Monday, January 31, 2011

Science Fair

Tonight was our homeschool group's annual science fair. We only had about 10 projects presented tonight but everyone that participated did a great job. As mentioned before Grace chose a project about popcorn. Her question was: Would the storage temperature of the popcorn play a factor in how many kernels did not pop. This was her first real time of using the scientific method.
She had a good time and did a good job with her presentation. One thing that being in drama has helped with is speaking in public. Doesn't seem to have that much of a problem with it.

Moving and Spending Update

Didn't do to badly on the spending front for groceries. A couple of days ago I spend 28.00 on milk, bread, one bottle of soda, a few snacks, toilet tissue, tea, and dog food. Will probably have to go to the produce store on Wednesday for apples, bananas, and lettuce. Other than that hope to not have to spend any more money on groceries till Friday when I plan for another two weeks. I have 154.59 left to spend. The two week menu plan has worked really well with keeping us on track for dinners. Only had to switch a couple of nights around. We only ate out twice last week not including my dinner out with a friend that was covered by a gift card.

Exercising has gone well this week except for two days when I couldn't because of the tremendous ear pain I had from the ear infection, which is thankfully better. Grace has missed a couple of days here and there. But still has exercised 4-5 days this week. She was disappointed when she stepped on the scale this morning to discover she had gained a pound. I was pleasantly surprised that I have already lost two pounds.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


GROW is a new program our church has started. Actually it started about a month ago. GROW is not about growing our church (adding numbers to our church) but something so much more. Each Sunday our Pastor has prepared a sermon about what GROW actually is. G stands GO - meaning Go out and spread the good news. R - reach, O - out, W - world. Go Out and Reach the World. We get caught up so often on our own little lives, our personal church, etc. It is time to go out and spread the Gospel of Jesus and help those that are in need. Our church started a monthly food pantry 1 1/2 years ago, it has been such a blessing to us all. Last weekend we provided breakfast as well as warm coats and blankets to the families that come to our food pantry, it is open to anyone in the community that wishes to attend. In February we will host another breakfast and hand out new towels, etc. Each month will represent different items that individuals in the community might need. This is just a start. Many more events have been planned. In our Sunday school class we are also studying something very similar. We tend to surround ourselves with other Christians, which makes it hard to find non believers to share the Gospel. I have been very convicted by this as of late. Everyone I come in contact with is already a Christian. There are some blogs that I visit where they are not believers and I try to leave comments that might open doors of dialogue, but nothing so far. Looking forward to seeing where this new program takes us at church and what we can accomplish together for the glory of God.

How We Incorporate Picture Study

There are many aspects of Charlotte Mason's methods that we incorporate to our schedule on a daily basis. According to SCM (Simply Charlotte Mason) you are to do picture study once a week, and it only takes about 10 minutes out of your school day. For the past couple of years that is exactly what we have done, also adding in biographies, hands on art projects, etc. This year life got a little more busy and I decided to shake things up a bit and do it differently. In the above picture there is a plastic picture holder that sits on Grace's desk. We usually study a individual artist for about 6-8 weeks. I purchase postcard paintings from Dover Publishing for each painter that we are interested in. This term we have paintings from Paul Cezanne. Each day a new painting of his is placed in the plastic holder for Grace to see as she accomplishes her school work throughout the day. Well, while I was at the book store last night all the calenders and planners were half off. I have wanted one of these for quite a while, so I just took the plunge and purchased it. Below is a calendar from The MET, each new days brings a new artist of different types of mediums. Each day will bring a surprise as to what we will be seeing. This will also be on Grace's desk to look at each day.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Girls Night Out

A friend and myself headed to a larger town about 40 minutes from us for a girls night out. Of course our "Girls Night Out" isn't what it used to be. As any self respecting homeschooling mother would do - we had to go to a book store and drool over all the great books we saw. Purchased a couple too. After book shopping headed to Red Lobster to eat dinner, with no kids. Yahoo!!! Food was incredible, the company was wonderful. Lots of talk with no little people to interrupt. Of course both of us were back home with our loved ones by 8:00. I think we may need to make this a monthly occurrence.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Artist

This past weekend we created a small art studio in half of Grace's room. I was concerned that once we put all her arts supplies, etc. up there they would go unused. She normally doesn't spend much time up in her room. But I guess I should never have worried. For the past two days right after we finish school she rushes to her room to paint with watercolors.
Below is one of her creations from yesterday, titled "The Red Balloon".

