Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Strategic Shopping: A Review



This post contains affiliate links :<)




Friends. You know how I feel about frugal shopping. One of my favorite places to frequent is The Thrift Store and “Clarence” (you might know him as “Clearance”) is a good friend of mine. I am always looking for new and creative ways to save a buck. It can be a fantastic adventure! Fantastic, though sometimes challenging.  I was recently given the chance to review two first-rate books about the subject. 



Let me first tell you a little about the author. Candy Foote is a mom of 12! I think she probably has quite a bit of experience shopping strategically! Just her weekly grocery trip alone must be an adventure. You can check out more about Candy and her methods by visiting her website. In her book, Strategic Shopping, she gives step by step practical help.  Candy does talk about how to use coupons, but she also has wonderful advice on how to save money everywhere.  I found that my small family of 3 (just The Muffin, Josiah and Me) benefited just as much as a larger family would. 

http://candyfoote.com/the-store/?ap_id=bekethebookworm

Strategic Shopping is a great resource, but my favorite has to be Christmas with Strategic Shopping. I have to say that this past Christmas stressed me out (just a bit). There were those handmade projects that I didn’t allow enough time for (talk about last minute!). Those homemade goodies I didn’t budget for and so much more I wanted to do for family and friends, but just didn’t have the funds to bring it about. 

I love Christmas and all that comes with it. One of my favorite things is being able to share lovely things with the people I love. Candy helps those like me to “strategically shop” all through the year to make Christmastime all that I hope it can be. How does she do it? Candy gives us a month-by-month plan. She talks about all the items to look for in a particular month. For example, I love knowing that in March I be looking out for socks, gloves, hats or anything wintery that I can sneak into a stocking next year. The price will be drastically reduced as they are preparing the shelves for summer. 

http://candyfoote.com/the-store/?ap_id=bekethebookworm

Another idea I absolutely love is to create a non-perishable box. This box is to hold all the supplies I might find for my homemade treats and goodies through the year. We all know that certain times of the year are better to purchase particular ingredients. I was inspired to get started on my own non-perishable box.

Candy also provides printable pages at the end of her book. These are wonderful organizational tools. I love that she encourages to make a plan and then gives us the tools to do so! 

One of my favorite parts of this books is hearing of Christmas in the Foote house. Candy does such a wonderful job of inviting us into her home. I loved reading of the family traditions. Made me all squishy inside (not that I wasn’t already squishy here and there:<))

I am already putting Candy’s advice into practice. I was somewhere over the weekend and ran into a few shelves with .25 Christmas items. Yay! I spent a couple of dollars and feel good about having a running start on this next Christmas. 
 

Both of Candy Foote's books, Strategic Shopping and Christmas with Strategic Shopping, can be bought from Candy's site. Both are PDF ebooks (I downloaded them to my Kindle) and are easily managed. Right now Candy is providing us with a terrific discount. Just use the Code given below. I know you won't be disappointed.

http://candyfoote.com/the-store/?ap_id=bekethebookworm

I posted yesterday details of a fantastic Facebook party happening tonight (Tuesday, January 28). I encourage you to attend! I am going to try and be there :<)


Happy shopping!



Monday, January 27, 2014

Strategic Shopping Facebook Party!

I am getting ready to post my review for a set of really handy e-books all about Frugal shopping (which you know I love!). For now, I wanted to pass on a bit of information about a fun Facebook party coming tomorrow Tuesday, January 28 @ 8:30PM. In the meantime, stay tuned for my review...I know these books are really going to appeal to a lot of you!

SSFBPartyBanner

Who's ready to party, save some $$$, and win some awesome prizes?  Candy Foote is celebrating the release of her new book, Christmas with Strategic Shopping and the re-release (with a new low price!) of Strategic Shopping, with what looks to be a rockin' Facebook Party! 

Here are some of the prizes you could win! Build a Menu: She will be giving away a one-year membership to this awesome, money-saving meal planning program. In three easy steps you can select the store you like to shop at, pick your recipes and print your customized shopping list. You’re done menu planning for the week! You can choose recipes... from any of these categories to create a menu that’s perfect for you family:
Family Friendly Trim Healthy Mama Low Carb Gluten Free Low Fat/Sensible Portions Allergy Friendly (No gluten, dairy, nuts) Vegetarian Slow Cooker Soups On Crowd Pleasers Manly Meals

To learn more about Build a Menu, go here.

Molly Green Magzine/Econobusters has donated for 2 giveaways during Tuesday's party-- (3) one-year memberships to Molly Green Magazine, which includes future issues as well as back issues, as well as a bundle of 5 eBooks!
Total Value of these giveaways is more than $265!

To learn more about Econobusters with Molly Green, go here.

Did I mention that one of you could win more than $100 in Paypal Cash or an Amazon Gift Card (winner's choice)? There's also an awesome bundle of ebooks up for grabs, from wonderful folks at  Hal & Melanie Young, Phyllis Sather, and Tabitha Philen. Not to mention Candy's books!

