Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Month in Review {February 2023}


    Our February was uncharacteristically warm this year.  We've all enjoyed the extra time outside and even had some open-window days.  Everything is coming to life after a sleepy winter.  Mountain laurel blooms give off such a strong, beautiful scent... 

{In the Garden}

    Gophers, gophers everywhere!  I haven't planted anything in the garden yet because I have to somehow get rid of the gophers first.  I had about 20 multiplying onions planted, and the gophers ate all but four.  Of my four big rosebushes, the gophers destroyed three.  I have one more climbing rose that is holding on, but it is nearly dug up daily by the dogs who are trying to get the gophers.  Just look!

    The dogs even bit off one of the main branches in all of their excitement.

    Colton buried some wire around the base of the bush and that has since kept the dogs from digging.  We also found gopher traps on clearance at Tractor Supply.   I have declared war.

{ In the Kitchen}

    I had intended to start my gut healing program this month, but after a lot of consideration, I am going to wait until school is out so that Colton can be home for it.  Delving into the course a little deeper, it looks like parts of it can be pretty intense.  With the allergy issues I've been having, I'd really rather not be alone when I introduce new foods and supplements into my diet, especially as potent as they are supposed to be. 

    I am still working my way through the pantry, using things up that need to be used and making more homemade snacks.  This month I made oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, and Rice Krispies treats.  I also made popcorn for snacks a few times.  Stored in a mason jar, popcorn will stay fresh for several days.

    Colton's grandpa celebrated his 92nd birthday this month!  Colton's dad picked him up from the nursing home for a little potluck party at his house.  Colton smoked a brisket and I baked a cake.  I would have taken pictures, but cake decorating is not my strong point- you would not have been impressed!

    I am continuing to save kitchen scraps for the dogs, chickens, and compost pile in an effort to save on feed and fertilizer.  Most scraps are what James leaves on his plate and that goes to the dogs, but vegetable trimmings or bad spots go to the chickens.  The compost pile gets egg shells and coffee grounds, paper filter and all.  I'm also trying to be less wasteful and use up or freeze things before they go bad.

{From my Bookshelf}

    I am trying to get back into the habit of reading.  It is something I really enjoy, but most often I only have snippets of time.  By evening, I can hardly keep my eyes open long enough to read more than a page or two!  So I am starting small and light.  I got out two of my back issues of Victoria magazine.  They are from February 2000 and 2001, but I feel that most of the styles are timeless.  Does it still count if I mostly just look at the pictures?

    I also picked up Mom Heart Moments by Sally Clarkson, which I received as a baby shower gift when I was pregnant with James.  It is in devotional format, each one only about half a page or so, making it perfect for when I am short on time.  I have mentioned my love of Sally Clarkson's writings before.  She is a highly gifted writer, especially in the areas of homemaking and motherhood.  This book will likely be on my nightstand all year as I work my way through it.  John made me the bookmark you see peeking out of the top.

{On my Craft Table}

    Yes, after an entire year, I am finally crafting again!  Working on my creative endeavors is so therapeutic, and I've missed it so much. 

    The first thing I made was a set of masculine cards and gift tags from a magazine my father-in-law passed on to me.  The magazine articles featured hunting in South Texas, so the pictures could not be more perfect.

    Another thing I did was cut out a bunch of lists and papers from unused sections of last year's planner.  I nearly tossed it until I remembered that we use every part of the buffalo in this household!  Now I have papers for notes, grocery lists, to do lists, etc.  Some of the lined paper with the pretty border will be used as letter writing stationery. 

    The last thing I made was a little work apron for John.  He likes to "help" Colton down at the shop, hammering nails, sawing boards, picking up screws, and other little boy things.  I used one of my old skirts and an old pair of Colton's overalls for the whole thing.  It has nice big pockets for all of John's tools.

       See the neck strap?  I just used the button placket from my skirt.  The overall buttons happily fit the holes.  I love when things come together like that!

{Ways I Saved}

    I did more thrifting and Colton is entirely to blame!  Just kidding.  He is just so kind and obliging when we go out of town to take me to all of the thrift stores,  I'm not going to object.  I found some goodies...

