Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thrift Shopping

Today my kids went to Great Adventure with their grandparents. Since I had to work at 6:00, I stayed home. I actually worked last night as well so they slept over. I had last night (I got out of work at 10) and today all to myself. I went thrift shopping with my dear, longtime friend, Joanna.

We had a blast. We always seem to laugh and have fun. We think things are funny that others may not necessarily think funny, but that's ok to us.

I got tons of toys and stuff for Kaiden (toys, bibs, and a pair of jeans.) I got a cool guide to the stars I will save for Jason for Christmas. I got Joshua a pair of Timberland snow boots, that are in great condition. I got a brand new paraffin wax set with 4 lbs. wax. It can do hands or feet. Joanna and I did our hands today and mine are so soft. I also got a few books, including one on the life of Abigail Adams. I am so so excited to read it. I got a puzzle for my brother Matthew (it has a truck, car, etc., and when you pick up each piece they make the sound of that mode of transportation.) I also got a baby gift for my pregnant friend (it looks brand new.) I got some envelopes, thank you cards, and blank cards. I got a like new photo album.

I spent $38 on all above stuff. I am super excited!

For lunch my friend treated and we went to a diner. I had a turkey burger. It was good.

Now I am at work (the kids I watch are already in bed.)

I am so glad to have spent time with Joanna. We have been friend since I was in 7th grade (about 18 years ago.) We were best friend in high school. We spent so much time together I wonder now how we could have had so much to talk about, but we did. But we have not hung out without my kids there for years, so it was nice. I got to see her new apartment (I saw it once before, but that was before she actually had any stuff in it.)

I had a really blessed, relaxed day.

How was your day?


Friday, September 24, 2010

Apple picking

Yesterday we went to Lee Turkey Farm to go apple picking. We also did the corn maze. I love this family run farm. I used to go there when I was a kid with my parents and siblings. Now I enjoy going with my boys. The weather was beautiful and we had a really fun day. We did get too tired to get our pumpkins though.

boys in apple tree
Sam with Kaiden, who is trying to eat an apple
mom & Josh
Kaiden in tree with grandpa
boys on tire swing

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Mouse in My House

Yes, it's true. At almost 1:00am Fri. night my friend, Joanna, and I were chatting and doing at home pedicures. And Joanna said as calm as can be, "There is a mouse on your kitchen floor." I didn't believe her and when I finally looked myself I jumped up unto my coffee table where I proceeded to stay for about 5 min., yelling, "I am moving out!"

This mouse must have felt at home because it just moseyed around my kitchen without a care, until finally retreating under my fridge.

I was so freaked out. I have never seen a mouse in my house.

My dilemma is how to get rid of it (and the many more I know it represents.)

I can't afford an exterminator.
I don't want to use a live trap (I am not going near that thing to release it.)
I don't want to use kill traps (I am not cleaning that up.)
I will not use poison (not around kids, and again I am not cleaning up dead mice.)

What else is there to do?

I am so prepared to make a treaty with the mice, I will supply you all the food you need if you stay out of my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. Stay within the walls or under the house or behind the fridge. Basically out of sight, out of mind (for me.)

This is a very fair arrangement. Now how do I let the mice know my terms? lol.

Seriously, I stuck some fresh mint all over the kitchen (especially under the fridge) as I read it discourages them, but what else can I do? Help!


Still searching

Sometimes I still find myself googling Eric's name. I just did it again. I really like to watch the skate videos he appears in. I like those better than the still photos. Because for a second or two he becomes alive again.

At this point I am still sad, yet now more like, "Why isn't he part of our lives?"

When I want to call him to search out the mouse I saw in my kitchen, or help me with yard work, or try to get him to go get a pizza with us, I remember why I can't. Then once again I am sad.

It is better now in that I cry for minutes now instead of the days, and then hours, that I was before.

It just stinks he is missing out on our lives. It seems that it isn't really complete without him.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Boston Tea Party reenactment

British (a.k.a. Lobsterbacks)(a.k.a Joshua and Joe) guarding the ship with tea from Britain

Colonist (a.k.a. Josh & Joe) dressed as Mohawk Indians with Tomahawks (a.k.a wooden spoons) overtake the ship shouting, "No taxation without representation!"

dumping the tea into the Boston harbor (a.k.a. my yard)

Enjoying a cup of tea just for fun. We tried tea colonist dumped and herbal tea that colonist used when they refused to pay tax on tea from Britain. Yum!

