Baby Step 3 to financial peace

When we talk about the finance class we lead, we often hear from people that they assume that it’s for people that are struggling with debt. In actuality, ditching non-mortgage debt is only 1 out of the 9 steps that is taught. The reason we market so heavily to people in debt is that roughly 80% of Americans are in debt. We are meeting people where they are at.

We do encourage you to get out of debt QUICKLY. As Dave Ramsey says, “Your most powerful wealth building tool is your income.” When your income is going to making payments, it’s not building wealth!

When the payments are gone

However, once your debts are gone, it’s time to fund other things. Baby Step 3 is creating a fully funded emergency fund.

It’s no shock to anyone that emergencies happen. The car breaks down unexpectedly, your spouse gets injured and can’t work for a few weeks or months, the list goes on and on.

Dive into Baby Step 3 on our Youtube channel @theOsegards

The recommended amount for this emergency fund is 3 to 6 months of expenses. To know this number, you’ll have to be budgeting. When you know where your money goes each month and how much you need to get by each month, you can take that number times 3-6. Wondering where in that range to save? Check out our Money Monday segment on just that topic!

Why is three months of expenses the minimum recommended amount? In the event that you or your partner is injured and can’t perform their job, most disability insurance takes three months to kick in. Having 3 months of expenses will keep you going until the disability kicks in.

On the flip side, let’s say you were to lose your job or have another unexpected VERY major emergency expense. 6 months is typically plenty of time to either find a new job or find a way to drastically reduce your expenses.

Where does an emergency fund live?

There are two important things to note about your emergency fund.

  1. It needs to be easily accessible. This is not an investment. We’re not looking to make 12% returns on this money, so it’s really quite boring. It’s a safety net. You’ll need to be able to get to it super easily in case of an emergency, but not TOO easily. The emergency fund should not live in your normal checking account, or anywhere else that it could be easily spent on non-emergencies. Which leads us to number two…
  2. Define what an emergency is. An emergency is probably not the semi-annual sale at your favorite store or needing a new boat. Sit down with your partner and determine together what constitutes an emergency.

Baby Step 3 – boring but important

Of all of the baby steps, this one is arguably the most boring. By this point, we already HAVE an emergency fund (of $1000) and are out of debt. It may be tempting to just skip past this one and get to the “fun stuff”. But this step in the process is crucial for a couple of reasons.

First, it takes commitment to get out of debt and live on a budget. It takes just as much commitment to save up this much in cash and NOT touch it. Ever. Unless it’s an agreed-upon emergency.

Second, think of this like an insurance policy for yourself. This pile of money stands between you and never going into debt again. With the fully-funded emergency fund in place, you are prepared for anything. A job loss, a disability, a flood or fire, or anything else. This is your buffer to ensure that you have the time and resources to keep from relying on other people’s money to save you. Plus, Dave also calls the emergency fund Murphy-repellent. “What can go wrong will go wrong,” seems to find people who are unprepared.

What kinds of emergencies have you run into before? A car breaking down, broken windows on the house, or a water heater going out in the middle of winter? What would it be like to have cash ready to cover these expenses at a moments notice?

What a Year Off from Teaching taught me

Since I was four years old, all I ever wanted in my life was to be a classroom teacher. After a year off from teaching, I’ve got a new opportunity to make that happen.

In high school I started to really struggle with picking a major, because an education degree was all I had ever wanted to pursue, but I was suddenly feeling called to teach music. I ended up going to school for a music education degree. It was terrifying to leave my life-long dream behind.

Alyssa's computer and library classroom, from before taking a year off from teaching.

Even though I “only” had my music education degree, it didn’t limit me. I worked as a classroom teacher’s aide, a music teacher, a school librarian/basically STEAM teacher, and a computer teacher. I loved it, but there was always a part of me that had a tinge of regret for not choosing my life-long dream.

Then things changed even more.

A little over a year ago, I announced that I was leaving my teaching job.

I was scared. I was sure that I was going to teach my whole life, but I also had peace that this was where God was leading me. It was so strange to not be in the classroom, but it was good.

In my time away from teaching, I learned how to better organize my time. I learned how prioritizing things was even more important and effective than scheduling things, but that I do love being able to create my own schedule. It was during this transition that Cody and I learned the importance of getting things done in six days so we could truly rest on the seventh day. That’s something I don’t think we would have realized had I stayed working at school.

