Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top Ten Most Clicked on Posts of 2017


As the year is winding down, I'm looking back at some of the stats for my blog.
The top ten clicked on posts showed that a primary interest is in being thrifty, frugal, and saving money. That makes sense, since we all have the challenge of living on a limited income—whether that income is $20,000 a year or $120,000!

Here's the top ten most clicked posts countdown for 2017.

#10 A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #97

#9   A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #95

#8  This Earthly Battle ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

#7  A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #94

#6  Fall Bucket List 2017 

#5  What Do You Have in Your Hand?

#4  Holy Spirit is Amazing

#3  One Secret Reason It's So Hard to Declutter 

#2  The Post I've Been Avoiding...The Diagnosis

#1  5 Days of Frugal Eating Series


Which is your favorite post of 2017?

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,
Laura


Shared at:
Modest Monday


Saturday, December 30, 2017

I Love You Lord My Strength, Finding Strength for Troubled Times



 Psalm 18:1 "I love you Lord, my strength." 

  I've spoken to a lot of patients while at the cancer center. Even though our circumstances are different, we've been attacked by the same enemy—cancer and all the terrible things that go with—it including a riot of emotions. 

  Cancer is a terrible thing. If I dwell on it, it can pull me down quickly. It's not that I'm afraid of dying, it's that the chemo, surgery, and radiation are hard things to go through, not to mention the long-term therapies.

  You or someone you love may be facing a health challenge or even a health crisis. Maybe it's not your health, maybe it's a financial crisis or just long-term financial pressure. Maybe it's a relationship problem or a loved one going through a hard time. All these things can seem just as devastating when you're going through them. What you're going through now, whatever it is, may feel like the hardest thing. What I like to remind myself is that I am, indeed, going through. There will be an end to these troubles.

We will prevail by relying on God. (2 Chronicles 13:8) You can do this. You've got Holy Spirit to help you. You can talk to God, Jesus, Holy Spirit just like you would your husband, your mama, or a dear friend. 

  Oh how I wish I were there to hold your hand, give you a hug, or make you a cup of tea. You will make it through this, whatever your this is. I'll make it through this next step—radiation. We're not alone. I am sure you've read or heard Isaiah 41:10. 

      "Fear not, for I am with you;
      Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
      I will strengthen you,
      Yes, I will help you,
      I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

  I've always focused on the first part, "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God." Recently, when I was feeling weak both physically and emotionally, I noticed the second part.  "I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  

  When I add to that, Hebrews 13:6, "So that we may boldly say, The LORD is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.", I know God is going to take care of me.  If you put your trust in Him, He will take  care of you, too. 
   
  I need to trust God on a whole new level. What about you?

Just a bit of something to think about....
Laura



Shared at:

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Joyous Memories


A couple weeks ago, I heard a man's voice deep and clear at Walmart sing the first line of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt and pause. I stuck my head around the corner, and saw a man with a preschooler in his cart. I sang out loudly, "His name is my name too!" They were both delighted! The man and I took turns singing a line each at a time until we loudly sang the last line in unison. What a joyous experience! We smiled at each other then went our separate ways. My sixteen year old daughter was with me. She thought it was "epic". Her friend seemed a bit less enthusiastic since she's a shy girl, but she liked it, too. Oh, I'm smiling so big right now. I enjoyed it so much. I wish life were more like a musical!

I'm loving the Christmas lights I see. I haven't seen any full neighborhoods yet, but the lights are such a joy to me. We used to put the kids to bed one night near Christmas. Then, after they'd been in bed for 15-30 minutes, we'd yell out, "Pajama Run!". The kids would put on their shoes and head to the van. We'd go around and look at lights and drink cocoa. Oh the memories! I do miss my littles.

Happy Christmas to all!

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #117



Welcome to another 
Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage!
Each week I share ways I've saved money, my thrifty and frugal projects, and my blessings from God. 

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage
I am so glad you dropped in for a visit today—or tonight!
Please say hello! I'm always looking for new blog friends!

~~~~~
♥♥♥
~~~~~

Happy Christmas everyone!

