Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Kids Wednesday: Learning About Florida

My son has been doing a few states every summer and during the breaks if we get a chance.  We have already learned about Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Together we decided that we were going to learn about New York and Florida which are the two states where his grandparents live.We have a binder with all the states in it so the information goes in and out of there as we are working on it.  The finally binder gives all of the information that we get to have a finished copy of all the work that he has put in so that he could look at it.

He was excited to get started this summer and learned all about New York in the first half of the summer and Florida in the second half.  I got all the books from the library that we available from the NEA book list by state.  The books include the following:

  • Florida
    • Donald and the Fish That Walked by Edward R. Ricciuti
    • Panther Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
    • Bigmama's by Donald Crews
    • Shortcut by Donald Crews
    • Sam the Sea Cow by Francine Jacobs
    • Stealing Home by Mary Stolz
    • Sunken Treasure by Gail Gibbons
    • Michael Graves by Eric Kudalis
    • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

My son read the two Donald Crews books by himself during his reading time one more.  We read the Sunken Treasure and Sam the Sea Cow together snuggled on the couch one afternoon.  We enjoyed the Because of Winn Dixie Book on CD as a family in the car when we went different places.  My son fell asleep and my husband and listened to the last few chapters and quickly went back and paused it near where my son fell asleep.  All the books were entertaining and there are always other books that you can find at your libraries to fill in the spaces or expand the learning.

We found a book on our shelves at home that was about the Manatees in Florida so we added that to the pile.  Manatee Blues #4 (Vet Volunteers) by Laurie Halse Anderson was an interesting find in our own books that we were going to read and learn more from after finishing all of the library books.

These are our wonderful at home resources so we can start on any state at a moments notice or look up additional questions about states or capitols.  This is a great start to any state learning.

I download and print the information from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom which includes the following:

  • Creative Writing (Make a Travel Brochure)
  • Door Hanger (Completion Certificate)
  • Handwriting Practice
  • Puzzles
  • Research Project
  • State Bird
  • State Capital
  • State Flag
  • State Flag Wall Card
  • State Flower
  • State Location
  • State Landmarks
  • State Wall Card
 We use almost all the information except the travel brochure because my son has never been really interested in doing those and it is a little too flexible a structure for him so I thought we might be able to take it on as he got older.

There is a wonderful cover for the state including a picture of the state with lots of the cities labeled.

This research fact sheet is usually completed in three different times because there is a lot of writing and research for our purposes.  The beginning is basic information that helps get to know about the history of the state.  The next section has different things that can be found in the state.  The last section is usually one of the last things that we do with the things that make this state unique.  It helps include all of the information that we have learned and add anything else that we might have not put anywhere else.

The first sheet that is completed is the state and the capitol with the practice on writing.  We try to write these are a few times which always depends on the mood that my son is in because he wrote this one three times after tracing the first.

The main part of the information is on these four sheets.  My son likes to cut out all of the pictures and glue them on the bottom of the sheets.  The next step is writing the words at the top in pencil.  Then there is coloring and fact finding which are normally done in another two stages.  These are the main part of our state learning.

The coloring of the flag is always something that is interesting.  We have a scrap piece of paper to test the color against the picture on the sheet of paper.  We worked on matching colors and finding the best to match the picture.  The detailed picture is always harder to do so my son pictures the color and I color in the sections that he tells me so that the final picture looks similar to the sample.

I also found another picture that I thought looked very interesting to add a little more creative aspect to the project and I went back and printed all of the states that we have already done.  I am not sure if we are going to get all of the past ones done but I do plan on adding these going forward but feel free to add them if you are interested.  You can find these pictures here.

Hope that you take some of this wonderful information and learn about the states with your kids!!  I promise that you will learn as much as they are because there is ton of information   Hope you enjoy all the learning!

Christmas on 4th Street Book Review

I had to go backwards again this another Christmas book that was not at the library so I jumped ahead in the series.  Christmas on 4th Street: Yours for Christmas (Fool's Gold, Book 14) by Susan Mallery was the next book in my pile and I was glad to get to read this winter story set in the wonderful small town of Fool's Gold.  It was nice to be reading a winter story while sitting outside in 100 degree heat but it made it a lot less believable because I was sweating so much!!  Best read indoors where you can imagine that it is cold outside :)

There's nowhere better to spend the holidays than with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery in the town of Fool's Gold, where love is always waiting to be unwrapped… Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of it. That's why she's opening her own store in Fool's Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that's magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.  Gabriel's memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugarplums, thanks to his drill sergeant father. Spending the holidays with his family while he recuperates from an injury sounds as appetizing as last year's eggnog. Still, there are some enjoyable distractions in town, including sunny, sexy Noelle…and the red-hot mistletoe kisses they can't stop sharing.  Gabriel didn't think he was made for happily-ever-afters. But when fate hands you a love as sweet and surprising as this, only a fool could refuse….

