Debt Free Living for Five Years

Five Years of Debt Free Living!

Wow…has it been 5 years since we yelled “debt free”…yes that included the house! We had achieved debt free living on one average income while raising 4 kids.
Well according to my TimeHop on Facebook…it allowed me to share my photo with Dave Ramsey taken February of 2011.
Debt Free Living
I can tell you that all those skipped meals out, no cable TV, budgeting groceries, and crazy financial sacrifices that we did to become debt free…pales in comparison to the peace I have today.

Let me take a moment and fill in some details of the last 5 years…and then you can grasp how amazing that peace becomes in the midst of trials.Five years ago my husband was the main breadwinner for our family, we had chosen to live off one income so I could be home with our children. I did occasionally pick up small part time jobs to supplement the kids schooling and activities.

Then a year later my husband spent 2 weeks out of work for pneumonia. After his recovering, he noticed his lungs would hurt, like breathing a huge breath of campfire smoke. After a few months when that didn’t clear up we scheduled a visit with a pulmonologist.

After a few tests he was diagnosed with COPD. He was prescribed inhalers to help slow down the progression. With the increase in medical I began working more steadily.

His health continued to decline in the form of a tired body and often sick with respiratory issues. Eventually he went for a sleep study and because his oxygen was low at night he was put on a C-PAP machine.

Things continued to decline but now the symptoms looked more like dementia. Someday I will write about when my husband went to church and told our pastor I was divorcing him…not because things were tense but because he knew something was wrong and how could I love him if he lost his mind.

It seems the lack of oxygen mimics mild dementia. I fought for a doctor to help because at first I thought maybe it was dementia…but 3 months ago we discovered his oxygen levels were in the 70s when he slept. Now he is on oxygen and things have become stable for his health.

Let me fill in a few details of the last 5 months. My husband needed rotator cuff surgery and spent the last 4 months out of work, while he was recovering he was placed on oxygen, and our septic system failed…and I found myself with a decreased income, rising medical, and needing a new septic system.

I know these few 100 words can’t begin to express the depth of my anguish…but I remembered telling a dear friend…I feel like each of these situations is like cuts on my body and I fear I am going to bleed to death.

But in the midst of this…I didn’t have to worry about a mortgage, car payment or credit card debt….can you feel the importance of that peace?

I know it’s hard in the current moments to give up comfort things, especially when you feel you deserve them after a long week of working hard…but I am so thankful we did.

While we don’t have fancy vacation memories, better cars, or bigger investment portfolio…I have more energy to care for my husband without the stress of paying off debt.

 

Mice in the House

If the title “Mice in the House” hasn’t scared you away…read on.

Ok…I am going out on a ledge here…risking my dignity and your opinions of me. But I am thinking you need a laugh…and I have a story for you.

Maybe I should make you promise that you won’t think anything crazy about me after reading this post.

Mice in the House

Mice in the House

Yes that says “mice” and not “mouse.” We live in the country and are quite used to The Better Mousetrap. Mostly they are active in the fall when the farmer plows the field. Then there is the occasional winter trapping.

But it is February…and we hadn’t seen any mouse activity in a few weeks…until last night.

I awoke to the note in the kitchen from my husband…Red Alert…I saw a mouse by the stove and set a trap. Great…after 20 years of marriage my husband knows…Nothing Says Love More to Me Like Well Maintained Mousetraps! 

The kids and I went about our day not seeing any signs of this current invader. I went to bible study for the evening and got home around 9:30pm. My husband informed that he had just emptied the mousetrap.

Then he goes on to note that it was a black mouse…now we are used to the gray field mouse and the occasional crazy brown mouse. In our neck of the woods the brown mice are notorious for running in the middle of rooms and not along the walls. I drive my husband crazy when he has to set a line of traps to catch them.

I have seen black and white mice in pet stores but never in the wild. I wished they had taken a picture of it before removing the dead carcass…because I am skeptic at heart and wanted proof.

