Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day One!

Today we embark on year three of homeschooling!  As you can see I am now teaching three different grades {we only keep track of the grades because our state mandates this}!  

We are super excited as you can see from the faces in the photo. :)

And we got a little silly...

We're having fun on day one!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


{September 6}

Safeway :  Spent $65.78
Coupon/ card savings: $55.12
Percentage of savings: 46%

{September 12}
Safeway: Spent $75.06
Coupon/ card savings: $33.06
Percentage of savings: 33%
(This day I got really sick at the grocery store so it was a miracle I saved anything!)


Last night I went to a free couponing seminar at the local community college.  The event was sponsored by our local newspaper {which makes sense since the coupons come from the paper!}.  Anyway, it was the kick in the pants I needed to get back into couponing.  

A couple of years back {before I started up daycare and my husband was the only one bringing in income} we really had to reevaluate all expenditures.  Groceries were our biggest money drain.  So I set out to figure out how to lower the spending in this category.  Enter couponing!

My early adventures were encouraging but not anything noteworthy.  And then I discovered that my local store would take competitor's coupons too!  Oh happy day!  After that I was saving $60-$80 a grocery run!  It was so much fun!

And then the fateful day when corporate headquarters of said neighborhood store decided to stop accepting competitor's coupons.  I almost stopped shopping at that store in protest.  So I continued to use coupons and sadly was only saving $10-$15 a trip.

When I began my in-home daycare I found myself with no time left to coupon and so it went by the wayside.

Well, after hearing a new technique and becoming remotivated last night, I am ready to dive back into the blissful world of couponing.

I most likely will not become the next extreme couponer.  That's not my goal anyway, my goal is to save my family money so that we can save for a trip to Mexico to visit our family down there.

As this blog is my journal of sorts, I intend to keep track of my savings for each shopping trip.  My goal is lower our groceries by $50 a month in the next month.  Currently we are spending approximately $650 per month on groceries.

Can I do it?  You'll have to come back and see my updates! ;)

Friday, August 24, 2012



Miss A turned five today.
{Can I really be that old, that my baby is now five?!?!}
I love watching who she is becoming.
She is my loud little ray of sunshine.
Exuberance and enthusiasm personified.
She is such a joy and blessing!
I am so proud to be her mama.

Happy birthday sweet girl :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Supercharged Science

Last week I found a link to an online science class in my email in-box.  Since I love all things science, I read a little further.  A complete science curriculum designed for homeschoolers?

I was intrigued.

Even more intriguing, it was to be taught by a REAL rocket scientist! (So this lady really knows her science stuff!)

So the kids and I gathered around the laptop and quickly found ourselves engrossed in the world of Supercharged Science.

Teacher extraordinaire, Aurora Lipper, has a contagious love of science that spills out of the computer screen into your own homeschool room.  She has a wonderful, fun, understandable way of introducing your children to the amazing world of science.  And she breaks down the more complex science terms into bite-sized pieces for your kids (and sometimes you!). 

Aurora has fun experiments to go along with each lesson.  And guess what?  No expensive science equipment is necessary!  She uses everyday items and turns them into great hands-on experiments.  My kids were begging me to buy a highlighter so they could make a glow in the dark bouncing ball!

Our first class we learned about different states of matter, the chemical makeup of water, atoms, molecules and the periodic chart of the elements!  Even my four year old was glued to the screen! ;)

{It's like having your favorite science teacher in your living room!}

We are a science-loving family and Supercharged Science gets us all fired up! ;)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meet the AGErs

On the {Not} Back to School Blog Hop, this week's theme is show off your students!  So meet the AGErs:

L- R: Miss A, Mr. J and Mr. I

Miss A is almost five {her birthday is in four days and she keeps reminding me}.  Her biggest desire is to learn how to read.  And we will be working on that this year.  For now she is content with audio read-along books from the library, or a snuggle-read with me, Papa or one of her doting older brothers.  She is full of energy, loudness and sweetness!

