*****Please note that there are days where I will post more than once. So, to find out all the latest happenings and "goings-on" in our family (or my random thoughts), be sure to scroll down.*****

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Funny Micah…

Our Micah is such a funny little guy.  He’s always goofing off trying to make others laugh.  And the things he says…oh.my.stars! 
Last night we were watching some music video on Nick, Jr.  The Backyardigans were riding horses, and he declared that he wanted a horse like that.  I proceeded to tell him that horses cost a lot of money, and he’d have to have lots of money to buy one.  So, off on a journey he went…looking for money.
This afternoon, he brought me some change.  He said, “I have money.  I can buy that horse now.”  Want to know how much money he brought me?  $0.23…ummm, you won’t get very far with that little buddy!  However, I WILL give you an A for EFFORT!  Smile
He’s such a ham!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Publix Savings for Weekly Ad 3/23-29/11

Okay, so I did THIS post, and I explained how my first couponing experience went.  Well, I ended up going back to Publix two more times.  Rather than do pictures, I figured I’d just give you a summary for how I did for the weekly ad (mentioned in the title of this post).  From now on, I’m hoping to only make one trip for each week’s savings, but we’ll see. 
Here’s everything I bought (with and without coupons):
12 boxes/bags of Gorton’s Seafood – $26.94 ($2.25 each)
6 boxes of Caprisun Roarin’ Waters – $9.00 ($1.50 each)
9 boxes Scotties Tissue – $5.91 ($0.66 each)
12 bags Kraft 8oz shredded cheese – $4.00 ($0.33 each)
4 half-gallons of Organic Valley milk – $12.00 ($3.00 each)
1 box Organic Valley butter – $4.99
2 International Delight Coffee House Breve Creme – $3.00 ($1.50 each) **no coupon**
4 boxes Crystal Light flavor packets – $11.96 ($2.99 each) **no coupon**
Orbit gum – $1.19 **no coupon**
Sara Lee Mini Buns – $3.19 **no coupon**
Total Spent (tax included) – $86.88 Total Savings – $95.38
Percent Saved – 52.3%
So, I think I did fairly well with my first experience.  How did YOU do this week?  Any tips/tricks or websites to share with me?  Please comment and let me know!  I look forward to hearing from all of you coupon divas!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Menu Plan Week of March 27, 2011

Here’s our menu for the week:
Sunday – Fish and Tater Tots
Monday – Steak Sandwiches with Salad (didn’t get to this last week)
Tuesday – Parmesan Chicken Tenders with Salad (didn’t get to this either)
Wednesday – German Frikadellen, Noodles, and Steamed Veggies
Thursday – YOYO
Friday – Sauteed Chicken, Steamed Veggies, and Rice
Saturday – Popcorn Shrimp, Corn, and Broccoli
What’s cooking at YOUR house this week? 
And for all of you coupon gurus, please share your tips/tricks.  I’m trying to get it all figured out, so I appreciate any and ALL help!  Thanks!

Coupon Shopping #1

I mentioned in THIS post that I was willing to give couponing another whirl.  So, today I headed out to Publix to take advantage of their sales.  I only ended up buying one item that we really wouldn’t buy on a normal basis (Caprisun Roarin’ Waters).  However, since I was able to get 6 boxes for $9, I thought I’d buy them just to use at the park, tennis lessons, in the car, etc…
Here’s how I did:
6 boxes of Caprisun Roarin’ Waters – $9.00
3 boxes of Scotties Tissue – $1.97
4 half-gallons of Organic Valley milk – $12.00
4 bags of Kraft cheese – $1.00
4 boxes/bags of Gorton’s Seafood – $8.98
1 box of Organic Valley unsalted butter – $4.99
I ended up spending $39.58; however, I saved $39.60.
I would say I did a pretty good job.  We will use all of the items I bought, and some of it was organic.  So, that’s a start, right? 
How did YOU do this week?  Do you have any tips/tricks for me?  Any websites I need to frequent now that I’m giving this a go? 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Calling All Coupon Gurus and Frugal Mommies…

