Valentine's Day Project for Kids






Welcome! My name is Mary. I help parents educate their children at home one day at a time. This site offers LEGO printablesfree music lessonsunit studies,  and much more. Use the tabs above to discover what Homegrown Learners has to offer. You will be equipped and encouraged to travel a most amazing path in your home!

Explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Math!









My Music Appreciation Curriculum



I'm Speaking for LEGO® Education!




Popular Posts




« Win a Breville Juicer! | Main | Join Me For a Chat About Music in Your Homeschool »

No Spend Month, Marriage, Menus, & Miscellany - Collage Friday

 *This post contains affiliate links.

January is no spend month in our house. What does this mean?

It means we're not spending unless it's a necessity or an otherwise planned expense. No eating out. No impulse buying. No buying books on Amazon (this is HARD!). No grabbing a Starbucks on the way to piano lessons (ouch - I usually do that).

So, this is me, brewing my own fancy coffee at home and taking it in the van to piano lessons. 

I've felt convicted since I returned home from Ecuador that we need to be more diligent with our money. I am so blessed to have a husband with a good job, good insurance, a nice home to live in, and a nice van to drive. We don't lack for anything, and after seeing so many precious children who DO - let's just say I haven't been sleeping so well at night. 

It's all about teaching my children to be thankful, good stewards of their blessings. 

When my good friend Melissa proposed the no spend month I jumped on board for her challenge. It's also fun that my friend Jen is joining us, too! As my husband said - there is never a good or "easy" month to do this, so why not start right now?

Now, I realize this next section wasn't part of the no spend challenge - but in my defense, we had this wedding scheduled for a long time.  :-)  

A Wedding To Remember

Last weekend we had a fun getaway. 

A sweet young lady from our church was getting married. I've always seen a lot of myself in this particular friend of ours... she loves music, went to college for music, and just reminds me of myself at that age. She used to help me with the Cherub Choir several years ago in our church.

We've enjoyed watching her grow and mature, and were so pleased to be able to attend her wedding. 

The weather was COLD. We snapped a picture of them from our hotel room before the ceremony. They were taking pictures in 30 degree weather. Brrr....

The ceremony was traditional - yet had a contemporary flair with they hymn sung. The bride processed to "It is Well With My Soul", and recessed to Copland's "Simple Gifts". Perfect. 

A friend and I remarked that we were so happy our kids got to see marriage between a man and a woman... a ceremony that incorporated the instructions for the wife to obey  her husband and for the husband to love his wife. There were so many nice touches. 

This was all about teaching my children what MARRIAGE is - what a GODLY marriage is.

It was also fun to enjoy an event like this with friends from church. Our church is an integral part of our lives, and I feel that I have been encouraged through this community to actively LIVE my faith.  

So - congratulations Andrew and Cherise. Thank you for including us in your day!


 Cold Weather Ensues

I'm sure we weren't as cold here as many parts of the nation, but getting down to 7 degrees in Atlanta surely was some sort of record! 

We did venture out one day (when all of the local schools were closed) on a field trip to the museum.

Did you see my post about that day? It was one where I realized homeschool is WORKING

We also played a lot of games, built a lot of LEGOS, and crafted.

I have to admit I am NOT a game player, but my husband is. The list of favorite games to play includes:


 I'm patting myself on the back right now - just to give you a visual image.

I haven't been great about cooking consistently and well the past few months. I vowed to myself in 2014 I would change that, and I'm using Plan to Eat to catalog my recipes and plan good meals for my family.

One thing I love about Plan to Eat is that you share recipes with friends. The Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini that I made was from a friend of mine on Plan to Eat. This soup is a winner! 

I also made a great BLT Chopped Salad with Corn, Feta, and Avocado. Yum. 

Other goodies from the week included Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Salisbury Steak, and a Breakfast Casserole (which we had for dinner one night).

This is all about teaching my children to care for their families and to gather for dinner each night as a family.

