Homeschool For Cheap

The websites I use to keep my homeschooling costs down!

I have been homeschooling my two fourth graders since August. It has been an adventure that makes me both smile and cry. But it has been a pretty cheap adventure.

I knew what the expectations for 4th grade learning in my state before I planned because I got them from the Dept of Education website. I immediately started looking for resources that I could use to teach the kids. I found several Facebook pages that offered so much help and guidance; I want to share some of my free resources with you in case you are homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling.

teacherspayteachers.com- there are free downloads which vary in usefulness. There are also plenty of items you could pay for.

123homeschool4me.com- more free worksheets

allinonehomeschool.com- free curriculum

typing.com- a free resource to teach students to type

turtlediary.com- there are plenty of educational games and assessment tests available for free with ads; there are memberships available to make the games ad free.

Pinterest- there are a lot of blogs that have great hands on learning ideas or experiments. I love doing anything that makes learning more fun!

funbrain.com- has both free content and things that need to be paid for. I do like the reading selection that they have.

Prodigy- this is a math website that again has both parts that are free and parts that need to be paid for. My kids want me to pay for the membership because they can’t play some of the games all the way through.

spellingtraining.com- pretty self explanatory. We are going to start using this one more. My kids spelling is pretty atrocious.

readtheory.com- they help improve reading comprehension

YouTube, Netflix, Prime and Disney+ have plenty of documentaries and videos for visual learning.

Amazon actually has learning material you can purchase and download. They are pretty reasonably priced AND they go on sale occasionally. These are some of the items I purchased from Amazon and I really enjoy them, I did get them on sale… I think 50%-75% off, so keep an eye out on them!!

The product links below are affiliate links, if you make a purchase from the link I get a small portion of the sale.

Reading Comprehension

Grammar

Multiplication and Division

Books, the stuff dreams are made of

Reading has always been something that I have loved and excelled at.

This blog contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase from the link I get a small portion of the sale.

When I was young(er) I would get lost in reading books for hours. The characters came alive to me, their struggles and triumphs became my own. I LOVE READING!

In my 20s, even before marriage and kids my life priorities shifted; socializing, drinking, dating, working, school all took priority in life. After I became a mom I did not do a whole lot of reading, except books for kids. I always missed reading though, I continued to collect books in the hopes that one day I would be able to resume my love affair again.

Last year I discovered audiobooks, it was a great renewal of my interest/love. It was slow building to get back to where I was as a kid.

With Covid and quarantine it has been difficult to get to the library, my favorite source of books! I have ordered some books on Kindle, through Amazon and I now have an Audible account. But being honest, I can’t keep buying books… we would go broke!

If you follow the Audible link you can try a free trial of Audible Premium, which will allow you to keep 2 free audiobooks!

One of the physical books I bought was You, before I found all these free sources for books!!

SOoooooo I have already talked about Prime reading, which is a benefit of being a Prime member (Amazon). Prime reading allows you to read certain books for free and also offers free audiobooks. If you are interested in other free reading apps check out your local libraries website, they will post if they have any agreements with apps that offer some books online for free, even audiobooks. In my area they use Hoopla and Cloud Library.

So this year I have read 5 books using all of the apps I have talked about above. I have read After You and Still Me, which is the second and third(final) book in the Me Before You series by JoJo Moyes. I have read You and Hidden Bodies books by Caroline Kepnes and I just finished The Duke and I by Julia Quinn.

In my opinion if you are looking for a quick but deep read, the Me Before You series is amazing. I throughly enjoyed reading all 3 and will probably read them again. There is a movie based on the first book, which is surprisingly accurate.

You, is a series on Netflix. It follows the murderous escapades of Joe Goldberg. It is based on the novels by Caroline Kepnes. I am going to say something that I never do… I like the tv show better. I like the second book of the series, Hidden Bodies, much more than the first (You). That didn’t stop me from pre-ordering her third book of the series with an audible credit; the second book leaves a HUGE cliffhanger.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn is a historical romance and is what Netflix’s new series Bridgerton is based on. I loved the book and the show, I binged them both! As a warning they are not safe for children ‘s eyes or ears… A LOT of sex. But I am planning on devouring the book series since it will be at least a year before I get another season.