I realized (QUICKLY) that I missed having kiddos in my life. Subbing became a really special time for me, because I loved spending time with the students. Being in the classroom without all the stress was really fun, too!

A year off from teaching

Alyssa and boss/friend Amber at Summit 2018.

My boss/friend moved to Florida shortly after I started working for her full time. I learned that there is such a thing as too much alone time, even for an introvert like me. Since I had a lot of extra down time, I also quickly learned what some of my best hobbies were (including reading, writing, and listening to podcasts).

With everything that changed this past year, I’m learning to build community in places outside of work. We are very involved at our church, especially with Financial Peace University this year. Showing up can be draining for me, but it allows me to interact with people outside of the house. Had I still been working at school and needing to recharge from a full day of extroverting, I don’t think I could have even done it!

I’m finding a new baseline of energy for me, and honing in on how to recharge myself more effectively. Working a weekly Sabbath into our schedule has been a huge benefit. I’m focused on what things during the week help clear my mind and prepare me for another day. Some days, that means getting out of the house and walking at the mall. Other days, all I can do is relax on the couch and read or watch a show for an hour. I’m still working on recognizing what my body needs, but I’m getting more used to listening!

Plot Twist

By the end of winter, I was in a really good groove of working, pursuing hobbies, and keeping our house in order. Things were going really well, but I started to feeling a stirring in my soul once again.

I will go into more detail in a future post, but for now here is the short version. This next school year, I will be back in the classroom 3 days a week as a Pre-K classroom teacher. I’m back with the team I worked with before, who I love dearly, and in a classroom role. It is literally my childhood dream come true, and I can’t wait!

Classroom of students from Alyssa's year as a teacher's aide.

As I look back on my year off from teaching, I look forward to continuing the practices I am putting in place now. Our weekly Sabbath will be more important than ever, I’m sure. The balance between extrovert time (like at school) and introvert time will be a main focus. I know it will present a whole new host of challenges, but I’m ready to see what this new chapter looks like. And with the things I’ve been learning and focusing on this past year, I’m hopeful that the transition and experience will be very rewarding!

Recognizing Jesus – Luke 24 Study

Luke 24 was a part of my Bible plan today. To make the Bible feel more REAL, I like to imagine the conversations as they would take place today.

Luke 24 takes place after Jesus has risen from the tomb. He joins some of his friends as they walk to Emmaus. For whatever reason, they aren’t able to recognize him as Jesus.

Jesus asks what they are talking about. When I put myself in Jesus’ shoes, I picture this:

Luke 24 through Jesus’ eyes

I stumbled upon my friends on their way to Emmaus. I could hear them talking about me and speculating about the empty tomb, so I decided to surprise them.

“Hey guys! What are we talking about?”

It was SO funny. They didn’t realize it was me, so they thought I was CRAZY! No one even knew what to say at first.

Cleopas finally said “Seriously? Are you new here?” He went on to tell me about everything that had happened. They thought the women were CRAZY. I tried to remind them what the prophets had said, but they were having none of it.

They invited me to stay with them, and as we sat down to dinner, they all realized who I was! I hope they they continue to see me in all that they do.

(If you haven’t read the story, do it. This is the Alyssa Modernized Version 😉 )

Luke 24

What’s the point?

Every time I read this, I can’t help but giggle. It feels like Jesus is just messing with them a little. After the giggles though, I can’t but judge these men. How on earth did they not see Jesus when He was right in front of them? How did they not recognize Him?

Then conviction hits. How often do I have something in my life that just seems like an inconvenience or a nuisance when really it’s Jesus? How often do we miss the wonderful things in our lives, or the times when God shows up, when they are right in front of our faces?

Luke 24 in Real Life

Living in the Twin Cities, we deal with our fair share of traffic and road construction. It’s all too easy to hit a traffic jam or a detour and just be frustrated at the inconvenience. What a waste of my time! Why can’t people just learn how to drive, and stop slamming on their brakes at the last second?

But as frustrating as traffic and construction are, I have started to see the lessons being taught. While I might have a problem with the time it takes to detour, maybe God is trying to teach me patience. We are always rushing from place to place, and stretching ourselves thin. But what a valuable skill it is to be able to show patience and kindness, even when it seems like nobody else is!

