Thursday, April 24, 2008

Decorating and patience

When I was a teen I always said if I had a home with 20 rooms I would decorate them all differently! There are so many different styles that I'm drawn too. Over the years I've had to try to refine my taste a bit. So now I'm somewhere between a traditionalist,country,minimalist (if that makes any sense?).I also really like the shabby chic and flea market look. I enjoy getting subscriptions to a couple of mags a year. Although I hate ads! My favorite is Country Living. Something about all the colors in there gives me peace, joy and a sense of lost feminity.

So over the past couple of years Ive been tearing pages out of these mags of favorite things, ideas and colors. One of the reasons I've done this is that I have a hard time mixing and matching patterns and colors. I really don't care for "matchy" furniture (which we ended up with because of price((but it can be recovered easily when the time comes, I think)). Paint and fabrics throw me for a loop sometimes. Also being on a tight budget doesn't help. I tend to be less daring and afraid of mistakes. If it's not right I still have to live with it. Or change something else which throws the budget off. A vicious cycle!

So now here I sit waiting to see were the Lord will lead us. My house is in "up to date selling mode" and really not me anymore (I've packed up some of the homeiness and our personality). We've started thrifting and I keep finding and passing things up that would be wonderful but not for now. So my prayer is that the Lord will work in me and show me way to change this home or the next for the stage of life we are in. That I will not over spend or buy anything unesscesary. That He will give me ideas of how to reuse and reinvent what I already have. That I will expand on the talents that He has given me to make our home a true place of peace, happiness, and a refuge from the outside. But above all that I will grow to His satisfaction in patience during this time!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blueberries and Strawberries Oh My!

Tasty Blueberries.

Strawberry Face.

A hard days work for the older chicks and myself!

We went a bit crazy this weekend and went blueberry and strawberry picking all in the same day! Yes, I'm a tired, but we did have a lot of fun. The fields are about and hour from our home and with the way gas prices are we decided to make a day of it. The chicks had a great time. Although the younger ones got a bit bored after they were stuffed with berries!

They spent a good deal of their time with 2 of the farm's horses. One chick took it upon herself to name them Johnny and Louise. And cried as we left because I forgot to take a picture of Louise... Needless to say I had been busy with baby wiping that chick down. The layer of dirt that came off her feet and legs! Yikes!

Monday we got a late start. But we were able to make lots of strawberry and blueberry jam. Plus about 6 quarts of syrup for pancakes and milk shakes (Superman's favorite).

Since we are wrapping up some school things we are busying ourselves with reading. The chicks are reading about Princess Diana, Abigail Adams and the Wright Brothers. But everyone is thinking and learning!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gardening on the Cheap

Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood is talking about CSA' s today. I really wanted to be involved in one but found it to be expensive to pay $650 in advance for the 1 share.
So we re-looked into organic veggie co-ops. We also found these out of our price due to "having" to purchase a certain dollar amount every 2 weeks. Also depending on the co-op you might not get to choose the produce you want.( We're not into kale, so paying for a months worth doesn't fit into our budget.)

What we did do: Joined 4-H, $10 dollars per child, per year. So we have had 4- 10x10
veggies plots with most of the seeds, plants, manure, and water
provided. Plus it's been great in many ways for our Chicks.They have
learned a lot from the Master Gardeners, so have we!
Diligence, hard work, perseverance and knowledge of the plant and
insect worlds has been gained. My oldest has a much better under-
standing of the work and effort needed to produce and how many of us
fail to see the HUGE blessing of living in our country!

Made our own "earth boxes". They are super and I can take them with
us when our home is sold! Plans available online. I'd put a link
but I don't know how :( **** Also they make GREAT gifts! They
cost about$12.50 to make, not including soil.

Get "free" manure from 4-H. We live in the burbs so it's hard to
come by!

Used bamboo that was growing in my Grandmother's backyard for trellis.

Used plastic coated wire mesh closet cubes for low fencing to keep
the bunnies out. Worked great and didn't cost anything! It was part
of our garage sale pile!

Found that cheaper seeds work sometimes even better than the organic

Created wonderful family time away from the schoolbooks!

Got a great home composter for $40 at Sam's club!

We are sad to see it end. But I'm already thinking about September when our season starts again! We also hope to have chickens, depending on what happens with our house! If not maybe next year.

Also I want to say what a blessing it has been to read everyone else's post!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Monthly Check-up!

March was a crazy month for us! We blew through our EM two times! Surprise Dental Bills! Meaning we really thought our mouth's were in great shape. Anyway, I ended up having a raging infection for over 2 years(yes, I had been to the docs and they keep saying nothing was wrong). That is finally clearing up. Praise the Lord! We also decided it was prudent to have sealants done for everyone who needed them. That's alot of teeth!
Instead of rattling on.....

