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Friday, April 30, 2010

Money, Honey!

This morning we did some money activities during our school time. My son who is older had to sort coins based on penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. I had my daughter sort nickel and copper coins in to two different piles. Then my son began sorting clean pennies from dirty pennies and asked me why some were dirty and if we could clean them. I looked it up and it was so easy! Take 1/4 cup of white vinegar and a tsp of salt. Stir together and then add a few pennies. Hold one penny half way in and after about 30 seconds you can see a difference in the two sides-- we even did one with a stripe across the middle. My kids loved cleaning their pennies and I love clean, so win win :) Now, we're going to read King Midas!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Throwing things away

Its no secret if you know me that I love to get rid of things-- I am not a stuff person. Lots of stuff overwhelms me and makes me feel like-- phew-- you just cant breathe. On vacation this week, my son saw a soccer commercial and noticed that my husband has a shirt for one of the teams. He was so excited and ran to tell his daddy and then had to add... "Mommy just threw it away!" Awww, so busted. It had been at the bottom of my husbands shirt drawer and was feeling a little wrinkly, so I, um, did in fact toss it away. Today I cleaned out the fridge and tossed some more things. Then I cleaned out under all of the beds which because of our tiny house, we use for storage and threw more things away. I even tried to talk my husband into throwing away a duffel bag from my mom that she gave him his first Christmas in the "family" and he was horrified and went on and on about the sentimental value-- all I saw was a dusty old bag past its time taking up space for, I don't know, just space. Throwing things away is an adrenaline rush-- I feel empowered and on top of things-- which I am not. My daughter and husband like to stash things away and go behind me and pull things out and leave in the wrong space-- ahhh! But, dont worry, I think the longer I am a mom and wife, the more I learn to compromise. However; bottom line, since Mommy cleans the house, Mommy gets the final say... I just need to throw some things away without the kids help :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ka- Ching: Saving some moolah!

Someone let me borrow this book and I have been reading it this week in my spare time and thankfully, it is a quick read since I normally despise nonfiction :) Anyway, I think that Christians should always be the best stewards of their money and be pinching their pennies and investing them to stretch dollars. They have a lot of good ideas and great tips on everything from buying a car (used of course) to making fewer grocery trips. I love their recommendation to have a mortgage payment thats only 40% or less of your monthly income and to always make sure thats based on one spouse's income! Sage advice! Since we are a family of five with one income, we have to get creative with cutting costs, but we still have loads of fun and indulge in our family's favorite guilty pleasure-- eating out :)

1. I cut everyone's hair-- after a few minor glitches, it wasn't that hard to figure out
2. I hang our wash out which can save on average .40 a load-- although, I do ginormous loads with an older dryer, so we'll say .50 times about ten loads a week times a month is 20 bucks. Twenty dollars times six months is 120 dollars that can be put towards something else :)
3. buy used and well, save the difference. Matt and I have been hunting down a patio set at stores, but felt the sets in our budget were really cheap and we have young kids, so well, we need heavy duty! Today at a yard sale I found a really hardy one for 100 bucks! Score! Also, I never buy my daughter's shoes for full price since she shreds them two months in-- sigh-- so, I get them on clearance or used at consignment and/or yard sales.
4. My husband currently can bike to work and this has saved tons of money on gas-- but, if you could work from home one day, that would make a difference too.

Okay, thats a few, how do you cut corners? Do share...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sanatoga Court

Today we are so happy because we are all healthy and can go to Sanatoga Court with our homeschool group! This is so important to me that my kids do this because everyone deserves to be visited and really, remembered. My kids love the elderly-- most of our neighbors fall into this category and we are continuously stopping in their yards and chatting with them on our many long walks. I also think its funny when people think homeschoolers aren't social, because my kids will socialize with anyone and I love them so much for this. They love to sit on the porches with our neighbors and talk and ask them about a zillion questions and then pick their dandelions. Anyway, so today we are going to have lunch at a retirement home in the area and the people there are so friendly! They give us lunch and do a craft with us-- once they put on this incredible fair and it was just a huge blessing for everyone involved. So, I am sorry if this sounds braggadocios, not my intent-- I just want to encourage you to spend some time with those our society likes to forget sometimes. So, even if you cant visit a center, take some love to the people who live nearby who dont get out much or have much company and you'll reap the rewards too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

New way to eat BROCCOLI

Whenever I hear other parents say that their kids don't like veggies I find this hard to understand, cause my kids go for that first on their plate. One of our family's favorites is Broccoli! Here is an easy and really yummy way (with a couple of variations) that hopefully everyone in your family will love.

