Monday, November 18, 2013

The Old Daily Routine and Blog Design

Obviously this is a new blog. I've had one before, but never really messed with it. This one, however, seems different. This is a new chapter in our lives and for the first time I feel like I am able to share our journey with the world. Before homeschooling our daily routine was long and difficult. It became very monotonous. Day after day, after day, after day the same BORING routine. 

I don't even know how we did it to be honest. Every day it was like this: get the kiddos ready to go to school (don't even think about the coffee sitting in the pot that you took the time to set up the night before because it's crunch time now!), take them, come home and maybe drink a cup or two, get started on chores and taking care of the little ones needs. By afternoon it was lunch and nap time until time to pick up big kids from school. Get kids from school, help with homework, work on supper, feed kids, bathe them, put them to bed, chores, maybe some alone time if I didn't have a tiny one up with me, then crash by midnight. You know the old "wash, rinse, repeat" instructions. Well that was our life.

Notice that my life revolved around home and kids but no husband time? Well, that poor guy...bless his heart...seemed to feel a bit left out. Once a week or so we would try to spend time together, but it wasn't like we could chat about everything that happened in the week within a couple of hours. Most of our communication was through text messages. These days our lives seem much easier. Our schedule isn't so frustrating anymore. We even have free time to be able to do things together and as a family. 

I didn't know how well my blog would work out. So far not really anybody reading yet...but that's ok too. I'm still in the process of working out the kinks. The other day I was working on it and I really wanted to add a Pinterest widget. I tried over and over again to get it to work. I failed big time on my own. Thankfully though, there are other people out there who blog and build websites to help those of us who are strutggling to figure out all of this designer stuff on our own. Code it Pretty has a very nice tutorial on how to put your Pinterest widget on your blogger blog :) If you have just started on Blogger or have been doing it a while and don't know how to make it pretty I would suggest going to see hwat Marie has posted :) I think I'll spend the afternoon there. 


Friday, November 15, 2013

Budgeting and the Pencil Sharpener Dilemma

 Since we have a family of 6 and my husband is the only one who brings in any income we have to budget. There are a ton of things I would love to have to make my life easier, but those things will have to wait. For instance, I would love, love, love to have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer...ya know the one with all of the attachments that I will probably only use once in a blue moon but would love to have anyways. Instead I have my good old trusty hand mixer. Is it fancy? No. But it does get the job done.

The cost of us sending our children to school was costing us nearly 600 dollars at the beginning of the year. Clothing, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, plus supplies to keep at home for homework were simply expensive no matter how many sales I hit. Right before school starts here we have tax free weekend. Which I recommend to anyone regardless of if they send their kiddos to public school, private school, or homeschool. Heck, even if you have little ones and keep them home or send them to daycare. Tax free weekend can be awesome if you plan it right. There are things that I will pick up before the big sale. But it is usually little things. 

That 600 didn't include school pictures (which we were rarely ever able to get because the beginning of school kicked us to the ground and we were still playing catch up from the beginning of the school income families generally live paycheck to paycheck unless the working spouse makes an amazing living). We however have not had that luxury. 

My husband and I have had to "start over" well more than once in our marriage. Jobs came and went and every time he would have to start at the bottom and work his way up. By the time we would be OK something come up. Getting out of the military, found a job, had to move-found another job, found a better job-injury, school, another job that barely paid the bills, then another opportunity opened up and now we are doing OK again. Not great...but OK. 

Anywho...I had taken SOME of that money that we would have used (and managed to avoid putting us in even more debt) and built up our supplies. Since starting to homeschool my home has become a small office supply store. There is extra paper everywhere. Puzzles and games stacked up. A bookshelf overflowing with children's books. How have I managed all of these items in such a short time? Budget...with a capital B of course! Thrift stores, family contributions, and I make a lot of our resources. I also invest here and there in little items.

We started the year with the small pencil sharpeners from the dollar store. I bought Dixon Ticonderoga know, the good ones. BUT these pencil sharpeners were eating the pencils. I, of course, couldn't figure out if it was the pencils or the sharpeners that were the cause of my daily misery. Yes, misery. Every time I turned around we were having to sharpen pencils. Leads would break and by the time I got done sharpening pencils there wasn't much left of them. I almost couldn't believe that I had bought these amazing pencils. They were supposed to be the best of the best right? Well, they are pretty great and when staples or any other office supply store runs them on sale for less than a dollar for a 20 pack I thought I had saved a ton of money. 

What were we missing? A good pencil sharpener. I picked one up at Wal-Mart for under $10!! It's just like my trusty old hand mixer...nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. I like it because it doesn't eat the pencils up like they are pieces of bacon at an all you can eat breakfast buffet. It's x-acto brand so I know I can trust it's quality. It even suctions to my desk and can be moved around to suit my righty and lefty handed babies pencil sharpening needs. PLUS it was well within our budget!! Do I sound excited about a pencil sharpener? Well if not then let me tell ya I am sooooo excited about this product!! I couldn't find it on Amazon for under 10. Office Max has it in a few different color choices but it isn't as cheap as Wal-Mart :) 

At the beginning of the year these pencil sharpeners were nowhere to be found on the shelves. Now that the madness of back-to-school shopping is well over with and businesses are gearing up for Christmas I can find some of what I need. I also picked up a laminating machine ( was nowhere to be found at the beginning of the school year) which I haven't gotten around to testing out but will soon.

I will be posting quite a bit on how we manage our budget and about some of the products we have tried out.  Also some tips and tricks from a homemaker that was raised by a homemaker (my beautiful Grandmaw). Also I will post links from time to time on some of the homeschooling resources we use.

Which pencils or pencil sharpeners are you crazy about? Tell us about it below :)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kids say the darndest things!!

