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Showing posts from January, 2014

Collage Friday: A new year celebration

It's the start to the Chinese Lunar New Year today and we celebrated it all! It's the Year of the Horse so of course we had a horse!

February Challenge - Managing your Food Budget

Hello February! 

If you are here with me and others, Welcome!  Even if you didn’t participate in our No Spending January, jump right in with our February Challenge: Managing your Food Budget.

Let me first premise the challenge with saying that I am in NO way a college educated expert in the “field” of money management, debt reduction or even a CPA.  I have been at the rock bottom and I have been at the tippy top and everything in between with my finances. I have lived in the basement apartment sleeping on the air mattress and I owned my own home at the age of 19. Whatever your situation, there is always a way to improve on it.  Our family has been mostly debt free (I say mostly because we do have a mortgage and 2 vehicle payments monthly) for the past 7 years and I know that without planning we would not be able to be where we are today.
The experts say the key to managing your finances is to write it all down so you can visually see what you are dealing with.  What comes in and what go…

Wrapping up the No Spending Month

My Recap on the No Spending Challenge:
It has been a long month since we embarked on this No Spend January. I have come to realize MANY things about myself, my family and our way of life over the last 30 days.

Here is what I know for sure:
I would rather BUY experiences with my friends and family,  then BUY stuff to fill our home.
I should have stocked up on wine before January 1st! (just being real here)

I have figured out that the value I place on STUFF and THINGS is not the way I will live my life from this day forward.
My outlook on people whom I thought were people I wanted to hang out with and be “friends” with, have changed.
I will never be enslaved to STUFF again!
(truth be told, if it were up to me, we would sell our home and most of our possessions and RV around the US, experiencing our country first hand.)

How did the children do?
I really thought this was going to be an “issue” for our children.  The only thing they asked for was a takeout pizza.  Other than that, …

My love affair and a giveaway!

Be still my beating heart! I have a love affair with all things paper. I love the feel of high quality paper and the way the my pen glides across the paper.  When I come across a product that makes me smile to just look at it, I have to share!
My friend Pamela Smerkerof Pamela Smerker Designs has created this shop that will make paper lovers melt! 
 PS Designs on Etsy
 What will you find at her shop? Glad you asked!   Oh you will find an assortment of one of a kind stationary, printables and paper goods. 

I ADORE These 24 Things I love About you cards.  Imagine leaving these fun cards for your kids or significant other around the house with love notes on the back!  

One lucky follower will receive: receive their choice of any ONE item in the shop which must be chosen byFebruary 28, 2014.

Collage Friday; In the home strech!

Welcome to another end of another week here at The Joys of Home Educating and Collage Friday at Homegrown Learners.  It seems that so much is going on around here. It was definitely a wintry and cold week here in southern New York.

We are in the home stretch of our No Spending January Challenge.  How are you doing? Have you fallen off the wagon?  If so, where did you spend? How did it make you feel?   
As some of us struggle this last week, remember there are methods to the madness!    If you are still on track, HUZZAH!  If you are back on track, even better!   Our family has had a few slips with a pizza and some wine, but overall I am so proud of what is happening over here at our home and in our hearts.   

I will be challenging you next month as well in a different area!  Be watching! 

I leave you today with these words from the author, Jen Hatmaker:
The day when I am unaware of my privileges and unmoved by my greed is the day something has to change.

Until next time - be blessed and spen…

P.I.C.K.: How it will help your home school

Want to improve vocabulary skills? 
Focus on reading!
Many kids struggle with vocabulary. Think about it, they are just starting to learn to read and there are questions about definitions, unique spellings, and pronunciations to learn. For kids and parents alike, it can feel overwhelming. What is the best way to improve your child’s vocabulary?
Focus on reading!

Research indicates that children with larger vocabularies have higher achievement when they reach high school age, as well as higher reading achievement. The key is to start reading with your children at a young age and it will develop into a life-long habit. As their reading skills improve, so will their vocabulary skills.
There are many ways to get your kids enthusiastic about reading. Take them to the library or bookstore and ask them to help pick out books. What interests them? Dinosaurs? Nature? Animals? Look for books with topics that they will find fun. 
Remember the acronym P.I.C.K.
P is for Purpose. -          Is this readin…

No Spending Challenge: An update and some tools to help you

We are more than halfway through our No Spend January Challenge.

