1st Grade HOMESCHOOLING – Favorite Books!

homeschooling books-thebusybudgetingmamaWe have recently chosen to home school Sophia for first grade.
You can read about our decision in THIS POST.

It has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. I was home schooled, so I had something to compare it too. It’s not for everyone, and I don’t know if we will always do this.. but right now I’m so thankful and happy with how and where she is spending her days. We are taking homeschooling year by year! That’s how my parents did it with us and that’s how I plan on doing it with sophia and my younger ones. There are definitely hard days.. and choosing to home school has made my hours of available work time less, but it’s worth it. And it’s doable. My mom is a rockstar and offered to help if we wanted to do this. I wasn’t sure at first. I really didn’t think homeschooling was for us at the start of this past school year. But God worked in my heart and led us to where we are. And every other day sophia says, “thank you!” for home schooling her. she is loving it. First grade is a great year to homeschool! Sienna is going to pre-K right now and we love where she is at.. but I can see us possibly homeschooling her for first grade. (unless another situation comes by and seems better!) We usually do art or some sort of craft when they both get home from their lesson time outside of the home.
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My mom and I break up the lessons. (The subjects I cover with Sophia are usually done in the morning before “Grandma school” or we leave one to do after dinner when micah goes to bed.)  My mom teaches both my sophia and my sister’s second grader. They have a whole little classroom at grandma’s house!! It’s pretty awesome.

I already told my mom we need to do a sit down and video her talking about these books because she is the PRO. She homeschooled all of my siblings— (me 2nd grade through high school) She has learned a system. She has found books that really help kids learn the right stuff at the right pace and in a very approachable way! I’m so so thankful that she is here to guide me. I would have been clueless. So take this from grandma…… these are great books.

These are the ones I use at our house in the morning.
One of my favorite parts of this whole crazy journey is being able to help Sophia learn to read..seeing it happen is incredible! A huge parenting moment. So proud of her and love seeing how excited and proud of herself she gets when she reads it fast!
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These are the books my mom uses at “grandma school!”
The abacus is a great tool when doing math homework!
My mom kept raving about this geography book (Explore our Continents) and I’m so glad I ordered it because it’s awesome!! Sienna even was getting into it.
Since Sophia and her cousin are doing lessons together, sophia ends up doing
some Second grade books like some of the ones below.
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This is another book my mom loves. as you can see.. it’s been well used. :)

Sophia reads from this book. And it’s pretty much the cutest thing.
My mom and I love listening to her say church with this new jersey accent I have no clue where she picked up. (only that word. haha.) It’s the sweetest book though.
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This past month Sopha and her cousin (classmates at “grandma school” ;)
put on a presentation for the family and neighbor kids. It was so cute!
The whole presentation was on North America. They worked so hard preparing!
They explained their maps of North America. Sophia read her three papers she wrote on Polar Bears, St. Kateri Tekakwitha and the Story of Juan Diego. Then she did a recitation and we ate the North America cookie they baked. It was like my childhood played out in front of me. Made my heart happy..and Sophia was so proud of herself and excited to share what she learned!
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I love the lessons she does with my mom…
(pictures below are not from the presentation..but a few of her favorites!)
Her little recitation below was about the rain..and of course they had props ;)homeschooling books8-thebusybudgetingmama

I seriously did not see this homeschooling happening… but I’m loving where we are at in life.
My sister and I took the kids to the aquarium as a fun cousin field trip.
I love seeing my girls have more time to play together and learn together.
It also gives them more time to fight together. but let’s focus on the happy. haha.
It’s cute how micah joins in now too. He thinks he is a big kid.

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There are some other books we use off and on as well…
but these are some of the basic ones we love. :)
I’ll be sharing more details on our daily home school routine and activities!
I wanted to at least share the books we use for people who have been requesting to see!
I’m thankful for my mom and her wisdom and happy to share it with all of you.

Giant Tissue Paper Flower Tutorial – Part 1

These lovely Giant Tissue Paper Flowers
are at the top of my favorite party DIY’s!
I made them for the girls’ Fairy Birthday Party and I loved how they turned out!
I’m so excited to share this video tutorial in all of it’s bad hair day glory
because this DIY is SO fun and is a great bang for your buck!
Finally made ‘part one’ happen during a nap time this weekend! :)
I’m going to try and do another video tutorial sharing the
other variety of flowers used as well!
next nap time? ;)
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Giant Tissue Paper Flowers could be just the right
detail for a birthday party, shower or nursery decor!
We have them all up in the kids’ room because I can’t part with them just yet. ;)

The video tutorial gives a general idea of how to make these.
I didn’t take photos..blogger fail.. but It really is simple once you get going!

