Posted by: waterwalkerla | May 24, 2010

I’m Back!

Wow.  What a journey these last 6 weeks have been.  Sitting here in my (mostly) quiet living room, I can’t believe where God has lead our family.  Let me recap…

On April 7, my husband was offered a position teaching high school English in Shreveport, Louisiana through the Louisiana Teaching Fellows program.  Of course, this offer was contingent on him passing two exams.  So, he immediately began to study while I started getting our house ready for sale.  Part of this preparation included painting pretty much every room in our house white – as you may have noticed in pictures I have posted here, we aren’t really white-wall people.  However, we were more than willing to neutralize our walls in an effort to sell our house.  On April 24 my husband took his exams and felt God had given him the wisdom needed to pass.  So, on April 26 we put our house on the market.

Most of this month has been spent shopping for a second car (we have been a 1 car family for a year now), making plans for the move south, and cleaning and preparing for showings of our house.  We have had 6 showings so far, but we are still waiting on God’s perfect time to sell our house.

Last week we received the results from my husband’s tests.  The Lord brought him through both exams with passing grades.  That made it official – we are moving to Louisiana.

I have been (relatively) faithful at keeping a journal of our experiences, being careful to document each instance where we have felt God’s leading us down this path.  I have not decided if I am going to share part or all of this journal on my blog.  That decision will remain for another day.

That brings us to today.  Today was the hardest day of all.  Today was the day my husband left for Louisiana.  He has meetings and interviews and preparations for his training institute, which starts June 3.  He also has to find a place for us to live and find a new church home for our family.

The children and I stayed behind in Michigan, for now.  This was not an easy decision, but we felt it was for the best.  Our two older children have church camp in June and we really wanted them to have this last chance to go away with their friends.  Plus, they have been working so hard on their camp scholarship activities that we didn’t want them to miss out.  While my husband and I spent many hour in prayer making this decision, this morning was one of the most painful of my life.  Watching my husband pull out of our driveway and knowing it will be several weeks before I see him again.  As you can imagine, it was also hard on our children, who have never been apart from their father for more than a few days at a time.

We are resting in the grace and comfort of our Lord right now.  As we continue to prepare to move I intend to return to my faithful blog postings.  I still have homeschool updates to post, Home Economics lessons to share, and other musings from family as we prepare to make this major change in our lives.

It’s good to be back!

Posted by: waterwalkerla | April 13, 2010

Yet Another Random Post

Good morning!

Let’s not beat around the bush.  Last Wednesday afternoon my husband (was offered and) accepted the teaching position in Shreveport, Louisiana.   The offer is contingent on his passing a test he must take on April 24, for which he has been studying really hard.  Assuming he passes, he must be in Louisiana by June 1.  Wow!

We are very excited about this move.  We really believe that this is where the Lord is leading us.  However, it is a little overwhelming to think about getting our house ready to sell and packing up and leaving our church and our friends.  Our goal is to have our house on the market by May 1.  So, as you can imagine, I am going to be rather busy over the next few weeks cleaning/sorting/packing/purging.  I will be in and out, however, and promise to get back to a regular schedule as soon as possible.

Have a fantastic day!

Posted by: waterwalkerla | April 7, 2010

A Lesson in Patience

I was looking at my blog posting calendar this morning and realized that I have not been very good about posting lately.  In fact, I have barely posted twice a week these last few weeks.  I owe you all several posts in my Home Economics series as well as multiple other updates.

I have been having trouble concentrating on writing (and everything else!) lately.  As I mentioned before, my husband had an interview in Shreveport for a teaching position through the New Teacher Project.  As we await the results of this interview I find it hard to focus on writing.  Instead I have been filing my time cleaning, teaching, and trying to organize our house.  We are both excited about the possibility of this new job opportunity and I am rather scatterbrained when I am excited or nervous.  However, please know that I am trying to organize my thoughts for several posts and I will try to be back to a more normal posting schedule soon.

In the meantime, I will give a little plug for the Louisiana Teaching Fellows program.  Approximately 2 out of 5 students will not graduate from High School.  If you have ever felt that you could make a difference in the life of a child by teaching this is an excellent opportunity.  The deadline for applying for this program is April 12, 2010.  If you are interested in learning more about this program, please follow the link above.

