Tag: kids

2023 Summer Reads for Kids – What my Kids are Reading this Summer.

2023 Summer Reads for Kids – What my Kids are Reading this Summer.

I thought I would make a list of books my kids are reading during summer of 2023 as a fun way of tracking where my kids are at and to share book ideas with other book loving families. Last year I posted a couple of […]

Arboretum in April

Arboretum in April

Recently we went to the Washington Arboretum near the University of Washington in Seattle. We have gone there many times in the past but have not been there for quite some time. We love to walk the trails and learn about the plants from all […]

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 was a year with mixed results for me. As I reflect on my 2022 goals post from March of this year I am struck by how different my year turned out from where it started. I started the year gung ho about my career and moving up the corporate ladder then a family member got very sick and my priorities completely shifted. It is crazy how one event can change the direction of your life. I took some time off shortly after I wrote this post because I was experiencing major burnout and at the moment I do not see myself going back to a corporate type environment any time soon. To be clear, my coworkers were fabulous and I loved my team but I realized in taking some time off that I love working for myself and being able to set my own pace.

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2022 Goals

 

Our goals from last year were:

  1. Max out IRAs
  2. Increase our 401k contributions
  3. Save, save save.
  4. Decrease our grocery spending
  5. Be more mindful of our spending

After looking them over again I would say we met most of our goals for 2022 which is surprising. The only one I am not sure of is our 401k contributions. We did initially increase them but then decreased them for a few months and then increased them again towards the end of the year so I don’t know where our ending percentage was for the whole year but we are increasing my husband’s for 2023 by 1%.

As far as grocery spending goes we definitely made huge progress on that. We started out the year spending $1000 plus a month on food even though we were also getting free lunches from the universal free lunch program. For the last few months we have kept our spending to between $400 and $700 which is amazing progress. You can check out my grocery content on my Oscoey YouTube channel linked here. Below is our last grocery haul of 2022.

 

I am really proud of our grocery progress and filming as much of our groceries as well as a weekly fridge and freezer recap has been helpful to keep track of where we are at. I am going to keep up with it for 2023 as well as work on some self-care goals such as doing more puzzles!

2023 Goals: Puzzles

I am using my planner more diligently this year to help me keep track of everything. I use the Commit30 planners and love them. I love that they have goal setting built in every month but there isn’t a lot of pressure to keep up with it. The website can be found here. They are currently on sale so check them out!

That’s it for my recap of our 2022 goals. Short and sweet this time. Look for more posts surrounding our puzzles, cross-stitch and of course, finances!

 

Links:

Commit30 Planners

 

New Year’s Puzzle Start: If Fish Could Walk

Puzzle Trays

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

Our June grocery goal was to eat through our fridge and freezer as much as possible and for the most part we reached this goal. I am super proud of our progress! Up until the last week of June we kept our spending under $300 […]

Our Favorite Board Books

Our Favorite Board Books

To compliment our summer reading lists for first and third graders I made the below list of our favorite board books for younger kids. We still read many of these books to our kids even though they are way past the board book phase!   […]

Summer Reads for Rising First Graders

Summer Reads for Rising First Graders

With summer starting I thought I would make a list of some of our favorite book series to read over the summer. I just graduated my third kindergartener and a lot of the other moms in my youngest’s class have been asking me for book recommendations. Sometimes I forget that the first time around you are not in tune with what is popular for kids so I made a list of the books we have been recommending for kids just starting to get into chapter books. Most Kindergarteners will not be able to read these on their own but they are great to read as a family! I have also used the trick of reading to an exciting point and then leaving the child with the book to read on their own and this always results in my kids trying to read further on their own.

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Magic Treehouse Series – This is by far the favorite with all three of my kids. We are still on our original set I bought for my oldest daughter and they went through a friend’s kids in between my oldest two. These are also available as audio books at most libraries.

Synopsis: Jack and Annie find a magic treehouse in the woods that take them on adventures during key periods in history. The all start out the same which is great for early readers relying on repetition to help them decode the text. There are also companion Fact Tracker non-fiction books which go into more details about facts brought up in the books which are great to add in after kids are reading more fluently.

 

Franny K. Stein – We are huge fans of Franny K. Stein at our house and once again, all three of my kids have this series on their favorites list.

Synopsis: Franny does things a little bit different and loves to do mad scientist things that the other kids don’t understand at first. Once the kids get to know more about Franny the accept her as she is. These books also have a lot of repetition at the beginning which is great for earlier readers.

 

The Alien Next Door – This series is great because there is some mystery involved in trying to figure out if the new kid is actually an alien. My son in particular loves this book series. I like that they don’t discover if the new kid is an alien right away and once they do different conflicts come up that require some thinking to work through.

Synopsis: A new kid named Zeke moves in next door to Harris and the two of them navigate how to be friends even though they are from different planets. There is a lot of critical thinking and problem solving in these books and they are less repetitive which is great for adults reading aloud.

 

Princess in Black – Another great series that our middle daughter loves is the Princess in Black series. The books have great illustrations for kids just moving into chapter books that help them decipher the words.

Synopsis: Princess Magnolia does not fit the usual princess mold and is a secret monster hunter. The series follows her adventures trying to balance both the worlds of frilly princess duties and hunting smelly monsters with her horse.

