vlogging and blogging

Last year I decided to take the plunge and start a YouTube channel.  I think I am very late to the whole YouTube phenomenon, but I started watching some family vlogs, and thought, wow, what a great way to document our lives and have it for memories.

It is part of why I want to blog as well - to have a record of life, to know what we are doing, what struggles we have had, what struggles I have had.  What works, what doesn't - all of it.  It is a huge fun and wonderful thing, blogging.  I thought vlogging could be the same way.

But, vlogging is a lot different, it isn't just a stream of consciousness like a blog can be - well it is, but it also has to be edited down to a nice little package that doesn't take 3 days to upload onto YouTube!

I would love to meet other blogger/vloggers - so if you have a channel, please let me know in the comments below!  

As I have watched more vlogging videos, it seems like they are in two separate camps - one bloggers and one vloggers.  But, I think that combining the two is so much fun!

Who is your favorite vlogger?  Do you watch YouTube channels, or stick to Netflix?

knitting and reading

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House!

Before I get on with my knitting and reading, I wanted to let you know that there is an amazing resource available today, The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.  If you have ever struggled with keeping your house clean and organized, or making sure that you have healthy meals and snacks for your kids, this bundle is for you.  The categories are vast - everything from budgeting to in the kitchen, to marriage and motherhood, organizing and DIY - so much great information!  I can't wait to get my bundle this morning, and wanted to pass along such a great deal.  If you buy the bundle, I would love to hear what you think of it in the comments below!

Now, onto the knitting!

I finished Emma's one sock.  I actually sat down to do it last night while the kids were taking a bath because I knew I wouldn't finish it otherwise.  I really messed up the toe, but at least it is finished!

When I showed Emma she said "Is this for me?!  I love it!"  And then proceeded to wear the one sock around for the rest of the night, and was mad when I asked her for it back.  In my book, that is success!

I'm almost done with the second wristlet as well, so that is making me happy.  Getting these couple of little projects finished in April was a goal of mine.  I was tired of seeing them unfinished.  Now, of course, I still need to knit the second sock...but we will get there!

As far as reading goes, I plan to go through all The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Books today to see which ones I want to look at first.  It can be a bit overwhelming with so many resources, but I like that they are separated by category - that makes life a little easier for me.

I am also still reading Unstuffed and Faith Unraveled, although I have not made much progress in either the past week because a new book was magically delivered to my kindle Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld.  It is no secret that I love Pride and Prejudice, so when there was a modern retelling coming out, I obviously wanted to read it.  I'm about 12 chapters in (it is quite long, over 500 pages) and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  It is definitely different than the original, set in Cincinnati and Jane and Elizabeth are much older, 40.  I'm not sure why that sticks out to me except that I feel like a lot of the innocence of all the girls is lost because they are so much older in this book, and instead of silly and fun, it seems a little depressing...but I'm only a little ways into the book, and I am interested to see where it goes (which is obviously a happy ending with Mr. Darcy).

What is one challenge you have with homemaking?  Me, I can't seem to get a handle on all the stuff no matter how much I declutter!

My Favorite Green Living Memoirs

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House!

I am a book person – if you are new around here, you may not realize that, but you will soon if you stick around!  One thing that is a little different about me is that I really enjoy re-reading books.  Not every book, mind you, but I have several favorites that I read on an annual basis, depending on the season.

Now that we are much warmer here in Maine, I am thinking about homesteading and green living books.  My favorites are memoirs about a person’s journey back to the land, and the changes that have happened in their lives because of those changes, whether it be for a short period of time, or a complete life change.  However, I also have a lot of reference books that I refer to this time of year as well – hoping that I will somehow be able to read myself into having a better garden!

Because I have been at a loss recently as to what books to read for my knitting and reading posts I decided it was probably time to revisit some of my old favorites.  And I figured I would share them with you (in no particular order)!

Top 4 Memoir/Journey/Back to the Land type books

The first book I absolutely love is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  This is an amazing book of a family that moved to a farm and decided to eat only what they could grow or get locally for a year.  It is sprinkled with essays from Kingsolver’s husband and daughter, and it is incredibly inspiring to see the work they do on their farm.  There are recipes, and anecdotes, and it is an amazing book, definitely read it!

Next up is The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball.  It is the journey of a city girl who follows the man she loves to a farm, and gives up her life in the city to become a farmer.  It is a great story of trials and local food. 