SS facebook event cover

So, what exactly is a Facebook party? It's a fast-paced, fun-filled hour and a half where Candy will be answering your Strategic Shopping questions, asking you some fun trivia questions, and best of all, giving out prizes.

Everyone who attends the party will receive FREEBIES just for showing up! Your first step is to RSVP on the events page over here. The actual party will not be on the events page though. It will be on Candy's STRATEGIC SHOPPING page. Throughout the party, watch for new status posts every 5 minutes with trivia questions, giveaway offers, and more fun. Leave comments, ask questions, and have fun! Refresh the page often so you don't miss out on new posts! See you there! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

5 Essentials of Homeschooling: So You Wanna Be Superwoman



 This week I am going to talk to you about the 5 Essentials of Homeschooling. Instead of writing about my favorite brand of #2 pencil and math curriculum, I want to talk to you about what I consider to be truly Heart issues. Of course, these issues are what I have found to be true in my own experience. They might be different for you. My topics for the week are Discipline (the self kind, not the a timeout…though you might need one), Flexibility (and if you can put your leg over your head I don’t want to hear about it), Creativity (you might be able to borrow someone else’s), Teachability (believe it or not…you’re not done learning)  and Grace (I need it daily!). My apologies to those who really wanted to know my thoughts on dry erase boards (I like them) and co-ops (I am slightly afraid of them). Happy Reading!


Today is my last post for the 5 Essentials of Homeschooling Blog Hop. 

I really consider this to be the most important "Essential," not only in Homeschool...but in Life. 

Like my header picture? I could be Superwoman. Well. If you took away the dark, shiny hair, the flawless complexion, the 14-inch waist, the super human strength and general awesomeness. 

Truthfully, there is not much to compare me to Superwoman. Though I try and convince myself now and again I must possess some of her wicked ninja moves. 

Do you know your limits?
I find I know them, but have difficulty sticking to them.  Superwoman I am not. 
Another story (cue sappy daytime soap opera music). I have been in treatment for cardiomyopathy since 1999. For those of you who are not "in the know," it is disease of the heart muscle. In my case, my heart  weakened. Doctors aren't sure why it weakened, but weaken it did.  Most of the time I’ve puttered through life with no ill effects. I am treated with a few different kinds of medication and have a good prognosis. It has caused a few issues for me. For one,  I've 2 major episodes of Congestive Heart Failure. The first happened when I was just 27. 

The second happened in 2006 when Josiah was just 4-years-old. This episode left me broken. Financially, emotional, physically. I spent too many days in guilt. My little boy was not experiencing the same kind of childhood that little boys should have.  My husband had spent too many years taking care of me. 

You can see that I was right smack in the middle of a huge pity part (complete with all the ice cream I could eat). I might have had good reason to feel like this might be the end of the world (let alone my life), but I wasted valuable moments not embracing what I did have. 

Do you ever feel like you just aren’t enough? 

The laundry (oh, the laundry) never seems to be done.  I feed my son all the wrong things. I never seem to be in step with the latest homeschool trend. Some days it’s all we can do to get through our schoolwork...forget about lunch. 

This verse has been such a comfort to me over the years. 

"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

In this Homeschooling journey (and in life) we will all eventually feel like we aren’t enough. We can’t do enough to keep up. We aren’t equipped to handle the task in front of us. Raise a hand if you’ve been there. Sista! I see that hand (or is that mine?).

This where Grace comes in. 

Grace is recognizing that I can only do what I can do. God’s going to have to fill up the rest. 

Grace is knowing when I need to take a step back and just rest in Him. 

Grace is being able to say, “no,” to those things that I need to say “no” to. 

Grace is understanding that God has not given me more than I can bear. If I have added to that…I need to stop it! 

Grace is being confident that He has numbered my days and He guides my steps. And that He is sufficient. Even when I feel that I am not. 

Here is what I have concluded. It might change one of these days, but for now,…it’s all I’ve got. 

When it’s all said and done, God has given me the care of this beautiful boy. He is also able to provide my husband and me what we need to complete the task of raising him. We might not make all the right decisions, but we try. I can’t promise that I will never make a trip through the Drive-Thru. That I might never cancel Math for the day to read a book. Most of Josiah’s clothes will be clean when he leaves the house, but I can’t make any guarantees about his underwear. 

As I face the other challenges in my life, I am reminded that He can take care of those things, too.

So, my friends. Today (on this last posting for 5 Essentials of Homeschoolin) I encourage you to give yourself a little Grace. I know I need some. 

Be sure to check out the following blogs. We are all part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. You can check out even more by clicking on the banner below. 

Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Heather @ Thrift Schooling
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos
Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement
Monique @ Living Life and Learning
Jenn @ Fresh Start Academy
Lori @ Special Connection Homeschool


 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials 


I hope this series has blessed you in some way. Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

5 Essentials of Homeschool: Old Dog. New Trick

This week I am going to talk to you about the 5 Essentials of Homeschooling. Instead of writing about my favorite brand of #2 pencil and math curriculum, I want to talk to you about what I consider to be truly Heart issues. Of course, these issues are what I have found to be true in my own experience. They might be different for you. My topics for the week are Discipline (the self kind, not the a timeout…though you might need one), Flexibility (and if you can put your leg over your head I don’t want to hear about it), Creativity (you might be able to borrow someone else’s), Teachability (believe it or not…you’re not done learning)  and Grace (I need it daily!). My apologies to those who really wanted to know my thoughts on dry erase boards (I like them) and co-ops (I am slightly afraid of them). Happy Reading!




Have you ever heard of FAPE? It stands for Free Appropriate Public Education.  In 1975, the educational right for children of disabilities was guaranteed. It is called the Rehabilitation Act of 1975. I am not going to discuss all of the history behind this Act; only that it obviously had a profound impact on America’s disability population. 

I am not going to get into the benefits or failings of today’s system…I do believe it has failed some, but I can’t be critical of some of the hardworking and diligent special ed teachers and paras I have known. They are a special breed. What this particular bit of legislation does tell me, however, is that no matter what the child’s capacity he or she can learn. It is up to me (as a teacher) to find out how.
I am going to drop a bombshell on you. 

I am the type of individual that only likes to do things I’m good at. If something doesn’t come easily to me, I really don’t want to bother with it. 

Just being honest. 

Isn’t it ironic that there has been so much in my life that has required me to dig in deep and TRY to do the hard things?  My very life has depended on it
.
Am I Teachable? Sure. I like to Teach. But. Am I Teachable?

Can you imagine what sort of interesting things I have set aside because I want to be an instant aficionado? I can crochet…but just a little. I can knit…but just a little (I prefer a loom). I can play the piano…but just a little.


I am glad my son doesn’t share my condition. When he was younger we decided  to put Josiah in swim lessons. He was 8 and still clinging to the stairs at the pool. He loved the lessons. One of his swim teacher’s compared Josiah to Dug in the movie, “Up.” Remember the one? “Squirrel!”
She got that one right.

Month after month Josiah plodded (or paddled) along in his lessons. Everything was peachy until he started working on his backstroke in the deep end of the pool. He suddenly had visions of JAWS swimming menacingly in the depths of the 9ft. pool. Keep in mind that he had never seen the movies, but a sandwich shop we frequented had an old JAWS movie poster hanging on the wall. Josiah was convinced (despite all scientific reasoning) that JAWS might possibly reside in the warm, chlorinated waters of an Ozarks YMCA pool. 

He would start at the shallow end of the pool on his back; his arms sweeping back in a graceful, circular motion. When he reached the middle of the pool, he would suddenly turn around and peer down under the water before proceeding on. It became quite an event.

Even the sweet lifeguards got into the act... going so far as to promise to keep a diligent “shark watch.”

I finally had enough. I pulled out my best trick.

It’s called “The Bribe.” I have such success with “The Bribe” that I considered using it as one of my 5 Essentials of Homeschooling. You may call me a bad parent. I call myself a smart parent. The Bribe worked for me while potty-training. It could work here. I told Josiah that if he completed his backstroke across the entire length of the pool during lessons for a whole week I would take him to his favorite video game store. He then would be allowed to purchase a game for his Playstation2 as long as it was under $10. You notice I didn’t offer to purchase a new game for his Wii. I am a smart parent, after all. 

Do you know what? He did it. But this is not the post to educate you in the importance of The Bribe. I am proud of Josiah because over the past several years he has practiced, trained, and worked hard. He is an excellent swimmer and part of a swim team. He pushed past (with a little help from Momma) his fears. Competitive Swimming is not a sport that can be mastered overnight. 

Isn’t this what we are teaching our kids? We are teaching them how to push past difficulties. How to work hard. How to really try. How to be taught and take instruction. How to Learn. 

I need this in my own life.

When confronted with a challenge, I need to push through. I can't stamp my size 7 in rebellion if God is trying to work on me.  I need to listen. I need to Learn. 

Homeschooling is not about knowing everything about education. My 125 hours of education courses in college gave me some good tools, but everything I know about educating my son I have had to learn the hard way. I’m still learning it. I have to know my limits. I have to be to take correction. I have to know when to change it up and when to stay consistent. I have to be willing to take chances. For Josiah’s sake. Your success as a homeschool parent has little to do with what degree you hang on your wall. College prepared me little for the challenges I face as a homeschool parent. 


Teachability really has nothing to do with how well you are able to learn or comprehend. It has more to do with attitude.

It can be sometimes hard for this old dog. But. It is always an adventure!

If you missed my previous posts in this series I invite you to go check them out. They are:

I am part of a Blog Hop this week featuring my friends from The Schoolhouse Review Crew. You can get connected to some of their fabulous posts below or click on the banner for even more. 

Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Heather @ Thrift Schooling
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos
Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement
Monique @ Living Life and Learning
Jenn @ Fresh Start Academy
Lori @ Special Connection Homeschool


 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials 

Tomorrow is my last post for this series. I will speaking to of Grace.

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