Friday, December 31, 2010


May you and yours have a safe and happy New Year!!!  Blessings to you all!  I look forward to all the wonderful new adventures that lay ahead in this fresh, new year! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Gingerbread Parthenon!

Yes, we are homeschoolers and what better way to celebrate some of the fun things about Christmas than to combine history with the holidays!!!  Here was our gingerbread Parthenon.  I had sworn off gingerbread for many years, but I finally found a great recipe.  Now I need to perfect royal icing.  I used powdered meringue, but the icing seized up on me so it was hard to work with.  Nonetheless, it gave our Parthenon a more authentic look (hey, you gotta look at the silver lining!).  Has anyone built anything unusual out of gingerbread?  How about some hints about icing???  I really need to take some time working on that!!!

My goal was to pipe on the column design with the icing, but grand plans usually don't work out.  Oh well, we shall try something different next year!

Christmas Debriefing

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!  We had a great Christmas ourselves and I am now in a ponderous mood as I am developing some new strategies for the new year!  I'm settling in as the snow falls outside, and thinking about next Christmas...I know, I know...I really don't want to, but for the sake of the budget, I have to!!!  One of the things I'm going to hit hard this next year is the thrift stores (I'm a big thrift store shopper anyways, but I'm going to be more mindful of Christmas gifts).  I instituted some of that this year and my children were just thrilled and overjoyed.  Here were some of my bargains:

For my son:  I don't care what age you are because we all love Lego's and their counterparts.  I found my son three different ships made by MegaBloks.  One is the Black Pearl, one is the Flying Dutchman (both are from the Pirates of the Caribbean), and a neat viking ship-not pictured.  These ships cost around $39.99 brand new.  I paid $2.99 and $3.99 for these ships.  They have given my son hours of entertainment already.  I also found small bags of blocks at the thrift store that he added to his collection.  On top of that, for $2.99, we bought him hundreds of toy soldiers.  They aren't your average toy soldiers--they have different eras--WWII, Vietnam, etc.  He and my husband have a game they made up using these little guys and my son learns all kinds of tactical strategies!!! 

Another great thrift store bargain which my whole library is made up of is BOOKS!!!  We always hit the jackpot.  I found one of my daughter's practically brand new 39 Clues books, and for my youngest, I found five Tinker Bell books--she totally loves Tinker Bell.  The 39 Clues books are hardback and in the store retail for $12.99--I bought them for $2.99 each--and they had the trading cards in them, too!  The Tinker Bell books retail for $4.97-$5.99.  I got them practically brand new for $1.49!!!  Awesome!!!

What to do about teenagers?  My oldest daughter is almost 16 and has quite the fashion sense.  Most of her clothes comes from Kohl's or friends.  So guess what I found?  The thrift stores are chock full of name brand clothing in excellent condition.  I got her these two shirts--one is Mudd, which comes from Kohl's and the other is from H & M--hello, both name brand and under $5.00!!!

I'm not saying I'm going to get everything from the thrift store--but it certainly helps the budget!!!  Even picky children can get amazing things--you just have to take time to look!!!  So I am going to take this whole next year to find some real treasures to supplement some more.  I was really pleased with these things I found and my kids were in shock that they came from the thrift store because they were in amazing shape!!!  Give yourself some time and I will guarantee your budget will be thrilled!!!  Anyone out there find any great bargains???