Monday, December 31, 2007

CVS, Walgreens and Target!!

Here is what I plan to do this week:

2 Nature's Bounty Vitamins (on sale bogo, starting at $4 and $3 back in ECB)
2 Colgate toothpaste (on sale bogo - $2.69 for 2)
Covergirl lipstick (on sale bogo - $7 for 2)
Mennen Deodorant ($3.99 and $1 back in ECB)
Covergirl blush ($4)

Use 2 $2/1 Nature's coupons
Use 1 $1.50/1 Colgate coupons (from CVS diabetes book in store)
Use bogo Covergirl coupon (from recent insert)
Use $1/1 Covergirl coupon (from recent insert)
$4/20 CVS
$2/10 CVS

Total $20 - $19.50 coupons
Pay $.50 Get $4 back in ECB

Target -
1 Huggies travel wipes 40 ct. ($2)
1 Huggies travel wipes 16 ct. ($1)
Johnson's Buddies soap ($.99)
2 packs Post-it notes (app. $3)
Polly Pocket ($5)

Use $3/2 Huggies coupon
Use $1/1 Johnson's coupon
Use $3/2 Post-it coupon
Use $5/1 Polly Pocket coupon

Everything is FREE!!

Walgreens -
2 Glade scented Oil Candles Holder (on sale bogo - $6.99 for 2)
2 Colgate items (on sale 2 for $3)
Children's Dimatapp ($4 and $4 back in RR)

Use bogo Glade coupon or 2 $4/1 coupon (from recent inserts)
Use $2/1 Dimatapp
Use 2 $1.50/1 Colgate

Pay $2 Get $4 back in RR

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Homeschooling - You CAN Do It!

I don't know if it's just me, but I can't stand it when people tell me how they don't know how I can homeschool my children. They proceed to tell me they just couldn't do that and they aren't cut out to be a teacher. I also have heard that I must have a lot of patience and that if they were with their children all day, they would kill each other.

So, I just wanted to clarify something. Homeschooling is HARD!! Just because this is the choice I made, does not mean that I love every minute and it's a piece of cake. Many days I want to pull my hair out. Even the choice to be a homemaker gets its share of comments: "I just couldn't be with my kids 24/7. I would go crazy!". Well, welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood. Staying home was one of the best, but most difficult choices I had to make.

I want to make it crystal clear that I am NOT a born teacher, I do NOT have the patience of a saint and I DO enjoy some adult conversation every once in a while. On the other hand, I know what we have been called to as a family and I am willing to make the hard, uncomfortable and exhausting choice of teaching my children at home!!

I know that some families do not have the choice to homeschool or stay home. But, for everyone else, please don't tell me you CAN'T. I don't think everyone has to homeschool or that it's wrong to send your kid to school, but "I can't" is just not true. Please say that it's a choice you made as a family or you really don't want to or public school is your child's mission field. Don't tell me all the reasons you're not cut out for it.

Every year I think, "I don't want to do this anymore. It's too hard". But, when the rubber meats the road, I remember the reasons and find the strength (only from the Lord!).

Ok, I feel better now. Just had to get that out.

Friday, December 28, 2007

$4/20 CVS Coupon

For those of you who have been looking for this coupon, here is a link to a current one:

Here are some other great coupons that can get you free huggies products and post-it notes.
Target Huggies coupon at
Post-it Man. coupon at

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hilarious Story from my sis-in-law (a CVS drama)

This the exact e-mail I received from my sister-in-law on the night before Christmas Eve. I had just talked to her about the battery deals that were good for only that day and it was already 10:30 p.m. She decided to make a CVS run and here is what happened!! It sure brought out the Christmas spirit in everyone. I couldn't stop laughing as I was reading:

"I almost got mobbed and assaulted at CVS! Yes, I went after we hung up (with Kam's encouragement). I went over to JYP beyond Millenia to go to a 24 hour store (it was 11 when I got the coupons printed out).
I had 6 transactions and had carefully sorted them out in my basket. As I got in line behind 4 other people, a long line began forming behind me. There was one register clerk (young guy) who was carefully looking over every printed out coupon and not thinking he could accept the $2 off one. I had to explain to him that this is something I'd done many times. Anyway, he handled the angry mob quite well. During the first three transactions, nobody said anything. But as more people got in line, this one guy, I'll call him ringleader, started yelling out for us to hurry up and why can't they open another register. He started complaining loudly to a girl behind him and then he started making fun of me (still complaining, of course). They went on and on about this not being black Friday and how many transactions I was going to do and how many pennies I was trying to save. I did not respond (oh, but I wanted to so bad). I only told the clerk he was being very patient and not to listen to the booing and yelling that was going on behind me. The guy was still yelling at me as I gathered my stuff, "it's about time, coupon lady" , "there's other people here trying to shop", etc. One of the sensors went off as I left telling me to return to the counter but I didn't. I kept walking as the guy laughed at me and said the coupon lady is stealing something! Part of me wanted to laugh and the other part wanted to crawl under cart and hide in shame.
Was it worth it? Well, I got 2 Oasis, 4 Energizers (I was going back until the angry mob got me), 4 Neutragena men's products, 1 Softsoap, 2 Palmolives, 2 Johnson's baby, 2 Soft Lips, 1 Tums, 3 Yardley of London soaps. I spent $14 out of pocket but I got back 8 CVS bucks so that's like spending $6.00 on all that (6 transactions that were at least $10 each). Everything I bought was on sale and gave back bucks. That may not have been the best deals, but I got Kam and my mom stocking stuffers that they will like and some free stuff. Not bad."


