2018 Mid Year Top 10 Blog Posts

I decided to celebrate the middle of the year with a look back on my blog’s top ten blog posts for 2018. Can you guess what they were? The results certainly supervised me!

Here they are!

  1. Hoe Cakes
  2. My First Simply Earth Essential Oil Box
  3. My First Stitch Fix Box
  4. Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies
  5. New Stitch Fix Promo!
  6. Don’t Let Your Kids Take The Furniture When They Move Out!
  7. Raising Adventurous Eaters – 7 strategies even for picky kids
  8. Good Friday
  9. Southwestern Produce Company
  10. Quick and Easy Burrito Casserole

So it seems that everyone really likes recipes and food as those post had half of the top ten spots. Of course we have to balance that out with holiday ideas, special promotions, and just good ole’ family stuff.

Anyway I just wanted to take a minute and say thanks to everyone for such a great first half of 2018. It really does mean a lot that everyone reads and follows along on our adventures.

Have a blessed weekend!

10 Back To School Shopping Links For 2018

Here are a few links that I’ve found that are related to Back To School shopping for this year. Whether our kids go to school or live at school we all need to stock up on supplies from time time. So I’m gonna keep this short and sweet so you can get to work on getting ready for school.

  1. Back to School Tax Free Weekend 2018 by Passion For Savings

  2. Get Ready for These 2018 Tax Free Shopping Dates [By State] by Hip2Save

  3. 19 Best Back To School Sales That Will Save You Major $$$ by Seventeen

  4. Walmart Back to School Deals 2018 by Passion For Savings

  5. Shopping Holidays: The Best Days to Shop in 2018 by U.S. News

  6. All you need to know about Target’s Back to School deals & discounts by Back To School Deals
  7. 2018 Back-to-School Stock-Up Price List by the Krazy Coupon Lady
  8. Top Back to School Deals by Coupons.com
  9. Back to School Deals by Offers.com
  10. What to buy on sale every month of the year in 2018 by CBSNews.com

Happy Shopping!

Kirby’s Kids: 20+ FREE Homeschool Sites

Recently I came across a few, some of them new to me and some that I’d forgotten about, homeschool resources that I wanted to pass along. A lot, if not all, are FREE! Here they are:

  1. An Old Fashioned Education
  2. Ambleside Online
  3. Free World U
  4. Core Knowledge
  5. HippoCampus.org
  6. Phonics Lessons
  7. Free Reading
  8. Starfall My boys really love these activities.
  9. ABC Fast Phonics
  10. Adapted Mind
  11. Super Teacher Worksheets
  12. Khan Academy So many activities!
  13. Teach Your Monster To Read My kids loved this!
  14. Teachers Pay Teachers I love this site!
  15. Education.com
  16. Edhelper.com
  17. XtraMath
  18. ESL Writing Wizard
  19. Have Fun Teaching
  20. Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool – This truly is Easy Peasy!
  21. Discovery K12 — My kids have enjoyed using this site.
  22. Free-Ed.net
  23. Mystery Science (Regular $69.00/year but they are offering a few limited trials — less than 400 spots left so please hurry!)

Whew! That’s quite a list. I wish I’d had this when we first started our homeschooling adventures! I know there are plenty more sites that aren’t on here but I’ll pass any that I find along to you later.

Note: I have not had time to check out all of these sites for myself so I can’t positively say that they are all completely FREE but I’m sure that they offer some FREE resources.

What are your favorite homeschool sites? Let me know in the comments so I can add them to the list!

Hello Fresh Deal!

I’m so excited that I have been given the opportunity to test out a couple meals for Hello Fresh. Although I haven’t received the meals yet I wanted to share a special deal with you…

For a limited time, you’ll receive $40 with this code (and I’ll receive $30). No limits on the amount of friends I can invite, so start sharing!

Now this is only good until tomorrow so please Hurry! Be sure to follow my blog so you can find out how we enjoyed our Hello Fresh experience!

30+ Family Favorite Go To Cookout Recipes

With Summer here there will be so many cookouts and family gatherings I wanted to share some of our all time favorite cook out recipes and ideas! We often alternate as to what different family members will bring or contribute but these are my most asked for dishes.

Main Dishes

  1. Hamburgers… who doesn’t love a good hamburger? I like to mix my hamburger meat with some Lipton Onion Soup mix for a little extra flavor.
  2. Hot Dogs… I like mine burned black, how about you?
  3. Land Your Man Baked Beans (These can be a side also.)
  4. Meatball Sandwich Casserole
  5. TACO RING
  6. SLOW COOKER BABY BACK RIBS
  7. Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
  8. Ham and Cheese Sliders on Sweet Rolls
  9. Pig In A Blanket
  10. SUPER EASY ROTISSERIE CHICKEN SALAD

  11. BBQ Chicken and Pasta Bake
  12. Oven BBQ Chicken
  13. Oven Fried Chicken
  14. Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Continue reading 30+ Family Favorite Go To Cookout Recipes

Ham and Cheese Sliders on Sweet Rolls

This is one of our favorite go to recipes when we go camping. I love to make these ahead of time in foil pans with covers. They can be easily reheated over the camp fire or in an oven if your aren’t roughing it.

These are always a hit when I take them to covered dishes and other get togethers as well. I thought I had posted the recipe before but I can’t seem to find it so here it is again. You could probably use some other small roll if you can find the sweet rolls.

Ham and Cheese Sliders on Sweet Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds Deli meat, shaved thin (We like honey ham but roast beef has also worked well.)
  • 12-24 slices of your favorite cheese (I really like to use swiss)
  • Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (I usually use 2-4 packs)
  • 1-2 sticks of butter, melted
  • 2-3 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 T. poppy seeds
  • 1-2 t. onion powder, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350.

Grease a large cookie pan or casserole.

Mix the butter and seasonings together in a small bowl.

Slice the rolls in half so you have a top and bottom. Carefully remove the tops and place the bottoms in a pan or casserole.

Layer the bottoms with the meat and then the cheese.

Put the tops back on the rolls.

Brush the tops with the butter mixtures. Let sit 5-10 minutes, if you like.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is slightly melted.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

I had all intentions of making some delicious cinnamon rolls on Sunday morning however Mr. Awesome had an awesome surprise planned and I just didn’t have the time. Well Jacob had his little heart set on those rolls and as we all know this child loves to eat. He also loves coming up with new recipes and he decided we should try to make some Cinnamon Roll Muffins.

I combined the filling from our Cinnamon Roll Pancakes and Basic Muffin Recipe with a simple glaze to come up to sweeten the deal. The kids loved helping to mix the muffins and make the swirls. They also really enjoyed eating them too!

Did I mention how wonderful the house smells when you bake these? I will definitely need to make a double batch the next time around. I may also try this out in a loaf pan or as a super easy coffee cake.

Short on time? You could mix up everything and set it in the fridge until the next morning and then surprise your family with the aroma of these delicious treats. They will think you slaved all morning long! Continue reading Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Kirby’s Kids: Choosing, Buying, and Organizing Your Homeschool

OK, So this is the third part of this little series that I’ve been working on. If you missed the first two you can check out Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. If you’ve been following along I know you are ready for this part.

This part can be extremely overwhelming but very exciting at the same time. It also requires a bit of control if you are like me. I tend to see so many things I like I often go overboard and end up with an abundance of supplies and resources that we can’t use.

Researching and Buying Homeschool Supplies

This can be so overwhelming but if you’ve done your homework from the previous post then that will help out a lot.When you really know what your child likes and how they learn it can make the world of difference when choosing the curriculum. You also want to consider your teaching style before selecting the curriculum.

