Friday, September 25, 2015

MFW Kindergarten Unit: 17

We had a very exciting My Father's World Kindergarten Unit this week! We are on "K is for Kangaroo"! Our 9 year old daughter adores kangaroos at the moment so this week was a fun one four our family.

We took a trip to a drive through safari! While we were there we went into the walking portion of the park. Inside the walking portion we were able to walk inside an enclosure with  the kangaroos! No cages involved, just a dainty fence to keep us off the grass.

The highlight would have to be the mama kangaroo with her baby! There was a great deal of oohing and ahhing when they saw the tiny little baby.

Outside of the enclosure we couldn't resist climbing inside the kangaroo sculpture and playing Joey!

I have always found kangaroos to be fascinating animals so I have to admit I was as thrilled as the girls were with this trip. Maybe one day I can convince my husband to take us to Australia to see kangaroos in their natural habitat!

I would love to hear how your family completed MFW Kindergarten Unit 17: "K is for Kangaroo"!

Friday, September 18, 2015

MFW Kindergarten Unit 16

Time for our newest kindergarten craft! This week we completed My Father's World Kindergarten Unit 16: "P is for Penguin"!

I hit up my go to site for crafts....pinterest of course! I found these adorable shape penguins and couldn't resist making a set for each girl. I learned very quickly that it is much easier on everyone if I precut the shapes during nap time.  

Once the girls woke up and were ready for school I gave them all the pieces and let them put together their shape penguins! 

They were so adorable that all the kids wanted to get in on the action!

Our last activity for our penguin unit was to make "icebergs" for the bath tub. The girls were very disappointed when I wouldn't let them get into the bath with their entire bodies. They quickly understood that cold water + large chunks of ice = very cold water. We played with the large chunks of ice and discussed the types of habitats that penguins inhabit. We also learned that cold water is not nearly as cold as ice....and that our icebergs melted very quickly. Over all it was a very educational activity...and a lot of fun!

I would love to hear what you did for MFW Kindergarten Unit 16: "P is for Penguin"!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Financial Friday


For this month’s Financial Friday I decided to attack retirement savings. I am not going to lie just thinking about retirement savings makes me twitchy. It is one of those abstract things to me. We are in our mid-thirties raising six young children. The thought of retirement seems a long way off. It is also quite a confusing thing to think about. How am I supposed to know how much to save each month? What is my goal amount? How do I know that will be enough?  In an effort to answer these questions for our family I decided to read A Million is Not Enough by Michael K. Farr.

The title is quite depressing right off the bat. How can a million dollars not be enough?! It seems like this big giant mythical number when you are living on an enlisted salary raising six constantly hungry children. Turns out it probably won’t be enough when you consider we still have 30+ years till retirement. There are of course these lovely things called inflation and taxes to consider. Yuck.

While reading through the book A Million is Not Enough the author goes into detail concerning both inflation and taxes. He provides several graphs and charts thought out the book in order to help the reader better understand the concepts. There are also several formulas presented to help the reader calculate their own financial standing in terms of retirement savings. 

After doing the math I found that our family needs to save $2,500,000 by the time we retire in order to have $50,000 per year income. Did you get that?! After taking a break to fight off the nausea those numbers induced….okay, I took a nap…..I came back and reread the section. Yikes! I understand where the author is coming from and I understand that inflation is going to be killer over a 30yr time span. I did however calm down quite a bit when I realized we also have a good guy on our side: Compound Interest. 

We have been faithfully saving 10-15% of my husband’s salary for 10 years. It seems like an extremely small amount right now but we have compound interest on our side. Since we started saving in our 20’s that gives our money 40+ years to grow and work for us. I used the author’s formulas and calculated what our future contributions will turn into over the years. We are still way below the $2.5 million dollars the author feels we will need. We however will not always contribute the same amount we do today. My husband will get promotions and eventually retire from the military and move to a job in the civilian world. I will not always be a homeschooling mother. I do plan to receive my Master’s Degree and go back to work when the children are older. Our children will grow-up and leave home down the line (I am not looking forward to THAT at all!). 

The bottom line for me is that things will change over time. Will the changes go along with our plans? I have no idea that is up to God. I do know that we are aware that retirement is out there and sneaking up on us. We are making a conscious effort to save for our retirements and doing our best to attack the issue head on. I think the worst thing we could do is to turn our backs on the situation and give up before we even get there.
 We will continue to adjust the budget to cover not only our daily needs but our future needs as well.  I will say that reading this book was a helpful way to push ourselves to reach for a higher rung on the ladder. I am glad I read through this book even if it has been a bit scary to consider! After all knowledge is power as they say. 

