Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - August 10-16, 2015

Breakfast - BLT sandwiches
Lunch - Dreamfields pasta with marinara sauce
Snack - fresh veggies
Dinner - chili dogs

Breakfast - sausage links and eggs
Lunch - eating out at Panera
Dinner - Big Mac Salad

Breakfast - Berry Breakfast Cake
Lunch - leftover Big Mac Salad
Dinner - Fajitas

Breakfast - waffles
Lunch - leftover Fajitas
Dinner - Salmon, wild rice

Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - fried pork chops, eggs

Breakfast - oatmeal
Dinner - Festival at church

Breakfast - waffles

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Homeschool Curriculum Review: Christian Kids Explore Biology

It's time for Throwback Thursday - the day that I feature some of my older posts.  For today's Throwback Thursday post I am reposting my review of Christian Kids Explore Biology.  We really enjoyed this curriculum and actually went on to use additional books in the series.

After a lot of researching and searching I decided to use Christian Kids Explore Biology this year for my third and fifth grade daughters. We are loosely following the Well Trained Mind method of education, and were looking for a classical science curriculum that could be used with both girls, and this seemed to fit the bill.

The curriculum is written by Stephanie Redmond, who is a Christian author that has developed a full set of science books that follow the classical method of education. In addition to Christian Kids Explore Biology, she also has written Christian Kids Explore Chemistry, Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space, and Christian Kids Explore Physics. The curriculum is designed for students in third through sixth graders, but my younger son has been following along with no issues whatsoever, making it easily adaptable for younger students.

One of my factors in my decision to go with this program was the fact that the curriculum is written by a Christian author, so Biology is taught with a Christian perspective. However, the curriculum covers both the theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. Even though we are Creationists, I still want my children to understand that there are other theories on how the Earth was created. I do not want them to be in high school or college before they are exposed to these ideas and I want them to be exposed to them for the first time on my terms.

Another factor in my decision for choosing this curriculum was both the cost, and publisher. Christian Kids Explore Biology is published by Bright Ideas Press, who also published Mystery of History, a history curriculum we really like and use. The book is very inexpensive compared to many science curriculums with a list price of just $29.95.

There are thirty-six lessons in the book, with the intention of students covering one lesson a week. I think that they could be covered much more quickly than that however. The book includes review questions for each lesson, coloring pages, hands on activities, experiments, bible memory verses, vocabulary words for each lesson, and plenty of supplemental reading suggestions. The curriculum is very easy to use as is, with minimal prep required on my part as a teacher. The majority of the prep work is running copies, or collecting the items needed for the day’s activity or experiment.

At this point I am absolutely thrilled with my decision to purchase this curriculum, and plan to continue through all of the books in this series by Stephanie Redmond.

Five Signs That Your Refrigerator Needs to be Repaired

Your refrigerator is the most used appliance in your home, and if it goes down it can often lead to chaos.  Luckily, your refrigerator will often show signs that it is need of repairs before it goes completely out.  Here are five warning signs that your refrigerator is in need of repairs.

Food is not as cold as it should be or it spoils quickly.

Food that isn't as cold as it should be, as well as fruits or vegetables that spoil quickly when they are stored in the refrigerator are warning signs that something major is wrong with your refrigerator.  It could mean that your refrigerator is leaking coolant, your refrigerator's thermostat needs replacing, or even that there is something wrong with your refrigerator's compressor.

The refrigerator is making noises.

While older models of refrigerators were quite loud when they were running most modern refrigerators are designed to run quietly.  Listen to how your refrigerator sounds so that if your refrigerator begins making odd noises you will notice.  Among the noises that you should look out for are is a constant humming tone, banging noises or a loud pitched tone.  If the noises are ignored they will only get worse, and ignoring the problem may lead to further damage to your refrigerator.

There is water pooled behind or underneath your refrigerator.

Some water leakage from your refrigerator is normal and you can expect to find water in the refrigerator drain pan.  However if water is overflowing out of the drain pan or is pooled behind your refrigerator it is a sign that there is an issue with your refrigerator. There are many issues that can cause water to leak from your refrigerator.  The issues could range from a cracked drain pan, to the waterline to the icemaker springing a leak, or worn out seals that need to be replaced.

