Monday, February 29, 2016

A Few To Dos

Just a few to dos for the next few days....

~ Dusting
~ Make menu
~ Sweep the floors
~ Laundry
~ Take down the February tree

~ Take bar soap from mold
~ Make foaming hand soap
~ Make deodorant

~ Check science
~ Update records (I've started!)
~ Help with math

~ Knit a bit
~ Quilt a bit
~ Sew ends in on washcloths
~ Sew snowman ornies

What do you plan to do?

...doing what I can with what I've got
where I am on a short shoestring budget!
Note... I did not make the toothpaste, because a friend gave me several tubes of toothpaste this week. Thank you Rhonda!

Monday Over the Moon
The Art of Homemaking    Modest Mondays - Living Proverbs 31

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #55

Hello Ladies!
Saving money by practicing thrift and old-fashioned frugal living has become second nature to me over the years. You can save a whole lot of money just by making do with what you have. 
I missed a week, so I included a few highlights from last week. I hope you've got the snow or sunshine or rain you've been hoping for. I am still praying for snow and for a new job for my husband. He had three interviews this week. It's all in God's hands and in His timing. 

~ I made homemade soap with my friend Joyce.
~ A friend gave us her old car! We've needed a second car for a long time. Four drivers - one car. It's a 1989 Grand Marquis. It's an answer to prayer. Thank you Jesus!
~ Lots of homemade food and making do this week.
~ Homemade cinnamon rolls were the special treat I took to co-op this week. Nothing fancy, but delicious.
~ My daughter refilled our foaming hand soap bottle.
~ I watered down the concentrated dish soap when I refilled my little bottle.
~ I bought the off brand of Dawn dish soap, but my husband told me not to buy it again.
~ I put a little water in with my shampoo to extend it. I liked it better! It was easy to lather. My hair was just as clean. 
~ Lentils and rice is a cheap filling meal. I used garlic powder instead of garlic.
~ I made potato soup— another cheap filling meal.
~ We ran out of toothpaste, so we're using a few little samples we got from the dentist. When it's done. I'm going to try to make homemade toothpaste. I'll have to let you know how that goes!
~ We had our taxes done at a volunteer tax service for free. Thank you Jesus!
~ I used a 40% off coupon to buy a ball of cotton yarn at Hobby Lobby. That brought it to less than $2.00. 
~ I received a new book for review. 
~ I received some new knives for review.
~ I made another batch of Super Quick Super Cheap Laundry Detergent. It doesn't last as long as it might if my teens weren't using it, too. I have a feeling they use a bit too much. It doesn't matter though, because it's so cheap to make!
~ I wrote a few Amazon reviews and a book review.
~ I'm making dishcloths that may end up being gifts next Christmas— if I don't need them first!
~ I'm still working on my little snowman ornaments for my winter tree. The decorations are off it now, and I'll store it this weekend until next winter, but they'll be ready for next year. 
~ My husband sold some restaurant equipment which will help pay our business debt. We don't have any personal debt, so no pesky calls from bill collectors!
~ My husband fixed the blinker on our car for only $4.00.
~ I didn't go back and buy another ball of yarn I wanted at Hobby Lobby.
~ We ate leftover potato soup and some smoked sausage my dad gave me for supper.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to save for rainy days. I am a squirrel. I have been squirreling a little money here and there as it comes to me for years. It's been very helpful in this time of unemployment. Even if you can only save a few dollars or even a few cents, please do it. It's the only reason we've still got money after no income for two months. The other thing I had was some food in the freezer. 

Prepare while you can ladies!

What are you doing in your home this week?

...doing what I can with what I've got
where I am on a short shoestring budget!
This post was featured!
Darling Downs Diaries

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hospitality is a Habit!

Hospitality is a habit. Once out of it, it seems a bit hard to restart sometimes. Since my husband is unemployed, and money is getting pretty tight, it seems impossible. But it is not. You know the old saying, "Where there's a will, there's a way!" 

