Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Couponing Workshop - June 30th - Apex, NC

Hey guys! I am going to be teaching a couponing workshop on June 30th from 7-9pm in Apex, NC. The cost is $15 per person/couple. You will learn everything you need to know to get started with or up your couponing game.

You will learn:

Where to find coupons

How to organize coupons

Where to find the deals

How to get stuff for free or pennies

How to play the drugstore game

If you are interested in coming, email me at ashley-webber@hotmail.com. :)

Luke's Chore Chart

This is Luke's new chore chart:



I found the FREE template at:

http://homeschoolcreations.blogspot.com/2010/08/preschool-chore-charts.html

PS I <3 her blog.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Tentative Schedule for Next Year

Yes, I am crazy scheduling fool. I just love having a schedule for my family and myself. It keeps things running smoothly knowing what is going to happen. I am always thinking of new schedules and ways to organize. Since I have been picking out and planning our homeschool next year so much, I have been working on a tentative schedule for next year.

Here is my plan as of now (of course it won't go perfectly and it is subject to change before then):

This also assumes Nathan is on 2 naps a day still (Luke was on 2 naps a day until 18 months)

7:00am – Ashley wakes up, showers, and gets ready
(If Luke is awake he will hang out in our room and watch cartoons)
7:30am – Ashley and Luke go downstairs and get breakfast ready
8:00am – Nathan wakes up and we all eat breakfast together
(clean up after)
8:30am – Boys play while Ashley does 1st floor chores
(THURSDAYS – Leave for CO-OP if we get in)
9:00am – Bathe boys; Get Nathan ready for the day; Luke gets ready
9:30am – Nathan goes down for a nap or plays for a little bit while Luke and Ashley do 2nd floor chores
10:00am – HOMESCHOOL TIME (Nathan is definitely down for a nap)

HOMESCHOOL TIME:
10:00am – Prayer and Pledges (American flag, Christian flag)
10:05am – Bible
10:30am – Reading
10:50am – Handwriting
11:10am – Spelling
11:30am – Math
11:50am – School is done; straighten up school room

12:00pm – Make and eat lunch together (clean up after)
(THURSDAYS – Done with CO-OP if we get in –
Eat lunch out or picnic)
12:30pm – Play outside with the boys (AKA PE for Luke)
2:00pm – HOMESCHOOL TIME (Nathan is down for a nap)

HOMESCHOOL TIME:
2:00pm – Science or Social Studies
2:20pm – Electives
(Piano Mondays, Art Tuesdays, Spanish Wednesdays,
Art Thursdays or Fridays (depending on CO-OP)
2:50pm – School is done; straighten up

3:00pm – Rest time for Luke and Ashley
4:00pm – Boys are up; Feed Nathan dinner and Luke snack
(eventually both will have snack)
4:30pm – Play
(5:00pm Wednesdays – Go to church)
5:30pm – Ashley cooks dinner
6:15pm – Family dinner time (clean up after)
6:45pm – Family playtime
7:00pm – Nathan bottle and get him ready for bed
7:45pm – Luke gets ready for bed
8:00pm – Both boys in bed;
Ashley exercises and takes a quick shower
9:00pm – Relax until bedtime
11:00pm – Be in bed

Once Nathan drops that morning nap, we will have to do some changes (perhaps if he is like Luke and naps 4 hours in the afternoon we will do all of our school then). I know it will all work out.

PS If we get into the CO-OP, we will just do reading, spelling, math, and handwriting 4 days a week (double up our last 2 lessons of handwriting into one day) and do Bible during our afternoon homeschool time.

Homeschooling – Kindergarten Curriculum for 2011-2012

Since I had some readers who enjoyed my previous homeschooling blog entries, I thought that I would share our homeschooling plans for next year for Luke. He is going to be 5 ½ when we start kindergarten in the Fall.

