10 Ways To Serve Part 1 – Have We Pushed Aside Service In Our Homeschool

10 Ways To Serve Part 1

So you are a homeschool family. You have your curriculum, your field trips, your schedule, your co-op, maybe some housework or Home Ec, and maybe some devotionals. Your kids are learning and loving it, and that is good. Then your elderly neighbor falls and injures her hip. You take her a meal. But she needs a whole lot more help. You have a schedule to maintain, goals to be met, extra curricular classes to take, and you just don’t know how to fit in the time to do anything else for her.

Have You Lost Purpose In Why You Homeschool

Does this sound familiar? Have you lost the ability to be available and be in service to others because you have gotten caught up in the school in homeschool? Have you even lost some of your purpose along the way?

I am not here to condemn, but to remind at least some of you as to why you are homeschooling – to teach your children God’s ways and to teach them to be in God’s service. Yes, many of us are doing a good job of teaching them to serve their family in the home, but I believe that God wants much more of us – He wants us to serve our community. This includes our church and our “neighbor.” He wants us to make serving a priority, not something we fit into our schedule, if and when we can.

Our family has setup our homeschool to school year round. The main reason we do this is so that we can be available to help and serve others, if called to do so. If we need to, we can take a day or even a week or month off of schooling and not be bothered by it. The school will eventually get done and the children will actually get more, grow more and learn more from the service, than they will from the academics.

A Couple Of Ideas For Service

If you are needing some ideas for what your family and/or children can do to be in service to others, the rest of this blog series is going to cover 10 ideas for ways to serve and will ask the readers to also contribute what their families are successfully doing to serve. Subscribe now to get notified as the rest of the series comes out.

Service #1 – Bringing Meals To The Sick And Elderly

Although I mentioned earlier in this post that bringing a meal to the elderly neighbor was only a small part of what she needed, it was not meant to diminish the act. In fact, the past 4 months, I have been the recipient of meal service a couple of days a week, and it was very, very helpful and I was very grateful for it. I was on bed rest, light activity only for the last half of my pregnancy, after having two threatened pre-term labors at 19 and 23 weeks an having hot, healthy meals help me be able to follow orders and not overdo. I also received meals for about two weeks after having the baby. Again, a great help so I could rest and recover.

If you don’t currently have a group or ministry at church that does this, you could start one – just ask around who in your community is having a baby, is on bed rest,or who has limited physical ability. Then, you can find out how many meals a week they can use, what their dietary restrictions are, then coordinate a rotation of people to bring them a meal in the afternoon or evenings. The lady that coordinated the meals for our family used an easy, free app called Take Them A Meal.She had about 10 people in the rotation, so no one got burnt out.

If your family has incorporated service into your homeschool, would you please share in the comments below.

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Bean Burritos

Another recipe from "How To Feed Your Family For $60 A Week: Spanish Week"

Another recipe from “How To Feed Your Family For $60 A Week: Spanish Week”

There aren’t many meals that I can think of that are as inexpensive as bean burritos, especially if you are making your own tortillas (although I confess that I am not). If you add some lettuce and tomato, or other veggies, they are a super healthy meal, also. The addition of cheese does increase the cost a bit, but I have a hard time enjoying them without the cheese. So without further commentary, here is the super simple recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 Tortillas
  • 4 cups beans (cooked) – black, pinta or combine them
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder
  • Shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Tomatoes and/or Salsa

Instructions

  1. If using dried beans, cook according to package directions.
  2. Take the beans and add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Assemble burritos – 1 tortilla + 1/4 to 1/2 cup beans + a pinch or two of cheese + a pinch or two of lettuce + tomatoes and/or salsa.

Yes, they are really that quick and simple. We have a couple of children that like them with ketchup! These are the kinds of meals that we have in our monthly meal rotation. You could also add re-fried beans and/or Spanish rice as either a side dish or add them directly into the burrito.

