Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I ♡ Antique Malls

I think I've mentioned before that I do not enjoy shopping.  Recently I rediscovered that isn't exactly true. I had forgotten how much I enjoy antique malls.

One lovely fall day, we spent 3 hours walking around, looking at and remembering things we had long ago. Oh, if only I knew way back then that my unwanted junk would be worth so much now!

We did bring home a few treasures. We found an upholstered ottoman,  4 mugs to match our 70's Correll,  and a couple Christmas tree ornaments. My 12 year old son used birthday money to buy a knife. And, many of the vendors gave a 30% discount for cash!

 This particular mall is 40 minutes away, near a favoriye park, making it a good day trip stop. We will be back! I have my eye on a Pyrex bowl set!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Contentment in Nature

My cousin took this photo while out on a walk with her dog one morning.  When I look at it, I feel such contentment, so I thought I'd share it here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When Dreams Are Put on Hold

Our recent move seemed like the perfect opportunity to realize some dreams, but alas, that was not in the budget.  Our new home, while lovely and very cozy, sits in the middle of a typical newer neighborhood, something I thought I would never do again.

The bottom line was this is what we could afford.  There were no homes on land in our price range that were inhabitable.  Either you had a nice house on no land or land with a house that needed tearing down.  So, in the spirit of this blog, I am truly content to be where I am.

I am thankful we can own a home again, something I did not dare think about too much.  I am thankful to have all that I need and a lot of what I wanted.  I will work to make this home, home.  And truly, if this home were on 5 acres, I would not be any more content.  The 5 acres would just require more effort and perhaps right now a quarter of an acre is plenty.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Garden Update

My little wild garden is in its final stages of glory.  We got 5 fat, juicy cherry tomatoes this week from the volunteer tomato plant.  The Morning Glory is so pretty.  Those seeds were given to me and frankly, I did not expect them to do so well.  It has taken over.  The herbs are all going crazy.  Bees buzz around constantly.  This has to be my favorite year with this garden.  Of course it is now my last year here at this house.  That's OK.  I have made the most of what I had here.  Next year, I will have a new garden to tame, Lord willing.  There will be new ideas to try.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Even a Good Change Can Be Hard

Will the Morning Glory bloom? 

There are some big changes on my horizon, and as with many people, change is hard for me.  All of a sudden, it seems, I am asked to leave my comfort zone, and I struggle to embrace this as an opportunity for growth.  I had in my mind that we'd be moving when our lease is up, in a year and a half.  I am doing better now than when the idea to move first appeared.  But to be truthful, I would love to just hide away right now and not deal with all the stuff.  (I need a moving fairy to come!)
I am excited to be possibly buying a house instead of renting, although, this huge debt scares me.  I have grown fond of not having any debt!  I know a house will be different than consumer debt, of course.  I will have to work hard at not wanting more house than we can afford.  This will not be my dream house.  It will be the house we finish our family.  Perhaps the dream house will come later.  Perhaps it will not.  I am at peace with that part of myself, the part that dreams.
Most likely, we will be moving into a slightly smaller house, still spacious, I am sure.  But, we will still need to take a hard look at every object in our possession before we move.  Every.  Last.  Item.

I have made several trips to Good Will.  I have another load to take soon.  Depending on the house, we will purge furniture, too.  I am happy to let it all go.  The more the better, I say!  My kids are trying to go through their stuff as well.  We may be having the boys share a bedroom.  It could get tight.  But I know it will be OK.  Plenty of siblings share rooms.

I am looking forward to making a new place our home, our refuge.  I will be looking for a sunny backyard in which to grow a real garden.  I am looking forward to painting my daughter's room blue, a dream of hers.  If the loan all happens, I will call myself blessed for sure!  Until then, I purge on!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Simple Summer

The herb garden is quite lush right now.  

What makes up a successful day?  Recently, this question has often been on my mind.  You see, this summer, unlike any other that I can recall, has been rather simple.  There have been more quiet days at home than usual.  We have not ran around very much.  We have spent whole afternoons reading, building with Legos, watching old movies, or playing board games.  Not a lot of heavy housework has been done either.  And recently, the heatwave has kept us inside more than I would care to be.  All this downtime has been wonderfully restoring to me personally.  We did spend a crazy week at VBS last week, but other than that we have stayed mostly quiet.

