Sunday, February 05, 2023
Thursday, February 02, 2023
Hello, and welcome to our second Thrifty Thursday post! Today I want to talk about how it pays to wait. My tip is:
Exercise patience when shopping, as acting on impulse is most often the enemy of frugality.
What do I mean by this? Quite simply, when I want (not need) to buy something, I don't just go out and buy it. I wait, even if I have the funds for it. I can't tell you how many times I have wanted something, but not wanting to pay full price for it, I pass it up only to find it cheaper somewhere else. Sometimes, I find an alternative that I like better. Other times I forget about the item altogether or realize that I don't really want or need it after all. And of course, there is always the high chance that something will eventually go on sale.
I held back a photo from last Thursday's post because I knew it would fit so well with today's theme. This is just a small example. I had been eyeing Rachel Ashwell's decorating books, but as they weren't something that I deemed a priority, I wasn't going to order them. Then I saw one at a used book store and I thought, "Aha!" But when I looked at the price, it was $18. I just wasn't going to do that, either. "I'll just wait," I thought. Then as we were thrifting last week, I found these:
They were only $3 each, so I snatched them up! It pays to wait.
I bought my gas stove the same way. I researched and read reviews, shopped online to price compare, and finally found the one I wanted. It was pricey, but for things like that, I am willing to invest. However, just as I was about to order it, I saw that it would take over 3 months for me to get it (as just about everything these days). So I thought I would wait. Then it occurred to me to check Craigslist, and listed there was a beautiful gas stove that looked almost new. I wanted it! Of course I sat on it for a few days to make sure, but eventually Colton messaged the seller. It was being sold by a man who lived in the Country Club estates, and he was remodeling his kitchen to accommodate a commercial stove because he loves to cook. He said it worked great, and he even had the user manual. I bought it for a fraction of the cost of the new one I almost bought. It really upgrades the look of the kitchen, and it is serving me well. It pays to wait.
Another example: I have been thinking about how I want to have the boys' room once James moves into a "big boy" bed- which is going to be soon- so I have been looking at bedding. Of course, ads pop up online and I saw the cutest little sheet sets from Pottery Barn. One set had construction vehicles and another had dinosaurs- both things my boys like. The problem is that they wanted $80 per twin size set! I just can't justify that. I'll invest in the comforters/quilts for the top, but I can't bring myself to do that for sheets, especially in the potty training years. I decided I would just buy plain white ones when the time came so I wouldn't have to worry about matching. Then one day as Colton and I were perusing the Walmart clearance aisle (we always check it when we go, even though most of the time we don't find anything), I found these:
They are not the same as the Pottery Barn ones, but they are close enough! And for less than $15, you can bet I was excited. So it pays to wait.
I have been wanting to buy a pajama sewing pattern to use for John, but I knew I didn't need to pay the MSRP. I waited for a sale and snagged one for $1.99. Waiting saved me nearly $12.
Because I decided to wait instead of buying a dining room light fixture from a big box store, I now have a German crystal chandelier hanging above my dining table. I never thought I would ever have anything like this, but it came from Craigslist for a song. It was listed by an elderly gentleman who was going to be moving in with his son. He had had it from his military days stationed in Germany, and he said he just wanted it to go to someone who would appreciate its beauty. I appreciate it every day! Can you believe it?! It pays to wait!
I have countless examples of this, but these are some of the more recent ones. One thing I have learned over the years is that there is no rush when it comes to "wants" because something will always turn up. If you do end up missing an opportunity, another one is sure to come along. It just takes patience.
What about you? Do you have any examples of how you saved by waiting?
Now for the ways I saved this week:
As Colton has had the week off from school (he has been working as a school nurse on his days off from the fire station), we took another road trip. It was just a short day trip this time, but we still managed to find some little thrift stores along the way to our destination. I didn't find anything at the first one, but I found a few things at the second one:
The sweater is a J Crew brand wool/cotton blend. It is so soft and doesn't look like it has any wear at all. It was only $2. The book actually goes along with today's tip! I am a Sally Clarkson fan and have several of her books. This is one I have been wanting, but since I have two by her that I still haven't read yet, I decided to wait. I was just giddy when I found it at the thrift store and couldn't believe it. I also found a little board book for James, but it isn't pictured because he quickly took possession of it.
I packed snacks for the road, as usual.
We had to stop at Walmart, and as is our custom, we checked the clearance section. It was a different town, so I was especially interested to see what they had. (I guess I'm easily amused!) I found a set of popsicle molds that will be handy for making some healthier summer snacks and some craft supplies for my budding artist:
Being in thrift store mode and taking advantage of Colton's time off, I went to our local thrift store the next day. I hadn't been in months. I found another sweater and a vintage princess style coat:
I also found things for John, including a baseball glove, some geography-themed books, and a set of dinosaur stamps. He was thrilled about the stamps:
We sold our three ducks and one Silkie rooster. I'm only four Silkies away from having my hatching pen back.
