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?

What we are reading:

Reading is something my student can get in while I’m at work with minimal help.  I assign a book report on 99% of the books she reads.  What we are reading right now:

What was Pearl Harbor?

Wonder  (I read this book before having my student read it- I couldn’t put it down.)

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What is your student reading?


Managing Extracurricular Activities

I’m often asked how I manage my child’s extracurricular activities, homeschool and work.  Right now, outside of church, we have on athletic extracurricular, piano lessons and participate in 4-H.

I worked our schedule where the athletic activity and piano lessons are on the same night in the town we live.  (The athletic activity is not a competitive sport, so while they do have some “performances” we are not gone every weekend with it.)  So, I am only gone a chunk of one evening for two activities.  On this night, our meal is usually from the slow cook (or lets be real, it’s sometimes carryout).

We attend church one night each week too.  The meal is provided there.

Our 4-H club meets on a weekend afternoon once a month.  We attend workshops and other 4-H events as our child is interested and it fits in our schedule.  I have one day off each week and we try to work on a project (or part of one) each week.  As a matter of fact, she finished one while I was off for Thanksgiving break.  I’ve written about this before, but I sometimes tie 4-H projects into schoolwork.

Do we sometimes say no to activities?  Absolutely.  You have to do what works best for your family.  We live in a rural area, so what is offered for children here is somewhat limited- which is sometimes good, sometimes bad.

How do you manage extracurricular activities?


The Two Week Countdown

Two weeks until we start back to school in our house.  (Honestly, part of me is not ready!)  I have the first week of assignments done, except I’m really struggling with what to have her read.  We dropped a text book reading program this year in favor of books that will challenge her, but she will enjoy more.  (Any suggestions, friends?)

I’m also working on menu planning the first few weeks of school.  This summer I’ve had days where I have not had to use the crockpot every day- but that first week back on a school schedule- I think I’ll be using the crockpot.  One less thing to think about!

I purchased what few supplied we need a couple of weeks ago.  After you homeschool a few years, it seems new pencils, notebooks and erasers are about all you need.

I’ve also been using time watching her extracurricular activities to work on her handwriting notebook for the year.  Since she usually does this without me around, I have numbered all the assignments so we do not have questions every day.

What are you doing to prepare for back to school?