Tag: Home Schooling

Works for Me Wednesday: Budgeting foods

Last week I explained how we shop once a month for the main bulk items and then every two weeks for the stuff you are bound to run out of or which will spoil.

Now, our whole family is home all day everyday.  My husband works from home, so do I, and we homeschool our three little lunatics angels.  We don’t do menus or even planned meals because we are together constantly and interact constantly and eat pretty much when we are hungry and what we are hungry for.  This means that we will go on food kicks and the kids will eat all the eggs in less than a week or my husband will eat all the pretzels or I will eat all my chocolate  almonds.  Whatever.

The point is that yes, we do run out of things. We will run out of things.  We are bound to run out of things.   In the past this is what got us into trouble.  The whole point is NOT to run out to the store just because we are out of saltines since that is when I spend extra money.

Instead, everyone knows that I bought this enough food to last a month and other than a few perishables that I will pick up  on my “small” grocery trip at the two week mark, it will ast us till the next big shopping trip.  I have my grocery days on the calendar so the kids know how long before the next shopping trip and if they decide that they want to eat all the waffles this week then they will have to wait for the next “big” shopping trip for more waffles.  If they finish off the eggs or some other “small” item (anything that is refrigerated falls into this category because our family owns a fridge that once belonged to my single aunt–its a bit small) then they wait for my next two week trip.  Both are marked on the calendar.

This way everyone knows that if they want waffles during the rest of the month they had better not eat them all the first week.  I like to think of it as training them to budget their foods so the good stuff lasts. 🙂 It also teachesd them patienc and wisdom and saves us money.

Running Edubuntu from a Live CD

logo.pngFor screenshots of Edubuntu check this out.

So, with  all this talk about Edubuntu, I realized that maybe I should explain how to go about downloading and running it.  In fact, there is a bit of a trick to it which I have messed up more than a few times because I am a ditz like that–enough so that I went ahead and made a few cd’s for people who want them instead of explaining to my less technically-minded friends how to go about it.  (I have wasted plenty of cd’s because I “forget” how to burn an image.)

Before you download and run it there are two things you need to do.  (It doesn’t take much space to run so most people will not have issues with that.)

  1. Reboot your computer.  When it is starting up there will be a splash screen that tells you what type of processor you have.  As long as it doesn’t say 64 somewhere in there you should be good with the regular install.  (You can also check this by going into your control panel, system, and looking at your computer info.   AMD 64 requires a different setup which is the second one listed.)  Most people have a regular 32bit chipset and can run the first version.  If you can’t tell I suggest downloading and running the first chipset (or if you aren’t sure, email me and I will be glad to make you a cd and send it to you or you can order one from their site.)
  2. You need a cd burning software that can burn a cd image.  You are not burning data or an audio file you need to burn an .iso which is a disk image.  Nero Burning Rom can do this as can Sonic.  More than likely the program that came with your cd burner can burn a disk image but you need to tell it that is what you want.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to burn it as a data cd.  It won’t work.  I know because I ALWAYS forget and mess this up several times before remembering that I need to “Burn Disk Image”.

Now you can go the website and download.  You want the personal version, not the server.

Once you have downloaded and burned the cd all you do is put the cd in the cd/dvd player before rebooting.  Reboot and if your computer can boot from CD then it should automatically take you to the Edubuntu screen.  There it will give you several options but you likely won’t have to do a thing.  It will auto start in 30 seconds.  It will sit there a while–remember, you are running an entire OS from a cd, but it will start.  Just wait (probably about 3-5 minutes, on older machines like ours it takes a bit longer).  Once it boots you are good.  The screen looks quite a bit like a Mac (at least what I remember Macs looking like–it has been a while.)

Now you can play the games and run the programs without needing to install the software.  If you decide you love it you can install from there but I wouldn’t advise it unless you don’t mind losing what is already on computer or have everything backed up and I would recommend reading the docs on the site before doing so.  You can’t run Microsoft programs on an Ubuntu machine and have to convert your mp3s to .ogg format.  It is great if you don’t use Microsoft software and tend to use open source anyway or if you have a second computer for the kids (like us, we have 4 computers, two are old ones that belong to the kids.)

There are a few games that say they are missing bits.  If you install, it is easy to update those–they use other software that is normally already installed on a Linux machine.  If you don’t install you can’t update those but the rest is still well worth it.

I will talk a bit more about the games available in a future post.

A Day in the Life 19

My neck is out and my back aches. Sigh. We got a big snow and I shoveled even though my neck was twinging so my dad could get in the driveway. I only shoveled a little but it was too much and now. Sigh. I am off to spend several hours flat on my back playing Harvest Moon because I can’t sit up for long. Before I go I want to share a couple things:

This morning my “teaching himself to read” child called me over to the table where he sat eating animal crackers.

