It's been a while since I have done a bullet point update, so instead of giving lots of excuses (which I won't) I'll get straight to the point! Points in no particular order.
- Homeschooling - This is going pretty well. Michaela and Grace are learning all about early American History which has been extremely helpful with understanding the history behind Thanksgiving. I now now about Plymouth, the Mayflower, Squanto, Pilgrims, why Indians are called Indians. (Do you know why?* Extra bonus points if you do!). We have just taken a two week break and starting again next week.
- Health - I have had a cold/sore throat/couching in the past week. Where is the substitute teacher when you need them? Never mind I canceled school. It was going to be short week anyway because of Thanksgiving break. Albert has been fine but some of the girls have been under the weather but we are all improving and doing a lot better. Thankfully it didn't get so bad that a doctor visit was warranted.
- Thanksgiving - More on that in an other post. The short of it, we were invited to one of the students family thanksgiving in Michigan. We had a ball and were very humbled by the generosity and hospitality of the families involved! We also experienced our first snow fall!
- Our Social life - I'm not sure if you are interested feel free to skip. We try and have people over to our house regularly for fellowship and camaraderie. It is such a privilege to get to know the other seminary students, we are all in the same boat and so it is good to 'spur' each other on! We have also been invited by other church people, we have been to church events, seminary events, visited people during the day.
- Food/shopping - This can be quite a mission and so I've decided to do my main grocery shop monthly at a bulk food supply store and get fresh fruit and veggies weekly. Will keep you posted on how I'm going with that. Running errands can be a bit of a mission, it's busy (EVERYWHERE) and it takes time to get there. I try to go once a week on my 'town' day thus saving petrol and precious time.
- Cost of groceries etc. Cost is pretty cheap generally but just like NZ if you want to eat healthy generally it will cost more. I've been able to pick up some cake mixes for 59 cents and a block of butter would cost me $1.99, so you do the maths. A lot of time people don't appreciate the 'real' home baking and so in order to cut costs I have used cake mix especially since I got it very cheap and second I was feeding lots of kids! Milk is cheap but milk powder is very expensive, huh? Anyway I've been using fresh milk to make yogurt the old fashioned way and it has been turning out great! A huge money saver and so much better for you. I still try and cook from scratch for health reasons mainly. It is a LOT cheaper to eat healthy than to go to the doctor!
- Couponing/Samples - YES these deserve a heading all of their own! This has become my part-time job and I'm doing very well from this. I managed to score from the blogs etc I follow several free bags of chocolate, a $25 Amex Card from Fedex, lots of shampoo/conditioner/toothpaste/coffee samples and 2 $10 restaurant.com vouchers. I also do some couponing for all the toiletries items and are managing to get most of it for free or just about free especially: toothpaste, toothbrushes, shavers, shampoo, conditioner and cheap feminine products. So if you are planning to visit (PLEASE DO) then let me know in advance and can send you home with lots of free toiletries! (Just in case you are wondering about the legitimate status of this all, I wouldn't do anything that is illegal ie I play by the rules. One way I'm managing to get a lot of things free is that I'm 'recycling' store money, here is a link if you are interested in how it all works.)
- Swagbucks.com - This is an alternative internet search engine which I use to 'earn' some extra money. The search engine is not as good as google, I use Swagbucks first and then google it if I can't find it. With Swagbucks you 'earn' Swagbucks randomly when you search. I have so far made $25 in Amazon gift cards. If you would like to help me earn some points please use my referral link to sign up. http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/Hanneke. For every swagbucks you earn I earn them too up to 1000 swagbucks.
- Jobs - Albert is still going strong on the cleaning side of things and the ironing keeps coming my way, we are blessed. There is only one hiccup: Albert still hasn't got a social security number.
- Driving - Another first happened this week, don't LAUGH, I manged to go the wrong way on a one-way street. Once you realise you are going the wrong way it is not as easy to correct your mistake especially when five lanes of traffic are coming your way, it is not like you can do a u-turn! Thankfully it wasn't busy and I managed to right the wrong within two blocks! In my defense this happened in the CBD of Chicago without a GPS (I was just moving my car at the time). I did however use the GPS going into the CBD of Chicago, I was praying that nothing would happen to the GPS ie lose power as I would have been in the ........ The GPS is really a necessity as I wouldn't have know where to go if the GPS hadn't told me exactly which lane to be in. Again to give you perspective Chicago is the 3rd biggest town in the USA and so the closer you get to the CBD the more lanes (5+ each way) are feeding cars into the city! I used to 'fear' driving in Auckland, it is going to be a piece of cake from now on!
(Did you know we have a squirrel (voice) stuck in our nuvi (GPS)? Ask me about it sometime or read my facebook status update.)
- Study - Albert will give his update when he's got a spare few minutes but it is sufficient to say that he is doing VERY VERY well and getting EXCELLENT grades! That's my man! I have told Albert that he better learn to preach VERY well as I've got to listen to him for the rest of my life ;)! He has one more week to go of lectures and then it is exam week.
(I'm going to borrow this idea and phrases from my favorite school Faith! who has this in their newsletter every week!)
- Praise - Alberts EXCELLENT grades, good health, for the people that show us hospitality and christian love in a variety of ways.
- Pray for - Albert's final exams coming up, a relaxing break between semesters and that we are kept safe on the roads. (oh and can I add snow?)
*Columbus when he sailed out the discover new world thought he was going to India and ended up in America and so he called the natives (Americans) Indians!