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

History Lesson - Christmas Stockings

I don't know how many of you are already aware of this information, but it was news to me. On Christmas Eve, I was in the car and heard someone explaining the origin of the Christmas stocking. I found it very interesting and I plan to teach this to my children.
Ok, the story goes that St. Nicholas knew a family with a father and 3 girls. The family was poor and the girls did not have enough money for a dowry. When they would hang their stockings to dry, St. Nick would secretly put gold coins in them. After doing this a number of times, the girls had enough money for a dowry.
Even though we don't really do the whole Santa thing, I do like for my children to know the history of the real man. I think this story is such a great example of what our attitude at Christmas time should be about.
It is always a challenge to teach our children about why we celebrate Christmas with the extreme commercial side of it all. Our natural greed and sinful nature seem to creep up even when we know the truth.
This year, we had our children make Christmas lists for what they would like to buy other people. It was a good way for them to change their focus from getting to giving. It also was fun to see how observant they were to the people in their lives.
I hope no matter how big or small your Christmas budget was this year, that your household was filled with gratefulness over the tremendous blessings the Lord has given us all.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm dreaming of... a small budget Christmas

12 packs of gum from CVS: FREE

6 candles from Target: FREE

6 children's gifts from CVS: FREE

6 Polly Pocket sets from Target: $4

Candy stocking stuffers from CVS: FREE

6 Gameboy/Leapster games on black Friday: $30

20 dollar items from Michaels (40% off): $12

A Christmas Budget under $50: PRICELESS!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A New Puppy!

No, not this year. This is what we got for the kids last Chrismtas. I don't think we are going to top that anytime soon. Last year, Santa delivered Murphy to our front door on Christmas morning. It was a fun day and the kids have loved having him all year long.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Gift for Jesus

I just had to share this...
Tonight when Sydney was saying her prayers with daddy, I happened to overhear (ok, I was eavesdropping). Sydney always has very detailed and lengthy prayers and they usually make me smile and giggle a little. She has such a blunt way of talking to her Jesus and I love it. Well, tonight was no exception.
We decided to open the presents we got for our kids tonight because we will be out of town for Christmas (pictures will be coming). Well, it was an exciting night and all the kids were tickled pink that they got to open presents so early. Ok, back to prayer time.
Sydney was saying her prayers and thanking Jesus for the great day today and for the presents they were able to open. She also thanked him for each gift individually. She thanked him for the lasagna I made. She went on and on. That was cute enough, but then she proceeded with, "Jesus, I really wish I could get a present for you (with the most heartfelt tone of voice you can imagine), but I can't. That's why we get gifts for each other."
How precious is that?!

No Frills Parenting

No frills parenting is one way I try to teach gratefulness (see the post below). I am a big believer of limiting the "treats" you give children to a minimum so that small things are appreciated. Let me give you some examples of what happens around here.

One thing I have particularly been teased about by other moms is my "no kid's meal except on your birthday" rule. Now, we don't go out to eat very often anyway, but when we do, my kids do not get kid's meals. There are a couple reasons for this. 1. Kids meals are way more expensive than buying a 12 pack and splitting it 4 ways. 2. My kids are almost always required to drink water (we don't do juice, soda, etc...) 3. They think it is the biggest treat when they do get a kid's meal. So, on my child's birthday they can choose anything they want to eat that day which includes one meal at a fast food place where they can order a kid's meal. This is something they look forward to all year long.

Another simple pleasure is riding the escalator at the mall. When I do dare to bring all 4 children with me to the mall, there are certain rules they must follow. If they do exceptionally well, I will let them ride the escalators up and down a couple of times. This is a freebie treat that they love!

T.V. is very limited in our home. If they happen to wake up before I do, they are allowed to watch 1 show in the morning. Other than that, they do not watch any t.v. all day long. So, on days I have a lot to do or we have company over and I need them to be quiet and not make a mess, I let them watch a movie. Since this is such a rare occasion, they are overjoyed and glued to the t.v.

Sweets are almost non-existent here. The only time of year you will see a steady flow of sweets in our home is now. During the Christmas season we have Christmas candy and cookies galore. Still, my children are rarely permitted to partake. Again, this means the times when we do offer them some sweets, we are the coolest, best parents ever!!

Here's a fun one - 2 of my girls share a room and 1 has a room to herself. On nights where 1 of them is spending the night at grandma and grandpa's, we let the other 2 switch the beds they sleep in. I know, it doesn't sound like a treat. But my kids think it is one, so we go with it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I say yes to plenty of things that they enjoy. I actually had to really train myself to only say no when I believed it was for their good. Saying yes often involves a sacrifice from me and I am a lazy sinner. So, I try to think about what they are asking and make sure I have a good reason for saying no before I do. Sometimes the saying no is for the sole purpose of making sure they are grateful no matter what the outcome is.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Best Mom in the Whole World!

Sometimes I forget how easy it can be to earn this title. Today, I told the kids they could play outside until school time and we would have a picnic lunch in our front yard. They all shouted for joy and declared that, "Mommy is the best mommy in the whole world!". I also receive this title the few times I let them have sweets or watch a movie. A couple of weeks ago I took them to Chuck E. Cheese with some coupons for tokens. We didn't eat there (I can't stand the pizza and it is way too expensive), but they did get to play lots of games with the $5 on 40 tokens I spent. It was a cheap and fun time that not only earned me "the title" for the day, but also brought about chants and songs for me.
I guess when they don't get to do everything they want, they really appreciate the times I do treat them (that's a whole other post).

