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My first Homeschool Convention

Well, it’s finally here. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is. This fall my eldest will start kindergarten and so begins my homeschool mom career. I graduate from seeing myself as a homeschool student to embracing the role of homeschool teacher.

It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I have all these ideas of projects I want to do with the kids that I’ve collected over the past few years, but putting ideas into action is a whole other bird. And lets not forget that it’s been 14 years since homeschooling has played any part in my daily life.

Thankfully, I’m not left to the wolves to figure out what I’m doing. I am so fortunate and excited to be able to attend the 2014 Teaching Parents Associations Homeschool convention! It’s May 30th and 31st at the Century ll Convention Center in Wichita, KS, and you can check out TeachingParents.org to register.

I always wanted to go as a kid, but alas, mom always left us home. I can’t say that I blame her though. I’m not taking my 5, 4, and 2 year old with either (though the 5 month old gets to tag along this year.)

The workshops look amazing! A couple of the breakout sessions that I’m looking forward to are Combining Homeschooling and Unschooling and Hands on Kindergarten & First Grade. You can go here to find the schedule for the weekend

And I am SUPER excited to get to hear Tim Tebow’s mom Pam Tebow share with us from the wisdom she’s gathered over her many years as a homeschool mom as well as her ministry with her husband.

I can’t say that I have too many expectations for the convention since it’s my first year, other than getting two days without kids to get recharged and fired up about the upcoming school year!

I’ll be tweeting throughout the convention, highlighting some of the the amazing information and products I come across. You can follow me @ComingupGreen and I’ll be using the hashtag #TPAConvention. You can also follow me on Facebook!

Are you going to a homeschool convention this year? Any tips for this newbie?!

Blog Posts to help you save money

help you save money

Hey all! Just wanted to take a few minutes and share with you a couple of blog posts I found this week that can help you save money. There are a lot of articles and blog posts out there that share tips to save money and lower expenses, but most of them site the same things over and over. For those of us who have been on the frugal journey for a while, it can be difficult and a bit frustrating at times trying to find new ways to trim the budget. Two blogs that I follow recently shared their list of ways they save money for their families.

The first is from Abbi at Proverbs 31 living. She shares 100 Ways You Can Save Money This Year. Abbi is always trying new things with her family. There are some things on the list that you probably have heard before or are already doing, but with 100 ideas I’m sure you’ll find several things to help you save money! I love the way they take little things and make fun experiences for their kids like using empty ketchup bottles filled with water and having water fights with them on hot days!

The second list of ideas was shared by Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker. She gives some great ideas to help you save money in her recent post Cutting Expenses When You Think You have nothing Left to Cut. Brandy has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to “trimming the fat” and making things stretch. Take some time and check out the rest of her site while you are their. You will be inspired and in awe!

Do you have any great ideas or tips not found on either of these lists? What was your favorite idea that you plan on implementing?

Let us know in the comments and be sure to share this with all your friends who are trying to save money!

View Food Matters for FREE through Dec 10th

Food-Matters-poster-horozontal 2

Right now you can watch the documentary Food Matters for free online through December 10th. Joel and I both love this documentary and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to feel better, healthier, stronger, and wants to stay out of the Doctor’s office.

Food Matters discusses not just the types of food you put into your body but the quality of food as well. It also takes a look at what different kinds of foods do to you, for good or bad.

I would strongly encourage you to take the time and watch this documentary if you haven’t yet.

 

Have you seen Food Matters yet? What were your thoughts?

Monday Mommy Confession #56

Hi, my name is Libby. I almost never have time to do anything but throw my hair back in a wanna be bun and I’m even less likely to wear make-up. I don’t own any “cute shoes”, unless you consider my black low top chucks cute. If I’m lucky I remember earrings and a necklace, but it’s usually a rotation between the same three and I can’t tell you when they were actually purchased, actually they are mostly hand me downs from my mother (don’t worry, they are “classic” pieces.) You won’t see me with a cute scarf or outfit for that matter because I don’t own any to speak of. IF I paint my toenails it sticks around for months. On Sunday mornings I decide what I’m going to wear based on the last time I shaved.

