Archive | June, 2013

May and June Reads

29 Jun
Almost all of these books were read while on vacation.

Almost all of these books were read while on vacation.

The past two months have been busy!  A lot of my reading time has been given to gardening and other summer activities.  I still managed to read a few though.  Most of my reading the past two months took place on 2 of the vacations I went on.  🙂  I’ve also been able to sneak a little reading in on rainy days.  

Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman: Furman is the mother of four young children and is currently the wife of a church planter in Dubai.  This book was a wonderful read for my heart especially for my current stage of life.  This book encourages all mothers to see the reality of God’s grace in our everyday life (especially in the areas that seem unimportant).  I was encouraged and challenged throughout the book.  Just yesterday I found myself frustrated with a discipline issue with my son.  Then the Lord brought to mind something that she had said in her book.  I am thankful for this book and look forward to reading her forth-coming book next year.

Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould: This was my first novel to enjoy by Ms. Gould.  This is an Amish fiction book which I did enjoy despite some of the unrealistic liberties that the author takes throughout the book.  Adoring Addie is in some ways a modern-day Romeo & Juliet.  

Go Green, Save Green by Nancy Sleeth:  I found this book to be very insightful.  Not only is it a book about saving money but the book is about doing all that we can to go green.  The book did include many money-saving ideas and challenged me to think differently about saving energy.  I have also read Sleeth’s book Almost Amish and would recommend that book as well.

Though Waters Roar and Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin:  I really enjoyed both of these books by Lynn Austin.  Austin is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors.  I’m hoping our library has a few more of her books.  🙂

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman: This book is written by an American mother who while living in France discovered what she calls the “wisdom of French parenting.”  I found this book to be intriguing in many aspects.  Although there are many aspects of French parenting I would not want to copy here (like the small percentage of French women who breastfeed) there are many other things I can appreciate about French parenting.  At the very least I found this book intriguing to get a sneak peek at how women in another culture mother their children.

Rachel Ray 30 Minute GET REAL Meals: I thought this cookbook was so lame.  I bookmarked three meals that I thought looked decent but the husband shot down all three.  The thing I really disliked about this book was the fact that most of the recipes in the book cost a lot of money to make.  I do like to cook but the primary reason that I cook is to save my family money.  I doubt I will ever  cook something that costs as much to make as it would to eat it at a restaurant.

Have you read any great books this month?  


Frugal Things I Did Last Week

28 Jun
Five years ago tomorrow the hubby asked me to marry him!

Five years ago tomorrow the hubby asked me to marry him!

I sewed 2 fitted newborn cloth diapers using Kwik Sew 3690.  A friend from church was kind enough to let me try them on her daughter.  The pattern is simple to sew but it is off on the amount of elastic used in the legs.  I think I added almost 2 inches of elastic to each leg.

I made a baby gift for my new niece June who is coming soon!  Baby gifts are one of my favorite things to make.  I actually asked my sister-in-law what she needed and ended up sewing 2 flannel crib sheets and a set of cloth wipes.  I use flannel on one side of the wipes and a baby towel on the other side.

The hubby and I went on 2 dates!  For date #1 we went to a bookstore and browsed around for a while.  This is one of our favorite things to do together without kids along.  🙂  We also used a great coupon at ColdStone Creamery to buy ice cream and then went for a walk.  For date #2 we went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants using a gift card.  Then we went window shopping at the mattress store.  I learned that my husband and I are now complete opposites when it comes to what type of mattress we like.  We really need to purchase a mattress & bed so that we have a guest bed when family comes to visit.  Hopefully we will be able to save up enough to purchase this before the new baby comes.  I was SHOCKED at how expensive mattresses are.  I think a new mattress will cost about twice as much as I had thought.  😦

I printed off free activity sheets for Eli to use on a stormy morning.

