Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How I plan what I purchased?


Can you believe it?  This year I am going to plan!  Years past we have done everything from fly by the seat of our pants type planning to having it all planned out for us. 

This year, we are taking majority of the summer off from “official schooling.”  We do still do 3 subjects each day, reading, math and a choice.


I am using this time to plan out months at a time.  I set up a part time desk in the kitchen, that way I don’t have to clean up to cook and eat. LOL!  (seriously though).

Let’s begin with how I am planning Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row. 
I am using the planner page I got from All of A Kind FamilyP1020427
I use the book as well as the internet, (mainly Pinterest and Homeschool Share) to get my ideas.  I have collected and preprinted everything I need.  I precut and laminated many things too.  I store those in a Ziploc.
I then put everything I need in a manila folder and label it.  I write on the outside of the folder anything I will need to either purchase or gather from around the house.

I then store all these folders on my teacher bookshelf.  And I use the year long planning page from the Schoolhouse Planner to fill in when we will do each P1020422book.  I have planned out our first 8 books and plan to have 12 planned out before the end of August.  Then I am going to try and plan a book a week so I can stay ahead of the game.  I am going to leave room for flexibility.

How I have planned Prairie Primer 

The first thing I did was take the book over to Staples and had them cut the binding off and have it spiral bound.


Then I began using the weekly planner in the Schoolhouse Planner.  I wrote the number of the lesson on the planner page.  So for example she will need to do numbers 1-6 and 8 on the first day. Next to each item number that has something to go with it, I added small notes, LB= lapbook piece, NB= Notebooking page, WS= worksheet, if she is supposed to watch something on YouTube then that is written in there, etc.

I preprinted any notebooking pages, lapbooking pages and worksheets she would need.  They are all sorted by week and will be going in a 3 ring binder.
On the bottom of the schedule I have a list of supplies to gather for that week.  I just grab the sheet a week or two in advance and gather what is necessary. 
I have also pre-bookmarked many of her science pages.  I am also  incorporating The Daring Book for Girls into her lessons, and am in the process of fitting that all in. 

She will do Prairie Primer 4 days per week.

Fridays will be set aside for:
  • game days
  • art projects
  • home ec.
  • finish up work.
  • character lessons

Other things such as grammar and math they will just do the next lesson each day.  So not much preplanning there.

Our Curriculum Choices this year!

Not Back to School<br />
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Decisions have been made, orders have been placed, packages have arrived, planning has began (more on that tomorrow).

This year our curriculum will go as follows
Tyler, age 3
Katey, age 7
  • Five In A Row, using lots of science from the Usborne science books and Nature in a Nutshell as well as history/geography
  • Hooked on Phonics upper level phonics
  • Copywork
  • Lots of reading
  • I am still undecided on her math, right now we are working on fact memorization.
  • Leaving room for review items

Emily, age 11 (almost 12)
  • Prairie Primer, using How Nature Works, How Science Works, How the Earth Works as our main science supplements
  • Painless Grammar
  • Life of Fred as well as Math Essentials (We have loved this program)
  • Finish up Keyboarding
  • Review Items
  • Rosetta Stone French when time allows
  • Co-op classes, sewing and The Art of Argument

Tommy, age 13

As you can see I am trying not to put to much pressure on the kids this year as far as curriculum goes.  I am really looking forward to a more organic learning environment after using K12 last year.  I am also going to make a much bigger effort to do a family read aloud more often.  We have begun reading The Hardy Boys series this Summer and have really enjoyed the time together.

Click on the button at the top of this post to see what other crew members are using. 

What is your favorite curriculum?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

How to Have a Yard Sale: Tips From a Former Pro.

I have done a quite a few yard sales in my lifetime.  In fact we used to make much of our income doing them. 
We purchased repossessed storage sheds many years ago and would just yard sale much of the things we found in them. 
The past two yard sales I had were with my own things.  It is MUCH harder to sale your own things that it is tip sale someone else’s.
This post is not going to tell you how to collect things for a yard sale but rather once that is done how to sell it. I will give you a few quick tips as to gathering items.
You will want a place to store them, a box or corner somewhere. I do not pre-price stuff, I will explain that below. Just clean out and start gathering.

With that being said here are a few tips to help you out.

You usually want to do a yard sale in the Spring, Summer, or even Early Fall.  Make sure the weather is predicted to be decent. 

Yard Sale’s tend to do best on Saturday mornings, and yes quite early.  I usually start setting up at 6 am with plans to be fully set up by 7 am.  I usually clean up about 1 or 2, unless, people are still coming by.  You can start out on a Friday afternoon as those are often paydays for people.  You won’t usually want a holiday weekend as people are often out of town, and the beginning of the month is usually easier for those on a fixed income, financial assistance or those that get paid once a month at the beginning.

You will also need to start out with change, I get $20 in fives, $30 in ones and $10 in quarters.   I like to carry my money around in an over the shoulder cross body bag or a fanny pack with me.  If you have multiple people helping you, such as once our storage shed business got so big my brother helped us out, so there were 3 of us running the yard sale, we had a cashier station, which was always manned, or we each carried our own change.

