Monday, February 16, 2015

Week In Review and Frugal Things I Did Last Week

The highlight of our week was probably the day trip we took to Louisville to attend the Farm Machinery Show.  It costs $8 for parking but unlimited climbing access to the nicest tractors, combines, and farm equipment this side of the Mississippi.  I have such fond memories of attending as a child.  We were able to meet up with friends of ours and also saw my parents for a little while.

We stopped by a bookstore on the way home so Brandon could browse for new releases which he didn't purchase.  I requested one of the books on his wish list from our library.  We also stopped by Costco on the way home and loaded up on organic produce and a few items for the happy hubby.

I have been cleaning and trying to rid our home of clutter this past month.  It's a never ending battle in our home.  One thing that I find helpful to the process is to have give away bags started and kept in a room where they cannot be easily accessed by the children.  I have bags for my sister-in-laws, parents, thrift store donations, and a few of Eli's friends.  I absolutely love it when others share with our family so I try to bless others in the same manner.

I returned some items to the Dollar Tree that we did not use over Christmas and received $7.00 back.  We also returned items at Walmart which were never used (Christmas lights and coveralls) and received over $40.  I absolutely hate returning items and am so thankful to no longer have these items hanging by our back door!

The kids and I made homemade Valentine's (pictured above).  We made three using flat canvases that I had on hand so that they could be kept and used as decoration in the future.  I had the paint on hand and a helpful hubby which made the footprints much easier!  Eli's hands are getting so big that I wonder how many more times we will be making such crafts.  Sniff, sniff!

My sister Bekah and I had a great time shopping at Kohl's last week.  We always wait until after Christmas so that we can hit the great clearance racks.  (I buy a lot of my clothing second hand but I always purchase new underwear, bras, socks, and swimsuits.)  I am very happy with the quality of Kohl's clothing.  Bekah watched for coupons and we waited until we could save an additional 20% off of our purchases and received Kohl's cash.  I was so impressed by her stamina!  We shopped at least 4 hours if not 5 and she would have kept right on shopping except I thought the store closed at 6pm.  I also learned that you can add a purchase to an additional receipt in order to generate more Kohl's cash which we did by simply purchasing a lip balm.  In case you are wondering I purchased brown tall boots and a new swimsuit.  :)

Eli and I have had so much fun playing games this week!  His current favorite is The Clothespins Game which I picked up at Goodwill a few months ago.

We have been working on tweaking our budget this week.  Unless we stop eating as much meat we will be increasing our monthly grocery budget.  Not only have food prices increased dramatically in the past few years but our kids eat a lot more than they use to!  Hopefully this year we will be able to plant a large garden.  It saves us a lot of money and the taste simply does not compare with what you can buy.

My sweet boys spent about 5 hours on Valentine's Day delivering flowers to the widows of our church.  The happy hubby has been delivering flowers for years and I am always reminded at how blessed I am to be married to such a sweet man.  This was Eli's first time helping deliver flowers and he even dressed up for the occasion.  We did save money buy purchasing all of the vases used at a thrift store last month.  I brought them all home, washed them, and they look as good as new.   Brandon purchased a dozen roses which I divided among the 12 vases and added ribbon that I had on hand.  The children at our church made Valentine's on Wednesday that were also delivered.

Unfortunately on Valentine's Day I woke up feeling bad.  Is it just me or has this winter been especially hard on the immune system?  Our romantic Valentine's Day plans took a backseat while the happy hubby and Eli took turns being sweet to me.  My favorite part was definitely the three hour nap I indulged in after they finished delivering flowers.

I hope that you had a wonderful week.  What frugal things did you do last week? 

Friday, February 6, 2015

January Reads

Grace Is Free: One Woman's Journey From Fundamentalism to Failure to Faith: by Marci Preheim:  Throughout the Christian World there is a deadly false teaching that is seeping into the hearts of many Christians.  Far too many women are finding themselves enslaved to self-righteousness through seemingly good things like to-do lists, extra biblical rules, and striving for excellence.  What can easily be seen as striving for godliness can in effect lead to women who are robbed from the intimacy that comes from walking in Christ's righteousness.  Preheim shares in the book the tendency that we as women have to view the woman who excels the most in homemaking skills and organization as the epitome of godliness.  If this is true then Martha Stewart is the godliest woman of all.  This book pulls the mask off of the false gospel of legalism and fundamentalism by reminding the reader of the Gospel.  I highly recommend reading this book this year!

Trusting God (Even When Life Hurts) by Jerry Bridges: It is really hard to describe the impact this book has had on my heart this past month.  There is a part of me that wishes I could order a dozen copies of this book and just hand them out everyone in my life who is going through a difficult time.  I could definitely agree that it is so much easier to obey God than to trust Him.  Sometimes trusting God in various situations simply doesn't make sense to us.  In my own life I have been walking through a season where God is radically challenging my trust in Him.  This book has been such a comfort the past month.  I'm embarrassed to admit that we have actually owned the book for two years before I opened the cover.  What a well of encouragement I have been missing.  Bridges writes from the perspective of one who has seen his own shares of adversity.  Throughout this book he shares what God has taught him about God's power over all things.  I have no doubt that at the end of 2015 this will have been one of the books that had the biggest impact on me this year.

Heaven at Home by Ginger Plowman: I don't know about you but I have a deep desire for my home to be a haven and a place of peace.  I really enjoyed reading this grace filled book on homemaking. 

Say Goodbye To Survival Mode by Crystal Paine:  Over the past four years Crystal's blog has been one of the two blogs that I have faithfully read on a weekly basis.  This is her second book and I really enjoyed reading it.  Throughout the book the author highlights 9 strategies to reduce stress and live a life on purpose.  I loved how this book was written from a clear Biblical perspective but was also filled with practical advice.

Supermarket Healthy: by Melissa D'Arabian: I really enjoyed the photography in this cookbook.  Simply stunning and almost good enough to eat right off the page!  Throughout the book the author tries to create delicious, nutritious meals from ingredients that can be found at your local grocery store.  I love a fancy grocery store like Whole Foods but it is a rare treat in our life.  We don't live close to a store like this and we lack the budget to shop at such a store exclusively.  This is a great cookbook for the real world.  I marked a few of her recipes to try in the next week.  Please note that I did receive a review copy of this book from Blogging For Books.

What books did you read last month?  I would love to hear your suggestions on what books to add to my list for February.  Do you have any suggestions for reading a book about prayer?