Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Setting Your Kids Up to be Successful in Business-Part 1 "WHY?"

So, I've talked before about how much I love homeschooling and the freedom it has given our family.  Mostly, I love the freedom it gives my children to follow their interests and passions.  I also love it because homeschooling gives us the time to spend with our children, preparing them for their futures.

There's one thing in particular we've intentionally tried to promote in our kids' lives-- an avid entrepeneurial spirit.  This world is changing rapidly and our kids won't have the same kind of lifestyle we do.  My goodness, we don't even have the stable job continuity that our parents and grandparents enjoyed.  I want my kids to be prepared to  provide for their families in whatever way they can.  And we always tell them that it's so much better to be your own boss.  That way, YOU set the schedule, YOU call the shots, YOU are in control, and  YOU are not at the mercy of a "BOSS."

To that end, about 4 years ago we helped our kids launch their own business selling candy and renting inflatables.  While they haven't gotten "financially rich," what they have gained in knowledge, poise, confidence, and business sense is beyond value.

Here are our Top Reasons Why You Should Consider Setting Your Kids up in Business

  • Hands-on-learning is the best kind of learning. Business skills don't come naturally. Your kids will learn important skills, i.e. how to handle money, deal with customers, fulfill obligations, handle inventory, etc. in a safe environment.  They aren't risking their house or life savings to see if they "like" running a business. You are there to guide them.  And I guarantee that you will learn a lot too!

  • It will open up a whole new world to your family.  Our business is mostly a traveling business.  We don't have one set location; we travel to different fairs, festivals, block parties, birthday parties, athletic events, carnivals, concerts, etc.  Everywhere we've gone, my kids have made new friends of all ages, plus they've been presented with myriad opportunities to try new things.  One time when we had a booth at a certain athletic tournament, my youngest son spent some time with an older gentleman who teaches fly fishing to kids in schools. You guessed it....Silas is now addicted to fly fishing, which has led to great father/son bonding times.

  • Your children will grow in confidence. When we are out, people are interested in what my kids are doing.  They ask a lot of questions, and they usually think it's pretty cool that the kids are running their own business. They compliment my children on their customer service and their initiative.  Plus here is nothing like earning your own way to pay for things, and  our kids have done all kinds of things with the money they have earned.  Their business paid for our first trip to Disney World, and helped to fund mission trips to Honduras and the Dominican Republic.  

  • They will learn how to quickly make decisions.  Practical problem-solving will come more naturally to them because sometimes you have to make hard decisions when you are responsible for your own business.  For example, we mostly work outside.  The weather must always be considered.  Is our tent safe?  Will our inflatables get wet? One of our pieces is 800 pounds, and the weight increases dramatically if it gets wet.  A wet inflatable = problems! How much product should we purchase for an upcoming event?  Too much, and our profit margin goes down; too little and we run out.  These are all items that must be considered.

  • You will be investing in their future in ways you can't even imagine right now.  Enough said. :o)

Monday, July 25, 2011

MOLOME: Spread Love Everywhere

Spread love everywhere.  Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. 
(Mother Teresa)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Darn, it's hot!

It's still hot...so, what else can we do, but cool off in the pool!?! While cooling off, the boys battled a ferocious horsefly and battered their dad with water balloons until he gave up and jumped in.  Eventually, lightening streaks across the sky forced us out of the water. 

We picked Tori up from camp this afternoon, Ben comes back tomorrow, and Jonah leaves for South Dakota on Monday morning. Are we ever going to all be together again? 

Today, I discovered that you aren't allowed to sell bird nests on Ebay.  Too bad, I have a nice specimen that someone would love to have. 

I'm currently reading a book called Moses, by Chuck Swindoll.  I'm enjoying it a lot....seems like God placed the book in my hands at just the right moment.  Lots of great insights and practical application about living your life in God's will.  So far, I wholly recommend it, even though I'm not finished with it yet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's Wednesday ICU

This week we want to…survive this massive heat wave, start getting ready for a major yard sale, make homemade blueberry muffins, find a lost camera, have a shrimp boil...
The kids are…well, the two left at home are planning a bonfire party for their friends...which means mowing the yard and cleaning up the house.  I love it! 
I am learning….how much fun it is to make altered books.  Here is my first altered book's "Cover-Before Picture"

and here is a "Cover-During Picture"

Sorry it's sideways....I'm telling you these technical things get me all the time.  I'm sure there is a perfectly easy way to turn it around, I just haven't figured it out yet! Anyway, so far with the book, I've covered the entire front and back covers with ripped pieces of brown craft paper, using Modge Podge. Then I decoupaged a ripped up napkin to the front.  Aren't the butterflies gorgeous?  I love butterflies.  
I am struggling with…the same thing as last week, realizing that my entire life is about to be uprooted is getting to me, but I'm still waiting for God to show up.  I know He will!  Please keep us in your prayers!
This week is the first time….I really can't think of anything we've done for the first time this week.

