The Joys of Home Educating

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pinks N Pigskins - A Girly Football Celebration

Superbowl is almost here!  Although the two teams our family supports (Vikings and the Saints) were nowhere near qualifying - we are still excited to watch it all play out! 

Our two daughers and I are just as excited as my son and husband.  I decided this year to celebrate the day with a Pinks N Pigskins Party!  

Glamming it up!

A teaser of what is in store for the big game....

Can't wait to share the entire celebration with you in early February!

Until next time - Be Blessed and Touchdown!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Check In Monday - #NoSpendChallenge and a room redo on a Zero Budget

Can you believe we are in the home stretch!  Only 6 days left! 

Can I get an AMEN! 

How are you doing? 

Has the challenge been hard? 

Did you find it easy so far? 

What have you done without?

For us, the biggest challenge has been the weather here in NY - sounds strange I know.  It has been a rainy month which mean we don't get outside much.  In the past, that would bring us to the mall or out to lunch a few times to break up the mundane of the house.  However, with no spending, that was not an option. 

We have had snow the last few days and expecting a real ringer of one Monday - Tuesday, so they have been skiing (season passes) and sledding a lot over the last few days.

I wanted so bad to "redo" my laundry/boiler room but had a zero budget this month.  When cleaning out the closet I found a gallon of white interior paint. BINGO - painted and did some rearranging, moving around and "Shopping" from my other rooms.  A redo on a zero budget!  Check it out!

It had not been painted since we moved in 8 years ago.  (washer and dryer share a space with our boiler) The boiler is about 5 years old but when it was replaced I still never got a chance to paint behind it..oh well.  The ceiling was horrible but forget to get a pic of it. Trust me when I say it was embarrassing.  

Now it's all clean  looking, bright and cheery and has some new contact paper (i had in the garage) and a few vinyl pieces I did on my Cameo.  The floor was painted also.  Just in time to put it on the market in a few weeks!  

On the down side, my truck went into the shop on Saturday 8(   Not gonna lie, not happy with even spending money on that! 

I am excited to hear all about how your family has survived it.

What have you done to replace the spending?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekly Update

January is almost behind us..never to be seen again for 2015.

It has been a No Spend January for us and it's going great. We have had to spend a few dollars on some items but nothing above $ 20 and all were truly needed.  We will be continuing to watch our pennies until we sell the house and move into our new home. 

Exciting times again! 

Where Are We Wednesday brought us to Maryland this week.  We have driven through Maryland as a family and I have been to Baltimore for a weekend before.  The children also started back up on the Bricks 4 Kidz program with our homeschooling friends. Always a fun time. Snowplow build above. 

The girls finished up their graphing unit with a fun challenge using the Duplo blocks.  More Osmo fun with the Ipad.  Zachary has been working on Excel updating his spread sheet each week with my grocery receipt.  Tracking my savings and spending for me.

Eating healthy is a priority for the hubby and I this year.  As well as exercise. I am going full steam ahead with my healthy living. Already losing 7 pounds since January 2nd and my PVC is barely noticeable. 

Spaghetti squash was a first for me. It was great with some sauteed mushrooms and garlic!  Lots of creative salads and I made my own pizza dough for a homemade pizza for the kiddies. They were craving pizza since No Spend January has put us out of the pizza delivery option. 

We are getting some significant snow this weekend!  Kids will be happy!

I hope your week is filled with fun and love!

Linking up to:  Collage Friday and Weekly Wrap Up

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Check In Monday - #NoSpendChallenge

Hi there and Happy Monday to you.

We are observing Martin Luther King, Jr Day today with limited school and loving on daddy since he is home too! 

If you are here for the first time, I suggest you go back a few posts and check out what came before this post...

How did you do last week with the cut your grocery bill in half challenge?  

Were you able to do it with ease or was there a lot of sacrifice? 

Our Challenge Update:   So last week the boys (hubby and son) needed hair cuts. Something we don't do for the boys at home. Cost $ 40 total with tip (yikes seems like a lot to me...)  Also Zachary needed a protractor for school. Would you believe I checked the Dollar Tree and Walmart, neither of them had one. So I ordered from Amazon (at least Prime and free shipping). Of course THEN the day after I get my $ 5 STAPLES reward emailed to me...geezz...timing huh.