It was a great Christmas story about Noelle Perkins who moved to town and opened a Christmas store in town after never going to visit it before but picking it out from a map.  She tried to hire help who only leave her store closed whenever she leaves in order to go skiing.  She puts up a help wanted sign and ends up hiring Gabriel who is in town visiting his twin brother Gideon.  Gabriel is escaping the exhaustion that he has been feeling at his job as an army doctor on the front lines of battle.  This Christmas turns out a lot different then either had expected but both uncover secrets about the other which they have to learn whether they can live with.  I hope that you check out this wonderful Christmas story at your local library or bookstore soon.  Add it to your wish list and enjoy the holiday season in the middle of the summer!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Is August Over Yet?? Too Much Shopping!!!

I have been on a granola bar buying binge!!  I feel like there are more granola bars out there to be purchased but I already hit two stores and waiting until the last day of the sale is never a good thing... I was supposed to have my act together yesterday and all the coupons cut but I didn't :(  So here is what I got with 5 transactions and three different Harris Teeters over a few days.

Harris Teeter $9.23-$2 cash back= $7.23 

We were already out as a family near the Harris Teeter farther away from the house so I stopped in and grabbed the Saturday freebies (yogurt and juice).  I also grabbed six boxes of granola bars which were supposed to ring up 6/$10 and there was a shelf promotion of $3 off 5.  I got the $3 off 5 and didn't get the 6/$10 promotion so I went to customer service even though it wasn't my store and they gave me $2 cash back.

Check out these promotions and together they make an amazing deal!!! It means 6 boxes for $7 with simple math and then I realized when I went through my coupons that I hadn't cut that I had coupons for $1/3 boxes of Chewy granola bars and $1 off the new Chewy Snackwich granola bars.  I lost out on $2 because I didn't have a clue what coupons I had because I was behind cutting but check out the deal below that I did at two of the stores!!!

Harris Teeter $5.23 + $5.23 - $2.05 cash back= $8.41

I dropped my son off at camp and went directly to the store but still not the store closest to the house so they don't know me there either.  I did two transactions which they didn't have a problem with.  I bought three of the Quaker Big Chewy Bars and three of the Chewy Snackwich bars in each transaction.  I used one $1/3 Big Chewy Bars and three $1 off Chewy Snackwich Bars to get them for $5.23 for each transaction.  Of course, the 6/$10 didn't ring up again so I went to customer service and asked and they gave me $2.05 cash back (including tax this time).  I didn't want to push my luck since I did two transactions so I only asked for the money on one receipt.

Harris Teeter $5.23 + $5.23 - $3.08 cash back= $7.38

 I went to my store and did the same thing.  I explained to customer service that there were two deals and showed them the newspaper and online and she decided that I missed the $3 promotion and not the $2 promotion because of the way that it rang up so she gave me back more money.

I realized that I could get a great deal on the Chewy Snackwich bars but I needed to buy too many per transaction to use the coupons.  There is a limit of 3 or 4 of the same coupons per transaction so I didn't want to push my luck and my son only likes the Big Chewy Chocolate Chip ones so I decided that I got a great deal at $0.70 per box at the first store and $0.61 per box at the second store.  It really makes my $1.20 per box from the weekend look horrible but I am going to call it all a win because I got a ton which is great because we just used up the last bar from the last time that I bought them!! 

Total Retail $104.44
Total Savings $81.57
Total OOP $22.87

I came home and stocked the cupboard shelf.  We are going to have lots of granola bars to last us through the beginning of school.  Of course, I was tempted to try to go to another store and get another two transactions but I decided to get some things done at home.  I estimated that I would spend $20 on granola bars getting 12 of them but I really went a little farther then I thought by getting 18 of the ones for my son and 12 for my husband and I.  I know I got a great bargain and they are going to come in handy for breakfast when school gets back in session!!  Trying to talk myself out of going to another store and doing it again!!!!!!!!!!

I got a bunch this month but there are always a few things that I think that I need which is why I try to leave a cushion at the end of the month.  This month we only have $31.35 left as long as I stay out of the stores to get more granola bars this afternoon!!!    Here is hoping that you are having a great month too!!!

