We’re Debt Free!

I have been waiting to write this post for what seems like forever. In reality it is has been 6 years. Last week Josh and I made the final payment on our car and I can say we’re debt free!

We’re Debt Freeeeeeeeeeee!

We’re Debt Freeeeeeeeeeee!

We’re Debt Freeeeeeeeeeee!

6 years ago we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church and began to pay off our debt. Here is an overview of what we owed.

Credit Card 1: $300

Credit Card 2: $1,200

Credit Card 3: $7,500

Car 1: $7,200

Car 2: $13,500

TOTAL: $29,700

We went from having 3 credit cards and two car payments and slowly began to make more payments on the lowest credit card we had. Then we used the debt snowball to knock out our debts one by one, from smallest to largest. Once the first card was paid off we added what we were paying on it to the next debt.

We have successfully completed Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 for an Emergency Fund and now Baby Step 2: Pay off Debt. And it feels so good! We are now making huge strides to having Baby Step 3: 3-6 Month Fund completed.

During this time Josh was able to take another class at our church called Truth in Financial Planning. It reinforced what we had already been doing but also touched on several other aspects that we weren’t on our radar yet like a living trust and living will.

Josh and I are a single income family. If we can do this it is possible. We didn’t take vacations or buy new clothes, we gave up cable and our swanky gym membership, purchased a used instead of new car, and really reevaluated what was important to us and our family. When we started this journey towards becoming debt free it was just the two of us and now we are a family of 5!

As hard as it was some months it feels so amazing to say we’re debt free! Looking ahead our goal is to continue to build up our 3-6 month emergency fund and save up a down payment for a house :).

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How We Do Preschool at Home in the Summer

I recently shared a picture on Instagram of my kiddos sitting at our kitchen table working on their summer preschool activities. I did this with Caden last year and used the Big Preschool Workbook. I have also used the Kumon books with the kids too and really liked those as well.

We send the kids to an amazing preschool and each summer the teachers send the kids home with a packet to work on over break. We usually finish these activities fairly quickly and I decided to search the internet to see if I could find more of these already created packets. Now that the kids are getting older I wanted to be able to focus more on certain topics that I wasn’t able to find as many worksheets for in a store bought workbook.

Thanks to google I discovered the website Teachers Pay Teachers. It has soon became my favorite go to website for finding no prep or low prep learning activities for Caden and Maisie.

There are so many amazing resources available on this website. I am linking to a few of my favorites below. This resources are worth the money in my opinion.  For reference my children have recently turned 5 and 3.

My Favorites from Teachers Pay Teachers for Summer Preschool at Home

ABC Cut and Paste Fonts Maisie really likes these pages. Your little one will color a capital and lowercase letter, write it, and work on cutting and gluing.

Preschool Summer Packet (Pre K Summer Review Homework) This is a great packet that reviews skill during summer vacation between Pre K and kindergarten! This is a NO PREP packet and includes TEN WEEKS of fun printable and there are TEN WEEKEND printable activities, motivational certificate, reading log, student checklist and cover page!

Preschool (PreK, Pre-K) Summer Review – Summer Homework This pre-kindergartenl summer review packet is packed full of engaging homework review activities that will bring a smile to their sweet faces as they work on math, fine motor, language arts!

Summer Review Preschool No Prep Worksheets & Activities This book contains a collection of summer themed worksheets, suitable for use with children in Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten (Prep).

Summer Review NO PREP Packet (Preschool) This Summer Review NO PREP Packet is filled with hands-on, engaging and FUN resources that get kids excited about learning!

Summer Review This book contains a collection of Summer-themed worksheets intended for use with children in Kindergarten (Prep) at the end of the school year for revision purposes.

FREE Resources on the Internet

There are so many great resources also available for FREE! Here are a few that we use for our home preschool during the summer.

Spot and Dot Alphabet Pages These are excellent for helping your preschooler work on their hand-eye coordination, their fine motor skills, and so much more! We use the Do-A-Dot Markers for this activity.

Number Playdough Mats Maisie really enjoys this activity.

Create Your Own Handwriting Sheets I use this to generate sheets for the kids names. I finally got smart and instead of printing one out for each kid everyday I put the paper in a clear sheet protector. The kids now use a dry erase marker and once a week get to practice with a pencil.

Additional Supplies

Books

The Preschool Binders

Caden and Maisie each have their own binder with separate activities in them. A few of the worksheets overlap but for the most part they are working on different skills. The binder is filled with worksheets in sheet protectors that can be reused and also holds their other worksheets that they will write on, cut up, color, or glue.

I found it easier to make the binders up before the summer because everything is now in one easy to find place for each kid. This makes it perfect and less time consuming for me in the morning because I am not rushing to print worksheets off or figure out what we are going to do.

Our Summer Preschool Routine

Now that you know a few of the resources we use here is what a typical morning of summer preschool looks like in our home. I like to do the bulk of activities in the morning because the kids are more rested and more likely to be excited to participate.

Preschool happens 4 days a week in our house on Monday – Thursday morning. After breakfast we pack up and head out to the pool for swim lessons at 8am. By 9am we are back home and ready to start. I put Jesse down for his nap and we have a little over an hour before he wakes up.

Here is what a typical morning looks like for us.

Names

The very first thing we do is practice writing names. I use the worksheet generator I mentioned above that is FREE. We sit at the kitchen table for this.

