Friday, July 30, 2010

Breaking News from the Hen House

Our babies are growing up super fast and we are loving them so much!!

Life on our small little farm of 10 super spoiled chickens consists of daily "treats"

afternoon grazing in the garden

and now......


We are so excited!!!

So far only our small little banty chickens are laying, but our big girls should start soon!!

In other news...what do you think of the new resident over here!!!
The girls found him by the pond...ran like wind to show him off...

and put him right back where they found him!!

Im serious...that was the biggest frog EVER!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not Back to School Blog Hop Round 2

Next week the "Not" Back to School Blog Hops will continue!!  I have been having such a great time over at Amber's The Classic Housewife and I can't wait to crank up the fun next week at Heart of the Matter.  

I love to see what everyone else is doing and it gives me a sense that I am not the only crazy and frazzled person right now.  It seems that I have become a super OCD curriculum addict and it really helps to know that YOU ARE TOO!!!

Some of my favorite blogs have been those that I have found on these blog hops and I think that the information is absolutely priceless.  Head on over to Heart of the Matter and check it out beginning Monday!!  Here is what next month will look like over there...

Happy Birthday to my Big Daddy Boy

Yesterday was my Big Daddy Boy's birthday and he spent it taking care of me who apparently needs to go to cooking school and learn that when you leave a lid on a pot and boil something for 10 minutes the steam is going to BURN YOU when you take the lid do that quickly OR end up spending your husband's birthday at the doctor with a second degree burn covering most of your fore arm and in BRUTAL amounts of pain {but I did get some pain meds...lots of good sleep}!!!

The good news is that I only have to have my arm wrapped up for A WEEK, TOUCHING NO LIQUIDS, RAW MEAT, or even WATER!!!!  What do I look like a woman with a maid, nanny, and personal chef!  COME ON!!

My Big Daddy boy was quite the trooper though and took great care of me last night even though it was his birthday!!

I love you babe!!!  Happy Birthday!  I will do better next year!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our School Day (maybe)

Image via

As any good OCD homeschooling mom does, I have been relentlessly creating the perfect school day for the upcoming year.  But before you laugh at my schedule let me just say 2 things...

#1  This is my first year homeschooling, and I think that must be like your first day of a new job or your first day of college where you really think you can conquer the world (fresh notebooks and all).

#2  I'm really more of a schedule "maker" than a schedule "follower".  I like to make them, and re-make them, change them mid-course and all of that stuff, but really, I have a hard time following one...who knows???

So here is what our school day might will look like for my 2nd and 4th graders (maybe)...

8:00-9:00     Breakfast and chores
9:00-9:30     Bible (together)
9:30-11:00   Independent Learning (Math, Language, Spelling, Writing, and Piano)
11:00-11:30 History (together)
11:30-12:00 Lunch
12:00-12:30 Quiet reading in their rooms
12:30-1:30   Mon. and Wed. SCIENCE / Tues. and Thurs. LITERATURE (together)
1:30-3:00     Mon. NATURE STUDY / Tues. PIANO LESSONS / Thurs. ART (together)

Trial run is on August 30th as we begin to ease into the school year...who knows what this thing will look like in May!!

I'm linking this post right on up to the Back to (Home) School Hop over at The Classic Housewife
so head on over there and see what everyone else's day will look like this year!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

No Spend Challenge Update No. 3

As we enter into the final week, thank heavens, of the July No Spend Month Challenge, I must say that I am ready to be out from under the pressure...LOL!  It is much harder than you think to NOT SPEND MONEY.  What has happened to us??  Why does it seem so hard to not get what you want when you want it??  It is really making me more sick by the minute.

I remember as kids, my parents would take us to McDonald's for good report cards!!  We would be so excited and we would get the 99 cent hamburger, fries, and coke deal. Does anybody remember that??  NEVER a happy meal!!  It was a treat, a highlight, and it saddens me that our world has become one of convenience over special treats.

My eyes have been opened through this challenge, but truly, things just cost so much that if you don't view stuff as treats or special outings, you will absolutely go broke.  I took the girls to the movies Friday to see Ramona and Beezus...okay so good, if you don't believe me read here...ANYWAY, and it was $40.00!!!  Usually I don't buy movie theater food, and that was $14.00 of the $40.00, but I wanted it to be special treat so the girls did pick out a $6.00 candy!! BRUATL!!!

Anyway, I could go on forever about the brutalness of this overspending, bloodsucking, ALL ABOUT ME society that we live in, but you already is how we are doing with the challenge!

Total Money Spent Outside of Regular Budget $211.17 so far this month:
  • We spent $22.00 on fast food this week...getting better from the $35.00 last week, huh?  I will say that $16.00 of it was Taco Bell for supper one night...we had a craving and begged Daddy boy to take us and he did :)
  • I spent $16.00 at Macy's on a hat that I just couldn't pass up.
  • And we spent $40.00 at the movies on Friday.