Then we have No Impact Man by Colin Beavan.  There is a documentary to go with this book, which I also highly recommend.  It is the story of a family in New York City who tries to have a net zero impact on the environment over the course of a year.  This includes shutting off electricity, washing clothes by hand, getting rid of chemical cleaners, only using a bike or walking to get around, only buying food that is grown locally.  It is a really interesting experiment, very thought provoking, and fun to experience through reading the book and watching the documentary.

The last book on my list is Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. McKinnon.  This is a book about a couple who decided to eat only what was grown locally to them – the 100 mile diet.  I believed they coined the 100 mile diet, actually.  Anything they could get within 100 miles of their home, they could eat, but anything farther than that they could not have.  It was interesting to see what was available to them, and what wasn’t, and how they made do without foods they were used to eating whenever they wanted.

It was my love of local food blogs that led me to these books about 8 years ago, and reading them annually continues my desire to eat as locally as possible.  To me, they are motivating.  We do not eat 100% local, it would be incredibly challenging to do so, but these books have encouraged me to try to do as much as I can with our small garden and seeking out local farms and stores.

Have you read any of these books?  Do you have a favorite book that you visit year after year?  

2016 Garden Progress

The past two weekends in Maine have been gorgeous.  Warmer weather, a nice breeze, perfect for working in the garden.  And because of that, we have made significant progress in our garden for 2016.

Honestly, it is too early to plant anything out there, but I am taking this time to really prepare the garden beds, and hopefully get rid of every single weed before we start.

Last year we did not garden at all, and instead let the garden beds grow in with weeds and be completely fallow, which I think is probably a good thing after gardening in the same beds every year for 7 years.  It is good for the land to have a rest, and it was good for me to have a rest too!

But, this year, we are back at it.  And, as with every other year, I hope to expand just a bit. 

In the back of our garden, I have three rhubarb plants – as an aside it always amazes me how fast they come up when the weather turns nice – and next to that is a bunch of grass.  I want to dig up that grass this year and plant potatoes.

Several years ago I grew potatoes as a bit of an experiment.  I think every plant I grow at first is an experiment.  Can I actually grow it?  Will some new bug or pest come and eat it all before I can actually get it out of the ground?  Or is it something that may not grow well around here?

I thought potatoes would work, since all of Northern Maine grows potatoes quite well, and they are definitely colder than where I am in Maine.  But, you never know.  I tried growing the potatoes in pots and in the ground, and surprisingly both worked really well.  And the potatoes…oh my goodness they were delicious! 

I believe everything is better fresh from the garden, but eating freshly dug potatoes, it was amazing to taste the flavors.  Instead of a bland potato, it was delicious.  Now, some of that is because of the work that goes into the potato, finally eating the fruits of your labor, but also, food from the garden is more flavorful.

The other plant I think I am going to finally get into the ground is asparagus.  I have never grown asparagus before, and I’m not sure why.  My mom had it in her garden when I was growing up, and I have always loved it.  The main thing with asparagus is that it takes three years before you can actually eat the asparagus.  You need to let it grow for three years before you can actually eat it. 

Because I have never really felt settled in our home (funny since we have been here for almost 9 years), I didn’t plant perennials besides the rhubarb.  I should have, and then I would also have delicious asparagus to look forward to this spring!

I’m not entirely sure how much longer we will stay in our house, but I think it is safe to say planting the asparagus is not going to hurt me in the long run – unless of course we end up moving the first year we can cut that asparagus!

I am looking forward to finishing the cleanup of the garden, and also the paths between the garden beds.  It is hard work, but it is incredibly rewarding when it is done.

The other big thing we have to do before planting time begins – get new fencing.  If you have been reading here very long, you will remember we had quite the woodchuck problem a couple years ago.  I didn’t get my fence up before my seedlings went in, and the lovely woodchuck family decided it would eat most of my lettuce.  I felt a bit like Mr. McGregor running after Peter when I went after them in my pajamas with a stick…I’m sure it was fun for the neighbors to watch though!

We still have about a month before most of our vegetables go in the garden, but there is a lot of work to be done before then!  I’m glad the weather is turning much nicer so we can all be outside enjoying the sun on our backs while we dig in the ground.

Have you started planting anything yet?  Do you have space that you could dig up for a small garden?

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

I am a blog ambassador with U.S. Cellular, and this post is sponsored on their behalf.  All opinions, as always, are my own!