 

Narwhal and Jelly – Narwhal and Jelly is a graphic novel series that my kids love to read. They are pretty light reading with silliness and fun. I will be honest that I have not read these in a while, but my middle daughter has loved them tremendously since she was in Kindergarten. We have also given these to friends who have loved them as well. Graphic novels are a great way to get kids reading and the pictures help kids decode the text.

 

I hope you find something new in this book list. I have really enjoyed the process of teaching my kids to read. Each one was different but I have tried to instill a lifelong love of reading with them.

 

What books to you recommend for Kindergarten/First Grade?

 

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

 

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

 

Free School Lunches

 

 

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We are working on our grocery spending for 2022 and our goal for May was to do a low spend month. Unfortunately we ended up a little bit swamped during the middle of the month and we both spent too much money and I did […]

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

Our 2022 spending goals have already gone a little bit sideways with me leaving the workforce in March. I left my job for both health and family reasons and it has thrown our budget into a hurricane of uncertainty. For now our goal is to […]

Garden Update 04.30.22

Garden Update 04.30.22

Welcome to the end of April when our garden starts to take off. We have been celebrating the emergence of our asparagus and planted many flowers and I am super excited for the summer when all of our plants start taking off. I am still working on getting my large garden beds in but hope to have them done by the end of this week. I put them on hold for a bit trying to get fence quotes but so far I am having a very difficult time getting people to even show up which is super disappointing. I thought I would do a brief overview of what’s happening in the garden right now.

Fairy garden.
Fairy garden.

Earlier this month the kids and I went to Lowes and picked up some flowers so they could make new fairy gardens. Our neighbors are moving and they gifted us some large pots which the kids very enthusiastically planted. We add flowers every year to their pots but their old ones have been taken over by the hens and chicks they planted several years ago so it was time for new ones.

flower garden
Flower garden.

This year is the first year my son has really gotten into gardening with me and he took it upon himself to finish planting all of my flowers. He did an excellent job of it in a section of the garden that was pretty bare. He even planted seeds which will hopefully sprout. I am not sure how deep they were planted but I always love to see my kids embracing gardening and taking ownership of part of the yard.

Hidden gnome.
Hidden gnome.

A friendly gnome showed up in the kids’ hideout mysteriously one day and they have taken great delight in moving him about to “surprise” everyone the next day. Everyone is in on the joke and it motivates the kids to go outside for a bit. Their hideout under the Hydrangeas hasn’t quite grown over yet but they have been enjoying it nonetheless.

Kale
Kale plant in bloom.

All of our brassicas are blooming right now. They overwintered well despite the snow and freezing temperatures and I have left them to bloom for the bees. I haven’t seen a lot of bees yet this year but it is still pretty cold at night and we usually don’t see a lot of them until May. I did however find a Bumble Bee nest next to my vegetable patch and I am super excited about that!

Squash and Peas
Squash and Peas

I started planting out some of my squash plants super early this year. They were damaged a little bit but I put covers on them and I am hoping they will do ok. I checked them today and they do look pretty good. Luckily the covers are tight enough that the slugs have so far not been able to get in there and eat them which is much better than last year when I lost most of my plants to slugs. I was also successful in getting some pea plants to sprout along one of my fence lines. So hopefully we will have a decent crop for the first part of the summer.

Apple Blossom
Apple Blossom

Both our apple and pear trees are beginning to bloom this week. I am hoping since they have been in the ground for about six years now that we will have a decent crop this year. I will need to cover the apples pretty soon to prevent the apple maggots that are so prevalent in our area from getting to our fruit. We had a particularly bad case of it last year and weren’t able to eat many of the apples we grew. Our apple tree is also not doing very well in general so I am not sure if we will eventually replace it or try to fix it more.

Tulips
Tulips

Of the hundred or so bulbs we planted last year only the ones in this pot did not get eaten. There are however more than I remember planting so I am not sure if they were split by our squirrels or I just am not remembering correctly. These are very beautiful and I am super happy that they survived. I may try tulips again next year in some of my garden beds since I am going to line the bottoms with hardware cloth to prevent the moles from digging up my vegetables. Tulips are very short lived though in terms of blossoms so I don’t know if I want to dedicate that much garden space to them.

Early seedlings
Early seedling plantings.

Last weekend I also planted a bunch of marigolds I got from Costco and the rest of the seeds I started indoors in March. I haphazardly placed them in my existing beds which I don’t recommend but if they don’t end up growing very well I will replace them mid-summer with my fall crops. Here I planted Brussels sprouts and maybe cabbage. I also planted zucchini, spaghetti squash, melons and yellow squash in other beds and pots. I am realizing that I just don’t get enough light in the early spring so next year I may have to change my planting plans.

 

Thank you for reading our quick garden overview for April. Come find us on Instagram at Oscoeyzamph for more up to date garden pictures.

 

Links:

 

Instagram

 

Twitter

 

YouTube

 

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

 

Low Spend April 2022 Grocery Spending Mid-Month Check In

Thursday Mini-Channel Share Day

Thursday Mini-Channel Share Day

I thought I would share some of my favorite up and coming YouTube channels today. I am noticing a lot of Food Bank haul unboxing videos trending in my feed and I thought I would highlight a few. Many people rely on food banks temporarily […]


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