late to discover your “one word” for this year. Sign up for my newsletter in the form below, and I’ll send you my free, one word printable brainstorming worksheet.

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The free printable above is a sample from my e-book Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day , which comes with 35 printables to help you curb overwhelmed and live an intentional year. This little e-book has helped thousands of women with goal setting since 2014. Check it out here!

This e-book is a resource you will be able to use again and again to help you hone in on your goals for the year. Get it here.

Do you have a word for this year?

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In today’s world, we can’t ask ourselves if we will talk to our kids about mass shootings. We must ask ourselves when–and how. In today’s post, I’m tackling an issue that I sincerely wish I didn’t have to–how to talk to your kids about mass shootings

I’ll never forget learning about the Columbine High School massacre–the first school shooting of its caliber to ever shake our country.

I was a senior in high school myself, and I was waitressing during the dinner hour at a local fish camp. Dinnertime for us in North Carolina coincided with late afternoon in Colorado.

It was still a few years prior to everyone having cell phones on them at all times. Smart phones did not yet exist. So the news of the shooting didn’t hit us immediately, but by that evening we knew that 15 people had died in a terrible and senseless tragedy.

Fast forward to today, and mass shootings–whether it be in schools, at concerts, in churches, or elsewhere–have, sadly, become the norm.

Our society is no longer shocked when a shooting hits the news.

And as much as I would love to bury my head in the sand and pretend that these things never happen, I believe that we must do what we can to educate our children about mass shootings.

Just as we would prepare our children for what to do in the event of a home fire or a tornado, we have to talk to our kids about mass shootings.

After the Texas church shooting back in December, I spoke to a local friend and gun safety expert, Karen Fisher, of Carolina Self Protection, about how you should talk to your kids about mass shootings.

“I don’t even want to think about this,” I told her over the phone. “But I think we have to.”

“Yes, you have to,” she told me. “You have to.”

Our three girls have been taking kids safety training classes with Karen and her husband Dave for several years now. We sign them up every single summer because we believe so firmly in the real-life skills they teach in these classes–from learning about safety measures to take around guns and dogs to how to talk to “tricky people” to learning about safe touch, bullying, fire safety, and more.

I planned on writing about what Karen shared with me here back in December, but I let it go. I prefer to write on encouraging, positive topics. Y’all: I prefer to just smile and pretend everything is OK.

But here’s the deal: Everything is not OK in our world. It never has been.

We live in a sin-stained society, and that means people will use guns irresponsibly and dangerously. And that means it would be irresponsible and dangerous of us not to talk to our kids about such things.

So, this week I dusted off my journalism hat and spoke with Karen again to get her expert advice for you and for me. The following are some ways Karen gave me for how to talk to your kids about mass shootings:

How to Talk to Your Kids About Mass Shootings 1. Talk to your kids about mass shootings now.

Ok–so this is the whole point of this post, right? But I’m serious. We can’t wait to talk to them about a shooting. We have to prepare them for it in advance. That means that we need to talk to them about it as soon as possible.

What is the appropriate age to broach this conversation?

“When I get this question, the first thing I say to parents of small children is: ‘You are the parent, and you know your child best,’” Karen told me. “Each child is special, and each child is different with regards to maturity levels and how they process certain subjects. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a parent’s job to gauge when their child may be ready for this kind of heavy discussion.”

Karen began this discussion with her own children around age 2 by telling them that there are “people who may want to harm us.” She tried not to use the words “bad guys” because she felt like that would bring an imbalance to their trust in men.

“I didn’t want them to be afraid of men they didn’t know,” she said. “That wasn’t realistic, because if something ever happened to me and I couldn’t help them, there was a good chance they may need to get help from a man.”

2. Tell your kids to look for exits wherever they go.

Karen told me that when we enter buildings, one of the first things we moms need to do is find all available exits and pinpoint the closest exit and point it out to our children.

When Karen recently took her then 8-year-old son to a concert, she and he arrived early and walked around the venue to find exits in case they needed to make a quick getaway. Even thought Karen is from Charlotte,she was still extremely nervous about their surroundings and the venue they were attending.

