Oct 292017
 

In April I shared a bit about growing green onions, also called onion sets.  What if you are wanting larger onions, though?  Onion sets do not always grow into big onions, especially if they are meant to be green onions.

Now, in most parts of the country, this is not the time to be planting onions.  However, it is always a good time to learn.  If you are wanting to increase your knowledge of onions for next Spring, here you go.

Oct 262017
 

IMG_20160224_144515343

By now, I think most of you are aware that one of our children is home schooled.  The other one technically is out-of-home schooled, a.k.a. goes to public school.  In the end this makes both of our kids ‘schooled’.  However, the schooling each receives is not the same.

The difference?  The goal of each.

This fact has become more obvious over the past year, and is something I have begun to feel guilty about.

Public schools have various goals, some official, others not.  In the end, their focus on academic measurements shows they are more worried about imparting facts and “knowledge” upon students.  Yes, they would also like them to become good people (hence anti-bullying campaigns, food drives, etc.), but the diploma at the end has everything to do with whether you could recite back what they told you.

Our home school focuses not only on the academics, but also the person.  That last part (the person) is something I would argue is even more important than the academics.

How we work on that aspect of the kids’ education takes on different looks at different times and ages.  Some of it is so subtle, even I did not pick up on it at first.

cooking hotdogs child

Moving has afforded us a welcome change, a small thing that most would have brushed off, but which I was so happy about – George rides the bus to and from school.

This means I no longer have to get George ready for school and:

  • gather up all I need to drive to school
  • warm up the car
  • wake up Jack
  • try to get  him dressed, or carried to the car half awake in pajamas, kicking the whole way while he is abruptly shocked out of Dream Land (he is one of those slow to wake sort of kids lately)
  • drive to a building with lots of kids around, reminding Jack of all he is missing
  • a quick “Goodbye” while I try to get my social, talkative ADD kid into a building on time, while sitting in my car (his theory – Time? What is time? Life is too short to be constrained by something as pointless as a clock!)
  • back to the house
  • then both Jack and I inside, where we both are so out of sorts it takes us another 30 minutes to transition back to being at the house and ready to move on with out morning.

Then we repeat it all for the afternoon.

We only lived a mile from school.  So it was not even the transportation time that was the issue; it was the disruption of routines, the emotional reminders.

We could have paid $50 a month and cost George 2 hours of his time each day to ride the bus. The mile to our house.  With a bus driver I did not impart full confidence in being able to keep the older kids from harassing the smaller ones.

It did not take much to see that the cost to George (40 hours of his time each month and potentially bullying) was greater than the discomfort to me.

Now?

  • Jack gets to sleep till he wakes up naturally – 6:30 or 8:10, it does not matter, and he can take 2 minutes or 20 to wake up
  • George rides at most 20 minutes on his bus each way
  • The bus ride is just enough to help George begin his mental transition from school to home
  • For the most part, our routines at home are not disrupted by the brief minutes needed to collect George from the bus stop
  • I am very confident in the bus driver, as all the kids are sitting two to a seat, fairly in order, and disembarking in a very regulated state every day
  • Jack no longer has be presented daily with a reminder of what he could be missing out on

There are days when we still have to pick George up or drop him off, but those days are very limited.

Then came the issue of what to do once George was at home.

to be continued…

 

 

Oct 242017
 

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for helping support this blog at no cost to you.


The holidays are close and the online rewards site Swagbucks has a smart and fun way for you to earn and save while you spend. This is one of my most used ways to save money on Christmas shopping, as well as earn gift cards used to purchase gifts.

Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago!

What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly.

Click here to get started!
Here’s what you need to know to get your 200 SB Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):

  • Shop Swago will begin on Monday, October 23rd at 9am PT/12pm ET, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value – up to 300 SB – enough for your first $3 gift card.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Friday, October 27th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.Also, if you sign up through me this month, you’ll get a $10 rebate when you make your first purchase via Swagbucks Shopping! You can activate it in the “Swag Ups” area of “My Account”

So far this month I have earned almost $30 worth of SB, mainly through Discover activities, but also surveys and watching videos.  None of the SB earned were through online shopping.  I suspect that will change in the upcoming month as I begin to take advantage of online deals to finish shopping for Christmas gifts, especially for those whom we will not be near during the Christmas season.

Have you started thinking about your Christmas shopping yet?  Are you already finished with it?  My progress has varied from year to year … with last year’s Christmas being finished in February…1.5 months after the lovely gift giving holiday.  This year, I am doing much better.

Oct 222017
 

It is easy to get wrapped up in expectation and miss the fact that these expectations are really not all that important in the grand scheme of things.  As I was reading the news this morning, I came across an article which caught my attention.  I read it, then went about my morning of getting George on the bus.

