Homemaking Articles - Imperfect Homemaker

Category Archives for Homemaking

There’s Not a Right Way to Celebrate Christmas

Normally this time of year I start seeing lots of posts reminding people that they can have a simple Christmas – that they can just relax and quit stressing out about doing all the Christmas-y things.
And yet this year I’ve seen a new conversation pop up – there are those who feel that there’s not just been permission granted to celebrate with simplicity, but that there’s been actual glorification of it. Those who enjoy “doing all the things” are left feeling as if they’re doing something wrong by NOT simplifying their celebration.
The solution I saw offered to both of those approaches was balance.
I’ve seen this word used about many things in the Christian world, and for many years I would have agreed that it's a good solution. Parent in a way that’s not too strict and not too lenient. Keep your house clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. Celebrate Christmas in a way that’s not too much but not too little.
But now I see this Goldilocks way of looking at life, where we're always chasing this “just right” balance, as having the same root problem as the insistence on operating at one end of a spectrum or the other.
The problem is in thinking that there is a “correct” way of doing things in the first place.
More is not better. Less is not better. And balance is not better either.
When we become secure in our identity in Christ, we become free to be the unique person that we are. Those who do more are not “too much”, those who do less are not “too little”, and those somewhere in the middle are not better than everyone else.
The truth is that we all exist on a beautiful spectrum, each of us having unique gifts and personalities. If you find yourself operating out of guilt or fear, always chasing your tail in an attempt to do more, do less, or find a balance between the two…what if you were to simply rest in these truths:
-God made you and gifted you in unique ways.
-You are fully known and fully loved, and there is zero need for you to chase approval you already have.
-You are free from the law, and that most certainly includes any perceived rules about the right way to celebrate Christmas.

If you need your Christmas celebration to be simple, you are not inferior to others who do it more elaborately. If you enjoy doing all the things, it doesn’t make you shallow or materialistic; you can delight in the good gifts that God gives and enjoy them with gratitude. If you find yourself somewhere in the middle, you haven’t reached a superior place of “having the right balance.”
Instead of comparing ourselves with one another, feeling guilty if we’re not doing things as well as others or feeling superior if we think we’re doing things better than others, let us praise God this Christmas for the Grace of God that has appeared to all people – the grace that breaks away shame and tells us we do not have to earn love or approval.

A New Direction for Imperfect Homemaker

I have not written any new posts here for quite a while. The reason for that is that I am not the same person who started this blog over a decade ago. I knew this was likely to happen, that I would grow and change and view certain things differently, and that I’d likely disagree with some of the things I wrote in the past.

I have always tried to write from that perspective – that I’m not an expert who is here to share unchanging truth with my readers, but that I’m just a woman who is continually in the process of learning. Everything I’ve written in the past has been a milestone of where I’ve been at that moment in time.

And now I’m further down the road of life and I’m in some different places than I’ve been in the past.


The title “Imperfect Homemaker” is now less about my struggle to be better at cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids.  A better way to define myself as an imperfect homemaker now is that I don’t fit the traditional concept of a homemaker and that many people would probably consider me a rebel.  Yes, I still stay home and take care of most of the household duties and childcare, but I no longer do it because I believe that is my role as a woman. I believe fathers and mothers should both be homemakers – loving their children, tending to the household chores, and ministering to others in partnership with one another. Strict roles where the man is the breadwinner and decision maker and the woman is the housekeeper and decision follower are not something I find prescribed in the Bible.

I  still agree with the bulk of what I’ve written here; however, I’d write many things with far greater nuance now. (And there are a few things where I’m on a completely different page from my former self.)

Much of the standard fare written toward Christian wives and moms lends itself to either tolerating abuse from one’s husband or toward engaging in abusive behaviors as a parent, and that includes some of the articles I’ve written here in the past.

That’s not to say that every woman who reads these things is destined to be abused by her husband or will automatically be too harsh with her children.

However, because of the ministry to abuse victims that God unexpectedly launched me into around 5 years ago, I’ve seen a lot of things I can’t unsee. I’ve learned how concepts that might seem innocent in one family are bondage and destruction to others. I’ve seen firsthand how frighteningly common abuse is within the church, and I can’t be quiet about it, or about certain teachings that allow it to flourish so easily.

