Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Share, Save, Spend Bank.......

 On Monday the kids and I were reading through a fun kit that we were given to try out and give our opinion on. This kits focuses on how we can share the three T's, Time, Talent & Treasures. It has a wonderful little comic book that tells several different story's on the three T's. One of the things they talk about is a Share, Save, & Spend Bank. I have been wanting to get one of these for each of the kids for several years and have never followed through with it. I am now glad that I didn't because the book had a really fun "Do it Yourself" bank activity. In case any of your would like to make one below are the directions along with some pictures...just for added fun.

 Find three circle containers. In the background you can see we used left over tootsie roll containers we had from Easter. Parmesan cheese containers, and regular mason jars would also work well. Whatever you decide to use, first wash them out and let them dry. Then we got out some scrapbook paper and took the square punch I have from my Stampin' Up supplies and cute out 13 squares.
 Next we lined up our squares so we had enough to spell, Save, Share, Spend.

 These happen to be Lance's containers (left over cotton candy containers...also from Easter). The directions did recommend clear containers if at all possible so the children can see the money pile up in the containers. Step #3 it to secure the containers together. You do not have to secure them together if you don't want to. We decided for us it was best so they all stay together in one spot. We went totally functional here and went with good ole' duck tape. Not pretty, but hey it will serve the purpose.

 Then the boys applied sticky dimensionals to the back of each of the letters. You could also use pieces of tape and that would work wonderful as well.

 This is the finished product. The boys loved making them and we had a really great discussion on how we figure out how much to put inside each container when they are paid for a job, receive B-day money, or accumulate money in any other way. It is important to use to teach our children early how important it is to manage God's money. We also want to teach the value of money.....and remind them that it doesn't just "appear" you have to work hard to get income. The money in their SPEND jar is their money to decide how to spend it. If the jar is empty then it's empty until they produce the income to refill it. We pay the kids for doing extra jobs around the house. For example, sweeping off the sidewalk or the deck, picking up sticks and taking them to the burning barrel, helping to clean out the barn, painting, ect. is worthy of payment. We also do pay them a bit for completing regular household chores. (We keep the chores age appropriate and the amount of payment is solely up to mom and dad.)

Is there anything special you do to teach your children about money? If not, maybe you should consider a program like, The ABC'S of Handling Money God's Way by Howard & Bev Dayton (designed for ages 5-7).


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Playing Outside!

I was so excited that we were able to have our first supper on the deck and the new patio set last night! Homemade pizza and banana cream pie......YUMMY! Since it rained ALL weekend we were able to go and hunt for some patio furniture on Saturday. We ended up with a set from Lowe's that I LOVE very much! Thanks for all the suggestions on what to get and not to get....because I have been drawn to those comfy looking cushions....until I found out they are not a good investment for various reasons. I am looking forward to many nights of fun outside on the deck, and here are some pictures of last night.
In case you missed out on what the before and after pictures of the deck go here.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Free Digital Subscription of Homeschool Enrichment Magazine

 If your looking for a new digital magazine subscription for FREE you can go HERE and sign up for one. I have never looked through this magazine, but I thought for FREE it should wouldn't hurt to read through it. I am always looking for encouragement, inspiration, and good information on curriculum.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

SOOC Saturday!

 I am exited to see my iris's are blooming this year, they didn't last year. Pretty Purple Beauties I LOVE them!

Join Slurping Life from other Straight Out of the Camera shots!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Wish Me Luck!

For the first time, I am having a GARAGE SALE today only!!! Hope all goes well...and the weather stays SUNNY most of the day!!! Come visit if your nearby....if your not...wish me luck!!

Have GREAT weekend!!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just for the JOY of it!

It's Thursday and that means it time for Just for the JOY of it!

