Friday, August 20, 2010

YES, We're HOMESCOOLING! History Lesson #1 Family Tree Project

Homeschooling?...Who me?...It is actually pretty funny, in my own head, that I took this on! So you may have these two questions...WHO are you homeschooling? and WHY are you homeschooling LILY? And you may or may not care about the HOW but either way I am going to blog about it just in case you are wondering :-).

I...I mean WE...decided it would be a good decision to homeschool Lily considering two things...she is a young five, birthday May 24th which means she would always turn the next age after the school year ended, being probably one of the youngest of her peers. Second, she did very poorly on her Kindergarten readiness exam, yes they do those in Ohio (not here in South Carolina). There are alot of things I question about Ohio's 'public' academia but this is not one of those things (may I gently mention that South Carolina is not in the clear either).

In all due respect, Lily progressed nicely through two solid years of preschool so I decided another year of preschool would be unfruitful...SO here we are...HOMESCHOOLING!

God blessed and surrounded me with a plethora of other homeschooling parents immediately here in South Carolina, I was kinda intimidated so thank you Lord! So now here I am doing something I once thought imaginable...and I am very serious when I say imaginable!

So here is our staff line-up...I will be teaching Language Arts, my dear friend Donna will be teaching Math, Science and Bible will be integrated through the curriculum, we will be meeting daily for two hour lessons. Once a week we meet with a co-op of two other families both having little girls that are part of the group. At the co-op, Sandy teaches History, myself and Donna will be teaching Girl Scouts and Karen will be teaching Five In a Row. We will also incorporate field trips, hands on projects (art), scrapbooking (art), physical education/sports and the such. More details to come :)!

So our first week was meeting with the Co-Op where Sandy taught the first lesson on Family History, prompting the children (even Lucy participated, how awesome is that!?) to answer questions about their own "history". Such as, where were you born? When were you born? Who are your grandparents? They also did a coloring page. The girls were attentive and engaged in (making an attempt to) answering the questions about who they are and how they got to be who they are today. Also, how do we know about history? Yes, through the written word and through photos! After a solid hour of learning, the girls were ready for playtime!

So, me taking it one step further, as it was Lily was crying and begging to "learn" the very next day pushing me to provide more...I think she is going to push and teach me! I planned Lily's (and my friend's daughters) FIRST Kindergarten scrapbook project...Her Family Tree! Not at all unique as I remember the boys doing it in their "regular" K classrooms BUT I guess I just feel that mine is home-made...special touch added :)! So Lily watched as I planned it all out and we sat and discussed "history". We talked more about what history means, "it is a story of what has already happened" and we discussed different ways that history is documented, "the written word...God gave us His HIStory in the Bible...Historians documented the History of OUR country in textbooks...Mommy takes photos to share YOUR History with you and others..." Fabulous! She's getting it!

So here is our project....(keep in mind...this is the layout...not glued together)...


Supplies needed?

  • 1-Red, 1-Green and 1-Brown Construction Paper

  • 1 - 12x12 scrapbook layout page

  • 1-2 copy paper

  • Printer w/ black ink (or black marker for labels)

  • Photos

  • 16 Apple cutouts

  • 6 Brown branch cutouts

  • 1 Brown trunk cutouts

  • 16 Green stem cutouts

  • 6-? Labels cutouts

  • 6-? Photo inserts (not pictured but labeled in photo)

  • Scissors

  • Glue sticks

I used this apple template to do the cutouts....

I found it HERE and just slimmed it down to size. The trunk is 7 1/2" X 2". The branches and stems are randomly cut ~1/4" width and length as needed. I typed and printed the labels in 20" font of my liking and then cut it free hand...keeping it simple (you can also hand write)! The photo inserts...head shots of each individual will be printed on regular copy paper and cut by the child to place in the center of each apple.

Estimated prep time: 15 minutes
Estimated craft/learning time: 30 minutes



  • FINE MOTOR SKILLS (cutting and gluing)
So I am eager to continue to add to Lily's do you have any suggestions to enrich the learning of family history? Let me/us know by commenting below!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where Do You Get All Of Those Coupons?

Lately I have been getting this question often, "Where do you get all of those coupons?" I typically answer the basics...paper inserts and internet printables. However, the truth of the matter is that I get my coupons from everywhere and anywhere...they seem to seep out of the woodwork and take over my home at times. A blogger friend of mine, Coupon Katarina, compiled a great list recapping all of the different ways you can build your coupon library, I added some additions. Keep in mind, this list is not meant to overwhelm you, just to educate and keep you aware of the many resources out there. Anyone can shop smart and save but those that work the hardest at it will get the deepest discounts. :-) SO let's get started:

WEEKEND NEWSPAPER: This is (and always will be in my opinion) the #1 way to get coupons. In my area we receive our coupon inserts in the Saturday paper; however the majority of you will want to purchase the Sunday paper to receive all your coupons. ALWAYS CHECK to make sure the paper you are purchasing has the coupons inside. I’ve been burned a couple times…got home…no coupons! Ugh. That’s the worst. Usually on holiday weekends there are no coupon inserts (boo!), but sometimes they surprise you, so always check. The coupon inserts are as follows: RedPlum, Smartsource, General Mills and Proctor & Gamble.