Not bad, and still under the $250.00 challenge that everyone else set for themselves...I knew that my way of budgeting was!!

As far as my grocery budget goes, yeah I don't know.  I pretty much blew it because we were out of all of our toiletries and had resorted to using the razor and toothpaste that came home with us compliments of the Beau Rivage casino that me and big daddy snuck off to last weekend (ooh la la).  I had a slew of coupons all expiring at the end of the month so I did go to Walmart and stock up (something I haven't done in months).  I spent $85.00 at Walmart, but my total would've been $115.00 without my coupons and I have more toothpaste, razors, and shampoo than any human can use!!  Gotta do what you gotta do because seriously, CVS is not really my friend anymore...where are those ECB deals???

In case you missed my post about my new trial grocery budget, you can check it out here.  

This is what is left of my $400.00 grocery budget
  • $213.00 at Sams on (week 1)
  • $62.57 at Winn Dixie (week 1)
  • $74.53 at Winn Dixie (week 2)
  • $25.40 chicken feed (how brutal that their food has to come out of my budget)
  • $87.43 Walmart (week 3)
I've got $-67.00 left to spend on groceries this month.  Uh, oh!!  Guess, we must starve!!!  I do still have tons of food from Sams at the beginning of the month and in my $87.00 I spent at Walmart, I did get a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, so we are set!!

See you next week for my final update!! PRAISE BE!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ramona and Beezus...candid review

There is only one thing I have to say about the Ramona and Beezus movie that we saw today.  Ready? Here goes...






That is really all you need to hear.  But since you here, let me just say...I am a super picky movie mom, so for all of you like me { chirp, chirp...anybody there??} I will just go ahead and let you know to forget Plugged-In Online, don't waste your time, even though it is my most favorite movie review website and has an awesome review you can read here.  And if you must see the trailer because you just must, go ahead and watch it here.  

But, seriously, here is what you really need to know...its great, just like the books, of which my girls have read every single one!!

You will fall in love with Mr. Quimby...

You will decide that your children definitely need new wardrobes to match Beezus and Ramona {thank heavens this movie is in set in the fall...we have time}...

You will come home and completely re-decorate your entire house to look like their perfect suburban cottage...

And you will regret ever eating all of that popcorn because Mrs. Quimby is soooo gorgeous!!!  

Now, if that isn't enough let me just tell you again...






Quite possibly the best movie of the year!  And I'm a tough critic!!  Once you see it please come back and give me your thoughts!!

oh...p.s....I must disclose that Selena Gomez is not forcing me to type this and NO, Im not getting a dime to say this...not even free movie tickets for when I take my kids to go see it again next week...yeah its that good!!!

Its Blog Hop Time...Im Ready

Now that the summer is winding down, I have been waiting for the homeschool blog hops to get started!!  Well, I just saw the first one.  It's at The Classic Housewife, so get ready!!!  Im so excited!!  Just wanted to pass this along, I will be there...will you??

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pen Pals for Homeschoolers

Have you heard???   The Homeschool Village is organizing a pen pal opportunity and the deadline is FRIDAY!!!  I just signed up both of the girls and have already received one of their pen pal's information!!  Im so excited!!  Who doesn't love getting mail?  Go over to The Homeschool Village to get all of the details and sign up!!

Catalog Living...check it out!

This is probably most definitely the biggest hoot I have seen in a long time!!  Check out Catalog Living and {in the words of the author who is the hilarious chick in the Sonic commercials}  take a look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs.  Here is a sneak peek.  Once you go there I really think you will be begging for more.  Im crying over here people, Im telling ya!!  This is from today and you can thank me later :)

Elaine finally found a place where Gary wouldn’t find her prized albino apples.

What We Will Be Learning This School Year

If you are visiting from Bring the Rain or Heart of the Matter, let me say WELCOME to my little corner of the homeschool world.  I hope you enjoy your visit and come back real soon!

If you are super bored and wanna know more about our homeschooling journey you can read about why we are choosing to homeschool here, how we will homeschool here, and check out our super hip schoolroom here.

Over here at Kellye's School of Learning, Kellye {aka Me, the psycho mom who cannot ever decide on a curriculum} has FINALLY made final decisions and has clicked "buy" much to the excitement and eternal gratefulness of my family and my Internet service provider.

So here is what we will be doing this year...oh and by the way before you run away forever we really aren't naming our school Kellye's School of Learning...that is just what I have been calling it to all of my "school" friends who desperately want to enroll their kids after they saw how AWESOME our year is going to be!!!