That's it so far...we are doing well. 

Next week I am planning a trip to a library we have not been to...and a trip to the Harness Racing Museum that we love and is pretty local and FREE. Lots of hands on for the kids and a simulator ride.

This week I wanted to share with you a few tips I learned over the years on reusing and recycling in the home. Stretching the dollar farther. Breaking it down by categories for you. 

Cleaning Supplies:  I have been that mom who has tried it all. From brand name cleaners that are full of chemicals to vinegar and water.  I find the vinegar and water is the best. It might not disinfect but to clean it's great and add a little lemon juice and smells good too. VERY Inexpensive to make and no nasty chemical smell or in the air.   Also using a rag or old shirt works great.  No paper towels as they leave tiny particles behind on the glass and not reusable. 

In the Kitchen:  So much you can do with leftovers and other kitchen items. 

  • Freeze leftover soup, yogurt, wine - in ice cube trays. 
  • Use your blender to mix up some fruit that might be going bad and make a smoothie or freeze for a smoothie at a later time.
  • Use stale bread for breadcrumbs pulsing in your food processor. 
  • Use the crumbs of the chip bag or pretzel bag to coat your chicken or fish. (again grinding them up and making them crumby)
  • I used 1 pound of ground beef and get two meals. First one for tacos (mixing the meat with 1 can of black beans) and the other 1/2 pound mixing with bread crumbs and diced veggies and making mini meatloaf in the muffin tin. 
  • Save your poultry bones to make broth/stock.  
  • Mash potatoes left over - make potato pancakes a few days later. Add in some cheese and bacon or scallions.
  • Crockpot!  need I say more...

Check out this post from My Thirty Spot about reusing your candle wax at the end of your candles - very impressive!

What are you GO TO thrifty ideas in the kitchen or home?   Would love for you to share!

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Valentine's party on a budget and a discount!

Images were found at this source

As a mom who is ten ways to sideways always busy, I want to be able to purchase my party goods from a retailer I can trust! I want good quality for my money and I want a great deal. budget friendly parties are my thing.   However, I never skimp on quality!

I wanted to share today with you a FABULOUS deal at Bird's Party Shop for your Valentine Party with a Heart Theme!  I am over the moon excited to be able to bring this to my followers.  

The nitty gritty:

This printable party kit includes the following templates:

* 5” x 7” Editable Party Invites - Add your own text in Adobe Reader – Fonts cannot be changed.
* Cupcake Toppers (2” round tags)
* Cupcake wrappers: 2 designs (hearts and chevron)
* Heart-shaped cut-outs - Perfect as cake toppers or to make a garland!
* Lips shaped cut-outs - perfect as photo booth props
* Rectangular Favor Tags
* Tented Buffet Cards - Read "Cupid's Cupcakes", "Cupid's Love Potion", "Valentine's Sweet Hearts", "Valentine's Candy Bar"
* Blank Tented Buffet Cards - Can be hand written only
* Scrapbook Papers: 2 designs (hearts and chevron)
* Snack Box template (approx. 3 inch tall): 2 designs
* Bottle Wrappers
* Straw flags
* 2cm Mini round tags - perfect for Hershey's® kisses

Print-it-yourself Party Supplies (Files are designed to be printed in A4 size paper unless otherwise specified)
INSTANT DOWNLOADS: For all ‘Instant Download’ Printables you receive a download link immediately after payment is received - Download link expires in 48 hrs.

 You simply print, cut and party!

If you look around Etsy and other sites that offer printables you could pay upwards of $ 25 for all this.  However, I am so thrilled to tell you moms and dads you can get the entire Heart party Printable Set for only $ 7.99 for an instant download of all these templates!

Image Source

Isn't this darling?!  You can also purchase so many other cute items like the ones you see at this Heart Party over at Bird's Party Shop. 

