Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How Do I Love #Target? Let Me Count the Ways!

I love Target. My kids love Target. My husband has been to Target to Christmas shop for me, but I can't say he LOVES Target, since I always come home from Target after spending at least $200. Today I am going to count the ways I love Target.

  • Even though the one I go to is not a SuperTarget, they have plenty of grocery options, making my life easy when I have to go there for one reason and then realize I need milk. We ALWAYS need milk.
  • Toy section is fantabulous for the kids ... they love to spend birthday money there and always find something they love.
  • I got a leather toy ottoman there years ago that still holds our toys and it's a great piece of furniture. It's not Target's fault my kids have trashed the top of it, and I have plans to re-cover it soon!!!
  • Clothing options rock for kids. In Houston we were in need of all sorts of things like shorts and jackets and T-shirts for the kids and we got what we needed and it was all reasonably priced.

  • Clothing options rock for me. I have a problem at Target because the clothes are so dang cute. All my T-shirts come from Target and they last forever. I also love dresses I have gotten there and socks and underwear and so on!
  • We can always find shoes there that are reasonably priced, cute and that fit well and last.
  • Target.com saved my life during the holiday season with their free shipping. I don't know how many different times I used that service and every time it was free!
  • You can put something popular on hold, pay for it in advance and pick it up at the customer service desk easily.
  • Shipping is free on orders of $25 or more currently. I have to take several deep breaths and work myself up to take all 5 kids to Target normally since they turn into chihuahuas when we arrive, so sometimes it's just easier to order some things online. This free shipping thing rocks because $25 is not that much and you get a lot for that.
Okay, so there are nine reasons I love me the Target. Leave me a comment with your reasons! (Oh, and Mr. Kerrie won't let me get a Red Card debit or credit, so do me a favor and sign up for one so I can live through you, okay? It's cash back and an amazing deal!)
*I am in the Target affiliate program so if you click the links to Target from my site I might make a little money from that, which I would spend at ... well, you can probably guess.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

An Introduction to #Blurb: What the Heck Is It?!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Like many great companies before it, Blurb was actually started by accident. In the early 2000s, Eileen Gittins, Blurbs' Founder, rekindled a passion for photography while trying to figure out her next career gig. 

She wanted to compile her photos into a nice coffee table photo book, but she only wanted to print a handful of copies. The conundrum was that every publisher was quoting her hundreds of dollars for each book! She found this curious – and frustrating. So she asked herself, are there other people like me who want to affordably create their own high-quality book from their photos? The answer, of course, was yes, and it changed her life – and book publishing – forever. 

In 2006, Eileen launched Blurb, a simple book-designing platform and a publishing process that could quickly produce beautifully made books at game-changing price. 


Everyone from award-winning photographers, to couples wanting to commemorate the birth of their child started using Blurb – and they continue to do so today. Even after almost a decade, people are still blown away by Blurb’s user-friendliness, quality, and affordability. People trust Blurb to create every kind of book imaginable, including:
Blurb doesn’t just help people make books and magazines, they also help market them by providing publishers with their own dedicated sales page. Blurb’s dedicated sales pages allows authors to:
  • Make their book or magazine available to the public or by invitation-only
  • Write a compelling book description
  • Customize a preview of their book
  • Share their book with others on social media
Blurb also created their publishing platform to work seamlessly with Amazon and Apple iBooks Store so authors would have even more options for how they sell their books. 

There are so many remarkable things to share about Blurb – too much for just one post! So keep an eye out for next week’s post because I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Blurb tools and tips -- which, if you’re like me, will leave you thinking … “I didn’t know Blurb could do all that!” 

Oh! And I almost forgot to mention that now through 4/28 you can get 20% off any book you create! Can’t wait to see what kind of book you create! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Learning to be Consistent in my Homeschool



I am the worst person in the world when it comes to consistency. Always have been.