We've enjoyed good fellowship with a pot of beans and some cornbread before. ~smile~ In fact, once, we invited friends over to "break bread", and we did. I baked a few loaves of bread, set out butter, homemade jam, and we dug in and broke bread together!

You've got to think creatively. 
You've got to do things a bit differently. 
You've got to focus on the people not the stuff.

Hospitality is sharing what you have while extending a friendly smile, a listening ear, and the love of Christ. 

Be blessed!
...doing what I can with what I've got where I am 
on a short shoestring budget!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Opening Hearts and Homes

I'm reading A Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson and her daughter Sarah.
Over the years, my husband and I have opened our home many times in hospitality.
We got out of the habit while we served in the Joplin Tornado recovery efforts and while we had a family restaurant. 
It's time to get rebooted and open our doors again.

What about you and your home?
Is it time to open your doors and your hearts?


Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #54

 Thrifty living is second nature after all these years of saving money any way I can. Writing it down like this helps me keep at it. Sometimes the list is long; sometimes it is short. Either way, it's good knowing that I'm helping to stretch our money until it snaps. ~grin~ 

We're still living on our savings and praying that my husband will find a good job. Even after he's back to work, I'll still be working in my home to be a thrifty and frugal homemaker. 

This week in my home...

~ I made homemade laundry detergent again. I make small batches that fit in my liquid pump dispenser. 

~ I made foaming liquid hand soap for my dispenser.

~ I substituted canned jalapenos that I had on hand for fresh.

~ I bought gas that was cheaper than I ever imagined it would be again— $1.28 a gallon.

~ I took my daughter to sewing lessons which a friend of mine is teaching her for free.

~ My daughter's dentist gave us four sample tubes of toothpaste.

~ I drank water a lot. I gave up my Coke/Diet Coke habit back in October.

~ Oatmeal for breakfast one day. My family doesn't really like it, but it's thrifty. I'll probably start making it every 2-3 days. If they're hungry, they'll eat it.

~ I enjoyed a meal my son planned, bought, and prepared in our home one evening. 

~ I bought very few groceries. Money was just really tight this week. I only bought what I really needed.

~ A friend brought me lots of chicken legs. I am going to make some soup with some this weekend.

~ She also brought me a lot of bananas. I peeled them, put them in freezer bags, then put them in the freezer. Hubby will make banana bread tomorrow.

~ Hubby made homemade bread.

~ Hubby received free samples of his medicine to last three months from the doctor .

~ I sewed the binding back on Amy's blanket.

~ I bought a bag of split peas and two bags of lentils for $.99 each. They'll make some nice frugal meals over the next couple of weeks.

~ I'm working on those snowman decorations. So far I've spent about $3 for fabric and beads.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. I do hope you have a terrific, frugal week. 

What is your best tip for saving money in the kitchen?

...doing what I can with what I've got where I am 
on a short shoestring budget!

Darling Downs Diaries
This post was featured at Good Morning Mondays!

Friday, February 12, 2016

6 Keys to Defeat Despair

A friend recently asked me what advice I would give to those living in despair. Here is what I told her.

Trust God. He will never leave you nor forsake you. You are not alone.  I have been through very hard times... death of loved ones, failed businesses, lost homes, lost vehicles, long periods of unemployment, life threatening illnesses, pain, depression, very low income. Now my husband is unemployed again after closing our business. Even though I have failed, my husband has failed, plans have failed, God has never failed me

Live in Philippians chapter four.  God does not slumber or sleep. His arm is not too short. He keeps those in perfect peace who keep their minds on Him. Philippians chapter four tells us to be anxious for NOthing. In everything we are to pray, with thanksgiving, and make our requests to God. We have to trust Him. He then will give us peace that passes all understanding. I've got that peace right now even though my husband is unemployed, we have no income, and we are living on our limited savings. I have a peace that somehow, someway, God will take care of us. I am trusting God to bring my husband a good job.