I have YET some more good news...if you purchase any party supplies by clicking on the affiliate link below, you can get 10% off your order! INCLUDING the PRINTABLES


Party Supplies and Printables Shop

I can't wait to celebrate Valentine's Day with my sweeties!  

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Week in Review

Happy Friday!  It's a long weekend for us as Daddy is home on Monday in observance of MLK Jr Day.   Hoping they all get out to get skiiing and use those passes we bought last Summer!  

If you did not check out the Monday post for the #NoSpendChallenge there is still time!

What's happened this week....

It's been relatively quiet on the home front. The weather has been bitter and we have not been able to do anything outside all week (boooo).  The only "outing" was their gym class on Wednesday (which comes to an end in a few weeks).  We had a brief power outage one day and the girls decided to do some Art For Kids (without Art For Kids). Molly took charge and was teaching Sammie a tutorial she remembered from the site - drawing Anna from Frozen. It was so cute listening to Molly teach. 

I am doing great on my healthy eating and exercise.  Treadmill every day and upped my incline to a 6!  Those less than perfect cookies you see are my new saving grace for sweets.  Sweet potato chocolate chip cookies.  YES YES YES. I found the recipe on Pinterest and will be making these every week!  

As of 2 am today, Zachary has been vomiting every 30 mins or so....need I say that we have not gotten any sleep since then 8(    Pray for him..he is a worrier and thinks he will die of dehydration. I am assuring him this wont be the case, but I don't think he believes me.

We have a low key weekend with some skiing tomorrow morning (fingers crossed) and church on Sunday.  I am working on a "booklet" for when we sell the house with before and after pictures and some highlights.  Really praying hard on finding the right home for our family.

I am linking up to Collage Friday over at Homegrown Learners and Weekly Wrap-Up

In case you missed this healthy morning muffin recipe from last week - 

Until Monday (new post on the #NoSpendChallenge) 
 Be Blessed!

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Check in Monday - #NoSpendChallenge

Hello Monday and hello followers!  It's the second Monday in January today which means it's time for updates on the No Spend Challenge and how our family is doing.


If you missed last Monday's post on Boredom Busters I invite you to click on over and catch up on it. There are some great ideas for you and your family for the month. 

OUR FAMILY UPDATE:  I have been able to stick to the zero spending for myself and kids. Hubby had to buy some rock salt due to some snow and ice we unexpectedly received but he used a $ 5 off coupon, so for that I was proud of him. 

The children seem to be unaffected for the most part. Asking for delivery pizza a few times (that's when mom breaks out the DiGiorno pizza that I bought on sale a few weeks ago) but for the most part, they have been great about not asking for anything.  Still on a Christmas high from the Minecraft LEGO sets and new DS games, which helps. 

This week I wanted to challenge you a little more..pushing the budget envelope, so to speak.   (not like I have not already...but you can handle it)

Pantry Challenge

IF you are up for it, and I know some of you are, I want to challenge you to cut your grocery bill in half for a week and eat out!  Say What?  What do you mean eat out....we are not spending this month....

I mean, eat out of your pantry, freezer and refrigerator for a week.  For us, that means only buying milk, fresh produce and eggs.  The rest will be coming from our own home.  I normally spend $ 150 of groceries for a week (homeschooling family of 5) so cutting it down to $ 75 or better.  

IF you are up for this additional challenge here are some steps to take to prepare for this:

  • Organize your pantry, freezer and refrigerator
  • Take inventory of what you have on hand already
  • Dust off those cook books and find some recipes that you have ingredients for already 
  • Check out Pinterest for some new recipes  (Crockpot is my best friend!) 
  • Make sure you check the grocery store ads and plan your 1/2 spending around what is on sale coupled with what you have already. 

BONUS: Get the children involved  - bake something with them. Teach them how to cook something that they love. Have the little ones measure ingredients. Getting the family involved can be a lot of fun!

I would love to hear from you, support you and pray for you.

Let me and others know how you are doing. 

How are you and your family doing on the No Spend Challenge for January?  

Have you found you have had some obstacles or stumbling blocks?  

How could you have improved? 

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