Summer Routine On A Budget

Summer Break Plans

Now that summer break is upon us, I need to find a way to keep life at home fun, engaging, and at the same time structured, for three kids. The past four years we have spent our summers living at the pool supporting our kids on a swim team (for those who have swim kids, you know what a commitment that it!). This year Big Brother and Sissy decided not to swim, so we now have a lot of free time to fill. If being a mom for 10 years has taught me anything, it is that too much free time causes chaos. Kids will fight over every little thing when penned up for too long in the house with no direction.

Luckily, I love structure! Seriously, I make spreadsheets to plan everything from shopping lists to vacation budgets to bedtime routine schedules. I quickly set off to work to find a routine that would carry us all the way through the summer. This couldn’t be any boring routine, this had to be something that I was happy with and that the kids would love. Oh, and did I mention that it needed to be done on a budget? With my jump to being a ‘Stay at Home Mom’, we were down to one income.

This is what I came up with….


Our weekly trip to Costco to stock up. I know this may seem boring at first… but… the kids LOVE samples! And, at the end of the trip they get treated to a delicious fro-yo for a whopping $1.35 each. I get my shopping done, and the kids feel like they got a special treat. Win-Win!


We will walk to our local library and exchange books and videos. The walk is just over a mile and passes by a little park to play at. I am fortunate that my kids love to read, so this will be a big hit with the kids. And if you haven’t used it yet, ask the librarian about the Discover and Go program that allows you to get free or discounted museum passes. (Other areas may have a different name for this program)


Dollar movies! Select theaters across the U.S. have kid’s summer movie clubs that show past years movies for $1/person. Such a cheap way to spoil the kids! These movies usually start at 10 AM before the theater opens to the public. Check out Cinemark’s lineup here, or Regal’s lineup here.


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School’s Out For Summer

End of the Year

Just like that, school’s out. 180 days of school have passed and summer break has begun. Building up to today has been a bit of a roller coaster. Since we will be starting homeschool in the fall, this was our last day at our local school. In all honesty, we love our local school; the teachers are great, the PTA is top-notch, and there is a wonderful community feel. So as we left the school for our final time today, I found myself feeling a little sentimental as I watched the kids give out hugs and wave their goodbyes. I also made sure to let others know that we are hoping to have playdates (for both the kids and for Mommy!).

I knew today had to be a celebration for the kids. After all, this is the start of a new chapter in our lives. We headed to Dairy Queen to fill up on ice-cream first then the kids came home to a ‘welcome summer’ gift basket. Between the Dollar Tree and the close out specials at Toys R Us, I feel like I made out like a bandit. It was worth every penny spent to see my 10 year old patiently blowing bubbles for Baby J. Next up were playdates for Big Brother and Sissy, whom each had a buddy over to hang out. I enjoyed listening to the kids laugh with friends while I played Hot Wheels on the floor with Baby J.

Free Printable

I knew that I would want to freeze time and remember exactly what makes them happy at this very moment. So, I created a cute printable for the kids to fill out telling us all about their favorites. I am going to tuck them away with their treasured works of art, report cards and school pictures. If you would like to print one click here (or click here if you would like one geared towards boys). I know I will always look back lovingly on Sissy’s responses; she wants to be an Astronomer and a Baby Doctor when she grows up!

However, I am also very excited for an adventure filled summer with three sweet kiddos. We will be working on finding a schedule to keep the kids engaged this summer. I am not a homebody at all, so I thrive on outings and adventures. I will post more about our summer plans soon!

I wish you all a summer full of fun! Enjoy every minute you have with your kiddos. In the words of Clint Eastwood, “Tomorrow is promised to no one.” Make the most of the time you have.

24 Wacky Holidays to Celebrate With Kids

I was recently looking ahead, planning our first year of homeschooling (I seriously LOVE planning ahead!), and knew that I wanted to inject as much fun as possible in to our schedules. In my search for ideas, I came across list after list of wacky holidays. Honestly, there is a holiday of some sort for almost every day of the year! I read through all of the holidays and chose two for each month that seemed fun, child friendly, and could be educational with the right approach.

I have planned fun activities to go along with each holiday, and hope to celebrate with my kids all year long…..



January 18th– Winnie the Pooh Day: So many fun ways to celebrate this day! We are going to have a teddy bear picnic with honey sandwiches. This is a great time to take a moment to tell your kids how honey is made, and the importance to honey bees. Follow up the picnic with one of the many Winnie the Pooh cartoons. (The Tigger Movie is my favorite)

January 28th– National Kazoo Day: Snag a couple of kazoos and have some fun! Have each kid play a song, and see if everyone else can guess it. Listen to a favorite classical song, and then have the kids try to repeat it on their kazoo. Or, get a little tech-y and make a kazoo music video.



