Triple Clicks

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!

~Tabitha

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Winter Is Here!

I love snow.  I love watching it snow, I love seeing the snow on the ground.  I do not love (or even remotely like) the sub zero temperatures that come with winter for us.  I am, however, thankful for this nice warm fleece robe. :D 

Winter has definitely found us (finally killed the fleas!!! YAY).

There has been a picture floating around Facebook for awhile, it's a link to blog where a genius made her daughter a nice, warm, winter poncho... Us parents know you aren't supposed to buckle your kids into their seats with their coats on, it loosens the belts up and makes it unsafe... and it is a HUGE pain in the rear to take the coat on and off when making a bunch of stops-but it's necessity. 

Then comes this lovely mommy-genius over at Reality Daydream blog.  She made her little girl (cute little thing) a nice warm poncho for such a time as this...  Her tutorial is in the link, it's easy, a lot easier than it sounds..  My sister in law saw me share the picture and enlisted the help of my mom to make her little girl one. She loves it so much I decided to make Hannah one, too. 


This lovely genius-mom idea allows a nice warm coat, a hat that's harder for my little one to take off (and it's soft, so she likes it), and it can stay ON HER while buckled... Flip up the back side so there is nothing between Hannah and the seat, buckle UNDER the front side so she stays nice and warm and safe.  

I did get the hood a little big, and the only thing I messed up on was when I cut the circle I cut on the fold instead on the open side of fabric resulting in one layer being two semi circles vs a circle, so a few extra seams-but that's ok.  

Even with the help of all three big kids, this took me 2 hours... Well, 3, but I did had to stop in the middle to take care of Hannah.  Most of it was scrap fabric from previous projects-the brown minky fleece is from Hannah's baby quilt... The white minky fleece I found 1/2 yard piece for $1.50 in the Walmart ends bin.  

We've only used it a few times, but I'm loving it, and as you can tell from the big Hannah grin, she loves it, too.  

In other news, we are more than half way done with school.. We are at the point in Andrew's lessons where doubling up is no longer an option as most of the reviewing is over, so a lesson a day, we have 68 lessons left.  Barring major sickness we should have no problem getting done before vacation.   He is reviewing his cursive.... I don't want it to be perfect, but I do want to know he can write it legibly.  We basically just started the cursive over again and most letters he is doing awesome at. That's the beauty of homeschooling-you can go slow, or completely stop and master a problem area before moving on.  

Our shopping is this weekend.  The next few days will be busy for me getting everything ready for that and keeping Hannah happy. She hasn't been feeling good at all.  

Have a great week and stay warm! 

~Tabitha

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How I Use My Kindle

Hello hello! 

Last year my husband bought me Kindle Fire (these things are cheap during this season). 

I haven't messed with it too much, but I learn a few new things here and there.  

When Hannah was born, I put Facebook and my email on it-with the intention of taking it back off as she got older... But I never took it off and am enjoying sharing pictures with family and friends.

Of course I use it for an e-reader.  I'm hoping to get a subscription to a homeschool magazine soon and use it on my Kindle rather than having more paper piles piling up around the house-but that's up to Mr. Budget.  I have the OverDrive app, which I use to borrow e-books from a library if I run out of free titles through Amazon-I refuse to pay for an e-book.  If I have to spend money, I'm getting paper.

I do admit to playing way too many games on it-I shouldn't, but I do-one stereotype from my generation I will admit to, the gaming stereotype. 

I use it to check the weather with The Weather Channel app.  I have looked up a few things on YouTube before, so I finally put the app on it so when I do find something to watch on Youtube (usually a tutorial on a new carry with my moby wrap or mei tei), it saves to my profile so it's findable again.  

I read my Bile on it through Bible Gateway. 

Pinterest and FitBit apps are on it. Pandora, too. 

My favorite app has got to be Sermon Audio.  I know I've told y'all about them before.  I can listen to sermons wherever I am-house, car, park... I love it.  

A discussion on a homeschool page this morning is going to send me to Amazon underground to see what I can discover for free school apps.  

How do you use your smart phone or tablet for school?  

Have a great week!

~Tabitha

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Shopping Trip From 11/12

To say there is a lot going on here is an understatement.. So let's start where we left off.

As for my grocery shopping trip last week, it was crazy as usual.  
At HyVee we bought a boneless ham, got a turkey for free.. For getting a turkey we got a free 2 liter of Dr. Pepper. Among other things, our total was $113.76
At Aldi's we got our usual-mostly dry goods along with cheap eggs and margarine. The total there was $134.09
At Sam's I stocked up on my chicken and also baking supplies. Total there was $239.64
At the discount bread store I only needed 6 loaves of bread, making a total of $4.79. 
Finally at the health food store I got a bottle of raw honey for $11.70. 

YOWCH. Grand Total of $503.98.  We usually budget more around November and December if we can because I do try to stock up on a few things and take advantage of the meat sales available. (Aldi's also had bone in ham for .89 cents a pound.)