The Presidents

We have flash cards that have a picture of each President on a card. The cards tell which president they were, the years in office, birthday, VP, nickname and some historical facts on them. The girls love to quiz each other with them. They are learning how to put the Presidents in order by name and by picture.

This has been a fun, easy school project the last couple of days. One we will definitely be taking with us in the car trip.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Christmas is All About!!

Last year, my children decided they wanted to make a play to do on Christmas. Well, my oldest became the self-proclaimed director/star-role. She read the story to the younger kids and assigned every one a part. She was in charge of practicing and Avery took on the charge for costume design. I'm not sure how well you can tell in the pictures, but most of the costumes consist of pillow cases and belts/ties. They also had some old dresses of mine that they used for the angel and Mary. They had a great time putting this play on and it was a good reminder to them and us why we celebrate this time of year. They would like to do this again this year. I only wish you could have seen the commotion in person (the pictures do not show all the emotions and re-starts, etc...).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Target and CVS deals!!

Last night was a great trip to 2 of my favorite stores. First stop was CVS.
Here is my purchase there:
Tresemme Hairspray @ $3.33
AAA Batteries @ $5.29
Tylenol travel size @ $2.49
Playtex sport @ $4.99
Johnson's Soap @ $1.49
Johnson's Soap @ $1.49
Dozen Eggs @ $2.19
Total is about $20

$1 coupon on tylenol (or from paper)
$2 coupon on tresemme
$5 coupon on batteries
$2.50 coupon on playtex (from
$2 coupon on Johnsons
$2 coupon on Johnsons
$4/$20 purchase (from last week)
$2/$10 purchase
coupons total is $20.50
all products free plus $2.49 ECB from tylenol!!

Next transaction was:
2 packs CVS brand Pull-up @ $12.99
Johnson's soap @$1.49
total is $14.50

$5/$15 purchase (from a couple weeks ago)
$2/$10 purchase
$3/$10 CVS brand purchase (printed from machine in store)
$2 off Johsnson's
coupons total is $12
Paid $2.50 for evertything!!

Next was Target -
My first transaction was:
Huggies wipes @ $2.64
Huggies bath wash @ $2.84
2 Glade Flameless Candle @ $19.56
Glade refill @ $2.50
Polly Pocket Set @ $6.98
Broccoli @ $.99
total is about $33

$3/2 huggies items
B1G1 free Glade Candle ($9.78 value)
$2/Glade refill
$5/Polly Pocket
coupons total is about $19
I paid $14 and got 2 $5 gift cards from the candles

Next transaction:
Broccoli @ $.99
2 Glade Candles @ $19.56
Glade refill @ $2.50
total is about $23

B1G1 free Glade candle ($9.78 value)
$2/Glade refill
coupons total is about $13
I paid $10 in GC from 1st transaction and $1 out of pocket

Transaction 3:
Broccoli @ $.99
2 Glade Candles @ $19.56
total is about $21

B1G1 free Glade candle ($9.78 value)
coupons total is about $11
I paid $10 in GC from 2nd transaction and $.63 out of pocket

Monday, December 17, 2007

Color Blind

My friend, Brandi, just adopted a little boy from Africa 1 week ago. As I said a couple posts back, we went over to their home a few days ago to introduce ourselves and meet Davis. He is 2 years old, but about the size of an 18 month old. Well, as Brandi and I sat there and chatted, I watched my 3rd born little girl vie for Davis' attention for a while. After many attempts without the response she was looking for, Brandi tried to explain to her why . She told Sydney that Davis is still getting used to all these new people. She also said that he is probably thinking, "what is up with all these white people." Sydney quickly responded with an indignant, "I'm not white!" Curious, we asked, "what color are you?". She said, "Well, sort of a orangeish/peachish." And then she looked at Davis and said, "He is sort of a brownish/darkish." Brandi and I both smiled at each other. As funny as it was to hear her explain the color of our skin, I loved the innocent, simplicity of it all.

She asked me why we were different colors and I explained to her how boring it would be if everyone was the same color. God is way too creative for that. She liked that answer and continued to play.

We were never intended to be color blind. We should love the variety of colors and shapes that God has put as humans on this earth.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

School in the Car

We are going to Georgia for Christmas and as I said, there are not enough days in this month to get all the school that needs to be done completed. So, we are going to do school in the car. This will require some modification to our normal school schedule, but that is the beauty of home schooling!!

We will do some flash cards (math and phonics). We also will make good use of the Leapsters that each girl has. My favorite part about these games is that they are all educational and fun. Electronic toys are rarely used in our home. We save those type of things for the long car rides. Because of this, my children are entertained by them for most of the car ride.

We will probably not do any reading or writing because my oldest tends to get car sick fairly easily. I may do some reading to them though. I'll keep brain storming to think of ways to make the trip educational enough to be school. Maybe I will look up some info about the cities we will be driving through and use some of that. If you have any great car educational ideas, let me know.

