Thursday, December 5, 2013

Home Front Update 5/12

Can't believe it's been a while since I have updated you all. So without much further ado, here is another update on what we have been up to!

We got our first snow!
We got our first setteling snow early November which for the locals is potentially bad news as this is pretty early in the season but for us foreigners it is great news! Bring on a snowy winter! The snow didn't last long and so while it was falling we went out there and promptly made a snowman which involved 'stealing' snow of the neighbours lawn which I'm sure they wouldn't have minded ;).I'm sure that in our street, the locals think we are crazy being outside in the first snowfall!

Zara is continuing to do very well and is very keen to learn. Sonlight does a 'good' job (like I'm an expert) of engaging the reader with their stories. Unfortuatly for the girls, it's all school until Christmas when we will have about three weeks off and then we'll carry on going until the middle of May. No breaks for them which is slightly cruel I know but I've got good reason. You see I would like to finish the 2014/15 American School year by April so that I've got a month to pack up the house/clean etc. Since each school year has 36 weeks, if you do the maths that doesn't leave too many weeks for holiday considering the 'deadline' is April 2015. Before you all start to feel 'sorry' for my 'poor' girls, we only school four days a week and often double up on days so that we can go away for the weekend or have some no-school days. So here it is all not as bad as it sounds, ok you can tell my girls that :)! 

Grace and Michaela and the teacher's pet
Well where to start, it's been a busy couple of weeks for couponing. See for those of you who don't know about the American Calendar, it was Thanksgiving last week. With Thanksgiving come HUGE coupon deals, Black Friday and lots of Turkey (got that cheap too!)! I'm getting 'fussy' since I've got a pretty good stockpile on most toiletries, toothbrushes anyone? (I only have about 30!). So the coupon criteria for me has changed. I'm only interested in toiletries for my stockpile if I get them free (I still pay tax on the item) or I make money on them unless it is something we really like. My ipad mini has been invaluable in enabling me to keep tracks of all the couponing blogs through feedly. I have also uploaded a new app on my ipad called ibotta (only for USA) on which I again get things free or make money on them. I do a fair amount of printing of coupons and ofcourse I get the paper free with the ink cartridge very cheap through e-bay. No point in paying more than you need too. I try to go only once a week when Albert is home and one of the girls is allowed to come and usually gets some sort of treat :). 

Here is my pre-Black Friday 'haul'
I didn't get everything 'free' in the photo but I made money on some items (like the toothbrushes $1.50) and so enabled me to buy some of the luxury items, like the nuts, chocolate (got that very cheap about $0.40 a bag) and eggs as a filler item. I'm going to miss this back in NZ, it's going to be a HUGE shock having to pay for toiletries again.

Grace has been a bit under the weather with an ear infection earlier on in the month. Since we have no medical insurance per se (only travel insurance) I paid cash for the doctor, thankfully the antibiotics were free :). The other girls are doing well :). I have been battling some sort of cold, nothing major but thankfully I was better by Thanksgiving as last year I was quite sick. Albert is hanging in there and overall is doing well. He is a busy 'boy' (so he should be!!) and will be for the next week or so as exams start next Monday the 9th of December. It is hard to believe that in 2 more weeks we are half way through our life/adventure in the States. That thought brings mixed feelings, while are looking forward to seeing family/friends and NZ, we will miss the people we have met, friends we've made very very much :(. 

Thanks to the generosity of our fellow Christians here in America we are able to spend three nights an indoor water resort after Albert finishes his exams. One of our church members has a membership with this resort and so they arranged for us to get the stay on their discount and various other people from churches have given us money (with specific instructions to use it for 'fun'!) and so we are able to have this holiday! This is not something that we have in NZ and since I grew up with water parks it is great to be able to share this experience with them. 

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that we have a regular visitor at our house, in fact he seems to 'follow' us around America! I challenged him in this blogpost on when his next visit would be. Well I'm pleased to report that we are being blessed with another visit from him and this time he is bringing his two sisters! We are soo looking forward to meeting them for the first time and showing them around our area! 

Albert has done some preaching in DesMoines (blogpost to follow) which went well. We also took our now annual trip to Michigan to visit the Warners for Thanksgiving.

I think that's about it for now, hopefully I will have some time to finish my draft blogs of our summer adventures soon. 

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