  Ready or not, here we are... Christmas weekend is here. Am I ready? No not really. It's just a different kind of Christmas for our family this year. The truth is that it would be a different kind of Christmas even if I hadn't spent my year going through all the cancer treatments. The kids are growing up, and things are just different. It's time to find a new normal again. Maybe you're trying to find your new normal, too. Let's do our best to focus on the good, the happy, the sprinkles of joy, the quiet moments, the true reason we are celebrating...the love of Jesus that has given us new life and hope for the future. Let's make sure we're taking moments to focus on our LORD and savior Jesus Christ not just as a baby in a manger but as savior of the world and the one who redeems us and gives us hope for the future.


  Well, enough for now—on to my blessings and a bit of our thrifty life.




~~~~~
♥♥♥
~~~~~
A Verse for You

"Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable,
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy,
think about such things."
Philippians 4:8
~~~~~
♥♥♥
~~~~~


Here's my thrifty week!
    • My husband, Lowell, made ten cubic feet of real estate investment! 
    • Three cubic feet for me this week. Wonder what I mean? Read this, then go make an investment today! 
    • My daughter, Amy, cleared out several cubic feet of real estate, too.
    I'm using a free photo from Pixabay for my desktop.
    • Ramen noodles for lunch one day.
    • Eating things we had on hand this week.
    • I shopped for things my children need for Christmas.


    ♥♥♥♥
    That's my thrifty week.

    What are you doing in your home this week?


    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~

    May you find peace and joy this Christmas regardless of  your situation.
    ღLauraღ
    ...doing what I can with what I've got
    where I am on a short shoestring budget!

    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~





    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~

    Tuesday, December 19, 2017

    A Couple Little Games of Christmas and Winter Tag

    My daughter, Amy, tagged me to play a couple little games of tag. As I understand the rules, I am to answer the questions, then refer you back to Amy at Living in Faith and Fun.
    Game 1
    Go see Amy's post here.
    Rules
    – Link back to the 12 Days of Christmas at Faith's blog or use the party graphic
    – Answer the 10 questions
    – Have fun!

    1 // Christmas is the season of hope, joy, and light. What’s your favorite thing to make this season bright?
    Candles burning

    2 // Reading of the Christmas story, lighting the tree – Which tradition is most special to you? 
    We have an Advent book with doors that open. For the last 16 years, we've read it each nice from the first page up to the current date of the month. The book is passed to each child, and they open their door and read to us. It was especially precious during the years when the children were learning to read. This year, they're all in their teens and twenties. We no longer observe this tradition. I must admit I miss it. I expect that we will read the book on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day this year.

    3 // Festive old hymns or glorious new tunes – What are you listening to on repeat? 
    I like the old ones best. I play the Bing Crosby Christmas station on Pandora quite a bit. I also play Chris Tomlin's ADORE album on YouTube a lot. I love how worshipful it is.

    4 // Fiction and nonfiction, classics and contemporary – Which Christmas books do you love so much that you just have to re-read every year? 
    Annika's Secret WishThe Advent Book, and Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti.

    5 // Trees and nativities, bells and bows – Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration? 
    It would have to be our tree and the ornaments we've collected for 30+ years.

    6 // From the prophets to the gospels, the timeless story is woven. Which Bible passage that speaks of our Savior birth holds a special place in your heart?
    All of Luke 2 is wonderful

    7 // Glittery snowflakes and shimmering balls to angels and one-of-a-kind creations. Do you have a favorite tree ornament? 
    Not really, but if I had to choose, it would be a little boy and girl inside a box. It's a first Christmas together ornament from 1986 from Precious Moments.

    8 // Red and green, silver and gold, even purple and blue! What's your favorite color scheme this time of year? 
    Dark red and green and SNOW white.

    9 // Between the old and the new, the classics and the cartoons, which Christmas movie do you come back to year after year? 
    See below. I have several favorites.

    10 // Pies and cakes, cookies and sweets. What's your favorite Christmas treats?

    Frosted sugar cookies, Snowball cookies, fudge, and pecan pie.


    ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

    A Once Upon a Time Winter
    GAME TWO
    WINTER TAG


    Do you celebrate Christmas?
    Yes.

    Do you celebrate any other festive holidays other than Christmas or in addition to?
    Yes.  We celebrate New Years and Thanksgiving,  and Easter, too. We observe various holidays throughout the year, but not in a festive way.

    When it comes to weather, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10??