Did you know it was Distracted Driving Awareness Month?  Distracted driving has become a relevant issue over the past several years, and deserves some awareness and also education.

It seems like everyone uses their phones while driving.  I know that I do.  Whether looking up directions on my iPhone or taking a call, or calling someone telling we are running late (again, we have kids, what can I say?), the cell phone always seems to be needed.  Distracted driving does not just mean using your cell phone though, it can include eating, putting on makeup, even reading! 

I remember driving into Boston one day with my mom, and I looked out my window at the car next to me, and the guy was reading the newspaper…hmmm…

According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 43% of smartphone owners use their phones while driving, while the same survey revealed that 34% of smartphone users get annoyed when they see someone else using their smartphone while driving.

So what are some ways that we can take away distractions for when we are driving?

If you are a parent with kids starting to drive, or using a phone while driving, you should definitely download the free parent-child agreement to start a conversation, and make a plan, as to what is acceptable while driving.

One of the best ways to hedge distracted driving is to actually take away the distractions.  Switch to do-not disturb mode so you don’t hear your phone constantly dinging with alerts or calls.  Or, if you don’t need your phone for directions, stick it in the glove box until you get to your destination. 

If you do need the GPS, enter all the information beforehand, and place your phone where it can easily be understood what the next step in the directions is.

Use accessories such as the Plantronics Voyager LegendBluetooth Headset.  Carrying on a conversation during your commute is easy and safe.  A recent U.S. Cellular survey showed that 74% of people who use their phones while driving use a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth headset or in-car Bluetooth system.

Whatever you think you need to see on your phone while you are driving, you don’t.  If it seems like an emergency, and you feel like you must use your phone, pull over.  It may feel like a hassle, but if that text is so important, pulling over shouldn’t be a hassle.  We live in such a connected society now, and it may seem uncomfortable to be “out of the loop” for the 30 minute commute, or however long your drive is, but getting to your destination safely should remain the goal. 

What tip would you include in this list?  

knitting and reading

Well, I knew it would happen eventually.  The pull of the beautiful weather would call me to my garden, and that is where I have spent most of the last week.  I was able to clean up some of the garden beds, although I still have several to work on, which hopefully will be done by this weekend.

Yesterday, however, it was rainy and gloomy.  That is perfect knitting weather for me!  So I sat down to work on the second wristlet, which will now not be needed until next fall, but at least I can set them away and know they are available to give as a gift!

I am still working on that one silly sock.  And when I say working, I really mean thinking about working on it.  I need to take a bit of time to figure out how to finish off the toe when I don't have my stitches on the right needles in order to follow the pattern.  I know it won't take much to figure it out, but having a little quiet time in order to think is hard to come by recently!  I will get to it eventually.

And while I talked about trying to finish up my projects on the needles, I was thinking about knitting up some dishcloths.  I love to knit them up because they are quick, we use them, and I can try out all kinds of pretty patterns.  I plan to finish the wristlet first, but then, then I will probably cast on for a dishcloth.

As far as my reading goes, I am still reading Faith Unraveled.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  I am not very far in, maybe 20%, and I can't figure out the author's tone, whether it is really negative, or if what she says I just disagree with.  I will plow on, because I would like to finish it, it is interesting, but I had to look for a different book too.  I came up with Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup - all about decluttering your life.  A book right up my alley!  She is also the author of Living Well Spending Less which I read last year and loved.

Is the weather pulling you outside?  Do you finish books even if you don't really like it?

The Remedy Rush Spring Subscription Box - Unboxing

I received this subscription box for free.  I was not required to do a review of this box, but I loved it so much I wanted to share it with my readers!  I hope you enjoy it!

I love subscription boxes.  There, I said it.  I think that there is something so fun in getting a little surprise in the mail monthly or quarterly.  I was really excited when the wonderful people at The Remedy Rush reached out to me to share their spring box.

Rushing a Premium Assortment of Artisan Spa & Body Products right to your Door!

The Remedy Rush is a quarterly subscription box, and costs $59.
I love natural bath products they are definitely some of my favorites because I always try to choose the safest options for my skin.  I knew right away this would be a great fit for me!

When you open up the box, you see the card which has an explanation of why the item was prescribed, as well as a description of each item and the retail value.

This box SMELLS AMAZING!  All of the scents were so perfect, none were too strong, and they were all incredibly refreshing.

