Sunday, October 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Tree Craft (Part 2)

The leaves are dried and pressed.
Today I taped a few pages of newspaper together and let my son paint them white.
After the paint dried I outlined a tree on the paper and cut it out.
Now the tree is hanging on the dining room wall.
We'll add one leaf every day until Thanksgiving with something written on it that we're thankful for.
This will probably be a Thanksgiving tradition for us for many years to come. Today we added two leaves. I asked little Abe what he was thankful for and he said, "mommy." Awe, melt my heart. I wrote his name on the second leaf because I didn't want to be up there without him.

Sparked by a fellow blogger's comment: Do you have any Thanksgiving holiday traditions?
Please comment if you do. It's a rather intriguing question since the Thanksgiving holiday can just be considered a big meal to those outside the US.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Strawberry Frost

This bucket of berries brought us such joy through out the summer.
It still continues to inspire awe.







Winter is on it's way.
What a lovely morning!

4 / 60

Four Christmas cards down, only fifty sixish left to go.

I made one yesterday that I was quite proud of. I showed it to my husband and said, "what do you think of this?" He's like "what is it?" I said, "A Christmas card." Then he said, "Oh, who sent us that?"

The man lives in a different world, I am telling you! I think a better question would be, "Who on earth sent us a Christmas card in October?" But to his credit I guess the person who starts sewing Christmas cards in October is quite alien.

Don't worry I won't be posting about Christmas cards every day from not till December.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Let the Holidays Begin

I dug out a neat little tin of buttons from my Grandmother's sewing table (one of the few things I inherited from her) and started making Christmas cards today. I'm an enormous procrastinator so I'm going to attempt the slow and steady method for the holidays this year. I figure if I make one or two cards a day I should have enough made by sending them out time. I LOVE Christmas cards! I try and send a different kind each year. Last year I sent out my stock pile of old cards that gathered up over the years. Normally I try and take a neat Christmasy photo and make a card out of it. This year I'm going to attempt making these button ones. These are my first two so I'm hoping they'll get cuter as I go along.

Thanksgiving and Christmas crafts going at the same time; those books in the background are pressing the leaves we gathered yesterday. Now I'm off to work. Hooray.

*A good friend of mine just published a blog post about updating the address book now so that you'll be ready come Christmas time. Great suggestion and a big part of my inspiration to start making my cards this year.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Tree Craft (Part One)

Today we went for a walk and collected fallen leaves. It was fun noticing all the different colors and leaves that had fallen from all different types of trees.

Right now our leaves are drying in the basement. We'll press them on wax paper once they're dry. We're going to make a thanksgiving tree out of newpaper that I'll hang on the wall. Everyday leading up to thanksgiving we'll add a leaf to the tree with something we're thankful for written on it. We will read all of our leaves each day and think about the things we're thankful for. 

I'm pretty sure I have everything I need around the house to do this entire craft. Free is always the best!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our Pie and Today's Grocery List

Average daily spending for October: $21.19

I got a little carried away with today's shopping trip. But after our dinner and dessert I'm feeling so unbelievably accomplished for the day AND full! I made chili with ground chicken instead of beef and homemade biscuits. I hadn't made the biscuits before and I LOVED the way they turned out. They were pretty rustic and I don't know that my husband loved them but they reminded me of something my Grandmother would have made. So simple and so from scratch!
Yes there is a finger poke in that pie.
The pumpkin pie turned out very brown; that was my husband's only complaint. I am very proud of it. Little Abe mostly ate the whipped cream and then mushed the pie beyond recognition but I'm pretty sure that's completely normal for most little ones and pumpkin pie. I have to laugh because I commented in my last post that my pie crusts are always... not perfect. I made a leaf border for the top of the pie crust and it was quite adorable until it sank down the edge of the pan while it baked and almost buried itself in the pie. You can't blame a woman for trying though.


I'm shooting for a $16.99 daily spending average for October.
That leaves $102.82 for the rest of the month. Yikes!