On to other things. I am making lasagna and cinnamon rolls for Sundays. The lasagna is something I can stick in the oven at noon and it will be done by 4, so I can sit down and listen to the church services (we watch church online).  The cinnamon rolls we have been doing those on Sundays for a few months.  I am simply making them this month instead of buying. We'll see how that goes.  In order to do this precooking that I'm not used to, I had to buy some foil pans with lids as none of my glassware has lids.   

Now, What's happening today (besides grumpy children) you ask? 

I have chili going on in the crockpot.




Half a bag of pinto beans (I soaked those overnight)
1/2 lb ground beef, stuck it in raw
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomato
1 onion chopped
Chili powder (I just dumped, I'll taste before we eat to see if it needs more)


Stick everything in, set it low and let it go. I stirred everything and broke up the meat about 10 (it went in at 7). 


My big turkey I cooked Monday.. Then I warmed it up this morning and deboned it.  I can't do it when it's cold, the cold just goes up my arms and tenses my shoulders up. I got 6 quart bags and two turkey bacon ranch wraps out of our 13 lb turkey.   What I put in the freezer I'll use for soup or pot pies. 


I think that's everything for this week.  

Have a great week! 

~Tabitha



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Shopping Trip Nov 12

We have officially entered the holiday season. Every year I pray there will be good sales.. So I guess we will see how it plays out the next few months.

I put off my meal planning again, so I'm still working on that.  But we are having some staples-tacos, chili, shake n bake chicken... 

Our biggest meal is, of course, Thanksgiving.  We aren't big turkey people around here, so I get a ham.  Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, (skipping the biscuits-there might be a overthrow in cooking lol), pumpkin pie and apple pie.  I would love to skip the regular potatoes and the second pie, but Eva needs food she can eat, so we do both.  

Everybody's biggest question is always what to do with the leftovers.  

We eat as is for a few times. Make sandwiches... I found a really awesome loaded baked potato casserole that's 10x better with leftover honey ham vs loaf ham.  We also do super easy ham bone soup.  

Get creative with your recipes. Utilize Pinterest. Or stick it in the freezer if you start to get tired of it.  Just make sure you label so you know what you have.  

While we aren't really big turkey people..  I do usually take advantage of Hyvee's buy a turkey, get a loaf ham.. It's an awesome deal.  Then I cook and use the turkey for the kids' and I's lunches.  I can cook the whole turkey, then shred or dice and freeze and have the meat all year round.  And if it is cooked right (not dry), hubby is all for eating the meat for one meal.   There are ways, my friends, there are ways.  ;) 

Something I made for the kids this week...

It's a toy basket crocheted from old cut up shirts.  The jury is still out on if they like it... But I think it'd make a great reusable shopping bag. Very sturdy. 


Have a great week! 

~Tabitha

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Vacation Planning Part #2

I told you a few months ago that I would be planning for our Florida trip for awhile (you can read that here)... So here's some more planning to do.


Like we did for our Illinois trip, we plan on doing the meals as cheap as possible. This means we'll need sandwich meat, bread and condiments to be kept cold.  Now with Illinois we used our huge cooler I use for grocery trips and had ice in it. That was a pain in the butt and that trip was only 4 days.  If our van was the kind with a flat cargo area, we could very easily drain the melted ice, but it's not.  It's a welled cargo area as the back seat is made to fold flat (think the Chrysler Stow N Go commercials).  So we are thinking of buying a plug in mini fridge type cooler, we do have an adapter back there.  It would eliminate the need for ice, also. We will still have our little coolers, but those are easy to empty the ice out of.  It's still an idea we are throwing around, so we might change our minds, but it seems like a good alternative. 

I am trying to figure out what kind of containers I want for the snacks.  Something easy to get in, but stack-able (who knew that was hyphenated??!?) to utilize space. Any suggestions? I don't think a lid would be necessary.

I have pillows on my list to make-mostly for the adults as I made kids pillows a few years ago for the car.  Car seats aren't exactly comfortable. 

I plan on stringing twine from the front seats to the back for curtains.  I can hang receiving blankets with clothes pins-it's enough to keep the bright sun out of sleeping kiddo's eyes, and small to store.  

For our hotel stops, I plan on having a duffel bag for each night with clothes for everybody. I will take a few minutes each morning at the car to get dirty clothes in a bin and get the next day of clean clothes where they will be easily grabbed.  That way we don't have to take a ton of bags in if we are only staying one night. 

I think that's all that's going on in my head.

Have a great week!

~Tabitha

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Learning Addition and Potato Soup

Andrew is in Abeka K5 this year.  

As I've told you before, I plan our school weeks two weeks in advance so on the off chance he wants to keep going or do school on the weekends-I know what do to next without a big to-do. 

