Archive | February, 2013

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

27 Feb
We had lots of fun playing outside this week.

We had lots of fun playing outside this week.

I took soil samples from our garden and landscaping.  Then I dropped them off at our local extension service.  They will send them off to a lab to be tested and then give me a recommendation for adding minerals to the soil.  This test is completely free and should help improve my garden yields this year.

We went to the zoo this week using our Zoo Pass.  It was a gorgeous day and we had so much fun as a family.  🙂  We even packed a snacky lunch so we avoided the pricey food there.

I took my son on a mommy/son date to get ice cream for just the two of us.  All ice cream tastes great in my opinion so we got the special to share.  It cost only $1.58 and was such a fun thing to do with my little guy.

My husband & I went to the dentist together.  Isn’t that so romantic!  🙂  By taking care of our teeth with regular checkups we are saving money by avoiding expensive dental procedures in the future.

I received a free can of Campbell Soup in the mail to try.  I also received a sample of moisturizer and probiotic for kids.  I always save any sample size medicines or supplements to take with us when we are traveling.

The hubby and I had a lunch date using a gift card.  We also watched a movie from the library together another night.

I ordered seeds (non-GMO seeds) from Berlin Seeds.  I did a bunch of research and price comparing and they were by far the best deal.  My mom & I ordered our seeds together and saved a bunch of money that way.  Usually a larger priced packet of seeds is a better deal than a smaller packet.  We will probably start a bunch of our seeds together in float trays so this will be easy.

What frugal things did you do this past week? 

10 Goals For This Week

26 Feb

 

Eli was so tired after playing outside that he fell asleep on the floor!

Eli was so tired after playing outside that he fell asleep on the floor!

As we near the end of the month I am reminded that next month is Spring.  Hooray!  I don’t know about you but I am ready!  My seeds came in the mail today so I am really itching for spring to be here!  🙂  This week should be a lighter one for us compared to last week.  I’m hoping on getting a bunch of good snuggle time reading in with my little man this week.  Pretty soon we will be busy with Spring activities and gardening but for now we are going to enjoy the last few weeks of Winter.  

This Week’s Goals:

Family/Marriage/Mothering Goals

1.  Take Elijah to Swim Lessons.

2.  Read four chapters of Old Town in the Green Groves to Eli.

3.  Begin planning our vacation for this year.  Talk with the hubby about what he would like to do to make sure we are on the same page.  🙂

Personal Goals

4. Memorize Isaiah 53:1-2.   

5. Have breakfast out with a good friend.

6.  Finish reading Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey. 

Homemaking Goals

7.  Finish getting tax info together and turn into to my favorite CPA (my Dad).  🙂  This is my #1 goal for this week!

8.  Finish reading Carrots Love Tomatoes. 

Business Goals

9.  Buy ink for our printer.

Ministry Goals

10.  Visit or send a card to a church friend who has cancer.

What are your goals this week?   

Fun with Toddlers: Snow Play

24 Feb
Elijah loved playing with snow in the bath tub.

Elijah loved playing with snow in the bath tub.

 

We have had some strange weather the past couple of weeks.  It feels like Spring is about to come and then it snows again.  We’ve been trying to embrace the crazy weather the past couple of months while we wait expectantly for Spring to come.  It snowed a couple of weeks ago but it was just too cold to play outside even all bundled up in snow pants.

Absolutely captivated.

Absolutely captivated.

Brandon was kind enough to go outside and bring it a couple buckets of snow.  We dumped all of the snow into our bath tub.  I found some of Eli’s bath toys and a few kitchen utensils for him to play with.  🙂  He had a ball and played in there for a long time.

February 2012 002-copy_edited-1

 

We are anticipating more snow this week so we might just do this again before Spring comes.  It was the perfect activity for a very active little boy on a cold Winter’s Day.

He was being a stinker and wouldn't look at me.

He was being a stinker and wouldn’t look at me.

We also made Snow Cream together later that evening.  (We didn’t use the snow that was in the bath tub.)  🙂

Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan: 31 Days in Romans with Elyse Fitzpatrick

22 Feb
Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan

Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan

 

I wanted to take a minute to share with all of you ladies about Crossway’s upcoming Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan: 31 Days in Romans with Elyse Fitzpatrick.  I don’t know about you but I”m already behind in my plans for reading the Bible this year but I’m excited about spending the month of March in Romans.

The Crossway website says this about the campaign:

“If you never got off the ground with a 2013 Bible reading plan or are so far behind you’ve already thrown in the towel, join us on Mondays in March on the Crossway blog as we read Romans 1-8 together. Each Monday in March, Elyse Fitzpatrick will share devotional thoughts from Romans, helping us delight in God’s word and rejoice in the gospel in 2013. We invite you to bring questions, insights, and interact in the comments section. For more devotional material to accompany Reboot with Romans, check out Elyse’s newest book­—Comforts from Romans: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time.”