Kamryn {4th grade}

Karsyn {2nd grade}
  • Abeka Arithmetic 2 {She has had Abeka her entire life and does really well with it, so I think that we will stick with it until she is ready for Teaching Textbooks in the next couple of years}
  • First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 2 {LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS}
  • The Complete Writer, Writing with Ease Level 2 
  • Abeka Spelling and Poetry 2 {I really want to make sure that she has all of her phonics blends down.  She is also a weak speller so I am not sure that she is ready for Spelling Power.  One more year of Abeka for her.}
Bible {All Together}
History {All Together}
  • My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures {I really wanted to do Story of the World, but then I realized that My Father's World uses Story of the World as its main text after this series. I'm so excited because that was a very tough decision for me.}
Science {All Together}
Art {All Together}
Literature/Required Reading
  • A veteran homeschool mom in our church that I very much look up to and love to pieces shared her system of required reading with me and it made so much sense.  She always had a list of books that her girls had to read for the year.  It was required of them {even though there was no A.R. test or book about that} and every day they used time after lunch to read their Bibles and/or to read from their required reading list.  We will definitely incorporate this into our day.  We may read together, I may read aloud, we may separate and have some silent reading, we may listen to a book on CD, I don't know but there will be a whole lotta' reading going on over here!!  I'm working on my "Required Reading List" {sounds so official, I love it} now!

That is all I have so far, but I am pretty sure that we will have a full schedule!!  The girls will have piano once per week and gymnastics once per week! They are very excited to be able to have the time to get back to doing the things that they had to put off because of homework and exhaustion.  I have to say that I am too!!  

Yay!!  I can hardly wait to get started.  Our schoolroom is almost complete and all of my curriculum is in route.  I feel so blessed to be able to follow the Lord in this area of our lives.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No Spend Month Update No. 2

We are a little more than half way through our No Spend Month Challenge and I am slowly learning that I am not really a BIG spender...but things really do "just come up" a whole lot more around here than I thought. So, as I am pondering how to wrangle that problem, take a look at how we are doing so far...

Total Money Spent Outside of Regular Budget $133.34 so far this month:
  • $35.51 spent on fast food this past week!!!  WOW!  But really, I don't know how I could've reduced that number.  Most times it was because we were out and about and picked up lunch or for two of the trips we were renovating our friends' school room and went to get lunch?  The jury is still out on that one, but just so that you know, I am totally not okay with $35 in one week on nasty fast food!
  • $12.00 SERVICE FEE on my checking account that I haven't had in years.  BRUTAL waste of money.  We transferred most of our money to savings this month and so it put our balance below the cut off I guess for no service fee.  I will be calling these folks!
  • We had many random other spendings like $17.25 for bait fish to put in our pond because it is so hot here that our fish don't have the energy to really hunt for their food...we just wanted to make their lives a little easier!!
  • Add all of these things to to the $54.70 I spent during the last update and we are at $133.34 so far!!  Bad yes, terrible, no! 
As far as my grocery budget goes, I think I am still on track to be where I need to be by the end of the month...unless that Blue Bell keeps going on sale.  I'm weak friends, very weak!!!  In case you missed my post about my new trial grocery budget, you can check it out here.  Here is how we are doing so far...

This is what is left of my $400.00 grocery budget
  • $213.00 at Sams on (week 1)
  • $62.57 at Winn Dixie (week 1)
  • $74.53 at Winn Dixie (week 2)
  • $25.40 chicken feed (how brutal that their food has to come out of my budget)
I've got $25.00 left to spend on groceries this month.  It will require me to be more creative, but lets face it, I've got a freezer full of meat and vegetables and their is no reason I can't make this happen.  That $25.00 should only have to be spent on bread, milk, and a few other things to last us until the end of the month!

See you next week for my next update!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

1000 gifts

And the list goes on and on...

Healthy children

my strong, godly husband

my tender heart that almost always gets broken but never stops loving

our homeschool classroom that is coming together better than I could have imagined

the peace the comes with knowing that you are doing the right thing

long summer afternoon naps

a quiet house

chocolate milk right before bed

snuggling with my big daddy when he comes in from working nights

cordless telephones

lots of laughing and giggling around here all day long

July No Spend Month....Update No.1

Well, our no spend month is into its second week and this is much harder, and much more fun than I thought it would be.  So far we have spent more than I had hoped, but it has made me very aware of how things can and do creep up on us while we aren't looking and drain our checking accounts.  Here is where we stand after week one.

Total Money Spent Outside of Regular Budget $54.70
  • McDonalds $3.23 (Brutal!!  Big Daddy went through the drive through before he knew this was a no spend month)
  • Winn Dixie $45.57 (Brutal again!!! Big Daddy's turn to pick up groceries for work...they were BBQing for the 4th of July since they were working and he grabbed the groceries.)
  • Raising Canes $5.86 (Yep, you guessed it...Big Daddy in the drive through again)
I guess its pretty clear who our problem is huh??  LOL!!  But, in his defense these were all spendings when nothing else would really have worked because of our schedule.  Big Daddy is a shift worker, and it is much cheaper for us to let him run through the drive through when he works nights and for me and the kids to eat leftovers than it is for me to cook a big meal for him to take a plate.

