Friday, January 12, 2018

Joy in the Ordinary

Look around, really look around and you will find joy... joy in the everyday... joy in the ordinary things.

Winter in Indiana is always interesting.  We started off with some snow and then yesterday it was raining and almost 60* This morning it is again below freezing and we are dealing with ice, sleet and eventually there will be snow.

You know it is a big weather story when Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel is in town! 

Our evenings are spend playing games.
Megan is a worthy opponent at checkers.  She surprised me how well she played.  My girl is growing up!
Lunches continue to be mainly leftovers.  We bought a bag of oranges from Sam's that are like enjoying some sweet sunshine. Yum!
An ice tree is a local attraction.  
 This is first time we have ever gone for a peek.  It's beautiful!
 Besides games there has also been a ton of crafting going on.  Here Megan is making homemade stickers. 
Although sometimes messy, I do enjoy her creativity.

I'm off to make some tea and enjoy a cozy day at home. 

 May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Penny Smart #2

This a place where I share how I've stretched a penny, saved a penny and in many cases spent no pennies.
I made a frugal meal of turkey pot pie.  I used some of the stock that I made off of the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey carcasses along with carrots left from our New Years Eve veggie plate.  The meat was from the bits and pieces of the turkey I salvaged while making the stock.
  After filling the ramekins with filling I saved the remaining broth.  I put it into the freezer for later use.
 Megan mentioned that she only had one pair of longer socks.  All of her other ones were no peek.  She was asking for longer, warmer socks.  It's been cold and I could see the need for warmer socks.

They were on sale plus I used a 20% off coupon.  I then used a $10 gift card the store sent me for my birthday leaving an out of pocket total of $1.71 for a package of six socks.
A friend is cleaning up his property to sell.  He called and asked Chuck if he wanted some steel.  Sure!  Chuck said there is probably two hundred pounds of steel. Wow! When the weather clears it will be exchanged for cash from the steel recyclers.
Megan handed me a penny she found at the grocery and Chuck came home with a penny he found on the floor at work.  Both went into the change jar because every penny counts! *smile* I printed out a verse and have it hanging in the office area.

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Proverbs 13:11

It's a great reminder to tackle our financial goals bit by bit.

So there you go.  I hope this encourages you to do things to save money.  The old adage that every penny counts seems to apply more and more these days.  I find it's much harder to stretch my pennies into nickles. *smile* I find it encouraging to hear about other frugal adventures and I hope you do also. 

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Tuesday Tackle #14

I don't know about you but these cold days make me want to curl up under a blanket with a good book or movie. I've been fighting that urge and getting busy. Over the weekend I tackled the room that we remodeled. I sorted, purged and put things away in the craft/sewing area.
Please tell me I'm not the only one that makes an even bigger mess when cleaning and purging takes place.  The picture above is when I was about half way complete.  

In the end I ended up with two boxes and a bag loaded up and ready for the thrift store. 
I made sure they were dropped off when we went to run errands.  I don't want any clutter hanging around!

I'm not quite ready to show you the room.  Now that it's a little more functional I can tackle some sewing.  I am altering curtain panels to cover up some unsightly areas.  If I can get my act together I might be able to show you next week.

What projects have you tackled in the last week? 

 May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Penny Smart

This a place where I share how I've stretched a penny, saved a penny and in many cases spent no pennies.
Purchased marked down candy, including our favorite M&M's.  These will go into the freezer and should last us all year.   
Found 16oz packages of bacon for $2.99.  It wasn't on the list, but considering that around here the least expensive packages are $4.99 for 12 oz I couldn't pass it up. 

Shopped at four places for our monthly groceries.  The bulk of the shopping was done at W*l-Mart.  By using their savings catcher feature I earned $4.19 back.  
We received a surprise gift of an over the range microwave from my father-in-law for Christmas. The old microwave had a blown display board and a short in the start button.  It had been repaired to the point that it was no longer possible for it to be repaired.  We had to push the button in just the right way to find the sweet spot to enable it to start. Anyway, my handy husband installed the new microwave saving us the cost of paying installation.  Not a neccesity, but it's a huge blessing as we would have gone without when we could no longer find the sweet spot to make it start.  I'll be singing praise each morning when I make my cup of tea! 

I received the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving and Christmas from my mom.  I pulled them out of the freezer to make stock.  Frugal and delicious!

So there you go. I hope this encourages you to do things to save money. The old adage that every penny counts seems to apply more and more these days. I find it's much harder to stretch my pennies into nickles. *smile*  I find it encouraging to hear about other frugal adventures and hope you do also.

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Joy in the Journey

Look around, really look around and you will find joy... joy in the everyday... joy in the ordinary things.

The week between Christmas and New Year is one of my favorites.  Chuck's company was on shut down from the Friday before Christmas until the day after New Year.  Sadly, Chuck had to go in and work two days after Christmas.  Once work was out of the way we were back to family and home time.

Much of our time was spent playing with new toys.

Christmas decor was put away.  I know many feel a let down once it is put away.  I find it fresh and uncluttered. 