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Breakfast Burritos

Another recipe in the "Feed A Family For Less Than $60" Spanish Week Series"

Another recipe in the “Feed A Family For Less Than $60″ Spanish Week Series”


First of all, they might be called Breakfast Burritos, but they can be eaten any time of day. We usually have them for lunch. In fact, we have these for lunch on average of once per week – they are inexpensive, filing, relatively healthy, and a family favorite. So here is our family’s recipe for Breakfast Burritos.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 Tortillas
  • 6 cups Hash-browns
  • 10 to 12 pieces Turkey bacon or Turkey sausage
  • 6 to 8 Eggs
  • Condiments: Salsa, ketchup

Instructions

  1. Add oil to medium heat and cook hash-browns until cooked / browned.
  2. In another pan, start cooking the turkey bacon or sausage until cooked through.
  3. When hash-frowns or bacon/sausage is done, remove from pan and cook eggs (scrambled).
  4. Heat tortillas if you would like.
  5. Make the burritos by putting 1 – 2 pieces of bacon or sausage, a couple of tablespoons of hash-browns, a couple of tablespoons of eggs into a tortilla and add condiments.

Seriously, this recipe is that easy! Some variations include adding fresh tomatoes or avocados, adding southwestern seasoning, adding cheese or using diced potatoes instead of hash-browns.

What is your favorite, comforting, easy to make recipe?

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Haystacks

Haystacks Recipe

One of the free recipes in the “Feed A Family For Less Than $60 A Week: Spanish Week” Menu


I originally learned this recipe from a frugal family of 12. They especially like to serve this to guests, as it is easy to make, allows people put their own combinations together to suite their own tastes, and is inexpensive.

Ingredients

  • Tortilla Chips (2 bags)
  • 2 tbl oil
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 8 to 10 cups cooked beans (black, pinta or 1/2 and 1/2)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • cheese
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • salsa
  • ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. If you went for the optional onion, dice it, then heat oil on medium and saute the onion for a few minutes.
  2. Add the 1 lb ground meat and brown it over medium heat.
  3. Add the 8 to 10 cups cooked beans and stir. Add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste.
  4. Cook until meat is cooked and beans are hot.
  5. Shred lettuce, dice tomatoes, shred cheese, set out salsa, ranch dressing, and tortillas.
  6. Serve by setting a base of tortillas on a plate. Add a scoop or two of the meat and bean mixture. Top as wanted with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, ranch, etc…
  7. Should make 3 meals for a family of 5. Stretch to 4 meals by serving Spanish rice and/or re-fried beans as side dishes.

Let me know your favorite Simple, Healthy, Cheap Mexican recipe.

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Feed A Family For Less Than $60 A Week: Spanish Week

Feed_A_Family_Spanish_Week

I love Ethnic foods. I love themes. And I love to save money. So what better way to put it all together, than a themed, ethic meal plan with the goal of the total groceries costing less than $60 for the week!

What follows is the menu, the shopping list, the estimated cost of the shopping list, and links to recipes, including a few of my own.

Spanish Week Menu

The numbers at the end are the amount of times you should be able to serve the meal during the week if you are a family of 5. The links will take you to recipes – some of mine here on my blog and some found on great food sites.

Shopping List

  • Tortillas – prefer whole wheat for health. Purchase in bulk – 90 tortillas – $15.00 – or make your own for less and use the budget for fruit or veggies.
  • Tortilla chips – 2 large bags – $6.00
  • 2 lbs cheese (shredded or shared it yourself) – $7.00
  • 1 lb ground meat (beef or turkey) – $3.50
  • 2 lb pinta (pinto) beans – $2.00
  • 2 lb black beans – $2.00
  • Veggies – canned or fresh like spinach, bell peppers, corn – $3.00
  • Lettuce head – $1.50
  • Tomatoes – $3.00
  • Salsa – $3.00
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste – $0.50
  • Chili Powder – $2.00
  • Hash browns (shredded potatoes) – 5 lb bag of potatoes – $3.00
  • Eggs – 3 dozen – $4.50
  • 1 lb Turkey Sausage – $3.00

Pantry List

Items that are in most people’s pantries (stuff to purchase in bulk a couple times per year):

  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Oil
  • Oatmeal

Search Coupons.com to see if there are any coupons available for the ingredients to cut the costs even further!