All I know is that we wouldn't be able to do any of this if my children were in a conventional school. I love the flexibility of schooling at home!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ice Skating

Yesterday, we went ice skating. I took the 2 older girls on a field trip with their school. This was the first time either of them has ever been on any type of skating rink. They also do not own roller skates. So, we were going in pretty blind. To my proud surprise, they did wonderful!!

They both got to where they could skate all by themselves (no wall, no mommy) and Morgan got so comfortable she didn't want to go home. She is already asking when we can go again. Avery did great but she was freezing the whole time. A child with absolutely no fat on her body has a hard time keeping herself warm. I guess I can relate, I have the same problem :)My favorite part about the trip was the coldness and feeling a little more like we are in the middle of December than the 80 degree weather we feel outside.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Child Labor

I was talking with some friends the other day about our children and their chores. You will often find me on the cheap and "old school" side of the tracks. I might not actually say the words, "in my day", but I sure do live by them.

So, on that note, let me say that my kids do their fair share of work around this house and they do not get paid a dime for it. I have always believed that our family is a team and that we all have to share in the work to get by. I enjoy letting my children know that families who grow up on farms start their day at the crack of dawn and work hard until sun down. The small amount of air-conditioned work that I ask of my children is mild in comparison (I can actually see them rolling their eyes now).

I believe the younger you start, the better. I started when my kids were under 1 year old. I didn't pick up the mess they made. When my kids made a mess, they had to clean it up (even if I had to stand there and tell them piece by piece what to pick up). I am not as consistent in this area with my younger ones now because they always have a big sister doing it for them. Hence, the laziness of my younger children. Anyway, for those who think their child is too young to understand, I say phooey. You underestimate the abilities of your child.

What kind of work do I make them do? Well, I'll tell you,

Laundry - Mondays are usually our laundry day. I come from the camp of 1 day a week of laundry instead of a little every day. So, on laundry day, we are up to our necks in clothes all day long. The girls know how to move clothes from the dryer to the laundry basket, move clothes from the washing machine to the dryer and how to sort, fold and put away their own clothes.

Dishes - All 4 kids help in this department. They all take their dirty dishes after a meal to the sink. They all can help unload the dishwasher (the younger do silverware, kids cups). The older children can load and put away clean dishes.

Vacuum - All girls know how to operate the vacuum cleaner and they vacuum their rooms by themselves. They also take turns vauuming the living room.

Sweep/mop - The older 2 know how to sweep the floor and my oldest knows how to use the mop. My 5 year old is just starting to learn how to sweep.

Trash - All 4 kids have learned how to take the trash out to the street and the girls know how to put a new bag in the can.

Bathroom - My 2 oldest have enjoyed adding this task to their chores. For some reason, a new chore is fun for a little while. They especially like being able to use the spray bottle and paper towels. They can clean about everything in the bathroom except the tub.

Glass Doors - We have 3 large glass doors and this seems to be every one's favorite chore. All 4 children participate and they all are allowed to spray the bottle, stand on a chair and wipe off with paper towels (they do use probably 10 times the amount I would of the cleaner and paper towels, but they enjoy cleaning - you can't beat that).

Cooking - Although this is not a chore they can do on their own, they love to help me cook and learn the recipe for themselves. My oldest does have the responsibility of fixing breakfast for the kids in the morning. She does a great job of pouring every one's cereal and milk. She also has become good at making PB & J's so she has made lunch a time or 2 as well.

The Car - They are the ones who make most of the mess here. They can trash a vehicle! The back seat and floor are always the worst because that is the part of the van I rarely see. So, on good hot days, they get to wash the car and get soaking wet. On nice cool days, they get to clean out the inside and vacuum it.

General Hygiene - They all take showers by themselves now (except the 3 year old). They brush their own teeth (and the oldest brushes the youngest). They fix their own hair (as long as we aren't going anywhere).

Yard Work - This is yet to come. They have helped us plant landscaping and water the plants though. Their daddy does most of the work outside and he will be teaching them what they can do to help very soon. I'm sure the oldest is ready for it.

So, do I sound like a slave driver or what? And I repeat yet again, they do not receive any allowance. We do plan to implement allowance into our budget (once we are able to) mostly for the purpose of training them how to use their money wisely and to teach about tithing.

If you know my children well, you've probably heard them say before that all they did all day was clean. They also use that excuse for why they didn't do other things they were asked to do. Hmmm... maybe that's a little true. Nah!! They spend hours and hours playing outside and creating the messes inside that have been the inspiration for the above list.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Start with the hardest subject

This is what I have learned. Don't start with the subject that everyone loves the most (if there is one). Start with the subject that everyone dreads (including you). You need something to look forward to. Also, if you start with the favorite, by the time you get to the worst, everyone is tired and unmotivated.

Around here, Math seems to be the worst for my 2nd born. She struggles big time with the concepts and remembering what we learned last week, yesterday or even 10 minutes ago.

The days that we leave Math for last are complete torture! By then, I have lost all attention span and focus. This would explain the aggravation from my previous post.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The day wasn't ALL bad

Apparently, I neglected to say how wonderful my day started. We had the great privilege of meeting our dear friend, Brandi's, newest little man. He has only been here since Friday and is absolutely adorable! He has the cutest smile and fits right in with the rest of her family (drool and pants falling down and all) :) Check out her blog to see the newest, cutest pictures of him.
It wasn't until after our visit with them that my day went to crap.

One of those days!

