4 Hacks to Help You Save and Pay for Your Child’s Higher Education

Allow me to introduce you to Jacob. Jacob is a finance blogger over at Dollar Diligence, where he writes practical tips like this post on food budgeting. Today I’ve asked him to share with us about college savings accounts. I hope you’ll stop by his blog and say hello!


As a fairly recent college graduate — and as someone who just paid off hefty student loans — I know firsthand how expensive getting a college education can be. The cost of a degree is rising. What you may have spent on your own tuition and fees may not even cover a semester of your child’s tuition by the time he or she is ready to head off to a college university. The thought of paying for college in this era can be daunting. However, » Read more

A Parent Review of ABCmouse: Keeping Our Brains Working Through Summer

Parent Review of ABCmouse


Like most moms, I TRY to keep my children from letting all of their knowledge fall out over the summer.

Any “book learnin'” my four boys accomplish over the summer is typically solely because I forced them to do it. Maybe your kids aren’t like mine, I don’t know, but my children never ASK me to do workbook pages and catch up on their reading logs.

When I was a little girl, I LOVED doing workbooks, but that is not my kids. I can’t even fathom that.

Have we read this summer? Yes, tons. Have I recorded half of those books on the required reading logs? Um, no. Like I don’t have enough things to remember to do.

So at the end of the summer, I’ll basically stand there with the boys, wracking my brain, while begging them to think back, to remember what all they read this summer so we can fill out that bless-ed log.

Reading is the perfect start to keeping our minds active all summer long, but there are other skills to focus on in school too, and for that I have been looking for a good phone app that I can put my younger boys on!

After years of hearing of ABCmouse.com, I finally decided to download it and let my younger boys (ages 6 and 4) try it out.

I am happy to tell you it is everything I had hoped for, which means that they cover both letters, numbers, and other topics, and they can even play it unassisted.

You do need to help them at first, so they know where to find all the different things the app or website can do.

Actually, if your child is new to iPad games or is preschool age, I would help them the whole first week that they use it, just so you can guide them to less frustration and point them to the games that they could benefit the most from.

John David is 4, and I sit down and basically just watch him use it, and say things like, “Great job!” as he zips through a map (which is like 6 mini-lesson activities). After that, I turn him loose on it, and he can play with it however he chooses.

It’s a big deal to him that we do it together, and he cuddles in my lap while he works on his activities.

Daniel is 6, and he requires no supervision on the app at all.

My favorite thing about it is the sight word games. I also appreciate that each lesson is age appropriate. Too often, game makers over-estimate the finger dexterity or involvement of the parents.

Daniel’s favorite thing: Getting to play games on my phone

John David’s favorite part: Puzzles!!!

I went through today’s lessons for John David and Daniel and screen-shotted to show you what to expect with this app, a sneak peek if you will.

Actually, I should clarify that ABCmouse.com is not just an app. This entire program can be done on a mobile device or on a computer.

What to Expect


A Parent Review of ABCmouse

This puzzle sentence was on a K4 lesson. John David had no trouble dragging and dropping the words into place.

A Parent Review of ABCmouse

This is found on the initial preschool/kindergarten screen. Once you past this puzzle, you get a new one. We focused on puzzles because they were JD’s favorite.


Both of my boys love an app where you can color.


I forget what section this game was under, but Daniel had to choose the starting letter of each picture to spell the word.


There are many books in this app, which they read to your child. As the story is read, they highlight words as they go. This particular one was a lesson on the letter b.


In this sight word game, you get to smash the bugs with the correct sight word. I thought this one was so fun that I could have played it myself. Not even kidding.


An important lesson!

Choosing Your Kids’ Level

I goofed when I signed Daniel up, and I started him on Kindergarten lessons. When he opened it up to a lesson on “Aa”, he got insulted and put it down, so be careful what level you choose! Haha!! He is in 1st grade now, so I switched it to the 1st grade level.

It was very simple to sign in as the parent and switch his level up one, and then he had better lessons.

John David, on the other hand, is not accustomed to playing games on an iPad, so I put him  on K3 so it would be super easy while he learned how to use the app. Once he got used to it, I upped him to K4 lessons.

John David LOVES these games. He’s already amassed hundreds of tickets, which he can use to buy all sorts of little digital things for his ABCmouse avatar and room. He was even excited to earn his avatar a pair of blue pants. “Oooooh! Blue pants. I wike blue pants!”

I know you’re wondering, and I was too! How much does this cost???

The first month is FREE. Afterwards, it’s $7.95/per month. Nice!


me and my little scholars


“Mom, can I pway dat game on your phone?” Batman is quite a fan of ABCmouse!

I wish had discovered this website years ago because I feel like it’s truly going to help the boys to keep ahead this summer!

Now, y’all, if you decide to try it out too, PLEASE click on my links in this post or on my website to take you to the ABCmouse.com website because I do earn a small fee for each referral I send them who signs up.

Let me know if you try it and what you thought! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!!



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Arguing is the Thing That Gets on My Nerves the Most

You know what gets on my nerves the most? Arguing.

Arguing is the thing that gets on my nerves the most.

All the kinds of arguing. I know when my kids argue it just means I’m going to end up having to deal with it. I know when my husband and I argue, I’m going to say something I regret.

And yet, sometimes I find myself being argumentative. In fact, if someone tells me to do something I don’t want to do, I can become downright belligerent.

It’s like a scab. You know you shouldn’t mess with the scab. You should let it heal, but sometimes you just GOTTA pick at that scab.

And then it’s all bleeding again….and then you’re all looking for tissues. Then it’s time to leave the house, and the worst of it was that the scab was on your face, and now you have to try to put some make-up on it.

And it’s just a big mistake.

Arguing is usually a mistake.

But then other times, arguing almost has to happen. If there’s anything I’ve learned about arguing though, it’s that it’s best to do in person and NEVER over text. Over text, people can’t hear the charming tone of your voice, and they may not know that you’re a person that makes a lot of jokes…

I keep a little tab in my Bible journal about arguing.

We all read things differently and have different take aways, so arguments happen. We simply don’t always agree with each other.

Nor should we expect to always agree with each other. I think the gist of the Bible verses I have found is to avoid arguing over things that don’t matter.

(If only I could always let the little things go…)

We have to keep our focus on the right things, and then we are less likely to argue about the wrong things.

Plus, as I tell my children, we have to not be selfish and give others a little space.

Sometimes, to avoid arguing, I will try to keep quiet too long. And then I explode, and it gets ugly. Clearly, that’s not the way to go either.


Most people are somewhat reasonable and will listen to what you have to say, so long as you just talk and don’t get all worked up.

Arguing is the thing that gets on my nerves the most.

Thankfully, Alan is super reasonable, which is a good thing, since I’m married to him.

But maybe you aren’t dealing with a reasonable person, and that’s where you have to decide if you want to deal with their hissy fit or pouting, or if you want to go along with their way as usual.

The only thing is, if you go along with their way every single time, they will never learn to deal with disappointment. Some people are like children. They still need to learn that lesson. We can give many times, but if we are always the one to give, explosions may happen. It’s better to gently state your case and hold your ground from the get-go.

The Bible puts it pretty pointedly.

“And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth and that they will come to their senses & escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”                     2 Timothy 2:24-26

Now some of you may be thinking that I must be coming off a big argument which caused me to write about all this, but if I had, I would be too mad to write about all this. Instead, I figured I’d write about my pet peeve while I’m not actually in the middle of arguing with anyone.

Okay, pet peeve #2 is whining, begging three-year-olds, and I have one at my feet right this second, BEGGING to paint.

So yeah, time to go paint…

What about you? What’s your pet peeve?



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