Are you currently reading anything you recommend? Or is there another free app available for readers?

Beauty Of Sanctuary

I am a Christian, but my path to God has been anything but straight. I have struggled with my faith my entire life.

BUT….

This isn’t a story of my faith. I was on a trip to the beach and I realized that churches look SO DIFFERENT. On one strip of highway there were 7 different churches within a few miles Some are beautiful, glorious buildings with ornate windows and biblical symbols. Some churches look like look storage buildings.

I want to document the different churches that I come across, their history and take pictures of their individual traits.

Though I firmly believe the beauty of a church is truly found in the hearts of the congregation, I like exploring the aesthetically pleasing architecture of the outside (and inside if I am lucky).

I’m starting with The Church of God, which we attended for one of our Christmas Eve services.

The congregation actually started coming together before a church officially stood but they consider their first Church of God sermon to be in September 1931 and the chapel was finished in 1948. They are part of the larger Church of God family that first came to my state in 1914. Church of God was started in Tennessee in 1886.

I will share at least one church a month, it helps me get out and explore the area, but also I like finding out about the history of the buildings that are so special to so many.

Though I am personally Christian, I will be looking to capture mosques, synagogues and other places of religious practice, as well. I hope you enjoy.

Beach Crafts

I have posted several times about my love for the beach and I wanted to bring it home. So I decided on the downstairs bathroom being beach themed.

I am going to be honest with you, for the first year and a half of living here my “beach theme” beach was void of any actual beach items. I have been trying to slowly decorate our house more and make it more home-y feeling so I decided to concentrate on one of the smaller rooms.

My first move was to search for beach décor on Amazon because… I have a problem, lol. I found some cute stuff, but I felt some of it was over priced so I decided to try a dollar store copycat craft!

And this is what I have made!

Pretty good copycat!

So here is how I did it!

I took 3 5×7 photo frames from the dollar store and I painted them with some acrylic paint and I wiped off some to give them a distressed look. I look rope that I got from Walmart for under $6 (but the dollar store rope is cheaper) and I hot glued them together. My frame is slightly longer but I like it!! My piece is also over $20 cheaper, so I am pretty happy with myself.

Inspiration

What I did

These were Super simple statement pieces. I bought 2 vases and one mason jar from the dollar store. I used the rope from the last craft and hot glue to create the effect. I used sand from the actual beach but you can buy sand, sea glass, shells and the tumbleweeds at the beach. Total cost was about $6.

Inspiration
Actual pieces

I got the canvases from the dollar store. Painted them with a coat of bronze paint and then a layer of teal. I sanded them to give them a worn/distressed look. The “coral” is actually a vase filler I have had lying around for years and the shells were both store bought and found on the beach. The starfish was the most expensive item at $4, I got that from Walmart. Hobby Lobby has a 3 pack for $4 and you can use your 40% off coupon BUT they are much smaller and I wanted a big one. Altogether these were probably around $10. They do hang on the wall but I wanted a picture of them close together.

Inspiration
What I did!

I bought 8×10 frames from the dollar store and used the same spool of rope, hot glue and shells from the previous crafts. This turned out super cute but kind of pointless because who needs 8×10 pictures in the bathroom??? Lol. I will probably use my silhouette to make a design or….

I could make something like this again

So these are my beach crafts, I hope you like them! If you have any questions or have any other dollar store crafts you like comment below!!

The Colors of Winter

I got an amazing new lens to go with my camera and I have been practicing my photography. It is my absolute favorite thing, I stop taking pictures for awhile and then I start again and I remember how much I truly love capturing moments.

Right now is kind of a bland time to take pictures, there is almost a grey color to everything, but I still find moments of beauty. I also want to take them same pictures throughout the year as the outside world changes with the seasons.

Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom
Our Peach Tree
Our Angel came with our house
This bush attracts SO MANY butterflies during the spring and summer

These are all from my backyard, it is one of the most appealing things about my house and I look forward capturing these pictures during the spring, summer and fall!

Leaving 2020 Behind

Finally leaving this year behind. I want to reflect on what has happened… the good, the bad and the ugly.

This year has been full of ups and downs. Moments I have loved and moments I wish wouldn’t have happened. I obviously will not re-live all of these moments with you but some things I am concentrating on right now.

So for reference, here is what I wanted to work on this year

First reaction…. laughter

I want to make sure my family is really living… not stuck in the house…. I feel like I might be to blame for Covid….

Ok so…. literally nothing was accomplished on this list because CORONAVIRUS!!

Well… I can’t say that. I did actually read ALOT more than I have in the last 5 years; by which I mean listened to an audiobook OR actually read them. And I really enjoyed getting excited about what was going to happen to the character next, I love the anticipation that a good book can create! I will be continuing that into the new year.

But I basically failed at everything else.

In my high moments, I started homeschooling and honestly I love it! Yeah its stressful and there are rough moments but I love teaching my kids. We have spent A LOT of time together this year. The 4 (mostly the 3 of us, but the baby helps) of us have done some pretty fun experiments, like making a cloud in a jar or growing crystals. We have spent more time together outside then we have spent in a LONG time. Basically those are my good moments, our family time. We have really come together/bonded.

I tried making YouTube videos. I stopped because I have too much on my plate… but I tried!

These are dollar store crafts I made!

I started getting more of my projects done around the house, trying to make this place feel like home.

I threw some awesome birthday parties. Got really creative with decorations.

I took LOTS of pictures. I really do enjoy my photography hobby. I got to see the sunrise over the beach twice this year!

We went to the beach more this year. I need the salt air in my life, it cleanses my emotional palate and gives me a fresh outlook on life.

In my low moments… well both my grandmother’s died this year and I’m still healing.

My depression/anxiety has been at an all time high. I have not been in a good place mentally this year for so many reasons. I feel like most of us have been in a dark place for a least a little bit this year.

I gained 20lbs this year, I am heading into 2021 weighing more than I have ever weighed. My confidence is almost non-existent and my self hatred is at an all time high. I am stuck in this rut where I start to work out but get injured due to my weight and then stop working out to heal, get depressed because I can’t workout and then binge eat ANYTHING.

Throwback to when I was feeling myself
I am hoping to do more 5ks this year

Even my marriage has had some tribulations that I was not expecting. But we are going to be just fine!

So going into 2021 I am not going to list resolutions or goals. Going into this year I am creating a mantra….

Be better.

Be better about being nicer to myself

Be better about taking care of myself

Be better about putting my mental/emotional/physical health first

Be better at acknowledging what I get done and not focusing on what I didn’t.

Be better at taking compliments AND believing them

Be better about believing I am loved more than I am hated.

Be better about asking for help and demanding it if necessary.

Be better about remembering what life has already thrown at me because I survived it all.

So going into 2021 I am hopeful for a better year, a better me!!

Are you making resolutions this year??

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas, I hope your holidays are joyous and safe.

We had a great holiday, went to church twice yesterday. I didn’t actually get to enjoy either service because the youngest is in an extremely difficult mood ALL THE TIME.

For Christmas Eve, after dinner and church we have a toast towards the new year and then have snacks. Then the kids get to open one gift before bed. Every year my mom makes a ton of cookies, chocolate chip, peanut butter, jam filled. This year I wanted to help so I made several treats.

I made a yule log cake, the exact recipe that my Grandmother made every Christmas. This is our first Christmas without both of my Grandmothers (they both passed away this year) so I made one to honor her.

It tastes better than it looks!

I was extremely proud of myself because it turned out really well! My dad says it tasted just like the one his mom made.

I also made hot chocolate bombs, this years craze. They were pretty simple, if there is any interest I’ll blog just about them.

