Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Movie: Courageous

There's a new movie, Courageous, coming out this weekend from the creators of Fireproof. Some friends of ours were able to go to an early screening of the movie, and they've said it is wonderful. You can go here to learn more about it and see the trailer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Movie: Letters To God

Last month, some of the families in our church had a movie-on-the-barn night out in the country. It was so much fun! The movie we watched was "Letters To God". I had never even heard of it before, but it was very good. If you'd like to see the trailer for it, you can go here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Field Trip to the Zoo!

Reason #143 why I love homeschooling my children? We can take off on an all-day field trip to the zoo in the middle of the week! That's exactly what we did last week. And what great educational fun we had!

Linking up with:
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

My August Freebies

Not much for freebies this month, but I guess with it being August, I had better things to do. :) Other than the 3 Crayola products & the yogurt, all of my freebies this month came right to my door in the mail! How cool is that?!

Pictured Above:
6 Diapers - With 3 in diapers, it's nice to get a few of these for free. Although, we're working on getting that down to just 2 in diapers. {sigh}
2 packs Crayola crayons
1 pack Crayola washable markers
1 chip clip
4 magazines (Actually 2 were from July, but I forgot to add them to July's picture)

Pictured Above:
1 Mott's for Tots apple juice sample
1 Oikos greek yogurt
1 Quaker Oatmeal Squares sample
1 Honey Nut Cheerios sample
1 TLC granola bar

Oh, I almost forgot, I did get 9 free Walgreens collages as well. I think I'm addicted! lol

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Brand New Year

Tomorrow we start back with homeschooling after a super fun yet relaxing summer. We really didn't do anything big other than a couple of camping trips. Mostly, we just spent time with our kids doing some fun things around town or here at home, which was perfect, considering the little ones are 3, almost 2, and 9 months.

My oldest son will be a 5th-grader this year. Is it weird that I'm almost giddy about starting school tomorrow? Mostly, I'm excited about what we'll be studying this year (the 50 states) & I've been having way too much fun the past few weeks getting it all put together. Hope he feels the same way. lol

I remember learning about the 50 states when I was in 5th grade, and especially memorizing the names of all 50 states. In alphabetical order. And I can still say it today! In less than 22 seconds. Yep, I just timed myself. LOL

Not only that, but I've enjoyed getting all the books & supplies organized. The other day, I actually had 96 books on hold at the library! Whew! I think that's a record for us. No, we're not reading all of those this month. I was actually just previewing books for the year. My 10-yr old does like to read a lot, but not that much!

We rounded up all the supplies from every corner of the house. Tried out all the pens. Threw out the duds. Sharpened all the pencils. Everything is labeled. Yep, we're ready to go!

I COULD tell you about our curriculum we're using this year & all the fun ideas I have planned. Or show you what our school area looks like for the coming year, but I think I'll save those posts for another time. I'd better get to bed, we've got a big day tomorrow!

I WILL leave you with a few more pictures from our summer, though.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our Financial Journey - Part 3

It's been a while but this week, I am continuing on with Part 3 of my family's financial journey. To read Part 1 of our journey, click here. To read Part 2, click here.

So here we were... living in an old 2-bedroom, 1000 sq ft fixer-upper. Once we started trying to remodel it, we realized just how bad of shape it was in (mostly on the inside of the house). We couldn't even sell it without doing extensive work on it. It hardly seemed worth it.

So then, nine years after we got married... (this is what our family looked like at that time)

... we decided to tear down our old fixer-upper of a house, took out a loan, and my husband began building a new 3,000 sq ft house. He planned to do a lot of the work himself and just contract out certain parts of it. This was back when the economy & the housing market were still going strong. Our plan wasn't to live in the new house very long, but to sell it & use the profit to build a second house (our house was on 1/2 acre). Then to sell that & build a 3rd & final home (our dream home) somewhere out in the country, on a few acres of land.

Actually, instead of demolishing the house, we had the fire dept come out and use it as a practice burn.

Our son thought that was very cool.

Our building plan sounded like a good plan at the time. Looking back, I realize we should have looked into it further, and seek wise counsel from those we trust. But, at the time, I just decided to trust my husband since he sounded like he had everything figured out & it seemed to make sense. One BIG red flag... we still owed a mortgage (actually two) on our house. A house that was. No. Longer. There!

Well, after we started building, we had several setbacks- the housing market crashed, my husband lost his job, and his health declined, along with a few poor decisions (and purchases) on our part. We struggled to finish the house. It actually looked like this for over 6 months...

We couldn't even afford to work on it any longer. With friends' help, we were able to get the roof on before winter hit. What a huge blessing! Thankfully, we did finish the house (by going into tremendous debt). It ended up taking two years instead of one, and we took out more credit cards to keep everything going until we could get it finished & refinance the loan.

The house after it was finished...

I LOVED the kitchen!

Once we did finish, we were over $200,000 in debt, and that's not even including our mortgage & second loan (for construction) that we still owed on the house we tore down. Who has that much debt?? This was insane! With our debt-to-income ratio, refinancing (our original plan) was out of the question. Ugh!

These are a few pictures of our family in November/December 2009, just after we moved in. When we first started building, we only had one child. Just after we moved into the house, our third son was born. Yes, it was a busy two years in more ways than one! lol

Although, we were enjoying the snuggly newborn days of our son, things were really out of control, and we were starting to panic. We needed to figure out what to do and fast, because we knew we didn't have much time before everything would come crashing down.

I wonder now if, say we would have built a more simple one-story house that was only 1800 sq ft, if things would have worked out alright in the end. But what's done is done, I guess.

With over $200,000 in debt, (Plus a double mortgage. Remember, the $200,000 is in addition to both mortgages!), we were sure we were headed towards bankruptcy. Well, duh! It wasn't what we wanted, but we didn't see any way of getting around it. The reality of that was pretty depressing. I felt like a failure. After all, my college degree is in Accounting! LOL

Bankruptcy seemed like a for sure thing. But thankfully, God had other plans...

Be sure to check back to read part 4 in our financial journey!

This post is linking up to Gratituesday.
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