Friday, February 28, 2014

Because It's Awesome

Don't watch the Tonight Show, (I've long been in bed).  But this is hilarious.  And I love Paul Rudd

If that doesn't make you smile, I cannot help you!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't You Love It When Stuff Is Free?

I came across the online shop Caravan Shoppe.  It's an online print shop.  So you find what you like, buy it, and a link comes to your email and then you print it off from your house.  I first saw this $5 calendar.  I can't help myself.  Have you ever seen something so cute?

The Zoo 2014 Calendar

There's a different animal for each month.  Seriously, go and look at it for $5.

But I said free.  So then I started looking around and lo and behold.

animals   cars
Party Animal Invitations                    Bus Cards

These can be found on this stationary page.  Where everything on this page is free.  At least right now.

And then I found this beauty.  Which you can bet I immediately "bought", but not really, cause it's free.

Move Fast Printable
Story of my life.  Get it for yourself.

Or how about weekly planning pages?  Perfect for homeschool.  Yep- free.  F.R.E.E.

preview of planner

I have no ideas if these are always free, or if the site circulates things for free on a regular basis. But definitely get yourself over to the Caravan Shoppe and download these beauties while you can.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cash is King?

That's what they say.  One of my New Year's resolutions was switching back to cash in order to try and force myself to budget more.  Finally, now that it is almost March, I did it.

Something is wrong with my paycheck. It takes two weeks to earn it, but only two days for it to disappear!

Switching to cash if you use credit cards, even if you always pay off the balance like we do, is hard.  The reason it is so hard is because chances are your credit card monthly cycle doesn't match up with when you get paid.  So the first month you switch to cash you either need to take cash out of your bank account (which we fortunately were able to do), or wait until you get paid.  Does that make sense?

For example, my credit card is the 23rd to the 23rd of each month.  If I want to switch to cash that means that the week following the 23rd where it would normally be money that comes on the next credit card bill, I now am not doing.  I need to use cash that week.  But we don't get paid until the 31st.  This can be tricky for some if your balance is below what you need to survive that week.  So you either draw out of your savings or checking if you can, or eat only the food that is in your pantry and try not to go to a store for any reason because you need to cut the credit card use cold turkey.

I froze my credit card in my freezer so I don't have easy access to it. Like I literally put it in a giant ziploc with a bunch of water. The problem is that like so many of you, I use Amazon for a lot, and they already have my credit card info.  This will be a training issue for me.  Like I need to just stay off Amazon cause chances are I would be buying things that aren't necessary.

Hopefully, this will go well.  We did this a few years ago using Dave Ramsey's principles on saving money and the debt snowball.  The only debt we carry is our house and still some student loans. Although I would love to be completely debt-free, I am not sweating the school loans too much. The interest rate is about 1.5 %, and I would rather put saved money into the bank given the current US job instability.  I have to determine what I feel is a good amount of money to have as a cushion before we start attacking school debt and ultimately our house.

Any good money saving suggestions?

Ain't got no money in my pockets, but im already here

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Planning To (Hopefully!) Save Money

Eons ago, like 5 or 6 years, I did a great job of meal planning.  I would write out at least a week of meals and then buy the groceries for them.  But I fell of the wagon after I had 3 more kids.  In an effort to save money at the grocery store, I went back to meal planning.

Here is the list of meals I will be eating from February 24th- March 14th.  It's kind of a weird time stretch because, frankly, I got sick of sitting at my computer looking for different foods.

Kale and Chickpea Stew    Crock Pot Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa
Kale and Chickpea Stew                Crockpot jerk chicken

All meals except when marked can be found on my Food board at Pinterest.

2/24: Meatball Tortellini Soup (food network)
2/25: Venison Bourguignon pinterest
2/26: Tangy Meatloaf Burgers (freezer coop)
2/27: Fast food- tax night
2/28: Pasta with Tuna and tomatoes   pinterest
3/1:  Brats with potato packets (no recipe)
3/2:  Taco Soup (freezer coop)
3/3:  Crockpot Jerk Chicken  pinterest
3/4:  Crockpot sweet basil chicken (freezer coop)
3/5:  Lentil Vegetable Soup   pinterest
3/6:  Greek Pork Chops  (freezer coop)
3/7:  Venison Roast
3/8:  leftovers
3/9:  leftovers
3/10: Filipino Adobo Chicken  pinterest
3/11: Mushroom Barley Soup   pinterest
3/12: Spaghetti
3/13: Tilapia in yogurt and ginger   pinterest
3/14: Kale and chickpea stew       pinterest

Friday, February 21, 2014

And That Makes 4

Snow days that is.  This time courtesy to about a foot of snow.  I cannot even see my mail box.  It is going to take us to the middle of June to get rid of all this snow.

  School bus ruining a perfect snow day
Good Lord, please let this be a for-real thing.

snow humor - Google Search

Snow humor
Fun creationism humor.

Haha. This is for everyone complaining about winter!! I'm loving it
So true.  The littles and I haven't left the house all week.  Okay, maybe once, but that was it.

The Buffalo News The sign in front of Fourteen Holy Helpers Church in West Seneca today (Jan/08/2014)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ruby Bridges

Yesterday Owen brought home this Scholastic News article about Ruby Bridges.

Maybe you don't know who she is, or maybe you recognize her adorable little face but not the name.  She is known to be the first black child to go to an all white school in the South.  In November 1960.  Not that many years ago.

Every once in a while I will have moments that bring me to tears concerning race and Moyz and Kembia.  And reading through the above pamphlet was one of them.