Here is what we are going to be using:

BIBLE – Daily, 20 minutes
Bible Truths K by Bob Jones University Press
This curriculum looks awesome. There are 15 units that cover the Bible start to finish. Each day you read Bible text, learn doctrinal truths, character traits, and catechism, sing songs, and pray. You also memorize 25 Scripture verses throughout the year. There is an activity book that goes along with some of the days and I will probably add some supplemental crafty things as Luke loves that.

READING – Daily, 20 minutes
Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading by Peace Hill Press
We have been working on this book this year and we will just keep going where we are at. I highly recommend this book to teach your children how to read. We won't have a set lesson plan as we are working to master reading skills. If we have to work for 2 weeks on one lesson that is fine and if we get done with 2 lessons in one day that is fine.

SPELLING – Daily, 20 minutes
All About Spelling, Level 1 by Marie Rippel
This curriculum looks great. I looked and looked for a great spelling curriculum and most of them were just lists of words. This is an actual hands-on, mom works with the child, and they work for mastery, not memorization only. I think it will be a lot like the reading in that we will just be working at whatever pace we need to for Luke to fully get it.

HANDWRITING – Daily, 20 minutes
A Reason for Handwriting, Manuscript A
We are using Handwriting Without Tears K this year and I like it so the only reason I switched to A Reason for Handwriting is because each week you work toward writing a whole Scripture verse. By Friday he will have written the letters and words and be ready to write the whole thing. I think that is a great way to incorporate more Scripture. I am also hoping to have him memorize that week's Scripture verse.

MATH – Daily, 20 minutes
Horizons Math K and/or 1
We are using Horizons Math K right now and I love it. It has very colorful engaging worksheets. We will not finish it before next year starts because I am trying to not just zip through it as I really want him to understand the concepts. It will be like reading and spelling, going at our own pace. I would like to at least finish the K so that when we start 1st grade he will be working on or starting 1.

SCIENCE – 2 or 3 times a Week (alternating with SS), 20 minutes
The World God Make (K) by Christian Liberty Press
I am really excited about this curriculum. I looked at tons of options and to me they were all too much for a kindergartner. They will be great down the road, but I want to just introduce Luke to some general aspects of science at this age. The curriculum is all about Creation. As we go through each day of creation (AKA a unit), there will be Scripture reading, Bible verses to memorize, science projects to do, and activities. I think it will be a great introduction at this age.

SOCIAL STUDIES – 2 or 3 times a Week (alternating with Science), 20 minutes
History for Little Pilgrims by Christian Liberty Press
I felt the same way going through SS curriculum as I did science. I wanted something that focused on a general view of history. This is perfect. It starts with Creation and goes through history to our current time looking forward to Jesus' return. It has a good amount of information for a pretty simple book. Again, there are Bible verses and learning activities (including a cute coloring book). I think it will be a great start to history and geography.

ELECTIVES – Daily, 30 minutes
PIANO – 1 day a Week (Monday) – Alfred's Basic Piano All-in-One Book for Kids
Each week I will sit with Luke and review and teach him a lesson. Of course we can spend more time if he is having trouble with something. He will also be practicing during the week separate from our school day.
SPANISH – 1 day a Week (Wednesday) – Teach Them Spanish K by Frank Shaffer Publications
This is a great introduction to Spanish. We will learn greetings, numbers 1-10, colors, classroom objects, family members, food, clothing, and places.
ART - 2 days a Week (Tuesday and Friday or Thursday if we don't get into our CO-OP) – The World's Greatest Artists Unit Study by Erica (Homeschooling Blogger)
http://confessionsofahomeschooler.blogspot.com/2011/06/worlds-greatest-artists-unit-study.html - FREE TO DOWNLOAD
Luke absolutely loves art. He loves to create and he really enjoys looking through a book we have of art for children. I am hoping that this unit study will be fun and educational.

PE – Daily, 30-60 minutes
PE will be just being physical, whether it is a park playdate, a jump house playdate, a fastfood/playplace playdate, playing in the backyard, riding bikes, or focusing on a sport (basketball, baseball, football). If it is yucky outside and we don't have an indoor playdate planned, we will play the Wii or something.