There are several phrases that my kiddos use that make me giggle. A couple of them lately have been "Whyyyyy????", "What is wrrong with YOU???", "But, but, but, but, but...", "I thought you loved me??". Yes ladies and gents! These are the phrases that my children use that make me giggle. Heck, I even have a smile on my face right now as I type this. You might be thinking "Man! This lady is rotten/evil/down-right-Mean (with a capital M of course)" No y'all. I'm not mean. These are simply giggles and smiles from a mom who is taking back her life and her home. You see, my children have become...oh how should I put this...terrorists. Yes! Little terrorists hell-bent on crushing my spirit and turning me into a rage induced monster. Will I allow this to happen? NO! 

I picked up a book the other day. A wonderful, fabulous, saved-my-life kinda book. It's called Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior, & Character in 5 Days By Dr. Kevin Leman. I didn't find myself in any one particular parenting strategy. Dr. Leman suggests that we all have one. Not this mama. Oooohhh no! Instead I am a mixture of all three types. I realize that my situation isn't the same as everyone else's. I am physically disabled, I have four children, and as of this year all four are homeschooled. It was hard for me to chase them down as toddlers to put them into a corner (I love the Supper Nanny techniques...just in case y'all were wondering.) So what has happened in my home because of my disabilities and the fact that I had a hard time chasing them all? Total chaos. At times, complete disrespect. 

I will admit that I failed as a mother along the way. I have four babies that God gave to me so I chose to ignore a lot of the things they did. Mostly because at the end of the night, when they were tucked into bed (usually mine) and sleeping they looked so sweet and innocent. Were they so innocent? Weeeell...yes...and a little bit of no. Children know how to manipulate those around them to get exactly what they want. How do I know?...I was a kid at one point! Little monsters! :) My best advice parents is this: Don't give in! It was easier for me to just let them stay up a bit late. Easier to give them a little more leeway when it came to not finishing their chores. I pushed and pushed for them to finish homework when in reality I should have taken the advice I had been given to just let them fail. But I shouldn't have taken the easy way out and since then I have been paying for it. Now, some may be thinking "Why on Earth would you let them fail?" I asked the same thing myself. But turns out that was actually great advice and I should have taken it. Instead I said "But this is my sweet precious angel. If I let them fail then aren't I failing as a parent?" UH NO! 

See...this is how it is: The older I get, the wiser I get. I've never been a mom to a 9 year old before. BUT I have been a 9 year old. Here's the kids aren't me. At 9 I was taking care of a household...mostly by myself. My mother jumped ship years before and my dad was an alcoholic. See...we all have issues. I survived. Probably for the better. I got the lectures my dad would give...but you know what I heard? This "           ". <-that my friends is pure gold! Some quality white noise headed your way ;)

 So I tried the lectures. Guess what?? Come on...guess. These kids are a lot like me. They listen to just enough to guess at just enough of what I am saying to repeat it back to me to get me to be quiet for 5 minutes so they can go back to doing whatever it was that they were doing that got them into trouble to begin with! Whew! (PS...I'm a long-winded kind of talker at times lol).

 Things are starting to shape up around here. For the better finally! Did they do their chores on time tonight. Nope. Did I stay on them...well...not as bad as I usually would.'s a learning process for us all I guess. But they did manage to get them done and here I am in my office (ALL BY MY BIG GIRL SELF FOR ONCE...YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!) listening to my children playing quietly before I send them to bed. So to my sweet children: You can ask those questions all you want and instead of being told "because I said so"-like so many parents have been known to say-you will simply be told "because I love you". Some day you might just understand where I am coming from...and then we can both giggle together. 

You can get Dr. Leman's book on Amazon and other fine retail stores BUT I'm just gonna post the Amazon link below :) As for me, I will be purchasing Dr. Leman's other books soon. Happy reading and Happy parenting!! 

Have a New Kid by Friday

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's's pouring...and the kids tell me I'm boring...

It has been a long day in our house. Light rain all day has made today an inside day. Apparently, I'm no fun! I make them do worksheets instead of playing in cold rainy weather. Man...I must be boring. My four children are homeschooled. Today is one of those "I want to pull my own hair out" kind of days. LIke...why did I bother to homeschool them? I'll remember tonight when they are sound asleep. I always do. My husband works nights a few times a month so when he is sleeping during the day we try to keep quiet. That is the reason for the worksheets today. If it were any other day we would have had a lot more fun. Anywho~I had started a blog a few years ago. It didn't work out the way I planned. Meaning...I planned to write and post different things...and that just didn't happen. This time though, things are different. My life has a whole new meaning. Not only do I have 3 beautiful boys who destroy my home, but I also have a gorgeous princess who joins in on the fun. I will give her this: for a 2 year old she loves to clean. My boys weren't that way. Another reason for this new blog is that I'm now a homeschool mom. This is our first year and so far we are enjoying it. Here's the thing though. There are many parents online asking a lot of the same questions. There are many ideas and wonderful teaching methods. I use what I call "The Mommy Method" to teach and parent my kiddos. Sure, I look up things on the internet or read books to help me find the answers...but at the end of the day I'm going to do what I feel is best in my heart. This blog will probably reflect that. Times are rough, money is tight, and mommy is frugal. I love cheap. I love education. I love crafts. There are many other things that I love, I'm sure. I enjoy a little bit of everything. I am one of those who could never decide on a career. One minute I wanted to be a teacher and the next I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be a hairstylist and a gardener. A baker, a musician, a crafter, and the list is endless. Well, as luck would have it, I get to be all of those things. I earned my degree at Mommy's University. I taught myself how to be a mother. Somethings have been easier than others. Like learning to tune out screaming, yelling kiddos because they are wrestling behind me and still be able to make this post. Any questions or comments are always welcome here :)