There is frost built up inside of the refrigerator.

Frost building up on the inside of the freezer compartment of your refrigerator can be normal and a sign that the freezer needs defrosting.  Frost that is built up on the inside of the lower compartment of your refrigerator is a sign that you your refrigerator is malfunctioning and may be in need of repairs.

There is sweat on the outside of your refrigerator.
When your refrigerator sweats it is from a build up of condensation on the outside of your refrigerator.  It is normal for a small amount of condensation to build up on the outside of your refrigerator, especially on hot or humid days.   However if your refrigerator has an excessive buildup of condensation on the outside of it is a sign that your refrigerator might be in need of repairs.   

Monday, April 27, 2015

Menu Plan Monday, April 27 - May 3, 2015

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Last week was a good week food wise.  We did end up eating out a couple more times than we had originally planned but we tried some amazing recipes, many which will be hitting the blog in the near future.  I have definitely been in the mood to be creative in the kitchen the last few weeks.  When we were at Disney World we stopped by the Columbia Harbor House for dinner one night and I had lobster mac n' cheese, it was delicious!  I have been wanting to try a version of this at home, and plan to do so this week.  

Here's what I have planned for us this week:

Brunch - Bacon, Eggs, Biscuits
Dinner - Sandwiches, Pretzels, Fresh Fruit

Breakfast - oatmeal
Lunch - chili dogs, baked beans
Dinner - Shrimp Mac N Cheese, corn on the cob

Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - ravioli, garlic breadsticks
Dinner - Chili Con Queso

Breakfast - ham and egg sandwiches
Lunch - chicken noodle soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Dinner - Italian Sausage with Green Peppers and Onions, Baked Potato Wedges

Breakfast - Dutch Baby
Lunch - Loaded Baked Potatoes

Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - sandwiches, pretzels, applesauce
Dinner - Eating Out

Breakfast - Cereal
Dinner - leftover night

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mom's Favorite Baby Finds and Must Have Items for 2015

Are you expecting a baby!  If so congratulations!  Whether you are a new mom or a mom who hasn't had a baby in a long time you may be wondering with all of the new baby gadgets on the market what are the ones that are the best buy.  Here is a look at what mom's say are their favorite baby finds and must have items for 2015.

Fisher Price Rock 'n Play
The Fisher Price Rock 'n Play seems to be at the top of many a new mom's wish list.  I had a very similar item when my fifteen year old daughter was born but it was much lower to the ground than this model.  The reason so many moms love the Fisher Price Rock 'n Play is for it's versatility.  It can easily be moved from room to room during the day for baby to nap in, it is portable enough to take with you for use when you aren't at home, and some moms even use it at night beside their own bed for baby to sleep in, as it is a much safer alternative to co-sleeping.  Babies who suffer from reflux seem to do well in it as it keeps babies upper body slightly elevated.

Nose Frida
So when I first heard of the Nose Frida I thought that it was the grossest thing ever!  The Nose Frida is a nasal aspirator that allows you to suck baby's snot out of their nose with.....your mouth.  I know!  However, the Nose Frida actually works and you don't end up with snot in your mouth.  It is much more effective than the little blue bulb aspirator that you get in the hospital.  And in the end baby can breathe, which is what matters.

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
When I had my first child the Boppy pillow was all the rage.  I could never get it to work right.  All of the issues that breastfeeding mom's had with the Boppy seem to be solved with the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow which makes it rank at the top of many new mom's must have list.

SwaddleMe Adjsutable Infant Wraps
Swaddling your baby is an art form, and one that I had a hard time perfecting with my first child.  However, when you got the swaddling right it was amazing.  With the SwaddleMe adjustable infant wraps swaddling is made easy.

The Woombie keeps baby warm at night and is a much safer alternative than covering baby up with a blanket for the night.  

Dr. Boudreaux's Butt Paste
There are lots and lots of diaper ointment creams on the market but this is the one that wants.  It does wonders and is an absolute must have for your nursery!

Euro Spa Bath and Changing Table
The Euro Spa Bath and Changing Table is another item at the top of many mom's must have list.  It acts as a changing center with plenty of space to store wipes, diapers, and all of the items you need for diaper changes, while also having a tub to wash baby in.  It's height is perfect for mom's, and it is portable.