Or what about when things are going really well? When we do something great at work or home, or finally finish some big project we’ve been struggling with for years? I don’t believe that any of these things were completed by my willpower and work alone – God is absolutely necessary. Yet somehow I can miss the glaringly obvious signs of Him showing up, and think I did it “all on my own”.

Luke 24

Recognizing Jesus

This is one thing that I will be working on – seeing Jesus in everyday life. Not just at church, or during my devotions, or on our Sabbath. Not just in the bad or frustrating moments. I want to be able to see and recognize Him no matter what is happening, because I know that He is always there. When I’m stuck in traffic, maybe He is teaching me patience. When Cody and I have a great month of saving for a house, God is a part of that too. We can do all things through Christ, and I want to continue being intentional about seeing and recognizing the impact that has on me every day.

2B Mindset vs. Ultimate Portion Fix

Beachbody has two main nutrition programs 2B Mindset (available here) and Ultimate Portion Fix (available here). I am both a certified 2B Mindset mentor and an Ultimate Portion Fix Master Coach. While both are geared towards healthy eating, they are very different in the way they accomplish that goal.

The Basics

2B Mindset waterbottle

Both 2B Mindset and Ultimate Portion Fix are created by people who really know their stuff! 2B was created by Ilana Muhlstein, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Her success story with the principles taught in this program is amazing. Access to the program also comes with some recipes, a tracker, and a water bottle.

Ultimate Portion Fix was created by Autumn Calabrese, one of Beachbody’s Super Trainers. It is technically set up as a 30 day program, but can be used long term as well. There are MANY more recipes that are a part of this program, including online resources and two physical cookbooks.

How they work

2B Mindset doesn’t have many hard-and-fast restrictions to it. It is a very positive approach to healthy eating and weight loss (or maintenance depending on your goals). There is no calorie counting or specific amounts to eat. Over all, there are general guidelines of what you should eat and why. Basically, you drink water, then fill up on veggies and protein to help you feel full. With that baseline, you can indulge in anything that your body enjoys! The tracker is simply a tool to help you see what you eat and how it makes you feel, but since there are no specific requirements for what you eat, it’s essentially just a journal.

Ultimate Portion Fix workbooks and containers

The Ultimate Portion Fix is a bit more rigid. While there are three different paths you can take, all paths have instructions on what to eat. There are color-coded containers that you track with every meal. For example, the green container is for vegetables, and depending on your weight and your goal, you eat a certain number of green containers each day. There are lots of options within the containers, but it is a more specifically dictated approach.

Results with 2B Mindset and Ultimate Portion Fix

I’ve followed each of these programs with the goal of weight loss over the course of 30 days each. I had more dramatic results physically when following the Portion Fix system. I enjoyed learning what portion sizes generally should look like, and what a good recommended amount of food for my body was. It was good to learn what a healthy amount of food was that would help me feel full, and reminding me why I eat. Am I eating just to eat, or am I fueling my body?

With 2B Mindset, I did not lose as much weight. However, as is in the name, my mindset around food was much healthier. I felt more in control and less restricted, and found myself craving less junk and choosing healthier options.

My Recommendation?

The Osegards love some tacos and a healthy mindset

If you’re looking for a specific recommendation between these programs, I’d love to chat about your goals and help you choose one. I’ve seen people reach their goals of weight loss, maintenance, finding a healthier relationship with food, and more with either program! For me, I am a 2B Mindset girl. While I know I may not see as many physical results, I feel like I am in a better mindset and have a healthier relationship with food when I follow these guidelines. I don’t need to count containers or anything like that, I just have to make the choices that will help me feel good inside and out!

Learning How to Sabbath

Even though we have a pretty good grasp on what things generally are restful and/or worshipful for us, not every Sabbath is a home run. Each week is a process of trial and error, and things that may be restful one week may not be the next.

Why Sabbath?

If you’re interested in learning more of the “Why” behind this for us, check out our breakdown of Sabbath here. Essentially, determining if something “fits” into our Sabbath boils down to two questions.

Is it rest?

Since Sabbath is a day of rest, the point is to NOT do work. If it is not restful, it doesn’t belong in our Sabbath. This is one of the biggest learning curves for us, as the idea of true rest was foreign to us when we started out. Rest doesn’t mean lazy or sleeping (though they can be a part of it!). True rest should recharge us mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally.

