Using the rhythm method

For me, the start of a new “school” year is all about finding a groove, or rhythm, to our day that feels natural. By natural, I mean that we need to all feel awake and ready to work when it’s time to work.

So, mornings are good, but not too early. Afternoons aren’t good because my brain stops working properly after 3pm.

But, I’ve hyperventilated more than once this week over the thought of trying to “do it all” this school year. What, pray tell, is “all”?

Two kids homeschooling this year;

An eager preschooler who wants to do some schoolwork too;

Writing for two cool sites; soon, three when this gets relaunched;

Exercising, something I need to do for my well being;

All the activities we have going on: soccer, girl scouts, dance, swimming, coop;

And, of course, fitting in playdates with homeschool and regular school friends.

We used to start doing school at 10am and finish by 1ish. But, with double the number of kids “in school”, I need more time. Which means I need to dial back our start time to 9am which eats into my valuable work time, and/or my workout time.

Since I can’t write at night (other than little quips on Twitter about whatever reality television show I happen to be watching), I have decided to try exercising after I put the kids to bed. Yes, Shred after Bed, or something like that.

So, tonight was to be Night #1. And instead of working out, I fell asleep on the couch.

I may need to think about this new schedule a little bit more.

How to save money on Back-to-School shopping by opting out

Every year around this time, my email inbox, TV and newspaper will be flooded with Back-to-School ads promising “$X OFF” a purchase or “SALE SALE SALE”. I will read blog posts about the high cost of buying all the school supplies kids need for school. I’ve already seen one whose school-supply list includes FIVE dozen packs of pencils for the school year, and another whose teacher requests brand names only.

In a few months, I’ll overhear someone talking about early peer pressure setting in among six year olds who want to look “cool” by wearing certain (expensive) brands. I’ve been told, more than once, that third grade (Belly’s grade) is particularly tough on girls who are expected to dress a “certain way”.

If anyone were to ask me how I survive this time of year without bucking to societal pressures or cringing at the high cost of Crayola crayons and Gap jeans (are they even cool anymore?), I have a simple answer:

I don’t send ’em to school.

OK. . .simple? Maybe not entirely. And, those who know me are aware of my slight problem with overspending on shiny new books.

But, homeschooling can be done with just this world-wide-web thingy, the library and a trip to the dollar store. And, or course, a big bottle of wine stashed in the fridge for really tough days.

When pencils get short in our school, we sharpen them and keep going. Our crayons include those no-brand waxy ones you get at restaurants. If we run out of glue in the middle of a project, the kids learn to make do. . .or use tape.

And, I certainly don’t need to run out now and restock our supplies as if from scratch or buy new wardrobes for the kids.

So, say what you will about homeschooling. We may be weird, but we aren’t out buying five dozen pencils.


Yes, this was a sponsored post. It was written as part of a blog blast for Parent Bloggers Network who is working with Capital One (@teachingmoney on twitter) to help them facilitate conversations about teaching your kids about money.

For our participation, one random blogger will win a Kindle and a $150 VISA gift card and two others will receive a $150 VISA gift card. If it’s me, I’m not spending it on school supplies.

Would this piss you off?

Back in November, I started a little review blog titled “Fairly Odd Reviews” which sits all by its lonely self on the internet, not bothering anyone. Which is sort of the problem.

That site feels like an afterthought now, and I’m finding it hard to come up with new content. In actuality, I don’t do that many reviews since I already have a place in which to pour my heart and soul writing about products I love.

But, because I’m carrying advertising on this blog, I needed to create a separate site for product reviews, so, that is why Fairly Odd Reviews was born.

After seeing how much cash my paid advertising is bringing in (ha!), I’m rethinking it all again. One option would be to drop the ads and use this blog to write about it all: all my normal chatter, plus any product reviews or recommendations I think worthy of my time and effort. I’d be clear to say, “so-and-so asked me to test this product and here’s what I think” and I won’t be doing “paid for” posts, sponsored posts or reprints of press releases.

But, would this piss you off?

Would you hate bumping into a product review every week or so? Or, would you find my love for Friendly’s Lemonade Roll or Dreambox Learning’s math program mildly interesting? Remember that if I am to consolidate the two sites, I’d have to lose the advertising here, so that may influence how you feel about it.

I care a lot about what you guys want to see, or not see, here. Speak now: I’m listening. Right after I make some delicious iced coffee from The Coffee Exchange.