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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Chemtool Fire part 2

I ended with the first part of the tale sharing how a modified one-mile evacuation map was released. 

This is a significant part of the tale here because you see every year on Father's Day weekend a large music festival takes place. This festival includes carnival rides and food,  beer tents, and big-name country music stars. Well, most years it's country music stars, some years they have done other genres of music.

The original evacuation map that went out included the park on the north shore of the river; the new maps that park, known as Settlers Park, was excluded. Basically, the park is 0.2 miles outside that mandatory evacuation zone -- a zone that was still in place!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Chemtool Fire

Monday, June 14th about 7 am Rockton Police were called on scene to Chemtool on Prarie Hill Rd in Rockton IL.  By 730 am my Facebook newsfeed was full of people asking what's going on, what's on fire, what are the explosions they are hearing. 

I step out and see this:

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Federal Plus Loans

Chef is finishing up culinary school; like many, he does have student loans. His loan totals are small and modest compare to others. He has $5500 total in student loans, which is just under half of the total cost of schooling.  The other half was paid with scholarships, grants, and out of pocket by us. 

This morning I was reading a news article about Federal Parent PLUS loans. The couple featured owes nearly $500,000 in loans. This happened because of deferments, forbearances, and high-interest rates. The couple has even filed for bankruptcy and lost their home. It's mind-boggling how quickly that can happen. -- however, even with bankruptcy they still owe on the parent plus loans. (Not all debt goes away with bankruptcy.)

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Nikki's Thoughts ...


My thoughts are all over the place and I can't help, but think I'm being called back to blogging. I did it when the kids were younger and enjoyed the interaction. I meant many wonderful people many of whom I'm still friends with and will be for the unforeseeable future. 

This blog is going to be shaken up some. Sure it will still include some homeschooling, but not as much seeing both the kids are high school graduates now. Yes, that's right Webprincess and Superstar are adults now, 19 and 20! Wow, in my early years of blogging they were just kids, 7/8. Seeing they are adults now there social media nicknames have changed. Superstar is now Chef and Webprincess is now Cadet, but Cadet is probably not fitting, seeing she's no longer active in CAP (Civil Air Patrol), maybe I should nickname her Artist. She spends her free time drawing and her art is impressive.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Post High School Education

It's 2021 and the realization that it's been almost one year since I graduated my youngest! What has happened in that year! A lot, it was 2020 - Do I really need to say more.

My daughter has decided to take a gap year, get a job and figure out exactly what she wants to do before pursuing any post-high school education. A move I fully support! I rather her spend time figuring out what she may want vs just taking classes to be taking classes because that's what you are supposed to do.

My son is finishing up his culinary degree at a local technical college and just this week landed a full-time job at a local restaurant whose focus is on offering seasonally driven dishes from locally sourced ingredients. The type of restaurant that grinds its own meat for burgers! -- I'm super excited for him and what this job opportunity will mean.

Then just today the technical college announced on their Facebook page that they just received the highest accreditation possible for their culinary program from American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC). There are 13 schools within WI-IL that have accreditation and only 4 of them, one being the school my son attends, have this exemplary status.  4 of the 13 schools.

All of this started to make me think of the choices people make, especially when it comes to post-high school education. Will my kids even go to school? I don't want them to pursue a career in this, because it's perceived they will not make money. In addition, I often see the push for 4-year schools and technical colleges and community colleges get poo-poo on as if they are not superior or can not hold up. As if 4 years are the only good options.

My son's technical school earning the highest accreditation possible for culinary made me realize how wrong people can be. Seeing it's a 3rd party accreditation board that is doing the accrediting we can look to them as a means to measure without bias. All ACFEFAC cares about is that the program meets its standards -- so two schools that meet the same standards can be seen as equal with the quality of education they produce. 

One of those 4 other schools that received the same accreditation happens to also be a larger school more widely known for its culinary program. Both schools are 2-year culinary programs. Both schools offer an AAS in Culinary Arts. It's just one is a small technical college that is not widely known and the other is a much larger school that is widely known.

Technical College Cost: $12,000
Well Known College Cost: $72,000 plus housing

WOW! look at that price difference for what is basically the same program according to ACFEFAC! Sure there are drawbacks to being at the technical college, such as potential employers outside of the area may have no clue or knowledge about the technical college and may have questions about the school. However, my son can overcome those challenges at job interviews when he can say the program is accredited by ACFEFAC and actually has the highest accreditation status: exemplary.

All of this to say: do not dismiss a local technical school or community college just because it's a community, technical college. Do research on the school, programs they offer, etc.

Yes, schooling has been expensive and we have had to do some loans to pay for it, but we saved ourselves $60,000 by going to the technical school. And what loans we have needed at the end of the day is equivalent to a car loan; so it will be easily paid back vs a loan that is equivalent to a house!

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Separation of Church and State


Illinois like other states had swiping abortion law changes. The changes in the new laws in Illinois will make it easier for abortions and will allow for later term abortions as well.

With these changes in the law, there is an actually a Catholic Bishop standing up! He announced that lawmakers that voted the recent bill will not be allowed to receive communion.

Of course, my local news outlet posted about what the Catholic Bishop did on their Facebook page and many commented with "separation of Church and State".

My first thoughts after seeing all these comments about "separation of Church and State":