There is just only so much space in my brain.

Most of the time, I think there should be more, but somehow there just is not. I forget things I’m supposed to remember. I no show events. I don’t get that card in the mail. I can’t contain all the systems and dates and needs and tasks in my head and expect myself to keep them all straight.

We all have our limits!

That’s why I love the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner. It is a beautiful, compact, highly versatile and useful brain outside my brain.

As much as I love my iPhone notes app and shared calendar, I can’t ultimately get my brain around some things unless I see them all laid out together on pen and paper. Plus, crossing things off is so much more gratifying than clicking or deleting them.

The Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner includes seven tabbed sections, including a yearly, monthly, and weekly calendar, tasks, projects, info, and shopping.

I love that each section is goal driven. There is a container to hold the basic tasks that need to get done that week, and also a slot to write your dinner plan for each night. You can even clip the top corner of each week when it is through to make your current page easier to find!

Here are some of my favorite things about this planner…

“Why, yes, I did use the ABC’s here. Thank you for noticing! ;)”


So many of the truly great planners on the market today are expensive. This one is very well thought out and a printed and bound copy is only $14.99! I love that it’s so affordable!


The Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner 2018 is beautifully designed with bright and cheery lemon-themed photography, and a beautiful layout.

It is laden with scripture on the cover, on every divider, and on every weekly planning page. It serves as a beautiful reminder for why we are serving our families.

Compact and Durable

This planner is a nice size. It comes with sturdy spiral binding and a durable cover. It is about the size of a half sheet, so it fits very nicely in my hands and also in my purse! I love the size and feel.

Easy-to use shopping lists

One fun feature is the perforated shoppings lists.

The planner includes 18 pages with 3 shopping lists each, so 54 removable shopping lists! Again, it’s nice to have everything in one planner. I can look at my week and see that I will need to make a cake and buy decorations, so I flip to the back and immediately add the ingredients I need to my weekly shopping list.

(Also, notice the beautiful divider design. Each one is unique!)


There are so many different sections of this planner that are completely versatile, including multiple notes pages (these work well for prayer requests), and highly customizable task and project sections.


One of the unique strengths of this planner is it strives to keep it’s users priority-focused and goal-driven. At the beginning of every calendar section (year, month, week), it has a page for you to list your goals for that span of time. The things you want to get done every single week, every singe month, and every single year.

This is a powerful feature for me, because it forced me to consider my goals and write them down. I can easily flip back and tweak or be reminded, but it’s nice to have certain objectives that don’t change (i.e. clean the bathrooms every week, etc).

I could go to say this planner is Helpful, Ideal, Joyful, Knowledgable, Lemony, Motivating…but you get the idea! ūüôā

It has helped me very much to see so much information all in one place! Just the act of filling out my planner each week allows me to get my head around what is coming up. I need that!

If you’re convinced, you can order your 2018 Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner HERE. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

The Freebie!

They have also created a year-long menu planner. And they are offering it for FREE on their website. Get it here.

The Giveaway!

What’s more, Homemaker’s Depot is giving away a planner to an Embracing a Simpler Life reader. You can enter to win here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Thank you to Homemakers Depot for sponsoring this post and creating a great, affordable and useful solution to my mom-brain issues. ūüôā All opinions are my own!¬†

So many of us are tired.

Between meeting the needs of those around us, running our homes, working, or waking up with children throughout the night, we find ourselves depleted mentally, physically and emotionally.

This exhaustion leads us to turn our focus from the things that matter most to survival.

If that’s you, God has prepared a very practical balm for your weariness. It’s called Sabbath, and it made a bit difference in my life (read my story here)!

If we want to experience all the fulness of living and being that God has for us, I believe we need an element of Sabbath rest in our week! 

Whether mothers, homemakers or working women –Sabbath was created to meet a deep-seated need in us. We should pay attention to that.

Let me explain…

The Theology of Sabbath

Sabbath rest is an ancient custom. It’s (nearly) as old as creation! Genesis 2:2-3 says,

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (NIV, emphasis added)

God required the nation of Israel to observe a day of Sabbath rest as part of His law. These holy laws set them apart as His people.

