Friday, July 29, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal


In my life this week…

I feel like I’m finally getting back on track after our surprise move. It has been one crazy month! 

It has been really wonderful to catch up with family and friends here in Ohio but I have to admit that I really miss my Alabama friends. I also miss some of the “luxuries” that I’d become accustomed to in a larger city- like grocery stores that don’t close at 10:00pm or the amazing thrift stores that were minutes away. Getting used to small town living once again is really going to take a bit of adjusting. 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

My oldest son, Nickolaus, turned 18. My husband wanted to do something for him that would be really special. We asked Nickolaus what he wanted and he surprised us when he said he would love to visit the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in no other than New York City.  So Nickolaus and I set off for our first lone adventure. 

We’re blessed to have an aunt and uncle that live in New Jersey that had offered to allow us to stay at their home near Princeton which would allow an easy commute into the city via train. It was so nice to see them. They really spoiled us. Last Friday my aunt went into NYC with us to show us the ropes.  We visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art- which is a museum like no other, Central Park and the beautiful cathedral.  On Saturday we spent a full day learning about the Revolutionary War by visiting places like The Old Barrack’s Museum in Trenton and Washington’s Crossing in nearby Pennsylvania. My uncle also gave us a run down of the battle of Princeton of which he is very knowledgeable.    

New York City 150 Stepping off the Subway in NYC

Things I’m working on…

I’m trying to unpack our necessities but since our housing situation is only temporary, I don’t want to unpack everything. Yet finding a happy medium is proving most difficult.

I’ve also been thinking about “all things homeschool”. We have moved back to Ohio which means that I have to acclimate myself once again to Ohio’s homeschool laws. I have to notify with the local school district, try to find a football team my son can play on, decide if we will join a support group and which one and I have to determine which curricula and materials we will be using this year while one child has determined that they would like to finish two years this year. Whew! 

Did I also mention that I am also house hunting? My children have very specific requests. They each want a bedroom, they want to live in the country so they can have friends over and have bonfires and we need something near the Interstate so my husband will have an easier commute to work. Not too bad of a list, but rentals like that aren’t easy to come by. I’m praying the Lord will open just the right doors. 

Oh yeah, I didn’t even mention that we are taking a real vacation in August that I really should wrap up plans for? I haven’t even made flight arrangements which should have been completed months ago. Does anyone have any secrets for getting a great deal on flights? 

Yep, this is one of those times that I am totally, helplessly overwhelmed. So how has your week been?

Want to see how other homeschool moms have spent their week? Stop by The Homeschool Chick to read other journal entries. 

Until next time, Happy Homeschoolin’!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Moving Misadventures of the Traveling Praters

July has just flown by, hasn’t it? What an incredibly crazy month.

We left Alabama for a visit to Ohio.

My computer died.

My husband decides he’d like to move back to Ohio.

The kids and I drive back to Alabama on a Thursday.

With the help of some dear friends, we attempt to pack our entire house by the time my husband flies in to join us on Saturday. 

Saturday night we realize that there is no way that we’ll be able to hit the road back to Ohio on Sunday.

We give away a ton of stuff and still can’t fit everything in the van or on the trailer so we rent a storage unit.

Somewhere between the storage unit and the two minute drive back to our house, I loose the keys to our lock. The office manager will not allow us to cut our lock to add more items to our unit but insists that we need to call a locksmith.

My vacuum dies. I borrow my neighbors  Kenmore vacuum to finish sweeping the carpet and the belt breaks.  It is 5:30 pm on Sunday night, Sears is across town and closes at 6:00.

Monday morning I pull away in a van packed so full you can barely breathe in it, two sweaty teenagers and an anxious, upset beagle-mix, towing the trailer behind. My husband and older son follow behind us in my son’s car with all of our money. In hindsight, that wasn’t such a great idea. Especially when they sped past us near Louisville, Kentucky.

It begins to storm horribly.

Somewhere around Cincinnati, with my husband and son nowhere in sight, I begin to fear that we won’t have enough gas to make it the remaining three hours home.