    The plaid fabric above is a tablecloth that I will turn into napkins.  I think it looks very fall-ish, so the napkins will become practical, seasonal décor.  Pictured with it is a brass candlestick (I am trying to collect a little grouping of these) and a wooden stamp that I will use for autumn crafts.

    Below is a floral curtain panel.  I will use the fabric for another project (undecided, but so many options).  I always check the linens at thrift stores because they can be an inexpensive source of fabric.  You just have to think beyond its original use sometimes.  With it is a scarf in a flattering color.  It looks hot pink in the photo, but it is actually more of a deep raspberry color.  It will coordinate with many things in my wardrobe.

    I have also been searching for picture frames, as I would like to display more of our family photos around our home.  I think this is the best art, and with frames abounding in the thrift stores, it is also inexpensive.  I found these:

    The floral one is too girly for my boys, but I think it would look beautiful holding black and white photos of our ancestors.  The other two will, I think, be part of a gallery in the hallway.  I like to wonder about who donated these and who the children are in the photos.  I'm not sure if you can see, but in the photo on the left, I think the little boy looks like he just got in trouble and the girl looks like she is the reason for it!

    My last purchase was this teacup:

    I seem to have developed a good eye for English china.  It's my favorite!  When I looked at the bottom of this teacup and saw the "Made in England" stamp, I said, "I knew it!"  Being the anglophile that I am, if you ever want to sell me something, just stamp the bottom with "Made in England" and you can have my money (as long as it's in the budget 😉).

    A few other ways I saved this month were:

    I shopped sales and used coupons and rebates for my groceries. 

    I gathered eggs from my chickens.

    I bought some Valentine's Day candy at half off after the holiday.  I love chocolate truffles, so these will be savored.

    I used points I earned to buy a book from Amazon (a gift for someone).

    I found some Epsom salt bath sets on clearance.  I bought one to give to my sister-in-law and the rest will go into the "toiletries" portion of my pantry.

    My sister-in-law gave me a basket she didn't want.  I use baskets for so many things. 

    Colton brought home bags of leaves from work, which he ran through the shredder for our compost pile.

    He also gave James his first haircut!  No more Boris Johnson hair.  I clipped his little curl that he had at the nape of his neck and saved it for his baby box. ❤

    I opened the windows on fair weather days to save on electricity.

{A Few Thoughts}

    I have been blessed this month by a commitment that a friend and I made to one another.  We live hours apart so we don't get to visit as often as we'd like, but we are such kindred spirits and our fellowship is so sweet when we do get together.  Our husbands are great friends, also.  Our personalities and dispositions are so similar; our lives seem parallel in many ways.  We are both homemakers, we have been married the same amount of time, and when I found out I was pregnant with John (my eldest), God also blessed them with their first child through the miracle of adoption.  So we are able to relate to one another very well.  Our commitment is to text each other daily, circumstances and time permitting.  We share our thoughts and struggles, our triumphs and failures, our humor, and our prayer requests.  We have both remarked on how much this has helped us in our daily walk, making us more mindful of our words and actions as we encourage one another and hold each other accountable.  If you are blessed with such a friend, I would encourage you to not let distance prevent you from fellowship.  God gives us special friends, sisters in Christ, for a reason!  Reach out regularly, even if it is only via technology.

    We read a verse in church one Sunday as part of a larger passage, and it jumped off of the page at me.  I think it is so beautiful:

"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee."

~ Psalm 139: 17-18

    A thought came to me as I was doing my ironing (these still, quiet tasks are good for prayer and pondering).  I wrote it down on one of my list papers:

It is because of Christ's love for us that he saves us from our sin, and it is because of our love for him that we flee from it and cling to him.


    March is just around the corner, and I'm very excited for it.  Colton has vacation time and we have some projects and trips lined up.  With him working two jobs, we have not had much time for things like that, so we have been counting down with anticipation!  I hope to share more soon.  

How was your February?  I would love to hear from you! 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thrifty Thursday #5 ~ Temptations at Home

    Last Thursday, I talked about avoiding the stores and staying busy at home as a way to keep from spending.  However, even in the private sanctuaries of our homes, there are still various ways that those stores can come to us!  Some of those ways are through magazines, promotional emails, sales flyers, advertisements on tv or online, shopping channels and apps, and even social media.  To avoid spending, it is important to:

Recognize the various temptations that come into our homes and take measures to avoid and resist them.

