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After the birth of my 3rd child, it began to dawn on me that I was more than just a tired mom. Day after day I waded through a dark fog, barely able to place one foot in front of the other. My children were all good sleepers, so there was no logical reason for me to be so tired.

Although I've never been one who's quick to run to the doctor, I scheduled an appointment for some bloodwork. Unfortunately I came away from the appointment with the answer that everything was “normal” and that I should “take more vitamins.” But I most certainly did not feel normal!

To make a long story short, I spent the next seven years trying new doctors, new supplements, new dietary changes, and I’ve lived through all of it with the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which basically means “You’re extremely weak and tired all the time but we don’t know why.” Yeah, thanks doc. I kinda already knew that. I could go off on a rabbit trail and talk about how so many other diagnoses are the same way -pretty much just giving a fancy name to something you already know. But I won’t get sidetracked there. All I’ll say for now is that praise the Lord I have found some answers that have truly been life-changing for me and my family. I’m not yet at 100% (will any of us ever be until we get to heaven?) but I am definitely in a much better place health-wise than I was a couple years ago.

What I want to focus on is how I survived all those years of living in a deep fog, with small children to care for and homeschool.

Whether you are chronically ill or whether you’re just tired all the time because you have a lot of demands on you that wear you down, here are 3 ways you can be productive even when you’re exhausted.

1. Give yourself grace.

I keep saying this throughout this series, but I’ll say it again: True productivity occurs when you’re productive at the things that actually matter.

My house was a disaster all the time during those early years (my house still needs help – I’m still catching up from years of neglect!) I rarely went to bed with a clean kitchen. My husband took so many of the household responsibilities on him every evening after he’d already worked a full day.

I didn’t do a whole lot, but I was intentional with what I did do.

The children needed to be educated, so I made sure to prioritize their homeschooling each day. I spent my time learning ways to help them self-educate so that they could still be learning even when I wasn’t able to teach them.

Whether you’re chronically ill or just exhausted, you can be productive when you realize that being productive doesn’t mean “doing all the things.” It just means carefully choosing what is most important and keeping your focus there.

2. Make self-care a priority.

You may feel that you’re too busy to stop your day and prepare healthy meals for yourself, to exercise, or to take a nap.

But if you’re exhausted, one of the most important ways you can spend your time is to take care of yourself! Running on caffeine may make you feel like you have more energy, but if it’s becoming a crutch and causing you to neglect proper nutrition and rest then it’s only defeating the purpose. And if you’re tired because you’re not sleeping well at night, you may want to re-think the caffeine for that reason too.

I get it. It feels like such a pain to stop what you’re doing and chop vegetables so you can eat a salad for lunch. It feels like it’s taking up so much time that you could be spending in other ways. But if you prioritize your health, you’ll find that 1. You’ll have more energy for the other things and 2. You’ll think of creative ideas to make self-care more streamlined. For example, you might prepare a list of quick and easy, yet healthy lunches you can stop and eat. You might decide to cut up enough vegetables for a week at a time so you don’t have to do it every day. You’ll learn exercises you can do while you stand at the kitchen sink washing dishes.

When I was so ill that I spent large portions of my day in bed, I used that time to research things I could do to overcome my health struggles. I was productive, but my productivity didn’t look like doing all the things. It looked like having one goal and chasing after it with everything I had.
If you’re exhausted, you can be productive by taking steps to improve your health. Spend time soaking in a warm bath so you can let go of some stress. Take the time to eat well and hydrate yourself throughout the day. Take the time to nourish your body with gentle movement. Take the time to go to bed at a decent hour.

Burning yourself out by going, going, going might make you feel productive, but are you being productive at what really matters? Does your family want the I-got-all-the-things-done-but-I’m-so-grouchy-and-tired version of you or do they want the happy, stress-free version of you who chose to let some things go?

3. Never give up.

I need to be careful that the advice to never give up doesn’t come across as contradictory to what I just said about taking care of yourself.

By telling you that you can be productive by never giving up, I don’t mean to push yourself to do more, more, more.

I mean what I keep saying over and over: Never give up on what’s most important.

When I spent many of my days in bed, it was discouraging to leave so many things undone. But each day I woke up determined to chip away at my priorities.

Regardless of how much or how little you can do, don’t quit! Don’t decide that because you’re so exhausted you’re just not even going to try.

No matter how little you might think you’re doing, if you do the same thing consistently day after day, eventually it amounts to something big!

Teach your children about Jesus today. Then teach them some more tomorrow, and some more the next day.
Eat your vegetables today. Then eat them again tomorrow and again the next day.
Learn a little bit about health today, then learn a little bit more tomorrow and little more the next day.

Whatever goal it is that you’re trying to reach, keep heading in that direction. Don’t worry about how long it is taking you. If you keep putting one foot in front of the other, eventually you will get there.

Inside the Ultimate Productivity Bundle (available here), there are several resources that I believe will be a blessing to you if you’re struggling with exhaustion.

1. Replenish

If you’re a mom, no doubt you’ll relate to some of these statements:
“Everything drains me; from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep … there’s just no joy left.”
• “Somewhere along the way, I lost the ‘me’ inside. I know I’m a different person than I was before—I just have no idea how to get to know myself again.”
• “I don’t have a spare moment in my day. I’m constantly pulled in one direction and another – from my kids’ needs to my husband’s needs to the household needs, to work’s needs. There is nothing left.”
• “I give it all away – there is nothing left for me.”
• “Most days, I’m just putting out the fires as they ignite.”

