Friday, March 29, 2013

Frugal Friday

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." ~Albert Einstein

I haven't had many Frugal posts the past few months because it just seems that I've posted most of my ideas and I hate to repeat myself!  However, since we had 2 birthdays this month, I got to thinking that I've never mentioned anything about being frugal when celebrating birthdays, so here goes.

I'm hoping that you don't think many of these ideas are "inappropriate", but they work for us.  Then again, we aren't very picky either :-)

First, I keep a stash of what I refer to as "reusable party favors".  For example, I reuse birthday candles, because let's be honest, they're only lit for about 30 seconds, so why throw them away?  (Of course, I do wash the cake off of them afterwards.)

I have a drawer of Congratulations banners and toppers for kids cakes and plastic party tableclothes that I can use over and over.  No one seems to notice- they are just excited to see colorful decorations on their special day! 

I keep all the extra unused kids paper plates and napkins.  We have had several parties that have a mixed theme of Disney Little Mermaid, Barbie, and Dora, but again, no one seems to mind.

We also reuse the gift bags and tissue.  As long as I am careful, I can fold the tissue paper and it looks almost new.  By reusing the bags, I can save alot, and then I can put more money towards the gifts.

As for gifts, I try to either hit a great After Christmas type of sale, or I purchase gifts through Ebay or Amazon.  I can find a better deal on Amazon, especially on movies and electronics, than I often can get at Walmart, and I don't even have to leave the farm! (Saving gas and saving $$..... yah!)

Ebay offers alot of opportunities to find great gifts at a much more reasonable price, especially if you don't mind buying something that is used and your kids don't mind getting something that is used.  We have a huge rubbermaid tub that is full of wooden Thomas Trains, track, and buildings that have been purchased exclusively from Ebay, often gently used and a few were even still in the original box.  It is probably the most used toy that we have, and I never could've gotten it if I had to purchase it at retail, because they are crazy expensive! 

When it comes down to it, I think the thought behind the gift and the love that it's given with is WAY more important than the price spent or the packaging used. 

Besides, we save more using these little tips so that we can buy more TRAINS!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Need filled life

This morning during my Bible reading quiet time, this verse hit me.

In fact, I went back to it several times.

"Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required: and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more."

God tells us that those of us that are fortunate need to share with those who are not.

And I look around at my home and my things, and even though we are frugal and don't have alot of "toys", we still have everything we need.


And I am again hit with the need to share all of my wonderfully safe, fortunate, need filled, family focused, blessed life with another little one who doesn't have all this. 

Doesn't have a lap to sit on and someone to read stories to her.

Doesn't have her own bed, or even clothes or toys to call her own.

Doesn't have brothers and sisters to clown around with, wrestle on the couch with, or snuggle with at night while watching a movie.

Doesn't have the unconditional love of parents and a family.

Doesn't have the teachings of a faith that she can hold on to and rely on.

And I know that I am again being nudged to do something about it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A story about a boy.

This is a story about a boy named Tanner and a girl named Natty.  Two kids, both born with some challenges that would keep many people down, but not these two.  They faced obstacles but overcame them.  They were fortunate to grow up with famiies that were protective enough to keep them from some of the tougher realities of the world, but supportive enough to teach them how to become independent.

One day, they meet at the adult learning center where they both spend their days, and as they say, "that's all she wrote."

Over the next 3 years they spend lots of time together, getting to know each, meeting each other's families and learning what being part of a couple is all about.  They competed together in Special Olympics, begin spending holidays with each other, and even begin tossing around the idea of getting married some day.

Then one day Natty is diagnosed with cancer.

And for the next 2 years, she spends her days getting chemo treatments instead of going to work...has to stay home to avoid being exposed to germs instead of going to the movies.  So they begin to text daily to keep in touch, and wait for the results of Natty's white count to give them permission to see each other. 

And she earns the name Might Warrior Woman from me because she faced the ravages of her treatment with no complaints and so much courage that I respect her even more.

And their committment to each other stays strong.  And they still talk about having a future together.

Then one day, Natty loses her battle with cancer.

And we are all devastated by the loss of this very special young woman.  But no more devastated than Tanner.

While we are relieved that Natty's pain is gone and that she is now healed, we struggle to understand the reason for her having to leave us.

 We struggle to understand God's purpose. 

And we struggle to not be bitter by the unfairness of life.

We love you and miss you, Natty Clayton. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What we're up to..

Not alot of time to post these days...not sure why, but I'm sure it's because I'm being so productive, right???

Anyway, here are a few quick updates.

On the farm:
The farm is beginning to stir and prepare for spring.  We already have our seed order sorted and will begin to start tomato and pepper seedlings later this week.  I am trying a few new items to grow this year, like celeriac, and can't wait to get into the garden.  Nothing like the feel and smell of fresh, warm soil.