Oh - don't you love the cute little sign I printed for my kitchen? These were free printables from The 36th Avenue

Reading Update

There's been a lot of reading going on here. Here's what each child is reading and what we are reading aloud:



SQUILT for Classical Conversations was released on Monday and will be on sale for $4.99 until Monday, at which time the price will go up. It is my prayer that this volume can help moms expand upon the musical selections in Cycle 2.

I am hard at work on Volume 3 - The Romantic Era. This era is full of so many great composers and HUGE works, so I'm anticipating it will be more involved that Volumes 1 and 2. It should be out by the end of the month.

If you aren't studying music in your homeschool, you might want to consider SQUILT. I've had a lot of notes from users telling me how much their children love the lessons and how the listening activities are making their children more acute observers of musical concepts. I LOVE this!


In the middle of all of this busyness of life my husband's company is going through a merger (lots of extra work), my mom begins radiation very soon, and my dad is facing a surgery at the same time. I realize that each day is a gift, and we aren't promised that life will be easy, but we know God is good, and He takes care of our every need. 

I'm thankful for the chance to come to this place each Friday and read so many encouraging words from all of you, and then visit your blogs and read about your weeks, too. It's my favorite time of the week.

I do hope you'll join me!  

If you'd like to link, you can do so in a couple of ways:

  • Enter your link below. Be sure to link to your post with photo collages and link back to this post (or include the Collage Friday button on your blog).
  • Share your photo collage(s) on Instagram, FB, G+, or Twitter - use the hashtag #collagefriday so I can find you!


References (6)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Dr Oz diet
  • Response
    No Spend Month, Marriage, Menus, & Miscellany - Collage Friday - Home - Homegrown Learners
  • Response
    No Spend Month, Marriage, Menus, & Miscellany - Collage Friday - Home - Homegrown Learners
  • Response
    No Spend Month, Marriage, Menus, & Miscellany - Collage Friday - Home - Homegrown Learners
  • Response
    No Spend Month, Marriage, Menus, & Miscellany - Collage Friday - Home - Homegrown Learners
  • Response
    Response: yi tsu cheng dds
    No Spend Month, Marriage, Menus, & Miscellany - Collage Friday - Home - Homegrown Learners

Reader Comments (19)

I pray things go well with your parents over the next few weeks. Take care and have a lovely week, Mary.

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Huzzah to you and the no spend challenge! Proud of you! I will pray for Hal and your parents. I love how you teach your children, even when they don't realize they are being taught!

Cute sign in the kitchen 8)


January 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermelissa newell

Oh Mary thank you for sharing that you are not much of a games person. I have been feeling so guilty over this very thing this week it's so nice to know I'm not the only one !

Have a blessed weekend. I really like the idea of a no spend month and might just add that to our diary once a year too ...

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChareen

That cold this week sure gave us some time to play games too! Love those cute kitchen printables! And a big congrats on SQUILT 2!! Looking forward to following your no spend challenge too.

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Hi Mary,

Thank you for continuing to show up each week and be a part of my homeschool inspirations. Our family is taking part in the no spend challenge, thank you for posting about it. We're actually going to stretch it to three months. I'm not a big spender, but I never realized how much I struggle with the temptation of impulse buys in the guise of "needs". We don't need to buy every book or resource that fits with our studies. We have time to collect them over time and we'll surely treasure them more when we get them.

I just said a prayer for you and your parents. I will add them to my nightly prayers.


January 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkristy p

Don't think I've ever done quite the no-spend challenge you're doing, but I did challenge myself to one year with no new clothes!

