In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

School Fun with Pumpkins! Day 1

We LOVE this time of year and we are so excited to be set enough in our school schedule that we can allow some time for fun seasonal activities rather than rushing through the bare minimum!

As you know, we use (and love) Calvert.  Our first graders we on Lesson 14 today and for our Games & Activities lesson we had "Five Little Birds".  We decided to change it to "Five Little Pumpkins" instead!  We printed off mini books from DLTK's website.  You can print it here.  


Emu and Duckling enjoyed coloring the pages and reading their new book. 

As our "game" we printed a cute little rhyming activity.  You can print it here.  We glued the pumpkins on popcicle sticks and cut a slit in each fence post.  All the pumpkins sat nicely on the fence.  They enjoyed acting out the rhyme with their little puppets.  Each of them took a turn reading a line and they got to take out a pumpkin for the line they each read.  It was a great activity to work out some silliness before our math lesson! 




We are looking forward to lots of other fun with pumpkins in the upcoming weeks!  Check out these other awesome pumpkin activities that we look forward to doing! and don't miss all these awesome ideas for fall or these, whew, and we haven't even checked out pinterest yet!  Better get started!! What kinds of things are you planning on doing? 

Monday, September 15, 2014

WOW!

Where does the time go?

Life has a way of just slipping by.  There never seems to be enough time in the day.  I can't believe how much time can go by without blogging.  I always miss it and always vow to make more time to do it, I always have many topics sitting just waiting for me to have time to write about.  Things that people often ask about such as schooling, our schedule, organizing, different parenting topics, natural remedies....but, still...here I am looking back and see that my last post was in April!!!

So much has happened since the first of the year.  My mom passed away in February and my world has just spun out of control since then.  I spent some time in my own little funk just getting by day to day and letting so many things go and now that I'm trying to get things back in order I am paying the price for letting them go in the first place.  Things have gotten so far out of hand around here, it's been quite overwhelming trying to get back to life as we always knew it.  I started an in home day care (then lost all my kids after summer), the kids all became involved in different sports, school started....it's just all been such a whirlwind.  Now, here we are trying to find a way to settle into a new routine that works.  

Currently, I have no daycare kids.  School and sports are in full swing.  Our sports schedule keeps us going from 3:30-9:00 pm Monday-Thursday.  Gymnastics and Football games on Saturdays and Soccer games on Sundays.  It's been a crazy ride.  The biggest challenge with it all has been managing our school days.  We are so accustomed to working day and night, so having to be done by 3pm is NOT easy (and sometimes impossible).  Then there was dinner.  Dinner was often a fail, which ended up with us grabbing food on the way home after 8pm so that we weren't eating dinner at 10pm.  Sigh.....then by the time everyone was settled, bathed and in bed....it was 11.  Sometimes 12am.  Which wrecked havoc on the next day.  At some point, you have to admit to yourself that something isn't working.  I finally got to that point, after countless sleepless nights, an empty savings account among other things.  So, last week, things changed around here and I think we've finally got things "right".  

So...once again, hopefully, I'm back to blogging. 
;)


Friday, April 4, 2014

K5 Learning

I was excited to receive an invitation to review K5 Learning Program.  I can not wait to get started!

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Extreme Couponing

Well, it was only a matter of time....and I finally took the plunge.  Before I had kids, I was known as "the coupon queen".  Basically, if I didn't have a coupon for something, then I didn't buy it.  I didn't stock pile things, but I just simply saved on the things I bought.  As time went on, coupons became a thing of the past.  Fast forward to now...My kids are 15, 14, 11, 8, 7, 6 and 18 months old and let me tell you....my family can put away the food!  We live on a tight grocery budget....$200 a week to be exact.  It seems recently we've been going about $100 over our budget each week, so about $1200 a month.  That's a LOT of money ;) 

Weeks ago, I gave this extreme couponing a try.  I failed.  I spent about 4 hours battling coupons and being lost in store ads.  I don't think I used a single coupon but to be honest, I was so frustrated, I really don't remember.  

