Sunday, January 26, 2014

Word of the Year: Faith

Faith makes things possible, not easy. ~Author Unknown

 Faith, this is the word I have chosen to focus on for 2014.  Faith: the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Do I have faith in God? Yes, I like to think I do. But do I really have complete trust in Him? I completely trust in who He is and what He has done but I still have a hard time remembering that He is in control of all things and this is what I need to work on.
 For a little more then a year now we were sure we would have been moving by now. Although we didn't know where we would be we at least thought that we would be on a new adventure. But that hasn't happened and  its still up in the air and starting to look like we will be here for a while longer. This does not make me very happy. I will be very honest, I can't stand the cold! Being from California this crazy blizzard weather we get here just doesn't do well for my soul. Now I'm not praying to go back to California but I would like to be a little closer, maybe within a days drive? My soul needs another adventure, its ready to move on. But for some reason God is allowing our family to stay here. Do I think staying here is not the best option for our family? Yes. But I need to work on my faith in God and His timing and faith that He knows better then I do what is best for our family.
 To help me with this topic I will be doing a 31 day devotional study starting in February. After that, other then prayer, I am not sure what the plan is. But one thing I know for sure is that I need to have Faith, complete trust in Him.

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Weekly Dinner Menu 1/26/14-2/1/14

Sunday~Steak, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Beans and Fruit
Monday~Pesto w/Chicken, Salad and Fruit
Tuesday~Salad Night (Everyone picks their own toppings)
Wednesday~Chicken & Rice Pilaf, Peas
Thursday~Burrito Night, Salad and Fruit
Friday~Chicken w/ Asparagus and Yellow Squash, Fruit
Saturday~Restaurant Night!

~~After this post I will not be making any more weekly dinner menu posts as this is not the way I plan my meals. I plan monthly not weekly. Since I want this space to show real life and be an encouragement I will be changing this posting. You will start to see my monthly meal plans as well as an explanation of  how I plan that far in advance and why on February 1st.~~

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Top Mommy Blogs

A few days ago I applied to be part of Top Mommy Blogs and I'm now approved! This makes me so happy! In the last week this little blog of mine has doubled its daily views and is reaching more moms. My mission with this blog is to be a help and encouragement to others by showing you our imperfect but blessed life. 

There are so many amazing blogs I have found from looking at the Listed Blogs; if you have a moment go check some of them out! I found by reading one of my favorite blogs written by a dear friend over at Cottage & Hen

Do you enjoy reading my blog? Has it been helpful or encouraging to you? If it has perhaps you would like to vote for this blog! All you have to do it click the picture above! You can vote one time every day. But to make it easier for you to vote for my blog in the future, just look for the TMB button on my sidebar and click it! Easy as that! Thank you for supporting my blog! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hands On Learning

  If there is one thing I say for sure about our homeschool, it is that we are a very eclectic homeschooling family. I feel that every child learns a different way at different stages of their lives and learns differently based on the subject. But on top of that I believe that there needs to be a certain amount of "traditional textbook learning".  So how do you meet the needs of the kids while also having some of that tradition? There are many ways to do this and today I am going to share with you our most recent way.

Math is one we sometimes love and finish in a matter of minutes and other times.... well, it can take all day! A lot that has to do with the way we are learning and our attitude.  For math both kids are using Horizons by Alpha Omega Publications. So we are sticking primary with the "traditional text books" for math.  But my kids (at least at this point in time) are not liking this way of learning so we are mixing it up. We do our work-pages plus I find an activity or two to help reinforce what that lesson was teaching.  

As you can see from the above photo we are counting by 3's. For Goober this is the very beginning of this concept for him but for RizzyRoo she knows the basics of it.We are working on the speed and really mastering this as it will make multiplication much easier(and that is coming up for her in just a few weeks).  So we had fun separating a bunch of buttons into sets of 3 and counting them as we go. We also sang during this. So we started with 3 and added another set to make 6 then another to make 9. We sang the song over and over as we added to our pile we also added to our song. So the song started with just 3,6. Then 3,6,9 and so on until we got to 54(that is when we ran out of buttons).  The kids had fun singing the song as loud as the could then as softly as they could then as fast as they could. When daddy came home they sang it for him. And every day their workbooks covered counting by 3's we did the song and those pages became easy and fun. 

After we did our math lesson the kids wanted to keep playing with the buttons so we practiced some letters. 