“Look Mom, this says low fat!”

“Did you read that yourself?”

“Yup.” He grinned and went on eating.

As I said he has been having me “read” a hymn book to him. He likes to help me read the words, which are divided into syllables so he can easily sound them out. He then helps me sing the songs. It is very sweet. (It had never occurred to me that all the old hymn books I collect from yard sales would make such great easy readers.)

My little boy has taught himself to read!

Also, all three kids are very into Edubuntu and are spending lots of time playing GCompris and and several other great educational games. The other cool thing about Edubuntu is that you can go to the Edubuntu site, download the isntaller and burn the image to a cd–which will allow you to run the whole thing off the cd without installing over your copy of Windows. We have two copies running though one of the machines still has Windows on it. It is amazing to see what they are learning from this wonderful program.

A Day in Life 16: When Learning is a Choice plus Doodle-a-day 2-19-08

When something is a requirement it is hard for the rebellious nature not to rebel. When learning is a choice then the rebellious will choose it because they really do want to learn. And when a person really does want to learn something that person will find a way.

  • When we went to the library last week my son asked for Hooked on Phonics: level 1, my daughters asked if they could get books to read. I reluctantly agreed only because we pay quite a lot in library fines because they forget which they got out.
  • Before bed my son read a book with me because he wanted to learn to read it. He also asked if he could play the Hooked on Phonics game in the morning. I told him he had to get his work done first (Mondays he throws all their dirty laundry down the step, move it to the hall where he has to sort it, plus put away all the pots ad pans and plastic items from the dishwasher.)
  • He woke at 8:30 and before he got his breakfast he had done the dirty laundry, not only the upstairs but also all the dirty laundry from the bedroom and the bathroom and he did everyone’s dishes, not just his own. He then came and told me and asked if he could play his game. (He has played it before and knows the answers pretty well but he is a cautious child and wants to REALLY know things before moving on.)
  • He spent an hour playing the Hooked on Phonics game which moves you through reading all sorts of three letter words then asked to go outside after he ate breakfast.
  • He went off to visit our elderly neighbor, who loves having company and happily reads him books, plays restaurant with him, and watches as he builds amazing towers with her set of blocks.
  • He spent hours playing happily in his room with his magnetics, exploring the world of magnetism and time outside with one of his plastic swords fighting off the monstrous trees that have invaded our backyard in search of fair princesses who need rescued or pretending he is a tiny little man inside my father’s back hoe moving sand around our fire pit and covering and rediscovering matchbox cars.
  • He asked to play Number Rings with me (a math game put out by Discovery Toys that requires the players to add, subtract, multiply, and divide 3 dice in order to fill in all the numbers from 1-18.) He then proceeded to beat me with only a little help with multiplication from me.
  • At bedtime he read If You Give a Pig a Pancake with only little help from me.
  • The next morning he he asked if he could do his school work. He then proceeded to get out all his workbooks and do page after page of his phonics workbook–effectively teaching himself all the long a spellings and reading them on his own. This after spending some time outside and realizing it was too cold and putting away 20 items in his room so he could go outside in the first place.

This is the same child who, when told he HAS to do something gets very worked up and can’t possibly get anything out of it because he is too busy being upset. Each of my children are different and he is my methodical self-motivated child. This child would be in trouble constantly in school because he can NOT sit still and can NOT be quiet (he makes noise and moves around all through our church time and reading time although if he is engrossed in a project he can be still). When he works on workbook pages he talks constantly and then gets up and runs around the house jumping off the furniture and shouting cock-a-doodle doo (his latest noise discovery.)

A Day in the Life 15: Some days are like that, even in Australia

Rachel tried to snow board but her feet were too big for the foot holes. She got in trouble for stuffing her clothes and toys under the dresser, every, single, day–because mommy keeps checking her work. Her mouth and head hurt because she is getting two molars which mean a fever which means she is on seizure alert.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel

Mommy told her to wear a helmet when sled riding and she didn’t. Then she thinks she hit a tree and thinks she hit her head but only remembers suddenly being on the other side of it lying in the snow. She thinks she will wear a helmet now.

Yesterday she wore her footy pajamas and got in trouble for running in the kitchen which she was doing because she wanted bacon and told mommy that and then ran again and her feet fell out from out under her and she landed on her back hitting her head in the place that still hurt because she had hit it on the tree.

“It has been a terrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel

Last night she didn’t sleep well because her head hurt and woke up in pain because her earing was pinching her ear went back to sleep and then woke up with it bleeding from being pinched and her head hurt from being hit and while she was trying to take the earrings out she knocked over a nail polish which broke open all over the carpet. She tried to clean it up with water but that didn’t work and now the bathroom smells like nail polish and remover because mommy had to scrub it.

“It has been a terrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel “Life’s not fair,” she says.