Put signs up at various intersections near where you will be holding your yard sale.  Do this the night before it is very important to have directional arrows big enough that people can tell which way to go.  It is less important to have the words Yard Sale big, usually people know what a sign on a street post means.  One thing we do is buy bright colored poster board and cut in in half or even in fourths. Then use a giant sharpie marker to draw the arrows.  You can even get creative with your signs, I have seen people create a lowercase t with 2x4’s so that one side going across is longer than the other then put an old yard sale shirt on it with a yard sale sign and an arrow on the end of one of the “arms”.  P1020368I like to put a sign out in front of the yard sale, or if I am doing it in a cult-a-sac then at the entrance, I use a saw horse and tape entire sheets of poster board to it that say “Yard Sale” and stick in out in the road, not to block traffic, just as far out as a car would take up if it was parked on the road.  When I didn’t have a saw horse available I have just used a box that I was storing yard sale items in.P1020367 

My daughter wanted to help color the sign.  It works, people understand what it means.  Smile

We also look for ways to advertise for free, such as Craigslist or we have something known as KSL classifieds, which is much more popular here than Craigslist.  Also put an ad in the local paper if you can afford it.  If your really up to it, you can even organize a community yard sale!
Post on Facebook to your local friends and let them know. 

Setting up and organizing and Pricing.
I carry around the price stickers and a marker and price things as I bring them out. Unless they are a bigger ticket item in which I researched first (see below).
I like to keep my yard sales simple as far as pricing goes, so I have to deal with less change.  I usually have a 25¢ and a $1.00 pile or area. P1020356
I also do a 25¢ box with toys and random stuff in it, kids and some adults like to dig.
Sometimes I am usually willing to accept a dime for an item, if the buyer has a dime or I will do two for a quarter, but as far as getting change I only deal with quarters and bills.
If I have a bunch of one type of item, for instance jewelry or makeup (I used to sale AVON).  I sort those into grab bags using Zip-Loc bags.  (I could seriously go on about my love for Zip-Loc’s but this post serves another purpose.)
I price each bag usually a few dollars each. I almost always have them on a table or in a tote by themselves. 

Tables help the more expensive items sale.  Items are more apt to catch people eyes as they drive by if they are up off the ground and they are also more likely to pick it up if they don’t have to bend down. 
I like to have like items together, such as kitchen, decorations, etc.
Make tables longer by putting a board or old door between two tables.  You can even create tables by putting a board across some totes or boxes, or even saw horses.

P1020365Clothes are also going to sale better if they are clean and not wrinkly as well as either displayed on hangers or folded as they would as the department store.  Here I used the back of a camping chair to hang a few items on.  I know a lady that used colored hangers to color code her pricing of clothes, such as pink hangers are 25¢, green $1.00, etc. I never have had that many clothes to sale.

Have prices clearly marked. I do not like going to or holding yard sales where nothing in priced.  If you have to ask if you are interested in an item it puts people off.  It’s one of those things, keep it easy on the buyer.

Some ways to determine prices are to think about if you were the buyer, price it at what would be reasonable to you.  I usually price to move, so I go a little lower than I would be willing to pay.  On bigger ticket items check what they are listed for in the classifieds, craigslist, KSL (mentioned above) and even e-bay.

What to do with the kids all day?
I like to involve my children.  They like to do lemonade stands during Yard Sales.  They usually charge 50¢ a glass and have a tip jar.   After the yard sale I take them to a movie and they use some of their money to purchase treats at the theater.
If your children are playing outside with toys that are not for sale, put a not for sale sign on them.  If your children are having a hard time with you selling their things, you can do a few things, either offer them the money that the item brings in, offer them to keep the item if they go in and choose another to sale, or even just let them “shop” at the yard sale, where they can “purchase” one or two items.  I also have chalk and bubbles outside for my younger children.

Finally be ready to negotiate.
You may over price a few items as well as under price a few, don’t let a few cents or dollars get in the way of making a sale. I am not always willing to negotiate on a few items that I know are priced appropriately or items that I may give to someone I know or the very few items that I plan on keeping if they don’t sale. 

Now that yard sales are not a part of my actual income we do fun things with the yard sale money, such as redecorate a room, go to an amusement/water park, go camping, go out to eat at a nice restaurant, or even pay down a debt with it.

After I clean out my house and have a yard sale I feel so free, so organized, and much less overwhelmed. It is rare that I look back and think “I wish I didn’t sale that” though it has happened, I usually just make do with what I have. 

This post is linked up to Works For Me Wednesday over at We are that family.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Goodnight Moon~ B4FIAR

Tot School

We had so much fun rowing Good Night Moon.  There are some resources I used that are not pictured.  They are all listed at the bottom.

We learned the nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle, Diddle.”

We practiced being the cow that jumped over the moon.
We painted a magic paper blue and watched as stars and a crescent moon appeared.  I made the magic paper by coloring the shapes on a white paper using a white crayon.  When they painted it with water colors the crayon showed through.
We learned about how light can bend using a mirror and how light can be concentrated by using tinfoil with holes over our flashlights.