Okay, so I know that lots of people are into this couponing thing, and I was, too, at one point.  However, now that we are eating healthier options and using more organic products, I haven’t given it much thought.  Now I’m willing to try again though.  So, I need your help!
We buy organic meats (beef, chicken, etc), organic milk (usually Kroger brand), organic or cage-free eggs, organic snacks (Cascadian Farms granola bars, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies and Fruit Snacks, etc), organic household products (Seventh Generation laundry/dishwashing detergent), and organic healthcare products (Tom’s of Maine, Dr. Bronner’s, Kiss My Face, Burt’s Bees, etc).  We also buy organic staples when we can find them (pasta sauces, noodles, tomatoes, canned goods, baking products, etc).  I know that I won’t find many of these coupons in the Sunday inserts; however, we aren’t particular when it comes to paper/household products (toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex, ziploc bags, aluminum foil, etc).
Is it worth it for me to buy the Sunday paper just to get the few coupons that we will use?  We are not big into processed foods at all, and I know there are always tons of coupons for that stuff.  There’s always coupons for health/beauty products, too, that we don’t use (we’re very particular with those).  I do know that I can print some online coupons, and I have done that.
Also, where can I find the deals/coupon applications?  For instance, I have lots of Seventh Generation coupons, but I’m not sure when/if/where they go on sale.  So, how or where can I find that info?  Please refer me to any helpful websites…especially those that would be beneficial in saving when shopping for organics.
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from lots of you (Tammy, Emmy, Pam, etc).

Second Grade Week 39 in Review

We’ve got about 30 more days of school left, and I’m so ready for a little break.  We’re taking a short break next week (just a few days off), and we’ll take another one the week before Easter.  The year is slowly coming to a close.  Here’s how this week went for us:
Health – We discussed safety in the bathroom and kitchen.
Science – We discussed precipitation.  We did some experiments, and one was to fill a bowl with water and set it outside to observe evaporation.  Caleb enjoys ANY type of science experiment, so he enjoyed this.
English – This week Caleb finished up his descriptive paragraph.  As I mentioned in THIS post, we’ve been having some handwriting issues.  Well, after hearing him fuss and complain during the final draft of his paper, I decided it wasn’t worth it.  So, I did a quick typing lesson (how to capitalize, how to put spaces, and punctuation).  I then typed up 4 of his 5 sentences, and he typed the last one.  He was THRILLED.  Now, he’s on a typing kick…he wants to sit and type at his keyboard, and I couldn’t be happier.  Granted, he’s still got some learning to do (home row keys), but he’ll get it eventually.  I’m just glad to have found another way to do English when it comes time to write more.  Smile
Vocabulary – Caleb studied his words and did a few more exercises.  He finished the week with a test and scored 89%.
Reading – This week we read the following book:
Mr.  Macky is Wacky by Dan Gutman
Math – This week we focused on perimeter.  Caleb caught on really well to this, and it clicked.  So, that’s a good thing.  Smile
I hope you all had a great week in school.  We’ll be back to share more when we finish up week 40.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It All Makes Sense Now…

