Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kids Wednesday: Learn to Count Money

We have worked on different aspects of money before including the names of the coins and the value of each coin whenever we get change somewhere or have to go to the bank to make a deposit.  My son was starting to get the idea of money (even though the nickel still confuses him because it is bigger and worth less).  We even got a puzzle with the money to equal the item for sale on the other side.  He has had it for ages but didn't really understand the concept so he mostly separated and piled the puzzle pieces instead of solving the problems.  The only bad thing is that these items aren't really worth the money on the item so it is a little different then learning the value of money but one step at a time.

We were away from home without our normal tools so I decided to make the most out of what we had and we taught my son how to count money.  We put the money in the Easter eggs and my son opened the egg and told us how much was in each egg.  We did it Easter morning but it is a great activity to do this week if your kids are like mine and don't want to give back the eggs.  If you don't have eggs, this is the best time to invest because they are going to be at least 50% off.

We counted in piles to make 100 (which he is really good at after 100 week).  We talked about how 100 pennies equals $1 so we took out a dollar and tried to do the bigger picture of how many dimes would make up the dollar.  He piled them on and counted by tens to get the answer.  He ran out of dimes and he knew that two nickels would also work so he put them in the dimes place.

Then, we got tricky and used quarters.  The quarters were a little harder to add because it wasn't by ones, fives or tens like he normally counts. 

We used addition and added 25 plus 25 to get fifty and fifty plus fifty to get one dollar.  He decided on the right answer after a little more discussion and I decided that we couldn't have come up with a better learning activity then this for money. 

He learned a lot about counting money and I hope that we will only grow from here.  I think seeing it and playing with it helped a lot.  He was interested in how the different money made up a dollar so I am sure that we are going to be doing this again soon.

I bought some pretend coins for him to play with so we will pull those out soon for a reward and he will be able to play store and learn about money at the same time.  Did you teach your kids about money?  How did you do it?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mid Month Budget Update

This month was going to be a tough month to follow after the great deals of last month but I thought that I had it planned out pretty well that I wouldn't go crazy this month.  I had one day in shopping before everything got turned upside down. 

My dad called me and told me that my grandmother had a stroke and the doctor told them that she only had two days left.  I had just dropped my son off at school and so I went home to pack up.  I threw as much stuff as I could figure out in bags and packed the car.  I got a bag of food and the cooler together.  I picked up my son at school and we ate a fast lunch and we were out the door.  We were gone for two weeks and totally unprepared for most things.  I didn't pack most of the things that I should have grabbed so there was a little scrambling to make do with what we had and buy the things that we needed.  Plus, my son and I both got sick so we had to get some medicine.  Luckily, my dad picked up the tab for one of the trips to Target so that was money not out of the budget.  I also don't have pictures of most of things that we got.

Harris Teeter -$0.23

I bought an Almond Milk for my friend Stephanie who was shopping with me and she paid me cash for the item so it covered the cost of my shopping trip.  I got a Minute Maid orange juice but I got the wrong one and the evic coupon didn't come off so I returned it which put my total in the negative even though two coupons didn't scan correctly.  I was hoping to go back and get it later but I didn't have enough time to make it back to the store to get anymore deals. Super sad because the Act coupon expired and I wanted to get a few more of the freebie popcorn.

Target $13.99

We were sick and I got some cold medicine and Children's Advil for my son.  We only brought one little travel container so we needed more!  I also needed some medicine.  I also grabbed some soda for the house because my cousin asked us to pick up a individual soda but the two liters were cheaper so I got two so that we could all have some soda with dinner.  We also grabbed a loaf of bread for sandwiches and toast.  I also forgot to grab my son's markers on the way out of the house so I grabbed some crayola markers that were in the $1 section!

Aldi's $17.23

My husband ran to Aldi's to get some groceries for my cousin's house where were were staying.  We needed more bread and some other staples which are great to get at Aldi's.  My husband even got french fries so that I could make them with some buffalo chicken for dinner that night.  I made some pancake mix and baking mix for her cupboard to leave behind so that she would have some yummy things to make after I left.  My husband and son did grab some pretzels, pringles and chips so it wasn't all healthy good choices but I wasn't complaining and we ate them all!