Think about your priorities. Does your child need more help with math or reading or maybe they have special needs and you should focus on motor skills? Keep these things in mind when making your decision. Also as you compare jot down what you like and dislike about particular options. This will help to narrow down the choices.

Do you want everything ready to go and laid for you? Do you want to find your projects and unit studies to work on and incorporate into your school plan? Do you want it online or hands on? Note: If you don’t have great internet service you may want to try to have more offline work.

Also think about time. If you have multiple children or if you work from home you probably won’t have time to teach a full boxed curriculum with eight subjects. You may be better off using a mixture of online and boxed.

Before making any purchases I would double check with your notes about your state requirements to be sure that you will meet them with the choice you’ve made. Also check out as many free resources as you can and ask questions about the curriculum. This is when a good support group comes in handy as they can give you the pros and cons of different programs.

Most of that dealt with curriculum choices but you will also need some basic homeschool supplies. I have a list of our favorite supplies (and a FREE printable) in this post here but what you need will depend on who and what you are teaching as well as where and how you will be teaching. For instance if you are doing the majority of your work from textbooks you may not need a computer or internet service as you may be able to use a friend’s computer or go to the library. If your curriculum is based online you will need to make sure you have a good working computer, at home, that can be used by your child/children for multiple hours a day. Many online curriculum play videos and/or games so you need to be sure that the computer and internet are up to handling this. If your work is mostly offline then you may not need a lot more than a healthy supply of pencils, notebooks, and possibly a library card.

Do a little a research and make some notes. Be sure to make a couple of separate columns for Needs and Wants. Work on getting those must have items first and then you can get the things you want as time goes on. I have often found that as time goes on I don’t really want those ‘want’ items anymore.

And always consider that budget I mentioned in the first post! More expensive doesn’t always mean better! Make sure to put your needs before your wants when deciding what to buy. Take your time and look through them, pray about it, and go somewhere where you can physically touch and look through the program whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to choose the wrong thing because you can always change if something isn’t working. This is a learning process for everyone.

Setting Up a System for Organizing the Supplies

Now that you’ve decided on what curriculum you’d like to use you need to think about a way to organize everything. You’ll need a way to organize the curriculum, books, supplies, school work, and other resources.

There are many different ways to organize your homeschool. We currently use crates or baskets to keep each child’s workbooks, notebooks, and work in. I found the baskets at Dollar Tree last year. They are a little bit flimsy but they do the job for now.

We also have a couple of book shelves for books and extra resources. Then we have a couple of cabinets that hold arts and crafts plus a slew of supplies and miscellaneous hands on resources. I have thrown in a couple of affiliate links to products similar to what we use in our own home.

Take a look around the area you have chosen for your homeschool and think about how you want it to function. If you have money in your budget to get a small bookshelf, like this one here ,to store things then grab one. Maybe a rolling storage cart with drawers, like this one here or here, would be better suited for your situation. It could be pulled out as you need it and then put away when you don’t need it.

We didn’t start out with a lot of stuff but it has accumulated over time. The same can be said for our storage units, we have added to them as time went on and our needs changed. Just use what you have for now. If you have a couple of kitchen cabinets or a china cabinet that isn’t being used you can clear out a space to store materials there. That way it is easy to get to and can be stored out of sight. As you work through the year you can jot down notes on what items you would like to get.

Finding a Planner or System for Your Homeschool

So you’ve decided what to buy and how to store it now you need a system to keep yourself organized and to keep up with lessons and completed work. As far as keeping up with their school work this will depend on your states requirements. Some states require that you keep a portfolio of each child’s work. Do some research and jot down some notes on what needs to be included in the portfolio.

We keep a binder with samples of their work as the year goes along. I personally like to have something that I can physically touch and pull out just in case I’m ever asked for proof. Just be warned that this does take up a lot of space especially when you have multiple children. Others may only scan the work into the computer but I would recommend making a back up copy if this is how you choose to store their portfolios.

You can have a designated spot for the kid’s to put their completed work for you to check. For a long time did use a file sorter with their name’s on it… it was color coded too which helped a lot. Color coding works well if you have multiple children as you can assign a different color/pattern to each child. If you give Child 1 blue and then Child 2 green you will automatically know who left their basket out when you see the green basket on the table.

You may also want a planner for yourself. You can jot down lesson plans and reminders for each quarter. I try to remember to pull out work samples every quarter and put them in the binder so it isn’t so much paperwork piling up. There are a variety of planners available online. You can also find many FREE planners that you can download and print or some that are customizable.

If you prefer to use an online planner you can find ones like the Homeschool Managers. You can use this system to keep track of lessons for multiple children, time and attendance, reading logs, grade tracking, transcripts, and report cards. Everything is printable as well which makes it so simple to add to the portfolios. I love to print out the weekly lesson plans for the kids to use as a guideline. They also offer a FREE trial. It did take me a little bit to get it set up for all of my kids but it has been such a lifesaver.

Getting Ready

This is just a few ideas to get you started on your path to homeschooling. Next thing that you need to do is to start preparing for your first day of homeschool. Take a look through the new curriculum that you bought. Check to see what supplies you might need that weren’t on your basic list.

These would be special supplies for science activities and/or art projects that may be included. I try to prepare for one or two quarters at a time so that I’m not rushing around at the last minute to find things that we need. Just don’t do what I do when I buy the supplies and put them up for later only to forget where I put them.

When you look through the curriculum make sure that you are comfortable as well and that you understand what will be required of you and your child. Now is the time to ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand.

I may add some more onto this little series as time goes on but for now that’s all I’ve got. I hope this helps you to get started on this wonderful journey. Be sure to stick around as I’ll soon be posting our school plans for 2018-2019. I am so excited about what we have planned.

 

 

Kirby’s Kids: Making The Decision To Homeschool

So maybe you’ve decided to try homeschooling or maybe you have already been haphazardly homeschooling and have decided to continue but you aren’t sure what to do next. Or maybe you were just browsing and came across this post by accident. No matter what your reason I’m glad you are here and invite you to follow along this little series.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced homeschooler the decision to homeschool or not can be quite overwhelming. I’ve broken it down into a few different sections to help you out. I’ve also shared a few affiliate links to some of our favorite resources.

Go ahead and grab a notebook so that you can jot down some notes as we go through this series. (I may try to make a printable checklist at some point.)

Making the Decision To Homeschool

Making the decision to homeschool can be a big one for some families and it can be quite the change for kids if they have been in public school. More and more families are choosing to homeschool for various reasons like:

  • Bullying
  • Too much homework and/or tests
  • Frustration with the school system/common core curriculum
  • Lack of control over schedules
  • Physical or mental health problems
  • Specials needs
  • Safety concerns

Just be prepared that not everyone will share you enthusiasm or agree with your choice. There are still a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling. I am sure that you will come across them as you do your research.Personally this was a great decision for our family but that is not always the case. We have had a lot of support with our decision and I do get a lot of help from time to time from my older children and other family members.

I love having the ability to decide what we will be learning, how we will learn, and when we will be learning it. I also love the fact that we can pray and talk about religion freely in our homeschool. We are also able to adjust our schedules to fit in planned and sometimes spontaneous outings to the zoo, fishing trip, or anywhere that we find interesting. Another great thing is that we can count these outings as school days!

The last year my kids where in public school I was constantly headed to the school because someone was acting up or not feeling well. One of my special needs kids had an aide that was constantly feeding him things he shouldn’t have been eating which was causing some major health concerns. Then there were several bullying issues and head lice infestations. Not too mention that the news was covered in school shootings. Enough was enough when I got an email about one of my girls needing to have a certain score on her state tests so she wouldn’t pull the rest of the class down. Talk about pressure… I mean you can’t force a child to perform over their level on a test. I pulled all of my elementary level kids out that same week and haven’t looked back.