My husband and daughter head to bed while I head to the kitchen. I had soaked cashews earlier in the day and needed to finish making the cheese for our mac and cheese meal the next day.

I assembled all my ingredients and put the cashews in the blender to start the process. After about a minute of pulsing and running the blender…I hear the squeal and flapping of a mouse caught in the trap behind me…over the noise of the blender!

Of course I scream and run to the living room and jump on the ottoman…something about taking to higher ground calms me in a mouse scare. Seriously I know those buggers can climb…so this is solely for me to feel calmer.

My daughter comes running…she has visions that I have sprayed cashews all over the ceiling from the blender.

I keep yelling for my husband…I fear maybe we have only captured part of the mouse…which if you know…leads to them dragging mouse traps around. [Read more…]

Life of Fred Honey, Extra Resources

Life of Fred Honey Extra Resources

Life of Fred Honey

We like to end each of our Life of Fred Honey lessons with games. I have found my son more engaged to learning math facts if it means beating me in a game. I try to buy a new math game for each book.

My son enjoys keeping his math notebooks. These blog posts I have written on Life of Fred Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming,  and Goldfish have become our lesson plans for completing each book. The first two years of using Life of Fred we did so exclusively. This year we have added in another math curriculum for extra reinforcement of concepts. My son has also become more independent in working with Life of Fred now that he has math confidence.

My son asked me to create a Life of Fred Honey Notebook Page.

Life of Fred Honey

These are the extras I plan to use to help my son with concepts and to explore other topics in the Life of Fred Honey book.

Life of Fred Honey Chapter by Chapter:

Quizlet has flashcards on the vocabulary in Life of Fred Honey.

Quizlet has flashcards on the multiplication facts in Life of Fred Honey. 

Chapter 1:

Chapter 2:

  • On our next trip to the store or library I am going to have my son figure out how long it will take to get there. The algebraic equation is d = rt where d stands for distance (number of miles), r stands for the rate of speed (speed limit), and t stands for time (hours of travel).
  • Cardinal, Ordinal and Nominal numbers visuals to help remember the difference. Then copy or draw your own examples on the notebook page.

Chapter 3:

Chapter 4:

Chapter 6:

Chapter 7:

Chapter 10:

Chapter 11:

Chapter 12

  • Create your own flashcards or practice the online version

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 19:

  • Rise over Run explanation
  • End of the Book Math Party
    • I like to spend the day reviewing math facts and discussing concepts learned in the book. I usually provide a fun snack and ask for feedback from my son.

 

The Mystery of History High School Years

A glimpse at how The Mystery of History high school years worked at my house and questions to ask yourself as you plan your high school history credits.

The Mystery of History High School Years

Homeschool High School

*Please note that different states have different requirements for establishing high school credits. Please check with your state requirements when planning. If your student is college bound then check requirements from colleges they are interested in attending.

The Mystery of History is a world history curriculum. Some states require 2 or 3 credits of world history, and 1 or 2 credits of American history. The big question becomes how do you take a 4 volume series add in the need for an American history credit and create a high school transcript. Combine that with the vastly different ways to document history credits and that leaves homeschool moms wondering the best way to construct their students’ transcripts.

I have another post on how I keep track of assignments for The Mystery of History High School.

Mystery of History High School

Linda Hobar has a scope and sequence PDF for possibilities of order of high school credits.

I firmly believe that high school transcripts should reflect the strengths and interests of the students. I don’t think there is a one size fits all to planning high school history credits. You will notice that I also do not believe that every student needs an AP level course load for every subject.

For this blog post I have 4 students, who might happen to reflect my 4 children. I will describe their interests and goals and how they completed or will complete their history credits. I should also note that each child by the time they entered highschool was on their second rotation with MOH.

The Mystery of History High School Years: Student A

  • Student A is a science guy. He likes history but his goal is to graduate college and become a meteorologist. Since his course load requires classes like pre-calculus and physics, his time is limited for other classes.
  • Yes some families do MOH vol 1 and vol 2 in one year spending a semester on each volume. This works since the lessons are shorter. The Mystery of History vol 4 was not published while he was in high school but could be completed in the Senior year. In our state the requirements are 2 World History and 1 American history credit. Since his senior year was heavy in science he did not take another history credit.