I have fought the temptation to feel as if we are being unproductive.  Quite  the opposite is true.  I think we are being wise.  A busy school year is fast approaching and we will need to be rested and ready.  We will need to be good and ready!

So, the other day, I asked myself what makes a successful summer day?  I came up with a baseline for myself.  If these things happen, then I can look back and say that I have been productive enough.

My morning routine...

  • Make and have breakfast with my husband
  • Enjoy my coffee 
  • Read my Bible and pray
  • Clean up breakfast
  • Feed the wild birds, change their bird bath water
  • Water the outside plants
  • Take a short walk
  • Shower
  • Swish and swipe the bathroom (Flylady style)
  • Make our bed
  • Start a load of clothes
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Plan dinner 
  • Computer time 
The afternoon is pretty loose.  I make sure laundry is getting done, the dishes and kitchen are being kept up, and dinner is ready when my darling comes home from his hard work day.  We do spend some time cleaning in the afternoons, but we do it mostly when there are people coming over.  Otherwise, we have free afternoons to work on things we want to work on or go swimming if invited.  

These simple days of summer will be over in less than a month.  I am hanging on to each one, feeling satisfied that we are making the most of them, right here at home.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Dog Days Are Here

The dog days of summer are here.  I have to work harder this time of year, work harder at being content.  Hazy, humid, hot days drag me down, as much as the bitter, dreary, cold days of a long winter do.

It occurred to me yesterday that these seasons are really no different. Both must be cheerfully endured. Both must not be wished away. Both have their good points, when one searches with diligence.

After reminding myself of the many good points of this season, I discovered a renewed joy in summertime. Even on a very warm, muggy day, at the very least, I can rejoice that it is sunny and I do not have to struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder!

Today, I am busy in an air conditioned house. Yes, I will hate the electric bill a month from now. Yes, I am feeling cooped up. But at least the sun is shining and I can enjoy this season, for it is short and soon another season will be arriving, bringing relief.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Feeling Blah Today

I woke up feeling a little down today, not to mention having some tummy trouble due to eating off my program yesterday.  I decided the best way to combat these blues was to write a gratitude list.

Cataract Falls, Upper Falls

I am thankful for...

  • A beautiful summer morning with sunshine, cooler temps, birds singing, and time to enjoy being outside on my hammock, praying for myself and others. 
  • My husband who is working hard today for us.  He wanted to take the day off, but decided it was best to go into his office and work.  
  • My children, who are safe and at home with me today. I am thankful for their creativity.   
  • Another chance to eat right today.
  • A slower paced day. 
  • Leftover food from yesterday!  Now I won't have to cook tonight.  
  • My family who came over yesterday and celebrated Independence Day with us.  
  • Friends who are praying for me.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Contentment

Today was one of those perfect weather days, sunny, not too humid, a gentle breeze. The kind of day that lures me outside to enjoy. And there I found a volunteer tomato plant! So, I staked it right there and then. And I lounged on my beloved grandfather's hammock, remembering his 95 year old sister who passed today. My garden is wild, but I love it just the same. And lastly,  my cat, trapped indoors, enjoys the breeze, too.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 2013 Garden Update

This summer, my gardening is limited to herbs and flowers.  I decided not to try to grow vegetables this year because we really have too much shade and after last year's drought, I lost the desire as well!  Plus, as I said before, my plant budget was eaten up by a certain hungry rescue cat.  So, this is what we came up with for about $30.

These Coleus perk up the shaded front walk.

I have written  many times about my grandpa's geranium, but here it is again.   I hope it makes it this summer.  I noticed a bug eating the leaves.

I bought two little pots of geraniums for the back deck.  I enjoy looking out my windows and seeing a little pop of color.  I was hoping to attract humming birds, as I have in the past, but sadly, the hummers are not coming like the last few years.

These lilies were a gift from my daughter last year.  They and the mint are thriving.  Next to the mint, in the back, you can just see the chives.  There is also lavender and basil in this area.

 In the baby pool, I planted some free Morning Glory seeds.  I will put up a tripod soon.  There is also cilantro in the pool.

