Sunday, August 26, 2012

Moving Sale

The time has come to face the reality that we just have way TOO MUCH STUFF! I had intended for several years now to have a garage sale, but it just never seemed to work out for one reason or another.

I'm going to let y'all in on a little secret.....garage sales are a lot of work!

Now, if you call your garage sale a "moving sale", then they are even MORE work! All of those neatly stacked totes sitting in your basement must be gone through, because you don't want to move, or store, anything that you don't want or need.

Hubs has been after me to get rid of my bread maker. He told me that the moving sale would be the perfect time to do so. He rationalized that since I never use it, I certainly was not going to miss it, and therefore, it should be sold.

While I may be rational in many ways, the way I feel about some of my things is NOT one of them.

Never is a strong word. While I have only made a few loaves of bread in it (in the....mumble mumble....years I have had it), I do have good intentions of making more! It's just that I forget I even own such a thing, as it is tucked away in the cupboard, and not out in plain view. Out of sight....out of mind.

I told him that I was willing to get rid of a lot of things, but the bread maker would NOT be one of them. End of story. The bread maker will be boxed up and moved along with some of my other irrational things I plan on saving....of which there are quite a few. Sigh.

So, the girls and I slaved and toiled for days, pondering over each and every item that we own. I had the girls go through all of their things, and unless there was a specific reason why they wanted to save it, they agreed to either sell it, give it away, or throw it away.

There they sat, remembering how they got such and such, and who gave it to them. As my oldest daughter hauled out all of her memories, she said it made her long for the time when all that mattered were Barbies and stuffed animals. Life was so much simpler back then.

We had fun reading over the stories my oldest used to write, and the music she composed when she played the violin.

We all said "Awe!" when we saw the pictures that contained my middle daughter's name, back when she couldn't make the letter "S", so she wrote it like a 2.

When we came across my youngest daughter's stuffed lamb that she always slept with as a baby, we stroked the still silky fur, and remembered when our special neighbors gave it to her as a present when she was born.

Memories are hard. We decided that if things did not have any memories attached to them, then into the sale they would go! But, if they did....

After several days of working almost non-stop, it was finally time to have the sale.

We priced things to sell, and then re-priced....and re-priced again. We did end up selling, and even giving away, a lot of our things. What is left is either going to go to Goodwill, or to a man who sends clothes, shoes, books, and stuffed animals to a missionary in Africa, who then passes them out to children there. It will be nice to know that our stuff is going to a good cause.

We had a lady that was smoking in our garage, while she was busy looking through things. I contemplated asking her NOT to smoke in MY garage, but since she was busy buying things, I didn't want to upset her. I am highly sensitive to smoke, but sometimes, you just have to deal with it, I suppose. If she wanted to smoke inside my house, or my car? That would have been a whole different story.

Can I give you a piece of advice, though? If you are a smoker, that is your right to do so. Smoke away!  But....could you please be considerate of those of us who don't smoke? In my case, I already do not have the best set of lungs, and smoke just exacerbates my breathing problems. Thank you :)

A guy walked off with one of our items without paying for it. His wife had purchased a few things, and he either forgot, or just didn't feel like, paying for it. One of my daughter's mentioned that he had NOT paid for it, but I wasn't about to run after him over a $3.00 item.

Garage sales are the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about money in many ways. They can add up the prices, keep track of the money, and give the customer the correct change. I made sure to tell my girls to NEVER place the money the customer gives you in the box before giving them their change. If you do this, the customer can cheat you out of money by saying they are owed more change than they actually are. It has happened to me in the past. It could have happened this time, except for we had the money that he had given us in plain sight, so we could prove that what we said he gave us....he actually did.

We had several people who came to our sale who did not speak very good English. That makes things a little more.... interesting, as it is very hard to communicate. With one man, I made the mistake of talking louder, wrongly assuming that by doing so, I would somehow be able to get him to understand me better. I'm sorry, random stranger. Please forgive me. I'm sure I looked foolish.

We met a sweet couple who shared with us the touching story of how they ended up getting married. The lady told us that after a disastrous first marriage, she vowed to never get married again. That is, until she became reacquainted with an old friend. They started talking, and just hanging out together, until they realized that they wanted to share their lives with each other. She said that she hesitated, because she is quite a bit older than he is, but then realized that age is just a number, and when she was with him, she was the happiest that she had ever been. They looked like two teenagers in love. It was so cute!

