Friday, April 29, 2016

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #62

Welcome to another thrifty week at Harvest Lane Cottage. I am honored by your visit.  Each week I share my thrifty and frugal projects, ways of saving money, and my blessings from God. 

I am so glad you dropped in for a visit today—or tonight!
I have enjoyed meeting so many ladies over the past few weeks. 
I love it when y'all leave comments, so I can meet you and see your blogs, too.

The most amazing thing happened this past week. 
My husband got a paycheck after four months of no income!
I bought groceries! 
Praise God!
Here's my thrifty week:

~ I bought a nice pair of dress slacks for my son for $6 at the thrift store. It's a pricier store, but our Salvation Army store closed. He's not crazy about the slacks, but I doubt he'll wear them more than once or twice. It's really hard to get him out of jeans and boots. He agreed to polish the boots. ~smile~ He needs the slacks for a formal banquet and a wedding or two.

~ I grocery shopped at Aldi first.

~ I cooked at home.

~ I carried my water bottle.

~ I Made Super Quick Super Cheap Laundry Detergent

~ I went to Sonic with my son. I ordered ice water with sugar free raspberry flavoring. It was less than fifty cents.

~ I used up veggies for my salad so they wouldn't go bad.

~ Date night was half-price appetizers at Red, Hot and Blue. They have yummy Nantucket Nachos. We spent about $12 with the tip!

~ I downloaded a new free desktop background from Debbie Mum. 

~ Someone had brought some nice Bath and Body foaming hand soap for the ladies to use at church. When the bottle was empty, I brought it home and refilled it with homemade. The pump works better than the dollar store bottle I had been using. Put about a half to one inch of liquid soap in the bottom, fill the bottle with water until you're about half an inch below the pump, and shake. You can use any kind of liquid soap. The key is to make it watery. I used dish soap this time, but I've also used shampoo and body wash at times.

~ My husband planted four tomato plants. 

~ A friend gave my son four okra plants. 

~ I was given a yellow marigold. My daughter planted it in a little pot and set it on my back step.

~ I received a new leash for my dog for review. It's got a built in extra handle. I found that my Penny is too short for me to use the second handle without leaning over, but it's still a very nice leash.

Have a terrific week!

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!

You might enjoy reading...



This post was featured in the May 12th edition of Party at My Place.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Lord is my Strength and My Shield

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

my heart trusteth in him, 

and I am helped:


my heart greatly rejoiceth;

and with my song will I praise him. 

Psalm 28:7

Sunday, April 17, 2016

My Spring Bucket List 2016

Getting things done is often one part work and two parts focus. 
My Bucket Lists help me to focus on the things that I want to do that aren't part of my daily routine. 

Here's my Spring Bucket List 2016.
  • Paint girls' room trim
  • Use chalkboard paint on the girls' window to the garage
  • Use leftover trim paint to touch up trim in the hallway
  • Have Michael and his friends put up new light in the hallway
  • Catch up the homeschool paperwork
  • Start working on school plans for next year
  • Spring clean
  • Declutter 
  • Have the yard sale
  • Go to yard sales ~smile~
  • Go to the drive-in with the kids
  • Get a basket of flowers to enjoy outside the door
  • Plant some spring flowers
  • Get the vegetable garden planted
  • Picnic
  • Ice cream run with the kids
  • Get Amy's camera
  • Wash windows
  • Make cookies for the kids on a rainy day
  • Make  jam
  • Graduation for my homeschooled daughter, Emily
  • Celebrate 30th our wedding anniversary

The bucket lists inspire me and help me to enjoy life and get things done. I hope this list will inspire you to make your own list! I know some of it will be put on my summer bucket list, but it is motivating!

What will you put on your bucket list?

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith

Canaan has ravaged Israel. 

The people are in hiding. 

All that stands between 

surrender and hope 

is one untested woman. 

"Deborah will never forget the day her father and brothers left to worship at the Lord's tabernacle--or the wails of her mother after finding their bodies at the city gates. The memories of Canaan's cruelty haunt her and all of Israel. Now in this dark time, the Lord calls on Deborah to lead His people away from the idols of other nations and back to Him. 

Deborah never asked to be a prophetess or a judge over God's people. Still, she cannot deny His voice or the visions that accompany it. Can her family ever understand? Will her people believe God's calling on her life? And can the Canaanite menace be stopped?

With her trademark impeccable research and imaginative storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the story of Israel's most powerful woman in this intriguing and inspiring novel."

My Thoughts:
A year ago I wrote a review about Jill Eileen Smith's very intense book about Rahab the Harlot. It was not an easy book to read, but it was an excellent book to read. Jill Eileen Smith has written another excellent book. Although The Prophetess is a work of fiction, Jill expressed what I believe is a very plausible atmosphere of the time of Sisera's tyranny over Israel and a compelling storyline as well.

