Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our House Is A Very, Very, Very Fine House

We have a great little house. I love how quick and easy it is to clean, how close my children are to me at all times, so I know what they are doing, and how it has kept us from being in the "American Dream" mentality that has gotten so many people into a whopping of debt. For all these things, I am thankful! It is a 2 bedroom home of approx. 840 sq.ft., filled with love....and with children. We manage with my husband and I and our 4 children, but it is getting quite tight as our fourth addition back in May brought more clothes, a crib, and a different level of toys. So, if I hear you complain that you don't have enough room in your house, don't be alarmed if I don't show you pity. = )

This is why we WANT to get out of debt, save to add on, and build more space. Notice I didn't say NEED. Do we really NEED more space? Absolutely not. We are wonderfully taken care of with all of our needs being met right here where we are at. Would it be nice? Definitely! So, this is why we are striving for such a huge goal. We realize things won't go perfectly. We live in a fallen world where there is sickness, unexpected vehicle repairs, natural disasters, and other unplanned events. But we are focused as much as we can be. So, here we go. Tonight we go out to dinner to sit down and write out our goals for this whole journey. Stay tuned for what we got accomplished.

Just had to post some pictures of Benaiah. Today I walked into the house after carrying wood and found him sitting on the floor clapping his hands with such delight. He used to fist clap, but today was the first that those hands were opened up in a real clap. He even made sounds from his clap.

Alegra was loving it and praising him to get him to keep doing it.

Maybe she has him trained. = )

He is our sweet little baby. He is working on his top front teeth. Having a hard time of it, but getting closer. He brings us great delight watching all of his new development. Still waiting for him to crawl, but if he would wait til woodstove season is over that would be great. Doubt that will happen, but we'll see. Until then, we will be very thankful that he still just sits. Much easier that way!

Alegra turned 8? What?

Oh wow, I can't believe that my little girl turned has 8! Look at that great smile! We love Alegra so much and are thankful for her life in our family. We played games and had pink cupcakes after breakfast to celebrate. At dinner we reminisced what the day was like when she was born. It was a beautiful winter day, only when you looked out the hospital window, people were driving around with their convertible tops down and walking around in short sleeved shirts. It was gorgeous out, and we welcomed her into the world with a smile and warm sunshine.
It was a few years later that I learned something. I had an amish client who was talking about her son who had died while riding his bicycle on a warm, sunny, late January day. What? Yes, the same day my first child was being born, another mother's son was being taken home with Jesus. Within an hours time even. It really gives me a better appreciation of the life He gave us in Alegra. Thank you Father for her and help us to remember that she is ultimately Yours and not ours. Help us to train her to serve You and shine with Your joy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Birds Are A Blessing.

I know I haven't covered much on our big goal, but this weekend, Jonathon and I will be going out (without children), and we will sit down then and write out what our goals are and THEN I will get on the ball with this. Stay tuned, but until then, we wanted to share our birds with you.

Once a week we do a story time with another family from church, and we take turns hosting it and planning it. One week, we decided to do it on birds, and for the craft we made suet blocks (this is a great winter project. Directions for making at the end of the post). We hung one of ours in the tree just outside our big front window and Jonathon screwed a piece of wood outside the window where we sat the other two. So far, no birds right up at the window. I wonder why with three chilren who as soon as they see a bird, yell, "BIRD". = )

Alegra has enjoyed taking pictures of them, so I wanted to display some of her work.

This one is of a female Cardinal sitting right outside the window by one of the suet blocks.

Here she captured both a male Cardinal and a Downey Woodpecker.

This morning, I was up early to feed Benaiah. Here I sat in my chair, thinking about what the day would hold and some visitors arrived. Mr. and Mrs. Card came by. Mrs. Card was very brave this morning (maybe it was because the children were still in bed or she was sleep flying). But joining them was Mr. Downey. Though I remember that he and Mr. Hairy Woodpecker look very similar, so I am needing somebody to remind me of the difference between the two. I didn't want to embarrass him in front of Mr. and Mrs. Card. I sat and nursed Benaiah while they enjoyed a bite to eat also. What a pleasant visit we had! What a blessing!

These little guys look like sparrows to me, but I do believe they are a fancier kind of sparrow if there is such a thing. If anybody knows what kind this is, please leave a comment. The head had more distinct markings than a sparrow, which makes me think it is one of those, something or other crowned sparrows or something like that. Any help? I really need a good bird book!

And these guys weren't at all afraid of the children. They would let them get right in the window to watch them. How fun!
That wasnt' all we saw. We watched Tufted Titmouse, Juncos (snow birds), Red Bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, 2 male Blue Birds, and 1 female Blue Bird. What a pleasure it is to watch this simple creation of HIM. We certainly enjoy the simple things in life and this happens to be one of them. What a lovely thing to watch while I nursed my infant, praising HIM for all His blessings in my life, both big and small blessings!
Homemade Suet Blocks
-Start by melting down some beef suet. I didn't measure I just estimated. And be sure you stir while it is melting, so that it won't burn.
-Other than suet, you will need bird seeds, berries from bushes or trees, peanut butter, and containers such as coolwhip or sour cream containers.
-After the suet is melted (DO NOT add the peanut butter to the suet while you are melting it or it will burn. And then your house will smell nasty for days to come. Lesson learned and sharing with you) add peanut butter.
-Let it cool a little and then pour into your containers.
-Have children scoop out bird seed and berries and dump into container, then stir thoroughly.
-We also put a tied piece of yarn at the top of the inside of the container for hanging it up. Seemed to work good on two of ours. We just pushed the yarn into the mixture so it would solidify within it.
-Let it sit until it is solid, then carefully try to tap out of container.
-Then hang in a tree or put on a ledge and enjoy the birds during the winter months.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Goals for our financial well being this year

The Bovees are seeing things brighter this year. So many things have been changing including our children, us, and our work situations. I am continueing to do massages one day a week, and Jonathon just added to our Bovee Family Services business, satellite installation (or something like that). It is getting very busy, and we are seeing so many blessings and open doors just about everyday. It's exciting for us as we sat back and waited on the Lord for so long to help us out in this area. We are now seeing His blessings!

