Jenny’s Surprise Summer (B4FIAR)

Princess and I finished up her Before Five in a Row book,  Jenny’s Surprise Summer a little while ago. I was super excited to do this one, as it is definitely one of my favorites in the Before series! I enjoyed doing this one with Popstar and Flash so much and really loved doing it with Princess this time. This will be my last child doing Before with and that makes me a little sad, but I’m trying to make the most out of each book for both myself and her. We had a lot of fun with this one.




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The Boxcar Children, Chapter 7 (BYFIAR)

Popstar finished up Chapter 7 of The Boxcar Children for her Beyond Five in a Row for school a few weeks ago. Chapter 7 is called “A Big Meal from Little Onions” and in this chapter, Henry goes to work for Dr. Moore. He works in their garden thinning vegetables and earns a little money and also brings home a bunch of the vegetables he worked on for them to eat. While he is at work, Jessie and Benny build a new fireplace. When Henry gets home, they make a stew for supper. Henry goes back to work after that for Dr. Moore. This time, he works on organizing the garage. He earns more money and a hammer and is very excited. After dinner, he takes the wheels Benny had gotten at the dump and uses the hammer to build a cart.

We spent only 2 school days on this chapter.

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The Boxcar Children, Chapter 6 (BYFIAR)

Popstar finished up Chapter 6 of The Boxcar Children for her Beyond Five in a Row for school a few weeks ago. We had a lot of fun with this chapter. Chapter 6 is called “A Queer Noise in the Night and in this chapter, the boxcar children have a nice meal of brown bread, milk and dried meat. Henry tells the others about his day. He had gone into a town called Silver City and ended up getting work mowing grass and other odd jobs. After they finish their meal and it starts to get dark, they hear  a strange sound in the woods. After listening for awhile, they decide it was just an animal in the woods and are able to fall asleep.

We spent 2 school days on this chapter.

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Week 4 of the Fast Food Challenge

We’ve come to week four of the fast food challenge. We did really good all week up until Saturday! This weekend we’ve been celebrating Hulk’s birthday (Our 2nd boy, just a reminder that he chose his own nickname and honestly it suits him very well). He turns 7 on Monday! So we’ve started celebrating each of our kids birthdays by taking them out to dinner by themselves, to their choice of restaurant. It is something they love and look forward to so much. We were going to wait until next weekend, but decided to go ahead and take him. 

He chose Golden Corral as where he wanted to eat and we spent around $40 for the three of us. But I think that is pretty good considering that is all we spent for the entire month!  There are only 3 more days left in August and we have a menu plan set for this week, so I think we’re all set to finish the month out.

Since we worked so hard to not spend money on fast food or take out this month, we were able to set aside money for this Christmas. It feels good to have that money in the bank and know that we don’t have to worry about affording a nice Christmas for our kids.

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We are so blessed, when you think about it. So many people in the world are starving and sick and dying and yet we have all that we need and more. God is so good to us.




The Finest Horse in Town (FIAR)

The boys finished up their Five in a Row study on The Finest Horse in Town by Jacqueline Briggs Martin awhile ago. I was waiting to write this post about it because we thought we were going to be able to visit some real horses and wanted to include that. It has taken longer than we expected to work out the details for that, so I decided to go ahead with this. If we do get to visit some horses, I will post separately about it later.




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The Boxcar Children, Chapter 5 (BYFIAR)

Popstar finished up Chapter 5 of the Boxcar Children for her Beyond Five in a Row for school a little while ago. I admit I am a few chapters behind on this, but at least I’m trying!

Chapter 5 is called “The Explorers Find Treasure” and in this chapter the children use the waterfall near the boxcar as a refrigerator to keep their food cold, specifically milk. Henry sets out to find a job. While he’s gone, the other children head to the “dump” to find what they can use around the house. They find dishes, cups, spoons and wheels and bring them home. They surprise Henry when he gets home and Henry builds a fire for dinner.

There were lots of neat lessons to go along with this chapter. We spent 3 school days on Chapter 5. 

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Back to School Blessings

All the public schools started back this past week here in the Rock Hill, SC area. We had already started back in July, so we are now 6 weeks into our school year. Regardless of that, I always enjoy the “Back to School Blessing” Sunday at our church. They actually held it last Sunday before the kids all started school. It is such a special time for moms and dads. Our old pastor a few times actually had the parents pray over their own children, but this time they called them down in groups by age. They also prayed over the teachers and school workers, including homeschool parents as well. It really means a lot to me that our homeschool is prayed over and that our children are prayed over for the new school year, even though we school at home. Our children are still facing trials and situations although they may be different than those who go away from home for school.


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Week 3 of the Fast Food Challenge

Here we are 3 weeks into the Fast Food Challenge for the month of August. Things are going really well for our family. We have had NO fast food or take out of any kind since July 31st! We have been sticking to our dinner menu plan this past week, with a few minor changes here and there and that has helped a lot. Also, yesterday we went our for awhile and typically we would’ve stopped and gotten the kids some burgers from McDonald’s while out, but we took along snacks from home as well as drinks. So we were able to avoid buying fast food. I think the biggest thing about this whole challenge is just to plan ahead. It helps us to realize ways that we can change how we’re doing things even after this month is over.

Yesterday, Jason and I made these Rueben Roll Ups that turned out so yummy and were very easy to make. They were also very inexpensive. When you can be creative and make things like this yourself, it makes you feel a little better about not buying fast food so much. I will be writing a separate post with the recipe for this one soon.


Here is our dinner menu plan for this week:

Sunday: Sloppy Joe & French Fries

Monday: Cheese Ravioli, Salad & Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie & Rice

Wednesday: Tacos

Thursday: Beef Stew & Corn Muffins

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Homemade Pizza


So that is our plan for this week! How is your month going? Has anyone been trying to cut back a little on eating out maybe? Sometimes you have to just take little steps and work on one thing at a time. You could do the challenge for one week instead of one month, for example. I know it can be hard to go a whole month. Jason is craving some pizza from Papa Johns these days! But we only have another week and a half to go! Please comment! I would love to hear from you!




Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Mouse Paint, Mouse Count & Mouse Shapes (Preschool)

I found a wonderful Preschool study on the Mouse Paint book series, including Mouse Paint, Mouse Count and Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh here on I knew this would be perfect for Princess for this school year! We had a fun time and it wasn’t really anything complicated, we just focused on Colors for a few days, Counting & Numbers for a few days and Shapes for a few days. I pulled out all the books I had on colors, counting/numbers and shapes and also checked out a bunch from the library as well.



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