Archives for November 2012

Christmas Calendar Countdown

Christmas Calendar
If you have tons of time and energy, Pinterest is loaded with ideas on Christmas countdown ideas. Most of you are aware of the flooded house I had last week, it has put me a little behind on things. I wanted to do one of those super cute countdowns, but I need to simplify and let go.

I did take a moment to create this calendar. I even included scripture readings to get my boys thinking about the birth of Christ. The first week has Old Testament readings followed by readings in Luke and Matthew. I put a fancy sticker on Christmas Day after I printed it out.

My sons will cross off the day after they read the verses for that day. Just a simple, visual way to know how many more days until Christmas.

If your schedule has exploded and you need a quick Christmas countdown, just click the download and print.


Merry Christmas,

Thanksgiving Eve

How my quiet kid-free morning turned into a sopping mess, but I managed to keep my head above water.

When I woke up this morning I was greeted by the sounds of rushing water. Immediately I ran outside in my pajamas to turn the water off under the house. I grabbed every towel and started soaking up water. I grabbed my phone and started sending out S.O.S. text messages to my husband and step-dad.

Then I waited for help to arrive in the form of a wet/dry vac and plumbing supplies.

Now the story gets even better…
Hot Water pipe
This is the pipe that burst on my hot water heater that flooded my floors and caused us to pull out the washer and dryer.
This is the dead mouse that electrocuted it self that we found when pulling out the dryer. Which caused my step-dad to notice that that the wires weren’t installed correctly.

This is the spigot we found behind the washer that was leaking slowly down the wall that caused us to take off the back door so we could pull up the floor.
Now we wait for the sub-floor to dry, so we can put back the door, lay down the new floor, fix the water spigot, clamp the wires on the dryer, and put everything back in its original place.
Back Door
Sometimes we don’t always get to see the big picture on when things go crazy and not according to plan…But today I am thankful for a broken water pipe that showed us other problems that could have really caused even more damage.

Don’t worry about Thanksgiving, my mom has it already prepared and waiting at her house. We just need to dry out some before we go.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Happenings

black-friday-Bright Ideas Press

Great sale going on at Bright Ideas Press, just use the code TurkeySoup for 20% off your order on Black Friday.

Welcome to the new followers! So glad you signed up to receive my posts in your email. I was nominated for Best New Homeschool blog and would love your vote. Follow the link, you can vote once per day. There are 5 more days left to vote.

This week I have a Geography post over on the Bright Ideas Press Blog. It includes two notebooking pages; one with 6 terms on the bodies of water that the Pilgrims would have sailed through from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts and a great WonderMap to highlight the terms.

This week is Operation Christmas Box drop off, and if you forgot, didn’t have time to shop; I have some great news! If you go to their site on-line you can build a box that their volunteers will pack for you! They do ask for a $30 donation to make it all happen. My boys and I really enjoyed the process. We were able to pick from a list of fun items and add a photo with a personal note.

I think I am about ready for my momma’s GF pecan pie served on Thanksgiving Day!


Bedroom Remodel

Bedroom remodel

Part two of how our family of 6 lives in a small place. You may enjoy reading part one on how we turned a walk-in closet to a bedroom.

Since the master bedroom in our house has been remodeled into the boys’ suite, that lead to my husband and I getting the next biggest bedroom. The most notable space saver we installed was a Murphy bed. This queen size bed easily folds into a nice cabinet. It gives a new perspective to making your bed. On the opposite side of the wall we installed cabinets and a countertop. I choose one double cabinet to replace our dressers. I store our underthings in the drawers and use crates for the rest of our clothes in the cabinet. The three-drawer cabinet stores our files and office supplies. The cabinets above store the rest of our personal stuff from books to craft supplies. We have a small closet that allows us to hang some of our clothes up, store our dirty clothes hamper and the vacuum. To save more space we used curtains instead of a closet door. Bedroom remodel

Take a peak behind the bedroom door and shoe bins from Ikea provide adequate shoe storage. The CD tower provides storage for my husband’s personal items; his version of a nightstand. Bedroom remodel

During the day I can put my bed away and underneath the bed is a beanbag chair that provides extra seating for a child to read or watch a school video without disturbing the children in the living room. Nine feet of counter space allows me to work on my laptop, grade papers, and write lesson plans.

The size of this bedroom measures 10 feet by 13 feet.

Next up in this series, how our living room doubles as our schoolroom during the day.


Senior Year Budget for High Schoolers

Senior Year Budget

We are two months into my first child’s senior year and I am suffering from a case of sticker shock. I clearly didn’t budget well for his senior year budget. Oh man! Colleges charge what to apply? Do I need to spend the money for him to take the SAT and the ACT tests? Do I plan on getting him a class ring?

I would recommend toward the end of their junior year to start researching and begin planning for the senior year budget.

After some research here are some guidelines to the costs that you may incur. These are averages or a low base line to get you thinking on an overall budget.