    Seventy is  nice for most of the year, but twenty or thirty is great for winter, because I want snow!

    Rain or snow?
    It depends on the season.


    On the perfect winter day, would you go shopping or stay home?
    I would make cookies, read a good book, watch a good movie, make hot cocoa, and stay home.

    Trip to the mall or walk in the park?
    I prefer the park. I'm not a shopper.

    Favorite Christmas movie?
    This question is too hard. I have too many favorites.

    I must watch the old black and white Christmas in Connecticut, White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, The Preacher's Wife, The Bishop's Wife, and the old black and white Miracle on 34th Street. If I can fit in The Santa Claus, George C. Scott's A Christmas Carol, and Mrs. Miracle, all the better.

    Favorite Christmas tradition?
    I couldn't choose just one.


    Would you rather say, "Happy Holidays!" or Merry Christmas!"?
    Happy Christmas! It drives my kids and husband nuts, but I say it just like Clement Moore in 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. 


    What does your Christmas morning look like?
    Stockings first.
    We make the same breakfast casserole each year, the sides vary.

    Then we open gifts one by one and see what each person receives.

    Favorite Christmas song/carol?
    I cannot choose.

    12. Hot cocoa, peppermint tea, peppermint mocha, peppermint milkshake?
    I tried peppermint hot chocolate last week at church and found it delicious.



    Want to play? Just copy either set of questions, put in your answers, then link to my blog. Then come on back and leave me the link in the comments.
    I'm not going to tag anyone, just play if you'd like. 

    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage
    Amy of Living in Faith and Fun

    Sunday, December 17, 2017

    Thoughts About Giving... and a Breast Cancer Recovery Journey Update


    Just because it's pretty!

    I thought I'd give y'all an update on my breast cancer recovery journey. I am feeling pretty good right now. I finished the main part of my chemo in September. The worst of it is out of my system now. I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction in October. I went through some emotional turmoil after surgery that was exacerbated by the medications, but I am now feeling much better. I'm back on what I call mini-chemo—just one IV drug, and it doesn't seem to affect me in a bad way that I notice. That's a couple hours every three weeks. In January, I'll begin 7 weeks of radiation 5 days a week. I'm also taking a hormone blocking pill now. Fun stuff. The cancer doctor told me that I am in "rare total remission". Praise God! He's good! I've still got a long treatment road ahead of me, but it's been nice to have a few weeks of feeling more like myself during Christmas. It has been a gift.

    Suddenly, just being alive is a gift. Conversations with family members that I'd lost touch with are gifts. Living in a safe place where I don't fear is a gift.

    Thoughts on Giving:
    I gave something away last week that I still enjoyed and wanted to keep. I realized that the family I gave it to would enjoy it far more now than I would if I kept it and used it next month. It was better to give than receive. It was also better to obey. I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit and couldn't deny it.  
    I gave it willingly, and it brought me joy to give it. This experience made me think about what else I have lying around the house that someone else might need or enjoy. I think I'll be giving more things away over the coming weeks—not because I need to clear things out (which I do) but because keeping things that I don't need, don't have a definite plan for, and don't have a reason to keep (joy or good memories), is rather selfish of me.

    Well, that's all for now. It's a week until Christmas. 
    What gift do you have that you've not even noticed? 

    God bless you! Keep your cool. Take this week one day at a time, and enjoy the journey. 

    Holiday hugs!
    Laura
    Enjoying gifts in a new way




    Homemaking Party Share Your Cup

    Saturday, December 16, 2017

    A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #116


    Welcome to another 
    Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage!
    Each week I share ways I've saved money, my thrifty and frugal projects, and my blessings from God. 

    A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage
    I am so glad you dropped in for a visit today—or tonight!
    Please say hello! I'm always looking for new blog friends!

    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~

    Happy Christmas time everyone!

      Are you getting ready? I've gotten a good start on my shopping now. My list is short this year. I bought some things online, a few things locally, and my husband is going to get a few things for me. On a whim, my husband and I decided that we will open our house to friends on Christmas Eve afternoon. Just a little come and go thing. It will motivate me to clean and bake. ~smile~ I'm planning to keep it simple. I told my girls that they may invite whomever they wish. My Emily sent out a Facebook invitation to virtually everyone she knows! Our house is pretty small. We'll see what happens. It may be quite cozy!