CO-OP – Weekly (Thursdays) – 3 hours
We are registered for the waiting list of a great co-op in our area. They meet at a church and do chapel time and then there are two class times. The kids do two classes, moms serve one hour and a Bible study one hour, and they have nursery for Nathan. This would be a great way for Luke to maybe do a couple of different classes and meet some friends.

Quick Trip to CVS

Lee stopped by CVS the other day and when he did he got a $5 off $15 purchase coupon. YAY! So of course I had to make a quick trip to CVS to use it. We always need things from there. So I checked out there deals and saw diapers were on sale (one of the things we always need). I threw a few other things on the list and off we went.

I got:
1 pack Huggies diapers (normally $10.99, on sale for $8.99)
3 Dawn dish soap (normally $1.99 each, on sale for $0.99 each)
1 gallon of milk (normally $3.89, on sale for $3.79) – ran out of milk this morning

Total before sales: $20.85
Total after sales: $15.75
Used $5 off $15 = $10.75
Used $2 cpn for Huggies = $8.75
Got back $2 ECB for Huggies

So I saved 58% plus I got back $2 ECB. YAY! Plus I got milk which I needed anyway. I LOVE CVS!!!

Hot Ham ‘n Cheese Sandwich

I LOVE DINERS! I love that you can get breakfast all day, and a huge assortment of food most of the day. One of my favorite diner sandwiches is hot ham 'n cheese. They are so tasty (an no not super healthy). I have recreated them at my home and made them a tad bit healthier. Here's how I make them:

Ingredients:
2 slices low-cal whole-wheat bread
2oz lean deli ham
1 slice low-fat provolone cheese
1 tsp of butter (I don't really measure this)

Directions:
In a medium frying pan, melt the butter and start cooking one piece of bread on one side.
In a small frying pan cook the ham on both sides (I like to get it pretty warm).
Lay the cheese on top and cook the ham until the cheese softens.
Put the ham on the slice of bread cooking.
Put the other piece of bread on top and press firmly.
Flip and cook until both sides are nice and brown.

YUMMY!

This is so much better than throwing the ham and cheese on the bread and cooking altogether. You end up with cooked bread, melted cheese, and still cold ham.

I hope you like it. J

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Personal Hygiene Bag

Let's be honest. Packing can be such a pain. You have to make sure all of your clothes are laundered, make a packing list, pack, load, etc. It is a lot of work especially when you have kids and even more especially when you have babies. One thing that I have found that helps so much is to have a personal hygiene bag always packed so I just put it in my suitcase and go.

What do I put in my bag?
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Face Wash
Shampoo
Conditioner
Body Wash
Shaving Cream
Razor
Moisturizer
Deodorant
Hair Brush
Makeup Bag
Q-Tips
Cotton Balls
Tweezers

This has been a huge help. Running around trying to grab and dry off personal hygiene items when you are in a rush could lead to forgetting something. When I have to pack in a hurry it really helps. I just throw in the bag, toss in a few clothes, and I am done. J

Any packing tips you want to share?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Back in the Groove & Meal Plan

Last week was my first week back taking care of my kids and doing my normal things (housekeeping, homeschooling, etc) for about 3 weeks. Thankfully friends from church still brought meals this week. It was a nice ease into doing my normal routine not having to cook dinner every night, plus we got some yummy food. So this week I am back full-force including meals. It is so crazy to me that after only 4 weeks, I feel like I have to re-remember how to meal plan for the week. LOL! So I figured I would share my tips on how to meal plan as a learning or refresher.

Now there are a lot of different ways to meal plan:

  1. Some people pick out the meals they want to make, make a shopping list, shop, and cook.
  2. Some people look at the sale paper and pick out meals based on the sale paper, make a shopping list, shop, and cook.
  3. Some people have a stockpile of non-perishable and freezer items and look through that trying to use as much as possible of what they have on hand, make a small list of what they need, shop, and cook.

