Triple Clicks

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Next Year's Curriculum!!

I think I got more excited than the kids.  Which is saying a lot as the kids are still jumping up and down, two weeks after getting the first box.  

Andrew (he's be 7) will be starting first, Eva is starting Kindergarten and Grace will be starting worksheets to learn the basics and make sure she knows them.  We use the Abeka program.  We all love it.  It's also easier to organize for me, and the kids' already have my organization system down.  I'll share that when I take care of getting everything ready to go. 

You might think I'm crazy for ordering so soon (ordered in March), but there are some advantages.  We like to start in July.. Just a bit at first once the weather gets so hot the kids can't play outside in the afternoons... That leaves us free to do 4 day weeks and take longer breaks here and there without being stressed about being done before my oldest comes in June.   This year we are pushing a little, because I didn't want to take too many books with us on our vacation so I wanted to get done. We took handwriting with us, which was only done a few days anyway.  Another advantage, because so many Christian schools use Abeka, by ordering during the normal school year, we beat the order of those schools and therefor any back order problems.

We found most of our books used on Ebay, so those came a few weeks ago.  There are many teachers manuals I wouldn't have ordered new, and the flash cards, but the set so was so complete I decided we could use them after all.  We just had to get some of the consumables from Abeka and we're ready to go!   My pre budget (just books) was $600.  Abeka does throw some discounts in there, so that would have come down to around $550.  We spent $250 on ebay then $100 from Abeka on the consumables.  Which is an AWESOME discount-especially for barely used books. 
So here's my stash!!  From the back left we have all my books-teacher planning and keys.  Then Addition and subtraction flash cards.  The readers for the year, Arithmetic.  In the front we have the 'extras' science, social studies.  Then the cursive books,  the blue is Andrew's while the red is Eva's. 

Andrew's cursive

The 'extras"  Health, Safety and Manners, Discovering God's World, My America and My World, Aesop's Fables, Community Helpers



The readers.  This should prove interesting. Andrew is really excited: "You mean I get the read THICK books??"  Made my heart melt, we have our struggles but that saying with the look in his eyes, I know he loves school. 
My stack of books.  I doubt I will use them all, but I may stand corrected. 

The flash cards.  I hadn't planned on buying these, I figured we could just get sets at Dollar Tree or make our own if needed, but these were in the set from Ebay and Andrew is already enjoying them.

So that's our curriculum haul.  I will still need some organizational things and a Bible curriculum.  But we will delve in after we get home from vacation.  Grace's will be printed off, I have all the worksheets together, just have to print and organize.  

Have a good week!!


Friday, April 21, 2017


I think we're utterly crazy. Utterly and completely crazy.  

14 days.  5000ish miles. 4 kids. 3 adults.  

We went to visit and meet my husband's family in Florida.  We hate flying, so we drove-plus it was cheaper.  

Gotta love the ocean! 

I'm honestly surprised we didn't go crazy. Honestly, I am.  

My handsome husband had to drive the entire time because of how car seats were situated, it's the only place his tall self could fit.  My mother in law was in the passenger seat, and therefore deemed the navigator.  I was in the back with the kids... Partly because I'm short and could fit in the space, partly because Hannah is a momma's girl.  

Most people when you think of driving cross-country you think of pulling a camper behind or driving/renting an RV.  Both options were considered, but it was too expensive.  It would have taken our entire budget just for the rental.  

We left in the rain, proceeded to drive half the route in the rain-so the pictures, not so great.  My husband found some crazy roads to drive us on.  We much prefer back roads, the scenery is better (and there's more bushes to hide behind given the inevitable 'I GOTTA PEE!!!!' from the back seat.)  Plus we find little gems along the route.   There will forever be a running joke of 'at least it's not Pine Lick Road!!!!' though... you see, we were traveling between Glasgow, Kentucky and Gainesboro, Tennessee.  The GPS said 'take a left turn onto Pine Lick Road'... by the time we realized this was very much a BAD IDEA, there was no way to turn around.  This was one of those mountain roads that only locals travel.  Barely wide enough for the van, with a river twisting and turning.  Absolutely beautiful-but even the baby was holding the sides of her car seat.  Would we do it again? I'm sure.  Would we have done it without the GPS telling us to turn there? NO WAY.  But roads like that are what makes things fun!  

The kids were more than happy when we finally made it to grandpa's house.  We swam (well, the kids did there, it was cold according to grandma and grandpa... 70 degrees lol).  We sight saw, we went to the beach where the kids collected shells.  We went to the alligator farm.  Most of all we visited with family.   

