Thursday, January 31

We Found Mater!

While we were running errands today we saw this-


MATER! 

Grateful For #29: Toothbrushes

Ok, I know that probably sounds silly. Seriously though, sometimes I wonder how people who lived before things like toothbrushes were invented dealt with it. I know, can't miss what you never had, or rather, never didn't have. But that feeling when you wake up and your teeth feel a little fuzzy, I HATE that feeling. Drives me bonkers. I think I've passed that particular neurosis on to at least Tristian; and Trace really likes brushing his teeth too, but I think that may just be a normal, "I'm a big kid look what I can do" type like.

Either way, thank you God for whoever invented toothbrushes.

Clearance Rocks! (saved $234-$289 off retail)

Trevor called me when he got off work the other evening and said, "There's about 30 Vitabath and Alba stuff our HBC managed clearanced this morning here for $1 each.... Want any of it?"

.... "Yes, all please!" .....Lol


Pictured here on our table is around $265-$320 in retail.

Wednesday, January 30

Grateful For #28: Good Advice

My Grandma (my father's mom) once told me that one thing she had learned over the years was to listen to that first little voice when you go to do something. That it's God telling you not to be fool. She said many times she would have the unexplained feeling that she should do something a certain way, and if she let herself rational out why she shouldn't she would always find herself latter kicking herself for not listen to that first thought.

Cause this is how we do dinner.

I guess their mama never told them you're not suppose to wear hats at the table..... maybe I should make that tomorrow's lesson ;-)

Extreme Couponing... I hate that show

I started couponing while pregnant with my oldest son. I wanted to get rid of my husband's credit debt and save a little. When we decided I should stay home after Tristian started having medical problems couponing helped us live within our means. Realistic, ethical couponing makes that easier. I've met many couponers that are awesome people down to earth, smart, practical, moral, realistic, generous. I hate the image that the show Extreme Couponing gives couponers.

Tuesday, January 29

Grateful For #27: Cuddly Little Boys

It's so sad sometimes that my babies are growing up. Trace is well on his way from toddler to little boy. Tristian is well on his way to being bigger then that. But then Tristian will stop doing something just to get a hug and say, "Mom, I love you." or Trace will wander over and ask to be, "Up, wease!" And I know that while it's sad my babies are not babies anymore, it's also amazing that they are who they are now.

Thank you God for my amazing, loving little boys.

Tristian's School Picture

Normally we get pictures of the boys individually each year, and will hopefully continue to do so since we won't be getting actual school pictures as we homeschool. This year though we had a truly awful experience with Sears photography. The girl was obviously waiting for someone else to show up. Wasn't paying any attention to us, we had to come up with poses, we had to get the kids to smile. We had a TOTAL of 20-25 pictures to look through after an hour of photo shooting, that's all she took. That's not the good ones, that's all of them.

Zeiger Cousins At Play

Yesterday I posted pics of the boys playing with their cousins on my side, so today I wanted to post pics of them playing with their cousins on Trevor's side. These pictures are from the thanksgiving get together at Great Grandma Buckman's. The youngest cousin was only a few months old then so is not in these pics of the kids running around outside.

Monday, January 28

Grateful for #26: Warm Winter Nights

It's so nice to snuggle up to your honey on a 70 degree winter night. lol, where did this weather come from? Anyways, it's still nice, especially when you are getting to snuggle up with your honey.

Thank you God for warm winter nights and honeys.

Cousins At Play

Pictures from the boys and their cousins on my side playing yesterday =)

Sunday, January 27

Grateful For #25: Quiet Moments of Prayer

Nothing helps get you back to a 'good place' the way a few moments of quiet prayer can.

Thank you God for prayer.

What Do You Do When Your Child REALLY Misbehaves In Church?

In Church this morning Tristian kicked his brother, refused to return (or even look at the people) peace with the very understanding men sitting behind us (if you ever happen to stumble on this, or if you aren't one of those exact men but have ever been behind a child who misbehaves in church... I am truly sorry for it). He kept kicking the seat in front of us (ditto to being very very sorry to those sitting in front of us) kept talking about random things while the priest was talking, really loud. And finally screamed in the middle of the eucharist ceremony after asking if we could do something after church and being told no (because it was a privilege we sometimes do if they are really good during church, which he was very much not). And when I say screamed... I mean SCREAMED.

$15 Homeschool Storage Solution Update: Part 3

This is Part 3, you can see Part 1 by clicking here and Part 2 by clicking here. This is the third post about how we set up our homeschooling storage after moving into a temporary home while selling our house. We were short on time so we didn't do it entirely out of freebies but if you have the time you could easily get cardboard boxes free (find out how by clicking here) and use leftover paint or scrap cloth to cover them and create free storage solutions. We ended up using $1 containers and some storage solutions we already had to update our storage to create a usable updated solution for home school storage.

This post breaks down how things are organized in the cubby crates.