Mr. J is going to be 10 next month {where does the the time go?!}.  He is a a prolific artist and will draw on anything doesn't move. ;)  Mr. J used to be my reluctant reader, but he soon found out the adventures that awaited him in a book and now it is hard to pry one from his hands!  He is compassionate, confident and inventive!

Mr. I turned 8 a couple of months back.  He too loves to draw, but his love is math.  You can find him calculating problems for fun or curled up with a good book.  He hasn't met a math problem yet that he hasn't been able to conquer with some perseverance!  Mr. I acts kind of tough around others because he is so tender on the inside. He is curious, has a great sense of humor and is highly creative!

And last but not least, you can meet our "classroom" pets! ;)

They've gotten much bigger, but let me introduce you to Sunny Delight (big white one, a Pekin), Einstein (black and white one, a Swedish duck --as far as we can tell), Sunflower (small brown one, a brown Swedish duck) and Big Bessie (she used to be bigger than all the others but Sunny is giving her a run for her money-- she's a Golden 300).  We have raised them from ducklings (about two weeks old) and we are having so much fun.  It is a great way for the kids to learn responsibility and animal husbandry.  We can't wait until we have eggs!

Thanks for letting me show off my three treasures and reasons for why I homeschool!

Check out the {Not} Back to School Blog Hop for more student photos :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Just for fun...

The Parent Rap...I think you will recognize yourself in a couple of these descriptions ;)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our "Not" School Room

This morning I am joining in on the Not Back To School Blog Hop, and this week we get to show off our school rooms!

We aren't quite NOT back to school yet. ;)  We ran a little longer this summer because I was prepping my  third grade son for his state testing.  The first week of September we will be starting up again!

So while we are getting a much needed break, I am taking advantage of the time to organize!  And so what better time to share our "school room" with you all, than when it is organized! ;)

Welcome to our living room/ school area!  We just bought the desks and big bookshelf from Ikea and I am in love.  My intention was to have a designated desk drawer for each child (three total) which would leave one for me.  So far it has only worked out that we are storing crayons and paper supplies in one and then
all my office supplies in another.  As I get more organized, I will utilize the space better!
This is our library bookshelf.  I try to keep all the books corralled here so that we don't rack up library fines for overdue items...it isn't working very well.  This is the first thing you see when you walk into my house.  I also do daycare (yes, I am all kinds of crazy to do homeschooling AND daycare) so the fabric boxes house different daycare items.

Here is a different angle shot of the desks.  They look out over our front window.  I want to get different curtains to make it a brighter, cheerier spot.  And please excuse the disaster under the far corner of the desk.  That it is my "I'm still organizing" spot.  I want to put up L-bracket shelving on the wall to help out with all that! 

And here is the most treasured learning spot of all...our couch.  We read here, do math here, watch science shows on TV from here, and ask lots of questions from here.  The couches (we have two in our living room) are where the majority of learning time happens!

Thanks for touring our "school room"!

{I apologize for not sharing the button, but for some reason the image wouldn't load on this post!  You can tour more awesome rooms at the Not Back To School Blog Hop}


After hopping all over at the {Not} Back to School Blog Hop, I was so inspired that I rearranged our "school" room again!

The desk that is parallel to the wall is the kids' and mine sits perpendicular to theirs.  It creates a really nice flow to the whole set up!

{Sorry for the dreadful lighting!}

And here is my little corner of the world! :)

Rearranging furniture makes me happy {smile} and the kids love the new look too!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Planning {Without Planning}

As the month of September draws ever nearer, I find my thoughts turning to curriculum and planning.  Only, what do you do when you don't follow a plan very well at all?  In fact, I am a planning failure.  I have planned out whole school years gleefully, but then the rigidity of the plan sabotages me. Scheduling out my days leaves me feeling suffocated instead of motivated!

We are definitely interest led in our learning.  And so this year, this third year of homeschooling, I am going to embrace this unique learning style rather than struggle against it!

I read an inspiring blog post about recording versus planning and I decided to adopt that mindset for myself too.  There won't be any lessons plans...eeek!!!  I will be recording what we have learned each day in a simple notebook.

