Once upon a time I was labeled a Coupon Queen. I was asked to speak at several workshops about couponing over a couple of years, and I was featured in newspaper articles. People regularly asked me for money-saving advice and I posted coupon matches on my blog weekly.
I have a confession to make: I barely use coupons these days.
I have a pile of coupon inserts have haven't been touched for months. I haven't been to a double-coupon day for a long time. I haven't chased deals at CVS, Walgreens, or Target for quite awhile.
And I'm okay with that.
You see, life changes and priorities must be rearranged. We now have six children age 10 and under, and with a busy homeschooling schedule and various other commitments, couponing has largely fallen to the wayside.
I still try to shop wisely, stockpile sale items, and watch our spending, but I have allowed myself some grace in the penny-pinching during this season. Now I mostly shop the loss-leaders at one store and get the necessities at Aldi. This method requires less time away from my family, because even with six kids in tow, I can spend less than 30 minutes in each of these stores. And right now, my time is worth more than saving $4 in coupons.
Yes, if I spent the time to find the deals, clip the coupons, and race to the stores, I could probably save another $150 or more a year (it hurts a bit to add it up like that!), but on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, this is one thing that can slide for this season. It won't last forever, but neither will my kids' childhoods. I'll have more time to coupon when they're older, and even more when they're grown and gone.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
|Posted by Jessica-MomForHim at 11:59 AM|
Monday, January 13, 2014
So often I hear the question, "How do you do it?" Some people elaborate further and say something like, "How do you homeschool with so many children?" or "How do you focus on school when you have little ones around?"
Our days are not always perfect (not by a long shot!), and we don't always get everything done, but there are some things that I do to with the younger kids that help me get our homeschooling done with the older kids. I thought I would post a list now, so you could be thinking about implementing some of these ideas later.
- School in a room where littles can play. We used to do school on the dining room table, but inevitably I would end up bringing toys into the kitchen and dining room so the baby could be near us. We got tired of tripping over toys, (and now I have more kids!) so a few years ago we moved our school into the living room/play room. We had a table, some desks, and the piano in half the room, and toys in the other half of the room. When we were all working in the same room, it is easier to keep an eye on everyone (and keep the mess somewhat contained!).
- School at the dining room table. Life changes, and now we are back to doing the big girls' core work at the table. When the littles want to join us, I will take out paint with water sheets or watercolors, Color Wonder markers or fingerpaint, playdoh, WikkiStix, or good ol' crayons to keep them busy while I read aloud.
- Give them some focused time. Get the older kids started on a subject, then sit on the floor and do a few puzzles, stack blocks, read books, or play a game with the littles. If you give them 10 minutes of your attention, often they will be okay for the next 10 minutes while you help someone else.
- Give preschoolers and toddlers "school work". I don't do regimented "school" with preschoolers, but often the younger siblings don't want to be left out of the homeschool fun! When they are excited about learning, you want to encourage that. Some printables, a coloring book, or a workbook from the dollar store go a long way in making preschoolers feel like the big kids. My preschoolers also love Starfall.com, which they call their "homework".
- Make activity bags or bins to rotate. Put some time upfront into filling bags or bins with blocks, felt boards, foam shapes, things to stack or fill, or other activities. Rotate these items to keep your toddler's interest. Consider having them play with the items only on a blanket on the floor, to make it a more focused activity.
- Do more intense or hands-on subjects during nap time. Do things that need your focused time and attention, like science experiments, when the littles are down for nap.
- Do your read-alouds while nursing the baby. You are already sitting on the couch, why not invite the kids to join you and use that time?
- Give older kids a break. My older girls sometimes get a break in between subjects when they can play with the little girls. This teaches them responsibility and helps build their relationships while freeing me up to focus on one child if needed.
I am always open to more ideas, so please leave a comment!
Sunday, January 12, 2014
I have done a few other posts in the past with books we have read and recommend, and you can see those here, here and here. I won't repeat those recommendations again here, so be sure to check out those links for other great book choices.
Series for Ages 6-9 (or as read-alouds)
Patricia St. John (author) books
Meghan Rose series
LarryBoy Chapter books
A to Z Mysteries
Calendar Mysteries by Ron Roy
Capital Mysteries by Ron Roy
Cul-De-Sac Kids by Beverly Lewis
American Girl Short Stories
Martha Speaks Chapter books
Cam Jansen or Young Cam Jansen books by David Adler
Nate the Great books
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald
The Boxcar Children series (over 150 books!)
There's more to come! I am working on another post with longer chapter books for ages 8-10+!