This week has been a HUGE week for us here at the Gaertegang! We have been here at this 1900 Farmhouse for over 7 years. When we moved in one of the things on our someday wishlist was to have a deck here off the back of the house (which is where everyone enters our house.) I am thrilled that this "wish" has become a reality...So very thankful...
 Here is the before picture....actually taken a week or so before they came to put the deck you can see, a HUGE cement slab...unsightly to say the least!
 This was were the contractor stopped after just one full day!! I could not believe how much they got done...and did I mention that they actually showed up a day early to start the project. Yahooo!
 The kids were so funny...they didn't want to miss any of the action. It was great motivation to get their school work done for the day so they could go out to the swing set or trampoline to watch the guys work. One of the kids even said, "Mom you should just let us have the day off so we can go watch them, because learning to build a deck is totally education." (can you guess which one said this?) Well I don't deny that it's good learning....if you were actually helping them side by side...but they would not be doing they were bummed when I pulled out their daily work and handed it to them...smiling and saying"Nice try!"
 Here it is finished. This is a view of when we walk out our door and look to the right. The deck measures 20X14 so I think we should have some room to stretch out a bit.
 I wanted a nice wide stairway that flared just a bit at the bottom. The only thing I didn't consider was how that little side walk would look with an 8 ft opening. I don't like I am trying to brain storm what to do...that won't break the bank to make it look right......any suggestions...or volunteers for helping me!
 This is the view from the swing set. I decided to go with the boards on the bottom instead of lattice. One reason being that I knew it would only be a matter of time until the boys #1 ran into it with something #2 kicked it for some unknown reason #3 just plain ruined part of it because they are boys and that seems to be what they do without trying. Plus I am just not a big fan of the lattice.
 Zach is standing at the door looking at the new deck here...He approves! We are all thrilled to have a place to hang out and visit with each, a place to eat on all those great weather days, a place to entertain, and I could go on  and on! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, to Denny Trump Inc. for such a fantastic job and professional manner is which their staff works. You were worth every penny!

Now we have to find just the right patio furniture to put out on the deck. I would love to hear suggestions for all you blessed people who already have a deck with furniture. What materials do you recommend wicker, aluminum, heavy plastic? I would love to hear any and all comments about what works or hasn't worked well for all of you.

I will be sure to update you all on how it looks when I get it all "flowered up" and we have our furniture!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Flower Showcase....

I think most of you know I am hopelessly in LOVE with flowers! Here are some gorgeous Spring flower pictures I took at my friend, Jenny's, house. I think her tulips & daffodil varieties are breathtaking! The bottom left is a jacopia bush that I grow on the north side (where it is mostly shade) of my home. I love the dainty bright yellow flowers (top middle picture) it throws each Spring and then continues to bloom all summer until fall. those pink flowers in the Spring...but I have no idea what it YOU? I wanted to ask if anyone knows what type of bush the bottom middle picture might be. I have two HUGE bushes on the property that have a brilliant show


Monday, April 19, 2010

UBP is Now Over...

The Ultimate Blog Party 2010 has officially come to an end or has it? Well yes and no.....there is a fun After-Party going on right now where we can share 3 NEW blogs that we have discovered during this FUN BLOG PARTY!! Before I do that I wanted to share with you that I WON a prize!!! (A package of labeling products.)

#1: Healthy Moms  You can find a TON of helpful articles all written with Women's health in mind.

#2: Confessions of a Homeschooler I love reading what other moms are doing with their inspires me to try new things.

#3 Challenging Our Family to Live Frugally: A family of 5 is trying to keep within their $1,200.00 budget for food, beauty, household and health items.....I love seeing what others are doing to save money, sometimes I can implement them in my own home..sometime not!

Stop by and say "Hi" to these gals....tell them I sent you!

Dandelion Search Game!

Dandelion  search game is something I came up with just last week on the spur of the moment. ~Here is a little background information.....Every year my dad comes to spray the yard (sometimes twice) to get rid of those pesky dandelion...aka: weeds. Every year they come back because there are farm fields all the way around our property...grrrr! Since this has been such a warm Spring they are in prime form around here in our I got create to get rid of some of them!

Here is how we played: I gave everyone a bag of some sort....Julia used a plastic Easter bucket, and the boys used a regular plastic bag.

