What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, February 04, 2008

January Review

First off~ I wanted to thank everyone for the great encouragement offered at the posting of my last entry. I can sometimes be ungrateful, moaning about the lack of support I get in person while overlooking the great and wonderful support system that has somehow developed between the start of this blog and now. I cannot say I am alone, I cannot say no one understands, I cannot claim I am without a support system...not now, not with so many other women sharing the same struggles and triumphs as I do and not with the great outpouring of love bestowed upon me when I needed it. Thanks so very much. I will not be devaluing this blog or the presence of you ladies in my life again. It really meant (and means) a tremendous amount to have you all visit me here, be interested in my life and encourage me along the way. Thank you. Thank you. and Thank you again.

Secondly~ I don't know what my obsession with eyes is of late, both opened AND closed, but I apologize for the redundancies. I came across this one I had taken a very long time ago. I think I passed over it thinking it was uninteresting and blase, not looking closely. When I decided to post a January review, I realized a perfect photo would be of an eye (get it, introspection?) and found this again. I am so glad I did! Because, unlike before, upon THIS glance, I realized that I could see my reflection in my eye-and the black lens of the camera was almost PERFECTLY lined with my iris! How cool is that? If you look really closely, you can see the door behind me and even the brick wall. I guess it wasn't a boring shot after all. Just please, overlook the tangle of bloodvessels. If only I had photoshop! ;-) I promise, no more eye pictures for a while...and that is a pinky promise.

A friend recently wrote an update on her New Year's Resolutions and I thought that was a smashing idea. What better way to keep on top of things, and evaluate your successes and failures than to do so each month!? So, here is my January Review.

The two main areas I was going to be working on was finances and schooling. Also, I mentioned about the need for life insurance being a January goal.

Here is what happened in January.


I am proud of:

~I began shopping at Save Alot and avoided Walmart except for once a month. I cut our grocery bill from $100.00 to $40.00 and have been fairly consistent with that number-often spending even less.

~I have saved over $700.00 (and spent less than 10% of this) shopping at CVS and have only gone probably 10 times. I have nearly $50.00 store credit (ECB's) for future purchases. I now purchase almost all non-food items at CVS and rarely spend out of pocket. Because of this, I have been able to sock the differences away AND I have been able to bless several people with my ABUNDANT BOUNTY which is also reason to rejoice. Oh-and I get namebrand body wash-what a treat! ;-)

~ I started a Home fund and have taken money out of each paycheck (all three) to add to it. Also, dear Matt cashed in all his vacation time from last year-putting us at over a thousand dollars in just four weeks!

~ I have the beginnings of an emergency fund in place.

~I set up a workable-for-me bill payment system that has made it much easier for me to balance everything and record everything well.

~We haven't gone out to eat in....um, ages. That deserves a cheer and a good cry.

~Matt got his life insurance, a HUGE burden is lifted from my shoulders! I am less fearful now of how we would survive as a family, though no less fearful of how I would survive if I ever lost him.

Things still to do:

~Sell several fisherprice toys, books and other items on Craigs list (or ebay) in order to relieve some clutter and create a bit more money. Nice.

~ We have a few additional expenses coming up in the next few months, so we are saving for those things as well (so we don't get hammered because we are unprepared.)

~Deposit 100% of our tax rebate (to come) into our home fund.

~Decide how best to utilize our tax refund and the assess the areas of need.

~Cut out a few more areas of spending in order to sock more into our home fund.


Things I am proud of:

~I have become consistent with sitting down with Corynn four days a week. HURRAY! YIPPEE! WAHOO!! (The weekends are no-go's and rightly so, and I still haven't figured out how to do school on shopping days.)

~ She is excited to be learning her birds in our nature studies. She is excelling in her phonics, though not showing any signs of reading thus far.

~She is doing EXCELLENT in her handwriting. Each day I have her write a letter. I write out what she says and she does her copywork underneath. She doesn't always finish the letter and I don't force her to because I want it to be fun. I leave half the page for her to draw with (as an incentive to finish.)

~We are learning scripture verses and reciting them on a daily basis.

Things I need to work on:

**Oh dear. I am afraid this is a mightly long list.**

~ Patience on my part. Allowing her to work at her pace and not forcing her. Remembering she is only four.

~I am much more language-geared than mathmatically minded so that is what I have focused on up until this point. I am afraid she is very behind in her math skills. She still fumbles around in the upperteens. I really have to set aside 'math time' for her.

~ I would also like to cover some history or science, but at this point, only in the form of unit studies and lapbooks. Body parts, geography, holidays, weather, planets, things like that.

~Most importantly: I need to get in the groove of planning. I still haven't found the best way to plan our days or our work. I sort of just fly by the seat of my pants every day. I would like to have a plan ready for the week with all supplies necessary at my disposal. SO, I have to try and implement some sort of schedule/curriculum plan. It is hard when you aren't following a curriculum-they don't tell you what to do! :-)

That is January- IN REVIEW! All in all, a pretty good start and a good motivation for the future!

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Andie said...

What a good idea to review your goals!! ;o) Sounds like you're doing a GREAT job on your goals. Doesn't it feel great to have something accomplished, or at least working on something??
One thing I used to do when I taught preschool was to base each week on a story from the Bible. I would do a 'unit' study each week. If we talked about Noah's ark, we could also talk about animals, weather, counting (2X2), etc. I made a lesson plan book where I could write down the main story and activities for each day of the week. By looking at the actiivites I could then write down all the supplies necessary for each activity. My first step of planning was to write down all the stories I wanted to cover, and then move on from there. This is just what worked for me...if it helps you, great, if not...oh well! :-)
Blessings my dear friend-

Rebecca said...

You like that idea, eh? I got it from this REALLY smart lady I know...

