Archives for September 2011

Levelized Billing

Looking for any and every way to cut your bills and save time?

Did you know you can get similar payments year round and you don't have to write checks every month?

I LOVE this! We have our utility services through city water, entergy (electricity), Center Point Energy (natural gas), SuddenLink (internet only), and AT&T. Each service may call it something different but all of these offer at least one if not both services called "Levelized Billing" (or "Average Monthly Billing") and "Automatic Bank Draft" (or "Electronic Withdraw") so yesterday I spent ~1 finding all of our utilities online or calling to them set up.

I hear some of you, "There's no way I want to give out my personal information and allow someone else access to my account" "I like knowing when money is coming out of my account", and so on. I've had all those arguments. After my 3rd blessing came along everything seemed to stared piling up, and the only 'adult time' I had was being spent doing house work, paying bills, balancing the check book or on the computer. I decided I needed to cut out some out...anything that was just unnecessary. No matter my silly qualms. Since I seems to check my online checking register often and already have our home mortgage coming out automatically each month it was just the push I needed to try this with all my bills that made it available. It was so simple. I can try to up date you after my 1st month or so to let you know if I'm still liking it.

Wanna try it? Here is how:

Register for an online account ID:

  • utility account information (all found on an old bill)
  • personal information (i.e. Name, house #, phone #, email address, usually thing you'll have memorized)
  • create a password (I keep a document on my computer with "account reminders" to help me remember what different accounts ask you to use for 'usernames' or passwords)

For Levelized Billing:

  • you need to have lived at your residence for at least 1 full year
  • have your online account ID already set up

For Auto Draft:

  • utility account information (all found on an old bill)
  • have your online account ID already set up
  • a method you want them to use each month for billing- your credit card (I personally discourage) but debit card might work in the same way or simply your *checking account information (all found on the bottom of a check)
  • a few minutes

{it is almost scary how fast you can set this up}


Do you have these services already set up?
Do you like them?
Are they helpful to you and your family?
If so, how? If not, what are the drawbacks!
Do you have any other helpful hint to share for saving money and time?


Nope, no one is paying me for my indorsement of this service...but if you know how I CAN get paid for that- LET ME KNOW! ;o)

Photo Credit: Woman Paying Bills

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HIPPY Community

Our HIPPY Community 2011!
{Learn more about HIPPY or find one in your community HERE.}

As a Christian, one of my concerns with homeschooling was the "homeschoolers are weirdos" argument. CRAZINESS, right! Or was it... Learning to love 'as we are going'! Christ called us to love Him and Others. Simple. If we seem weird because we do that then oh well. We also plan to interact with Christians and non-Christians; homeschool groups are no exceptions. I mean we don't stop shopping at Wal-Mart because we're not owed by Christians and aren't solely employing Christians. We are called to be in the world just not Of the world.
Maggie is only 3 and therefore most homeschool groups don't consider us "homeschooling" yet and have few to no activities for her age group. So we are using the local HIPPY group as our "homeschool group" for now and using the next 2 years before kindergarten to soak up as much as I can about homeschooling and groups/coops!

"Your child will not become a social misfit. Children do not need to be socialized in a large group of same-age children to become well-adjusted socially. Quite the opposite. Most parents want their children to learn their social graces from adults, not other children. Homeschoolers have healthy relationships with people of all ages, including the new mother next door, the retired couple who loves to garden, their friends at ballet, 4-H and Karate and, most important, their parents." - 10 Most Important Things You need to know about Homeschooling


What are your thoughts on community? Anyone else doing HIPPY out there? Anyone in my area in a great homeschool group/coop?

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And your thoughts Julie? {on Homosexuality}

This post came about in a response to a post my Sarah Mae {please read here}.