The gentle guidance in this eBook will give you clear, simple, powerful ways to fill your tank while navigating the walk of motherhood. ($9.99 Value)

2. Driven Women: Grace Based Productivity

As the name implies, this is a grace-based approach to productivity; not a run yourself into the ground approach.

It includes an entire module on What to Do When You’re Tired, and another module on How to Ask for Help. (If you’re exhausted, you should ask for help!) ($98 value)

3. Thrive with Chronic Illness Planner and Journal

This planner is designed to help chronic illness patients manage their time and energy, break down their goals, and work to improve their physical and mental health. ($17 value)

There are many more resources included in this bundle, but if I could choose just a few for the exhausted and overwhelmed homemakers out there, these are the ones I would suggest. To purchase these 3 resources separately would cost $125, but if you buy them as part of the Ultimate Productivity Bundle, you'll get them, along with 40 more resources, for just $37.

This bundle is on sale for a limited time only. Click here to get your bundle before the sale is over!

Sale ends in:

The post 3 Ways You Can Be Productive, Even When You’re Exhausted appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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We don't always feel like doing what we need to do

What do you do when you just don’t feel motivated to do anything?

As I write this series, it’s the end of winter – those days where everything just feels “blah”, and all I want to do is sit around in my pajamas and watch movies.

Sometimes our flesh just gets the better of us and tells us that it would be more enjoyable to sleep an extra hour than it would be to get up and get our day started on the right foot.

Think about the rewards of completing your homemaking tasks

I'd like you to grab a scrap of paper or print out this worksheet and record a few thoughts over the next few days.

  • When you washed all the dishes before bed instead of waking up to a dirty kitchen in the morning, how did you feel?
  • When you slept an extra hour (I’m talking about just because the bed feels cozy; not because you truly needed the sleep) how did your day go? Did your day feel hectic and stressful, like you were behind on everything?

When you realize how much stress you take out of your life by staying on top of things, you become more and more motivated to do it. Sure, you may be tired when you stay up to finish those dishes, but when the next day is so much more peaceful, the reward is worth it. And the chemical reaction in our brain says “I want more of that.” So in order to get more of that reward, you have to put the work in to get it again.

Habits help us do what needs to be done

The more you do something, the more you are engraining that pattern into your brain. They’re becoming habits now, and a habit is something you do automatically without even thinking about it. So instead of agonizing each night, talking yourself into finishing the dishes, you just do them because that’s what your brain knows to do. It gets easier and easier!

Decide on three habits that you will work on for the next month, and use the habit tracker to keep yourself on track. Once you’ve developed the brain pathways and created a habit, the task will turn from something you have to force yourself to do to something you just do.

For me personally, my most-needed habits are at night time when I’m tired. I have a tendency to leave things undone because I just want to get into bed. In reality, a simple evening routine would probably not take very long and would save me a lot of time the next day. I’m excited about this webinar called Craft Your Perfect Evening Routine – 3 Ways to Have a Productive Evening No Matter How Tired You Are.

That sounds like exactly what I need! The host is Beth Anne Schwamberger, blogger, entrepreneur, and mother of two. She’ll be teaching us how to:

  • Get every evening started on the right foot
  • Find the energy to spend your evenings more intentionally
  • Plan a productive tomorrow in only 15 minutes

    plus, so much more!

    Want to join me in attending this helpful class? You can choose to attend either February 18th or 19th, whichever works best for you.
    Just pick your time and claim your seat for this free webinar here.

In tomorrow's post we’ll talk about planning, and why failing to plan can sabotage your homemaking.

Did you miss yesterday's post? You can read it here:

10 Reasons You're Not Productive as  a Homemaker

The post What to Do When You Have No Homemaking Motivation appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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In one of my recent emails, I asked my readers about their biggest hindrance to being a productive homemaker. This question really hit a nerve! The responses poured into my inbox, and it was obvious that being more productive is something we all care deeply about.

As I collected all the responses, I placed them into categories. I identified 10 different areas where we get tripped up in being productive.

Why you struggle with being productive

1. Procrastination
2. Lack of Motivation and Discipline
3. Failure To Plan
4. Feeling Overwhelmed/Not Knowing Where to Start
5. Distractions/Feeling Pulled in Too Many Directions
6. Poor Time Management
7. Disorganization
8. Too Many Responsibilities
9. Exhaustion or Poor Health
10. No help from family members

Procrastination is the symptom; not the disease

You will notice that I listed procrastination as the first reason you struggle with being productive. That is because it is often a direct result of the other nine things on the list.

I can’t promise to make you stop procrastinating, but I can help you understand some reasons why you do. When you know the reasons behind your procrastination, you can actually cut it off at the root instead of just trying harder to overcome it.

For instance, you may procrastinate because you don’t have an organized system of doing things. You feel like you don’t know where to start — so you don’t.

Maybe you feel overwhelmed with all of your responsibilities so rather than just starting somewhere, you shut down instead.