Speaking of liking ideas...I LOVE the idea of making science, geography, math lessons from bible stories. That REALLY requires preparation.

But, you gave such detailed plans, I might just be able to handle it! Did you used to plan them all at once, or every week a new story?

Mom2fur said...

You are so young, but still you inpsire me! You have so many wonderful goals. Good for you!
Being a 'sorta frugal' person, I'm especially proud of the way you've cut back on your spending! Wow, that is some leap at the grocery.
And speaking of shopping...have you thought of combining those shopping days with learning experiences? (I'm sure you have!) You could have Corynn help you work out menus (reading and writing skills), clip coupons with you (fine motor skills with scissors, math skills, more reading) and shop with you. She could take a few coupons and try to match the picture with the item.
That is wonderful about her penmanship. I think good handwriting has become a lost art, along with good spelling.
I'm language geared, too. I hated math as a kid. But over the years, I've come to appreciate and even have fun with it. There are so many awesome math tricks. Try Googling "Math Magic" or something like that to see if you can find some fun games to play with Corynn.
Back to shopping--check my blog. CVS has some killer deals this week!
BTW, I know what a lapbook is now, but what exactly is a unit study?
I think my comment is growing as long as your post, LOL!

Mom2fur said...

PS...have you ever played a game called "Mancala" with Corynn? It is an old African game of sorting and counting. Very easy and very 'left-brained' at the same time. My kids used to love it!

Tracy said...

I love the photo.

You are doing a wonderful job with your budgeting! And school sounds great, too.

Mom2fur said...

This will be my last comment here...I promise! Really, I'll be quiet unless you ask me something. But I had to say...
I completely forgot how young Corynn is! Four!!! What on earth made me think she was six or seven? How behind in her math skills could she possibly be at the age of four? To me, she sounds very advanced for such a little girl. Most kids that age don't even write, let alone have good penmanship skills.
Kudos to you, mommy. I think you are encouraging the genius in your girl!

Rebecca said...

Mom2Fur~ Yes, she is only four which is why I am not really concerned and which is why I try and make the 'learning part' fun. I loved your ideas and appreciate you sharing them...I am a firm believer that you teach your kiddos every moment of the day in all the things you do. I never did think about cutting coupons as fine motor movement though! That IS clever!

A unit study is a really fun form of learning that focuses many different lessons (math, english, science, history, etc.) that all fall under a common theme. IF you read Andie's comment above, she describes unit studies using bible stories. People make unit studies for other books too. If you are doing a unit study on the garden, you would cover the life cycle of a plant, types of plants, what plants need to grow and thrive (all science). You could count petals or leaves or flowers for math. You could research the history of a plant (where it came from, how it got here) and what your state flower is (geography and history), you could find plants that people use to make food and use them in cooking (sunflower seeds, violet jelly, bread)....you follow all different subject lessons using one main theme. Though I have never done them before, they seem to be something I would really enjoy using.

I have heard of Mancala but never played it. It sounds like it would be a good thing to have around!

As for CVS~ all the coupons have expired! Whaaaaaah! Though, it looks like there are LOTS of goodies out there to be taken! Can't wait for my trip!

Terri said...

Rebecca, it sounds like you have a great plan in place for both saving money and homeschooling.

My husband & I have been married almost 20 years and I wish we had it together like that back when we were first married. We'd be much better off now!

Good job!


Mrs. Hurzeler said...

You have accomplished so much. I think it is wonderful that Corynn is starting school. If we had little ones I think I would love doing the schooling. When I was younger I wanted to either be a nurse or a teacher, so I guess the title mom really would be good for me. LOL. There are so many free unit studies on the internet and they are of different subjects. Hope you have fun teaching her. God Bless.

Andie said...

I would make the Bible story unit last as long as I had activities that I could relate it to. One summer I helped out with the curriculum at a child care center and we did Noah's amazing animals all summer long. One week it would be circus type animals, zoo animals, farm animals, rain forest animals, etc... Changing Bible stories each week teaches a lot more as far as religion goes, but you can go as in depth as you want...that's what's so great about writing your own curriculum is that you can do whatever you want! When you (or Corynn) tire of a topic, it's time to move on!
My planning was usually done on a monthly basis...but sometimes I would plan which Bible story to use by the quarter. After I had my Bible stories planned, I could go in and fill out the different activities and goals for each day. That is one thing that we were really taught in college...to have an objective or goal for each lesson. What do you want Corynn to know when you finish this lesson/activity?
If you have any questions or need an idea/activity to go with a certain theme, please don't hesitate to ask. I would be happy to check my resources!! Also, one of the other commenters mentioned all the resources on the net...so true!

Anonymous said...

HI Rebecca,

What a great idea to do a review of your goals. I should do that at the end of each month (I don't have a blog, but I could do it anyway!. It would make me a little more focussed!

YOu are doing so well - your financial discipline (yep, it's a discipline isn't it! So hard!) is a real example.

And way to go with your work with Corynn - I'm not a homeschooler but I surely can appreciate the effort that you Mum's (I'm from New Zealand - we say Mum, not Mom!)
make with homeschooling.

I've been trying to do a little more with my 3 1/2 year old before she starts school at 5 - it's hard work as I am not very patient and I'm easily distracted.

Apologies for the longish comment.

Love your blog.

Cheers, Wilm in NZ

the mother of this lot said...

Sounds like you've had a fantastic month!

Leah said...

I'm at my mom's house today so I can comment! :)

Thanks for sharing about your January. It sounds like you're making wonderful progress on your goals!

I've tagged you again. If I remember right you don't usually do these things so please don't feel obligated.


abigail said...

Hurrah for all your progress with finances and school!
Good job! (here are pats on the back for you...)