I call my husband. His phone is dead. I call my son. He doesn’t answer. I continue driving and pray that I don’t run out of gas.

Finally find my debit card and use $10 or the $12.16 balance for gas and think I can make it to my destination.

Our normal 10 hour drive has turned into 12 because of unbelievable road construction.

15 minutes to go and I’m so close to falling into bed and falling fast asleep that I can almost feel the mattress under my head when I notice something is wrong. Suddenly the van swerves and I hear a loud popping noise and smell the stench of hot rubber. A blowout at midnight on a dark, unlit stretch of  highway.  

We find the jack only to realize that we don’t have the tools to remove the spare tire from the back of the van. Thankfully, my son notices a missed call from me at about that precise moment and decides to call me when he and my husband had stopped for gas. They are 45 minutes behind us, but they’re heading our way.

Nickolaus stops and picks up Chelsea and a scared, whimpering Vincent. My husband and Josh change out the the tire with our nearly flat spare- figures, huh?

We limp to the gas station for air only to find the air pump is broken.

We decided the tire can wait until morning and head to our new temporary apartment. I fall into bed exhausted and for the first time in I don’t know when, I didn’t wake until daylight.

Life may not be perfect, but it sure is memorable! This is one move we will never forget.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stay Tuned...

I know I've been absent. Shortly after arriving in Ohio for our it's-sort-of-a-vacation-getaway, my computer died. I took it to the repair man who promised to have it back to me no later than five days. That was nearly two weeks ago. Should I be worried?

Normally two weeks without a computer or Internet would really freak me out. I can't guess how many times I log on during the day to quickly check my emails, Twitter, write a blog post, or simply look something up online. I've been so busy the past two weeks that honestly, not having my fingers attached to the keyboard hasn't really phased me.

I held my new baby nephew for the first time, spent a beautiful day along the shores of Lake Erie with my parents and children, went to Amish Country while my kids screamed their way through the roller coasters at Cedar Point, and celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband.

I'd love to tell you everything we've been up to but some of it will have to wait until next's top secret! But a little exciting at the same time.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Save Money on Travel Expenses with RoomSaver Guides

I know when it comes to family travel, the experts normally suggest that you have all your hotel reservations in place before leaving home. I'm all for that but it doesn't typically work for us. In fact, you could say that I've learned to save my family money by not planning ahead.

Of course, there are a few exceptions, like our recent trip to Disney World, I made advance reservations for the leg of the trip that was actually spent at Disney. The rest of the time we kind of winged it. I know. Some of you are reading my words and cringing.

Allow me to explain. I can spend hours, sometimes even weeks, planning our getaways. It never fails that my husband will change things at the last minute. Always. Either he works over on the day we are to leave, he decides not to take as much time off of work or simply doesn't want to travel as far as I've mapped out, or wants to travel further. He tells me he's teaching me to be flexible. I think he just enjoys being difficult.

Because I hate to cancel hotel reservations at the last minute and have learned the hard way that sometimes you can't do so without incurring a penalty, I normally don't make advance reservations. Instead, I pick up one of those hotel discount guides that can be found at rest stops or gas stations along the highway. Once we decide we've traveled far enough, we peek through the guide to see where we can get the best deal.

On our Ohio road trip this past spring, I picked up a free RoomSaver guide and found lodging for my family at a Red Roof Inn for $39.95. Normal prices for the evening were $54.95- I know this because even though I showed the clerk my coupon, he accidentally charged me the full rate and had to adjust it. That one transaction saved me $15.00. Not too shabby.

After that trip I was excited to learn that I no longer have to search out those hotel saving guides on the road. Now I can check out the deals from the comfort of my home before I hit the road at or on the road using one of the free mobile apps.

Since I am familiar with the RoomSaver guides and have used them for years, I was thrilled when they asked if they could feature me on their blog. The funny thing is, I was writing a post about their money saving guides at the same time!

Well, that interview is up and available for you to read. I hope you'll take a minute to hop over and nose around their site. I also hope that you'll keep them in mind when it comes to planning your next getaway. How much money do you think you can save?
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