The Contents of the Box

Lotus Wei Flower EssencesThree mists were included.  Infinite Love, Joy Juice, and Inspired Action.  They were all incredibly fresh, not too strong, but the perfect pick me up for your day.

Etta + BillieThree artisan bar soaps and one natural lip balm.  Citrus & Poppy Seed Soap, Geranium Patchouli Soap, Cold Brew Mint Coffee Soap, Lavender Lip Balm.  These soaps smell AMAZING.  The lip balm is moisturizing and feels nice on your lips.

Herb PharmHerbal Breath Tonic.  A natural breath spray to kill germs and keep your breath fresh throughout the day.

I loved this box.  I think that the contents were awesome, and the value is definitely there.  If you have ever bought natural, artisan products before, you know how expensive they can be.  Having this box is an excellent way to sample some amazing, sustainable products.

Have you received this box before?  Do you like to use sustainable or green leaning body products?

knitting and reading

First, I have to say thank you to all the encouraging comments last week!  It was nice to know that I am not the only one that has trouble completing projects, and that I am in great company as far as non-monogamous knitting goes.

With all of that encouragement, I started to make a bit of progress on the two projects I shared last week.  

First up, the sock.  I am ready to start the toe portion of the sock, which is great, except when I looked at the instructions (which I haven't looked at in a very long while) I realized that I had my stitches on three needles instead of the four that the pattern is talking about...so I need to go back through the pattern and figure out how many stitches should be on each needle so that I can finish the toe.  If I can't figure it out, then I will probably wing it and hope for the best...that seems to be pretty much par for the course with me and knitting patterns!

For the wristlet, I did finish the one, but have not cast on the second yet.  I think I will do that today though, because I don't have it in me to figure out the sock pattern yet.

Books have been pretty good this past week.  I read the book CyberStorm which is free on kindle unlimited right now.  It is about a computer virus that takes down most of the infrastructure in the country.  Most of the country is returned to power pretty quickly, but Manhattan was cut off completely and had no idea what was going on outside of the city.  It was really interesting!  Scared the crap out of me, but that seems to be normal with these types of books - yet I keep coming back to the genre...

The book that I have to start today is Faith Unravelled by Rachel Held Evans.  I have heard good things about the book.  She definitely holds some different beliefs than me, but it is always interesting to find out others' perspectives on faith in my opinion.  It is on sale for kindle right now for $2.99, so I figured I would get it.

What projects are you working on this week?  What is your favorite book genre?

How to Put Together a Homeschool Portfolio - Supplies

This is the first part in a series on how I am putting together our homeschool portfolio for evaluation this year.  This is our first year completing one, and I haven't found a lot of information out there, so I am hoping this is useful to others out there!

While we have been homeschooling for a while, this will be the first year that I will put together a homeschool portfolio. 

I am happy that Maine offers this option when it comes to evaluating the progress of homeschool students.  In Maine we have a few different options, but the main ones are a standardized test or to put together a homeschool portfolio to be reviewed by a Maine licensed teacher.

The scrapbooker in me immediately wanted to do the homeschool portfolio.

As the time gets closer for me to actually put the portfolio together, I am getting a bit more nervous.  Trying to figure out what I should include in a portfolio is slightly overwhelming.  In all honesty, I would like to give someone the box that holds everything we have done this year so far and say go at it!  Of course that isn’t how it works.

What is the first step when creating a homeschool portfolio?

For me the first step is to gather supplies.  There are many ways that you can put together a homeschool portfolio, so if you don’t like my ideas, no big deal, do what works for you!  However, I have been spending a lot of time online trying to find examples of homeschool portfolios, and I have come up empty.  I hope that my ideas help spark some for you!

What supplies will I need?

·       3 Ring Binder
·       Dividers
·       Sheet protectors
·       4x4 picture inserts

Not a very long list!  Obviously this list does not include what I plan to put in the binder as far as school work goes, but these are the basic supplies I will need to put the portfolio together.

I wanted to use a pretty yet durable binder, because I know that we will be keeping this for the length of Emma’s school career.  I love the greenroom binders from Target.  They are pretty, yet functional.  The one I have is 1.5 inches, and I think that will be plenty of space for what I want to include.  As the years go on I will probably have to increase the binder size, but considering Emma is just 7, this one should suffice.

