I love doing these monthly Q+A’s for you guys! I get a lot of questions and when I notice the same questions coming in, I really enjoy answering them. One of the most common questions I get asked is why we decided to homeschool, how it has made our lives simpler/harder, and how it helps our family mission. I also share the items that make my life easier (especially as a mama!) and my tips on decision making. Grab some coffee and enjoy this month’s Q+A!
In This Episode, Allie Discusses:
Several items that make her life easier, especially as a mom.
The reason she decided to homeschool her kids and how it makes it simpler, harder or helps her family mission.
The benefits she sees from making the commitment to homeschool.
Tips on decision making.
Mentioned in this Episode:
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Figure out the best time for you to start your day.
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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.
Hey friends! Welcome to another coffee and questions episode. In case you don't know, this is a monthly episode that I put out and it's really fun! I feel like it's a good opportunity for me to address some of the common questions that I get sent. It’s usually via Instagram messenger, or my assistant gives them to me from getting them in my email.
When we get something multiple times, I like to address it and I want to be helpful. I can't answer every single message in question that I get in real time, but I can do this. So, let's dive back into another coffee and questions episode.
I make it a tradition to actually have coffee with me when I do this because, I wish that I could have a cup of coffee and sit and have a casual chat with each and every one of you on a regular basis. It literally would be my dream. I would love that. And it's not possible.
I like to really calm down, just take a deep breath and make these episodes really casual, like Chit Chat. So, I do have a cup of Starbucks right now because I am out of coffee in my house.
I'm excited to dive in, sit and relax with you guys, and answer a few of your recent questions. Let's dive in.
QUESTION #1: What are some of the top physical items or material items that you'd say have made your life easier, in particular your mom life?
My mom life is my mom life, but I get what you're saying. This is a great question. I really thought about this and I came up with four things.
The first one would be my Samsung Robo Vac. These things have been around for years and I always was skeptical. It seems like super excess and a little unnecessary. But I got one. When we moved into our new house we had to go get a new refrigerator. They had this Black Friday week special going on where if you a big appliance over a certain amount you get the Robovac for free. We just got it because of that deal. I thought, “Well, I guess that’s cool.” It has been so amazing. It has totally changed my life. Honestly, I'm so glad that I got that little vacuum for free. Now knowing how helpful it is, I absolutely would have paid over full price for it. It's been amazing.
It's really cut down on my time. I never, never, never, seriously never, pull out the vacuum for downstairs anymore. In my house we have hardwood floors on the lower level of the house and then there's carpet upstairs and tile in the bathrooms. Downstairs the little vacuum sits tucked away behind the dining room table area against the wall. You can't really see it unless you're going to sit down on that side of the table. I can push the remote and tell him where to go and he will do his thing. He picks up all the cereal pieces and crumbs. He picks up so much.
It's a He. Of course, I call it a “he”. He picks up so much that I didn't see. We have a little broom and dustpan downstairs that we use for quick cleanups, if someone spills something or whatever. We'll go through just out of habit and sweep up.
But then if I run the Robovac later, he gets full again of stuff that I didn't see. He'll go over the rug; he'll go over everything. He doesn't stop just because there's a rug, he'll totally go over. He goes under all the furniture, underneath the TV console, underneath the sofas, underneath a table, all the chairs, everything. He's amazing.
He goes underneath the cabinetry all the way to the baseboards underneath the kitchen cabinets. He's great. It's so helpful. He really cuts down on my time. I run him once a day. It’s a habit. If I'm leaving in the evening, I turn him on while we're out of the house. It's great. This has really, really changed my life.
I think they're all just as good. I've talked to a lot of people and I specifically asked a friend of mine, who I know has a different brand than I do. I have a Samsung, I don't know exactly what it's called. I will link to it in the show notes, but it's a Samsung one. It's not even the Roomba.
