Sunday, September 14, 2014

Frugal Accoplishments 9/7-9/13

This week has been a whirlwind of activity at our house. My mother has been visiting which always means lots of sightseeing and traveling. We are extremely blessed that my mother treats our entire family to these outings otherwise this week would have been VERY non-frugal.

This week we did have some frugal wins however...

The weather here is turning cooler and we were able to keep our a/c off  at night for 3 nights and for 2 full days. I adore having the windows open and enjoying the cool breeze. Fall is my favorite season for sure.

Also this week I took advantage of some wild blackberries growing in an open field near my house and did some transplanting. I managed to transplant 8 blackberry bushes to the fence line closest to the road. I am hoping that as they grow they will provide not only fruit but also privacy. They are looking pretty rough right now due to my having to sever the root systems between the plants to move them (they send out root systems to produce new plants in a runner type system.). I am hoping that come spring they will bounce back and be good to go. I figure if it works I saved myself $120 in plants....if it doesn't I am just out an afternoons labor.

While I had the shovel out I transplanted 12 day lilies from a back fence line where they were struggling up to our fire pit area. Then it was on to moving iris plants from another fence line where I am planning to plant tomatoes to a flower bed in the front yard to fill in around the existing iris plants.

We are also planning to start our fall semester of school this coming Monday. So I spent my weekend organizing our supplies and getting our first lesson plan written up. I have been trying to find a complete free Bible curriculum to use this year. I lucked out and found this curriculum by Calvary Curriculum. It starts at the beginning and progresses in short lessons through the entire Bible. I will let you know how we like it. You can't beat free however!

Also this week I have been printing up lots of pre-k packs for our 4 yr olds.  This is the first year we have done a structured school with them and they are seriously looking forward to it. I was very excited o find both Frozen and Sophia the First pre-k packs. I am sure they will be massive hits in our house. I laminated the pages and will be using dry erase markers with them. This will cut down on the number of times I have to print the packs, allow me to keep them for our younger children, and the kids get to use markers which is a HUGE incentive to them to do their work. Again gotta love free!

I also decided to scrap the pre-school curriculum we have been using. It is just too advanced for the girls and I really don't like having to read a teachers manual to figure out how to teach the letter A. I think I just don't do well with being micromanaged which is what I feel this curriculum was doing. I decided to instead go back to basics and focus on just the ABC's and 123's as it were. I am in love with the 3dinosaurs site. Especially her ABC printables! We are going to start simply learning the letters and numbers and doing lots of read alouds. The girls already know all their colors and shapes so we are going to skip learning these this year. My goal at the end of the year is for the girls to be able to identify all the letters and numbers, write their name, use scissors, and be able to count up to 10 items. Seems like a good start to me!

As I mentioned last semester we are designing our own Science curriculum this year. I just felt that at this age the kids needed a more diverse curriculum. It seems like all the curriculum out there are very topic specific and spending an entire semester studying just one type of animal was not working for our kids. We spent a month studying Dinosaurs and this month we are working on ecosystems and biodomes. I spent the evening printing out free pages from and teacherspayteachers. com  I am very much looking forward to this unit. We are going to be doing a lot of notebooking activities and field trips. It is going to be a lot of fun. This may or may not be the science nerd in me coming out!

Next up was History. We are doing the Story of the World curriculum and were blessed with the second book in the series for free. That just left the student activity pages to purchase this time. I decided to buy the pdf version of the student pages for $9 and then print two copies. I like the pdf version because I can then save it on my hard drive to use with my younger children down the road. I however do not like printing a 185 page work book....times two! It probably would have been cheaper to just buy the 6 sets of student pages in print ($11 per) by the time I count in printer ink and paper!

This week also happens to be the end of one two week budget and the start of a new two week budget.  I was able to review how we did in the last two weeks and set our new budget for the rest of the month. We were under budget on our food and utilities but went over budget on our "household" account.  Not great but lesson learned. I will be keeping a tighter reign on that category this next two weeks.

How did your week go?

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