It all started one Friday night.  We were having a "Family Movie Night" complete with popcorn.  I mean, what's a movie night with no popcorn?! So, I did what any mom would do.  We went and bought popcorn.  3 boxes or movie theater butter ;) (which is a total treat because usually we pop our own popcorn, it's cheaper but this was a special night.  We spend $6 and some change on our popcorn that night.  The next day I was telling a friend about our night.  She said I should have used a coupon for that popcorn and then I could have gotten it for $0.49 a box. :/  WOW...that was an eye opener.

and so...it all began!

To date, I have saved $105.67 in mfg coupons.  Add that to the store specials that I match coupons up with my total savings so far has been $259.08.  It may not seem like a big deal....but, today is March 5 and I have been couponing since March 2 ;)  

At first it was overwhelming.  I give credit to a dear friend who pushed me to take the plunge and then walked me through the overwhelming process.  I was easily confused by learning how to figure out which coupons to use when.  I printed coupons from www.coupons.com but even that was a bit confusing because you have to change the zip codes to get certain coupons.   www.krogerkrazy.com is an amazing source of information!  Once I was walked thru the process of how to figure everything out, I was good to go. 

My first trip was not as successful as it should have been because we got home only to realize that we didn't give them half of the coupons but it was a learning experience nonetheless.  

Here's a look at some of the deals we have gotten.

We paid $8

FREE

We paid $24.26

We paid $2.29

We paid $24.18

These aren't all my trips, but a good example of some of the money we've saved.  We've gotten a lot of things for free (all of the candy bars, soups, protein bars and milk were free).  We've even gotten paid to purchase some things like the pizza rolls (we got 25 cents per box).


It's nice to have our pantry shelves overflowing, the fridge packed full and trying to figure out where we'll store some things as we are beginning to get stock piles of goodies!  Even our normal weekly groceries seem to be stretching further this week.

It is time consuming, but as you get the hang of it, it does go faster.  It is a lot of work, but with all things, hard work pays off.

So, let me be the one to encourage you the way that I have been encouraged...

DO IT!!!

Take the plunge!

You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

This Week's Menu

People are asking for our weekly menu's again...so, I will begin posting it again.  Currently, our grocery budget is about $200-300 a week.  We are feeding a family of 9.  We buy a lot of things in bulk usually shopping about twice a month, however, recently, I have not had the leisure of shopping this way and have been shopping once a week so our normal $200 budget has increased up to $100 a week by not being able to buy in bulk.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to eat as healthy as we used to...this is one of those things I try to improve constantly.  I have joined in some couponing groups and hope to learn from these ladies who get so many products free or very cheap as our grocery budget includes toiletries and non food necessities and I've gotten some helpful advice from a few friends on saving money on different things as well.  We frequent Sam's Club and we've fallen into the easy trap of processed foods simply because they are cheap, quick and easy.  With all but one or two days taken up by sports, it's been very hard recently to have quick and easy healthy foods so I will be trying to change this in the upcoming weeks.  We do hope to have a nice size garden this summer and hope that will help with our grocery budget as well!. 

This week's menu/recipes can be found here. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

5th Grade Calvert has arrived

 Eagle's school year starts in January.  This is because I made him repeat the third grade...when he was in third grade.  With only two months to go to complete his third grade year, I just didn't feel he had learned or retained enough to progress at that time.  The beauty of homeschooling is, he has repeated a year...but so far, has never failed a grade.  I still do not regret my decision, as I feel it was by far one of the best homeschooling decisions I have ever made.  He has come so far since switching to Calvert!  We have worked very hard to try and recover from the half of the year we fell behind when repeating that third grade year and we've advanced a few months.  He has a complete 12 months to complete his curriculum but we do hope to finish "early" to get him more "caught up" to his peers.  

Nothing is more exciting than starting a new year and today Eagle's boxes arrived!  

We are seasoned Calvert users so unpacking and getting things organized is a very quick process for us!  Here's what was in his box.