ROUND #1: They got three minutes to collect as many dandelions as they could! Goooooooo!
When the timer went off everyone gathered in a circle and they were told to put there dandelions in groups of ten. For Zach, who is in pre-school this helped him practice counting to 10 over and over.
For Lance & Caleb they got some practice with grouping, organizing, and counting by 10's.
The totals at round one: Zach 39 Caleb 59  Lance 95
Then I had the older boys practice there subtraction skills by counting how many more they collected than Zach. 
ROUND #2: Now that they had the hang of what was going on I added a little encouragement factor to the game. Each person that collected MORE than dandelions that they did in ROUND 1 got two pieces of Easter candy of their choosing. Again they had THREE minutes to complete this challenge.
The totals of round two: I don't remember the exact numbers, but I do know that everyone met their goals and scored two pieces of candy!
ROUND #3: Well everyone seemed to still have some energy so we went one more time with an additional incentive: Each person who yet again exceeded there ROUND 2 number got to stay up 1/2 late some night in the next week. Three minutes again was there time limit.
The result of round three: Lance is the only one who won this challenge.

I thought it was a great way to combine gym, exercise, and math all in one game! The kids really liked it and of course they always love being outside whenever possible. Zach enjoyed learning how to count by tens...I love sneaking in ways that are educational without the kids even realizing it's "school".

As you can see in the pictures Julia decided not to participate....I can't decide if she is just really smart and realized Mom was tricking the boys into getting rid of some of the weeds, or if she just wasn't feeling like playing a game. She instead sat on my lap while we all counted together and sat on my hip while we watched the boys during the "search time".

So if you have some dandelions hanging out and taking up residence at your home you might want to consider this fun and easy activity.

Hope your having a great start to your week! Happy Monday!!!


Saturday, April 17, 2010


Brrrr....A thirty degree drop in temperatures, not to mention the ridiculous amount of WIND we are having, equals some chilly night for all these plants! Remember how I told you to save any old bed sheets or to pick some up at auctions or garage sales? Not only do they make great covering for the floors when your painting...but also these sheets can protect your plants again frost or freezing temperatures! I use bricks, rocks, or anything else I can find to hold them down....doesn't need to be fancy, simply serve it's purpose for the night.


SOOC Saturday!

 Welcome to another Straight Out Of the Camera Saturday (no editing allowed). Go check out Slurping Life to see more great pictures!
 In case your new to my blog, Julia is almost 3 yrs old and happens to be my "baby" and my only girl. (If that doesn't equal a girl who gets away with more than she should I don't know what does.) I LOVE having her around and she is usually connected at the hip with it's a good thing I her huh?! A couple things you should know about Miss Julia. She loves to have her hair all pretty and be dressed up....she even likes to pretend she is putting on her make-up with mommy.
 The other thing you should know is that because she has three brothers she loves to do what they do. Get dirty in the sandbox, climb trees, ride 4-wheelers (not by herself of course), pretty much anything outdoors she is game for. I LOVE that because even though I didn't grow up with any brothers I was the exact same way.
 Just in case you were a little worried that I let my small daughter climb trees, the only tree she can get up into is my wonderful smelling Magnolia tree. Which gets her a whole 2-3 feet off the ground! Don't tell her that though because she thinks she is on top of the world up there....while picking mommy's flower OUT of the Magnolia tree....were working on that....

THANKS for stopping in! Come back anytime to visit! HAPPY WEEKEND to you all!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Garden Update!

Well I have been out busy getting the garden ready over the past week. It has been fun getting my hand dirty and getting a few early things planted! Here are some pictures:

In the very front are all those wonderful rhubarb plants that I was given..I think I counted 12 in all! Planted in front of that are lettuce, carrots, onions, and leeks. I decided to do short rows of these things because I am not planted a whole lot of any of them.
 Here are my nice bushy strawberries. I am amazed at how well these babies grow in one year. I guess pinching off ALL of those flowers (as painful as it was last year) really does get you nice plants the next year!
 Here is the fence that I put up the other day. Last fall my father-in-law was going to throw this fence in the trash....and I quickly said "No, don't throw it out I want it for my garden next year! Which just goes to show one persons trash is another person's treasure! I love it's primitive look and it will function as a trellis for my sugar snap peas (which I planted yesterday), morning glories will grow in the middle section, and then my bole green beans on the left (which will be planted after frost time). I still have some fencing left so I plan to use the rest of it for my cucumbers and squash to climb.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

WATCH THIS!!! Best 3 minutes I have spent in a long time laughing...