This week we started a new skill-addition. For three or four lessons I tried to explain different ways and what it was, how to do it. I would get blank stares.  Then a page came that used dominoes.  So we pulled out great grandpa's dominoes and it clicked.  

He loves using dominoes for math and he did 10 math problems by himself simply by going through the dominoes this morning. 




Also today I made me some baked potato soup.  SO GOOD!  The kids looked at me like I was crazy, so I get leftovers for a few days. 

Creamy Baked Potato Soup
2 red potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
2 cups milk
cheddar cheese
bacon bits
salt
pepper

Make a rue with your butter, flour and milk.  Add cut up potatoes (peel if you want), just cut them small so they get done.  Cook for about 20 minutes until it thickens to your liking.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Scoop in a bowl and add bacon bits and cheese.  I would have loved to add chives-but I'm out. And sour cream adds a scrumptious layer of flavor, but it was already getting a lot of milk product so for the sake of Hannah's tummy and my sleep, I skipped that too.


Hannah is starting to crawl and the girls are letting me do their hair-lots of braiding happening around here.  

Have a great week!

~Tabitha

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Shopping Trip 10/15

So now we have our new budget figured out. We are able to add another $100 onto our previous budget for a total of $450 a month. Praise the Lord for that!  While there is still some budget squeezing, it's not near as bad as it has been.  I only had to take off a few extras and not compromise our meals for that.  

My last trip I only able to do 2 weeks at a time, and there has been some squeezing and supplementing to meet that.  This week I'm doing a full month again.  

Meals include salad, sesame seed chicken, salisbury steak, tacos, baked chicken (homemade shake n bake style...do they even sell shake n bake anymore?).  Soup for the kids and I on the weekdays, chicken strips and fries on the weekends.   

With my meal plans I decided to do 14 meals, then rotate.  It simplifies my planning and I'm not scrambling to find enough recipes.  I'm still trying to stay away from the pasta and high carb foods for Dennis' health.


The weather is changing outside.  Getting colder, but hey, it's winter. 

I made Hannah a new pair of pajamas yesterday. Got them a little big but they'll last all winter, I'll take pictures for next week's post. 

Andrew is learning addition and money in school... So I saved the local grocery add and we'll practice money counting with that.


Are you on Twitter? Come join me! @StayHomeMomWife


I think that's everything that's happening this week. Have a great week!



~Tabitha


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rules Are Changing

Our kids think they rule the house.  Hahaha... They are getting a rude awakening this week.  

And they think they are tortured. 

Meanwhile the hubby and I are stocking up on the chocolate. LOL 

I know from older moms that this 'parenting thing' will always keep changing, so just when we think we have it figured it, things will change or somebody will hit a new stage and we'll have to start all over again. 

I also know from my experience that I have a hard time keeping a cleaning schedule.  The few times I have, when somebody gets sick it goes out the window-especially if it's me who's sick.   

I made the kids chore charts this morning.  We have been having issues lately that we will not let continue, and no, I don't feel comfortable "airing out our dirty laundry".. So I will just leave it at that.  Things are changing and they are getting more rules.  Andrew and Eva are old enough to understand and Grace will get there.  

On our chore charts (they are just paper for now.. that might change, that might not) there is 'put clothes away', 'clean your room', 'clean living room'.  Those are the columns. There are rows for each day of the week, the chore columns are doubled. We will check those after school and before daddy comes home-and of course the bed needs cleaned off (because who wants to play on the floor?!!? lol) before bed.  They get a smiley face for each one complete.  If they have put their clothes away and helped with toys in their room and the living room, then they get to go outside.   


In other news... Fall is most definitely here.  I'm FREEZING on a daily basis.. but as I found out yesterday, turn the heat on and we roast in the evening. Even if it's just on for a few hours.  Gotta love the Midwest!!! 

Have a great week!!

~Tabitha

Thursday, September 22, 2016

New Month. New Shopping Trip.

We are blessed to receive a little more money in our grocery budget.  It's some answered prayers, let me tell ya.  I'm still working on my grocery list and meal plan, but I'm going to give you the basics.  I'm PRETTY sure we're going shopping this week, but given the kids are sick and we do have enough supper food to make it through another week, we might postpone.  

So I'll give you my meal plan and let you run with it. 

1. Breaded Chicken Salad (we get breaded strips from Sam's that are awesome)
2. Chicken Caesar Salad
3. Chicken and Avocado Salad (my husband is the only one who likes avocado... it's really just trimmed down for the rest of us depending on what we want) 
4. Salisbury steak
5. Tacos (or taco salad, we'll see...)
6. Pork Chops
7. Chili (cuz it's soup season!)
8. Baked Chicken (chicken pieces are cheap again right now)
9. Fish
10. Sesame Seed Chicken
11. Shepherd's Pie
12. Chicken Pot Pie
13. Witch Doctor's Angry Chicken

While it is still overwhelmingly chicken-y, I'm trying to balance it out so we have a variety every week.  

