Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Musings of a housewife

The weather has been kind of nuts this year! I am not complaining today, as it is beautiful. Windy but beautiful. But it has been a crazy winter so far, and very rainy. From fairly warm to freezing cold! Today I have laundry out on the clothesline.

We watched Courageous last weekend. It is a wonderful movie, I highly suggest it. It is from the makers for Fireproof. A wonderful Christian movie, and we really enjoyed it.

Erica is in a math competition coming up later in Feb. She stays after school once a week to practice for it. Her math teacher leads it and asked her to join it. She has never done anything quite like this before, so she is giving it a try.

Beloved had his first pick up at a port today. We haven't sent in for his security credentials yet, so he had to have an escort. He was glad she knew the way around, because the GPS doesn't work there. We will be sending in for his paperwork in the next month or so. That way they don't have to pay for the escort.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Grocery Prices

Ok, I admit it, I love coupons. I have been a couponer for six years or so. But lately the sales just are not as good! Sure coupons are great, but not if they don't match up to the sales. And lately, they just don't match up. In talking to beloved, it is about fuel prices. He looks at some of the loads he hauls, and we have to wonder where the transport companies are making any money. Then, the grocer has to make a little. It is just no wonder the sales and coupons are not matching up. It scares me! Not so much because of the coupons and sales, but more due to the signs of the economy. I really think that many will suffer as time goes on. Self efficiency is not something that is the norm these days. I do think without it, less and less people will be able to survive.

Gardening, Canning, Sewing are all skills that NEED to come back. Without them, I fear many people are going to fail. There are other things that need to come back also. Working together, bartering, many of the "old ways" are going to become important. Re-purposing is also a lost skill. I recently got flack for re-purposing old T-shirts into rugs. I didn't approve the comment, because it was just nasty. But that is a skill that may be important soon! It is a skill that our grandmothers had! Would we mock our grandmothers???? NOPE! We called them wise! And the were wise. They appreciated things we don't anymore. Things we really need to learn to appreciate, because history DOES repeat itself. We do need to learn to live like they did.

So at the end of the day...... What can we learn???? Frugal and simple living is important. We need to learn to live frugally and simply. Can we learn everything in a day or a week? NO. Should we as women work towards learning? YES! God calls us to, our husbands and children need us to. Is it politically correct? Nope, not at all. On the other hand, does it taste better? Sure does! Homemade wheat bread, homemade biscuits, home canned fruits and veggies. Yep, they all just taste better! Hubby always wants a home cooked meal after a few days or a week on the road. Sure, I may send him some home cooked food with him, but it just isn't the same! He can eat at a truck stop (they have some mean sandwiches!) or a restaurant, but it just isn't the same as a home cooked meal. Why isn't it the same??? Well it isn't simple or frugal! One of Beloved's favorite is Chicken fried steak. AT HOME. Most places when you eat out don't cook a real one. There is a difference! There is a huge difference in doing things the OLD and frugal way! Try it, it is more work, but I bet you will like it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Distant help meets

Many readers will not understand. But some of us are lonely and distant. My husband is gone 5-6 nights a week. One of those nights, he is here just long enough for his ten hour trucking break and off again. We love him for his hard work. It is a job many will never understand. He works different hours every day. His bed and meals are in his truck. One day, he drives from 8 AM, until his 11 hours are up at 7PM. Then he gets up after ten hours, and runs from 6 am. But his next load may leave at 10 PM and then he has to drive all night. So his hours run out at 9AM. So then his company WANTS him to leave at noon, but he has to abide by the laws and can't leave then. Yet his company is pushing for that. Because, if the wheels are not moving no-one is making any money!

So next time you pass a trucker, and you want to give them a hard time because they are going to slow, please remember a few things. They don't really want to move that slow, the company is pushing them to move faster. And, they want to move faster so they can make more money, but the company has the speed set on the truck so it can't go faster, this saves the company money in tickets, even though they are pushing the drivers to go faster.

So when you pass a Big Rig, please try to remember that they do want to move faster. And please do not cut them off. They can't stop on a dime. When you want to change lanes in front of one, please move and GO! And when you are getting on a highway in front of one, please get on the gas and not the brake. If you can't get on the highway and get on the gas, please slow down and let the big rig go, because it is far easier for you to slow down them for them to when they have 50,000 pounds pushing that rig!