I would love to hear about your retirement planning!

MFW Kindergarten Unit 15

My Father's World Kindergarten Unit 15: "E is for Elephant"!

I knew this was going to be a big unit for our family. One of our twins happens to be obsessed with Elephants! Instead of going to a zoo we decided to take it easy and stay at home. I thought it would be a lot of fun to do a backyard safari. I hit up pinterest for some safari crafts and got busy!

It took me roughly 3 hours one night to make 7 safari hats, vests, and binoculars. The next morning I explained to the kids that we were going to go on safari. First however we needed to make some safari animals from paper plates and construction paper.  They chose to make a lion, zebra, elephant, butterfly, and several snakes. While the little ones were taking their nap the older girls headed outside to hide the animals and draw a map for the little ones to follow.

Then it was time to go on safari!

The kids had a wonderful time playing with their safari gear and searching for their animals throughout the backyard.

I think "E is for Elephant" Was a hit in our household! I would love to hear what your family did for My Father's World Kindergarten Unit "E is for Elephant"!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Financial Friday!

I made a New Years Resolution this year to read one finance book per month. My intent was to not only continue my own education about finances but to also motivate myself to keep on top of our budget and financial goals. 

This month I decide to change things up a bit. Instead of reading about financial theory or practices I decided to read a biography of Warren Buffet. After all I was sure I can learn SOMETHING from a man who was able to start at $0 and build his net worth to over $30 billion.

I did learn quite a few things from reading this massive 700+ page book detailing Warren Buffets life and adventures.  I think the majority of his success comes from the fact that he found something that not only interested him but also helped him meet his goals. He was willing to sacrifice a great deal to get to where he wanted to go....but not the things he truly enjoyed. He found numbers, research, reading, and statistics to be fascinating. It is easy to see how these interests could be used to fuel his goal of making more and more money.

 Not all of the things in his life were positive however. To get to his level of financial success there has to be a great deal of not only dedication but also single sighted focus. I found from reading through his biography that he gave up a great deal in order to earn the type of money he has earned. He became so focused on his business, partners, and finding the next "cigar butt" that he missed almost all of his children's lives and his wife asked for a 20 year separation.

Reading through the biography I saw that there has to be a balance in all of our lives. We can not become so focused on making money that we miss out on this amazing life that God has given us. After all Matthew 19:24 tells us pretty clearly how God feels about physical wealth:

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

Does that mean he doesn't want us to work to increase our savings and our level of comfort here on earth? I still struggle with that dilemma myself. I believe that the Lord wants us focus more on Him than on making more and more money. To go outside and enjoy the world around us. To enjoy listening to the giggle of our children. To help the homeless and the needy with an open heart. To welcome the riches He gives us....not just the physical but also the spiritual. 

I learned a great deal from this book....

1. We all need balance in our lives.
2. Find your passion and use it to help you achieve your goals.
3. Give to those in need.
4. Teach others from your knowledge
5. Learn from others knowledge
6. Life is short....enjoy every moment with the people that matter.

I would love to hear what you have been reading this month! We are down to just 3 financial Fridays remaining in the year.  I have to admit it is getting harder to find books that interest me. There are a lot of books out there concerning becoming debt free or becoming a master investor.  Not much middle ground for folks like me who just want a firmer grasp on the financial world and it's products.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

We are so cheesy care package!

 It is time for another care package! My husband has been deployed for quite a while making it the perfect time for a really goofy care package. We went with a "Sorry we are so cheesy" theme this month.

The kids and I covered the box flaps and bottom with yellow paper and cut outs of cheese wedges. On the bottom of the box we thought it would be cute if a mouse "ate the cheese lining". I have to say our oldest daughter is quite the artist!

After we were done we filled to box with shelf stable cheesy snacks. I had a bit of a time keeping these snacks away from our kids long enough to get the box sealed. I did find out that the pringles did not ship well. Everything else did well on the journey overseas.

Taking the time to decorate the box may seem like a lot of effort. He however is a long way from home and getting to that point in the deployment where depression sets in. If taking the 30min to decorate a box with a goofy theme makes him smile just for a few seconds it is well worth the effort in my book!

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