The mark of an excellent fiction writer is to make you forget you are reading. Jill Eileen Smith accomplished this with The Prophetess. Her characterizations of Deborah, her husband, her family, and of Barak were engaging. I wanted to keep reading as she described their their feelings of terror and defeat and their longing for freedom from oppression. Her descriptions of Deborah's encounters with God were wonderful. I was especially taken with her description of Jael and her life. The storyline Smith wrote would fit well into the biblical storyline. Learning more of the customs of the time makes Jael's story even more amazing.

The descriptions of the way prisoners were treated evoked horrific images in my mind. I don't think that I want my teenage daughters to read it, but perhaps someday. The descriptions were not explicit, but it would not be a PG movie.

I think Smith has a real gift for historical fiction. If you don't mind the fact that it is fiction, I think it's great for opening up what the times were like. It's very well researched, thought out, and written. 
Very well done!

Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the bestselling Wives of King David series and The Crimson Cord, as well as the Wives of the Patriarchs and the Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. She lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

No Rules Weekend Blog Party 

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #61

Welcome to another thrifty week at Harvest Lane Cottage. I am honored by your visit.  Each week I share my thrifty and frugal projects, ways of saving money, and my blessings from God. 

I am so glad you dropped in for a visit today—or tonight!
I have enjoyed meeting so many ladies over the past few weeks. 
I love it when y'all leave comments, so I can meet you and see your blogs, too.

My main way of saving money this week was not spending money!
Well, not much money anyway!

~ I bought a nice dress for my Amy to wear to the spring homeschool banquet at a new thrift store I found in a little town nearby. I also got a pretty skirt for her, a book for me, and a full roll of springy wrapping paper. I do love to give gifts! $2 for all! Praise God!

~ While at the thrift store, a stranger handed me $20 and told me God told her to give it to me! Praise God! I needed gas money! Thank you Lord!

~ I used a check that my friend C sent me to buy gas and some groceries. Thanks so much C!

~ I ironed my husband's clothes instead of sending them to the cleaners.

~ I packed lunches for my husband to take to work! 

~ I carried my water bottle with me everywhere. I really like it, because I can open and close it with one hand. Linked just to show you which one I like.

~ I downloaded a new desktop wallpaper from Debbie Mumm.

Get yours free!

I cannot express my thanks to all of you who have sent gifts and/or prayed for our family during this trial. God has been so good to us. I can hardly believe that our storm is almost over, then we will begin the process of rebuilding our emergency fund and finding our family's new normal. 

For those of you who have told me that your husband has recently lost his job, I pray that God will provide all of your needs through His riches in glory. I pray that you will keep the faith. He will take care of you and your family. Perhaps this will encourage you.

What have you been up to this week? Any thrifty plans for the weekend?

May God bless you all and take care of each one of you. 
Look for the joy!

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

You might enjoy reading...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spiritual Truth from an Open Door and my Little Dog

A chilly evening...
Mister building a fire in the woodstove...
Holding my little Doxie Mix Penny in my arms...
Smoke in the house...
Opening the door to get fresh air...
Penny intent on escape...
Out the door...
To run and play...
My voice in her ear...
"Jesus, Jesus, Yeshua haMachiach...
You will obey...
If you look at the temptation, it's stronger."

Yikes! I have been speaking the name of Jesus quietly in Penny's ear for awhile now. I'm trying to teach her to be calmer and to allow me to touch her paws. Tonight, when I whispered these words in her ear, my spirit jerked to attention. It was a word to me! I will obey. If I look at the temptation, it will be stronger.

Words from God to me from my own lips. 


P.S. Yeshua means salvation (Jesus).
HaMachiach means the Messiah or the Christ.

Hence, Jesus Messiah or Jesus Christ.

UPDATE: Speaking in Penny's ear worked! 
She is much calmer and allows me to touch
her paws any time now.

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #60

Hello Ladies!

Welcome to another thrifty week at Harvest Lane Cottage. I am honored by your visit. 

It's been a challenging week around here. First, we're getting used to my husband's work schedule.
 Yes work! 

Praise God, he found a good job. It's in a city about an hour from home, so he leaves early and comes home late, but we have hopes that he may be able to work from home after about six months. I've been trying to get the rest of the family into a routine that works with my husband's routine. I have added making his lunches and ironing his clothes to my regular work. It's a small thing compared to what he's doing for us. 