Just for the JOY of it!

 You know it'  a  good week when two different people call you within days of each other to offer you free flowers!!! Hollie was sweet enough to share with me a variety of iris that I don't have (they get about 3 ft high). They extra special part is that they iris have come from Hollie's great-great-grandma! I seriously fell so blessed to be passed some very special flowers!! Thanks HOLLIE!!!
 Then Dawn called me to share some several different types of Spring bulbs with me. Her bil was ripping out some flowers beds and wanted to get rid of TONS of bulbs.....WOW!! I was the most excited about the red tulips I was able to dig up and bring home!!! I absolutely LOVE tulips, yet I don't have any!! I also 5 other varieties of things..Yahoo!
 Here are my three baskets full of loot to plant at home! THANKS so much DAWN for thinking of me!!
So these are a couple of things that have brought JOY to my life this past week.....although I had a hard time choosing (good problem to have huh?) Go check out Sharon's blog HERE to read about more JOYFUL THINGS!!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

~Castle Baths Review~

Unique Natural Spa Products, Bath Spa Product Line and Spa Gift Baskets

Bring the SPA to YOU with Handmade Bath and Spa Products for both you and your pets!
I was sent this wonderful Sweet Dreams Vanilla Lavender soap to review from Castle Baths! One thing that caught me right away was I could read and understand all the ingredients that were in the soap (all natural)!! When I opened the box the smell hit my nose right away.....ahhhhh! I LOVE the smell of lavander!!! I took the soap out to look at it and study it a bit....honestly it was such a pretty soap. As you can see in the picture it is dark in color...with some brown variations in it....this was a soap I didn't mind leaving out for everyone to see! The next thing that struck me was the size of the bar. Instead of being longer and rectangler in shape, this bar was square and bulkier in size. To me that is a good thing. I have been using this soap now for about 3 weeks and I can tell a difference in this soap even compared to other natural soaps I have used. The lather is wonderful, I can feel the oils lathering my hands while the soap goes to work cleaning. When I rinse off  my hands they let our a sigh I think. They feel so clean and yet refreshed and soft all at the same time. I know this is funny but I actually find myself going to sink to wash my hands with this soap constantly because I love how my hand feels afterward. For me to say that is a big deal, because I am actually not a "bar of soap kind of gal." Well that is what I used to think anyway....that theory has now gone out the window!
Be sure to go hop around Castle Baths site to check out all of their wonderful products they offer! Check out these fun soaps...
Thank You to Castle Baths for being generous enough to send me one of their fantastic bars of soap! I appreciate being blessed to review such a pampering product!
If you want to try a sample pack of soaps they are running a special right now for 3 small goat soaps for $5.00 in a kit! Also under the last link you can request free samples with your order!! BONUS!!! They have a flat shipping fee of $5.50. So order some original gifts to pamper someone in your life (or yourself!!)

Upcoming Review!!

There is some mesmerizing about watching birds on a bird feeder. I can picture a little one standing in her baby cribs looking out the window watching pretty birds on a bird feeder? Whether your a child or an adult there is something very peaceful and exciting about watching these beautiful creations. 

I do not have any bird feeders, but all that is about to change. I am very excited that CSN stores has asked me to review some items for I picked two different bird houses!

Hummingbird Feeder
Colonial Bird House

I have been scouting my yard trying to figure out the best location for us to enjoy some bird watching!


You Know You NEED To GO To The Store When........

You know you NEED to GO to the store when.......
Yesterday was a very sad day at our all time LOW as far as meals go! Actually let me re-phrase...Yesterday was a VERY HAPPY day for my children, and a very pathetic day for this mama to swallow. I bet after all that you wonder what in world happened huh? Okay so here goes! Tuesday, April, 13th my two oldest children and I got our lunch for the gas station. Yep it is true, normally we pack our lunch on Tuesday, because we have classes to go to on that day...but I had NO GROCERIES for a portable lunches available. The only thing available in the area was a gas station. My kids got Hot Pockets and some sort of "pie" thing..they were thrilled! Then after going to classes all day we went to the library for a Science Central program and then off to a 4-H meeting. Well of course I had nothing quick to fix at through the drive-thru at McDonald's we went.......Ohhhh the shame!! (yes I just might be being a little dramatic)
I was rescued when our meeting got over so early that I could make a dash to the grocery store before heading home......Ohhhh the joy!
Can any of you relate to having food in the house...but it takes ample time to throw it together (because I am usually cooking from scratch), but no "quick meals" or snacks? Well a day of poor planning will land you right where I was yestereday...that's what I get for not having a meal plan this week...proof I just have to keep my meal plans going or else this is what happens.....$12.XX on lunch at the gas stations and another $12.XX at fast food.....ohhhh that just boils my blood to rehash it all, such a waste of money in one day!!!!!! Guess our eating out money is gone for the