    One of the things that can make this tricky is the fact that most of these things bombard us during our leisure time.  We don't sit down with the intention of shopping, but before you know it, an ad has popped up somewhere that has caught our attention.  

    If you are accustomed to watching tv, you may have to change the channel during the commercials if this is a weak spot for you.  Skip the ads in online videos.

    When you get your mail and sit down to sort through it, toss catalogs and ads (unless for groceries- those are a necessity!) right away.  Don't peruse them for entertainment- the companies that send these out are just hoping you will find something you didn't know you needed.

    When it comes to promotional emails, don't open them- just delete!  Over the years, I have signed up for so many newsletters because of the promise of "15% off your first purchase when you sign up for our mailing list."  Now, I get my 15% off and unsubscribe.  Another option, if it is a company you like and plan on buying from regularly in the future, is to set up a separate email account- a junk mail account- for these promotions that you only check when you are intentionally shopping for something.

    For shopping apps that you use but temporarily need to stay away from, put them all into a designated "shopping" folder on your phone and don't leave them on your home screen.  This way they are still accessible, but it takes a bit more work to get to them.  For those just taking up space, delete them.  An additional approach to avoiding spending money on these apps is to not save your payment information on them.  You may be less likely to make a purchase if you have to dig out a credit/debit card and take the time to manually fill in all of your billing and shipping info.  One-click ordering and buy-it-now buttons are just too convenient and these companies know it!

    Magazines and their modern counterpart, social media, can be a bit more difficult to tackle.  This is because these don't often involve blatant advertising, and how tempting they are is going to depend on our individual tendencies.  For some, they may not be a problem at all!  But for others, it can be so easy to fall into a comparison trap and think, "If I just had this or that, my home/life would be fabulous too."  (After all, there is a reason the popular posters are called "influencers"!)  What can start out as a source of inspiration can quickly lead to discontentment if we aren't careful.  I have a lot of thoughts on social media, but for the sake of this post, I will just encourage you to take a break if it is an area of struggle for you.  Remove certain apps from your home screen if need be- you'll be less likely to mindlessly browse during your spare moments if you have to go hunt for them.

    In all of these scenarios, out of sight, out of mind seems to be the best approach.  What say you?  What are some of the shopping traps you encounter at home and how do you avoid them?

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Life's Winters and the Promise of Spring

    The chill of winter always amplifies the comforts of home for me.  When I look out my frosty window and see the cold drizzle blowing in from overcast skies, the trees swaying in the biting wind, I can't help but notice the strong contrast of my warm, cozy abode and the deepened sense of safety and security I feel being shielded from the barrage of unpleasant weather outside.  Even more so are these feelings heightened when my outdoor responsibilities expose me to those elements- I always hurry back inside to warm myself by the crackling fire, a hot drink warming my hands and my belly.  

    Winter is a time of slowing down, of gathering in with those most precious to us, with little to distract us from simply being together and delighting in one another's company.  We take the time to rest and nourish our bodies with homemade soups and seasonal treats, the scents of which fill the atmosphere and remind us of those pleasures that were forgotten during busier seasons.  Thus, even in winter, I always feel such peace within these walls.

    As I reflect on these things, I see so many parallels in my spiritual walk.  Just as a harsh winter would be unbearable without a home, so would the storms of life be unbearable without Jesus, for as our earthly dwellings provide refuge for our bodies, so does God provide refuge and shelter for our souls.  Whatever problems there may be in the world, whatever troubles may be present in our own lives, we can always run to him, for he is our Comforter.  Even in life's most bitter winters, he provides a safe hiding place, a retreat abounding with peace, rest, and solace. 

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.  Selah."

~Psalm 46: 1-3

    Sometimes- oftentimes- he uses these winters to bring us closer to him.  If we would just be still, if we would just put aside those worldly distractions and worries, we would find what is most precious. 

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ..."

~ I Peter 1: 6-7

     And as with every winter- however long it lasts and however unending it may seem- small glimmers of hope will eventually begin to emerge.  The trees will start to put forth their leaves, and the flowers and blades of grass will push up out of the soil; in time, the ground that rested silently for months will teem with life.  So does God breathe abundant life into our souls, renewing our joy, filling our hearts with gladness and beauty, and reawakening those forgotten desires that had so long lain as dormant as the seeds in the earth.  

