Homeschooling Is Not For Wimps

This year, I embarked on one of my biggest adventures.  My husband and I decided to try our hand at homeschooling.  So, with no experience whatsoever, I signed up to not just home-school my son, but also my daughter.

I didn’t share this information with a lot of people.  Of course, our family knew, as did a few friends.  Why did I keep it under wraps?  I suppose I didn’t want to make a big deal.  I didn’t mention it a lot in this blog.  Maybe I was afraid of failure.  The fewer people who knew, the better.

We had a lot of reasons to try it out.  Surprisingly to me, my main reasons did not include opposition to Common Core, or the curriculum being taught in the schools.  I could see my son struggling to understand certain subjects.  I saw how the teacher would spend a little time on it (realizing it was not her fault…she was following the schedule the school put on her), and then move on to the next lesson, whether he understood or not.  We spent hours working on homework.  I could see the frustration…I felt frustrated too.

We also decided we wanted our son to stay a kid for a little bit longer.  Kids in school are exposed to so many things, at an earlier age than my husband and I were.  We also dealt a lot with bullying when my son was in school.  We wanted to protect him for as long as possible.

Homeschooling my daughter was almost an afterthought.  Her birthday falls just barely before the cutoff date & I wasn’t planning on sending her to school this year anyway.  I went in teaching her with very low expectations…not to be mean, but she was very young in the beginning (she was 4 for almost 6 weeks into school).

I remember that first day of school like it was yesterday.  I got up that morning, ate breakfast and started surfing Facebook.   I saw the pictures.  Kids standing on their front porches…holding chalkboards with their name and age…maybe what they want to be when they grow up.  I remember having what I can only describe as a small panic attack.  “What did I just do???  Was it too late to run up to the school and change my mind??”  After all, I hadn’t told many people what we were doing.

That initial panic wore off.  I started to appreciate the small things.  Sleeping until 7:30.  Doing math in our pajamas.  Taking a week off when my parents and my in-laws came to visit…even though the schools were still going.

Homeschooling is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I was with my kids pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  All day long.  Every day.  I would get frustrated when my kids didn’t grasp something and I had no idea how to explain a concept.  I would get tired of hearing the whining…oh the whining!!!

Homeschooling is one of the best things I’ve ever done.  I was with my kids pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  All day long.  Every day.  I would get elated when I saw that light bulb click and they understood a concept.  I loved watching them learn.  After my daughter was done today, I found her in her room, reading.  She looked at me and said “I love reading Mom!”  It’s days like this that make it all worth it.

I can’t say I did this all by myself.  My husband was a great support to me.  He was the “principal”.  When I felt like I was failing, he would gently encourage me.  He nicknamed me “school marm”. A name I have grown to…appreciate…

We went through the program.  Not only did they provide all the curriculum (for free, I might add) and planned out all the lessons, we had access to a great team of teachers.  My son was in virtual classrooms 4 days of the week.  They were there if we needed help or clarification.  They organized field trips, science fairs and so much more.  If you have ever thought about homeschooling, but the idea of coming up with a curriculum and lesson plans scare you & the thought of doing this by yourself is more than you can handle, let me highly recommend the K12 program.  The curriculum is well done and I feel like my kids have had a well rounded education this year.  And, I had a great built in support system.

Today, as we wrapped up the last of my son’s math lessons, I had a feeling, similar to the one I had at the beginning of the school year.  Only this time, it was “Check out what we just did!  We made it through the year!!!”

We still have a few courses to complete, but we are definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Would I do this again?  Absolutely!!!  Would it terrify me?  Probably…but not as much…maybe.

So, now that we’re staring summer break in the face, am I looking forward to it?  You betcha!!!!  I can’t wait!  Will I miss the day to day routine?  Sure.  There’s something comfortable in routine.  But, I’m sure we’ll fill our days with lots of little projects.  Water gun fights with the neighbors, s’more making around the firepit at nights.  Catching lightening bugs because we don’t have to be in bed at a certain time because it’s “a school night”.

Will we home-school again next year?  Possibly.  We decided to make this a year by year decision.  I need some time to sit down and process everything and talk it over with my hubby, but at this moment, we’re really leaning towards going through this crazy adventure again.