I know the Roomba was great too, but it's just the Samsung brand of whatever the Roomba is. I'll link to the one that I have specifically, but it has been great. Totally worth the money. Of course, I didn't spend the money but I would have if I had known how amazing it was.
That has really cut down on my time, really simplified my life. You guys know that I am really big on delegating and honestly that is a form of delegation for sure. And I think it's worth every penny to delegate running the vacuum on your lower level or whatever.
This is a silly one, but the other thing that I would say has made my life a lot better is a great pair of tennis shoes. Again, this might sound silly, but I dress pretty simply. I really like to get dressed and I like to feel put together. Even if I'm just running errands or hanging out, I don't feel good unless I'm somewhat put together.
I have a couple pairs of tennis shoes that have really been game changers for me. Two of them are Nike, and one of them is Adidas. Super cute, trendy, sporty tennis shoes that can transition from being worn with activewear or even jeans and a tee shirt. I wear these tennis shoes all the time in rotation. They go with almost every outfit. They're just really comfortable. I can wear them to Disneyland or Legoland, now that we have Legoland passes, instead. I can wear them when I'm running errands or when I'm just cleaning up around the house.
I have gone out with them. They look cute in any setting and they're super comfortable. They are not too pricey, but definitely worth a little bit more of an investment than say going to Target and grabbing a pair of $25 shoes that are going to be uncomfortable and they're not even a good a brand and they were out super quick.
One of them is the Nike Tanjuns. They are the black ones with the white bottoms that I wear all the time and I get asked about all the time. Then I'll link to the other two.
I like to have a couple of different pairs, just kind of in rotation, that look good with different outfits and I wear those pretty much every single day. Those have made my life a lot easier.
I just feel put together. I feel cute, sporty and trendy. I can wear them with skinny jeans, workout pants or my leggings. They just work all the time and they make my life super easy. They transition well from run errands to the baseball field for practice at night, or whatever it is I'm doing.
That might seem like an insignificant one, but seriously, I think about it all the time. I recently wore out my original pair of Nike Tanjuns and I went right back and bought another pair of the exact same ones.
I like to switch things up, but if I buy something again, it's really, really good. I will link to my favorite pairs of tennies and you guys can pick whatever you want if you want to get something.
But that has been a real style staple for me and really made my life easier in that way.
I would say another one has to do with the kids and that is our trampoline. We got the kids a 12-foot trampoline for Christmas. It was their family gift and it has been so amazing. They are seriously out there on that thing all the time.
They have a bunch of games they made up that they play on the trampoline. They use it to pretend they're exploring, pretend they're in the circus. They bring it into all the stories and games they make up together. They use that thing all the time. It's awesome. It gets them outside. Often, they'll go out there to play on the trampoline and they'll end up staying out there longer and playing something else.
It's been really, really great for homeschooling, especially if the kids are getting antsy, can't seem to focus, and I'm getting frustrated because it's just been a day. I'll say, “OK guys, five-minute trampoline break.” I'll set the timer and they'll go and jump their little hearts out, get all their energy out. They'll come back in and totally be calmer and ready to keep going with school.
Then the last thing is I would say is I got a large capacity washer and dryer when we moved into the new house. There was already a washer and dryer here, but they were terrible. The guy said, “I'm just going to leave those there. You can keep them.”
And yeah, no, they were awful. The dryer was a piece of junk and was frying the clothes. It just was awful. I decided, you know what, I've paid my dues. I've had a lot of crappy machines. I do laundry every day. I have a lot of people in my house. I've got a lot of laundry to wash, as minimal as I am. If you have a lot of people in your house, you have a lot of laundry to wash. So, I'm going to invest in a good washer and dryer.
I got mine at Best Buy and they are Samsung as well. I'll link to them. I love them. I think they have them in black and white, which is awesome. I found that they had these. I didn't even know they had these, because I've just always had secondhand stuff.