Maybe you procrastinate because you feel like your efforts will be worthless. (“Why should I organize the kids’ closet? The kids will just have all the clothes off the hangers and on the floor tomorrow anyway!”)

Is it laziness or something else?

So often we feel guilty about our procrastination because it makes us feel like we’re being lazy. Maybe that is the case sometimes. I used to memorize Bible verses all the time about laziness, and I could not understand why I was so lazy because I wanted so badly to overcome it. Maybe laziness was partially an issue (we all have a sinful nature, after all) but what I didn’t realize was that I was mainly just overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to juggle everything that needed juggling in a busy household, and I just shut down.

Once I realized why I was procrastinating, I was able to work on solutions for overcoming it. Trying harder didn’t work because there was a different obstacle in the way that I hadn’t seen before.

What are some things on the list above that are contributing to your procrastination?  If you'd like, you can print this worksheet to help you. Identifying your obstacle is the first step to overcoming it!

After you have identified your obstacles, we'll talk about how to overcome them. In the next post I'll start with overcoming a lack of motivation and how to become more self-disciplined.

The post 10 Reasons You’re Not Productive as a Homemaker appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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An incredibly important aspect of homemaking is how we manage our time.

There are so many things that need to be done, that sometimes it's hard to figure out what to do first.

I always enjoy seeing how other people manage their time, so I thought I would share a typical day at our house. (For even more peeks into our life, follow me on Instagram!)

Instead of just sharing our ideal schedule, though, I'm going to first share my ideal and then share the reality. This will give you a chance to get ideas of how you might like to order your day as well as see the pitfalls where I mess up and how you can do it better.

If you're trying to glean tips for better productivity and time management, you can learn from my mistakes just as well as from the things I do right.

7 AM 
HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO GO: Ideally I should be up by 6 or 6:30 in the morning. If I want to accomplish everything on my yearly goals list, this is the time that I need to get up each day.

HOW IT REALLY GOES: 7 AM is usually about the earliest I get up. I would honestly love to be up much earlier than this every day. I cherish the quiet that I do get, and I know I could accomplish some more of my personal and business goals if I had more quiet time in the mornings.

But after struggling with chronic illness for many years, I have learned that I need to take my days slow and gentle. When I push myself too hard, I end up crashing and then I'm really not very productive at all!

7:30 AM
HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO GO: If I'm not up by now, this is when I will typically wake up on my own. I read my Bible, use my prayer journal, and go over my to-do list for the day.

Usually the kids start waking up one by one during this time. The bigger ones will start on their own morning routines and the little ones will snuggle with me for a while.

HOW IT REALLY GOES: This is the one part of my day that usually goes according to schedule. I have been blessed with 5 really good sleepers (here's how I helped my kids to sleep through the night when they were babies.) In fact, they sleep so well, that I often have to wake them up! I love having this time in the morning to get myself going slowly and gently.

8 AM

HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO GO: At this point I am supposed to get the kids up and going so that we can get started on our school day by 9:00.

HOW IT REALLY GOES: This is when I play things by ear. If the kids have not stirred by this point, I leave them be and get a little computer work done, whether that's developing products for my shop, planning my menu, or doing my online shopping.

Ideally, if I want to follow the schedule I've written, I should be getting them up and going at this point, but I normally can't find the determination within myself to wake up 5 sleeping children and end the blissful silence.

9 AM
HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO GO: By this time, all the children are usually awake and I start breakfast. I usually cook eggs or oatmeal for the kids and make a smoothie for myself. I don't really care for most breakfast foods, and I add enough stuff to my smoothies that they keep me going until lunch without a problem.

While I'm making breakfast, the kids are doing their morning routines, which include getting dressed, fixing their hair, tidying their rooms and reading their Bibles. Once they've done those things, they make their way to the breakfast table.

After everyone eats, I leave breakfast cleanup to the kids while I get myself dressed, fix my hair, and get the baby dressed (okay, she's 2, but I can still call her a baby, right?)

HOW IT REALLY GOES: This part of the day goes more or less like I've listed above, but I can promise you that I am putting out lots of fires during this time too. Whether it's sibling arguments (okay, let's be honest, sometimes they are full-out fights), cleaning up some crazy mess the toddler makes behind my back, or like today – finding our dog who had broken his line and run off to play with his canine friends at the neighbor's house, I am often running around, completely out of breath, just trying to keep up with whatever is going on in my house.

10 AM

I would love it if we could have school well underway by this time, ideally doing the bulk of our work from 9 AM to 12 PM.

HOW IT REALLY GOES: Hopefully by this time we are ready to start school if we haven't already. It really just depends on how early everyone wakes up. We do things in the same order every day, so it all gets done. We just finish earlier or later depending on what time we got started.

First, we spend all together “one room schoolhouse” style. We do Bible, scripture memory, language arts, history, science, handwriting, and any other fun activities we decide to do. This is our favorite time of day when we are all together and everyone is (usually) still in a good mood. If there is anything the little ones can't participate in, they usually color quietly, but sometimes I am interrupted by a whiny 2 year old who wants markers instead of crayons and isn't happy with me when I say no.