I never figured out how to make my new ministry of speaking on these topics fit into this particular space. I still enjoy talking about how to be productive and organized. I like a pretty, traditionally feminine aesthetic, even though I don’t believe that’s a component of being a “Biblical woman.” Talking about domestic abuse and critiquing harmful teachings just didn’t seem to fit in here, but I don’t have time to do both, which means that the content I produce in this space has dried up.

 I don’t want to close this space down, though. I’ve gotten to “know” (virtually) so many of you over the years, and I’d sure love to continue to have good conversations with you.

But for the sake of authenticity, for the sake of time, and for the sake of bringing awareness of these topics to the Christian women who follow this account, I believe it’s time for me to change the direction of the content here. I’ll be sharing more posts about the very serious issue of domestic abuse in Christian homes, and I’ll be starting conversations where we can rethink common marriage and parenting advice that allows such abuse to flourish so easily.

My older content re-circulates automatically on Facebook, and if I catch something posted there that I no longer agree with I delete it.. (Feel free to message me if you see something I miss!) As I have time I hope to re-write some of it, but for now I just try to keep old articles that I disagree with from surfacing into public view.

I realize that some of these new conversations here might get uncomfortable. They might challenge some of your long-held beliefs. (I have been walking this road for quite a few years, so I know how uncomfortable it can get.) I understand that for some of you, you may disagree so vehemently that you no longer feel you can read my content. There’s no hard feelings from my end if that’s the case. I don’t wish to convince anyone of anything they don’t wish to be convinced of. But if you enjoy the challenge of thinking through hard things, especially with the goal of protecting our fellow sisters in Christ, then I am excited to engage in these conversations with you!

Is Swagbucks Legit? How I Paid for my Kids’ Christmas This Year

I was asked recently whether Swagbucks was a legitimate way for stay-at-home wives and moms to earn money. My answer at the time was “Nah. It's not really worth the time.” It's not that the site itself isn't legit (it totally is – I've had an account for years and received any payouts I've requested) I just didn't feel like most people would earn enough to make it worth the time spent. Most of what I had earned was from referral credits I accumulated when I owned a deal blog years ago, and I didn't think it was fair to give the impression that the general public would earn as much as I had.

Well…fast forward a little bit and I've totally changed my tune! 
I tried using Swagbucks for a month to see how much I could earn doing only things that anyone can do.
It was enough to pay for all my kids' Christmas and birthday gifts!

Once again, the money I earned was from doing things that anyone can do, and I didn't spend an exorbitant amount of time doing them.

Is Swagbucks legit?

Now…you're not going to get rich off Swagbucks or really earn an actual income, but if you're just hoping for a little “mad money” then I think you're going to find Swagbucks to be an amazing little hobby that you can use to afford Christmas presents or some other little “extra” you may not normally be able to afford.

Maybe you're wondering what in the world Swagbucks even is. A basic explanation is that you complete online activities such as taking surveys or searching the web through the Swagbucks search bar. When you do, you are awarded with…well… Swagbucks. Then you can redeem those Swagbucks for gift cards or actual PayPal cash.

I'm going to share the specific ways I have found to make using Swagbucks worth my time. I know we are all busy, but I also know many of us could use a little extra cash. So hopefully making use of Swagbucks will be a blessing to your family as I share some of the most time-effective ways to earn a little extra money. 

1. First things first, create a Swagbucks account here. (Important note: If you want to redeem your Swagbucks for PayPal cash rather than gift cards, make sure you sign up with the same name and email address that is on your PayPal account.)

2. Get familiar with the point value. (1 Swagbuck = 1 cent, so 500 Swagbucks are worth $5.00)
Each activity will tell you upfront how many Swagbucks you'll receive if you complete it.

Ready to start earning Swagbucks? Read on for the best ways I've found to rack up your total quickly!

3. Go to “Discovery” Tab.
What you'll want to do is look for high paying offers and easy tasks. When these two overlap, that is the sweet spot!

So, for instance, I would consider 500 ($5) or more swagbucks a decent amount — although, the higher the better of course. I've earned up to 10,000, which is $100!

Notice all the squares underneath. These are all the offers available. When you click on one, it will show a little pop-up box with all the details of that offer.

Here's what that looks like:

This particular offer says that if you download the Upside app and use it when you purchase gasoline, you will receive 1000 Swagbucks ($10.00.) It will cost you nothing to use the Upside app; the only purchase you're making is for gasoline, and you'll make an extra $10! Not bad for taking the time to download an app!

