November 30, 2008

Thrifty thoughts and treasures!

I found this very vintage Scabble Sentence Cube Game, just this past summer, at a church rummage sale! It was .25 cents. I googled this game...and well, they just don't make these anymore...unless you visit Ebay.

I would think there would be a good market for this game..within the homeschool community? Well anyway, my point is... we've sure found a lot of little learning tools at garage sales and thrift shops, which make our days a little perkier!

I'm also thinking a game-swap with a friend would be fun and thrifty?! Maybe trade a game for a month or two?

The other night at Rite-Aid, I was able to pick up 7 of these Altoids mints for free! Our ad showed they were on sale for .99 cents. I had exactly 7 one-dollar off coupons for them... making them totally 100% free.
If you treasure hunt... what sort of goodies have you found, lately? Leave a comment for me and the other readers!

November 29, 2008

decorating for Christmas!

yesterday and today finds us decorating our house for Christmas! feeling like a perfect retro wife ... i plugged in our crock-pot and made a delish lasagne dinner. i used laura's lean-all natural, uninjected hamburger, found at kroger's, and layered the rest of the ingredients, in the crock pot just like you would a regular lasagna- don't boil the pasta...cook on slow for 4-5 hours, on low. afterwards, we settled in around the half emptied rubbermaid totes, strewn all over the living room and watched the family traditional video, santa claus 2, which we all know the script by heart! i really hope to have this decorating all wrapped up by this afternoon. what about you? have you begun decorating? smile-wink-nod!

November 28, 2008


I wish I could tell you that I love shopping on Black Friday. The deals really do look pretty incredible. And, with the state of the economy...I am indeed, pretty darn foolish for not heading out with my travel mug of instant coffee and Nike's on. The truth is... crowds put me on the edge...and I seriously break out in a itchy red rash on my neck. I did slip out yesterday...early Thanksgiving morning... to grab a few rolls of wrapping paper for .59 cents each, Maybelline make-up for half price-plus I had dollar off coupons- which made the mascara I bought a dollar each. And, I did manage to find a Playstation Indian Jones Game for 1/2 price...$15. And then there's the shampoo and conditioner we use on sale for .65 cents--which I bought a years supply of. The store was not at all crowded and I was able to easily maneuver my cart through the aisles without I decided to swoop down the mayonaise aisle and pick up two big jars of miracle whip for .99 each. Oh, and there's the buy one get one free bottles of Excederin Migrane...which I had coupons for..making them something like a dollar a piece. smile-wink-nod. But, that's the extent of it.
If you're going out this weekend...taking advantage of all the offers, then I'm posting this for you... the deals look wonderful..I really hope they are helpful to you! Click here: over 200 store coupons
Come on back and tell me about your deals, bargins and shopping experience! Leave a makes my day!

a Thanksgiving meme!

Lisa at Cornerstone Homeschool Blog, (see my sidebar)... posted this meme. I copy and pasted and made it my own. Thanks for putting it on your blog, Lisa.

1. Which do you like better: Cooking at your house, or going elsewhere? If I had a large enough home, I would love to have holidays at my house.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird? I have never, ever bought a turkey...exept lunch meat!

3. What kind of stuffing? any kind and a lot of it!

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie? pumpkin pie!

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing? Leftovers are the entire point.

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu? mashed potatoes!

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock? No. But, I did snag a few bones and put them in a ziplock freezer bag for future HOMESCHOOL SCIENCE PROJECTS!

Ever.8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier? A bigger oven, a larger kitchen and a larger home. My oven can only hold thismuch.

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour? I'm up everyday by 5:45,'s my internal clock. We had our Thanksgiving Day dinner at 1:30.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring? spinich balls or homemade cookies.

11. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you're happy to see? Oh for sure, I am happy to see all of them! There is never any drama.. but always a lot of wild and interesting stories ping-ponging around the room...

12. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu? oh boy, that's a tough one. I loved all of it...mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberries, stuffing, fruit, green beans, squash..... I'm sorry, I can't commit to just one favorite.

13. What are you thankful for this year? health, my family and friends, honest people, my church, God, the three sweatshirts my mom found at Salvation Army for me, Martin Luther, the History Channel, lipliner, couponing and getting freebies, good books, leftovers, the internet, Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, that I'm not a Pilgrim in 1620, wondering how am I going to make it through the winter?

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


One of the best things I've ever bought myself was this food processor. I think I paid around $40. at Krogers...a few years back. It wasn't until recently, on my quest to be even more thrifty, that I've put it to good use! (did you see my cheap potato blog entry a few entries back?)