Highlights from Today - So Far

  • Chickens gave us two eggs today - one brown, one green. Grace is having so much fun collecting eggs each day. It has renewed her interest in the chickens again.
  • So proud of Grace with her math today. Past two days have been great. Like something just clicked. Got every problem right today when doing a worksheet on dividing fractions.
  • Just about have the science fair project finished. Hoping to share more about that on Tuesday.
  • Hubby is finishing up a major fantasy painting that he has entered in a contest. Hoping to take a picture to show it off soon.
  • Ear still painful. Was unable to work out last night. But again Grace surprised me and rode her 25 minutes by herself. Maybe the ear will feel a little better tonight so I can exercise.
  • Cooking my first deer roast in the crockpot for dinner tonight. Looking forward to trying it. Soaked it in milk overnight to take any gamey taste out of it. It is cooking alot faster that I thought it would. Also baked some chocolate chip blondies for dessert and probably will make some cornbread to go with dinner. I also have two new recipes to try in a couple of weeks when I am allowed to go grocery shopping again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Word for the Day - Painful

Receiving this in the mail today was one of the high points. Love sitting and reading this magazine cover to cover. Couldn't have come at a better time. The other high point of the day is Grace finally did a math paper of subtracting and multiplying fractions with no errors. Yeah, we can move on to dividing fractions tomorrow. Once we finish that we can move on to decimals. Before the end of the year we need to understand order of operations, distributive property, basic geometry and decimals for the standardized test. Getting there. Here is where the painful comes in. Went to the doctor today- raging ear infection. Very painful. Also had to get a few items at the grocery store. Spent $23.41 on apples, lettuce, spinach, cantaloupe, bananas, milk, soda and juice. Bringing the grand total so far this month to - 217.41. Which leaves us with - 182.59 for the next 3 weeks. I think I am going to make it work. Looking to make some bread loaves in the next couple of days and the chickens have started laying eggs. So next week may see some more produce to be purchased as well as milk.

School Happenings

Last night was all about preparing for the Science Fair. Grace picked a project with popcorn, I won't tell anymore. The Fair is on Monday, will take lots of photos then and explain what kind of project she performed with the popcorn.
I won a giveaway from Big THANK YOU to her. This devotional book is right up Grace's alley. Izzy's Popstar Plan. A daily devotional that reads like a novel. Learning to experience the life God has for you. You can find more out about this book at

Monday, January 24, 2011

Moving Update

The two main goals for me this year was spending less and moving more. The spending less is coming along slowly but the moving more is going well. In the past three weeks I have only taken off one day each week from exercise. Grace is working right along with me. She is really trying to stick it out. Most days we each ride our recumbent bike (me for 30 minutes and Grace has worked up to 25 minutes). When it is pretty outside like today we including (including hubby) got for a walk. It is actually a mostly walk, jog a little kind of exercise. It was beautiful today and we really needed to get out in the sunshine for a little while. Which was kind of weird because when we woke up this morning snow covered the ground and all over the trees. Looked very magical but was not predicted at all. It was 29 degrees first thing in the morning. By lunch time it was 54 degrees and every bit of evidence of snow was gone. Crazy! Me and Grace are very committed to making this work. I now feel lots of guilt if I don't exercise that particular day. Once I got myself into a groove/habit of exercising each day, it has come easier and easier and I don't find myself coming up with excuses to not do it.

Mystery Solved

Meet Betty. This is the chicken that we believe gave us the green tinted egg yesterday. She is actually a cross between an Araucana and game hen. From what I understand we will actually get both green and brown eggs from her.