Saturday, January 26

Grateful For #24: Jr Tae Kwon Do Classes

Tristian LOVES his Tae Kwon Do, he's in the Intermediate Jr Tae Kwon Do classes through Columbia Parks and Recreation right now and just loves it and his teacher. He also does so much better focuses on schoolwork throughout the day when he's enrolled in P.E. classes. So we are very grateful to be in an area that offers these sort of classes at reasonable prices!

Thank you God for this opportunity for Tristian.

$15 Homeschool Storage Solution Update: Part 2

This is Part 2, you can see Part 1 by clicking here and Part 3 by clicking here. This is the second post about how we set up our homeschooling storage after moving into a temporary home while selling our house. We were short on time so we didn't do it entirely out of freebies but if you have the time you could easily get cardboard boxes free (find out how by clicking here) and use leftover paint or scrap cloth to cover them and create free storage solutions. We ended up using Dollar Tree containers to update our storage to create a organized setup I could work with (you know, without loosing my mind).

Friday, January 25

Grateful For #23: Free Will & Not Judging

You don't choose how you are raised, you only choose what you will do as an adult.
No person should judge a child based on being taught the wrong ways, or an adult that is trying to figure out the right ones.

You don't choose you health, you only choose what you do anyways.
No person should judge another on what they think another might be dealing with or not medically, or for not acting the way they think someone should be acting with a certain medical situation.

You don't choose how fast you think or how you learn, you only can choose not to give up until you 'get it'.
No person should judge another for it taking them a little longer to 'get it' then they think it should.

$15 Homeschool Storage Solution Update: Part 1


This is Part 1, you can view part 2 by clicking here and part 3 by clicking here.

Thursday, January 24

Grateful For #22: Medical Advancement

Not just the obvious machinery, understanding and prescription bottle- but things we take more for granted every day (although many of us take those dozen or so pills a day for granted too lol). But things like eye glasses. So many people have trouble seeing who a thousand years ago would have not had a chance to see clearly (did you know the first pair of wearable eye glasses we know about dates to 1284 by an Italian inventer?) Did you know that they just did the first uterus transplants in Sweden in September? They were from mothers to their daughters and one daughter had her uterus removed from cancer and the other was born without a uterus. This gives them a chance at pregnancy they would not have had otherwise, how awesome is that?

Medical advancements are truly amazing.

Thank you God for giving us the ability to figure these things out and make these sort of advancements that better and prolong so many lives.

Teaching Trace to Read

Tristian started teaching himself to read a little younger then Trace is now. He had colors, shapes, etc down pretty pat and was putting together jigsaw puzzles like a mad man. We didn't know it wasn't normal. We had people tell us is was amazing... we thought it was one of those compliments people say... youknow? I'm not really sure what we thought about it all really... we just didn't think it was too out of the ordinary.

Now Trace is a different story.

Wednesday, January 23

Grateful For #21: Vacations That Aren't Vacations

Sometimes life gets so hectic working 50hrs a week that sometimes you just need to take a vacation from one job to do another.

Thank you God for none vacation vacations.

Need Boxes For Moving? Storage? Whatever?

This is my best frugal moving tip, hands down. We are moving, well kinda sorta in the process of moving. So I was thinking about doing this and decided to post it.

I see this a lot. Someone is moving and buying boxes from somewhere. Or asking on freecycle or craigslist if where to get cheap boxes from. You can almost always get FREE boxes. (I only say almost cause I'm sure somewhere this isn't the case, I just don't know about the place).

Tuesday, January 22

Grateful For #20: Not Being Too Stupid Too Often

I woke up this morning and the house was spinning... still. I vaguely remember it doing this before I went to sleep. Which ruled out the idea of a natural disaster... unless one lasted 6 hours. No this is the after affects of one of those nights where a glass of wine somehow turned into a bottle... and maybe a couple fingers of scotch too... I don't remember.

After finally shoving a few bites of breakfast down and getting most a cup of coffee into me- I'm able to think back to last time I felt like this.... when it wasn't from the flu. I realized it had been quite some time. Thank God.

Thank God for gained wisdom and rare lapses in judgement.

Why We Plan Obsessively

I'm a planner. I normally map out our days, weeks, years. I usually have gifts for birthdays, Christmas, etc for everyone literally months ahead of time. I start mapping vacations a year before.
For a 20 day supply of Tristian's Growth Hormone.
Luckily this one counts towards the deductable.

That may seem overkill, but when you have more then a thousand dollars towards medical stuff each month you have to budget tightly.

Monday, January 21

Grateful for #19: My Husband


I am extremely grateful for my husband, Trevor.

Cousin Henry's Bday Party

Some snapshots from my nephew's Elmo themed 2nd birthday party yesterday.
The kids had a ton of fun!