Two Fun Facts: After Colonist (dressed as Indians) dumped tea, they cleaned up mess on deck and even swept the decks clean.
A colonist (not one who was doing the dumping) stole tea that was being dumped, he put as much as he could in his pockets, this caused him to be kicked by all who had seen, all the way home. lol.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I had actually fallen asleep by 10pm, but got a text at 10:40 and now am wide awake. This stinks, since I have to be up at 8am tomorrow (and everyday Mon.-Fri.) Sat. this week I also have to be up at 8 and Sun. if we get up by 8 we can make it to Sunday school (my goal.)

I know, I know cry me a river, but I am trying. And I was in bed asleep, but now my mind is racing.

I guess coming online is counter productive to helping my brain fall asleep, but I was just lying in bed an hour trying to fall back asleep.

What do you do to help you fall asleep?


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Please Help

Please prayfully consider supporting me in the WALK FOR LIFE. It is a fundraiser for our local pregnancy center, where I came to know the Lord 12 years ago (Oct. 1998.) PTL!!!

They do so much check out there website, Solutions Pregnancy Center

They are all amazing and mostly volunteers who care about the woman and men who are in unplanned pregnancy situations. They offer free pregnancy tests, counseling, parenting classes, mentoring, baby stuff (new and used, like diapers and cribs, and clothes.) And they do so much more. They minister to the spirit as well as the physical (kind of hard to hear about Jesus when your baby is hunger or needs diapers, they meet these needs.)

I will be taking donations through Firstgiving. Or you can email me to give a pledge amount (leave full name, address, and pledge amount in email.) My goal is $300, but even $5 (heck even $1) can help. Thanks!


Good thing I love to read

Our new thing this year is reading a book a week to correspond with our history. I mean chapter books.

I have read to my boys since they were babies. It has been an activity we really enjoy as a family. Jason and I would read chapter books like Chronicles of Narnia even when he was 4 years old. I fondly recall we had a tree outside our apartment that we used to climb up in together and read. It was like the tree had two built in seats. It was made for us.
Josh has also enjoyed me reading to him. He was (is) always full of questions, making each chapter last twice as long. But I like that he is thinking about what I read.

Well, I think they enjoy me reading to them too much because the books I intended them to read alone during reading time are now books I am reading with them.

The other night Josh and I spent an hour and a half reading his book of the week. And tonight Jason and I have been reading for almost an hour and a half as well. He is assigned The Secret Garden this week. At 27 chapters, it may be a bit ambitious for a week. But if he does 5 chapters Mon., Tues., & Wed. he will be done in time. Thur. he will start new book (we do history Wed. & Fri., so he has from Thur.- Wed. to read each book.)

It's a good thing I like to read, but I think I will start counting these children's books in with my books, so it doesn't seem like I am not reading at all. lol.

Seriously, how cool is it that I get to read books with my kids? How cool that they listen when I read and still rest their head on my lap, and how cool is it that I get to see the pride in Josh's face when he pronounces a word correctly, or see Jason intently listening to a book? I am so glad to get to share my love of reading with my kids.

On this week's reading list

What does homeschooling look like?

When you think of homeschooling what do you envision?

The beauty of homeschooling is that it can be anything you want it to be. Kids like to sleep in, let them. Early risers? Start school at 6 am. Kids like to be outdoor? No problem, teach them outside.

The other day Josh was having a rough time, so I put him in to rest. Later that day we finished up our work, actually until 10 at night (we both got so engrossed in book we were reading together.)

But it worked, he got his work done, we spent an enjoyable day together (after his time out), and he slept in a bit the next day. Also he is thrilled that we read an entire 20 something chapter book in one day. I am thrilled his reading is improving so much.

We plan to start around 10 each day, but sometimes we start later or even skip a day to play with friends, visit an ailing Grandparent, or learn by doing (the beach is a favorite for us.)

I feel kids today are so structured and scheduled (activities after school daily, sports, etc. etc.) that family and church life becomes secondary or non existent.

My kids are not doing any sports right now (I know GASP!) They wanted to do football. I considered it, I prayed about it, I even signed them up. But it became clear to me that football did not mesh with the vision I have for my family and homeschooling (Jason came to this conclusion on his own. Josh was wavering, but also did not want to have to go to practice everyday, which is required for all of Aug.)

