Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Review is Coming Soon!

Hello everyone! Can you believe that March is almost?! Wow, 2014, you are sure hurry huh? Well as we get back into the swing of a good school routine, I have been asked by the wonderful people at K5 Learning to do a review on their site! Go ahead and click on their site and check them out! I will be using it with my children for the next 6 weeks and will then post an honest review on what we found!

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program. - See more at: http://www.k5learning.com/review
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Moving Up and Moving On...

 
Hello everyone!!! I promise I have not abandoned you! Just the opposite in fact, I have been swimming with so much going on that I have not had any time to share all our news. Today has marked 1 year of a HUGE decision in our lives, the one we made to homeschool our children! My family has had some amazing stuff happen during this time and we have only grown closer.
Though homeschooling is not a decision to come to lightly, it is one that we made quickly when time was of the essence and because of that, this entire year has just been a whirlwind of getting our feet under us and trying to get organized to an entirely different way of life. I am a better person for it, but I will not lie and say it's all good times! There are many trying times and some days that we just take a day off because mommy needs some time on her own! This past year has also seen us settle into our home we bought 18 months ago along with the remodeling being done to it (almost all DIY!), it has also seen us take on a new challenge.
We have a HUGE itch to travel and it takes us away from our house almost every weekend. We visit small towns, big cities, other states and even other countries! We've driven, flown and cruised but we also want to RV soon too and hit the rails of course! All of this takes money and with remodeling, one income and countless things popping up with home ownership....well our milk jug is almost always empty!

Buying our house obliterated our savings as well as making it move in ready. It was time for a plan that was going to take some serious overhaul to our life. Budgeting has been pretty big in getting us to where we are today, but it was time to kick it up a notch. We have a BIG desire to be debt free and it's time to work toward that, but also build that savings account up (Retirement? RV!) to the cushion we may need if my husband is ever laid off again (We went over a year one time). In order to do this, we wanted to be extreme. We hold zero credit cards, own our home and our cars so while that sounds great and yes, it is debt free, if my husband were to get laid off right now, it would be crippling. We literally took our last penny out of savings and have spent so much fixing up the house and keeping the cars in order that our life changed a bit. Our weekends were spent at home and just hanging out, which has been AWESOME as new home owners, but the travel bug started biting us and it was time to scratch that itch!
 
We decided to garage one of our cars (in our own garage) and let go of the insurance as well as ALL of our cable and our internet! We are forgoing these for 1 year to build up our savings. That means one less car for insurance, gas and small mechanical problems, no monthly cable or internet bill...this is giving us around an extra 260.00 a month to throw into savings. Our food budget is still higher than normal, due to all our produce but we cut it by 100.00 a month, just eliminating our last minute runs to the store that always add up to more than what we went for (if we don't have it, we make something else). On top of all that, we are also keeping tabs on our one car that we do have left. My husband carpools to work most days with someone that lives in the neighborhood and we only use the car if it's school related, no need to just go out for coffee or run to see what's new at the store. Along those same lines, our evening entertainment is usually movies from the library or reading together as a family. We sock away our normal money for weekend trips, daytrips or even fun experiences. We are finally able to start getting serious about our savings account again and hopefully get our feet under us in CEMENT, so that we don't drown!
So now you have seen where I have been! My internet usage is sporadic to the 2 days a week that I am at the library and I am getting better at the blogger app, that I can type my posts ahead of time and have them post when I go to the library! I can even set up my facebook posts to be the same. I have not abandoned you, I am just in the process of saving money! Please share how you built up your savings!



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Monday, December 30, 2013

Family Movie!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas my friends! WE spent some time with family and had a wonderful holiday, Christmas and upcoming new year. We look forward to what 2014 has in store for us, but for now we are embracing every moment. I apologize for the times that I just seem to disappear but with the first year of our homeschooling adventure coming nearer to the end, I am finding myself so distracted as a reflect on the year past along with what we have upcoming.

We just saw Saving Mr. Banks in the theater and it was so good, it really had me thinking so much about how we can love our children so much that we may not realize just how much they watch us and look up to us. We know we love them and show them love but do we act the same way in our private lives. The movie gave me a lot to reflect on. We really loved it and I love the simple message it had for me in the end.

What have you been up to?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

MIA

Hello my dears! I am so sorry to have just walked off the side of a cliff with no word whatsoever! It has been a challenging time to say the least and we have also made some huge decisions! There is so much going on and I am still photographing every minute of our learning adventure! I do hope to be back to regular posting very soon, but please don't count me out yet!! Charlie our ELF ON THE SHELF has landed for his third year with out family and his shenanigans are crazy once again! I hope all is well with you all!!!!