Buttons like these are very easy to find and make for great manipulatives for school. You can do so much with them from counting, shapes, shorting, colors, addition and subtraction, spelling, and so much more. You can find these ones at Hobby Lobby or similar ones at most craft stores, Target, Walmart, and teacher stores or even online. I don't remember the cost of this set as I got it a while back but I think it was like $7 for a bag of  over 100 of them. 
**We are LOVING Horizons Math so far but here is a tip for you if you are thinking of using it. Even if your child is only in preschool it is worth it to get the teacher books because they are packed with lots of ways to help teach the lessons. There are many tips and tricks that help make the learning processes more fun and not just a textbook.**

In My Homeschool Linky 300px

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekly Dinner Menu 1/19/14- 1/25/14

Sunday~ Chicken w/ Yellow Squash and Green Beans
Monday~ Meatloaf, Salad and Fruit
Tuesday~ Spaghetti w/ Meat Sauce, Rolls and Green Beans
Wednesday~ Enchilada Casserole
Thursday~ Shake & Bake Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Salad
Friday~ Homemade Mac & Cheese, Green Beans and Fruit
Saturday~ Potato Bar

Thursday, January 16, 2014

8 Ways to Build Your Home Library without Breaking the Bank

We LOVE books in this home and if you're a homeschooling family you know just how many books you need to have (LOTS). But we also all know how quickly those books can break the bank. This year (being our first year of officially homeschooling) I want to really track how much we spend on books. I am not counting curriculum text books such as Math but will include books I get to go with our reading program or other supplemental books to go along with Science and History and any other books we get for our home library. To do this, in a small journal I will right down how many books I got and how much total I spent. Whether I got the books on sale, free, or full price I will be tracking it.
 Here is how we will build a better home library without breaking the bank:

1. The Library! 

      Some libraries have little "stores" in them where you can buy books that they have multiple of for really cheap. Others have a donation area where they just give out the books they don't need that have been donated to them for free or even have a donation day where they save all the books for six months to a year then do a day where they set them out for anyone to take. Our library looks through the donations they get and anything they don't need they have in a box for anyone to take. This doesn't happen to often but when it does the books I have found have been pretty good!  The photos below show our latest finds!

2. Thrift Stores!

      Sometimes you really have to look through the thrift stores to find good deals but its normally worth it. If you have multiple thrift stores in your area you could spend a day scoping them out to find what ones have the best price and selection of books. Some will have great prices but they will put any quality of books out while others may be a little more costly but the books are mostly new. Some of them are not worth the time to search though in hopes to find a few good books in good condition so that is why I highly recommend taking that one day to find the best stores in your area.

3. Garage Sales!

      Give the kids some money and take them on an adventure to see how many good condition books they can find for the money you gave them that fits their interests/reading level (and that you allow in your home). Or if you live in an area that doesn't do many garage sales look online! There are lots yahoo groups and facebook pages dedicated to online garage sales.

4. Freecycle! 

     I have seen so many books being given away on . Some are in good condition and some not. But they are all free so even if you find just a few good ones I still find it worth it. And that site is not just for books so you can find some other really cool things sometimes!

5. Book Swaps!

      Gather some friends and some books that are in good condition that you no longer want and do a playdate or a coffee date at someone's home or a local play area or park and every one can pick through some books to find some they would like to add to their collection. (I will have another post with some practical ways of hosting a book swap hopefully in a month or so, be on the look out for it!)

6. Book Clubs!

      There are a good amount of book clubs you can find online for kids, teens, and adults where you get a few books for free for signing up and then you pay a monthly fee and get more books. Sometimes these deals can work out great and other times they really aren't worth the cost. I haven't personally tried any of them so I'm not going to share any links with you at this time. But I know many who love their book clubs so I felt it would be a good thing to mention. If this is something you have interest in just look online! But please do the research to find the best fit for your family.

7. Online Stores! 

       Many online stores offer great discounts from time to time that are too good to pass up. One of my favorites is Their deals are always changing and I have found some great books for myself and the kids most for $5 or less!

8. Discount Cards! 

      Some stores offer discount cards that help you save a little bit on the books. Sometimes you have to pay for the cards and other times they are free. Sometimes they make up for the discounts by raising the costs of the books so you're really not saving that much. But if you learn how to shop the sales and use the discounts (especially from Black Friday through January) it can be worth it.

