April 30, 2010

Coupon Crazy!

When my friend, Anne, first approached me (quite enthusiastic, might I add) that couponing was her new and very profitable hobby, I thought she maybe needed to get out more :) I thought, I do not have the time or patience to cut out 50 coupons just to save $0.35! I've tried coupons before. I was not convinced! Not convinced at all! I had tried to find just the right coupon, only to have the snotty sales lady say, "You need to buy six more to use this coupon." :P (that's me sticking my tongue out at her)
My misconceptions were that coupons were only for products that were:
  • too expensive to begin with...or
  • sugar-y, junky foods we shouldn't eat anyway, cheap or not

    But after hearing Anne's spiel for the 2nd time at last month's Common Mama Meeting, my mind was drastically changed. Our topic of conversation for March was meal planning and with most of us seriously watching our pennies these days, I asked Anne to share about her couponing hobby. I did not know what I was in for! She came prepared with sale fliers, receipts from the grocery store....her coupon binder! The thing that caught my eye were the receipts...a receipt from the grocery store so long you could wrap a decent sized gift with totaling $30?!?! What??!!
    After the visuals, I was ready to try again.

    Here's what motivated me and what I learned:
  • You can print coupons off the Internet...what?? I never knew that! this makes it very easy to find coupons for products I already use or want to try
  • Coupons are NOT just for junk-food. Actually, just this morning I came across a link for $80 in coupons for natural and organic foods: Check it out here
  • Target will take up to 2 coupons per item...combining a Target Store Coupon and a Manufacture Coupon can lead to some seriously cheap stuff!
    Example: Monopoly was on sale for $7 (at target)
    I had a $3 Target coupon for any game AND a $2 coupon from Milton Bradley Company
    $7-$3-$2=$2 (yep, 2 bucks)
  • There are TONS of websites out there to help you find deals (I'll list some in a sec)
  • I was currently spending about $250 every two weeks at the grocery store and another $100 at Target for household items and it's always depressed me, but I just thought that's as cheap as I could do it

Here's some places Anne directed me and I've found where you can go to get more information or check out those printable coupons:

  • http://www.saveathomemommy.com/ (she has a great site with updates all the time of good deals out there, she also goes over some couponing lingo and strategies of how to be a smart shopper)
  • http://www.coupons.com/ (print your q's here)
  • http://www.couponmom.com/ (I've watched her appear on the Today Show for years and always thought she was amazing for getting such good deals, but I never thought regular girls could do it!)
  • http://www.target.com/ (scroll all the way down to the bottom and read the find print. there's a link to all their coupons you can print.)

    So today, one month later, I am please to say I have saved approximately $200+. My last two trips to the grocer's totalled only $160. (that's for 2-weeks of groceries). One of my favorite trips to the store this last few weeks was this:
    4 boxes of cereal (name brand)
    3 boxes of Tuna Helper
    2 packages of Duracell batteries
    Total after sales and coupons: $8.60!

    These days, instead of grumbling when I see that someone hasn't changed the empty roll of toilet paper, I happily go to our bathroom closet to retrieve a roll from one of my two jumbo packs purchased for $4.50 each. I'm learning to stock up on sale/coupons items that won't expire. I now own enough boxes of cereal to last till June and enough tampons to last me till menopause. Listen ladies, just try it. The thrill of saving bucco bucks on boring stuff like paper towels and granola bars is more exhilarating then you'd think!
    And Anne, I was wrong about you. You don't need to get out more, you're out plenty! Out saving a TON of money, that is! :) Sorry I doubted you!

    How about you?? Do you use sales, coupons, or neither? And here's what I really want to know...what's a fair amount for a grocery bill for a family of 5? How much do you spend?



April 29, 2010

Africa

We're continuing on with world cultures and last week was Africa. We read books, learned about the landforms there, talked about African animals, food, and native hand crafts.

Here's some of the books we read....


We learned that in Africa, the women make beautiful baskets from many different things. One of those things is fabric.
So we made our own baskets, and here's how...
1. cover a bowl with plastic wrap. mix equal parts glue and water in another bowl. (next time, i would use deeper bowls as our mold.)
2. take small scraps of colorful fabric and dip in the glue. make sure it's really saturated, then use your fingers to push off the excess so it's not dripping.
place over the plastic wrapped bowl, overlapping each square so there's no gaps.

sophia loved this project! she was so into it!!
Here's the finished bowls....




April 22, 2010

European Studies

Bonjour! Just a quick post about last week's studies:
Continuing on with our World Culture unit, we studied some of the countries on the continent of Europe. We looked at Russia, Italy, and France. We talked a lot about some of the landmarks in these countries and we discovered we eat a lot of food from these countries...think beef stroganoff, spaghetti, quiche.
We are getting busy with baseball and other activities, so we're taking it easy on a bunch of projects, but we're still doing a lot of reading. Here's a few of the books we used to study Europe....