Is it worship?

Some things fall easily into this bucket, like going to church or doing a devotional. Other things that could be worshipful though could be going for a walk in nature, spending time with Alyssa in deep conversation, or playing music on the piano and singing. Believe it or not, binge-watching Stranger Things didn’t pass this test for me. Is it a fun show? Absolutely. But is it worship? Not so much, save that for another time!

Getting Ready

One of the most helpful rhythms we have found around Sabbath is what we call our Pre-Sabbath checklist. We have a list of things that we like to accomplish prior to our Sabbath, that will help us to relax and not worry about the “little things”. Take at peak at our checklist over on Etsy, and see if it’s something that would be useful for you and your family as well!

Knocking these things out means that we can truly rest, and our Sabbath doesn’t unwittingly turn into a get-things-done-around-the-house day.

How To Sabbath

How (not) to Sabbath

For Alyssa and I, we have a number of things that we have found to impede our ability to rest and worship. First, screens can get in the way and distract from true rest. At times, watching a show or a church service online can be a great part of our Sabbath. But more often than not, screens lead to shallow conversations and just “vegging out”. While this seems to fit the idea of rest, afterwards we are not any more recharged or rested than we were before.

For our Sabbath, we turn our phones to silent and leave them upstairs and out of sight. If we need to check on something (plans with someone else, the weather, etc), they are there to use and then set back down. Keeping these out of sight leads to better engagement with each other and with the activities we DO decide are restful. This is a great one to try for a night a week, even if you are not “practicing Sabbath”, and you may be surprised how much deeper a conversation can go!

So what DO we do?

Like I mentioned, this can change a fair bit from one week to the next. Some weeks, we can find it hard to get in the right mindset to rest and worship. Maybe it’s just been a crazy week of work. Maybe we are just cranky or getting on each others nerves. Whatever the reason, this is the first challenge we have to overcome each week. Our ideal Sabbath schedule goes from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. This means that we can start our Sabbath by going to the 4 pm service at Eagle Brook. Taking this time to focus on God and on worship can work wonders to change our negative moods.

How To Sabbath

Our Sabbath almost always involves some kind of special food or drinks. Most weeks, we get something “fun” to go with our normal breakfasts (english muffins, donuts, cinnamon rolls…). Or maybe we grab ice cream Saturday evening and sit outside for a while. Sometimes, it’s a batch of popcorn with M&M’s while we watch a movie. Treating ourselves with something fun like this makes Sabbath something we can look forward to!

Just Try It

One of the quickest ways to prevent true rest though is to overthink or just give up on it. At first, 24 hours seemed like a HUGE sacrifice of time to not work. How are we supposed to keep up with everything that needs to be done? We are already busy working 7 days a week, won’t we be overloaded if we cram that all into 6 days?

As we continue to work on being restful and intentional with our Sabbath time, we have seen over and over again the major flaw in that thinking. Taking a true Sabbath break for a day is NOT a waste of time. It’s not lazy or meant to inhibit what we can do or succeed or complete. Building that true rest into our week means that we are fully recharged and ready to accomplish the things we need to and want to. Our tank is full (or much closer at least), and we are ready to take on the week ahead.

Joyful Noise Family Fest 2019 Review

For Christmas this past year, we got my parents tickets to Joyful Noise Family Fest, a concert put on every year by our local Christian Radio station! The concert begins Friday night and then goes all day Saturday.

Newsboys United perform to close out Joyful Noise 2019 in MN

What is Joyful Noise?

Presented by KTIS, this is a festival focused on family, faith, and lots of fun! It takes place at the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN, on the main field. The multiple artists all perform on the main stage at center field, and the audience fills the entire field with chairs, blankets, and umbrellas. The bleachers also fill up with additional guests taking it all in!

In addition, they host a giant field full of free inflatables for most of the day Saturday! I’m sure this is a big reason that families can stay happy and entertained the entire time. Food trucks and other vendor stands are available throughout the complex as well. Inside, there is a gym full of merch and presenting sponsors like Feed My Starving Children, Union Gospel Mission, and lots more.