I'll also do some homemade soups for the kids and I for lunches. My husband isn't a big soup fan, but the kids and I like it. 

Any recipes you'd like to see as a blog post, let me know! 

Have a Great Week!

~Tabitha
  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Trial and Error

I've been trying a lot of new recipes lately.. Most of them are not turning out..  

I found a bag of apples in my deep freezer... so I attempted applesauce-just threw them in the crock pot...Yeah-don't do that.. The birds seemed to enjoy it though. :D

I'm also TRYING to make yogurt... That's not working out so great either.  I think it might be because I'm using low fat milk instead of whole milk-but I honestly have no idea.  Attempt number 2 will happen this week.  

There have been a few recipes that have been good. My mom brought up a pork chop recipe when she came to visit.  You mix Parmesan, Italian bread crumbs (I crunch up about a cup of croutons), garlic, onion, salt and pepper (tablespoon of each).  Pack all that on your pork chop then bake in the oven at 350 for 30-45 minutes depending on thickness of your chop.  I've been making chicken Caesar salad, too.  That's good and even the kids like it.   I found this recipe for the kids, they went fast and were even approved by my husband. I did leave the topping off but oh my, still good. 

I had been making skirts in the spring... well, some of those just didn't work out-so I had to take them apart.. The material is sitting there to try again.  

I can't say I'm doing too much out of the ordinary housekeeping around here.  We are still trying to get in the groove of school. Hannah has started teething, one tooth in already and she's only 4 1/2 months old!   Mornings have been rough around here the last couple of weeks.  Hannah and teething just don't get along. We've been using the amber teething necklace, homeopathic teething tablets and toys.  

Well... I think that's about all that's going on around here.  

Have a great week! 

~Tabitha

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Planning for Vacation

I'm sure you're looking at the title going What? Vacation? But it's fall!!! 

Let me explain. 

As I've said before, my husband and I are planners.. You think I plan a lot, give my husband an excel spreadsheet and an idea and you won't know what happened. I love it about him, but at the time it drives me a little crazy.  

After we know our destination, we think about our family tree and see if there's any places we want to stop related to that (cemeteries, genealogical societies, old homesteads)... Holy cow we sounds geeks.  We make a list of those places and see what we can feasibly manage without driving in circles.  

Then we make a rough plan route writing down all the hiways-becuase Google maps doesn't have the 'plan a route' option anymore, this can get a little frustrating. We make marks about every 10 hours figuring that's a good day of driving. 

After we get everything planned, we go back through the route and see if there's anything interested we might like to stop and see other than cemeteries (we need a bumper sticker 'will break for cemeteries!' lol).  If there's something that looks interesting, we write down names, addresses and add it to the list.  We can decide while we are there if we want to find it or not-usually depends on traffic and kid's attitudes.  We also go through and decide about what time we'll wake up, will put us around here this time.... Since we like to drive back roads, knowing where there are places to stop for lunch is a must. It also helps to know when we will get close to being low on gas so we don't get stuck somewhere..because tow fees are no fun.  

This time around, instead of making reservations at hotels-which yes can save you money, also makes you stick to a schedule so if you get to that town sooner than expected and want to keep to driving you have to pay a cancellation fee... Well, it just opens a can of worms. So we searched around towns that we will hit around 10 hours of driving each day and wrote down hotel numbers and addresses. We learned a lot from our last big vacation to Illinois... Some things we are planning a little more, some things we are planning a little less. 

I will keep letting you know how we plan our vacation as we go, we still have 6 months before vacation. :D 

Have a great week! 

~Tabitha

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Organization.. What organization?

I would love  to be on of those people that everything is organized and you can find it all when you want it. 


Apparently that's not in the cards for me.

The only thing I have semi organized is the school stuff... And even that I'm not done with.  It just seems like everything I start it gets interrupted to a point where I have to organize something else to get the project I started done.  

My sewing stuff is unorganized again.. I realized (after my mom hauled a heavy oak dresser DOWNSTAIRS) that I have four kids at home now.  I need that dresser UPSTAIRS.. after I had my sewing stuff where I could find it all.  :/ Grumph. So... now all it's all sitting out in the open and i'm sure the kids are just waiting for a day I take too long taking trash out to get into my embroidery thread and un-organize that.  

My dad built me a shelf, hubby put it together after we got it home.  LOVING the shelf.. but I forgot to measure the van for height when I told him how tall...we had to cut it in half to get it home. Which in the end will turn out fine.  I'm going to move the printer over by the school and have it close but out of the way. But before I can do that I have to clean out the store boxes so i can move the sheet music crate so I can put the shelf close enough to the plug in for the pencil sharpener and the printer cord to reach. (Anybody else exhausted with the thought yet?)  Before I can even start any of that, Hannah's congestion needs to clear so she will play on the floor again.  

Oofamunga. (Yes it's a word..because I say so.) 