I got out a fresh budget sheet for February and filled it in. I love having a fresh start each month.
I am being very careful to not let any fresh produce go to waste. This week I had some things that were still good but nearing the end. I boiled the rest of the white potatoes and made mashed potatoes to be eaten during the week. The potato water was saved to water my rose bushes. I baked the rest of the sweet potatoes for me to eat throughout the week, as well. I chopped and froze celery, and I juiced some limes and saved the juice for adding to drinking water.
I saved kitchen scraps and fed them to the chickens, dogs, and compost pile.
I saved rainwater for watering seedlings (when I get them planted).
I saved $39.16 on groceries by shopping the sales and using coupons.
And that wraps up my week! I am happy with my finds and my savings. The last two Thursdays have seen me do an unusual amount of thrifting, and it was fun, but I think next week should look a bit more "normal" for me. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!
Saturday, January 28, 2023
It has been a very full month. We took the side wall off of James's crib since he started climbing in and out of it. I remember writing about when John did the same thing. How time flies! Now I have two little alarm clocks that wake me in the mornings around 6:30. I can't seem to figure out how to reprogram the time though, and there aren't any snooze buttons anywhere! But they're cute and they make me laugh, so it's ok.
The weather has been warm for January, so we have been enjoying time outside. Here is Button, sure to be an internet sensation:
He has been with us for twelve years. Colton caught him for me when he was a wild kitten on the ranch. He lived with us in town, and now he has come full circle back to the ranch. He had gotten very sick recently, and Colton agreed to take him to the vet for me- proof of his love because he is not a cat person. I am happy to report that Button has made a full recovery. Do you see James's little boots in the background? He is very gentle with the animals.
We are trying to sell our little flock of five Silkies. We bought them by mistake, not knowing what they were. They were in the clearance bin for $1 with all of the other chicks we bought. Because that is a steal when it comes to chicks (they are about $4 each nowadays), we brought them home. I do think they are pretty, but the roosters are mean to my big chickens. They have plucked all of the tail feathers out of my big rooster! They also live in our hatching pen, and I want my hatching pen back this spring, so they just need to go.
I am still trying to adjust to my new diet, but it hasn't been all bad. We had some good friends give us- yes give us- some steak! Colton selflessly cooked some of it up for me and I divided it into meal portions for myself. I really can't complain.
I've also been eating lots of bacon and cabbage or homemade sausage with Brussels sprouts for breakfast.
My gift was these tisane glasses, and Colton had set it all up with my tea pot and strainer and lit candles. Isn't that romantic? We like to watch BBC's detective series Poirot (from the 90s), and Poirot always drinks his herbal tea from glasses like these. Now we have our own set.
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Monday, January 23, 2023
|Banana bread baked during the week, partly devoured by my family|
It was a rough week trying to find my footing with my new dietary changes. I spent most of it in the kitchen, and one of the things I learned is that the success of this is going to come down to planning. My sanity and energy levels depend on it. By the end of the week, I felt completely overwhelmed, and the rest of the housework had been all but neglected.
Being the compassionate husband that he is and seeing my weariness, Colton offered to take the boys out for a day of fun on Saturday so that I could gather my strength and recharge from the emotional toll that the stresses of the week had taken on me. Being the introvert that I am, I very gratefully accepted.
So what did I do with my time? Well, I cleaned, decluttered, and organized, of course! It may sound strange, but doing that really helps me when I'm overwhelmed. Bringing order to chaos, simplifying, and setting things right- this is what calms my mind.
I set the tone with an up beat bluegrass gospel CD (does anyone else play CDs anymore?) and opened the curtains, bringing in the natural light. I put some laundry in the wash and some sweet potatoes in the oven for meal prep, and I happily set to work.
I tackled some of the things that haven't been working for us. James, who just turned two last month, has learned how to open the child locks on cabinets and drawers, open his baby gates, and climb out of his crib. He's a little Houdini, that kid! (He can also count to 8. Time to call Mensa.) So I moved things around where he can't get to them, and as you know, that has sort of a domino effect.
I sorted through John's art supplies, purging some and getting the rest all organized onto shelves and into folders and bins. He is really into art and creating things and, as it usually happens with creative spaces, things had gotten pretty messy. He likes to keep all of his paper scraps in case he needs them for a project. I wonder who he gets that from...
I got out all of the toys and dust bunnies that had found their way under the china cabinet and tv armoire; I vacuumed under the furniture cushions; I even got our family photos for this year put into my collected thrift store frames and set them on the mantle.
|Thrifted frames ready to be cleaned|
Even though I enjoyed the bit of peace and quiet that being alone afforded me, as I cleaned and puttered, I felt so blessed to have a family to take care of. All of the things I had tidied were tokens of those who lived there, signs of the life we enjoy together in our home. Work though it is, I relish making my home a haven for my loved ones. By the time Colton messaged me to tell me they were coming home, I was recharged and ready to welcome them.
