Tuesday, January 29, 2013


So, I may be a little excited and showing this off everywhere but look at my birthday present from my in laws!

Here's a video of me opening it. Yeah, we don't normally record me opening gifts but Paul was INCREDIBLY excited about me opening it. He has been telling his coworkers and my MOTHER for a month what I was getting and everyone was saying how much I'll love it and the kids and I were so curious and my inlaws wanted to see me open it so.... we recorded it. Now, I'm not a squealy type of girl but if I was then there would be squealing! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Produce Co-op

Why didn't I join a produce coop before? What was I thinking? ha! Love this!!

Okay, you order a half or full basket. This is a half basket pictured (besides the milk and jar of honey). All the fruits, veggies and eggs are included in the basket. They also included a sample size of butter and cheese. Awesome!! The half basket is $29 and all the food is "naturally grown" or "organic". The milk was $4 and the honey was $10 but if I return the jar then it's $9. They also sell meat, nuts, cheeses, milk, buttermilk, cornmeal, grits, syrups, honey, canned foods, extra produce not included above, firewood...etc. Lots of stuff. It's awesome!!

Anyways, I digress.... so, after I got home and put all this awesome food away I went to Publix to price it and see if I actually saved anything. I don't normally buy organic so I wanted to price the regular food too. Just the basket foods (not counting the cheese and butter samples) would have cost me $36.69. If I had bought the produce that was available as organic (not all of this was available as organic though) it would have cost me $50.10. So, I think I have found something Awesome!

Did I mention how awesome this is? So, since I do not like posting SPECIFICS about my location on here, anyone local just contact me and I'll give you the info. I am super excited!! But, tell them I sent you because if five of you go because of me then I get a free basket. :) hehe!

Oh! The half basket is recommended for a family of 3-4 for a week and the full basket is recommended for 6-8 for a week.

Anyways, in case I forgot to mention, this is awesome and I plan on making it a weekly thing. YAY!!! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lynne's White Bread

I have always wanted to be able to bake bread but I have never gotten fluffy, yummy bread. It has always been dense and yucky. So... I tried a recipe from a family friend named Lynne. :) This is the first time I have succeeded in bread making. YAY!! Okay, they aren't beautiful but they taste amazing!! Next time I'll try to make them look better. But, for now, I'm just grateful they are yummy and my kids ask for it! YAY!!

Here's the recipe:

Combine the following ingredients. DO NOT STIR!
5 c lukewarm water
1/2 c sugar
4 Tbs yeast

Let yeast get foamy (about 10-15 minutes).

In another bowl mix:
1 c veg oil
4 eggs

Sir yeast mixture and then add the egg and oil mixture. Stir together with a whisk.

Add and stir in:
2 Tbs salt
1/2 c powdered non instant or 1 c powdered instant milk

Add 1/2 of a 5 lb bag of bread flour. Mix

Add 1/2 of the remaining flour. Mix, then add the remaining flour. Stir until well incorporated.
Scrape sides of bowl so dough won't touch sides (put flour on dough so it doesn't stick). Pour out onto floured board and knead (lightly - not too much). Then oil bowl (about 1 Tbs). Pick up dough and shape into a ball and place into oiled ball. Turn over so both sides are oiled. Cover with saran wrap and let it rise until doubled (the recipe originally said 1 hour but this took closer to 2 hrs for mine). Punch down after doubled. Pour out of bowl on floured board.

Divide dough into 8 parts and make into big balls, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Now take each individual ball and roll out square with rolling pin to get air bubbles. Then roll up by hand into a log and pinch the seams closed and push in end pieces and smooth out ends.

Place in greased bread pans and let rise until doubled. Place in oven at 350 degrees for metal pans or 325 for glass pans. Bake for 30 min until golden. Turn out loaves on sides onto a wife wrack to cool. While still warm, brush tops with butter to soften. Cut using a serrated- edged knife.

ROLLS: Do all of the above except, after you roll it out to get out the air bubbles and then roll up into a log, take a knife and slice the log into 12 equal pieces. Take each piece and touch with flour ad then roll into ball shape. Let rise and then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Home Educating a hyperactive child

My husband and I are both ADD and it seems our son inherited those same genetics. :) This has made home education have a different level of challenges for me. People are always asking me ways that I handle my son. First off... ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. About 7.8% of children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with this. "Children with ADHD may be impulsive, acting before they think or without regard for the situation they are in, and often can be inattentive and may still find it hard to sit still." (Slavin, Robert E., Educational Psychology)

My opinion, ADHD is not that big of a deal. When combined with other issues it is harder but by itself, it's not. You just need different methods of teaching or things for the students to do. Dh and I don't like labeling it, we have never told Collin this is his excuse. We just tell him to focus. Here are some things I do with him in school that have been helpful and some not so helpful for us but others claim them to be.