So without further ado, the school year plan {without planning}:

Bible:  As a good friend of mine observed, Bible shouldn't be something that is relegated to just school.  We want to instill a lifelong love of the Word in our children, so we will be reading and observing the scriptures each day of the week.  I want to have at least one day of the week that we do a study together as a family. We will be focusing on practical application in our lives and memorization.

Math:  I have yet to find a suitable math curriculum for my two boys.  Mr. I (age 8) loves math and is quite proficient.  Mr. J (age 9) struggles a little in math and doesn't enjoy it as much.  I want to find a curriculum that I can do with both of them but allows them to learn at their own pace.  Is that too much to ask for? ;)

Language Arts:  We will be doing one lesson of Write Shop a week as most of our writing will be utilized with notebooking.  Reading will be done in large volumes because our history curriculum is largely based on reading well-written historically accurate literature.  And simply because the our family loves to read! ;)

History & Geography:  This year we are trying out TruthQuest History and we are loving it!  We will be reading wonderful accounts of real history regarding the United States' early history.  Currently we are studying the Revolutionary War (as per my children's request). Geography is a natural partner with history,  and so we will be learning about the United States primarily, but American history is wrapped up in European geography too!  

Spanish:  Even though Papa is completely fluent in Spanish, our children are not.  And I am only conversant.  So we will be using Hooked on Spanish to learn more!  This particular program is geared towards the younger set.  We might surpass that learning level quickly so I will have to be researching where to go from here!

Science:  This is our most favorite subject as a family.  Science creeps into casual discussions all the time, so I won't be putting a huge focus on this one.  We are raising ducks and starting a garden, so I figure those practical applications will keep us busy for a while. ;)  Astronomy is also a favorite of ours, so we will be sure to include some of the starry heavens in our studies too.

Art:  See the Light caught my eye recently.  Papa and I are blessed to have extremely artistic children (we run out of pens and paper ALL the time).  So I haven't focused on art in the past years.  But I want to cultivate this unique gifting in my children and to teach them new art techniques and concepts.  See the Light is done from a Christian perspective, which I love!  And she makes it simple and approachable for those of us who are not Da Vinci's by nature. ;)

So that about wraps up my plans {without planning}!  I am excited to see what we learn this year and how this new learning style meshes with our family.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Beginning Reading

This is little Miss A.  

She is four almost five, and she wants to learn how to read.

I have been reading a lot to her out loud and she has been MEMORIZING the books I have read!

I was astounded at her recall of words such as "unusual" and "concentrate."  She does have a pretty good vocabulary. :)

We have also been listening to audio books.  One of her favorites is "The Chronicles of Narnia."

I have tried working on vowel and consonant sounds with her, but she doesn't quite get it yet.  

She can't seem to figure out how the sounds go together to form words.  Yet she can remember almost an entire book verbatim!

My kids will never cease to amaze me!

Family Zoo Trip

L-R from the top: Papa, Mr. I, Miss A & Mr. J

Our family portrait in snake vision!

My three greatest reasons for homeschooling!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012


Organization is not one of my strong qualities. (My husband will readily attest to that!)  And so I have struggled with trying to find a method to keep all the wonderful links organized that I have found in my blog travels.  Most of these have been road-tested by our family, although some I have simply marked down for future reference.

One Stop Shopping:
An Old Fashioned Education --- complete website dedicated to free lesson plans and materials for home education.
1+1+1=1 --- free printables for a variety of subjects
Confessions of a Homeschooler --- free printables
Homeschool Creations --- free printables
Lesson Pathways -- free unit studies
Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop -- TONS of free downloads on all different subjects
Budget Homeschool

Calvary Curriculum -- free Bible studies for kids (haven't checked this one out extensively yet)

Living Math Booklist
Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching --- games and puzzles
Johnnie's Math Page
Math Playground
Lego Math Games
Wild About Teaching: Math Printables
Math Journals: Runde's Room
Bringing Meaning to Flash Cards with Manipulatives
Living Math Pinterest Board
Kidscount 1234
Pig Out

