Saturday, August 14, 2010


Working on spelling?  Here are some GREAT ideas

I want my children to be civilized not socialized!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Teaching Syllables

Teaching children how to break apart words into syllables is necessary in teaching them how to write.  I watched dozens of youtube videos and I thought this one was the easiest to explain to my son.  

The video is made by a group of kindergarten teachers.

After I watched this video I sat down and did the same demonstration explaining syllables to Ethan.

I also found a website that he can practice counting syllables. (this game doesn't work with Safari, but it does work with Firefox)
Here is the link.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil pasta

I made this for dinner the other night my husband LOVED it.  Pioneer woman has a ton of great recipes!

Free courses at MIT

I have been hearing about colleges offering free education to homeschoolers.  Here is a very exciting program offered free at MIT
Check this out
MIT has put 2,000 mini-courses online for free.

Homeschoolers THIS IS A MUST SEE!!!

This man made youtube videos from basic addition to calculus.
Here is the link

The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) with the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Despite being the work of one man, Salman Khan, this 1600+ video library is the most-used educational video resource as measured by YouTube video views per day and unique users per month. We are complementing this ever-growing library with user-paced exercises--developed as an open source project--allowing the Khan Academy to become the free classroom for the World.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Want to save money?  I mean BIG money.

Stop what you are doing,


Right Now...  find your last mortgage statement.

Now take a much money are you paying in principle?? 
Now, how much are you paying in INTEREST! (YIKES) 
I know it's horrible isn't it!!

Let's say you owe $200,000 on your principle balance at 6% interest rate with a 30 year fixed loan.
If you never make and extra principle payment you will be paying an extra $231,677.05 in interest.    That doesn't sound like 6% to me, it sounds like 130%.
That home you thought you were paying $200,000 for is really costing you 431,677.05

Did you know you can do something about it?  
You can pay down your principle balance and decrease the amount you pay in interest.  

Now let's say you don't have a lot extra cash to
 add to that principle balance only $100 additional a month.  Over the next 30 years you will have saved $62,463.88 in interest and decreased then length of you loan by 9 years 10 months.
Isn't that ridiculous, everyone tells you 6% is a great rate, but really is it?  
There is a great calculator online that can show you how much you can save by prepaying your mortgage principle.

Considering Refinancing?

We refinanced our house back in December of this year.  I was a little nervous about the whole ordeal.  I had heard that it was a real hassle, but went thru with it anyway.  Here is what I learned.

I had heard that if you can get a rate of 1% lower or more, than your current rate that it would be worth it to refinance.

In order to qualify to refinance, we needed to have at least 20% of the principle balance paid off of the current appraised value (please note, not 20% of what we paid for the house).

The appraiser came out and "inspected" our home and then told us it was worth the same amount as the house that had just sold across the street.  Basically, he didn't look at anything except to figure out an appraisal .  (So if your wondering if you have paid off 20% of your home appraised value, I suggest going to and finding a similar house in your neighborhood that has sold recently and how much it sold for).

After having our home appraised,  I've learned that you need to discuss upgrades with the appraiser. ( i.e. we have granite counters, we have a pool, a hot tub, a pool heater, a new get my drift). You want your home to get appraised as high as possible especially if your not sure you have paid down your mortgage 20%.

When discussing different rates with the mortgage broker, decide how long you are willing to stay in the home.  We didn't want to commit to staying in this house very long so we didn't choose the lowest rate because the closing cost would be higher.  We choose a rate that would only require us to stay in this home for 4 months after the refinance to cover closing costs.

We went from a 30 year fixed at 6% to a 15 year fixed at 4.75%, our payments every month went up $7.  In other words, we took 9 years off the length of our loan (because we lived here for 6 years) at the cost of $7 more a month.

We used a company called Quicken Loans.  We had a really great experience with them, everything was done online and then they sent a notary to our home and we signed all the papers at our house.  We switched from a 30 year fixed to a 15 year fixed loan.  They did require us to pay $500 to lock in a rate.  So you don't want to call them until you have figured out what percentage of your principle balance you have paid off.

Crown ministries has a bunch of great calculators to help you figure out all this mortgage stuff.
Here is the Link

Sprung a leak

I heard a loud knock at the door, usually this is good sign, it means a package is being delivered.  However, when I answered the door it was not the UPS man but the man from the water company.  He asked if I had any water have a feeling this isn't going to end well.  
After turning  the water off to the house and the sprinkler system, we walked out to check the meter... the spinning triangle isn't good, is it?   So........ somewhere between the house and the meter we have a leak. 
So you may be wondering why I am posting this....

To make a long story shorter...our water bill for this month is rather large.   A broken pipe that you don't know about can cost you a fortune!
If this ever happens to you... here is a little tip

The water company will give you a break on your water bill once every three years if you have a leaking pipe.  They did ask me how long it took us to fix it and had me read the current meter reading to them before giving me the discount.  They subtracted $220 from our bill.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My favorite things!

This is a collection of music that is straight from scripture.  It states that it's for kids, but I have to tell you I LOVE these CDs.  My kids and I rock to these songs as we head down the highway and we have a lot of scripture memorized from listening to these songs.  We own the entire Seeds Family Worship collection.  You can listen to a sample of the music on amazon.
Seeds of Courage

Friday, August 6, 2010

Upcoming Post...Men's basic haircut DIY

Upcoming Post
How to cut your man's hair ....DIY
How to highlight hair...I need to find a victim, I mean volunteer for this one.

Using Youtube in homeschooling

First let me start with a youtube all of the video before you show them to your kids.  There are people out there...sick people...who want to poison your children by putting clips in the middle of a "educational video" that are inappropriate for children's eyes.  

But let's not throw out the baby with the can be a great teaching tool, you just need to do some prescreening first.

We started reading little autobiographies and biographies that we found in the library.  My oldest child is 5 so they aren't large books only about 20 sentences long.  

After reading these books we would sit down and watch a short video on the historical figure and we'd find these videos on youtube.

For example, we studied about Benjamin Franklin, then went to youtube and found some cartoon clips from liberty kids.  
It made his life come alive for my kids.

When teaching math I have found some skip counting songs they really help teach multiplication.  No purchase necessary.
Here is a link to skip counting by 4's

There are many ways to make learning more interesting, this is just one we like.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Battle of the CAR SEAT!!

The Battle of the car seat.  This lesson took me a long time to learn and I'm not sure I've mastered it, I get another chance and child to work on this one.  I've tried screaming, spanking, sheer force and it really didn't work at getting the kids into their car seats willingly.  Until my sister told me this nugget of wisdom.

  • Keep little treats in the car such as a little box of raisins or orange tic-tacs and after the child gets in the car seat they get a treat
These work like a charm, no more fights...happy mom and happy kids :)

Teaching clock reading

We are covering how to tell time in our homeschooling lessons.  Here is one way we review our lessons.  

I have Ethan run over and tell me what time it is on the digital clock.  

Then he comes over and we set the clock together.  Yes, folks it's that simple.

We do this a few times everyday as part of our lesson.