Ingredients for the chili
Tomato sauce .89
An onion .74
Kidney beans 1
Rotel tomatoes 1.07
2LBs Ground chicken 6.94
Chili powder 2.50

Ingredients for the pie
Brown sugar .99
Whipping cream 2.29
Parchment paper 2.99
Butter 3.99
Corn syrup 2.19
Cloves 4.39

Other groceries (of which only 4 items were on my shopping list)
Tuna .79
Apple juice 1.99
Ziploc bags 2.29
Eggs 3.79
Baking soda .69
Pickles 1.99
Ketchup 2.49
Crackers 2.59
Cheese 2.69
Yogurt 3
Bread 3
tax .32

Observations About Pumpkin Pie

  1. It's so much more fulfilling to make it from actual pumpkins as opposed to the canned pumpkin.

    I haven't the foggiest idea why but there was something overwhelmingly joyful about scooping the baked pumpkin from the skins after pulling them out of the hot oven. I've never done that before and I was giddy like a little kid on a pony farm as I watched the soft warm cooked pumpkin pulling away from the tiny layer of skin that had previously been the hard solid rind (or what I thought was a rind). Fascinating to say the least! Of course my two year old son was observing the process so that might have added a bit of pizzazz the whole thing.
  2. Similarly I will mix up dough and roll it out every single time I bake any sort of pie instead of getting the pre-made pie dough.

    I love getting flour everywhere and hoping that this time the crust will turn out just right (it never does/ mine is always quite "homemade" at the edges). I love using a rolling pin. I love having my kiddo help roll out the pie dough and jokingly snapping at him when he pops a broken bit of dough in his mouth.
  3. Crushing up the baked pumpkin with your hands so that it looks perfectly pureed is not the same as pureeing it.

    It looked pureed. Little Abe put all the pie ingredients into the mixing bowl with our lovely "pureed" pumpkin. Then mommy took the electric beater to the bowl and... OOOPPPSSS!!! There was most definitely pumpkin pie filling splattered all over the entire kitchen, fridge, cookbook, table, me, little Abe... everywhere! It was kind of awesome though. The little pumpkin strands that our fingers weren't able to genuinely puree whipped up in the beaters and flung bits of filling all over. Little Abe was startled. I laughed pretty hard. Then I got out the blender and had a second go at pureeing the fresh baked pumpkin.
  4. Totally from scratch, fresh baked pumpkin pie will take all morning to make!

    15 minutes to gut the pumpkins then 45 minutes of them baking at 375F. We made the pie dough while the pumpkins were cooking but the dough was supposed to chill for 20 minutes before being rolled out. Then the crust was supposed to chill for 20 minutes before being baked. Then the crust had to bake for 20 minutes before the filling went it. We made the filling while the crust was baking but there was some extra clean up time for that process, hehe. Then the pie baked for 45 minutes (my oven is a bit on the cooler side/ it should have been more like 40 minutes). The beautiful pie just came out of the oven and is cooling now.

I'll post pie photos for certain later this evening! This big helper ^ is napping now. And his mom is sitting here typing away and smelling hot pumpkin pie cooling in the kitchen. I'm pretty sure our 2 hours of hard work this morning will be well worth it. And you know I've got a carton of heavy whipping cream in the fridge to top off the pie with fresh made whipped cream when the eating time comes!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lazy NO SPEND Saturday

Average daily spending for October: $20.46

Today was a successful no spend. I made a Christmas ornament with my sister and little Abe our of flour, salt, and water. Talk about cheap! I'll report back on that if it turns out not hideous. I do not celebrate halloween. I LOVE thanksgiving but I'm actually getting really excited about Christmas already this year. I guess you never can get ready for Christmas too early... don't worry I haven't started Christmas music yet. I haven't decorated much for the past... um, long time. This year I think will be different.

I'm shooting for a $16.99 daily spending average for October.
That leaves $158.43 for the rest of the month.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October Spending

Average daily spending for October: $20.46

I've had some reckless spending the past few days... Starbucks salted caramel mocha. I also bought a new pair of lounging pants and a long sleeve shirt. There were other little things. I'm kind of proud of myself for the clothing purchases though. I really never buy new clothes. I've been in desperate need of new PJ/ lounging pants and a plain long sleeve shirt. Both articles of clothing were on sale so that makes them nicer too.