I’m not the put together Church-y mom. Sometimes I wish I was, but in reality most days I make my way through the church doors I just hope I don’t look like too much of a hot mess.

Did I mention I’m the president of the women’s ministry at my church? I must admit, I don’t think I “look” very presidential.

I am as real as it gets friends. Not to say that those who have figured out what works for them, fashion wise, aren’t real, I’m just saying I can only go up from here.

It’s not like I had it and then lost it when I had kids. No, it just was never there. During my teen years I wore baggy XL t-shirts and men’s wide leg jeans to hide my body (which was amazing by the way, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.) I wanted to dress modestly and the best way I could think to do that was to have everything hang off of me. My hair was always pulled back because I didn’t know what to do with it. My senior year in high school I started to figure some things out but I still wasn’t great.

Monday Mommy confession

Senor year spring missions trip. I was totally rocking my goodwill grandma poly shirt and my wide leg jeans. This was the first time I ever had any kind of confidence in my appearance.

The thing is, I know what looks good. I just don’t have the money or the time to put it all together. Or there’s the fact that things don’t always “fit” for me. I l.o.v.e. boots. I have yet to find a pair of boots that will fit over my muscular calves. Then you have to consider the modesty aspect. I have set the modesty bar high in our house. Not everyone will feel it all necessary, but I do. I am the example to my girls of what beauty and modesty translates into. Sometimes I think I’m doing ok, most times I think I’ve got the modest part down, but not the creative expression and beauty part down. Shopping for modest, creative, and beautiful clothes can be so challenging that I give up and stick with the same old clothes I’ve been wearing for years. Often I feel like I’m conveying modesty survival mode.

I hope and pray I’m not in this place forever. At some point God will provide the money for me to create a new wardrobe. I just pray when that time comes that I won’t run and hide because it’s so time consuming, or because it’s difficult to spend money on myself. Regardless, I don’t know that I will ever be that person who always looks put together. At the very least though, I would like to get it right for church and date nights.

What’s the point of all this? I don’t know, other than you are ok right where you are at. And if no one else gets it or you, know that I do and you are not alone. You are beautiful and you are so much more than your hot mess outfit and hair.

 

Have you ever walked out of the house after doing the best you could, hoping you don’t look like too much of a hot mess? Share some comment love below and help a girl feel less alone in her hot messness!

Thanks for joining me in my mommy confession!

A Light for my Path From Apologia-A Review

A Light for my Path

When I found out I was going to be able to review A Light for my Path from Apologia I may or may not have squealed and did a happy dance. When I received the book in the mail I discovered that my excitement was well founded! A Light for my Path is an ABC book based on Psalm 119. It uses the alphabet to teach sound Biblical principals about God in a very simple and repetitive way so that young children (mine included) can internalize some of the qualities of God’s character described by King David in Psalm 119.

A Light for my Path

Each letter starts with declaring “God’s word, Law, Statutes, Decrees, Commands, and Precepts are…”. It then gives a descriptive word that corresponds with the letter on that page. For example “D” is “delightful”, “M” is “merciful”, and “S” is “steadfast”. I get excited about this book every time I sit with my girls to read it because I love knowing that by just sitting down with them and working with them on their alphabet I am also instilling in them a spiritual foundation that God’s Word, law, statutes, decrees, commands and precepts are positive and at a young age we are establishing a framework for their faith. Both my 3 yr old and almost 5 yr old have already memorized the first page of each letter and take turns reciting it. They are so proud of themselves and it’s already started discussions about what the different words mean.

Each letter is also beautifully illustrated giving a single animal/bug from God’s creation in it’s environment. It also shows the animal/bug from the previous letter in the background leaving. The name of the animal isn’t written on the page which helps to keep the focus on the descriptive word. However, if you’re like me, you may not know a couple of the names of the animals so the writer has included a lists of all the names of the animals and the corresponding descriptive word in alphabetical order at the front of the book. The girls love taking turns naming the animal for the current letter and finding the animal from the previous letter on the page.