Every trucker has a wife who wants him home safely! And every trucker wants to drive safe miles, because he can loose his job over one wreck! They want to share the road with you! They want you safe with them!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The calendar may say January

But my daughter's excitement says May! The schedule for the camps at the Chruch Camp we use is out. She has spent days now looking it over and deciding what she wants to do. Last year, we were able to send her twice. Once to one of the outdoor ones, and once to one in the cabins. It was her first year in a cabin. She didn't like it at all. The group on the main camp was to big she said. She wants to go back to the outdoors one! She has chosen two outdoors ones she thinks she will love. I figured for sure she would pick the one to go to Canada, but she decided to wait another year or so on that one. This will be her last year to get to go to a couple of them. It is a bit to soon for me to see in the budget if she will get to go a second time for her Birthday this year or not. But I will be looking into it. I think that was her favorite Birthday gift ever! I am so happy to see her looking forward to it. Of all the things for her to look forward to, a time to learn new things and grow stronger to God is a great thing to look forward to!

Later this week, I need to send in for our Red's tickets. Erica won two free ones at school for being on Honor Roll! What a great prize for the kids! After talking to Beloved and Zach, we have picked the date (we had a choice of three) and now know how many tickets we want to order. Our extras will be half price, not a bad deal! But I do have to get them in the mail soon. Of course they are the cheap seats, but that is fine I am sure it will be a great time. We have yet to get to a Red's game, and since we live so close it is a shame we haven't been. But I am not a huge sports fan, so I haven't made it a priority. The great thing is, that we can take in soft coolers with our lunch and drinks! So it should be a pretty cheap and fun afternoon. Erica was so excited to come home with the tickets! It isn't until April, but it is another thing she is excited about. We chose the Sunday date available so Beloved can as his dispatcher not to schedule him out until Monday. So it will work out just fine for us! The other two days were later in the week, and wouldn't work nearly as well. But it starts late enough in the day we can still make it to church!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Soap making

So after researching more about coconut oil, I think I am going to start making my own soap. The thing is, Lye is not easy to get! Apparently, it is used to make drugs. You can't make soap without it. You can make detergent without it, but soap and detergent are two entirely different things. Detergent is great for laundry or dishes. Or is it? I wouldn't use it on my skin. And as someone who has been having skin issues for the last year, I want to research it more. But I would never begin to think of using laundry detergent on my skin. I do make my own laundry detergent. I have for a few years now. So why wouldn't I make my own soap? Or body wash as the case may be. I prefer body wash, Beloved likes bar soap. The kids, well they both like body wash also. I however am the only one having skin issues. So, I am looking into making my own soap using the Coconut oil. I need to look into making my own body wash also. I get it free or nearly so often enough with coupons. But if it isn't good for me or my family, I need to look into getting away from the store bought stuff and making my own. Do my other blogger friends make their own soap? If so where are your favorite places to get lye? I have found a couple of online sources. But you can get it in powder or in liquid. I can try them on my own, but if any one has suggestions, I will take them!

As a reminder, it has been brought to my attention that some may be copying my materials and posting them elsewhere. Please keep in mind, that my posts and writings are copyrighted! Any comments or responses to them are also copyrighted! Please seek permission before copying them elsewhere.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Frugal Beauty Products

A few months ago I posted about using Coconut Oil on my very dry hair as a hair treatment. In the time since, I have found that this is a very versatile and inexpensive product! I paid around $13 for a jar of Coconut Oil, and it is going a very long ways! I have replaced my lip balm with it, and I use it for my nail cuticles that are always dry and painful this time of year. For lip gloss, it was easy enough to melt a little in the microwave and pour it into a tiny round jar from the discount store. I saw on TV the other day a recipe to use it for fluoride free toothpaste and facial scrubs. Googling around, there are so many uses for this safe, natural and thrifty product. Check this great LINK!

Don't overlook home canning!

Home canning was a major step for me in becoming more thrifty when I started it a few years ago. Sure, when I was little my mom and granny and aunt had done it. And I loathed it. It always meant snapping beans and peas with my little hands. I actually miss those days now. All the conversation they had while doing it, that at the time was just "old people talk" to me. I didn't appreciate then the wonderful things I could learn from those chats.