In her safety awareness classes, Karen teaches that there are 3 levels of awareness: 

  1. Low-Level: You are in a familiar area with familiar people
  2. Mid-Level: You are in a familiar area with unfamiliar people.
  3. High-Level: You are in an unfamiliar area with unfamiliar people.

For the concert, Karen and her son were in a High Level area of awareness.

“So like Erin said, we arrived early while it was still daylight, so I could get my bearings,” she said. “We were close to the front of the line to gain entry (I was able to watch people coming in), and we walked around the venue three times pointing out restrooms, safe areas, and exits. I even showed him where the outside smoking area was because there are typically a lot of people in that area and that would also be a place to possibly find help.”

Karen always works to identify safe areas, unsafe areas, and exits when she is out and about with her children–in both familiar and unfamiliar areas. She advises for parents to think outside the box and look beyond the immediate.

“For example, kitchens, restaurants, butcher areas, or stock rooms with loading docks or access to outside (are good places to find exits),” she told me.

Karen asks her kids questions like: “Identify a person you feel would be safe to get help from if I wasn’t able to help you” or “Show me where you would go to get help. Take me there now.”

“By having them physically take me to a safe area, I’m training them,” Karen said.

3. Ask your kids to tell you if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable.

Kids are more intuitive than we give them credit for, and certain personality types are naturally intuitive (I’m one of them).

If someone in a store, their school, at church, etc. makes them feel uncomfortable for any reason, let them know that they need to tell you about it.

Don’t punish them for telling you if they feel like something is off with someone. Yes, it might be unfounded, but it’s better to investigate when your child has a “catch in their spirit” than to just let it go.

And if they happen to see someone with a gun, knife, or other weapon, make sure they know to alert you or another adult immediately.

However, Karen advises to teach children that they are in charge of their own safety–but parents and other grown-ups are there to help.

“For most children it is the first time they are hearing that they have a say in who keeps them safe, and it’s mind-blowing to some kids that they have the right to keep themselves safe, because they’ve always relied on someone else to make safe decisions for them,” she told me.

“Tell your child that if they feel unsafe, or feel uneasy about a situation, or their head is saying, ‘no,’ it is okay and acceptable to get to a safe zone or find a safe adult,”

She suggests talking about where safe zones may be while you go about your daily life.

“Children shouldn’t feel as though they need to ask permission to get safe,” she said. “GET SAFE. No matter what.”

Karen said that children need to know that details don’t matter if they feel they need safety: “Most importantly, give them permission to do whatever it takes to get safe. Once permission enters the scenario, the load becomes a little lighter for them. Let them know that you will always support their decision to get safe, and you are always there for them to discuss their worries about situations.”

4. Teach your kids to run, hide, and fight–in that order.

For anyone in a mass shooting situation, experts teach that you should run, hide, or fight–in that order.

Your first line of defense should be to run–as fast as you can and in a zig zag pattern, which makes you harder to shoot.

This is why exit identification is so important; it’s best to know which direction to run in before you are in a situation where you need to run.

If you can’t run, though, the next best scenario is to hide from a shooter. Playing dead also works.

“At my children’s preschool I was observant within their classroom and heedful in making a determination of what would be good cover and a good hiding place,” Karen told me. “I tried to get a feeling of their teachers’ mind-set. Was she strong-willed (would she fight for my child?) or was she demure (would she be shy to react?)?”

Karen explained to me that “both personalities are accepted and encouraged in my life, but for my resolve, it needed to be considered so I could draw a conclusion on how to train my toddler.”

Once Karen had an idea of how things worked within her children’s school, she walked her kids in and showed them hiding places without being too direct or bringing attention to themselves. 

“We nonchalantly meandered around, and I would quietly say things like, ‘Oh look. That would be a safe place,'” she told me.

She once pointed out a bathroom with a 2.5” solid wood door that locked from the inside. “THIS is the safest hiding place in this room if anyone comes into this room and tries to hurt you,” she told her children. “You can stay here until someone safe comes to help you.”

Karen did this twice per year – about a month after school started, and again after Christmas break.