First Day of Swimming Class 2013

Tristian had his first swimming class of the year Saturday. We only have the one car so I set them up so that Trevor would be off for the classes normally. Granted we tried this once before and then days off changed lol ;-) Trev normally has Thursday and Saturday off. Which is why we normally go to Church on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Sunday, January 20

Grateful For #18: Quite Evenings

I know Calyn just did grateful for sleeping babies and this is sort of the same thing. After working 11 hour days at a high volume retail store having two boys under the age of five and currently living in the basement of my in laws you learn to appreciate those evening when kids go to bed even sorta on time. In laws are asleep by nine (Kevin, you know you you're an old man when your bed time is the same as your five year old grandson's) you learn to appreciate the quiet evenings in a dark family den with spending time with your wife.

Thank you God small gaps in an insane world.

Holiday Party

Yesterday was the holiday party for Trevor's work. Since it's a store and retail you either do it way early or way late, there's no time around the actually holidays to do the party.

So it was last night. It was very nice. They do prizes and things like that. Trevor won a backpack =) but his direct boss won a soda stream and already had one so traded prizes with Trevor. Very nice thing to do of him. We didn't stay too long. Didn't want my parents having to stay up too late with the boys. We were home before 10pm. A very nice evening despite the early hour ;-)

Tristian's Page!

Recently I was talking to Trev about how he should post about cooking. Trevor loves to cook. He's not so hot on recipes but I think he could still post a general idea of what he did and pictures. We are still working on that idea.... But while we were talking Tristian said he wanted to post on the blog.

So we made Tristian's Page =)

Saturday, January 19

Grateful For #17: Coffee

There are three things that help to wake me up in the morning.

  1. Annoying alarm
  2. Nice warm shower
  3. And best of all a nice warm cup of coffee.
Oddly enough, I would be a much less mellow guy if I didn't have insane amounts of caffeine daily. 

Thank God I was born after coffee was discovered.

I Can Sing Again (sorta...) Listen!



I know this is not even close to perfect, I'm still pretty short of breath. But trust me, this is amazing compared to the last few years. One of the things I've missed most since my lungs revolted was an easy singing. My peak flows use to average 500. If you don't know what that means, it's rediculously high for a small female. But it meant that holding notes was a breeze for me. (I'm getting better at these unintended puns, hehe). Anyways. My lovely cousin Katie Zeiger got the song stuck in my head. I was singing it while doing stuff and found myself going... that's not nearly as horrible as usual... lmbo. So I decided to share. Minor victory on the way to normal breathing again =)

Meal Planning Cost Break Down So Far

We are BAD at this but really need to do it! So we attemped while shopping Tuesday to do some basic meal plans. Doubling each so we had two meals per idea. Not the best for variety, but good for our sanity ;-) Here's examples of what we planned and some not so pre-planned.

Chili: We ate this chili for lunch and dinner all last weekend =) Spent $5 on hormel chili beans ($1sale) plus had a lot of kidney beans on hand. Got a large tomato juice for $1.99. Used tomato soup, diced tomatos, diced chilis, crackers, cheese and seasonings from on hand. Picked up 3 corn and gluten free chili packets, $1.49 each so $4.47 and 5lbs of ground beef at $2.28 a pound, 2lbs were used for the chili. Trevor fixed it for Saturday, I filled the crock pot back up for Sunday. We ended up with left overs; so I used that for the next night's wet burritos. Total cost was $17.51x1.04975(tax) =18.38 for 5 meals (2 lunches, 2 dinners & 1 meal's cost is applied to the next meal explaination). Breaks down to $3.69 a meal. That's 61¢ a person. Fantastic

Friday, January 18

Grateful For #16: Sleeping Babies

I love my children... but sometimes it is such a blessing when they both finally asleep and Mommy and Daddy have some alone without kids time.

I feel very blessed that neither my husband our I seem to be the type that crave time away from kids or family responsibilities. We are both grateful for the time when we get it and Girl's Night is wonderful, but nether of us seems to feel a need for it. I must admit, some nights when the kids are finally asleep I breathe a sigh of relief and feel a little bit of 'whew, I made it through another day" ness.

Yay for Errand Days ;-)

Trevor and Trace a little before bedtime =)
Yesterday was one of Trevor's days off and normally our errand day. We didn't actually have too many yesterday and all were in the afternoon... so that was nice.

Our day went something like....

Summer Vacation 2013 Planning

I am very much thinking out loud with this post....


2011 Vacation eating DipnDots outside
This year we are planning to vacation around the area my husband grew up- North East Missouri/South West Illinois. I've been keeping my eyes open for deals up there all year since our last vacation. It's not a very big area so there haven't been a ton of deals come up. Our past two year's family vacations have been to Branson, MO and St. Louis, MO where finding deals was pretty easy. So we are having to be a little more creative this year ;-)

Thursday, January 17

Grateful For #15: Chalk


Kinda an unusual thing to be grateful for I guess.
Seriously though, chalk makes our lives so much easier right now.

Thank You Cici's Pizza For Making It Right

A few days ago my husband had a bad experience with Cici's Pizza here in town. Trevor asked me to get a hold of them to let the managers at Cici's know what happened, just because that's gotta be eating into their business with Little Caeser's right there now (no pun intended by hehe). The manager there (John Fernandaz) got a hold of us, apologized and gave us 2 large pizzas and cinnamon rolls free.