I have a large capacity washer and dryer, so the barrel on the inside is huge and can handle two or three hampers’ worth of stuff. It actually gets the whole load clean even if you fill it. It's amazing.
I went ahead and invested in the large capacity washer and dryers and it has been so great. On “linens day,” when I've got to wash all the bed sheets, the quilts. Every once in a while (this is rare) I'll do all the curtains in the house. Bella and Leland both have weird allergies where they get sniffly if there's too much dust, so I will wash all the curtains just to make sure. I'm actually really grateful for that because it keeps me like super clean. I don't know a lot of people who wash their curtains, but because they are like that, I kind of have to do it. It makes everything super clean and I'm grateful for that.
If somebody gets sick and we've got a bunch of linens to wash, or we have to do all the bed sheets, or maybe I fell out of my rhythms for the weekend and I’m behind on the laundry, I can do a giant load, that's really three loads at one time. It doesn't make the washer weird or get bumpy and crazy. It's awesome.
The dryer is also large capacity. I can do the big load in the washer and then the dryer can handle that same load. I love, love, love my washer and dryer.
I feel like one thing that I've really learned recently is if you can afford it, invest your money in the things that you use all the time.
We have an amazing refrigerator. We have an amazing washer and dryer. I've got my go-to tennies that are Nike and Adidas name brands that I invested in and that I love. Invest in the things that you really use a lot.
I have a great Curling Iron too. I can link to that for you guys too. That's not something that necessarily makes my life easier, but things that I use all the time.
I like to have as good as I can afford because it's an investment. I am using my washer and dryer every single day. It's been amazing. It really helps.
I'll link to that for those who want to know and of course, everybody has a different budget and there's different seasons of life. If you guys listened to episode six, you know that I understand not even being able to wrap your head around what I'm saying right now because you're just trying to get through to tomorrow, but you're asking me what physical items make my life easier. Those are the four that immediately came to mind.
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QUESTION 2: Why did you decide to homeschool? How does it make life simpler or harder or help your family mission? I'm wondering what your motivation was and the benefits that you see from making the commitment to homeschool your kids.
This is another great question. Honestly, I never really decided ahead of time that I would homeschool. It's sort of something that I fell into as a parent once I started being a mother. If you guys have followed me for any length of time, you'll know that we've put our kids in school. We've had them home. We've done charter school, homeschooling, public school. We homeschool right now because it works out really well for our lifestyle, practically speaking. Brian and I worked really hard together to get out of the typical nine to five job schedule.
When our kids were in school, it really sucked because the school system is on a normal schedule, so we put us back into the “OK, we can take vacations when everybody else is taking vacations again,” even though we had worked so hard to get out of that normal schedule where we're waiting for the weekend to do fun stuff, and we can't just leave on a Wednesday and go do something fun together. We had worked so hard and gotten out of that.
We put our kids in school because the business was a little too overwhelming. We needed to take a break from homeschooling and running the business at the same time. It was hard because we were back in that “normal, everybody else” schedule. One of the bigger reasons that we homeschool is not what everyone else usually homeschools for.
We don't hate the public school system. We don't want to protect our kids from everything and keep them home and sheltered with us. We're not, I guess, the “typical homeschoolers” in that way.
One of the bigger reasons that we homeschool is because it works really well for our family. It helps us to stay flexible. We’re together all the time. We can do whatever we want, whenever we want. We can take a vacation in the middle of the week, in the middle of the winter if we want to. While everyone else is still at school, we can leave for two months at a time and it's totally fine. We can work from wherever. We can do school from wherever. We can take breaks and not work and not do school whenever and it works really, really well for us. We like that freedom, we like to be more in control of our scheduling and our life, and homeschooling lines right up with that. That's probably the biggest reason.
And then, of course, there is the more “purpose driven” reason to where it's where the peace is right now. I wrote a blog post a couple years back that talked about how I don't know exactly what we're going to do in the future. I don't claim that we're always going to homeschool.