As Christians, we know that Christ fulfilled this law (Romans 10:4), and so it has been set aside in favor of a new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:13). Since we are not bound by the law, but rather are made right with God by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), many of us no longer observe Sabbath.

However, Sabbath rest was more than a legal requirement for the people of God. It was a gift from God –a practice which¬†met a deep and real need within our humanity. This need for weekly, rhythmic rest was inherent in our design even before sin entered the world.

When explaining why His disciples were not observing the Sabbath in the way the Pharisees expected, Jesus explained,

‚ÄúThe Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.¬†So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.‚ÄĚ Mark 2:27b-28 (NIV, emphasis added)

When God ordained Sabbath in Genesis 2, He did it for us, not the other way around! Our creator knows our needs better even than we do. We should pay attention to that!

How to Have a Sabbath

Hopefully you see why I think Sabbath rest is important, even for a 21st century woman! Now, practically, what does this look like?

Based on my personal experiences, putting feet to these concepts and living them out, I think your Sabbath rest day (or portion of a day) should be characterized by these four things.

4 Characteristics of a Modern Day Sabbath

1. Do the minimum, on purpose

With a little planning, you do not have to do laundry on this one day. You do not have to cook, if you’ve stocked up on freezer meals or done the work in advance. You do not have to pick up toys, or clean anything, or even wash dishes.

Figure out the absolute minimum work you can get by on (changing diapers, pulling prepared food out of the refrigerator, throwing paper plates into the trashcan) and do that only.

The premise of Sabbath is that you’re not working! Stay off your computer and email and smartphone. Your work can wait. Set boundaries and hold firm!

2. Rest for real

Physically and mentally, rest! Naps are great. Sitting is great. Laying on the floor and doing a puzzle with your kids is good. Be still a lot!

3. Choose things that give you life

Sometimes, resting happens through activity. If there is something that fills your cup, do that! If you love to go for a run, but don’t normally have time, then this might be a good activity for your Sabbath. Do what feeds you! I will not be running on my Sabbath. ūüôā

If getting together with friends who draw you closer to Christ is what fills you, do that!

4. Make it about God

If your Sabbath rest day is on Sunday, go to church and be with the people of God. It will get you started on the right foot. However, I don’t believe a Sabbath rest day must be on the day you go to church. My husband worked at a church for several years, and as a result Sunday¬†was not a particularly¬†restful day for us.

Beyond that,¬†don’t fill the hours of stillness with TV… please.

You will miss out on so much that God wants to give to you on this day! Instead, resolve to keep it off for part (if not all) of your rest time. Instead, spend the time simply being with God. Resist the temptation to fill the stillness with noise and distraction. If you hang in there, God will meet you.

Try this:

  • Open¬†your Bible and sit in it.
  • Have spiritual conversations.
  • Pray.
  • Read books that propel you towards Christ
  • Be still and know¬†that He is God! (Psalm 46:10)

I cannot even begin to say how much God ministers to me when I do this on my Sabbath rest day.

Sabbath rest and refreshment flow from time with God, not time with Facebook.

4. Quality time with your family

When I intentionally set aside the work and distractions of running a home, I suddenly find I have time to read more books, have more conversations and play more games with my husband and children.

It becomes such a joyful day!

How to Get Started

This all might sound well and good to you, but believe me when I say, our natural tendencies and impulses become an adversary. This makes it challenging to be successful with a Sabbath rest day.

You must have a plan and make advance preparations. You must be committed.

If you would like some help in that process, I’ve created a completely free Sabbath Planning Guide resource bundle.

This bundle contains:

  • a printable Sabbath Planning Guide
  • an audio teaching segment
  • beautiful scripture memory cards on the topic of rest
  • “55 Ideas for How to Rest on Your Sabbath Day as a Mother” printable.

Get it for free here!

Sabath Planner Ad

Do you practice Sabbath? If so, please share your wisdom! If not, will you try it?

Did you know that God is up to something eternal in the midst of your homemaking?

It’s true!

