Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights/Lowlights and Abu Dhabi Update

2013 proved to be a challenging but ultimately good year for us.

~Mom to Urgent Care on Jan.1
~Leaky roof
~Frozen/burst pipe
~Failed Surgery for mom
~Monkey fell while hiking and cut his head
~Monkey passed out, ER via ambulance, cardiologist
~Washing Machine died
~A/C went out in the car
~Bad storm blew 70% of our shingles off our roof
~Got egged on Halloween
~A/C went out in the car (again)
~Had to re-home our puppies

~Ladybug lost a LOT of teeth
~Ladybug, Unicorn and mom learned how to crochet scarves
~Unicorn turned 13!
~New Air Conditioner
~Campout with Daddy
~Adopted Puppies
~Girls sewing class at Jo-Ann's
~Monkey turned 5!
~Girls were in the local pageant
~Ladybug turned 7!
~Successful surgery for mom.
~Daddy's parents came to visit
~Girl's got their ears pierced
~Road Trip: Four Corners, Mesa Verde Ruins, family reunion in Branson, Missouri (Silver Dollar City)
~Monkey learned to float on his back
~Fixed A/C in car
~Monkey started KG, Ladybug 2nd and Unicorn High School (and seminary)
~Dad applied for and passed the phone interview for a job in Abu Dhabi
~Mom and Dad's 9th Anniversary
~Dad flew to Chicago for an in-person interview and got the job!
~Unicorn earned her Personal Progress award
~Mommy's dad and step-mom came to visit
~Kids went on a mini-vacation to Scottsdale with Nana and Papa
~Great-Gram came to visit for Thanksgiving
~Got all our documents back and submitted for our visas/tickets
~Sold our home
~Road Trip: Grand Canyon with my brother and his family

ABU DHABI update
Last update we were waiting for our documents to come back from Washington D.C. We got them back on the 4th of Dec. and submitted them to Footprints on the 6th. On the 9th we were told that the first group could leave for Abu Dhabi between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. While we knew it was unlikely that we would be in the first group (or that they would leave on time) we had to be ready! We had a huge yard sale (indoors) on the 21st of Dec. and then donated what was left on the 23rd. The cleaning guy and the final walk-thru were on the 24th and we closed on the 26th! On the 23rd we got another update that it would be unlikely for visas to be issued in time for the original window of the 26th-1st and that we should now plan on a mid-January departure (and to still plan for delays and to have back-up plans).

For now we are enjoying the holidays with family and preparing for daddy to go back to work on the 6th. We will get back into our school routine (as it went out the window the past 2 months) and live life as normally as we can while living in a 400-sq ft casita (at least we can hang in the main house with my parents too)!

Happy New Year!!
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Abu Dhabi Update ~ Paperwork & Authentication

In addition to selling everything we own there is a lot of paperwork to get ready to move to Abu Dhabi...especially if you are taking your family!

Documentation Needed (all teachers):
Passport Photos
Letters of Reference (2)
Criminal Background Check
Authenticated Teaching License
Authenticated Diploma of Highest Degree

Additional Documentation Needed (for families):
Authenticated Marriage Certificate
Authenticated Birth Certificate (for each child)

Additional Documentation Needed for Children of Divorced/Deceased Parents:
Authenticated Divorce Degree (or Death Certificate)
Notarized and Authenticated Letter from Child's father

Now, since there is a cost involved in the Criminal Background Check and in the Authenticating of documents, it wouldn't be wise to do these 2 steps until AFTER a letter of offer is received. However, getting your passport might not be a bad idea. We already had our passports (yes, even the children) from a few years ago. Click HERE to read about how to get a passport and how much they cost.