That was five or six years ago and we’ve learned a lot since then. We made a lot of changes to our homeschool routines and the way we homeschool. We’ve had many many successes like my 6 year old recently learned his multiplication table in two weeks by following along with his older sisters. We also had our first homeschool graduate earlier this year… YAY! One down and five more to go.

Before hopping on the homeschool wagon you need to consider a few things like the fact that you will most likely be with your kids 24/7/365. Yep, this sounds like fun at first and I’m sure you have some really great ideas swimming through your head about all of the fun field trips and wonderful arts and crafts you’ll be making. In reality your house may end up looking like a herd of buffalo have trampled through on a daily basis and every surface in your house will be covered with various art projects.

Another is the time it takes to homeschool. There are a lot of programs out there where you can pretty much turn on the computer and put your kids in front of a screen to do most of their learning. For me, I prefer a more hands on approach which may be part of the reason my house is such a wreck when we are schooling. I want to make learning fun, not saying that the computer programs aren’t fun, but I want to keep them interested and I’ve really been trying to cut back on screen time around here.

Then there is all the time you will most likely spend researching how to homeschool, what curriculum to use, and looking for resources like this article you are reading unless you are lucky enough to be surrounded by others with a ton of experience. I’m telling you that I’ve been there and I’ve done it all. I’ve researched and Pinned so many things and thought I found the ‘perfect’ curriculum for the year only to find that it just doesn’t work for one or more of my kids. Now, if you only have one child to teach then it might not be so bad but it can be a lot more difficult when you have multiple children, multiple ages, and multiple grade levels. That’s the beauty of homeschooling though. You can change whenever you need to and you don’t have to use the same curriculum for every child.

All the time spent on homeschooling, researching, and planning takes away from time for other responsibilities like house work. If you have a job it may also be hard to get your schedule right at first. Now please don’t think I’m saying you can’t work and homeschool because there are many people who do. I am only saying that you should expect a learning period. There will be times of chaos and possibly times where you want to give up but push through it. Once you find a schedule that works for you and your family then you will be one step closer to your dream.

On another note homeschooling does not have to be a permanent choice either. It can be, if you decide that is what is right for you and family but there are many people who homeschool for a year or two to help their child ‘catch up’ or just homeschool through a difficult time. There are many children who successfully return to public school after homeschooling for a period of time.

Researching the State Laws

If you’re still reading this then I think its safe to say I haven’t scared you away from the idea yet. Next thing you need to do is to research your state laws regarding homeschooling. You can check out Home School Legal Defense Association for some information or check with your local school board.

It is important to find out what curriculum is acceptable and what testing, if any, is required. In some states you must have your children tested at the end of each year.

If anyone tries to discourage you, and many times they will, you can also contact local homeschooling groups who can point you in the right direction. I’m going to let you know from my experience that I was discouraged from trying to homeschool my special needs children but I knew in my heart that this was the best decision for them.

Setting Your Goals

Ok, so you are set and ready to go. Let’s set some goals for your homeschool. Don’t go overboard but don’t be too broad either. I promise this might seem like a step to skip but this will help you so much when you feel like things aren’t going well or when you need to step back and evaluate what you are doing.

Grab a notebook and write down your main goals for your homeschool. My main goals were:

  • To help each child learn on an individual basis according to their own needs.
  • To have control over what information my children were exposed to.
  • To prevent bullying and other unacceptable behavior from damaging my children.
  • To provide a positive learning experience for my children.
  • To monitor my children’s diet and habits for a healthy lifestyle.

Yours could be the same or different. Some others have homeschool goals like:

  • letting their children and themselves sleep in
  • spending more time together
  • bullying
  • learning disabilities

It doesn’t matter if they make sense to anyone else as long as they are important to you and your family.

Budgeting the Cost

The cost of homeschooling often deters some people from attempting it. I know it did me at first because I thought all of the good curriculum were the ones that were so expensive. I’ve since learned differently. To begin with you really should set a limit on how much you plan to spend as this will play a big part of deciding the how’s, what’s, where’s, and when’s to come.

Many times you can find free resources online for homeschooling like our favorites Easy Peasy All-In-One-Homeschool and Discovery K12.com. Both of these sites are FREE but do have other options and resources that you can purchase. I also supplement these with a variety of other programs like ABC Mouse, Kids Cook Real Food, KidStirKiwiCo, and Skill Trek.

You can also check yard sales and online sales for used materials. I love going to the thrift stores and finding used books and curriculum for pennies. Amazon is a great resource for finding cheap books in great condition as well as eBay. Oriental Trading also has some really great deals on resources too especially if you need multiple items of the same product.

You will also be able to watch for those before school sales that pop up at the end of the summer. I stock up as much as I can because we are forever running out of printer paper, pencils, erasers, and glue sticks. We’ll cover homeschool supplies and curriculum in another post though.

If cost is an issue for whatever reason you can also check into scholarships for your homeschoolers. I know here in Florida there are a variety of scholarships based on special needs, low income, and other criteria. This is another area where a local homeschool group could help. You also need to be sure to check your local requirements before purchasing any curriculum to make sure it meets the guidelines.

Check out this post for some our favorite resources.

Accept That You Will Have Failures and Things Will Not Go As Planned

This was probably one of the hardest things for me to accept because I was stuck in ‘public school thinking’. I was determined that everything had to happen on a certain schedule or we were failing. This put a lot of undo stress on myself and was unfair to the kiddos. Each child learns differently and on their own time schedule. That was one of the reasons I chose to homeschool in the first place but I lost sight of that at first.

It took us at least six months to a year before we finally found our groove and everything seemed to be going really well. Then when we started the next year I had added a couple more kids to the routine and we lost our groove. After a few months we found it again. Somewhere along the way this past year we lost it, maybe the fact that we moved had something to do with it? I don’t know but I think most people find their comfortable place a year or so into it. Be patient and relax when you first start out. If something really isn’t working then change it until it does work.

Be sure to spend a bit of time praying over your decision. That has been the most helpful tip that was given to me. When in doubt, I pray. When things aren’t going as well as I think they should, I pray. When I really want to switch something around but I’m too afraid to try, I pray. When my kids are struggling, I pray. After praying I always feel calmer and things just kind of seem to fall in place.

We’ve pretty much covered the why you want to homeschool in this post so in my next couple of posts I’ll try to cover most of the following and maybe a couple more:

  • How will you Homeshool?
  • Who will you Homeschool?
  • Where will you Homeschool?
  • When will you Homeschool?
  • Researching and Buying Homeschool Supplies
  • Setting Up A System for Organizing the Supplies
  • Finding a Planner or System for Your Homeschool

In the meantime I do encourage you to do some research and see if this is truly something you want to do and are able to do in your area. You can also check out a couple of these great books on Amazon for more ideas and suggestions:

I have many more books and resources I will be sharing with you all in some future posts. Until then please be sure to like this post and follow along with my blog. If you are an experienced homeschooler and have any tips or other books you’d like to suggest please comment below and I’ll be sure to make a follow up post to include them in.

Kirby’s Kids: Our Favorite Homeschool Supplies and Printable Checklist

A lot of what you need for homeschool is dependent on how, who, where, when, why, and what you are teaching. A kindergarten child may not need a thesaurus while a high school child with lots of writing assignments will find it very useful. I have found that a lot of what we use are your basic back to school items that can normally be found on sale before the start of public school.

