Freaking Out (Update on the No-Spend Month Challenge)

I’m seriously freaking out.  Hyperventilating!  Could someone please get me a paper bag!?!  Okay, okay, deep breaths.  It will be okay.  The No-Spend Month Challenge is almost over.  Only a few days left until February, right?  I NEED TO BUY SOMETHING!!!

Alright, alright.  Don’t call 911, I’m just having a Shopaholic Moment.  I’m not proud of it, but it happens now and again.  Really, though the No-Spend Month Challenge has been going well.  So well, in fact, that maybe I was getting a little too cocky about my new found Frugality.  I even told Danny, “This is easy!  We have everything we need!  I’m going to keep not shopping in February!”

What is it they say about pride before the fall???  Hmm…

I HAD been doing so well at avoiding my Shopaholic triggers.  I got in the habit of zealously clearing out my emails without looking at anything that could be related to shopping.  But I thought I was safe with an email from Money Saving Mom! I mean, I’m trying to be a Money Saving Mom, so THE Money Saving Mom could certainly only help, right?


“Kitchen Aid Mixer at Kohls for $129.99!” wrote Money Saving Mom.  AGGGHHHH!  I have been WAITING to find a really good deal on a Kitchen Aid mixer!  “Well”, I thought, “It’s the bottom of the line one.  It will only come in White and I want chrome.  I’ll just click on the link to see and then I will feel better.”  IT CAME IN CHROME!  FOR THE SAME PRICE!!!

So that was semi-tragic.  Maybe not fully tragic, but if you’ve ever kneaded bread with a toddler standing on your metatarsals, you can understand the slight tragicness of having to pass up a Kitchen Aid Mixer.  But I held firm and  resolved to put money aside specifically for a Kitchen Aid Mixer so I’ll be prepared next time a great offer comes along.  Good, right?  Don’t feel too sorry for me.  I have a VitaMix, a giant food processor, and a hand mixer, and sturdy shoes to protect my metatarsals.  I’ll survive.

When my inner greed monster starts to rear its ugly head, I’m trying to push it out with gratitude.  Nothing knocks you back into reality like checking out the Heifer website and contemplating how much of the world lives, know what I mean?  There are people who NEED things!  As for us?  We have ENOUGH!

So, just when I had reeled my brain back in to a zen-like state of gratitude (it just looks calming in bold italics, doesn’t it?); I came across THIS news on Facebook, the very news that got me hyperventilating:   Life Of Fred came out with A LANGUAGE ARTS SERIES!!!

Yes, I really was losing it over Language Arts.  Is that super weird?  Hey, being a Shopaholic isn’t all about hoarding high heels and lip gloss.  Shopaholism is a complex issue.  It can strike when you least expect it.  As soon as it occurs to you that you NEED something, that a THING will make your life complete, that is when you’re in the Shopaholic Danger Zone.  And yes, it can happen with Language Arts books just as well as a pair of buttery leather pumps with exquisite detailing…

…Uh-oh, I shouldn’t have thought about shoes… PIPERLIME!  NORDSTROM!  Where’s that paper bag???  Okay, let’s just change the subject… Language Arts is a LITTLE less painful.

So, anyways, if you’ve been reading here awhile you know how much we love Life Of Fred math in our homeschool.  I am so stinking excited about the new series!!!  And no, we don’t really need it.  I wouldn’t skimp on my kids’ education, but seriously we are stacked with books here.  Stacked with stacks and stacks.  Besides that it’s actually intended for high school, but I’ve heard that the first book is okay for 8-9 year olds too…  All right, I admit it.  I want it for myself.  Only. A. Few. More. Days.

I can do this!!!

OH.  But I have to tell you about the really unfortunate thing happened.  I heard the all too familiar hum of the UPS truck outside my house and thought “What on earth is the UPS truck doing here when I haven’t bought anything???”  (Okay, the UPS truck has still visited us this month for our supplements, laundry detergent, and purchases Danny had to make for some volunteer work he’s doing, but this day I was really not expecting anything.)  Then I found THIS on our front porch:

No Spend Month Challenge

Be really careful about putting babies on autoship. Once they’re in transit there are no returns or exchanges! (Just kidding, and let me make myself clear: there are NO BABIES in transit to The Ordinary Chaos!!!)

Turns out that in my zeal to delete emails without looking at them, I missed the email from Amazon that my Subscribe and Save was shipping soon.  So I now have an overstock of Chia Seeds, Chili Powder, and Diaper Genie liners.  Don’t you hate it when saving money ends up costing money?  So just maybe my own carelessness is what cost me money, but I’d rather blame it all on the No-Spend Month.  Is that the wrong attitude?  Hmm…

Oh well, what’s a No-Spend Month Challenge without the “Challenge” part, right?

Maybe you’re wondering if we’re just going to have Spendthrift February to make up for No-Spend January.  Don’t worry, we saw that coming a mile away, and plans are being put in place to stop the insanity!  Here are our ideas:

  • Have a waiting period to make sure you REALLY need something before buying.
  • Only buy an item if you have specific dollars put aside for the purchase.  (I think this what people refer to as a budget???)
  • If you do bring one new item home, find two old things to donate so clutter isn’t piling up.

What do you think?  Anyone have some more sweet ideas to cure the itchy credit card finger?  I’d love to hear them!  Are you doing the No-Spend Month Challenge along with myself and Carrie at Natural Moms Talk Radio?  Tell me how it’s going!

Well, thanks for listening to me vent.  I feel a lot better.  It does feel good to stop buying things and be thankful for all the blessings we already have.   I mean who can want for anything when you’ve got this little face cheering you up all day long?