Other Must Have Items 
Nail Clippers - the ones specially designed for babies are best

Onesies - in the winter you can layer them, in the summer they are perfect for wearing by themselves

Cloth Diapers - diapers are expensive and cloth diapers are a much cheaper alternative, while also being better for the environment.  There is no need for the fancy ones, the simple ones work just as well.

Socks - these seem to get lost so easy, so having plenty on hand will be a blessing.

Baby Carrier - There are all kinds of baby carriers available on the market and the kind that works best will vary from individual to individual.  I have to add a word of warning will come with these, if you decide to breastfeed while wearing your baby please be careful.  My sister had a very close call with my niece who fell asleep while breastfeeding in a baby carrier.  

Swing - the time that baby spends in the swing is the only relief that some new mom's get.  For many babies the soothing rocking of the swing is the only thing that will comfort them, or let them sleep.

Lanolin and breast pads - if you are a nursing mom these are a must

Formula - even if you plan on breastfeeding exclusively it is recommended that you keep some formula on hand in case for some reason you have to have it.

Wipes Warmer - this is especially important in the colder months but I used mine all year long

Hands Free Breast Pump - When your hands are full of a little one all day, having a hands free breast pump will allow you to read, surf the internet or even fold clothes while you pump.

Infant Night Gowns - You will be changing your baby's diaper a lot during those first weeks, and you will be sleep deprived.  Using night gowns instead of sleepers means you have no zippers or snaps to mess with when changing diapers.

Hats - Babies lose the majority of their body heat through their head.  No matter what the season is baby hats can help keep baby warm in the winter months or in the cool air conditioning.

Convertible Car Seat - while infant seats can be tempting a convertible car seat will last you much longer than a newborn seat making it a much better investment from the beginning.

Gas Drops, Teething Drops, Baby Tylenol - These are items you will want to keep on hand, as they are not things you will want to be running out to the store at 2 AM to purchase.  Purchasing ahead of time won't be a waste of money - you will use them at one point or another!

Behind the Ear Thermometer - Less invasive than other thermometers, it works quickly and is great to use with a fussy baby.

Are you a mom on a budget?
Check out our post - Tips for Saving Money During Baby's First Year

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Saving Money on Groceries at Meijer Without Clipping Coupons

I have mentioned time and again on this blog that I am on a tight budget when it comes to grocery shopping.  I am always looking to save as much as I can when it comes to groceries.  While I still clip coupons I don't use many of them because they are for foods we don't eat.  The majority of the coupons I use are for laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, household items, and health care.  One of my favorite stores to shop at is Meijer.  Meijer offers a mPerks program that you can use in addition to coupons, or you can use if you don't use coupons.

In the last month I have saved $56.34 by using mPerks.  My weekly food budget is $125 so this is nearly half of one weeks grocery budget for my family.  

You can sign up for mPerks by visiting Meijer's website.  Once you sign up for this free program you simply go online to chose from Rewards and coupons that you digitally clip.  To use these coupons and rewards at the store, you enter your phone number and pin on the credit card pad at checkout.  

When you sign in to mPerks you can choose from Rewards or Coupons.  My favorite part of the program is the Rewards part.  When you choose the Rewards tab you can choose Rewards that you want to start earning.  These are both generalized rewards and specialized rewards.  You have four weeks to earn these rewards.  The Reward that I use each month is $6 off your shopping trip when you spend $175.  The $175 does not have to be spent in one trip, it can be tallied up over multiple trips.  Specialized rewards that I am earning this month include $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $30 on fresh vegetables in the produce department, $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $30 on Cleaning and Laundry Products, and $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $40 or more in Garden and Floral.  

When you chose the Coupons tab you can digitally clip coupons.  Some of the coupons are similar to those you would find in the Sunday coupons, while others may be a percentage or dollar amount off a certain department purchase.  One coupon currently offered on mPerks is 10%  off your General Merchandise purchase.

Another nice feature of mPerks is that it digitally stores your receipts for you and that you can create your own shopping list with it.  

I am linking this post up to Works for Me Wednesday at Giving up on Perfect.