I prefer to do #3. I feel like I spend too much money if I do #1 and I feel like I spend too much time if I do #2. I like to coupon and stock up on things like pasta, rice, sauces, marinades, veggies, and meats. I try to only buy things when they are a certain price. http://organizedhomemaking.blogspot.com/2010/08/goal-price-list.html That way I do not have to buy chicken at $5.00 a pound when I can get it for under $2.00 a pound. So I go through my freezer first and make a list of what meats I have (hoping I have enough for the week). Then I go through the pantry and look at what I have that would make a meal. I try to make a meal plan that requires very little from the store besides fresh produce. Then I shop and cook.

Here's what I have in my freezer this week:
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 lb chicken tenders
1 lb Italian Balsamic chicken tenders (I marinated them when I bought them)
Tons of frozen veggies
Mozzarella cheese

Here's what I have in my pantry this week:
Various rices and pastas
Pasta sauce
Frank's Red Hot sauce

So, here's the meal plan for the week:

Sunday – Leftover pizza from the weekend

Monday – Baked Ziti

Tuesday –
Italian Balsamic Chicken Tenders, Rice, Veggies

Wednesday –
Dinner at church

Thursday – Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Rice, Veggies

Friday – Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies

Saturday – Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies (Leftovers)


 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Retail Me Not

There is an awesome website called RetailMeNot.com that has all sorts of promotional codes for online retail chains. ALWAYS GO THERE IF YOU ARE SHOPPING ONLINE SOMEWHERE!!!

Case in point:

I am in desperate need of a bathing suit. Last summer I was a whale and needed a tarp to cover me. THANK GOD I don't need that this year (well if I was pregnant it would be cool, but not so much without that excuse – no offense intended). So I went to LandsEnd.com to find one. I found a top and skirt (BOTH ON SALE for more than ½ off). It was still around $75ish after tax and shipping. WOW! That's a lot to spend for a thrifty girl like myself. So I went to RetailMeNot.com and found a $10 off $50 purchase and FREE SHIPPING code. It worked. It brought my total to $52ish (still a lot for me but I will wear the same one all summer).

Don't forget to check it out before you check out. Okay that was corny. Sorry! J

Any stories you want to share about the site. Please do so. I love hearing money saving stories.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cleaning and Maintaining

Cleaning a house is such a daunting task. You scrub and wipe and sweep and vacuum and it feels like in a few days you didn't even do it. I have learned that in order to have to spend less time cleaning, I need to spend a little more time maintaining. My goal is to hit each area of my home and get it really clean once a week. Then I strive to maintain the rest of the week. I thought that I would share what I do to keep things looking good between cleaning sessions.

Kitchen
Dishes – I have posted before about not letting dishes pile up. They get grosser each second they sit unwashed. They also clutter up the kitchen sink (counter, etc) as they sit. The best tip is to rinse them after each meal or snack and load them up in the dishwasher. When the dishwasher is done, unload ASAP. While the dishwasher is running or waiting to be unloaded at least rinse the dishes so they don't get crusty.
Counters/table – Wipe them down after meal prep and meals. Especially make sure you wipe down the kitchen after dinner.
Sweep – Sweep the floor after meals (or at least after dinner).
Trash – Empty trash before it is overflowing.
Refrigerator – Toss food when it isn't going to be eaten and/or has expired. That way you don't have a science project in your refrigerator when you go to clean it each week.
Microwave – If something splatters or spills quickly wipe it up so it doesn't get crusty.

Living Room
Straighten up – Have the kids clean up their toys (my goal is to do toy cleanup before we leave each room/leave the house/go to bed). Put things away when you are done with them (remotes, pillows, blankets).
Vacuum – Run a quick vacuum through the room every few days (or more often if you have crawlers).

Bathrooms
Wipe down – Keep a canister of cleaning wipes under the sink that you can use really quickly to wipe the sinks and toilet down every few days. I also like to keep glass cleaner and paper towels to clean the mirror and faucets.

Bedrooms
Make beds – A made bed makes a bedroom look clean.

These things will keep your house from looking messy and getting even messier. If you wipe stuff down every few days, you won't have a build-up of grossness to deep clean.

What do you do to keep things looking good between cleaning sessions?