It's almost 5:30 p.m. and we are still doing school!!!! Nope, no dinner plans. I'm frustrated, Avery's frustrated. It's definitely one of those days!
Looking forward to an easy day tomorrow :)

Not enough days in the month

We are registered through Circle Christian School. They keep all the records for us and submit everything to the state for us. Well, once we started doing this we were required to submit a monthly checklist of attendance and grades. By the end of the school year, my kids are required to have 170 days of attendance. So, my extremely mathematical mind has concluded that I should then have 85 by the end of this semester.

By the last day of November, we had a total of 61 days for the semester. Again, using my deduction, addition and reasoning skills, I discovered that there are not enough school days in December to bring us to the nice 85 number. Hmmm...

I guess next semester there will not be any "no school today because we are remodeling" days. I used them all (and more) up this semester.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My CVS Deals

This week has been great at CVS! I have made about $10 in CVS bucks so far and I plan to go back a couple more times during the week. My best deals this week are:

3 packs of batteries at $5.29 each.
My total is about $16.
$5 off energizer CVS coupon
$2 off energizer man. coupon
$5/15 purchase
$2/10 purchase
total is $2 that I pay from my ECB and get back $5 in ECB!
I also have this transaction:
Oasis Mouthwash at $5.99
(2) Doritos at B1G1 for $3.50
Extreme Energy at $$4.99
Total comes just under $15.
I use $15/5
$1.50 off mouthwash
$6 of my ECB
I get back $11 in ECB
I make $5!!

The American Girl Craze!!

Ok, I may be learning about all this because my girls are just getting to the appropriate age for American Girl, but I had never heard of these until this year.
About 9 months ago, I was looking for some good books for my kids to read that they would be interested in. I came across "American Girl" books and they looked pretty clean and like a fun read.
Who knew what I was getting myself into. I do love that these books all focus on historical events and I feel like my children are learning history at the same time as they learn to enjoy reading.
I had no idea the explosion that would ensue in our home once they fell in love. I have recently discovered that there is an American Girl web site where you can play different games with the different girls. On this site they also advertise the movies that are out/coming out. Did you know there were American Girl movies? I didn't. Well, we watched our first one yesterday on the Hallmark Chanel. It was very clean and well done for a Hallmark movie. My kids loved it! Apparently there is one coming to theatres this Summer.
The other big merchandise that goes along with the books and the movies is the American Girl dolls. When I first heard that there were dolls that coincide with the books, I thought "how cute, my girls would love that". So, I suggested this as a Christmas gift to one of their grandparents. I then went to the web site to find the specific girl that my girls were infatuated with at this moment and discovered the price. Maybe it is that I am an extremely cheap person and refuse to pay full price for anything or maybe you will agree to the absurdness of this. I expected these dolls to be in the range of $30-$45. To my extreme surprise, they start at about $90!!! Then there are the outfits you can buy for each doll that cost about as much as an outfit I would buy for my real, live children.
If that's not enough, I was also informed of the "American Girl Hospital". Yes, you read that correctly. There is a hospital for these dolls. You ship your doll (the first indication that this is not a real person) to this hospital and they fix whatever is wrong, put the doll in a hospital gown and bracelet and ship her back with a certificate of health. Ok, I want this to be heard here. If my children receive these dolls for Christmas, I will NEVER pay for them to be sent to the hospital! If you ever hear me say, "maybe we should send Samantha to the hospital", hit me over the head and remind me of what I wrote here.
Next, I'm sure they will start offering health insurance and a college fund. Does everyone realize that what we are talking about here is a doll?!! I just wanted to clarify that point.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The socially adept homeschooler

Being socially adept is usually the first concern of anyone unfamiliar with homeschooling. In fact, this was my husband's first question when I suggested homeschooling of our children. Well, anyone who knows me at all would testify to the extreme social nature I have always had. I was home schooled until 7th grade and did not live a seclusive, separate life from the world.

There has been much research done on this subject. Dr. Larry Shyers conducted research in 1992 to determine if home school children were socially retarded compared to public or private school children. The results were overwhelmingly on the side of the home schooler. In fact, public/private school children were much more likely to have behavior and social problems than those who were home schooled.

Learning to be socialized with a group of peers and 1 adult is far less likely than learning how to interact in society by watching the examples of parents and other children with their parents.

Dr. Raymond Moore, author of over 60 books and articles on human development, has done extensive research on this topic. "The idea that children need to be around many other youngsters in order to be 'socialized,'" Dr. Moore writes, "is perhaps the most dangerous and extravagant myth in education and child rearing today." After analyzing over 8,000 early childhood studies, Dr. Moore concluded that, contrary to popular belief, children are best socialized by parents -- not other children.

So, if you are reading this because you already are or are thinking about homeschooling, I hope the facts are proof enough.

If you are reading this and have children in public/private school, you still have a significant influence on your children. According to the School Improvement Research Series, "All the research studies which address these areas (attitude toward school or toward particular subject areas, self-concept, classroom behavior, time spent on homework, expectations for one's future, absenteeism, motivation, and retention) found that parent involvement has positive effects on student attitudes and social behavior."