We are also putting together our chick order for 4H birds and replacement pullets.  I order 10-15 replacement laying hens (pullets) each year as the birds we have age and stop laying eggs, and we often pick a few "fun" birds to try out and show at our County Fair.  This year, we are trying out Golden Polish "Hat Heads", because they make us laugh!

Miss Candace, Bri's new Oberhasli goat, delivered two little doelings during the night, and sadly one didn't make it :-(  However, the other one is up and just cute as a bug!  We are busy perusing the soap making websites and planning our first batch of goats milk soap.  Once we get our mudroom set up and plumbed, we will begin making soap for our own use and maybe to use as gifts.
We ordered a bar of goatsmilk soap from our coop, and it's like silk on your skin- cannot wait until we begin making our own.

In the house:  I'm working on the April decluttering schedule, but it's about filing and paperwork organization, something that I try to avoid!  I plan on having the month's schedule completed over the next 2 weeks so I can move on to meatier projects, like tossing, I mean, cleaning out lots and lots of toys

Started setting up our mudroom and got the wall of shelving moved last weekend.  I'll post pictures once we are done with the room.  It's going to be so nice to have all of the canning equipment and jars out of my kitchen.  There will also be a spot for coats and boots when you come in the back door-  Goodbye mud being tracked into the house!  Yah, life is good.

With the kids:  Quinn has accepted her new haircut with barely any acknowledgement and doesn't appear to hold a grudge, so peace reigns among the Littles.  However, she has entered the "Me Do" stage, which means everything takes three times as long as usual. sigh.
Homeschooling continues to flow- Bri continues to tackle advanced math and Early World History, and the Littles are learning colors and shapes, counting items,  how to do a puzzle without breaking the pieces, how to play Memory, and coloring. We are doing more reading and both Quinn and GW are doing more pretend-play, which neither of them had much exposure to before.   The other day I was the patient while they played with the Fisher Price doctor kit, and they didn't want to stop that game for nothing!  However, after being pinched about 30 times by GW with the tweezers and getting shots from Quinn, I was more than done!!

With us:  Barely making it to 10:00 every evening tells me that we must be working hard, right?
 I am still sticking with my Bible 90 day challenge, and currently in Lamentations.  Told my pastor about this challenge, and he said that many of the seminary students did a 1 year schedule to read the Bible.  When I told him this one was to be done in 90 days, he was more than a little impressed.  Of course, I have no time to read anything else, including the Sunday paper.

Other than making some squares for our local theater's raffle quilt, I haven't done any of my own quilting in about 2 weeks.  Need to get working on the retro pinwheel pattern that I started, and then begin a quilt for Quinn for her new room.  Now that basketball season is over, I will have more evenings and Saturdays to get things least until track season starts!

So far no Diet Coke or Aspertame have touched my lips since Lent started, and the more I learn about the dangers of this chemical, the less I want to ingest it.  Gotta check out some of the organic soda that our coop sells, because I'm really craving carbonation and caffeine!

Medical appointments have really been ruling our lives- SB clinic for Quinn last week, rheumatology, cardiology, and orthotic appts for J and now two orthodontic appts tomorrow.  I will be glad to get past these and have a more "stay at home" week so that I can get some of these pending projects done.

Lent services are a joy and our community shares these services between all the different churches, so every Wednesday evening it gives us a chance to worship with people in town that we otherwise don't get to and hear pastors from other denominations- really loving it. <3

Meanwhile, in the rush and hurry of the day, we will continue to live this life that is ours, blessed that in it's simplicity we are happy and healthy and growing in body and spirit, and continue to follow where God leads us. 

Bri's new little doeling

Monday, March 4, 2013

Surprise Haircut

For those of you who don't know...those cute little kindergarten scissors with the rounded ends that barely cut paper?  They cut hair surprisingly well.

And you would think that an old pro like me would've had all those darn scissors gathered from every nook and cranny of the house, stuck them in a large tin box  and buried in a deep hole in the back yard.  Because I like them that much.

And because I have had previous little ones (can you say CAMILLE?) give themselves" bold new haircuts" just because they could, you would think that I would be better at keeping those darn little things up out of the reach of busy hands.  But for some reason, one rebellious pair of scissors always seems to escape me, and there you have it....the Home Haircut.

This side seems to have gotten the most attention.

  In this instance, Quinn is the victim of a misguided and mischievious 4 year old boy, but the results are the same.  Thank goodness we have connections- an aunt that can work wonders with a scissors, so we headed to her shop for some damage control.
Poor Quinn looks so sad! 

Auntie Gayle can work wonders with her scissors :-)
Thank you for making Quinn pretty again.

Quinn even helped clean up!

What's a mom to do?

Thank goodness hair grows back.  Enough said. :-)