The Osegard’s favorites

This was only our second year in attendance, and we will definitely be back again. Here are a few of our top picks from this year:

Best food: Nachos from El Burrito Mercado

We ended up getting these nachos both Friday and Saturday, because they just hit the spot! Piled high with toppings, and with just the right amount of heat. Plus, the service was incredibly fast and we didn’t wait more than 2 minutes for our food, even when lines were long everywhere!

Runner up: Kettlecorn. Another one we had to get both days – so good! Both this and the nachos were also priced well. We feel like we got the best bang for our buck.

Best performance: I Am They

Plumb performing at Joyful Noise 2019

Due to some serious medical issues, they are down one of their 3 vocalists, and they were still incredible. The passion and talent they have for writing and performing is so cool to see, and their set was a great hour of true worship. You may be surprised to know a few of their songs if you listen to contemporary christian music, even if you don’t recognize their name!

Runner up: Plumb. We’ve seen her a few times live and she NEVER disappoints!

Best surprise favorite: Land of Color

Prior to Joyful Noise, neither of us had heard of Land of Color. However, we were so happy to see their performance, and will be keeping up with their music! They have a really casual, basement performance feel, while still being incredibly talented performers. Their guitar work was impressive (one was a lefty guitar too!), and their vocal harmonies are super tight. Highly recommend a listen for some good deep worship!

Our Joyful Noise Tips

We think Joyful Noise is a great festival and definitely worth the trip and time! If you decide to join us next year, here are a few things to plan for:


Weather tried to interfere with Joyful Noise, but the rain and storms stayed away!

This year, we really lucked out! It was looking like a stormy, rainy weekend, even throughout the weekend. But as the rain and storms would approach, they managed to fizzle out or move away and we didn’t get even a sprinkle! The sun did get a little toasty (and we burned a bit on Saturday morning), so don’t forget sunscreen. Umbrellas are also great for both rain and intense sun! Just be sure to measure beforehand, as they only allow non-pointy tipped umbrellas that are less than 36 inches in diameter. And yes, they do have hula-hoops they use to measure them at the gates!

We didn’t have many issues with bugs this year, in part because the whole field is now astro-turf. We had some bug spray with, but didn’t end up using it! It wouldn’t hurt to bring it with, and if you spend time over at the inflatables, it may be more of an issue since that field is all grass.

Crowds at Joyful Noise

This is a music festival, so you can expect there will be lots of people. The main times you will notice it though are: entry gates at the beginning, bathrooms, and meal times. If you want to stake a claim on a good spot, we would recommend getting there early, as it does start to fill up on the field pretty quick. You may have to stand in line at the gates for a while, but you’ll have plenty of time to relax, grab a coffee, or play a game once you get inside! For bathrooms and meals, we tried to aim for non-peak times to avoid lines. Bathrooms tend to be less busy during a performance, so take a short break in the middle of a set that you aren’t as invested in. You’ll be able to hear the performance from anywhere you walk, so you won’t even miss out on much!

Food and drinks

They do allow empty water bottles to be brought in (less than 32 ounces), and had great filling stations available! However, you can’t bring in coolers or any food, so be prepared to buy at least a few meals for around $7-$13 or so. Another option is to bring food that can be left in the car, and walk out for a break and a meal. We had some munchy snacks in a cooler (grapes, granola bars, pretzels and hummus), and our parking space was pretty close to the main gates. It felt good to stretch our legs a bit, and it saved a few bucks (you know we LOVE to save some money!)!

Our verdict?

The Osegards at Joyful Noise 2019, presented by KTIS

We would definitely recommend Joyful Noise, and we will be back again for sure! It’s a great experience, and they always bring in some truly talented musicians. Plus, they’ve been around for a while and the festival is very organized and professional. Buy your tickets early too, and you can see 10+ performances for less than the cost of a ticket to a single concert!

Best ways to get out of debt

Debt by it’s very definition means something owed. We wanted to get out of debt so that we wouldn’t owe anyone anything. Our money should be working in our favor and not be sent to other companies/people/collectors. We always want to pay the price for something – not the price plus INTEREST.

While we were in debt, there was always a lingering fear that something terrible would happen, that would stop our income. If we didn’t have any income, we wouldn’t be able to pay our debts. Being completely out of debt takes that fear away!

What would it look like to have no payments?

Let’s take it a step further. If you didn’t owe anything on student loans or personal loans, how much money would that free up for you in a month? What about if you no longer had car payments or owed anything on a credit card? If you want to get especially intense, how much money would you free up each month if you didn’t have a HOUSE payment?

