Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barefoot Books link

Finally, I'm adding the button for my 'shop'. See my sidebar. Check out ALL the selections...there are some great ones. I'm very excited about this new venture and the opportunity to offer a wonderful product. Have fun shopping!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Selling Books

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have just signed up to be a 'stallholder' for Barefoot Books. I am still learning about the company, but there are children's books and puzzles available and much more. I'm excited about this opportunity, because I have been looking for something that I can do from home to help supplement our income. Karl provides for us very well, but I know it can be stressful trying to meet the needs of a growing family! Now maybe I can help relieve some of that pressure, even if it's just by making a few dollars here and there.

I will have more information and a link so you can browse for books listed here in a few days, so check back. I may have something you've been looking for.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Looking for a way to reduce debt?

I have been learning a lot from Cindy Rushton over the last several months. She is hosting a 'talk' on debt-free living. See the link below to join her.
http://www.cindysaffiliates.com/go.php?offer=wendyiw&pid=7


Here is a FREE article on maintaining your budget.


The Simple Way to Maintain Your Budget
By Leslie Valeska

In the last two years it has been noted that Americans use their debit and credit cards more than their checkbooks. In fact, their usage has more than doubled! This is great in some ways, but it can be a nightmare for the budget conscious. When I left the envelope system of budgeting, in lieu of my debit card, something amazing happened. My expenses went up. In short, it is so much easier to spend one or two dollars here and there when the actual paper cash isn’t coming out of your hand. It’s like we aren’t really spending that money or something.
However, you CAN have a debit card AND stay within your budget. Actually, you can do this for all your budgeting needs for the household. The best part, this is a simple process.
Use a separate bank account and debit card for all your household purchases. For the most ease, you and your husband might want to look into opening another account at your current bank of choice if you are pleased with their services and they offer no fee banking. You will likely have to place a minimum of $25-50 dollars in the account when you open it. This is a good thing, because it will enable you to use your entire budget without penalty. Confused? Read On.
One good reason for this set up is that your husband can transfer money weekly or monthly, in an amount that totals your family’s total budget for the month. When you go to the grocery you will know exactly how much you have to spend and not a penny more. A way to provide accountability for yourself is to agree that if you go over your budget by $2, then that amount will be deducted from the next month’s stipend. In this way, you will have not only an incentive to stay within your budget, but a method of discipline for your budgeting. One extra bonus with this method is that it is much simpler to track your household expenses.
The beauty of this process is that you will do nothing differently than you do now. You will simply have a separate account with which to do it.
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Need MORE Help? Check out my online seminar! We have an entire weekend of workshops that are sure to take you by the hand and help you to get back on track with your finances. When you purchase your ticket you get MORE help with our Membership Site full of articles, audio workshops and other free gifts that you can immediately download today! Grab your ticket here: http://www.cindysaffiliates.com/go.php?offer=wendyiw&pid=7

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby's Heartbeat

We went to the doctor on Friday...yes, all of us! Logan and Hailey sat in the lobby reading and drawing while I took Corbin back with me( I just wasn't convinced he would behave without my supervision). Karl came a few minutes later...he knew it was the day they would listen for the FIRST time for the heartbeat, so he joined us. What a sweetie! She found it easily enough, then lost it. Then, she heard two heartbeats...but said one was mine. :) We did hear the baby's heart beating very strongly and clearly, and the doctor said it sounds good. So, everything is progressing well so far. Corbin was happy to share in the excitement with us, and all the kids behaved very well. Now I don't have to worry so much about finding childcare for them just so I can go to the doctor...they actually know how to conduct themselves. Yeah!

I am feeling better these days. I'm still tired sometimes, and occasionally nauseous, but I think the worst has passed. Now, I'm into my second trimester and the supposed 'glory days'. We'll see...I'm trying to watch my diet more carefully, making sure I make healthy choices. The doctor says to avoid eating too many carbohydrates and gaining too much weight... in order to try to avoid the birthing issues we experienced with Corbin. Shoulder Dystocia resulted in a traumatic birth and we really don't want to go through that again if we can help it! I'm also hoping to get back to the gym 3 days a week now that I have some energy back...to help stay in shape and to aid in avoiding excessive weight gain...I gained a LOT with the other 3 kids...I'm aiming for the recommended weight gain this time..about 30 pounds. Plus, it should be easier to lose the baby weight after the birth if I'm in good shape. Don't worry...I'm doing all of this with the doctors' approval and supervision...everything is fine.

That's about it for today...it's about bed time for me. I'll post again soon.

Some links to check out

See this link for some help with organization. I have been reading some from Cindy's blog...and I'm learning a lot about organization and homeschooling, and getting ideas for crockpot meals, and so much more. If you need ideas or help in any of those areas, I suggest you check out the link and see her web site. She's got a plethora of information available about many things.