 Is your family still on board or have you all fallen off the wagon?  We have had a few slip ups but are still committed. 

These words from Kristie over at Saving Dollars and Sense SO hit home with me: 

It’s not about being cheap or how much money you have or don’t have. It’s about thinking before you act and learning the skills and tips that will allow you to live an abundant life and have money left over to save or bless others with. It’s about not spending more than you have to whenever you can do something about it. It’s about living for today, but always with the future in mind.
So as we continue with our challenge, I wanted to let you in on a little secret....February will present itself with another challenge!  I am keeping the theme going! 
 Next month:  Ways to spend less on your food bill
I will share our menu with you, ways to save and encourage you to tighten the belt a little and buy less.
So much to share!  Some…

Collage Friday

It's Friday and I will admit it was a long week.  I have a nasty head/sinus cold that is kicking my butt. I will be brief today....
But I am hear and I am ready for a productive weekend!   Won't you join me at Homegrown Learners where other homeschoolers come to link up their weeks. 

If you have not entered our Elmer's Giveaway yet there is still time. Very easy ways to get entries.  We had a lot of fun with our Elmer's Science! 

The girls received their Kiwi Crate this week and it worked out well for a momma who's head is all stuffed up and did not want to "teach" on Thursday!  Mad Science!  Girls loved it!  (Zachary takes a Physics class away from home on Thursdays and he loves it!)
We spent the better part of Tuesday morning talking and learning about Martin Luther King, Jr.  The girls are having a better understanding now about this period in time.   Reading about penguins and Antarctica still.  

This week the newest edition of Polka Dot Balloon Magazine(m…

Science with Elmer's and a Giveaway!

I am so excited to bring you this Science Curriculum review today!  

Elmer's has always been a trusted brand in our home. Even if I did not home educate our children, we would still have a closet full of craft supplies from Elmer's. 
It's hard to believe that Elmer's has been around for six decades. Their products are helpful and I can always trust the Elmer's brand.  

When I was asked to review this Elmer's World of Glue - A Cross-Curricular Investigation of Adhesives from The Elmer's Teacher Club, I was excited. It fit into our grade levels K - 5 for all the children in our home.  It can be adapted for 1 - 25 students.
I was so pleased to read over the Teacher's Manual to find so many activities and handouts you can copy for all your students.  They even give you the academic standards - common core state standards in the manual. 
What we received: 

Too Much Glue - Book by Jason Lefebvre (signed personally by Jason!)Elmer's School GlueElmer's School…

No Spending Challenge: Discipline

It's been 14 days since the 1st of the new year(seems longer doesn't it..) and 14 days that our family has spent not a dime on anything other than food, our monthly bills and a headlight and wiper blades for my truck (safety issue).
It's probably the LONGEST I have gone without visiting our local Dollar Tree or buying a pizza from our favorite in town pizza place.  Or spent any money at an on-line deal site.  (did you unsubscribe to those sites? if not, read THIS post!)
It has not been as hard as I thought it would, but it's taken discipline to look the other way from temptation. 
This challenge is not just about not spending the money so at the end of January you will see how much money you did not spend. It's about personal discipline, working together as a family unit, realizing that LESS can be MORE!
What I hope you walk away with, on the 31st of January, is a sense of realization that you could (or maybe will continue to)live on LESS.  That we, as Americans, have…

Mother's Therapy Organic: Review and Giveaway


WINNER: Renee - she has been contacted! 

One of our 2014 goals as a family is to live a healthier life.
 I have been immersed into the world of organics and living a "cleaner" life.  When I was contacted by the people of Mother's Therapy Organics about trying out their natural cleansing products, I jumped at it. It fit right in to our new plan for the new year!

I have been using their germ-fight'n hand lotion after washing my hands (which happens a lot!) and I LOVE IT!  It's so "soft" and not greasy at all!  A little goes a long way.  Of course the hand sanitizer fits nicely into my bag that goes everywhere with us.   When the kids go to gym weekly, this is my first and last defense before they head out to the gym floor. 

The scent is light cucumber and very mild. I love the fact that it's all safe, natural ingredients and being that they are organic ingredients is such a PLUS!

Their pledge to you: Mother’s Therapy Org…