The other night at Meijers, they had 2 bags of fresh cranberries for $4. Don't let me kid you...cranberries are not something on my grocery list every week. But, being caught up in the commericalism of the season- the premature holiday songs blasting in the background and the turkey displays dressed up like Santa... I flipped the bag over and noticed that they're freezable. Hey now..that's all I needed to I tossed two bags in the grocery cart! See now..I did not know they're freezable...did you? The things you can learn off of blogs! smile-wink-nod. Fast forward...I washed them and threw them in the food processor, then pulled out two cups, and spooned them into a freezer bag to make future cranberry breads. I was able to freeze three bagfuls! I was also able to make a quick and easy cranberry-orange sauce to freeze( I found the recipe off the back of the bag)'s wonderful over oven-baked chicken!

While I was at it..I whipped up two loaves of homemade cranberry bread...which taste just like candy! One loaf is already gone...the boys gobbled it up (pun intended).

Each year, thanks to Five in a Row, the curriculum we used when Tommie was younger, we pull out the Cranberry Thanksgiving book that was actually based on a homeschool unit... and read the book. The truth is, Tommie asked me to read it to him. He'd be utterly humiliated if he knew I put this out on the world wide web...but, he did. Twice! Just like the cover of Five in a Row...this big kid of mine, cuddled up next to me and settled in for a warm memory of the past! Now that my friends, is what homeschooling is all about. Warm memories and warm cranberry bread!

P.S. The bread recipe came from the back of the Cranberry Thanksgiving book.

Happy Thanksgiving...go easy on the mashed potatoes! smile-wink-nod.

November 26, 2008


Yesterday morning, we noticed a new snowfall of maybe 1-2 inches of wet, fresh packing snow! Of course, my son, came up with this wild idea of sweetly asking me,"if we could just go out and build a snowman before homeschooling?" Not really wanting to- but yet, not wanting to stomp out a fun childhood memory... I gave in and pulled on my snowpants and Brad's hat and plastered on a fake smile (see picture) and my dark blue eyes are hyper-sensitive to light the older I get... I don't just wear them for a sassy fashion statement. Usually. smile-wink-nod. See my coat? It is the best coat I ever owned! I found it at Salvation Army for $4. in the kids section. It is the warmest-lightweight coat ever. See now, aren't you glad you tapped into this blog today?

As I new it would... Tommie's plan turned into be much, much more time-consuming (believe it or not...the idea was to get out of homeschooling! Bless you, if you have a better behaved child then I do...) and we ended up building this fort.... With a little struggle and whinning on both of our parts, we took a break and came in to do about two hours worth of homeschool lessons... two hours of fun Rainforest Study and a little math, seemed like an eternity for my 10-year old, when you want nothing more then to play outside...but we made it through.

I had made hot chocolate and we saluted our cups to a job well done! Reminding him that the very chocolate we were drinking, probably came from somewhere between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn!

Either Tommie is pretending he's back in the womb.. or just relaxing with his hot chocolate and contemplating how he can get out of Wednesday's lessons, too?

It's tradition for me to make patio snowmen.. I made a vow to myself, that I will continue this tradition until I'm 90. God-willing. It is so relaxing to sculpt and design..and have this little snowman peeking at me through my kitchen window! I actually made 5 little snowmen, yesterday...but this is the best one. I used spaghetti for hair, a rock candy nose, rose hips, peanut eyes and sprinkled thistle seed around the base....all for the birds.

Oh happy day, afterall.

November 25, 2008

Just one more sample for today.....

Okay, can you stand one more freebie? I didn't intend for this to be a freebie blog...but I can't resist sharing these great deals! I just signed up for this free tube of Lipstock Chapstock sample! Click here and fill out the easy, effortless form: click here. It's made from watermelon seed oil and the other ingredients are organic.
I hope you take advantage of this's fun getting things in the mail! I think this would make an awesome stocking stuffer, too!
smile, wink, nod.

FReE sOy CAndLes!

Just popping in here today, to tell you of a nice free soy candle sample you can sign up for.... the sign up is quick and simple... with no annoying surveys! Just click here and go to the purple box and fill out the form. Do not click on free candle...after you fill out the purple box form, click on free sample!
Just today, I received my two Kashi Cookie samples in the mail...and they were delish! smile, wink nod.