Another amazing thing about this book is that after the English alphabet they’ve included the Hebrew alphabet and the corresponding verses.

A Light for My Path

Here’s what the writer David Carman had to say about it:

“Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem, a literary composition in which the writer uses the letter of a word or alphabet as the initial letter for a series of lines or stanzas. This particular poem is divided into twenty-two stanzas, one for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The twenty-two stanzas of Psalm 119 occupy the last twenty-two chapters of the book. The corresponding Hebrew letter for each stanza is shown at the top of the page along with it’s English spelling to help you pronounce the letter correctly.”

It’s not something you have to teach your kids. If this was only an English alphabet book it would completely stand on it’s own, but what an amazing additional tool to use with your kids. The old testament was written in Hebrew. What a great opportunity for your kids to learn early the letters of the Hebrew alphabet so that later if and when they want to study the old testament they already have foundation in the language.

Are you ready to run out and purchase your own copy of A Light for my Path? You can head over to Apologia.com and purchase your very own copy for $14. My husband and I agree that it’s well worth every penny. This book would be a great addition to any home with small children and with Christmas right around the corner, it would make a wonderful gift as well. I really can’t say enough good things about this book.

This review is part of Mosaic Reviews. Head over here to read what other reviewers thought about A Light for my Path as well.

 

 

 

Grateful

Grateful

I’ve been thinking about all the recent blessing in my life that I’m grateful for for a bit and a recent comment on one of my posts prompted me to share this today. I so easily forget to stop and “count my blessings” and foster a grateful heart. God has been so generous to us and has graciously given us so many blessings. Rom 8:32 say that if God didn’t even withhold His only Son, even to death, will He not along with Him Graciously give us ALL things! We didn’t deserve salvation through Christ and we don’t deserve His daily grace, but because of Christ’s sacrifice, His death on the cross and His resurrection and defeat over death, we can be counted as a child of God with whom Christ lavishes good things on, small and large, seen and unseen!

I know I need to update everyone on how I did the rest of July on my frugal and money making goals, but I felt it was more important to share this with you first.

 

I want to list some of the blessings God has given us lately that I am overwhelmingly grateful for.

 

  • Finding an amazing, Godly midwife that is willing to not only deliver in my home, but who also has the equipment for me to have a water birth in my home, which has been a dream of mine since our first child.
  • God has open the door for us to start a small missional community through our church. We had been sorely missing the fellowship and community after we moved from Nebraska. It’s so wonderful to personally connect with other believers and grow with and encourage each other.
  • Our pastor had some issues with their family freezer and had a lot of beef that defrosted and needed to me cooked right away. They graciously gifted us with quite a bit of ground beef that will last us for several months, possibly the rest of the year with how little meat we use. We had been out of ground beef for a couple of months and it really wasn’t in the budget to stock up.
  • We had a family in our church gift us with their surplus of pickling cucumbers as well has their pre-school busy activities. They are a homeschooling family and their youngest is too old to use them. They saw that we were just starting in this whole process of homeschooling and felt we would be a good home for their pre-school stuff they no longer needed.
  • We accidentally over paid last month on one of our utilities and was credited back the money on this month’s bill.
  • I’ve been getting up early to walk in the mornings so that I can hopefully start labor earlier than the previous three children. I’m starting now to build up stamina, plus it’s just good for me. The bonus is the awesome times I’ve been having praying for the day, my family, my church, and my city. I’m then awake enough when I get home to have a quick devotional and get started for the day. I’ve still been tired when I get home but it’s been nice to already be awake when the girls wake up and get a few minutes to talk with Joel before he starts his day.
  • We had several meetings at the church which have had potluck dinners. What a blessing to be able to bring something to share, but not have to worry about the whole meal. Plus, because of smart shopping, what I brought cost us only $2 plus my time to make it, which is half of our budget for a meal.
  • Our Zucchini and squash are doing quite well and I’ve been able to start processing and putting them up for the rest of the year as well as enjoy some yummy homemade sweet bread! Over all the garden is doing well for our first year. So far I have frozen enough zucchini and squash for 62 loaves of sweet bread! I can also add it to soups as well.
  • We had VBS at our church last week and Joel and I taught the lesson two of the five days. The other three I had the evening off and Joel had two of the three evenings off (her ran sound for one of them) I was able to go grocery shopping by myself one night, do some catching up on house work in the peace and quiet (Lucy went to sleep and Joel was at church that night), and spend some time with Joel the third night.
  • This may seem silly, but Recycle bank added gifts cards to their redeemable items for points, one being a $5 amazon gift code. We have the program with our city recycling but I hadn’t found anything that was worth spending my points on that would be beneficial to my family. I have already redeemed a $5 gift card and am working on another one. This will help offset the expense of pull-ups that we still need to purchase for night time. Yes I see this as a gift from God. Nothing goes on without His knowing and He knows my needs and desire far better than even I do.