Free online guitar lessons

Worksheet Works

The Happy Scientist
All About Birds
The Open Book Project: Electric Circuits
My Science Box
Cell Pizza!
Cloud Charts

Christian Unschooling
Unschooling Lifestyle: Directory of Articles

Unit Studies: Tips and Tricks for Notebooking
Jeanne Fullbright on Notebooking
I Choose Joy: Notebooking
Pinterest Notebooking
Homeschool Share: Master Lapbooking List 
The Notebooking Fairy

Language Arts:
Sheppard Software
KISS Grammar Approach
Top 100 Children's Books
LibriVox -- free PDF copies of books online
Google Books
Project Gutenberg
Books Should Be Free
Vocabulary Spelling City
Language Arts from Crafty Classroom
Phonics Wordblocks from Confessions of A Homeschooler

Country Flags Printables: Homeschool Creations

Games For Learning
Deceptively Educational
Ten Word Games For Kids
Vocab on the Move
Kids Activities Blog:  Cool Math Games

Free History Lessons from Mom's Mustard Seeds
Civil War Curriculum
Have Fun With History: One Minute History
National Museum of American History: Online Exhibits
The Mariner's Museum
American Revolutionary War Unit Study
American Revolution: Dynamic 2 Moms
History & Government: Hippocampus
Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers: American History
The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project
Ben's Guide to American Symbols

Freely Educate -- a treasure trove!
Khan Academy --- Online lessons with video tutoring
Homeschool Radio Shows
Are We There Yet?
Homemaking 911
Making Learning Fun

Printables Pages:
Donna Young
Mr. Printables
Crafty Classroom --- lots of free printables here as well

Canon Creative Park: 3D Sun Printable
Canon Creative Park: Solar System Mobile 
Canon Creative Park: Sundial Printable
Canon Creative Park: Planisphere
US State Map Printables

Unit Studies/ Lapbooking:
LEGOS Lapbook & Unit Study by Walking By the Way

Creative Schoolroom Organization & Decor:
Magnetic Map Puzzle
Awesome Book Organization!
Budget Art Display
Colorful Crayon Organization -- scroll down to the last photo of the post

Revolutionary War Ideas: Teaching in Room 6
Revolutionary War Four Part Unit: Living Life Intentionally

Creatively Educate!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Duck, duck, duck...

 When we first brought them home....

 And now a month later!

Ducks grow so fast!  We are having so much fun learning as we go.  The ducks are the kids' responsibility and they are loving it.  Every morning they wake up and go say hi to the girls. :)  We bought the ducks in hopes that we had some females and would get eggs.  At least one will be a girl so far, the others are kind of hard to tell yet.  
I have fallen for the ducks too.  In the morning when I get my husband's coffee ready, they start talking to me begging me to let them out of their duck run.  (We converted a dog run into a run for the ducks so when we aren't home they are still safe but are able to forage in the grass.)  And then they happily chirp their way around the entire yard as they busily scrounge for bugs.  I love having my land (less than a quarter of an acre) be productive!

We are novice urban homesteaders, but we are enjoying the journey!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


As we start off a new year in our educational journey, I have chosen FOCUS as my goal for the year.

FOCUS on who God wants my children to become
FOCUS on what is important to teach them
FOCUS on being intentional in what I do as their mother and teacher
FOCUS on our family more
FOCUS on spending quality time teaching
FOCUS on having fun
FOCUS on meeting challenges and overcoming struggles
FOCUS on their strengths and not their weaknesses
FOCUS on diligence and excellence (for me and them!)
FOCUS on loving 
FOCUS on saying yes more
FOCUS on staying organized
FOCUS on what resources I have and using them
FOCUS on homesteading purposefully
FOCUS on serving joyfully
FOCUS on my home management skills
FOCUS on cultivating life-long learners

Right now as my FOCUS, I am planning out our year!

What are you FOCUSing on this year?