Passport = approx. $135 (for a first time adult - renewals and children are less)
Criminal Background Check = $50 (this could vary depending on the company you use)
Notarizing Documents (step 1) = Free at most banks if you are a member. (Our Secretary of State also notarizes for free).
Authentication (step 2) = Secretary of State (Arizona) $3 per document
Authentication (step 3) = US Department of State $8 per document
Authentication (step 4) = UAE Embassy in the USA $30 per document
ProEx (courier for steps 3 & 4) = $125 + $25 FedEx

If you are a single teacher these fees are not so bad but we are a family with 3 children and 1 of those children is from a previous marriage. This meant that instead of 2 documents to Authenticate  ($232) we had 8 ($478)!

Other than the letter from Unicorn's father and a certified copy of my divorce decree, we had all the documents we needed ready to go at the time of hubby's interview. On the 15th of November we drove up to Phoenix to go to the Secretary of State and have the documents notarized and authenticated. Then we went to Staple's to copy each document (another $2) and ship the documents to ProEx for steps 3 & 4 ($30 shipping).

ProEx will get the documents today (don't you just love tracking packages?!?) and it takes about 10 days for the process to be completed in Washington DC. Then they ship the documents back to us (another 2-3 days) and we submit our final documents to Footprints and they send it to ADEC to begin processing our VISA (which will take at least 2 weeks). At this point we have to be ready to leave at a moments notice!

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Preparing for Abu Dhabi

Getting everything ready to move across the world is a very daunting, time consuming task! We have gathered all the necessary paperwork and will be getting it notarized and authenticated this week. Then we will be sending it to Proex to finish the authentication process.

In addition to all the paperwork there is the intimidating task of selling almost everything we own! We have sold almost $1500 worth of stuff and have almost $2500 more claimed (and there is so much we still need to sell)! Some claimed items will be picked up this week while others (like our beds) will be picked up closer to Christmas. This money is helping to pay for the fingerprinting and authentication process, hubby's new suits, and some money to live on until the new paychecks start coming in.

We are also in the process of getting our house on the market. Know anyone who wants to buy a charming house in a small town just south of Phoenix, Arizona?!?

One of the more fun items on our VERY long to-do list is to get hubby a couple new suits. He hasn't had a new suit since we were married 9 years ago! This last Friday we went to a local store that sells suits for LDS (Mormon) missionaries. One thing I LOVE about these suits is that they are all 2-pants suits and the cost of alteration is included in the price. He is a photo of hubby getting fitted for his new suit!

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2013 Gratitude Challenge ~ Days 4-10

Ok...so it is easier to keep up with the gratitude challenge on Facebook! Here are my Facebook  gratitude posts for the past few days:

Day 4 - I am grateful for my hubby!

Day 5 - I am grateful that I get to sit on the only couch that is left in the house and watch NCIS and NCIS LA tonight! Yep...I love Tuesdays! 

Day 6 - Grateful for my children. They may drive me crazy at times but I wouldn't trade them for the world! 

Day 7 - I'm thankful for my parents (all of them)!

Day 8 - I am thankful for Temples. I love that Kurt and I got to go to the Temple today. I love that my mom watched the kids for us. I love that we found some nice suits on sale for hubby. I love that we got the last 2 documents that we need for Abu Dhabi today and that next week we will get them authenticated. I love that Unicorn has a friend over! I love that the house will be on the market soon!

Day 9 - I'm thankful we were able to get some things done around the house/yard today. I love that the littles did some school work today. I love that this is a 4 day weekend for hubby. I love that the kids played outside all day. I love brownies!

Day 10 - I'm thankful for ALL my siblings. I love that I got to talk to my little brother today (it is his birthday). I love that today is a day of rest. I love that I am still sitting in bed and hubby is making my breakfast. I love that we still have a couple hours until we head to church. I love that we are going to have homemade chicken nuggets and french fries for dinner! 