Moving and learn....learn and keep living!     HAPPY WEDNESDAY!!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is There A Difference Between Cheap & Frugal?

The question "Is there a difference between CHEAP & FRUGAL?
Webster's dictionary defines them like this.
Cheap = low in price, worth more than the price, easily got, of little value, stingy
Frugal  = not wasteful, thrifty, inexpensive or meager.

I am not really sure what prompted this thought, but it came to mind and I wanted to ask you all what you think. There may be a fine line between the two, but I think there is a clear difference.

To me, if someone calls me cheap, which has happened on more than one occasion, that gives off negative vibe. If someone calls me frugal I would take that as a compliment. I think that many people use these words interchangeably without a second thought.

To me, being cheap means paying less for something no matter the means...dishonest....or otherwise. Being cheap means you don't care who you have to step on to get the deal as long as you come out on top saving $$$. 

In my opinion, being frugal means making intentional decisions on all your purchases no matter how small they may seem. Being frugal is a thoughtful way of being a steward of the money you have been given  to manage.

What do you all think? Do you think there is a difference? I'd love to hear what you have to say.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Flowers

Ohhhh how I LOVE Spring! I LOVE watching all the beautiful flowers come out of their dormant stage and start to grow again!!! I love getting outside and playing in the dirt the fresh air...ohhhh I could go on and on! Instead I will share with you some photos I took this weekend of how things are shaping up around here at The Gaertegang.

 Just a little hint of something you might want to do: The picture in the center used to have a broken spout on it. I already had a small river rock path to help the water drain. I hated that broken spout there, or any spout at all for that matter. I took it off and added some larger rocks. I like the look much better plus it will still function like it should.


Easter Celebration Pics

I know I told you all that we had some sick little ones over the Easter weekend. So we had to celebrate a few days later. Here are some shots of the get together with my family. We had a SUPER great meal, then some egg hunting..beautiful day for it...then rounded it off with a FUN game of kickball....good times....

 Stayed tuned for lots of garden & flower updates this week!!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Party Post for Ultimate Blog Party Week!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Welcome to those visiting from the UBP!!  This is my first time getting in on all the action!

About Me: I am a thirty year old, yes I "blogged" that out loud, wife and momma to four kiddos. I have three boys Lance almost 9yrs, Caleb 7yrs, Zach almost 5yrs, and one little princess, Julia who is almost 3yrs old. I have been happily married to my best friend for 10 1/2 years. I entered the blogging world just about a year and half ago with my main purpose being to scrapbook my family's daily adventures. Since then it has snowballed into reviews, giveaways, and all the fun that comes along with that! I am loving every minute, and learning along the way how important it is for me to manage my computer.

About my Blog: I blog about homeschooling, finances/stewardship, gardening (veggies & flowers), recipes, great bargains I find (stores, garage sales, or on the internet), stamping, quilting, and of course anything family related! So if you are interested in any of those same things I would love to have you come back and visit anytime...Become a follower, Subscribe, or follow me on twitter!

Thanks again for your time...I realize how valuable it is! To find LOTS of other great bloggers and see all the giveaways going on for the UBP go here! 

Here are a few of the prizes I have my eye on:
Any of the gift cards!!!
#11, #18, #39 is a 2 night getaway to any Hilton Garden Hotel, #40 2 night getaway to the Holiday Inn by Disney!! Of course I would thrilled with any off the prizes those are just a few of the ones that jumped out at me!! GO check them out yourself!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Few Ideas to Recycle You Milk Jugs for the Garden...