    My dear reader, I've had a long winter, but spring is finally coming.


"My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.  For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."

~ Song of Solomon 2: 10-13

Saturday, February 18, 2023

During My Absence ~ Some Life Updates

    Last year was a difficult year for many reasons.  I was glad I had taken a blogging break before so many trials had transpired, as there was no way I could have written about them or through them with a clear mind.  It would have been so gloomy, I don't think you'd want to read about them anyway!  I have shared a bit since then, but I thought I would take a little time to update you further on our current situation.  I suppose it is every blogger's dilemma when it comes to deciding how much of our personal lives we share online, but I think this update will be helpful in understanding some of my future writings. 

    As some of you may remember, we had been living with and taking care of Colton's grandfather in his house for about 6 years.  Sadly in the last couple of years, his health declined to the point that we can no longer provide the level of care that he needs at home.  After a bad fall last March, he went into the nursing home.  There are still a lot of fresh emotions around this for all of us.

    When Colton and I moved in- almost seven years ago now- we had sold nearly all of our things, including our house.  We brought only what furniture we could fit into our bedroom, plus a special piece or two.  Some of my décor and house things are still up in the attic, but I have since whittled that down, too, in order to make room for baby gear and hand-me-down clothes for the boys.  (When we moved in, we thought we couldn't have children.  After six years of infertility, I was pregnant within three months of our move.  Talk about a surprise!)  For the years that Colton's grandpa was with us, we happily focused on outside projects and, except for some necessary rearranging to accommodate the merging of two households, we largely left the inside of the house alone out of respect.  Now it feels like we are starting over from scratch in terms of setting up house.  We have gone from basically two bedrooms and a loft to an entire house that is much bigger than our last.

    The future of my blog is going to reflect this in several ways.  In addition to the outdoor projects that have always been on our list, we are adding some home projects, as well.  You may also see me doing more shopping than is usual for me.  I'm sharing these things because I don't want you to think I am contradicting my own frugal advice!  Twelve years of saving and living a frugal lifestyle, as well as recently becoming debt-free (whoo hoo!), are what make these projects possible.   So now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I'd love it if you would continue with me on my journey as we endeavor to be good stewards of what we have been given.  I appreciate you being here- this blog has been a blessing to me and I hope it is to you, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Thrifty Thursday #4 ~ Staying Home

    Welcome to our fourth Thrifty Thursday!  So far I have written a lot about thrifting, but this week I am switching gears to talk about those times when shopping may not be possible or prudent, or when you just want to save a little extra by avoiding the stores.  After all, the best way to save money is by not spending it!  How do we do this?  The answer is very simply:

Stay busy and content at home.

    I realize this is no groundbreaking tip, nor is it a new concept.  It is more of a gentle reminder that when one is content at home working on daily tasks or absorbed in special projects, there is less of a chance or desire to shop.  Instead of distracting yourself with shopping, distract yourself from shopping by keeping the focus on your home duties.  

    Some ideas that go beyond the day-to-day responsibilities are:

Tackle the project or task that you have been putting off.

Declutter a drawer, cupboard, or closet.

Reorganize what you have so that your home runs more efficiently.

Do some detailed cleaning, like wiping down cabinets and door handles, vacuuming under furniture and cushions, cleaning ceiling fans and light fixtures, laundering shower and window curtains, etc.

Clean out and wash your vehicle.

Clean out your purse.

Go through and file paperwork if you have some built up.

Update or rework the budget to see if there are any areas in which more savings could be had or if funds can be put to better use in other areas.

Revisit some of the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year or write down new ones; create a schedule or routine that will make your days run smoother.  Journal your thoughts along the way.

Research or read about a topic that interests you.

Write a letter to a friend or relative, even your husband or children!

Inventory your pantry and/or freezer and make a meal plan based off of what you have and what needs to be used up first.  You may have to get creative depending on what you have.  Perhaps plan something special one night and use your "good" dishes.

Go through your cookbooks and pick out some new recipes to try.  Try to choose ones that have basic, inexpensive ingredients that you keep on hand, or recipes for which you will only need to buy one or two things when you do go to the store.  Make sure the ingredients are versatile.

