WE'RE DEBT FREE!!! How We Paid Off $55,000 in 23 Months- Part 3

Behn and I started watching Dave Ramsey YouTube clips and listening to his daily radio show in January 2017.  Dave lays out the 7 steps to Financial Peace and they made a lot of sense to us. We listed our debts from smallest to largest and discovered how much we truly owed- a little over $55,000. Most of these were educational loans. Behn and my undergrad, as well as Behn's Master's Degree. Years of paying minimum payments meant we had paid a ton in interest and the principle balances were stubbornly high. This is not hard to understand, but for years we'd only been able to pay the minimums. Now we were looking these financial statements in the eye. We were "sick and tired of being sick and tired," as Dave Ramsey likes to say. It was time to run from debt.

We went ahead and bought Dave's Financial Peace University and committed to watching the DVD's and doing the workbooks together every Tuesday night. At some point we planned on going to a community clas…

WE'RE DEBT FREE!! How We Paid Off $55,000 in 23 months- Part 2

Part 1 here

After we moved to Southern Maryland, my parents generously offered for us to live with them until we could get on our feet. Those first 6 months were hard with a newborn, a toddler, and new town. During that time, we began to realize that the salary at Behn's new job, though much better than his old job, wasn't as amazing as it seemed. Taxes and health insurance came out, of course; and now we were in a very high cost of living area. I was staying home with now 2 boys. The rent in Southern Maryland is crazy- technically it is a D.C. suburb and there's also a Navy base there adding to the high cost of living. Rent was incredibly higher than it had been in Lexington. The natural choice was to buy. Interest rates were low and there were lots of short sales and foreclosures. It seemed like a dream come true- we were buying a house. Meanwhile, Behn needed a commuter car and knowing that we truly couldn't handle a second car payment, we scraped up the cash for a …

WE'RE DEBT FREE! How We Paid Off $55,000 in 23 months- Part 1

Flashback to 6.5 years ago:

***I stood in the Kroger grocery store line, glancing around nervously, hoping no one I knew would see my WIC food vouchers. I watched the cashier ringing up the food and held my breath- hoping, praying- the number would not more than we had in our account.

"That will be $200, ma'am," the cashier says.
"But, but, I don't have that much money...can I put some things back?"

The line is long behind me and I'm sweating nervously.  I hate this.***

And then I wake up. It's just a dream- actually my recurring nightmare about not having enough money in our account for groceries.

Except it's not all a dream, really. We did use WIC checks (government assistance for food) when I was pregnant with Patrick. I really did sweat and hold my breath in the grocery line, praying the number would be low. Much of our furniture and clothing and other goods have come from second hand shops. But for the first time in our 10 1/2 years of marr…

Homeschool Days

Of the many decisions we have to make as parents, I think education is absolutely one of the hardest. Once Graham was approaching Kindergarten age, I felt the anxiety creeping up. He had gone to a little church preschool for 2 years. I was overwhelmed, lonely, and probably somewhat depressed and this son and I tend to need some space from one another. So, we made the best decision at the time and Graham spent 2 years at our wonderful, little, local public school. His first grade teacher was especially amazing and G thrived on the structure in a classroom, learning and playing well.

But high quality education is very important to Behn and I. We were both extremely blessed by Christian and private education in our childhoods. Public school can, of course, be high quality in many ways. They have resources and teachers with gifts that I do not have- true blessings and wonderful teachers! But let me provide what I mean by 'high quality.' Everyone has different priorities, but for m…

On Going To The Store With 3 Kids (continuation of the original series)


Welcome back to all of us.

No real reason for me to appear here today, except that we an one of "those" fun trips to the store and it reminded me of days of yore when I used to write stories about how freaking difficult it is to take kids places. See original posts here and here.

So at this point we have an almost 8 year old, a 6 year old, and a 2.5 year old. Just when things maybe could be getting easier in the parenting department, we choose homeschool this year. And so, I make a choice. Go to the store on a weeknight or weekend kid-free (favorite choice) or take the kids. Now, as a homeschool mom, taking the kids out is normal. It's a lesson in economics, organization, and socialization. ("But waaaiiit, homeschooled kids aren't socialized!" I heard you; be quiet in the back.)

It was finally payday, so with no milk or bread in the house, things were dire. Off we skipped to the nearest real town (we live in the cornfields and it is the best). We stoppe…

Our New Home

Well, we did it. We moved to northern Maryland, about 2 hours away from our old home. We now live in a completely new to us community. We are about 30- 60 minutes away from much of our family (as opposed to 3 hours) and we are settling in well. We live in a cute neighborhood in a tiny, one-stop light town which is surrounded by miles and miles of farms.

I'm surprised and thrilled with how quickly we've made friends. We plugged into a church 20 minutes away. The boys and I started homeschooling, and have new friends within the homeschool community. We've reconnected with old friends and already hosted a birthday party with family. Our neighbors are fantastic so far, and the boys love riding their bikes in the evenings with new friends. (Note- they learned to ride their bikes!). We enjoyed the tiny, free pool in our town until it closed for the season. It's quite literally a 2 minute drive to get there, and I'm already looking forward to it re-opening next summer. We…

Let's Go

It has not rained in weeks and the garden needs water, so I tend to it with the hose. I know full well that in less than 2 weeks it will not be my garden anymore, and I hope the new home owners care for it as I do, but I also know that cannot because they did not toil and watch everything grow as I did.


It's our last Saturday here, and it's crunch time. There is still much to be packed. I worked hard this week, bustling around with Sammy on my legs, undoing half of what I had packed until the boxes were sealed. Graham went to VBS, Patrick hung around the house, and I listened to an audiobook to help the time pass. Yesterday, instead of packing, I collapsed into bed for an afternoon nap as soon as Samuel was down for his nap. I'm tired, and eager to be in our new house.


We are north bound, moving near more family. We are sad to be leaving my parents, brother, and Grandma. I will miss dinners on the deck and swinging by Grandma's or Mom and Dad…