Coupons: Breaking Even Month of January


In the Getting Set Up to Coupon Again post I listed out what we had spent to insure a good intake of coupons per month and what we need to save a month, an average of at least $6.91 each month couponing, to break even. This month there was an added $3 from the newspapers we bought. So needed to save $9.91 to break even for this month... sorta. We've only actually have gotten The Passport Book so far. Which means our time frame for the magazines hasn't begun yet because we will get them for a year starting from the day we receive the first. So we really only have The Passport Book and the newspapers to include in the total we need to meet to break even. Which leaves us with $4.76 that we need to use to break even.

We ended up saving $20.71 in vendor coupons Tuesday. So we definitely broke even =)

Wednesday, January 16

Grateful for #14: Drinking Water

How often do you look at a glass of water and think, aren't I so lucky to have this? Not everyone has safe drinking water though.

Most days all I drink is water. When I started coming up allergic to everything water became the safest drinking choice, then it just became habit that I drank water only.

Thank you God for providing us with safe drinking water.

Wet Burritos From Chili

I am actually rather proud of coming up with this. I don't really do the whole cooking thing very well. Wet Burritos is one of the few recipes I am familiar enough with to feel comfortable making. Last night I was was trying to make dinner because Trevor had really not had a great couple of days. Nothing serious, just those little things that can really bring you down. Yesterday had ended with a take out order that he'd already waited 25 minutes for (the wait time they gave him) and when he went in to get it was told that they had forgotten about the order... Then today when he went to do a pharmacy certification there was a sign on the door saying they were closed due to the flu (kinda ironic huh?). So I didn't want him having to cook too.

Tuesday, January 15

Grateful For #13: My Big Brother


I love you brother! Very, very, very,very much!

Thank you God for my big brother, Mark.

Kroger vs Walmart Green Beans

The nice green green beans on the left are Kroger (Gerbes here in town), on the right Walmart's brown green Great Value green beans. My husband works at an entirely different grocery store so this is a completely impartial, wow. I don't know if that's normal. I just grabbed two cans at random from my parents cabinet. Just wanted to share.

Mom's Night Out

Amanda's cards read 1 2 3 4 7 8 9 10 11 12
She needed two sets.....
Now that the holiday season has come and gone for another year, it's time for Trev and I to breathe a sigh of relief that we made it through the chaotic holiday season once again- only slightly worse for the wear.

It's a new year, with lot of adventures and experiences just waiting to happen, one of the experiences I'm looking forward to again this year is girl's night =)

I love my children- very, very much. I love my husband more then words can express. I love my life. I thank God several times daily for so many blessings.

Girl's night is probably one of the things that helps me keep feeling that way ;-)

Monday, January 14

Grateful for #12: Laughter

Is there any better sound then your family laughing? You know, as long as it's not at you...

Thank you God for laughter.

Coupons, Deals and Sales... oh my

I forgot that sometimes couponing can be a little overwhelming. Last night we were trying to plan out meals and grocery shopping for the next week to pick up tomorrow. Trevor brought home a couple newspapers because they had $102 coupons inside. I feel a little like the chick there in the corner looks.

Hehe, seriously though- there were some good deals in coupons and good deals in the ads. 69¢ a pound per chicken quarters and 69¢ per Dole Iceberg Lettuce bag in the Hy-Vee 2 day ad. Both very helpful for us =) Found some yoplait printable coupons to stack with the yoplait sale. There were some Quaker coupons in the paper to stack with the Quaker sale. Quaker isn't technically gluten free (they don't add wheat, but because of the growing process can't guarantee some wheat doesn't end up in the crop randomly). As long as we just get the plain oatmeal without anything added it doesn't seem to bother Tristian. Plus, it's much cheaper then the Bob's Red Mill (although we have found Bob's Red Mill for decent prices at Big Lots before). Oats are kinda a gray area in the whole gluten free thing. Some with celiac seem to have just as much problem with oats as with wheat. Lucky for us oats don't seem to bother Tristian at all, in fact they are one of his favorite foods at the moment =)

We made a deal with my parents that we would do the grocery shopping for the house and cook supper. It seemed silly to have two couples shopping really and it's easier for us to cook meals that everyone can eat (we have wheat, dairy and corn allergies to deal with lol). It shouldn't be too hard with Trevor working at a HyVee we get 10% off once a month, plus couponing and shopping sales we should be able to keep the grocery bill reasonable and everyone fed ;-)

Sunday, January 13

Grateful for #11: Coloring Books

Nothing saves the day quite as well as a box of crayons and a good coloring book.

Thank you God for coloring books.