We had a lady spend quite a bit of time re-folding and organizing all of our clothes that were strewn all over the table. Perhaps she didn't have anything better to do? We sure appreciated it!

We had several neighbors come over and reminisce with us about our time that we have spent in our house. How they have enjoyed watching the girls grow up, and would miss having us in the neighborhood. The feeling is mutual, dear neighbors.

The feeling is mutual.....

Monday, August 13, 2012


Remember when I told you that we have our house on the market? We have had several showings since then, with crazy cleaning resulting each time.

My oldest daughter was feeling frustrated, and so she wrote this as her Facebook status:

Dear people who are looking at our house tomorrow, you better buy it. Because this whole cleaning our butts off thing, is getting kind of old. And our butts aren't liking it very much. Thanks :)

We all had a good laugh over that one, because that is exactly how we feel! For anyone who has ever had your house for sale, you know exactly what I mean.

She wrote that on Sunday. On Monday, Hubs went away for business. We had the showing that afternoon. On Monday night, Hubs called me and said that we had received an offer on our house.

We began the negotiating process, and came to an accepted offer. All within just a few days time!

I have been frantically calling all around, looking for a place for us to live while our new house is being built. We are supposed to be closing around the first week of September, and then, we only have 21 days to vacate the premises.

The same day we came to an accepted offer on our house, we found out that it definitely IS basal cell carcinoma by Hubs' eye. We had gone to the dermatologist, like I mentioned before, and they did another biopsy. It came back that it wasn't cancer. But, the doctor did not feel comfortable just letting it go since we had already had the first biopsy show possible cancer. So, he had a 2nd opinion done on the 1st biopsy, and it came back as cancer. This was not the news we were expecting to hear, as they told us that their biopsy did not show any cancer.Talk about confusing! They told us that the 2nd biopsy was probably just scar tissue. The cancer is deeper than the eye can see, and the biopsy probably just removed the top layer.

We are now being referred to a larger hospital where he will be having MOHS surgery with reconstruction. The doctor feels like it is too close to his tear duct for him to perform the surgery. He told us that when you have cancer this close to your eye, you want someone who does this EVERY day working on you. This is something that can be put off for a little while, but since Hubs has already waited so long in the first place, we don't have a lot of time before it starts to make things more complicated to fix. It is already starting to get worse.

Add this to the hecticness of selling our house, and trying to find a place to live, and this Mama has been feeling the stress!

Oh, did I forget to tell you, that school will be starting up for us soon, and there are decisions that still need to be made in that area also? I have purchased some books, but there are still things I need to research and buy. Thankfully, I am not on the school system's timeline, and I can do school how I want to, but most importantly, WHEN I want to!

So, you will have to forgive me if I am a little quiet on here. I promise to try to update you when I can. I am going to try to pull together that elusive garage sale I referred to in an earlier post. No time like moving time to get rid of stuff!

Now, if I can just get the children to part with some of their stuff.

Oh, who am I kidding. I'm just as bad as they are....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Teaching Textbooks Review

I HATE Math.

There. I said it.

Math to me, is like a foreign language. One I don't understand. Sort of like Chinese.

In my day to day life, I don't ever use any of the advanced Math that I was tortured with in school. I only ever took up to Algebra 2, and I barely passed that. Ahhh.....good nightmares.....I mean.....memories.

So, for a Math hating homeschool Mom, how in the world are you supposed to teach advanced Math classes to your kids?

Drum roll please.

Enter, Teaching Textbooks.

Have you ever heard of it? No? Oh, my dear, dear homeschooling friend. Allow me to enlighten you.

Here, is a photo of Teaching Textbooks, or TT as we shall call it from now on.

This, is Geometry, which my oldest daughter did this year.

TT starts at grade 3, and goes all the way through Pre-Calculus.

Here is the link where you can learn more about TT.

I did not learn of TT until my oldest daughter was in 8th grade, and we were about to do Pre-Algebra. We have always struggled with Math, and let me tell you, I was NOT looking forward to trying to teach her this.

We had started out with A Beka, which we struggled through from kindergarten until 3rd grade. For those of you who are not familiar with homeschooling curriculum, A Beka is one of the most commonly used curriculums out there.

However, it is advanced. Which is great, if you are working with an advanced student. My girls loved A Beka for Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Vocabulary. Things they were good at.