As of this moment I'm shooting for a $16.99 daily spending average for October. That leaves $158.43 for the rest of the month. That's about $12.18 a day here on out. It's worth a try.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shape Learning Craft/ Activity

We work on learning a letter, shape, color, counting a little higher, and memorization each week. This week we're working on H, triangles, black, counting to 30, and Psalm 107:1. This morning we did a triangle craft that was really neat for little Abe.
I put paint splotches on two sheets of newspaper and he painted the splotches all around. Then I cut triangles out of the sheets of painted newspaper.
 
He glued the squares to a box I had sitting around the house (an obscene amount of boxes come and go due to work materials that my office mails here). He loves using glue sticks and sticking paper to the glue. We've only used glue a few times but it's one of his favorite crafty things to do.


I cut a triangle in the box and now he can throw balls through the triangle. I put a laundry basket behind the box to keep it stable (as opposed to putting something heavy in the bottom) and the laundry basket catches just about every ball he throws through; bonus! We are grouchy today but this activity was a ton of fun and we'll be able to play the new game for a long time. I think he might know what a triangle is by the end of the day. We've only said it a billion times already this morning. Every time he's about the throw the ball through the hole I say "see if you can throw the ball through the triangle."

Since I only used items that we had around the house for this craft, our crafting time and our new activity were completely FREE! One of my favorite things about being frugal is finding things to do with stuff that's already lying around.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunny Sunday

NO SPEND day 66 for the year here.

Hubby's manager took us to breakfast this morning. Free breakfast and my kid behaved like an absolute gentleman. Ahhh

I'm working my to-do list for today like a champ. Even got the back lawn mowed already.
Yesterday was very blah so I just sat around all day. I'm trying to keep motivated today to redeem myself. Truly, a good long list of accomplishments always cheers me up.

Been craving coffee like crazy lately; good coffee, not the darn cheap stuff I keep buying because it's cheap. Just remembered I have some Bewley's Irish breakfast stashed in my bedroom closet. Someone is going to make a nice strong cup of hot tea right now...

It's been a VERY sunny Sunday so far today. Keep shining up there please, keep on shining!

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.
-Abraham Lincoln
Average daily spending for October: $18.22
(my spending this month has been crap. I just keep buying nonsense. Que sera, sera...tomorrow is another day)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Blah

I keep writing posts and then reverting them to draft.
Sorry. Too much on my mind I guess.
Funny how I blog so much less often when that's the case.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My house is in shambles right now, absolute chaos. And here I am not wanting to pick up a single sock or wash one dish. I actually just want to make more messes. "Lets break out the puzzles buddy!" I guess I'm officially two years old today just like my kiddo. I might just go with it. I suppose I can clean up tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall To-dos/ Lawn Mowing

I was just looking over my fall to-do list and I need a suggestion for some fall fun activity to do with my hubby. Pretty much everything on my list is for me and little Abe (we spend A LOT of time together). My husband and I really don't do dates but I know that we NEED to. I need to think of a great fall to-do for just him and me... any suggestions?

Today was one of those days that make a person stop and think about life, right now; about living. I attended a funeral for a man who died much too soon and very tragically. But honestly he lived a GREAT life. He spent a ton of time with family and friends. He was truly always happy and embarking upon adventures. He loved the beach and the lake and being on his boat with loved ones. There wasn't a person who spoke at his memorial who didn't mention him and the water, boats, watching sunrises and sunsets. He didn't lose a second enjoying the time he had.

I love being outside. I'm happy out of doors. I love even more being outside with my son. We play with bugs, notice leaves and trees, listen to birds, do tons of yard work, grow things, and smell everything. If this kid doesn't acquire an ardent love of the great out doors then I will  have done something terribly wrong along the way. We recently acquired a used toy lawn mower and today I figured was better a day than any to test it out. I mowed our overgrown lawn with many freshly fallen leaves woven into the long green blades of grass and my little guy trotted along beside me mowing all the bits I missed (in theory... his is a bubble mower sans the bubbles)*. I can't remember ever being so happy. My son is such an enormous helper. He loves being outside with momma. He's always so incredibly proud of himself when he's doing big boy chores (with his toy lawn mower, hehe). Sometimes I look at him and it still feels like a dream; that he's real and part of our lives. To top it off the smells of autumn leaves and fresh cut grass are probably my very favorite of all smells. We lived today! I can proudly say that.