We think that this chicken might have some Araucana in her also because of the tufts on the sides of her head. But I don't think she will have the same type of comb and her head doesn't seem to be as flattened out. Needless to say we are really enjoying the chickens and can't wait each day to see what they might gift us with.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another Layer

How do we know that we have a new layer? A different color egg. The past 3-4 days we have been given a light brown egg by a game hen we named speckles. Today a green egg has appeared. We suspect from a really big black hen named Betty. Looking forward to lots of eggs and baby chicks in the Spring.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Personal Art Studio

After Grace's art lesson this past Wednesday she said she would really like her own art studio. Actually what she wants to do is kick her 20 yr old brother out of the house, take over his bedroom for her own and use the upstairs loft, which is currently her room, to switch to an art studio just for her. Today she went over to my sister's house to play with a cousin and I went to work. While I was decluttering the school room, I also decluttered her room too and created half of her room into an art studio. Time will tell if she actually goes up there and uses it. Most times you can find her in the TV room or school room, but not in her room. Maybe this will get her creative juices flowing.

New Time Line

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I had purchased the materials to create a time line. I don't know what I was thinking. It all started when I was decluttering the school room and found the above book. It already had a huge, colorful, spectacular time line in it. Next step was to just find a place in our school room to put it. Problem in my schoolroom/sun room is mostly all windows. I decided to move a short bookcase elsewhere in the house to accommodate the time line which did I mention was huge.
I had to put it on the wall in three sections. Did I mention it was huge. lol.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grocery Spending Update

Today was big grocery shopping day. After going to a dentist appt for a much needed cleaning, haven't been in five years. I know, awful! I headed for Walmart and the grocery store. I think for our family of four we are looking at $400.00 a month for groceries. Today between the two stores I spent $193.00 and I feel pretty good that I have enough meals planned to last for the next two weeks. With the spending less challenge that I put on myself we are only eating out once a week (not anywhere expensive), which means three meals a day at home for four people and one is a twenty year old boy. Here are the dinners I have planned for the next two week from what was purchased:

Friday - Baked chicken, potatoes and salad
Saturday - Cheese stuffed shells with sauce and salad
Sunday - Home made pizza
Monday - Pork chops, mac and cheese, corn and salad
Tuesday - Home made Alfredo sauce and noodles
Wednesday - Biscuits, eggs and turkey bacon
Thursday - Deer Roast, potatoes, rice and salad
Friday - Eat out
Saturday - Home made pizza
Sunday - Soup and sandwiches
Monday - grilled hamburgers, chips
Tuesday - Spaghetti
Wednesday - B-Cue chicken, mac and cheese, corn and salad
Thursday - Tacos
Friday - Eat Out

Breakfasts usually consist of cereal, eggs, cinnamon rolls, granola bars, muffins.
Lunches are leftovers, sandwiches or frozen foods like burritos, etc.
Let's see if I can stick to the plan.

Teacher Store

To start this post off I should come right out and admit that I shouldn't go to teacher/educational stores. I just cannot help myself from buying something. I love visual aids and use them often for geography, math, and language arts. The above posters I purchased today are Countries of Asia, Countries of Europe, Australia, Verb Tenses and some Geometry. Our first semester for geography we learned all the countries in South America, now we are going to switch gears and learn the territories of Australia as well as the outer islands including New Zealand and Tasmania.
As I had mentioned in a previous post currently we are using Exploring Creation with Anatomy and are about halfway through the book. We are stopping now and switching gears here also. Before I written about the fact the we were going to use this book for two years instead of just one. I picked up this science workbook that is all hands on experiments, etc. for life science, physical science and earth science. This should be good, Grace was starting to get tired of only doing the human body every week. Next week for science will be all about our science project, the science fair is only one week away.

In May Grace will be taking a standardized test that is required in our state every three years. The above workbook was purchased to get her ready. I will assign a couple of pages a few times a week to get her prepared and not be nervous about sitting for the test. My friend will be the moderator, which will automatically make it alot calmer.