As I was going through our supplies I thought it might be helpful to come up with a checklist for everyone to go by. I have divided this list into what we use most and then some of the other items that we use on occasion which would be optional. I have provided affiliate links for a lot of the items that I order online because it is just easier for me to have the items delivered. (Affiliate links help to support this blog and allow me to provide more FREE resources.)

Most Used

Some of these items like the pencil sharpeners, staplers, and hole punches are not purchased every year so I try to invest in higher quality ones that will last. The printer we bought last year was a bit expensive and I had to save a while but the money we’ve saved in ink has proven that it was an excellent investment. We have only filled the tanks one time and still have plenty of ink left. Continue reading Kirby’s Kids: Our Favorite Homeschool Supplies and Printable Checklist

Midweek Progress: Vacation Pics, Unplugging, and Movie Night

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. This helps to support to support this blog and my family. For full disclosure click here

Hey everyone! Yesterday I posted about the ‘Summer Slide‘ but I really want to post these vacation pictures. I really hope everyone had a great a Father’s Day weekend as I know we did. While we didn’t see the Altamahaha on this trip we did make some really great memories. (The Altamahaha is a local legend dating back for centuries.)

altamaha_ha__georgia_s_river_monster_by_kway100-dbb62tj.jpg

Picture from: Deviant Art

It was a little stressful and chaotic getting ready for the trip but we all managed to survive. We went to the Altamaha Regional Park in Brunswick, GA. We stayed the weekend in one of their rental cabins while some of my family stayed in tents. I wasn’t quite brave enough to do this with so many kids in tow. Continue reading Midweek Progress: Vacation Pics, Unplugging, and Movie Night

Have Your Kids Went Down ‘The Slide’ This Summer?

How is everybody? Have the kids been driving you bonkers yet since they are out of school? Well, a couple of my kids haven’t finished their school work yet but hopefully they will be completely finished by Friday. As I was going through the rest of their assignments I came across a couple of links that I thought I’d share.

As many of you know I homeschool my kiddos and we like to use Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool. Most everything is FREE and so useful. They are always adding new things to the site as well and I am ever so thankful for them. My kids really love the site and all of the different resources that they provide. They have learned a lot of different subjects and various subject matter. However a lot of times our kids get so busy playing that they forget, what they’ve worked so hard to learn during the previous year, over the short summer. This can cause for a lot of trouble at the beginning of the new school year.  Continue reading Have Your Kids Went Down ‘The Slide’ This Summer?

Dealing With Bug Bites

It’s that time of year when we all like to be outdoors. The weather is nice, well most of the time, but the bugs are not. Here we’ve had quite a bit of rain so it’s been a struggle dealing with mosquitoes and yellow flies too.

These things really itch when they bite so we really like to use our ‘Stop The Itch Cream’. It really does help to soothe the skin and stop that annoying itch. I’ve just made up a new batch and you can follow this link for the recipe.

My favorite place for buying oils has been Simply Earth. (This is an affiliate link.) They also have a monthly subscription box where you can get recipes and all the ingredients you need for them delivered right to your door. It’s so easy!

Kirby’s Krafts Favorite Facebook Posts June 2018 and Last Minute Father’s Day Ideas

I have several Facebook Pages to help keep all of my ideas semi organized. Below are some of my favorite Kirby’s Krafts posts from the last month or two. At the bottom of the post you will find some links to the Last Minute Father’s Day Ideas.

My kids would love this!

Turn A Washcloth into a Teddy Bear

Continue reading Kirby’s Krafts Favorite Facebook Posts June 2018 and Last Minute Father’s Day Ideas

It’s Not Just Another Night

I wrote this several months ago even though it only posted today. This was written before the recent loss of famous people like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. It is so important for us to take the time to check on one another and to make sure those around us know just how important they are to us.

In today’s day and age it is sometimes confusing as to how we can communicate our feelings without crossing or blurring relationship lines. I don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ answer for that as every relationship and every individual are different and require a different approach. But when it all boils down to it just do what feels most comfortable to you. This post was an example of how I felt comfortable in sharing this.

I have a friend that doesn’t seem to know just how important he has been to me. I was talking to him a while back and wished him a ‘Good Night’ like I normally do. He replied that ‘It is just another night’. That bothered me for some reason.

Yes, maybe it was just another night, but it was special in its own way. It was another end of a day, a day to add to the time we have been friends.

When we met I was going through a really rough time. He didn’t know that at the time but I was really sad and kind of lost in a way. I had thought God was leading me down one path only to have the path bulldozed, without warning, in front of me with no detour ahead. I was at a dead end in some ways.

We just happened to meet and I really didn’t think we’d ever become friends. God has way of changing our thinking and making things happen.

We would make plans to go out or do something. The plans never happened. We would try again only to have something else come up.

Then I’d think to myself that it was probably for the best. I mean his ‘wyd’s’ were driving me nuts anyways… lol. (I had to get someone to translate a lot of his abbreviations for me to start with.)

Then he’d text me and everything would be OK. We talked a lot. Sometimes he would send me a text when I least expected it and it would totally catch me off guard. One time he sent me an early morning text, which was very out of character for him, that I credit for saving my family and me from a potential house fire.

Over the months I learned a lot about him. I began to see him differently. When it seemed like we were getting close he would just pull away and I didn’t understand.

There would be days and even weeks we didn’t talk at all. Then I would start to think about how much I enjoyed our friendship. I tried to tell him but sometimes it just didn’t come out right.

We went for a bit without speaking or texting. I just assumed he had met someone and I continued on with my normal activities. After all I wanted him to be happy and he had said he wanted the same for me.

Then I met someone. When we talked again and I gave him my good news he didn’t react the way I’d expected. I’d hurt his feelings without meaning too. I really didn’t think we would ever talk again. But I was wrong again.

Our paths kept crossing in crazy and completely unexpected ways. We start texting and catching up and it feels like it did. We can talk about most anything and he can cheer me up with the craziest things.

So Pepe,

I don’t know what plans God has in store for you but I know they will be great! I know he sees everything you do and he sees everything you don’t. He sees the little things you do as well as the big ones. He is working on something very special for you, I can feel it!

I want you to know that it’s not just another night or just another day. Today is a special day because you are a special, one of a kind friend! Don’t shortchange yourself because you are a great friend! Anyone who can call you a friend is very blessed and that includes myself!

If you read this I want to thank you for being my friend through the good and the bad! I’m always here if you need to talk, no matter if it’s about the weather or the one who got away (girl or fish).

Your friend,

Susie

Do you have a friend like this? Maybe someone who you haven’t kept in touch and would like to let them know that you still think about them? Go ahead and let them know how much they mean to you. It might just make their day a little extra special.

Cheesy Garlic Skillet Biscuits

Mmmmm…. these were so good. The idea for these came about as I had forgotten to take the rolls out for my Cheesy Garlic Pull-apart Bread to go with dinnerWe’d had a very busy day dealing with ants.

I happened to have some canned biscuits (and mozzarella cheese sticks) in the fridge from the weekend. I had planned to use the biscuits for Monkey Bread on Saturday but as that is one of William’s favorite breakfasts and he wouldn’t have been able to eat it I chose not to make it.

This is also a great recipe to let the kids help with as they can cut the cheese sticks and wrap the biscuits around the cheese.

Cheesy Garlic Skillet Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans biscuits (I used 2 -10 ct tubes)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 3 sticks mozzarella
  • Extra cheese for top, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut each cheese stick in quarters.

Wrap one biscuit around each piece of cheese.

Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet. Add seasonings and cook 1-2 minutes.