I've been looking for a way to revamp my calendar notebook.. I'm not liking having 2 different calendars but I know it's necessary.. One for meals, one for everything else. I think when I print off next year's I will do one paper (front and back) for the same month... then I have the meals on one side and everything else on the other side.  I was recently given step-by-step instructions on how to print off of Google or Amazon cloud calendar (the most computer illiterate millennial writes this blog lol)...but I haven't messed with that yet.

I just need to remember to take one step at a time.  Also on the list for this fall (because it didn't get it done this summer) is to pull up the kid's carpet...because it's full of holes.  I have fabric cut and a huge crochet hook to make a couple carpets that will undoubtedly turn into race tracks within a day.   

But. One area at a time and it will get done.  One day. One day I'll get the house organized so I can attempt to keep up with housework. (Why is Somewhere Over the Rainbow playing through my head?)  

Take heart fellow mommies.  You aren't alone.  

For now though, I'll take my sleep deprived self, indulge on a ton of coffee and take care of my family (although I think they think they are getting starved eating salads :D).   Now. Where's the chocolate? 


Have a good week!! 

~Tabitha  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Favorite Recipes

We are changing how we are eating around here.. And finding some pretty good recipes on the way. 

A friend suggested I keep an eye out for post bariatric surgery recipes-so very low carb and high protein that still taste good.  So I'm keeping an eye on Pinterest for that.  

Some of our new favorites are Witch Doctor's Angry Chicken. I know I found it on Pinterest-but do you think I can find it now? So it's from Melting Before your Eyes Blog , and it's awesome. (Found it, but I'll leave both links in here.) My husband jokes about it.. I make a not spicy version for the girls (no peppers, no pepperjack cheese-just cheddar so theirs is silly chicken), Andrew hates the peppers but likes the pepperjack cheese (don't ask, you'll hurt your head), his is a little frustrated chicken.  I can't eat the peppers while nursing, so I put them in my chicken for the flavor, but don't eat them-mine is slightly perturbed chicken.  And Dennis gets the full-blown Angry Chicken.  I stick them all in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, but my oven is slow. REALLY good.  

Another new favorite is Caprese Chicken.  A friend had posted a video of it made on the stovetop and I thought it looked good.  So I went looking for the recipe on Pinterest and found the foil pack version (I use shredded mozarella instead of chunks).  I gotta say, I'm loving these foil pack recipes.  I also change up the vegetable that goes under the chicken in the pack. The last time I made it, I didn't have foil so I just layered everything in a casserole dish instead of stuffing-that was good, too! 

I have been using my Cafe Bustelo coffee in my Ninja coffee maker when I make my iced coffee.  Gotta love espresso. Especially when you can get a pound for $1. :D 

Have a Great Week!!

~Tabitha

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Plans are Changing

I used to be a very detailed oriented person.  I like plans. I like to know what's going to happen on what day. 

Then I had kids. LOL 

I have tried I don't know how many different times to plan days or weeks (like a cleaning schedule)... I could also tell you how long that lasts-about a week if I'm lucky.  

I am slowly starting to get back into that.. I have planned our school out, our Sunday School lessons. We do home church so I have a Sunday School lesson for the kids.  I plan our meals, and while I don't always stick to that plan, I do know that what I do have planned, I have the ingredients for.  As for any kind of cleaning schedule... I've given up.  Maybe when the kids get a little bigger and their help is actually..well.. helpful.  I'm doing my best to grin and bear the not-so-folded clothes and towels, or the toys not put away how I would do it-but they are put away (it's rare, but it DOES happen).  Or when the girls help with dishes, they don't put things away like I would-but whatever it is in the correct cupboard...usually lol... I have to remind myself that even if it's not how I would do it, they are learning the skills they will use for the rest of their lives.  

I am slowly starting to go with the 'no plan plan'...  I know the kitchen needs scrubbed every week. I know the bathroom needs scrubbed every week (I think my family is laughing at that I HATE  cleaning the bathroom).  I know I really should be making the kids pick up toys and be vacuuming every day.  Do I always? Ok, let's be honest here, do I sometimes? I attempt to do everything once a week.  I really do. But I know I don't. No matter how many times I walk around and tell myself if I just finish one job at a time then it won't be so much work later.. Then the kids get in a fight, or the baby starts screaming-the kind of scream you can't just let it go on for a few minutes while you finish what you are doing and I get distracted and forget to finish whatever chore I was on. 

So yes, plans are changing. Constantly.  I plan what I can (such as what school or Sunday School lesson), but I have to remember to remind myself that not everything can be planned.  Calm down and enjoy the time when the kids are little... and take many deep breaths through the day to keep my sanity intact. 

Have a Great Week! 
~Tabitha

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Shopping From July 30

Grumph.  One month, I do great... the next month... not so great.  I spent too much this month.  