*He wasn't ever too close to the mower and ours has a mulch bag and no opening anywhere on the base. In other words there is not exposed blade at any spot on our mower.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

One Really Great Reason to Not Buy Toys

We do not buy much for little Abe. I bring home probably an average of two matchbox/ hotwheels cars each month. They only cost 99 cents plus tax but with my 10 percent employee discount they cost me 96 cents total. They have a lot more than just cars now too; motorcycles, planes, helicopters, and all kinds of other vehicles. He gets SOOOO excited every time I bring one home for him. I sometimes expect the excitement to wear off but it hasn't yet. I hardly buy him anything else. It's amazing what birthday's and Christmas can do for a kid's toy pile.

I also discovered a really fun activity for him about a week ago. We took $1.06 out of his piggy bank and went to the dollar store with it (I was looking to purchase a poster board for the hospital protest). I think we spent 20 minutes in the little toy aisle at the dollar store. I let him walk around and pick things up and decide what he wanted. That was incredibly neat for him because when we go grocery shopping we do not go through the toy department. He hardly knows it's in the store. At the dollar store with everything he picked up he said, "oh, wow! look at this!" I'd ask if that was the one thing he wanted and he'd reply, "oh, nah, not this one." I think he picked up everything 10 times. He decided on a plastic football (it was actually really good quality). It was so much fun for him to pick out a toy all on his own and pay for it with his piggy money.

Back to the beginning, one really great reason to not buy toys: when your husband goes through his parent's attic and finds a really old grey rocking horse (donkey) it becomes the coolest find ever. I've wanted a rocking horse for Abe since he was very little. I've thought of possibly buying him one countless times but I've always decided it was not a necessity. If I had bought one for him this old grey donkey that he now adores would pale in comparison to the new one. I cannot tell you how many times in my life that patience has delivered a miraculous treasure that otherwise would have just been, "oh, that's nice."

Today was a NO SPEND day. I'm only at 65 no spends this year but at least today was one of them.

Average daily spending for October: $19.74

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall To-do List

I absolutely love autumn! The feeling of crisp cool air on your face while you're cozied up in a few layers and a sweatshirt; apples, and cider, and pumpkin everything; the beautiful leaves changing colors day after day while all the landscape becomes more and more vibrantly painted with their fabulous farewell cloaks; bon fires with friends, roasted marshmallows and chocolate smores; autumn is awesome! I've thus decided that an autumn to-do list is very much in order so that I might try and make the most of this my favorite of seasons instead of just watching it race away.

Fabulous Fall To-dos
Go apple picking at an orchard
Drink hot apple cider while munching on donuts (CHECK)
Have a bon-fire with friends
Rake up leaves with little Abe and play in them (CHECK)
Do an autumn outdoor photo shoot
Bake a homemade pumpkin pie (CHECK)
Fly a homemade kite (make a homemade kite)
Dance in fall rain and jump in puddles with Abe (CHECK)
Do a fall time scavenger hunt with my nephew and little Abe
Have a candlelit tea time and then look at the stars with Abe

*I might add to the list a bit. This is all I'm able to come up with right now.
Do you have any fall must-do suggestions?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Mini Mission Accomplished

September spending got way out of control really fast. Towards the end there my only goal was to come in under $20 a day average spending for the month. I'm very happy to report: mission accomplished! Whew

Average daily spending for September: $19.78

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ponies and Tea

Yesterday was so great. I spent $40 (that I'm not including in the average daily spending budget because it was for an activity and I don't include classes (like gymnastics) or activities (like horse back riding) in the budget) but it was such a neat day. I picked up my oldest niece at noon. She played at a playground with my little guy for a long time and they had a blast.


When little Abe went down for a nap my brother dropped his two oldest girls by me so that I could take the three nieces to a pretty pony tea party. It's starting to look like I'm super into horses. I'm really not. I didn't grow up on a farm or anything like that. I wasn't super into horses as a little girl like some people are. I've never ridden a horse actually. There's just a really neat stable close by that gives lessons and throws parties for littles that a friend from High school owns.



