Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On Wednesdays ... We Wear Uniforms ... #HomeschoolCoop2015

I can't explain how excited I am about the Christ the King Academy homeschool coop this year. I wanted to get into a coop once I could really devote myself to it and make sure we had what we needed and get there on time and participate and help out and wanted to make sure my kids were of an age where they would stay in their classes happily ... more or less.

Today was that day!

The satisfaction feedback questionnaire I gave my kids after coop today put them at about an overall 70-80% satisfaction. (I really asked them to rate their day on a scale of 1-10.)

I was worried the littles would not stay in classes without me while I helped in other classes. I was worried they would not keep quiet or still in Catechesis. I was worried Michael would hate the whole thing since he prefers Legos to most people.

I did more praying than worrying, though ... it turned out great ... even with an Eva who didn't feel her best the night before and a Callie who fell into the corner of a wall the night before, giving herself a lovely little cut on the back of her head. I slept on the floor of the girls' room last night so I could check on them. I was worried (there is that word again) we would not make our first day of coop.

WOO HOO! What a great time. What amazing women and cool children. What organization and communication and terrific library and classes. I am already wondering what I might be able to teach next year to elementary age kidlets that they would find fun.

So, Mom and Dad, your grandchildren are getting socialization like crazy and great classes and fun and friends and also all their educational needs are being met at home with me teaching virtual school.

Oh, their classes are:

Joel: Drama, Music Appreciation and PE
Michael and Callie: PE, Science Experiments and Lego Robotics (second semester is Egyptian Mummification)
Eva and Samuel: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Storytime, PE and Science Experiments

Check back for more posts about homeschooling fun!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

McLoughlin's First Day of Homeschool 2015-2016 (Virtual School)

Okay, look. Maintaining multiple blogs while attempting to maintain my sanity is proving too difficult. I'm going to start blogging the hot mess that is my life HERE ... all in one spot. That includes Mr. Kerrie (I know you all love him because he puts up with me with barely an eye roll), the 5 little Kerries, homeschooling, writing, business junk, proofreading, recipes, Kansas City and other travel stuff and more. I'll try to make easy categories for you in weeks to come because I love ya like that.

I'm not going to bore you with a bunch of curriculum stuff. We do virtual school now, in our second year, and it helps keep me accountable and on track. Otherwise we would just "field trip" and volunteer and swim and play and mess around all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG.

I am going to show you some pics of my kids opening their Calvert curriculum. This stuff is like $1,000 per kid if you buy it yourself but since we live in the Great State of Kansas, we get it pretty much free, including all the support we could ever need. The trade-off is the State is in our biz a little bit in the form of 3-times-per-year at-home testing then that pesky State Testing (where are those results, by the way?).

All our boxes came end of July so we've been doing some checkpoints early when we get the time to get a jump on the school year so we can take a week off for a vacation in October, go see Tutu and Dave or Poppy and Nana on a whim. I love the flexibility of the program and that fact that my kids are not required to be online a certain number of hours per day. My favorite times with the kids are when we lounge around reading ... everything from The Most Dangerous Game to Theras to Mr. Popper's Penguins and beyond.

I just have to say that I really do love being home with my kids and homeschooling them. I realize it's not for everyone but it entirely works for us. It's important to do what works for your family!

Eva, first grade

Michael, 6th grade

Joel, 8th grade

Callie, 4th grade

Samuel, kindergarten
Check out my piece over here at Kansas City Mom's Blog about Back-to-Virtual-School Tips and Traditions!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

#TickPick Site and App Review: Cheaper Sports and Concert Tickets!

"Your price. Your seat. No hidden fees."

I have to say I love TickPick's tagline, especially the no hidden fees part. It's not like Mr. Kerrie and I go to a lot of concerts or events these days, but the kids are getting older and we will be getting back into that game. I also would love to check out the circus since Sam has been bugging me about that and things like Disney on Ice, Royals games, etc.

So the first thing I did when I went to review this site was look up the beloved Kansas City Royals because my husband has actually been talking about taking the boys and his friend Patrick and his boys. I was not disappointed.

I input 7 tickets needed on TickPick and was given many options of where they could all sit together, along with a map of the stadium. I found tickets as low as $9 each for the Detroit game in early September. I went to check out and there were NO FEES. SERIOUSLY!