Target $24.00

I got two bottles of Tide Free and Clear so that I could do laundry at my mom's house so that we had laundry for our last few days and when we got home.  I washes three loads of laundry so I left one of the laundry detergents at my parents and brought one home to use here.  It was way more then I usually pay per bottle but I used a coupon and got a gift card back so it was the best deal that I could find.

Total OOP $54.99

During our trip, my husband also had lots of fun fixing things at my cousin's Victorian house that she wanted to get done.  Our birthday present to her was to pay for some of the supplies so we spent about $50 on different trips back and forth to Home Depot and Lowes so that we could fix the tub drain that was leaking.  It took a lot of different trips before we came up with the right fix.  They also replaced the faucet in the kitchen sink, installed a ceiling fan, installed a dimmer switch in the dining room and put a new gfci plug in the bathroom.  My husband also did something with the front screen door to make sure that it fit when the weather had it expanding and contracting.  I didn't understand it but it involved wood chisels and the door works so that is what matters.  I am not sure if there were any other projects that were done since my husband seemed to pick a new one every time I turned around.  I also spent $115.89 at Target because we were going to pay for the faucet and gfci but my cousin bought it so I paid for her Target purchase and provided tons of coupons and and gift card to save an additional $45 off our total so that would could pay for a little bit of groceries that we ate during our stay.  I know that they were happy to have us there but I didn't want to be a financial burden so hopefully they got a lot of projects checked off the list and will remember our two weeks at their house fondly but I am not counting either out of our grocery budget since they were for birthday presents.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 4/21

Monday- General Tso's Chicken with white rice (prepared chicken frozen)
Tuesday- Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes
Wednesday- Tacos and Saffron Rice
Thursday- Olive Oil Pasta with garlic bread
Friday- Breakfast for Dinner: Pancakes with hash browns
Saturday-Burritos and Frozen Pizza/Philly Cheese Steak Pasta
Sunday- Leftovers/Chicken Marsala with pasta

I had to go through the menu plan when I got home and move the things from the last two weeks around on the calendar to fit the rest of the month and I got the rest of the month planned pretty easily.  I still have a lot of things in the freezer and pantry so I am going to have to sit down and make a shopping list to see what we need other then milk which is top of the list. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekly Goals 4/20

I am planning on an easy week to work our way back to normal life at home after two weeks out of schedule and our house.  I am hoping for an easy week so that I can figure out what I have to get done and catch up on.  I have no idea what we have going on or what we are going to do but first step is returning library books and unpacking everything so that we can find everything and plan our menu for the rest of the month. 

Last week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with family including grandparents and extended family- We spent two weeks with family and got to see lots of extended family members.  We spent the last few days at my parents before coming home.
Personal Goals
  • Get coupons on Friday or Saturday- Didn't make it home until Sunday night so I didn't get any papers last week.
  • Figure out if I can get some of last week's paper since I wasn't in town- I didn't make it back until Sunday so I didn't get anything yet but I guess I lost the ability to get last weeks papers.
  • Cut coupons (two inserts from last week and whatever I can get for this week)- No cutting was done since we just got home but I did clean out all expired coupons at my cousins house and my basket is much lighter although I have a lot less coupons right now.
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- We haven't been home in two weeks so I have barely been on my computer so it hasn't been a problem to get it off every night.
  • Finish reading 12 by Janet Evanovich- Finished and review posted
  • Read new review book (review due on 16th)- Finished and review posted.  I also finished the 13th book and started on another review book due later in the month.
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week- I just got home so there wasn't a problem with having to keep things clean except where we were staying.  I ran the dishwasher before I left so I unloaded the dishwasher when we got home and got pizza.  The great thing about loading it up before you leave is there is nothing left to clean when you get home.
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning- No need because we didn't make it home.
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday (schedule 7 posts so that can spend more time with family)- I missed a post yesterday and one last week with all of the different activities but I got a lot of posts up since I planned ahead.
  • Review book reviews completed during the week (if done)- Reviews are posted and there is one going up next week since I didn't get something up before I left when I read it but I didn't bring it with me.  Oops!
  • Post Sunday Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, Kid Wednesday and Thrifty Thursday Tip- Done
This week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with family at home
Personal Goals
  • Get coupons from the last two weeks
  • Cut coupons (two inserts from last week and whatever I can get for this week)
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
  • Finish reading new review book
  • Get new books at the library
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday (schedule 7 posts so that can spend more time with family) 
  • Review book reviews completed during the week (if done)
  • Post Sunday Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, Kid Wednesday and Thrifty Thursday Tip 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Twelve Sharp Book Review

Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum, No. 12) (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich was the next in the pile that I got from the library.  I started it right after finishing the last book in the series.  It only took a few days to read and I really enjoyed the crazy antics of Stephanie Plum.