      Well, enough for now—on to my blessings and a bit of our thrifty life.



    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~
    A Quote for You
    "You see, darlin', the roots on a willow tree run deep, clear under the ground to the source of water. That's what keeps it alive even when everything around it is drying out. Faith works the same way. It runs way down deep through our souls to the source—to God—and keeps us going when things get hard." 
    Kim Vogel Sawyer in Where Willows Grow 
    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~
    Here's my thrifty week!
    • I bought twenty pounds of 80/20 ground chuck for $1.99/lb. That is an excellent price for our area.
    • Avocados $.42 each at Walmart
    • Cranberry Wassail with frozen cranberries that my dad gave me a few months ago. I substituted a sliced orange for the orange essential oil.
    • Recently, I bought wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby for half price. It's thick, sturdy, and lined. It's a big roll, too. At half price, it's comparable in cost to dollar store paper, but much higher quality. It was so nice, I went back for a second roll that was red with polka dots. I'll use the Christmas paper first, then use the polka dots if needed. I can use them all year round for gifts.
    • My husband, Lowell, cleared out a bunch of stuff in the garage. Thirty cubic feet of real estate investment!
    • Three cubic feet for me this week. Wonder what I mean? Read this, then go make an investment today! 
    • Avocados at Aldi for $.39 each. 
    • Bone in chicken breasts at Food 4 Less for $.79 a pound.
    • Chicken leg quarters ten pounds for $6.00 at Food 4 Less
    • Lowell contacted AAA a couple weeks ago to see if we could get the special for giving memberships to our kids. They just added them on for free instead! He also found out that we could get the vehicles towed 100 miles instead of 3 miles by paying about $30 more. We're so glad we did it!
    • We got a free tow for our son's truck with our AAA membership. The membership paid for itself already.
    • I crocheted a stack of dishcloths for a friend with yarn that was given to me. I used some other leftover yarn to crochet a long chain to tie them together. It made a cute stack. 
    • One Christmas Past
    • A sweet lady from church brought me some shampoo and conditioner that is supposed to help with hair growth. It's called Monat.
    • I gave my extra Christmas tree and ornaments to a friend. That was another six cubic feet of real estate investment.
    • I went Christmas shopping at thrift stores. It was a bit late in the season, so all I found was a little 25 cent cup for me that says PEACE.
    • Remember how I told you we were blessed with a dvd/vcr last week? Another friend asked if I'd found one yet. I told her yes. She offered me hers, too. I said yes. It's good to have a back up since I cannot buy another one. It'll be stored for future use. Yes, it takes up space, but it's not clutter since I can't replace it easily. 
      Let's do all we can to keep our peace and joy regardless of our circumstances or who we're with. I am going to spend some time over the next few days making a list and checking it twice. I already know who's been naughty or nice. ~wink~ I'll actually make several lists. We still have time to do this without losing our heads. God bless you each. If you have any advice for last minute preparations, please share them in the comments.

    ♥♥♥♥
    That's my thrifty week.

    What are you doing in your home this week?

    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~

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

    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~




    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~

    Wednesday, December 13, 2017

    Are You Facing Hard Times? A Christmas Story of Desperation and Hope: A Christmas Miracle on the Frontier


    Hard times don't take a Christmas vacation.
    Loss of a loved one, family strife, natural disasters, a frightening diagnosis, loneliness, and financial stress can all contribute to our hard times.

    I know several people who really stretch their money to make ends meet. There's only so much elastic in a dollar bill you know. I've been testing that stretch capacity full-time for nearly thirteen years now.

    Most likely you know someone who's struggling. Maybe it is you. Our families will be affected differently by these situations, but it will be a challenging season for all of us who are experiencing hard times.

    Sometimes, in our desperation, we give up to despair.
    Sometimes, in our desperation, we give in to God and
    he takes over. He comes in and saves us... maybe not
    from the circumstances...but always from the despair.

    Give in and find hope, peace, love, healing, and provision.
    God's arm is not too short. Nothing is impossible with God.

    Please enjoy this story that I share each year....