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie {See Jamie Blog}

What a great uplifting post, Mary! Love all of the pictures too. Looks like you are all having a good new year and off to a great start all around. I will most definitely keep your entire family in prayer. It sounds like a stressful time for you all right now and I know how much prayer does help, especially from others. I had so many people praying for me this past fall, I could actually feel it! I hope you have a very a blessed weekend and keep warm! It is supposed to actually hit double digits where I live and we are very excited about it :-)

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnn-Marie

After all these years, all of a sudden I have a Lego love … Batman to be exact. He doesn't like to free-build though. He likes to get the kits, put them together, and then play with them as is. I try to encourage free build, but I think he is scared of it. (He also does the same thing with creative writing). So I was thrilled to see Creationary!! I put it in my Amazon cart, but I am on a no-spend kick, as well, so it's going to have to wait until February. Thanks!!

A great week Mary. I am trying to do the January challenge also. I am laid off, again, until March and I am quite used to spending only what is necessary! Wasn't it crazy cold for the South? We didn't stick our noses out hardly. Prayers for your Mom and Dad. Thank you, as always, for hosting. :)

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

We live in a college town and go to lots of weddings it's so funny how a wedding reflects the heart of the couple. Some weddings are very secular and you wouldn't realize two Christians are marrying and some are so focused on the Lord and His glory that it brings tears to my eyes.

We are also doing a spending freeze for January which is actuality working out better then expected since we have sold our house and will be moving in 45 days we need to eat everything in the house!! Well, is you need any practical frugal tips head on over to my blog (if you need loads of coupon tips you might need to look elsewhere not really my thing too many kiddos ya know!) and enjoy your financial reset.

Have a great day!

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

Good job with the no spend challenge! We are giving a go too. We are trying lots of new recipes right now too.
Blessings, Dawn

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

What a great week you have had. I love the look of all the yummy food and you know that I love games.

I love the idea of a "No Spend" month, I might have to adopt that.

I'll be praying for your parents.

We didn't as cold here, but I still felt it was plenty cold.

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTicia

OK, we kinda have STUNK at our no spend challenge this month so far since our pipe burst in the garage. :0( I am hoping to get us back on track this weekend- and keep at it into February to make up for this crazy week!

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWonder Mom

The no spend month has been a great challenge for us and has given us lots of opportunity for discussion. The kids are not thrilled that's for sure. i planned our meals for this week and it's so helpful. I don't know why I have weeks that I don't plan - I set myself up for failure every time. I love attending a beautiful, faith filled wedding! Oh, and I'm not a game player either ;)

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Forever, For Always

I've never done the No Spend Month challenge, but have thought of it often. How do you feel it has changed your attitudes/purchases throughout the year?

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather @To Sow a Seed

I'm afraid I don't quite understand the Squilt thing. Oh well.

Your food images look AMAZING! Yikes. I could eat salad everyday. Yummy. I'll have to try yours (even though I don't eat avocados.)

Our new favorite game is Picwitz. It's pretty cool (minus a few pictures I took out). We have so many games in our house, and getting the kids to branch out to different ones can often be difficult.

I am so "envious" of your trip to Equador. Oh, how I would love to go see our sponsored kids. We have several and had I the time or money, I would do it in a heart beat. (Well, if I could do it without childcare issues.) I would imagine your experience has left you feeling quite guilty as it would me as well. (That sounds like poorly written grammar.) We are currently trying to get ourselves on a better budget after years of spending without thinking. I am afraid my children do not know what it means to go without. I know that feeling - which is why I am fully capable of doing without. I often think my husband doesn't know how to do without either, he was raised differently. Though, i don't mean to say he was spoiled. :)

I like your no spend challenge.

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel E.

I love the idea of having a no spending month - I think the hardest part would be getting the rest of the family on board...specifically the hubs.

Good job with your no spending January. It is hard to not buy books from amazon. I decided not to try the no spend month because today is Amber's birthday and it was unrealistic to attempt it. It was a set up for failure. I have tried to limit the impulse purchases and not go out even when it would have been easier.

Amber and Fred are such game people, but I get distracted because of all I know I should be doing. It's an attitude and priorities problem with me.

I hope it has warmed up for you by now. We are a balmy 56 today when it normally snows!

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>