November 24, 2008


I'm copying Lisa and Penny tonight, because each Monday- without fail, on their blogs (see my sidebar: Penny/Diosa Domestica and Lisa/Cornerstorne) it looks like they have fun filling out The Simple Woman's Daybook and I've enjoyed getting to know them both better because of it. So now, it's my turn.... I hope you enjoy it, too!

For November 24, 2008

Outside my window: a big, bright security light!

From my learning room: Ummm, I don't have a learning room ...BUT, I do see a stack of books on every table, papers and more books stuck here and there, some on the couch and some even next to the kitchen sink!

I am thankful for: a forgiving God and my family.

From the kitchen: Tommie using the blender...making orange juice slushies...vavavavroooom!

I am wearing: Old Levi's, black wool socks, black cardigan and black v-neck shirt underneath, make-up just about off from the day and silver earrings.

I am reading: I am trying to get into The Fifth Queen, but I am just not really all that smart or cultured. I started reading, "Sylvia's Farm," but all she talks about is "putting" down her sheep...and how most of them look into her eyes and just "ask" her to... ugh, my heart breaks and I need something a little more upbeat. Suggestions?????

I am hoping: to get a good night's sleep tonight!

I am creating: a grocery list, a mess in my bedroom closet and lessons for the rest of the week (which is just two days!)

I am hearing: Brad yelling at Tommie..."Can ya just move?" Tommie in a whiney voice: Noooo!

Around the house: Thanksgiving decorations, remote control cars, a polar fleece sweatshirt that needs mended, a vintage scrabble game that I need to blog about.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Color my hair (oh what? you thought I was a natural?), groceries, Thanksgiving, decorating for Christmas this weekend.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing:

I love my cowboy boots! They go with everything: jeans, skirts, dress pants...
I even wear them to church.
small, wink, nod.

November 23, 2008

just a nice, little science experiment...that's quick!

Here's a quick and fun little science experiment...I found the idea from my FREE copy of (click here and order your free copy- sign-up is quick and easy!) Homeschool Enrichment Magazine!

The idea is to make "petrified wood"... and, see if when you light it, it catches on fire? All you do is take a paper towel, fold it in half and then half again and roll it like a log. On a plate combine 1 Tablespoon Epson salt and 1-2 Tablespoons water! Roll the log in the mixture and let sit for one week. After one week, try to ignite it and see if it catches on fire. (Hint: it shouldn't). It's all about the salt. smile-wink-nod!


Oh my! What a FANtabULOus yesterday!
Our homeschool group (banging on my drums for Debbie & Jane and their husbands) hosted a "Road Rally Scavenger Hunt Using a Digital Camera & Bible Event!"
With my long johns on, a full tank of 87, Bible and an adventurous attitude, Tommie and I headed over to the event... stopping along the way to pick up a fellow homeschooler and friend, Hunter.
We arrived, received our instructions, chatted with the other families and headed out! We were given a list of like 14 Bible scriptures- plus a coordinating clue! Then, we had to figure out the word- taken from both clues.. once the object/word was decided...we set off to take the "most creative snap shot of the object!" Here are a few examples: Pilate/Pilot, so we headed to the airport..the boys in my car had the opportunity to literally go on the field, stand on top of the airplane with the pilot and I snapped their picture! Another example was to take a snap of carcasses... we went to a deer processing plant and snapped a pile of dead deer..I know..slightly gross, but the boys in my car loved it! Other shots included: the courthouse, the moon made out of a piece of bread, a bird, all of us sleeping in a flowerbed, my dear friend Brandi, who held up a sign stating "By the grace of God, I survived," she is a cancer survivor!, we drove around trying to find a donkey... but ended up with a snap of a manger... we also tried to get into the State Police to see if they would lock the boys in a jail cell, (the State Police did this for our scout den), so I could get a snap...but our small town State Police Post was closed on early Saturday night... rolling my eyes. Other clues led us into the cemetery, trying to find a fish and a coin (we succeeded) and 10 lamps. Or is it 12?
Our final destination, was heading back to Debbies beautiful church...where pizza, pop and fellowship occurred, while the judges had the difficult task of deciding who won!? Our group did not. We came in fourth place...out of five. But, in my heart...everybody won! Each group had such unique pictures...and put forth sooooooo much effort! Debbie organized a slide show of every one's pictures...and we all laughed and ooooh'd and ahhhhh'd over them!
The winner's received McDonald's coupons and the rest of us received a jumbo chocolate bar. Equally, nice prizes!
I was completely exhausted from all the hoopla of the afternoon. Needless to say it was a good way to feel! smile-wink-nod!