We also went down to Miami and visited even more family.  It was so great to finally meet all these people I've been hearing about and talking to via email and we had a blast.   I had talked to an aunt and told her it would be Andrew's birthday while we were on the road.  I also said how much it would be appreciated if we could do a cake or something.  I got way more than I expected and it made my heart melt.  The family loved my kids and I with no questions, no reservations.  I can't tell you how good that felt.  

The trip home was pretty uneventful.  We drove up the west coast then pretty much straight west until we got to Texas, then straight north.  Very unlike our usual driving pattern-which is zig zagging.  But at that point, we wanted to get home.  

Oh!! Total cost of a 14 day vacation for 7 days(now, keep in mind we did stay with family in Florida or had family help with hotel cost). We also ate breakfast at most of the hotels, but the rest was eating out.  One meal we did full meals, one meal we got the kids meals (because new toys distract!) and the adults sandwiches.  $2600.  I think that's a win.  And that also includes the touristy things that cost money done in Florida. 

It was great fun, and we are hoping to go back soon! 

Have a great week! 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017


My wallet is falling apart.. Literally, just falling apart-it's only 10 years old, I wouldn't know WHY it's falling apart. 

So I went in search of a pattern I could use and found this gem from Modest Maven blog.  

This is a super simple pattern.  It took me 30 minutes with help from Hannah and Grace-and interrupted twice for diapers.  Now, I did mix up my inner and my just make sure you mark clearly when you cut and you'll be fine.  

Last time the kids and I were at Walmart I checked the scrap fabric bin that had a lot of quilt quarter bundles in it. :D So I got this pack.  I was thinking little shoes for Hannah, but I'll have plenty for those still.  I just got my circle cutter from GVS and the mat, too.  I LOVE THEM. lol 

Here's all my pieces cut-two inner, two outer, one tab, two strips for card pockets.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE that circle cutter-IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER!! 

So the tab, inside out, turn right side out and top stitch, leaving one end raw

Sew the inner-make sure you get the inner..instead of the outer like I did.  You are basically just sewing the two corners, leaving the top side and three inches for turning later at the bottom.

Sewn, now put it aside.

Because I had so much helpful help from Hannah bugs I couldn't use the iron... so I just pinned. This is the pockets.  Fold back four inches.

Both of these pictures are making the pockets.. I got a card from my wallet and used it as a guide. If you are ironing, make sure not to iron the card-they are plastic and we all know what plastic does with heat. 

The sewn pockets.

Attaching the pockets to the liner... See... I knew something didn't look right... but it didn't click that I had mixed up my inner and my outer until I got further which time I had already trimmed everything else to fit
Center the raw side of your tab, pointing in (you'll be turning this inside out in a bit), again the raw side of the liner and sew, also sew on the outside half the liner, leaving the top edge raw, turn right side out. 

Now you are going to put the right side out main part of the wallet,  INTO the inside out big pocket and sew along the raw edge, then turn right side out through that three inch hole we left earlier. 

Everything right side out,  Here is where I realized I screwed up. Tuck the pocket in and top stitch.   

That doesn't look THAT BAD, does it?  I added a snap and voila! I'm done.   A new wallet in less than 30 minutes for less than $5.  Not to shabby! 

After a few weeks of using it...  You need the stabilizer in the original pattern.  Trust me.  Get the stabilizer. ;) 
Have a great week!!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Abeka Curriculum

After choosing to home school, you need to choose what curriculum you are going to use.  Many parents choose to mix things up: social studies from place, math from another, phonics from yet another.  But that's one of the many beauty of homeschooling!!  If something doesn't fit, change it.  Take it slow, go a little faster.  As long as your child is learning, that's the purpose.  

We made the decision to stick with Abeka. Is it going to be easy? No, but I think the fluency by sticking to one curriculum will be best.  

I am keeping my homemade curriculum for preschool, but it's getting tweaked a bit with every kid so far.  One of the biggest warnings I had while we were choosing Abeka was the amount of seat work.  You have to keep in mind that Abeka curriculum is written for their Christian school and then utilized by home-schoolers.  So there is seat work written in to occupy kids while other children in the classroom are finishing their work.  This doesn't mean you need to do it in your home school setting!  The bottoms of the pages are labeled 'classwork, seat work, extra practice' and such along with what lesson they go along with.  After reading another warning that ended up turning a mom against Abeka-which I believe is a GREAT curriculum, I decided to take a picture comparing the amount of work Eva did versus the amount of work Andrew did in a week.  The pile on the left is Eva's.  Her preschool was a combination of one of those books you can get from Walmart and some free printables for extra practice.  Andrew's pile on the right is his worksheets and some money practice sheets off the internet because he is having some issues remembering what coins go where.  I know the picture is blurry, but I think you can tell my homemade curriculum gave Eva at least twice the work in a week as Andrew's. 

