Thursday, May 25, 2023

Grow your own flower garden


    Did you know that you can grow a flower garden in your backyard that you can pick from?  Ok, maybe this is just news to me, but in case this is news to you let me share. 

Recently, I learned about how you can plant flowers in your garden that you can pick and then they will regrow so you can pick them again! I always knew that flowers were good for my garden, each year I've tried to plant some sort of flower, but I never thought I could pick them and they'd keep growing.  I love having flowers in my house, but honestly, I don't like to have to buy them.  So therefore, I only end up with flowers in my house for birthdays and Mother's Day, which for my family only consists of three different months.  

But, I could plant flowers in my garden, help my vegetables to grow, help the bees AND get to pick some flowers to bring into my home! Needless to say I was excited!  

Plus, its really not that hard to do.  We've always planted sunflowers so we did that again.  While we didn't get them planted this year, milkweed is on my list for the butterflies.  But then there are so many flowers you can plant to pick; 



Black-eyed Susan 

and more! 

If you want a great resource for more info, the book linked at the bottom is a great one! She talks about how to grow your flower garden, how to clip them and so many more things!  Grab your copy today or check out your local library to see if they have a copy! 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Summer Learning


    Summer is almost here! But, don't let this summer get away!  Summer is still a great time to keep learning. Here are a few ways keep our kiddos brains moving during the Summer. 


I can't stress this one enough! Taking time to read is so beneficial to your kiddos in the summer. Whether you read to them, or they read on their own.  Whatever it takes, find some time to read this summer. A couple ways we like to include reading is:

  • The Summer Reading Program at the library ~ check out your local library and see what they have for their summer reading program! 
  • Making a Summer Reading List or a goal of how many books to read in the Summer 
  • Setting aside a specific time during the day to read; for me it was after lunch, I told my girls after they ate they needed to go find a book to read (or look at for the younger one) so I could clean up the kitchen/eat my own lunch or talk to their dad while was home for lunch. 
  • We also tried to pick a book series to read through. Each night before bed we'd read a few pages or a chapter.  We've read Little House on the Prairie, The Chronicles of Narnia and even some Boxcar Children books (we haven't read all of them yet). 

2. Make a Summer Learning Folder: 

So I've done Summer Learning Folders almost as long as my oldest has been in school.  I think I started them the summer after she finished 1st grade.  They can be as easy or as complex as you want to make them.  

Items you will need: 

1. 3 ring binder; grab a few of those cheaper 3 ring binders, you know the more flexible flimsy ones.  

2. Lined paper or notebook

3. Math games or flash cards 

4. Reading workbooks or Language arts books - we really like Summer Solutions

Then start making your Summer Learning Folder: 

First: make your schedule

    How often are you wanting your kids to work from their binders?  Everyday? 2-3 times a week?  For me, I gauge this based on what all we have going on.  When they were younger I made a specific schedule; Monday: Math, Tuesday: Lang. Arts Wednesday: Writing, Thursday: Math & Friday: Free day. I have found it's easier now that my kids are older to say 2x a week you need to do a language worksheet, 1 time a week you need to do a math activity and so forth.  Here's what our schedule looks like for this summer: 


15-20 min doing 1 math game OR complete 1-2 math worksheets 

2 Pages from Reading/Lang workbook 

20 min reading/day = 2 hours for the week 

Write a letter or card to someone 

Then get your copies made or your supplies together: 

Reading: This year, I chose to order Reading/Language Arts Summer Solutions to use.  So each of my girls will have a workbook they can work from for Lang. Arts. 

Math: For math, we have different Math games they can play; 

UNO, TRASH, Usborne's (now Paper Pie) Learning Palette, I have Game 24 & Colorku on my wishlist, plus flash cards to keep it fun. We just have a designated drawer that has all the math games in it. 