I am super pumped about this.  Elyse Fitzpatrick is one of my favorite authors up there right next to Elisabeth Elliot!  God has used the words in her books like a fine scalpel to mold my heart.  If I could encourage you to read one new author in the next year it would be Fitzpatrick.  I did receive a complimentary copy of Comforts from Romans from Crossway but I would have definitely purchased it myself if they hadn’t been so kind to send me one.  🙂  I have also read the following books by Fitzpatrick: Idols of the Heart, Because He Loves Me, Give them Grace, Comforts from the Cross, Overcoming Fear, Worry, & Anxiety, Counsel from the Cross, Love to Eat, Hate to Eat, Will Medicine Stop the Pain, & Women Counseling Women.  When I say I love Fitzpatrick’s books I’m not kidding!  🙂

7 Reasons Why My Family Gardens

21 Feb
Spring is on the way!

Spring is on the way!

 

For the past couple of weeks I have been pouring over seed catalogs and planting schedules.  I just cannot wait to get started on my garden for this year!  This past week I sent my order into my favorite seed company: Berlin Seeds.  I can’t wait until they arrive!  I thought it might be fun to share some of the many reasons why my family chooses to garden.  Honestly the hubby is really busy during the summer months so the majority of the gardening is done by myself and my son Elijah who is 3.

7 Reasons Why We Garden

  • It is a wonderfully frugal activity that also saves money in the process.  Talk about a useful hobby!
  • Gardening is healthy and a great way to exercise.  I also find it incredibly relaxing.  I went down to the garden this week to procure some soil samples and was reminded of just how peaceful it is.  I can’t wait to get back into the daily routine of gardening.
  • The health benefits of eating fresh produce are wonderful.  Last year we used no pesticides or fertilizers in our garden.  We also eat a much wider variety of vegetables because we garden.  No doubt we eat a lot more salads in the spring and summer since I grow them just outside our kitchen door.  I don’t want the lettuce to go to waste so we eat it.  🙂
  • I am making wonderful memories with my family.  Elijah & I had so much fun going out everyday to the garden.  He helped me every single step of the way.  He was only 2.5 last year but I can honestly say he was a big help!  I think his favorite part was planting, watering, and harvesting.  A great gift to give to your children is the gift of your time & allowing them to spend lots of time outside.
  • The taste.  If you haven’t ever had true fresh garden produce then this won’t make any sense to you.  Even my hubby has grown quite partial to our garden raised produce!
  • Variety.  I am able to grow a number of different varieties of vegetables that are not available at our local grocery store.  Some plants don’t ship well so you will not see those varieties for sale.  Our budget would also not allow us to purchase certain items from the produce section.  A packet of seeds usually costs between $1-2.  There are many vegetables in the grocery that cost more than that!  Burpee Seed Company estimates that for every $50 spent a gardener will yield over $1250 worth of produce.  I wouldn’t be surprised if my yield is even more since I start almost all of my plants from seed.
  • Convenience.  I love, love walking down to the garden with a large basket and picking fresh vegetables to use for dinner.  I don’t have to drive anywhere or fight a toddler to have good behavior.  😉  It’s also really handy when I realize that I need a green pepper for a certain recipe but I don’t have one in the fridge.  I just walk down to the garden and pick one.

The book Dirt Cheap Gardening by Rhonda Hart has an excellent appendix in the back where she lists the cost savings of growing certain vegetables.  Last year was my first year having my own garden (although I did garden growing up).  I primarily chose foods that would save us lots of money to grow ourselves and foods that we really enjoy eating.  For example we grew peppers because they are ridiculously expensive to buy and we love eating them in all sorts of dishes.  One pepper costs well over $1.00.  You could spend $1.00 on pepper seeds and have plenty of peppers to enjoy all summer and plenty leftover to put up for the winter.

Cost Savings of Growing (adapted from Dirt Cheap Gardening)

High Savings: Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cucumbers  Eggplant, Lettuce (leaf), Green Onions, Peppers, Rhubarb, Summer Squash, & Tomatoes.