Now, when I do my canning, I get anyone who is at home involved. I started as most people do, making jam and then canning veggies. When I moved to meat, some people treated it as odd. When I grew up though, it wasn't a bit odd, it was a fact of life. And what is more thrifty and frugal than buying meats when they are on sale? After all, who wants to pay full price? Yes, I do freeze some meats, but freezer space is limited, and there are other benefits to having canned meat on hand!

Who doesn't have busy days when they run in from errands late and just need to have something fast for dinner? I know we have those days. Sure, a pound of hamburger can be browned fairly quickly, assuming you knew ahead of time it was going to be a crazy day and got it thawed. That jar of canned cooked up hamburger can turn quickly into a hamburger stew, a pot of goulash or any number of other things. One of my favorite meats to have canned is chicken. When it cooks in water in the canning jar, it creates its broth. I often add some carrot, celery and onion right to the jar. I can turn it into a fast and yummy chicken noodle soup, or chicken noodles. Even a casserole is quickly at hand.

Sure, we could just say heck it was a busy day, lets hit the drive thru. But that gets costly fast, and it just isn't nearly as healthy. So next time you hit that great meat sale, think about a bit extra to can for a busy day! Not only thrifty, but yummy as well!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Yet again thinking over it

Homeschooling that is. It has been a thought since before Erica started public school. And the whole time, Beloved and I have debated the pros and cons, and tried to decide what is best. We have both gone back and forth on it. I however, have been the big push on it.

As we have grown in our relationship with Christ, and our marriage we are starting to get more and more on the same page. Also a part of this decision right now, is the other kids she is around and the things she is bringing home. My jaw about fell on the floor the other day from one thing she said, and I swear it just keeps getting worse. Teachers are not all Christian, and far from all kids are from Christian homes. It gets harder and harder these days to raise them in the way they should go. Even when you do have a Christian teacher (even Christian schools have issues finding them), they are most often not allowed to teach it, and when they can it does no good if parents don't back that up at home.

Yes, I know that our children are not perfect, nor do I expect her to be. In fact tonight our Pastor who drives her school bus told me how sweet and polite she is. And she is, when she is on her best behavior. But I want that behavior to be her everyday behavior not mattering who she is around. I want her to be free to be "herself" around anyone and know "herself" is the best she can be!

Last summer we reluctantly allowed her to have a social network page. As we watch her conversations with friends, we really wonder if we should have allowed it. Of course she can talk to these same "friends" at school and we would never hear the conversations. But we had to tell her tonight about how a true friend would not be encouraging her to lie, as one conversation with a "friend" she recently had. Mind you, she did not lie to us, but she told the friend she regretted telling the truth about where she wanted to go, and who she wanted to go there with. This is a cause for concern to us.

So many of my fellow bloggers are homeschooling. And a friend at church is willing to help show me the ropes, she and I are talking about it. It just feels like such a huge plunge! And finding the right curriculum won't be easy either! Of course it has to be God based, and I want it to allow for continuing education if she chooses that, but of course I want her also to be able to do what God calls her to when she is called to be a help meet.

We can have such a big classroom in the home. From the garden to the sewing machine to cooking in the kitchen. That is just some of the stuff that happens without the textbooks! Then there is the time spent getting to school, home from school, from class to class, the number of wasted hours in the school day really do add up. On the other hand, we would have to get far more organized. We would have to be together much more often and sometimes would likely get tired of each other some days.

So I am asking for the prayers of my followers to help us make this decision! Of course those of you who do home school likely have some advice for me! If so, I am glad to hear it and I will keep it private if you ask! But if you don't, I will publish it so other readers may gain from it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

So I guess it is really winter!

BRRRRRRRR. It hasn't been this cold since.... Well last winter! This morning, it was 14 degrees with a windchill of -5. It is up to 19 now, and the wind is still howling! Not my idea of a good time, and of course Fridays are almost always I day I have to get out these days. I didn't enjoy it at all!

On the plus side, I did pick up two frozen turkeys that were marked down to .59 cents a pound. I didn't get any extras for the freezer this fall, because the best price I could find then was around .75 cents a pound and I just wasn't about to pay that for turkey. I may find I have to adjust my price. I guess prices are going up on everything no matter how hard we try to stay in denial about it.