We made a MESS

The bombs are very fun and are not complicated to make. So we will probably make them as regular treats for our friends.

How was your holiday? Do you have any traditions?

Thank you!!

I just wanted to write a quick THANK YOU to my readers.

I have reached 102 followers!!

This has taken 2 years

1570 Views

341 Likes

1038 Visitors

And 71 posts

I know this is just the start of growing my blog because I only started posting consistently this year. Thank you to those who have been here from the beginning and to all those who have joined a long the way. I have enjoyed sharing my life and experiences with you all. I can’t wait to see what next year brings for my family and I!

Also a huge thank you to my husband, he is my number one supporter and the driving force some weeks to get a blog up. Thank you babe, I love you!!

Christmas Crafts

Decorating is underway in our house! I have the outside lights up and we have some of our inside lights up.

Our tree has been decorated and even though it’s fake, it’s looking cute!

That wasn’t the star that I originally wanted but the tree is cheap so the branches can’t hold much weight, but the red star looks great.

The kids and I have also made some homemade decorations, which I am pretty proud of!

Printer paper and floss is used to make hanging snowflakes! They are suspended in our dining room.

These are fabric Christmas trees. They are sticks from outside and strips of fabric tied around them. You cut the fabric into the shape of a tree and hang them up with ribbon. They were an easy craft for us to do!

These are both dollar store items. I spray painted the church white and I used spray snow on the glass (I wouldn’t recommend). I made the “snow” with Epsom salt and glitter. I used mod podge in the areas I wanted the snow and then poured it on. They look amazing! I can’t wait to have an entire village.

These trees are made of air dry clay that we shaped with a cookie cutter. The kids painted them and then I hot glued them to the twine. They are a little heavy, so when I put them up they will need to lean or be supported to avoid breakage

I also have put some decorations outside.

The wreath I got for free from someone in my neighborhood and I spruced it up. I glued the Christmas balls on there to add some flair.

I think it turned out pretty cute, so if you are on a budget always keep Facebook market place in mind or after season clearance. You can always repaint or tweak something to make it your own.

The “gifts” under the wreath are just Amazon boxes stacked up after I wrapped them. I put pretty ribbon that I got from the dollar store to give it something special. My gifts are never that well wrapped, lol. I am also hoping that they don’t get mistaken for actual gifts because we do have some porch pirates in our area.

Well those are my current Christmas crafts, if you need any help making them just comment below. Also if you have any other craft ideas comment below, I LOVE crafting!!

I hope this season is finding you well. Happy Chanukah to anyone that celebrates.

November 30 2019

It has been a year since I have seen your face, felt your smile or heard you say “Honey” the unique way that you did.

The last time I saw my Nanny was 11/30/19.

We had a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner in her trailer after our plans had failed. My brother, his family, Matt, me and Tobias all crowded into her house and ate our fill. She got to meet my niece Ava for the first time and see Tobias again. It was a tight squeeze but we made it work and I am eternally grateful that we did.

That night is not actually the last time I saw her though. I was supposed to drop off presents to her from my mom but Matt had taken them out of the trunk and did not put them back. The morning after our dinner I got up at 530am and drove the hour and a half to drop them off. That is the last time I saw her. I am extremely grateful I got those few extra minutes with her and I got one last hug; if I had known it was the last one I would have made it last longer.

My only regret is that I did not get a single picture and I know that I have the memory and that is a lot but I regret in general not getting more pictures with her. We saw her several times a year and I never took pictures. She couldn’t make it to my wedding because she was hospitalized again; but I video chatted with her and I wish I had asked the photographer to capture that.

We went to the beach again for Thanksgiving and I cried almost the entire way there. I tear up every time we head that way now because I know she isn’t there. But knowing that it had been one year since I have seen her was especially hard to process, I ugly cried several times and I am wiping some pretty substantial tears off my face as I type.

I can’t say much more on the subject now.

I love and miss you Nanny. I carry you here in my heart.