  • I start a weight loss or exercise program and I quit. 
  • Never kept a boyfriend long before Mr. Kerrie (20 years in with the dude this summer so I'm pretty sure it's going to work out). 
  • Never kept a job too long either. 
  • Can't keep up a household routine as far as keeping things organized and clean.
  • SUCH a challenge for me to stay on the kids to keep up with homeschooling or to stick with a plan. That's why I started doing virtual school last fall and it has helped me but has not cured my inconsistency issue.
So here are some things I'm working on as I try to get better as a homeschooling mama. I have got to get my stuff together since Samuel will be doing kindergarten in the fall, which makes a total of 5 kids homeschooling under my care AT THE SAME TIME! Also, I had Eva doing kindergarten this year and I'm thinking she could blow through some first grade stuff this summer and hit second grade this fall with our virtual school since she turns 8 in December. (this is not a matter of me pushing her -- I technically have all my kids a year "behind" from the start so they can take their time -- more a matter of she is smart as a whip, especially in math, and I want to get her where she CAN be).

**I am not trying to be consistent because I think I SHOULD be but because I know I HAVE TO BE or else nothing would get done EVER, and I want my kids to have learning opportunities every day. Trust me, we get PLENTY of play and friend and field trip and travel and screen time in!
  1. See those cards in the picture above? Those are sight word cards that came with Callie's virtual school program and I kind of let them rot for months. Last week I counted out 20 cards at a time and put each set of 20 into a snack-sized Ziploc baggie with the date on each baggie. If we miss a day we do two the next day. It works because Callie knows we are doing it DAILY, even on weekends. It's a manageable number for her to do. I put them where I can see them so I can catch her and have her do a few at a time or all at once.
  2. I keep a spiral notebook where I write down each kid's name on one page for each day. So like I put Joel's name at the top of a page with the date. I turn the page and put Michael's name with the date. This way each kid gets a full page so I can track what I WANT to do versus what we REALLY did. I can transfer things from day to day depending on what comes up. I just try to get a set amount of stuff done each week so I see some sort of progress. If I slack for one day, I slack for weeks, people. And it's not like the kids are BEGGING to homeschool. They are thrilled when I don't bug them to do anything!
  3. As much as I try to resist it, every week I print out 7 daily calendar pages. I fill in what I know is happening, like plans we have. I fill in work time in the mornings from about 7-9. Then 9-noon is homeschooling, which also sometimes includes some chores and maybe even a recess time with the neighbors. Then the rest of the day could explode but we at least get SOMETHING done. That's the plan anyway!
  4. I have to fight the urge to be too laid back with my homeschooling. I am not homeschooling each kid for 7 hours per day, but homeschooling 4 kids over a period of 3 hours is about all I can usually fit in because we get busy after lunchtime. It is hard for me to be at peace with the concept of "slow and steady wins the race" but I have to be. I can't cram a year's worth of knowledge into my kids' heads in one month so we can then play the other 11 months of the year. A tiny bit every day is what gets it done. Some is enjoyable to them, some is harder to grasp, but we have different ways to teach different subjects and are blessed to have those resources!
How are you conquering your faults as a homeschool parent? I'd love to talk to you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sell Your Blog Content and #Writing #Reprints Over and Over Using My Resource!

WHEW! It's finally in print! I started working on this puppy in 2009 before my 5th kidlet Samuel was born. I had been writing for some regional parenting magazines and compiled a bunch of the magazine info into one resource with tips. I got it onto an ebook platform and it sold pretty well for a while. I updated it annually and then kind of gave up in 2014.

Then Susan Maccarelli from Beyond Your Blog wrote me and wanted to do a podcast with me about it. She has an amazing site and amazing writers and bloggers who read her site and she knew they would want to know how to sell their work and GET PAID!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Microwave Cake in a Cup #CakeInACup

So for some reason I whipped out this recipe on Sunday. I have had this recipe since my stepmom Nancy emailed it to me in 2008. Two thousand eight, people. Yeah, I obviously like to let a recipe age before I use it.

Anyway, I threw together several of these since I had a zillion kids over like always and they were such a hit! I took a picture and put it on Facebook and a lot of you wanted the recipe so here you go!


Ingredients:

1 coffee mug
4 tablespoons flour (not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips if desired
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in milk and oil and mix well. Add chocolate chips if using and vanilla and mix again. Put mug in microwave and cook 3 minutes at 1,000 watts. It will rise over the top of the mug so don't freak out. Let it cool a bit then dump it onto a plate. Enough to serve 2 people per mug.

Enjoy and share!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tips for Driving in #Houston, #Texas


I was warned by several people about driving in Texas. And I remember being a kid and my parents would drive in Colorado and there were a lot of Texas drivers for some reason there and they mostly drove like idiots. So I was all prepared to get into some sort of traffic accident or something with someone who was not paying attention in Texas ...