Posted by: waterwalkerla | April 5, 2010

Kids’ Week Books, April 5, 2010

Rebecca

April 5, 2010

Outside my window…it is dreary and rainy.

Inside the house…Linden and TJ are arguing.

I am wearing…jeans, an orange shirt, and a new bracelet.

I am thankful that…we are having a party on Friday.

I am hearing…Linden arguing, the floor creaking, and my pencil.

I am thinking…about how much fun we will have and how late we will stay up at our party.

I am going…to make puppy chow, brownies, and blondies for our party.

I am reading…Eclipse, 1 Kings, 2 Thessalonians.

I am hoping…My friend does not find out about our party because it is a surprise.

I am remembering…how late it was before I went to sleep at our girl’s party last year.

From school this week…I finished three books.

One of my favorite things…to draw is a heart with small hearts around it connected with circles and triangles.

A few plans for next week…school, partying, and baking.

Timothy

April 5, 2010

Outside my window…I see trees and birds.

Inside the house…it is clean and messy.

I am wearing…a t-shirt and shorts.

I am thankful that…I am going to play basketball.

I am hearing…talking and chirping.

I am thinking…about playing basketball.

I am going…to do school.

I am reading…1 Kings, Jeremiah, and 2 Thessalonians.

I am hoping…I can play outside.

I am remembering…WVU losing to Duke.

From school this week…I had five days.

One of my favorite things…is basketball.

A few plans for next week…are school, sleep, and playing outside.

Posted by: waterwalkerla | April 1, 2010

Making Over Our Money – March Round-Up

Another month has flown by – it’s hard to believe but we have already sailed through one quarter of 2010.  Wow.

As I mentioned in my February Round-Up, our income took a bit of a hit this past month.  This was reflected in the short-term goals we set for March.  Let’s see how we did:

Short term goals for March:

  • Cut a few more discretionary spending areas.  We reduced our phone bill even further and cut our satellite service.
  • “Trim the fat” from our grocery and gas bill.  We gave up some of the extras we were purchasing, started using coupons more, and really kept an eye on sales.
  • Find extra sources of income – including selling some of the things we no longer need or want.  No extra sources of income as of yet, but we are still looking.
  • Stay current on our utilities and debt payments, even if it means not paying any extra.  Done!
  • Keep our emergency fund fully funded.  Alternatively, if we have to dip into these funds, return the balance to $1000 before moving back into debt pay-off mode.  We cut into our emergency fund quite a bit and I really thought we were going to be back to square one on this one.  However, God is a faithful and wonderful God and he provided for and helped restore most of the balance of our emergency fund.
  • Create a budget spreadsheet for April.  Done.

If you have been following along, this month has been rather exciting around our house.  My husband had arthroscopic knee surgery at the beginning of the month.  This was covered by insurance yet it caused my husband to miss several opportunities for work as he recovered.  We also had to purchase a new tire and have some minor work done on our car.  Our computer died a sudden, unexpected death soon after this and needed to be quickly replaced.  Just this past week, my husband flew to Louisiana for a job interview.

All along, we kept reminding ourselves that this is why we needed that emergency fund.  I will admit, however, that I was feeling a little down about using the funds – that meant we would need to replenish the fund before we returned to paying off our debt.  However, as I said above, the Lord blessed us beyond our expectations this month and as we head into April we have a mostly funded emergency fund!

So, where do we go from here?  I will admit that we are in limbo right now.  We still have less income than we did before.  We are also waiting patiently to hear the job for which my husband interviewed.  If he gets the job, we will be selling our house and moving south.  Fortunately, we should hear something in the very near future.  And, while my husband felt that his interview went well, we don’t want to put a “For Sale” sign in the yard until he actually gets an offer!  Even with this uncertainty, we still need to set some short-term goals for April.  Here goes:

  • Continue to watch our grocery, gas, and discretionary spending.
  • Continue to look for alternative income opportunities.
  • Stay current on our bills.
  • Maintain our emergency fund.
  • Create a May budget.

Let’s see how we do!

Posted by: waterwalkerla | March 29, 2010

Kids’ Week Books, March 29, 2010

We had family in most of last week, so the kids only had school on Monday and Tuesday.  The week books they filled out today are from last week.

Rebecca

March 29, 2010

Outside my window…it is sunny and warm.

Inside the house…it is very clean and very noisy.