Overall, the more involved the parent in their children's lives, the better academic, social, and emotional development of the child. My goal is also to develop my children spiritually by revolving everything they learn around the God who made it all.
People say all the time that they could never do what I am doing. Not only do I believe anyone "can" do it, I believe it is one of the best things I am doing in my kids lives right now.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Teaching Different Personalities

No 2 siblings are alike and neither are there learning styles. I find this especially true with my 2nd born, "middle child" girl. It takes such an effort and creativity on my part to understand and relate to her. I operate just like my oldest does, so I don't have much difficulty teaching her. The 2nd one though, oh boy!! This first became evident when she was about 5. We were going through the phonogram flash cards and learning the different sounds. While my oldest would sit quietly and recite the correct sounds back perfectly, my 2nd would run around the room in circles shouting the correct answers as she quickly passed the card.

I remember thinking at that time, "this child would never be able to learn in a classroom setting. I'm so glad I am teaching her at home." Now, 2 years later, I have to continue to remind myself why I said that. As we get more and more into material that requires focus, attention span and sitting still, my patience runs thinner and thinner.

Now, this child is also my most creative and artsy girl. This is another thing I cannot relate to. Even though my father is an incredible artist, I did not inherit any of that talent and do not understand the creative mind. Play-doh is rarely seen in our home and crafts are hidden in a cabinet (only taken out on those days that I syke myself up for it).

This is why God gave me my husband. He allows them to get dirtier and messier than I ever would and they love him for it. He also has taught me to loosen up a little. I don't think I had much of a choice with 4 small children. Now, I just try to look or walk away.

So, teaching these different personalities is an ongoing challenge. I must continue to remind myself that they all learn differently and adjust my teaching accordingly. For a structured, left-brainer like me, that is much easier said than done. I guess I'll have to start posting any time I actually school outside of the box. Let me know your ideas on how you do it. I am much better at copying an idea than coming up with one on my own.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Tree Vomit

What??!! Oh, ya, you read that right. In case you didn't know, we got a puppy last Christmas for the kids. He has been a great dog and met all of my requirements for adding an animal to our home. He doesn't bark (our last dog barked incessantly and woke kids up from naps all the time), he doesn't shed, he was housebroken very quickly, he is great with the kids! His one down fall when we got him was that he would run away anytime he could sneak out the front door. We got a "training" collar and resolved that problem quickly (I know you animal rights people are having a fit).
Well, I have now learned a new down fall. He likes to eat the needles off the Christmas tree. I didn't even know he was doing this until yesterday when a little voice yelled, "Mom, the dog just threw up on the floor!" I came running in the room (more concerned about my newly cleaned carpet than the dog) and there it was - a pile of Christmas tree needles mixed with the stomach acid from my dog. Was that descriptive enough? No? Ok, it was orange and foamy and sounded like nothing you want to hear when I vacuumed it up.
So, the lesson for me is: Keep the dog away from the Christmas tree!!
I'm trying to think of a way to turn that into a Science lesson for school. So far, nothing comes to mind that doesn't make me want to vomit.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Proud Moment

My oldest daughter turned 8 in September. She has always been a pretty good student but this year she has really started to shine. Because she is the first born, she is not interesting in doing anything that she cannot do perfectly (she comes by that honestly). Math has always come pretty easy to her and most subjects she does great. However, she does get extremely frustrated at herself if she misses even 1 problem in whatever she is doing. So, learning to read well has been a challenge. If a word, sentence, paragraph or book seemed difficult or beyond her ability, she would want to quit. We didn't quit. We fought and pushed our way through and she has become a fantastic reader.

It has only been in the last couple of months that she truly has started to enjoy reading. Now, I catch her often with a book in her lap. Her favorite series is the American Girl sets. I don't know how many of you are familiar with these books or dolls, but I had never heard of them until last year. I was in Sam's looking for some books for her to read that she would be interested enough in that she would want to read. There are not many options for this age group that I approve of and that interest little girls. Well, I came across an American Girl set and brought it home. At first, the chapters and big words were intimidating to her. Over time, she has fallen in love. Now, she has several different girls from the series that she has read. Her favorite right now is Josephina (she can tell you anything you want to know about her).

As much fun as it has been to see her love of reading explode, my proudest moment yet came this morning. I had all the kids go to a room by themselves to spend some time with Jesus and read their Bibles. After we were all done, my oldest came to me with her Bible. She showed how she had read from Matthew 1:18 all the way to chapter 5. She told me what she had read about and I told her proud I was of her. Then she told me that she also read Psalms 90:11 and that she wrote that verse down on a piece of paper to help her remember. I asked her why she went to that verse. She proceeded to explain to me that "sometimes in the Bible there is a little verse that shows you where else you can find that verse somewhere else in the Bible." So, she had read Matthew and cross-referenced to Psalms!! I have never taught her about that before. She figured it out all by herself! Now, that is a proud moment. I love that this passion for reading includes learning more about her Lord and Saviour!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Let the Older teach the Younger

I'm sure this is not ground breaking news. For those of you with 2 or more children, you've probably already found this concept happening in your home. People often don't understand how I can teach 3 (soon to be 4) different grades at the same time. Although this year has been the most challenging for me, one of the things that has kept me afloat is letting my older children help teach the younger ones. The best part about this philosophy is most of the time, my kids don't even know they are learning. They enjoy "playing" school and my oldest is usually the teacher.

I have noticed a number of times where I have gone to teach one of my younger children a concept and they already knew how to do it because their big sister had told them. This has even happened with my 3rd girl. One day she excitedly called me over to show me that my 3 year old had written a "J". I smiled that smile of, "Oh, how nice (not really believing he did it)". Well, to my surprise, he had not only written a "J" but an "A" and "E". I have never even tried to write any letters with him before.