You will need:

Broccoli crowns cut up into individual florets
olive oil
minced garlic
chili pepper

Place cut broccoli in a medium casserole dish. Drizzle about one tbs of olive oil per broccoli crown over Broccoli. Next, stir in garlic (I like about a tbs or two, but my mom would like a tsp, so adjust to your preferences) and a few sprinkles of chili powder. Stir to make sure you get it all distributed evenly. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes... if it seems to be getting dried out, add some more olive oil.

Variation one-- prepare as above, but place on foil and on the grill. The broccoli is unbelievably good this way-- just turn once or twice-- it will be so moist and tender!

Variation two-- instead of the chili pepper, add about a tsp. - tbs. of balsamic vinegar and stir it around. Again, so good... let me know how it goes for you in your kitchen :) Its nice because its one dish from oven to table!

Parts of a plant lapbook in progress

This morning I ran out to the shed and got the batteries so I could get some cute pictures of my son's work-- he is doing so good and we are all having fun learning about plants and how they grow! Today we made little finger print flowers and turned it into our on little mini-book to place in there and added a book we made two days ago about the parts of a plant. I am so proud of him-- he has been working hard to write all of his own letters and getting them all lined up, so its been a science and "English" project.

I went to www.worksheetplace.com and www.homeschoolhelperonline.com to get some of te pages :)

Also, so exciting, because today our baggy growers are actually growing green beans and we can see the plant emerging from the seed and some roots too!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lap Books

Hello there-- we are going to be trying something new and I hope it doesnt just turn out to be a glorified coloring book, but we are going to try and make lap books. I am designing my own Disney Princess one for my daughter as she is just a little butterfly flitting here and there, so hopefully, she'll consider landing a little to learn from the princesses. I found some fruit of the spirit pages here and there on different lap book sites and have pulled them to create my son's lap book. My camera's batteries are in the kids bubble machine right now, but I will post pics soon to show our progress and how they turn out. In other news, my little baby boy is clapping now and scooting in circles-- where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday it was a dark and stormy night and we were racing to the hospital-- again!! He is so beautiful and was worth it all. He is falling more and more in love with his lovey and yesterday thats what he wanted to fall asleep with-- no cuddles at all with mommy. He is getting so big and we are so blessed to have him. Here he is this Easter :

Monday, April 5, 2010

Growing Window Green Beans

This afternoon we planted some green bean seeds in little baggies. Then, we sprinkled in some water, sealed up the baggies, and slipped two paper clips in each end. Next, we tied some string on the paperclips and then hung them in the windows. This is a fun and simple science project-- which window will have the fastest growing plants? I am hoping we can view the roots as the seed germinates, but it was hard to keep the seeds close to the sides of the baggies. We will keep you posted on how it goes :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pasta Fagiloi Soup

Its late and I am not sure if I spelled the title of the soup right, but, this is my favorite soup ever and I have tweaked it to my tastes, and well, I like it and hope you will too:

you will need:

minced garlic
some crushed red pepper
diced onion (I like about a 1/4 of an onion)
dried basil
some chopped celery (about two stalks should do)
half a bag of frozen spinach thawed
half a box of ditalini or orzo pasta
can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
can of diced tomatoes (14.5 ozs)
can of white navy beans
vegetable broth (I use about five bouillon cubes and then add the right amount of water)
olive oil

In large pot, heat oil. Add diced onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Saute for a few minutes. Salt and pepper. Add broth, tomatoes, spinach, celery, parsley, basil, and bring soup to a boil. Add pasta and beans and simmer on low until pasta is cooked and you are ready to eat. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and enjoy! Voila!