No matter your stance on debt, you have to admit that having that much money freed up month after month could do amazing things for your family! Let’s talk about how you can make that happen!

The best way to get out of debt

The best (and most obvious) way to get out of debt is to bring in more money to throw at the debt. That part is basic math, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to do to find that extra cash. Here are some ideas:

“Sell so much stuff the kids think they’re next”

Selling an extra suitcase that never gets used to get us out of debt even faster

Our favorite getting out of debt quote is from Dave Ramsey, “Sell so much stuff the kids think they’re next!”. There’s no doubt that we all have extra things lying around the house that we don’t actually use or need (like the seemingly millions of suitcases and bags we had lying around). It’s time to clean out the house and make some money off of all that stuff!

Post it on Craigslist or Facebook for sale groups! Have a garage sale or yard sale! Bring it to a consignment or pawn shop! If it isn’t being used, take that cash and put it to use right now. What starts as a few dollars here and there can really add up quickly if you stay focused, and keep paring down the things you don’t actually need or use.

Time to Get a Gig

The idea of a “part time gig” or “side hustle” can bring up the spammy notions, at least for me. The social media ‘Hey girl’ messages from that girl you met that one time at that one place.

There are lots of part-time options out there that fall in the Direct Sales or MLM realm, and many are valid opportunities! Just be sure to do your research and learn how to sell and recruit in not spammy ways!

However, if that’s not your cup of tea, taking another more traditional job can increase your income to help give you a bigger shovel to dig yourself out of debt with. There are many options out there from childcare to retail, or up and coming jobs like driving for a food delivery service or grocery shopping for someone else!

As you’re looking for opportunities outside your regular job, don’t forget to look WITHIN your job for things like promotions, raises, and overtime that can help you reach your goal of getting out of debt.

Cut Costs

It’s time to make a budget. And I’m talking a real, plan-where-your-money-will-go budget, not a look-where-it-went method of “tracking expenses”. There are lots of free, easy ways to do this. We have regularly used YouNeedABudget and EveryDollar, both of which do a great job! See where you are overspending and cut costs where you can. Many people find that they are spending a lot on impulse buys (Hello, Target!), groceries, and other miscellaneous things that sneak into the budget unexpectedly. Other times, the issue is simply not planning ahead for things. Either way, take a look at your budget and see where you can clean things up a bit. is a great, zero-based budget tool to help you get out of debt.

If you’re really intense about getting out of debt, see if there are things you can cut all together for a short time while you get out of debt. Some suggestions would be cutting the travel fund for a while, cutting cable, and cancelling all subscriptions to save some money for a short time. And who knows, maybe you’ll learn that you can cut some things for good!

There are other options to help you save money too. One of the best things you can do is use what you have! This might mean eating things that you already have on hand before you grocery shop. It could also mean swapping date nights with a couple where you watch their kids while they go out and they watch yours while you get a night out!

Get yourself out of debt for good!

While it can be discouraging at times, getting out of debt is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your future. Once you feel the freedom of being able to decide what to do with your money, it will change how you interact with money for good. We are so happy to be done with debt and moving forward in freedom! What could you do with all the money you save by ditching your payments completely?

Creating a Shabbat schedule – Sabbath Pt 3

When we first started hearing about Sabbath from Bridgetown Church, Annie F. Downs, and the crew at Family Teams, I was SO looking forward to creating a Shabbat schedule for our family. It didn’t take long for those dreams to be squashed. The first rule about Sabbath is that you do whatever is rest and worship. Frankly, a schedule tends to go against the idea of rest and worship. For this type-A, planner extraordinaire, that was a tough pill to swallow. Instead of my dream, detailed schedule, we worked out a general, flexible schedule that helps us manage our time in a way that optimizes our rest.

Taking time to truly rest together is SO valuable to us!

Creating our Shabbat Schedule

To create our Shabbat schedule, we took our lists of Sabbath activities and figured out what we want to be a regular rhythm in our Shabbat, and what would just be NICE to do. This allowed us to pick our ideal time and day, knowing we could fit our rhythms in. After much trial and error, we’ve found that Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon works best for our family at this stage of life. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s our ideal setup.