Get ahead by cooking some meals for the freezer or prepping ingredients for the meals you have planned for the week. 

If you find that you tend to leave home because you are of a more social nature, consider having people over for a potluck, a simple tea party, or coffee and baked goods.  Or dust off the board games and pop some popcorn for a game night with friends.

Make your entryway inviting by sweeping the porch, shaking out the rug, and wiping down the door.  (Mine usually gets dog prints on it!)

Wash the windows, weather permitting.

Use what you have around the home to style a new vignette, or rearrange your furniture for a fresh look.  Don't forget that pantry items can be used as décor, as I did in this post!

Work on a craft that you already have the materials for.

Declutter the photos on your phone and put physical ones into albums or scrapbooks.  (I need to do this!)

Maybe you intentionally shop to escape from routine.  If that is the case and you just need a break, have an at-home "spa" day.  Add oats, powdered milk, or Epsom salts to a bath.  Exfoliate with a homemade sugar scrub and try a homemade yogurt or honey face mask.  Perhaps play with your hair and try out some new styles.

Play "dress up" in your own closet to see how many different outfits you can create.  We tend to wear the same combinations, and you just might be surprised to see how many "new" outfits you have hiding in there.  Mend what needs it or alter things to fit.

    There are so many opportunities and things to do at home, and this list is by no means exhaustive.  Borrow some of these ideas or create your own list to look back over the next time you may be tempted to go shopping for recreation.  Surely there is something in your home that needs attention.  Or if not something, then someone!  By tending to these things, your home and your budget will be all the better for it, and I think you'll find yourself (and your desires) satisfied for the time being.

  Next Thursday, I will address the things at home that may be tempting us to shop and how to avoid them. 

Until next time, happy saving!

Sunday, February 12, 2023

A Turn About the Property


"Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of a little wilderness on one side of your lawn.  I should be glad to take a turn in it, if you will favor me with your company."

~ Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

    It just so happens that I have a prettyish kind of a little wilderness on all sides of my lawn.  It may not be the glorious English countryside, but it has its own form of beauty, and it is certainly good for taking a turn.  Will you favor me with your company?  I won't be nearly as disagreeable as Lady Catherine, for I have no nephews to whom you may be engaged.

    Our home is to the left of this path.  You may be able to see a fence among the trees in that direction.  That is our backyard fence.  What you can't see in the photo is a water trough, but there is one there and if the cows are in that particular pasture, they come up daily to drink.  I hold James up to the window so he can see them if we aren't outside.

    Looking over my father-in-law's property from part of our driveway, this is our view.  We are nicely situated up on a hill-  a hill, at least, for our area.

    I know it doesn't look much like winter.  In south Texas, we alternate between cold spells and pleasant weather this time of year.  I think the plants get confused.

    Do you call them weeds or wildflowers?

    On the opposite side of the house lies the pasture where our chickens usually forage.  By the time I had taken the photos, they were headed back to the coop to get a drink before roosting for the night.

    And finally, behind our home is the acre that my father-in-law gave us last year. 

    The ground doesn't look like much at this point because it was covered in brush that we had cleared.  Colton keeps spraying the small brush that emerges (this is ongoing where we live), and eventually we will get a fence up and sow grass seed.  We want a peach orchard and some sort of dairy animal.  That is all still a way off, so we will see what we end up deciding.  It is fun to dream of the different possibilities in the meantime.

    I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my "wilderness".  What sort of beauty is there where you live right now?

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Thrifty Thursday #3 ~ Thrift Store Guidelines

    Welcome to another Thrifty Thursday!  Since the last two Thursdays have seen me do quite a bit of thrifting, I thought I would share more about how I navigate my thrifting purchases.  Today's tip is:

Set boundaries for yourself before you go thrifting to avoid excessive buying and spending.

    This tip can actually apply to all shopping, but in this instance I'm talking specifically about thrifting because it can be so easy to be lured in by a bargain!  I have no issues putting a $20 item back on the shelf without a second thought, but when that same item is $2?  That's when I need some guidelines.

    Obviously, the first rule is to not go over budget.  As any frugal lady knows, those $1 or $2 purchases can add up quickly.  You put stuff in your cart thinking, "Oh, what a deal!"  But when you get to the register, you wonder how the total got so high.  So set a realistic budget for yourself and be sure to keep track of your total as you shop.