If you can’t run or hide, you can fight back. However, this is a last-resort option, as most kids would never be able to defend themselves against a shooter (although this is a viable option for parents with guns–but only if running and hiding aren’t options).

5. Tell them to wait for police.

If your children are in a mass shooting situation where they have no other option but to hide, make sure they know to keep on hiding until the police come to rescue them.

Tell them to not leave until the police have come–even if it feels like hours of waiting.

Karen suggests having your kids practice breathing quietly.

“A great way to do that is to have them run a fairly good distance, getting their heart rate up, then lie down and work on controlling breathing, keeping eyes shut, and staying still,” she told me. “Teach them to stay put until a safe adult (police or safe adult) comes to get you. And ALWAYS reiterate that a safe adult WILL come.”

6. Enroll your kids in a kids safety class.

If at all possible, enroll your kids in a safety class.

I cannot say enough good things about the classes our children have taken. They usually take them for one week each summer, and our oldest child has even been a mentor for the preschool classes.

In Karen’s opinion, safety training is no longer an “extra-curricular activity”.

“It’s just as important (if not more) as math, as reading, as sports,” she said. “All children should be given the skills to recognize, avoid, resist, and if necessary, escape any danger, violence, or harm no matter where they are.”

7. Teach first-time obedience.

We are still working on this with our kids–specifically when it comes to turning off the TV, etc.

We’ve recently been frank with them in that we need them to learn how to obey us immediately because of trying to avoid dangerous situations.

It could be a fire, a car coming down the street, or a shooting, but we want our children to obey us when we say “run,” or “go!”


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Ready for a guy’s review of Stitch Fix for Men? There are thousands of posts on the internet about women using Stitch Fix, but what about a men’s take on Stitch Fix for Men. Read on, and discover if this might be a viable option for helping your husband build a new wardrobe–with style! 

A little caveat before we get started. This is not a sponsored post. I (Will) actually bought these clothes because I wanted to try out this service and give an honest opinion. So read on to find out a guy’s honest review of Stitch Fix for Men.

To be honest, I like clothes. My side of the closet probably has more clothes than Erin’s. Granted, half of those are T-shirts with some kind of superhero on them. The other half is business casual I wore when I was a teacher.

However, I don’t like spending a lot of money on clothes. The majority of my clothes come from clearance racks or hand-me downs from guys with better taste than me.

And while I enjoy having different styles to choose from, I know very little about fashion and depend on others to tell me what is OK or not. I’ve learned a few things over the years, but I typically just stick to those basics. I don’t branch out much in the color palette or patterns.

So when Erin told me that Stitch Fix had started a men’s category, I wanted to try it out. She had good success with her fixes, so I thought it was worth a shot.

After getting my first Stitch Fix for Men box, here are my thoughts:

Pros of Stitch Fix for Men 1. Variety is the Spice of Life

As I mentioned before, I don’t branch out much when it comes to colors and patterns. I wear a lot of the same thing. It can get a little boring at times.

I’d like to try new things, but I just never know what to try, and I get decision overwhelm looking at clothes sometimes.

I liked Stitch Fix because they sent a couple of items that I would not have normally chosen for myself.

The jeans and shoes in the picture are two things that I don’t think I would have picked out, but I loved them.

The jeans are a slim fit (not skinny…that’s NEVER going to happen!), and I have really only ever worn straight or boot cut. Recently, I lost about 15 lbs. and 2-3 inches in my waste, so all my jeans are big and don’t really fit well. Now, I see the importance of having a good pair of jeans that fit well and can be dressed up a little for evenings out.

The shoes are Sperry’s Salt Washed Twill Sneakers (I was able to find this cheaper pair on Amazon, but they were not exactly the same. I wasn’t able to find the exact same pair that Stitch Fix sent for cheaper anywhere else.)

I’ve never owned anything like these before, and I don’t think I would have ever picked them out.

Even when I opened the box, I told Erin, “Hmmm…not sure about these.” However, once I tried them on, I really liked the way they looked and felt. These have  a welcomed addition to the footwear, which consisted of tennis shoes, flip flops, or boots.