As a Christ follower, I believe that the entire Bible is the word of God and therefore I attempt to line all my believes, convictions, and {inevitably dictated} action up with the Bible. That being said...
The Bible always list homosexuality alongside other sins. So I believe the Act of homosexuality is a sin. I also believe that, like any other sin, some people are more pron to be tempted with certain sins than other people (possibly 'born' with it). {Satan is not creative; he finds something that works and sticks with it.} Again like any other sin, having homosexual thoughts (if not lustful) is not an act of sin.
We, "Christians", quickly excuse away 'simple sins', ya know the ones that aren't as bad as so-n-sos.

  • lying- "I just told a little white lie"
  • materialism- "Well, I needed ______"
  • or plain old disobedience- "I'm not called to _____".

Unlike this list of other sins we do seem to shy away from discussing other "gray sins" like homosexuality because they baffle us. Fewer people in the past admitted to this sin so we think those in the minority sinful category must be worse than those in the majority. "Just because everyone's doing it doesn't make it right" or better or less wrong or okay.  Ignorance is often the key to any sin, in this case our hatred of 'gays' or the stark contrast which is still a sin and that's assistance of 'gay' action. As Christians we are to

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." 2 Tim 2:22

Fellow Christians should be helping one another "FLEE" these desires that lead to pits of sin if not handled.

Sin is sin, no matter what kind, it land us all in the same place {hell} if not saved by Grace Himself! Christ did not pay the ultimate price for us so that we can go on sinning. I love where Paul talks about this in Romans ch 5 and 6!

"20 God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?" Romans 5:20-6:2 NLT

{Read the entire context here to get an even better picture}

Romans 6:2 in our translation says, "Of course not!" in its original Greek language has the same emphatic tone as saying "HELL NO!" according to my friend and Greek scholar. Paul wasn't playing around! Jesus lived as one of us and knows we sin. We are 'born' with a sin nature. Jesus didn't shy away from that. "Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'" John 8:11.

We are to love people. I agree with Sarah Mae when she says "Just, listen. Let’s start there." Time is the best way you can love people. Don't avoid something/someone because of your ignorance about it/them. Educate Yourself!


I pray all my views represent Christ and His word. If you feel (and can give me scriptural backing) that something I've said is wrong; PLEASE tell me so I can correct myself.
I am interested to have a discussion here about this topic. Thoughts; Christian or otherwise are welcome? Comments are monitored before "approval" so please keep it clean.

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Fighting Inevitable Decay

This, this is the face I picture on the face of my home as I attempt to clean it.
Laughing, taunting, so smug, thrilled in having conquered, conquered me.

That's right. I feel like my house is simply laughing as I scamper about continually picking up. Then, hysteria sets in if and when I decide I'm going to, not just pick up, but actually clean something. It feels like a constant battle. My house has recruited civilians, aka my husband and children, to join forces in my demise. Toys wander from the playroom and scatter like dust across every inch of down stairs. The clean laundry awaits hangers and drawers in baskets on my bedroom floor. My kitchen floor colects...stuff regaurdless of the times I sweep it daily.

Check out the rest of the post over at the homemaker's challenge today!

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1st year homeschooler!

1st year homeschooler!

Yeah, none of you are surprised. You know I'm pumped and unpolished, raw, rough around the edges, green {in the new-at-this way not the environmental way } when it comes to the thing we call "home education". I know least not yet.

Our oldest just turned 3 in June. I know that in most homeschool realms they don't consider preK technically school yet {because you don't have to get paper work done to pull your child out of public school} but we are attempting to treat  it just like School! I want to learn everything I can, in the next 2 years, about how to 'do' this thing called homeschooling so when we have to start the years that the state mandates we'll be on track. I've already learned there is too much to learn which makes this goal an impossible  yet exciting endeavor to strive for.

Homeschooling has changed so much in the past few years. There are so many different 'ways' to homeschool.
So many

The possibilities are endless. With 3 tiny ones, the simple routine of just loving on , feeding, laying down/getting up from naps, running errands, shopping, church activities, and managing a household, I don't have time to even scratch the surface of what's out there to read on how to do all these things, much less try them out and decide which are best for my family. SO, the next 2 years will be an attempt at trying to figure that stuff out.