Stay-at-home-moms of little children, you don’t need to get them into school in order to start doing something purposeful with your life. You’re already doing it!

Working women and moms, you don’t need to wait for life to be simpler to live in the warm rays of eternity and abundance. You are here now.

Childless housewives and empty-nesters, children are not the crux of purpose, the Resurrection is. God is up to something, and you are part of it!

What does it look like for the making of a home matter eternally? Well, when you know your purpose, you can live out of that place. Instead of resenting work, we will embrace it for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Here’s what I mean…

We work hard for God’s glory

You may have noticed by now that there is no “arriving” at a clean and perfectly put-together home. We live in the reality of the curse that God decreed over Adam and Eve as a result of sin. Our work is perpetually frustrated.

  • No sooner is the laundry done then there are five new sets of clothes to be washed (at least in my household).
  • No sooner is one meal cleaned up than someone tells me they are hungry.
  • No sooner do my cleaning supplies reach their resting place, than a child press her sticky hands and sweet little face against the window to admire a passing butterfly.

Romans 8:20-21 says,

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope¬†that¬†the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (NIV)

Creation was subjected to frustration so that it may be brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. As children redeemed by the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ, we are live in a glory and freedom right now, even in the midst of decay. Though we are bound up in this world in one sense, in another sense we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom, we are redeemed.

Our Heavenly Father infuses our work in this world with great hope and eternal purpose. He says these words (which completely changed my homemaking when I re-read them with an understanding of futility),

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,¬†since you know that you will receive an inheritance¬†from the Lord as a reward.¬†It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

When we work hard¬†for God’s glory He brings eternal meaning into our futile efforts. He tells us we will be receive an inheritance as our reward. Our diligent, unacknowledged laboring is achieving for us an eternal glory. That is no small promise!¬†

We create order and cultivate beauty

Beauty, creativity, order… these are God’s idea! He created this world with every possibility that we now enjoy for design, color, and splendor. These gifts reflect His very nature, and when we enjoy and express creativity, we are acting as we were created to act, in His image.

When we decorate and design our homes as an offering unto Him, as an expression of who He is, He is glorified! Of course we should not be prideful or vain or wasteful, but we should enjoy and express God’s goodness.

We show love

There is nothing, nothing in this world more purpose-saturated than love.

1 Corinthians 13 says it strongly,

“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3, NIV)

If we have the most consistent cleaning schedule, with all our laundry always done on time, home-cooked meals every night, and well-tended flower beds, and if we show hospitality to others, but do it for a reason other than love, it is utterly meaningless.

Because this world and all it holds is passing away.

Pride and personal glory are as fleeting as the flowers of the field, here today and gone tomorrow. But love, love tips the scales. When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and when we love our spouse, child, friend, neighbor and enemy with an outflow of HIs love in us and allow it to fuel our actions, the simplest of tasks becomes the most gloriously significant.

Where there are beautiful homes, they will cease, where there the admiration of others, it will pass away, as one day very soon we stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

And then, “these three remain, faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Yes, your homemaking has deep-rooted, rich, and abundant purpose, should you chose to embrace it. Don’t wait!

How do you live purposefully as a homemaker?

Do you desire to be equipped as a godly, purpose-driven homemaker?

I can’t believe the Homemaking Ministries Online Conference is just around the corner! It runs all NEXT WEEK: Monday, September 25th through Friday the 29th!

I have been looking forward to this for months!

What is the Homemaking Ministries Online Conference?

It is an online conference for women who desire to be encouraged and equipped in their role as homemakers (oh, and have a little fun too!)

Over the course of five days, 23 different speakers present video talks, which are then followed up with live interactions in our private Facebook group. It is a great way to connect with speakers directly to share stories and ask additional questions.

5-6 sessions air each day, but of course you won’t be able to attend all of them live. You can watch them at any time, forever. You will have lifetime access to all sessions. I love listening to these as I do household chores. It makes them so much more fun. ūüôā

I am honored to be one of the speakers for the fourth year in a row. I’ll be talking more about my passion: how to have a Heavenly Minded Home (in other words, how to apprehend eternity, right where you are).

