Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Handmade Bag for January {Starting my monthly series}

   Last year I challenged myself to make a rag rug (a different type) every month of the year and blogged about it (I did miss one month and still hope to play catch-up). This year I thought I would be fun to have a new challenge.

    When thinking through some options of things that would be fun to do and which I could do using things that I had on hand (I really don't need to buy anything - we have a lot!) I decided either handmade hats, bags, baskets or patchwork projects would be fun. The kids agreed that those would be fun (though the boys thought maybe we should do some wood projects instead - and I hope to but I don't know that I would be able to do one monthly). So I put up a poll on my blog sidebar and asked your opinion. Quite a few of you weighed in with what you thought would be interesting but that didn't end up being all that helpful for choosing as 3 of them tied and the other one was only one vote behind.

   Anyway the choosing of the theme was back to us and after talking more with the kids we decided on Bags. I probably will do some of the other things this year too and blog about them but it will be bags that I will try to have a new post about each month.

   I actually have made several new bags recently (the one I am sharing today was made last month and I made a couple this month too) so I should be ahead of schedule I hope!

  This bag was made as a new purse for me. I unfortunately don't have a tutorial on this one (but I plan on doing tutorials on most of them) as it was a very quick project that I was in a rush to get put together right before our trip out to Reno in December.

  This purse is a typical project of mine in that I was wanting a new purse before our trip but just hadn't found the time to do it with all the other things that needed to be done. However the day we were to leave I was able to get everything packed and ready to go with an hour to spare before we left on our trip so I decided to see if I could get it done. Ken did end up being a little late getting ready himself (trying to finish things up at the office) so I ended up with a bit more than an hour which worked out great for getting the purse done (just not so great on getting down to the cities at a decent hour for sleeping before our early morning flight).
 This purse was made out of nearly every bit that I had left from an old wool skirt. It is wool on the outside and I used the skirt lining material to line the bag and to make the flower (which Mara helped by melting the edges on) for the outside decoration.

  My favorite aspects of it are the little cell phone pocket on the outside which makes it so I can now get to my cell phone before it goes to voice mail, the flower, the strap so I can carry it over my shoulder and the largeness of it. Of course a downside of the largeness is that things can get easily lost inside (though not my cell phone now!) but I can at least carry along my knitting or crocheting project or put my Bible inside and I like that. I did put one inside pocket in it but that isn't enough to keep everything organized.

  Here are some reasons that I think it is fun to make homemade bags:
  • You can get a new bag for free by using things you already have.
  • You can make exactly what color and style you want. (My new purse matches my wool dress coat)
  • You don't have to go shopping. Something that is NOT my favorite thing to do.
  • You can be creative.
  • It will be one of a kind and you won't mix it up with anybody else's bag.
  • Bags can make nice gifts. (2 birthday gifts this month had homemade bags as a portion of the gift.)
 Some of the bags that I have already made or am working on making and plan on posting about are: A cloth trash bag for your vehicle, a bag that goes on your bike handlebars and holds water bottles and snacks, pannier bags and a child's activity bag. I also hope to make  a pretty and sturdy duffel bag, a new back pack, a camera bag and I am sure I will come up with some other bags to make.

 What sort of bags do you like?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Respecting our husbands

 Thanks for joining me once again as I share with you the ways I am trying to build up my marriage in hopes that it will encourage you to work on your marriage as well.

  That past few weeks we talked about being thankful (and writing something down every day) for your husband, finding something in common with our husband, serving our husband and praying for our husband. I am still working on all those things and I hope you are as well.

  Today I felt led to writing about respecting our husbands.

 This is something that can sometimes come quite easily and sometimes it just doesn't! We have husbands who are imperfect just as we are and because we are two imperfect people respecting him doesn't always come easily (at least that has been true in our relationship).

  Whether it comes easily or not however is not a very good excuse for whether you respect your husband or not. The advice to respect our husbands doesn't just come from me, it is from God's word.

Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33

What are ways that we can show respect to our husbands?
Here are a few ways:
  • Listen to him. Don't always finish their sentences for him (I am guilty of this - my tongue works a lot faster than Ken's) but really listen to what they have to say.
  • Admire what he can do.
  • Ask him for advice.
  • DON'T put him down in front of the kids or anybody.
  • Let him lead.
  • Be thankful for how he provides for the family.
Those are just a few that came to my mind I would really love it if you would leave comments sharing more ideas of ways you can respect your husband!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fixing up an old dresser

 I mentioned a bit ago that the boys and I had fixed up an old dresser. Well I finally have all the handles on again and took some pictures (and filled it up - with fabric!) and so I thought I would share a bit more detail.

   This was a very fun project as we took a rather ugly looking (I thought) dresser that had been given to us (and I had used out in the garage) and were able to strip it, refinish it and get it ready for use in the house.
The before picture
It's finish was quite rough looking, some of the handles were partly or all the way off and I didn't like it. However when I examined it I realized that it was all solid wood (no press board which I really don't care for) and so I got a bit excited about fixing it up.

  As normal I put off the fixing up of it for a year or so because the job seemed daunting. However when we finally got started it only took us a couple of hours to strip it and get it read for refinishing. The refinishing went quickly (other than the drying) and it was soon ready for service.

Why, oh why, do I put things off?