2. Having a Personal Stylist

I felt like lifestyles of the rich and famous. Having someone to pick out clothes for me is not something I thought I’d ever do. But once you fill out your detailed style profile, they take a look at everything and get to work on your wardrobe.

And when I say detailed, I mean detailed. You not only give them your likes, dislikes, and sizes, but you can tell them specific things you would never wear and things you might wear.

You can let them know how adventurous you want to be or if you want to stay conservative. There are also outfit ensembles that you can rate on a scale to determine if you would or wouldn’t wear that look.

It was pretty interesting and actually kind of fun. Some of the things were a no-go for me, but I thought others might work. For example, during the summer, I wear a lot of T-shirts, and since I work from home, I don’t need business suits or anything too fancy. I marked that off my list, but I did mark that I would be a little adventurous in their choices because I wanted to branch out a little.

They also include a helpful style card which gives you some suggestions of what to pair with the items they send.

Right now Stitch Fix is waving the $20 stylist fee, so you can try it absolutely risk free. This is for men or women. You fill out your profile, get your FREE stylist, receive your fix, try it on, and decided to keep it or send it back. Try it for free here!
3. Shopping in Your Underwear

OK…I wasn’t literally shopping in my underwear, but you could if you wanted to. I loved not having to go to the store and wade through racks of clothes, especially the unorganized clearance racks.

I mentioned that I can get overwhelmed when clothes shopping, and this takes that out of the picture. I don’t have to decide what color blue looks good or if that shirt matches those pants.

Most men don’t really like shopping, so this is a great compromise to get some nice clothes without setting foot in a store. It’s a great way to build or add quality clothes to a wardrobe.

If you know your man well enough, you could even fill out the style profile for him. Erin filled mine out, and I just tweaked a couple of things.

Cons of Stitch Fix for Men 1. Sticker Shock

I mentioned before that most of my clothes are not expensive. I don’t pay a lot for clothes and can often find name-brand clothes for a fraction of the retail price.

Especially in our financially leaner days, this was not even on my radar. If I ever did buy clothes, they were deeply discounted or free.

This is where Stitch Fix can hit your wallet hard if you aren’t careful. I normally would not pay some of the prices for some of the items that were sent. As a matter of fact, I didn’t pay the price on a couple of things because I just thought they were flat out too expensive for the item.

However, as we’ve come out of those financially frustrating years, I’ve decided that it is OK for us to spend a little extra on a few quality items that usually outlast a cheaper counterpart. We don’t do that often, and most of our clothes are still bought on clearance, but occasionally we will get a couple of things out of our ordinary price range, but still within the budget.

You can select a price range with Stitch Fix, but remember that you are also paying partly for the convenience of the stylist and for not going to the store yourself.

2. When They Get It Wrong

While variety is good and I wanted to be more adventurous, the stylist did miss the mark with one shirt.

I was aiming to expand my color palette and patterns, so I noted that in my style guide. However, the shirt they sent was a pattern that just did not work for me. It was a western style shirt that I just did not like at all. It fit fine, but it was just not my style.

The great part is that I was able to mark if off my list and send it back with no issue, so that was still pretty easy.

If you keep all the items, you do get 25% off the total, but that wasn’t worth it to me.

Conclusion on Stitch Fix for Men

The bottom line is that I did enjoy getting the Stitch Fix box, and I kept most of the items in it. I would like to do it again at some point, but it won’t be a regularly-scheduled thing.

I think I will use it again when I want to add a couple of other quality things to my wardrobe and try to branch out a little in my style.

I do know guys who have gotten the boxes for several months in a row and have been very pleased with the items and service.

I think it’s worth it, on occasion, to have the stylist pick out a few quality items with the ease of shopping online.

Don’t forget that you can try your first box for FREE right now since Stitch Fix is waiving the stylist fee–for men or women! Try it here!
Has your husband ever tried Stitch Fix for Men? What did he think? Have you tried Stitch Fix for yourself?