Find out the speakers and register HERE.

Also, you won’t want to miss the live Facebook kickoff pajama party this Sunday night!¬†

The Bonuses

When you pre-register for the conference (it costs just $59.95 to attend, which breaks down to only $2.22/session), you will receive several high value bonuses.

These include:

  • A printable, digital conference notebook
  • Access to our private Facebook group
  • Bonus eCourse: Essential Ingredients to a Thriving Home (a $67 value!)
  • Live discussion with speakers
  • Fun surprise bonuses along the way!

The conference starts in…
Get your ticket now!

Learn how to set technology boundaries for yourself and your children when it is taking over your life and home. Plus get 160 unique ideas for boundaries!

160 ideas for technology boundaries to set


Something in you is saying, “this is not the life I want.”

You wile away more time than you mean to on social media, watching TV shows, or browsing the internet. This leaves you behind on housework, irritated with your children, and tired from staying up too late.

I know because I’ve been there.

However, the good news is, your life doesn’t have to be this way. Technology is not your boss. You get to tell it¬†what to do, not the other way around. You are not a victim of your smartphone, and with God’s help, you can start taking steps towards living a self-controlled life today.

God is too good and life is too short to live it distracted by meaningless things. And yet, if we added up all the time we waste entertaining ourselves via technology, it would be sad. Because at the end of our lives we will have nothing to show for all that time spent.

One proactive thing we can do when technology is taking over our lives and homes is to set a firm and realistic boundary for ourselves (and/or for our children).

With the mix-and-match, build-your-own boundary system I’ve created below, there are 140 different possible technology boundaries. That’s a lot of information and opportunity!

However, rather than revamping your entire life in one fell swoop, I would encourage you to choose a single boundary to implement this month. Then, once you’ve implemented that boundary and honed it over time to fit your needs, come back to choose a second boundary to set as needed (you can pin this post to your Pinterest account for easy reference here).

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and retraining our brains and habits won’t happen overnight. Don’t be afraid to start with something simple and attainable.

Mix and match Technology Boundaries!

Go through the follow five steps in sequence to create a boundary that will address the specific needs of your home. Even if you see multiple issues that you want to address in your life, try to choose just one to start.

With all of the mix-and-match options listed below, there are 160 different, customized boundaries you could walk away with! 

Step 1: Determine who the boundary is for

  • Is this boundary for you?
  • Is it for your children?

If you’re not sure, let me advise you, rein in your own excessive technology habits first, before you start working with your children.

Also, don’t expect your children to acknowledge boundaries that you are not willing to acknowledge in your own life.

smart phone boundary

As parents, it’s okay to help our kids learn time management and self discipline through the instatement of healthy boundaries. It’s also okay to protect them from unwholesome influences while they’re in our care.

If we do a good job at casting vision for the “why” (not to deprive them, but to enrich their lives), they will be more likely to experience our love through the boundaries we set rather than store up resentment. Don’t forget to cast the vision! Take some time to consider why setting healthy technology boundaries is important for life.

Step 2: Identify what in particular is taking over your home

What will you tackle first?

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Smartphone
  • iPad
  • Computer
  • Television
  • Netflix
  • Games

Step 2: Choose your boundary

Now you must figure out exactly what boundary you will set. This should be HIGHLY specific. “Scroll Facebook less” will not result in a changed life. “Only check Facebook once a day, in the evening, from 8:00 pm –8:45 pm” will set you free¬†if you have the self-control to stick with it.

  • No _________ after a certain time each evening. (i.e. after dinner, after the kids are in bed, after 9pm, etc.)
  • Disconnect _________ from your smartphone to make it less readily available (i.e. email or an app).
  • Only use ___________ for a certain amount of time each day. (See ideas below for how to enforce this)
  • No __________ on Sunday. (Learn more about creating an intentional Sabbath rest day here.)
  • Get rid of ___________ all together! (Read why we got rid of our TV¬†this year and how it’s going.)
  • Check/use __________ only once or twice per day at __________ (list a time or point in the day).
  • No ____________ while the kids are awake.
  • No ____________ at a specific location (such as the dinner table, bedroom, upstairs, basement, date night, office, etc.)