Beloved and I had a nice evening together last night. He had a load to deliver and was passing by here and would have had to stop and sleep at the delivery before being able to head home. So he stayed near the house, and I took him dinner and hung out and slept in the truck with him. I found his top bunk pretty uncomfortable, the mattress is very thin. If I am going to do that very often, I will be buying some kind of mattress cover to put over it! I came home this AM to see Erica for a bit before school and made us some coffee. I actually had to make two pots. I filled both our cups and his big thermos. And I had a little left over to warm up with after he took off and I came home. We drank the whole thermos before he left! But we had some nice chat time. We also had breakfast together, because after I made coffee, I ran over to Subway and picked us up a breakfast sandwich. It was a nice little "date". And the kids got to have the house together. I think Erica felt pretty special we trusted her like that, even though I could see the house and get her in seconds if I felt the need or if she called. Of course her brother was here and "in charge". But I didn't tell her he was in charge. I let her feel special. She had spent some time in the truck visiting her daddy before that, until she told me she was ready to come home. I remember my first night "alone" it was special for me also. Of course I also had an older brother right there lol.

Of course there are those who would say I shouldn't have allowed her to be "alone". But the fact was she wasn't, her brother was here. And we were a cell phone call or even a jog down the block away. And, the police drive by a lot when Beloved is parked there. The first time he did it, they stopped and talked to him, knows who his is and told them they would add him to their patrols while he is parked there to make sure nobody bothers him or anything. They drive by about every hour! It was funny to watch and know they are keeping a good eye on our town and neighborhood. And, we will never be able to trust our children if we don't give them chances to earn our trust. I am a pretty strict, pretty protective parent. We are definitely highly Christian, so it is funny when people tell me that we are to protective, yet then people tell me we give to much trust. I think it comes down to balance. I also think that we have to be careful not to give our children the idea they "can't" do things. Because they are growing up (not that I like that) and every chance we give them they learn something. What I hope I am teaching is that she CAN stand on her own two feet, that she is smart and able. But I also hope to be teaching right from wrong, and a Christian background. I guess at the end of the day, I want her to be a strong, smart, courageous God fearing woman who can be a wonderful wife when the time comes. But one who can also take care of herself until that time comes so she doesn't have to rush into anything. That takes a balance in parenting! Constant guidance, love, teaching, trust, and a whole lot of faith in God!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What a nice surprise

There is never anything quite so sweet as knowing that someone is thinking of you. Today I had some things to do in town. I came home to a box that had been delivered. Odd, I hadn't ordered anything! I opened it up to find two books. I knew right away before I saw the gift slip that they were from a great friend. I found some time tonight to start reading both. One, Created To Be His Help Meet, I had checked out from the library and started reading in the past.But I got busy and didn't get to finish it and it had to be returned since there is a wait list. The other, The Greatest Words Ever Spoken, Everything Jesus Said About You, Your Life and Everything else, well this is going to be an awesome book for Bible study! In short,it is all the scriptures where Jesus spoke, and how they apply to our lives. I think it will be wonderful for devotion time!

There is just something special no matter how small when you get something from a friend or loved one and you can just feel the love coming through. And a surprise, well those are always special. So thanks dear friend, or perhaps chosen sister is the right word? I loved my surprise.

Tomorrow night, beloved will be close to home waiting to make a delivery on Friday. We will go visit him at his truck and hang out with him for a bit, take him a hot meal. You would be amazed at how much our Beloved's really appreciate our cooking and caring for them. They don't always think to tell us, but they do appreciate it. So if yours doesn't say the words, you have to look for the little things he does that speak in other ways! Mine does say the words now, since he is gone so much he really has come to miss a home cooked meal!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How is being thrifty being patriotic?

Wasting food is not patriotic! It was part of the war effort in WWI and WWII not to waste so our troops could eat. I am to young to remember the "stamps" that our parents and their parents had to buy food with. But the rations were real. And the rations I think were doable. We waste so much now. I am not proud of it, but I have had food stamps, and my kids both had WIC. I was once married to a man who was not only abusive, but refused to work. He said "the government should support me and I shouldn't have to work". I didn't agree with that at all, and I went to work. As a young woman, I failed to make sure I was equally yoked.

I am now married to a man who believes in taking good care of his family. He was unemployed for a long period of time. A job right now is not easy to come by. He found out during a delivery last week that yet another local company is closing. Another couple hundred jobs in our area lost. Not good news. We are not creating jobs in this area as fast as they are going south and disappearing.