August starts our monthly trips out of town again-so I do buy convenience foods for those weekends, for our snacks and for hubby to eat while we're gone. Convenience foods do make things more expensive (and forget about a diet those weekends).  

So here goes the checkbook groaning as I'm crunching numbers today. 

Aldi's 91.33
Fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, poptarts, cereal, olive oil, pudding (I'm a sucker), sugar and dressing....  

I think i spend more time bagging the groceries than I do picking out the groceries lol. But I do have a 4 year old helper. 

Fareway Foods 58.14
I was reminded another reason why I stopped going to Fareway... their fresh food selection stinks.. So onto Sunshine foods next month.  
Yogurt, cereal, salsa pizza and eggs.

Walmart 36.08
This was all meat... I did save as I usually figure $50 a month for chicken-but it wasn't enough to get me down to where we want to be.  Check your local markets for when they put out the discounted meats. Some do every day early morning, some overload it once a week..It's worth it. 

Bakery Outlet 6.39

Dollar Tree 14.91
Dressing, jelly, miscellaneous cleaning supplies. 

Sam's Club 207.41
Pizza, vinegar, canned fruit, bacon, cod, deli ham and cheeses (for grilled cheese sandwiches), chicken strips, cinnamon rolls, cofee and lettuce. 

All in all I spent $404.  Higher than we like, but we have to have food... Now I need to go investigate that funny noise...

Have a great week!!

~Tabitha 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Starting School

Our school year has officially started.  And I have already smacked myself in the head more times than I can count. 

I copy everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING.  It's a way to save us money-and it really does (my husband did the math, please don't ask me to lol).  For our printer, a toner cartridge costs $50. Paper is something around $1 a ream.  I made 1300 copies between the 3 kids. That's about 3 reams. Now, after you get your jaw off the ground from imagining me standing at the printer making 1300 copies, let me tell you, I just kept reminding myself that I was saving us money. 


My copying corner.  Bankers box for files, Folder opened with the preschool stuff.



Just the curriculum for K5 was about $200 (you can check out my post on that), for K4 I am using the same thing I used last year as Eva didn't really start picking up on things until late in the year.  What we used last year was a combination.  We had a book from Walmart (I'm assuming) of preschool worksheets. Then we are supplementing with free worksheets from some awesome creative homeschool moms from around the web-Pinterest is a homeschooler's best friend, I'm absolutely convinced of that.  So really the price for K4 isn't much at all.  For Grace, she's just getting coloring pages, and I'll pick up coloring books at Dollar Tree as I see something interesting.  I did have a bunch already printed and I might print off some others that look fun, but for her i'm trying to stick to Bible story and alphabet print offs.  She also has a few educational toys that will go with the school stuff.  


So here's how I organized Andrew's.  When we first decided on Abeka, I started searching Pinterest for ideas.  I found this organization idea from Seasons of Life Blog and instantly loved it.  It's just a more detailed version of what I was doing last year.  The only book of Andrew's we didn't copy was the writing tablet.  The lines just didn't copy and that is something they need.  All the pages in the books have what lesson they went with, so after I copied everything I just had to get my folders and calendar in place (so I knew what lesson went in what week) and it was very easy to just put everything in the correct folder.  

For Eva's I did the same basic thing.... except I ran out of manila folders so I'm just using paper clips (lots and LOTS of paper clips) and sticky notes to keep things organized.  Each of her weekly folders also has coloring pages for Grace.  I'm still working on Eva's, trying to get lesson plans set out like they are with Abeka's to make it easier for next year-all of the preschool stuff is in a 3 ring binder.


I'll put an extra folder in each box to keep papers that need kept to show progress, after that I've been advised by experienced moms to put the important ones in a 3 ring binder.  

Bible, science and social studies we are doing all together.. Also creating a routine and still trying to figure out a chore chart..which we have been for 3 years.... You would think it wouldn't be that difficult...but it is...  Or perhaps I'm just overthinking things.  

So our overall routine for the school days.  We alternate weeks as to many we do-this way we can be done by the beginning of May, giving us about a month and a half off of school more for mommy to get things organized for the next year.  Abeka comes pre-planned with 170 lessons.  I plan on doing all of those, even if it's just a five minute review of what's there.  One week we do 4 days of paperwork, the next week 5 days.  Right now, we're still in review with the K5 curriculum, so the amount of time we are spending on school might expand in September-we'll see how Andrew does.  The kids are up by 5:30 most days... I need some time to get me and other things ready to start the day, so I shoot for starting school at 7:30. We brush teeth, go potty/change diapers.  Then Bible (which includes the pledge of allegiance), social studies, science (which happens once a week), then they split up for their own worksheets-Grace is usually playing with the animal counters but I have plans for some felt activities for her.  We are usually done by 8:30 right now.  

I'm still working on some of the organization, but for the most part I think we have it set. 



Our first day of school.  Sorry for the blurry photos, my Kindle and I are having an argument about who the boss is when I'm taking pictures. 