February 6th– Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day: I know… this one is pretty obvious, let the kids eat ice cream for breakfast. Add a banana and strawberries to make it little healthier. Or, plan ahead and have the kids make their own healthy ice cream. Trust me, the kids will love this one!

February 26th– Tell a Fairy Tale Day:  Check out a book of fairy tales from your local library or snag one off Amazon, and have each child pick one to read out loud. Another twist would be to have each child make up their own fairy tale. This really could be an all-day project if you had each child write their own fairy tale, add illustrations, and a dedication page. Sort of a ‘young authors’ type project. This will certainly be one of my daughter’s favorites!



March 14th– Pi Day: Have the kids help bake a pie. They will be using math skills all along the way; measuring ingredients, setting the temperature, watching the clock. While the pie is baking, explain the meaning of pi, and how it directly relates to the diameter of the pie they are baking. And just to drive home the point of how long the number pi actually is, listen to the Pi Song on YouTube.

March 26th– Make Up Your Own Holiday: Can you imagine anything more exciting through a child’s eyes? Let each child come up with an idea for a new holiday. Then spend 15 minutes celebrating their holiday! I can’t wait to see what my kids come up with!! If you have too many kids to allocate that much time to, try splitting the kids into teams.

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School Shootings May Cause Uptick in Homeschooled Families

Year to Date

2018 has been a terrifying year for parents, students and teachers. As of today, there has been on average, one school shooting per week in the United States. A total of 22 shootings in just the first 20 weeks of the year. Even more shocking, that number is more than double the number of school shootings in 2017, a total of nine.

It has become common place to have kids as young as preschool practice “intruder drills” or “lock-down drills” at school. As a precaution, we are forced to teach kids as young as 3 how to be prepared in a life threatening situation at school. While I applaud our teachers and schools for being proactive, my heart is breaking that my kids have to be informed of the dangers in the world around them.

I can remember clearly the first time my son participated in an “intruder drill”. He was five years old, and it was just one year after Sandy Hook. My son came home and told me how scared he was, and how he had to hide quietly in the class bathroom with the lights out along with the other 22 classmates and his teacher. He was confused why a ‘bad guy’ would want to come to his classroom. It was a very hard topic to discuss with my young child. But, in my heart, I felt thankful that there was a plan in place.

Visual of Intruder Drill

In 2016 a picture went viral that a mother had posted of her three year old daughter standing on a toilet. The girl was practicing what she had learned at school during a “lock-down drill”.  The mom profoundly states in her post……”At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.”

I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our…

Posted by Stacey Wehrman Feeley on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The reasons for these shootings have become a hot topic. Is this a gun reform issue? Is this a mental health issue? Or have today’s youth become desensitized to violence? Honestly, I think it is a combination of all three. Regardless of which reason, it is clear that there is a heightened sense of angst among parents.

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Where Do I Start? Finding The Right Homeschool Path

Deciding to Start Homeschooling

Once we decided as a family to take the leap and start homeschooling, we had a lot of research to do. What is the best way to get started? Who do we contact? Will this be expensive? Will my kids have a chance to stay social? After turning to the internet and my trusty Google searching abilities, I found out that there are a lot of directions to take when starting to homeschool. Some homeschool programs will give tighter restrictions, and others hardly any at all. Please keep in mind that I did search for California homeschool programs. You will want to check with your home state to see what options are available.


Private Homeschool

Register as a private homeschool: Home educators can file a private school affidavit online to the California Department of Education. This affidavit does not in anyway licence or accredit you as a private school. This affidavit is necessary to effect the child’s exemption from public school enrollment and attendance. There are very little requirements that go along with the choice. No teacher or school will follow or track a students progress when registering as a private homeschool.

Independent Study via Public School

Independent study through a public school: This option allows a student to take all of the same courses as their peers, but from home. This is often chosen for kids that have serious health issues, or other issues that keep them from attending the classroom setting. The student would be guided by a public school teacher. There is no room for changes in curriculum or content as the work has to match the classroom work.

Private School via Satellite

Private school satellite homeschool program: This is a private school which has filed an affidavit. Parents then can join the private school essentially as teachers to their own kids. These programs usually offer arranged activities together, such as field trips and play dates. However, these programs also usually have a say in what kind of curriculum is being used. These programs are often religious based.

Public Charter

Public charter homeschool program: This is a state funded program. Each child will be assigned to a certified teacher that checks in on a regular basis (usually monthly) to review samples of work and progress made. Most charter programs have funds available to help pay for materials and enrichment classes. Students in this program still take part in state testing.

Program Decision

Although some parents prefer total flexibility and choice in their homeschool experience, I actually do prefer to have checkpoints along the way letting me know that I am on track with the goals set up for each of my kids. Based on that, I knew that filing to be my own private school was not the right route for our family. And honestly, the idea of having funds available for materials and enrichment classes made the public charter programs very appealing. After reviewing the options, we knew that the public charter program was a good fit for us. Although that is one decision down, there are still so many more to make!

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