IDEA #1 Use Milk Jugs as Plant Protectors
Step 1: Remove the caps from several one gallon milk containers. Wash in warm soapy water to remove any traces of milk. Allow the containers to dry. You will need one milk jug for each plant.

Step 2: Puncture a hole near the bottom base of the container with a sharp knife.

Step 3: Cut off the entire bottom of the container with a pair of sharp scissors. Discard the bottom.

Step 4: Place the milk container over the top of your plant in the garden. Push down to anchor the bottom of the milk container int he soil.

Step 5: Scoop loose soil around the base of the plant cover and press firmly with your hands. This will prevent the wind from blowing the container over.

Step 6: Leave plant protectors in place for as long as the plant inside continues to thrive. Remove when outside weather conditions are optimal for your plants.

IDEA #2 Milk Jug Pots...for transplanting
Step 1: Remove the caps from several one gallon milk containers. Wash in warm soapy water to remove any traces of milk. Allow the containers to dry.

Step 2: Cut out the top opposite of the handle on the jug (leaving the handle and the bottom of the container.
Step 3: Now you can transplant plants into these containers and give them away to your friends.

Just to be clear...these are not my ideas...I have just seen both of these from others or in magazine article recently. Happy Gardening!


Ultimate Blog Party...

The Ultimate Blog Party starts tomorrow! Be sure to click on the button on my left side bar to check out all the PRIZES and fun things going on!!


Start Saving Your Milk Jugs......

I don't about you but we go through lots of milk each week as a family of six. I have recently come across a few practical ways to help you to use up those empty milk jugs. When you are finished with the milk...rinse the jug thoroughly with hot water then let it dry. Stay tuned for my ideas!

I will leave you with a question to answer while you wait.....

How many jugs of milk do you go through each week????? 

~We go through 4-6 jugs a week~


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coffee-Mate Brew Crew!

FUN NEWS! I have been accepted to be a part of the Coffee-Mate Brew Crew! So you can expect to hear about new and upcoming products and specials first hand. If you haven't ever visited their site for coupons go HERE and enjoy some immediate savings!


GREAT Magazine DEAL on Amazon!!!

I got my hands on a copy of Hobby Farms Home (my mil got a free sample issue) and I totally LOVE this magazine!! I have never seen it around before, but my sil said you can get them at TSC. Well anyway, I received an email from Amazon listing all sort of MAGAZINE DEALS and this magazine happened to be one of them!!!!

Regular price $4.99 per issue. Subscription 1 yr (6 issues) $15 or 2yr (12 issues) $29.95

AMAZON'S Deal $1.25 per issue: Subscribe for 2yrs for $15.00

I already went and bought my 2yr. subscription!!! I wanted to let you know about it so you can go get yours too!


March: Goals for 2010 Update

In case you missed my first post on "My list" for 2010...Here is an excerpt....
First of all, I should start by saying I don't get into making unrealistic life changes. I know that for me my list needs to include things I am committed to changing, thing I have been working on already, and realizing I am a busy wife, mommy, and home schooler that just can't "Do it all". That doesn't mean that I didn't set some high achieving goals ....just that I kept my list limited.
I decided that dividing goals into categorizes was the way to go for me. As we go through 2010, my hope is to keep you informed in a very transparent way on how God is using those goals to mold me throughout the year. I plan to bring you up to speed on what is happening around The Gaertegang household and how "the list" is panning out......My purpose?
To give God the glory for everything, inspire you to set your own goals, and make myself accountable for the things I put on my list.