The dividers I picked up also at Target in the dollar spot.  I need the dividers for each of the subject areas required by my state, as well as a few extra sections that I plan to include.

My purpose in getting 4”x4” picture holders is because I tend to take pictures of the kids “doing school” on Instagram.  Often when we are out and about it is easier to snap a picture of something rather than take out a notebook and jot down a bunch of notes.  I love to have these pictures for my own personal albums anyways, so why not include some of them for school.  I tend to tag all of my pictures of the kids homeschool activities with #homeschooling which makes finding the pictures I want relatively easy.  I can upload them right to snapfish from my phone using their app, order and done.  Super easy!

After I gather up all of my supplies, the next step is to figure out how I want to lay everything out, and of course what I plan to include in the portfolio.  I will share those things as I put the portfolio together!  This is just the first step in, what I see as, a longish process.

Do you put together a portfolio of your child’s work from the school year as a keepsake, or as a homeschool portfolio for review?  I would love to see what your supplies are!

Garden Planning - Where do I Start?

I know I have mentioned *many* times about how we did not have a garden last year.  Because of that, I feel like I need to come up with a plan for 2016.  I had wanted to start seeds indoors, but that hasn’t happened.  That leaves me with starting some seeds in the ground, and buying some seedlings from the green house and from the farmers’ market.

How do you decide what to grow?

This can be a challenging question.  I would love to grow a lot of winter squash and pumpkins, because they store so well, but they also take up an enormous amount of space in the garden.  I remember a few years ago planting sugar pie pumpkins, and they spread everywhere – and I only had 2 plants!

I think the first part of figuring out what to grow is what will your family eat?

It is easy to think that you can grow so many wonderful vegetables, but if no one is eating them, it is a waste of time and money, and more importantly space.

I don’t have the smallest garden space, but I also do not have the largest space.  I need to choose what I plant carefully to maximize the space I have, while still growing what we like to eat.

I use a modified square foot gardening method in my garden space.  Currently I have 9 4x4 garden beds.  I love the square foot gardening method because it seems like you get so much more food.  Plus, it isn’t as daunting to weed (at least until August when I completely give up the weeding).

I also have numerous pots to grow vegetables in.  My favorite pot to grow plants in is definitely the earthbox.  It is a self-watering container, keeps out weeds, keeps the soil warm because it has a covering, and I have always had amazing success with them.  I have three right now, but would like to add another this year.

The earthbox allows me to grow vegetables that don’t do as well in our short growing season.  Mainly jalapeno peppers, sweet peppers, and some tomato varieties.

Once I have laid out all the places where I can grow plants, I start to make my list of what I want to grow.

I always involve the kids in our garden.  I have found that if they participate in the garden planning, and then the planting and maintenance of the garden, they end up eating everything we grow, and that is a good thing in my book.

I usually sit down with them and ask what they would like to grow, and they give me a list.  Then I will add to the list from my own knowledge of what we will eat.  Once I have that *very long* list, it is time to start writing out where I can put everything.

This is the hard part.  I always end up with a list of plants to grow which would be perfect for a large farm, and since I do not have a large farm…or a farm at all…I need to pare down the list. 

I use graph paper and sketch out my 9 garden beds – one of the big reasons I love square foot gardening, because it is easy to lay out what goes where – and then fill in the spots with the plants.  I also list out which pots I have, how big they are, and what plants will be going in each of them.

Once I have all of this information, I can easily write out my list for how many seedlings we need, what seeds I need to buy, and then how much more space out of our yard I can convince my husband to dig up for me so that we can expand our garden just a bit more.

It is a pretty simple system to work with, and I like that.  I typically still end up with more seedlings than I have room for – which is why I do end up expanding the garden just a bit every year, but it is worth it to me for all of the fresh vegetables and fruit.

Now, if you don’t have a large garden space, but still want to try your hand at growing something, you could try herbs.  If you have a sunny patio or deck space, try the earthbox, you can plant more than one variety of plant in the box, and provide quite a bit of fruit for very minimal labor. 

How do you plan for your summer garden?  Do you try something new every year?  If you don’t garden, what is your favorite vegetable?

knitting and reading

Guys, I have a problem.  I am not a monogamous knitter.  Now, I know a lot of you are not monogamous with your knitting, but I think this year I have taken it to another level.  I keep starting projects, but never finish them.  I have a basket full of WIP's that may never get done!