We had a special bed making lesson.

He learned the nursery rhyme, “Hickory Dickory Dock.”
We made an easy mouse craft.


We painted some puffy paint moons and stars and made them into a mobile.

Each night we looked at the moon and went star gazing.  One night we saw this amazing moon.  I promise this picture is NOT edited in any way. It was so cool.

Friday, July 27, 2012


We had some other business to take care of up that way and decided since we are driving all that way, we may as well stop by and discover Yellowstone for a few days.

I won’t bore you with the story of how we got a flat tire on our 5th Wheel half way there, or share about how we were broken down for two days in Idaho Falls.  I will tell you how lucky we are that we have amazing family there that made it all bearable.  I will also share with you how amazing the people of Idaho Falls were for us, they delayed service on their cars so our truck could get pushed through and fixed since we are not locals.  I won’t share how we spent half a day cleaning oil off the trailer, or even talk about how I ended up extremely sick and ended up in urgent care.  I am not even going to tell the story about how my husband was so upset with our camping spot that he almost got us kicked out of the RV Park.  I am also not going to dwell on the fact that my camera broke for the second time halfway through the trip, and this time it is not under warranty any longer.

What this post is about is the fun we had once we got there.  We stayed in Island Park, Idaho, which is about 30 minutes from West Yellowstone, we arrived 2 days later than we had anticipated. We tried to fit as much in as we could in the short amount of time we had left. 
Our first day we went to John Sacks Cabin in Island Park.  Here we were so lucky to see not one, but three moose, a mom, a dad, and a baby drinking from the river.  Johnny Sacks cabin is an amazing cabin that John built in just 3 years, P1020497including all the furniture and cabinets using only hand tools.  He also created a pump to pump water from the spring into a holding tank up the hill and gravity naturally pressurized his home with water.  Another neat thing he did was install a water wheel where the spring come out of the mountain and used to to power his home, by way of a generator. 

Here we are waiting for the cabin to open.

After that we took our first trip into Yellowstone. On our way there, each day we stopped by another spring and filled our water bottles up with fresh water.

We stopped at the Fountain Paint Pots and hiked around, staying on the trails, of course.
Katey told me she had no idea this is what Yellowstone is, she said she thought it was just shopping.  She must be thinking of West Yellowstone.  LOL

We went in and saw Old Faithful, these are phone pictures.


We were very lucky to see a mama and a baby bison crossing the road.

It also started to storm on our way out of Yellowstone.  We were able to see an amazing double rainbow as well as an amazing sunset! 

Katey had so much fun working on the animal scavenger hunt that was given to her as well as working towards earning her Jr. Ranger Badge.
There are many kid geared areas in the visitor’s centers.  It was really neat to see how a geyser works from underground.

One of my very favorite spots in Yellowstone is Isa Lake.  It is a lake that sits on the continental divide.  It drains into both oceans.  I am just fascinated by that.

We continued on and had a picnic, walked on the shore of Yellowstone Lake barefoot, as well as went to a ranger led activity (I recommend going to any ranger led activities that fit your schedule, they are amazing, you just learn so much) so that Katey could earn her Jr. Ranger Badge.  We also were able to see 3 bears,  a momma, a daddy and a baby in Hayden Valley, Yellowstone, as well as countless bison. 

We finished Yellowstone up by going to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, we saw Upper Falls, where the power of the water hold you in awe.

The next day we were to be packing up and heading to Mesa Falls.  We ended up sleeping in a little and packing up took longer than we thought, so we had to skip that this trip.  We are planning on going back very soon and next time taking all the kids.

Here are a few tips I have acquired while traveling Yellowstone.
Pack a “hiking backpack” with
  • snacks
  • water
  • binoculars
  • camera
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • bear repellant
  • compass/whistle/flashlight
Plan most of your meals picnic style, there are restaurants to eat at in Yellowstone, as well as plenty in the surrounding towns.  But taking advantage of their amazing picnic areas allows you to experience so much more of Yellowstone.  (It is usually also less expensive).
We packed a small Coleman type barbeque that takes those mini propane tanks. 
Some Picnic ideas (some using a grill) are:
  • hotdogs – chips- fruit
  • hamburgers- fruit- pasta salad (premade in a Ziploc bag)
  • sandwiches (cold or grilled)- veggies with dip
  • salad bar style fixins (precut and in Ziplocs)
  • Mac and Cheese (in a pot)- veggies
  • Soup (in a pot)- rolls
Other picnic items to pack:
  • paper towels
  • paper plates
  • plenty of drinks
  • cooler with ice
  • pot
  • garbage sacks
  • grill
  • spatula
  • can opener (if needed)
  • spoons/forks/knives
  • cutting board (if needed to cut fruits or veggies, or to prepare sandwiches on) – sharp knife
  • table cloth or blanket
All these items with exception of the cooler and grill can be packed into a tote for easy organization and carrying.

Be sure and keep your swimming suits, life jackets and towels in your vehicle as well, there are plenty of places to swim in Yellowstone.  Our favorite is the Fire Hole River.

I hope you get to experience Yellowstone with your family soon.


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