Triple Clicks

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Furniture Shopping

One of the things we are working on around here is getting some nice furniture, last year we bought a couch and a bunk bed. We were impressed with the place along with the comfortable and great quality furniture.  

So we went back to Conlin's Furniture in Sioux Falls.  They listened to us, they didn't pressure us, and while they did show us some things that weren't on our list, it did make us think about other options.  We were also impressed with the prices.  

So first of all, let's start at the beginning.  Dennis is a pretty big guy, so we need furniture that will hold up to the big guy standards.   Our old mattress just wasn't cutting it anymore.. Since we had to re-home the cat, it opened us up to other possibilities other than a traditional mattress.  So we bought an air mattress.  And now we have a guest bed-not that we ever get Dennis had found a website with recommendations for furniture for bigger people.  So many there recommended an air mattress, so we found Fox Air Mattresses and got an almost 3 foot high air mattress for $200.  On top of that we do have our egg crate foam topper for extra comfort, we found that through at friend at The Foam Factory two years ago and it's still going strong.  After three weeks on the air mattress we are starting to regret it, while it' helping Dennis' back it keeps developing holes.  We were able to use the warranty and the company is sending us a replacement, but it has us looking at other options.

After the air mattress, we quickly realized Dennis would need a chair to be able to sit in the bedroom....  So that was on the list.  And the last half an Ashley Furniture mistake sectional is falling apart after only 5 years, so he also wanted a chair for downstairs.   We found both of those on clearance-last year's floor models-at Conlins.  One chair was originally marked at $1300, marked down at $313.20.  The other was original price at $599, marked down to $359.  

Since we were at a furniture store we liked and trusted we decided to check out bunk bed prices... Let's face it, we are blessed with many children, and with many children comes the need for many beds.  So bunk beds are a must, while we weren't looking to buy today, we changed our mind when saw the deal.  A wooden bunk bed, twin over twin, can be taken apart to be two separate beds, with Conlin's special mattresses (well I've never seen mattresses like this before anyway, memory foam with neon covers) all for $510.  

Conlin's delivered and set up everything for an extra $75.

With the exception of the troublesome air mattress, we are enjoying our new furniture.  

Have a great week!


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

When All Else Fails......

Some days, it's just been one of those weeks.  One of those weeks where you just want to curl up in a ball and hide from everything.  

I spent an hour this morning cooking, filming it for a vlog. (Ha! Did I just date myself?? lol)  After watching it on the computer I realized it was useless.  Now, I'm glad I got the cooking done, I was going to do that anyway... But the vlog was useless.  Why? Because I spent more time keeping the kids out of the flour (they eat the flour I use to roll out the cinnamon roll dough), the cheese for the lasagna and Hannah out of well.. everything... And I failed with the Hannah part.  

I can't put that on YouTube.  Why? Because if I put that on YouTube, I KNOW, I JUST KNOW somebody will send CPS knocking, or make some nasty comment.  Because once you put anything out there, people can't just disagree and move on, they have to stick their nose into everything.  Because, as I saw in another video... My toddler TODDLES (EGADS!!!) Because I forgot to put something away and she found out... She brought it to me, but she found it and attempted to make a snack out of it, and quickly learned it was not snacking material.  Because my son was being forced (no outside or else, how DARE I!!!) to do his cursive (which he did very well at). Because Eva got too close to the hot pan and said "Oh no, that's hot!!!".... the list goes on and on.. and it dawned on me... I can't put that on YouTube.  Because in this age of social media everybody overthinks everything and they don't think before they type.   Normal kid stuff-the behavior kids learn from, is now something we lose our kids over.  

I do the same thing.  I typed out a Facebook status and my husband says "woah, think about that for a minute".   I deleted it, but I know enough about computers to know it's out there, floating around somewhere.  Because I didn't THINK before I started typing.   