Why People Don't Like Me (haha... but seriously)


Assuming the fact that one mile adds one minute to your life, and assuming a round number of 30 days per month. Further considering the previous assumptions not feeling a need to be too specific in exact decimals or anything while performing the math so using rounded numbers. In order to add 5 months to your life you would need to jog every day from the day you turned 20 until the day you turned 60 around 15 miles a day. If you further assume that you have an average runners mile speed of 8 minutes to jog a mile, that means to run those 15 miles a day you would need to run for around 2 hours every day. This would mean you have spent 3 and a third years running during your lifetime. 

Not saying this is a bad thing. There are worse ways to spend your time. I am more saying that this is perhaps an improbable situation for the average runner, perhaps even the average really passionate about running runner.

Personally I'm rather fond of running. In my late teens and early 20s I think I averaged jogging an hour a day five days a week on a treadmill in the gym. From the spring following having Tristian to the fall when I became pregnant with Trace (when my lungs decided to try and commit suicide) I averaged three 30 minute running sessions a day 5 days a week.  I still spend at least a day of each week with my lungs trying to kill me because I'm determined that I will run again. One of these days I'm going to run and my lungs aren't going to revolt, I just know it. After we figured out that corn is my arch enemy last spring a few months later in the summer I managed to run 20 minutes a day for a little over a month with only a few days out for bad lungs. The fall kinda kicked my butt allergy wise and this winter cold/flu/lung infection crud is really... well... cruddy. I'll get back to running again, though. I am certain... Baby steps.

*I know the ecard was just a joke. For me personally when I see anything involving numbers my mind immediately starts working on the figures. So seeing these numbers made me smh at the premiss of the ecard. Now it could have said you get to spend an extra 2 months in a nursing home. 2 months would be running for 40 years, 3 days a week less then 14 miles a day. Still assuming that average speed of 8 minutes a mile, it would mean about 110 minutes a day. Or five days a week a bit over an hour a day. That means around 1 and a third year spent running over your lifetime (and still an additional $16,000.00 spent at that nursing home). I'm just being ridiculously analytical, probably the reason many people don't like me. ;-)

Saturday, January 12

Grateful for #10: My Boys

Such a cliche thankful for thing, but it's the truth (of course). I am very, very grateful for my baby boys.
There are few things in life more precious then life itself. Our boys were two lives that my husband and I were so lucky to be blessed with.

Thank you God for giving Trevor and I our sons.

Getting Set Up to Coupon Again

You can find this post in an updated version by CLICKING HERE

There's a saying along the lines of can't make money w/out money. You can coupon w/out spending money, but it helps to spend a little so you have a good intake of coupons.  Everyone has their own way; circular services, ebay coupon buying, checking stores for free mags, buying newspapers or coupon books. Most do a mix of ways. I also do a mix, but my main coupon intake is from magazines.

Magazines can be gotten for reasonable prices if you shop around. Mostly, I resigned up for ones that worked the best for us in the past couponing. This time around is going to be a little harder, because we know about food allergies that make it necessary to buy some more expensive (and less couponed) items. Here's us so far:

Friday, January 11

Grateful for #9: Freedom

Seeing as today is International Human Trafficking Awareness Day, freedom of very many choices seems a good thing to be thankful for today.

Thank you God for the country we live in, where a great many things are still our choices to make.

Great CS: The Passport Book (Mid-MO coupon book)

The Passport Book is sorta like Mid-Missouri's answer to not having a Entertainment book for any of the cities in Mid-MO.

Last time we got The Passport Book it had things like $5 off such n such amount at different grocery stores and etc... Coupons that really helped out and more then paid for the book. I haven't really couponed since Trace was born, just too crazy with life and medical stuff. Now that we are getting better medically and he's getting older I'm starting to feel like I should get back in that game. It helped seeing a friend's mom getting great deals couponing and posting them on her blog- http://asmalltownkitchen.com/. Made my start itching to to do the same again.

So we asked around and found out that Rock Bridge Elementary is selling The Passport Book (http://www.thepassportbook.com/) for a fundraiser here in Columbia. They didn't have the stuff yet so I headed over to the site to order one. I could not get the site to take either of our Debit cards. Called the bank and everything should have been fine. So I called The Passport Book this morning and talked to Deb... who was wonderful! It turned out that I was entering the wrong street address, that the card still has an old street address as our billing address. Whoops. Deb gave us free shipping for our trouble even though it was all my fault. She was extremely patient with me while I tried to juggle the call, kids and poor cell phone reception and was just awesome in general.

Thank you again Deb for your awesome customer support!

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today is International Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

It is so easy for us to get wrapped up in our own lives- babies, work, sports, school- it's easy not to think about these things. Whether we think about it or not though, this is happening all over the world, all the time- even here in the United States. If you just look there is story after story in the news of women, men and children being held as slaves. All races, all sexes, all ages, and all kinds of slaves.

Charity Navigator helps make sure you can find a legitimate charity for just about anything.

Thursday, January 10

Grateful for #8: White Paint

We are painting our walls. Nothing looks quite as clean as a freshly painted white wall.

Thank you God for white paint.