Step 3: Determine how you will enforce your boundary

Because this is not going to be easy, we need to have a specific plan for how we will enforce our boundary (or otherwise ensure that we actually acknowledge the boundary we’ve set).

Here are a few ideas that might help you stick with your plan!

  • Charge your phone in the kitchen rather than on your nightstand.
  • Utilize a device that enforces your boundaries when self-control slips such as Circle with Disney. (Such a help, for adults as much as children!)
  • Put your smartphone in a designated area rather than in your pocket (i.e. leave it on the kitchen counter).
  • Disable internet and certain time-wasting apps on your phone so you will be forced to use a computer. The act of sitting down at a computer is self-limiting.
  • Set an alarm while you peruse social media.
  • Tell your children your objective and ask them to hold you accountable! This works wonders. ūüôā

child using a smartphone

Step 4: Get accountability

On the note of accountability, it is good to share your new boundary with someone in your life who can help you stay on track. When you tell your spouse or roommate or children your plan, your commitment to the boundary and incentive to follow through increase exponentially!

We want to be perceived as self-controlled by others, so we should leverage that natural inclination to motivate us.

I recently set a new boundary for myself. I decided I would no longer spend time browsing my smartphone after the kids went to bed at night, which was an unproductive habit I identified in my own life. Instead I would exercise, read the Bible, and go to bed early. I shared this with my husband and asked for his help.

Now, when I catch myself sliding into old ways unintentionally, I immediately set my phone aside and exclaim, “I was doing it again!” It’s been nice to have his support and to be able to process my journey, not to mention the reminders he kindly gives me.

Step 5: Implement your boundary!

Try your new boundary for one month. You’re not committing to never watch Netflix again, you’re just trying something for a trail period. After a month, you will have experienced what life is like without ________. I’m guessing you’ll feel a rewarding sense of freedom and accomplishment. You can then decide what would be best moving forward, either adapt, drop or continue with the boundary you set.

Put that reevaluate date on your calendar! This makes your boundary a time-bound goal.

What boundary have you created from this exercise that you will implement in your home?

As I peruse blogs, pins, and social media posts of magazine-ready homeschool rooms, it is easy to for those of us who don’t have one to feel a bit under-resourced.

However, I believe that we don’t need a dedicated homeschool room to run our homeschools effectively! In fact, I find I actually like¬†not¬†having one!

Here’s why.

Benefits of NOT having a dedicated homeschool room

  • No clutter. ¬†Because we homeschool in our dining room with access to only one small storage cabinet, we keep nothing more than the essentials at arms reach. This means staying organized with which materials we are presently using and tucking the rest away out of site and mind in tubs.
  • No mess.¬† We ¬†must completely clean up school for lunch and completely clean up lunch for school. We must completely clean up school for dinner, et cetera. This might sound like extra work, but in reality, it is wonderful! We stay on top of our mess little by little throughout the day.
  • Pleasant space.¬†In my case, our dining room has big windows, a pretty light fixture, fun floral-upholstered chairs and decorations. It is a pleasant room to be in– more so than any other room in the house. A perfect place to spend the day.
  • Multi-functional.¬†Large tables are comfortable for everyone to work at. Being at the dining room table allows for easy transitions to snack time and art time.
  • Efficient use of space. As you know, the more rooms there are in your home, the more you have to pick up, organize, clean, and even heat and cool. When a single room can be used for multiple purposes, it is a more efficient use of space and good stewardship of resources.
  • Multi-task friendly.¬†If my kids are engrossed in a Math game or doing an independent activity, I can easily unload the dishwasher while they are working. I enjoy being able to work a little bit if needed while still be present with them.

My simplistic method for homeschooling without a dedicated room involves a bit of daily preparation and four “levels” of organization.

Recommended Levels of Homeschool Organization (without a Homeschool Room)

Organization Level 1: The immediate workspace

Each night before I go to bed, I set up our homeschool table (the kids will typically eat breakfast at our bar).