  1. Use an exercise band and tie it across the front legs of the chair. This gives the student something to kick and play with while sitting in the chair doing school work.
  2. Stress ball! These are great. My son squeezes his and fidgets with it a lot. It gives his hands something to do to keep them busy.
  3. Exercise ball. This is one of those that didn't work well for me but they say to use the exercise ball instead of a chair because then the student has to focus on balance and they can easily do little bounces. Our problem with this one was that my son would roll himself all around the room on it. I couldn't get him to stay still at his desk so this was a definite FAIL for us. haha! But, apparently it works for some. :)
  4. Gum is also an excellent and easy option. If the student is chewing gum then it keeps him or her doing two things at once. This often helps with the focusing.
  5. A ball at feet. One thing that I've never read anywhere but works great for my son is to have a ball about the size of a cantaloupe at his feet. He kicks it around under the desk but he remains focused.
  6. Lots of breaks!! But the breaks should be rewards. We do one subject per hour. Rarely does it ever take an entire hour to do a subject so if he focuses and completes the subject then he has a longer break. If he won't focus and does other stuff then he has less of a break. Even if he runs out of time, I still give him a 10 minute break to run around a bit, otherwise he would not be able to focus on the next subject but he LOVES the longer breaks.
  7. Essential Oils! Okay, I'm an essential junkie! I made my son a small roller bottle of coconut oil, wild orange, and peppermint. He keeps it in his pocket and when he feels he is losing focus he pulls it out and puts it on himself. He loves having his own roller bottle to use when he needs to.
Well, these are the things we have used. Hopefully you will find them useful and be able to find something that works for you and your family. :) Now I can just refer ppl to this post instead of re-typing it over and over again. LOL! :) yay!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ground Rules

Collin started first grade back up this past Thursday (1/3). He is virtual schooled (online public school) so he is at home and, let me tell you, the first day back after a week or two long break is DIFFICULT! He doesn't like to do the work because he got used to non-structure and then he's suddenly structured again. It's hard for him, and the result of that is that it's hard on me too. However, this time it wasn't so bad.

This semester I have been taking a Classroom Management class (for those of you who don't remember, I am a junior in college working on my Educational Studies degree). One of the the chapters in the text discussed setting ground rules. The first couple of days of school the teacher should be teaching these and reinforcing these. How does one teach the rules? Well, here are three steps to teach them successfully and be sure that they do understand the rule(s).

  1. Describe and demonstrate the desired behavior. Tell the students what you expect from them, how you want them to obey. Be specific.Don't just tell the students you expect good behavior but tell them what good behavior actually means. Demonstrate the desired behavior as much as possible.
  2. Rehearsal - This is a great way to reinforce a rule or procedure and for you to determine if the student understands what he or she is supposed to do. This isn't necessary for all rules. The more complex the rule or procedure the more useful this tool is though.
  3. Feedback - The student needs feedback if he or she did well or poorly. They should know how to improve and what to do differently next time.
On Thursday, this is how I started the day. First, I showed Collin the schedule and went over each time and what we would do.
I also gave him my husband's old smartphone to use as a clock so he can keep track of the time himself. Giving him that little bit of power helps everything go smoother. Most of these things don't actually take him an hour to do either. Some only take 20 minutes. I explained to him that if he focused and got the work done then all the time left would be a break for him. He wouldn't be allowed any screen time though until all his school work was finished. So, he can choose to just go on to the next subject even if it's not time yet. Once he finishes all of his school work then he is allowed to play games but not watch any shows.

We went over these rules with the procedure above... I explained how it worked, then we discussed "if you do this then what will you do?" Finally, throughout Thursday I gave him feedback, mostly positive. He did such an amazing job!! :) YAY!! He is given rewards (frequent breaks or infrequent breaks but finishing his work and then getting screen-time).

I absolutely recommend setting the ground rules first. It was amazing the difference it made in our day. I will probably cover the ground rules before starting school after any week or longer break from school.

Here are a couple of pictures from our first day back at school after the winter break...
Learning about 2D shapes becoming 3D shapes. Super easy for him but he had fun making the shapes out of pipe cleaners. :)

They learned about tints and shades in art so they had to pic a color (primary or secondary) and paint a picture using only that color and shades and tints of that color. Kind of fun! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Years Resolution--- be more frugal.