#1 Continue to be consistent in God's Word daily. I have not been consistent this past week for some reason. Jumping back on the daily schedule asap!
#2 Study my Bible in conjunction with a concordance commentary, so I can a deeper understanding.  
I have done some looking around and discovered that at this point I feel my Study Bible is sufficient. So I am marking this one off the list.
#3 Begin prayer journaling again. I am also marking this one off the list...been doing it since January...loving it!
#1 More read aloud time together. Okay so I am giving myself an F in this department! Since the older ones can read so well on their own...I rarely find myself reading to them....Lazy on my part though. I read to the younger ones OFTEN.....I give myself an A in that department!
#2 Continue "NO worksheet Wednesday" & Make Friday our test day 
I am marking this one off the list also...Our school schedule goals have changed a bit for the end of the I hope to pick this up again next school year because the boys really enjoyed it.
#3 Consider using a Unit Study next year
 I think I must be on a "marking off the list rampage"! I decided to dive into this goal a little early with the Butterfly Unit Study...then we went right into the Green Thumb Unit Study. TWO thumbs up!
#1 Make myself a checklist of my household I can better track what needs to be done. DONE
#2 Keep the boys encouraged/disciplined on their chore lists. We have not been following a "list" per say but the boys have been doing very well at helping out and keeping up on their chores.
#3 Do all things big or small with a servant's heart. This is a daily choice. Failing some days, but trying to keep in the thoughts as I go throughout my day. I do think I have well in this area this past month...More positives than negatives I think!
#1 Continue to faithfully tithe and be generous when led.  Check!
#2 Be very conscious of how we spend God's money and what we spend it on. Did okay I would say...went over budget...I hate when that happens! That is the beauty of another start over with a fresh
#3 PAY OFF OUR MORTGAGE!!!! ohhh to be debt free....can't hardly wait!!!
We ended last month with around 65 % payoff...We didn't move at all this month. Lance's ortho appt. made sure of that! We have also been taking care of some small maintenance items around the house as well.....There is always next month!
Parenting: Same as last month

#1 No yelling (Sometimes I feel like that is only way I am heard, not a good excuse though) Doing great with this, still a work in progress though.
#2 More patients...hence the no yelling issue. I feel the Lord has blessed me with a great peace this past month. He has been gracious in dealing me an abundance of patience.
#3 Do all things in LOVE....listen more! Doing well in this area. it!
#1 Continue to learn more about cooking from scratch..Don't burn myself out...I have found in the area of my well as's all about being intentional. I have marked on my calendar the days of the week I need to make things. Example: 4/7 make pizza crust.....4/10 make butter rolls 
#2 Continue to cook meals ahead whenever possible to help with time issues. No one Big cooking day happened last month liked I wanted. I did do two smaller cooking a week's worth of meals at a time. A HUGE time saver in the end. I am wanting to continue this especially now that we are spending so much more time outside.
#3 Keep collecting healthy budget friendly ideas. No new ideas lately, but I am reading more on organic foods and such. I was blessed with FIVE free coupons from Organic Valley to try any of their Dairy products for FREE!! I have not used any yet...I just finally got them picked up. I will keep you posted on my thoughts about it.

#1 Monthly date nights. We were over achievers this month...TWO date nights! Love when that happens...
#2 Get away at least once a year! Still nothing in the works...focusing on other priorities for now.
#3 Being a happy helpmate at all times. Working on it....


#1 Create a space for my hobbies (somewhere?) DONE!!
#2 Send a stamped card twice a month.I totally "Rocked It" this month with stamping cards...enough that I should have no problem meeting my quota for the rest of the year!! 
#3 Quilt once a month. I quilted little this slow progress on my lap blanket. Plan to kick it in high here this month and make some progress!
#4 Blog for document my family....not feel pressure (from myself) to keep a certain schedule. Doing great in this area. Had lots of fun with giveaways last month...Have a couple planned for April. I totally enjoy documenting our family fun and adventure on my blog...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My New Toy!!

After jumping back into gardening last year, my memory was quickly refreshed with how time consuming weeds are in the garden. My In-Laws had one of these beauties and I quickly grew to appreciate what an efficient and WONDERFUL partner these little tillers are. I told my husband last year that this is a "must have". It didn't take much convincing...after all he used it first, and loved it has an engine....makes lots of noise....and we all know men are naturally drawn to things (at least my husband anyway!) Another bonus with these tillers, I CAN DO IT MYSELF!!! I love that!!! Justin also loves this because he doesn't have to do it when he gets!! So I kept my eyes peeled on winter...hoping to find one on clearance somewhere around or on the internet. NO LUCK!! I did however gain a good understanding for what they were worth and new what "a good deal" would be on one. It just so happens that a local farm store around here advertised that all of their in-stock tiller were $25 off....which was even better because this store was already the cheapest on their price of these types of tillers. Sooooo Justin  brought one of these handy helpers home to me!
An investment......YES (but not as much as you might think. I got this one for just over $150)....Worth it?....Ohhhhh YES...On sale!!.....You bet your sweet bippy, because I rarely EVER pay full price for anything....because that's how I roll!!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Garden Unit Study Update!