Stephanie Plum, back to bounty hunting, is caught up in more drama.  She is stalked by a women who introduces herself as Carmen, Ranger's wife and she wants Stephanie dead because Ranger left her and cleared out their bank accounts.  Stephanie is confused by this and tries to make contact with Ranger but he is off the grid because he is looking for his daughter who was kidnapped.  The person that she is looking for isn't Ranger but a impostor which she quickly learns.  Stephanie is stalked by Carmen until she is found dead in her car in front of the bail bonds office that Stephanie works at and she was most likely killed by the Ranger impostor.  Ranger is living at Stephanie's house to protect her from the Ranger impostor while she is trying to deal with her feelings for Ranger and her boyfriend, Morelli.  Another crazy adventure of Stephanie trying to do her job, live her life and spend time with her family.

There is amazing tension through out this book and you get to learn a lot more about the characters that you have come to love over the first 11 books in the series!  I loved this book and was sad to see it end.  I had the next one ready to read but I had to stop to read the book that I needed to review next week.  Good to know that I have the book in the wings waiting for  me when I am done.  I am really excited to get back to the series.  Have you checked out the series yet?  I hope that you do at your local library or bookstore soon!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Kids Books for Saving Money

Do you want to save a little money with your kids?  There are tons of books out there to help you do that but these are a little different.  The first is to teach your kids about money and the second two are for teaching your kids with easy things you can get at the library or at home.  I taught my son lots based on the same principal found in the last two books.  I think that teaching your kids is the best but saving money at the same time is a bonus!!

Hope you enjoy these fun reads and use some over the summer months to continue the learning process.

Money Smart Family System is a great book to explain different ways to teach kids about money and help them to follow the family motivation to save money because if you already have kids and jump into this new mind set, you have to take them with you.

Playful Learning is a great book if you want to start teaching preschoolers through young kids.  It gives great books to read and activities. 

Games with Books was a great resource to use to match a book with a game.  We had a blast reading the book and doing an activity but be careful what you start because my son was looking to do an activity ever time we finished reading a book.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sensible Arrangement Book Review

Sensible Arrangement, A (Lone Star Brides) by Tracie Peterson was a book that I got to review through the publisher.  I was glad to get the book and I was going to read it when it came in but I was in the middle of the book.  I knew that I needed to read it next but then things got a little crazy when we went out of town for two weeks to be with my grandmother.  There was a delay in me getting anything done during this time but I did bring the book with me.  I planned on starting it and getting it done in time for the deadline of today.  Then, I didn't get time to start it until the 13th.  UGH!  Well, not a problem because even though I worked for 7 hours at my aunt's office and I still finished it by the 14th.

In this book, Marty Olson has lost her husband in a farming accident and continued to run the farm but she is very sad being stuck in Texas where all the memories are.  Marty answers an advertisement for a Lone Star bride for a man from Texas who is living in Colorado.  She goes on a trip to visit some friends and on the way to her new life, she has quiet the adventure.  Jake Wythe is the man that she agrees to marry.  He was also widowed and needs to have a wife to show the people on his banks board that he is a settled man.  They agree to have a marriage of companionship and convenience instead of love.  In the process, their trial and tribulations bring them closer together so you will have to pick up the the book to see what they go through and how they grow.

I enjoyed this book because it was a great love story and there was always something going on that was really interesting.  I didn't want to put the book down and had lots of information about the historical references.  I guess that is why it took me less than two days to read it while still visiting with family and friends and working.  It was interesting and educational at the same time!! I don't think that it was something that I would normally pick out and that is all the more reason why I am super glad to be part of the Litfuse Publishing review group and got the opportunity to pick out this book!  I highly recommend that you check it out too because you will enjoy the quick pace of the story with the great characters.  Check this book out at your local library or bookstore to see what you think!

Please check out the website about the book here to learn more about it.  If you would like to learn more about the author, please check out her website here.  If you would like to purchase the book, feel free to purchase it from here.

* Please note that I got this book for free for my honest review from Litfuse Publishing.  My opinion is all my own and I have been given no compensation for this review.