On the flip side, I changed up my grocery spending this month as well just to see...since we were getting all crazy and stuff in July!!!  Instead of doing my regular shopping which is Winn Dixie (coupons in tow) once a week and Sams once a month I decided to stick with that plan, but I bought way more at Sams than I usually do and allowed 50% of my entire month's grocery budget go in day one of the month.  We will see how that pans out, but I think it may work.  This will make sure that we have food all month long and will keep me from over buying at Winn Dixie.  Clear as mud??  Let me explain...

Here is our grocery budget (that as anyone who knows me knows, I rarely follow, read here for more).

Total grocery budget for one month $400.00
  • $100.00 each week at Winn Dixie and/or Target (I HATE WALMART)
  • Anything under the $100.00 I spend per week adds up as "extra" and I go to Sams at the beginning of the following month.
  • However, in reality I go to Sams anyway regardless of the "extra" or lack of!
This month here is what I have tried with my $400.00 grocery budget
  • $213.00 at Sams on July 5th
  • $187.00 remaining in the grocery budget for the month of July
  • So far all I have spent of that $187.00 is $4.00 for a gallon of milk.
  • This should be plenty and we will have a freezer full of food to roll into next month...we shall see!
I will give my next update next Monday! I know that I had said Fridays in the beginning, but the next few Fridays are really hectic for me so Mondays will work better!!!  Hold me accountable my bloggy friends!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

July is The No Spend Month

Have you seen anything about the The No Spend Month Challenge??  The idea came from Rachel at The Small Notebook as she has done this annually for the last 3 years.  The idea is that you will pay your bills and then just PINCH PENNIES so that you can see how much money you are really wasting each month.  Its just a break from spending.  Sounds interesting, huh?  Can our family do this??  We are surely going to try.

Our nation has become one of consumerism and it sickens me.  The belief that you can only be happy if you buy everything you want right when you want it has seemed to take over, even in our own home to a certain extent.  I find that my kids ask to go to Walmart more and more,  my free time is spent looking for something to buy, I stop for fast food way more than I should, and I just really don't keep an eye on where our money goes as well as I should.

Rachel lays things out so well in her post that I highly recommend you visiting her for all of the details, but for us, here is what we will be doing...

The plan:
The plan is that we really don't have one.  Im not the kind of person that can set a budget and "stick to it".  Not that I can't stick to a budget but it almost is like I am in bondage to the budget.  Clear as mud?  Well, let me just say it like this.  To say that I can only spend so much will make me constantly check the online banking, spend an entire day making some kind of whacked out spread sheet about how much we can spend each day on what and do some percentages and statistics and charts and graphs only to over spend on day one (on something out of my control) and blow the entire month and so I will quit.  Or, even better, I will go without milk for the next 26 days because I am trying to cut spending and we will eat hot dogs on bread and drink Kool Aid without sugar just because I am trying not to spend money.  Bottom line is that I am just not good with strict budgets and tend to do much better with the Big Daddy's budget which is, 
"Just try to spend as little as possible and what it is, is what it is.  
If you spend as little as possible, you will know that you couldn't have done any better."

Aaaah, much easier if you ask me.  And, I will spend less money that way and save myself from spreadsheet land and misery.  So while setting an amount for a goal may be what works for you, we will just be trying to cut spending everywhere we can.  We will see how that goes.

Not Included:
Not included in the fun will be our bills...ya know, we would like to live here at the end of July.  We will still pay all of our bills and I will still spend about $400 on groceries for the month, but I will be trying to cut spending in grocery land, as well as on our bills by figuring out if we can change plans or if the water company is interested in reducing our rates because we are such loyal customers....LOL!!!  Everything else though will be slim pickings!!!


I will update you each Friday to tell you how we have done and to keep myself accountable and so that you can cheer me on.  If you plan to join The No Spend Month Challenge, leave it in a comment, I would love to check your progress as well.  

It should be fun, and since it is only July 5th, I will be including those first few days in July with my post on Friday...but for a teaser, we have spent less than $10.00 so far :)))

Wish me luck, I could very well be in an institution by July 31st!!!

1,000 gifts...

And the list goes on....

Our one nation, that, at least at one time, was under God

The freedom that we have to worship our Lord and to teach our children about Him

The soldiers overseas protecting that precious freedom

The families they have left at home missing them so very much

The first star on a clear summer night

The last walk through a quiet house on my way to bed

My children's precious faces when they are fast asleep

The amazing sun that comes up every morning, new and fresh and new...

God's amazing grace that, just like the sun, is new every morning, for sinners like me

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