Our heart's desire is to be debt free. That doesn't mean everything except our mortgage. When some people say they are debt free, they mean credit cards and other debts are paid off, but not the mortgage. We have no debt except our mortgage and are looking to get that paid off this year. Yep, you heard me right. Our financial goal for this year is to get our mortgage paid off. So, that means the Bovees are in lock down mode. No going out to eat (unless we have a gift card or equivalent of), no extra entertainment expenses unless extremely cheap, keep grocery costs low, and do the best we can at keeping ALL expenses low. This shouldn't be too hard for us as we have been already living this way for the past year or so. We just have to make the committment to continue in this lifestyle to help us reach the.......

Once our house is paid off, our goal is to begin saving money to add on to our little house. So, that will mean more lock down. In order to put money in the bank we will be careful of every expense and give up plenty to reach this ultimate goal that we have had for so long. But as long as we live frugally, our money will go here..... And then once we reach that goal, well, we don't know what the next one will be. We'll see when we get there. So, this blog is going to become more of sharing with you our journey at getting our goals accomplished. I would like to share with you some great free or inexpensive deals that might be of interest to my readers. The things that we do for entertainment that helps us not spend money and also still live life happily, will be posted with pictures. And I will keep you updated on how we are doing with getting the mortgage paid off. At the end of every month, I will post where we are at and how much farther we have to go.

I am hoping that this will help us stay on track, will encourage others to do the same thing, will get our readers to give us suggestions on what they do to save money, ask questions on how they can save in certain areas, and support one another in getting out of the bondage of banks. Let's all do it together! Please join us in this journey!

In a week or so, you may notice that the blog looks a little different. I will be changing things up a bit to give it a fresh new look, and since I will be here more often, make it more enjoyable for me to come visit as well. :) Soon to come, pictures of our little house, so you know why we NEED to add on, pictures of our family for those of you following that don't really know us, and the fun will begin soon of great deals and ideas of what we do to save our family money.

Looking forward to the journey with you all!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Benaiah's First Cereal Feeding

It's taken me awhile to get around to feeding Benaiah cereal. I usually start my babies later than most people do, so I know that their body is really ready to digest it easily. But it seems that he is ready now and maybe if he gets a fuller tummy before bed, he will sleep better at night. I'm praying for that one.

He liked the first couple of bites quite well.

Wanted the dish more than the spoon.

Lip licking good!

Distraction by the camera.

By the end he was done with it. But he never choked like they usually do when you start them off, and he seemed to take actual bites, which I was surprised by. Still plenty of mess, but we'll get that nipped as he eats more and more. Jonathon doesn't tolerate messy eaters very well, so we have to be on top of it from the start.
So far, so good. We'll see how he does tonight. And soon he'll be eating burgers.

A sled is fun inside and out!

Grandma Linda bought the children a new sled for her contribution to what she was going to share for their party, but since she didn't get to make it to the party, they didn't get to enjoy it til after. But, boy did they enjoy it! I got the brilliant idea of turning it upside down to use as a slide and hoped that noone would get hurt.

They had so much fun! They even tried to do tricks-going down on their knees, going down on their sides, going down on their feet. They didn't do so well in other ways other than their bottom but that was alright, as they were glad they could do that. Who knew a sled could be this fun in the house!

Grandparent's Annual Party- Transportation Celebration

Every year since we have homeschooled we do a theme unit study the first half of the school year and then we have a party with the grandparents where the children can show them all their projects that relate to the theme, and they do a little program.

Our only guests were Grandpa Dan and Grandma Deborah because of bad roads. I didn't get much accomplished for this party as things have been pretty crazy around here the last month, but it was nice and small. We did decide to do another one in the spring so everyone can make it.

For lunch we had "Submarine" sandwiches, veggies sticks, cottage cheese and smoothies. We also had homemade "Car"amel Corn and Nut Clusters. I always try to have food that is theme related too, but this year was a little difficult coming up with something, but it worked and was delicious nonetheless.

Then onto the program. Alegra read a tractor book that even made sounds (Benaiah really liked this book).

Then they all three memorized a long poem and recited it. We recorded it after a couple tries.

Then Grandpa Dan shared. We alwasy ask the grandparents to bring something related to the theme that they can share with the children. He shared about dog sleds. Was very good and kept everyone's attention.

Grandma shared about snow shoes, camels, and other things. Was interesting looking at the pictures she brought along for them to see.

And of course we had to get the picture of the children with their guests. Now with Benaiah makes it more complete.
Now we are going to start studying farms. And hopefully by spring, the children will learn how important it is to work and how we can benefit from working outside, especially in the garden. The goal is to have great little helpers in the garden this year, so we will see if our farm unit will help with that.