When all else fails... When I feel inadequate.... When I feel like I'm failing as a mom because I just want them to go outside, or I just want Hannah to take a nap for longer than 10 minutes.   When I feel like I'm failing as a wife because I want to go get frozen pizza for supper (boy are we glad there are no delivery places in town!!), or when I don't get the house clean... Because it's my JOB, to take care of our babies (ssshhh don't tell Andrew I called him a baby), because it's my JOB to keep the house clean.   

When all else fails... God doesn't.  That little voice inside you saying, I'm here, I'm here for you.  That's not your imagination.  People so often say, "God won't give you more than you can handle".  Wrong.  God won't give me more than HE can handle.   He is teaching me to lean on Him.  He is teaching me that when I'm utterly exhausted from one thing or another, there are more important things.  Teaching our children how to react when they get stressed or tired... They won't learn from me singing the "Be Patient" song from Psalty.  They will learn from watching my reactions.  They will learn from Dennis' reactions when he comes home and Hannah is still in the same outfit three days in a row because it's not dirty so I didn't bother to get a new outfit out.  Or when the carpet doesn't get vacuumed... Or the bathroom didn't get clean (there's that bathroom again, I HATE cleaning the bathroom.. can I hire a maid just for the bathroom?) He is teaching me, when I don't feel like I can go any farther,  that's when He carries me.  That's when He gets me through.  Not me. HIM, it's all Him.  

This morning I made cinnamon rolls and lasagna.  Two loads of dishes (because cooking takes more dishes)... I've ignored laundry, but fed the kids!!!  lol  I need to go clean upstairs.  Desperately so.  But all I want to do is sit here and play games.  I had 6 cups of coffee this morning.  And I'm still not awake.  (I think I hear my 9th grade English teacher sobbing into her tea somewhere with all these sentences starting with prepositions.)   I just can't bring myself into getting off my tush and cleaning.  This couch is just too comfortable.  Yeah. Let's blame it on the couch. That sounds great.  

When all else fails..... turn on Sermon Audio, find a good pastor (personally, I'd recommend something from Dr. Marc Monte from Avon, Indiana) and spend some time absorbing the word of God... Because there's nothing else that will lift you out of a depression faster than that.  God is the great healer.   So find a way to spend some time in the Word.  Sermon Audio or our hymn channel on Pandora is really the easiest way for me because... well.. kids.   

When all else fails-God never will.

Have a great week!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Shopping Trip 5/13 and Vlogs

When I looked at the sales ads last Wednesday I was a little worried about my budget.  There wasn't much there for sales.  

But I planned out my meals and did my best to find foods that would stretch.   By the grace of God we made it home in under $500.  

Aldi's had some great prices, eggs last week were $.49 a dozen. WOW Hyvee was racing them at $.59 for 18 count.  So I got the max I could get with the fridge space I have and came home with 6 dozen-I still had two dozen left from the week before.  

I got most of my meat at Sam's.  While that is the case most months, I can't always say I'll be spending $10 on 10 pounds of chicken legs.  This is because the packages are by weight.  The average is $5 a package, but it varies either way, so I always over estimate, just in case.  I was also able to grab meats that were on their way out the door.  You can save a lot of money if you can figure out when your local grocer puts the meats on sale to get them gone by a certain date.  Some of our easy lunches this month are chicken and cheese quesadillas-so I needed chicken.  I decided to spend the $10-$15 on a two pack of whole chickens at Sams.  Usually I just get the cheaper one, but they had organic chickens on quick sale (nearing the 'date').. So I got those and I'll throw them in the crock pot tomorrow to get them cooked.  Watch my video on my repackaging the meat.  

At the bread outlet I spent over $9 (12 loaves+pop tarts-hey they were $1 a box!!), so I got a free loaf of bread.  So.. $10, 13 loaves of bread and a box of pop tarts.  

We are working on getting some vlogs out there.  Check me out on YouTube, for now my YouTube name is the same as my blog "Tabitha H Stay At Home Wife and Mom".  If this keeps working, then I'll get a separate YouTube channel just for my vlogging.  I'm really enjoying-when it does work anyway.  

