2017 Epic Camp

Every year Preston and his dad go to camp together. The first two years, they went to mini camp and the last two years they have gone to Epic Camp.

Epic is a camp through our church. They go for 5 days and 4 nights. Every year they have a blast and can’t wait for next years camp. Next year though will be Preston’s last year to be able to attend Epic Camp. Then he will graduate to the Middle School camp through our church as well.

I love that every year he has been able to attend camp. He loves it. They both do. Hubby goes and works the camp. He provides the water to all campers and counselors as needed to keep them hydrated and does supply runs for them as well. He also does anything else they need him to do. This year that included dressing up as a Pokemon and hiding from the campers.

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Preston leaving for camp. They had to take a sack lunch, so I grabbed him McDonalds which is rare.

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Preston with his group!

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So glad someone was able to capture Hubby and Preston together! Preston took a cooking class at camp this year. Next year, he plans to take an acting class there.

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Preston in all green and more friends. What is funny is the boy wearing he watch is actually a friend of his from Kindergarten! They were in Kindergarten together and get to see each other each year at camp!

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One of his favorite things to do is the water slide.

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Ok, on this one he is on the tube in between all the legs. They were playing some sort of Hungry Hungry Hippo game. I love the pure joy on his face!

I am so thankful for a church that takes our kids to camp. He loves it every year he goes!

Now, onto planning more for the actual school year!

Homeschool Curriculum and Tools for 5th/6th grade

 

Wood Home Adventures

I can not believe that it is time to purchase curriculum and start planning! I have been researching curriculum since about January trying to decide on what we will use for this year.

This year I plan to have Preston do 5th and 6th grade together. That does not mean we are skipping ahead. It just means that on some subjects he will be 5th grade, while some others he will be working on a 6th grade level. If you ask him what grade he is in he will say 5th grade. That is the grade he will be in at church as well. I do not plan to skip him ahead as I want him to be able to stay with his friends.

So, after many months of researching, I have figured out what we will be using. Here is a list of what his 5th/6th grade curriculum will be.

  1. Math- Teaching Textbooks level 6. We are sticking with TTB because we have used it and fell in love with it. The only thing different this year is we will also be using the workbook instead of him doing his work on paper in a spiral notebook.  ( $149.90 per level)
  2. Spelling- Spelling Workout E. This will be our first year to use this and I am hoping since he is such a great speller we can do all of this workbook in one semester. Then we will move onto Spelling Workout F next semester. ($18.50 per workbook set)
  3. Science- Focus on Chemistry Middle School. This is a one semester book, after our first semester we will then use Focus on Biology Middle School. They also have Physic, Geology, and Astronomy that we will use through out middle school. ($52.95 per workbook set)
  4. Geography- Road Trip: A Journey Across America. We have not done much Geography and this looks fantastic. I am very excited to use this with him. There are several books you can buy to go along with the lessons or not, but we are already buying them as well. You can find a list of books needed once you buy the curriculum. This is a download and print curriculum that we will be using. ( $24.95)
  5. Writing/Grammar- Essentials in Writing Level 6. This is a DVD based curriculum along with a workbook. This will be our first year to use this and I am very excited for it. ( $87.00)
  6. Handwriting- Cursive Logic. We have used them in the past and continue to use them now. They have a revised edition that we will be using this year. ($34.95)
  7. Typing- Typing.com. We will be using this online FREE typing program.
  8. Reading- We will be using a reading list that we create together for his reading. He will be required to read daily and at the end of each book, he will be required to do a book report of his choosing.
  9. Bible- This will be his Awana book that he does starting in September when our local Awana club starts back up. ($42.00)
  10. Art- He will be taking a class weekly from a local homeschool mom who is now doing classes out of her home. We are both very excited about this as he loves Art. ($40.00 per month)

This semester, I will be spending nearly $450 on just curriculum for my son. I say semester because I know that next semester I will be buying Science and Spelling again. I will also be purchasing any items needed for projects for any subject, as well as any items needed for Science projects as we go through the year.

In order to keep all these workbooks and  textbooks together and organized, I also plan to order this to keep all his items in: Red Meori Large Box. Much better than all over his desk area!

Other tools that we will be using that are also VERY IMPORTANT in our homeschooling besides just workbooks, will be: Netflix, YouTube, Google, Amazon Prime, Library, Field Trips, and of course, the WORLD!

Some people don’t understand that yes you can homeschool and use these tools in your homeschooling. These tools are very beneficial to anyone in any type of schooling, but just because I homeschool does not mean that these are the only tools we will use.