    A Christmas Miracle on the Frontier

         I remember a day one winter that stands out like a boulder in my life. The weather was unusually cold; our salary had not been regularly paid and it did not meet our needs when it was. My husband was away much of the time, traveling from one district to another. Our boys were well, but my little Ruth was ailing and at best none of us were decently clothed. I patched and re-patched, with spirits sinking to the lowest ebb. The water gave out in the well and the wind blew through the cracks in the floor.

         The people in the parish were kind, and generous too, but the settlement was new and each family was struggling for itself. Little by little, at the time I needed it most, my faith began to waver. Early in life I was taught to take God at His word, and I thought my lesson was well learned. I had lived upon the promises in dark times until I knew, as David did, who was my Fortress and my Deliverer. Now a daily prayer for forgiveness was all that I could offer.

         My husband’s overcoat was hardly thick enough for October, and he was often obliged to ride miles to attend some meeting or funeral.  Christmas was coming; the children always expected their presents. I remember the ice was thick and smooth and the boys were each craving a pair of skates. Ruth, in some unaccountable way, had taken a fancy that the dolls I had made were no longer suitable; she wanted a nice large one, and insisted on praying for it.

         I knew it was impossible, but, oh! how I wanted to give each child his present. It seemed as if God had deserted us. But I did not tell my husband all this. He worked so earnestly and heartily, I supposed him to be as hopeful as ever. I kept the sitting room cheerful with an open fire, and I tried to serve our scanty meals as invitingly as I could.

         That morning before Christmas, James was called to see a sick man. I put up a piece of bread for his lunch–it was the best I could do–wrapped my plaid shawl around his neck and then tried to whisper a promise as I often had, but the words died away upon my lips. I let him go without it.  That was a dark, hopeless day. I coaxed the children to bed early, for I could not bear their talk. When Ruth went, I listened for her prayer. She asked for the last time most explicitly for her doll and for skates for her brothers. Her bright face looked so lovely when she whispered to me, “You know I think they’ll be here early tomorrow morning, Mama” that I thought I could move Heaven and earth to save her from disappointment. I sat down alone and gave way to the most bitter tears.

         Before long James returned, chilled and exhausted. He drew off his boots. The thin stockings clipped off with them and his feet were red with cold. “I wouldn’t treat a dog that way; let alone a faithful servant,” I said. Then as I glanced up and saw the hard lines in his face and the look of despair, it flashed across me that James had let go too.

         I brought him a cup of tea, feeling sick and dizzy at the very thought. He took my hand and we sat for an hour without a word. I wanted to die and meet God and tell Him His promise wasn’t true–my soul was so full of rebellious despair.

         There came a sound of bells, a quick step and a loud knock at the door. James sprang to open it. There stood Deacon White. “A box came by express just before dark. I brought it around as soon as I could get away. Reckoned it might be for Christmas. ‘At any rate’ I said, ‘they shall have it tonight.’ Here is a turkey my wife asked me to fetch along and these other things I believe belong to you.” There were a basket of potatoes, and a bag of flour. Talking all the time, he hurried in the box and then with a hearty good night, he rode away.

         Still without speaking, James found a chisel and opened the box. He drew out first a thick red blanket and we saw that beneath it, the box was full of clothing. It seemed at that moment as if Christ fastened upon me a look of reproach. James sat down and covered his face with his hands. “I can’t touch them,” he explained. “I haven’t been true, just when God was trying me to see if I could hold out. Do you think I could not see how you were suffering? And I had no word of comfort to offer. I know now how to preach the awfulness of turning away from God.”

         “James,” I said, clinging to him, “don’t take it to heart like this. I am to blame. I ought to have helped you. We will ask Him together to forgive us.”  We poured out words of praise–Bible words, for nothing else could express our thanksgiving.  It was eleven o’ clock; the fire was low and there was the great box with nothing touched but the warm blanket we needed. We piled on some fresh logs, lighted two candles and began to examine our treasures.

         We drew out an overcoat. I made James try it on–just the right size–and I danced around him, for all my lightheartedness had returned. There was a cloak and he insisted on seeing me in it. My spirits always infected him and we both laughed like foolish children.

         There was a warm suit of clothes also and three pairs of woolen hose. There were a dress for me and yards of flannel, a pair of arctic overshoes for each of us and in mine a slip of paper. I have it now and mean to hand it down to my children. It was Jacob’s blessing to Asher: “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days so shall thy strength be.”