As most of you are aware, Caleb was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome about a year ago.  Since then, we have had to do lots of reading and researching.  I don’t think we’ll ever be able to fully understand TS; however, I’m thankful for all of the online information. 
We chose to homeschool Caleb before he was ever born, and we now know that GOD made that choice for us because HE knew all of this would happen.  The more we learn about Caleb and TS, the more thankful we are that God placed that in our hearts so many years ago.  I cannot imagine having Caleb in a regular classroom…I just don’t think he’d be able to function to his ability.  This doesn’t mean that our homeschooling has been all fun and games.  I, as a teacher, have had to change my ways of thinking and teaching.  There have been battles in the classroom, and now it’s all starting to make sense.
I want to refer you to this article…TS is More than Tics.  I don’t feel comfortable copying/pasting the article, so I truly  hope that those of you who are closest to us (and have heard me talk/vent about our situation) will read this.  After I read this article, light bulbs just kept going off.  We see SO much of Caleb in that article, and it truly does explain the reason for many of our battles that we’ve faced in our homeschooling. 
For instance, Caleb has always complained about handwriting.  I never quite understood it, and I just thought he was being defiant and aggravating.  Nope…that’s not it at all.  Handwriting is a struggle for him.  He complains that his hands hurt, and it takes him forever just to get it done.  He’s constantly erasing and starting over or just tossing it in the trash.  So, now that we KNOW this is a valid struggle for him, we can make adjustments. 
Does this mean we’ll never require him to do handwriting?  No…however, we WILL reduce the load.  He will continue to work on his cursive handwriting practice, but I’m not going to have him write multiple sentences each day.  As for English & Writing, well, we’ll make modifications there, too.  After all, I’m not concerned about the quality of his handwriting when he writes a paragraph.  I’m concerned with the quality of his thoughts on paper.  Did he follow the assignment?  Did he follow paragraph writing rules?  This can all be evaluated by having him type his assignments rather than get frustrated at having to handwrite them. 
So, once again, it’s time for us to implement modifications and understanding in regards to Caleb and his schooling.  This article was super helpful, and I encourage other parents of TS children to read it (if you haven’t already).  It was truly eye-opening for us.
Thanks for reading…just had to share what was on my heart!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Menu Plan Week of March 20, 2011

Here’s what’s cooking at our house this week:
Sunday – Baked ham, Steamed veggies, and Rice
Monday – Sauteed Chicken, Steamed Veggies, and Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday – Dinner Out with Friends (Sitter for the Boys)
Wednesday – Family Sized Baked Burrito (didn’t get to this last week)
Thursday – Steak Sandwiches with Salad (didn’t get to this either)
Friday – Parmesan Chicken Tenders with Salad
Saturday – YOYO
What’s cooking at YOUR house this week?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Second Grade Week 38 in Review

Another week of schooling has come and gone here at Childress Academy.  Here’s how this week went for us:
Bible – Our first Bible story was on “Sin Brings Sadness”, and we read Luke 2:1-14 and I Peter 1:3-9.  Our second Bible story was on “We Fell In Adam and Eve”, and we read Genesis 4 and 5.  Our memory work for the week was First Catechism Q&A #35-37.
Health – This week we discussed safety in your home.
Science – This week we discussed wind and weather. 
English – Caleb started working on a descriptive paragraph by discussing similes, using senses to describe, and topic sentences.  He’ll continue to work on his paragraph over the next week or so.
Vocabulary – We added “bustle, channel, connect, empire, mention, peak, scholar, settle, vehicle, and zigzag” to our list of terms.
Social Studies – We learned about Black Americans, and we also reviewed all the groups of people who have built America (Separatists, American Indians, Colonists, Pioneers, Cowboys, and New Americans).
Reading – This week we read the following books:
”Just a Wink” poem by Evan-Moor Publishing
Roscoe Riley Rules #1 – Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs by Katherine Applegate
Math – This week we worked on measurement:  12 inches = 1 foot.
We’re slowly bringing our year to a close.  I think we have about 8 weeks of schooling left, and then we’ll have a short break before heading into 3rd grade.  I hope your school year is continuing to go well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