I place a cup with pencils and erasers in the middle of the table. It also contains dice and game pieces the kids will need during math.

At each spot, I place a handwritten list of their activities for the day. This gives them (and me) a clear idea of what we hope to accomplish. Below that they will find their morning warmup.

At my spot I place a folder. This contains additional worksheets and notes about our day.

(Bonus tip: I find my children do better if I detach the worksheet I want them to complete from its workbook. This makes it feel more attainable and less overwhelming for them it seems.)

I wanted to post rules, a memory verse, and a daily schedule, so I taped them up to a colorful canvas print already hanging in our dining area!

Organization Level 2: Supplies we will need that day

In addition to what is on the table, I also lay out everything else we will need the next day on the end of our kitchen island during my nightly prep.

Having these materials nearby but not in our immediate workspace helps my children stay more focused on the task at hand. This also helps our school day flow since I never need to riffle through materials to find what we need. It is within easy reach.

I also like to sort out the materials we are finished with throughout the day and put them away. This dwindling pile helps me visualize how much territory we still have left to cover.

Organization Level 3: Materials that are relevant to my children’s current needs

These are things I may pull from on any given day. They are the materials I want to maintain easy access to.

Across our living room we have a hutch. The top shelves are mostly decorative, although I do have some homeschooling-related books on display.

(Bonus tip: this was originally two ends of an old school entertainment center. My husband and I bought these for $300 and bolted them together. It was a great cheap option for storage that could’ve easily cost $1500 or more… and it’s a beautiful addition to our living room.)

The bottom section of this hutch is devoted to our homeschool. You can see it’s not stuffed full. It only contains the things we are currently using.

  • Top left: learning activities and games.
  • Bottom left: curriculum and books
  • Entire right side is devoted to classroom supplies (pencils, markers, crayons) and a big crate of craft paper and supplies.

All the things we use each day are stored away in these cabinets when our homeschool day is through. They house everything we need for our working school!

Organization level 4: Stuff we don’t need easy access to, but that we will use occasionally or later on

In order to keep our homeschool environment minimal, I put away the things we are not actively using. These are in tubs in the bottom of a closet.

Tubs like these could be stored almost anywhere in a home. I look through them every few months to swap out activities or consider incorporating these things into what we’re learning. When I’m ready, I will place them in the hutch cabinet and they will be on active duty!

Do you have a homeschool room? Tell us why you love having a dedicated homeschool room OR how you make living without one work well anyway!

Homeschool Spaces Blog Tour

Would you like some more homeschool organization inspiration? My friends and I teamed up to create a homeschool spaces blog tour!

Check out their homeschool spaces here:

Parenting with Humility

This Pilgrim LIfe

Intentional by Grace

Bonus! Curriculum Recommendation: Math-U-See Review

Because I have a teaching background, I feel confident teaching my children naturally in most content areas, rather than following a structured curriculum. However, Math is the one subject area I feel I needed a little more guidance. After all, it tends to build on itself, so sequence matters.

After doing some research, I settled on Math-U-See. This is a challenging Math curriculum that helps learners develop a conceptual understanding of numbers through seeing how they interact. Abstract concepts become concrete through this approach to teaching Math.

The curriculum comes with a set of math manipulatives, a workbook with perforated pages, an instructors guide, a test booklet, and an instructional DVD.

I started the Alpha set with my Kindergartener last year, and it quickly became too hard for her. She was overwhelmed by all the number writing (such as filling in 100’s charts), and the massive workbook was overwhelming.

I eventually realized she was not ready for the Alpha level at that time (which is not necessarily for Kindergarteners), and we stepped away from it. We’ve picked it back up this year, and it is going very well!

I now detach each day’s practice sheet from the workbook. My 6-year-old is now much more ready for this curriculum. It is fun to watch her understanding grow!

This approach does a wonderful job with helping children move past rote memorization of facts and algorithms and deeply understand the concepts behind the math. They must be ready for it, but when they are, it works!

We plan to continue using this curriculum in the coming years! Find out more about Math-U-See here.

*Math-U-See provided me with the instructional materials that were reviewed in this post. All opinions are my own!