The First Half of Our Sabbath

We found that our biggest struggle when it came to starting Shabbat in our family was actually getting our minds out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and into rest and worship mode. We found a couple of things to help us switch in to Sabbath mode a little quicker. First, Saturday morning we wake up and are super productive by going through our Pre-Sabbath Checklist. This list takes care of the things that used to nag at us during the weekend. The second thing that helps us get in the right mindset is going to our church’s Saturday afternoon service. The 4pm service is the official kickoff for our Sabbath! We find that this time of worship helps us center our minds on Jesus.

You can get your own, customizable copy of the pre-sabbath checklist here!

We usually get home from our church service around 5:30 or 6, and this is our designated “screen time” for Sabbath. We only do screen time during Sabbath if it is intentional and not just mindless, like it often can be during the week. We usually make homemade pizzas from our favorite recipe and watch a movie together.

One of my personal favorite parts about Sabbath is literal rest – SLEEP. We usually go to bed early and sleep until we naturally wake up the next morning. Sometimes it’s still only 8 hours, but other times it is more like 12. No matter how long we sleep, It’s so nice to give our bodies the rest they need.

The Second Half of Our Sabbath

Sunday morning is the most varied part of Sabbath. By this time, we are almost always mentally in full Sabbath mode. We try to spend some time with God – in the Bible, listening to podcasts, or singing worship songs. Other than that, our Sundays are more go with the flow. Usually we eat some sort of special breakfast, like some food we don’t often eat. If we’re in the mood to cook, we’ll make more involved breakfasts that we don’t have time for during the week. This is a great time to listen to a podcast together or just chat about life. Sunday mornings we also tend to play card games or do a puzzle. We take Sunday mornings slowly and tend to just relax.

The rest of Sunday usually involves reading, taking a walk, or napping! We do whatever feels truly full of rest and worship to us on that day. Once 3:00 pm rolls around, we finish our Sabbath with our weekly Family Meeting and go back to “normal life” as we prepare for the week ahead.

This post is third in a series on Sabbath. You can read the rest of the series here:
Part 1
Part 2

Hidden Secrets of your Local Library

Summer is here! With no school and no snow here in Minnesota, everyone is getting out of the house and enjoying this season! It is so fun to be able to explore and spend more time with people, but summer also tends to be a bit of a budget-buster for some people. It’s not just the evenings with friends that can hurt the budget for us, but the work day as well! One of our secret weapons for staying on budget during the summer, while still getting out of the house, is our local library!

Central Park - connected to our local library and so pretty!

During the Workday

I work from home, but during the summer, it is easy to get antsy and want to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Plus, there are more distractions like the lawn service, the new roof we’re getting this year, and the neighbor kids running around outside. Sometimes I need a change of scenery to buckle down and really get some work done.

My go-to during the year is often a local coffeeshop! It’s a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee and get some work done in a fairly quiet atmosphere. However, as I get more and more antsy during the summer, it would mean more and more coffee. A coffee every day really adds up, so I had to find a new solution.

Our local library here in Woodbury, MN is a GREAT place. Like any library, it has some dedicated work spaces. My favorite place is a table in the back corner that is nice and peaceful (and has an outlet – a rare commodity). However, there are a quite a few work spaces scattered around, including a “Quiet room” for the silent workers!

One thing about our local library that I LOVE is the building it is housed in. Unlike many libraries, ours is not a stand-alone building. It is housed in a community-center-esque building that is called our “Central Park”. The building has a lot of sunlight and plants and is just GORGEOUS. I love to pull up a seat by the waterfall or the fireplace when I want to get some work done!

Local library with the kids

Central park with lots of plants, and a view of the library entrance behind

We don’t have kids, but if we did, we’d be at the library even more! There are great story times, activities, books, and more in the library itself. In the community center, there is an indoor playground AND it’s connect to the YMCA. On the weekends, our town’s Farmers’ Market is in the parking lot! There is no shortage of activities that are family friendly!

Most libraries also have great summer programming for kids and teens that encourage reading and offer fun activities and incentives. At our library, kids can earn tickets to the State Fair, Minnesota Twins game, and kid activities at the Mall of America. We also have an Adult Reading program, so you can make summer reading a family activity!