         In the gloves, evidently for James, the same dear hand had written: “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”  It was a wonderful box and packed with thoughtful care. There were a suit of clothes for each of the boys and a little red gown for Ruth. There were mittens, scarf, and hood, and down in the center–a box. We opened it and there was a great wax doll!! I burst into tears again and James wept with me for joy. It was too much! And then we both exclaimed again, for close behind it came two pairs of skates. There were books for us to read–some of them I had wished to see–stories for the children to read, aprons and underclothing, knots of ribbon, a gay little tidy, a lovely photograph, needles, buttons, and thread, a muff, and an envelope containing a ten dollar gold piece.

         At last we cried over everything we took up. It was past midnight and we were faint and exhausted even with happiness. I made a cup of tea, cut a fresh loaf of bread and James boiled some eggs. We drew up the table before the fire. How we enjoyed our supper! And then we sat talking over our life and how sure a help God always proved.

         You should have seen the children the next morning! The boys raised a shout at the sight of their skates–Ruth caught up her doll and hugged it tightly without a word; then she went into her room and knelt by her bed.  When she came back she whispered to me, “I knew it would be here Mama, but I wanted to thank God just the same, you know.”

         “Look here, Wife, see the difference!” We went to the window and there were the boys out of the house already and skating on the crust with all their might.  My husband and I both tried to return thanks to the church in the East that sent us the box–and have tried to return thanks unto God every day since. 

         Hard times have come again and again, but we have trusted in Him–dreading nothing so much as a doubt of His protecting care. “They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”

    ~~~~~

    Reprinted by permission from Lizzie at A Dusty Frame.   She typed it up from a very old book, The Sword Book of Treasures by Dr. John R. Rice, published in 1946 gem.



    Happy Christmas,
    Laura
    Trusting in His care
    ~~~~~
    May I suggest?
    ~~~~~




    Sunday, December 10, 2017

    My Christmas Bucket List 2017

     

    Season's Greetings!

     Have you made a Christmas bucket list of the fun things you want to do this month? I'm not talking about a regular to do list. This list is for the things that bring you joy! 

     I've made a slow start this Christmas season. I haven't done much shopping yet, and making, well, it will just have to wait until next year. Still... there are things I just love to do during the Christmas season. Actually, I like to do a lot of them all winter long. We'll see how many things I can fit in around doctor's appointments, tests, and treatments. 

     The good news is that I'm feeling pretty good, and I'm here to celebrate Christmas with my family. I still have several months of treatments left, but the cancer is in remission.  Thank you God! Glory to God in the highest!

     Here are some of the things I'd like to do this month. I've already done some of these things.
    • Write my Christmas bucket list
    • Make or buy a tree ornament for each child
    • Sing Christmas carols
    • Put up the tree
    • Gaze into the fire in the woodstove
    • Christmas parade
    • Put lights on the house (Kids took care of it.)
    • Talk to strangers (It's what I do!)
    • Smile and spread good cheer
    • Curl up with a terrific book
    • Tree decorating party with my husband and kids
    • Bake cookies with my adult son
    • Make homemade cranberry wassail
    • Make cocoa
    • Watch Christmas movies
    • Listen to Christmas music
    • Decorate the house
    • Read Christmas books  
    • Drink hot apple cider
    • Dip pretzels in white chocolate
    • Gaze into the fire of a candle
    • Sing Christmas carols as I shop
    • Burn fragrant holiday candles
    • Christmas baking ~ working on it!
    • Sip eggnog
    • Advent book
    • Read by tree light
    • Coffee with a friend
    • Lunch with a friend
    • Christmas shopping
    • Christmas caroling
    • Watch more Christmas movies
    • Pajama Run - Christmas lights
    • Cookie Exchange Party
    • Wrap Christmas gifts ~ I'm almost caught up!
    • Invite friends for soup and bread ~ I invited two families, both were sick!
    • Bake Snowball Cookies ~ A friend made some for us, so I skipped this.
    • Christmas Eve open house
    • Christmas Day at home

    Most importantly, worship Jesus ~ I cannot bring myself to cross this out though I've done it!