- Went through EM two times. ***But we paid cash and in full***
- Saved another $400 for everyone Else's teeth expenses this month.
- Funded 1/3 of original EM back. (Plan to have the rest in by the end of April)
- Canceled TV, but picked up Netflix. It's so much better for us!
- Did a tally of what I truly spend for groceries for our family of six. $350 a month ($85 per week)@ about 70% organic food. I have a general house fund that groceries is listed under, so I wasn't totally sure. But I feel good about it.
- Kept the checkbook balanced all month! I had gotten REALLY lax here!!

New Goals!

- Get the house sold. This is really in the Lord's hands...
- Up our EM. We decided that a $1000 starter isn't enough for our family. So we'd like to get around $2000.
- Really peel away at that debt. It's really small, but we need another source of income to get rid of it. Debt is debt if you can't pay for it,no matter how small!
- Make out wills.
- Save for a car(ours are 15 and 19 years old). Also should we totally getrid of one again. The Lord provided our second car. It gets much better mileage than the family car , but it only seats 5. Also biking is pretty dangerous around here, my husband stopped when he was having to work later and I was on bed rest. We shall see what happens!

So it's amazing and a huge blessing that all this was taken care of without having to take on debt. I have to admit I'm getting very antsy,not being able to take a HUGE bite out of it!IWant it done and I want it done now! Hmmmmm, maybe the Lord wants me to learn something else here. You'd think I would have gotten this out of the way by now!

Does anyone know how to edit correctly? Eveytime I try to fix something or spacing I lose part of my sentences!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Frugal Friday

Friday is tomorrow and my wonderful husband has taken the day off to go for strawberries with us! There is a quaint little cafe that we go to for a light lunch and then for strawberries. This year were taking Grandma and cousins with us. It's a fun trip. Later in the month the organic fields will be open for picking and we'll load up then! Tomorrow will enjoy the shortcake and cherry smashes!

Frugally speaking: We have really been trying to cut our power bill down. This was our best month yet! Only $137 last year $170apx. We haven't put the air on yet, but we are paying for it with a bit of sleep deprivation!
We have a wonderful kitty that lives behind us ( I use my 3rd daughter's description, not my own). Usually around 2 A.M. he starts! I thought it was time to get up and nurse the baby. Hmmmmm, that's right I haven't had a wee one for 2 years! Then 2 nights ago all the fire alarms decided to test themselves at 3 A.M. They work really well! Everyone was up... Last night I was just waiting and finally fell asleep around 1:30 then.... I'm still not sure what it was all about, but my husband jumped out of bed! I mean JUMPED! The noise was so "stinkin' loud" (Superman's words). It sounded like a crazy bunch of ducks charging our house. Superman (that would be my wonderful husband) said 2 dogs were out front fighting over something. Yup! We think it was a duck. We call them Florida Turkeys, the big mangy kind. On top of all this we've had a road crew working a block over and 3 A.M. must be break time, because there's always quite a bit of laughing and beeping trucks(I'm not swearing, they're backing up)... BUT never fear! The humidity will soon be up and we'll need to put the A/C on.
We have also been: turning off the computers if they are not used within an hour.
turning fans and lights off when no one is in that room,
timing the laundry in the dryer,
bake on one day,
put in compact bulbs (only in enclosed lights),
we unscrewed 3/4 of the bulbs in the house- who needs 240 watts to take a shower by!
***My goal is to keep the A/C off as long as possible. I would love to make it through the end of May, but we are usually in the mid 90's by then.

Ways to stay cool: eat frozen berries, cool wash clothes from freezer, cold jugs of water in the fridge, cool showers, ceiling fans, frozen lemon water with a touch of sucanat,cold baths (our little ones feel like they're swimming) and going down to the beach were the breezes are!
Summers Almost Here!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Apple Cider Vinegar

Well, I'm finally starting to feel a bit more human today! This infection and the medication has really thrown my body for a loop. Today I will be starting a regime of organic apple cider vinegar and raw honey to help get my body back on track. The other night I was praying and I really felt impressed to get apple cider vinegar. So On Sunday I caught up with a friend at church who said,"funny you should mention it, I just started this morning". So I read her Bragg book on it and felt it would greatly help my situation. I'm also planning on starting my rebounding again. It really feels great and my skin and body feel so much firmer from it. I put it away 1) because our house is on the market and it is in the way 2) I can't keep my chick-a-dees off of it! I end up having to pull a timer out etc.etc.
We also have no more Sky Angel as of today! They went to IPV and it was going to cost us $60 or so a month to upgrade! Yikes! Dave R. says, "It's not in the budget!" And we really don't want all the other channels. We only used Hallmark,HGTV, and Fox News. So it's not worth the moo la. I think everyone was a little to attached, so all the more reason to get rid of that! So in it's place I will get back to guitar lessons.
I've been trying to teach myself over the years and even took a class as a teen. Some of our chicks have been taking lessons at church. They are doing wonderfully! So between them and Jean Welles I hope to greatly improve:) I'm also praying about free or bartered violin lessons for one of our chicks. We were using a student teacher, but our schedules became conflicted. Our little chick misses it and is taking guitar in it's place for now. I have another one who really would like to start piano! We really love praising the Lord in music and song here!
Have a wonderful day and rejoice in our Lord's great mercy!