I am wearing…jeans and a t-shirt.

I am thankful that…company came for my birthday.

I am hearing…mom and Linden talking.

I am thinking…about who might be coming today.

I am going…to see lots of family this week.

I am reading…Twilight.

I am hoping…My birthday goes well.

I am remembering…how much TJ and I laughed during school.

From school this week…four self tests and lots of work.

One of my favorite things…to make puppy chow.

A few plans for next week…school and cleaning.

Timothy

March 29, 2010

Outside my window…I see grass and trees.

Inside the house…it is loud and messy.

I am wearing…pajamas.

I am thankful that…we got a wii.

I am hearing…talking and birds chirping.

I am thinking…about playing the wii.

I am going…to do school and play the wii.

I am reading…Jeremiah, 1 Kings, and Philippians.

I am hoping…I can play the wii.

I am remembering…my friend Matthew.

From school this week…I had two days of school.

One of my favorite things…is the wii.

A few plans for next week…are school and wii.

Posted by: waterwalkerla | March 27, 2010

Another Busy Week

The house is relatively quiet now so I decided I had better spend some time with my recently neglected blog.  I didn’t intentionally neglect it, but things have been really busy around our household lately.

Our daughters’ birthdays are within two weeks of each other so we always have a combined family party for them.  Due to everyone’s schedules the best time to have the party this year was on this past Thursday.  We had a steady influx of family members throughout the week – my parents arrived Tuesday afternoon, my sister-in-law and her sons arrived Wednesday night, and my father-in-law arrived Thursday morning.  After spending most of the day Thursday celebrating, my parents left Friday morning and my sister-in-law, nephews, and father-in-law just left this morning.  Due to all the festivities, the kids only had school Monday and Tuesday – we declared this their spring break week.

Friday was also the day that my husband left for his interview in Shreveport.  We woke up at 3:30 and were on the road by 4 so I could get him to the airport on time for his early morning flight.  This is the first time in our 15 years together that he has gone away without me.  I miss him terribly but am excited for him at the same time because I know how much he would like this job.  Of course, we love our friends and church family here in Michigan but this would be a wonderful opportunity.  Ultimately we will end up where God wants us to be, and we can take comfort in that when the anxiety starts to increase.

Can you tell that I am anxious right now?  Does my rambling give it away?  Right now as I type, my husband is interviewing.

Let’s see…it seems like I had so much to say when I sat down and now my thoughts have all evaporated!  As I mentioned, the kids only had two days of school this week which was very nice for them because they are really coming down with spring fever.  The weather has been unseasonably warm and sunny (for SW Michigan, anyway!) making it very difficult to get the kids to focus on school.  Fortunately they only have about another month left and then Summer Vacation can begin!  Of course, their father is very fond of reminding them that if he hears any fighting or moans of “I’m bored” he will get out the school books for next year and start the year early.  Not sure if they really believe him or not but (as the teacher) I certainly hope they don’t test him on it.  Even as an adult I love Summer Vacation!

Well, I am off to complete a few more blog entries (the March edition of Making Over Our Money, Unit 3 of our Budgeting Class, and others).  Then of course, there is the housework that needs my attention as you can definitely tell that we had a house full of guests recently!  Maybe I will even attempt to catch a nap this afternoon – but I’m not holding my breath on that one!

Posted by: waterwalkerla | March 24, 2010

Mama of a Teenager

Our oldest baby turns 13 today.  A teenager.  Only 1 year and 10 months until she can get her driver’s permit – yes she is counting down.  (Of course, if we move to another state, that number might change, but I’m not going to bring that up until I know for sure we are moving!).

As I reflect today on how I can possibly be married to a 40-year-old and have a teenage child, I thought I would share some pictures of the birthday girl.

Age 3

Age 3

First day of Kindergarten

Christmas 2005 (age 8)

First day of 4th grade

First day 5th grade

Middle School Volleyball, 6th grade

Almost a teen

Posted by: waterwalkerla | March 22, 2010

Home Economics 102 -Unit 2

Wow…this month has really flown – could it really be almost April?  I realized in all the hustle of this month that I am behind in getting my Budgeting Units updated.  Earlier this month, I posted our assignments for Unit 1.  My goal is to post our assignments for Units 3-5 throughout the month of April.