More examples of tasks I've done that have provided a large return for a small investment of time:

-Download apps (earn an average of $2.00 each)
Be sure to read the terms. Sometimes there is a requirement to play to a certain level of a game before you're awarded the Swagbucks. I don't find these to be worth my time. I prefer to choose offers where I can download the app, receive the Swagbucks, and then delete the app.

-Sign up for a company's email list (earn $.25 – $1.00 each)
You can set up a separate junk email address for these so you don't fill your regular inbox with junk mail.

-Sign up for a free trial to a streaming service (earn $5 – $10 each)
I always set up a calendar notification to remind me to cancel before the free trial is over.

-Sign up for a food delivery subscription (earn $30 – $60 each)
I do the math to make sure I will be earning more than I spend on the box. Usually there are special offers on the boxes that make them very inexpensive. For instance I just did one where I spent $13 to get the first box delivered. I'll earn $60 from Swagbucks and then cancel the subscription, making it a $47 money-maker.

-Click and earn offers (1 to 2 cents each.)
There are many of these available to do. All you have to do is click on a link for an advertisement and you'll immediately earn 1 or 2 swagbucks just for clicking. Why do I do these when they only pay a couple cents? Because it only takes a second or two to click. A penny per second equals a $36/hour pay rate. Even if I only spend a few minutes doing this, it's completely worth my time. All the Swagbucks add up. 

-Upload receipts. I don't always do this, but if all the other offers are sparse I will take a few minutes to upload some of my grocery receipts. Depending on what I've purchased I might earn around 20-25 cents on each receipt.

-Take surveys. This is one I personally don't do that often, but other people I know find that they earn enough on Swagbucks surveys to make them worth their time.

-Use the online shopping portal. Any time I need to make an online purchase, I go to my swagbucks account first, or I click through my chrome extension. Swagbucks will reward me with a certain number of swagbucks just for shopping through their portal.

If you install the Chrome extension, you will see a pop-up like the one on the right hand side of the above web page. Any time you're shopping online you can click that purple cash back button, and you'll receive Swagbucks back in your account after you've made your online purchase.

If you don't wish to install the Chrome extension, you can just go to your Swagbucks account and click through the shopping portal.

Things to be aware of when using Swagbucks:

-There will be many, many offers that are not worth your time or trouble. Don't be disappointed, just keep looking because the great offers are in there among the not-so-great.

-As I already noted, you'll probably want to use a junk email address when signing up for advertiser's email lists. Additionally, it's my personal preference not to sign up for magazines or free samples where I have to give my mailing address. (Ordering an actual product is different.) But for the free sample type things, I feel like I start receiving a lot of additional junk mail when I give my address out.

-Always, always read the terms of an offer. You'll need to follow the instructions correctly in order to receive your Swagbucks. For example, it might say to sign up for a free trial of a service, but then in the fine print it will say that you have to stay subscribed past the first month in order to receive the Swagbucks. (These can still be worth it; just check the price. For example, if I stay subscribed for one month to a service that is $5 a month, but I'm earning $20 in Swagbucks I'll still do it!)

-Take a few minutes to keep yourself organized. Keep track of the offers you've completed and make a note on your calendar to make sure your Swagbucks have been awarded. (Occasionally something doesn't track properly and the Swagbucks might not show up in your account. If this happens, I just do a chat with Swagbucks customer service and they have always fixed it right away!)

Here's a screenshot of my Swagbucks earnings. (That's worth over $1,100 that I've redeemed in the form of Paypal money.) In the upper right hand corner, you can see an additional $83 worth of Swagbucks that I have not cashed out yet. And I also have another $100+ worth of pending Swagbucks that will post when the 30 days of a free trial offer is complete.

If you're tight on money and are looking for a legit way to earn a little bit extra from home, I highly recommend giving Swagbucks a try!

Here is the link once again to sign up —> Click Here to start earning Swagbucks!

A Wise Woman Builds Her House

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

Perhaps when you read that verse, you think something like, “If I want to be a wise woman, I need to build my house. Hmm…how do I build my house?”