For Math however, it was just too much. So then, I tried Bob Jones (BJU). Yet another GREAT curriculum. I have often used this for Science and History, and have even used it for Spelling and Reading for my youngest.

While BJU was more tolerable than A Beka for Math, it was still not a good fit. There are many, many more Math curriculums out there, but those are the ones that I tried.

I can't remember exactly how I first heard of TT, but whoever told me about it, I now consider her an angel, sent straight from heaven, to help this poor Mama out!

I was reluctant to try it, because let's be honest, if you clicked on the link, you will notice that it IS pricey. It is much more expensive than most homeschoolers are willing to pay, or can even afford.

But, I figured, why not? We were at our wits' end as how to best teach this subject.

We purchased TT, and it was love at first sight. We have never used another Math curriculum since!

But, Amiee....what is SO special about TT, you may ask?

Well, for starters, it is all done on the computer. First, the child listens to a lecture from a teacher, and while the teacher is explaining that day's lesson, they are actually demonstrating how to do it. So, this works for auditory and visual learners alike.

You can listen to the lecture as many times as it takes for the child to grasp the information. While it is also possible for Mom to "replay" the info, her voice does tend to get raspy, and perhaps, there may even be a hint of irritation that tends to creep in, oh say around the third of fourth time she has to explain it. Not so with the computer teacher! He is extremely patient.

Then, the child is given some practice questions, to make sure they truly understand the lesson.

There is always the possibility of being "helped" and you can always view the answer once you get it wrong a set number of times (to be determined by the parent).

Once the child is ready, they can then begin to answer that day's questions about the lesson. There are usually around 20 questions, which seems to be an adequate amount. There is plenty of review from previous lessons included also.

My girls liked that, in the younger grades, they incorporate games for "bonus" rounds, and there are cute little creatures who will talk to you along the way.

There is also a parent side, where you can actually see the grade book, how many they got wrong, and be given the choice as to whether to make them do it over again or not.

What do I like best about it? That I don't have to do hardly anything! Unless one of my girls just isn't getting it, then, we go over the lesson together.

The lessons are self-grading, which is not only an awesome feature for Mom, but it also tells the child immediately if they got the answer right or wrong.

*Several of the advanced Math curriculums are still not self-grading, but they are working on changing that. They still come with an answer CD, and answer key. The lecture is listened to on the CD, but the child works out of a workbook. Hallelujah! Algebra 2 is now self-grading! Can you hear the excitement in my voice? Hmmm? Can you?!

TT is taught in a way that just makes it easier for a child to understand and be able to grasp information better. If you don't believe me, type the words, Teaching Textbooks review into your search engine, and read about other satisfied customers.

I must admit though, that the oldest is now at a point where I just cannot help her in Math anymore. That is now Hubs' job. We also did have a dear friend tutor her in Algebra for a little while, because she just wasn't getting it. So, there still could be some additional Math help needed, even though you are using excellent curriculum. That's just the way it is.

If your child is advanced in Math, this may not be the best curriculum for you, as it does tend to go at a slower pace, or, so I have read from people who have Math geniuses for children. For example, if your elementary school aged child is quoting algebraic equations in their sleep, it might be best to find a more challenging curriculum. Or, perhaps you should enroll them in college classes.

Yes, it is pricey. But, to me, it is worth every penny! Has it made my girls LOVE Math? I don't think there is a curriculum in the world that could do that! Each child has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and Math is one of our weaknesses. Although my youngest daughter tends to have a more "mathematical" mind than my older two, she still doesn't love Math.

Another nice thing about TT is that you are allowed to sell the curriculum to others once you are done using it. That is not the case with every curriculum. So, this year, I sold my used TT on eBay for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much money I was able to get back from my investment! If you do an advanced eBay search on TT, you will see that they have an excellent resale value.

Since I have been using TT for such a long time, I now have quite a collection of them, and I no longer have to buy three different Math curriculums for three different grade levels. This year, I only have to buy Algebra 2. My wallet just did a sigh of relief, as my oldest is about to take a few college classes for dual enrollment, and we are required to pay for it out of our own pocket. But, that's a tale for another time.

If you are a fellow homeschool family, and you are in the same boat as we used to be, struggling through Math, day in......and day out.....why not give Teaching Textbooks a try? You'll be glad you did!

* I did not receive any compensation or free products for this positive review.