Have a great week!

~Tabitha

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Being a Stay at Home Wife

I think that when most Christian women are asked why they stay at home, what they strive to do when they stay home, they turn to Proverbs 31. Proverbs itself has so many great verses to reference for child rearing and marriage issues-as does the whole Bible for that matter.  But when it comes to being a good wife, I do think Proverbs 31 helps to sum up the majority of it. 

The description of a virtuous woman begins in verse 10. 
"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchant's ships; she bringeth her food from afar.  She riseth also while it is yet night and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strenghteneth her arms. She perceiveth that her mechandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands; and let own works praise her in the gates." 


Our marriage did not start off as pleasing to God.  But God forgives. We have both strayed and found our way back to God and thank Him everyday for each other.  

I have also learned that what stands out to me and what I take away from Proverbs 31 is not going to be the same as somebody else.  We are not cookie cutters and everybody needs work in different areas. The way we are the same is that we have to let God work through us, whether it's our relationship with our husband, kids or anybody else. Patience and understanding are the keys.  

What I take from Proverbs 31... 

God tells me I am supposed to do what I can to save our family money-from cooking from scratch, to either making clothes or buying used and saving the difference; learning to garden (easier said than done for me, I DO NOT have a green thumb, no where near it).  I am to serve others first, not me.  Serving myself first is the world's way and while we are IN the world, we should not be OF the world.  Why would unbelievers want God if my life doesn't show any difference to the way they live?  Everybody makes mistakes, we are human after all.  It's how we react to those mistakes that shows.  

Be humble. Think about what is going to come out of my mouth or my fingers in the case of the digital age before it comes out.  Be edifying. Calm down and cool that temper before I discipline my kids or speak out in anger to my husband.  As I heard on a TV show recently "Keep your bad day to yourself, I have enough to deal with."  I shouldn't take my bad day out on others, that's not fair to anybody and can ruin relationships faster than anything.

I need to submit to my husband. This has to be one of the most controversial ideals when it comes to stay at home wives.  When most people think of submission, it's along the lines of 'let him do what he wants while I'm imprisoned at home'.  In the case of a Christian marriage, that isn't it at all!! 
Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed.
Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject to unto Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in everything. 
1 Peter 3:5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands. 
The husband is supposed to respect the wife and treat her as God treats His church.  Not ruling over her like a king to his subjects. Listen to each other, respect each other.  The husband should have the final say and be respected to it.  The wife should counsel her husband, support him, advise him.  Take care of him, the house, their children.  

Do I struggle with this sometimes? Yes. I do.  I mumble under my breath, I get frustrated, I slam things around in the kitchen and grump at the kids.  Is it usually something stupid that's not worth the extra energy to be frustrated over? Oh my, yes.  I think one of my biggest struggles is down-talking my husband to others.  It is definitely one of the biggest struggles I have. Let's face it, I get frustrated beyond belief some times.. and those times I just need to vent.  I have a good friend that could attest to that! I do my best to not down talk my husband, that is not good for anybody, but I do confess that I do.  And usually just to that one friend who understands and knows and doesn't hold it against me.  I also confess that within 24 hours I'm usually talking to Dennis about it and then apologizing to my friend for my outburst. God is always after me to keep me in check and submit to my husband, not only by staying at home and taking care of things on the home front, but by submitting to him, counseling him, listening to him, comforting him, respecting him.  

God comes first. Always.  Then husband. Then kids.  If you put the kids first and not your husband, what are you going to do when the kids move out? You won't have a marriage anymore because it was all about the kids.  I know that putting my husband before my kids is a chore-because my mommy brain is wired to listen to them first. It's wired to hear and interpret cries or words from the kids no matter if they are in the same room, outside or upstairs and no matter if I'm having a conversation with my husband.  That's how I'm wired, and I think that's how moms are wired.. I have to WORK to teach them to be patient and wait while we are talking.  

There are some nights I have to work to not go to bed angry.  In many ways I am grateful that we have both had failed marriages.  We know what went wrong and we are both bound and determined it will not happen again. We work on talking things through (easier for him that me, but he's working on me).  We work on not going to bed frustrate or angry at each other. There's been nights I have to wake the poor guy up because I can't sleep, then we are both drinking coffee like it's water the next day to stay awake.. but we talked things through and we worked through TOGETHER whatever the issue was.  

Marriage is not easy. It's work. HARD work but it's worth every second of it. 


Have a great week! 

~Tabitha
1

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Being A Stay At Home Mom

I read a post that a friend shared the other day about how hard it is to stay home and be a homemaker. You can check it out here.  

I'm also reading a lot of advice from experienced home school moms. 

So here's a fair warning, my opinion will ruffle some feathers-because most people say I'm too antiquated and old-fashioned. Well. I like it way, and so does my husband.

It seems I have spent the last six years defending my choice to stay home, even though a few of those years I did work in a family business outside the home. 