There is so much more, but I will stop there. It’s so wonderful to see God’s hand in our lives and I look forward to see what else He has in store for us. We have some big things we are praying for that only He can make happen. It’s exciting to wait and see how He is going to work all thing together for His and our good.

 

What are some of the blessings God’s sent your way recently?

I’m linking this to encourage one another Wednesdays!

How Do They Do It?

How Do They Do It?

Well the family has come and gone, the county fair is over, both parties I hosted at my house are past, and I’m exhausted. The fear that my house is going to fall back into shambles is looming over my head. I worked for a week to get it in ship shape and another week maintaining it until all was said and done, and once my siblings pulled out of the driveway Sunday afternoon I collapsed. I was done. The last two weeks had caught up with me and my body would do nothing else. There was no nap though because baby girl slept through lunch at the pizza place and was now wired, though Joel offered to watch her I had a new laptop to check out (Joel surprised me with a new one on Friday!) Now I have spent my whole week playing catch up and I feel like I’m not gaining any ground. It seems like the only time I can get ahead is if the girls are out of the house and I can just plow through.

The problem is, I want to be able to maintain my house without having to send my kids away. I want to be able to spend time with them and have fun and still have clean clothes and dishes to eat our meals on when we need them instead of washing them as we need them. I want to be able to blog, and volunteer, and read, and nap, and garage sale, and sell things online, and make my own bread, and garden  without feeling like the house and the laundry goes to hell in a laundry basket. I don’t expect a perfect house, I have three girls five and under after all.

So my question is “How do they do it?

How do these mom’s manage to keep their house running, enjoy their kids, homestead, and work from home and still sleep?  This isn’t a pity party, I’m just trying to be real. I’m searching for answers. I know if I started reading some blogs and such I could find the answers but let’s face it, I don’t have the time to just sit and search. I really don’t have the time to be writing this blog post right now but I’m doing it anyway because I need to get out of my own head space for a little bit.

I’ve thought about what I can cut out but most of what I’m doing is just life. I’ve just added in getting up early and walking in the mornings because my new midwife informed me that the best way to induce labor so I don’t go so long ( Lucy was 43 1/2 weeks) I needed to be walking 4-5 miles a day by the end of the pregnancy! Obviously I can’t just jump into that at the end when I’m huge and tired, so I’m starting now with 20-30 min or about 3/4 of a mile. It’s something I NEED to do and I’m enjoying the alone time in the morning before the girls get up, but it’s one more thing.

I sometimes wonder how mother’s back in the day managed to wash all their clothes by hand and hang them out, tend the animals and the garden, churn the butter, grind the wheat and bake the bread, preserve all the food, make their clothes, and so much more, all while caring for their small children and no technology to entertain them. I’m sure their children became involved, even responsible for some of the smaller chores at a much younger age then we would with our children, and I’d like to start involving my girls more, but the question is how? And since I don’t have time to stop and create a game plan, the cycle continues.

What’s going to have to happen is the girls are going to need to go away for a couple of nights so Joel and I can regroup before the fall and get some bigger projects done that are much harder to do when you have children interrupting you ever 2 minutes. We need a breather with each other. We don’t need to go away, just feel some sense of accomplishment and get on the same page. We need a new game plan before this baby comes and we need some time to pray and seek God as to where He is leading us next. Hopefully that can happen next month, after VBS is over.