I would love to see what others are using this year for curriculum. If you feel like sharing, please leave in the comments!

 

1 kid vs 4 kids (what I learned!)

From the first week of June until June 16th, I had anywhere between 3 and 4 kids. The first week was 3 and the 2nd week was 4.

Normally, I have one!

Every Summer, we invite my niece and nephew to come stay with us to help their mom out. This year, because all the kids were finally old enough, we invited my other nephew to come along for the week of VBS. Our church will only allow them to attend if they have finished Kinder-5th. So this was the year they all got to come to VBS!

I learned some very interesting things while having 4 kids instead of just the one. I felt like I should share them with those who may be interested.

Eating out can be expensive!!- When you are used to one kid and eating out, it is no big deal  normally. But, add in three other kids and it will start to add up. So, what we did was look for places that had deals. Like Wendy’s has their 4 for $4 meals. That worked perfect one of the days. We also did the kids eat free from Ihop a couple of times. We would get an adult meal along with P. Then the 3 younger kids would all get their meals free. We also did this at Applebee’s. They are doing Kids eat Free with an adult meal purchase for the month of June. So it was great for us. Most days for lunch we stuck to eating at home. We would do sandwiches, chips and drinks. We also had fruit on some of the days to throw in there.

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While in Wendy’s one of the days, a sweet older lady came over and handed all the kids Frosty’s. She said she wanted to do something sweet for them because they were so well behaved!

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Along with saving money on food, we also saved on treats. While getting gas, the kids noticed that the gas station had slurpees on sale. No lie, I did not even see the huge poster till they pointed it out. So, we all went inside and I got them each their own! Y’all, $0.99 for these huge ones!

Also, we had a few gift cards that we had been saving. Those came in handy as well. We went to the movies one day, ate ice cream after and they were both paid for with gift cards we had laying around. No lie, one of the gift cards I had been carrying around in my wallet for nearly 9 years. Money still on it and still good!

The house is going to get louder! When it is just P and I he is pretty good about hanging out and not screaming thru the house. I mean why would he? He has his moments where he gets excited and yells, but then he calms down. Now having 3 extra kids in our house, that is completely different. Most of the day you can find them all playing well together, but loudly. I was actually ok with all the extra noise. It was great to hear it in the house for those couple of weeks.

They will fight like brother and sisters. Yes, two of them are actual brother and sister (twins), they are actually cousins, but man can these kids argue! For the past 10 years, P has been an only child. He is not used to the arguing and the younger ones wanting to follow him around. He is very much a “stay out of my personal space, but I can be in yours” kind of kid. Most days it was good. Someone would argue, I would redirect and that would be it. But, days where I heard, ” she is looking at me!” “he is copying me!” “he called me a name!” a million times, I may of thanked God for only giving me one kid.

Find Fun ways to keep them entertained. When they were younger and I would go watch the kids or they would come to our place, I always had fun crafts to keep them busy. That way the preschool teacher in me. Now that they are older, they are not so much into crafts. I had to come up with other ways to keep them busy when we weren’t on the go or at the pool swimming. One neat thing we made was a huge slip and slide in our backyard. They loved it. I got a huge piece of plastic from Walmart. The kind that you would lay down if you were painting, but did not want paint on the floor. So it was pretty big. We ordered a sprinkler off Amazon and then set it all up. They loved it. Plus, it worked better than most slip and slides we have bought over the years. I did throw on some Dawn Dish Soap to help them slide as well.

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(please ignore the grass, our lawn guys skipped out on us that week!) As for the bricks around the edges, I did not even think about a way to keep the plastic in place. Thankfully, we had these laying around. Most people would say, ” what if they ran into them?” Well, they didn’t. They had enough room for all 3 of them to be on at the same time and still stay away from the bricks. That is how big the plastic really was!

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Water balloon fights kept them entertained for like an hour. We had a friend purchase a HUGE box of those easy to make water balloons. They had so much fun with them! It was great too for playing in the water without having to take all of them to the pool!

The pool. Our community has a community pool the kids love to go swimming at. So, several days they went swimming.

Amazon Pantry is now my favorite thing. Who knew this even existed? I didn’t until my husband got online and shopped it. The first day we took them swimming, they were constantly asking for snacks. Um, we literally just ate kids. So, Hubs got online and ordered snacks for us to take to the pool. Sure, we could of driven to the store, but we already had a gift card in the amazon cart and we could order larger sizes than our store was carrying! Just a plus for me. The fact that they also shipped it to my door in under two days was the cherry on top!