When my oldest was young, I was the parent who worked 60 hours a week.  I hated every minute of it and barely made ends meet.  While I know there are other factors at play, I do think those few years are why I have such a horrible relationship with her. 

Because I have that experience, I feel so blessed to be able to stay at home with these kids.  Do I always show it? No, I know I know don't and I beat myself up over it when I get reminded to slow down and smell the roses. Do I get cabin fever? You bet I do.  There are days-especially in the winter, and now especially with only car again-where I just want to get out of the house, but not walk and not go to the park.  But I have these precious gifts from God that need me, and I have to take care them.  They are not burdens, they are my babies no matter how old they get. Do I have my days where I text my husband on break and tell him I'm going a little nutso?...I think I hear him laughing.... Honestly... I can't remember a day where I haven't told him the kids are driving me a little crazy. Then he reminds me to slow down, play a game with them and forget some of the housework because they are only little once. (What can I say, my husband is awesome.) Do I have days I just look at all the stuff that needs done, I rebel and just play Candy Crush or veg in front of Netflix all day? Yes, yes I do and I pay for it the next day, or even that night because we run out of diapers or we don't have any clean forks for supper.  

I am blessed to be able to stay home with my kids and take care of husband from here.  

Quite honestly, I don't know how you work out of home moms do it.  I have no idea how you can take care of your family and the house and work.  I can barely keep up with it and I get to stay home with my babies. 

I am blessed that the few friends I have in town understand that my family comes first.  And sometimes, even though I would LOVE to go see them, meet at the coffee shop or the park or wherever, I have to get housework done or somebody throws a huge fit and that means we can't leave the house as punishment (though who is punishes puzzles me..lol).  But these friends understand because they live the same lifestyle.  

It is not a burden for me to stay home with my kids.  It's a blessing.  It's a chore, yes, but a huge blessing I wouldn't trade for the world.  Quite frankly, it gets under my skin when I see something that paints kids as an inconvenience.  

The next time you get frustrated, remember God gave you those babies, ask for patience, take a deep breath and go for it.  Because those same babies are going to remember how you reacted to whatever catastrophe (real or imagined) and mimic it. Slow down, smell the roses and enjoy the messes, non stop talking (and singing, dancing and just the chaos that comes with toddlers) and cuddles.  They won't last forever and before we know it the house will be clean and quiet and we won't know what to do with ourselves. (oooo I know!!! SEW!!! lol)

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”


Credit: The Busy Mom Blog






Have a great week! 

~Tabitha   

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Shopping July 2nd

I hope you all had a great 4th of July! We didn't do much around here.  We found a video of last year's fireworks show from New York City on YouTube...the kids lasted about 10 minutes.  And we spent the weekend consoling at least two kids a night from all the noise.  The cat and dog were a little worried, but they were content as long as they could see a human.  

As for my shopping trip, we did pretty good.  Went to Sam's, Aldi's, HyVee, Dollar Tree and the bakery outlet.. Oh and the honey place at Wall Lake. 

Sam's I spent 176.06
Bacon, cod, Vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado), cinnamon rolls, chicken breast, cheese, canned fruit and some cooking staples. 

Dollar Tree I spent 5.33
Soap. That's it. 

Aldi's I spent 77.89
Broccoli 1.69 each bundle (2 crowns) 4 bundles
Chicken tenders 7.25
4 pound bags of sugar 2 at 1.49 each
lemons 2.69
flour 4 pound bag 1.24 
Dressing 4 at 1.29 each
Miracle Whip 3.44
Tartar Sauce 1.29 (it doesn't taste very good in my opinion)
Green pepper 3 pack 1.79
Cucumbers 4 at 1.29 each
Mac & Cheese 10 at .33 each
Yellow Onions 1.59
Vinegar .79 (16 oz container to keep in the kitchen)
Olive Oil 32 oz 2 at 3.19 each
Protein Meal Bars 4 at 3.99 each
Garlic .89 (3 bulbs)
And some plastic bags since I forgot mine.  I think my favorite finds at Aldi's are the protein meal bars-mostly for hubby, but I eat a few-they are cheaper version to Slim Fast and the olive oil. 


HyVee I spent 94.90


HyVee has been rearranging and making my usual store more like the new ones.  So more organic, and more bulk.  While that's great and awesome, I kept going to HyVee (the one on Marion in particular) because they had a cheaper option of most things.  That brand is now gone.  While the store is not done rearranging, the shelves they are done with are not stocked with the cheaper version nor is there room leaving me to to conclude they are done with that system.  So next month, we go back to Fareway Foods.  Their prices were similar so the cost shouldn't be much-if any-difference.  Now, if you go to the new HyVee, stop at customer service and ask for a list of where everything is.  I asked for a layout as to which department is where, but they didn't have that. Instead, they had a list of what is in each isle.  Super helpful still if you don't know where things are. 

Have a good week! 

~Tabitha