Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whew! That's alot of baking!

Today I sort of started my new business - baking bread to sell. The folks that we visit up in Phoenix have wanted me to bake bread for them, so this week I took orders and have been baking all day for our trip up there to visit tomorrow. I baked 8 loaves of bread and 6 dozen dinner rolls! All tolled, it took about 6 hours from start to finish (4 batches) and made my house very hot and sticky (humidity is VERY high today for the desert). But I enjoyed it and hope they all LOVE the bread made from freshly ground wheat and honey. I use a very simple recipe from the Bread Beckers - Slightly Sweet But Simple Bread - and double it. It seems to take a tad more flour than they say, but makes a wonderful bread!

So, anyone have any ideas for a name for my new "business"? Looking for suggestions, just leave in the comments.

This is too funny - my NEW homeschool motto!

I found this over on Why Homeschool and just had to share! I always liked the song "I Will Survive" sung by Gloria Gaynor, but this is just too hysterical - the HOMESCHOOL MOM version! Thanks to Natalie for giving us this encouraging and inspiring video! Plus, this is the first video I have ever managed to put on my blog - woohoo! (And my hubby didn't even help:-) Of course a woman whose life motto is "That which does not kill us makes us stronger" would appreciate, "I Will Survive!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saving Money on Groceries...the EASY way!

I have recently been introduced to a great website that has had amazing impacts on reducing my grocery spending and increasing the value I get for my money. It is My Grocery Deals!

On this website you just enter your area code and then it will find all the grocery stores and pharmacies in your area and list them for you. Under each store, you will find a list of all the items on special that week. You can click on a button to add an item to your list and when you are done, you can just print out the list in order by store and then simply and quickly make your rounds and get the best deals at each store.

This last week was my first time to use this site and I was SO impressed! I was able to get meat for over 13 meals for under $35, as well as eggs for 88 cents/dozen and milk for under $2 per gallon. This was at a store I do not frequent, but it was not out of my way really. And the items they were out of, they gave a rain check for so I can pick them up at that great price this week.

I do not have easy access to coupons and newspaper flyers, so this website is wonderful for me! I don't have to look through a bazillion sales ads in order to find what I am looking for and it prints out a neat list that I can just use as I go from store to store! The best part - IT IS COMPLETELY FREE!! That's right! Just register for free, and you, too, can take advantage of every store's sales each week in your area! Just go to My Grocery Deals and begin!

For more great articles about being frugal, check out the Festival of Frugality hosted over at FIRE Finance.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Watching and Learning from the Olympics

Wow! That's what I have to say about watching the Olympics this year with my kids. It has been a great 2 weeks and we have learned alot. We have had many discussions about different sports and athletes, as well as about good vs. bad sportsmanship, graciousness in winning and losing, etc. Academically, we have done very little, but it has been a great time of learning together.

Have you ever heard of handball (not the kind in a racquetball court) on a field with a team before? That was a new one for us and now my son is hoping to get a homeschool handball team together. We are looking up the rules to learn them and learn about a sport that is very young in the U.S. We didn't even have a team in the competition - but there is hope to have one in the future.

And my kids are VERY interested in learning different swimming strokes and taking lessons - Michael Phelps is such an inspiration, as well as many of the other swimmers. And, of course, my daughter has always wanted to do gymnastics, so this has spurred her on even more.

Beach volleyball and basketball have been the favorite sports of my son and he is very intense when watching, even if we already know who wins:-)! He learned tons about these sports and how they differ from those played in the U.S.

We have played the trivia game daily that is available on DirecTV (don't know if everyone had access to that on MSNBC or not).

There were moments like Bela Karolyi watching Nastia Liuken's performance that were priceless and very entertaining. He is SO uninhibited - a joy to experience! If you haven't seen the clip, please go over to NBC Olympics website and watch it - it is so amusing and uplifting to watch his enthusiasm for the athletes.

If your kids are still small, plan to set aside time to watch the next summer Olympics in 2012. My kids are now almost 12 and 14 and it has been so much fun and so educational for all of us. Sometimes we were up till all hours of the night to watch a game aired live, but it has been so worth it! I am SO glad I set aside the books and just let our learning be about the Olympics and watching and experiencing these games together. Next time around, they may be too old to enjoy to this degree or off and running with their friends. It only comes around once very four years, so this was the time to enjoy it together.

And let me just say that overall, our U.S.A. athletes were great sports - whether winning or losing. There were a few exceptions, of course, but there were so many stories of graciousness and good sportsmanship, that I think these outweigh the few "bad apples". We have a terrific bunch of athletes of all ages and sizes representing us in China at the Olympics this year - WAY TO GO!

For more great homeschooling articles, visit The 139th Carnival of Homeschooling hosted by Life Nurturing Education.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Homeschool Freebies!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has just rolled out their new Homeschool Freebie Directory. Don't miss out on over 40 great companies that have offered free samples and products to homeschoolers! Have fun browsing and have a great school year!

Get Some FREE Food for Your Birthday!!

I just came across this blog that has listed MANY restaurants and other venues that offer free things on your birthday. I signed up for a bunch (who doesn't love birthday presents?) and signed up my kids (whose birthdays are both coming up in September) for those they qualified for, too. Check it out over on Hey Its Free! and sign up for some birthday goodies, too! Can't wait to start receiving my "gifts"!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Have You Wondered Where I Was?