Turn off heat.

Carefully place the biscuits into the skillet, turning once to coat each biscuit with butter.

You could sprinkle with Parmesan cheese at this point, desired.

Bake 10-12 minutes

Sprinkle with grated cheese, if desired.

Cool 5-10 minutes and serve.

Mother’s Day Weekend Wrap Up

Oh my! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We did here but it has left me pretty much exhausted from all the fun. Continue reading Mother’s Day Weekend Wrap Up

Kitchen Kleaning Monday Mission: Stove and Spice Storage

If you read yesterday’s post you probably know that I am in the process of cleaning my kitchen. Now it had a fairly thorough cleaning last August before we moved in and I have rearranged a few things here and there but it is still a work in progress. Small house living has its pros and cons and can be quite aggravating when you can’t get to things you need on a regular basis.

Last month I tackled that problem in our bathroom and reorganized it from top to bottom in one day! Now it still needs a thorough cleaning and a bit of work but it is much more user friendly and I have a much better storage area too. You can check out more here.

The kitchen was next on my list as that happens to be the FlyLady Zone right now. (I love this site!) My first mission was to tackle the stove area. This whole project took me 30-45 minutes (in between loads of laundry and helping with schoolwork) to complete. Continue reading Kitchen Kleaning Monday Mission: Stove and Spice Storage

Family Fun Weekend

I was hoping to have this published last night but I was exhausted and it just didn’t happen. That seems to be too normal here lately but I am making progress towards feeling better and I am hopeful that soon I will be back to my old self once again.

This weekend was a bit busy with invitations to birthday parties, meetings, and errands that we needed to get finished up around the house. There were a lot of things that we wanted to do but only a few that we accomplished. We weren’t able to attend the birthday party as we already had other plans but we do plan to meet up with family next month for a day at the river. Continue reading Family Fun Weekend

Kids Cook Real Foods: 20 Recipes Kids can Make (that aren’t braindead easy)

This is a really interesting post on the Kids Cook Real Foods site that we have been using for part of our homeschool curriculum this year. We are absolutely loving this site and I think you will too so head on over and check them out by clicking on any of the affiliate links in this post or the links below:

20 Recipes Kids can Make (that aren’t braindead easy)

FREE Download: 10 Snacks Your Kids Can Make

 

My First Simply Earth Essential Oil Box

Whew! The past week has been CRAZY here! I mean a full moon almost always causes chaos but a  super blood moon can wreak all kinds of havoc in my house! On top of that I decided to rearrange a couple of rooms… lol… we only have a couple of rooms, right? Just kidding, but just because our house is small doesn’t make it any easier.

Things are finally getting settled down and everything is pretty much organized, well at least as organized as it can be for now, so I’ve been trying to catch up on some things that I need to work on. As I was checking emails I noticed that I was scheduled to get a box from Simply Earth (yep, that’s an affiliate link at no cost to you) and panic set in for a moment as I wasn’t 100% sure that I had indeed received it. After running to the bedroom to check I did find the package safe and sound waiting for me to open it. I grabbed the phone and filmed a quick video to post on YouTube. (See the video below.)

I was so happy to open it up and see what all they had sent me. I just wanted to share it with everyone and what a better way to do it than a video? I love essential oils and I am always trying out new blends and recipes. Sometimes it gets complicated to know what is what and where to get it.

I can’t thank them enough at Simply Earth as they have made my life so much simpler by including almost everything I need for the recipes that they sent with this box. These are all recipes that I will be trying out soon in our home, especially that Sore Muscle Roll On!

So, if you haven’t watched the video you are probably waiting for me to tell you what exactly was in this box that has me so excited…

This February Essential Oil Box from Simply Earth included:

  • four essential oils: lemon, oregano, ravensara, and defender blend
  • menthol crystals
  • coconut oil
  • 3 roll on bottles
  • 1 small bottle
  • 2 inhaler tubes
  • 6 recipe cards

 

 

Pretty awesome, huh? That’s not all though as Simply Earth is on a mission to make it easy and affordable for people to have a natural home while giving 13% of their profits to help end human trafficking.

If you want to check out their site and maybe grab a box of your own then use my code KIRBYSKORNERFREE to get a $40 gift card emailed to you after subscribing on your first box (SUBSCRIPTION CAN BE CANCELLED ANYTIME).

If you like the essential oil diffuser in the video you can get yours here and the wooden storage box here.

Note: The only thing that I was lacking when I made up my recipes was some oil droppers. These make things so much easier when trying to measure out the drops precisely. You can probably order them from the Simply Earth site or get some here.

 

The Gospel Centered Mom

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

As many of you know I am always looking for devotionals and such for my morning quiet time. I need something that will inspire, motivate, and encourage me on my daily path. This book caught my eye when I was browsing a while back and I knew I just had to read it. It’s taken me a bit longer to get through it than I had planned but it was so well worth the time and I will definitely be keeping this on my bookshelf to read again. Continue reading The Gospel Centered Mom

Teach Kids These 5 Habits for Lifelong Healthy Eating

Teach Kids These 5 Habits for Lifelong Healthy Eating:

What are the best habits you learned from your parents? What are the most important habits you’re teaching your kids? #2 on this list is especially good:

Teach Kids These 5 Habits for Lifelong Healthy Eating

**This post contains an affiliate link!

101 Compliments To Really Make Someone’s Day Better

Did you know that January 24th is Compliment Day? I didn’t until here recently but now that I do I want to be prepared. These would really be good for any day of the year though and the smallest compliment can really turn a bad day around.  Continue reading 101 Compliments To Really Make Someone’s Day Better

No Bake Kool Aid Pie

This pie is so easy to make that the kids are always asking for it. You can experiment with the flavors to find your favorite.

No Bake Kool Aid Pie

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Whipped Topping
  • 1 packet unsweet Kool Aid mix (we really like the strawberry)
  • 1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 graham cracker crust

Directions:

Mix the first three ingredients together and pour into the crust.

Chill 1-2 hours and Serve.

How To Start Homeschool With 10 Easy Resources

**This post does contain affiliate links with which I may earn a small commission if a purchase is made.

Has the thought of homeschooling entered your mind? Maybe you’ve bounced the idea around but you just aren’t sure it is right for you and your family? I know I thought about it when my oldest kids were in school but at the time it just wouldn’t work for us. I thought it was going to be too difficult but I was wrong and I’ll share some of our favorite resources with you. You can read more about our homeschool journey here. Continue reading How To Start Homeschool With 10 Easy Resources

10 Things To Do When It Feels Like Your World Is Falling Apart

I know we’ve all been there a time or two in our lives, if you haven’t then you should still keep reading so you can be prepared for when it does eventually happen to you. We get comfortable in our lives and everything seems like it is going along so well. We have a good job and our lives are stable. Our home life seems pretty good too and everyone seems happy for the most part. Then it happens. It turns our lives upside down and tears our world apart, at least that’s the way it feels at the moment. Continue reading 10 Things To Do When It Feels Like Your World Is Falling Apart

5 Resolutions – Using the Instant Pot to Achieve Them

5 Resolutions – Using the Instant Pot to Achieve Them:
Trying to eat better this year? How about budget better? This is a great list of 5 New Year’s resolutions and how the Instant Pot can help with them ALL: 5 Resolutions – Using the Instant Pot to Achieve Them
**This post contains an affiliate link.

The Nicer You Are The Happier You Are

Kids say the darndest things sometimes and I just don’t know where they come up with some of the things that come out of their little mouths. My five year old told me yesterday that ‘the nicer you are the happier you are’. I asked him where he had heard that and he said he learned it from one of his video lessons.