INTERNET SITES LIKE:,,, etc. There is an insane amount of printable coupons these days – it is never ending.

MANUFACTUER WEBSITE: If I know that I am going to buy a particular brand and I don't see a coupon on an internet site and I don't have a paper coupon then I check that brands website. Most always there is a coupon on their website or on their facebook page (read below). Good examples are Betty Crocker, Kellogg's, International Delight, Right at Home -Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, Glade. There could be an endless list of possabilities. If I can't find a coupon on their website then I will write and request one (listed below).

FACEBOOK: has become the new cool place to release HOT high value coupons and even FREEBIES. If you are leary of putting your info on the internet for all the world to see, I would still sign up with Facebook even if it is JUST to grab HOT coupons and freebies.

ASK FRIENDS and FAMILY: Chances are most of your friends and family are not using all of their coupons. Speak up and ask if you can save them from the trash! My mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law both give me their extra coupons and I repay them with some of the free stuff I got from using them! Seems like a fair deal to me.

BLINKIES and TEAR PADS: Blinkies are little machines that spit out coupons and tear pads have coupons attached to them. Be on the look out for these at all times!

PEELIES: These are coupons and offers attached to products. These are ONLY for the customer purchasing the item. It is NOT okay to peel off coupons from items you are not buying!

CATALINA MACHINE: This is the little machine that prints along with your receipt. It’s main purpose is to reward you for a specific purchase, but sometimes it has advertisements for upcoming Catalina deals and such, but many times it spits out extra coupons!

CHECK RECYCLE BINS: Now some of you might turn your nose up at this idea, but if you’re anything like my husband (fyi: this is Katarina talking)…you live for dumpster diving! Hey, don’t knock it. You can get lots of freebies! Our local paper recycling bin contains ONLY paper and mostly newspaper, so it’s actually pretty clean!

TRADE ON THE INTERNET: There are several coupon trading/clipping sites. There are several of these companies out there, but here are just a couple you can choose from: Coupon Dede, Ebay (Go through ShopAtHome to earn 1-3% cash back on Ebay purchases!). I purchase coupons from these sites once in awhile. For example, when Rite Aid has their Covergirl BOGO Free sale and there is a BOGO Free coupon…I stock up and get tons of FREE makeup a couple times a year.

MAGAZINES: Several magazines feature a few coupons per month…don’t let those get away! Even the ones you wouldn’t expect to have coupons will sometimes surprise you!

I cannot say enough about ALL You magazine, which features 40+ coupons within their monthly publication. You can also print coupons off of their website! I will make sure to give you a heads up when this subscription is offered at a great price! Check my Magazines category for the latest deal on this mag.

STORES: Many stores, especially drugstores like Walgreens will put out their own monthly coupon booklets to be used exclusively in their stores. The great thing about these is that these are store coupons that can be stacked with a manufacturer coupon, which makes for some great deals! Another way they promote coupons is in their weekly ads, so don’t forget to check those out. I also like to check out Target and CVS.
Grocery stores, like Kroger will mail you coupons based on what you buy.

EMAIL YOUR FAVORITE COMPANIES DIRECTLY: Just ask! I try to email about 10-15 companies each month to compliment them on a quality product. In response they mail me coupons! It only takes a few minutes of your time and the majority will respond with coupons. These coupons are usually higher value than ones you find anywhere else. To avoid bombarding your inbox with junk mail, I would definitely open a separate email account through yahoo or hotmail just for this purpose.

FREEBIES: So I may sometimes look like a free sample junkie but there is a bigger reason besides getting something for free that I sign up for them. Not only will you get a freebie but most come with high value coupons. It's a win-win!

MAILERS: If you sign up with different companies they will usually mail or email you promotional offers and coupons periodically.

INSIDE PRODUCTS: Make sure to check inside the products you buy. Also sometimes manufacturers will put coupons on the box, so don’t throw away anything without checking for coupons first!


Another great way to amp up your coupon savings is by loading them directly to your store’s loyalty card (example: Kroger Plus Card). It is very convenient…never forget your coupons again!

3 easy steps to instant clip-free savings

1. Register your store card on each electronic coupon website
2. Check the coupons you wish to load
3. Swipe your card at checkout and coupons are automatically deducted

(the coupon deduction does not show up at the end of your receipt with the other coupons…it shows up immediately after the item scan)

Here are the 5 websites I load coupons from each month:
Shortcuts, Cellfire, P&G e-Saver, Kroger and Upromise

Each month, I always print a list of what I’ve loaded to my shopper’s card and keep it with me so I can easily match up sales to coupons to clip-free coupons. This makes for some great deals on the spot!

Sometimes these coupons are stackable with a paper coupon. It depends on your store, which site you loaded it from – and sometimes it just depends on the weather! It is so inconsistent that I always consider it a bonus when a digital coupon comes off in addition to a paper coupon.

GET TO KNOW YOUR GROCERY STORE: For example, Publix will accept competitors coupons so it is certainly worth noting who the competition is in your area. Once you have an idea then make sure to periodically check these stores for their coupon booklets and/or the store coupons they have on their websites.

Thank you for the wonderful guest post Coupon Katarina with additions made by Mission Driven Mom

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