If everything went perfectly well, nothing dramatic happened, nothing that I can't even imagine took place, and everything went ideally - yeah, we would homeschool all the way through until the kids are not in school anymore.
But I don't know if that's going to happen. I may burn out or there may be something crazy that happens in our life that just causes us to press pause. I mean, that happened even last year.
We just couldn't do both (homeschooling and the business) anymore. We had to take a break so we could hire some people and delegate some of our role in the business. It was way too much.
We definitely do see a purpose in having our kids with us most of the time and being the ones to teach them, train them and pour into them during the day. I love that my kids are together a lot and that they have a lot of play time. They're not in school for seven, eight hours a day. It's just a couple of hours. It's split up however they need it to be, and it's very tailored to them. I see a lot of benefits in their education from being homeschooled versus going to public school, especially since I did experience what public school is like.
I definitely have those reasons, but they're very, very small in comparison. It works really well for our family right now. It always has, except for that small season last year with the business, which we solved that problem by hiring and getting some things off of our plate.
Hope that answers your question. Then the part about does it make it simpler or harder? It definitely simplifies it from not having to drop off and pick up, and run our lives by someone else's schedule, by the school system schedule.
It makes their life simpler in the ways that I listed, like being able to take vacations and go to Legoland when it's empty. Being able to run errands with our kids and go to doctor's appointments without having to sign somebody out, go pick them up and ask for permission. It makes my life a lot simpler in terms of paperwork because I can't believe the amount of paperwork that came home from the kid's school with them every day.
The way it makes it harder… I used to think that homeschooling made life a little bit harder in terms of you have the weight of your kid's education on you. But you know why I really don't think that anymore? Honestly, at this point, I really think that homeschooling has made my life simpler.
It is harder to do the whole drop off/pick up and then help them with homework. To only get a few hours in the evening with them while you're trying to race home to do homework and then race to baseball practice and get dinner on the table. It was just so hurried and so rushed. In my opinion and for our family, there really isn't anything that homeschooling could do to me that would make that harder than when the kids were in public school.
QUESTION 3: This might sound weird, but I would love tips on making decisions. You obviously live a very full life and you must be good at figuring out “yes or no and why or why not” pretty easily. I often find myself agonizing over decisions- sometimes big ones, sometimes small ones. I would love to hear your advice and thoughts on this.
Thank you for your question, whoever sent this. I don't have names, but yeah, that's a great question.
I think one of the biggest things for me is giving myself space to decide.
You guys might know that on Fridays I have meetings pretty much the whole first half of the day. Every Friday morning till the afternoon is full of meetings. That's when I handle any kind of meetings that I need to have. It's on Fridays so that I can batch my schedule and know “OK Fridays I'm getting in meeting mode.”
One of those meetings that I have every week is with Ashley, who handles press for me. A lot of the time she will have a list of things for me that have come in that week, like opportunities, and she'll ask me, “Hey, this person reached out. They want to do this with you. Do you want to do this? Yes or no?” A lot of the time I'll get like a gut feeling. I'll just know, “yeah, that's a no.” But also sometimes I tell her, “You know what, let's just be quiet for one second and let me think about it” and I'll literally take a minute and say, “OK, no, we're not going to do that.” I just need to think about it for a second right then and there. But also sometimes I'll say, “You know what, let me just think about that” and I'll take the rest of the day or even that weekend and get back to her the following week.
Give yourself permission to have space to make a decision. I think we often think a decision needs to be made right here, right now. Especially if somebody is asking us on a phone call or in person, or even in text. There's like an unspoken pressure to answer right then and right now. And, of course, it's not that Ashley was pressuring me or anything. We're just having a meeting and trying to knock out tasks and go through things. I think get out of that mindset of having to know right now and just give yourself permission to take a beat and take some time to decide.