I guess learning from your big sister must be a lot more fun than learning from boring old mom. That's ok, it works for me and I am loving it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Math Again!

Ok, I just have to say something I forgot in my previous post about Math. If you are trying to figure out which Math curriculum to use and you have a 3rd grader or above, my highest recommendation would be Saxon. They do a great job of making the material student and teacher friendly. They also give just the right amount of problems per lesson and give the answers to the odd problems in the back of the book to help the student correct and learn some on their own. Throughout the years of teaching, tutoring and learning myself, I say Saxon is the best Math material out there.

I don't have many recommendations for other subjects. I do however, really like using the Spell to Write and Read by Wanda Sanseri for our spelling/reading/writing curriculum. I have heard that Bob Jones and A Beka are great resources for Christian based curriculum. If you have any suggestions for a specific subject, I would love to hear about it. There are way too many choices out there to just go in blind.

Black Friday

My husband has shopped Black Friday every year for the past 3 or 4 years. This is the first year that we didn't have some sort of electronic device to get up at the crack of dawn for and stand in line. So, we thought it would be "fun" to just go shopping and look for some good deals with a couple of friends. We had heard the rumor that some stores were opening at midnight and decided to start then and go all night.

I must say that the crowds were overwhelming, the traffic was awful, parking was horrendous and the sales were not that great! I think I have become so accustomed to getting things almost free or free that half-price of $50 is not a good deal to me anymore. From what I saw, most stores didn't have any better deals than a normal sale any other time of the year. I was very disappointed and tired!

The only redeeming part of the night came at about 7 in the morning. I had purchased some items the week before from Michaels and my total was $140. Well, they had some great coupons in the paper for anything purchased between 6 and 10 a.m. So (to the cashier's chagrin), I returned everything I had purchased last week and re-purchased it with my coupons. My total after coupons was only $90!! Now, I know that is not free or close to it but these were all items that don't really go on sale and I needed to complete our remodel. So, saving $50 was a great deal to me.

The other great sale that I was excited about was the CVS 3 day sale. I got lots of stuff for free and made money during the weekend. To see more about the CVS sales, check out this blog.

So, I guess for the future, we only plan to deprive ourselves of sleep if we are looking for something electronic where we can save $100's (one year, we got a lap top for $500 off the normal price - that's a good deal worth no sleep). Next year, I plan to sleep until 6 or 7 and then head out with a friend just to people watch and look for any deals worth my time in line.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Saving Money

Let me start by saying, I've always been pretty cheap. My parents did a great job of teaching me early on the value of a dollar and how to keep myself out of debt. I worked most of my highschool and college years. When I was 19, I married my wonderful husband and this was an area of strength for him as well (don't get me wrong, he and I both have our weaknesses). We were both working and we lived off his salary and put all of mine into savings. It's a good thing, because by the time our first child was 2 months old and I was a stay-at-home mom, Cory lost his job and we lived off of savings for almost 6 months.

So, we started out being a pretty frugal couple. I thought I couldn't get more frugal. Boy was I wrong. Finances have always been a point of reliance on God for us. These last few months were no different. I was working a very part time job for the last 2 years where I could take my kids with me. It wasn't a lot of money but definitely something we depended on. Well, in September, I was let go. We had already started our remodel project and there was no turning back. So, now we had to figure out where to scrape the budget again.

I was inspired by a friend of mine, Abby, to start getting the Sunday paper and clip coupons and watch the ads. Well, I have tried coupons in the past and did not do a very good job at them but I was willing to give it a shot again. Then, another friend, Jessica, helped me take it to a new level. I especially have found some of my best savings at CVS (I was very surprised). The best way to get started at this is at She gives you a shopping list and easy to understand direction on how to get started.

Well, I am proud to say that our grocery bill for a family of 6 is now close to $50/week. This has been an adjustment to our shopping and eating and we have cut back to bare bones, but I am so excited to see how God will continue to provide for us as we take steps to be better stewards of what he has given us. I am now a little addicted to the coupons and take them with me everywhere I go, just in case. I also consider using coupons and shopping the ads is my financial contribution to our home. It is so fun to walk out of Publix and spend $50 but save $65! I look forward to learning more in this area.
When you have 4 kids and 1 income, saving money is a way of life.

How have you learned to save money?

Thursday, November 29, 2007


With 4 children, 3 grades and 1 pre-schooler, a schedule is a necessity. If I tried to fly by the seat of my pants, we would never get anything done.

First, let me say that I am definitely NOT an over-acheiver when it comes to homeschooling. We learn the basic subjects and everything else is life. I really believe that a good bit of school is living life and learning through daily activities (cooking, shopping, playing outside, etc...). I admire and am awe struck at some homeschool moms who teach 10 subjects a day and have their lesson plans written out for the year. That's not me.

I stick with the philosophy, the simpler, the better. This is the first year I will have a child tested at the end of the year, so I will get to see for sure how well I am doing. I'll let you know.

I also don't spend my entire day doing school. We do school in the afternoon because that is when my pre-schooler takes his nap. The mornings are spent getting ready for the day, eating breakfast and cleaning up around the house. After lunch, I put my little guy down for a nap and we start school around 1:30. On a good day, we are able to be completely finished by 3:30 or 4. Although, there have been "those days" where we are still trudging along at 5:30. Those are not fun days for anyone.

