Blessings…

In life there are days were the blessings are just so front and center.  And there are days when you have to search to see them.

Today is a day where the blessings are right in front of me.  No, literally, right in front of me.  As I drive behind Jason driving our new to us truck and in it is a new to us refrigerator and in my van is a new to us dresser.

We spent several days with family.  And although it was a short visit, it was fun nonetheless.  In fact Kianna said as we drove away, “Our little cousin is the absolute cutest toddler I’ve ever met!”.  She and her siblings had fun berry picking with their cousins and playing in the big hot wheels jeep.

With us living so far from all our family on both sides, our visits are usually only a couple a year.  So when we do get together the kids sure enjoy it!  (So do we!)

Now I think we have a different problem…we are becoming vehicle hogs…and with a 17 year old still not desiring to get his license and a 14 year old not desiring to get her learner’s…we may have to start getting rid of one or two.  Or more likely they will die on their own as their mileages are anything but low!

Every Dollar app for  Android…

Dave Ramsey has a free app for budgeting called Every Dollar.  The problem is it’s only for Apple. ..that is until now.

I’ve been waiting for them to release the android version.

Finally it’s out!

I was so excited today when I got an email saying I could download the Android version!

This morning I downloaded it and have been working on our budget ever since.

This app is amazingly simple.  Even a person who is not terribly computer literate can easily figure it out.  I have already entered most of our budget items.  I have changed the names on budget line items.  I have done all sorts of tweeting and personalizing.

However, the features I’ve really been waiting for are that Jason and I can both access the same budget from our own phones.  Meaning we can in real time be completely current on our budget.

It also lets you easily set up “funds” to monthly budget for annual expenses.  So things like Christmas, school fees,  vacation, birthdays, etc.

It tallies your budget as you go so it shows you how much money you have left of your income to “spend” or allocate.  And as you “spend” your money in real time and input it into the app it shows you what you’ve spent and where and what of your budget is left.

At the end of the month any excesses in your alloted budget then can be moved to savings or debt repayment or whatever.

It is zero based budgeting, so you literally budiet every single dollar.  I’m at “approximate” person and round to the nearest $5.  Jason is a bean counter and likes every penny accounted for.  So this makes it easy for me to simply input the exact amount I spent when I spend it, which makes him really happy.

The other piece I love…is it completely FREE!

I highly recommend this app.  It is totally user friendly and dummy proof (I can use it😆).

Back From Camp…

If there is one single thing that I do not regret doing with my children, it is sending them to Christian sleepover camp.

My children have all been going since they were wee wee little things.  Kieran was 3 when I counselled at Rookie camp and brought him and his baby sister Katie along.

Keilan has been going since he was a baby too.  I was dean and brought along my kids.

My kids really didn’t have a choice but to love Pine Lake Christian camp.  They spent at least one camp a summer there for most of their lives.

My kids all love Pine Lake Christian Camp.   They look forward to going.  And they get great teaching and build solid long lasting relationships.

Today when I picked up my oldest 2 from high school camp they both were full of stories.  Which isn’t always the case.

My son was talking of “calling” in regards to his future.  And our conversation held a depth that wasn’t there before.  He was challenged to seek a deeper relationship with God and he clearly had done much thinking on this.

Katie was no different.  The friendships made and continued to grow were evident in her stories.  She too grew spiritually.

I am so glad that my kids have the opportunity to go to this camp each year. Their spiritual maturity grows so much in this setting.

I truly wish all kids had the same opportunity.  The lessons learned and the relationships forged can never quite be duplicated outside of camp.  Try as you might there is just something about living together with other people of the same values and beliefs for a week that changes a person.  And until you’ve experienced it you just don’t truly understand it.

The Oddity of Facebook…

I was having a chat with someone today about facebook.  And the funniest thing came up.

Facebook is such a fickle place really.  You have SO many friends.  Many of whom really are aquaintances and even more you rarely, if ever, see.

And yet some people know right away when they have been defriended.  Not only do they know, they take great offence and are hurt deeply by this act.

As for me…If someone defriends me, I likely won’t notice at all, or at least not for quite some time.  I don’t babysit my friend list.  If someone wants to defriend me then so be it.
But my real question here is why do so many take such deep offense and hurt when a casual facebook friend chooses to defriend them?  If they are making this choice then they were probably not really great and close  friends to begin with.

The irony of it all is that if a person really really wants to still see what that other person  is up to they just have to go in through another friends link.

Personally I don’t really care.  I don’t put anything on Facebook that I care if anyone sees.  I’m a pretty open book that way.  And I don’t have either the time or inclination to “spy” on anyone who isn’t already in my facebook feed.

But I do find it interesting how emotionally attached we can become to our Facebook friends.  Or at least the idea of someone not wanting to see what we are up to or I suppose not allow a back door to see what you are up to.

Owning a Home…

Owning our own home was a dream that was so far beyond our reach for so many many years.  With so many years just barely scraping by we never even dreamed we would be able to save enough for the minimum 5% down payment.   Add to that that we can’t really fit into a starter home or townhouse.  That means a larger house and a larger down payment.

A couple years ago we downsized into a smaller house to save money and be able to save for a down payment.  Only problem was a soon as we moved, 3 of our kids went to the orthodontist.  So much for saving any money.  We were paying far more than we had hoped to save just now it was going to the orthodontist.  Nothing at all left for saving.

Last summer we sat down and decided it was time to get serious about getting out of debt and into a house.  We cut and cut.  We took the kids out of of most of their activities.  We cut cable and everything else we could possibly cut.  And then Jason’s job got uncertain.  He hasn’t been paid on time since last July.  August 2015 he got his first late pay check.  And we have lived with being one to two paychecks behind ever since.

However, we were determined to get out of debt and get a down payment saved.

The goal was out of debt by end of June 2016 and in a house (or almost) before our 21st anniversary. We were out of debt by May.  At least more or less.  Because he is 2 paychecks behind we have a little bit on credit cards right now…but that will be cleared up when he gets paid again.

We are well on our way to the plan for saving our down payment.  I ran the math the other day and if we stay on target we will have a healthy down payment for next year.

Our lofty dream is now an attainable goal.  We have plans with many steps along the way and we are following it and each step brings us one step closer to getting into our own home.

The plan is to build a house of our own next spring and move into it in July or August.  Of course those fine details will follow later.  The area we want to build in isn’t even building until spring 2017.
So the fine details will follow.  But the important and exciting  thing is we are right on track to getting our own home. The home we dreamed about but never thought we’d be able to actually do.

Come end of February I think we will start making those fine detail plans.  So for now we just stick to the plan one step at a time…