Because what that does is let the idea sift around in your subconscious a little bit. You get a gut feeling, “You know what, I really do want to do that. I'm going to say yes to that,” or the opposite, “You know, I really just don't feel like that fits my life and I'm not going to do that.”
By giving yourself some space, you give yourself a chance to think about it, let it settle and really get a gut reaction to making a decision about something. I definitely think that's pretty powerful for me in terms of making big decisions.
And then, of course, for me prayer is a big part of that too. Talking it out with God and letting Him know how I feel, what I'm worried about. What I would like about this decision and what I would not like. What I'm concerned about. Then just letting him bring me peace and I just follow the peace in my life.
If I feel peaceful about saying “no” to something, I will say no. If I feel peaceful about saying “yes” to something, I will say yes.
Then also I think, just weighing it out and asking yourself, (If the decision is some kind of extracurricular activity for your kids) “Why would I say yes to this? Is it because I want to say yes to my kid. I want to make them happy? Or is it out of obligation? Is it out of fear? Where is this coming from? Is this going to serve my family? Is it going to serve our calendar? Is it going to serve me? Is it going to serve my child in a way that’s worth all this time? How much time is this going to require of us? How much free time do I feel we really have? Should I wait until baseball is over until we joined this thing? Can we handle it right now? How much money is it going to cost? Is this worth the investment?”
Weighing out your options and really looking at it. I think we often overestimate how much time we really have in a given week, month or even day. Take a step back and look at it.
Sometimes you willingly step into a busier season. For example, personally, I know that towards the end of this year we're going to be heading into a very relaxed, home-all-the-time, saying-no-to-a-lot-of-things season of our life. I know that some things are going to be happening in our family that we're going to take a beat, take a breath. Work less. Say “yes” less. Out of the house less. We're probably going to take a break from baseball, sports, horseback lessons and things like that towards the end of this year, late fall and holidays.
I know that we're in a busier season right now and I'm OK with that because they know that things are going to ebb and flow and we're not going to stay here.
Right now, both of the boys are in baseball. They're on the same team, so we've got a practice and a game every week and every once in a while they throw in two games a week. So, that’s two to three nights a week for baseball or Saturday morning, depending.
Bella's horseback riding lessons once a week.
The kids wanted to do this Minecraft- themed engineering class. That's only a four- week segment, but you know, that's once a week right now. We just actually finished the last one today.
Then Leland has guitar lessons twice a week as part of his homeschool.
There's a lot going on.
And we work, we run the business. We are doing homeschooling four days a week. We have church on Sundays. Like it's a lot. Every day, there’s something, we're leaving the house for something.
But you know, it's good. It's wholesome for us right now. It's serving us right now. The boys are doing great in baseball. They love being on the same team. We make it a family affair. We all go together. We watch them. We cheer for them. And the other two kids play near the baseball field while the boys are doing their games and practices.
Bella is loving being back with horses. That's her passion.
Leland is just doing amazing in guitar. He's learning so much and he's super passionate about music. That's great. It's a part of our homeschool day so it's not like in the evening like everything else is.
It's been really good. Yeah, we're busier and it's tiring. We hit our pillows at the end of every night exhausted but in a good way. And it's just a season.
We had a very slow winter season before this started. We willingly went into this knowing, “OK, this is going to be something just about every day, but we're good with that.” We just make sure we have one day a week. It's carved out purely for rest, getting restored. That's good. It's just a season.
I think you have to weigh out a lot of stuff. “Is this going to be good for us right now? Is this too much?”
It's OK for you to change. You can't know, “OK, one activity per kid all the time for forever.” You have to wait and go season by season.
What if you have another baby next year? You’re probably not going to be OK doing everything that you're doing now when your youngest is five years old, or whatever your situation is. You have to kind of let life happen and go accordingly, if that makes sense.
So that was good! Good questions, guys! I hope that was helpful and encouraging for you all. I love these episodes. I can't wait for the next one!
Thanks for listening and I'll talk to you guys next time.
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you. I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!
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