Okay, next I went to see if they had any circuses coming up. I mean, I run my own circus at my house with the 5 kids and extra around all the time, but we like to watch other kinds of circuses, as well! I quickly found the Ringling Bros. circus in different cities and scrolled until I found Kansas City and it's here in September!

Uh, oh. Tickets sold out fast. The night we could go was entirely sold out! BUT ... another cool thing is you can BID on tickets and also SELL tickets you no longer need! So I could pick another date or I could bid on someone else's tickets. Fascinating! Win-win for everyone!

Well, the cost of tickets to the fancy circus was too much for our budget currently so check out the Shrine circus instead. Nope, none close to me in Kansas City.

So I bid on some tickets for the Ringing Bros. on the night we could go. I wonder how hard it will be to get 7 tickets together ... but I did it anyway at a price they suggested and that was low enough that we can afford. It's a great option! They have some sort of cool algorithms that help figure out which tickets are the best deals and what are the best bids for the section you're looking at.

I did all this on my laptop but I also have the free app downloaded onto my smartphone and it will be awesome once my bid is accepted and I can just walk up to the ticket taker at Sprint Center and show my phone like a cool chick and have them scan my 7 tickets JUST. LIKE. THAT.

Bottom line: I love this site for all my needs! I don't have to go separate places for different kinds of tickets. TickPick takes care of it all. You get cheaper sports and concert and event tickets and NO BUYER FEES!

Give them a try! Please use this link and if you make a purchase I get $20 off my next purchase of KC Royals tickets! Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Are You an Annoying #GrammarNazi ?? I Sure Am

Look, I understand that I am annoying. I am a true Grammar Nazi. Okay, maybe not a GRAMMAR Nazi, but I don't like errors or words that are spelled wrong. Like I got this wedding invitation and in the envelope was this card to return. I just had to correct it. God has given me this THING (my mom also has it) where errors stand out to me. This is good because I make decent money as a proofreader and it's my fallback job, but it's annoying to the general public who are not PAYING me to proofread their work.

Here is another example of a sign plastered all over the Community Center. I could not fix EVERY sign and it drove me insane. DOES NOBODY AT THIS PLACE KNOW THIS IS AN ERROR? Hopefully now a few people will know the right way to spell this word.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner

I hate shopping in general. The whole physical process of going out among other shoppers to look for something I might or might not buy is such a pain I would rather have another root canal … while giving birth.

I hate shopping for major appliances especially, but they are necessary. My husband will ask me what kind of dishwasher or oven I want and I give him a blank, deer in the headlights stare. We have discussed before on this blog how I was not born with 100% of my female genes and so the shopping and decorating thing just skips over me.

Alas, with my big and messy family, things like a washing machine, a dryer, a vacuum cleaner are all necessities to keep things clean. Comparison shopping is a pain! I hate perusing site after site to figure out the best price and best ratings.

I really have to check something like a vacuum cleaner out online before I buy because the kids help do chores now. That means the vacuum goes BUMP BONK BANG up and down the stairs and vacuums up Lord knows what, like Perler (iron on) beads, various LEGO pieces and STRING. I don’t know if you know this, but vacuum cleaners LOVE string. Not.
Photo courtesy of Household Appliance Judge
So I need an online site what helps a girl out by saving her some time. I need a site that has done all that work for me! This article makes it a little easier to choose from the wide variety of vacuums out there. I hope you find it helpful and that it keeps you from pulling your hair out before shopping.

This is the part where Household Appliance Judge comes in! For vacuums specifically, they even help me out by giving tips on handheld vacuums (yes, please, since things find themselves in crevices all over the house), vacuums under $200 (yes, please, since our grocery budget now matches our monthly mortgage), and best for Berber carpet (which is, why oh why oh why?, what we have had in our kitchen for 15 years!).

All this is to say I need a vacuum cleaner than can work with our hard-wood living room, Berber kitchen, shag-ish upstairs and I-have-no-clue-what-it-is family room downstairs.

It even talks about the best car vacuums, which I desperately need, especially since I got the huge van. I need to know which one has the longest cord, for one thing! Mr. Kerrie is always getting on me about letting the kids eat in the van but when you feel like you live in it and your kids are growing like weeds, you do the culinary math!

Conversely, I also need to know which vacuum cleaner can best make a ponytail, like we did with one of our kids here. This means it will need some killer attachments.

Check it out and you could save a lot of time, which is something we can all appreciate! I’m heading there now since our vacuum is getting pretty old and it’s about time to replace it! Wish me luck!


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