The Mystery of History High School Years: Student B

[Read more…]

Early Childhood Education for High School

Early Childhood Education

Since my daughter has taken Human Development from a Christian Worldview; I was excited to add Early Childhood Education to her last semester of highschool.

I am always on the lookout for highschool classes that allow my kids to explore career opportunities. I have even put my own together based on my kids interests.

Early Childhood Education: Extras

I created a notebook page for her to record her answers to the questions from each chapter.

Early Childhood Education

I am using these timeline pages to document the people mentioned in each chapter.

My daughter has the bonus of babysitting each week where she can observe and use the lesson plans she creates for this class. I often keep a lookout on social media for fun preschool crafts. We share a Pinterest board for ideas.

The e-book does include blank page for writing lesson plans but I wanted to include a few more examples. Lesson plans can be very personal and I know my daughter knows her best style. [Read more…]

North Star Geography Online

North Star Geography Online

Have you been curious about North Star Geography online?

I have taken a few phone calls at the office on the topic and thought I should better explain what exactly the online course is all about.

North Star Geography Online: What is included?

  • Digital Copy of the book.
  • Audio files for each lesson
  • Online test grading, a passing of 70% is required to continue.
  • Communication with the author, Tyler Hogan

It does not include:

  • Videos to watch
  • Since this is self-paced and self-directed it does not include deadlines for completion.

Once you have purchased North Star Geography Online:

You will need to Login to your account. I have found the easiest way is to return to the product description and click the Login tab.

North Star Geography Online 3

The Welcome Page gives details on downloading, things you will need all year, and general ideas of how the program works. In the welcome lesson you can download and/or read files you will need all year. My son has a 3 ring binder that stores all of his completed pages. You can read my other blog posts linked at the bottom on how we have completed North Star Geography.

North Star Geography Online 1

Each lesson will have all the necessary links needed for that lesson. You can download the lesson, note taking page, map work, and activity directions.  If your teen is computer savvy they can probably put the lesson on a Kindle or iPad.

North Star Geography Online 4

Flexibility of North Star Geography Online:

[Read more…]

Vision Boards for Dreaming, Goals, and Planning

Since I am a highly visual person…Vision Boards sparked my interest this year. Except I kind of skipped the feelings part of looking at things that make you happy. I needed visuals to keep me focused.

PicMonkey Collage

Honestly I have struggled with writing goals, making plans…having dreams. I have spent many years letting the circumstances of life direct my planning. Which is not a bad thing but does not provide any thoughts to doing anything beside surviving.

I am not even sure I have grasped the full understanding….but here is what I have done this year at my house.

Vision Boards for 2016

Most of the directions I read had you gathering magazines to cut out pictures that inspired you. Since I don’t have magazines and honestly didn’t expect to find what visuals I wanted, I switched to a plan B.

I gave my boys a sheet of paper divided into sections labeled:

  • learn
  • money
  • school
  • fun
  • spiritual
  • books

I had them think of 2 to 4 things for each section. I felt like I was combining goals and dreams on one board. I tried to help them keep some items measurable like save $200 and exercise 2 hours a week. When they write their school plans each week they can remember to add the time for their goals. [Read more…]

Clean Slate for 2016!

For all the people who choose words for their years.

Well the title of the blog post…

Clean Slate Happy New Year

“Clean Slate” for 2016

really gives away the punch line for the word(s) I have choosen for 2016. I know you probably do not remember that 2015 my word was “stones” and 2014 my word was “squirrel.” It seems I do not like those flowery abstract words like grace, faith, or courageous.

I need a visual reminder…I need to see what my goal is for choosing the word. My pile of stones still decorates my shelf in my living room. I failed often in 2015 with getting those most important items at the top of my list. I almost think my stones were tied to a pendulum and I swung between extremes. Might be why I have not blogged lately.