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
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Looking for a natural alternative to pads and tampons – that look and work just like their conventional counterparts? I’m excited to tell you about the natural (but disposable) pads and tampons I’ve been using for several years now. Enter: LOLA

Thank you, LOLA, for partnering with me to underwrite this post for my readers! I’m excited for them to learn about your amazing, 100% natural pads and tampons! 

When I first began my natural living journey, natural alternatives to pads and tampons wasn’t even on my radar. 

But not long after switching to cloth diapers, I realized that if I cared so much about what went against my baby’s genitalia, then I ought to consider what was going against my own as well!

So when my period returned when our second child was a few months old, I dove into the world of natural feminine care products.

At first, I tried mama cloth. Mama cloth is exactly what it sounds it is: cloth pads.

Why it might sound gross to some, I’ve enjoyed using mama cloth for seven years now (and my stash is still made up of many of those same original pads I purchased in 2011!).

Over the years I learned, however, that there will still be times I need (and want!) to use disposable feminine care products, like: 

  • when I’m traveling: I don’t mind washing my cloth pads in my own washing machine (which I sanitize regularly and use to wash cloth diapers in), but it would be rude of me to assume my hosts would welcome it. As well, who wants to carry around soiled sanitary napkins for days on end when staying in hotels?
  • when I’m swimming: You can’t wear pads in the pool! Can you imagine? That is the opposite of sanitary! Supposedly you can wear washable cups while swimming, but I’m one of those ladies who tried a cup and did not like it. I have a tilted uterus, and it just felt incredibly uncomfortable to me when I tried it a few years after starting cloth pads.
  • on especially heavy days: When my period returned after my fourth baby was born last year, I noticed that it’s now much heavier than it had been in the past. Being able to change a pad frequently without having to worry about the mama cloth laundry piling up has been a must for me on certain days of my cycle.

Other friends of mine are natural (or, like we call ourselves, “crunchy”) mamas, but they shudder at the idea of using cloth pads or a reusable tampon. For them, a natural brand of pads and tampons–that are disposable–is a must.

So what are the natural alternatives to pads and tampons that I use when I still want something disposable?

Well, I’ve tried several over the years, but I keep coming back to Lola as my brand of choice. Lola was founded by women, for women–and it shows!

Lola is being SUPER generous with my readers right now! Use code hhomemaker for a whopping 50% off a new customer’s first order of period products. Check out their products here

Why do I love Lola so much? For one, the products really work.

When I first tried their tampons several years ago, I was hooked. I only wear tampons when I got swimming, but I haven’t used any other kind of tampon besides Lola since I discovered them.

As well, now that they have added pads to their store, I’ve been able to us them for several cycles. They are thin and sleek, which made me a bit concerned that they would leak when I first saw them. But guess what? They don’t! (Or at least they haven’t for me!)

They also offer pantyliners for those super light days.

Secondly, and of utmost importance in my book, Lola’s natural alternatives to pads and tampons are truly natural.

As I wrote about in my post on the here, conventional feminine care products can be made with some serious nasty ingredients.

The fact of the matter is the FDA doesn’t require brands to disclose a comprehensive list of ingredients in their feminine care products, so most of them don’t. Major brands use a mix of synthetic ingredients in their products including rayon and polyester. Their feminine care products may also be treated with harsh chemical cleansing agents, fragrance, and dyes.

LOLA products are 100% natural. They offer complete transparency about the ingredients found in their tampons, pads, and liners. No mystery fibers, no more doubts about what’s going in our bodies. LOLA products are 100% organic cotton with no added chemicals, fragrances, synthetics, or dyes.

In addition to their tampons, pads, and liners, LOLA also recently rolled out a new non-applicator tampons and cardboard applicator tampons. These, plus their cardboard applicator tampons, are perfect for people who are trying to reduce their plastic usage.

I haven’t had a chance to try out their new Cramp Care line yet, but it’s on my radar.The line an essential oil blend and a daily supplement to help alleviate or even prevent menstrual cramping–naturally.

Lola is being SUPER generous with my readers right now! Use code hhomemaker for a whopping 50% off a new customer’s first order of period products. Check out their products here

Have you ever started your period and then realized you were out of feminine care supplies? Been there! (This happened all the time, I regret to admit, when I was a teenager and in my 20s!)