I worked on weeding my garden when it was dry enough.  I also planted sunflower plants by our house to fill an awkward gap in our landscaping.  I planted two varieties-one is supposed to be nice for bouquets.  They just bloomed and really add color to our front yard.  I also planted 6 cucumber plants that I had started from seed in the float tray.  I waited way to long to transplant them and there were even three cucumbers on the plants!

I made homemade Red Pepper Hummus.  We have enjoyed it as a snack with crackers and inside a grilled cheese.

I went to a couple of garage sales on Saturday.  I found clothes for Eli & a couple of things for our little Pumpkin.  Brandon & Eli also purchased matching jerseys which are lots of fun.

I took Eli to the sprinkler park before heading to the grocery store.  We purchased a summer pass to the sprinkler park which makes this a very inexpensive activity.  Eli also wore a cloth swim diaper while he was there.  We took a small cooler and spent $0 money on snacks.

What frugal activities did you do last week? 

22 Weeks & Gender Reveal

17 Jun
A picture of our gender reveal cake.  It was beautiful.

A picture of our gender reveal cake. It was beautiful.

Two weeks ago I had my 20 week ultrasound which was fun.   My mom got to go with us which was really special.  We lived too far away at the time for her to attend any of Elijah’s ultrasounds.  The doctor said that everything looks good and the baby weighs 14 oz.   After lots of debating we decided to peek.  It was a very hard decision as I really like the idea of a surprise.  I’m also a very organized person or at least I like to think so.  🙂  We opted to find out the gender with a gender reveal cake so that Elijah could really be a part of our finding out.  He is really excited about our little baby coming and keeps asking, “When is the baby coming?”  🙂

It was actually Brandon’s idea to do a gender reveal with a cake.  At first I thought the idea was kind of lame to be honest but it turned out really neat.  At the ultrasound appointment we had the technician write down the gender and seal it in an envelope which we took to a bakery.  We actually cut into the cake during my Grandmother’s 80th birthday celebration which made it even more special.  🙂

It's a GIRL!!

It’s a GIRL!!

We couldn’t be more thrilled to learn that we are having a little girl.  I have a big soft spot in my heart for little boys but for the past 2 months I have felt pretty confident that this little one is in fact a girl.  I woke up one morning clearly thinking this baby is definitely a girl.  Brandon was SHOCKED to learn we were having a girl this time.  He has made a big deal saying that he can’t have girls since his Dad & Grandpa had all boys.  🙂  Everyone has had a fun time teasing him.

We were a little surprised!

We were a little surprised!

For now we are dreaming of baby girl names & making lists of things to sew (& purchase).

I had a doctor’s appointment after our ultrasound.  He said the baby is measuring  right on target-not too small, not too big.  I”m always a little nervous about large babies since my mom’s smallest baby was 9 pounds and her largest was 12lbs 10oz!  🙂  I am still -2 pounds from my starting weight which I am pleased with.  I’m sure I will actually start gaining by my next appointment.  I’ve been trying to eat healthy and exercise more frequently now that I am feeling better.  (I’m hoping to try a new water aerobics class at our gym soon.)  I have been feeling tons of movement and even some real kicks!  This has to be one of my favorite aspects of pregnancy.  For some reason the baby tends to hang out more on my right side.  Is that normal?

Frugal Things I Did The Last 2 Weeks

13 Jun
A picture of the Loveland Castle we recently visited.

A picture of the Loveland Castle we recently visited.


Recently Brandon took us to the Loveland Castle located less than an hour from our home.  Admission was only $3/person and Elijah was free!  It was really neat exploring.  We took along a cooler for drinks but did go out to eat at a local restaurant.  We have also enjoyed Storytime @ the Library (free) and a couple of trips to the Sprinkler Park.

The first pot-holder I have ever made was a birthday gift for my mom.

The first pot-holder I have ever made was a birthday gift for my mom.

