Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Gift of Time

We had new neighbors move in about a year and a half ago.  They are a young couple with two little boys.  The boys are now 3 and 5 years old.  For some reason they love to come over.  When we are in the house we can sometimes hear them standing at the fence yelling for Megan.  
They are cute, yet rowdy little guys. They eat up the love and attention we give them.  All of their needs are met and then some, so when thinking about Christmas I knew they didn't need another toy to be tossed in the pile they already have.  So instead of purchasing them a gift, we invited them over to make cookies. 

I had made a tray of sugar cookies for them to frost. I think Eli enjoyed eating the sprinkles more than decorating his cookie!

Once the frosting part was complete they opened up kisses while I made  a batch of peanut butter blossoms. The youngest, Evan, kept putting the unwrapped kisses up to his mouth.  Yuck!  I made sure to keep track of the bowl he was dropping his kisses into!

 Once that was complete the boys then rolled and cut out sugar cookies with the the help of Megan. 
 In the end the boys went home with a dozen peanut butter blossom cookies,  sugar cookies sprinkled with color sugar, and each had a plate of 5 frosted sugar cookies.  I was careful to keep the cookies they made separate to send home.  That way I knew little hands didn't touch the cookies left behind!  

The boys are young and don't have long attention spans.  It wasn't long before they were done with cookies and ready to play.  While they played, Megan finished up the sugar cookies.  

I sent two happy boys home with cookies and hopefully new memories.  It was a win, win for mom and dad also as they had time to do some shopping.  Sometimes, the gift of your time is the best gift you can give. 

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Joy in the Ordinary

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

My Megan has grown up quite a bit in the last 6 months.  She is a huge helper.  No only to me, but for cousin Charlie's parents.  She is great at caring and entertaining him at family gatheings.

 Like many of you, Christmas is in full swing around here. 
The whole family pitched in and made 5 batches of caramels.  They will be cut and wrapped one evening this week.
It's pure joy to enjoy the lights in the evening. 
Dinner was shared with my parents one evening.  We share plenty of laughs when we are together. 
Last week there were days of sunshine.  It was chilly this morning, but I couldn't resist heading out to enjoy the sun.  If you didn't already know it, I'm a sunshine girl! 
I'm glad I stepped out often to enjoy the nice week  as the weather is changing.  Tomorrow is rain and then the cold temperatures slide in. 

Wishing you a great Monday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Penny Smart #11

This a place where I share how I've stretched a penny, saved a penny and in many cases spent no pennies.

I picked up 3 packages of tortilla shells on the clearance rack for $0.90 each.  They went into the freezer mainly for lunches.  Megan enjoys cheese quesadillas. 
I needed laundry detergent and picked up two bottle of Purex for $5.99 each.  One bottle is put back and one was immediately used. 
I don't use my store bought detergent at full strength.  It's diluted by half.  Instead of 150 ounces I end up 300!
The large bottle is too heavy for me, so it is divided into smaller containers.  I have worked out the math and wrote it on the container.  I use by kitchen scale and know that I need to add 23 ounces of both water and detergent. 
I also have to bottles marked with a "D" so I know that it has been diluted.  
I also keep a bottle that hasn't been diluted for those heavily soiled items. 

Some of you might wonder what happened to my homemade laundry detergent.  I stopped using it about 6 months ago.  I found that in my newer top load HE, water efficient washer that it wasn't dissolving well.  Black skirts and pants kept coming out with white areas of detergent.  I may try the liquid version at some point, but for now this is saving my sanity. 
I know many who never use dryer sheets.  It's a must around here, especially in the winter.  Static is a monster when the weather turns cold!  I cut my sheets in half to double the amount.  
I've considered dryer balls.  If you use them, or have used them, please let me know how they work for you.  

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.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations... keep moving forward, friends. 

Monday, November 18, 2019


After a busy and emotional October it's been great to be home. The first week of October we were in Virginia. I will share about our trip another time.  Then the rest of the month was spent with  Grandma.  It was hard, yet wonderful to see the love shown to her. 

I am drying some flowers from Grandma's funeral.  I have plans to use them in our bedroom.  I have been buying bits and pieces and plan to update the bedroom next year. 
Doubling down on school to do a little catching up. We had been taking it over to to Grandma's but there was so much going on it was hard to get it all done.  
Before the first snow fall Megan helped me with yard work.  Chuck and I were out with a flashlight finishing up the last of the work the night before it snowed.  Finished just in the nick of time!
We had dined out to the point we were sick of it.  It's been nice to have home cooked meals on a regular basis again.
The clean up crew.  We all pitch in each evening to get the job done. 
The cooler temperatures mean Mrs. Red is back in business.  Tonight she provided a chicken soup.  She was washed and left out so she is ready for chili tomorrow. 
The dark evenings and slower pace have left time for reading. 
For the first time in about 3 years I am excited to decorate for Christmas. I can't even explain how happy that makes me!  
 Christmas music has been playing and the decorating has begun.  I'm not happy with the lights on this tree so tomorrow I will take them off and place them again.  This is new for my home this year.  My in-laws no longer wanted this tree and I knew it would be perfect in this spot.  I hope to have it finished tomorrow afternoon.  
It's  been wonderful to be back home caring for my home and family.  Home is a beautiful word!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

In Memory of Grandma

Saturday Heaven gained the most beautiful women I have ever known.  Chuck's 91 year old grandmother, Catherine.  She passed away peacefully, in her home, surrounded by her family.  Chuck wrote something for her and I thought it would be fitting to share.  
Many things come to mind when thinking about Grandma, but one phrase that kept coming back was a meek and quiet spirit.  

