Blessings

Blessings This Week

1. A Family of Faith Program

family of faith

I mentioned a few weeks ago that our church was trying a new Sunday School program this year called A Family of Faith.  We had our first parent’s meeting this week and were blessed to have five nuns come to kick it off (They were in full habits and everything, so that is something we do not see very often)  One of the nuns shared that her family’s religious traditions at home greatly inspired her to choose her vocation early in life and also led her brother to enter the priesthood after he graduated from college.  It is very unusual to have a nun and a priest in one family, so that was really inspiring to hear.  One of the ways families are encouraged to grow their faith at home is to have the children join in praying the rosary.  I felt that we could incorporate this into our homeschool day very easily and so far it has been going very well. **Of course Ben gets to color as we pray the rosary, but he joins in with the Hail Marys, so I am sure he is listening as well.

2. Cool Weather

While it will not last, we have had two very nice fall-ish days lately.  We turned off the air conditioning (that has been running since May!) and opened the windows to enjoy the nice cool breeze.  As Ben says, “You can just smell Fall in the air”.

3. Acting Class and Co-op

For the last few years, my daughter has attended an acting class at a local church that teaches improv and audition skills.  The best thing about the class is that it has inspired her to do community theater(which she loves!) and encourages public speaking (which we all need).  This year, she talked my son into trying it out and he loves it!  This was a great blessing for me, because I have worried about finding him an extracurricular activity that he would enjoy and have the right temperament for.  So I guess I have two little actors in the making:)

Our homeschool co-op also has started back up again for the school year, so my children were very excited to see all of their friends.  I am so thankful for these co-op classes because they are usually taught by very qualified individuals like local authors, former teachers, or other great homeschooling veterans.

**In case you are interested to know what kind of classes are usually offered at homeschool co-ops, here are the classes my kids are in:  My daughter(14 years old) will be taking Writing from Research, Drama, and Sign language.  My son(6 years old) will be taking Building with Legos, Hands on Science, and Mixed Media Art.  I usually require them to take one educational class (which they call the boring one!) and two fun electives.

 

How were you blessed this week??

 

 

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Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. Used science to create a new plant

plant

We have been learning about plants in my son’s science class for the past few weeks and when I stumbled across how to turn cuttings into new plants with only water and a jar, I knew that we had to try it out. **This is a Pothos plant and it is the easiest, most resilient plant out there, so if you have a black thumb, this is the plant for you.  Proof:  I forget to water it half the time and it still produces beautiful foliage year round, with no shedding!  This plant will go into my son’s room after it fully roots because he has been wanting one for ages and this one can grow alongside him.

2. Fun impulse buy = loads of laughs

hotdog

We were killing time in Target when we came across this adorable costume for our dog Sadie in the Dollar aisle for just $3.  We knew we had to have it when my son mentioned that it looked just like the costume from one of his favorite children’s books, The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey.  Our dog also happens to have a little Dachshund in her, so it made it all the more hilarious. **If you have not read this book to your kids, you are missing out!  Its an adorable story of a Dachshund who is forced to wear a hotdog costume for Halloween and endures a lot of teasing for it.  Luckily, the costume helps him and his friends out of a sticky situation later in the night, so there is a happy ending after all.

3. Dollar store prizes

I grabbed a great selection of Dollar Tree toys to add to my son’s homeschool reward box, for you guessed it, just $1 each.  Our biggest score this week was finding all four of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on keychains.  My son was especially excited about these because he said that all of the cool kids had key chains on their backpacks…..I do not know where he got this information from, but at least he was happy:)

4. Car wash

We decided to wash our car at home last week and saved $6.  While it was a little messy and hot, the kids had a blast and my car is no longer covered in sap, so that was a frugal win.

5. Free homeschool resources

We are going to read Frankenstein next in Literature, so I was happy to find two free study guides online that I can adapt for us to use, instead of buying a new Progeny Press study guide for $20.  A little bit of work = a lot of savings:)

 

What did you do to save money last week??

 

 

 

 

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 36

1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (345 miles down and 155 to go)

I had to work around a couple of afternoon thunderstorms, but I managed to get in all 10 miles this week.

2. Eat low carb each day

I did this for 6 out of 7 days.

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

Not yet

4. Have two family game nights each month

Not yet

5. Have two date nights each month

Not yet

6. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

We stayed home almost every day last week, so I decided to just have my no spend week then.  **A simple, yet effective way to save money:)

7. Try to buy nothing new this year

Nothing new was bought this week, except for items found in Target’s Dollar aisle (which luckily happens to be one of my exclusions for this challenge!!!!)

8. Add six products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 down and 2 to go)

Still working on homeschool assignments…

9. $5 Weekly Challenge

shoes

I was walking in Target and noticed that they had a large amount of children’s shoes marked down to 70% off, so I picked up two pairs to donate to a local charity.  **Brand new pairs of shoes for $3 each is a steal nowadays, especially considering that used shoes sell for almost double that at our local thrift stores.