I have nothing against sports in general, my kids have down soccer, baseball, basketball, karate, and even flag football. However all these sports did not meet on Sunday, but now football games are Sun. at 9:30am or 10:30am (we go to church at 10:30am) or require so much participation that family and church are left no time at all.

We are however, making it a priority to spend time together and with our extended family, especially Jason's great grandfather and my grandmother. My goal is to go visit them each once a week.

We also try to have unstructured time with friends, especially time outside.

Honestly, after religious reasons, and Jason special needs, being outside is the best reason I homeschool. My kids are active all the time. The ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, skateboard, and more before, between, and after school. I think the fresh air and exercise helps them focus on school work even better.

Maybe my ideas appeal to you or repel you, but that's ok, because homeschooling is all about what works for your family, not mine.

That all being said this year for curriculum we are using:

Math - Math U See (Josh is Gamma, Jason is Zeta)
History - Jason Story the World 4, Joshua A Child's Study of Famous Americans
Spelling - Sequential Spelling (Level 2 for Jason, Level 1 for Josh.)
Science - Jason we are doing a study on Environmental Science, including building a solar panel, solar oven, and wind mill; Josh we are doing The Human Body, and Life cycles (including a live frog and butterflies.) I have tons of books (lots of USBORNE) to go with boys science
Language Arts - Jason has daily work in Editor in Chief, if Homework Booklet Grammar, Spectrum Reading, and McGraw Hill Writing, he also has to read a book weekly that corresponds with history, and will be learning outlining and researching for writing; Josh is doing First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, he also has to read a book a week that corresponds with History; each boy also has to write daily in a journal, in complete sentences (7 for Jason, 2 for Josh.)

All of the above will be done Mon.-Thur. Wed. & Fri. afternoons we will meet with another homeschool family to do science and history. So Fri. (as long as all week work is done) the kids have no additional work. This time will be used for doctor's appointments and visiting elderly family. We will also tweak as we need to over the year.

What does your homeschool look like? What changes have you made along the way?


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just in case you were wondering

All Aug. bills are finally paid in full (I had to catch up on the sewer bill.)

I also am on track to be able to pay all Sept. bills as well, including the money needed for Jason's science I still hadn't gotten last month.

God is good!

I also am helping a friend get her finances in better shape. I am really grateful God has blessed me with a desire to learn about finances and to live within my means and live His way regarding money (it is all HIS.) I am so glad to be able to share what He has taught me.


Friday, September 10, 2010

The coolest thing

I just discovered I can go online to my library (all the libraries in my county are linked,) and I can put holds on books I want them when they are ready at desk, they call me and I can just walk in and pick them up. I have about 30 books (the limit) in my account. This is so exciting to me.

Each week in Josh's history (I am using A Child's Study of Famous Americans) we do a famous American from Revolutionary War to current day, so I got books coming for first few weeks, and some for me, and some to go with Jason's history as well.

This week we officially started homeschooling. It excites me so! My main philosophy is learning from life and books.

Today Josh and I read A Lion To Guard Us. It is about a young girl and her siblings as they come to America in search of their father in Jamestown. It was interesting to see how hard such a journey was, and to read it through the eyes of a child. I didn't intend to read all 20 something chapters to him, but I did. Josh enjoyed time with me and the story as well.

Jason is doing Story of the World book 4 (which is too mature for Josh this year.) It begins with England, so I am having him read The Secret Garden and The Secret Garden Cookbook to get an idea of life in that time. He actually picked those books (I gave him a list to choose from.)

My goal for each boy is to read at least one book a week that corresponds with the history time period. For Josh I may read to him or find books he can read himself. Fortunately Jason enjoys reading and can read pretty fast, so I think he can handle this. I will be happy, however, to spend time reading to him as well. As occasionally he still enjoys me to do so.

I am so excited with my new library discovery that we actually went to the library twice today. We will be back Mon. morning to pick up more books as well. And return the DVDs we got to watch over the weekend.

Do you use your public library? How often do you go?


Homemade brownies are expensive

(yes, I got weird looks for photographing my kids in the food store)

Jason wanted to make brownies, so as his math today I let him do so. While at the store to buy the semi sweet bakers chocolate I saw boxed brownie mix for $1.