Tissue Paper (20 in x 30 in – I get my tissue paper from papermart)
Scotch Heavy Duty Packing Tape. (what I had. worked great.)
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+You are going to have 3 levels of “petals”
Making each level of petals smaller/shorter as you go!
—–First round I use 4 sheets of tissue paper and cut
out a petal shape.
—–Second round of tissue I use 3 (4 works too!) and make it a little shorter/smaller
—-Third Round of tissue 3(4 works too!) and make it a little shorter/smaller again.

+Take the smallest level of tissue petals and layer together like a bouquet
+Secure by taping handle (see video for that part.)
+Take the next level of tissue paper (the medium length) and add to the “bouquet” putting them in the open spots as you layer. (again, video might help clarify that part.)
+hold together by taping handle again.
+Then add the final largest tissue paper level.
+Tape handle again and then snip off excess part.

+Cut two circles out: one big one medium.
+crinkle the edges of the circles
+tape them to each other and then tape to middle of flower!

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 Thanks for watching and tag/email me if you try these out!
Would love to see how you use them.

Haluski + Kielbasa

I married a cute Polish boy and gained an amazing mother in law who is kind and loving and amazing in the kitchen! She passed on this recipe to me…This is not word for word. This is phone translated ;) This is how I ended up making it since she first told me how… it’s SOO delicious. Simple budget friendly ingredients… this recipe comes together very easily!
I usually keep some of the egg noodles aside for my “selectively picky” eaters. ;)

This is one of my favorite meals to make.
and eat.
and the leftovers are even better!haluski-thebusybudgetingmama

1 Cabbage
1 Pack of Kielbasa (found near hot dogs/sausage)
(You can use full pack or half. However much you like!)
1 Small Onion
1 Bag Egg Noodles
Olive Oil
Salt + Pepper

+Boil water and while cooking up the egg noodles start cutting the veggies.)
+Slice Cabbage so you get long strips. (I slice in half then turn on it’s side and slice again)
+Slice onion into long strips as well. (I usually slice them shorter than the cabbage)
+Heat a large pan. Pour some oil and melt a stick of butter.
+Toss in the Cabbage and Onion.
+Slice the Kielbasa into pieces + brown a bit in a separate pan
+Once the egg noodles are cooked, drain and pour into the cabbage
and onions that are softening up in your big pan.

+Add the kielbasa to the pan of cabbage and onions or leave separate.
+Salt and Pepper to taste.

Tag me on INSTAGRAM you make this!!
It’s so delicious I know you’ll love it!

Influence Conference 2014 – Experience


This past weekend I was away at The Influence Conference. It’s my second year going and I am already counting down the days till next year’s date! It’s incredible..I’m not even exaggerating. It’s a conference put on by the girls of The Influence Network.
It’s for women who want to use their influence to build HIS Kingdom… not our own.
It’s for women who seek community with women who get God and get the internet.
It’s for women who want to feel encouraged and uplifted and refocused. I always gain wisdom to take into my blogging and business life…but even more, I always gain wisdom as as woman of God.. as a mother and wife. I can’t speak higher about this conference.
If you are on the fence about going. e-mail me…check out the influence network..
and download the audio from this year. You won’t want to miss next year!

I love the community at the Conference. Loved hearing the hearts of these women.
the authentic deep conversations and the silly laugh so hard you are crying conversations.
I love the silent moments when we all sat and listened together to speakers…
all wanting to grow and learn. There is something very authentic about the conference..
the girls of course pull out their best outfits and trendy tops but they all have this
“I am not perfect I am flawed but I am perfect in his eyes and I want to work for Him….vibe.
They all totally jumped on board when Meg and I would be running
around doing silly videos and asking them to dance! haha.
Mandy and I haven’t seen each other since april so I was so excited to actually be in the same city! She’s one of my best friends and I love having her as my business partner for HAPPY MOMMY BOX but even more I just love doing life with her! Since moving to charlotte and becoming friends with Meg, I was so excited to have these two girls in the same room! So fun!! It was even more fun that Cheri, Mandy’s neighbor, came and roomed with us! Loved having this girls’ time…Our hubbies are rockstars doing kid duty all weekend!INFLUENCE2014-THEBUSYBUDGETINGMAMA3

