Monday, December 30, 2013

"It's Never How You Play it in Your Mind."

I had wonderful visions of Christmas day. We had wonderful plans. But!
I woke up with vertigo so bad I couldn't open my eyes and I couldn't stop throwing up.
So much for a wonderful day.
When I began shaking uncontrollably TopDad called 911 and a dozen men from our volunteer fire department showed up. The man who took care of me turned out to the be father of a dear friend of our son JET. I love small towns. He was so tender and compassionate. I spent the afternoon at the hospital with an IV replacing fluids and stopping the vomiting.

Today is my birthday and I skyped with Noble and talked with PW on the phone. My dad called me and I got a gorgeous bouquet from my bestest friend who currently lives in NJ. She and I met in 1993 in WA and have both moved a lot since then, but continue our friendship through email, letters, phone calls, etc. She and I are those kindred spirits that Anne Shirley talks about.

I truly hope your Christmas Day was better than mine! See you in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care . . .

All is ready, carols are playing, food is ready (almost, still baking cinnamon rolls), the house is warm and hearts are merry. Noble got her packages today, we're Skyping when she gets up on Christmas morning, which will be Christmas Eve here, so we can enjoy her opening them. Tomorrow we'll Skype with PW in Utah; JET is coming for dinner and staying the night. Life is certainly different once the chuns begin to leave the nest.

I never get tired of the reason for Christmas. For me is a celebration in gratitude for the gift of God's Son, our Savior.

May you and yours have a joyous day. Merry Christmas!!

P.S. We don't have a chimney, but I keep hoping.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I'm Busy

December is just going to have to a no blog month if I want to get Christmas under the tree.

But here are some quickies:

  • Last night I roasted a bone-in chicken breast for dinner; this morning I chopped up the leftovers, added minced onion and celery, salt and pepper and mixed it all together with mayonnaise for some yummy chicken salad to go in a couple of leftover pita pockets for the boys lunches.
  • Yesterday I mailed Noble's Christmas to her in three large priority flat-rate boxes because the rate on those boxes is discounted for shipping to military addresses.
  • I used the drippings from the roast chicken to add to our cat's food this morning; they love treats like that and it makes their food go further when I can add leftovers to it. Plus all the fat is good for them being outdoors in the cold weather. (When we moved I insisted that the cats reside on the screened porch with a pet door to come and go as they please.)
  • I spent some time over at Second Chances by Susan's blog getting great ideas for modest re-fashioning of clothes. She is so talented!
  • I gathered all the Christmas wrapping papers and tags and such together in one place! I won't have to buy anymore this year. (or the next or next either!)
Today is bread baking day and boy's laundry day so I'd better get to it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I'm Back

That's right, the Practical, Frugal, Clever Mom is back. Over the weekend I read some pages from a "Frugality Journal" I kept for a few years. The entries inspired me to get back to basics and post some of the little things I do to be frugal.

Today I baked bread, five loaves of basic white bread. The kitchen smells lovely and my boys will arrive home to their favorite fragrance!

At the beginning of October I set a goal to bake ALL my bread. I made it all the way to the week of Thanksgiving and events overtook my good intentions. Still I made it through almost two whole months without buying a single loaf of bread, or other baked good. It freed up enough money to bulk buy some other things my pantry was lacking. The practice of making what we use rather than buying, will consistently free up money that can be put to other uses.

There are some caveats. I read on another blog about making her own lip balm for 12 cents a tube. Which sounds fabulous except she had to spend about $60 to make the first dozen tubes and she has enough ingredients left to make dozens more. So, unless she plans to sell the tubes, she's not saving any money, and it's possible that the leftover ingredients will spoil before they can be used up. Perhaps for her there are other uses for the leftovers and it won't be wasted. However, that is not a way I'd look at to save money.

Saving money means (to me) spending less (or nothing) on something I normally and regularly use, including gifts or materials to make gifts. Example: bread making. Last summer, while in Utah, I bought two hundred pounds of unbleached flour in 25 lb. bags for $10.45 each. That saved me a lot of money. It works out to $.418 per pound. When flour goes on sale here it is cheaper than that, but it comes in tiny five pound bags and there is usually a limit of 2 bags. That doesn't help me much as it is 30 miles to the grocery store so I can't go everyday and keep buying. Plus there is all the packaging to deal with. I like big bags!

I've been pondering how I will be able to restock. I can't justify driving a thousand miles to Utah for a couple hundred pounds of flour, although visiting family and friends would be wonderful too. Answers come to those who ponder! I was reading a book called Money Secrets of the Amish in which the author talks about the bulk buying habits of the Amish. Ding! There is an Amish community in south-central Iowa that I could easily drive to twice a year to stock up!

Oh, that bread smells good! I think it's time for a piece with a little butter and honey.