Each girl got to ride a pony two times. We had tea (actually cider and pink lemonade), little sandwiches and too many cookies. There was a ring toss game on a fence, a hammock that was super fun (even though it wasn't really part of the tea party), a wooden horse to play on, and many different animals. The girls ended up feeding tons of hay to the ponies and horses and to the goat. They got some horse kisses in the palm of their hands (I think for the very first time in their lives). They also got to hold a rooster and chase a really friendly kitty. They ran around a ton. Somehow I had the wildest bunch of girls with me. They were truly the life and spunk of the party. I'm speculating it has something to do with these three being with their aunt and not their mommas. I think I'm way too lax with littles. They were very well behaved but so spunky! They immensely enjoyed each others company and they helped me to realize that little girls are much more crazy than I'd anticipated. Wow, they were a riot!!! I won't let you in on any of our absolutely off the wall conversations (like what if someone only ever ate carrots and they turned completely orange but they ate the stems too so their face turned green and then they could be a carrot for Halloween... oops I let one of the ideas slip). These little ladies have really big imaginations!!!

This might have been the highlight of that party for this little princess.

So proper.


There's just something about girls and horses. So very precious!!!

How absolutely adorable is that?!

It was a fantastic day. Today is another protest in town against the hospital for their choosing to stop using midwifes there; midwives that hundreds of us love and depend on. I've been keeping myself busy, this is for sure.

Average daily spending for September: $19.83


Friday, September 26, 2014

The Mailman Brought me my Very Brand New Bike!!!

Funny Story. Maybe two weeks ago the neighbors across the street put a REALLY nice little spider man bicycle at the curb for trash pick up. I saw it on my way home and ran inside to tell my husband about it. I said "We should walk over and get it because it looks like it's in perfect condition." My husband said, "No way. We are not taking the neighbor's trash... well maybe when it gets dark." I told him that it would never be there until dark. It looked in perfect condition. It was a little too big for Abe but in less than a year he'd be big enough to ride it.

First mistake, the kiddo heard the entire conversation. Second mistake, I should have just walked over as soon as I got out of the car instead of going inside to discuss it with the hubby. Not more than three minutes later, as little Abe was looking out the window at "his new bike" (at least he was under the impression it was his) a man rode past on a bicycle, turned around, stopped at the neighbors trash pile, pressed on the tires of the spiderman bike, shook it a little and then picked it up and rode off.

Little Abe screeched in horror. "That man, that man, that bad man took MY brand new bike!!!" He began to cry and repeat this sentence over and over again. It was awful. I felt like the worst mom on the planet. What kind of mom talks about getting a bike from the neighbors trash in front of her kiddo and then has to stand there and try to console her child when the trash bike gets taken away? Not my finest hour. I told him that we would go to the store and get him a brand new bike someday soonish. He's starting to understand what "some day" means so he wasn't super thrilled but he knew I was being honest. He calmed down after awhile and has been talking about his new bike ever since the incident. Right now we do not have the funds available to buy this kid a bike.

Yesterday a friend messaged me on facebook a photo of a little boys bike that he was getting rid of, "do you want this... BTW free." Uh, are you kidding me!?!?!?!? He hadn't heard the story of the trash bike either. It was just out of the blue. Needless to say I am feeling very blessed. I know a lot of people say it all the time but in truth the Lord always does provide. I cannot tell you how many times we've "needed" (I use that word loosely because I have seen poverty) something; a new couch because the old one was busted, a new fridge, a bigger car seat, a new dryer, a bicycle for our heart broken two year old and we decided to not rush out and charge it (which I totally almost did with this bike incident), waited much longer than was comfortable and then someone offered said item to us. The Lord truly does provide!

Our friend dropped the bike by sometime last night so he messaged me to say it was in the back yard this morning. I took little Abe back there this morning and said as we walked out the door, "I think there's something out here for you." He saw the bike right away and ran to it overflowing with glee. He exclaimed loudly, "Oh WOW!!! A bike, a brand new bike! The mail man brought me my very brand new bike." He bunches up his fists and does a full body shake when he's really excited so that was the next step in the excitement. It was awesome! 

Average daily spending for September: $20.59