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Getting kids ready is so much easier when clothes are already picked out and laying out ready for them! I learned this fast. Instead of asking them to go find something to wear, pick it out the night before and have it laid out and ready to go. This was only a big one because the last week we had them we were doing VBS every day. We also had to be there earlier than everyone else due to the fact that we were working at VBS. So, every day after VBS I would wash their VBS shirts, grab them shorts, undies, socks and shoes and lay them out. Once their shirts were dry those went on each of their stacks. Still, had we not had VBS, I still feel like this method would of been the best one to have. That way there was no fighting over not being able to find socks, or not knowing where their shoes were! Made mornings much nicer!

They will put themselves to bed if tired enough! I have to laugh at this one. These kids would go and go and go if we let them. Most nights we had to calm them down after dinner so they knew it was nearing bed time. A child friendly movie, their warm blankets and pillows, our cool house and they were usually out very quickly. However, one night Hubs and I were sitting on the couch before we were going to have them all come in to watch a movie and chill out, and noticed that it was really quiet. I went looking for the kids. P was on the computer in the office, and the twins had literally put themselves to bed. I laughed. I mean they had to have been so tired to go put themselves to bed. It was only 9pm. Those two are not used to being on the go all day long like we are. It was greatness. Wear them out and they will put themselves to bed! Lesson learned!

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Car rides are completely different with 4 kids. Our two weeks flew by so fast. It was great having all the kids here. But, that last day, I was tired. I still had to take them back to Houston by myself. Hubs left for a work conference the same day to Louisiana. So I figured the best thing to do was drive thru a drive thru, grab them each lunch, let them eat on the way and then crash in the car. That is just what they did! They mostly all slept for a good two hours. Right until we hit our mid point in the trip. It was perfect timing too. Stop for potty breaks, get back in the car and no more stopping till we get to their houses. This was the agreement. I told them beforehand, don’t drink all your drink because we are not going to stop again till we get home. Having one older kid, he gets it. This is normally for him. Having 3 kids all aged 6 with us, what was I even saying?! For the next 2 hours they played great together. Two in the very back kept each other entertained, 2 in the middle kept each other entertained, the extra balls we got from VBS kept them all entertained. Then, one needed to potty. Literally, 30 minutes from her house. I am like ok, let me find a place because if you had said that 5 minutes ago we could of stopped, but now there is nothing out here. Then another one has to pee too. Then the first one is crying because she has to pee so bad. I finally pull off the highway and come to a stoplight which of course is red. Then I hear her say, ” Why do they have to have stoplights?” I am trying hard not to laugh at her, but I mean come on kid! Tell me earlier! So, now I have to rush to find a place before any accidents happen! Thankfully, we make it. Unload all the kids, everyone goes potty, everyone loads back up. That took the time it would of taken me to get to the house… That wore me out.

As crazy as those two weeks were, we would do it again in a heartbeat. So, stayed tuned. We will be getting two of the cousins back again tomorrow night for another week!

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Also, I am pretty sure he enjoyed having the whole back of the car back to himself.

 

 

 

How do we afford to Homeschool?

That is a great question for any homeschool family.

I have several friends that have said in the past, ” We would homeschool, IF we could afford it!”

GUESS WHAT! YOU CAN!

Homeschooling

Most people who don’t know much about homeschooling believes that you have to spend thousands of dollars and buy the absolute best curriculum out there. You don’t.

When we first began our homeschooling journey 5 years ago I went to my first conference. It was very overwhelming to see all the different curriculum we could choose from. Who knew there were SO MANY CHOICES!

We went from booth to booth in awe of every curriculum. We saw curriculum that was way out of our price range and some that was right in our price range.

Did you know there is even FREE curriculum you can get? Yes, FREE!

I am going to share some ways that we afford homeschooling in our one-income family.

First and foremost: I am not a huge spender. As a teen I was. I would go clothes shopping for myself with almost every paycheck. As soon as I got myself into the “real world” that changed. I do not spend if I do not have to spend. By that I mean, I don’t go clothes shopping when it is not needed. We buy the clothes we need and we don’t spend more than what is needed on clothing. My child has enough clothes for each season and so do we. I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes for him to wear once either. I buy clothes I know will last and will be useful to us. I try not to buy things we do not need.