This weekend I plan on constructing a history timeline to hang around the room with the sentence strips in the picture below. Grace seems excited about helping with this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Next Read Aloud

So far this year for literature we have finished the last two books of Narnia and the last three books of the Little House Series. Well actually we have about five more chapters then the Little House books will be finished. We have enjoyed both of theses series so much and have learned so much from them. I have four books selected for our next literature read aloud. Not sure which it will be though. Maybe some input from my readers is needed. Here are the four choices:
  • The Twenty-One Balloons
  • The Trumpet of the Swan
  • Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
  • The Hobbit

For those that have read these, your input would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day In The Life Post

It seems to be the rage on homeschool blogs to post what a normal day (if there is such a thing) looks like with a homeschooling family. So this is my contribution:

7:20 Dogs woke me up to go out to the bathroom. Decided to stay up, eat my breakfast, and check out some blogs on the computer.
8:00 Grace got up, ate breakfast, spent some time on her favorite sites on the computer, and watched a little of Wizards of Waverly Place on Netflix.
9:40 Started school. This is usually our normal time to start each day. Hubby left to go work at the gallery, getting ready for a new show.
9:40 - 12:00 Grace did her Bible, History, Spelling, Literature, Greek, Dictation, and Independent reading.
12:00 Broke for lunch - Sandwich for me and a burrito, chips and apple for Grace.
1:00 Finished up the remainder of school which was Science and Math.
2:00 - Free Time
3:30 - 5:00 Drama Practice
5:30 Picked up pizza and fixings for birthday dinner at my moms.
6:00 - 8:00 Birthday dinner at my moms.

Guess What We Got Today

One of our chickens laid her very first egg. Yeah team!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today's Thoughts

Just couldn't seem to come up with an adequate post title. Random thoughts for today follows:

  • Grace has really impressed me yesterday and today with her school work. Both days she basically got everything done on her own and even on a good time schedule. What is even more impressive - normally I read the chapter of literature each day - the past two days she said, "It's okay, I can just read it." Maybe she is growing up. Science is still a little bit of an issue because I believe some of the information is a over her head and I have to read it to her and explain some of it. But overall I couldn't be happier with how school has gone so far this week.
  • Drama started back yesterday. Yeah! Both me and Grace have been eager to get back to our drama troupe. As mentioned before this go around will be the musical of Alice In Wonderland with Grace playing medium Alice. Our first reading yesterday went well and the kids seemed really excited to get started. We did have a few kids drop out due to finances or not be able to finish school work in a timely fashion. But I think that we can easily fill those spots with kids we already have in the class. Grace has alot of work ahead of her, but looking forward to the challenge.
  • Don't know how to say this in a polite way, but looked out the window today and saw some of the chickens mating. Not sure when we will start seeing some eggs. All the chicks were younger when time changed and nothing happened. Really didn't think I would start seeing anything until March or April because of the weather and time change. Maybe this means we will see eggs a little earlier than expected.
  • Well we got rid of the snow in time for two days of rain. A little sunshine and warmer temps would really be appreciated.
  • Our goal of moving more is going well. Grace and myself have exercised for at least 30 minutes each day for the past week. We may take tonight off just because of scheduling difficulties. Told hubby I want good running shoes for my birthday next month. Me and Grace are going to try our hand at jogging.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Standard Weekend And Some Random Thoughts

Pretty normal around here for the weekend. Snow finally went away, but public school still closed today, go figure. On Saturday my parents took me and Grace to Longhorn's for dinner, very yummy. Sunday was busy with a adoption shower I was in charge of right after church and then back to the church again for the annual chili cook off that kicks off our small groups for the year. Today is back to the daily school grind. Only planned five basic subjects for today - History, Science, Math, Bible, Literature and Independent reading. Ortho appt at 2:00 and first drama practice at 3:30. Looking forward to seeing all the drama kids today. I know Grace is beside herself to get back to it. Today is my mom's birthday but not celebrating till tomorrow night. I think we may have another rooster, hasn't started crowing yet though, maybe just a really big hen. Can't wait for eggs when time changes. Also can't wait to get some baby chicks.