We just added the road trip to the city to grocery shop, but we didn't think about the music in the background and aren't sure about the editing.. Because technology and I do not get along lol.  So YouTube is editing out audio because of copyright infringement.  I have figured out I need to use my husband's tablet, because my kindle just doesn't like that stuff.  I'm hoping we can get a GoPro to make it easier.  

I'm also working on monetizing the blog to help us with finances, but yet again, technology and I do not get along.  My attention span is almost nil right now, Hannah has grass and pollen allergies so sleep seems to be almost non existent.  I grabbed some Cafe Bustelo today, so I see homemade coffee drinks in my future.  I'm figuring out quickly that if I can find a picture to add to put this on Pinterest, that has been helping my reader content.... Thank you all SO MUCH!! I love writing, and being able to share the little things, it's fun!  

Also today, I grabbed  the folders I needed to finish organizing the school stuff, so I'll get some blogs and maybe even a vlog out about that.  

Have a great week! 


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Confessions of a Horrible Housekeeper

I have a confession to make. 

Photo Credit-The Busy Mom blog .... I love this poem

I'm a horrible housekeeper. Horrible.  I know I am.  I'm trying to do better.  But it seems like every time I get a cleaning routine down somebody gets sick and it throws the whole thing off. 

The house is a mess.  I know it's a mess.  I know it's embarrassing.  I also know, most days, I try my hardest to make some sort of headway.  But I also know with young kids there's going to be a mess.   

Quite honestly, there are some days where I watch YouTube videos of the families that live in RVs and I'm almost envious.  They moved into an RV and were forced to sell pretty much everything but what's needed.   But I know we can sort through the things and get rid of stuff without buying a $70,000 RV that would fit all of us. 

Part of me wants to rip all the carpet up (Thank God my husband stops me lol) because then it would just take a towel to wipe up messes and not worry about whether it soaked into the sub-flooring or not. 

...And yet, every time I clean the stove I promise myself I won't let it get that dirty again.  And it does. Then I spend an hour scrubbing on a stove because I didn't take the ten minutes a week to clean it good-or the few minutes every night to just wipe it down from the day's messes.   

I hate cleaning the bathroom, but it's a necessary evil-I know.  I cringe every time I clean it.. But I promise myself the same thing I do with the stove. Every time I clean it I promise myself I won't let it get that far again. But I do.   

I thank God that my husband is so understanding.  That he understands and he doesn't get mad when the house is a mess.  I am blessed that he understands and knows that even if the house is a mess, it doesn't mean I've been sitting on my bottom all day-it simply means the kids needed me more that day.  

I'm a horrible housekeeper.  It's not a strong point for me, I will readily admit that and gladly take any help offered when it comes to cleaning the house.  My house is a mess, though rarely 'dirty' mess (I am getting better at vacuuming every couple days instead of once a week), it's a cluttered, toy filled mess.  

We're working on the clutter.  We're working on getting rid of stuff we don't need. It's a work in progress.  As am I.  But in the meantime, if you come, please excuse the mess as I'm doing the best I know how (except maybe for the bathroom, I hate cleaning the bathroom).  

As I'm sitting here typing, I'm looking at a popcorn filled floor.. We had popcorn last night and the baby tried to share with the dog, I need to pull the vacuum out.  I'm also avoiding the half clean stove.  IT'S ACTUALLY WHITE!!...except for a few spots of burned on who-knows-what because I'm a horrible housekeeper. I might have to take a picture to mark this momentous occasion.  But then my horrible housekeeping skills would be documented.

I feel like I'm playing a balancing act and I keep dropping everything.  My wonderful husband helps when he can, but there are only so many hours in a week and he needs to de-stress from work, too. Other than the normal housework, I'm sewing some new clothes, putting our store back on Ebay, getting ready for a new school year, cleaning out the office, creating a school corner in the dining room and we have added playing round robin with the beds. 