3rd Grade Curriculum Choices

Every year, I always think I’ve found just the right fit for us in our studies.  However, that never really proves true.  So, off I go again looking for the perfect curriculum.  Well, after almost 3 years of home schooling, I don’t think there IS a perfect curriculum.  So, I’ve decided to just do the best I can and purchase (or put together) what I think will benefit Caleb the most.  With that said, here’s how our 3rd grade curriculum choices are looking…
Bible – We will be going back to Great Commissions Publications.  They publish reformed materials, and we will use their Show Me Jesus curriculum.  This is actually for Sunday Schools, but I find it easy to implement in our home school setting, and Caleb enjoys it.
Science – I decided to stray away from a typical science textbook curriculum this year.  This is one of Caleb’s favorite subjects, so I wanted to do something totally different for him.  Using the scope & sequence from Bob Jones University Press and several Usborne books, I put together my own science study.  We will be using Usborne books, Internet reading passages, Internet videos, Internet games, and library books to cover a wide array of topics.  We will also spend time making several lapbooks that reinforce some of the topics of study.
Social Studies – Just like science, I put together our own social studies curriculum.  This, too, is another of Caleb’s favorite subjects, so I spent hours way too many hours trying to put it all together.  Using Story of the USA books 1 & 2 as our spine, we will cover a plethora of topics.  We will also watch Internet videos and read library books on certain topics, too.
Reading – Just like we did in 2nd grade, we will be reading a broad variety of books.  Caleb will be reading 20-30 pages a day, and he will identify the genre of the book that he is reading.  We will also spend time working on story elements (characters, setting, plot, etc) and writing book reports.
Vocabulary – We will continue our Wordly Wise 3000 study.  Caleb will be using Book 3.
Handwriting – This is an area that Caleb dislikes; however, I feel it’s important that he continue to work on his cursive skills.  Because of his disgust for the subject, I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate subjects of interest into his handwriting.  So, we’ll be using some copybooks from Happy Scribe.  Caleb will be learning and writing about swimming, sport fishing, archery, camping, Georgia, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I really hope that this will make handwriting more enjoyable for him.
Math – We will be using Math U See again for 3rd grade.  Caleb will finish up his Beta book and move on to Gamma. 
Spelling – This is an area where Caleb has struggled a bit.  We’ve tried several different programs, and we still haven’t found the right fit.  So, next year we’re going to try Spelling Power.  Rather than working on grade levels, this spelling program works at your child’s ability level.  It’s also something that I purchase ONCE and can continue to use year-after-year.  I’m really hoping that this will be a good experience and choice for Caleb.  I’ll keep you posted for sure!
English – We’re changing up our English for 3rd grade, and we’ll be using a brand-new (to us) publisher.  We’re going to use Rod & Staff Beginning Wisely.  While I liked the Bob Jones that we’ve used the past 3 years, I didn’t LOVE it.  The English portion was fine, but the writing sections seemed to just draw out way too long for Caleb and me.  Caleb also has had struggles retaining the information, so I’m hoping that the constant review and recitation from Rod & Staff will be beneficial.
Art – While I’d love to tell you that I have glorious plans for art, I don’t.  It never fails…I always start out strong in this area, but then life happens, and it’s always the first subject to get ditched.  So, I’m not even going to plan for it next year.  If we get to it, GREAT.  If not, well…  I will continue to use Art is Fundamental and How to Teach Art to Children as my guidelines though.  We are going to try to enroll Caleb in a private art class that is held weekly, so I’m hoping that will suffice for his art educational needs. 
So, there you have it…those are our curriculum choices for 3rd grade.  What does next year look like for you?  Will you use the same publishers, or are you changing things up?  I’m praying that 3rd grade will be our best year yet, but only time will tell.  I know that I’m certainly more excited about our plans.  I only hope Caleb is as well.  Smile

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why Do You Homeschool?