After we finish the things we can do all together, I send the 2 oldest kids to work on their daily chores while the middle 2 go with me to the other room to do their math and reading lessons. I have always kept the oldest 2 kids basically on the same level with their school subjects, and then I did the same thing with the next 2. It will feel weird when the youngest child gets into school and does everything all by herself. But of course she already tries to participate as much as she can!

When the middle kids are done with math and reading, we switch and I send them to do their chores while the older 2 do their math lesson with me.

1 PM
HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO GO:  It's not a problem for us to eat a late lunch since we do not get up and eat breakfast terribly early. We all eat, straighten up the kitchen, and the kids finish their chores if they haven't already. After I eat my own lunch, I take the time to do my own household chores and any other miscellaneous tasks on my to-do list.

HOW IT REALLY GOES: To be totally honest, sometimes our day starts falling apart at this point. My brain is worn out after a full morning, and the brain fog that accompanies chronic illness settles in.  I often can't figure out what we should be doing next, even though I have a written schedule.

I'll fix the little ones something to eat, get myself something to eat, and then go hide in my room for a bit to settle my brain down. The bigger kids are perfectly capable of getting themselves something for lunch and cleaning up their mess. (The question is whether or not they do clean it up!)

After I eat, I will fold whatever clothes are in my room, throw in a new load of laundry, and then go outside for a while.

2 PM
As long as the kids are finished with their chores and any miscellaneous homework assignments I've given them, they are free for the rest of the afternoon. They can go outside, play on their Kindles (all they have is eBooks and educational games on there, plus they automatically shut down after a certain amount of time), do arts and crafts, play the piano, pretty much anything that strikes their fancy. Everything I have available to them is either educational, active, or in some way profitable for their minds and bodies.

The 2 year old goes down for her nap at this time.

While the kids are having their free time and the little one is napping, I am free to work on blogging or other computer-related tasks.

However, most days I don't really get a whole lot done during this time. I'm usually pretty tired so I will often take some intentional down time. My brain is firing all day with homeschooling, breaking up sibling fights, and trying to calm girl drama, so sometimes I need some time to just rest and think about nothing! (Hello, mindless Instagram scrolling! This is my time to indulge guilt-free for a little while.)

Unfortunately, I don't always get to rest either. I may hear that the kids are arguing, or like any mother, I just feel like I need to keep checking on them, so my rest time is still not always restful.

If  I do get any blogging or other computer work done, this is when it happens, though.

The fruit of some of my afternoon labors

4 PM
At this point the plan is for me to inspect the kids' chores so that they can re-do them if necessary, then I start prepping supper.

Sometimes I get into the middle of working on something and I don't go out to the kitchen right at 4:00.  Once I get in a zone I have a hard time switching gears.

Some days I go out to start supper and I get distracted with a bunch of other things – I'll decide to switch out the laundry again, or I'll realize how nice the weather is and decide to go outside (who wants to be cooped up in a kitchen when the weather is beautiful?!)

5PM – 10PM

HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO GO:Ideally I would have supper done and ready to go by the time my husband gets home from work. Then we could all sit down to eat, clean up the kitchen, and get the kids to bed early every night. (Which means I could go to bed earlier every night.)

I'm often late getting dinner onto the table (because I was probably busy playing outside instead of cooking!) which pushes the whole evening back, which then pushes the kids' bedtime back, which then puts me getting to bed later, which puts me getting up later, which causes me to have less quiet morning time to work on my personal goals.

I've started taking steps to get dinner on the table earlier. Hint: it doesn't require trying to force myself to get out to the kitchen earlier. I've learned that trying to force myself to fit into a mold that's not my personality only makes me rebel against it and makes things worse. Instead, I've been focusing more on using the weekends to prepare meals to put into the freezer. This way I have dinner already prepared, and if I want to go play with my kids instead of making dinner, I am completely free to do so!

We also need to implement a better bedtime routine – we often just get busy enjoying one another's company (which is a good thing!) but our time together often continues on indefinitely until we finally realize how late it is and then end up rushing everyone off to bed.

Of course, there's no way I could include the dozens of interruptions I have all throughout the day – potty training that needs to be attended to NOW, little girl drama that needs my gentle attention, spills that must be cleaned, boo-boos to patch up, and on and on it goes.

Every time I write or speak about productivity, my main thrust is always the same.

True productivity cannot be attained without an accurate definition of productivity.

Does it really matter how many items you have crossed off your list if they weren't the most important things to do?

Is it really productive to have everything done at the end of the day if you ignored the things that were the most important?

So then the question must be asked:

What is the most important thing for me to do today?

For me, I believe it is to love my family well.

But loving my family well may look different from day to day. Some days I may need to discipline myself to get delicious meals on the table right on time because that's what they need the most. But other days I may need to give myself grace for not having an amazing supper prepared because I spent most of my time gently helping a girl work through raging emotions. I can be productive by helping a young boy research some question that is burning in his mind. Maybe that means I skip some of my housework to do so.

When I developed my Ultimate Goal Setting Planner, I intentionally designed it to help you determine your big-picture goals for your home, family, and personal life, and then to break those goals down smaller and smaller until your priorities for each day come into clear focus. You can spend less time feeling guilty for the things you didn't do and embrace each day with confidence that the items on your to-do list are the most important things.

Click here for more time management resources:

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The post A Brutally Honest Day in the Life of an Imperfect Homemaker appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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I've only written about Stitch Fix once before. I tried it last year and wrote about it here in A Modest Skeptic's First Stitch Fix.