One big adventure in the books.  Who knows how many more await us!


The Grocery Game

Well, this is a bit embarrassing…it’s been almost exactly 6 months since my last entry.  I don’t really have a good excuse other than life happened.  We have been homeschooling this year through and I’ve had quite the learning curve this year.  It’s been crazy busy & stressful at times, but I can now say, after a year of homeschooling a 4th grader, I can do pretty well in Trivia Crack…bonus!!

Our town just opened an Aldi’s.  Until about 3 months ago, I had never heard of an Aldi’s & was very intrigued, because everyone was really getting excited about the store.  I did a little research & saw that there were whole blog articles dedicated to how to shop at Aldi’s.  Well, I was impressed!  I mean, there are some serious Aldi’s followers out there.

After doing extensive R&D when our very own Aldi’s opened (I did not go in on Opening Day…the line around the store kind of kept me home), I have come to the conclusion that there are some great deals to be had there, but I can see where some can get sucked into the idea that EVERYTHING in the store is a bargain and I should buy everything there.  What I found to be true is exactly what I read about in blogs…some things are a great bargain…and somethings are…well…not.

This got me thinking about saving money on groceries in general.  We have a local organization that helps women who are pregnant and have babies learn the basics…from diapering to finances to (you guessed it) saving money at the grocery store.  I taught a class several times…mainly on couponing.  But, I have a lot of tips now, that don’t deal only with coupons and I thought I’d pass them on to you.

Now, these are just guidelines or suggestions.  Some of this may not be rocket science, but these are things I have found helpful while saving money at the store.

1.  Go with a plan.  I think if I didn’t plan my meals for the week BEFORE I went to the store, I would have a meltdown panic attack.  This may seem a bit dramatic, but seriously…truth.  I sit down on Sunday afternoons and plan out dinners for the week ahead.  I take into account what our schedule is, what we had the week before & favorites of my family.  When the kids ask what’s for supper, instead of panicking, I can (somewhat) calmly tell them what’s on the menu.  I don’t plan breakfasts or lunches.  For lunch, we have our “easy” meal.  Sandwiches, mac & cheese, hot dogs…you know, kid food.  Breakfast is basically every man for himself (which means cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, etc).  On a rare occasion, my hubby and I will get up & make breakfast together, which is a lot of fun.  The other 364 days of the year, we fend for ourselves.

2.  Go with a budget.  A strict one.  If you don’t, you’ll spend a whole lot more and buy a whole lot of junk you don’t need.  I take cash.  Once my money is gone, my shopping trip is over. You can thank Dave Ramsey for that one!

3.  To go along with #2, you need to keep track somehow of what your spending, as you go.  Otherwise, it could get a little awkward with the cashier when you’re $50 over budget.  I love the grocery store I frequent.  They have a little scanner that you can use while shopping.  Not only does it keep track of how much your bill is, once you scan it, you bag it right there in your cart!  It is absolutely my most favorite way to shop.  But, what do you do if that’s not available in your store, or their *gasp* system goes out??  Well, my cell phone has a handy dandy calculator on it.  Seriously.  I have been known to key the price in as I go.  Does this take longer?  Maybe 5 or 10 extra minutes tacked onto my trip, but how long will it take you to eliminate foods at the register if you’re over budget?  If you go shopping with your kiddos, maybe let one of them keep track of the prices (maybe the older one).  It’s a good lesson for them as well!

4.  Know your prices.  This is very important, especially if you shop at Aldi’s or another discount store (i. e. Dollar General, Save-A-Lot) because sometimes the discount store price is not that great…or maybe even more.  Just yesterday, I was at Aldi’s, looking at their canned tomatoes and tomato sauces.  I’m making spaghetti this week & like to make my own sauce.  When I saw the price for the canned diced tomatoes ($1.49/can), I tried to remember how much it was at my “regular’ store.  In my mind, I felt like the price was about the same, if not less, so I opted to skip it at Aldi’s and get it at the other place.  Did it pay off???  Absolutely!!  Turns out, the same size can was $0.99!  So, if you know basically how much your staples cost at your grocery store, you can make wiser decisions at the discount stores.

5.  Going along with #4, don’t get caught up in the magic that is discount stores…not every deal is a good deal.  Also, don’t get too tied into a certain brand.  I buy a lot of store brand versions at the grocery store.  However, you want to check specials, because sometimes, the name brand things get put on sale and can actually be cheaper than store brand!!

6.  Coupons.  I’m no “Extreme Couponer”, but I do dabble in the art.  The only reason I buy a Sunday paper is for the coupons.  I have a few rules for me, when it comes to couponing.  Don’t clip a coupon that I won’t use.  Just because I can save $0.25 on mayo, doesn’t mean I should clip it (I hate mayo…sorry).  Also, double check the wording on those tricky little buggers.  I hate checking out & learning that my coupon only works if I buy 2 of the item (or has expired).  Also, don’t forget those electronic coupons.  My store sends me about 5 coupons/week I can load onto my store rewards card.  Some of those work only with their brand of items, but many are national brands and will stack (yay!) with those paper coupons.  There are also some Apps you can download to help save (or get reimbursed) from products you purchase.  The most popular is Ibotta.  I like Ibotta because it has a good mixture of name brands & generic brands.  I haven’t been using it very long (I only have about $8 in my account), but I can see where it’ll pay off in the long run.  I’m on the waiting list for Mobi Save (waiting list????  Seriously???), so I can’t comment much on that one.

7.  Chose your store wisely.  I don’t go to one store exclusively.  In a given week, I’ll probably hit up 3 or so grocery stores.  This might drive you crazy, but it saves me money.  I buy certain things at certain stores.  If I can help it, I avoid Wal-Mart.  I know they seem to have good bargains, but I honestly can find the same deal or a little better at my other main store (and I don’t have to deal with the long lines).  Find out if your store doubles coupons.  Some only double up to $0.50.  Some will double up to $0.50 & then make up the difference on anything over $0.50 (for example, if something is $0.75 off, my store will make it $1.00 off).  I get gas points when I shop at my store.  When gas was really cheap earlier this year, I got to fill up for under $1.00/gallon!  Does your store offer a money back guarantee, price match program, etc.  Knowing the ins & outs will help save you money over time.  At one point, my store offered free child care!  It was a very secure system & allowed me to do a little shopping in quiet while my son had fun (and usually, he was the only one there).  Unfortunately, they converted the childcare space into a bank…boo!

8.  Supplement.  We supplement our groceries with a garden.  For a good part of the year, we have fresh produce to eat off of.  What we can’t eat, we can or freeze to eat on throughout the year.  My husband also hunts, so many weeks, I don’t have to buy a lot of meat (if any).   These two ways have helped reduce our grocery bill a lot.  I know what you’re thinking…hunting costs a lot of money.  Gardening is a lot of work & also costs a lot.  Yes and no.  We’ve gardened for many years and only recently focused on preserving our foods.  Yes, hunting is expensive to start up, but once you have your supplies (guns, clothing, etc), the year to year cost is minimal.  It’s not only a way to provide food, it is my hubby’s hobby.  So, he would do both things, whether we ate from them or not.  Plus, have you priced organic, free range whatever recently???  Ummm…we’re definitely saving some green here.

So, there you have it…just a few ways I like to save money every week on our groceries.  I can positively say it works, because in about the past 10 years or so, we have kept the same budget on our groceries.  As you know, cost of food has increased dramatically.  I just get “creative” with meals and saving money.  It really is almost a game now.

Happy Shopping!!

DIY – Dry Erase Marker Board

Well, the countdown is on…2 more weeks until Thanksgiving.  Two more weeks until Black Friday.  Wait…stores aren’t even waiting until Friday anymore.  They’re barely waiting until after we swallow that last bite of pumpkin pie.  I have mixed feelings about that.  The shopper in me is very excited.  I’ve got my eye on a wireless printer.  The mom/wife in me is feeling badly for the employees who don’t really get to celebrate the holiday with their family.

The commercialism of the holidays is not what this article is about though.  I just got sidetracked.  I am very excited to share an original (not taken from Pinterest) DIY project that my hubby came up with the other day.  It stems from another DIY project he is working on.

After a trip to Lowe’s to pick up supplies for his project, he showed me the white panel board he got.  He’s making a hunting blind with it (really long story…I won’t go into the details).  Anyway, he’s been researching how to make this and he mentioned that some people say you can use the white panel board to make a dry erase marker board.

White panel board is a large sheet of…well…panel board.  It’s really hard to describe, now that I’m sitting here trying to!  It’s white on one side and very smooth.  The other side is brown.  It’s made out of some kind of pressed wood or saw dust…I don’t know.  I do know you can cut it with a saw and drill holes in it.

Anyway, when he said it might be able to be turned into a dry erase marker board, I got very excited.  I don’t know what it is about marker boards, but I LOVE THEM.  Seriously.  I had a small one in my kitchen where I would jot down my “To Do” list for the week.  No matter how insignificant it was, I wrote it down on the board.  I felt very accomplished when I could erase a task that I had completed.

Not only do I love dry erase marker boards for organizing my schedule, I couldn’t help but think that I could use a large one for our homeschooling.  I have visions of helping my daughter learn how to read while we write sight words on the board.  I see myself working out long division problems on it with my son.  Every homeschooler needs a gigantic dry erase marker board in their kitchen, right?

So, we made the trek to Lowe’s this afternoon.  Our store had 2 different sizes.  One was about 32 inches by 48 inches and cost about $9.  Not too bad.  Then, we discovered a huge sheet…4′ X 8′ for $13.  For $4 more, you get…well…at lot more board.  Now, I don’t need a 4′ X 8′ dry erase marker board (at least that’s what my hubby says), but Lowe’s will cut any board for you, in the length you want/need.  For free!  So, I got my marker board and my hubby got extra pieces of the white panel board…win/win!!

To hang the board, we used some 3M Command strips.  The kind we ended up getting are supposed to hold 16 pounds.  The board isn’t close to weighing 16 pounds, but we wanted to make sure it was good and sturdy.  The strips came in 4 pairs and are basically like plastic velcro.  So far, so good.  It hasn’t fallen…yet.  If the strips don’t work, we’ll just screw it to the wall.  Not as aesthetically pleasing, but definitely functional.

Here is the finished project…


Of course, the kiddos had to make their mark on the board.  I plan on having a few things on the board all the time.  Our weekly schedule, the day of the week and what we’re having for dinner that evening (because I’m getting a little tired of answering that question at 10:00 a.m.  And then at 11.  And then at 12.  And then at…well, you get the picture), and count downs of special days – like when grandparents come to visit.

You could dress the board up a little, if you wanted to.  Maybe one of these days we’ll get some trim pieces and frame it like a mirror or picture.  I was just a little excited to get it hung up and didn’t really want to take the time to do that (plus I didn’t want to sink that much money into the project).

I’m trying to calculate our cost in this project.  We bought the larger sheet of white panel board and this piece was about 1/3 of it, so I would estimate that part cost about $4.  The 3M Command Strips were also about $4.  So, for $8, I have a huge dry erase marker board.  I think I paid that much for the tiny one I had before!   It took a total of about 5 minutes (if that long) to hang the board.  Not too bad!  I love instant gratification DIY projects!!!!!!!

Will this make me more organized?  Will this keep me on schedule?  I have no idea!  I definitely feel like I’ve “got it all together”. Maybe I’ll fake it until I actually become organized!


Seriously…how cute is this??

Happy Weekend!!  Have a good one!

The Day Murphy Came To My House

Here it is…19 days before Thanksgiving.  14 days until my parents arrive for their visit (yay!).  I should be working on my list of Christmas gifts that I need to buy and/or make so I can send them home with them when they come visit.  So, what am I actually doing?  Watching “Everybody Loves Raymond” on Netflix and mopping the floors.  Makes sense, right.  Oh…and I want to tell you about the past month.

Around the first of October, something happened to my hubby and I that has never happened since we’ve been married.  For the first time in 14 years, we are DEBT FREE (except the house)!!!!  This is huge for us people…huge.  I mean, how many people in America can say this?  We don’t even have a credit card anymore.  Thanks to our friend, Dave Ramsey, we are (by other people’s standards), officially “weird”.

I say this all to set the stage.  This all happened on a Friday afternoon.  We were sooooo excited.  I think we might have celebrated by going out to eat, most likely with a coupon…that’s how we roll.  Before I went to bed, I do what I always do, set the timer on the dishwasher to start a couple of hours after we go to bed.  The way I figure it, it might be cheaper (in electricity) and I don’t have to listen to it.

Saturday morning, I wake up.  The “clean” light isn’t on.  Which is weird, because all the dishes look clean.  I unload the dishwasher and don’t think too much about it until I’m unloading the bottom rack and there it is.  Standing water.  The dishwasher is broken!!  The day after we became debt free.  Thank you Murphy’s Law…

Well, my hubby and I had the typical discussion. Do we call someone?  If so, who?  Do we just get a new dishwasher?  This one was only about 4 years old, so it seemed kind of silly to toss it to the curb.  Plus, we just got rid of a lot of debt…the DAY BEFORE!   We didn’t exactly want to spend more big bucks.

So, I did the next best thing.  I Googled.  Isn’t it amazing that “google” is now a verb?  I mean, did the founder of Google ever think that people would be googling one day?  Anyway, I hopped on the internet and low & behold, my dishwasher wasn’t the only one to quit working!  And then, I found my new best friend.  A website called Appliance Parts Pros.  I had never heard of this website before, but what I found was a wealth of knowledge.  They have a phone number you can call 24/7 or you can just hop on their “live chat” and talk to a very helpful person.  Well, after some troubleshooting, I found the problem was a fuse.  The prices on their website weren’t too bad, but here’s a secret…I ordered it off of Amazon!  I found the same fuse for a lot cheaper.

Once the part came in, my hubby used the install video on the website and in about 15 minutes (if that long) had our dishwasher fixed!!  Yay!  I was getting soooo tired of washing dishes by hand.  I know…I’m spoiled.

Well, we didn’t exactly kick Murphy out of the house yet.  More like we moved him into the garage.  About a week later, the dryer quit!  This time, I knew exactly where to go, and within about 30 minutes figured out what the problem was and we had the part ordered.

The dryer was a little harder to figure out what was wrong, but once we did, it was an easy (and fairly cheap) fix.  Now, we walk on eggshells and can’t help but think, “What’s next?”

So, this all got me to thinking.  It was very tempting to just say, “you know, we should just get a new one.”  After all, there were no guarantees that the parts we replaced would be the right ones.  And, we were putting all this money & time into it, when it would just be much easier to go to Lowe’s and get a new one.  Then, I thought about all the money would we have been out.  Possibly $1,000 or more!  Who knows!

Our society is a throw away society.  Our cell phones get upgraded every 2 minutes.  When something breaks, we just go out and get a new one.  Very rarely do we put time and effort into fixing something.  Even our relationships.

How many marriages have been “broken” and instead of trying to fix them, people just throw them away and get new ones? Now, I know that sometimes marriages are truly broken and are a lost cause.   But, how many out there need a part or two, some elbow grease and viola…fixed!  It’s not easy.  And sometimes, you replace a “part” and another one breaks (like our dryer…we fixed it & then something else broke on it).  But, can you imagine how I felt when we fixed our dishwasher & dryer?  I was so excited and proud that we had worked together and did something that a lot of people wouldn’t do.

God did not intend for marriages to be thrown away.  In Genesis 2:24, the Bible says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”.  Some versions say “cleave” instead of united.  I kind of like that a little more.  I can picture cleaving.  My daughter “cleaves” to her daddy when she doesn’t want him to leave the house for work in the mornings.  Cleaving is desperately holding on to something…never letting go.  No matter what.  Even if you fix one part and the next day something else breaks.  You fix it too.  It’s not easy and sometimes it might seem to be easier to just give up.  I want to encourage you to keep going.  Do whatever it takes.  Don’t give up.

So, as I sit here, procrastinating over my Christmas list, admiring my clean floors and wondering what on earth will break next, I know…no matter what it is…I will fix it.


It’s A Grape Day!

So, I have about a million (or more) things to do today, but I need a break, so I’m blogging. Makes sense, right? You should see my living room right now. Toys and laundry are everywhere. I can get to that tomorrow…

First of all, my baby girl turned 5 this week!!!! I can hardly believe it! That is part of the reason why I’m so busy. We’re having her birthday party tonight. The poor thing…I have discovered that her birthday will always fall right around Opening Day of deer hunting season. So, we have to squeeze her party in on a Friday night. Oh well. It’ll be ok.

Hunting season…that’s another reason why things are so busy around here. Tomorrow is “Youth Day”. That means all the dads take their sons (or daughters) out to hunt. I don’t know if it’s really for the kids or the dads. All I know is that my guys have the hunting bug really bad! It’ll almost be a relief when the season does start! It’s like Christmas Eve around here folks!

So. I have discovered something. Grapes. Now, I’ve had grapes before. I go to the supermarket and buy them (only when they’re on sale, because…really…who can afford $3.99/pound when your kids can eat their weight in grapes???). However, this year, our family finally did something we’ve been saying we would do for years. Pick-Your-Own grapes!!




It’s practically in our backyard. There is a vineyard in the town where we live. Here‘s their website if you’re interested. Their season is winding down, but let me tell you. If you’re ever in the area, around the end of August – first part of September, you MUST PICK THEIR GRAPES! They have Concord and Niagara. We didn’t care much for the Niagara grapes, but we loved the Concords. I have never had a grape fresh off the vine. Amazing!!!

The first time we picked grapes, we came home with a mere 5 pounds. Well, those didn’t last long at all. I made grape jelly and some grape juice (I have 2 recipes which I will share later). Since we had picked early, we decided to go back and get some more. We may have gotten a little carried away, and picked about 15 pounds. I made more jelly and more juice, but still had a lot leftover. That’s when a friend of mine told me about grape pie.

Grape pie. Heard of it? Me either.

It is delicious. I can’t even describe it. There are no words. Forget apple pie…cherry…blueberry…this takes the cake pie.

My friend gave me a couple of recipes, but I used this one from All Recipes…basically because the other one she gave me required quick cooking tapioca and I didn’t have any (and didn’t’ know what it was).

I took it to our Bible Study group that meets in a home on Sunday nights.  Now, if you’ve read any of my blogs, you may remember that my husband hates for me to use our group as “Guinea pigs” on my new recipes.  However, they’re our friends, so I think “who better to try things out on?”

As you might think…it was a huge hit.  A smashing success.  A triumph unlike any other.  Ok…maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but there was none left and a gentleman said it was the best pie he’s ever had…in his entire life…and I’m not going to say he was really old, but he was older than me…so there you go.  Plus, we didn’t get to bring any home 😦


I was very sad when I figured out that there was no pie leftover and no more grapes at home.  So, when we found out that the vineyard was open for one more week…well, we just HAD to get a few (20) pounds, so I can make more juice, jelly and grape pie filling!!!!

That’s on my “To Do” list this weekend.  It may be a late Sunday night project.  But one thing I know…we WILL have more grape pie this winter!!  Yay!!!

Just a side note…on the recipe, if you have really sweet grapes, you will probably be able to cut down on the sugar.  The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups, but I could have used 1 cup or maybe even 3/4 cup, because the grapes are crazy sweet by themselves.  Also, make sure to cut vents in the top pie crust.  I did, but they weren’t very wide and they kind of baked closed and there was pie filling everywhere.  It was still delicious, but very messy and sticky.  As a precaution, next time I make the pie, I will also put a baking sheet on the second rack…just in case!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Take some time to spend it with family and friends.  To all of you hunters out there…Happy Hunting!!  May your aim be steady and arrows shoot straight!

Hello World!

Wow! It has been a while since I’ve been on here. I almost forgot how this thing works. 🙂 Just kidding, but seriously, it’s been a while.

What have I been doing? What haven’t I been doing? It was a full and busy summer, filled with a trip to visit family, Vacation Bible School, gardening, canning, preparing for a new adventure for our family, more canning…well, you get the picture. It was probably a lot like your summer. All I know is it went by way too fast!  I won’t bore you with ALL of the pics from our trip to visit family, but here are a few of the highlights…



We had a delightful tea party with Nana & PawPaw, where everyone had to wear either a beautiful hat, or a tie…


We went to a Texas Rangers baseball game with Grandma & Poppa…



The group, Acapella, was singing the National Anthem while we were there, so Brayden got to meet them!


I got to meet up with some girlfriends from high school…I hadn’t seen these lovely ladies in about 10+ years.  Two of us live out of state, yet we somehow ended up within about 20 miles of each other at the same time!!


Here we are wrangling our kiddos for a group pic…


It was a great trip.  When we got home, it was time to do some serious gardening.  My hubby built a greenhouse this year and our “hothouse” tomatoes were in full swing.  The garden has done great this year, which means I’ve been canning since about July!  We done green beans, tomato soup (I literally canned enough soup to have one jar/week for a year!), tomato juice, pizza sauce, salsa, pickles, jalapeño jelly, jalapeño relish, banana peppers, grape jelly, grape juice…that might be it.  All I know is that I’m out of jars and out of room!  What we didn’t can, we froze.  I have a freezer full of zucchini, yellow squash puree ready for squash pie, corn and okra.

Perhaps even bigger than our canning, was our decision to homeschool.  We’ve been talking about doing it for a couple of years now, but this is the first year we actually put our talking into action.  It was a huge decision. We have several reasons, but one of the more major ones, was to give my son some one on one time that we thought he would benefit from.  I have never homeschooled before.  I have never been homeschooled before.  The idea of it terrified me (and honestly, it still does a little).  I mean, that’s a HUGE responsibility.

Since neither of us had any experience with it, we decided to go the same route a good friend of mine went last year.  We went through a program called  It is an online learning program.  Technically, it’s through the public schools.  They sent us curriculum, books and supplies.  Everyday I log in & the list of subjects is there, ready for us.  Periodically, they have “assessments” to make sure the kiddos are actually learning.  They also have live classes that the kids attend, with a real life teacher.  Brayden has live classes for Math, Reading and Virginia Studies.  Sophie has Math & Reading.  We also stay in close contact with a teacher and will have regular parent/teacher conferences.  They even get to pick  from a long list of field trips to go on!

It was really the best of both worlds.  I have a lot of help at my fingertips.  I don’t feel that the kids will get behind, because there are so many things in place to keep us on track.  If you know me at all, I tend to procrastinate a little a lot most of the time.  Soooo…that was something that concerned me about homeschooling.  However, through the K12 program, you have benchmarks and items that will keep you from getting behind.

I had several people tell me that the nice thing about homeschooling is you don’t really have a schedule.  You work it around you.  Well, I need a schedule.  I need structure.  And, I feel that kids need that too.  Plus, with the crazy schedule we had prior to homeschooling, we really needed structure.  But, I guess that’s the beauty of this system.  What works for me might not work for you, and that’s ok.

I promise to not blow up this blog about homeschooling milestones…like when my daughter learned to write her name or can recite the continents, but I will mention how it’s going from time to time.  So far, so good.  We’ve had some stressful, “I don’t want to do this” days, but I eventually got over it 🙂

I have been busy with a few crafts and sewing projects here and there.  I have a lot of cake orders coming up in the next few weeks.  Maybe when they’re all over, I’ll do one article with pics of all of them.  They include a wedding cake, a Frozen birthday cake and baby shower cake pops!  I think it’ll be a lot of fun…crazy, but fun!

So, that’s it for now.  Just know that I’m alive.




Happy (early) Mother’s Day!

Tomorrow will be a busy day…getting kids around and dressed for church…then, getting myself around and dressed.  Of course, we’ll call our moms and wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.  I’m not sure if I’ll get around to posting this on the blog tomorrow, so, I thought I would say Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mom’s out there today.

I came across this video on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe you saw it too.  I thought I’d share it with you.  I love the Skit Guys.  They do a wonderful job of presenting things in a funny, but profound way.  I think they did a great job wit this skit.  It perfectly shows what moms go through everyday, especially with young children.  I love the very end of the video.  

So, here you go.  It’s my first time to include a video, so I hope this works 🙂  Here you go!!