Do not let adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3: 3-4
I know that many think weak when they thing about a meek person.  Grandma was a women of strength.  The Greek definition describes meek as, "the attitude of one who is friendly, warm, forbearing, patient, kind and gentle."  The definition of quiet is, "is a person who knows how to calm herself and maintain a state of peace and tranquility."
One only needed to spend a moment with Grandma to see she was all of these things and more.  I imagine anyone who knew her could provide example after example of the things she did to show again and again that her spirit was meek and quiet.  

For me she was my safe place.  No matter how tough life many have been there was always Grandma's.  A place where food, laughter, kindness, and love were given out in abundance.  Her greatest joy was serving her family. 

I could write a book of all the ways she loved and cared for me.  The most profound way she impacted my life was to take me to church as a child.  She was the one who introduced me to Jesus and the seed was sown.  The seed lie dormant for many years, yet had been planted.  As I've grown I have nurtured that seed and it has matured.  The love of Grandma not only impacted my life on earth, but for eternity.  
Its hard to let you go.  The only thing that makes it bearable is that it isn't good-bye, but until we meet again.  Forever grateful for you, Grandma.

In loving memory of Mamie Catherine Cottongim Thompson
June 1, 1928 - October 26, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Feeling the Nudge

I usually wait until after the first frost to clean up my flower beds.  This year I had been feeling a nudge to get it done.  I can't explain why.  I listened and have been busy cleaning things up outside.
I started by cutting back pernials, pulling out annuals, and weeding.  Once complete the front wasn't looking it's best, so I added $20 worth of mulch.  Amazing what a little bit of mulch does to improve an area.

Weeds were pulled from the driveway and the rotten timbers along one side were removed.  The timbers on the other side of drive need to be removed also.  That may be a project that waits until spring.

Over the weedend I worked on cleaning windows.  I used our handheld vacuum on the screens and then cleaned the windows.  The inside still needs cleaned, but that will wait for a day when I can't be outside.

There are a few left to do.  Garden knick nacks need to be cleaned and stored.  The back porch needs cleaned and things put away.  Along with a few odds and ends Megan has at the slide.

I feel pretty good about getting everything cleaned up in the next week.  Then I will help Chuck with any last minute projects he 'd like to finish before winter.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

September Grocery Haul

Please remember this is a NO judgement zone.  You don't like what you see then please be kind and say nothing. *smile*  

I headed out for my monthly grocery shopping recently.  I ended up with quite a bit of fruit on hand after a trip to the orchard and there is plenty of meat in the freezer.  I went to Wal-Mart, Sam's Club (for trash bags only), and Kroger.  

 The total for this was $118.08.

Later I picked up 2 packages of toilet paper and a large package of paper towels.  (sorry, no picture) The total was $50.97 + a $10 gift card for a future purchase.  That makes the total $169.05.  I will use the rest of my grocery budget for milk, fresh items, and any loss leader deals this month.

The new debt total for September is $16517. Certainly not dropping as fast as I'd like. When I consider that we spent money on plywood for Grandma's floors and we ate out some due to late nights working,  I won't beat myself up about it.

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 see grocery hauls and hear about others frugal adventures and I hope you do also.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations... keep moving forward, friends.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Season of Serving

We've been busy and I didn't realize how long it had been since I updated my little space here. There have been a ton of things happening. We have been busy with school, making memories and most importantly serving. You see, Chuck's grandma has taken a turn. As of last week she is now on hospice care.

She had been slowly declining, but really took a turn two weeks ago.  She is now to the point where she is no longer mobile on her own.  Her eldest daughter, Brenda, moved in with her several years ago and has been a huge blessing.  Since Grandma is to the point that she is no longer able to stand up and take steps it now requires two people to be with her at all times.

To make moving her from point A to point B easier, Chuck and a couple of his cousins have been ripping up carpet and installing wood floors.  As with any project, especially when it involves a home build in 1920, there are bound to be hiccups.  As you can tell by the picture a hallway was more entailed than just ripping up carpet and putting down the new flooring. 
I don't have a picture of the new flooring, but it is pretty and was FREE!  Yup, free.  Uncle Tom had a friend that bought a house and hated the floor.  Tom was able to take the flooring if he helped pull it up.

It has been all hands on deck.  Not only has Chuck been pitching in, but so have Megan and I.  Megan is the official dish drier! 
Besides personal care for Grandma, there is laundry, housework, grocery store runs, and on the good days for Grandma there is plenty of visiting.  We not only want to meet her physical needs, but also want to spend as much quality time with her as we can.

One evening we were leaving she was having a good evening and she mentioned she wished she could go with us because she wanted to get out.  I reminded her that she had been out that morning to go to the doctor.  She made a sour face. Ha!  I agree that going to the doctor doesn't count as an outing.  Anyway, I told her we would take her out to Cracker Barrel the following Friday if she was feeling well enough for the outing.

When we arrived on Friday she was alert and ready to go.  I was surprised since the day before she woke up in a confused state and didn't recognize her daughters.  Anyway, she was happy to be out of the house and ate better than she had in weeks.  I'm not sure we will be able to take her out again.  The trip was tiring and getting her in and out of the car caused her some pain.
We are taking things day by day and cherishing each moment we have with her.  If I'm not around this little space you'll know that I'm off serving at Grandma's.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations... keep moving forward, friends.