Also, try http://www.cindyrushton.com/. You can also find her other web sites from there. There's some very interesting reading, online talks you can listen to, etc. Please check it out!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No News

No real news today, but I wanted to blog anyway. :)

We did go on a field trip with the home school group today...to the firehouse. We were able to tour the facility, see their gear, and the trucks and equipment. They also demonstrated for us how the ladder truck works. The kids loved that! At the end, we were able to go back in and let the kids climb into the other trucks and 'live the life of a fireman' so to speak. It was very informative...we learned a bit about fire safety, and the kids had loads of fun. All the volunteers there (it's a completely volunteer-run department) were very kind and accommodating. I'm very glad we went.

We will attend co-op in the morning..just our 2nd week..but the kids have had fun getting their homework ready for their classes. Hailey had to write a creative story and Logan had to read Voyage of the Dawntreader (C.S. Lewis) for his book club. Corbin is in theatre...and will be performing in a play at the end of the session...I wonder if there is a way to get video of that and place it here? I'll have to check on that...but we'll at least have pictures!

Well, that's really it. I go to the doctor tomorrow...so I'll update on that this weekend. Take care.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Showing the house..

As you know, we are moving into our new house at the end of October...as long as things go as planned. Our landlord is trying to find someone to rent this house, since we're leaving. I got a call yesterday from his realtor saying someone wanted to look at it at 11am today. So, we spent the afternoon yesterday just picking up clutter, cleaning bathrooms, etc. And this morning I cleaned all the floors. We still do have some 'stacks' in our 'school room' but they were at least neat, not teetering and in danger of falling over. It's interesting showing a house while still living in it! We never had to do that with our Florida home. I don't know if they liked it or not, since we left while they were here, but I hope they want it. It would help our landlord out to get someone in here as soon as we leave.

We went to 'our house' on Saturday; the owners were having a garage sale and had let us know about it. They had a snow blower Karl had already agreed to buy, and they're gonna leave it in the garage for us. They certainly won't need it in South Carolina where they're moving! I also spotted a canning pot for $1...she had some jars too but had sold them the day before. Karl and I had just talked about canning a couple days before that. I've been wanting to try canning some vegetables, or making homemade jam or applesauce. Now, I'm one step closer to being able to do that. I need to go to the Goodwill store to try and find some jars.

While we were at the house, the neighbor boy came over...it turns out he is in the 6th grade and he has a sister in the 3rd grade...so the kids got to meet them. They played the whole time between our back yards...Charles (that's the boy) likes Bionicles like Logan, so they played with those some. And Hailey and Natalie (the girl) seemed to get along well too. The kids also introduced our kids to the neighbor boy across the street, Kurt. So, they have some built in friends; yeah! We have never lived anywhere that we had neighbor kids that were the same age and gender as our kids...we're very excited! Corbin just tagged along, no little one for him, but the 'big' boys played with him and he had fun anyway. :) Something else funny...the father's name is Carl and he also works at Harris...we did not get to meet him, but we met the mom and her name is Marianne...she was very nice.

Well, that's about it. We have to get a snack and watch our daily (almost) dose of Little House on the Prairie now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Menus

I have added a basic list of our menu items that we use here for breakfasts and lunches. We may have cereal several days of the week, we always have pancakes on Saturday as that has been dubbed 'Pancake Day' around here, and the kids often make grits for themselves for breakfast to eat along with fruit. We always add a fruit and milk or juice to whatever we are eating to round out the meal.

I did not add a menu for Dinners yet. I like to have a variety of meals, but we do often repeat them. I am going to try to put together a list of those meals as well to add here. I may eventually have a set menu, either weekly or monthly, that I follow. I am finding it is much easier to have things like that listed on my blog instead of in a notebook or on a scrap of paper...I am always using my computer, and it can't get lost or misplaced like a notebook or slip of paper often does! Plus, if there is anyone struggling with being organized in this area (or others) as I do, maybe having a list to follow will help them too.:)

I will probably add to the lists as I remember other meals that we often have. My goal is to eventually have them listed at least by week, if not by day. Then, I will be able to have some items on my grocery list each week that are always the same. My hope is that this will aid in saving money because I won't be buying strange and unusual items that we won't use a lot.

Grocery Store Savings

I haven't blogged about this lately...I really meant to do this weekly. But, I was not able to shave $100 off of last month's grocery budget. I ended spending too much at the beginning of the month, then as time went on we kept having to go back, and eventually were up to our normal budgeted amount. Oh, well. I'm trying again...

This month, so far, I have been able to keep it at the amount I was aiming for. We have the ability to spend more, but I really want to try to keep it lower because we are trying to save money towards closing costs on the house (I can't wait to move in!) and every little bit helps. One thing I have done is start shopping only for the week. In the past I have stocked up on items that I know we use a lot of, and we may do that again eventually, but right now shopping only for what I need for the week is what is keeping us under budget. We are still eating well, with plenty to eat and plenty of healthy options, so I'm excited. I am hoping to be able to utilize the sales more next week. I have some coupons too, so maybe between the two I can save even more. We'll just have to see. Anyway, that's my grocery store savings update....about $18.00 less per week so far. It's not a phenomenal amount, but I'd say it's pretty decent! :) If anyone else has tips for saving money at the grocery store I'd love to hear about them. Just post a comment here. Thanks! Have an awesome week.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What a busy day...for us