 I also, will print a few math worksheets for each one to have in their binders. Then when it's math day or a day they choose to do math, they have many options on something to do. A couple sites I use: 

  •  K5 Learning: I really like this site, they have lots of options for many different grades and subjects.  Plus for math they include answer keys for each worksheet, which is so helpful as my oldest is doing fractions!
  • is another good one; this one you need to set up an account and you can only download 1 worksheet/month for free.  But, once you have them downloaded you have them.  OR you can pay to have more download options.  

Writing: I've tried to have them write a letter to a friend, family member, etc. once a week or depending on how the summer is going 2x a month. Or if you have a kiddo who likes making up stories, they could work on story for the summer or write a play.  Anyway to get them writing.  I make sure their binders have lined paper in them for the whole summer.  

Finally, I have a grid in the front that they can color a box each time they do an activity.  I've done it for each activity as below: 

Summer Learning Folder Log


Reading Workbook

 (2 pages)

Wrote a letter/card/part of my story

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

And then the Reading books one: 

Summer Reading Log

For each book you read you can color in a space.

Name: __________________________                              Month: ___________________________

















































But, this year I was thinking of finding a fun picture they could color and have done if they did something each day. 


That's it! If you have your binders fully packed, then it helps to make sure your kiddos can be consistent in doing something each day.  My goal is that they spend about 15-20 min a day doing something that is helping them learn or keep what they learned from the last school year present. 

Oh also a if you need it have a fun incentive if they complete the goal.  Some ideas include:  

  • Each week go out for ice cream
  • Visit a different pool/park each month it's complete
  • Have a big celebration at the end of the summer 


Thursday, May 11, 2023

Homemade Compost

So I've been working on composting the last few years.  When I first started composting, I used a small ceramic compost container that I got from World Market.  When it was full or about 1/week, I'd run it out to my garden and put it in the posts.  However, I wanted to have a bigger compost so that I could do throw even less away. 

A couple years ago I found this sweet galvanized trash can at Walmart on sale...only $11.00!  It was perfect, I was so excited! 

Then my husband drilled some holes all around the sides. 

It was so simple to make!  We added a couple cinder blocks for it to sit on in our backyard.  That's it! 

Now, I am able to dump my under the sink compost right out my back door into this larger compost, along with clippings from our yard and I can make my own compost! 

Last Fall was the first time I added the compost from this bin to my garden.  We recently planted some vegetables and the soil was so soft and easy to till.  I did give my larger compost in the can two years before I used it on my garden.  BUT, it is large enough that I didn't have to empty it in-between and was able to add all our food scraps throughout the year. 

So if you are looking to make your own compost, grab an old trashcan, plastic works too, and get started.  It really is easy to do!  Just make sure to layer brown items too; egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, leaves, that will help it to not be too wet.  

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Graduation Gift Ideas on a budget

    May is here, and with that means Graduation is just around the corner.  Some years you may just get invited to 1 or 2 parties.  Other years, you may get invited to a dozen.  Over the years, I've accumulated a few ideas for gifts that don't have you spending a bunch.  

1. Supplies for college:

This was something I gave to students when I was teaching.  When I first showed up for college, I felt so prepared; we had my room ready, my clothes ready, I was mentally ready, but then I showed up to class....without any school supplies.  I felt so dumb, how did I forget the basics? With that I gave school supplies as a gift.  Nothing major just a notebook, some pencils, sticky notes & pens.  Items that if they weren't going to school after all they could still use around the house. 

A second type of supplies for college.  When I was graduating, one of the gifts I was given was a set of beach towels.  They were prefect for using in the dorm.  There are so many things you need for college, towels for the bathroom may go unnoticed.  A simple gift! 

2. Fun activities 

Sometimes after graduating it's fun to just have something fun! Here are a list of some fun items I've given to students and don't cost a lot.  

  1. coloring book with coloring pencils/crayons
  2. jump rope & chalk 
  3. ground coffee with a mug 
  4. box of tea with a mug 
  5. giftcard to a local coffeeshop 
  6. plant 

These are just a few simple ideas for graduating seniors.  Really, your presence is what they appreciate the most, but hopefully you can find something on this list or be inspired by it.  

If you are looking for ways to save on party planning, check out my party savings post here