Summertime, Summertime, Summertime...

Silas and Jonah found this perfectly formed bird nest in our yard a few days ago.  I don't know what kind of bird built it, but it is incredible how sturdy it is.  The bottom is covered with mud; Silas says that is so the eggs don't fall out.  Sadly, this nest is so clean...I don't think it was even used, and we found no signs of eggs or baby birds anywhere near.  The abandoned house next door is home to about 20 cats, so possibly that is where the answer lies.

Well, Tori is at Camp LRCA this week, meeting up with one of her best friends, Annie P.  Annie and Tori only see each other two or three times a year...since Annie lives in Michigan City, camp and birthdays are just about it for them.

Ben is spending the week in, well, who knows where?  Somewhere down in Southern Illinois (a foreign country, I hear) at CIY (Christ in Youth- a conference for teens).  HIs lovely Shelly is with him. College starts August 22, so he needs to come home and get himself ready for that.

We were supposed to go to Six Flags today, but the heat advisory scared us.  Plus, we are pretty well tired out from a busy weekend.  We traveled to Indiana to visit a church, staying afterwards to have a picnic at one of the lake with the staff, then traveled home in yesterday's intense heat with no air conditioning in the truck. So, instead of riding roller coasters, Si and Jonah went cherry picking with the Wifler family, and I'm enjoying a day with nothing that absolutely has to be done.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Sorry I just haven't been posting at all lately.  Silas and I have been so busy, I will upload some pictures of the fun things we've done the past couple of weeks, as soon as I can catch my breath! I've temporarily given up on the Monday Menu Planning, just because everyone in our family is going in 100 different directions and it just doesn't make sense for me to spend the time planning and cooking.  Si and I have been eating with friends, eating small meals out, and scrounging around in the kitchen to keep ourselves nourished, and it's been working pretty well!
Lake Michigan Chicago Skyline in the Distance
July 4, 2011

I want to start a new weekly meme here, called ICU (Intensive Care for the Christian Unschooler) as long as I can get it to work. It comes from a group I'm a part of on Facebook.  For some reason, I've been having trouble adding the buttons.  I'm not too hot with the technical aspects of blogging, but I'm working on it! Anyway, here it is.....

This week we want to…earn more money for our misson trip to Honduras this fall.  Only my husband and I will be going this time, but I still can't wait.  I've got a few things listed on Ebay (my user name is Bentorijon, check'em out!), and I sold a book on Amazon that went for $83.  So, we're making progress....
The kids are… finally home...sort of! Ben and Tori are home from working at Summerfest in Wisconsin with All Tyed Up, and Jonah is home from California.  He accompanied his friend, Alex, to an archery tournament in Sacramento.  We're so proud of Alex, who is also homeschooled,---he just made the USA World Archery Team and will be competing in Poland next month.  Yay, Alex!  Ben is actually spending the week dog-sitting for a family friend who is on a mission trip to Honduras, but he's close enough to home that we actually see him every day! My heart is breaking because our family was not able to go to Honduras this summer, but God knows best, and we are following His lead.
I am learning….that God alone is my provider and I can trust Him in all things.  He has plans for us....mighty plans!
I am struggling with…changes coming down the road very quickly for our family! We are about to have a MAJOR life change that I can't elaborate on right now, but it will be soon.  Add this to the fact that our oldest is starting college next month, the stress level around here is pretty intense!  But I know God has plans for us, and I can't wait to see what they are!!!!
This week is the first time….I have agreed with my husband that we need to get our male kitty "fixed."  ASAP!!!!! Oh, it's also the first time I ever got a tattoo...wow, shocked everybody who knows me!
One large star for every member of our family...I didn't leave anybody out!

I am grateful…so grateful for my friends who are sharing a heavy burden with us right now and praying for us in what we are going to be facing over the next few months.  I love you all so much.  Thanks for being strong for me when I can't be.