As I came back toward the house, I mentally hit myself over the head again, as I looked at the grass hanging over the edge of the sidewalk.  Looking down the street, I could see how the neighbors had edged their sidewalks.  “Ugh.  My yard looks so unkempt.  They must think I am the worst neighbor ever.”  Then, at that particular moment of berating myself, I remembered the article and everything was put into perspective again.

While we like to have a yard that looks well kept, it is not so important that I spend every available hour working on it.  I am not going to be all OCD about grass hanging over the edge of the sidewalk.  Instead I am going to spend my time, at this point in my life, working on educating my kids, taking them outside to play, making meals for everyone, thinking ahead to what I want the yard to actually look like in 5 years, 10 years, etc.  For now, I will let the grass grow over the edge till I decide it is the week to edge the grass in both yard.

This train of thought made me pause, “What else are first world problems in regards to gardening?”

Life at the edge  drought in Somalia

Venezuela’s farmers: ‘Planting for the revolution’  He says the government’s tight controls on imports have made it impossible to get hold of seeds and fertilizer.

“It’s crippling us. Many people round here have the land all prepared for sowing, but we can’t get hold of the seeds.”

Venezuela’s new decree: Forced farm work for citizens

Venezuela is telling hungry city dwellers to grow their own food

The Hidden Radicalism of Southern Food

Kuki Gallmann, ‘I Dreamed of Africa’ Author, Is Shot in Kenya

Volcanic Minerals, Not Worms, Caused Disease Outbreak in Uganda

So, yeah, grass growing over the edge of my sidewalk…not really at the top of the list of things to really worry about.  The world will keep on turning and I will remember to be thankful for what we do have and not sweat the small stuff.

Oct 212017
 

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for helping support the running of this blog, at no additional cost to you.

As you are looking to bring your outdoor gardening season to an end, or perhaps you already have, this is a great time to see what yard items might need to be replaced for the Spring. You can find great deals online and in-store on garden and patio items right now!

I have seen a variety of items while shopping, from fertilizer to hoses, garden flags to flower pots.  And least you think you must go to a garden store or big box store to find deals, I have even seen them marked down at my grocery store.

However, one of my favorite ways to shop currently is online.  I can save time and gas of running from store to store, and do not have to load and unload (unwilling) kids in order to see what discounts may be available.

Here are a few deals I came either came across today:

As low as $29.99 (78% off), the 10 ft offset cantilever patio umbrella outdoor market hanging umbrellas & crank with cross base , 8 ribs has great reviews (4.3 out of 5 stars).  Shipping is free for Amazon Prime members. Prices vary depending on the color choice.Here is something which has been on my list all summer, a grill cover.  Ours did not make it through the move in very good shape.  I used to think these were an unneeded accessory.  However, after not having one for a few months, I realize it is a necessity to help protect our grill from the weather, thereby extending its life.

At just over $16 the Syntus Grill Cover with Grill Brush 58 Inches Waterproof Heavy Duty BBQ Covers Gas Grill Cover for Weber, Brinkmann, Char Broil, Holland, Jenn Air is very much in our budget, especially since I can use a gift card to purchase it, and definitely much cheaper than buying a new grill due to rust and decline from weather exposure.iconSolar lights are one of my favorite garden accents.  Not only do they save on having to run electrical wiring throughout the garden, but they can be placed in a larger variety of spots. Batteries are needed, though this is still by far a cheaper option than installing underground wiring.

These Solar Nature Lanterns are currently 50 % off their regular price.  If you wait a month or so, till we are closer to Christmas, you should also begin to see sales on batteries.

What ever it is you may be noticing needs updating or replaced, now is a great to search for its replacement.  While most post people are thinking fall holidays, take advantage of sales and start off the next Spring with more money in your pocket and a garden ready to be enjoyed.

Oct 182017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

You miiiiiiight have missed my post a few days ago about a  that will change dinnertime in your house in a big way. I don’t want you to miss it though, so here it goes again!

I’m excited to be connected with Katie Kimball, the “kitchen whisperer” who has taught thousands of families how to cook and tens of thousands of kids to (gulp) use sharp knives safely (including ours). Apparently, her kids actually stay at the table all throughout dinner most of the time – and she’s willing to share her strategies with us! 😉

These secrets will make dinner with your kids sound better than a hangnail, and you can expect more veggies to be going down the hatch than ever before. #itcouldhappen #evenpickyeaterscanchange

It’s kicking off soon – the first event is on THURSDAY OCTOBER 19th at 1PM EASTERN (10AM PACIFIC), so take 20 secs and register now:

YES! RESERVE MY SPOT!