"Mom, you made the house look so beautiful!" John said, delighted.
But I know that what actually makes the house so beautiful...are the people in it.
I have a fun post planned for Thursday, so check back!
Monday, January 16, 2023
What do eggs, avocados, spinach, mushrooms, and cauliflower have in common? What about peanuts, cashews, almonds, cinnamon, and black pepper? Turkey and chicken? These are all the nutrient-dense, incredibly healthy foods that I have been relying on to help me manage my PCOS. Fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and bananas in moderation became my occasional sweet treats.
Want to know what else all of these foods have in common?
I'm allergic to every. single. one.
Oh, yes. The plot thickens.
Despite feeling much better after changing to healthier eating habits, I was continuing to suffer what I had thought were panic attacks. Sometimes, out of nowhere, I'd feel like passing out and then my heart would start racing dangerously fast. It wasn't until I realized those episodes only happened after I had eaten that I suspected it might be a food allergy, but I couldn't seem to pinpoint which food was causing it, as each meal was different. And I had eaten those foods all my life without a problem. Maybe it was all in my mind?
So last week I made an appointment with an allergist, and sure enough, those "panic attacks" were actually an allergic reaction. The one that sent me to the ER last year was actually anaphylaxis! By God's mercy, it didn't kill me. That would explain why breakfasts like the one pictured above, followed by a cup or two of cinnamon tea, were giving me issues.
This news was both a big relief and a huge blow. On the one hand, I now know which foods to avoid, thus avoiding any more dangerous episodes. On the other hand, it means that a lot of foods that had become staples in my diet (and that I had really come to enjoy) have to be eliminated completely. This is in addition to the sugar and carbs that I have already cut due to PCOS. So, my diet has suddenly become even more restricted.
Dealing with this and coming up with things to eat has been very difficult. Besides knowing I can never safely enjoy some of my favorite foods again, there is also the social aspect of not being able to enjoy those same foods with others, having to prepare separate meals for myself and my family, and not being able to dine out or partake in a lot of foods at others' homes. There is a lot that I will have to learn to navigate.
But this seems to be the way life goes, and I can either despair and collapse in a puddle of tears, or I can choose to find the good in it and get to work. I've already done the former and it hasn't really worked, so now we try the latter.
There really is quite a bit of good when I stop and count my blessings:
1. Man doesn't live by bread alone, and I am so thankful to be able to feast on the Bread of Life any time, day or night, that I need or desire.
2. I can eat. Period. I have the physical ability to eat, and I have access to food- any food I might need to fit into a new dietary plan. Many people don't have that luxury, especially these days. My ancestors didn't even have the luxury that I have, even with my "restricted" diet!
3. I won't have any more dangerous attacks!
4. I will be healthier and stronger and better able to care for my family.
5. I can still delight in preparing my family's favorite foods. Even though I can't partake in eating those foods, I still enjoy the process of cooking it and seeing my family enjoy it. I'm thankful that physical contact with my allergens doesn't seem to cause a problem.
6. I have a very supportive husband who is doing everything he can to help me heal and to provide my earthly needs.
7. I don't have cancer. When they told me last year that I might have cancer, I was willing to do anything, follow any diet, avoid any foods, do any and every exercise possible that would mean even the slightest chance of healing. Compared to that, this is very minor. These dietary changes will provide at least some healing, all without a cancer diagnosis.
8. I can still eat beef, pork, and fish. Fish is especially healthy.
9. I can still eat chocolate! It has to be without sugar, but I have found that it isn't necessarily the sugar I crave any more- it's the chocolate. I have found a bar by Lindt that is 100% cacao (no sugar), and two or three little squares of that after a meal satisfies my craving.
10. We will get to grow much of what we eat in the garden. This is a dream we've always had, and here's the push that will get us there.
11. We will save money by not eating out!
Even though I need to make even more changes than I had originally planned this year in regards to my diet, my pantry, and my garden, it isn't all bad. Yes, I will miss some things, but maybe I will find some new favorites. Feeling better is going to be a new favorite, at least!
I don't intend for this to become a health food blog (I highly recommend the cowboy cookies I have posted here!), but I think documenting my progress every once in a while is going to help motivate me. Those posts will be geared towards pantry stocking, eating frugally, gardening, and cooking for my family- many of the things this blog already focuses on- but with a slight twist. I hope you'll bear with me.
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Between the two of us, John and I made quite a large mess of the dining room table- he with his many ongoing art projects and I with my seeds, charts, notebook, pens, and tea. But it was a rather lovely mess, don't you think?