Doesn't everyone have wheat growing on their kitchen window sill? 
I spent many evenings planning.  I am happy to report school is planned for the remainder of the year. Yes!
I always feel the need to purge, organize and clean after the holidays.  I guess it has to do with the desire for that fresh, uncluttered feeling. 
 My first project was my baking cabinet.  Do you think I might have a cupcake addiction?  Oh, and I also have a container this size of sprinkles!  I guess my addiction could be worse. *smile*
 I cleaned out this area that just happens to be under the baking cabinet.  It's right next to the door leading to the garage and happens to be our catch all area.  I'm hopeful that we can keep up on this area as it drives me crazy!!
 New Year's Eve I made appetizers.  We snacked all day and I didn't have to worry about making meals.  Win, win for everyone.
We all agree this should become a new tradition.
This was the temperature about 7:15 on Tuesday morning.  It was up from a record tying -12.  It hadn't been that cold here since something like 1897.  Brrr... we've been joyfully staying in our cozy home enjoying the warmth. 

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Back to Basics

I've been thinking for the last three months about what changes I would like to make.  As the New Year rolls in and life get back to "normal" it's a good time to implement changes. Mind you, these are not resolutions, but rather goals and lifestyle changes.   I believe the theme for this year is going to be back to basics.   The best way to get back to basics to be a good home economist.
Part of being a good home economist is running your household well.  I don't feel like I have done a great job in this area.  The areas I'll be focusing on will be finances, pantry and food, organization and new skill building.

First off let's talk about why.  Goals, my friends.  We have some goals to meet.  The year 2017 was expensive!  Our little water leak required us to do some remodeling.  Generally we save and cash flow those projects.  Since it was unexpected and needed immediate attention we were not able to save for this project.  This project ended up being a mix of cash payments and added debt.

We ended up adding debt by purchasing new kitchen appliances as our previous ones all decided to die within months of each other.  I can't complain too much as they were all 16 years old.  Appliances aren't made to last like they use to and it's poor planning that caused us to go into debt for these.  We should have planned better and been saving for new appliances.  Live and learn!
We also added debt by taking out a loan to cover the remaining balance of my heart surgery.  Then several days before Christmas we received another large medical bill.  There was a huge dispute between the hospital and our insurance company over this bill.  In the end we ended up being liable for paying 64% of the bill. I called and made payment arrangements for the lowest amount possible.  Honestly, I'm not sure how we are going to manage the payment as it is more than our monthly deposit into our HSA.  I keep telling myself that "the Lord will provide."

Besides debt reduction I also want to continue to build my pantry.  I keep feeling a huge nudge to expand my stock.  I'll share more about my pantry in another post.
Another reason for getting back to basics is that we have been eating far too much processed foods.  I need to spend some more time in the kitchen cooking from scratch.  It's one of those things that I need to find the right balance.  Many times buying pre-packaged is less expensive.  I need to compare cost vs health benefits. I believe food is going to be the key to helping with my ongoing medical issue.  It's hard as many of the good for you foods such as salad and veggie sticks don't settle well with me.  I'll be working on trying new things in the kitchen this year.

Also on my list is to go through my home and declutter.  That seems to be an ongoing task.  I'm my no means a minimalist, but I do see the benefit in lightening the load. Laura talks about claiming real estate space by removing items from your home.  I intend to claim some more of my space!

Learning new skills is part of my back to basics plan.  Both Megan and I want to learn to knit.  We can take a class at the local craft store.  Neither one of us have had much luck learning from YouTube.  There are a few other things I'd like to learn, but keeping with my simple and basic theme I believe we'll tackle one task before moving on to another.

I'll take you along in my journey as I get back to basics and learn to be a better home economist.

May you find joy in your journey!

Monday, January 01, 2018


I have been thinking and praying about what I desire as we enter a new year. Now this isn't a resolution but more of a goal or you might say a lifestyle or mindset change.  Peace is the word that kept coming to mind.

According to the 1890 Webster Dictionary here are a couple definitions:

In a general sense, a state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind.  

synonyms: tranquility, calm, restfulness, peace and quiet, peacefulness, quiet, quietness, contentment

The crazy thing is that the current Webster and the KJV Dictionary have almost the exact definition.  That shows me that peace is timeless.  As the world had changed the need for peace hasn't. It's easy to say that I want peace.  In reality wanting something isn't enough. You have to work or strive for the things you desire.  So, where do I begin?

First off I must realize that not everything will be full of peace.  It's in those moments that I have to make a decision of how to react.  Something I'm not always great at. *smile* Most importantly I need to stay in prayer and in the Word.  I will be making a list of verses that refer to peace to study through out the year. Did you know that there are 27 verses that mention peace?  Then there are verses about peaceable, peaceably, peaceful and pacemakers.   Plenty of food for thought.

Then I've been thinking about how to find peace in the day to day.  The number one thing that comes to mind is the state of my home.  I don't find it peaceful if things are in disarray.  I will work to insure that things are decluttered (more really is less), tidy and organized.  The feel of the home also comes to mind.  I can set the tone by my attitude and the way I run my home.  It's up to me as the keeper at home to provide an environment that promotes calm, rest, quiet and certainly contentment.

I've been promoting finding joy in the ordinary for a while.  It's accepting what the Lord has given you with gratitude that fuels contentment.  Honestly it's a choice to "give thanks in all circumstances." Yes, I know that is sometimes easier said then done.

Being a good steward to the monies we are provided is also another way to have peace.  Living within a budget and without debt will certainly bring freedom from "disturbance or agitation."  This, my friends, is a work in progress for us.  Something I will be touching on as the year goes by.

Honestly, I've felt like I've been flying by the seat of my pants for while.  When you feel like you are going this way and that way; when you turn on the news; when you walk into a store and really listen to what is going on around you,  for the most part there isn't a feeling of peace.   I'm looking forward to finding the "state of quiet and tranquility" that peace will bring.

Happy New Year!