I wasn't sure if they would have modest clothing to send me that would fit my style, but I was very happy with what they sent. I didn't end up keeping anything from the first box just because it was nothing I particularly needed.

However, I finally got another box a couple months ago, and again I thought they did a wonderful job picking up on my style and sending things that I liked.

Want to see what was inside my box was like? Maybe it will inspire you to give it a try if you've been on the fence!

1. I loved the little twist detail on the bottom of this shirt! Anything that adds a little uniqueness to clothing is right up my alley. I was so close to keeping this shirt, but ultimately sent it back because the neckline was really loose on me which made it look a little frumpy.

2. This skirt was so soft and comfortable. The quality of everything they sent was just above and beyond low end clothing. I can't explain how buttery and soft all of the fabrics are. I liked how they coordinated this skirt, the navy top, and the denim jacket in the next photo. I sent this skirt back because I was just not crazy about the color red. I put that on my notes in my account so next time they'll know it's not my favorite color.

3. I like this denim jacket, but didn't keep it because I already have a nice denim jacket. Like I said above, I did think it was nice that they coordinated this outfit. I also appreciate staple pieces that can be mixed and matched with lots of different things. This would have been a valuable piece if I had needed it.

4. I LOVED this dress, and wanted to keep it so badly! The stylist really nailed my personal taste with this one! I was disappointed because it was just a tad shorter than what I was comfortable wearing. I tried it with leggings underneath, but I wasn't really comfortable with that either, at least not until I lose a few pounds. Kinda makes me sad looking at it again. It's so pretty, and it was so soft!!/

5. This maxi dress was the final item they sent. (I was in a hurry, so I didn't do my hair or makeup. I apologize for the thrown-together pictures.) I wasn't sure about this one because it seemed a little “blah”, like there wasn't anything to make it special or unique.

But after putting a denim jacket over it, it seemed perfect!

It is so difficult to go clothes shopping. I can't drag a bunch of kids into the dressing room, and if I'm out on date night, I don't really want to spend spend all our time away from my husband while I try on clothes!

While Stitch Fix can be a little pricey, it is definitely worth splurging on quality clothes occasionally, especially when you consider the convenience of not having to go from store to store to find clothes that fit well or work with your personal standards of modesty. The more specific you are with the notes to your stylist, the better they are about sending things that are a perfect fit for what you need.

If you sign up through my referral link, you'll also get a $25 credit to go towards your first purchase!

I listed these pros and cons in my first post about Stitch Fix, but I'm going to list them out again here, just for your convenience:

  • Easy to order
  • Super easy to return what you don't want
  • My stylist did an awesome job trying to understand my needs and likes.
  • I liked that they sent pieces that could mix and match so I would get the most bang for my buck.
  • No shopping required!  With a houseful of kids it's hard to get out very often!
  • It's great for the fashion challenged because you have someone who knows what they're doing picking outfits that will work for you.
  • Each Stitch Fix comes with a styling guide that shows you what other pieces of clothing you can wear with what they sent you.
  • The pieces match common pieces anyone would have so you would most likely have things to match already.
  • They have modest clothes!  When you go shopping you have to dig and dig to find things that are modest.  I love being able to say “send me modest” clothes, and boom, there they are!
  • Receive as few or as many boxes as you want.  If you are in desperate need to build a new wardrobe, you can set it up to send you a new box every month (maybe even every two weeks?)  Or you can set them to come farther apart, or you can just order them only when you specifically want to.
  • It helps you try things you wouldn't have thought to try.  It's interesting to try on things that I didn't think I would like and find out I like them.
  • It is expensive, especially for someone who has always been a thrift store girl!

I set the budget to the lowest priced items, and the prices were still between $40 and $65 per item.

So yes, while there are many more pros than there are cons, money carries a lot of weight for a lot of us.  I never, ever, ever want to encourage any of my readers to spend money they don't have.

Less is more when it comes to clothing, so spending more on a few quality pieces that will mix and match is not really all that expensive in the long run.  But still…please don't spend money you don't have.

So Stitch Fix is for you if:
  1. You can set aside some money in the budget for quality clothing.
  2. You don't have the time to go digging around in the stores to find something that is both modest and flattering to your body type.
  3. You want someone else to do the work of finding outfits for you and you're not afraid to try new things.

Want to give it a try?  Sign up here to get started.

Helpful notes:

When you sign up, be sure to leave detailed comments about what you like to wear and why. I tried my best to define my version of “modest” so my stylist would know what to send.  I also made sure to create a Pinterest board of modest clothing that I like so she could see exactly what types of things I like.

Sign up for Stitch Fix here.

The post Modest Stitch Fix – Box #2 appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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As our family grows (both our immediate family and our extended family), it becomes more and more expensive and time-consuming to shop for Christmas gifts. Plus, when each child receives multiple gifts from us and from their extended family, the house quickly becomes cluttered with way too much stuff.

We like to do a lot more family presents these days rather than a ton of individual gifts. Not only does it cut down on shopping time, expense, and clutter, but it also helps us to prioritize spending time together.

When we purchase a gift that the whole family can enjoy, we are encouraging quality time together, which is so much more important than just giving and receiving a bunch of stuff.