My best piece of advice for any new homeschooler is make a schedule that fits your family. Don't try to replicate anyone else's schedule because it probably won't work for you. Even though we do school in the afternoon, most moms I know do the majority of their school in the morning sometime. Some moms incorporate their 3 year olds into their lesson plans. Some moms do their schooling in the evenings. You just have to find the time and place that works for you. It took a lot of trial and error for me to figure out what works in our home. Don't be discouraged if things don't run smoothly at first.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We are officially done!

Re-modeling, that is. Well, I guess you are never done with the decorating, re-organizing, etc... But, everyone is moved into the correct rooms and sleeping in them tonight!! I am so excited. I still have my long list of things to do in each room, but the stress just got cut in half. Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!

Why we didn't do school today!

This is all the contents of my pre-schoolers room in our living room. We had the carpets in 2 bedrooms cleaned before we move all the furniture into the respective rooms. We are almost done!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Let me just say that Math is absolutely, most definitely my favorite subject. I am a big time left-brainer! All the way through college, math was always my easy A class. Now that I am my children's teacher, it continues to show as my passion and strength. Reading and English is another story. Actually, I'm not crazy about History or Science either. Ok, really, I'm just good at math. The other stuff I'm learning again as I teach. I actually get to teach a high school homeschooler his pre-cal, trig while his mom teaches my girls their school one day a week. It works out pretty good.

Oh, I also really don't like anything messy (that's why the pie baking was such a big deal). So, crafts are rarely done around here. Anybody have an idea for a mess-free, easy craft? I'll trade for some math tips.


We started to remodel our upstairs bonus room in August of this year. I don't know if you caught the month, but it was August. Yes, the same month that we started school. I'm not exactly sure what we were thinking other than the fact that we were able to refinance our mortgage and get enough out of pocket for the remodel and still pay less a month than what we were paying. Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, so we started to get to it.

The goal was to turn our upstairs bonus room (has been a playroom/office) into a master suite. Now, let me just say here that I have never remodeled before and if you are thinking about doing this during the school year as a homeschooler, DON'T!! I had in my head what needed to be done and it seemed pretty simple to me. I'm sure my husband would laugh at this. He works in construction. He knows exactly how long it takes and all the details and craziness involved. I just had a picture in my head and didn't know how to get it. Oh, by the way, we were our own GC (General Contractor) with the help of a GC friend. We also were doing some of the actual labor ourselves (to save money, we are pretty cheap).

It has been a long 4 months but we are now living in our room upstairs and I love it!! There is still that long list of things that need to be done, but we're in. Also, when we moved upstairs, we decided to move some of the kids in our old room, and then give the others new rooms by switching around a little. Again, sounds great, doesn't it? Now, we are in the middle of the holidays, trying to do school and spending many days painting, cleaning, organizing, moving.

They say if a marriage can survive a remodel, it can survive anything! Now I know why and I'm glad we survived even if it is with a couple of bumps and bruises.

Once all this is done, we are going to need to jump into high gear with school. I have been very lax.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


This year my 2 oldest girls have the opportunity to be on the Spirit Club Team at the Homeschool umbrella school we are part of. They go to 4 classes on Mondays from 9 - 1:15. They love having a little time away from mommy and I love someone else helping me teach the subjects I am not very good at. Well, this is this first year they have had the chance to be part of a Spirit Team and they love it! Who says you miss all the group sport activities as a homeschooler? It has been so fun to watch them develop in this area. And, they couldn't look cuter in those uniforms!!

Schooling through the Holidays

Doing school in the midst of the busy season is not an easy task. There are a couple of things I will try to remember in the middle of it. I want to be sure that I don't use the busyness as an excuse to throw my children in front of the t.v. and call it a day. I want to remember the true reason for the season and remind my kids as well. I want to remember that one of the true joys of homeschooling is the flexibility and the options to use real life activities as learning experiences. For instance, on Thanksgiving Eve, my girls all helped me bake the apple pies for the following day. In doing so, we reviewed reading, following directions, measurements, multiplication and history. We all had a great time! This is saying a lot for me because I don't usually do very well with things not being done exactly right and the mess that most often accompanies the kids cooking. It was definitely one of those days where I felt the success of homeschooling instead of the stress and uncertainty. I hope I continue to keep these things in mind as we get closer and closer to Christmas.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Why I homeschool

Well, there are a couple of reasons...

1) I was homeschooled until 7th grade so I had the first hand experience and knew that I could do it (I also was a prime example that homeschooling does not make you socially inept).

2) Homeschooling now is different than when I was growing up. When I was a homeschooler, I didn't know anyone else who was. Now, there are so many homeschool groups, homeschool schools and other kids that are homeschooled that my kids have tons of friends they can hang out with during the day.

3) Because I did go to public school from 8th - 12th grade, I know the education level of Florida's public school system (I know this might step on a few toes). I had a couple of classes that I actually had to study and learn, but mostly I read Cliff Notes and learned very little from 8th grade on.

4) Have you read the news?! Every time I hear another report about guns at school, teachers molesting students and so on, I cringe at the thought of having my child there. I know, I know, eventually they will have to face the world. I would just like for it to be when they are ready to face it.

5) I have the incredible privilege to be able to stay home with my children.

6) I have such a great support group at my church where I can learn from those ahead of me and help those coming behind. I love living in community!

I am looking forward to this blog being a place for homeschooling moms to have a place to ask questions, give advice and have confidence in their teaching abilities.