We live in our means: We do not live in a house we can not afford. We do not have car payments anymore. My car was given to us from my mom. Our truck was paid off a couple of winters ago. Both vehicles are drivable. Both get us from point A to point B and that is all we need. I don’t want to have to buy a brand new car every other season just because someone else got a new car. I don’t work that way. Never have either. I know one day we may have to buy a new car, but it will not be new. I have never bought brand new. I am perfectly fine with buying used to get a lower payment as well. Saving money where we can. We also buy groceries every time hubby gets paid and we make our plans for lunches and dinners for the weeks. Sure sometimes we will also go out to eat, but not every day and not every week.We really want a patio in the backyard, but instead of spending the money to have someone come build us one, we are saving for one. Then we will use plans we found online and build ourselves. There are many things we “want” however, we put aside our wants and think about our needs before anything else. We know we plan to homeschool for awhile, so that comes before material objects we can do without for now.

Curriculum: This is where you can spend some money or not. When Preston was little and he stayed at home with me before starting Kindergarten, I would find ways to have him learn, but for free. Free online resources, Free games online, Sand box activities, hand games for example. Now that he is older, there are still free curriculum you can find ( for example: Easy Peasy ).

Now there are ways to get discounts for curriculum too that you want to purchase.

  • Buy at convention- Most of the time vendors are doing discounts or free shipping at convention. Even the free shipping is savings.
  • Buy used- Thats right. There are several Facebook pages you can find others selling their used curriculum. Also, stores like Half Price Books have tons of homeschooling curriculum you can buy used.
  • Borrow- If you have homeschool friends in your group, they most likely will let you borrow their curriculum when they are done. Just make sure to return it when you are done using it.
  • Price match- Places like RainbowResource.com and Christianbooks.com may have the curriculum you are wanting for cheaper than what the actual company sells it for. It may only be a few dollars cheaper, but hey, that is a few dollars saved!
  • Save year round- This is something I tell myself every year I need to do and don’t. If you know you want to buy a curriculum that may be a little more, save for it. We use Teaching Textbooks for Math and that is our most expensive curriculum at $149.90 each year. Knowing this I should be saving for this. Even if you have a change jar and just throw your change in the jar each day. It will end up adding up and helping you when it comes time to buy curriculum.
  • Timberdoodle.com- If you can order your curriculum from this website, they give doodle dollars. Saving these will you get money off your next purchase. I use this site for some things. Right now, my plan is to order Math from them and a container. I have enough doodle dollars for $6 off my order. It may be only $6 to some, but that $6 can go towards something else.

Field Trips: Most places like the Zoo, Aquarium, Theme Parks, have homeschool days. Sometimes, they will even give discounts. We always do the Dallas Zoo in the months of January and February because they do their penguin days and its way cheaper than a normal priced day. On of our local Museums does a homeschool day and actually plans out stations for the children to have an activity. One of our Aquarium does a homeschool week. They give discounted tickets to homeschoolers. We go during that week. Same for our local Great Wolf Lodge. They have one week they discount for homeschoolers. These are when we plan our trips. Discounts help any kind of field trip.

We also look for places with free admission. Dallas Museum of Art, Klyde Warren Park, Downtown Fort Worth, which is one of our favorite places. It has a ton of history, plus the atmosphere is just wonderful itself. We could literally go and spend a whole day there.

Of course, not every place is going to give discounts and that is ok. If you are willing find other homeschoolers in your area and the more you have in your group most places will give you a group rate. Which may save a few dollars again.

Again, these are just some of the ways that we save to be able to homeschool. We make sacrifices to be able to teach our son the way we feel like we were meant to teach him. I just want others to know if you are struggling with the though of homeschooling because you are worried you can not afford it, I promise there are ways to do so!

Hospital Trip

Here is hoping everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend.

Ours was going pretty well until Sunday afternoon. That would be when I decided to go lay in my bed and just chill out. Soon hubby came after. Well then moments later, P came running in and jumped on the bed, on top of me. Then crying and saying, ” It hurts!” Turns out, he had his Harry Potter wand in his hand when he jumped in the bed and stabbed himself in the eye. Which was now bleeding. Hubby and I both got up and we were out the front door in a matter of minutes on the way to the Emergency Room.

Lucky for P there was no one in the waiting room. We got seen pretty quickly. Our main concern was we could not tell where the blood was coming from and being on the eye, that is never good.

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We waited for moments before a Doctor came in to check him out. The only thing P kept saying was he did not want anything (drops) to go in his eyes. He had a traumatic experience at his eye doctor and that is all he remembers. Well, unfortunately, they had to put a special kind of drop into his eye to see where the blood was coming from. This took 3 doctors to hold him down because he was not about to allow them to put any drops in his eyes.