The biggest change I’d like to see take place in my family in the remainder of 2011 is…..that we could spend more time together!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yesterday I started the online Weight Watchers program with my friend, Ellie.  I'm not really sure how it's going to go.  Ellie says to me, "Oh come on....it'll be easy!"  Well, trust me, controlling what I eat has NEVER been easy for me, and in the last year and a half I've gained 41 pounds. Now, part of that weight gain is due to medication, but it's still hard to realize just how much I've gained.  At this moment, I weigh as much as I did when I gave birth to my first child, almost 19 years ago. So, the time has now come to do something about my weight. And maybe my family will benefit from me at least trying to make better food choices...

According to the Weight Watchers program, I'm allowed to have a total of 31 points per day, plus an extra 48 per week.  The online program makes it so easy to keep track of points.  Each food is assigned a certain number of points; you enter what you eat, and they do the rest!  That part is easy!

So far today, I'm doing okay.  I have 9 points left and just a few hours before I go to bed.  I'm thinking that I'm gonna spend those last points on a chocolate ice cream cone!

So with all that said, drum roll, please......here is this week's menu...short a couple days because we're going out of town later this week.

Monday:  Chicken Fajitas with Spanish Rice
Tuesday: Stuffed Green Peppers, Tossed Salad, Watermelon
Wednesday: Grilled Ribs, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Fresh Green Beans, Tossed Salad
Saturday: Honey Mustard Chicken, Spinach, Fresh Fruit
Sunday: Eat Out!

You can find more menus at orgjunkie.com!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flexibility is the Key

Yesterday was a Field Trip Day for Silas and me.  We planned to visit The Shedd Aquarium with my friend Ellie and her kids, since it was a free day.  Wow!  The entire city of Chicago must have had the same idea!  The line to get in had to be a mile long....okay, maybe a quarter of a mile long, but still way too long for us!  So, we decided to check out the Adler Planetarium instead.

Great idea!  Silas and I had never been there before, so it was all new to us.  Our passes (which included all the exhibits and 2 movies) were $26 each.  That was a little steep, but at the end of the day I discovered that I could by a year-long family pass and they would subtract the fees I paid for that day's passes.  So, by spending an additional $40, I purchased the family pass which is good for 2 adults and up to 6 children.  Awesome!  I can't wait to take the rest of the family back.

At first, I was disappointed to not be going to The Shedd Aquarium, but the day turned out great!  We took the train and walked about 15-20 minutes to the Planetarium.  Silas absolutely loved it!  He learned so much about our solar system.  When we got home, he looked up the Apollo 13 movie on NetFlix so he could learn more about the space mission that nearly turned into a tragedy.  This is what homeschooling is all about....learning things that we are truly interested in!  He also bought a Dover coloring book on weather that he has been working in all day long.  I'm so thankful for the freedom to learn in our own way!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tea Party Days

No, this isn't a post about the grassroots political movement.  This is a post about finding creative and  fun ways to teach your kids to value other people.  Our homeschooling has always included an element of community service, but some years it has been hard to find a fun project.

So, I was ecstatic one day last fall, when my friend Dana, who also homeschools, invited us to hold a "Tea Party" with her family at the local nursing home once a month.  It's turned out to be the perfect opportunity to teach my kids how to serve others, while enjoying fun and fellowship.

Each month, we choose a different theme, based on the season or a holiday.  So far, the funnest day was our April Fool's Day Tea.  The kids brought along a whoopie cushion, and the residents just loved surprising their friends with it as they came into the room!  Each month, we bake snacks and decorate the tables according to our theme.  Dana has an awesome collection of eclectic teacups and teapots that she packs up to bring every time.  We've discovered that the residents love to play board games and put together simple crafts. All in all, it has been a wonderful experience for our kids and the residents.  What kind of things do you do with your family to encourage serving others?  I hope this post inspires you to start a new project with your kids!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 6/13/11

This is going to be a harder than normal week...since I'll be working every day, cleaning at the church.  I was able to switch my schedule around, so that I can work one week, then have one whole week off for the rest of the summer.  I think I'll like it, once I get to the one week off part!  Since I'll be so busy this week, I'm going to take advantage of my crockpot as much as I can.

Monday:  Bar-b-que Chicken, Buttered Potatoes, Broccoli
Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread
Wednesday: Chicken Fajitas, Spanish Rice, Corn
Thursday:  To Die For Crock Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus Spears, French Bread
Friday:  Sloppy Joes, Macaroni Salad, Baked Beans
Saturday: Eat Out or Order In
Sunday: Asian Lettuce Wraps, Egg Drop Soup, Egg Rolls

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL week!

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