No-Spend Month Challenge

And his brothers too! True blessings. <3


BUT I’m totally ordering the first book in Life Of Fred Language Arts on February 1st… the waiting period will be over!  Is that so wrong?  It’s for education, okay?  AND I will let all you Life of Fred lovers know how it is!

Talk to you soon!




Going Gaga Over Math Curriculum. Yes, REALLY.

My boys are lying in their bunk beds right now talking about their MATH CURRICULUM.  Yes, seriously, that is really happening.  Beau, the child who hates math, pulled out the second book in the series, plopped down in a comfy chair and skipped ahead of the rest of us, IN HIS FREE TIME.  Now he is filling his brother in on the good stuff.


homeschool curriculum ideas

Who would have thought I’d be going gaga over a math curriculum?  Thinking back to last year, when I started contemplating homeschooling, I thought the best option was probably the K12 program (aka public school at home).  I changed my mind on that after about 20 minutes of research.  I’m not saying it’s not a good option for someone else, but I knew it wasn’t right for us.  It would defeat my purpose in homeschooling, which was primarily to give my kids a custom designed education.  But what else was there besides K12?  Ha!  Silly me, I had NO IDEA!

Turns out there are about a gazillion options out there; enough to make your head explode.  So research I did, until my head exploded and I had to piece it back together.  The good news is, post head explosion, I think I put together a pretty good curriculum.  I thought I’d share with you some of the highlights for those who are interested.


My primary goal is to READ, READ, READ.  Classic books, not so much “twaddle” (as Charlotte Mason aptly described it.)  Yesterday we finished Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and I must say, I think I enjoyed it more than the kids.  I appreciate the genius of Rudyard Kipling’s work so much more than I ever could have imagined when I heard it *cough* thirty years ago.  It was such fun to read aloud!  I can’t wait to start The Jungle Book!  (Did you know these books are in the public domain and you can get the e-books for free?  Yay!)

I also have All About Reading (for Finn) and All About Spelling for both boys.  I have a feeling Finn is going to fight me on it, so I’m waiting until we get really comfortable in the routine before introducing it.

The program I personally got excited about was the writing intensive from the Institute For Excellence In Writing.  Now the question is, is it for Beau or for me?  Okay, it’s for Beau of course, but I’m certainly hoping to pick up some tips and tricks along the way.  Beau groaned when we popped in the first video class, but soon he was pretty engaged by the topic and style.  He and Dash sat on the floor and ate cheese and crackers while they watched it.  We’ll do the first exercise tomorrow.  BTW, Beau thinks he’s already too good of a writer to need it.  Anyone know where we can get some lessons in humility, lol?


Finn is really interested in nature (although he would never admit it), so I got the Handbook of Nature Study, along with a nature journal for each boy.  (They’re just normal journals.)  So far we have a rolly poly and a worm drawn in them.  I think they’ll be great to throw in a backpack and take on a hike as the weather cools down.  We also have an elementary chemistry book and a Magic School Bus Science Club subscription for doing experiments.  Of course, I found out *after buying the year subscription*, that after having the Magic School Bus in regular school, the boys consider it a total drag.  I think (hope) they’ll be able to over look that for the sake of some cool experiments.

homeschool curriculum ideas


Oh, sorry, you’ve been waiting for this one?  Well, I gave it away in my last post, but the curriculum we’re most in love with is LIFE OF FRED.  AGGHHHH!  PURE GENIUS!!!  You know Finn didn’t want to like it.  The first day I told him just to play on the floor and listen.  Pretty soon he was up on the couch, begging to see the pictures.  He still tried to tell me he didn’t like it.  “Really, Finn?  You didn’t like “Butter fries are buh-terrrrrr”?????”  He busted out laughing.  Even Finn couldn’t deny liking that.  And no, I’m not going to explain.  You’ve got to read it.  No matter if your kids are in regular school or homeschool or whatever.  I’ll stop waxing poetic now, you get the picture.

So, some people do use Life Of Fred as a stand alone math curriculum.  But we’re also doing Miquon Math using Cuisenaire Rods as a manipulative.  Beau is awesome at memorizing math facts.  He’s a word guy and I think he remembers number sentences as ACTUAL SENTENCES.  He remembers the WORDS, but the concepts are all fuzzy.  So we’re starting at the beginning of Miquon with both of them (six workbooks for grades 1-3).  The workbooks are such that I can make them easier for Finn and harder for Beau.  Right now Finn thinks of the Cuisenaire Rods as another toy, doing  all kinds of fun and imaginative things with them, which means he is playing right into my plan, ha ha ha!  (Please excuse my maniacal laugh.)  But really, Finn impressed me by comprehending right away that each rod stood for a number and he didn’t have to count to recognize which was which.  I had to count.  😛

homeschool curriculum ideas

Finn working on his Miquon book, adding his own style with a stripey shirt and bird flying away from the scarecrow. You wouldn’t expect Finn to color it per the instructions, now would you? 😉

So, that’s the basics.  I’ve got some other subjects and tricks up my sleeves, but you’re getting bored and I’m getting tired.  I’ve got to get up and teach little boys in the morning.  And there are still dishes in my sink.  Only thanks to my mom coming by today and helping me they aren’t piled up to the ceiling.  Thanks Mom!  Anyways, this isn’t going to be easy, but I think it’s going to be Good.

P.S.  I’m linking this post up with the iHomeschool Network Back To School Blog Hop.  First time I’ve done one of these, so hopefully I don’t mess it up.  Anyhoo, here’s the link if you’re looking for more great homeschool curriculum ideas!  And if you happen to have stopped by from there, thank you for visiting!  I hope you’ll pop your email address in or hit the ol’ Facebook like to keep up with The Ordinary Chaos!  And Homeschooling Friends, do share what you’ve got planned for this year too!  Hope to hear from you all soon. 🙂