I’ve asked for people's thoughts about this verse on social media before, and all of the answers I received were along the same line. Everyone was thinking something like, “A woman can build her house by doing a, b, and c” ; and the a, b, and c were things like:

  • Put others’ needs first
  • Keep my home clean and clutter free
  • Make my home inviting for the family
  • Do things together as a family
  • Have supper together every night
  • Schedule in rest time, family time, chore time, Bible time, and exercise time
  • Control my mouth – speak kindly to others and don’t complain
  • Be organized
  • Be frugal
  • Prepare nice meals for my family

Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing these things. Speaking kindly to your family, spending time together, and using your time wisely are all beneficial things to do for the ones you love.

But if we are not careful, we can fall into a great big trap of believing that our godliness as a homemaker is proven by how many boxes we can check off on a list.

I want you to understand that the “godly homemaker list” only brings bondage. The more things you manage to check off the list, the more things you will think of to add to it. – “I did a, b, and c, but my family would really benefit if I also did x, y, and z.” If you believe that you must figure out ways to build up your home in order to be a wise woman, you will forever find yourself unsatisfied (because you will always think of some good thing that you're not doing!)

When you measure your success or failure by a list, you are setting yourself up to fall into one of two ditches:

1. Perpetual guilt that you can't seem to do all the good things on your list.
2. Pride that you are doing good things better than someone else is.

When you measure your success or failure by how many “homemaker-y” things you do and how well you do them, you've got things backwards.

You see, when you try to figure out ways to build your house and work hard to do them, you are living life out of our own wisdom and strength.

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…”

Psalm 127:1

We can never build our houses apart from the Lord, and we cannot be wise apart from him. 

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

So, my friend, how do you build your house?

You walk in the wisdom of God.

Through wisdom is an house builded: and by understanding it is established. (Proverbs 24:3)

Listen to the words of Jesus:

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

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4)

And here’s what Jesus says will happen when you listen to his words:

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

Do you see? When you try to build your house on any other foundation, it will not stand!

When you try to check the boxes of what you think a “godly homemaker” is supposed to look like, you’re building your house on the wrong foundation.

But when you build your life on the rest that Jesus Christ offers you; when you abide in him; when Jesus IS your life – everything else will flow from that!

The foolish woman focuses on DOING. Yet all her best efforts will fail.

The wise woman focuses on BEING. And because she is not living through her own efforts, but through the power of the resurrected Savior, she can never fail.

A plant doesn’t have to try hard to bear fruit. The only way a plant bears fruit is to simply be. The roots do the work of providing everything the plant needs to flourish and be fruitful. Likewise the fruit we bear can only and ever be a result of simply abiding in the vine.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him…” (Colossians 2:6)

Does it feel impossible to do *everything* you're *supposed* to be doing? 
Maybe it’s time to ditch the checklist and simply abide in the vine.

*Doing* all the things to build your house is not what makes you a wise woman.  That's backwards.

But when your life is hidden in Christ – when you rest from your efforts to do, and you learn to simply be who you are (a new creation, filled with all the fullness of God!) – you will find freedom and rest like you’ve never experienced before!

Be a wise woman, my friend, and follow Jesus’ invitation to abide in Him.

When you do, your life will bear much fruit! You can cease from your efforts and stop living in either guilt or pride, and the people in your home will experience the power of Jesus' grace as it fills your own heart and spills over onto them.

If you want to read further on this subject, here a couple of great suggestions:

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman

The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley

Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

One of my all-time favorite hymns is Great is Thy Faithfulness. 
Every line of the lyrics contains such encouraging scriptural truth. One of my favorite lines, though, is “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”


God gives strength for today

  • The Lord is the strength of my life (Psalm 27:1)
  • God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)
  • I will go in the strength of the Lord God (Psalm 71:16)
  • When my own strength fails, God is the strength of my hearts (Psalm 73:26)
  • He gives strength to those who have no might (Isaiah 40:29)
  • God strengthens us with his might in our inner man (Ephesians 3:16)
  • I can be strong through the power of the Lord (Ephesians 6:10)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)


God gives bright hope for tomorrow

  • I do not need to worry about tomorrow. If God takes care of the birds and the flowers he will take care of me. (Matthew 6:25-34)
  • The scriptures provide evidence of God's faithfulness in the past and give us hope for the future (Romans 15:4)
  • Christ's resurrection provides a powerful reason to place my hope in him. (I Peter 1:20-21)
  • The God of hope fills me with joy and peace (Romans 15:13)
  • God’s love offers comfort, hope and strength for the tasks ahead. (II Thessalonians 2:16-17)



Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me


The phrase “Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow” contains so much encouragement that I made a downloadable print of it and added it to the private resource library (it's free for email subscribers!)
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow artwork
Thanks for signing up! Check your inbox for the link to the download page!