I realized that it specifically encompasses pairs, but not exactly how you would think.  I know of the dreaded "single sock syndrome."  You finish a sock, and then never get the second completed.

My problem is getting the first of a pair *almost* done, but not quite.

Take this pretty sock I started knitting for Emma.  I did the pretty pattern, I turned the heel, and now I just need to finish up a bit of length and shape the toe.  It wouldn't take long to finish the one sock, but I put it aside and start something different.

Then there is this wristlet that I started for my mom, all I need to do is make the button hole for the thumb, and knit a few more rounds and it will be completed.  

These pieces are almost finished, but not quite, and I can't seem to figure out why I keep starting, stopping, and starting something new!

Don't get me started on the scarf that I started at the beginning of the year, completed one skein of yarn, and then set aside.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, because my goal is one finished knit object a month, not one started.  I have a lot of WIP's, I need to complete them.  So for April, I plan to finish the wristlets for my mom, and hopefully finish the one sock for Emma, then maybe the second sock will come in time for her birthday in May!

My reading has slowed down a bit.  I received these books in the mail yesterday - The Goodbye Bride and Siren's Song.  Siren's Song especially looked good to me (I always judge a book by its cover), however, it is the third in a series, so now I need to find the other two before I can read this one!  I hate when that happens.

We are reading about the Revolutionary War in our homeschool right now.  I love this time period, and watching my children learn about the founding of our country, and how they feel about the different events is really interesting to see.

Do you continue to start new projects before finishing the last, or are you good about completing a project before starting a new one?

My Easy Way to Organize Homeschool Curriculum

Books.  Oh, how I love books.  Reading is one of my favorite activities, so it was no surprise after we decided to homeschool, that we also decided to use a literature based approach to homeschool with.  What does that mean?  A lot of books, of course!

After ordering my first curriculum, when it was just Emma, I thought, “oh, not as many books as I expected.”  Now, however, we are on our 6th set of books, and I ran out of book shelves a couple years ago.

That has meant boxing up some of the books, which is difficult because I want to have all of those wonderful titles available to my kids whenever they want, but I also realize that I need to keep some order.  While I am still trying to figure out where to put all of the kids’ books (as well as my own growing library), I knew I needed to figure out a way to have the current books and curriculum we are using easily accessible.

Enter the Milk Crate!

I got two milk crates a couple years ago from Target.  I have used them in the past to store all the books in the current level they are using for all different subjects, to also keep extra notebooks and a pencil case, however, it wasn’t doing the kids or me any good (although it was nice to have all their books in one spot!).

I decided that organizing the milk crates would be beneficial to all of us (especially me, I can get a bit frazzled when I can’t find a book I need).

I got out some file folders, and made some labels with all the different subjects we try to teach on.  Then, depending on the amount of books and size I either put them in a small file folder, or one of the wide bottom file folders, or I stack them behind the labeled folder.

What do I keep in each subject's file?

The first thing is the book, workbook, or any special curriculum we are using specifically for that subject.  I do not keep all the books in these milk crates, although that would be nice, it isn’t feasible.  Instead, I try to keep what we are using, and then in the case of Emma’s readers, I will keep a few of those also in the crate, as well as a few “fun” extra reading books in case she is looking for something new to read.

I then put a notebook in almost every folder.  She has a separate notebook for spelling, language arts, math, science, history.  We don’t use all of these notebooks every day, but I like to have separate ones for each subject so I can keep everything organized.  If the kids watch a Bill Nye the Science Guy, they can take their science notebook and take notes or draw pictures about what they are learning.  If Emma needs extra space to do her math problems, she can use the notebook pages. 

This is a very inexpensive way for me to organize what we are currently using for books and curriculum.  It makes my life easier when I can go to the milk crate and grab a teacher’s guide, or tell Emma to get her history notebook to take notes.  It isn’t filled with lots of bells and whistles, and honestly, besides the milk crates themselves (which I think I got for $2 each) didn’t cost any money because I already had all the file folders and label tabs for the folders.

As an added bonus, these boxes are portable.  We have never gone on a long trip where we take homeschool supplies with us, but it would be easy to if we wanted to.  We have, however, brought them outside when the weather is nice to do some of our work in the sun.  I expect we will do more of that as the days get warmer.

How do you organize your school books and supplies?  If your kids go to public school, do the books all stay in the backpack?  Or do you have a special place to store them?