I can't imagine being her a little girl, getting yelled at by angry white people as she went into school armed with guards that the president sent for her.  She was taught that first year by herself. Yep, she got to go the white school but had a teacher all to herself, no one else in class.  The next year she was in a class that had both black and white students in it.

Today, she has written the books Through My Eyes, and Ruby Bridges Goes To School.  Here is the link to the Ruby Bridges website for her story.  It is quite interesting and I highly suggest you check it out.

Please, please talk to your kids about race.  No matter what the racial make-up of your family is. So often people ignore racial issues because they feel like it isn't a problem.  I think the intention is good, but racial problems are still huge.  And to not talk about it is to ignore it, and we just can't do that.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Probably Not the Type of Homeschool Mom I'll Be

Check this out.  Mitochondrial Cake

How to Make an Edible Cell Model

I can't even handle it.  This lady has 5 kids and can do this type of stuff to help cement the ideas of the cell to her kids.  Amazing.  And also not what I plan on doing my first year!

See here for the full details.

And also here and here for other fun homeschool websites.

Monday, February 17, 2014

White and Black

I really like my black walls in my kitchen.  but they are so hard to maintain.  My white spray-painted chairs rub up against them and off comes the paint.  When you use a wet washcloth to clean up it leaves streaks behind.  And then there is the dust all over that you can see at just the perfect angle.

So I am thinking perhaps taking them back to white.  Story of my life.  Paint everything white and then add color.  I can't quite pull the trigger but I still have black cupboards and the black and white striped wall,so every day I am inching closer.

Here is some fun inspiration that makes me feel better about it.

<3 everything about this...floors, dark lower cabinets, stainless appliances, light counters, old barn pendant light     in an open concept space this mix of colours and finishes would read like eclectic furniture - a less-formal take on most people's idea of the kitchen

Sleek White and Black Kitchen

I don't even have to buy the paint because I still have a bunch leftover from the basement.  We ended up not painting it completely because we need to use oil-based primer for the pre-existing walls, and it makes all of us sick, so until we can open the windows we're waiting on that.

I'll probably just do it when Chris is at work one day.  Sometimes it's easier with his engineering mind-set to just do it and love it afterwards.  (Rather than have a long discussion about the pros and cons and costs and all that stuff!)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

Last week Chris and Ava went to a daddy/daughter dance.  Here is the picture before they left.

They had a fantastic time, and it's perfect to post this on Valentine's Day.  But a part of me sighs just a little.  She's only 10 years old.  And I know, I know she doesn't look like it, and often doesn't act like it.  My little girl growing up so fast.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Where Did I Go?

Well, my reasons for not blogging are multi-fold.  We got back from Florida tired, and all that post-vacation stuff, then Owen threw up, which was super fun, we had below zero days where school was cancelled, etc., etc., etc.

But the big reason, and let me tell you I fought it, I really did, is that I've spent the last couple of weeks digging into homeschooling.

I know what you are thinking.  Again?  Seeing as my experience with online MN K12 public school didn't go so great.  However, for the past 2 months I have been feeling like I am supposed to look into.  Kind of a presence that settled itself into my life and wouldn't let go.

But of course, like a good Christian, I kind of just tried to ignore what God was telling me, because people, I didn't (notice the past tense) want to homeschool my kids.  I like my space and my me time, and quietness (cause we get so much of that at our house).  I am the type of person, as much as I probably shouldn't admit this to the internet, where if I had married a super rich guy, I probably would have spent all day reading and reading and reading.  You know, basically being an overachiever, super-high functioning, stand-up type of person.  All by myself, in my home.

And then I kind of realized that all the reasons I didn't want to homeschool aren't really how my life functions.  Yes, it's easy to send Ava and Owen off to school, but it's not like my life gets quieter, more peaceful and filled with more me time.  I still have 3 babies at home.

So I got serious, got researching, and really am digging into it.  I'm actually at the point where I am excited about it.  Not delusional like I think it's going to go great and all that jazz, but excited where I think I can do it.

First off, I will be doing homeschool where you aren't affiliated with the public school system at all. Homeschool curriculum abounds and my eyes are literally burning from staring at a computer all day for lots and lots of days.  I might be the world's best researcher right now.  Definitely not the worlds best parent, as my kids have consumed large quantities of PBS and the Letter Factory DVD series.

I am fairly certain I have the majority of the curriculum picked out and will be attending a homeschool conference in April.  The littles will be starting their curriculum next week.  It's definitely something they are ready for, and really I don't have a good excuse to keep waiting. When your littles on their own can tell you what a number and a  letter is, I think it's time.

The interesting thing about all this is that we had the kids' conferences last week.  And I swear to you, it was like a divine intervention that we were going to be doing the right thing.  Owen's teacher, while very nice, couldn't answer a question that I asked about his curriculum.  And because of Core Curriculum, they doubled the amount of words that the kids are supposed to read in a minute compared to last year.  They want first graders at this time of year to be reading at the minimum speed of third graders taking their spring tests.

So basically, if that didn't make sense, Owen is a slower reader at this point in the game.  Which he jolly well should be considering he's only in first grade.  But the school says that he needs to be reading at an almost 4th grade level in first grade.  

What?  Am I missing something here? Somehow, reading became all about how fast you do it, not even about what you are comprehending.  People, I would rather have a slower reader who understands what he reads then someone who can read super fast but doesn't take anything in.   our educational standards are bizarre, we spend more on our students through federal funding at a whopping $10,000 per child per year; more than any other country, and yet our kids are way at the bottom of most lists for countries with smart kids.

Anyway, it should be interesting.  And I promise to try and be a better blogger.  But you know, sometimes life just gets in the way!

And just cause they're funny and relate: