Friday, September 26, 2014

~Homeschool Kindergarten~

We just finished our 3rd week of school. It is going really well, which has been pleasant. ;-)

I am using ABeka kindergarten material, and also using the Saxon kindergarten for math. ABeka does have math included in their material but next year (when reading and math are not combined in the ABeka curriculum) I want to use Saxon. So I figured we would throw it in when we have extra time, especially since the Saxon curriculum doesn't have a lot of lessons for Kindergarten.

We are also doing Classical Conversations again this year. I am tutoring the 6 and 7 year old class and my daughter is in another class. I miss not being in her class, but I do believe this is the right thing for us at this time. Last year I started out as her tutor and we ended up moving her to another class (sharing Mom was just too hard!). This year is so remarkably different than last year. I am feeling more relaxed and more confident about tutoring, and my daughter is in a class that is taught by one of the dads, and she is responding well to his strong male leadership!

On school days, I read a Bible story and we sing a hymn to start our mornings. One of my goals this year is to teach a hymn a week. Then we learn and review our CC memory work. This doesn't take much time, and I use the same songs and methods I used in my class, so I'm already familiar with everything. Then we move on to our phonics and math. Some days, I add in the Saxon math, and other days I will do either the fine arts project or the science experiment that we did at CC. Why? because it is usually a little different than what my daughter's tutor did in her class (especially the art) and I already have things together for it. It also reinforces what my daughter learned in her class.

That's it in a nutshell. I'm very relieved that it is going so well. I'm sure there will be hard days. In fact, we have already had some of those. But we're pushing through in a good way and it is so rewarding to see my daughter learning!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

~$50 Grocery Challenge~

I went grocery shopping last night, and here we go (minus the meat):

Somehow I think other people have nicer grocery pictures. Maybe it's because their husbands aren't staring oddly at the groceries going onto the counter instead of being put directly away. ;-)

Sooooo...I spent $61.14 this week. That included a run to the store for coffee. Since coffee is my drug of choice, when we ran out on Saturday I made sure we had some for Sunday. Since I was trying to combine errands, I didn't choose the best store to buy coffee at. But we had coffee on Sunday. :D

Here's my menu for this week:
Monday: soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Tuesday: Cherokee Casserole
Wednesday: beans and rice
Thursday: grilled chicken and mashed potatoes
Friday: bean burritos, Spanish rice
Saturday: green chicken enchiladas

If it looks like a lot of the same, only mixed up, well: it is. But that's what I had the energy to come up with this week (yes, meal-planning zaps my energy!)

We still have some tomatoes and peppers from the garden to add to the salad greens, and frozen vegetables that I purchased last week. My daughter loves her smoothies and I was totally out of frozen fruit! So I bought frozen strawberries and blueberries for that purpose (which should last at least several weeks).

Monday, September 15, 2014

~Grocery Challenge~

This challenge is riveting, eh?

Well. Not so much. I actually have not been spending more than $50 each week on groceries. I'm done with the bulk of my canning now, but (oh, that word) I'm sick. Next week. Next week I'm going to plan and execute my plan!

On Saturday we went to Sam's Club because they had a promotion for non-club members being allowed to shop. We aren't members and while we have been in the past, shopping there was a reminder of why exactly I don't want to be a member. I dropped $56.82 on six items. SIX items, people! Cheese (two blocks), apples, almonds, maple syrup, and soap. I bought each thing because it was a better deal than at the grocery store, so in the long run I'm saving money, but when you hand over the money it sure doesn't feel like savings!

And I still have to go "real" grocery shopping. Because of course, we can't survive all week on cheese, apples, almonds, and maple syrup. (That sounds like a basket from Chopped. Haha.)

On a happier note, I simmered chicken stock and canned it. (Any canning news is happy news, right?) I would have gotten 5 quarts but one lid came off during the canning process. I don't know what happened but I'm blaming it on being sick and not screwing the band down enough. Both the band and jar were perfectly fine. There's a first for everything! I'm just happy that I can still use the stock.

And also? my sister-in-law gave me 3 boxes of Tattler lids. I've been using them sporadically for my canning projects. At first I was afraid to use them because of the reading I did online. It seems like some people have a pretty high failure rate with them. I'm happy to say that my rule-following ways have paid off in this instance because I have had a 100% success rate on all 32 I've used. That's pretty good, I would say! :-)

But this post wasn't supposed to be about canning! Getting back to groceries: I am looking forward to getting into my fall schedule with school and cooking and cleaning. Next week I shall (Lord willing) have a post up with details on my grocery shopping.

Friday, September 05, 2014


When it comes to canning, my emotions are like a pendulum, back and forth, backandforth, up, down, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. The longer canning season lasts, the bigger the swings.

The new canning shelf that Kevin built for me.
Swinging to the other side: frustrated, tired, sore, and cranky after a day of canning all day long, and simultaneously trying to take care of a 5 year old who is bored-lonely-cranky-bored-hungry-bored-hungryagain-bored-lonely-cranky-evenhungrierthanbefore-bored.

Swinging back to Happy!!! Just a walk down to my basement:

Another angle on the shelf.
Swing, swing, swing: in-a-hurry, frustrated that everything takes so long. And that using up 50 pounds of tomatoes somehow seems to multiply them on my counter. How does that work anyhow? And the mess! Oh! the mess.

Mopping my floor? not happening these days. I give my daughter a rag and a spray bottle with vinegar and water and have her clean the floor by the stove. Done, and done! And it relieved the boredom for a few moments.

But at the end of the day (well, to be honest sometimes it takes a good night's sleep!) I am happy and feel so, so blessed with the bounty. God is so good to allow me to put up all this food in preparation for the coming year! I am so glad I have the chance to put this food up.

I read this article today; I have to say, not going to Meijer ever again sounds pretty awesome to me! I don't know how I'd swing it, exactly. But I'm going to think about this one! I know my canned goods will go a long way toward less shopping at Meijer, that's for sure.