You definitely should plan to make it LIVE because you get a special gift just for coming(a 10-minute cooking lesson for kids!!!)

If that time doesn’t work for you, you can also catch it on:

* Tuesday, Oct. 24th, at 7PM Eastern (4PM Pacific)

or

* Saturday, Oct. 28th, at 4PM Eastern (1PM Pacific)

Here’s a bit of what you’ll learn:

  • 7 Tips to Help you Raise Adventurous Eaters (even if you’re not one yourself…yet)
  • How to Make the Clean Plate Club Totally Unnecessary For the Good of Your Kids
  • The Magic of Doing Something Crazy at the Table
  • The Biggest Mistake Parents Make when inviting their kids into the kitchen…and how to avoid it.

If you’re already registered, awesome! Really try to make it live to get that knife class for your kids, but no matter what, you’ll get the replay, so you can register without checking the calendar and still feel good about it:

REGISTER HERE

We all put a lot of time and effort into being good parents, and training our kids in life skills and mealtime manners is part of it – but it can be hard to know just where to start. I often feel like the focus of mealtimes are getting the kids to not complain about some aspect of the meal, or to stay sitting till they have actually eaten enough to not be hungry again in 15 minutes.

So whether you feel just like me or the polar opposite, unless your kids are already competing for the healthiest eater award, you can probably use some encouragement and fresh ideas for meal times (and kitchen prep).

I’m looking forward to hearing what Katie has to say!

PS – The live event is totally free and all online. Expect no more than an hour with as much actionable info as possible packed in to respect your valuable time as a parent!! Don’t miss it!

Oct 172017
 

This was the scene a few months back, at the house we were renting.  I was at the other end of the house when I heard a loud “Boom”.  I figured Jack had jumped off yet another piece of furniture.

When I did not hear footsteps or kids talking, I went to check it out.  What I found was two kids quietly, and appropriately, watching television.  Both were honestly innocent as to the cause of the sound. (Yes, mom can tell when you are not being truthful, no matter how much you try.)

Knowing I did not make up the noise, I investigated further.

Seeing that everything inside the house looked normal, I opened the back door.  And this is what I saw.  The tree top actually brushed along the windows to our rental house, while the base was in the neighbor’s back yard.

I did a quick check of the inside for damage, did a visual inspection of the roof, gave our rental company a call, then knocked on the neighbor’s door.

The kids thought it was fun and ran out to climb on the limbs.  It was a great activity till I began hearing the deep rumblings of thunder and had to cut the fun short.

Notice

Do you see where the tree used to be standing?  Did you notice a lack of a root ball?  This tree actually fell over right at the root collar, which is not an uncommon event for these trees.

Not only do they have a weak limb structure, due to the angle of the branches coming off the trunk, but they are not known for strong bases.

My recommendation?  Find a different tree to plant. There are options which will last longer and cause fewer headaches.

These trees also cross pollinate with native trees, creating a hybrid which is very difficult to eradicate.

So, please, go native.  Save us all a hassle while creating something which will last many years.

Oct 152017
 

Here is a list of resources I have used in years past with my children.  Nothing fancy with this list, but it might hold something you find useful.

Language

A Song – Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Kindergarten – “-at”, “-an”, “-ack” words

CVCC Word Family Song (to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus”) – “-ack”, “ick”, “-ock”, “-uck”, “-all”, “-ell”, “-ill” words

Rhyming words Word Families by talbert – videos for 23+ rhyming endings

Read Word Family – videos for various word endings

Word Families by LearningAlong – some videos I like, some I think you’ll find better ones for.  Videos for various word endings.

Craft or activity ideas you can use with your child to practice words

Word Family “ack” Book – reading of a picture book.  

Word Family “ack” Bingo Game – make a board with the specific words your child needs to learn

fun “dragon” story  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOqa7dRjNs8

Math

Intro to Addition & Subtraction, 1’s Facts,

Oct 152017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

A lot has been happening here lately.  Not in the canning or freezing portion of life, but life in general.  After a few months off of my normal cooking methods, I am slowly getting back into making some of our favorites, and some of the more attention and time consuming meals.

I have also been able to try a few new recipes with the goal of saving time and using what we have on hand.  Thankfully, most of the ‘new’ stuff has been well received by over half of the household population.

A few of the meals are planned such that my husband eats something different than the rest of us:

  • He likes to have salads. My kids are not huge lettuce fans.
  • My kids like chicken, fish, and pre-made meatballs.  My husband does not.
  • I can tell my kids, “This is what is for supper. I am not making something else.”  And they eat it.  My husband, well, he can always make himself a sandwich later.