November 22, 2008


We really love homemade oven
fries at this house! Our local Meijers and
Kroger store sell a nice size bag
of organic potaotoes for around $4. a bag...
Saturday morning,
I washed, sliced and froze enough potatoes
for four
meals! When the menu calls for oven fries...
I'll be able to take them from the freezer and have
they'll already be pre-sliced, ready to toss with olive oil, herbs and sea salt! If you're interested in doing this...make sure to blanch
them for about 3 minutes, rinse them,
spread them
out to dry on a clean towel and then pack!
So much healthier then Orida or deep frying...and much cheaper, too!

smile. wink. nod!


I found a few freebie samples to share with you!

Don't let the picture of the Dr. Pepper scare you off! I don't drink it either..well I did back in 1978 with my Arby's roast beef sandwhich....but not anymore! However, I will be filling out the quick form on November 23rd, the only day you can sign up to receive a free coupon for a 20 oz. bottle. I will be signing my mom up to receive one as well. So, just what are my plans? To donate it to our homeschool co-op as a go-along for the pizza lunches that are served! You could also donate a bottle to your church or scout group! Visit this site on the 23rd and sign up!

Now here's a wonderful sample that I've received in the past! Liquid Tide! They don't skimp on their samples, either... it's a big, thick packet! No survey's. Just a quick sign-up. Click here: Tide Sample

I also just ordered this Buffalo Soldier poster to hang in our homeschool room...also known as the side of our kitchen refridgerator!!! smile-wink-nod-it's true! It's a quick and pain-free sign up... if you're interested in hanging posters for visual teaching aides...or just really think the idea of hanging a poster on the side of your refridgerator is awesome, click here: really swell poster for my homeschool room or side of my refridgerator!

November 21, 2008


It's that time of year again, for taking care of our loved ones gravesites for the Christmas season! Today, after co-op, Brad, Tommie and I will be selecting and placing a grave blanket on my dad's plot. It's tradition! My mom takes care of my grandparents gravesite..usually with a pretty wreath. This year, she let her creative juices flow and brought over this beautiful arrangement she made..with flowers from the Dollar Tree and a basket she had (one of many!) in her basement! She weighted the basket down with a couple of heavy rocks and tied a weather-proof ribbon on! The whole project cost her under $10.! And, it is so much prettier and much more meaningful then a greenhouse wreath, I think... don't you? smile-wink-nod!


Yesterday, I enjoyed making these homemade Thanksgiving cards! I'll be sending them to family and distant family relatives...and I think my handicapped neighbor will enjoy getting one in his mailbox!
I found this children's picture book, " The Story of the Pilgrims," a little beaten up at a garage sale last summer, for .25 cents. Right then and there, I was making plans to create homemade greeting cards with it! I was also happy to use the vintage yellow rick-rack, that I found at a garage sale for .05 cents. I glued a matching yellow piece of cardstock inside the card, so I could write my well wishes on it!
So seven cards...happily created for .30 cents each... it makes sticking the .42 cent stamp on worth it! smile-wink-nod!

November 20, 2008

no left-over's!

There wasn't one teeny-weeny left-over on anyone's plate, the other night when I made this super simple chicken dish! So, I thought I'd share the recipe with you!

6 chicken breasts skinned/boned

1/4 cup of sherry or white wine (I used red cooking wine- it was just fine!)

1/2 cup of chicken broth

1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

6 slices of swiss cheese

Place the chicken in a baking dish, Pour wine and broth on top of chicken. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and swiss cheese slices. Bake covered for 45 minutes in a *375 degree oven. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes. I served rice and mixed vegtables: brocolli, cauliflower and carrots. NO BREAD.



Did you know that Rite-Aid is running a promotion, now through the 24th of December? For every $25.-$50 you spend, you get a $5. gift card back. For every $51 to $100. you spend, you receive a $10. gift card back and for spending $100. or more, you'll receive a $20. gift card. You can pick up a brochure at any Rite -Aid store. Just make sure to save your receipts!! I haven't shopped all that much at Rite-Aid...but, since I'm obsessed with coupong and being hyper-thrifty, I've been able to get some pretty great deals. Just yesterday, I bought 2 bottles of Ajax dish soap and 2 rolls of Bounty Paper towels...all for $2.35. smile-wink-nod!


Instead of listening to the news media tell me how 4,000 Americans were laid off yesterday and how the CEO's of the Big 3 flew into D.C. for the big bailout meeting on their $20,000. a flight, hoity-toity jet and, yes they have superb catered food on those flights! I decided to make the best of my afternoon by baking and freezing chocolate-chip zucchini bread. During the summer, I had shredded and froze, so many bags of the overbearing was now time to start using it!

