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! 


  1. Kelsey, the mountain laurel is beautiful and I love the teacup and saucer! I would have snapped it up too!

    I'd be after those gophers too, I'm in a war with a possum that dug up my celery this week!!!

    I have a couple of planners from last year and I have them in a pile to throw away, I hadn't thought about repurposing the pages that didn't get used! Thank you for the 'buffalo' reminder, I'll remove them before disposing of the rest!

    I always check the linen section of thrift stores too; I've found some good 'fabric' from there!

    I chuckled at your magazines; I do the same thing! I don't buy many, but the ones I do get a lot of 'looking' use! My thought on them being out of style is if I like the style, I like the style whether it's in style or not!

    This is a great post, I enjoyed reading every word of it!

    1. Thank you so much, Patsi! I'm glad you can rescue part of your planner for further use. I'm a list maker so those "buffalo parts" are coming in handy for me.

      I discovered the magazines when we first moved in and had to go through Colton's grandma's things. I felt like I had unearthed buried treasure when I found all those issues of Victoria. That tells me she held onto her magazines too! I have back issues from my old subscriptions too. By the time I get around to looking at them again, I've already forgotten what was in them, so they seem new to me.

      I hope you can get that possum! We are keeping an eye out for fresh gopher mounds!

  2. I love mountain laurel. Your photos are lovely. Thank you for sharing your thrifty finds. Old picture frames have so much character and always add to the warmth of a room. The apron for John is just brilliant. But most of all I am so glad that you are back to crafting. Having a creative outlet is so soul satisfying. Blessings to you and your sweet family. Cookie

    1. Thank you, Cookie! It feels so good to be crafting again. I know you understand!

  3. Mountain Laurel is a a favorite of mine too. My in laws used to live up in the NC mountains and the 8 miles of winding road up to their house had it on the mountain side all the way. Such a lovely drive be in the Spring!

    That little work apron is just adorable!

    1. Thank you, Lana! The drive sounds beautiful- it must have smelled wonderful up in those mountains.

  4. We are so similar in what we like Kelsey! That fabric is the very same as what I have and its gorgeous! And those frames!! And the English fine bone china! I love Johns apron. So glad you have such lovely weather already and hope it continues. We do too. It makes like so much better and easier! xxx

    1. Thank you, Annabel! We are welcoming the change in weather. The boys are especially enjoying more time to play outside!

  5. I just came here after Patsy's mention of 'the whole buffalo' this past week with a link to your blog. It's lovely! I'm happy to have you on my bloglist for my weekly blog reading.

    1. Thank you so much, Terri! Your comment made me smile. I'm so glad you found me, and I hope my blog proves to be a blessing to you.


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