After the drops were finally put in, they used a really cool black light and his eye lit up all green. I guess it helps see where the blood is actually coming from. It was pretty cool to see.

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Turns out he does have a small abrasion on the inside of his eyelid. He will have to go see a specialist this week to make sure he does not have any other damage. Plus, we have some ointment we are required to put on the inside of his eyelid to prevent any infection. Yeah, thats been fun to put INSIDE his eye!

His eye on the outside doesn’t look too bad. You can see where he actually hit it. I guess he did it with enough force and just right that it cause an abrasion on the inside as well.

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Also, P is a little upset he can’t go swimming until we see the specialist and get the ok.

 

 

Summers Coming… Are you Ready?

Our Summer is already booked and it has not even begun yet! Well, it kind of has. I mean, we are done with school work. So, for the month of May we have been taking it easy, because… the month of June and July is going to be PACKED!!!! Also, there has been fort building and video gaming going on over here. FORT

June- We have my sisters twins coming to stay with us for two weeks! Then one of those weeks my other nephew is coming to stay with all of us for a week. We are taking them all to VBS with us! Wahoo! So exciting because this year they will all get to do VBS together!

I will be taking them all home at the end of the week. Then staying in Houston to visit family. Coming home that Sunday to take the week to prepare, because that next Saturday, my little sister is getting married in Bryan, TX. Back and forth driving should be tons of fun!

July- My boys ( hubs and son) both leave for camp for 5 days! Then they come home and the next day I will leave for conference for my small business for 4 days! Fun times!

Now it may not seem like a ton laid out like that, but throw in all the activities we will be doing, plus swimming, crafting and visiting friends. We are pretty booked.

Now. The kids coming to stay with us got us thinking. They need a cool place to hang out instead of being inside ALL DAY LONG!

So, We started cleaning out our garage. It is not done yet, but our idea is coming together. I still need a few things to finish it off!

-Flooring: this one is not a HUGE rush to get only because I mean if they spill on the garage floor now it will be ok and easy to clean. We may skip the flooring all together and see if I can convince hubs to just paint it.

-Lounge pillows: I would love for them all to have some comfy seating outside.

-Table and chairs: this is for us to be able to sit outside and eat! I am also considering a large picnic table instead of table and chairs.

-ACTIVITIES: Everyone needs something to do right. I mean what if it rains? I could leave the garage open and they could still be outside playing. So, I have been researching things I can buy for them to use that will wear them out. Plus, fun crafts to do. But, for activities, I came across this thing called the Jungle Jumparoo.

Y’all! It will fit in the garage! Or it can be taken outside on the grass! You can also add attachments to it to spin in the middle or a sprinkler for the top! Hello fun water play for Texas summer!

I was a little iffy on the price. I will be honest. It is more than a trampoline. BUT, it is safer than a trampoline. Plus, I can not bring a large trampoline indoors. I mean I could, but the kids would most likely smack their heads on the ceiling. I don’t need any of that!

Plus, right now they are GIVING you $50 off your purchase of the Jungle Jumparoo! PERFECT! That at least knocks the price down some and I mean the kids will LOVE it!

If you have little ones… guess what! They have two sizes! One for tots and one for older kids. If your tots are stable though and good jumpers, I would go with the larger one so they could grow into it!

If you want to check out this awesome product I am going on and on about, click the link below! If you order one, I would love to see how y’all are using it! Indoors, outdoors, in the garage? Let me know!!!

JUNGLE JUMPAROO $50 OFF RIGHT NOW!

Well, I am back…

For the moment at least.

It has been 5 months to the day since my last post. I haven’t quite decided if I am giving up the blog or only going to write when I feel like it.

It is raining here in North Texas today, so it felt like a good time to write. It is gloomy like my mood.

Why is my mood gloomy? I have decided to no longer try to have another baby.

Growing up I always envisioned that my house would be one full of children playing and laughing. Screaming and fighting ( you know the way siblings do!). Buying dolls for my little girls and cars for the boys.

It no longer seems like that dream can become a reality.

We have been trying to get pregnant for years and it just hasn’t happened. I even got on Clomid for awhile and that did not help. We can not afford to do IVF or any other fertility helps.

It seems like a house full of kids for us is not meant to be.

We have our one son and we love him very much. We are so thankful God let us be his parents.

So for now, I will accept that it will just be the three of us. They way God planned it.