Homemaking Update March 2021

It's a new month, which means it's time for me to post some personal stuff about what I've been up to! I'm hearing from a lot of you that you enjoy a taste of “old-school” blogging, so I'll keep it up!


What I've read recently:



1. The kids and I finished listening to the audio version of Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge. I want them to be exposed to truth, even when it's not always pretty and involves someone that many history books call a hero.

I don't think it's fair to look for ways that we can make everyone out to be a villain, but neither do I think it's fair to present only one side of the facts either. The kids and I enjoyed listening (the book is written specifically for younger readers.)



2. Someone in my Facebook feed shared an article about Claudette Colvin, a teenage girl who stood up to segregation on the Montgomery buses, and I was curious to know more. When I googled, I found this book, and it was included with my Scribd subscription, so I read it on there.

Here's what I wrote about it on Goodreads:
I love learning about people who did courageous things for no other reason than that it's the right thing to do. Claudette didn't do what she did for notoriety, she did it because she could not live a lie. She couldn't pretend segregation was OK, tiptoeing around society in order to get along. She did what was right, and she held her head high even when others (including those who should have been supporting her) turned their backs on her. I've never heard of Claudette Colvin until recently. She didn't make the history books, but it was her courage that spearheaded the lawsuit that would ultimately change history. We don't all have to make the history books, but we can all do the right thing with our head held high. Claudette's story should be an inspiration to everyone.

If you want to read it on Scribd, you can get a free 60 day trial through this link.


3. Adore: A Simple Practice for Experiencing God in the Middle Minutes of Your Day

From my Goodreads review:
I turned to this book when I found my thoughts getting anxious and my mind swirling with the cares of the day. I loved listening in on Sara's self-talk as she intentionally turned her own anxious thoughts toward God and his word. Her prompts helped me apply the word to my own circumstances and find peace and perspective in the midst of my frustrations. 


4. The Great Sex Rescue
From my Goodreads review:
This book is intended to help wives (and husbands too) untangle the lies they've believed about God's design for sex. Lies like, “men are going to look, so make sure he looks at you” or that “sex is a duty that wives owe their husbands men have great needs in this area” can put a damper on whether or not couples can enjoy the intimacy of the sexual relationship. Instead of sex being an obligation and wives being used as drugs to keep their husbands off porn, The Great Sex Rescue will help couples discover the joy that can be theirs when sex is focused on mutual pleasure and true intimacy rather than just the act of intercourse.

I shared more about the author's motivation for writing this book here.


Something New I Tried This Month:

I got my second clothing subscription box from Wantable (read my full review of the service here.)


They sent some cozy clothes for me to finish off the last of the cold weather in (I ended up sending all of these back.)


They also have a feature where you can request specific articles for them to send. I got this dress that I requested and it fit well, so now I have a new addition to my spring wardrobe.


A Blog Post I Wrote This Month:

I inadvertently opened a whole can of worms when I asked on Instagram if anyone had read any Christian marriage books that had done more harm than good. When the book Love & Respect came up, I had a whole bunch of questions in my inbox. The book is very popular, and many people had read it and had a good experience, so they wanted to know in what ways it had caused harm.

I promised to answer the question, but I knew it would be a major undertaking. I had over 50 pages of notes that I had taken as I went through the book.

To make a long story short, I am now working my way through a series about the problems with Love & Respect, and the main hub of that series can be found here.


A goal I worked on this month:

I'm carrying a few extra pounds that I'd like to shed. So far I have struggled with this because learning a new plan like THM felt too overwhelming, and sticking to just eating healthy was not actually taking any weight off.

I'm finally doing something differently that is SO EASY and seems to be working slowly and steadily (I'm down 4 pounds within the first 2 weeks.) I'm not trying to be a tease, but I want to wait to share until I give it a long enough trial to know for sure that I recommend it. I promise I'll update you!


Something I've been meditating on lately:

As spring begins its arrival I've been meditating on the faithfulness of God. God has been keeping the seasons in order since the beginning of time. Each morning the sun rises and travels along the same path it has traveled every other day since it was created.

Psalm 104 tells of all the marvelous ways that God reveals himself through creation. I encourage you to read it and see if you can do anything besides thank God for his faithfulness!


The kids couldn't resist bringing in the first daffodil of the season.



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