Wow! I am amazed at the things they pick up sometimes and this time I am so glad that it was a good lesson. We all had a quick little discussion about whether or not that statement was true as Caitlyn (10 going on 30) insisted it couldn’t possibly be correct.

She later changed her mind after realizing that the old advice ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you’ was probably the reasoning behind her brother’s remark. We also discussed ways to be kind to one another and how we would want to be treated in certain situations.

All in all it was a very good, but impromptu, lesson in character.

What have your kids said lately that has surprised you?

Getting Organized: Bill Organization Spreadsheet

If getting organized while saving time and money are on your New Year’s Resolution List then these printables are for you.

We all hate paying bills, right? But that is something that has to be done. A few years ago I came up with a spreadsheet to keep me organized and keep me from forgetting what has been paid and what needed to be paid. I definitely don’t need late fees piling up or missed payments affecting my credit. Continue reading Getting Organized: Bill Organization Spreadsheet

New Stitch Fix Promo!

I don’t know about you all but this week has been a bit crazy here even the weather is crazy. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on 2017 and setting my goals for 2018. One of those is to improve my appearance and one of the easiest ways is with my clothes. If you saw one of my previous post you were able to see my 1st box from Stitch Fix . I was so happy and I am looking forward to my next box. Then I saw some exciting news in my email this morning!

Continue reading New Stitch Fix Promo!

My 1st Stitch Fix Box

Hey you guys! You’ve got to try this! @StitchFix delivers stylist-picked clothes to you w/ free shipping & returns. I am so excited as I just received my first Stitch Fix box and I am so in love. These were clothes that I definitely wouldn’t have picked out for myself but I love the way they look and they are all so comfortable. This was a Christmas gift I got for myself.

It was so easy to get it, I signed in and filled out my style profile. Then my stylist, Jenaha, picked out my outfits which were then sent right to my house for me to try on and decide what I wanted to keep. I decided to keep it all but if I hadn’t they sent a postage paid envelope to mail back the unwanted items.

You can take a peek at what all I got in this little video and if you want to give them a try you can use this link here. (Yes, I do get a little kickback if you order from this link here.)

 

It’s so nice to do something for myself every now and then. The fact that they offer Free Shipping and Returns is also a plus.

Happy New Year’s!

#stitchfix #fashion

Have You Made Your New Year’s Resolutions Yet?

Have You Made Your New Year’s Resolutions Yet? I haven’t, well I have a few things in mind but I haven’t actually sat down and put pen to paper or anything like that. I want to be more organized… some people laugh when I say that as they think I am already really organized… this recent move still has been had me in a tizzy. I’d also like to lose a little weight like many of us. Most importantly I just want to be a better mother, friend, and person in 2018 than I was in 2017. Hmmm… not too much to ask is it? Continue reading Have You Made Your New Year’s Resolutions Yet?

Homeschool days making dinner crunched?

Homeschool days making dinner crunched?

Having dinner ready to go whenever we’re ready to eat is such a lifesaver on busy weeknights when we head out to activities. Now my *kids* are taking charge of dinner from start to finish. Before we start school, they start the slow cooker. Check out the videos from Kids Cook Real Food that we are using here.

Top 10 Blog Posts From 2017

Wow! I can’t believe this year is almost over and as I look back on the year I really can’t believe how many posts I’ve written even with a couple of months off. Here is a list of the top ten posts from 2017:

  1. Pantry Challenge Week
  2. One Year Anniversary
  3. National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
  4. Blogger Recognition Award
  5. Daddy Can’t Wait Casserole
  6. Groundhog Day
  7. Thank You!
  8. Baked Potatoes In A Crockpot
  9. Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Clusters aka Reindeer Poop
  10. My First Shopping Trip At Aldi!

A very interesting combination for sure!

Thank you all for being there and supporting me through the year… I know next year is going to be even better!

Happy Blogging!

Precious Moments Sale!

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

I know that many of you have been so super busy and may not have had a chance to check out the Precious Moments website that I linked to in our post last week but seriously you need to go check them out right now!

Their After Christmas Sale just started today and it includes almost all of their Christmas items with the exception of most of the Nativity Sets. This is a special sale so you don’t need a coupon code of any sort.

Some of these items are up to 90% off! Here are a few examples of sale items: Continue reading Precious Moments Sale!

Our First Christmas Decoration For The Little House On The Pond!

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

I don’t know about you all but this Christmas has not went as planned here in the little house on the pond. We did manage to get a tree up but it hasn’t been decorated yet… and how many days ’til Christmas? I’m afraid to check.

The kids don’t seem to mind that the tree isn’t decorated as Nanny J let us borrow her fiber optic tree and it is so pretty! They also know that Olivia has wrapped some gifts to place under there as well. Momma hasn’t wrapped a single gift, yet, but I do plan to wrap some later today.  Continue reading Our First Christmas Decoration For The Little House On The Pond!

Fixin’ to Eat: Southern Cooking for the Southern at Heart by Katie Moseman

I love cookbooks and when I was given the opportunity to review this one, Fixin’ to Eat: Southern Cooking for the Southern at Heart by Katie Moseman, I was ecstatic!

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

This is a great cookbook filled with different twists on old recipes and then some new recipes that I’ve never heard of like Coca Cola Salad.
Many of these recipes seem very easy to make and I can see my kids learning to make recipes like Cream Cheese and Pimento Stuffed Celery in the kitchen.
There are also some great tips included in the book as well like how to pair wines with certain dishes. I am definitely going to try out the recipe for the Self-Crust Coconut Pie which sounds AMAZING!
All in all this is a great collection of southern recipes and I would highly recommend this book to anyone!

Continue reading Fixin’ to Eat: Southern Cooking for the Southern at Heart by Katie Moseman

FREEBIE: Cozi Online Calendar

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

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I’m excited to tell everyone that I am now an affiliate for Cozi which is an online calendar that I have been using for years! The great thing is that you can sign up FREE and when I say FREE it is FREE. I’ve used it for many years, FREE, and it has helped me keep my family organized and running smoothly! GO check it out!

 

Gift Ideas

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

Kids Cook Real Food makes an awesome Christmas gift, and many grandmas are doing it already!! (We have printable gift certificates for them btw.) Continue reading Gift Ideas

DIY: Quick Counter Top Update

Check out what I did this weekend! Like and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already done so!

Soaked Apple Cinnamon or Cherry Almond Baked Oatmeal Recipe (A Make-Ahead Breakfast)

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

Soaked Apple Cinnamon or Cherry Almond Baked Oatmeal Recipe (A Make-Ahead Breakfast):

What’s your Christmas morning like?

a. Run around like crazy making a special breakfast
b. Break out the cereal
c. Put a make-ahead breakfast in the oven and enjoy family time + a special meal Continue reading Soaked Apple Cinnamon or Cherry Almond Baked Oatmeal Recipe (A Make-Ahead Breakfast)

The Big Barn Dance

We had an awesome time Saturday at The Big Barn Dance. Please check out our video on Youtube and give us a thumbs up!

 

#Youtube #follow #follow4follow #subscribe4subscribe #blog #followmyblog

Updated Shopping Links!

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve added some new links on the Affiliate Disclaimer & Links tab just in time for Christmas. Are you still looking for a unique gift for someone special? Why don’t you check out some of these sites below or check out the Affiliate Disclaimer & Links tab for a complete list of companies I am currently working with.   Continue reading Updated Shopping Links!