We've also agreed with the our siblings that we will give gifts to each other's entire family rather than purchasing something individually for each niece and nephew (there are a lot and none of us can really afford it.) Giving family gifts provides all of us with the opportunity to express thoughtfulness for each other without breaking the bank.

Here are 10 unique gift ideas for the entire family to enjoy.

Disclosure: I was provided with products to facilitate this post. Some of the links included are affiliate links.

1. ArmoGear Laser Battle

This is the perfect gift for the competitive family who is always playing together. Rather than dropping a nice chunk to go play a game of laser tag, they will be able to play any time they want in their own back yard. ArmoGear Laser Battle comes with vests and guns (you can purchase either a 2 player game or a 4 player game.)

Purchase ArmoGear Laser Battle here.

ArmoGear Laser Battle: The Ultimate Laser Tag Game - YouTube

2. Family movie night package

Set up the family with everything they need for a family movie night: a popcorn popper, bowls, a cozy blanket, and an Amazon Prime video subscription.

3. Family game night package

If your budget is tight, family games are always a hit! I've included some of my favorite family game suggestions below.

And favorite games for the little ones:

4. Ice cream night!

This soft serve ice cream maker is a huge hit with families! Pair it with some bowls and ice cream toppings.

5. Indoor snowball fight

Want to bring the most unique gift to the party? How about supplies for an indoor snowball fight?

6. Outdoor activities

The most clutter free gift for families is a gift that stays outside! Treat the kids to hours of outdoor fun with one of these outdoor toys:

7. Camping Gear

For the outdoor loving family, a gift of camping gear makes a unique and thoughtful gift.

8. Game room/Play room gear

Another great family gift is an item for the game room (or play room if the kids are still little.) Some good ideas below:

9. Slam Ball

This game is one that my extended family members love playing together. It is highly competitive, offering loads of fun for the adults and kids alike!

10. The Adventum Audio Drama

“Mom, this is…amazing.” That's what my oldest son told me about this set of audio dramas. These audio depictions of Biblical events are an investment into the spiritual life of your children, and are so enjoyable for the whole family to listen to together.

Click here to learn more and listen to a trailer.

For our Clutter Free Gift Ideas for Homemakers, Click Here.

The post Family Presents: 10 Unique Gifts for Everyone to Share appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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In this article: Scripture based prayers for the homemaker who feels overwhelmed.





Discombobulated. (How do you like that word?)

These are all words that have defined how I feel about homemaking at some point or another. That last one has been especially apropos lately, and the only word I could find to describe how I feel inside.

Do you ever feel:

  • Like you don’t know where to start
  • Frustrated that no one is helping
  • Confused as to why you got nothing done today
  • Defeated that you can’t seem to run the household smoothly

You are not alone!

I think most if not all of us feel that way sometimes. Many are the days I have found myself in tears, wondering what on earth I could do differently.

Sometimes there are solutions that help free up my time so I don’t feel overwhelmed (3 Ways to Simplify Homemaking When You're Overwhelmed), sometimes I need better systems and routines (a letter to the wife with the filthy house), but very often I have come to realize that there’s not a whole lot I can do to change the fact that I feel so overwhelmed.

I am constantly tuning up and tweaking things to make things go as smoothly as I can, but the fact of the matter is that life is not always smooth or easy and many of the circumstances that make the road bumpy are out of my control.

So even though I recommend being wise with our routines and learning ways to take the overwhelm out of homemaking, it’s even more important to recognize our need for the Lord. Circumstances beyond our control remind us the He is in control.

We ought to spend more time seeking his face and casting ourselves upon Him in complete dependence than we do in trying to control our circumstances to become less overwhelming.

With that in mind, I want to share some Biblically based prayers for the homemaker who feels overwhelmed:

1. Pray that your thoughts would be clear and undistracted.

When you don’t know where to start or how to organize your day, pray that God would direct your steps and give you wisdom to know how to prioritize things.

Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. (Proverbs 16:3)

 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. (Psalm 37:23)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

2. Pray for physical health and strength.

If you suffer from any type of chronic illness, you are well aware that the brain fog and fatigue that accompany it contribute to feeling completely overwhelmed. When you can’t think clearly and when you’re always behind on the housework because you are physically unable to take care of it, things can become so out of control that you don’t even know where to begin.

Pray that God would grant you just enough strength to do what He wants you to do today (and remember that might look different than what you would like to get done today.)

Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11)

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

3. Pray that you will be diligent in your work.

Perhaps you’re behind and overwhelmed because you just haven’t been as diligent as you ought and now things have piled up. Pray that the Holy Spirit would remind you to be diligent today as you take care of your home and family.

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. (Proverbs 13:4)

 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. (Proverbs 10:4)

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1)

4. Pray that you will not be distracted by things that do not matter.

So many things fight for our attention throughout the day. Some of them are important, some not so important, and some are somewhere in between. As you seek the Lord above all, all of the other things will fall into place. Pray that you would remember to focus on Him above all else and not to stress about the rest.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:33-34)

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

5. Call out to the Lord in complete dependence upon him.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2)

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

The post 5 Prayers for the Overwhelmed Homemaker appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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Family time is important to my husband and me.  Spending quality time with our children is one way we can get to know them better, show them how much we love them, and bond our hearts together.