Last week I posted our weekly review, and I received this anonymous comment…    Hi....I actually was doing some online research for an assignment I have when I bumped into your blog online....congrats!it looks like you're doing a good job with your kids.....but I was wondering....I meen this the second blog I read ...both blogs have educated stay-home moms homeschooling their kids...my question and curiosity is in Why do you guys homeschool your children ....I'm new to North America,and I'm wondering why do people choose to homeschool their kids??? Good luck at it anyway...
So, without further ado, here are a few reasons why we chose to homeschool our children.
1)  God placed it in our hearts to homeschool before we ever had children.  The church we attended when we were first married had several homeschooling families, and we were very intrigued.  Soon after, we were convinced that this was the route we would take with educating our future children.
2) I was a public school teacher for 8 years, and every year the system went downhill.  Now, I’m not referring to the school systems where I taught; however, the education system as a whole kept changing.  Even more so now than ever, I don’t think you could pay me enough to teach in a public school…much less send my children there for an education.  There’s not enough one-on-one time, and so many children fall through the cracks because there’s just not enough time to help “little Johnny” catch up to his peers.
3)  Brian and I want to be responsible for what our children learn.  We want to instill the facts in them, and we want to be able to teach them at THEIR level and in THEIR style of learning.  All children learn differently, and homeschooling allows us the option to choose how best to teach our children.  A public school doesn’t get that freedom…teachers are bound by state and county laws/regulations that tell them which curriculum to use…there’s no choice.
4) Now that we know that Caleb has Tourette’s Syndrome, it’s more important that we school him at home.  Yes, he could function in a public school setting; however, we all know how cruel children can be.  We do not want him to face ridicule or judgment for an issue that he has no control over.  Nor do we want to have him “hide his tics” in a public setting in order to avoid said ridicule/judgment.  Will he avoid all ridicule and judgment just because we homeschool him?  Of course not, but we are in smaller environments where he (and we) can share his issues with those who will be understanding.
5)   Homeschooling allows us more freedom and flexibility with our schedules.  We are able to school year-round (by choice), and this allows us to school 4 days per week for 45 weeks a year.  We’re able to enjoy many social and educational experiences with this flexible schedule.  One of the biggest misperceptions of homeschoolers is that they lead sheltered and unsocial lives…well, that couldn’t be further from the truth in today’s society.  We have so many social activities to choose from that we have to learn to say “NO” and pick/choose only those that we feel will be most beneficial. 
In summary, I think this statement best sums up our choice to homeschool…
"The idea of learning acceptable social skills in a school is as absurd to me as learning nutrition from a grocery store."
~ Lisa Russell

So, there you have it Anonymous.  That’s why we chose homeschool for our children.  Now, for all of you other homeschoolers…why did YOU choose to homeschool?
***Please note that I am in no way bashing public or private schools.  Brian and I both grew up going to public school, and we’re both fine individuals.  However, our choice for OUR boys is homeschool.  We’re blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to make that choice, and we feel it is what’s right for our family.  That’s my big motto…you have to do what is BEST for YOUR family.***

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Menu Plan Week of March 13, 2011

So, did the time change throw you off this morning?  I’ll admit…I much prefer to FALL Backward than SPRING forward.  Oh well…we’ll catch up on our sleep somehow.
Here’s what’s cooking at our house this week:
Sunday – Steak Fajitas
Monday – Sauteed Chicken, Steamed Veggies, and Noodles
Tuesday – Beef Chimichangas
Wednesday – Flounder, Steamed Veggies, and Tater Tots
Thursday – Family Sized Baked Burrito with Mexican Rice
Friday – YOYO
Saturday – Steak Sandwiches with Salad

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Second Grade Week 37 in Review

We are still managing to stay on track (which I think we’ve done all of 2011), and that’s a BIG accomplishment.  It’s taking effort from Caleb and myself to do so, and I couldn’t be happier.  Here’s how last week went for us…
Bible – Our Bible story was on “Satan Is Our Enemy”, and we read from Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43.  Our memory work was First Catechism Q&A 33-34.
Health – This week we discussed safety around the water and during bad weather.
Science – We discussed the properties of air this week.
English – We reviewed using commas in a series and completed the chapter with a test and cumulative review.
Vocabulary – Caleb took the test over the words he’s been studying, and he scored 93%.  He then took two cumulative tests and scored 100% and 88%.
Social Studies – This week we discussed the new Americans…immigrants and islanders.
Reading – This week we read the following books:
Horrible Harry Bugs the Three Bears by Suzy Kline
Planet Earth – Who Lives in the Forest? by Lisa L. Ryan-Herndon
Math – This week we worked on column addition.  This particular chapter didn’t prove as easy for Caleb, so we’ll have to spend some additional time working on this concept.  I have no doubt that he’ll understand it with a little more practice.
The boys once again enjoyed another week at Co-Op.  I’m so thankful that we have the opportunity to get together with other home schoolers.  My home schooling friends (and those of the boys) are a HUGE blessing to us.
Look out for our 3rd grade curriculum choices…I’ll be posting about those next week sometime.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Micah’s 3rd Birthday