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 35

1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (335 down and 165 to go)

I only got around to walking 8 miles last week, but I am going to try to get in a few extra miles this week to keep on track for the year.

2. Eat low carb each day

I did this every day this week!  Low carb tip:  My husband stays on track better if I have a lot of leftovers for him to choose from.  One way I do this is to cook extra meat every time I grill, which makes a quick meal possible any time of day.  I also try to make sure his favorite fat bombs are in the freezer each week to satisfy his sweet tooth and I always have backup blocks of cheese in my fridge at all times. (Cheese shortage is a serious situation in my house)

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

Not yet

4. Have two family game nights each month

Not yet

5. Have two date nights each month

Not yet

6. Have one no spend week each month

Not yet

7. Try to buy nothing new this year

I did technically buy two new items this past week, but since they were wedding presents, they do not count against me…you got to love loopholes 🙂

8. Add six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 down and 2 to go)

I have not added any new products in two months!! So I really need to get busy…

9. $5 Weekly Challenge

deodorant

This month I am buying things to donate to a local charity that provides clothing and hygiene items to school children in our county.  Apparently they were low on deodorants, so I grabbed five at Kroger while they were on sale for $.99 each.  Sometimes life works out nicely!

Recipes

Cheesy Broccoli and Beef Casserole (Low Carb/Gluten-free)

I was very happy to stumble upon this new-to-me recipe because it is very hard to find low carb casserole recipes that I have not tried yet.  **Also, I love casseroles because they are so easy to put together and if they are topped with cheese….even better:)

beefbroccoli
Cheesy goodness!

Ingredients

1lb ground beef

1lb ground pork sausage

2 teaspoons of minced garlic

1/2 onion, chopped

Broccoli, cooked (I used a 12-oz microwaveable bag of broccoli for convenience)

block of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup milk or cream

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Cook the garlic, chopped onion, beef, and sausage together until done and then drain and set aside.

3. In a bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, milk, and Parmesan cheese, mixing it well and set aside.

4. In a large casserole dish, first add the meat mixture and the cooked broccoli together, then pour the cheese mixture on top and stir until everything is coated well.

5. Finally, top the casserole with mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake for 35 minutes or until nice and bubbly, then let it sit for 5 minutes to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Happenings

1. Kroger deals

Kroger had a great deal on Kool-Aid Jammers (69 cents each….I got 10!) and I found that our favorite brand of yogurt was marked down to half off due to the cardboard packaging being damaged, so I happily scooped up all three packs.

2. Dollar Tree

To make our week go a little smoother, I sometimes resort to bribery:)  Every Friday, if my son has behaved well and not complained too much during homeschool, he is allowed to pick out a prize from our goodie box.  I have found the Dollar Tree (or the Target dollar aisle) is the best place to find fun little bribes rewards for cheap.  This time around, I let my son pick out a few things to add to the box and he has been eagerly waiting all week to pick out his prize.  **His favorite prizes so far have been fake mustaches, candy, gum, silly putty, and magic towels.

3. Plane Tickets

We are taking a trip later this year to Denver and I know from experience that flights get more expensive the closer you get to your departure, so I jumped online and found the cheapest ones available (cheap is a relative term)

4. “New” Dresser

As you may know, I have been trying to not buy any new items this year, so I was pleased when my mother offered to let my son have an old dresser that she decided to replace.  We had been hanging up the majority my son’s clothes and keeping folded items in little baskets in his room, but now that he is getting bigger, the basket system was not working as well.  So this was a nice frugal surprise:)

 

What have you done to save money this week??

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 34

1. Walk 500 miles this year (327 down and 173 to go)

This week I walked all 10 miles outdoors…and yes it is still hot and muggy….

2. Eat low carb everyday

I did this for 6 out of 7 days.

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

So far I have only read one, but I am going to try and squeeze in another before the end of the week, so that I can mark this goal as accomplished for August.

4. Have two date nights each month Accomplished

We had one at home date night earlier this month and then went out for one delicious sushi dinner last week.

5. Have two family game nights each month Accomplished

6. Add six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store this year (4 completed)

Still taking a break while I finish up my children’s lesson plans for their next 8 weeks of homeschool.

7. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

8. Try to buy nothing new this year

Nothing new was bought this week

9. $5 weekly challenge

charityaugust

Here are all the items that I bought this month for the food bank.

 

 

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 33

1. Walk 500 miles this year (317 down and 183 to go)

We had an extremely humid week this week, but I managed to overcome my whininess and got in all 10 miles.  I am so ready for fall!

2. Keep my net carbs low

Yes, I changed this once again:)  **I am tweaking my diet a bit to see if adding high fiber grains back in might fix some issues I have been having lately.  I will still be eating low carb, just not ultra low carb like I have been for years.

3. Read two nonfiction books each month

All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the Worlds Most Beloved Animal Doctor

This week I chose All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot to read.  I have not read this book since college and forgot how wonderful it was!  This autobiography is about a Scottish veterinarian that has to deal with very interesting clients and situations, but still manages to find the joys in the job that he has chosen as his life’s work.  **I like how he intertwines the courtship of his future wife throughout the book.  It kind of reminds me of Christy by Catherine Marshall in that the romance is not at the forefront of the storyline, but rather is treated like the icing on the cake.