Well that should get you started.... I hope that at least one of these suggestions will help you and your family grow your home library without breaking the bank.
    Want to see how much you are spending this year on books? Track it with me! I'm sure you can find a little journal somewhere in your home and start writing down every time you bring books into your home how much they cost and how many. In a few months at the end of one of my posts I will give an update on mine and would love to have an update from you!
    Did I miss any ways to save money on books? Please share with us!

~~~ Please whenever you are meeting someone you don't know to get books (or anything) whether it be from Freecycle or online garage sale sites and such, don't go alone (no your kids don't count!). Its always better to be safe then sorry.~~~

Hot Homeschool Hop

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekly Dinner Menu 1/12/14- 1/18/14

Sunday~ Rib-Eye Steak Italiano, Salad and Fruit
Monday~ Chicken & Rice Pilaf, Green Beans and Fruit
Tuesday~ Beef Stroganoff, Salad
Wednesday~ Lentil Soup, Green Beans and Fruit
Thursday- Burrito Night, Fruit
Friday~ Shrimp w/ Green Beans and Asparagus, Fruit
Saturday~ Free Night (We either order pizza or go out to eat on these nights)

Friday, January 10, 2014

10 on 10~January

A peek into our lives....

~The one warm day~

~Every night I have been setting out most of what we need for school the next day~ 

      ~While RizzyRoo has her music class Goober has fun with mazes~

~Gym Time~

~Winter Science~

~Fun with Lego Education Lessons~

~Some fun (and coffee) before starting our math~

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Weekly Dinner Menu 1/5/14-1/11/14

Sunday~ Chicken w/ Baby Portabella Mushrooms, Yellow Squash, and Zucchini
Monday~ Homemade Mac & Cheese, Green Beans and Fruit
Tuesday~ Santa Fe Chicken w/ Rice, Salad
Wednesday~ Hashbrown Casserole*, Eggs, Bacon, and Fruit
Thursday~ Potato Soup, Salad and Fruit
Friday~ Enchilada Casserole*, Salad
Saturday~ Pesto w/ Chicken, Rolls and Fruit

*I make a double batch of this recipe and freeze the second one for a meal later in the month or next month. By doing this I almost always have a meal that is homemade in the freezer ready to go and that helps on those days I just don't want to cook or don't have time to cook. (Or the days I totally forgot to make dinner and its almost bed time....) 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Here we are again..

 Its a new year and our family is welcoming 2014 with open arms. With all the ups and downs that 2013 had for us I am ready for a new year. I'm sure this one will have just as many ups and downs but hopefully with the right focus we can enjoy them all.
 Every year I have made a list of goals and every year I am saddened at how fast it went and how many I didn't get to. So this year I'm doing things a little differently. First I have a word for the year and then the kids, Hubby, and I each picked out three goals for the year.

 Our First Goals have to do with our personal relationships with God. As He should always be first in our lives we are putting this goal at the top. RizzyRoo and Goober both picked reading the Bible everyday as something they want to work on for 2014, Hubby and I felt that was such a good goal that we are joining them in this goal. Since we all have the same goal it should help with accountability.

 Our Second Goal has to do with family. I want our family to grow closer together this year and to have deeper relationship with each other. RizzyRoo's "goal" is to have more family outings to the theater while Goober's "goal" is to have more family outings to the bowling alley. I sense a theme here....
 My goal is a little different. Through the last two years I have really struggled with putting my family before others. Last year I got the saying no part down (sorta...) and spent a lot more time at home but I wasn't really putting my family first because even though I was home that extra time I didn't necessarily spend that extra time with them but rather put it towards me time or spent it sad about the fact that I was missing another activity. So this year while I will continue to show others that my family comes first I will also work on showing my family and myself that they are first. I have a few family game nights all planned out and can't wait for them!
  Hubby's family goal is to inspire a love of learning in us all by sharing something new with the kids every day. (Some of the stuff has shared in the past I had no clue about so I'm sure I will learn a few things also.)
  Another way I am putting them first this year is that I am finally listening and obeying God's calling to homeschool. I knew for sure that I was being called to it last summer but I wasn't ready to make that step. After some things that took place once school started it made it easier to do it and as of a few weeks ago we are officially homeschooling. Hubby will be helping from time to time with fun Science experiments and some History lessons.

 Our Third Goal has to do with bettering ourselves. RizzyRoo has chosen to work on her attitude (mainly towards her brother but also towards us when it comes to doing stuff she doesn't want to do). Goober would like to work on doing his chores without complaining and to have fun doing them.  I have chosen to work on being a better friend. There are many thoughts that go along with that but for now I will just leave it at that. Hubby's goal is to go to the gym three times a week to help him keep in shape.

Word of the Year~ I'm still working on it! I have it down to three choices and all of them are very good. I will take a few more days to pray on them and see where God leads. (You can find my post on this here)