This means a few times a week my husband has salad and the kids and I eat something else.  It works for us at this time.

But what if we had really picky eaters?  For reasons I am not happy about, my kids really like food and have few dislikes.  Some of the things they do not like, we can work around fairly easily.  Others, well, eggs are eggs and we have them at least once a week.  “Sorry, Kid, that is what is for supper tonight.  Would you like cheese melted on it?”

Katie, from Kitchen Stewardship and Kid Cook Real Food, has a FREE online event later this week if you have kids who are pickier than mine (usually are).

Raising Adventurous Eaters: 7 Proven Strategies to End Mealtime Madness and Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy Food (even if they’re picky!)

Katie Kimball, who is a teacher and mom of 4, will show you:

  • 7 Proven Strategies to Make Family Mealtimes Peaceful (even if you have picky eaters) Plus The Surprising Reason Some Picky Eaters Have More Going on Than Just Food
  • 3 Choices to Give Your Kids That Will Make Healthy Food a Reality in Your House — but They Still Think They’re in Control
  • 2 Way-too-common Ways Parents Sabotage Dinner Without Even Realizing it
  • Why the MS90 1-and-Done Snacktime Rule will be your new best friend
  • The Biggest Mistake Parents Make when inviting their kids into the kitchen…and how to avoid it.

Are you ready to experience a family dinner that everyone enjoys – even the adults?

You won’t want to miss this free event – your kids’ futures depend on it!

SIGN UP NOW!

For attending, you’ll also get a free knife skills video from her Kids Cook Real Food eCourse that you can use to teach your kids (of any age!) how to use dull and sharp knives safely, in a fun and kid-friendly way.

Over 20,000 families have used this class to teach kids knife safety and techniques. I’m so excited that you get a chance too (it’s usually part of a $20 set of 5 videos)!

RESERVE YOUR SEAT FOR THE LIVE EVENT

The training has 3 times to choose from so it’s even easier to get there:

* Thursday, Oct. 19th, at 1PM Eastern (10AM Pacific)

* Tuesday, Oct. 24th, at 7PM Eastern (4PM Pacific)

* Saturday, Oct. 28th, at 4PM Eastern (1PM Pacific)

It will be recorded and signing up is the only way to get the replay!

Oct 122017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

If you have been following this blog on Facebook, you will have seen several times where I have shared about gardeners looking back on the gardening season to reevaluate what has worked and what has not.

I have done this in the past and found it to be a great learning experience.  It also allows me to realize all that has been accomplished over the previous weeks and months.

Gardeners are not the only ones to look back and reevaluate past actions, nor is gardening the only area of life to which one can apply this activity.  Perhaps it is my introverted nature that often has me doing this as I go through life. I find a balanced look at past and present actions can be a great opportunity for personal growth.

AlinaJoy from Good Old Days Farm has recently gone through a similar process with her blog.  After life brought some (good) changes, she reevaluated the direction her blog was taking.

Good Old Days Farm is where I found the Easy Peasy Chores a few years ago.  It was a great system to use with our pre-readers.  Even now the kids would love the ease of knowing what is expected of them.

After some thought and consideration, Good Old Days Farm is getting a new makeover.  The most obvious will be a name change to Happy Unconventional Life.  What is not changing is the content to help you create a godly family culture.

To celebrate my new blog… I have a HUGE launch! I’ll be opening the doors for the very first time to my brand new resource library. Inside the Library, there are hundreds of pages of files about Family Fun, Homemaking Help, Bible Study and Encouragement. Best of all, everything will be free, Free, FREE.  ~AlinaJoy @ Happy Unconventional Life

Not only do you get access to this free resource, but for those to sign up now there is an Early Bird Bonus of resources from 20 various bloggers!  These have been put together to create a Faith & Family ToolkitThis bonus is only available until October 16th.

My home has benefited from resources and wisdom of shared by AlinaJoy, and will continue to do so in the future.  (Though, a particular son of mine would not mind if I conquered the laundry pile by allowing him to go naked, or wear the same outfit for days on end.  But that is a different issue altogether.)

I am looking forward to having access to this free library of resources and the Early Bird Bonus available for the next few days.  I am curious to see what the Electronic Free Bingo has in store for our family; the struggle is real over here.

As an added bonus, if this has not been enough already, once you sign-up you will be presented with a limited time offer to redeem a coupon which can save you several dollars off one of their most popular ebooks.  You need not take advantage of this offer to access the rest of the FREE materials, but I did want to make you aware of the opportunity in case you have had your eye on this great resource.

How about you?  What resource are you most excited about?

Free Resource LIbrary for Busy Homemakers