Saving Money

We save a lot of money on renting things from the library as well. I love to read (and buy books for that matter) so being able to read as many books as I want BEFORE I decide if they are worth spending money on is so helpful. Our library doesn’t have the greatest selection, so I track books that I want to read on and use our library’s great interlibrary loan system. It takes a little longer to get the books that I want , but saving them on a list is super helpful!

Getting work done out in Central Park - the change of scenery from the library to here is nice too!

We often overlook the other rentals available at our library. A great selections of movies, TV shows, magazines, and even video games can give you plenty of options of other FREE things you can do during the summer.

We can also get discounted tickets to many local theaters and museums. Our local Culver’s even hands out free scoops of custard just for showing your library card! There are so many great places in the Twin Cities that partner with local libraries as well.

Don’t underestimate your local library!

If your local library system is anything like ours, you may be shocked at how many options there are. Think outside the box, and ask around to see what other people use the library for. Ask a librarian to talk through some of the partnerships or deals they have, and for recommendations specific for you and your family. This summer, we expect to spend a number of workdays and weekend outings at our local library!

Lessons learned from renting a townhouse

To some people, renting a townhouse means a place to live for a time. But for us, it provided a whole pile of life lessons. As we enjoy our last spring in this home, we’re reflecting on all the lessons we’ve learned from renting our townhouse.

Renting a townhouse was a sneak peak of home ownership

We didn't have to pay to fix our ice maker while renting our townhouse, but we did do the work ourselves!
Did you know the logic board for these darn ice makers go bad over time? We do. Good news – they are usually simple and cheap to replace!

Up until this home, we’ve only lived in apartment buildings where all maintenance was taken care of by management. While it’s a similar situation here, our landlords live across the country, so we’ve had to deal with a few more things on our own. We’ve had to do the work of home ownership (fixing and replacing things), but have been able to pass off the cost to our landlords.

We got to put our own touch on things

Renting our townhouse meant a LOT of work painting, but it turned out so great!
Renting our townhouse meant a LOT of work painting (do you SEE how hard to paint that corner is?!?), but it looks so great now!

This is the first place we knew we would be in for more than a year. So, we decided to put a lot more personal touches on our townhouse than in our previous apartments. We repainted EVERYTHING and hung up lots of pictures. It was fun to work out a style that was uniquely US!

It taught us to be appreciative

We always end up with neighbors that irritate us. ALWAYS. In our first apartment, it was downstairs neighbors whose smoke (in a smoke-free building) wafted in through our windows and vents. It was horrible. It made us count down the seconds until we could move out, even though 95% of our experience there was amazing.

In our second apartment, it was the same. We were in a smoke-free building, but our neighbor had lived there for longer than the policy had been in place, so they essentially grandfathered him in. We didn’t know this when we moved in, so between his smoking and our LOUD downstairs neighbors, we were frustrated and couldn’t wait to move out.

Renting the townhouse hasn’t been perfect, and we still have our fair share of neighbor complaints. They smoke (WHY do all of our neighbors always smoke?) and they are LOUD. Like, wake-us-up-in-the middle-of-the-night with slamming doors and running up and down the stairs loud. The list goes on and on, but since we knew we would be here for a much longer time, we learned to (mostly) let it go and find other things to enjoy, like the location and incredible views.

Renting a townhouse taught us patience

We have been go-go-go our entire relationship. We’re always moving from one thing to another and always looking forward to the next big thing.

With a view like this from the bedroom window, how could we NOT like renting this townhouse?
With a view like this from the bedroom window, how could we NOT like renting this townhouse?

It was hard to find contentment and gratitude when we were constantly moving (every year or more). We knew we needed to put down roots, even if we weren’t sure if we would stay here forever.

Our lease at our townhouse is a 2.5 year lease, unlike our 1 year leases at the previous apartments. It’s forced us to enjoy where we are at. This has spilled over into other areas of our lives as well! We’re still busy people, but we’re more intentional about slowing down and appreciating the little moments.

What’s next for the Osegards?

That’s a great question! We may or may not be able to continue renting our current townhouse, and we’re okay with that. We could see ourselves staying here another year if the owners decide not to sell the place. Or maybe we find a new place to rent, or decide if it’s time to start looking to buy. But whatever happens at the end of the year, we know that we are more prepared for the next place we live. And the experience has given us a great glimpse into how the two of us work together when it comes to owning a home, and what kinds of projects we would enjoy or not enjoy.