I strongly encourage you to watch the Documentary "Dive!: Living Off America's Waste" I also strongly encourage this book, The Frugal Food Bible. It is one of the few I have purchased for my bookshelf!

I sadly grew up and saw some dirt poor times. Times where my mother fed me out of grocery store dumpsters. Times when a head of lettuce was a major find! I remember one day during that dumpster dive when we went into the store afterwards and the family that was "diving" with us stole a packet of dressing mix. I didn't see it, but my mother did, she saw the other mother slip it in her pocket. She made sure to tell me how it wasn't right, how God was watching.

What can I now teach from those lessons??? Tons!!! And I plan to! My mother taught me that God is always there to teach and guide us. She also taught me that God will provide. God IS faithful!!!! It is so true, he does always provide and he is always faithful. He asks that we have the faith of a mustard seed. Have you ever seen a mustard seed????? Tiny stuff there. God really does love us!

God is not only alive, but going strong! Our family is going strong! Truckers get such a bad rap. The negativity is strong when it comes to truckers. I can honestly tell you though, that truckers and their families are a tough bunch! It isn't easy being a trucker. It also isn't easy being a truckers wife or a truckers kid. I am so proud of my trucker! So is my daughter! My trucker brought his truck home tonight and she was running to pull his sheets to wash from his bed, and do whatever she could to help make his truck better!

So what can I say about being a truckers wife??? I can say there is nothing better!

But also, I have to say that being frugal is patriotic. When we reduce, reuse, recycle we are keeping goods and money in our country. Oil is big business. Oil used to be a big business kept in jobs in the US. Now it is a big business for other countries that import to the US. And oil is such a part of everything we buy. Plastic uses oil, and foreign oil. So much is plastic these days.

Recycling is done a lot in America. And it keeps jobs and money here. It also saves resources.

Also, Made In America seems hard to find. But many times if you look for store brands Vs. National brands you can find it! Many Kroger brands are made in America! There are national brands that are also, but look at the fine print! Many Proctor and Gamble containers were made in America (soap bottles and pumps, Window cleaner pumps) but those were moved to Mexico to be produced. How do I know??? My husband used to work for the plant that made them. They moved all those molds and the entire plant to Mexico!

So research what you can do in order that every dollar you spend is made in America! That is patriotic! It is also patriotic to grow and make your own goods when possible!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Small steps to becoming more thrifty

When you look at being thrifty or frugal, it can seem like a huge mountain to climb to become that way. But really like most things in life it is small steps. Once you start taking small steps you find they grow like snowballs. It becomes easier and easier as you go.

One of the first simple steps I made was to start using the library. I love books. But they are not only expensive, but then you need a place to store them all. My local library solves both issues! I do still buy a few books, mostly reference type books such as cookbooks or other books full of information that I will go back to time and time again.

I am also very careful about the cookbooks I buy. They have to be cookbooks that will use things I have in my pantry. If they call for things I would never have on had such as saffron or red wine, they are a waste of money and space in my opinion. My two favorite cookbooks are Fanny Farmer, and More With Less. They are both great for beginner cooks, or people who have been cooking for years. They both also call for things that most of us have in our pantry on any given day.

Cookbooks are important for another reason. They cut the habit of eating out so much. Eating out is a nice treat. We all enjoy it, but it is so expensive. The more we eat at home, the more money we save. When we refine our cooking skills and learn to make our favorite meals at home, we can save more money. So There are two easy first steps to becoming more thrifty!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Principal one in being thrifty

There are those who turn their noses up at being thrifty. They seem to think it is a dirty word. I challenge anyone on that. It is not a dirty word. In fact, I see it as Biblical! God asks us to be good stewards of our money. Because it isn't our money, it is his money. You see we have nothing that he didn't give us!

It was 18 years or so ago that my late sister gave me the first compliment I ever got when she said to me "I am so proud of you, you are so thrifty". At the time, I didn't realize what a great compliment it was. But now I talk to people that really are not sure how to be thrifty even if they want to be. I also talk to some who are just embarrassed to be thrifty. I also know some who I am sure are wanting to be more thrifty, they just worry what others will think of them.

My first lesson in being thrifty, was that other people don't matter! You have to really get over what they think. They are not paying my bills, answering to my family, or most importantly answering to God on my behalf! At the end of the day, God is the only one that can really judge me, so it is his opinion that matters most! I truly believe that he wants us to be thrifty. There are many reasons why he wants that. So the first principal, is that we have to look at why God likes it! Not why other people may give us a hard time about it!

