Triple Clicks

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!! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


That means video log, in case you didn't know!  

Dennis has been after me for awhile to try this... so here goes. 

What happens on Monday mornings around here... 

So here's the link (hope it works, tell me if it doesn't because I have NO IDEA what I'm doing)...



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bible Cover

Hello Hello!  

My 6 year old has been wanting to learn how to I've been giving him basics as I sew along-how to thread the needle, the bobbin, refill the bobbin, measure etc.. Before I know it he'll be asking to help (that's what scraps are for, teaching how to sew-or so my grandma always told me.  


While this didn't turn out EXACTLY  as I wanted-one of my pockets gave me fits and I didn't want to remeasure and recut, so I just left it off.. And it is a little big, but that's ok.  And the bias tape... I don't like bias tape-but I have A TON of it I was gifted, so I might as well use it vs throwing it. 

My Pattern

I wish I knew how to do PDF documents to attach so any who wanted to download, could.  But I don't.... Sorry.  Let me recap from my last post... I measured my bible, added seam allowance.. WRote down WHAT I wanted in the cover...drew myself a little sketch... Then measured, added seam allowance and was finally time to cut. 

I did cut more of the green polk-a-dot for inside for the flaps to make those doubled, too. This is all scrap fabric, jean material I used to recover our footstool last year, the green is flannel from baby butt cloths.

So I cut everything, then pressed the fabric.  If you use ribbon, don't forget to heat seal the ends with a lighter so it doesn't become frazzled (yes I've forgotten before).  Added into this stash of fabric was also brown bias tape.  I sewed my two pockets-all that I kept was was the long skinny one for the pens. Then sewed it onto a flap... right sides together I sewed green polk-a-dot to the jean material, turned right side out, pressed, then top stitched. 

The main part of the cover, I just sewed the two pieces together and cut off the extra fabric.  Then I pinned on the flaps and the ribbons to sew everything together... Things were a bit uneven-but that's what bias tape is for, right?  

I may end up cutting the ribbons a bit shorter, we will see. I also positioned my pen pocket in a way so if I want another, there's room without making it look squished.

As you can tell, the bias tape and I had a bit of an argument.  It won.  And no,  I have no idea what I'm doing with it.. I know I have an attachment to do it for me...but I don't know how to use it-every time I try it tears my fabric my up.  But hey, this works and it's functional.. A little fancy, but not so much it's distracting.  

I slid Bible in, and wall-la.  Dear hubby thinks I need to add some type of closure (he suggested a zipper....then I explained my hatred of sewing zippers....)  So I might be added some sort of closure in the future, but for now, this works great.  

Hopefully I didn't confuse you with how I did this.  Let me know and I'll try to explain more.

Have a Great Week!


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Let the Sewing Begin!

First things first.. 

My blog posts won't be as frequent, things are getting a little crazy and I'm finding it hard put to sit down and be able to a blog post every week... I'll try for every other week-but unless I happen to have content, I can't promise you'll hear from me every week.

We are considering revamping the school curriculum. I LOVE Abeka, I LOVE having the lesson plans... But the cost (while completely worthwhile) is daunting.  With Andrew starting to get into grades where consumables won't be needed as much, we are considering making up our own lesson plans using books we have (we are major book hoarders around here).  So that's on the table.... 

My sewing plans have started for vacation things around here.  First thing is to get my mending pile down to a manageable level-mostly because I have to un-bury my sewing machine first.   

Then I will be making my Bible cover.  

 There's my plans...

I made a list of what I want-pocket for writing, marking, note taking tools.  A pocket for note cards to keep track of the verses the kids are working on.  And place marker ribbons.  My husband bought me a new bible for Christmas, but forgot to check to make sure it had place marker ribbons.... so those will be added to my cover. 
Then I took measurements of my Bible, and added a reasonable seam allowance. Then I measured what I wanted, and wrote those sizes down along with seam allowance. All that's left is the picking of fabric from my stash and the sewing.   

The next project will be a toy bag for vacation. 

There's my plans.  I got the idea from Pinterest of course, with the Clarks Condensed Blog and their shared pattern and idea.  
I plan on using fabric I have and making roads and decorations on the inside with either sharpies or scrap fabric. 

We are still on break from school this week.  We'll start again next week.  It's cold up here with lots of snow (Loving it!!!).  

Have a great day!