So, let’s jump right in and check out Unit 2

Unit 2 – Budgeting For a Week of Meals and Other Household Expenses…OR…Uh-Oh, Do I Have Enough Left Over To Buy Toilet Paper

Assignments:

  • Create a list of between 10-15 household items that we commonly buy.  Household items includes things like toilet paper and cleaning products.  (Recall that I mentioned this list with the grocery list in Unit 1.  This step could have been done separately but it was easier for our family to do both of these at the same time as Unit 1.)
  • Take a field trip one or more grocery stores in your area with the children.  The children will record regular prices and size information for the items on their grocery and household item lists.  We listed the price information of multiple sizes of certain items like toilet paper and laundry detergent.   (I very rarely shop at more than one store, so we went to only one store.  If you typically shop at two or more stores to comparison shop, incorporate that into the field trip.)
  • Incorporate the prices and sizes into master price lists for household items.
  • Review the Unit Pricing lesson from Unit 1.
  • Next we talked about the frequency with which certain household items need to be purchased.  This lesson was based on a family of 5 – which we are – but could be altered for any size household.  This introduction was intended to get the children started thinking about budgeting for household items for the month – which will be covered more in Unit 3.  As part of this lesson we talked about the fact that we typically need to purchase laundry detergent and toilet paper once every 2 weeks, dishwasher tablets once a month, and window cleaner once every few months.
  • The children were then asked to review the menus they created for their grocery budget lesson in Unit 1.  Recall this menu had to include breakfast, lunch and two snacks for all three children for a five day week.  The children then had to create a second Monday through Friday menu including breakfast, lunch and two snack for three children.  They were allowed to keep a few meals or snacks the same, but had to add in some variety – after all, no one likes eating the exact same thing every week.
  • Next the children were given a specified amount of money for their weekly household budget.  They still had to purchase all food items for their menu using the lessons they learned in Unit 1.  However, they also had to stretch that weekly budget to include certain other household items.  For our lesson, I required the children to also purchase toilet paper, laundry detergent, and two other household products.  The two other products were randomly selected by the children from slips of paper folded and placed in a jar.  Included in these options were things like dish detergent, dishwasher tablets, toothpaste, razors, and so on.
  • The above step was repeated 3 times.  Each week the children had to vary the meals/snacks (but they could reuse things over the 4 week period) and the two “other” household products were randomly re-drawn.
  • Finally, we had another Unit wrap-up to discuss the importance of budgeting for normal household expenses.  Not only did this serve as a chance to get them thinking about the types of items that we buy each month to keep the house running but it also allowed me to get in a few reminders about being good stewards and not wasting things like toothpaste and paper towels.

There you go.  Once again, please feel free to take this lesson plan and use it in your own home.  Feel free to change it to better suit your family and your homeschooling style.  If you have any questions, ideas, or think I may have left something out, please let me know!

Posted by: waterwalkerla | March 20, 2010

Kids’ Week Books March 19, 2010

Rebecca

March 19, 2010

Outside my window…it is very grassy, but it is all dead.

Inside the house…it is messy, but some parts are clean.

I am wearing…my pajamas.

I am thankful that…we can go to our friends’ house.

I am hearing…the computer singing for Linden and the scritch-scratching of my pencil.

I am thinking…about how much fun my birthday will be.

I am going…to a friend’s house.

I am reading…Isaiah, 1 Samuel, 2 Corinthians, and cookbooks.

I am hoping…the baby doesn’t spit up on me today.

I am remembering…how much fun our new neighbors are.

From school this week…tests galore, political parties in History, nonfiction/fiction in Language, algebra in Algebra, and systems in Science.

One of my favorite things…to cook peanut-chicken pasta.

A few plans for next week…school, piano, church, and my BIRTHDAY.

Timothy

March 19, 2010

Outside my window…grassy and leafy.

Inside the house…it is messy and loud.

I am wearing…pajamas.

I am thankful that…I’m going to my friends’ house.

I am hearing…a guy talking and singing.

I am thinking…about going to my friends’ house.

I am going…to my friends’ house.

I am reading…2 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, and Isaiah.

I am hoping…we can play with our neighbors.

I am remembering…yesterday when we played with our new friends.

From school this week…I learned about space and verbs.

One of my favorite things…is sports.

A few plans for next week…are school and sleep.

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