Okay, for this new year, my goal is to be more frugal. This means I'll need to learn a lot of new things. Here is my list...

1. Learn to bake breads successfully (I rarely get it to rise right).
2. Learn to make more snacks instead of giving my kids packaged snacks from the store.
3. Incorporate the 30 Day Want list into our lives. No spontaneous shopping anymore. When we want to get something then it goes on the list with a date by it. After 30 days, if we still want it, then we get it.
4. Continue to use cloth feminine products and the Diva cup. I've been using them for years. It cost me about a dollar to make 8 feminine napkins. So easy! They can be used over and over again.
5. Learn to reinvent leftovers to new meals so people will eat them.
6. Set a budget for a monthly allowance at thrift shops. This will give me a chance to learn to repurpose. This will also be our clothing budget so I better get some good deals. $30/ month is what I've allotted. We'll see how I do.
7. Make all cleaning products myself. This includes soaps, detergents and any "pampering products" I may need like lotions, scrubs, and such.
8. Only eat out for special treats. Last year it was a monthly tradition.
9. Have a no-screen day one day per week.
10. Use candles more in the evenings.

This is what I am starting with. Some of these things e already do so hopefully it won't be too hard. We will see.

Cinnamon rolls

So, I decided for the new year I will learn to be more frugal. Mostly, I am going to learn to bake and garden and do more things myself instead of buying then premade. So for New Years I made homemade cinnamon rolls. yay! I was so excited they turned out. I am one of the world's worst bakers. So, here is the recipe if anyone else wants to try. It makes 24 good sized rolls and they are super yummy. This kids just had the last one for breakfast this morning so they lasted a little more than 2 days. They were what Kept me awake for the New Year. Somehow, I managed not to gain any weight too.

Mix and let sit for 15 min the following ingredients:
3.5 c warm water
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c oil
6 T yeast

Once it's all frothy and foaming then add:
1 T salt
3 eggs
10.5 c flour (I used bread flour)

Mix together, then sit for 10 minutes. Oil countertop, dump dough out. Divide dough into 2 sections. Take the first section and flatten it out into a rectangle. Spread over flattened dough:
1/4 c melted butter

Roll snuggly. You'll want to roll it so it is the longest side. Did that make sense? When folding paper in elementary school it was called hotdog side instead of the hamburger side. Slide into 12 rolls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Repeat with other half of dough. Let rise and then bake for 15-20 minutes at 400F.

Then... Frost. Here is the frosting recipe I used:
2 T melted butter
2 t vanilla
4 c powdered sugar
Milk (until desired consistency)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Year in Review -- 2012

I learned more hair styles for Ryanne.

We had fun with Flat Stanleys.

We have been super heroes many times.

I started studying the scriptures instead of just reading them. So much fun!

Collin started writing more.

Watched a play at Hopeland Gardens.

Reminded of what cute children I have.

Went to the drive in several times. (games and play before the movie)

Celebrated Earth Day with yummy desserts.

Played dress up... a lot.

Had pet tadpoles.

Went to our first water park.

Had fun at some local free activities in our city...

... including playing in the firetruck spray.

Found a local public lake

with a super tall slide.

I bought fingernail polish for more girl days.

The kids and I had some fun at Aiken's Makin' where they got  their own money to spend. Woot! 

Collin learned how to break a board in TaeKwonDo.

Collin face smashed, knocking out one of his teeth and damaging a lot of soft tissue. 

Ryanne started dance (ballet and tap).

Collin became obsessed with Skylanders.

Ryanne got a bike and became a riding junkie.

Went to SEED.

I found a pay phone!

First time Collin ever did this! :)

Collin finally learned to pump his feet on the swing!! YAY! :)

Knight and Pirate for Halloween

They played in a hay pile for the first time.

Collin led a group of kids through a corn maze... he was smaller than most of them. He got them through and then  they had to help the group behind them who were lost in the back somewhere.

Paul bought me a TARDIS hat! :)

Ryanne and friends went out for manis and pedis for her birthday.

Paul became certified.

I went to Time Out for Women in Atlanta, GA.

We got a GIANT bean bag.

We built a really cool gingerbread village.

We started some new traditions.

Paul got a Chinese Bamboo Flute and is learning to play it.


we remodeled....

our kitchen! :)
hooray for 2013!!!