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Have you heard of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library? It is a free ‘book gifting’ program that is available to any child, from birth until they start school, no matter what the family’s income is. Continue reading Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

iPhone Emergency SOS Feature

Hey did you know this trick? I just saw it on Facebook and had to give it a try. Continue reading iPhone Emergency SOS Feature

Square Dancing: Fall Festival Carnival Dance

Today we attended the NEFSARDA Fall Festival Carnival Dance at Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Beaches. There was a wonderful turnout and lots of lively dancing. I’m still a bit dizzy from all the whirling and twirling we did! Continue reading Square Dancing: Fall Festival Carnival Dance

Moon Day

**This post does contain affiliate links which help to support our blog.

So here I go again…. adding some more days to those crazy and unusual days that I’ve posted about before. This would be a great way to spice up a dull summer day when the kids are complaining about being bored.

July 20th is National Moon Day. It honors the first day that man set foot on the moon back 1969. It was declared a National Moon Landing Day by President Nixon in 1971. This is a great day to teach our kids about the moon and progress NASA has made.

You can find other ideas to celebrate on my Pinterest Board Homeschool: July. You can also find other ideas for other July Holidays there as well.

I’ve also got this great book that I’ll be reading to the kids on this day.

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I’m thinking I might even get some Moon Pies and/or Astronaut Ice Cream for snack on this day to eat while they listen to the story.In addition to this book we may also check out some of these great videos and activities listed below:

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Choosing The Right Fit For School

I recently read a story on Facebook about a mom who took her son shoe shopping. Her son had a club foot and this caused a big difference in shoe size between the left and the right foot. After shopping for a bit he finally found a pair of shoes he loved. However this meant that mom was going to need to buy two pairs of shoes in order for her son to have the most comfortable fit for each foot. One big size and one little size because he wouldn’t be able to wear the little shoe on his club foot as it would just be too tight and the likewise the big shoe wouldn’t fit correctly on his smaller foot. The manager realized the dilemma and he purchased one pair of shoes for the child. How great was this experience for this child? I bet he won’t forget this for a lifetime.

I just finished up one of the books I got from our first trip to the library.  This book is by an author that I already have on my bookshelf at home and I was in love when the book started out with the comparison of schools to shoes. It is so very true… schools are like shoes in that there is not a ‘one size fits all’. I mean when we are shoe shopping we try on various different kinds of shoes, if you are like William you may try on every pair in the store, before finding the right shoe. I know I’ve found shoes I really like but they weren’t the right color or they didn’t have them in my size. Most of us will ultimately decide on the most comfortable fitting shoe because we can’t change our feet.

So why do we insist on sending our kids to school when something obviously isn’t fitting right? My kids have been through all of the stages of public school. They usually start out excited and they like to go to school to learn new things. Then somewhere along the line they lose that enthusiasm. They start complaining of tummy aches or other ailments. They go from making A’s and B’s to bringing home mostly D’s and F’s. What happened?

**If you would like the name of the book with my affiliate links then please scroll to the bottom of the post. Continue reading Choosing The Right Fit For School

Square Dancing Could Add Years To Your Life

Check out this article for ways that Square Dance could improve your life!

Silver Fox Squares Square Dance Club

Did you know that Square Dancing could possibly add up to ten years to your life? That’s pretty amazing.

This article here by Nex-Gen SD also states that:

  • Square Dancing may be the Perfect Exercise
  • Protect Against Dementia by Square Dancing
  • Exercising to Music Doubles the Benefits
  • Social Dancing – Excellent Exercise

You’ll need to check out the complete article for more information.

Please contact us if you are interested in checking this out or in taking classes.

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Family Fun Day: Books, Elvis, Ice Cream, and Another Huge UPS Delivery

**This post does contain some affiliate links which help to support our blog.

Oh what a day we’ve had. The kids thought it was gonna be just another boring day but it actually turned out to be quite interesting.

The morning started as it normally does with the exception that we had a cereal day instead of muffins… I just wasn’t in a muffin kinda mood this morning. Nobody complained either. Before breakfast the kids had done a little bit of their summer work books that I’ve printed off for them.

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After breakfast we had some calendar time… do you like our new calendar we got from Lakeshore Learning? This picture was from the weekend. It is quite a bit bigger than our old one and I had a hard time finding a good place to put it. So for now it is in our ‘hallway’ and I put up some new remote control lights to help us see better. These are really neat and I had enough to put one in the closet as well.

After the chores, which included changing/washing the sheets and washing the whites, I had everyone load up in the van. Well first a couple of them had to change clothes because they had already gotten dirty. We also had to brush hair, wash faces, and go potty. Eventually we made it to the van and I had them asking so many questions about where we were going…. but I wanted to keep it a secret. Continue reading Family Fun Day: Books, Elvis, Ice Cream, and Another Huge UPS Delivery

A Completely Honest Review Of Our First Hello Fresh Box!

We were so very excited to try out Hello Fresh. If you haven’t heard of them they offer a subscription plan where you choose your plan and your meals. They will deliver the meals, fresh from the farm to your home, and they provide a tracking service so you will know when to expect the package. You even have the option to skip a week or two, if needed.

You will need the basic kitchen utensils plus a few things like, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper, and sugar. Other than those ingredients they pretty much provide everything right in the cute little bags they deliver.

The first meal I made was the Lobster Ravioli with Chorizo in a Sherry Cream Sauce with Honey-Roasted Carrots, which was a Premium meal. Seems so fancy, doesn’t it? Continue reading A Completely Honest Review Of Our First Hello Fresh Box!

A Pocket Full of Pennies

If you are close to me then you might hear me jingle when I walk. You might also wonder why or how I’ve come to have a pocketful of pennies. Well if you were one of my kiddos there is a good chance that that jingle means that I’ve caught them being good.

As part of my newest positive parenting technique I’ve decided to start carrying around a pocketful of pennies. Every time I catch my kids doing something good I’ll give them a penny. My kids love money as do most kids and this is a fun way for them to earn a little bit to put in their piggy banks.

Some examples of catching them ‘being good’ would be if big sister is helping little brother put on his shoes without being asked. Maybe little brother found some stickers stuck to floor and he is working on scraping them up without being told. Also I’ve caught them taking care of their chores without being reminded.

Also we have been working a lot on making ‘good choices’. I have one child, in particular, who is extremely impulsive and will make some really ‘bad choices’ on a daily basis. When I see that the kids are making good choices when it comes to something we’ve been working on I may be able to catch them in the act and reward them with a penny or a hug. They love this extra bit of attention and the fact that their piggies are getting quite fat.

Now sometimes they just get a big hug or some kind of ‘atta boy’ in exchange for the deed. I don’t want them to think that they will always be rewarded monetarily for every good behavior that they display. I just want to try to focus more on the good than the bad as sometimes we can get stuck in a parenting rut where it feel like we are just spinning tires and going nowhere.

Please note that I am not an expert in the field of parenting but I do have a little bit of experience in the area.This method of rewarding good behavior seems to be working, for now. I am hoping that this will help to encourage them to demonstrate kindness to one another on a regular basis and learn that being responsible can and will pay off.

 

Midweek Progress: Coming Back From An Organizing Burnout

So this post was schedule for this past Wednesday but somehow failed to post. Here it is though…. better late than never. Happy Independence Day everyone! I hope and pray you all have a wonderful holiday.This week has been so busy already. Over the weekend I finished tackling that other half of the Main Room I mentioned in this post here. This was home to most of our school supplies.

I can’t even tell y’all what a mess we’ve had since we cleaned out the closet a couple of weeks ago. It’s still a bit cluttered in the Living Room section but it is so much better than it was.

I saw this post from FlyLady which describes just what I was trying to do.