But life is so busy that spending time together doesn't always come easily!  The daily necessities of life take up so much of our time that time spent together often consists of folding laundry together on mom and dad's bed.  And while there's most definitely a place for that kind of time spent together, it's also good to have focused, set-aside time together where we're not distracted by the next item on our to-do list.

A weekend getaway is a fantastic way for us to spend distraction-free time doing nothing other than making memories as a family.

Since we live only a few hours from the Smoky Mountains, a convenient place for us to take a weekend getaway is in the friendly town of Sevierville, Tennessee.

Located in eastern Tennessee, Sevierville is in a centralized location to much of the eastern United States.  Its location, combined with the wide variety of family-oriented activities it offers, makes it a perfect destination for a family weekend getaway.

Watch the video for a speed version of our own kid-friendly weekend getaway in Sevierville, then read all the details below.

(Full disclosure: This trip was sponsored by the city of  Sevierville. Our accommodations and attraction tickets were provided to facilitate this post.)

Kid Friendly Weekend Getaway in Sevierville, Tennessee - YouTube


Thursday P.M.

Arrive at our destination.

Since Sevierville is only a few hours away from us, it's easy for us just to hop on up there after my husband gets off work.  Staying over on Thursday night maximizes the time we get to spend enjoying our weekend.  Being there on Friday morning gives us HOURS more time to spend enjoying the day instead of spending travel time that day.

We stayed at the Oak Haven Resort, which offers cabins suitable for various family sizes.  I prefer staying in a cabin when we travel as a family for several reasons:

  1. We don't all fit in one hotel room.
  2. A cabin has a kitchen, which means I can bring healthy food instead of eating out at every meal.
  3. A cabin is much more kid-friendly than a hotel, with plenty of things to keep the children occupied even if we're not out on the town.

Our cabin at Oak Haven Resort

The view from our cabin

What kinds of things does Oak Haven Resort offer?  A lot!

The cabin was equipped with a game room downstairs which included arcade games, a pool table, Foosball, ping pong, and a hot tub on the porch.  One small touch that was greatly appreciated by the smallest of our crew was a set of Mega Blocks.  Since our 2 year old is not old enough to play ping pong or Foosball, and since the 4 year old wasn't all that interested, they were perfectly content to play with Mega Blocks any time we were staying at the cabin.

Resort guests also have access to a playground, a basketball court, a swimming pool, a lake with catch-and-release fishing privileges, and several walking trails.

We arrived into town about 5 pm on Thursday, stopped at Chipotle for a quick supper, and spent the rest of the evening enjoying our cabin before bed.

Oak Haven Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee | Cabin Tour - YouTube

Friday, 8:30 AM

We had a busy day planned, so we ate out at Flapjack's Pancake Cabin for breakfast.  The food there is so good!  We definitely plan on making a trip here for breakfast any time we are in Sevierville.

Waiting for our yummy omelets and pancakes

Friday, 10:00 AM

After breakfast we headed over to Rainforest Adventures.  I'd heard a lot about it on previous trips to Sevierville, but we had never had the chance to take the kids.

Being the homeschooled nerds they are, they were telling me all sorts of interesting things about the animals that I didn't even know.  My least favorite part was the snakes, and I scooted past them as quickly as I could.  I didn't want to even look at them!  The kids didn't seem to have a problem with them, though.  They were posing for pictures in front of them just so they could watch me squirm.

There was also a petting zoo out back where the kids fed goats, donkeys, and sheep.

Feeding a baby goat at the petting zoo

Friday, 12 PM

After we finished at Rainforest Adventures we went to Sevier Air Trampoline Park and Ninja Warrior Course.  Friday morning was an amazing  time to go!  The Sevierville schools were already in session, so my homeschooled kids basically had the whole place to themselves! Since it was so empty, the staff went ahead and gave everyone unlimited arm bands, which meant we didn't have to worry about leaving right after our hour time slot was up.

I was really impressed with the park.  There were lots of activities to keep everyone busy.  Our whole family was able to jump and enjoy the activities together.

Friday, 1 PM

Next it was time to feed the hungry crew!  We ate lunch at Five Oaks Farm Kitchen. It's a little on the pricey side, so plan your budget accordingly if you have a large family to feed, but the southern fare was delicious, and the portions were huge!

Enjoying a fluffy southern biscuit at Five Oaks Farm Kitchen

Friday, 3 PM

The plan at this point was to spend the rest of the day at Nascar Speed Park, which the kids had greatly  been looking forward to, but it had begun to rain while we were inside the restaurant, and the little ones were starting to get tired anyway.

But we're flexible!

We headed back to the cabin instead, where we all took a nap, then we took advantage of the game room and hot tub for the rest of the evening.

I popped some hamburger patties into the oven for an easy supper, and we all just relaxed and hung out together until bedtime.

Relaxing at the cabin

Saturday, 10 AM

Option A: One fun way to spend your weekend in Sevierville is to get a day pass to Wilderness at the Smokies Wild WaterDome indoor water park.  Since it's open year round, this is a great way to have some family fun regardless of the weather.