I know I mentioned to you last month last the kids and I are working on a Garden Unit Study to finish out our school year. Well I wanted to let you in on some of things we have been case you want to try them out with your kiddos...great science, economics, life skills and character training all at the same time!

One thing that you will hear any experienced gardener tell you is that your garden will only be as successful as the soil it grows in. The bottom line, if you have cruddy soil...hence low quality plants with low yields. So we wanted to test our soil this year and see where is tested, although I had a good idea of what the results would be.

I went to the local hardware store and bought us this little test kit for about $5.00. This kits includes enough test tubes and pills to do 10 tests. It included very clear instructions on what to easy the kids did it! These test will give you the results of a few things...PH being the first one you want to know. Testing the PH level of your soil helps you to know if you soil is alkaline, neutral, or acidic. Plants require the correct PH level to control how they use the Nitrogen, Phosphorous & Potassium that is available. All plants have a PH preference. Depending on what veggies you are planting you can adjust the soil with fertilizer, organic matter, ect. to meet the desired PH level. (Our soil is neutral.) My kits also includes a sheet that told me the PH preference of most veggies I would ever want to plant!

  Besides PH there are three other areas that these kits test for: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, & Potassium (Potash it what the kits calls it). Each one of these chemical properties does a very special and important job in the soil.
~NITROGEN~ directly responsible for healthy green leaves.
~Phosphorous~ vital for a healthy root development.
~Potash~ is essential for flower and fruit development.
(Our soil tested LOW on all three....which is what I figured!)
To help with the quality of soil in our garden I went to a local peat moss and landscaping distributor and picked up a truck load of "Sand Mix".  The boys (I helped some too) helped to unload all of it. This mixture is part sand (to aid in good drainage), part peat (to help retain the moisture), and black dirt (adding nice texture to the dirt). In case your curious, it cost me just under $30 for the whole truck load (2 yards). We have also added horse manure (last year), leafs (this Spring) and 12-12-12 fertilizer to the soil. The triple 12 fertilizer is what will help to replenish the soil with Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash.  To top off our working week, my wonderful Father-In-Law came and tilled the garden up for me last Thursday night!
Miss Julia really wasn't much help in the labor force department....she did cheer us on and tell us "Good job guys!" She also enjoyed playing in the dirt (to make it appear that she helped...gotta love that!). As you can also see, she also was enjoying herself as she posed for Lance aka: the camera man.
Caleb also informed me that he felt he had met his charater training quota after two straight days of hard work and he just wanted to play all day on granted by mom....they were a ton of help, they earned it!

I haven't planted anything in the garden....I did tranplant some Rhurbarb starts that someone graciously gave to me!!!! Yahoo for that!! Stay tooned as Spring rolls along for more garden updates, tips, and helpful hints in the garden!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday Celebration

Happy Easter! I hope you had a great morning of worship as I did. Justin and I tag teamed church today...meaning since Miss Julia is still running a fever and feeling terrible I went to early service and then came home so Justin & the boys could enjoy Sunday School and Church. What a beautiful day to celebrate Easter..the sun shining in all it's splendor for us to enjoy! Well after church, Justin and the boys headed to a family Easter while I am here holding down the fort with "sickie" (and the kitten of course). Don't feel bad for me though....while I am sad I couldn't go hang out with everyone to celebrate the day, I have been having a great day focusing on what today means to me. I also have been able to do some stamping! Here are a few projects I have completed this weekend.

I got my new stuff on Friday night.....and couldn't hardly wait to use them! I got these card ideas off You Tube of all places. Lots of great tutorials on there in case you want some inspiration of your own! I think the last card is my favorite!! It is an accordion style card, I have never made one if these before. Can't say that anymore can I? Happy Easter....isn't it so great to know we serve a RISEN Savior? You betcha!!


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