Well, I know there are some of you who read my blog regularly, so surely SOMEONE missed me! We were away on a trip to visit my brother and his family in Maryland. We had a wonderful time and spent a day in Philadelphia visiting the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Franklin Institute. What a great time of learning about history and science! Counts as TWO school days, don't you think? We also visited the famous Philly Cheesesteak capitol of the world where Geno's and Pat's King of Steaks sit across the street from each other in direct competition for the world's (or at least Philly's) best cheesesteaks!! Well, we tried them both and all voted for Pat's King of Steaks! They were marvelous and loaded with meat, cheese, mushrooms, peppers and onions! Not to mention that they were much larger and only $1.00 more. It was a fun adventure for the kids and I.Sadly, my hubby could not get off work to come with us:-( but the kids still had a great time with their Uncle Ric - flying, boating, tubing and more! He is the exciting uncle that takes the kids to do some rather adventurous stuff. So my kids are always thrilled to spend time with him. And now that they have two children, my kids love to visit their cousins - Jabin, 7 and little Josiah, almost 2. I had a very enjoyable time visiting with both my brother and his lovely wife, Karen. And I enjoyed loving on my little nephews - I don't get to see them often enough!

Now I am back and will, hopefully, be blogging on a regular basis and providing you with lots of money saving ideas, recipes and homeschooling encouragement. Please leave me a comment so I know you have visited (especially if I know you personally!) And don't miss the opportunity to win a great giveaway in the previous post about The Schoolhouse Planner and Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

So Much More Than A Lesson Planner!! And a great Giveaway!

I recently received my download copy of The Schoolhouse Planner from The Old Schoolhouse and...WOW! I am way more than just impressed, I think I am overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of items included for only $39.00!!! Keep reading to the end and you can qualify for a great giveaway!

I have to admit that I am a bit skeptical about planning books. I have looked at so many and have never found one that suited me perfectly. Well, I think that is about to change because you can customize exactly what YOU prefer into the perfect home AND school planning book with The Schoolhouse Planner.

First, you have to know that it has 247 pages!! Not to say you will necessarily want to use ALL of them, but you have so many choices that you can find exactly what you want to use and then some! And the Table of Contents is 3 pages long - that's ALOT of contents! It starts out with overview calendars of 2008 and 2009, then under each month from July 2008 through June 2009, it not only has a great two-page calendar for each month, but includes some great homeschooling and homemaking articles, great reference sheets with things like countries and their capitals, presidents, inventions, timelines, states and capitals, etc. They also have included several GREAT recipes each month for you to try (and I am VERY particular about recipes:-) and a page with resources from The Schoolhouse Store to help you find things to supplement your learning.

Then, when you thought that was alot of great resources, the Homeschool Forms begin. They have over 40 different homeschool forms for you to make use of, covering everything from Annual Plans to Field Trip Planning, Report Card and Unschooling Records, and just about everything in between that you could even think to want.

And if that isn't enough to blow your socks off, they have then included Household Forms!! Over 30 of them including Weekly Menu Planning, Chore Charts (including those for kids too little to read), Our Budget and much, much more! Needless to say, this is an incredible value and resource for any family. It will help you get inspired, organized and well on your way to a fantastic year.

Now that you want to check it out for yourself, you can visit The Old Schoolhouse and order yours. This is an E-Book so you can download it right away and print off exactly whichever forms you want to use. Then you have all the others for resources whenever you decide you want to try them, too. It really is a great value at $39.00 - and if you have been reading my blog at all, you know that I am VERY frugal and wouldn't recommend this if it wasn't a fantastic product at a great price.

And while we are visiting The Old Schoolhouse, I recommend you check out their magazine for homeschoolers. I have been receiving and reading it for over a year and have really enjoyed their articles and information. And now you can subscribe to the digital edition for only $16.95!! The cool thing about the digital edition is that you don't have to wait for it to arrive in the mail (I like that since I only get my mail once a week), it is less expensive (32% less), and when you see an advertisement you are interested in, you can click right on a link and visit them. You can also email articles to your friends when you find something they might be interested in. They have articles about schooling in different countries (which really interests me since we live in Mexico), as well as cool science experiments, reviews of homeschooling products and curriculum, and they even include whole unit studies that you can use in your homeschool.

I hope you get a chance to use The Schoolhouse Planner and read The Old Schoolhouse magazine. I really believe it will encourage and inspire you along this incredible journey of homeschooling your children! The Old Schoolhouse has given me one free subscription to the digital edition of The Old Schoolhouse magazine to give away to one of my readers just for leaving a comment. So let me know what you think and if you would like to receive The Old Schoolhouse digital magazine for FREE!! I will be drawing a random name from the comments on August 20th, so don't miss out!

For more great articles about homeschooling, visit The Carnival of Homeschooling hosted by Taking Time for Things That Matter.

Friday, August 01, 2008

An Incredible Kitchen Resource Tool

A couple days ago, I came across this wonderful list of equivalent measurements for use in the kitchen and just had to share it with all of you! I found this at TipNut (a great resource for so many tips!!) and it is 34 Handy Kitchen Measurement Hacks and Tidbits. Check it out and then print it out to keep in your kitchen for handy reference. And to keep it from getting destroyed when you are using it, just place it into one of those sheet protectors (I have all my recipes in those and it has saved MANY from spills) and keep it handy.

It is really helpful when doing recipes from Alton Brown on Good Eats because he insists that measuring by weight is much more accurate.