Yesterday, our little Micah Monkey turned the big THREE!!!!  I cannot believe he’s already 3.  He has added so much laughter, joy, and entertainment to our home.  He LOVES to be a clown, and he’s always putting on a show.  We love him so very, very much.
He had a small party yesterday with family and a few friends.  We held it at a local jump place…Party Playgrounds (same place we had Caleb’s in July).  It was so nice not having to worry about cleaning up the party mess for a change.  Smile  Micah and his friends had a blast, and he received lots of wonderful presents!  Here are some pictures of all of the fun!

Menu Plan Week of March 6, 2011

Sunday – YOYO (we’ve been buying a rotisserie chicken after church, so we usually eat the leftovers on Sunday night, too).
Monday – Italian Meatballs, Jasmine Rice, and Steamed Veggies
Tuesday – Tacos or Taco Salad
Wednesday – Sauteed Chicken, Parmesan Risotto, and Steamed Veggies
Thursday – Hamburgers with Chips or Salad
Friday – YOYO (I have a Norwex show)
Satuday – Spaghetti, Salad, and Homemade Rolls (first time attempting these, so wish me luck)
I’m telling ya…I need some serious inspiration in the kitchen.  It’s starting to look like we eat the same meals (or nearly) every week.  So, what are some of your family’s favorites?  Any good recipe websites I need to check out?  I need some new recipes to try.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Second Grade Week 36 in Review

We are still managing to stay on track with our schooling, and I couldn’t be happier about that.  I’m praying we will do this the rest of the year.  Smile  Here’s how week 36 (actually 6 days of work, so you’ll see two lessons in some subjects) went for us…
Bible – Our 1st Bible story was on “The Nature of Sin”, and we read from Matthew 25:31-46 and James 4:17.  Our memory work was First Catechism Q&A 30-31.  Our 2nd Bible story was on “What Sin Deserves”, and we read from Luke 15:11-24.  Our memory work was First Catechism Q&A 32.
Health – We discussed safety on the street this week…bicycle safety, walking/riding on correct side of street, etc.
Science – This week we discussed friction.
English – This week we discussed describing taste/touch, using adjectives to compare, comparing with –er and –est, telling how many, and finding colorful adjectives.
Vocabulary – We added “arch, attention, award, collapse, demolish, excess, outline, sculpture, spade, and utensil” to our list of terms.  Caleb did several activities to reinforce the definitions of the terms.
Social Studies – We finished up our chapter on America’s Cowboys.  We learned some “cowboy songs”, too.  In Geography, we finished up our study of the 50 states by adding New Jersey and Connecticut. 
Reading – We read the following books:
The Adventures of Captain Underpants – The First Epic Novel by Dav Pilkey
National Geographic Kids – Snakes! by Melissa Stewart
Jungle Friends – Smiler Gets a Toothache by Margaret Ryan
Math – We worked on rounding to hundreds, multiple-digit addition with regrouping, and adding w/mental math.  Caleb is still doing well with his math.
Our Co-Op started yesterday, and both boys had a blast.  Caleb enjoyed his classes, and Micah enjoyed his time in the nursery.  My Nutrition and Exercise class that I’m teaching went really well, too.  I think the children learned something.  Smile
We hope you all are having happy schooling adventures!  Thanks for following ours!

Blogging tips