    Happy Christmas Season!
    Laura
    Blessed to be a Blessing




    Well, it's December 31st. The new year will be here in just a few hours. I think I did a great job on my Christmas bucket list this year. I'll be posting my winter bucket list in a few days. Watch for it!

    Friday, December 8, 2017

    A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #115


    Welcome to another 
    Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage!
    Each week I share ways I've saved money, my thrifty and frugal projects, and my blessings from God. 

    A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage
    I am so glad you dropped in for a visit today—or tonight!
    Please say hello! I'm always looking for new blog friends!

    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~

    Happy Christmas time everyone!

      Are you getting ready? We've put up our tree, I've been lighting white pillar candles that my husband bought at a yard sale a few months ago, I've been listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies. My daughter, Amy, decorated my kitchen yesterday while organizing some shelves. She has a gift of organization and decorating...the artist's eye!

      I've had a bit more energy this week, so I've done some decluttering and a lot of laundry. With more treatments ahead, I'm trying to take advantage of my good days without wearing myself out. It's all a balance of the mental and physical activities. This is a long-term recovery process, but I cannot just sit around. It makes me melancholy.

      Well, enough for now—on to my blessings and a bit of our thrifty life.


    Just one of the free images from pexels.com

    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~
    A Verse for You

    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."
    —James 1:17
    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~

    Here's my thrifty week!
    • My daughter, Amy, designed a new blog header and background for me. I love it!
    • Avocados $.39 each at Aldi. My son told me that they're $.42 each at Walmart now. I need to buy some. The kids love them. I love my homemade guacamole!
    • Approximately 15 cubic feet of real estate investment! I've been doing what I can to clear things out. We are just jam packed into this little cottage. 
    • I downloaded a few new free images from pexels.com. They are free to use without attribution.
      pexels.com
    • We enjoyed the last of the meals that were brought to us during my surgery recovery. Our friends were very generous. 
    • My son, Matthew, called from Walmart to say that they had 5 dozen eggs on sale for $3.00! I bought a box the same day. Eggs have been cheap here, but they've been over $1.50 a dozen for the last couple of weeks. We all know there's holiday baking to do.
    • My daughter, Emily, baked homemade sugar cookies using the first cookie recipe that I learned to make by myself as a child over forty years ago. Don't go there! I just know you're thinking, "How old is this lady?" Ha ha! She made a very large batch and filled tins we had left over from our restaurant days for her teachers. Very nice gifts for the price of butter, sugar, and flour.
    • I made roll out sugar cookies with my son, Matthew, at his request. When it came time to decorate, we used things we had on hand. Use it up!
    • My husband and I splurged and went to Panera for dinner to plan Christmas gifts. He received a free danish for his birthday.
    • My daughter, Amy, decorated the kitchen using things we had on hand in creative ways.
    • We sipped homemade cocoa while watching an old Christmas movie we've had for years—Home Alone.
    • I have a big bag of oddly cut chicken pieces that a friend gave me thawing in the fridge.
    • I wrote a review for a free copy of the book Christmas at Grey Sage. It was a good book.
    • Now for the most exciting thrifty of the week—a friend gave us her dvd/vcr combo machine! We've had two such machines stacked on top of our old t.v. for years. One's DVD worked, the other's VCR worked. We bought them at yard sales. Over the last couple months, they both died. We needed a VHS player, because almost all of our Christmas movies (and memories associated with them) are VHS. Have you priced them? I cannot buy one locally, and on-line they are several hundred dollars new. I have no trouble with a used machine, but most of them were nearly a hundred dollars without any guarantee that they work. I decided to just ask on Facebook if anyone had a VHS player they didn't want. I asked twice with no results. The third time, a dear friend, Susan, told me she had a combo player she'd only used three times, and it had been sitting at her house for eight years! My husband picked it up the next morning, and it works like new. Praise God! All good gifts come down from God. Thank you Susan! Thank you God!
    Take cat naps as needed!
      Ladies, whatever preparations you're doing for Christmas, try to use what you have on hand as much as possible. You can make things over, use old decorative items in new ways, just change things up a bit. Try to keep it all in perspective and keep it off your credit cards! It's better to downsize now than to face bills later!

    ♥♥♥♥
    That's my thrifty week.

    What are you doing in your home this week?

    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~

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

    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~



    ~~~~~
    ♥♥♥
    ~~~~~