4. Have two date nights each month Accomplished

This week, we went out for sushi at a local restaurant….which was of course delicious!

5. Have two family game nights each month Accomplished

This week we played a rousing game of Disney Scene-it….which I won:)

6. Add six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 down and 2 to go)

Taking a break on this while I am working on creating home school assignments for our next 8 week session. **My kids are in their 5th week of school already so I have to hustle!

7. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

8. Try to buy nothing new this year

Century Lil' Dragon Wavemaster Training Bag

Well….I had my first Amazon purchase of the year this week.  My son has been wanting to learn karate skills, but I just do not think he is mature enough for karate classes yet.  I have these fears for two reasons:  #1. He thinks that they are ninja classes and will be shooting fireballs out of their hands  #2. He said that they will help him become a Ninja Turtle when he grows up.  So instead of giving my son massive disillusionment at an early age…..I chose to buy a stand up punching bag that he can practice on for now.  So far he really likes it and it has channeled his aggression in a positive way…away from his sister!

9. $5 Weekly Challenge

cerealaugust

Kroger had a great deal on their store brand bagged cereal again, so I grabbed two more this week to add to my food bank stash for the month.

 

 

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. Received a $2 Kroger catalina

Every once in awhile Kroger will offer catalinas which are basically coupon “money” good for future purchases.  This month they are offering $2 off a future purchase for every $10 you spend on Kroger brand breakfast items.  Since I buy a lot of oats and cereals for the food bank, I should get quite a few of these over the next month:)

2. Thrift store finds

This week we found a shirt for my daughter for $2 and a study guide for the entire Chronicles of Narnia book series for just $3.  **The thrift store is one of the many resources that we utilize to find quality homeschool materials each year.

3. Huge box=free entertainment

We had a large item shipped to us this week and of course my son claimed the box for his personal use. By personal use, I mean a pretend store, bear cave, superhero hangout, etc.  Hours of free entertainment:)

4. Perks of a Private Library

My son is getting into the fun age of where reading is more than something he has to do for school, so he has been enjoying books that my daughter had bought when she was his age 7 years ago.  This is frugal because we do not have to buy the same book twice (which has happened to me before) and its a blessing because if my son has run out of library books to read, he has a nicely stocked private library to choose from.

5. Rocket Languages

My daughter is taking Spanish as one of her high school classes and while we have a good textbook, the pronunciations are sometimes hard to teach.  Luckily, our local library offers Rocket Languages to all of its patrons to use for free.  This has really helped her to learn the correct way to pronounce all of the new words she has learned so far.  **It is a little more structured than Duolingo, which is another free language site, so it is another nice option to have.

 

What have you done to save money??

Homeschooling

Learning with Pinterest-Ancient Greece

This week, we continued our exploration of ancient civilizations by learning all about Ancient Greece.  As usual, Pinterest was full of great ideas to try out, so we picked a few and had a really fun, educational time.  Our library also had a nice selection of books on many topics related to Ancient Greece, so we scooped those up on our weekly visit.

Books on Ancient Greece (or related topics)

Greek Myths for Young Children (Stories for Young Children)

1. Greek Myths for Young Children by Heather Amery

This was an easy to read book full of the most popular Greek Mythology stories.  Ben did not really care for this book because he thought it was too violent (we read the Prometheus story first and you know how that ends…) But if you have a more adventurous child, then this book would be a great way to introduce Greek myths to your student.

Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations

2. Zoo in the Sky by Jacqueline Mitton

When you think of Ancient Greece you automatically begin to think about the constellations, which are always a big hit with small children.  This book is full of beautiful illustrations and short commentaries about each animal constellation.  There were some constellations that I had never heard of, so I really liked that as well.

Seeing Stars

3. Seeing Stars by Dandi Mackall

This was our favorite book this week.  I am a sucker for rhyming children’s books, so I loved that they had a short poem about each constellation.  Another cool feature that Ben really liked was that the stars had a glittery finish so each constellation seemed to twinkle.

 

Ideas we found on Pinterest related to Ancient Greece

catapult
It actually worked too!

Apparently Ancient Greeks used catapults in some of their battles, so when I saw this cute pin on how to build a catapult, I knew that Ben would get a huge kick out of it…and he did.

parthenon
Hey at least we got the columns right:)

I found a fun post on how to recreate the Parthenon as a gingerbread house.  While ours was not as pretty as this pin, it was still delicious.

 

After we read and did a few crafts, I had Ben create his own constellation and give it a name.  So here we are introducing the constellations, Adventure Pal and Adventure Dude.

constellation

 

**In addition to all of this fun stuff, we also located Greece on the map and visited a few websites about Ancient Greece that were geared towards children.  We also plan to watch Disney’s Hercules and one of the Percy Jackson movies this week for family movie night.  If you have not read the Percy Jackson books, they are chockful of mythology and really fun to read…even if you are a 37 year old woman…