Want to join in the Gratitude Challenge? Just click on the button:
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

See the Light: Art Projects {Mosaic Review}

This product was a fun one for Unicorn. She had a great time (she actually did all 4 hour lessons in one sitting) and did it all by herself.
The product is Art Projects by See the Light, a Christian-based Art program. The project we reviewed was "Paper Jungle"
In a Nutshell:
~9 DVD's with 4 lessons each that lead to a culminating project
~$14.99/ea. OR $12.50/ea. as DVD of the month OR $99.99 for Boxed Set
~Each DVD teaches a different art style and artist
~Art Projects are designed to follow Art Class (a 9 volume-set of 36 Art Lessons)
~Earn 1/2 High School Fine Art credit if you complete all 9 DVD's and go on a couple field trips
 Our Thoughts:
As you can tell from the photos, Unicorn (13 years old) enjoyed this project. She had fun learning about layering and creating a foreground and background. I LOVED that she could pop in the DVD and do it all herself. We didn't have the exact sizes of paper that were on the materials list but it didn't matter...she was able to adapt the project and make it work. She even has plans to use the DVD to teach Monkey (5) and Ladybug (7) how to make a Paper Jungle. I would say that the only down-side is the price. Unless you buy the box-set and have multiple children that can use it, it is a little on the pricey side for me. However, I think the pros outweigh the cons for me!

Contact Information:

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2013 Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 3

I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and for his atonement. 

To join in just click the button above.
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2013 Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 2

Today I am grateful for friends I haven't met in real life. There are many that I have "met" through homeschooling groups and through this new adventure. These friends are supportive, understanding and helpful and I am so grateful for them!

If you would like to join in click the button above!
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Friday, November 1, 2013

2013 Gratitute Challenge ~ Day 1

Once again I am joining up with a friend and doing the Gratitude Challenge. Each day I will post something I am grateful for. If you would like to join in just click on the button above!

Today I am grateful for the amazing opportunity that my family and I are just beginning to get ready for.  I am grateful my husband had a successful interview last week and that we are going to be moving overseas, to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, for at least 2 years. I can't even begin to explain how blessed we feel!
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Time for a New Adventure ~ We are Moving to Abu Dhabi

Yes, you read that correctly! We are moving half-way around the world! I am sure you are asking yourself, "WHY?!?" but hang in there and you will see why! Let me tell you a story:

One day in May, while reading comments in a homeschooling group on Facebook I read a post about someone moving to Abu Dhabi. Now, hubby and I have thought about teaching overseas for almost 5 years now so I figured it couldn't hurt to send this person a message and ask her about it. I sent her a message and she was very nice and told me all about it. I thanked her for the information and asked her if I could "Friend" her and she said yes. A couple months went by and then I see her post about getting their tickets and leaving for Abu Dhabi! Again, I was intrigued but I didn't do anything about it. Then she started posting about the experiences she and her family were having. I showed the pictures to my hubby and our children and we started talking about teaching overseas again.

Then, on September 17th, I sent her another message and asked her what recruiting agency they used. She was kind enough to share more information with me and that night we went to the Footprint Recruiting website and applied. The next day we received an email with an invitation to have a Skype Interview. It was scheduled for that Friday but we had to change it to September 27th.

September 27th rolls around and the Skype interview went well and hubby was told he was being sent on to the in-person interviews that would be held sometime in October. At this point, we decided to tell the children and some of our family and friends about this amazing potential adventure! We were amazed with all the support we received!

While we were waiting for more news on the in-person interview we gathered and submitted lots of paperwork and documents and connected with other teachers who have already gone through the process and are currently teaching in Abu Dhabi. We also did TONS of research! In fact, I have a whole Pinterest Board dedicated to my research!

Then we got the information that the in-person interviews were going to be held in Chicago on October 26th (as well as some other places around the world the next week). We chose Chicago because hubby has a sister there and he was able to stay with her and save on hotel costs. She also does hiring and interviewing for Google so she helped him practice for his interview. The interview went well and the only concern they had was that he is soft-spoken and they wanted to be sure he could be heard in the classroom. Silly American boy, he didn't use his classroom voice during the interview. :) He flew home the same day and then we had to wait for the results.

This morning (October 28) we got an email saying he got the job! YIPPEE! We are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves! In fact, I couldn't write this post right away because I had to wait for my hands to stop shaking.

