Posted in Gardening, Home Improvements, PHX Family Savings

Arizona Urban Gardening for Beginners- What to Plant and Ways to Save

If you live in the southwest, you know gardening can be challenging if you are a novice. When I lived in Georgia I just put some seeds in the grounds and without much of anything, stuff grew. Of course over there we had something we don’t see much of here which is RAIN. Gardening between late October and early March is nice here but hit March-September and there is not much motivation to hang around outside if it doesn’t involve a pool. You have to be dedicated, disciplined and most importantly have a game plan!

Enter “The Garden Guy” Dave Owen’s book with a month by month guide of EXACTLY what to do in this Arizona climate. This combined with this  documentary, I believe will be your key to success if you have no idea what you are doing.

The recommendations for November are:

-12 inch of soil and 1/2″ of peat moss

-5lb of rock phosphate

-5lb of blood meal per 100 sq feet

Flowers to plant in November that do well-



Lobelia (nice blue flowers!)


Shirley Poppies


Also buy some liquid seaweed or extreme juice.

Veggies that do well in the southwest during cool weather-

Swiss Chard



Wildflower Seeds



The Garden Guy: Seasonal Guide to Organic Gardening in the Desert Southwest (Outdoor and Nature)

Happy Gardening!

Posted in Homeschool Life

Homeschooling Moment #2- Robinson Curriculum + Life of Fred

New video in the homeschooling series! I was going to make them all Robinson Curriculum specific but there is SO much more I want to share outside of that. I’ve been around the homeschool block, even trying the public school at home K-12 version and I want to share my thoughts of pros and cons with all of it. In this video I am talking about why I think the Robinson curriculum and Life of Fred go so well together.  If you would rather read than listen to my annoying voice- I got you fam! Just keep scrolling for the very condensed blog version.
Robinson curriculum recommends Saxon Math because obviously the main point of the curriculum is independent work. With Saxon Math they can simply read their lesson and do the work. That’s great but if that part of the routine is not working for you, I can tell you that working with other math curriculums is OK and in fact might work out really great.

We enjoy Life of Fred and in the video I talk about how it covers a variety of other subjects besides the main math. So while the Robinson curriculum might not cover very much outside of the 3R’s in the early years, Life of Fred will give your kids just enough without being overwhelming on the mom or kids. I think it’s just the perfect amount in my opinion. For example in this last honey book they learned all about being an apiarist, good business practices, poetry, music and much more.

If you find yourself in a stage of life where you want to do a little more Language Arts, or you think a particular child needs a little bit more, you don’t have to jump ship to a different boxed curriculum. I’m happy to tell you that The Good and the Beautiful offers a wonderful language arts program free for Levels 1-5! The younger years I bought as well as it is SUPER affordable. $15 for the download, yes please! Then you can print just the things that you need. In the video above I show an example how I put together a file folder with The Good and the Beautiful materials I printed for free!

So how can you homeschool a large family very affordably?

Robinson Curriculum- one time purchase for K-12 for as many kids as you want. You could even find the book list for free online.

Click Here for more Info

Life of Fred- Affordable non consumable books that last child after child, year after year. This is a link just for the elementary series, however they do go up to College Level.

download (1)
Click Here for more info!

The Good and the Beautiful FREE language arts programs for Level 1-5! VERY affordable packages for other grades.

Click Here for More Info

If you like these types of homeschooling posts, follow the blog and youtube channel for more to come!

*This post contains affiliate links on products we use and love. Should you choose to purchase through our affiliate link you help support us with no additional costs to you, having said that- I say buy where you can find the best deal!

Music Credit- FWBC

Posted in Ebay, PHX Family Savings, Thrift Flip

Balancing Ebay and Home Life

In this video I share some tips on how to streamline the whole eBay process and make it work around a busy home life.

There are 3 main parts to eBay that include:

Sourcing- Finding things to sell.

Listing- Taking pictures and listing on Ebay.

Shipping- Packaging and sending out, items that have sold.

Here are my tips for each part and how I make it work while staying home and homeschooling with 6 children ages 10 and under.

Posted in Homeschool Life, Library Book Hauls

Library Books Haul

I did not google to see if this was a thing first, because I’m sure it is. Is there anything original anymore? However, this idea did strike me one day as I was looking through my library books. Why doesn’t anybody do hauls about this? This is stuff you can actually get for free if you want it! We all know watching hauls of things you can’t afford is not so much fun. These hauls though are meant to encourage you to find reading material you like at your own library and give you some of my recommendation of books I love and find useful.

Here is my vide review, yes perhaps acting out my 6 year old dreams of being on Reading Rainbow ha!

Below the video I will add the full titles and authors if you are interested. I have grouped them by category.