Added later in the morning: I have to say how proud I was of Grace this morning with her school work. I decided since Scott was outside loading up on wood I would take the opportunity to go to the produce store and pick up at 5 items from the grocery store. I left Grace in the house to finish her work. When I came back about one hour later she had finished everything, plus read her chapter of literature on her own which I usually read to her. I wish every day could be this easy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Living Life a Little Differently

I was pondering today about what our life is like now compared to 7 years ago. We lived in a more urban area at that time with all the contraptions of life that go along with it. A house in a subdivision, one child in public school, one toddler in daycare and both parents working outside of the home. Life was busy. Life is still busy but in a different kind of way. We moved to the mountains 7 years ago with stars in our eyes. Looking for a slower pace. Gradually over this last 7 years our minds have changed and so have our lives. We are now in to our 5th year of homeschooling and loving every minute of it. I am now a stay at home mom and hubby only works three days a week while the other four are devoted to his art work, family life and self sustaining. Baking and cooking more from scratch. Gardening has happened in small amounts and will continue to be tried. Chickens have come on the scene this past year. Recycling and budgeting are new to our lives too. In the Spring we are looking in to building a pond and raising trout/catfish, gardening on a larger scale, and raising baby chicks. Exciting to see what the future holds.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Something New For This Semester

As I mentioned in a previous post we have added a few new curriculum pieces to the daily schedule. I wanted to go a little more in depth with what we have added to Bible/devotion time. Grace already reads a story for her Action Bible each morning and right now she is in the section about David. As she will tell you, we have read and studied the first part of the Old Testament backwards and forwards. I really felt the need to do a study on Jesus and his life. She also needed more practice with reading something and then answering questions about it. Not her strong suit. Enters Lifepacs for Alpha Omega. Very simplistic and easy as a starting off point. I chose two of the smaller units from the Grade 6 selections, The Life of Jesus and The Followers of Jesus. So far so good. Grace reads a small section each day then asnwers the corresponding questions.
Here are the table of contents for The Life of Jesus:
  • Background of Jesus
  • Books about Jesus
  • Family of Jesus
  • Birth of Jesus
  • Childhood of Jesus
  • The First Year of Jesus' Ministry
  • The Second Year of jesus' Ministry
  • Third Year
  • Last Months
  • Triumphal Entry
  • Plot to Betray
  • Agony in the Garden
  • Arrest and Trail
  • Death
  • Resurrection

Another Spending Update - The Trip Out of Failure

This no spending thing is really hard. I have been suffering from pressure in my head and ears for about five days and decided it was time to head to the doctor. Plus none of us have been out of the house in three days. Getting a little cabin fever. But I should know that trips out of the house equals money. Here is our day in a nutshell:

Lunch Out for three people - 16.87

Doctor's Office - 20.00 co-pay

Wal-mart - Shampoo, conditioner, soda, milk, cheese, cereal, eye drops, firestarter sticks, popcorn and poster boards for upcoming science fair project, toilet paper, and art supplies for hubby's art piece - 41.34

Produce Store - bananas, apples, lettuce and flat of eggs - 11.30

Grand total - 89.51

I challenge myself to spend no money for the next five days except hubby's gas to get to work.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spending Update

Mostly to keep me accountable to my goal. The snow has really helped get me a kick start to the spending less challenge. On Sunday hubby did have to go to the store on his way home from work to buy some water to prepare for any power outages. We have saved water for toilets, etc. Need some from drinking, brushing teeth, etc. So all of this spending actually stemmed from hubby. I did not spend anything on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.