Medium Savings: Bush Beans, Pole Beans, Beets, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Kohlrabi, Head Lettuce, Muskmelon, Parsnips, Peas, Radishes, Spinach

Low Savings: Cabbage, Onions, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Winter Squash

Last year we grew cucumbers, leaf lettuce, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, bush beans, sugar snap peas, pumpkins, and winter squash.  We purposefully chose not to grow corn since it takes up lots of room & we don’t eat it that often.  I’m also still a little bitter about freezing tons and tons of it and then loosing our freezer a couple years ago.  😉  We also chose not to grow onions & potatoes since the cost savings are low.  This year I plan on attempting to grow the following in addition to last year’s vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Leeks, Carrots, Head Lettuce, Peas, Spinach, & Cabbage.

 

Frugal Things I Did Last Week or What to Do When You Fall off the Frugal Wagon

17 Feb
My sweet little boy wanted to camp out one night in his room.  (He has a teepee someone gave us.)  He fell asleep and slept there all night!

My sweet little boy wanted to camp out one night in his room. (He has a teepee someone gave us.) He fell asleep and slept there all night!

 

Overall we had a VERY non-frugal week.  I literally think we ate out 5-6 times as a family & Brandon ate out a couple of times without me!  It was just one of those super crazy weeks.  In just a few days we had blown our “eating out” budget for the rest of the month & then some!  

While it would be super easy to just throw my hands up in despair thinking of how much I failed last week I”m not going to.  Instead I’m going to remember that there is GRACE!  Isn’t that wonderful?  I’m not the perfect wife, mother, or frugal homemaker that I would love to be BUT I do serve a God who is perfect.  Hooray!   I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal this week.  Still there were still a few frugal activities to share: 

I made a Strawberry Yogurt Cake for Valentine’s Day.  I rarely bake cakes unless we are having friends over so this was a real treat!  The cake was delicious-even the hubby liked it.  Although I didn’t tell him there was yogurt in it!  🙂

I spent a long time looking for a Valentine’s Day card for the hubby and just couldn’t find one that was “right.”  I ended up making a card and writing a love letter inside.  I wrote down a lot of the reasons why I love my husband so much!  Yes it was very mushy but I think he loved it!

I rode along with the hubby this week while he ran some errands.  While he went to a meeting Eli and I bought a wedding present at Bed Bath and a book at the thrift store.  The book was even on my wish list!  🙂

I stopped by Hancock Fabrics and picked up a bunch of patterns on sale to use in the next few months.

We received a package from Nina & Poppy Steve filled with Valentine’s Day goodies: a pretty necklace for me, head massage thing, lots of candy, books, & activities for Elijah.

I also “price-matched” 3 Simplicity patterns at Walmart.

What frugal activities did you do this week?  

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

11 Feb

 

The beautiful flower display Elijah made for me this past week.

The beautiful flower display Elijah made for me this past week.

Elijah & I attended “Flower Buds” at our local extension office for the first time.  It was lots of fun!  They have a story time, sing songs, go outside, enjoy a snack, and make a craft!  This week’s craft was really nice.  Elijah & I made a fresh flower arrangement together.  (I did let him choose which flowers and where to place them.)  I’m not sure if every extension office has the same free program but it would be worth looking into in your area.  🙂

I had a friend over for a play-date.  I just love play dates   They are really just a great excuse for mom’s to hang out.  🙂  I served Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup & Make Your Own Salads.  My friend also was kind enough to bring us a box of hand-me-downs.  Yes!  Elijah now has a darling church coat for next winter & a bunch of clothes.

I received a free Nivea lip butter in the mail.  Am I the only person who has never tried lip butter?  It’s okay but I think I prefer the tube kind.  It just feels more sanitary but I guess I”m just a little germophobic.

We bought all of our staples at Aldi this week.

I went to the consignment store looking for Elijah a pair of rain boots (unsuccessful) but did come home with a couple shirts, pull-ups, and a swim shirt.

I planted leek and cabbage seeds in an old plastic container last week and one of the containers sprouted.  Unfortunately I didn’t label them so I don’t know if the cabbage seeds or the leek seeds came up!  😮

I got a thorn in my finger the other day.  Instead of going to the doctor, my mother was kind enough to dig it out for me.  I HATE digging them out myself.

My parents gave us a quart & half of Nacho Cheese leftover from their Super Bowl party.  I made Knock Off Chili’s Skillet Queso for the hubby one night.  He was super impressed!  For youth this week we served the leftover Nacho Cheese, Skillet Queso, & Chips (purchased at Aldi).

I received the book Faithmapping in the mail to review.  Brandon & I are both looking forward to reading it.  My hubby even did a leprechaun leap when the UPS man dropped it off.  Ha, ha!

I downloaded a free song I Need Thee Every Hour from KoertsMusic.  It was too simple to use as an offertory so I just included it as part of the prelude on Sunday.  There are a number of other songs on that website so if you play the piano you might want to check it out!

What frugal activities did you do last week?