Why I choose Clean Slate:

  1. Holy cow…it has been a struggle to keep past fears and failures from affecting my decisions. I spent way too much time in 2015 beating myself up for not being a better homeschool mom, or not getting enough hours in at the office, forgetting to read my devotions or ever getting my clothes put away.  I want to start my mornings with a clean slate…not allow yesterday’s issues to overshadow today. 
  2. My husband’s health has really rocked my world this year. I never know if my day will include a husband who can not breath and needs extra rest, a husband who is confused and not thinking clearly or a husband who you would never know had any health issues. I want each morning with him to start with a clean slate, and not expectations. I want to write on my slate for him that no matter how sick he gets he is worthy to be loved…his identity is in Christ.
  3. I really want to be the parent who offers a clean slate to her children. I want them to see that even if they break something, have a meltdown, or fail…that it does not have to follow them around forever. A certain child at my house has a reputation of being irresponsible…my other children have taken to being really strict with things…I have to remind them that opportunities still need to be offered for the child to learn responsibility…this is not 3 strikes at you are out. Cover that slate with grace! 
  4. Enter the hallelujah chorus…Jesus paid it all…all my sins are forgiven. My clean slate is washed white as snow…or wait…then it would be a white board. No worries…I bought a doubled sided slate. Now to focus on renewing my mind every morning…visualizing my clean slate.

Clean Slate

Clean Slate…fresh start…even if the last 20 years of writing goals has ended in failures…I can still try again. There has always been lessons learned in the journey.

The biggest lesson I learned this past year…that the trials have a way of pushing me off track but taking a moment to talk with friends about the situations helps me to refocus my thoughts. Because sometimes I feel like I can not see the track but I just need to turn my eyes slightly to see it.

Happy New Year…Clean Slate Here I Come!

 

 

Bright Ideas Press, Black Friday Sale

 

I wanted to take a moment and highlight some items in the upcoming Black Friday Sale at Bright Ideas Press.

black-friday-sale-square-2015

Three Things To Consider for the Black Friday Sale:

Number 1:I think the biggest deal is on Illuminations. Actually it is the only time the program goes on sale.

With the 20% off you can purchase Illuminations for $125.00 $100.00.

If you are not sure if Illuminations is right for you, I have gathered some blog posts on the topic.

There is an Illuminations group on Facebook for extra support and encouragement.

Find a sample on the Bright Ideas Press website!

Number 2: The Mystery of History Volume IV Folderbooks are complete!

Finally, The Mystery of History Volume IV folderbooks are complete! I have been spending every working moment on completing volume 4 folderbooks.

Mystery of History vol 4 Folderbook

Now that the folderbooks are complete, the Super Supplemental for The Mystery of History volume IV is complete. I might just be a tad sad that the series is done.

Number 3: Literature Study Guides are now available

The Bright Ideas Press office has been busy creating the literature guides for sale.

Prices will range from $5 to $10…but 20% off during the Black Friday Sale!

Titles include:

More guides will be added in the next few weeks!

If you have any questions on the sale or products, please leave a comment or find me on Facebook!

Why I cancelled Christmas

I recently typed a post on Facebook where I was sharing that I had cancelled Christmas at my house. After the comment posted…I was bothered by the magnitude of the comment.

Cancelled Christmas

No, I had not just cancelled Christmas but instead we were not exchanging gifts on Christmas day. Was I going to allow that one aspect of the holiday to overshadow the whole season?

Nope. I have all intentions of putting up our tree, baking Christmas cookies and making our advent wreath…and a list of other activities my kids have not yet informed me about.

My happiness with the holiday comes from my family celebrating the day with me…I will be thankful they have the health to be laughing and eating goodies.

Yes, this year with my husband being on disability, our septic getting replaced, and medical bills…well we have had to make some serious choices with finances.

How many Christmas traditions are wrapped around activities not linked to gift giving? [Read more…]