For my mother’s birthday I made her a potholder.  I had never made one before so this was a little bit of a stretch for me.  I used fabric and supplies I had on hand.  For the batting I used 3 layers of Insul-Brite (special heat-resistant batting).  We also celebrated my brother’s birthday & my Grandmother’s 80th birthday recently.  We had separate cookouts for each of their birthdays where I brought side dishes and dessert.  For my Grandmother’s birthday I gave her a variety of jams that I had made over the last year.  She was very excited!  I also gave my brother (who lives on his own) a variety of things I had canned from out garden last year.

I went to another street subdivision yard sale this past weekend.  I purchased some things for Elijah including a really cute pair of pajamas.  I found a nice bag for myself to use for church and a couple of baby items.  Okay let’s be honest I purchased A LOT of baby items.  🙂

Elijah and I went to Aldi after a fun afternoon at the Sprinkler Park.  I try really hard to buy all of our basics there.  Even with food costs on the rise Aldi is still hands down much cheaper than any of our local grocery stores.

More car repairs this week but this time on our gas squeezer car I first bought in high school.  Major bummer and such a squeeze to us right now.  I’m really thankful for the car especially since gas here is almost $4.00.  I also saved $20 on a coolant flush for our van by shopping around.  The cheapest place was actually our regular mechanic.  🙂  Unfortunately we learned that our van needs lots of work and wants to eat a lot of parts right now.  We don’t have the money to fix it so it is just going to have to wait a while.

I have been able to work in the garden some when it isn’t raining.  I planted tomato plants, pepper plants, and more green beans.  We love green beans at our house so I usually try to plant them every two weeks so that we have them all summer long.  I purchased a bunch of flowers for just 2.00.  Some I planted in a planter and the rest I planted in a hanging basket I had saved from last year.


Frugal Things I Did Last Week

3 Jun
I'm super bad at taking photos of myself with my new camera.  I thought this sign was a little crazy that I found on vacation.  It read: "Enter at your own risk.  Limited Emergency Services Available."

I’m super bad at taking photos of myself with my new camera. I thought this sign was a little crazy that I found on vacation. It read: “Enter at your own risk. Limited Emergency Services Available.”

It was finally dry enough to till the garden!  I have been anxiously waiting for over a month to get the garden planted to I am stoked!  So far I have planted green beans, lettuce, a herb garden, and some peas.  It’s too late to plant peas but I decided to plant some in a shady spot and see what happens.  I’m really hoping to have a nice herb garden this year.

Elijah & I went on vacation with my family. ( Unfortunately Brandon wasn’t able to join us.)  We packed two coolers: a small cooler that fits between our van seats filled with drinks & a larger cooler that contained some larger items (milk & oj).  I did a little bit of shopping for things that we needed: new pajamas for Eli (they were cheaper than I could sew them), shoes/clothes for me, & I even purchased Elijah 2 new pairs of Stride Rite gym shoes at an outlet for $16.  These shoes retail about $50 each so I was super excited about this!  We went back to Dollywood where I have a pass & Elijah gets in free.  We had a lovely time on vacation and I am so glad we were able to go.

When I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago I left a bag of books (oops) at our hotel.  Thankfully I was able to pick them up this week instead of paying $25 to have them shipped.

I watched Downton Abbey Season 1 this past week which I borrowed from the library.  (There is one scene in the first episode you need to fast forward through.)

I purchased a pair of maternity shorts at a thrift store.  Yeah!  They are super comfy and look great.  I also found a gift bag for .25 that is beautiful.  I will be using it for an upcoming wedding present.

A very unfrugal thing happened last week.  My van actually broke while we were on vacation.  Thankfully I was not along an interstate!  After carefully weighing the options I chose to get the van fixed rather than tow it home (we were 5 hours away).  It did okay on the drive home so I am just hoping there is nothing else wrong.  This was a major bummer and I think we will have to tighten our belt of frugality for the next few months to make up for it.  We had just had the van serviced so we were not expecting this in our budget.  😦  The mechanic told me to expect more repairs this summer which is disappointing and a little stressful.

What are your best tips for saving money during the summer months?