Today was an unusually busy day for us! When we lived in Florida and home schooled, the kids had activities 4 out of 5 days of the week, so we were in the car at least part of each day except Mondays. Once we moved to New York, partly because we were new to the area and knew no one, and partly because I knew we needed the change, we were not nearly as busy. The kids did have their activities...Lego League for Logan, Camp Arrowhead on some Wednesdays, ice skating for Hailey, and occasionally swim lessons. It's been good for us to stay home more, together, learning to be happy at home with our family. Outside activities have their place, and we enjoy getting out, but we had to learn that we did not need to depend on outside things to keep us entertained and happy...myself included. So today, when we had a morning meeting (kids in childcare there) and then an afternoon meeting (kids playing with the other moms' kids) it was a lot for us. For me! We actually were also invited for a noon-time activity at a water park, but I knew none of us could handle being out of the house ALL day. So we declined, and came home for some lunch and a couple of hours of relaxation. We will keep the water park in mind for another day, though. I'm glad that we've become used to staying home and enjoying one another's company. We're able to get our schooling done and chores...although today the chores and school were put off 'til Monday because we were too busy! I love the fellowship it provides us, but I don't love that we lose a whole day of work time here. It's still there to do tomorrow, though, so no real loss I guess. :) I've begun a 'to do' list on the blog...strictly for myself. The kids each have their own charts on the wall in our hallway. I just thought since I'm on the computer so much the blog was a logical place to put it. I use the computer every day...I may not open a calendar or appointment book each day. I may not get to everything each day, and some days will have more listed than others, but it's something. I will place an X by each item I complete, then start a new list the next day...transferring all tasks not completed to that day's list. I'm doing this in hopes of accomplishing more each day than I am currently. It's a plan, anyway.

Well, I am very tired. I am going to go lie down and read until I fall asleep...I don't expect to get very far in my book.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bike-riding

Corbin's first ride...
Logan is experienced...
Here's the 3 Musketeers...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

In honor of Labor Day, we had some friends over for a 'grill fest". This is a man who works at Harris with Karl, and they have become quite good friends. We had dinner at their home several months ago, the kids included, and I thoroughly enjoyed their company. They are also Christians, so that gave us some more common ground. We have gone out to dinner with them once, and now have had them here. I hope we can spend more time with them as they are great fun, the kids enjoy them, and they seem to enjoy our kids. We had some good food and fellowship, and I'm grateful for that. :)

We've been fairly busy around here with getting school started back up, so I haven't taken much time to blog. Once we get our routine in place I expect I'll have more time again. We've been reading about Christopher Columbus and his voyage across the Atlantic to the "Indies", as well as reading another book about him, but that is written from the perspective of a 'ship's boy' on the Santa Maria. We've also been reading about Phillis Wheatley, a young slave girl, and we're enjoying her antics and 'watching' her learn new things. We're anxious to find out what happens to her in future readings. In Science, we've been conducting some experiments, and we've learned why some things float and others sink. We've also learned what causes waves. Corbin has been joining in on these as he has fun with it too. It's been fun listening to him to see what he remembers from them. Today, he was able to point out every planet (on a place mat we have) when we said its name, and he even pointed out that Pluto was not there! I guess they've removed that since it is no longer considered a planet. I certainly have not taught him the names of the planets...so how did he get so smart? No matter...I am constantly amazed at the things the kids know just from reading on their own, or that they've learned from a sibling. It's enough for me that he knows it at the age of 5! We've also begun a timeline where we will mark certain events that take place in our History readings. It's very simple but I think it will be fun. We are off to a slow start, adding things gradually so we can incorporate them easily into our school day. Last week we started learning the Spanish alphabet (and sounds). I plan to teach them many words this year, and eventually get them using Rosetta Stone Spanish...at least Logan and Hailey. I have Hooked on Spanish for Corbin to use. I look forward to it because we will all be learning together...I've wanted to learn Spanish for a long time, and I've had the Rosetta Stone program for 2-3 years. It's time we all used it!

Karl has officially started his classes, so he'll be busy with that 2-3 nights a week. So far I don't think he believes it will be difficult, but maybe a bit time-consuming. He continues to acclimate to his new role as Program Manager, and seems to be doing well with that. This week will see him back to work 5 days a week, as the summer hours end with the Labor Day weekend. He's enjoyed having his Fridays off, but not so much the longer days. It will be nice for him to be able to work less hours each day (if he's not too busy).

Co-op starts for the kids and I next Friday, September 12. This is a weekly day at a local church here...classes are available through our home school group. I will be co-teaching a class, as well as taking a class. All three of the kids will have classes for 3 hours in the morning each week. I believe the classes continue through November 14. Logan will be learning about the election process, Hailey will take a dances class, and Corbin a science class, among other things. They are excited about the opportunity to get out of the house for an activity each week, as well as being able to see their friends. And I am looking forward to the 'adult time' for myself, too. :)

I think that's all I have for now. I'd love to have some comments from some of you. Take care!