Now it’s your turn. You can either post a question in the comments below or you can generously share with the rest of us a tip or two (or three, or four, or five), big or small, that helps make your life less crazy. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

July Frugal and Money Making Update-Wk 2

I’m a little more on the ball this week with my July frugal and Money Making Update so you’re getting this the first half of the week instead of when I’m nearly a week behind. It was an interesting week, and at first I didn’t think I did much, but the more I thought about it I realized that I was doing things that were frugal without realizing it! This encourages me to take more time to think outside of the box and find other ways that are not so conventional to save money.

July Frugal and Money Making Update

July Frugal Update

  • We were able to have the a/c off for one day last week which was a nice surprise. I actually got cold at one point because we still had the fans going and since it was raining all day it had stayed quite cool outside.
  • I didn’t use the dishwasher all week. The plan is for this to become a regular thing, only using it when we have a lot of company. Though the dishwasher was new when we moved in, it doesn’t clean very well, takes FOREVER to run, and I have to pre-clean everything that goes in without the guarantee it won’t need to be cleaned again when it comes out. Now that all the dishes are caught up, I’m having a much easier time staying on top of them. I’m using the dishwasher as a drying rack!
  • I borrowed my in-laws carpet cleaner and used solution leftover from when we clean the carpets of our house in Omaha to put it on the market. The dining room needed attention before I had two parties and house guests so I was thankful to be able to get that cleaned.
  • I picked up some closeout and manager markdown items at the grocery store to add to our pantry. I’ve already used some of the milk and a bag of the mixed organic berries!
  • For one of the parties I used a free jar of cheese dip for a snack that I got with an e-coupon.
  • The girls played in the water outside on one of our hot days with the neighbor boy. I used the well water by the garden instead of the city water, so we only had to pay the little electricity to run the pump.
  • I dehydrated some basil from our CSA box. This was timely, because I was running low on dried basil.
  • We got more free mulch for our garden and the yard from the city.
  • We’ve started harvesting yellow squash, zucchini, and we picked and shared our first tomato of the season!

Some Not so Frugal Moments

  • We rented a Redbox movie using a $1 off coupon (Yea!) but we forgot to return it for several days (Boo). I love Redbox but we don’t have one nearby making it sometime hard to get it returned in a timely manor.
  • I had a load of laundry I didn’t get out on the line quick enough and I had to rewash it.
  • I didn’t make a very good grocery list and didn’t write down the estimated price. This lead to me ending up spending FAR more then I planned. Some of that was the closeout items and markdowns I talked about, which I didn’t mentally plan on finding.

Financial Goals

Not much to say here. I spent most of the week cleaning and prepping for the parties.

Blessings

I wanted to share with you some things that are helping us save money, but are nothing we are doing ourselves. They are God using others to bless and encourage us and in someways save us money as well.

  • I was fortunate to have a large enough party that as the host I got $100 in free product, which blew my mind! And since we don’t use paper diapers (which is what mom’s at our church are given when they have a new baby) the women’s ministry at church gave me money to spend at my party which allowed me to get some organizing items to help our house run smoother! We are, after all, going to be a family of 6 soon enough and I can use all the help I can get staying organized!
  • My in-laws invited us to dinner twice last week! This allowed me to shift those meals to different days and stretch our food budget further.
  • My friend brought me cookies as a thank you for hosting the party for her business. Boy did I need them that day! Sweets don’t get very much of our budget so this was a wonderful treat!

 

That’s it for this week’s July Frugal and Money Making Update. What have you done lately to save or make money to help your bottom line?

 

I’m linking this to Homestead Barn Hop and Homemade Monday!

Monday Mommy Confession #55

Do you ever let your kids get a toy that you are sure they are going to lose interest in literally days after they get it. You know this, but you do it anyway because, well you need them to be entertain TODAY. I had one of those toys find it’s way into my home at the beginning of summer when we were out garage sale shopping. It was a stuffed dinosaur, and Sammie had her own money that was burning a hole in her pocket. She was determined to find SOMETHING to spend her money on and that dinosaur caught her eye. At $.50 I felt it well worth it, though another stuffed animal was the last thing we needed in our house. I knew, just knew she was going to forget about that thing within days of it entering into our house.