Yes, I would agree the amount of books you get when you from Abeka for the year seems very daunting.  But those 180 page workbooks are spread out over 170-175 lessons.  It's really not that bad of a load.  

One of my biggest draws toward Abeka was the ability to get the teacher's books... The guide for teachers to walk through the day to day.  We don't do every.single.thing. that's written in the guides. For example, when we would introduce the new families of math facts, the guide had it as a week to two week long process...  I quickly learned math is Andrew's forte-that wasn't needed.  I could pull out the 1 family flashcards and do a simple explanation and he was set to go.  Will the same go for Eva? We will see. For me, I use the curriculum to make sure we don't miss anything, because that's my fear.  It has been an invaluable source that I am thankful for having.

Another big decision that needs made after you choose your curriculum is whether you will homeschool, or school at home.  Yes, there is a difference!!  School at home is having a formal, 8 hour school day in the home setting.   While that may work some families, it doesn't not work for us.  Yes, for now we all sit at the dining room table and I work my way around the circle of kids and help everybody as I can.  But the kids get their worksheets for the day, then they choose what comes next.  The only time I step in is if they both pick a worksheet they need help with... Then it's "ok, if you want to do that you have to be patient and go a little slower".  I am working on teaching them to work independently until they need help, but that's a process.   Andrew is starting to understand 'ok, mom can't help me right now', so if he needs help he will tell me, then either wait patiently or move on to something he can do alone until I can come.  

On hard days-days where they just weren't in the mood do to school it took close to 2-3 hours because they fought me every step of the way.  But they quickly learned the faster they did school (and did it correctly to the best of their ability), the sooner they got to go play.  When they sit and concentrate and do it, we are there for maybe 30 minutes to an hour.  

I had started off this year with 'oh if they get testy we will stop for a few hours'.  While that might work for some, that simply does not work for us.  No play until school is done, and if that means they are sitting at the table for hours, that's what will happen.  

Eva has been learning quickly if she doesn't TRY with her handwriting, she has to do it again.  And again. And sometimes a 3rd try is needed.  We have been butting heads often.  She begs and begs to learn to read like bubba, but she has to be able to identify and write all the letters and sounds without help.  I know she can, she just has to try.  

I know I'm only in my second year of homeschooling, but one of the biggest lessons I have learned is while flexibility is an awesome thing to have because we are homeschooling...  It is possible to have TOO MUCH flexibility.  It's also different for every family, for every child.  

Be patient, learn your kid's learning style.  Any curriculum can be molded to a way to meet any child's style.  But there are times where you need to mold your child to meet the curriculum.  We are raising and teaching future adults, not future children. 

Have a great week!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Saving Money on Graduation and Prom

I was talking with my mother in law the other day..  The nieces and nephews on my husband's side of the family are old enough for proms and one is graduating.  She was conveying to us the concern of the household with how much graduation cost.  

I think I was standing there with my mouth agape.  

My parents were always transparent about the finances.  If we couldn't afford to do something, we simply couldn't afford to do it.  If it was that important to us, we had to find a way to earn the money to pay for it.  This was for everything that wasn't a basic need.  My Christmas presents were summer or Christmas break trips with my church youth group.  I couldn't be in swing choir or FFA simply because the money wasn't there... not that I could dance to be in swing choir anyway.  

When I started to want to go to the high school dances I was told I needed to come up with the parent-approved dresses.  One of these dresses came from a thrift shop.  I LOVED that dress, some brave soul had handmade a silk dress.  The rest of my dresses came from my awesome older sister-in-law.  THOSE I still have around here somewhere.   

Prom and homecoming don't have to cost a ton of money, look at thrift shops for shoes and dresses or even ask an older family member if they have something they would be willing to lend out.  (I can't comment on tuxes or suits...because I have never shopped for those lol.) 

Graduation expenses can add up quickly.  There are obviously certain things you HAVE to buy through the school.. For my high school the basics were the robe and hat.  They also had packages that included a class ring, invitations, thank yous-the works.   We just got the package with the hat and robe.  My senior pictures were done by a family friend at a fraction of the cost at parks and her house around town.   She picked the best prints, those are the ones I got. We then paid for the wallet size reproduced through Walmart-after we had shopped around for prices.  My class ring also came from Walmart, through the same company the school used (Jostens), but not with the same mark-up, so I was able to get it at about 1/3 of the cost... and sooner than the rest of my class mates.  My invitations were done at a local printing company.   I had gone in and priced the different options, decided on postcards (the postage is cheaper).  We had a few pictures plus all of the details needed-graduation party, graduation times...  