 Lastly, here is the catnip that we got from the farm market.  It is loving its location.  And my kitties are loving the fresh leaves.  We will dry some for over the winter.

I would have loved to have planted some tomatoes, but these plants are truly enough.  My daughter is so kind to water each plant every morning, unless we have had rain.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Thoughts

Summer is in full bloom.  We've not yet entered the dry season and we've only had one day reach 90 degrees. My plants are doing well, although, I did not plant as much as last year.  That is OK.  I chose to spend my money on adding another rescue cat in March and he is worth it. 

That's how life goes on a budget.  I took from my garden budget so that I could increase my cat budget.  I still have lovely plants to enjoy.  And I have an extra wonderful cat to love. 

I really, really need to work on clearing out the extra stuff in our home this summer.  In particular, the garage is out of control.  I just don't like spending time out there.  I need a plan and a schedule, but books call to me during the heat of the day, not a hot garage.

I am so thankful to have the luxury of summer days at home.  They are a real gift.  I have my children happily busy around me.  My husband is working hard so that we can be comfortable and enjoy all the blessings that surround us.   Life is full.  I am grateful to the Lord for the pleasure a quiet summer day brings.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Letter to My Stuff

Dear Stuff I Want Rid Of,

You were once a blessing to me. I know I really wanted you here, but now things have changed. I no longer have a use for you inside my home. So now you sit in my garage, mocking me each time I pass you. I keep you because of fear or out of sentiment.   If I get rid of you, I may need you again, just like a few other things I once had. And, technically,  I do have the space to keep you, so I talk myself out of calling a charity truck to come by. I avoid you when I am able. And, the good stuff hides you.  One day I will have to deal with you, when we move again. Until then, I will try to find courage to say goodbye!

Yours truly,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ten More Things

  • Time spent rocking in the sun on my hammock.  
  • Good family times over the weekend.  
  • Friends who want to come over and BBQ.  
  • A foster kitty to love on.  
  • Sons who spontaneously go outside to work on their physical training.
  • BBQ leftovers!  
  • Birds singing outside my window.
  • Lower humidity.  
  • Dry weather in order to hang my blankets outside, again.  
  • Physical strength to go play disc golf.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ten Things

10 things that I am thankful for right now.

  • A beautiful sunny day
  • My children outside encouraging one another
  • Free seeds planted 
  • The gentle breeze blowing my wind chimes
  • A baby Robbin hopping around the yard
  • A cold glass of water to sip
  • Strength to ride my bike
  • My bike
  • An old washer and dryer that keeps a going
  • Blankets hung outside 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


On a recent hike,at a favorite park, I came across a couple abandoned houses.  I had never been in this part of the park before, so I didn't know they were there just over the fence.

Abandoned houses really bother me.  They are such a waste! I think of all the happy times that the houses must have provided, for these are beach houses, and beach houses are for fun times.

Of course the real reason this bothers me is because I would dearly love to have a house on my favorite beach and these are just sitting there going to waste.  Heavy sigh.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Homemade Cleaner, Follow-up

Today was the day! I made up a spray bottle of one half vinegar/orange solution and filtered water.  I used it to clean the bathrooms and kitchen.  Seems to work well.  The smell was as I expected, mostly vinegar.  I clean with vinegar and am used to it.  It goes away in an hour or so.  I did not smell much orange though.  Otherwise the cleaner worked great.  It even kills ants.  (I am in an ant war at the moment.  Grr.)
Happy cleaning!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Grandpa's Bread, Again

Some here might remember that in January I started making my grandpa's sourdough bread.  I have made it a few times, but decided that I needed to perfect my technique.  Now as it happens, my father is a certified master baker.  I know, kind of handy!  So, this past Saturday, he showed me how to knead dough properly.  I love my stand mixer, but it isn't built to make bread, or at least when I try, it makes a burning smell and overheats!  I suppose you have to get a commercial one to really make good bread.  My next attempt at making this bread will be using whole wheat flour.  I want to see how it does.  Happy baking to you!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

These days I just can't bring myself to use a can of soup in a recipe that I have gone to the trouble of making sure is real food.  So, I looked around to find a good, fast substitute.