I wrapped it in Glad Saran Wrap (because Glad brand is safe) and then foil and marked it. Now, when I don't feel like baking (which isn't too often), I'll just pull out this family favorite! I love sharing it with my handi-capped neighbor, too! If the economy is affecting you and your family... we need to share positive things that add sparkle to our day. Please tell me about all the good things in your life! Leave a happy comment! smile-wink-nod!


I went to our bathroom cupboard and scooped up a few of my favorite products to share with you! I've started taking vitamin D, I've heard several reports that it has been proven to reduce breast cancer by 50%. I buy it at Rite-Aid, it's around $3. a bottle, Sunday's paper always has coupons for a dollar off! I've only found the Organics Pomegrante-Vanilla body mist at big K (K-mart), it's in the make-up section! I use it as an air freshener, when I burn cookies and popcorn! I've fallen in love with some of ARBONNES PRODUCTS! My good friend Holly is selling it... I had a party a few weeks back (which I highly recommend, since I received $177. worth of FREE products! And, the fact that it brought many friends back together for a fun evening out!) Two of my favorite products are the aromatherapy bath salts which smell heavenly! Truth is, sometimes I just open the jar and inhale.....ahhhhhhh! I originally ordered Arbonne's Black Orchid Body Mist as a gift...but of course I had to sample it... and well, the rest is history. You know it's a winner, when Brad notices when I'm not wearing it! oooh-la-la! Not pictured, because I ran out...Oil of Olay Night Cream....the one with the black cap! Okay now, it's your turn....grab your digital, line up your favorite products, snap the picture and share your favorite products with me. Be sure to let me know, I'd love to learn more about you! smile-wink-nod!

November 18, 2008

TOO MUCH DOUGH? - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more


CHARLOTTE MASON methods! They work well for us!

Way back when... when I first explored the different methods of homeschooling, I fell in love with Charlotte Mason's theory! I'm not sure what happened? I loved it...but I never followed through very well.

Except with nature studies and birdwatching... Anna Comstock's Nature Guide is like an old friend in our home. One we take for granted way too often.

And, we thoroughly enjoyed Five in a Row... we have a few more books to wrap up before we bid our final farewell.

We've used living books for history and read-alouds..and we've done a few major artist studies.

I look at all the workbooks and mass-produced curriculum, that I've picked up along the way...thinking "this will be just the ticket to launch TOMMIE into the kid-prodigy he is"... (sarcastic slant!). It never happened.

Truth is, he's not a good speller at all. And, as I've told you in the past... those black-lined workbook pages or colored for that matter....zap every ounce of passion for learning out of him that he has! This is not how I intended our homeschool journey to be. When he watches me pull Spelling Power out... he slithers down in his chair and disappears under the kitchen table. don't laugh.. it's true.

I thought there should be a better way. A more efficient use of our time. A plan that would roll things together more effectively, efficiently and mostly use the time we have to make better memories, while subtly reinforcing different subjects.

That's when I remembered Charlotte Mason's dictation. That's when I remembered attending the Charlotte Mason conference and feverishly taking notes on pulling spelling words and narration/reading comprehension from the classics or living books.

For the past week..I've implemented this into our homeschool. And, it's working out beautifully! Our pastor talked about Martin Luther a couple of weeks ago.. I found the story to be amazing! While scanning the living books at our local library..I found a beautiful book to use! One that I can understand! smile-wink-nod!

Believe me when I tell you, I'm not bragging. My intent is just to share a success story and how to make your homeschooling a little richer. A tongue in cheek moment, where you silently say to yourself, "dang, this does work!".... or "why didn't I do this sooner?"

By switching to the Charlotte Mason method, in just one week, Tommie has learned and mastered 49 yes forty-nine new spelling words! And, in one day he learned 14 Greek words (with a cheesy homemade file folder game I bad I couldn't bare to take a snap of it!). With those 49 spelling words (which I use like Spelling Power's ideas), I've had him make them plural, divide them, write them in sentences, alphabetize them and add prefixes and suffixes. I've easily woven in applied math and geography, as well. And, the whole dictation thing is phenominal! His handwriting has improved! exhale!

If you use the CM method, I'd love to hear about your success stories... please share in my comments!

P.S. We will continue with Horizons Math 5 (a mass-produced curriculum), since it is working out swell for us.