LOLA offers a customizable subscription service to ensure you’re never out of these critical products during that most tender time of the month. I love that I don’t have to make a trip to the store for these–because, y’all, I shop online as much as possible!

LOLA will give you four ways to tailor your LOLA subscription to perfectly fit your needs:

  • Pick your products: Choose from organic cotton tampons (available with a BPA- free plastic applicator or in an environmentally non-applicator format, as well as biodegradable cardboard applicators), pads, or liners. Or add a box of each!
  • Assortment: Choose your preferred assortment. Build your box of 18 tampons by picking the perfect mix of light (only available in applicator), regular, super, and super+ tampons. With pads, build your box of 12 pads by mixing ultra-thin day pads or night pads. Your assortment is totally customizable!
  • Quantity: Decide how many boxes you’d like delivered to your door
  • Frequency: Select your shipment frequency – and cancel, skip an order, ormodify your subscription anytime. LOLA will email you two days before your box(es) ship. LOLA prides themselves on no surprises or gimmicks.
LOLA is being SUPER generous with my readers right now! Use code hhomemaker for a whopping 50% off a new customer’s first order of period products. Check out their products here
Have you ever tried a natural alternative to pads and tampons? What is your favorite type of menstrual care product?

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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While I always feel a tinge of sadness when the holiday season ends, January brings me a burst of energy and excitement when I think about all a new year can hold.

New goals.

New projects.

New starts.

Thankfully, making your home feel new for the new year doesn’t need to involve spending a ton of money or tackling a huge renovation.

FYI: Right now one of my favorite online stores, Grove Co., is offering a FREE cleaning set with first-time orders of $20+! The set includes Grove cleaning concentrates + a glass spray bottle + a microfiber cloth + a cleaning caddy! Claim your FREE set here

10 Small Ways to Make Your Home Feel New for the New Year 1) Swap out your throw pillows

Buying pillow covers is an inexpensive way to refresh a bed or couch without having to store bulky pillows.

2) Rearrange your furniture

It’s a totally free way to see your home with fresh eyes!

3) Breathe new life into a room with fresh flowers

Try a hibiscus for a touch of the tropics, or a few branches of fragrant eucalyptus in the bathroom. I get mine from ALDI! 

4) Unearth a hidden gem via a secondhand venue

Try flea markets, yard sales, Craigslist, or OfferUP for furniture and home decor! 

5) Start making space for the products that make you happy and help you stay healthy

I’ve been replacing my products using the Think Dirty app, which tells me how toxic products are. I’ve been shocked at the rating on some products that are marketed as being “green”! Grove’s current free offer of the glass spray bottle, microfiber cloth, cleaning concentrates, and cleaning caddy are a great way to start revamping your home products! 

Grove makes it possible for me to use my favorite products without driving all over Timbuktu. They deliver my favorite natural products from brands like Seventh Generation and other non-toxic products to my doorstep, on my schedule. I’ve been ordering from them monthly for over three years now! 

6) Change up candles or other small items

It’s easy to change the look or smell of a room by switching out candles for different colors or scents. I would also suggest using non-toxic candles made from soy or beeswax. Diffusing oils can also change the mood of a room.

You can also switch around small items in your home that you already have and move them to other rooms to give them new purpose or life. 

7) Get organized

This can be overwhelming, so take one area at a time. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Try a closet, a cabinet, a pantry, a drawer and move on from there. 

8) Keep on top of chores

Instead of procrastinating, follow the 3-D system that my mentor Holly taught me. Every single day, do a load of laundry, take care of dishes, and know what’s for dinner no later than breakfast! 

9) Declutter one thing every day

By the end of the year, you’ll have gotten rid of 365 things and you’ll have more space for living.

10) Cut the comparison 

It’s easy to get caught up in comparisons like “Her kitchen is always immaculate or I wish my living room looked like that” — especially if you spend any time on social media. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you’re comparing your behind-the-scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.