    Next, I ask myself two questions when I find an item that I consider purchasing:

    What am I going to do with it? and Where am I going to put it when I get home?

    I am someone who strongly dislikes clutter.  I have a lot of responsibilities at home, and I prefer not to spend my time and energy shuffling stuff around because it doesn't have a specific home or purpose.  That just needlessly adds to my to-do list and gets in the way of living peacefully in my home.

    So I ask myself what I'm going to do with the item.  Is it practical?  Does it have a purpose?  Will I actually use it?  Do I have something else at home that can accomplish the same purpose (provided that I am not purchasing something as a backup)?

    Sometimes, the object I want doesn't serve a purpose other than to be aesthetically pleasing, and that's ok too!  I like pretty things, and they add beauty and comfort to a home.  But I ask myself where I'm going to put it, and I don't mean in that pile by the door where everything gets dumped when you walk in!  That adds to those ever-shifting, homeless clutter piles.  As the saying goes, "A place for everything, and everything in its place."  

    Do I have the space, or will I need to declutter something to accommodate the item?  Is it worth getting rid of something (money-wise or time-wise) that I already own to make space for something I want to purchase?  If it's something like a picture, do I know where I'm going to hang it, or do I at least have several possibilities?  Let your space be your guide, and be realistic about whether something is going to add pleasure or add unnecessary frustration to your home.

    Additionally, question the value and condition of the item.  I've actually seen things that are more expensive at thrift stores than big box stores.  Though I do realize it depends on the particular thrift store, canning jars seem to be a prime example of this.  (And consider that the new jars also come with new lids!) Other things may appear to be a good deal, but when you take into consideration the quality or condition of the item, you may find that you won't get much use out of it.  I recently passed up a denim skirt that was only a couple dollars.  I liked the style and it was my size, but I could see that the fabric was faded in spots and wearing thin.  I could've delegated it to garden work, but even then I knew I wouldn't get much wear out of it.  I'd rather put my money towards something better.  Those dollars add up, remember?  So exercise wisdom and restraint; be picky and selective.

    When you follow these guidelines, thrifting is a frugal, fun way to add to your home.  You will end up with nice, unique things that you were able to purchase inexpensively.  You may even get comments from others like, "You got that at a thrift store?"  

    Do you have any thrift store tips?  What are some of your best/favorite thrift store finds?


I have decided that in order to keep these posts from being too lengthy, I am going to start listing the ways I save in a monthly review type of post.  But not to worry- I will still be listing a savings tip each Thrifty Thursday.  I have a lot of them!

Sunday, February 05, 2023

If I Could Excel at One Thing

    The other evening, after the boys were tucked into bed and I was alone with my thoughts, I pondered the talents of various people who are extremely gifted in their particular fields.  Each of these people seemed to excel at what they did, and I admired how they used their gifts in a way that brought glory to God.  As I was marveling at their abilities, I turned my thoughts towards myself and considered my own talents. 

    While I have many interests, I couldn't help but feel like my own efforts in each of them fell short.  Before I knew it, I had fallen into the comparison trap and envy started to build up within me.  What great thing could I do?  Was I just a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none?  Mediocre?  Average?  

    The Enemy whispered, "Why even bother?"

    I prayed, "Lord, what can I excel at?" as if I had some hidden gift or talent that I just hadn't discovered yet.  Was there simply something within me that just needed to be unlocked?

    My eyes swelled with tears at his humbling response:

    "No one can love your husband and children like you."

    And suddenly that was enough.  If I could excel at one thing, that would be it.  

    The devil hates that.  He hates godly homes and families serving God together, wives and mothers creating a Christian atmosphere in which the souls of their loved ones are nurtured in the ways of the Lord.  He will try all sorts of things, present all sorts of distractions, and tell us all sorts of lies to try to keep us from looking well to the ways of our households because he knows our influence is so important.  I think we sometimes forget.

    Ladies, will you endeavor with me to excel at loving our husbands and children like no one else?  What a powerful difference it would make in our lives and in the world, all for the glory of God. 

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."

~ Proverbs 31:28-29

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Thrifty Thursday #2 ~ It Pays to Wait


    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!