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.