Walmart - Candy 2.00
Water 6.00

Gas Station - Diner on the way home from work 4.49

So that brings us to a grand total over the past three days of 12.67

Homebound By Mother Nature

Monday morning we woke up to almost 7 inches of snow which is alot in this part of the country. When this kind of snow falls in North Georgia it kind of immobilizes us because most people don't know how to deal with it. Hubby doesn't work Monday - Thursday so no big deal for him but Travis was supposed to work, but they closed the plant. Again Travis tried to leave for work this morning, but it was a no go. Too much ice and snow still covering the roads. He went back to bed. There was much sledding and playing in the snow yesterday. I let Grace take a snow day from school but we are back at it again today. The snow will still be here this afternoon for more playtime. Also today the snow is more wet, we might be able to build a snowman. I did not go out in the snow because I have been battling ear infections (I think) since Friday night. Of course the doctor is open on the weekend and now two snow days where the city is shut down. Hoping to get to the doctor tomorrow. Had to dig out the chickens yesterday , they have not set foot out of their indoor coop at all. Looking forward to some sunny weather tomorrow and maybe getting out of the house for a couple of hours even if it is to go to the doctor. I don't even think the mail ran yesterday.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Randomness Of the Weekend

We are under a winter storm warning in the Northeast Georgia mountains with anywhere from 4-9 inches of snow predicted which will then turn in to sleet and freezing rain. Lots of preparation today after church for the upcoming weather. Mainly getting gas for the generator in case the power goes out, loading alot of wood up on the deck to keep it dry from the snow and on Friday purchased plenty of groceries. Hubby is at work today and will be home around 9 right about the time the snow is to start. Now we just need to sit and wait.

Lots of preparation for this month at our church. Next Sunday I am heading up a celebration for a family that adopted their first child with a light lunch right after church, that same night is our church's annual chili cook-off that kick starts our small groups for the new year. The following Sunday we will be hosting a breakfast and coat giveaway for the families that come to our food pantry each month. There are about 100 families that routinely come each month for food, clothes and fellowship. I signed me and Grace up to help with the breakfast. We helped each month with the food pantry until about 6 months ago when I had to help my parents with alot of health issues then home school started back and there just hasn't seemed like enough time. Hope to get us back involved in that soon.

Working my way through CSI New York season 4 and sewing fabric napkins for the kitchen. Unfortunately my sewing machine is on the fritz so I am doing this by hand. I am thinking of asking for a simple sewing machine for my birthday in February.

Also wanted to update you on my goals to keep me accountable. So far on Saturday and Sunday the only spending taking place was 3.00 at a library book sale, 7.79 at McDonald's for lunch, and 10.00 for gas for the generator. I really need to get it in my head that spending money does not equal fun and entertainment does not need to cost anything. So far Grace has had friends over on Saturday and Sunday and it didn't cost a dime. I need to continue this train of thought. The moving goal is also going well both myself and Grace rode the bike yesterday and plan on doing it again today.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Using What They Love

Grace loves everything comics, manga and graphic novels. I guess it is the artist in her that really loves great illustrations and artwork. I decided to start using some of them to our advantage. She has been breezing her way through the whole Legend of Zelda series and sometimes I will let her read them for her independent reading. The next book I purchased was The Action Bible. We had reached a section in our Bible readings where she was having a little trouble understanding everything that was happening so I switched her over to the Action Bible which is in graphic novel form and she really enjoys it.

Next I was looking at something else on the Internet which then let me to a Comics study from Alpha Omega. It is a very small study and was very cheap, only 4.18. I figured if she didn't like it, it would not be that much money out of pocket. We just started it yesterday, but looks like it might be an interesting study. It pulls from alot of the old comics that you read in the newspapers like Peanuts, Blondie, Family Circle, etc. She is constantly talking about creating her own comic strip and comic strip character but never really follows through. Grace always has great ideas just rarely puts them down on paper. Hopefully this will give her the motivation she needs to get started on a project.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Unexpected Blessing

Seeing as how I just did a post on groceries and saving money, this post is a great follow up. I guess I need to start at the beginning, our son loves deer jerky. None of us hunt or wish too. His boss does, so he told Travis he would kill a deer for him and take it to the processor if Travis would pay for the processing. We thought most of it would be turned in to deer jerky and about 20 small bags were. But our son also just came home with two roasts and about 15 pounds of ground meat. I have to confess I am a city girl and haven't ever really even eaten deer meat. In other words I need your help. I know that I will slow cook the roast in a crock pot with some seasonings. Anything special I need to do with the ground meat? I will just be using it for pasta, tacos and hamburgers. If we like it, the ground meat alone should last us three months. The processing really wasn't that expensive either, just $85.00, and he has enough deer jerky to last him all year.