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By the way, have you seen my Asian Week Menu? If not, check it out now! And be sure to subscribe to my blog, as I will be releasing my Mediterranean themed menu in a few weeks!

What other ethnic foods / themes would you be interested in?

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How To Keep Your House Organised And Tidy When You Homeschool

Homeschool Organization and Cleaning*This guest post is written by Edna Thomson.  Bio: Edna is a mum and a cleaning and home improvement expert. She is a founder of DCP Dulwich Cleaners. 

Keeping your home always clean and organised is challenging enough, even without homeschooling. When you also add this task to your daily schedule, you may find it impossible to get everything done.

Since you can’t afford to give up the one or the other, the only thing left for you to do is to find a solution. You may have to accept the fact that no matter how hard you try, you may not be able to handle everything alone. That’s why it is a good idea to ask for help from the other members of your family or occasionally hire professional cleaners who will take care of the disinfection of the premises of your home.

You could also use the professional service as a temporary solution while working on ways to handle the problem within your home (and budget). Here are a couple of tips to implement to help you be able to manage homeschooling and housekeeping going forward.

Make a schedule – This is definitely the first thing you have to do, if you want to be able to get everything done. You may feel like the homeschooling is the most important thing in your life, but you are still a parent and an adult who needs personal time. Therefore, making a schedule is the best solution. You can still make the homeschooling a priority, but also make sure that you designate specific hours of the day for the cleaning and organizing of your home and also schedule time for your hobbies and personal interests.

Avoid the distractions – The distractions are your worst enemies, so you will have to learn to avoid them any way possible. If necessary, unplug the phone when you are homeschooling or doing some of the cleaning chores. The computer and/or mobile phone probably also takes a lot of your time, as well as a lot of the time of your kids. You will be surprised how much you can do when you are not constantly distracted by these things.

Encourage your kids to clean – Take the time to explain to your kids how important it is to keep your home clean and organised. This way it will be easier to teach them to clean after themselves, organize their rooms, and even help you with some of the chores. They can start by just arranging their books and supplies after the lessons.

Give up on some of the additional curriculum and/or activities – When you see that the time is not enough, you will have to make some sacrifices. The extra curriculum activities are certainly important, but they are definitely not most significant. The moment you notice that you can’t follow your schedule, you need to start deciding what needs to be dropped.

How do YOU manage homeschooling, household, personal time and more? What are your best tips?

 

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HadABaby ItsAGirl

Had a Baby

With a little fear of dating myself, I just had to use this title. It is from a commercial from the late 80’s or 90s. If you aren’t familiar, WAY back then there were no cell phones. If you were out and about and needed to call home, you had to use a pay phone and make what was called a collect call to home. This involved connecting with an operator, telling them your name and maybe even the number you were calling, They then place the call and verify that the recipient would accept the call. If so, I think the charges were like $1 per minute – quite expensive.

The commercial went something along the lines of a new papa calling his family. To avoid actually having to pay the collect charges, he tells the operator that his name is HadABaby ItsAGirl. The family on the other end hears it and that is all they need to know, so they don’t accept the charges. Just funny for that time and I remembered it when I had our baby. I guess I have a little sense of humor. If you remember what company that commercial was for, let me know:-)

The point of all this? We HAD A BABY AND ITS A GIRL! As I am recovering and very much enjoying my new baby, I have not written much. And that is OK. There is lots of useful content on my blogs to check out, Leave us a blessing, read a few posts, leave a comment and pass my blog around to your friends and family.

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Travel: Does Disney Penalize Large Families?

Does Disney Penalize

I was recently doing some travel research on hotels at Disney World and I noticed something. Almost all the reasonable priced Disney properties only accommodated 4 people.