Mason Jar Crafts for Kids by Linda Z. Braden

Thanksgiving Crafts by Jean Eick

Crafting with Mason Jars and other Glass Containers by Hester Van Overbeek


Love the Home you Have by Melissa Michaels

How to Hygee by Signe Johansen

Shades of Grey by Kate Watson-Smyth

Mompreneur books-

The Digital Mom Handbook by Audrey McClelland

Amazon Top Seller Secrets by Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp

Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

The One Minute Apology by Ken Blanchard


Pattern Making for Kids Clothes by Carla Hegeman Crim

If you like these type of videos, let me know in the comments below and I will continue making them.


Posted in Family Life, Homeschool Life

Robinson Curriculum Moment #1- How to Teach Your Kids To Write Essays (Homeschool Series)

One of the must have components of the Robinson Curriculum is a daily essay. This of course was a big selling point for me because I love writing. I am an ESL student so I have always struggled with spelling and grammar but I still love to just express my thoughts.

I believe it is something to fight for in a digital age where Buzz Feed is becoming king among the next generation. There is nothing new under the sun and I wonder if hieroglyphics from the past is being recycled now in Meme form. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good meme, in fact I have a fb page dedicated to memes only..BUT I realize the importance of being able to express yourself in written form.

If you have been online at all, you have seen how people today have a tough time convincing others of their beliefs. It quickly escalates to all caps, name calling and personal attacks when your views are challenged. For all the above and many other reasons I strongly agree that a child should  be writing something every day on their own. Even if you do not do the Robinson Curriculum I believe this is something that can be easily applied to any other curriculum, if it’s something you desire as well. Perhaps you may be wondering where to start? In this video I explain my process from copying just a sentence or two to full on page essays daily.

I would love to hear if you have any other ideas or methods!

If you prefer to read than to watch a video, then just skip down below the video to get the same information.

The book I mentioned in the video is-

Learning Essay Writing” by Marvin Eicher (Rod and Staff

There are basically 4 types of essays, they are-

An EXPOSITION explains an idea or process;

an ARGUMENTATION sets out to prove a particular point of view;

a DESCRIPTION shows the reader how something looks, sounds, or feels;

and a  NARRATION tells a story.”

I typically let my older girls decide what they want to write about, but if they are stuck I will quickly google ‘writing prompts’ and give them a few to choose from.

But how do we get here? Here is my progression.

-Pentime Writing Books for printing and by book 2 they are starting cursive.

-Once they can write well, they copy a sentence. I usually pick a Proverb from the Bible. You could pick a line from a book or a house rule, anything you want.

-Then I alternate between simple dictation and copy work. 2 times a week dictation and 3 times a week copy work.

-I then take away the dictation and just have them do copy work everyday.

-Once copy work is going great, I bump it up to a paragraph of copy work every day. I usually choose a portion of a book we are reading.

-Once that is going well I let the child choose between writing letter or writting an essay. To me this gives them a chance to produce their own content in a stress free way. It’s just like talking to a friend, the ideas will come.

-After a while of fun letter writing, it’s time to write essays at least 2-3 times a week. Then we gradually get it to every day.

-At first I am not to strict with essays. Just writing a page of their own ideas is enough for me but I do correct them and have them re-write them. If I see it might be too much for them, then I will only correct them 2-3 times a week. I can tell on days that I don’t correct they are carefree and write better because they are not concerned with spelling. The days they know I will correct, they will limit their vocabulary to words they know how to spell to avoid rewriting so much. However I got around that by making them rewrite the whole thing even if they only got two words wrong. It may sound mean but if they know they will have to re-write the whole thing anyway, they will use more words that they are not 100% sure of the spelling thus producing better essays in general. In the beginning though I will say write an essay but no corrections would think I announced a holiday! However as time progresses, they will get used to it and rewritting will be a normal part of the school day. The key is just gauging your children. Each will be different and handle the process differently and you will know when to let up and when to push down. Finding that sweet spot of challenging them but not choking out their creativity will get easier with each child.

-That’s it. Then they will be writing an essay every single day and you will correct it and they will re-write it.

It really is one of my favorite things to get a glimpse into their little souls what they are thinking and feeling.

I hope this was helpful for you. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Here is ONE book I totally recommend in regards to writing. You don’t need any workbooks. This ONE book will be your everything for all the elementary school years. It’s pretty much where I got this process with my own adaptations. It was very useful to me!

*The Complete Writer, Writing With Ease: Strong Fundamentals: A Guide to Designing Your Own Elementary Writing Curriculum (The Complete Writer)

*This blog contains affiliate links of products I have used and love enough to recommend. Should you choose to purchase through our affiliate links it will support us at no additional cost to you. Thank you!