Full Disclosure

Remember my two goals I wrote about a week ago - moving more and spending less. Well the moving more is going well. Both myself and Grace have done some type of activity 4-5 times in the past week. Grace seems to be on board and while the weather is bad and cold we will be sticking with riding the recumbent bike. Once weather gets a little warmer we are going to try our hand or should I say feet with walking/jogging. My other goal is not going so well, but I am determined to make it work. I think I need to start posting all expenditures to shame me in to stop spending. This past week me and the kids have eaten out at fast food joints at least three times. It's the convenience factor and just getting out of the house. This next week the goal is to eat out only once and also not to buy any more groceries for the house with the exception of milk, eggs or soda. I know one soda! Please folks, one addiction at a time. Here is the grocery expenditures for this coming week that was spent today: Walmart - 56.62 (includes dog food, cat food, snacks, misc. household items), Ingles - 68.79 (Food and two more canvas grocery bags, they were buy one get one free). Also spent 6.43 on a 25 pound bag of chicken food. Okay people, now it is your turn to keep me accountable. No spending this week. No more spending on anything else except gas for the cars and that will be limited. I know some folks may be wondering why I am even buying snack food. Well, the problem with me baking snacks for everyone is that I partake from them way to often and have probably gained 10 pounds since I started the baking from scratch business. Hence the need for moving around more. So I figure there has to be a balance somewhere and I think this may be my balance. Each child gets to pick out two snacks to last for the week from the store, usually a bag of chips and a bag of cookies. Once it is gone, it is gone. So here is my life spread out of the table for everyone to see. No where close to perfect. Just working on it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Cost of Electricity

Before I start with this post I would like to mention that Travis is feeling better today. Okay now on to the nitty gritty. Our house is entirely electric including the biggies - oven, heat and air. As I have mentioned before we have two wood burning stoves that we try to use mostly for heat. I set the heat on 63 at night and if the fire goes out the heat will come on. We have also been conserving the wood we have because the piles are getting very low. In the years past hubby had a truck and was able to haul lots of free wood home. We had to sell the truck a year and a half ago due to mechanical issues. Hubby has grieved over the sell of that truck forever. To get around to my point - we got the electric bill today - $209.00. That is with running the stoves all day and most of the night. Our son's room doesn't receive much of the heat from the stoves because of the location of his room so he has a space heater that is used only at night for a couple of hours when it is really cold. I am stunned that the bill was actually that high. Last month was 154.00. I think I am going to have to take the temp down to 60 each night and see if it makes any difference. Plus November and December we saw many nights down into the teens which is just not normal for Georgia. Looking forward to Spring. How about you?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Unexpected Visit to the Doctor

A little before lunch I got a call from my 20 year old son. He asked me to meet him at the doctor. This morning he woke up with chest pain that once he went to work turned in to more pain and some shortness of breath. He was very upset and scared. Luckily our doctor was able to get us in right away to check him out. Once we got there he did calm down some. Some back history on him - he has alot of digestive issues and has tried a couple of medications to help and some tests for gall bladder issues. Nothing was ever really resolved he has just learned to live with it. The doctor ran an EKG which came out fine. Blood pressure, pulse, etc. also good. Travis has been under alot of stress lately too with the whole car issues we have been through over the past couple of weeks. The doctor felt like between the stress and his digestive issues plus maybe some inflammed tissue in the chest walls all contributed to his symptoms. She put him on a medication that is part anti inflammatory and part nexium. If he is still have symptoms in the morning that haven't improved at all she wants to send him for an ECHO. He already feels somewhat better knowing that he isn't having a heart attack or something of that nature. Really freaked him out.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to the Daily Grind

First day back at school. Need I say more. Actually for a first day after a two week break, it went very well. We had a great motivator. My sister needed me to watch my nephew today (public school doesn't start back till tomorrow), so Grace wanted to finish all her work without any breaks so they could play after lunch. Maybe I should bring him over more often.