Yep, I was in complete burnout mode and lost sight of my overall goal. Once I got past this and motivated myself to just do it I was able to start letting things go.

It was really hard to find the motivation to do this. I finally just sat down with a pen and paper and planned out what I needed to happen. I knew we needed a place for books, art supplies, basic supplies, tech stuff, and the teaching supplies needed to be better organized. Not to mention I needed an office space.

We donated over 300 pounds of books and homeschool supplies this week! That’s a lot of stuff but we didn’t need it anymore. Some of it was actually a duplicate of something we already had as I couldn’t find things before. I was shocked at how many duplicate items we did find.

Here’s some pics of how our progress went.

First I set out two boxes for donations and keep. I also had a trash bag for things that just went any good.

Then I decided to tackle what would now be the arts and crafts cabinet. I took EVERYTHING out and piled it on the table.

That’s a lot of stuff and it was just from one cabinet! Ahhhh… I was feeling pretty defeated at this time.

Here is the after of the cabinet:

Crayons and coloring books are easily accessible now.

I had to put some supplies on top of the cabinet as well.

Everything is nice, neat, and labeled for easy access.

I then moved onto the cubbies. I knew I needed a place to store the teaching supplies

Here is the before:

Oh what a mess! But it is much neater now.

Since taking this pic I finally cleaned out their baskets and put together their portfolios for the year. Yay!

On top of the cubbies I’ve stored some other teaching supplies.

The next area was what is now the supply cabinet. We couldn’t even get into it without moving a ton of stuff first.

I first started to use this cabinet for something else but decided we needed the space for supplies. There was so much junk in here it wasn’t even funny but we muddled through it and here is the after:I love issuing shoe organizers for a variety of things like storing extra supplies. We also had to use totes to store some things up on top.We can finally get into the cabinet quite easily. Then it was time to work on what is now the tech cabinet. This is where I ran into trouble. I had to find some way to deal with the piles of stuff sitting around blocking cabinets. As it wasn’t mine to get rid of I boxed everything into a couple of empty totes and set them to the side.Sorry, I didn’t take a before picture. I did have a mini meltdown mid session here. There was just so much stuff in this little area and not enough space to spread it all out.Then I moved a shelf that we had by the table to the top of the cabinet which meant I had to move the Spielgaben set to my desk. I then made a place for the printers, the charging station, laptops, and the tablets.Not the best pic but maybe you can see it. Then the shelf on top looks like this:I have changed a couple of things around since I took this pic but it still looks about the same. I also added the bulletin board here which used to be by the front door. It fell down when I was doing the Living Room decluttering missions.We then needed to turn our attention to the bookcases which were a horrible mess. I have some before pics in this post here but they were even worse.Here is the after:The shelves are labeled now so the kids can find what they need and so they can put the books back where they belong.I may go back and add some colored stickers to the spines like I did before but that’s a project for another day.We also decluttered the toys. Here they were before:And after:The only area left to tackle was the metal filing cabinet I had in the corner behind the door. It was semi organized but not anywhere close to what I had it before we moved.Here are the after pics:This drawer has my coupon binder, coupon inserts, and household files.This drawer has the card stock, colored paper, labels, and photo paper in it.This drawer is Jacob’s favorite (and the cat’s). It holds the cat food and treats. I do have a couple of binders with papers in here too.The top drawer has miscellaneous household stuff like door knobs, shims, outdoor light, etc for projects that need completed.Hmmmm… let me think if there was anything else we worked on.Well I did add labels to a lot of the bins and shelves. I’ve also ordered a couple of items to put in place soon.Oh, I remember… I still needed an office space as my desk now holds the Spielgaben stuff.I decided to purchase a rolling cart from Walmart. It fits between the wall and the end of the table.It holds all of my office supplies, bill paying information, and blogging materials in the three drawers.It looks pretty nice and clean plus I can roll it anywhere I want to work. So convenient! It has already come in very useful and I can think of many other areas where I’d love to have a mobile unit.I did price a couple of buildings this week. I’m not sure if that is a route that we will be taking for storage or not but I do know we need some more space. I have pretty much gathered all sewing materials on this brown shelf.I do have some fabric and patterns in a rolling cart that is in my room. I also have my sewing boxes under the bed. Maybe one day we will have a dedicated sewing area.For now I’ll be happy with the progress we’ve made. I still need to come up with some more ideas as we have supplies and activities for next year arriving on a daily basis.This is a view into the kitchen… I’m really loving how much this opened up the walkway. I did manage to get those boxes on the left put away.This is the view when walk in the door. You can actually walk in the door a lot easier now.Here is the view of our calendar wall and toy shelf. I do have some pretty neat ideas for some projects here. I also have some more things coming to go in this area.Here is the table view. It looks so much better now! I still want to clean up that wall a bit as it seems a bit cluttered but it is much nicer now. You can see the computer sitting on my mobile office unit.I also cleared the back of the door and now it only holds the clothespin bag and my megaphone! I’ve needed this a few times and the kids have had a lot of fun playing with it too.Here is the view of the far wall. The book shelves look so much better! I like having the Spielgaben where we can reach it easily too. I had hole punched the activity cards when we first got them. The binders make it easy to access them.The kids also love their magnetic whiteboard we got a couple of years ago. They’ve also loved working with the alphabet magnets and the farm/wild animal magnets too. It moves easily from place to place.It is also a lot easier to find my teaching resources too.I’m not gonna lie and say this was a quick and easy process but I will say I am so glad I pushed through the difficulties and got it done. It is so nice to be able to find what I need when I need it. Anyway I hope y’all have a great week!

Weekend Wrap Up: June 9, 2018

**This post does contain some affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission if a purchase is made through the link. These help to support our blog.

So this week has been really good. We’ve made a lot of progress as far as finally getting the house organized and getting our routines simplified. I feel like I can finally breathe. It has never taken me so long to get unpacked and organized after a move before. Just a word of caution to anyone trying to downsize…. it’s probably gonna be a lot harder than what you think!

We have had quite an exciting week that has been packed full of all kinds of planned and unplanned surprises. Keep reading for a brief summary of what we’ve been up to. Continue reading Weekend Wrap Up: June 9, 2018

Amazon Promo Codes: July 2018

**This post does contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission for any purchases made through these links. These links help to support our blog.

Here is an exclusive list of the latest and hottest deals I’ve found on Amazon. Be sure to check them out soon as they may not last long! (For a full list of coupons and deals click here.)

Also check out these great deals here:

Have a great weekend and Happy Savings!

30+ Days of Quick and Easy Back To School Breakfast Ideas

I know we aren’t quite ready for back to school yet but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be thinking about it. It will sneak up on us quickly and I’m the type of person who likes to have a plan. We have somewhat lazy/laid back mornings here since we homeschool but I remember how crazy and chaotic school mornings could be.

I learned really quickly that we needed a breakfast plan so I’ll share our simple ideas with you. I asked my older kids at the time what their favorite breakfasts were and started from there. Anything hard was put on the schedule for the weekends and the easy stuff was rotated through the weekdays. Maybe these can help make your back to school mornings a little bit less stressful. Continue reading 30+ Days of Quick and Easy Back To School Breakfast Ideas

SILVER FOX SQUARES: July 2018 UPDATE

Check out what we’ve been up to with our square dance clubs!

Silver Fox Squares Square Dance Club

We hope everyone has had a great Father’s Day and a wonderful 4th of July. Our clubs and callers have had a very busy month. Please check out our newsletter for updates and pictures of all the fun activities that we have been up too.

Silver Fox Squares: July 2018 Newsletter

Check out our slideshow from this month here:

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