In future posts, I will examine more ways to be thrifty, and more reasons why!

You find out who your friends are

That is the title of a song. And when you listen to the song, it is true. When times are tough, you really do find out who your friends are! I have one friend I don't talk to often, and haven't seen since I moved to Ohio. But when we talk on the phone, it is like we haven't missed a day! We just pick up where we left off last time.

I have another friend I have never met in person. She is just an email friend, and a great one at that. We can talk to each other about anything, or nothing lol. And it seems we just can't get enough talking done via email most days. We always leave an email wanting to say more!

I have some friends who are just blog friends. We have short blog conversations with each other.

I have a few friends at church that we talk to once a week or sometimes once a month, but we make it work and we are still friends.

But the true friends, I can count on one hand. Less than one hand. Funny my mom always told me that would be true. The one I only talk to on the phone these days, my email friend. Both of them I trust with my biggest secrets! There is another one that I talk to on the phone and email here and there, that is also like a sister to me. They are the only three right now that know my whole life story, or most of it anyway lol, just not enough time in the day to get it all going.

A couple of my blog friends are getting closer to that, and of course there is my Beloved. But that still has me on one hand!

Reminds me of a song we used to sing in Girl Scouts. "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver the other gold". A true friend is worth far more than silver or gold. So to my friend on the phone that I only talk to once in awhile, I still love you! And to my email friend, you have no idea what it means some days just to drop an email and know you are there. One of my true friends once told me (in a round about way) that friends are the sisters we choose. Don't want to discount her either! So I guess I have three great sisters. Two of them I talk to less often. One I email with a few times a week, and she reminded me that sisters don't have to be blood related!

So this is a tribute to my wonderful girlfriends. The one who are really more like sisters! The ones who know me in and out and love me anyway. I have found out who my friends are. And I love them so much!

When someone knows everything about you, and I do mean EVERYTHING and can still see the value in you, can still love and care about you, those are the special people in your life. One friend got a card from me recently, you my friend have been my rock! I know things have not been easy for you lately, I hope to be your rock as well!

To the rest of my readers, never discount your true friends. They are few and far between! Even when it is little things like sending a card, putting a card on your Beloved's pillow, or going out and plugging a truck in so it will start on a cold morning, those little things say I love you. Make a call, send an email, it all adds up to love. You never know when that call, email, card or little gesture will really make someones day!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Do the "little things" really matter?

I think they do. I actually know it. I got proof of it the other day. I mentioned in a previous post I had taken on a sewing project for pay. But after talking to Beloved about it, I couldn't take any money. It was a neighbor who was told by another I do some sewing. She wanted a "caddy" for her walker. She is nearly blind and nearly deaf. Her husband passed a year ago. Erica helps her out a little here and there, and she came and told me this neighbor asked about this, the other neighbor had given her my name. 24 hours and some scraps of fabric later, it was done and delivered. The recipient didn't feel right about not paying me when I told Erica to take no money. So I went and spoke to her the next day. She was thrilled. She also told me how much it meant to her when our family went to the second part (the part at the cemetery) when her hubby died. I guess it really hurt her feelings the number of people who didn't go to that part. Ok, she didn't say "hurt her feelings" but that is what she was really saying. I told her how much we loved him, how much Erica loved him, and how great it was knowing if I wasn't home the minute she got home from school when she was a little younger, the fact he was sitting out in the driveway for her to chat with for a couple of minutes when I was running late was a Godsend. One could just always count on him sitting there, just watching the neighborhood, and talking to the children. No, not "dirty old man" kind of talking to the children. More of "here I sit out in public and if you need a friend I am here" talking to the children.

It meant so much for me to hear her say that something so little meant a lot to her. And the caddy? Well I suppose I will never make any money sewing. But when someone has a need, and is a friend I have a hard time charging. Sure, I could have taken her money, and I don't think she is short of it. But, God was speaking to me. I was thinking of the verse Bible Verse Matt 25:40: "...'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Did I give up a couple of bucks? Yep! Do I miss them? Not at all. See I think that is what is wrong with this world today. So many people are looking for what they get out of something. But in looking for that, they miss what they really get out of it. I got a lot out of making and giving that small gift. I got the pride in doing it, in making something someone needed. I got the pride in knowing that two people the next day saw it and asked her "where did you get that, it is awesome?". I got the look on her face of happiness, and the happiness of my daughter when she delivered it. I also got to see the pride on my Beloved's face when his wife was serving God by using the sewing machine he bought me new a couple years ago to do God's will. I had never had a "new" machine before!