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Travel & Learn the 50 States!

If there is one thing I love to do, it's travel. I am not satisfied just staying in 1 place and I do not believe any one place is better than the other. I would love to be a nomad, wandering the world on a dime, travelling the States by RV and then flying around the world to catch the rest. I got my taste of Europe, Mexico and South America quite young and was able to visit many places more than once in my life so far. I don't want it to be the end and cannot wait to introduce my children to them. Travelling teaches far more than one can learn in any classroom or from any book and I hope my children get bit by the travel bug as well. 
In Geography we are studying the World with a taste here and there. At the moment we are focusing on the 50 states. The kids are coloring this large map but they had to do a few things first. The states on here are in abbreviations, first they had to figure out the name of the state and write it in under the abbreviation. Next, they had to color in the states as they knew them.
As the kids studied and colored, we played the 50 states song from this book and it's such a catchy tune that the kids LOVED listening to it and even my youngest was singing along by the end of the class. The book and CD can be found HERE!
I made up this sheet of states & capitals for a game but it also make a great review sheet for the kids to work on their memorization. You can get your own copy HERE
50 States Pick em Up Game! Use the other sheet, print it out and cut out each state and capital. Place a state on one side and a capital on the other side. Dump all the sticks out in a pile and take turns picking up a stick (or you can easily play alone!). Pick it up and look at it, if it's a state then you have to say the capital aloud. If it's a capital, you have to say the state aloud.
With each stick you uncover, find that proper abbreviation and fill in this worksheet. Once that is found, color the state by finding it's location. This is a game that takes time, but is fun and the kids learn so easily! It's great because it can also be played alone. This sheet can also be found HERE!
Have a great Thursday my friends and remember to enjoy every minute of it!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tips & Tools of the Classroom!

It's  Wednesday and honestly? I was thinking it was Thursday already! When battling evil in the real world out there, I tend to want to just bring on the weekend so I can be safely entombed in my own little casa! Anyway though, I told you all about how my husband won't even let me go into a hardware store alone right? Well this is just a small show as to why! These are just a few things that are tools of my classroom!
These drywall hooks dot the classroom, holding colorful pails full of a variety of items. I love that they are low cost but hold serious weight. Now if only I had the patience to spray paint them first!
Cafe rods! These are a dime a dozen and can extend for longer display or shorten for smaller ones. On this one I have a display of flashcards on binder rings. They easily slide on and off as the rod is just supported with cup hooks.
Did someone say cup hooks?! Yup, I use these THE MOST! They are so easy to pop in and leave a barely noticeable pin hole in the wall when you want to move them. I use them to hold things, display posters and clipboards and so much more!
Wooden Dowels! These are AWESOME!! So cheap and they will cut them down for you there! I have small ones for individual pointers, medium ones for pointing to the board and long ones for pointing to posters! Add a colorful and fun eraser on the top and this pointer cost a FRACTION of what they cost at teacher supply shops!
I happen to use yardsticks for what they are supposed to be used for, but the kids? They always get creative with them. This week they made a cross for their CHURCH skit!
These clamps are less than .50 each and they are AMAZING! They clamp tightly and can be used anywhere really! I use them for display purposes, holding papers together, on charts that have multiple pages...everywhere! 
There are so many different tools that I use, I will have to share more in another post!
Enjoy every minute of the day my friends!


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Menu Plan...Tuesday!

Yikes, Monday flew by far too fast & I didn't have enough time to get our menu plan posted. Here it is, once again including breakfasts & lunches as per the request I got!
MONDAY:
B- Cereal with Bananas with Toast & Jam
L-Peanut Butter & Jelly with Apple Slices
D- Grilled Brats with Baked Potatoes & Garden Salad
TUESDAY:
B- Blueberry Pancakes with Sausage
L-Turkey & Tomato Wraps with Cucumber Slices and Laughing Cow
D- Ham & Cheese Tortas with Chips & Salsa
WEDNESDAY:
B: Fruit Salad & Croissants
L: Cheese Quesadillas with Beans
D: Smoked Sausage, Green Beans & Potatoes
THURSDAY:
B: Scrambled Eggs & Bacon
L: Tomato Soup & Veggie Plate from Garden
D: Grilled Chicken Salad
FRIDAY - SUNDAY:
Out of town for the Holiday but leaving plenty of fresh veggies and food in the fridge for the house sitters! Hahaha!!!
Have a delightful day my friends!!!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Spelling Prep!