Total Monthly Retail $378.14+ 104.44= $482.58
Total Monthly Saving $272.36+ 81.57= $353.93
Total Monthly OOP $105.78+ 22.87= $128.65

Hold Me Book Review

Hold Me (Fool's Gold, Book 18) by Susan Mallery was the next book in my pile to read.  I got a ton of books at the same time at the library so I was glad to see that there were still some on the shelf.  Luckily. I was able to read them so quickly that I haven't even had to worry about renewing the books.  I think that might be a problem but the series has gone quickly and was a great summer read!!

Destiny Mills believes passion has its place—like in the lyrics of the country songs that made her parents famous. After a childhood full of drama and heartache, she wants a life that's calm. Safe. Everything that Kipling Gilmore isn't. Her temporary assignment with the Fool's Gold search and rescue team puts her in delicious proximity to the former world-class skier every day. Part of her aches to let go for once…the rest is terrified what'll happen if she does.  Though an accident ended his career, Kipling still lives for thrills—and a hot fling with a gorgeous redhead like Destiny would be a welcome diversion. Yet beneath his new coworker's cool facade is a woman who needs more than he's ever given. With her, he's ready to take the risk. But love, like skiing, is all about trust—and before you soar, you have to be willing to fall.

I thought that this was a good book but not one of the best in the series.  There was lots of things that unfolded that created interest but I wasn't a fan of the book as a whole because the characters made strange decisions that I just couldn't get behind as ringing true.  Both Destiny and Kipling have gone against their parents to the other extreme which equally impairs their life.  It is great to watch the ups and downs so that the characters grow from their experiences.  I hope that you check out this book at your local library or bookstore to see for yourself because it just might have been an off day for me.  Add this and the rest of the Fool's Gold series to your reading list and enjoy!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 8/22

Monday- Chicken fries, Popcorn Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Spiedies Chicken with white rice
Wednesday- Grilled Buffalo Chicken Wraps with mac and cheese
Thursday-Chicken Paninis with Chopped salad with pepperoni
Friday- Tacos with spicy saffron rice
Saturday- At friends house or leftovers
Sunday- Pasta with garlic bread (served with leftover sausage for my husband)

Last week we ended up doing leftovers instead of it a bad sign when I don't have enough energy to make pasta.  We didn't have a ton of leftovers but we cleared out the fridge and I ran the dishwasher so that was a mission accomplished in my book. On Saturday we used our Cheesecake Factory gift card but we only got two meals so that we could save room for cheesecake and ended up spending $12 on the extras and tip so not a frugal trip but a tasty treat.  We had dinner at a birthday party Saturday night.  Sunday brought leftovers for lunch and that pasta dinner we didn't have the previous week.  I didn't have a big plan for this week so I had to try to make it up on Sunday night and we are going to have company this week so trying to plan out something easy to make so we will see how that goes!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Loyal Heart Book Review

I am not always a big fan of historical fiction but I love Shelly Shepard Gray so I knew that I had to check out The Loyal Heart  (A Lone Star Hero's Love Story) by Shelley Shepard Gray as soon as I saw it.  The wonderful cover and the author was all I needed to know in order to read this great book.  Check out what it is about in case you might have any questions :)

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places. Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.  After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda’s home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip’s name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone. Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He’s mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can. He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn’t prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

It took me a little bit longer to get into this book because it was set in the middle of the war in 1865 but once I was in, I was ready to root for Miranda.  Although less able to relate to the main character, I knew that she was at an all time low and needed a little bit of hope.  Robert Truax came into town and was her hope that things were going to get better.  She immediately had someone who supported her against the town of people who look to talk about her husband behind her back.  There are lots of surprises and I know that you will be as entranced with the characters and seeing a picture of Texas back in the 1800.  I was fascinated with the history of the war and how things were for people coming back from the war but mostly I loved the characters who came to life on the page.  I hope that you add this to your reading list soon!!  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I did!

**I received a copy of this book for my review but all opinions here are my own.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August Finally Middle of the Month Grocery Update

I wasn't sure even what was on my list for the month but as always, I was looking for the best deals.  Luckily, there was triples are Harris Teeter to stretch my money as far as possible.  Here are all of my trips so far this month.  I posted the information about the first four trips to the store and you can click on the title to get more details on those trips.

