Thursday, May 29, 2014

~Wrapping up 7th Grade~

Well, the end of 7th grade is almost here. We have about 15 days left in our school year and we've been pushing forward with our state studies and some side trips. I wrote a quick post about our May trips on my other blog. Just good family fun. Something we definitely don't do enough.

I think our year has been a success. History is always a struggle, but once we started focusing solely on states things went much better. We've also finished (completely finished) our math for 7th. Today we started working on our 8th grade math. If I can keep not so little man focused we should be working on Algebra in no time!

We still struggle with writing. I know it's a skill he desperately needs but I'm at a loss when it comes to teaching it. We've been working paragraphs only for a while, but he needs to be writing papers at this point. Sadly, he's like me - his mind jumps from one subject to the next - so while he starts off great he gets the wandering off topic bug by the second paragraph. It's the same thing I always get beat up on when I write papers too, so it's hard for me to stop it from happening.

Sadly, no egg drop project pictures. Unless you want to see the unfinished project taking up space on my table =)

I had tried to 'project' a schedule for next year, 6 weeks on/1 week off, but hubby brought up doing 15 days a month each month. For some reason this resonated with the boy. So, it looks like this will be the schedule we're trying out next year. For me it makes no difference, either way we're schooling year round and just pushing forward with the things we're learning. Moving up when we finish a level or staying the same when we don't.

Sadly, now that I think actual grades (9th, 10th) are more necessary I'm moving away from them. I know he'll get all the credits he needs to graduate HS and move onto whatever his chosen career path is - I'm much less concerned about numbers now though. It's just more important to me that he's prepared for the world. A valid feeling, just a smidge too late.

Coming in June - another family day trip. This one not so much fun for hubster as it's a working trip for him. The boy and I are going to have a great time though!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

{Rainy Day Funds}

I know, I said I would keep my money posts to my Money Matters Page. But I figured this is my blog - I'll do whatever I want! Y'all know I roll that way - don't be surprised!

Some might think this falls under YNAB's second rule - Save for a rainy day. I don't though, and here's why: I consider Rule 2 more like "I know it's coming, let me get ready for it now." For me that's things like vehicle tags, membership dues, Amazon Prime - whatever. These are things I know are going to happen, and I need to be ready to pay for them when they show up. Other YNABers (yes, that's what we call ourselves) may think of it in a different way. That's kind of the beauty of the program.

I think of RDF's more of Rule 3 - Roll with the punches. We've had lots of punches around here, so we have lots of categories for these "will happen but when?" things. Here are some of ours: vacation, emergency fund, house stuff, car stuff, school supplies, and on and on; altogether we have 19 of these suckers. And no, I don't think that's too many. Think about it - we recently had a hailstorm. We had friends who had a garage window broken and another that had her windshield broken. Now imagine both those things happened to you. If that happened to us we'd have to have about $1,500 before repairs could even start on anything (homeowners insurance and auto insurance X2). These are the funds I'm talking about here people.

But it's hard to put money towards that many categories every.single.month. I mean, if you want to put more than a buck twenty in each one, and for a while that's what I did. We got nowhere fast and had to shift money around all the time when we needed something for the van (or house) and didn't have enough budgeted. LED lights are pricey folks (but way worth it)!

So after all this blah blahing up there I'm going to share what we've done with our RDF's. It's working much better than the 'give money to every category' way. I split my categories into two groups - those that must be funded every month (emergency fund, hunting, school supplies, medical) and those that get funded on a rotating basis (vacation, clothes, home and auto insurance deductibles). This way we can put more into the five categories I've chosen for the month so if something happens, we don't have to steal quite as much from somewhere else. Right now I'm focusing on Gifts, Vacation, and New Bed! The other two change from month to month. Once our big run of birthdays, graduations, anniversary's, etc are over that one will get cycled normally. Vacation isn't losing focus until we have enough to spend 10 days in Holland, sharing Erik's history with Zach. New bed will be a priority until we have a new bed. I'm not talking about just the mattress here either. I want it all new!

So if you have a bunch of money stashed in savings for those "whatever" moments, think about giving them jobs. That way you know what you're working for (Holland, an in ground pool, a motorcycle) and you don't spend that money twice!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

{Day Trips}

We've been lucky enough to take a couple day trips this month. We really ought to do this more often.

The first place we went was The SC Aquarium in Charleston. It was just OK. All of us walked away a little disappointed. Understand, there are a lot of people who talk this place up. We expected 'incredible' and 'awesome'. Wonder how all these folks would react to a truly awesome aquarium. We still had a good time and spending time together was the ultimate plan anyway. In that regard it was a success! Here are a few of the sights from that day.

My boys - I love these guys

A hideously gross fish

Zach touching a sea star
Yes, he freaked out

Albino Alligator
This thing NEVER moved
I say fake - Erik says real
Who knows?

Another super ugly fish

Outside the aquarium
This frog statue was super cool
Our second trip of the month was to Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden in Columbia. This was Erik's first trip - Zach and I have been here before and we love this place. This was the first time we went over to the gardens though. Very lovely. And smelled so awesome. All kinds of different flowers everywhere. Amazing. And I have a few pictures to share from this trip too. Natch. I took a lot more pictures with my actual camera - I'll have to upload them, but here are a few from my phone.

Looking at the Elephants

My man and I - aww!
Our little family. We are awesome!

Another elephant shot

So, we had fun both days. The zoo is better though. And cheaper =) If you have to choose - pick the zoo people!

~until next time~