My point is, where there is a will, there is a way. Bundles aren't always the cheapest.  Taking the easy route can cost you a lot of money that you don't need to spend. 

Don't just take the 'easy' route by doing everything through one place. Yes, many places offer a package discount, do some shopping around and making sure is really is cheaper!  Take a little extra time to go around to thrift stores and find a dress your daughter likes or the tux/suit your son likes with a price you and your checkbook like.  

Have a good week! 


Friday, March 3, 2017

Ice Cream Cake

My husband's and my daughter's birthdays are in February.. February 17th and 18th. She was his birthday present. :D :D LOL 

Last year, Grace didn't like ice cream (I have weird kids)... So we did ice cream for daddy and I made a cake for Grace-everybody was happy.  This year, Grace LOVES ice cream so I thought 'Hey, let's make an ice cream cake!!!!'

So... if you ever LOSE YOUR MIND and decide this is the best course of action... Don't. Just. Don't.  Trust me. Go to Dairy Queen and spend $20 and BUY THE CAKE.  But, if you don't want to... please read on the learn from my.... failures. 

I got the recipe and Instructions from here.

I bought Blue Bunny Ice Cream, vanilla and bunny tracks.  Hot fudge, birthday cake oreos and of course whipped cream.

Now, her instructions were to get a spring form pan (I borrowed), line it somehow.  Don't. Just don't. You don't need to flip it-make it easier on yourself DON'T TRY TO FLIP THE CAKE! 

The vanilla ice cream getting soft.  I didn't let it get soft enough-give it at least 10 minutes.  It will save you headache. 

Then you spread it all out, cover and freeze for an hour.  Like I said-let the ice cream thaw more.. It's not very smooth.

Add the fudge. FUDGE. Fudgy fudge.  OOOOO YUMMY.  I did not get enough. Put more than this-you'll thank me later.   

Crush up the oreos, put them on the fudge.  Grace was not very happy I 'smushed up all HER oreos. :D It was a rough day for her, mommy smushed oreos and melted ice cream-HORRIBLE .  Freeze for an hour. 

Now that worked MUCH  better.  I let the bunny tracks ice cream layer thaw for longer.  SO MUCH EASIER!!! Cover, freeze for a day.

Now you remember when I said DON'T FLIP THE CAKE. This is why. It's stuck. Took me awhile to get all the foil off. Don't flip the cake. Just don't.

Aaahhh all 'iced'.  Two layers of whipped cream, froze in between.  Cover and freeze for a day before serving.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wrap Around Skirt

This is part of my trip planning.  I much prefer to wear skirts, because I'm chasing kids around I usually wear leggings under neath so I don't inadvertently flash somebody.  The only time I don't like wearing a skirt is when I'm stuck in the car all day-because having to climb around in a van and take care of kids in a skirt just isn't happening lol.  

Looking on Pinterest I found the perfect solution-a wrap around skirt.  With this I can wear the leggings around the van-my skirt won't get caught on toys or seats that way-then it's real easy to put on when we stop. 

I've made two of these.. They are SO COMFORTABLE!  They were made out of reclaimed fabric, old dress pants of my husband's that gained too many holes to be fixed anymore.  I did an extra panel, but it's easily adjustable that way and if the Lord blesses us with another child down the road it will be wearable during pregnancy without adjustment.  It took me two pairs of pants for each skirt, the belt is made out of the same material. Three pant legs for the skirt, one pant leg for the belt. My husband loves various shades of beige (yes, I tease him a lot about it lol), so there is a tiny bit of color variation in a few of the panels, but it works, and that panel that's a bit off is the panel that gets tucked underneath.  

I got my formula simply by googling 'how to make a wrap around skirt'.  I did do the belt a bit different than they did, but I liked it.  

So let me see if I can explain it, I see I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted-but that's what happens when you have help. ;)

Two pairs of dress pants.  I cut around the pants and holes and ended up with skirts just below knee length. Three panels were cut even with the crotch, one panel was cut at just below the belt line.

Here is my three panels cut.  The blue underneath is my 'ironing board'.  I use a board  with a towel on top.  It works.

This is the strips for my belt.  They were cut four inches wide. It's twice as long as the top part of the panels.  Now one skirt I sewed the belt all the way around, the second skirt I sewed on the belt only on two panels... We'll see how I like them.  My waist ended up being the former cuff of the bottom of the pants, so the belt was able to cover up stains that were there from my husband wearing the pants.  I sewed at the ends, making one long strip, then folded right sides together, in half tapering one end.  I turned right side out, using my yard stick to get the tapered end right and sewed closed.

Pinning the seams.  I had to sew the side seams and the bottom hem.

Finished product!  It's a bit flared at the bottom, but I like it!!