Bonus tip:

While this takes a little more time and ingenuity, painting a room a new color can totally change the look and feel of the room. It’s still a small change that can bring big results. 

Once you’ve submitted your Grove order to claim this week’s FREEBIES, you’ll be signed up for the free 60 day VIP trial.

For 60 days, save even more with free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales and personal service. My free VIP gifts have allowed me to test-drive some products that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise — and they’ve become staples in my home! 

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
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The working poor want you to know some things during the holidays–but they won’t come right out and say them. Here are some ways to better understand–and help–the working poor. 

I’ll never forget the Christmas that Will and I discovered we were among the working poor

Frustrated by our financial situation at the time, Will had walked out of a financial planning class we were taking at church. 

Our teachers, an older, retired couple, volunteered to come to our home the next Sunday afternoon and pore over our finances to help us come up with a plan. 

While our two toddler girls played beside our already-decorated tree that early December day, we spread all of our financial statements across our kitchen table. 

After musing over our finances for several minutes, our teacher, Randy, took off his glasses, rubbed his forehead, and placed our bank statement back on the table.

“Well, one thing is clear,” he smiled. “You don’t have a spending problem.” 

“We don’t?” I was shocked. I was sure we must be doing something wrong to be experiencing so much stress. Wasn’t there some area of our budget we could cut to allow for a little breathing room? But here was Randy, a financial expert, telling us we were doing everything right. 

“What you have,” Randy continued, “is an income problem. You simply don’t have enough money to live.” 

We were the working poor. 

I’d never heard of the term “working poor” until then, but millions of Americans exist like this. They are working, but they aren’t making enough money to pull themselves out of poverty.

This results in their debts going unpaid, and in the worst cases, their children going hungry. 

Whether you are working poor yourself or have never heard this description of this often-hidden subset of society until now, know that the working poor are everywhere.

It might be the receptionist at your doctor’s office, the cashier at your favorite grocery store, your children’s classmates, and, yes, even your children’s teachers. 

Suburbia is filled with people who are barely making ends meet, and this is what they want you to know: 

1. They don’t want to ask for charity.

The working need your charity, but the last thing they want to do is ask for it.

Most likely, the working poor are people with whom you rub shoulders on a daily basis–at your church, at our child’s school, in the doctor’s office, at the store. 

It might be the mom you sat next to at your child’s basketball game or served with in the church nursery last Sunday. 

The last thing the working poor want to do is ask those whom they see on a weekly basis for help. 

They prefer that you give anonymously–or in a non fanfare way. Don’t make a big deal out of your giving, but do so nonchalantly or secretly. 

The solution:  

Be observant. Notice the single mom or the family living on a teacher or public service worker’s salary? They most likely need help. 

Leave food or toys on their doorstep. Don’t go when they are home. Just leave things with a note. 

We had people do this for us, and it took the embarrassment out of us having to ask for help when we needed it. 

2. They can’t afford to donate.

One struggle for the working poor is that most people don’t know they are struggling financially. Since they are, in a way, “hidden” in society, they often feel the expectation from others to give generously during the holidays. 

The problem is–they don’t have much (if anything) to give. 

I began thinking about this a few months ago when I was bombarded with gift giving opportunities and had to choose which ones to support–and which ones to leave for someone else to contribute to. 

In the course of a few weeks, we had a snack drive for a backpack ministry at our church, a call for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, another food drive for Thanksgiving sacks (including a $25 gift card to a grocery store), a fundraiser to support artisans in developing countries, and a request to donate a slow cooker full of spaghetti sauce for a dinner in a low-income neighborhood. 

None of these were over-the-top on their own, but even a donation of just a few dollars (and especially upwards of $25+) can break the working poor’s budget.

The working poor have, literally, no wiggle room. 

If you feel frustrated that it seems like you are the “only family” that gives to every cause your church, child’s school, or community requests of you each holiday season–while your fellow church member gives nothing to very little–remember this: 

The working poor might not have anything else left to give. 

Instead of resenting that others around you “aren’t giving” like you think they should be, trust that you don’t know the full picture.