Just a quick review that my budget for the month for my family of 3 is $160.  I don't break that down into weeks or anything else because there are usually times when I can stock up and get great deals during one week and not get a ton the next week, plus it tends to work really well with my style of shopping.  I feel like the month is over but we are only half way!! Check out what I got below:


Harris Teeter $11.40

An amazing trip to the store which I got to do by myself (Thanks to my friend Ann for watching my little helper).  I got two bags of Chex Mix and two bags of Bugles at $0.25 each bag.  I got the Froot Loops with the coupon and electronic coupon so it was $0.59 for the box.  I bought the Toaster Pastries for $0.l7 each.  My husband loves Corn Dogs so I got two boxes of them with 6 in them for $1.02.  I got an apple for $0.59 and turned in a rebate for $0.25 from Ibotta and $0.25 from Checkout 51.  There were three boxes of Old El Paso shells on sale for $1 each with $1/3 coupon and $1/3 electronic coupon so $0.33 per box (and there was a $1/3 saving star rebate which should post soon).  I got a container of Cinnamon Jif because it sounds interesting but it was a little bit of a splurge at $0.79.  I got a package of Hershey's Pudding for $0.74 (pictured to the right of the Jif).  I got two bottles of Dawn which were $0.22 each.

My crazy purchase (along with my inability to read a sign but it is pictured so you can try to read it too) was the Magnum Ice Cream Bars.  I should have read this a few more times because I totally messed it up.  I thought that they were $2.50 but the shelf price is $6.49 and on sale for $2.50 off to make them $3.99.  If you read the bottom, it also says save $2 when you buy two packages.  I bought three because I can't read and I was thinking 2 or more!!  I got two packages at $0.74 and one at $1.74 which is still better then the shelf price and the ice cream man!  Still upset that I didn't read the sign correctly because I had 6 coupons and I could have done the deal three times but when I used three, I could only do it one more time.  In addition, there was a catalina that should have printed out.  The nice customer service person gave it back to me during another trip to the store.

I got 6 containers of whole milk yogurt and 6 containers of Light and Fit yogurt and 2 snickers for free!!  Great purchases that will certainly go to use between my mother's visit and making some yummy scones and muffins.

Harris Teeter $26.74

This total was big because we got the Coke promotion for Buy 2, Get 3 free which was $13.98 for the 5 cases.  It was also going to be high because my whole family was with me!!  I got Chex $0.25, Bugles $0.25, Country Crock $0.35, Fruit Snacks $0.75, Hershey Pudding $0.74, and Honey Nut Cheerios $1.50.

There were a few things that I bought and didn't even use a coupon....I KNOW!!  My husband picked out a Gatorade which was on sale for $0.67.  The Peter Pan Peanut Butter was on evic sale limit 2 for $1.27 so I got two.

I got free Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, Krusteaz Meyer Lemon Bread Mix, Krusteaz Cinnamon Coffee Cake Mix, and Rev Wraps.

I should get $0.35 back for Country Crock from Saving Star

Harris Teeter $4.81 

We were farther away from the house with a trip to a library so we stopped at another Harris Teeter because we have been out of yogurt and turkey at our Harris TeeterThey were also out of a lot of the same items but we grabbed these deals which made the turkey $2.32 per package which is lower then Aldi so I bought two and hope that they last through some of September.

Aldi $19.63

We were out of milk and cheese so I went to the store.  We also had just run out of Nacho Chips, Tortilla Chips and Pretzels so we got those too.  I didn't have any more Rosemary Triscuits so I really wanted those.  I got a few packages of margarine sticks because we were running low.  I got lettuce because we were having tacos and salads a lot so I thought we might need another.  The oyster crackers are to make seasoned ones for my husband's lunch which I thought we were almost out of but I wasn't sure because I made four different kinds last time and we used up two containers.


Harris Teeter $7.76- $1.91= $5.85

They have been out of a lot of things and I went to get the Magnum bars with a rain check and my last remaining coupon.  It was over a 100 degrees so we got practically all the ice cream we could fit in the cart!!  It was the last day of triples and the sale so we grabbed a few things that were still on sale and I had some remaining coupons while we were in the area between library programs.  I had my helper and very little time so I didn't get to check a lot of things but rather went through very quickly because I was afraid I was going to miss something.  I was going to buy another Coke deal but I didn't have the time or the energy so I didn't get them.

One of the catalina coupons didn't print out last time so they gave me the money back and printed me out another receipt because mine didn't come out correctly...only the right side printed and I needed to turn in for Ibotta so I got them to do a print from the office but it didn't have the Harris Teeter with the date on it so I also did a return and re-buy so that I would have every receipt to possibly get the $0.75 back from Ibotta and good news is that it worked!!

Total Retail $378.14
Total Saving $272.36
Total OOP $105.78

I didn't realize how much I spent for the month already but it leaves me $54 left to spend for the month.  I just checked out specials for Harris Teeter which start on 8/17 and there are my son's Quaker Granola Bars on sale for 6/$10 which is $1.67 each.  I am going to probably spend at least $20 on granola bars so here is hoping that we don't need a lot of other things with my remaining $30 for the month.  

How is your month going?