Senior Year Budget:

  • College Applications…..$50 and up for each
  • SAT/ACT Testing………$50 each time
  • Cap and Gown………….$30
  • Tassel ……………………$10
  • Diploma …………………$30
  • Class Ring ………………$150 and up
  • Graduation Photos ……$50 and up
  • Announcements…etc. …$25 and up
  • Graduation Party ……….???
  • College Visits …………….???

Tips to help you get started with senior year budget:

• If your child already knows which colleges they are looking at, a quick visit to their website will inform you on the price of sending in an application.
• Decide on SAT/ACT testing. Each test has it pros and cons. If you know which college your child is interested look at their website to see which test the college prefers.
• We found visiting colleges really helped my son to understand what a large college campus felt like and a small one. He visited 4 different ones, included the one he applied to. These visits were free, just had to budget gas and snacks. We did buy a T-shirt from the one he wants to attend.
• Discuss with your child on if they want a class ring or a party. These choices will help in your budget planning.

Some ways we cut back on costs for the senior year budget:

• Since he has no interest in a class ring, we aren’t ordering one. Savings of $150.
• Since colleges offer early options, we have applied to his first college choice with enough time to apply to the second college if he gets a rejection letter. Savings of $75 if he gets accepted.
• We borrowed a cap and gown in the fall and had his senior pictures done. We choose not to do the senior setting in the spring where they change their clothes and you pick proofs that you want. Savings of $150.
• We took the SAT once in the spring of his junior year, and again in the fall of his senior year. He improved his score the second time, so we won’t be taking the test again. If you take the SAT in October, it gives you time to sign up to take it again in December if you still need to get a higher score.

I am currently researching announcements and thank-you cards. Hopefully allowing me time to find a great deal.

If we have any money left over in the spring he may have a party, or we may need to use the funds to help him move out. I am still thinking about the amount of money to put in the graduation party budget.

These two websites helped in figure out some of the costs: HomeSchool Diploma and Jostens.

Here is my worksheet to help you get started on your senior year budget.

Senior Budget Worksheet


Any surplus in the “Senior High” budget can be rolled over into the “Moving to College” budget.


DIY Book Safe

Book Safe

If you are a book lover this post might be upsetting, it was for a certain young boy at my house.

A friend suggested that my boys would enjoy the book series, The Sneaky, Sneakier, and Sneakiest Book for Everyday Things. He was right the boys love the series.

I thought my boys would love having a Book Safe; they always have treasures that need a home. I went on a mission to Goodwill to find hardcover books that were big, had more then 300 pages, and were on a topic that wouldn’t stand out on their bookcases. I found a book on railroads and one on the Civil War. You may have some hard cover books already at your house.
What I didn’t know at the time was I grabbed an autographed copy of first hand accounts of Richmond burning during the Civil War. My husband and my youngest son refused to allow me to cut up this book. Really the whole house was in an uproar about me cutting up books.

Okay, now I am down to only one book to make into a Book Safe. I had my older son count out 50 pages in the front and 50 pages of the back of the book, we then glued page 50 to page 51.

Using an exacto knife I cut out the center of the book. I used the text as a guideline, trying to stay about ½ inch inside the text. I was able to cut about 20 pages at a time. Some of the cuts were a little rough, but didn’t take away from the function of hollowing out the Book Safe.

My son decided his wallet was a good item to place in his Book Safe.
Book Safe

I am thinking of making a few Book Safes as Christmas presents for my boys friends. I just don’t think I will announce when I am going to cut up more books.


31 Days of Giving Thanks on Joy Thankful for Joy
Today I am thankful to be joining Meg and a group of 30 other ladies who have banded together to share their thoughts on Thanks!

One of the worst things that can happen is when you lose something slowly, piece by piece. So slowly you don’t even notice!  When life is in overdrive and you fall exhausted into bed each night, slow things don’t even make the top of the list.

Then one evening you look up, make eye contact, and you realize it’s gone. Oh where did those bitter thoughts come from?  Why is my heart so hard? Why am I sitting here with a group of ladies reading a book on Joy?

Because dear child, when you were so busy enduring you allowed Joy to leave and bitterness to creep in. Oh my, how did I let that happen?

It wasn’t one huge earth-shattering event that caused this to happen. It was the little daily trials that slowly chipped away my Joy.

I shared my story with a close friend who asked, “How do you get your Joy back?”

At that moment I could only answer, “Well, my first step was realizing that it was gone.”

Then God really placed this truth on my heart, “even when I can’t give thanks for the trials and stress of this world, I can give thanks for my Savior dying on the cross and for the knowledge of spending forever with Him!”

In this season of Thanksgiving, I want to shout from the rooftops…I am thankful for JOY RESTORED!!

Tonight I pray that each of you take a moment from the chaos of your day and evaluate how much JOY is in your life. Did you find it?



31 Days of Thanks
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