Everybody has their own shelf to keep all of their curriculum.  This is our shelf.

This is Eagle's shelf

Basically, all of the worksheets and manuals are stored in a crate.  All of his textbooks and workbooks are to the right on the shelf.  All of his novels and other materials are kept up out of reach because of the little ones.

The older kids are able to do a lot of things independently so we are moving back to the workbox system.  Eagle will use his system independently and Macaw will be training for the second semester of this year so that next year she will be able to work more independently as well. This system always worked well for Eagle, but we have not always had the space to do it so we haven't used this system for a while. We got a nice rolling cart for Eagle's workstation.  All of his assignments will be loaded into his boxes.  Each box will contain the things he needs to complete each assignment.  Any work that needs to be completed with me will be marked with a * and he will know that is a teacher led assignment.  He will complete his independent work (I answer questions and help as needed when I am available).  Teacher led lessons will be taught at our scheduled times.  At the end of the day I will grade his work and fill his boxes for the next day.  Any work that needs to be corrected will be worked on the next day.  He is responsible for filing away any graded work and keeping his notebook neat and orderly.  

Here are his workboxes

I immediately set up his boxes and he quickly got to work! Here is his first day of boxes...

Math
Close up of Math box

Close up of Grammar Box

Close up of Spelling Box

 Close up of Science Box

 Close up of History Box
Close up of Reading Box

Close up of Art History Box

Hope this helps those who are always asking how we set things up.  Hopefully soon I can give a more detailed look at how our classroom is set up now since we have moved.  




Monday, January 6, 2014

In 2014 I will be a VOICE...Will you???

Happy 2014!  I'm making this year a turning point for me!!  It's time to find "me" again and time to somehow find a way to move forward!  It's time to start making my hopes and dreams reality.

I feel renewed and hopeful and a bit fearful for all the things this year has in store for me and my family but I will be optimistic!

Today, marks another "anniversary" for us, but it will also mark an anniversary now for a friend and right now, I have no words...

6 years ago today, I left my home with my kids safe in tow and I turned my husband into the police for the crimes he committed against at least one of my children.  No physical evidence...just the TRUTH...words from a strong and courageous child who should never have been put in her position, a man who testified on his own behalf , along with a jury and judge human enough to make the right decision!  We are beyond blessed that the judicial system did not fail my daughter.  My husband is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, which trust me is far less than what he deserves for his crimes.  However, the judicial system is still failing others.  

THIS is my friends precious, violated little girl who must not only live with what has been done to her and her family BUT she also has to live with knowing justice was NOT served for her and the fact that her abuser is now enabled to continue to victimize others (and this was not his first time getting away with it).  THIS should NEVER happen.  Today should have been a victory for them, not a third chance for her abuser!  

They left a prosecutor's office today without the ability to seek justice for her daughter or the ability to stop him from striking another innocent child again.  The pain and "that" feeling in my stomach that I felt on those days 6 years ago...(Jan 4 when my daughter told me, Jan 6 when we left and I turned him in, Feb 22 the day of his indictment, that day trial was supposed to begin in August, the 3 days of trial in Oct, the day of his conviction, etc)...the way she feels right now, it NEVER goes away, EVER!!  Whether justice is served or not, no matter how happy she is in her life...I can say, 6 years later, the pain is just as RAW as it was this day 6 years ago.  So, this news hits me very HARD, especially today!  Words can not describe the way I feel for her right now.  Even though my husband got life, it still feels like it's not enough so I can only hope that the horror stories you hear about the life these pedophiles life in prison is true and that he fears every single day he wakes up for the rest of his undeserved life.  To have the system turn their back on my friends little girl and to enable the cycle to continue with this young man leaves me with one of the most sick feelings I have ever felt!!  

I will continue to raise awareness.  
I will keep sharing our story.  
I will keep advocating! 
I will fight...
for my own children, 
for your children 
and for their children's children...
today,
tomorrow
and ALWAYS...
for as long as I live!


In 2014, I will be a VOICE....will you?