I have one more review to do for the Mosaic Review team and then look forward to this blog taking a bit of a turn. I hope you will continue to follow our Adventures in Home Education as we take our adventures overseas!

One last thing, if you (or anyone you know) lives anywhere between Phoenix and Tucson have them check out my new blog Selling it All to Teach in the UAE because we are selling just about everything! I also still have some curriculum available that I am willing to ship (click HERE).

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Monday, October 21, 2013

MyMemories {FREE} Software Code!

Hey everyone! I have an awesome deal for you this week! I have a PROMO code that will allow you to download the FULL version 4 (the most recent) of MyMemories Suite Software but hurry, the code will expire October 28, 2013.

Interested? Then follow the steps outlined below:

1. Click HERE to go to the MyMemories software site.
2. Make sure the Download version is selected (you can choose to have a disk shipped but you will have to pay the shipping) and click "Add to Cart".
3. You will be taken to the following screen. Be sure to add the code: FreeTreatHA64 (I would copy and paste so as to be sure the code is correct)!

4. Click "Proceed to Checkout" (again, you can add the backup disc if you desire but you will pay the shipping).
5. Follow the directions to download the software. This will take a couple hours (depending on your computer, connection, etc. as it is a large file).
6. Start Scrapping with the many papers and embellishments that are included with the software or head to the MyMemories store and download some more!

I have used the software to create my blog background, blog header, blog button and many scrapbook pages. Here are just a few of the pages I have made:

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

iTooch by eduPad {Mosaic Review}

 eduPad has developed some fun and educational apps 
for iOS, Android and Windows called iTooch

In a Nutshell
~Most Apps for grades 3-8 (covering Math, Science and English)
~A few Apps for High School
~Free Trials
~Each app is $4.99 to upgrade to the full version
~Aligned to Common Core
~Includes lessons, blackboard and calculator
~Each app contains thousands of questions

Our Thoughts
While we have only tried the FREE versions of the apps, Unicorn is enjoying them and I am considering purchasing the Math ones for her. My only hang-up is the price per app.

Contact Information

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Time to Catch Up {Photo Style}

I haven't posted many regular posts for a while. So I have decided to catch you up on what has been going on around here using photos. It has been a CRAZY few months!
Monkey and Ladybug spent their birthday money at IKEA. Monkey bought trains and Ladybug bought art supplies.

Monkey beat MarioKart Wii and played a lot of Wii Fit.

I became a Thrive Independent Consultant.

Flash vacuumed the floor.

Frackle mopped the floor.

Our old washer and dryer died so we had to get new ones.

A HUGE storm came through!

A leak in the wall during the HUGE storm.

The tarped roof because we lost more than 70% of our shingles during the HUGE storm.

Another leak during the HUGE storm.

A huge moth that Ladybug found.

Monkey loves to learn!

Taking care of Frackle.

Hanging out with Flash.

Monkey finally overcame his fear of floating on his back.

Monkey loves Happy Handwriting.

Watching them load shingles onto our roof.

Working on the roof.

Swimming with Frackle.

Swimming with Flash.

I became a Norwex Independent Consultant.

Ladybug finally got her swimming party.

Monkey loves Math.

Monkey starts Kindergarten

Ladybug starts 2nd grade

Unicorn starts 9th grade

Ladybug learning cursive.

Monkey working on Calendar Math.

Unicorn working on Oceanography.

Unicorn gets glasses.

Ladybug's creative sentence.

Monkey learning even and odd.

Cleaning/organizing/unpacking (after 17 months in the house) the school room area.

View from My Desk.

Another view from My Desk.

Another view from My Desk (this area will be Unicorn's new room).

The little kid's learning area.

Unicorn at work.

A ninja with a samurai sword.

Another ninja with a samurai sword.

Unicorn's new English curriculum...so excited for this one!

Termites! (not cool)!

Sink or Float Lab.

Ladybug's paper cup pyramid! It was almost as tall as her!

Unicorn's new room! Just needs walls!
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