Here’s a picture Sammie and the dinosaur. As you can see it’s really nothing special.

Mommy Confession

But to my great surprise, two months later, she is still playing with that thing, even sleeping with it at night. It has risen ranks over beloved teddy bears and kitties, and even baby dolls. Can you believe it?! What a lucky dinosaur!

So here’s my mommy confession for the week: Mommy isn’t always right. Sometimes our kids see something that we don’t. I didn’t find that dinosaur special in anyway. My daughter found it to be quite huggable.

 

What’s your Mommy Confession for the week? Have you ever given or let your kids have something you were sure was going to be making it’s way back out the door in short order only for it to become a prize contender for your child’s attention?

July Garden Update-2013

July Garden Update

It’s already July and I haven’t told you anything about our garden this year. Shame on me! So here is my July garden update. Come take a tour with me!

July Garden Update

We planted five Zucchini plants, this being the largest of them! Thus far we’ve harvested 5 zucchinis and I can’t wait to use them!

July Garden Update

We planted 7 potato plants and they are doing great! I’ve never had potato plants look so healthy. It will be interesting to see how the potatoes turn out.

July Garden Update

These are our bell pepper plants. They aren’t very big and has only produced a funny shaped bell pepper. We did get them planted late and I saw quite a few blooms today so I still have hope for them. They haven’t withered away yet so that’s something!

July Garden Update

These are our cantaloupe. They are looking healthy as can be though they haven’t produced anything let, though when they do I think its going to be great! We are training them to grow towards the corn so they are all going one direction.

July Garden Update

Our corn isn’t as far as everyone else’s but it’s doing ok. This was the last to be planted and we had “help from Emma so a couple of the places have two stalks coming up instead of one. I also think the squirrels helped themselves to a few kernels as well as we had at least five spots where nothing came up. It will be a late harvest but I’m still excited to be growing corn. There is sweet corn and popcorn shown in the picture.

July Garden Update

This is our yellow summer squash. I harvested our first  one yesterday morning and there are several growing. I think they are not going to disappoint!

July Garden Update

These are our green beans. We didn’t order enough netting and keep forgetting to order more so they are all over the place. Every time I go in to weed the girls seem to create some crisis and I have to stop. You can’t get much weeding done when you’re only at it less then 10 minutes. We’re working on it though and despite the way they look they are healthy!

July Garden Update

These are our cucumbers. They are just starting to grow babies, so give it another week and I think we’ll be harvesting cucumbers. I believe I planted pickling cucumbers so I guess I better get on finding a good recipe for pickles!

July Garden Update

These are our Pinto beans. They are doing amazing! It’s been wonderful watching them grow and yesterday when I was watering them I found beans growing along the bottom! These are experimental. We use a lot of pinto beans in our house so we are curious to see how many beans we get and figure out if it’s worth it for us to grow our own right now with out limited space or if we should just buy for now.

July Garden Update

And finally the tomatoes. We are growing three kinds of tomatoes, though don’t ask me specifically what since I don’t remember at this moment. We didn’t get tomatoes or peppers started in the house this year and due to the weather staying cold longer this spring it was too late for us to start them from seed outside. So we hit up the farmer’s market and got some plant at a pretty good price. I prefer putting our money into the local farmer’s whenever I can. You can’t see them very well but they are doing pretty good. The tomatoes in the center are paste tomatoes and are determinate, though when we bought them we thought the were indeterminate. The tomatoes and either side are determinate and are vining up the twine we ran for them. I didn’t do a great job of suckering or wrapping them around the twine in the beginning so some of them got a little unruly, but over all they are doing good. There are several tomatoes starting and yesterday I found our first ripening tomato!

There you have it folks, our garden in all it’s glory. We are using the Back to Eden method which I will get around to blogging about one of these days. In the mean time you can go here to learn more.

I’m linking this to Homestead Barn Hop!

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