Fill your mind with the Word of God. Saturate yourself with the Bible. Read it, listen to it, speak it, write it and put it where you can see it. has plans for reading through the Bible. I've read and listened through the Bible several times since I started using it.

Don't isolate. When I feel down, I tend to draw back and isolate. Don't do it. Talk to others. Be involved in church. Call a friend. Spend time with family. Keep talking to God.

Find a trusted Christian friend and talk. Make sure that it is someone who will always point you back to Jesus and pray with you.

Read uplifting and encouraging blogs and books and most of all your Bible.

Are You in a Tough Spot?
My Hope is in You Lord
A Simple Devotion 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Finding Rest for Your Soul

"This is what the LORD says: 
Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, 
ask where the good way is,
and walk in it, 
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' "
Jeremiah 6:16

Lord, when all seems to fall around me,please help me to remember that I did indeed stand, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, the good way.  I chose the good way. That's why I'm home with my children, teaching them, and making a home for my husband. Help me not to falter in my belief in what you've chosen me to do and in what I've committed to do for you and for them. No matter what my eyes see, no matter what my ears hear, no matter what my emotions tell me. You are God. You will never leave me nor forsake me. I can trust you to meet my family's needs at all times. Thank you God.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not to your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make straight your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Waiting on the Lord
Who is worthy to be praised

Sunday, February 7, 2016

On a Cold Winter's Night

A cold winter's night at home... 
I'm just getting ready to make a pot of cocoa, put on my jammies, and read The Life Giving Home.

What do you like to do on a cold winter's night?

...doing what I can with what I've got where I am 
on a short shoestring budget!

Daily Cup of Mrs. Olsen

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #53

It's a bright sunny day in my neck of the woods. 
Bah! Humbug!
I'm still praying for snow. 
Some of you have had way too much.
Could you send a cup or two my way?
I want to make snow ice cream!

~ My husband fixed our bathroom sink himself. He used a wire coat hanger, packing tape, and tools he had on hand instead of buying what he needed. I told him if he could do it without buying anything, he'd make the blog list! He did it! Yay Lowell!

~ I didn't have enough Hershey's cocoa to make a pot of cocoa, so I used a bit of leftover baking chocolate that had been lurking in the cabinet for weeks. It was delicious.

~ I received a new hot glue gun from a company for review.

~ My Emily and I made some Cauliflower soup and substituted ingredients rather than go to the store.

~ My husband took our computer apart, cleaned it, and put in a new CD drive so that my kids can do their math! Their CDs wouldn't load on the old one. This saved us the cost of a computer tech. Thanks Sweetheart!

~ My daughter received a cardigan from a company for review.

~ We carried water bottles instead of buying water while we were out.

~ I organized my fabrics and discarded some that won't be used. That's real estate investment!

~ My husband is still job searching, so I'm trying to really stretch the groceries I have on hand. It's made for a few experiments. ~smile~

~ I used a pound of ground beef to make biscuits and gravy.

~ A friend brought me some big hard rolls that were just out of date. I sliced them and dipped them in an egg, milk, sugar, and cinnamon mixture and fried them in my skillet to make french toast.

~ My daughter is making a large pot of rice for lunch. I have some canned chili sauce left over from the restaurant. I'll offer that as a possible topping. Some will eat it with soy sauce. Some may eat it plain. 

~ I made wheat farina for breakfast for the family one day this week. You can buy it as Malto-Meal at the store. 

~ The local thrift store is going out of business. I bought two pretty candle holders for $.59. 

~ My Amy used some leftover Christmas lights to decorate in the girls' room.

~ My Emily bought a frame with glass at the thrift store to make into a "white board" to put her to do list on.

What are you doing in your home this week?

...doing what I can with what I've got where I am 
on a short shoestring budget!
This post was featured!