At breakfast she was out of bread and took her zinc without eating so then her stomach hurt and she couldn’t find something she wanted to eat and her head hurt and her ear hurt. Then she got a fever again and had to take a bath which she didn’t want to do because it made her cold. Then Mommy made her change out of her new fuzzy pink sweater and wear her tank top and light pj pants, “I HATE my light pj pants,” says Rachel. And daddy can’t comfort her because his back is out and his neck is spasming and she wants her daddy.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week ,” says Rachel. “And everything is awful.”

She was fighting with her brother and sister and was mad because they wanted to watch one movie and she wanted to watch another and mommy said that they had done their work and could watch the one they wanted because she had just watched the one she wanted. And Mommy called Grandma who came and took her brother and sister because they were fighting and mommy had to take care of both herself and daddy and they get to go play in the snow and visit at grandma’s while she has to lie down and be sick, and her head still hurts and everything is awful.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel. “And they get to have all the fun.”

Mommy settled her down with some hot carob milk and a pile of new movies to watch and the house is quiet. “Everything is awful, and it has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, ” says Rachel.

“Some weeks are like that,” says Mommy.

Awesome Sale

Library and Educational Services is having an AWESOME sale. Since they are wholesale you have to be a homeschooler or teacher or someone else who qualifies to get an account but if you fit the bill this sale is incredible!

They have so many great things on sale for about 25% of the normal price that I can’t even list them all. A lot of A&E history DVD’s as well as stories of the presidents.

I just ordered the 5 hour long Pride and Prejudice DVD set for $15–its the 10th Anniversary Deluxe addition which prices at $60.  (When I told Shamus the price he said get it as an anniversary gift. :))

If you do video tapes they are selling out of those–they have the 10 tape set of Nest Entertainment  animated Bible stories down from $130 to $20!  My kids LOVE these stories but we don’t do video tapes so that isn’t happening–if we did we would be ordering them.

If you homeschool check it out–there are some great books and DVD’s available at great prices.  You have to sign up and give some evidence that you are homeschooling since it is a wholesale site but it is worth it.  If you want to see the email I received that explain the sale let me know and I will email it to you–it lists the sale items in detail.

Day in the Life 13: Kids in the Kitchen

When I was young I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. At some point my mom got me a Betty Crocker Cook Book for Kids and some other weird kid’s cook books (I tried to find them, believe me. One of them had humpty Dumpty on the cover and had recipes for “Purple Cows” and cucumber sandwiches, the other had a child’s hand reaching down to all kinds of awesome cookies, I also had the official Winnie the Pooh cookbook and several others that I didn’t use so often.)

I made a lot of messes and wasted plenty of ingredients but my mom taught me the basics and kind of just let me go in the kitchen–as long as I cleaned up I was allowed to play with food. It is how I learned and I learned a lot. When I was older I would often make desserts and when we needed to take food somewhere I usually whipped it up.

My kids are 6, 8, and 10. I have spent plenty of time in the kitchen with them teaching them to read recipes and measure. All three know how to use the stove and the older two are capable of using the oven. All three love to help in the kitchen.

Lately my oldest has been kitchen obsessed. Our rule is that she is allowed to bake or cook as long as she makes sure the kitchen is clean before AND after. (I don’t allow cooking in the kitchen unless it is clean and the dirty dishes all int he dishwasher.) She is finally to the point where I don’t have to be in the kitchen with her. I am letting her make mistakes (like not mixing the ingredients right and misreading the recipe–it is how I learned and it is how I intend the kids to learn.) Yesterday she decided to make pie crust for pumpkin pie–she can’t eat most of the pumpkin pie ingredients and she didn’t ask me what I substitute so I let her go.
She used Stevia with pumpkin and used way too much Stevia so the filling was pretty much inedible. However, the crust was decent though not mixed well enough. It was definitely edible. 🙂

Today she has decided to make peanut butter cookies. I am staying out of the kitchen.


After yesterdays mistakes she learned to ask more questions before proceeding and to reread the recipe. She is also teaching her little brother and sister to measure, repeating many of the fine points I have taught her over the years. Teaching another is one of the best ways I know to learn something yourself.

If she succeeds with these this will be the first time I have not been involved in the process other to take pictures and answer questions. It will be a real success–especially as she already did all the dishes and cleaned the kitchen unasked so that she could bake, and has already cleaned as she has gone along, instead of leaving a mess for later.

The best part is–since her snack foods are expensive and the ingredients are much less so letting her make her own snacks, even with the mistakes is MUCH cheaper than buying ready made ones. (And reading recipes is a great way for Rachel, my dyslexic child who struggles with comprehension to work on her reading skills.)

Update: The cookies are AWESOME! She did a great job!

Todays doodle to come later–I am intending to work from the pictures I took of them working in the kitchen since they were moving too much for me to doodle while they worked.