It's Saturday and you know what? I'm ready to rush the weekend! My children are off at a sleep over and I wish they were here with me. I finally get that peace & quiet that I desire and yet here I am complaining. How sad! Anyway, today I wanted to share how Roman prepares for his First Grade Spelling Tests!
On Monday, I hand him a typed up list and we read it together. After that we write the flashcards together while saying and spelling the words. Once we have finished that I hand him some stickers and he moves to the reading bench alone. Once he can read a word, he puts a sticker on it. If he can spell the word, he adds a second sticker to it.
On Tuesday, he takes his list words and uses water to 'paint' them on the wall as he searches for each letter and spells the words. This is a fun game that he gets to play as he learns. More information on this HERE!
Wednesday brings Barrel of Monkeys time! He takes his flashcards and our barrel of monkeys and works on spelling each word out. Once it is spelled, he takes our classroom camera (an old digital phone) and photographs his words. This allows him to work alone and me to grade his progress later.
Monday-Wednesday he has to write out each spelling word 5 times. I made the 3 columns right on the back of each flashcard, which makes it easy to keep in 1 place and for him to study as well.
On Thursday he takes the quiz in his notebook and any that he gets wrong, he must rewrite on a new page and copy them 5 times. Friday is TEST day & by this day he is usually more than ready! If he does get any wrong, he just writes it 3 times, to reinforce the word.
Enjoy your week my friends!








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Sunday, August 25, 2013

3 Letter Sight Words

As I sit here and notice that Summer is flying by, I cannot believe it. How did it disappear so quickly? It must have been the very few hot days we had and the more balmy weather. Not that I'm complaining, I'm ready for Apples and Pumpkins and Orchards and Patches! This week I made up a worksheet for Roman to reinforce his 3 letter sight words. I do this every now and then, to keep them refreshed in his head. As he learns more difficult words, I don't want him to forget the other words. If you would like to print this one out (it's the first of the school year), go HERE!

Have a wonderful day my friends and remember to enjoy every single minute!
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Friday, August 23, 2013

What Would You Attempt....

If you could not fail?? Such a heavy question but it could be taken many ways as I broached this subject with my children. They had their new notebooks open and pencils sharpened to a point. Before we began our school year, I wanted to start a new tradition. These notebooks would only be written in on the first day of every school year and then as they started college, they would be free to take them with. A memory in the making.
I sat at my desk and asked the children: "What would you attempt to do, if you knew you could not fail?" I could see the gears turning and the youngest raised his hand right away. I shushed them and told them to just write it down. Draw a picture if need be, write a story, a sentence...anything at all to describe what you would do and then just date it. That's it. No grades, no right or wrong answers, no correcting your writing. Simple. It was so quiet, that I was a bit unnerved but then I too began to write.
How can a simple question bring to mind so many things? It really made me think and once I started writing, it was almost as though I could not stop. It felt good to put feelings to paper. What would I do? Too many things. My long time dream has been to open up a used book shoppe. Not just anyone in anyplace though. I have an addition on my house that used to be a beauty salon before we moved in and gutted the place. I would put it in there. I live on a main road and know traffic would be good (not that I want it crowded mind you) & well, I have the books. I want bistro tables, light music and chatter going on. I can imagine it every time I close my eyes. That's my attempt in the physical sense, I sketched it out and wrote out so much detail. When it came time to dig deeper, I knew my other attempt would be to just let go. I am a person that is always in control. I like to keep tabs on everything and execute it well. When something does not go to my plan, it bothers me. I wish I could let go and let someone else take over the reins. That would really allow me to live a different life. Could I actually do it? No, but if I was guaranteed not to fail, well then it's worth the shot!
As their notebooks were turned in, I read answers that were silly and serious. Though the answers elicited laughter, I knew the children were serious in their writing and that is all I asked.
Roman: I would jump off the roof. His picture showed him flying through the sky with a blue cape flapping in the breeze. How perfect this answer was, he is the one child that I know will grow up before his time and want freedom from this house as quickly as possible. He has his future all planned out by the age of 5 and I truly hope that his wings (cape) will take him far.

Gabriel: I would go to space. His picture showed a rocket ship taking off. This is my Gabriel, someone not meant for the ordinary jobs of the world. He was always thinking of ways to make things better, never satisfied with what just was. It had to be faster, cooler, different.

Autumn: I would be a Fashion Designer/Scientist. Her picture showed her in her lab wearing the most colorful, ornate and unique lab coat. She went on to explain that she loves Science and wants to do so much when she gets big. There are many things she wants to create and test and experience. Her brain wants her to be a Scientist and she knows it will be fun. She then goes on to explain that Fashion Design is her fun thing to do, something she can do at home instead of watching TV and on the weekends too. This encompasses all of Autumn, she wants to best of both worlds and will never settle for just 1. 

So my friends....I now ask you....what would you attempt, if you knew you could not fail?

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