Calendar, Bible Verse, Pledge

After they finish their names they sit on the floor and wait for the other to finish. Caden usually finishes first so he sits and looks at a book.

 

We talk about the days of the week, what day it is, recite the bible verse they are working on for Sunday school, and say the pledge of allegiance. I made a calendar buying a poster board from the dollar store. It took about an hour to type, cut, and either tape or glue everything to the board.

Centers

We don’t actually move around for these in our home but we do rotate out activities at the kitchen table.

For our centers I try to change up what the kids do each day. One day we may focus on Math. For Maisie this will be using her numbers play dough charts and for Caden he works on basic addition and subtraction.

Caden really enjoys “Write the Room” and I try to do this at least once a week for him and change out the words. If you are unfamiliar with this activity you can google how to it works. It is more time consuming on your end but if you need to work with another child individually it is a great way to have one occupied so you can focus on the other.

Gluing and cutting are popular with Maisie and I like to incorporate them into Literacy activities. The ABC Cut and Paste Fonts worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers is great for this!

We use baking trays as magnet boards and find the letters in our names and work on spelling words or we sort the magnets into colors. The kids also like dice games. We will use the trays to contain the dice so they don’t run away off the table.

I could probably write an entire post on centers. The most important thing is to find ways to engage your children while they are learning. Each child is different so what works for one might not work for the other. Celebrate their strengths and praise them often but be sure to correct. Praise for the sake of praise does not translate well later when bad habits have been formed that could have been corrected with just a little extra time.

Recess

It is really hot here in Arizona in the summer so we don’t go outside but we do a family style type workout indoors.

I have set up everything from an obstacle course for them to do or we literally do a workout together. It is not anything crazy but they like running around the house with me and using the home workout equipment we own.

If you have trouble coming up with your own “workouts” check out these options below.

Snack & Story

Lastly, we finish up with a snack and our bible story for the week. I read one story a week out of The Gospel Story Bible. I read the stories in order and we stick with one story a week to talk more in-depth about what we are reading.

Each day I read one of the lessons of TheOlogy and we review the main topics we have already covered from this book. These are short lessons that teach children truths about God and shapes a biblical worldview.

If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to. This is why it is vitally important in our home that Jesus and the Gospel remain at the center of everything. Even in our home summer preschool.

And that was a super long post. Hopefully that answered a few of your questions! I really love all the extra time I have with my kids in the summer and love teaching them. I hope your summer is going well and that you are cherishing your kids if they are at home and creating fun memories with your family :).

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A Father’s Day Tribute

Dear Dad,

Since you are not on social media I am not sure when you will see this. I am fairly confident Mom will fill you in about this post as soon as she reads it. And my guess would be that this will happen sometime in the next 24 hours.

The purpose of this tribute is to give you the honor you deserve and to display my appreciation to God for the Dad that he gave me. With Father’s Day coming up this weekend I wanted to share and express these thoughts publicly.

Is it crazy that you have a 33 year old daughter? Caden just turned 5 and it is crazy to me that I have a 5 year old now. So I am assuming that this is how you feel about Evan and I.

Time sure goes fast.

This is why I wanted to be sure to take a moment and let you know how much I love you. Thank you for being there for me and for supplying so many fun and meaningful memories that I cherish to this day.

Do you remember playing street hockey with Evan and I along with all the neighborhood kids on rollerblades? You were the only Dad out there playing with us and we loved it! Or what about the time you dressed up in high waisted shorts with socks and sandals as a joke to go to my high school orientation? It was funny but I am glad that you changed your outfit before leaving the house. I debated sharing that photo but decided that some memories are better kept in the family photo album instead of being displayed on the internet.

Over the summer after my fifth grade year you took me out to lunch. This was unusual because we didn’t really go out to eat unless it was as a family. We went to Wendy’s – which isn’t even a Wendy’s anymore, it is a Starbucks, and is totally fitting seeing as how much you love Starbucks – and you had a talk with me about entering middle school and how I was growing up. It was the first of many casual conversations about boys and valuing myself and knowing that you thought I was beautiful. I am not sure if that is what you were meaning to get across in that moment but that is what I took away from it.

Due to moments like this I have never doubted that you loved me and I know that is a huge reason that I didn’t pursue or seek out relationships with the opposite sex that would have caused me heartbreak later.

My love for being active and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation came from you. You gave such an active example of taking care of yourself and your love for the great outdoors is something that I really appreciated and adopted into my own life.

I have loved our father daughter trips over the years hiking and backpacking throughout California and Arizona. Half Dome and Humphrey’s Peak were pretty epic. As was the gas station at Ebbets Pass ;).

Also let me take a moment to say that cameras have come a long way since 1995.

Thank you for these memories, for the adventures, for your time, for making yourself available, for loving me enough to set limits, and for supporting my interests.

I am not sure if Josh will take Maisie to Wendy’s or to Half Dome but I know that he is planning on daddy daughter dates. He knows how much these moments with you have meant to me and he wants to establish those same types of memories with her.

I love you and I appreciate all you have done and continue to do for me and now also my own family.

Your daughter, Tam

PS…I think it might be time to #bringbackthestache.

I am linking back to Tim Challies for the great idea! Check out his series The Commandment We Forgot  that looks at the fifth commandment (“honor your father and mother”) and explores the idea of how to obey this command once we are adults. 

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