April 20, 2010

Literature Ideas


Being a Charlotte Mason-loving HS mom, I naturally love books!! I just don't think you can go wrong with a good book! For several months now I've been receiving a monthly email from Custom Homeschool Curriculum. There, Jena Names creates custom curriculum for all different types of learning and her monthly newsletters give great tips for teaching different types of learners.
Last month when I received my newsletter, I was so excited! The whole email was a list of creative literature activities to do with your kids after you read a great book to enhance their learning on a ton of different levels. So...I wanted to share her ideas for fun literature ideas. We're reading Treasure Island right now and I'm definitely going to put at least one of these ideas to good use :)
Here they are:

Create a(n)...
  • travel brochure for the setting
  • poster advertising the novel as a movie
  • new dust jacket
  • relief map of the setting
  • paper dolls representing the characters
  • comic strip of a favorite scene
  • picture book retelling the novel

    Do a...
  • dramatic reading of a favorite scene
  • puppet show of one of the chapters
  • meal from the setting of the story

    Write a...
  • research paper about a topic or character from the story
  • diary of one of the characters
  • newspaper reflecting the events happening in the novel
  • timeline of the events in the story

    These are just some of the ideas Jena provided...but I love them all! You can subscribe to her monthly newsletter here.
    Have fun reading!!



April 13, 2010

Asian Studies

For the last several weeks of school, we're going to be studying world cultures. Each week, we'll focus on a different continent and look at a few countries within each continent. I don't have a ton of projects planned, since this time of year starts to get busy, but I am planning on a couple of them and each week we're trying some kind of food from that continent.
So, last week we studied Asia. We looked at several countries; India, China, and Israel. We mostly read about what their main religion is, languages they speak, and foods they eat. Some of our literature was about folktales from those countries and here are a few of the books we read:






We are also using the heck out of our Reader's Digest Children's Atlas. It has great illustrations and the book is HUGE, so you can really see things well. The map of each country is covered in pictures of things like landmarks, exports, animals, and traditions. I think it might be out of print, but you may be able to find it used somewhere.















We learned that the national bird of India is the peacock, so we made our own with paper and paints.

Now, this week we're on to Europe :)

April 6, 2010

My First Review

I'm so excited and flattered to say that I have been invited to join The Curriculum Choice's team of authors! At The Curriculum Choice, a team of home school moms from all different backgrounds review curriculum and let you know what they thought about it. It's been a pleasure to read and now it's a pleasure to be part of this great group of moms!
My first review posted today and you can check it out by clicking {here} or on the picture.



April 5, 2010

New Page

Hi there! Please go check out my new {About La Famille} page. I'm loving the 'pages' that Blogger came up with, so I'm working on some others too, but here's what I've got so far...



April 2, 2010

Daydreaming of Nature Study....

After months of cold and snow, it is finally feeling like Spring! Like the real kind of Spring...not the kind where it's gorgeous for a day, then it's a snow storm the next. We've had about 7 consecutive days of warm, Spring weather...yeah! I'll admit, since January we've been really slacking in the Nature Study area. We had two choices of things to study...snow & ice and that gets cold and old after a while :) (although we did have some fun studying snow!)
So, I've been daydreaming about Spring and getting out to study some amazing things. Here's what I want to study over this Spring and Summer.

  • Frogs! Yes, frogs! I have purchased a frog habitat from Target and we're awaiting our baby tadpole and we (I) plan on making our new pet a very educational one :)
  • Plants-also this Spring, I want to study plants for Nature Study and Science. I plan on covering the parts of a plant, photosynthesis, and for extra learning, we'll be talking about the scientist, George Washington Carver.
  • Wildflowers-this one might have to wait till the summer, but I want to take the kids on lots of nature walks this Summer and see how many different flowers we can find...I thought it'd be fun to have the boys do photo journals of what we find.

  • Birds and Eggs-I mostly want to study this because I have so many great books on birds and I want to put them to good use :) But besides that, my kids are fascinated by birds, so I know they'll love looking for birds on our nature walks.

    So...these are my tentative plans. Can you tell I've been in the house too long? :)
    Happy Nature Studying!



April 1, 2010

Birthday Crafting

Just wanted to share something super-cute I made for Sophie's birthday party. I had a ton of scraps of different prints of shabby-chic printed fabric and I wanted to do something fun with it, so I came up with this idea for a 'Happy Birthday' banner for Sophie's birthday party. (but I'm sure we'll use it more than just this time...)

So...all I did was trace my letters onto iron-on fusible paper and iron it on to the wrong side of my fabric. (follow the instructions on your fusible paper) Then I cut out all the letters. I used felt for my triangles because it's more sturdy then regular fabric and I thought it would lay nicely. After cutting my felt into triangles, I ironed on my letters to the felt.
After that, I added zig-zag stitching around each letter just to add a little something.
To connect all the triangles, I pinned them on to long pieces of ribbon and did a straight stitch on the top and the bottom of the ribbon so it was secure.

And that's it!
Super-cute banner to be used for princess parties and more tea parties and garden parties and...oh, I'm so happy to have a little girl :)
(but boys are super fun too ;))


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