My kids have had their first experience with standardized testing this week. The younger two took the Stanford test, and Emily takes the ACT on Saturday. It's a new experience that I hope they take to well. This is our first opportunity to test. With all the extra driving for tests, taxes (my son's), and lessons, I haven't done much frugal work this week. But, as they say, every little bit counts!


~ I packed lunches for my husband to take to work! I expect that saved $10 a day.

~ My husband and I carried our water bottles we got for Christmas.

~ My friend gave her daughter and my Amy a sewing lesson.

~ My son took me out to lunch.

~ I bought three ties for $1.50 each for my husband at a thrift store. 

~ I ironed my husband's clothes instead of sending them to the cleaners.

~ My husband threw out two shirts after sorting his clothes. One square foot of real estate!

~ I mended a pair of my husband's dress slacks with some mending tape I bought at Walmart for about $1.25.

~ We bought reading glasses and sunglasses for my husband at Dollar Tree. He's hard on reading glasses, so we just buy the cheapies. He needed sunglasses, because he drives east to work and west home. John Denver had it right. "Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy...sunshine in my eyes can make me cry...."

~ We received a second-hand mattress for my son. He had been sleeping on an air mattress. Thank you G!

~ We saved $20 on our registration fee for our homeschool co-op, because we registered early.

~ We had to eat out after co-op today, so I took the kids to Sonic. We had their chicken strip sandwiches. They're only about a buck fifty here, so four of us ate for a bit over six dollars.

~ Someone paid for my younger kids' standardized tests for us. Thank you!

~ Our auto insurance company had a rate increase. We were charged $282 extra for the same coverage for the next six months. We were given a gift of $282 to cover the extra, so we will continue paying the same amount until November. Thank you D!

We've been blessed. So many people have given to our need. We have two more weeks to go until my husband gets his first paycheck. We have enough money left to buy gas and a few things here and there. He goes through two tanks of gas a week, and I'll probably need a tank or two before he gets paid. So far, we've been able to pay our bills. As we get through these last couple of weeks, I'm not sure if we'll be able to keep that up. 

Please pray for us that we'll be able to keep gas in the car, and that I'll be able to stretch our food on hand. As we get near to the end of our resources, and things have gotten more hectic, I've been feeling very stressed. Please pray for me to be calm and that I will continue to trust God. 

He has done miraculous things for our family—without government assistance from food stamps or checks or unemployment. We've also been blessed in that we have not had to ask our children for their savings. I want to focus on that trust and on the blessings not our lack.

Thank you everyone who has prayed us through this situation!

How are you blessing your family with your thrifty ways this week?
Look for the joy!

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

You might enjoy reading Do With Watcha Got Sausage Succotash.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

1 Key to Unlock 5 Awesome Symbols

How to use the ten key number pad and the Alt key to do awesome things.

How to make a copyright symbol © on a keyboard.
Hold down the Alt key and type 0169.

How to make an em dash—on a keyboard.
Hold down the Alt key and type 0151.

How to make a degree ° on a keyboard.
Hold down the Alt key and type 0176.

How to make a heart ♥ on a keyboard.
Hold down the Alt key and type 3.

How to make ☺ on a keyboard.
Hold down the Alt key and type 1.

♥ Laura ♥

Friday, April 1, 2016

Rejoice with Me!

My husband has been offered a position 
with a company in a nearby city!

Praise God!
He begins work on Monday.

to all you lovely people all over the world who have been praying for us.

We don't know how long it will be until he gets paid,
so we will continue to live on faith.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

Faith is now... 
before we see what we hope for.
We had faith to tithe and faith to give.
Our offering this Sunday was just one dollar.
But we gave it.


"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, 
Nor shall the flame scorch you."
Isaiah 43:2


There's no way we could have made it for three and a half months 
without a job.
The numbers simply don't make sense mathematically. 


Checks in the mail... finding money in an old purse... selling things... ten, fifty, and hundred dollar handshakes... $100 Walmart giftcard... $20 Walmart e-giftcard... boxes of toiletries, laundry supplies, and yarn being brought to us and mailed to us... a couple we once helped during a crisis many years ago brought us a card with two hundred dollars in it... firewood for the cold nights... meat... vegetables... fruit... bread... eggs... butter... baking supplies... lots and lots of potatoes... invitations to lunch and meals at church... a new dress for my daughter's spring banquet... books and items for review... $36 tucked into my purse... our savings...  someone even gave us a car... and our insurance went down!

Church family, my dad and Annie, dear friends, and my Harvest Lane Cottage readers have been so kind and generous to us. Your prayers for us have been answered. 
Lowell has found a good position. 

Thank you for praying and for giving to our need!

"Now to him who is able to exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." 
Ephesians 3:20

...doing what I can with what I've got where I am 
on a short shoestring budget!
...praising God for faithful provision!