And ...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Make a Summer #Homeschool Plan


It's no secret that I like to have fun with my family. If I had to put myself into a homeschool box, I would probably call myself a Hippie Homeschooler. I am not super-consistent or scheduled; we do have a routine but not a schedule. I am easily distracted and interrupted and say yes to too many side things. So in August of 2014 I decided I needed to do something with homeschooling so that I would be held more accountable so my kids would be more on track, and that's where virtual school came in.


This past year of virtual schooling has been great for me and for the kids, but I did put off their math and we are still scrambling do get caught up before state testing. To me, state testing and the three times per school year our facilitator has to come to our house to do testing are the trade-off for the benefits of virtual school: $45 per year per kid, high-quality Calvert curriculum, extra tutoring, field trips and more.

I'm seeing, though, that we need to go back and touch on some things that I didn't touch on when I was busy having babies and was deep into my wonderful life as a woman married to a man who travels. There were times when I felt like I was merely surviving and trying to be a good mom was #1 over being a good teacher. Things fell off the radar. I also got busy with doing things on the side to make money and am admitting that I spent too much time on those things and not enough on homeschooling.

But all that is going to change.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Phoning it in This Easter

I'm sitting here at my neighbor's house. My neighbor with the six fabulous kids and she has another on the way. She also homeschools. She is also Catholic. She is also married to a man who travels sometimes. They have had to move and move again and live out of a car traveling from place to place. They have lived the lives of missionaries and are getting to stay put now for a while.

I love my neighbor. She makes me not want to move to the country like we've been planning to do. I love this house right here but I really want to stay here this summer and spend more time with my neighbor and friend.

What does this have to do with Easter?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

#TheKerrieShow in #Houston Day 19: Leaving and Crying

Thursday. Leaving day. I am a happy person, people, and I can roll with stuff, but for some reason I got ATTACHED to Houston. I met family, I met a writer friend, I made friends at the hotel, I took my kids to the beach multiple times, I had meals cooked for me 10 times out of 21 each week. I lived in a small space with 6 other people and it worked. We loved it. I hated leaving and I cried. Here is our day:

Sleeping Sam.

After tons of traffic here and there, we stopped at a park to play.

Arriving at Embassy Suites in Norman, OK. Yes, my son is holding MY bottle of moscato. Yes, I had a glass. I'm still a kick-ass mom, so there. And humble.

Mr. Kerrie is beloved by Hilton so we got to stay on the top floor, the 10th floor, and this was our view. Free snacks and drinks from the machine! We stocked up!

The view of Norman from our room.

The girls' and Sam's bed in the living area. Mr. Kerrie took the boys swimming and the females stayed in the room to chill.

The big bedroom.

So weird but Joel says he opened the drawer and the Bible was already on the book of Joel. I think the hotel workers knew I was coming and found out his name from the blog and did it. Just kidding! FREAKY!
Tomorrow's post is all about us going home on Good Friday, acquiring our dog and going to church. Come back and see us!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#TheKerrieShow in #Houston Day 18: Visiting Bubbe, Last Beach Day and Goodbyes

Today was very emotional. We drove downtown to see my friend Jennifer Gutierrez's grandma at the assisted living place and took her some Dove dark chocolate since it was her birthday! As we left I got a little teary thinking of my Poppy because some of the rooms where Bubbe lives are like where my Poppy lived while he was dying. It really messed me up inside and made me so sad, but when that happens I don't like to shut down in front of my kids. I made sure to calm down and explain to the kids why I was upset.


Then we hopped on the highway to hit Galveston for our very last beach day.








Once we got back to the hotel it was time for free dinner and a quick treadmill workout for me. The kids had fun with their last night in the pool area with their friend Lacie.

Mr. Aron chilling out

Me and Aly ... she wasn't working but came in to see me off! The best hotel front desk person EVER, no joke! Give this girl a raise!

Lacie's mom, Lori. Hotel guest and all-around sweet lady.

Me and Ping, who works at the hotel and gives the best service anyone could ever hope for ... such a neat soul. I will miss these people truly and still tear up as I type this weeks later.

Rushing around to pack but we had to get one last shot with their friend Lacie in our room.

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