What  'methods', 'curriculums', 'groups', and 'options' have you chosen for your family? Maybe I'll leave it up to a vote. lol

So far this is what we've started:

  • Way/Method: "learn as we go". Our Magdalene does great with memorization so if we simply repeatedly tell/teach her things during everyday living she seems to pick it up quickly. Hearing a lot from respected friends about Charlotte Mason- looking into for the near future.
    1. Getting dressed can be a math lesson- count legs as they go into pants, color lesson- name every color on clothing, alphabet lesson- name letter on clothing, read words, sound out letters, identify catipal and lower case letters, or even an opposites lesson- clothes are off/ on, clothes are up/down, arms and legs are in/outside of clothes.
    2. Eating can be a math lesson- count food, color lesson- name every color of food, alphabet lesson- name letter on food labels, read words, sound out letters, identify capital and lower case letters, or even an opposites lesson- food is in/outside of container.
    You get it.
  • Curriculum: HIPPY!
    "Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is a home-based, family focused program. The Curriculum, designed for children ages three, four, and five, contains 30 weekly activity packets, nine storybooks, a set of 20 manipulative shapes for each year, as well as supplies such as scissors and crayons are provided for each participating family. The program uses trained coordinators and community-based home visitors who go into the home and role-play the activities with the parents and support each family throughout their participation in the program.The packets are written in a clear scripted format that is designed to provide guidance for parents and to ensure a successful learning experience for the parent and child working together in their own home. Parents become the facilitator in the learning process with their child. The HIPPY curriculum is primarily cognitive-based, focusing on language development, problem solving, logical thinking and perceptual skills. Learning and play mingle throughout HIPPY's curriculum as parents expose their children to early literacy skills such as:

    • Phonological and phonemic awareness
    • Letter recognition
    • Book knowledge
    • Early writing experiences

    In addition, the curriculum fosters social/emotional and physical (fine and gross motor skills) development. The storybooks bring children's literature into the home. HIPPY provides numerous opportunities for children and parents to discuss the storybooks in varied and increasingly complex ways.

      HIPPY is not a curriculum of mastery, but rather a curriculum of exposure to skills, concepts, and experiences with books that together constitute "school readiness" for young children. Skills and concepts are developed through a variety of activities including:

    • Reading
    • Writing and drawing
    • Listening and talking
    • Singing and rhyming
    • Playing games
    • Cooking and sewing
    • Shapes and colors
    • Puzzles and more

    The storybooks and activity packets are available in both English and Spanish for all ages. The HIPPY curriculum activities are constantly reviewed and updated in order to ensure that the materials are relevant for our families and reflect current educational research findings."

  • Support Group/Coop: we will be participating in all HIPPY meetings and working on finding a local group as well
    *Anyone in a good homeschool group/coop in White Hall or Little Rock?
  • Other endless terms I've yet to learn: we begun {in an attempt to stay consistent} is a mixture of several things I've read or experienced in preKs I've worked: Sue Patrick's "Workbox System", "Morning Board", "Calender", "Circle/Carpet Time", "Character Concepts", and "Choir Chart" all rolled in one.

"Good Morning Board/Chart(s)/Calendar"

 {My Aunt gave me this calendar several years ago- Mother-in-Love helped me update the year(s)}

{We LOVE us some Veggie Tales! Plus these are part of our "Charater" lessons}

{These are the previous months from our calendar to add decor to our homeschool room
as well serve as reminders of "Character Concepts"}

 {I found this "pocket chart" on Oriental Traiding (teacher supply section) and created my own pictures for our routine/chore chart}

{I used some of the same pictures from our other chart to make these "routines"}

Well, that's our basic start to homeschooling. I'll elaborate more on our "Good Morning Board/Chart(s)/Calendar" in my next post.


I hope you checked out some of the links I shared! Maybe they can help narrow a search of yours like they did me.
I'm always looking for good advise to narrow mine so PLEASE share any links, methods, words of wisdom on
homeschooling {insert term here}!!!

photo credit: overwhelmed-kid

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