Friday, January 10, 2014
Life as a family of 8 has been as busy as ever! I am still homeschooling, and we have a 5th grader, 3rd grader, 2nd grader, kindergartener, preschooler, and a baby. It has required some adjustment for all of us, but we are in a groove now, though that "groove" also requires some flexibility!
Thursday, January 9, 2014
I received a Powerocks Magicstick to review right before Christmas, a fun time to get a new toy in the mail! The Magicstick is a portable charging device, and is small enough to take on-the-go. It arrived just in time for our trip out of town for Christmas, and it was really nice to be able to plug in my phone to get a charge when I wasn't near a convenient charging source.
The Magicstick is a 2800mAh rechargeable battery. It comes in a cute carrying pouch with a micro-USB-to-USB cable so you can plug it into your computer or laptop to charge its battery. There is a button on the top that, when pushed, indicates with an LED light how much charge is available. Blue light = 70% - 100% full, Green light = 30% - 70% full, Red light = 1% - 30% full.
The Powerocks Magicstick is able to recharge any device that plugs into a USB or micro-USB, and it comes in a variety of fun colors! It is really easy to use, and has a sleek, lightweight design that only weighs 2.6 ounces!
I used it to charge my iPhone with my USB charging cable. After I plugged in my phone for the first time, I was a little worried because the light went from green to red immediately, but it still had plenty of juice left to charge up my phone. I have used it several times since then, and it seems the light automatically goes down a step when you use it to charge (from blue to green or from green to red), but it has never gone dead on me before I've been able to charge it up again.
Sometimes near the end of the day my iPhone's battery will be down to 10%, but I still want to use it and don't want to be "plugged in" and tethered to the computer or wall outlet. With the Powerocks Magicstick, I have been able to plug in my phone and settle on the couch, and even while I am using it, my phone will end up with a better charge than when I sat down.
Interested in buying one?
Here is a 20% off promo code, and shipping is always FREE!
You can also buy the Magicstick on Amazon, but with the 20% off code above and free shipping, it might be a better bet to buy it from the Powerocks website. They have a variety of rechargeable battery styles available.
*I received a Magicstick to review, but all opinions are my own.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
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Thursday, May 2, 2013
As you've likely noticed, blogging has taken a back seat to life this past year. A lot has changed! One quick update is we are expecting girl #6 in June! Yes, another girl, and we couldn't be more thrilled!
One of the questions I get asked a lot is what books my girls have enjoyed reading and that we would recommend. It is so hard as a parent to keep ahead of your kids once their reading takes off! Which books and series are suitable and appropriate for their ages? I have searched high and low for a good book recommendation site (kind of like pluggedinonline for movies, but for books), but so far I haven't found one. If you know of one, please let me know! It would be great to have a searchable site with some details about content, etc.
Since I haven't found something yet, I rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends I trust. When picking up a new book, I also read the back, try to scan a few pages throughout the book, and then hand it over to my oldest with the qualifications of "you know what is appropriate--let me know if this book is okay". So far she has demonstrated good judgment, we've had some good conversations about topics that are starting to come up in the "tween" books, and some books we decide to skip. Then she can recommend them to the younger girls! ;-)
I have done a couple of other posts in the past with books we have read and recommend, and you can see those here and here. I won't repeat those recommendations again here, so be sure to check out those links for other good book choices.
Since I did those last two posts awhile ago, there have been MANY more books the girls have read individually or that we have read together as read-alouds. So it is high time for a new post! Here is a list of books and series that I have tried to group into rough age groups, but you can certainly go outside these age ranges.
Early Readers and Short Chapter Books (ages 5-8, or as read-alouds to younger kids)
- Chronicles of Narnia "I Can Read" early readers--a good introduction to Narnia for younger kids, or for them to read on their own.
- Amelia Bedelia Chapter books--Everyone loves Amelia Bedelia, and now there's a new series of chapter books about Amelia when she was young!
- Henry and Mudge (a boy and his dog), Annie and Snowball (a girl and her bunny, also with Henry and Mudge), Brownie and Pearl (a girl and her cat), and Mr. Putter and Tabby (an old man and his cat)
- Arthur Chapter books--Arthur and his friends have adventures in elementary school. Check the content of these for what you think is appropriate for your kids' ages.
- Mercy Watson series--Mercy is a pig (a porcine wonder!) who has all sorts of funny adventures, and loves toast with a great deal of butter on it!
- Berenstain Bears Chapter books--there are "First Time Chapter Books" and "BIG chapter books", about 85-105 pages. Check the content.