Friday night was a talk by Lara Casey. I loved hearing her share her story and it was pretty incredible how God was able to move the crowd through her. It was seriously amazing seeing this room full of women… just rocked.. sharing their hurts and their desires. their brokenness and their dreams. I was sitting in the back of her talk and just taking it all in…. I was listening to her…but I got distracted by just seeing this room full of women so fiercely in love with the Lord and totally ready to stand up and be vulnerable and how they had this heart to be completely His. I started to cry and trust me..it was an ugly cry I could not stop. It wasn’t a moment where everyone was tearing up.. It felt like I was just randomly..crying… and I had to leave the room and try to get it together. I just couldn’t even focus on the talk because every time I looked ahead and saw these women around me..I just kept thinking how I wished that Shannon could be here experiencing this with me. She would have loved this. she would have so been right there in the middle of these women… these were her kind of people. It made me sad…but it also was nice just letting her come to my mind. I had pushed her off more times than not these past few months. Ever since the final court date of her murderer. I had heard details in that court room that really wrecked me. And made my mind go places that I just didn’t feel strong enough these past months to go. But I felt stronger here. and I felt like I was surrounded by lots of shannons. lots of women who want to love the lord in all they do.. who mess up.. who get back up.. who have hearts for Him. It’s so important to surround yourself with women like that! I’m excited and hopeful for the things these women are going to do in our world! And love being able to tap into this community through The Influence Network.
During Lara’s session, she had us write down answers to different questions. That felt like the hardest thing for me. It seriously hurt my brain and burdened my heart because for the life of me I did not feel eloquent in my thoughts..or even definitive in what I was feeling and thinking. But I just tried to keep myself open and focus. She asked us what we were most afraid of….It took me a while to write my answer down. She had already moved on to other questions… But I finally wrote… I’m afraid of being so busy striving but still not
doing enough to make a difference or to matter, before I leave this world.
I realized that I had been so consumed lately with feeling like I had to take charge..like I had to tell God, trust me..I got this. When in fact God wanted to say Natalie…trust ME. I got this. Jessie really hit that home to me during her session. Lately the lines of communication with God haven’t been as open as they should be. Back when I was in the hospital I felt God and the power of prayer so closely, it was easy to connect then… it felt so much harder now. I realized that I was trying so hard to do it all…comparing myself to others..and wanting to be loved by everyone but not thinking I deserved that love to begin with. When you are so consumed with doing things yourself, you can feel the pressure of doing it wrong or what others will think of you… you put that burden on yourself instead of letting that go and letting God carry that. He wants you to do things for Him.. but when you are REALLY doing it FOR Him… you can let go of that burden to be perfect. I’m saying no to comparison and being filled with striving and instead saying YES to His desires for me His hopes for me. I’m choosing purpose over perfect. And letting Him take that burden that I put on myself to be everything. He gives us grace and He wants us to rest in Him. I need to rest in Him more. I’m putting my bible on my desk. I’m not just going to pray when I’m sad or at night.
I really want to do things for Him…but WITH Him.

Saturday was really fun! Mandy and I were on the Strategy Panel. I was on it last year, but this year was even more fun having Mandy up there with me..and rocking our HAPPY MOMMY SHIRTS! :) Some super wise women next to me, honored to be in their company!

Spending time with these ladies was a good recharge!
So fun seeing what all of them are doing both professionally and personally!INFLUENCE2014-THEBUSYBUDGETINGMAMA10

While Mandy and I were in the same city, we snapped some photos for content and for our new HAPPY MOMMY shirts! We had fun goofing off and glamming it up with Christine!INFLUENCE2014-THEBUSYBUDGETINGMAMA8THEBUSYBUDGETINGMAMA-HAPPYMOMMYBOX-7

Loved seeing some Blanqi love throughout the conference! My sister and Sabina started BLANQI and it’s pretty cool seeing my friends wearing their items
and also randomly coming across girls wearing blanqi!

It was SOO FUN bumping into HAPPY MOMMY BOX subscribers and followers!
So thankful for their support and excitement about our dream!
We also were able to connect with one of our Brand Outreach
Team Members, Kristi! (shown in bottom left!)INFLUENCE2014-THEBUSYBUDGETINGMAMA7hmb tee

I’m still processing everything from the weekend, and I can’t wait to read all of the recap posts… but I can’t invite you enough! come next year! Huge thank you to the amazing team behind the conference… For their yes to working hard for this mission.
God is doing incredible things through it!

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