The 'Grateful for' post series is an idea gotten from Kelsey of the Words of Williams blog.

BREAKING NEWS: Trace Dresses Himself!

We were a little slow getting to the start our day stuff today. Trevor has today off and we slept in a little- sleeping in for us is when you get woke up at 5:00, 6:00 or even 7:00 am and actually get to go back for a nap until eight or nine! We finally got up for good around 8:30am. Took a shower and all that stuff.

Trace has been obviously exhibiting signs lately of wanting to be a big boy. He sometimes uses the potty, this morning he wanted to take a shower with us, etc and so forth. After the shower I got out the boys clothes for the day. While I was finding my own clothing Trace decided today was the day to dress himself. He did a pretty good job too. Got his own pants on all by himself... now I don't know if his shirt was a little harder then the pants, or he simply decided he liked his brother's shirt better... but his taste in apparel is adorable in any case.

Our baby is growing up. I don't know whether to smile or cry, lol. Trace can dress himself =)

Place Value and Manipulatives on the Fly

We are at my parents right now while working on our house to get it listed. I *thought* I had gotten everything we needed for this weeks homeschool. Was totally wrong. So I found myself stuck yesterday with no car (we only have one car, not normally a problem) and only about 3 miles from home... which might as well have been 3 states.

Yesterday morning we wrapped up review from coming back from the holidays and in the afternoon we started on week 19 of our curriculum. For math this meant 2 & 3 digit subtraction using place value and manipulatives. We didn't have any manipulatives here. I have jars of buttons, shells and lots of other cool stuff at home we use. Not so much here. However I did find gold fish! =)

Only problem being that goldfish are not gluten free. Call me overly cautious, but I figure if he's allergic to eating gluten and breathing gluten (like at a bakery) then touching it probably isn't a great idea. So we put ten goldfish in snack bags, 20 times. Then we put ten of the snack bags in a freezer bag. Plus 10 goldfish free of bags (which I handled). We had a 100 unit bag, some 10 unit bags and some single units.

I must say it worked out pretty well. Tristian really got a kick out of it and I saw him have an 'A-HA!' moment when we opened the hundred unit bag to break it up while subtracting 48 from 113.

Wednesday, January 9

Grateful For #7: Trace's Smile

Trace really doesn't like pictures very much, it's hard to get one of him really smiling- so this picture is precious to me =)


Thank you God for my beautiful son and his wonderful smile =)

Our Missouri Homeschool Record Keeping

First, our homeschool situation/why we chose to homeschool.

Tristian enjoying a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Activity
Trisitan turned 5 in June last summer, so this would have normally been his kindergarten year, and he would have been one of if not the youngest kindergartener in his class. He would have certaintly been the smallest at the average size of a just over 3 year old when he turned 5, and that was after being on growth hormone for a year. Tristian has some symptoms of autism or aspergers and some medical conditions (that are sooo much better then they use to be). At first we were considering putting him in a public or Catholic school. However he was way past the kindergarten learning (at the time of enrollment for the public system here Tristian was reading chapter books alone and doing addition and subtraction in his head). We looked at the whole situation and decided that we didn't feel a normal school situation, nor placing him ahead in grades, would have been the best option for Tristian at the time and chose to homeschool.

Tristian could have easily started on a 2nd grade curriculum, but I was worried that if we did that there might be a learning blocks he'd miss that would cause problems later. So our solution was to use a 1st grade curriculum, do everything in it... but also go farther on stuff that he can. That means we add in extra math, reading and social studies mostly. We also tend to go more in depth in science then is called for in the curriculum. So that he is still around peers regularly he's enrolled in 2 physical education classes during most the school year (Swimming and Tae Kwon Do) as well as being enrolled in Catechism class at our church. It's not a perfect system by any means- but we are confident that over all this is a better situation and fit for Tristian then if we had tried to figure something out within a school system at this time.

Homeschool in Missouri

In Missouri there are a few different things you have to track and requirements you must meet for doing school at home. You have to keep a plan or diary book showing your curriculum. You also have to keep track of core hours (reading, language arts, math, social studies, science) that are completed at the primary residence and outside the primary residence. You must have at least 600 core hours per school year. At least 400 of those core hours must be at the primary residence. You must have at least 1000 total school hours per year. The remaining hours after core hours can be any sort of elective (physical education, religion, cooking, art, etc..) You also must keep examples of the child's work throughout the year and a record of evaluation.

The way we've decided to meet these requirements are:

Sleep is Overrated... and other things

Eventually Trace Will Sleep Through the Night. I know he will. Tristian was 3 before he did, so Trace still isn't as old as his brother was yet when he first slept through a night. I'm just tired and cranky lol.

Spent most of the night before last planning out homeschool and cleaning. Yesterday was brutal just from only having maybe and hour or two of sleep after still getting over being sick. My lungs aren't horrible, but they aren't really wanting to work just yet so it's dragging a bit.