To be more specific, I was searching for a family of 4 and seeing what the top hotels were in the area and what the prices were. I was excited to see that the Animal Kingdom Lodge was a low as $203 per night. Wow. This is one place I would want to stay if I ever get to go with my family (maybe in a few years). But then I saw that, even though rooms had two queen beds, it only accommodated 4 people. If I want to accommodate 6 people, I have to spend $400 per night.

Yet, if I stay at a property outside Disney (like Hampton Suites, Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn, etc…), I can get a room with two queen beds that will allow us to put 6 in the room – not that we would want to unless they had a roll-away bed or a pull out sofa bed (which some do), but still, they allow me to accommodate my whole family, in one room, for around $100 per night.

Then I discovered something really startling – When I changed my search from a family of 4 (what I was doing the research for) to my family of 6 (soon), the prices of most of the Disney Properties went up. Before, I was seeing prices around $300 to $500 per night, now they were $500 to $700 per night. Wow! $200 – $300 per night increase, just because I have two more children. And there are NO discounts that I am aware of on tickets, food, etc… if you have lots of children.

If I go to do some local activities, I see people giving large families a break. Our local water park, Roaring Springs, offers an annual family pass and it is a flat rate for up to a certain amount of people in the family. Our local YMCA and Rec Center have the same thing, family passes that do not matter if there is 4, 6 or 8 in the family. I have seen places that are kind enough to discount 10% or 20% off of activities / attractions after paying full price for the first couple of children.

It seems most business have found ways to be affordable to large families and still make a profit. So, why doesn’t Disney embrace this concept? Leave me you thoughts!

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Homeschool Review: Animal Lapbook Studies From Classic Homeschool

Homeschool Review Wolves Lapbook

Recently, I had the pleasure of virtually meeting Jen Elgin of Classic Homeschool and getting an opportunity to review a couple of her Homeschool Lapbook Unit Studies. In the case of this review, we selected one of the animal studies: Wolves.

Overview Of The Wolves Lapbook / Unit Study

The Wolves Lapbook is available for purchase through Jen’s Etsy Shop, Created4Fun, as a digital download. After receiving the download in PDF format, we opened the document and scanned through it. The study includes:

  • Intro / cover
  • A sample photo of what the finished lapbook could look like
  • What subjects will be covered (i.e. Biology / Zoology, language arts, art, etc…)
  • A book list (fiction and non-fiction)
  • A movie list
  • An internet resource list
  • A vocabulary list
  • A set of lapbook pieces and the corresponding actions and activities

We then printed up each of the activity pages, picked up books from the library, then scanned through the books to find the answers or resource for each activity. After all the activity pieces were filled out, we then cut them out and glued them into our lapbook (folder).

Feedback on the Lapbook

My children were very happy to take a few days off from our regular workbook studies to do a unit study. There is something about this format that generates real interest in the subject at hand. The girls spent a few hours going through the books to find out where wolves lived, what they liked to eat, what their lifecycle was, and much more. They have also spent a few hours during the week reading some of the fiction books (“Call of the Wild” and “White Fang”) and watching a couple of videos involving wolves.

My only criticism for the study is I would have liked a little more… maybe a few more cutouts and activities or even some non-lapbook specific activity suggestions would have made the study fuller and made me feel like I was getting a complete value out of the study.

How You Can Engage Classic Homeschool

If you would like to see what other studies are available from Classic Homeschool, visit their Created4Fun Etsy Shop. They have American Girls studies (which we are reviewing one of next), lots of animals, Magic Tree House book studies, and more.

Their blog, Classic Homeschool, has more about their lapbooks and unit studies, homeschool information, and homeschool freebies.

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Baby Almost Here

If you are a regular reader of A Simple Life Too, you may know that I am due to have a baby very soon. Well, she is now dropped and I have been having contractions, although not consistent yet. If you have ever had a baby, you know that creativity and all that is pretty much history those last few days.

Therefore, I might not be publishing anything new this week – but stand by and subscribe – I will be back soon with more of my 10 Things To Do This Summer Under $10 series, my 5 Ways To Make Money Working From Home Series, and some great posts about homeschooling, saving money, and living simply.

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