I have started making cloth napkins for the kitchen. Last year we stopped using paper plates, napkins, etc. so I crocheted alot of dish rags that we tend to us as napkins at the dinner table. I haven't quilted in a couple of years - had lots of leftover fabric. Decided to cut to napkin sizes and hem the edges. Instant napkins. I will take a picture after I get a stack of them finished.

For those who read yesterday's blog entry, everything turned out okay with the defective car. Hubby took it back to the dealer today and they could not have been nicer about the situation. Especially since it as a used car (sold as is). Very grateful to have that behind us. Of course now that means more car shopping. Will it ever end.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

When It Rains It Pours

One of the running jokes around this house and with our family is the fact that our son Travis can't keep a car longer than a few months. For the past 3 years he has owned three different BMWs and the same Miata twice. All of these have been used cars. The Miata was purchased once then sold to another individual then traded back for a BMW he had purchased. All the BMWs have had problems and the last one died with a cracked head about 5 weeks ago. We have been playing musical cars since that time, and also borrowing one of my parents cars to fill in some gaps. Travis had finally decided to purchase a newer car that would be reliable and have low mileage. Finally found what he wanted at a dealership two hours away, went to look at it, liked it and bought it on New Year's Eve. Driving home that night he noticed the headlights flickering on and off and the dashboard lights. It has continued and he has done some research on the Jeep Commander and found out they have multiple electrical issues. Luckily hubby is the co-signer and hasn't signed the papers yet. Called the dealership and they want to fix it at now charge to us. But very leery about keeping the car because of everything we are reading online about the electrical issues. Poor Travis. He feels like he just can't win with cars. Please pray that this whole situation will work out to the good and that Travis can finally have a dependable car.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Getting Ready For The New Year - Schooling

All in all school has gone well so far this year. Grace is definitely working more independently with most of her subjects on a daily basis. Is there room for improvement? Always. Do we need to change things up? Just a few things. We have been on Christmas break for the past two weeks. Definitely time to get back on schedule. I am hearing alot of the I'm bored phrase. Subjects that are working and won't be changed are as follows:

Math - I created my own curriculum this year and it really seems to be working. I have implemented alot of review. If we don't review often, Grace just forgets how to solve certain kinds of problems. Taking it slow, but I really feel like she is getting math this year.

Science - We are halfway through Exploring Creation with Human anatomy and Physiology by Jeannie Fulbright. Learning alot. Also using the journal that goes with it. Not every single activity or page, but making it our own. For anyone reading this I would not recommending using this book until 5th or 6th grade or maybe even for middle schoolers. Lots of medical terms sometimes confusing and above the child's head.

Greek - Going in to our second work book of Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek. Surprisingly, Grace really likes this. The first book was very easy learning the alphabet which she has down pat. Second book will be a little more intense with learning words and some phrases.

Easy Grammar - Still working through this book and will continue to through another year or so. Can't say enough about this programs. Has really taught us alot. For a couple of months we were working on the sections that dealt with Capitalization and Punctuation now going back and reviewing what we learned at the beginning of the year to move on to new items.

Literature - Still working through our literature choices for the year. Finishing up the Little House Series then moving on to The Hobbit.

Some New Additions and Changes:

Bible - Added The Action Bible for her daily Bible readings and just ordered two packets from Alpha Omega to started studying about Jesus' life.

Spelling - Still using our spelling book from Queenhomeschool - Learning to Spell through Copywork, but adding We have worked through the first 8 lessons of the book, now going back and reviewing those word lists by using Spelling is one of Grace's biggest weaknesses and needs lots of work.

History - Two more chapters to finish The Story of the World Ancient Times then moving on to volume two Middle Ages. Adding the companion testing book to be used as follow up questions for each chapter. Also will continue with one written narration each week.

Art - Continuing private lessons with her art teacher. Have ordered two packets from Alpha Omega - Comics and Perspective to work on at home and with her art teacher each week.

Some things to look forward to is drama practices and performances of Alice in Wonderland.