So you see friends, the "little" things many times are really huge things. Sure, some people don't see that, but I wish more would. Some people would say "A walker caddy? Really? That isn't important." But it was important and very loved. The little things make a huge difference!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One of the best things I re-purpose for Beloved's job

With Beloved's job, a cooler is important. He does have a small fridge in his truck, but we have yet to buy an inverter. Even when we do get one, he will need a cooler for a couple of reasons. One being that drinks and snacks will be where he can reach them in the cooler not back in the sleeper. The other being that when the truck is not running, either is the fridge. It would kill the battery. So one of the huge things that we re-purpose for him now, is something I actually started re-purposing years ago! 2 liter bottles! We do drink some soda here and there. I hated just throwing out plastic. I did for years, but then one day when I was getting us ready for camping and buying blocks of ice I realized how silly I was! Blocks of ice help keep cubes cold much longer, and in the meat cooler when camping, I could keep meat that I had frozen before leaving safely cold for days on end. Important when you go on a two week camping trip! Well I quickly realized that instead of paying $5 for a block of ice, I could freeze my own in 2 liter bottles. A trick I now use for Beloved in his truck. He still buys a small bag of ice, but instead of that lasting him one day, it can last him three or four easy. That saves me not only quite a few dollars, but several plastic bags the ice comes in, water, and the resources to freeze the ice. This time of year when it is so bitter cold as it is now, he doesn't even have to bring it home to the freezer, he just puts it in the outside bin where he keeps his tools to freeze it. I always keep one or two of these in my freezer. If the power goes out, they will help keep the freezer cold. If the water goes out, I can thaw them to use as water. Eventually they wear out and go in the trash. But I have at least given them a longer life before they hit the landfill, and have saved myself some money in the meantime.

Sometimes reduce, reuse and recycle means small steps. I am still not sure I believe in "Global Warming", but I also don't believe in wasting our resources. One of the resources I don't want to waste is the money that we work so hard to earn to take care of our family. After all, a penny saved is still a penny earned!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A sewing first

Over the last couple of years, I have had a couple of people ask me to take on sewing projects for them. I have never really felt good enough to charge people. But then today, I had someone ask again. My neighbor had suggested she ask me. I guess I felt better about it, because my neighbor has seen plenty of my work. I decided that it was time to quit comparing my sewing skills to my mother and took the project! It is a small project, a caddy for a walker. But she wants me to pick the materials, and the pattern. So I made up my own pattern, and found some nice, pretty denim that I had a scrap of just enough left for this project. I have everything cut and pressed and will begin sewing later tonight. Who knows, I just might start taking on even more sewing projects. I will never sew the beautiful formal dresses that my mother did, but there is plenty I can do!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I am not one who makes resolutions for a new year. I figure if I am going to do something, might as well just do it when the thought hits. I am not one to wait for a new year! But I do have some goals this year. I hope to be come even more frugal, that means reduce, re-use and recycle more. There are a few reasons for this, but my main ones are that it is good for the environment, and it is just a responsible way of living. No need to be wasteful even though we live in a wasteful society. As I have studied, I have learned that the early pioneers in our country wasted nothing. They survived by being resourceful. I think we have a lot to learn from them in that regard.

This year, we toned down Christmas even more. We stuck to the three gifts (as Jesus got) and a stocking, but we focused on true wants and needs as well. The kids were both thrilled! They both have gifts they love and are using. My son is thrilled with his new belt and belt buckle. He didn't want to spend the money on them himself, but quickly set aside the ones he had bought (and he really liked that buckle!), and has gone to only wearing his Christmas ones. Proof to us that less is more when you really listen to what someone really wants instead of trying to just pile on more and more gifts!

I have already began crocheting gifts for the year. Of course they will get put in the "gift closet" to be used as needed. And I did purchase a few things at the after Christmas sales that will be used for future gifts. I got both the kids a small valentine gift. Valentines is not a holiday we really celebrate, but we do use it to say "I love you" and give a small something. Both the kids now have a "valentine" put back that they will love for less than $10!

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