Tristian is ready to rock as far as being better- but was really not into the whole get back to school idea quite yet. Granted with so much review it's not as much fun as normal lol. Hopefully wrap up review this morning and get into week 19 of the curriculum. We ended pre-break school on a review week in the curriculum (that would have been awesome planning on my part, but it was actually just luck, we got to week 18 and it said REVIEW lol). So I am basically just doing a condensed repeat of week 18, then will do week 19 and 20 over the next week and a half. Be back on track with week 21 monday-friday like normal.

Tuesday, January 8

Grateful for #6: Sheepy



Sheepy is Trace's special stuffy. Sheepy was crocheted by my friend Brittany (thanks again Brit!) for Trace after she saw how much he liked the sheep she had made for her own daughter. Trace really loves his Sheepy.

Thank you God for those special loveys that help our children feel safe and secure and the memories they help hold.

The 'Grateful for' post series is an idea gotten from Kelsey of the Words of Williams blog.

The Magic Tree

If you have ever come to Columbia, MO or the surrounding area during the holiday season this is something that you must go see. The Magic Tree is just fantastic (literally).

We made a special trip to show the boys it this year. For some reason we just hadn't been near it after dark during the holiday time, so we made sure they got to see it last week. I'm hoping next year we aren't sick when we see it, it is so neat to see the family and friends gathered around this tree playing and talking.

Here's a few pictures we took with our phones.

Monday, January 7

Grateful for #5: Baths

Baths are an amazing invention. Have a dirty child? Baths will clean them. Need some down time? A bubble bath and a good book and soothe almost any stress, at least temporarily. Got some aches? A good soak can really help ease those. 

Baths are awesome. I'm about to go enjoy one =)

Thank you God for whoever first thought putting hot water in a tub sounded like an awesome idea.

The 'Grateful for' post series is an idea gotten from Kelsey of the Words of Williams blog.

Post Holiday Homeschool

We are starting back up homeschool today. Fun times =) We had the month of December off, one of the nice things about home school is you get to make your own schedule. We do five days a week most weeks regardless of holidays, but we can work in things like a month off for the winter holidays ;-)

What we are doing today-

  • Social Studies: Before the break we were working on our community book for general social studies, today we are going to ease back into that by using a web to brainstorm attributes of a neighbor. 
  • History: We had just wrapped up Mesopotamia for historic social studies. So today we are going to go over our ancient civilizations pocketbook and to remind us about Nomads, Egypt and Mesopotamia- plus reread some exerts of The Story of the World.
  • Spelling: We are going to go over our previous spelling lists and spell the words out loud, to make sure we remember how, then introduce this weeks spelling words. Normally on Monday we put together a spelling list model, but we'll do that tomorrow since we're doing review.
  • Reading: Probably just do a 30 minute read alone time today. That way he has some relax time that is also school time. Tomorrow we'll go over a previous reading review worksheet to freshen up the different parts of a story and etc. Then just read alone time for the rest of the week. Normally Tristian picks a chapter book for read alone time, when he finishes the book we do a reading review sheet, where we figure out the different story elements. This means that most days reading time is relax time.
  • Language Arts: Refresh on the parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, etc) do a mad lib.
  • Math: Review counting by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s to 100. Sort some attributes and finish some patterns. Brushing up.
  • Science: We had just finished up about plants when we stopped for break. We are going to refresh that a little then move on to observing what a drop of water is like. We'll be introducing the use of a science journal today.
  • Religion: Tristian in enrolled in Catechism at Sacred Heart here in town, so we don't always feel the need to do something on this subject every day. Sometimes there are activities in one of our for boys devotionals I can wrap in with other subjects we are studying. Today I don't want to overload Tristian and he just had Sunday School yesterday- so will probably only do something if he requests it.
  • Physical Education: Tristian is enrolled 2 days a week in Jr Tae Kwon Do (Thursdays) and Swimming (Saturdays). Those both start back up on the 19th or thereabouts I believe.

Grandparents: Not just for spoiling

Tristian and Grandma
You know that old adage? That grandparents are best for spoiling grandkids and giving them back? We found something grandparents are even better for (in our opinions lol).... all those tricky questions we (the parents) don't know how, or don't have the gumption, to answer!

So we're in the car on the way to Trevor's parents (who are Grandma and Grandpa to the boys) and Tristian starts asking questions.
"Mom where does Jesus live since he died?"
We've been discussing Jesus a lot lately.
"In Heaven with God, honey."
"WHY?"
"Because that's where God lives, honey"
"And God is Jesus' daddy."
"Yes, honey"
"Like Trevor is my daddy"
Tristian is very big on knowing everyone's names, even ours.
"Yes, honey"
"Mom, where's Heaven?"
"Heaven's with God, honey."
"but WHERE?" ....
"Hey Dad" says Mom, "Where's Heaven?"
"You know what?" Says Dad, "That's a really good question for Grandma...."

Sunday, January 6

Grateful for #4: Shelter

It's so easy to take things like a home to live in for granted. Many people in our country and around the world are not blessed as my family is to have consistent shelter.