That, in itself, could probably be a two page story but-so I'm not leaving you in suspense-I'll let you in on it.  Dennis and I need a new bed, we ordered an air mattress.  It seems to have the best reviews for overweight people to help with their backs.  We also decided this winter that Andrew is getting old enough to stop sharing a room with the girls.  Now, we have king size traditional mattress now.  There is a bunk bed in the kids' room along with the toddler bed.  The third bedroom upstairs is rather little, so our king size mattress will not fit... SO we have to disassemble the bunk beds, move them across the hall (Can we just knock down the wall? lol) reassemble the beds.  Move the mattresses. (that's after shampooing the helpless carpet).  THEN we have to vacuum the girl's room, I will BEG again to remove the carpet though I'm sure to no avail, it's not shampoo-able.  We don't have the money to replace the carpet right now and with as rowdy as the kids are, we're worried about extra bumps and bruises on a hardwood floor. Move the king size mattress to the girls' room.  Then back to our room, vacuum and shampoo the carpet, get rid of the head board, and set up the air mattress... The last two steps have to be done in one day.  The bunk beds could be done a different day.  But it could prove interesting.  

As I'm sure you can tell by now, I'm rambling.  I'm typing this over a course of a few days... Because. Well. Kids. These verses keeps coming to mind so I had to look it up.  

Colossians 3:23-24 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 

God knows if I'm doing my best or not.  What I do, I need to honor him in doing it.  

I do hope I didn't confuse you with my rambling on... But every once in awhile I like to do a blog that wasn't preplanned. ;) The next post will be back on what's going on with school planning and such.

Have a great week.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Family Memory Quilt!

While planning for our trip I decided I wanted to make something for my father-in-law.  We finally settled on a family memory quilt. We got the kids to stand mostly still for pictures and sent them off to these wonderful gals in International Falls, Minnesota to get them printed on fabric.  

In the meantime, I went through my fabric stash and found the backing-a sheet just waiting for a repurpose project.  We went online to JoAnn's and found some wonderful complimenting fabric.  It just struck me yesterday that I made a sunflower quilt.  Hm.  Oh well. 

I cut my pieces 12 by 12... But then I realized my photos were only 5 x6.. This is only my second quilt, bear with me here!!! But that is why some of the pieces are a little uneven. 

After I sewed all the squares together we realized we wanted a little more.. So I printed off some pretty font, traced over it with a sharpie, laid that paper behind my yellow fabric, traced over it with pencil, then hand embroidered the kid's names and birthdays.  That was really the hardest part.  I kept looking on Pinterest to make sure I was getting the stitches right, I'd never done any actual embroidery work before.  I don't think I did too bad-though it would have been  A LOT easier if we had decided on that BEFORE the squares were sewn together. 

So my pictures are from the piecing together stages.

Back layer-it's a dark brown color 

Quilt batting layer. Smooth everything out then we are ready for the top layer. 

Top layer.  Smooth it all out, make sure the layer edges line up. I pinned the corners to start off with the keep it still then proceeded with the tying together.

No, that's not a fish hook, that's a curved needle.  I tied Hannah's quilt with a regular needle and was SO SO grateful when a friend gave me this.   That is wool yarn cut for a latch hook rug, but it works for this.  It was really thick, so I was able to take the strands apart.  

All tied up! You can see my uneven square.  Leave it up to Eva to be difficult! lol

Close up of the ties.

 Next came the binding.  I tried to use my scraps I had... but there wasn't enough.  So I found this tutorial on YouTube on how to make your own binding and did it mostly that way with leftover material from the brown.

All done and ready for grandpa!!! 

A close up of some of my embroidery work.  

Front Binding

Back binding in a corner.. Definitely need some help on mitered corners... but it's not that bad!!

All in all, not too shabby!!
 Grandpa loved the quilt!

Have a Great Week!


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!