Option B: (What we did)

Since we hadn't taken the kids to the Nascar Speedpark the day before, we spent most of the morning there.  There are go-kart tracks for just about every age (the only one who didn't ride was our 2 year old.)

Her first ever go-kart ride

They also have a whole bunch of kiddie rides.  The oldest 2 kids drove go-karts all day, and the younger 2 went back and forth between driving go-karts and riding rides.

Enjoying one of the kiddie rides

As it got closer to lunch time, the heat was beginning to get to us, so we headed back to the cabin to get some lunch and cool off.

After lunch, we headed outside to explore the nature trails at the resort.

(Our original plan for this day was to spend some time hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but the kids (and adults) really didn't want to skip going to the Nascar Speedpark.  However, we did also want to get in some nature time, so we opted to explore the nature trails at Oak Haven Resort instead.

After a  stop by the playground and basketball court, the little ones were sufficiently worn out, so we headed back to the cabin for a nap.

Little ones enjoying the playground

Daddy and the boys enjoying basketball

While the little ones were resting, I put some dinner in the crock pot and enjoyed putting my feet up to read while it cooked.

Saturday, 6 PM

We had planned to spend the evening enjoying a Smokies baseball game together, but it had begun to rain while the kids were taking their naps.

We waited until the last minute, but it was still pretty wet outside when it was time to leave for the game, so we opted to stay in out of the rain.

We spent more time enjoying the game room at the cabin.  Finally the weather dried up, so we decided to take advantage of the unlimited arm bands we still had from the Nascar Speedpark.

It was getting dark and late by this time, but it was vacation, so why not?!

The kids enjoyed several more rides before we finally headed back.

Night time ride at Nascar Speedpark

One last ride on the Scrambler at Nascar Speedpark

Everyone was sighing those “happy, tired, satisfied” sighs.

Check out from Oak Haven Resort was not until 11:00 the next day, which meant we could still sleep in before we headed for home.

It had been a wonderful, much-needed time away to relax and enjoy each other's company.

Many thanks to visitsevierville.com for planning a perfect itinerary for our family.  Click here to check out the Visit Sevierville website for ideas on planning your own kid-friendly weekend getaway to Sevierville, Tennessee.

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The post A Kid-Friendly Weekend Getaway in Sevierville, Tennessee appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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It was an ordinary evening.  I was unloading the dishwasher while dinner was heating up on the stove.  My toddler was  “helping” me, while the older kids were reading books to their younger siblings at the table.  As I worked, I enjoyed chatting on the phone with my husband during his drive home from work.

I stopped to take it all in, and I realized I was having the time of my life!

It wasn't a special holiday.  Everything that was going on was very ordinary, but I was enjoying myself immensely!

I could have this much joy every day if I would only choose to.

I don't need to wait for something special to happen to enjoy  life.  I don't have to have the perfect house or the perfect family to find joy and contentment.  I can choose to enjoy every moment.

When I'm cooking an “ordinary” supper, I can stop and thank the Lord that I have food to prepare for my family and a stove on which to prepare it.

When I'm doing an “ordinary” dishwasher unloading, I can be thankful I have the luxury of owning a dishwasher.

When I'm changing an “ordinary” diaper I can be thankful for these little ones God has entrusted to me.

If I stop and think about the blessings God has given me, the ordinary things seem so much more special.

Just since that evening a few days ago, I have tried to stop and think throughout the day about God's blessings and to make a conscious choice to enjoy what He has given me – not just on the special days.

What will you enjoy today, my friend?  The enchanting smell of a candle?  The sound of beautiful music on the radio?  The way the sunlight looks as it sends its rays through a window?  The love of your family on this ordinary day?

Stop.  Look.  Listen.  Enjoy.

Everything we have is a gift from God.  He loves us, and has given us “richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).

So let's enjoy what He's given.

Other Christian homemaing posts you may like:

The Perfect Homemaker

What I've Learned About Homemaking from the Older Generation

Letting Go of Homemaker's Guilt

The post How to Find Joy and Contentment as a Homemaker appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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Do you desire a deeper prayer life?  Do you know you should be praying more, but aren't quite sure what to pray for?

As father's day approaches, I've been thinking about some specific ways I can pray for my husband, the father of my children.

The more specific we are in our prayers, the more specifically God can answer them!

Coming straight from scripture, here are 10 ways to pray for your children's father:

1. Pray that he will be a man of integrity.

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. (Proverbs 20:7)

2. Pray that he will teach his children gently yet faithfully.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

3. Pray that he would encourage rather than discourage his children.

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)

4. Pray that he will lovingly discipline his children.

 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Proverbs 13:24)

5.  Pray that he will teach his children the truth of God's Word.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4)

6. Pray that he will train each of his children according to their unique needs. 

Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

7. Pray that he will lead his children in serving the Lord.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

8. Pray that he will notice opportunities through daily activities to teach his children God's Word.

 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deutoronomy 6:6-7)

9. Pray that he will be strong in the Lord and always keep his spiritual armor on.

 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:10-18)

10. Pray he will remember that his children are a blessing and a gift from God.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)

I've designed a printable that you can use with your prayer journal or as a stand-alone list.  My email subscribers have instant access to the download.

Related products you may enjoy:


The post 10 Scriptural Ways to Pray for the Father of Your Children appeared first on Imperfect Homemaker.

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