Are those other church members being selfish or lazy? Perhaps. But if you’re giving out of a pure heart and not out of obligation, then it shouldn’t matter what others do. 

The solution:

Give to others with a cheerful heart and without looking around at what others are doing.

Give as you can afford and feel led. Realize that others might not have the same resources (or even calling) as you do. 

Besides the working poor, there might be others that are “debt poor” or “house poor.” These families might have jobs that provide good incomes, but they might be drowning in debt or have a big house note (which is not an easily resolved problem either: it takes time and money to refinance or sell a home). 

If someone says they can’t afford to give, trust that they really can’t. Don’t pressure them to give if they say no. 

And if you’re reading this and you are the working poor (or struggling financially in some way), realize that you can only give what you have.

Yes, give sacrificially, but that does not mean you have to go into debt in order to give. As well, realize that you can give of your time (although if you are working several jobs just to make ends meet, I realize that can be limited as well!) 

Don’t feel pressure to give just to keep up with appearances. It’s ok to say “no” to some causes. None of us can give to it all. 

 3. They’re not snubbing your party invite.

When we were the working poor, party invitations were exciting but stressful. Why? 

When faced with what to take to a party, I had to really think about it. I couldn’t just pick up an extra pack of cookies at the supermarket–and bringing a pricey side dish or meat to a party was simply impossible at times. 

Sometimes, the working poor might turn down a party invitation because they simply can’t afford to bring anything. 

This is especially true for direct sales parties when they feel rude to attend when they know they can’t afford to purchase anything. 

But it’s also true for some holiday parties where they know they don’t have enough money to contribute any food or presents for even small gift exchanges. 

The solution:  

If a guest turns down your potluck party invitation, tell them that they can come without bringing anything.

Don’t say “if you can’t afford” (or even assume that, although it might be the case), but just say something like: “I know time is limited and the holidays are crazy. We would love for you to drop in even if you can’t bring anything. I know we will have more than enough food!” 

If someone turns down your gift exchange or direct sales party invitation, do not pressure them to come. 

4. They might not look poor.

The working poor (or those who are debt poor or house poor) can so easily blend in with society because sometimes they have things or do things that require money. 

For example, when were working poor, we were borrowing my parents mini van until we could slowly pay them for it. A mini van takes money to purchase, right? But no one knew it wasn’t our vehicle or that we didn’t own it outright. 

We had a decent artificial Christmas tree because we had purchased it before the economic crash, when our income level was more stable. 

As well, the working poor might have friends and relatives that have gifted them things–like cell phones or manicures or video games. 

When we were the working poor, some wealthy friends of our sent us on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge. We could have never dreamed of paying for that trip on our own. 

It’s easy to say: “Well, if they can afford that, then they should be able to afford food.” 

But it’s not always the case.

We never know how people acquire things or what their bank accounts look like. And it’s not our place to assume or judge. 

If people don’t look poor, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t struggling financially.  

The solution: 

Don’t make assumptions. If someone says they are struggling financially, they probably are. 

5. The consumerism is just too much.

Gifts here. Gifts there. Gifts are simply everywhere. 

And the more expensive and flashy the better, right? 

That is what our culture would have us believe. 

But the working poor long for simplicity.

They can’t afford the expensive and flashy for their families, but everywhere they go (because they are, again, everywhere you are–your churches, schools, stores, etc.), they are bombarded with it. 

The consumerism is just too much for them. And really? It’s gotten to be just too much for everyone. 

The solution:

Do your part to deny our high consumerism culture.

Cultivate a simple Christmas of your own–with the hopes that spending less on your own family will give you the means to give more to both the working poor and others who are in even greater need. 

If you want to encourage your loved ones who might be struggling financially–or if you want to better understand what it’s like to live as one of the working poor–I encourage you to purchase my book More Than Just Making It .  More Than Just Making It is my family’s story of how we went from barely surviving to more than just making it financially. I wove this memoir with financial advice throughout–for those on any income level. 

An easy read that packs both an emotional and practical punch, More Than Just Making It is a gift that will bless both you and your friends for many years to come. 


The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
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