Our brownies cost:
semi sweet chocolate $3.49
organic sugar $.50
all natural baking powder $.05
salt $.01
organic eggs $.99
organic cocoa powder $.05
organic whole wheat (I ground it) $1.00
organic vanilla $.50
1 cup organic butter $1.00

$7.59 total

YIKES!!! Sure with the $1 box, I would have to add oil and eggs, making them cost about $2.50. I did use a lot of natural and organic ingredients, but still. I thought cooking from scratch was cheaper.

No matter what they cost they look delicious.
half of top has chocolate chips, half has caramel

update: they taste delicious too!!!

New school year

Jason 7th grade
Joshua 2nd grade
us by me
being silly

Getting into a schedule is hard

I am not a morning person. I probably would get up about 1:00pm if I had no interruptions. I have been praying about this since Jason was born 12 years ago. Becoming a mom didn't suddenly change me into a morning person.

It is my resolve to get up by 8 am, but this almost never happens. Today I got up at 7:51am. I took a walk with Josh while Jason slept (he likes to sleep in too.) I got home and showered and then started laundry and breakfast. I got Jason up at 9 and we all started school work. But by 10:30 my body was shutting down and I needed a nap. It's as if my body was confused about getting up so early.

What is wrong with me? I attribute this to not being in a routine, so hopefully if I can go to bed and wake up at same time each day I can avoid needing a daily nap, or at least a nap before lunch? lol. Anyone want to volunteer to call me at 8 am each day?


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thanks followers!!!

Thanks for following my blog. I now have 30 followers (plus a car, that it why it says 31 followers.) Yippee, now I need one more by my birthday (Oct. 3rd) so I will have as many followers as my age. Don't ask it just seems good. LOL!

Seriously I appreciate that you want to hear about my life.


Today is Eric's birthday

I invited some friends and family over for a fire, but it was too windy, so we had hot chocolate and played cards inside.

I still miss Eric so much. But it was nice to have mom, Scott, Sam, Kaiden, and one of Eric's friend over in his memory.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10th & 11th books read

I read book one and two of The Pleasant Valley Series. I read them in two days last week, and am still considering them in my summer count (since summer doesn't officially end until the 23rd.) These were good books and I am eagerly awaiting getting the third from my library.

Aug. bills and unbudgeted for spending

Although it is already Sept. I have still been working on Aug. bills. As of right now almost everything is paid. I only ended up being $30 short on bills (which goes towards my sewer bill, which is not due until Oct. 1st, but each month I put $50 away to have money to pay it in full every three months.) So I still have to come up with that $30. But overall not too bad.

It is the first month I did not have everything squared away by the end of month, but I also had a lot of unbudgeted for expenses that were needed and many that were not.

These were:

$20 AC Moore for camp supplies
$30 Shoprite (take out)
$10 mailing a box out
$103 Kohl's clothes for Jason to go away with and for school (paid cash, not put on Kohl's charge)
$20 Wawa lunch
$15 Homeschool magazine
$3 Blockbuster
$33 Amazon (Homeschool stuff)
$14 Target
$22 Blockbuster
$32 cloth diapers for Kaiden
$11 Blockbuster
$29 China Buffet (so not worth it)
$7 Post office
$25 KFC
$45 Cracker Barrel (also not worth it)
$18 more cloth diapers for Kaiden
$78 payment on Kohl's charge (I still owe about $70)
$24 Costco
$58 Whole foods
$9 library late fees

$606 total

This month we spent a lot on eating out, because I forgot to budget food and then never got around to actually going to buy some. It ended up being very costly getting so much fast food, take out, and even going out to eat twice. Plus we wasted a lot renting movies and paying late fees for movies at library.

I am happy to report that despite all this I did get 95% of all school supplies. We just need to pay to chip in for Jason's science at our co-op.

I was able to do so with some extra income from this month (extra work),a donation from my dad, and a dear friend as well. I pray that God blesses them both!!!

I am unhappy to report that last month I opened a Kohl's charge for the coupons, but even after payment this month I still owe about $70. (I used cash for Jason's clothes, but then bought Josh and Kaiden stuff on charge and a baby shower gift as well.) So not worth the interest to get a coupon!!!

So so far for Sept. I need to make up $30 I was short for last month and about $50 for Jason's science. That is doable.

Now to repeat what I do most months, I have to have NO unbudgeted for spending this month!!!

How is your financial situation? Are all your bills paid in full?


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

I love you mom!