Peanut Butter Fudge (an easy recipe for busy moms)

Everyone loves homemade Christmas candy, but it is often hard to find time to make it.  This is a family favorite and a crowd pleaser at our house:

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

Add to microwave safe bowl- 1 sick butter and 1 cup creamy peanut butter.  Microwave until butter is melted (for me that is about 70 seconds).

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and approximately 2 cups powdered sugar.  (Note- I only add a bit of powdered sugar at a time until it reaches the consistency I want.  You may find you like more or less powdered sugar.) Stir until firm.

Pour into a buttered 9x 13 pan (or smaller if you want thick pieces)  Place in refrigerator until firm.  Cut into desired size pieces.  Enjoy!

This takes approximately 10 minutes to make.  Take homemade candy to your holiday party that you made in no time!

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Why 5am?

I was recently asked why I am up at 5am every day.  It’s not always my idea of fun- but I am by nature a morning person.  (I also like to be in bed by 8pm if possible!  No night owl here.)

Personally, I am most productive between 5:30 am (thanks, coffee) and noon.  If I’m up an hour or so before my family, I have a “jump start” on the day.  I spend this time by starting a load of laundry and then having a devotion (and a cup or two of coffee).  After that it’s on to bookwork for my husband and usually putting something in the crockpot for dinner.  Then we start our schoolwork for the day.

If early morning is most productive for your family, use that time to get a start on your day.  Maybe you are a night owl, use the evening hours to do the work you need to complete.

As a working homeschool parent, my schedule looks a lot different from other homeschool parents or just parents in general.  That’s ok with me- I’m doing what my family needs.  Do not feel guilty because the other homeschooling moms you know get up later or go to bed earlier.  We each need to do what’s best for our family- and for me that is why I wake up at 5am.

Grocery Shopping Game Changer

In the last year or so, Wal Mart began offering free two day shipping on orders over $35.  Friends, that’s been a game changer for me.

I’ve mentioned before I use Amazon Subscribe and Save for things like hygiene items, Oxiclean, dog food, Mrs. Myers products, etc.  I’ve also used Prime Pantry but I struggle with the shipping costs and figuring out what best fits in each box.

So, my friends laugh a me, but Wal Mart can make things like canned good, Oreos, broth, etc. show up at my door.  Sure, these items may be cheaper other places (the nearest Aldi is over 30 minutes away).  But this is a time saver for me during busy seasons of life.  If I’m in a town with an Aldi, I’m more than likely to stop and stock up on items we need from there.  But, when life doesn’t permit, I’m glad to order as much as I can online. (I can do it while I eat my lunch.)

How do you save time on grocery shopping?

 

What I “Hire Done”

Someone recently wrote to ask if I have a housekeeper.  No.  (I’m all for it, but my husband is not.)  I do clean at 5am some days.

But, there are things that I do pay to have done.  I usually have something for the dry cleaners, so I do take my ironing and pay to have it done.  (I was never good at ironing and I find my time is worth more than what I pay to have it done.)

If I’m supposed to take food someplace and know preparation time is going to be an issue, I call a local catering company that is more than happy to do small orders.  Chicken salad for 10, cookies, cupcakes, pies – they have made it all for me when  I did not have time.

I also sometimes pay what may be a little extra for items we use regularly to be on Amazon Subscribe and Save.  I just don’t have to think about it and they show up at my front door.

Something else I don’t mind paying for is gift wrap.  We live in a small community and many of the businesses offer it as a complementary service when you purchase a gift from them.  Those that charge a few dollars?  I’m more than happy to pay- especially during the busy holiday season.

I homeschool my child.  I work.  I’m involved in a number of community activities.  I’m alright paying for these services and I try to save money in other places.

What do you pay to have done?

 

Crockpot Ham and Beans

Do you have leftover ham from a holiday get together?  Why not use it in slow cooker ham and beans on a busy day?

I soak dry navy beans overnight.  Add ham to taste.  We like our ham and beans seasoned with seasoned salt and pepper.  As long as a I soak the beans, I can cook all day on low in my slow cooker and it’s ready for our evening meal.

Do you have a slow cooker recipe to share?

What About Christmas Break?

The holiday season is upon us.  I’m often asked if we take a Christmas break.  The answer is usually no.  Maybe Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after Christmas.

So why no Christmas break?  I’m usually off quite a bit around Christmas which means I’m home for full homeschool days.  That gives us extra time to work on a concept that is difficult where extra help is needed.

Plus, it’s normally too cold here to be outside much during this time of year.  Why not knock out school days now and take a little longer summer break?

Does your family take a break from school during the Christmas season?

Adding Art to Your Homeschool

Let me be honest for a minute.  I am not a fan of art.  Especially when my daughter was little, it was messy.  What working mom has time for a mess?  Right?

So, how do we fit art into our homeschool?  When we participated in Classical Conversations, my daughter fell in love with abstract art.  She loves to create abstract art and will spend hours working on a piece.  All I have to do is provide sketchbooks and colored pencils.  She loves doing this in the evenings or a slow weekend afternoon.

We sometimes attend 4-H workshops where an art project is being completed.  (We just attended a painting one a few weeks ago.)  Or, we have gone to paint parties which are popular in our area.

Our local community college also has some summer art workshops for children that are sometimes art based.

While Classical Conversations was great at covering artists and styles of art, I have yet to figure out the best way to cover this in our new schedule.  We have been using the Usborne Famous Artist Book  (you should review this book yourself before assigning to your child) to discuss some famous artwork.

In our state, music lessons are considered a fine art.  I’ve mentioned before, my child takes piano lessons.  We have also used The Story of the Orchestra to discuss music.

What are some ways your busy family covers art?

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