Basically, I found that I can make a white sauce and substitute the milk with chicken stock and I have cream of chicken soup! It also makes a great gravy to put on mashed potatoes.

Melt 4 T butter.  Add 4T of flour.  Mix.  Slowly whisk in 1 cup of chicken stock.  This should thicken.  Now I have soup to add to my favorite recipes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Homemade Citrus Cleaner

Seems like I was always forgetting to pick up some essential oils when I was at the health food store, so I was really glad to see this recipe on Facebook recently.  Plus the orange oil was free, something I was going to toss in the trash!  (I don't compost during the winter.)

In a quart jar pour some white vinegar over the orange peels of about three oranges.  Let stand for two weeks.  In two weeks, add equal parts water in a spray bottle.  Use to clean all surfaces.  It's antibacterial, too!  I can't wait to give it a try.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"No Poo" On Hold

A couple years ago, I went "no poo, " meaning I stopped using comercial shampoo and conditioner. And, it worked great.  My hair was doing well.  Then recently, I was given lots of free shampoo and conditioner, travel sized from a hotel. The good stuff!  I decided that using the shampoo would be the most frugal option. Baking soda and vinegar are cheap, but free is free. So for now, untill the free stuff runs out, my "no poo" is on hold. I will go back though.  My hair is more oily when I use shampoo.  I feel like I need to wash it more often.  I am thankful for the free stuff, though, too.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Drying Clothes and Tennis Balls

In my efforts to be frugal, I discovered a way to dry clothes without a softener sheet or adding softener to the rinse cycle.  A few years ago, we got a pair of dryer balls.  One of them ended up either lost or ripped, I can't remember. They were just OK, but really didn't help with static in the winter.  They were too light. 

Recently, I had to wash all of our down coats.  The tag said to use tennis balls to dry in the dryer.  I have done this before, no big deal, but this time it occurred to me that I could do this all the time, instead of fabric sheets. So, for the last month, I have been using 3 tennis balls in the dryer.  I also put a dry towel in there as well.

The static is no issue. The clothes are soft.  If I think of it, I sometimes put vinegar in the rinse cycle, but I don't think of it too often.  I'd like to have a dispenser.  Anyway, I thought I would write about this here in case anyone else was thinking of ditching fabric softeners. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Let's Make Napkins

For awhile now, we have been using cloth napkins.  My first haul of them came from an estate sale. I was not choosy about their color. I just wanted them for everyday use. And I needed a lot if them since we eat all our meals at home most days.

The first ones started to wear out, so I bought a few more last fall from a craft mall. They were salmon in color, but so cheap. I also looked on Etsy, but did not have the extra money.  I considered making my own, but I gave away my cantankerous sewing machine last year.

Then I saw this easy tutorial on how to make everyday napkins. I wanted to buy cotton duck as it called for, but I am trying to save my pennies, so I put on my thinking cap. I had bought some nice flat sheets from Goodwill for my son to use as a green screen. He no longer finds the need for two.  Also, my gracious mother has a nice new sewing machine that she was willing to let me use. So... this is what happened.

15 wonderful napkins for everyday use!  I've washed them once and I had to trim the little strings from the developing fringe.  I think they are going to be very useful.  If I can find another sheet, I may make more soon.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Distracted Housewife

I've been a little distracted this week.  I did purge my living areas, but did not do any detailed cleaning, just the normal upkeep. I didn't even look at Flylady's website.  (For shame!)  I wanted to do a lot more, but I found myself thinking of a new kitty more than cleaning.  Maybe I am just not motivated to lift the couch cushions and vacuum there.  I didn't feel like doing it last month either.  Next week I hope to get back on track, unless a kitty actually comes to live with me.  Then I will be busy with cat integration.   :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Finished for Now

Yes, I'd love to paint, get window treatments, have bedside tables, and an iron bed frame, but.... we are on a tight budget and this is real life.  (Van got new brakes.  Kitty goes to the vet.  I decide it's time to add a new kitty to the mix.  :-)  Kids need next year's pricey school books.)  So, I make the most of what I do have, a clean, spacious bedroom!  Thanks to my dear husband for hanging up the last picture.  It is a picture that he bought for me for a wedding present, so it is special and deserves a prominent spot in our room.