Right now we actually sorta have two homes. Our house and my parents basement while we get our house ready to put on the market. Thank you Mom and Dad for sharing your home with us.

and thank you God for blessing us with someplace warm and safe to lay our heads.

The 'Grateful for' post series is an idea gotten from Kelsey of the Words of Williams blog.

Saturday, January 5

Grateful for #3: Books

I love reading books. I am always shocked by the average number of books read per adult annually (6 in 2012). Books are one of my favorite hobbies. At the moment I am rereading Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest series. It's been a favorite since I was a teenager.

Thank you God for all the talented writers in this world who share their stories with us.

The 'Grateful for' post series is an idea gotten from Kelsey of the Words of Williams blog.

Bazil has a new home :(

For the second time in two months we've given a pet away. Two months ago we had two large dogs and three cats. We are realistic enough to know that we would not be fortunate enough to be able to keep them all if we moved.


Oddly enough the two pets that now have new homes are the two in one of my favorite pictures of our pets. BJ and Bazil, pictured above about a year ago when we had just gotten Bazil.

BJ found a good home with my husband's Aunt Bridgette. She was talking about needing a good mouser at a family get together because their's had passed away the previous year. Trevor and I had just begun to discuss the fact that we probably needed to do the responsible thing and see if we could find good homes for a couple of the pets. Especially as we didn't even know when we would be able to  find a new house and would not be at the house with the pets soon. I told Aunt Bridgette about BJ, who is a rehabilitated feral cat. I found him passed out and torn up very badly when he was probably around a year or two old and really didn't expect him to live- his throat had been partially ripped open and he had several other bad gashes. He made it threw somehow and by the time he was better he was able to move much again he knew humans weren't going to hurt him. That was five years ago and he's a wonderful kitty. 

We were not so lucky with Bazil, and ended up putting a add on Craigslist and prayed a good family would see him and love him. Today exactly that happened. A family with young children that wanted a large dog saw our add. Which is perfect because Bazil loved being with our boys more then the adults usually. Trevor just finished taking him to his new home. He said Bazil was already wagging his tail and seemed comfortable when he left and he could tell that the family was completely entranced with their beautiful new dog.

It's so bittersweet. I am so glad they both have good homes. But I miss them anyways and wish we had been in a better position to keep them.

We still have Brockley, Bubbles and Black Jack. We are hoping we can work it out so we can keep them until we find a new home.

Some of my creations

Some things we've made or done that I haven't made individual posts about.


refrigerator picture frames. made from dollar store frames, glue all and some magnet tape. hot glue will not work for this. it comes undone after a day if you use hot glue :( much nicer looking then before though =)


I did show these in the decorative block post because I talked a little about making them when discussing making those blocks. But the post wasn't really about the wagon and blocks. These were for Trace's Christmas present last year. He still loves them. 2x2s, 2x4s, some screws, wheels, string (we cleaned and reused the string from a very torn up hoody, but initially I was just going to crochet one) and a circle with a hole we used a drill accessory to make. You will need a table saw to do the blocks with any real regularity. Some paint and ingenuity and we had an awesome toy. Originally I tried to find all the stencils to use (hobby lobby has a wonderful stencil section) but couldn't find everything I wanted. Eventually I came up with the idea of cutting them out of paper, when did not work too great until I thought of using cardstock. Cardstock works very well to print images on and cut them out to make stencils.


this is a dollar store shoe pocket organizer. i cut it in half an resewed it together so that is was four pockets by two pockets instead of two pocket by four pockets (I know that sounds like the same thing, but the one is MUCH longer) then I used wire cutters to cut a white hanger and bend it to shape to use as the hooks to hold this on the back of the shower door. perfect size for shampoo and body washes.


This is the entryway open closet we built a couple years ago. very simple, but really helps storage wise. you are basically making a bookshelf with only two shelves and a rod to hang things on.


this is made from crates i painted one color on the outside and another on the inside, trevor screwed them together, then I covered some boxes with scrap fabric. great way to store the boys toys in the front room.


fireplace we built last year. we didn't like the electric prebuilt ones look. so we got an insert and built our own. This was made our of 2x4s and joint compound mostly lol. The tiles we got from home depot for a think a few bucks each. This fireplace sets on top of a vent (horrible I know) so to accomidate that in the summer when we want ac going we made sure most the inside is hollow, and those depressed panels you see are actually mesh to allow better air flow. that is also to help the insert be able to pull air in easily as well. This does not conjoin to the wall, but is painted the same color and meant to set up against it.


$8 door wreath using a $2 20inch wreath from walmart and dollar store everything else. 


mirror frosted word art using $1 wall art stickers from the dollar store, metalic spray paint and spray laquer (so you can clean it without destroying it). to get the edges I tore peices of masking tape on put them so the torn side created the edging line when sprayed.


wall mounted entertainment center we made when we couldn't find one a few years ago. made our of 2x4s and plywood.

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