I think I may be learning my lesson on this account but so many times I have put things off only to finally do it and find that the job doesn't really take that long, it isn't really that hard and it is rather fun too. Oh I hope I am learning to just do it!!

 For this project we used only things we already had on hand. They were:
  • Rubbing alcohol -when you spread it on paint and such it really helps to soften it and make the stripping much easier.
  • A razor blade/paint scraper
  • An electric sander and sandpaper. This worked so nicely for getting the old finish off and for taking scratches off and such.
  • A paintbrush or 2.
  • Stain (oil based- just because that was what we had)
  • Polyurethane (oil based) two coats to seal it nicely.
  • 2 old bobbins
 Jonathan helped with the project some but Aaron stuck with helping the whole way.
 When it came to handles we were missing one. It wasn't truly necessary as the top two drawers each had 4 handles but it would have looked funny and unfinished not to have one. We decided it would be fun to use a couple of old bobbins for the center top handles as the dresser is being used to hold fabric in my sewing room anyway. I am enjoying the eclectic look. And yes I just left the thread on. These bobbins don't fit my new sewing machine and I found them in some stuff from my Grandma.
 The "new" dresser in it's new spot. I am loving it!
This month I have been really working on getting my office/craft and sewing room in order (going through every single thing!) and the dresser has been wonderful to hold fabric. While going through my office files I found some pictures that were painted by an old friend of mine and so I framed them to hang above the dresser. New art for the wall is pretty nice too!
linking with New Life on a Homestead and The Prairie Homestead

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jesus Taught

  One thing very neat about Jesus (the neat things about Him of course are without number - but I am focusing on one today) was how He taught others. Sometimes it was big huge crowds (remember when he fed the 5,000 and other events like that) and sometimes it was one on one- think about Nicodemus (John 3) or the Woman at the well.

  The verses that I thought I would share today are about how when given the opportunity one day in the synagogue, He taught there too.

  Mark 6: 1 & 2
  "Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?"

 Jesus had a message to share with the world and He took what opportunities that He was given to share that message. That message has been given to us today, He says to us in Mark 16:15 &16 "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved will be condemned."

 So are we taking the opportunities given to us, like Jesus did, to share His message?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway and Review

I have an exciting post for today...
A Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway!
Here is why I think it is exciting:

~You might win something!  (I love winning giveaways.)
~ The prize is useful - It is very easy to use food and I am sure that you or (probably and) your family eat.
~It tastes great! I love the subtle flavor it adds to granola and stuff like that.
~It smells really good. Cheap coconut oil doesn't have much of a smell but this stuff smells really, really good!
~It is good for you. It is a natural and real food.
~ You can use it for things other than eating like: making toothpaste, deodorant, lotion bars, lip balm, soap and poultices - and I am sure more things that I have never tried- I would love to hear how you like to use it.
Tropical Traditions very kindly sent me a 32 oz. jar (and it comes in glass jars which my mother-in-law - an expert in health food- says is best) of coconut oil to try out.
Here are some of the ways we enjoyed using it:
~On our popcorn instead of butter. Here is another place to enjoy that subtle flavor.

~Making "Caramel Corn". My simple recipe is to use either 1/2 cup of butter or coconut oil, melt that and then add 1/2 cup of honey (another fun way to use our own honey) and stir that over 4 quarts of popped corn. Then toast it in the oven at 350 degrees until they turn golden brown. It is pretty quick and easy, uses natural ingredients and is a good treat when you need to serve someone with gluten, dairy and/or nut allergies.
~Making Granola Bars. I love this quick and easy no-bake recipe:

Combine: 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup honey and 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (it becomes solid if it is cool).
Then mix in: 1 c. oatmeal and 1/2 cup coconut and then 1/2 - 3/4 cup or so of any mixture (or just one) of the following: Sesame seeds, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, raisins, wheat germ, wheat bran, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.

Put in an 8 X 8 pan and cool in the fridge. Cut when cool.

~Making Granola.

~Making Biscuits.

and much more. I even ate a spoonful or so plain. :-)

Here is a video that shows even more ways you can use it:

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

You must subscribe to Tropical Traditions Special Sales E-mail newsletter (sent out weekly) and then leave a comment on this post telling me that you subscribed and a way you like (or would like to try ) to use coconut oil. Make sure you leave an e-mail address so that I can contact you.

1 entry per person. You must be a resident of the US or Canada to win. This giveaway will end on February 5th.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pray for your Husband

 So have you joined me in writing down things we are thankful for about our husbands, found things in common (and spent time with them), and served our husbands?

  This last week I did definitely have opportunities for serving Ken as he was having some health issues and I got to work on doctoring him (and he is feeling better now and thinks what I did probably helped so Yeah!) and just serving him more than normal in other ways since he wasn't feeling so good.

  This week I plan on concentrating on praying for Ken. I do try to pray for him regularly but I want to do that even more. I think it is important to pray for their spiritual needs as well as their physical needs. I pray for him concerning his role as a Father and Husband, concerning his business, his health, his safety and his relationship with God.

  I truly think prayer is a powerful tool and I hope to use it even more than ever before. I think it is always important to remember that when you pray concerning somebody else (husband, child, anybody...) that you are talking to a God who made them and knows them inside and out and loves them more than we can imagine - way more than we do.

  Prayer is an important thing to remember when we are enjoying our husbands and when we are not. No matter the situation - Lets pray!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


The verses that I am going to share about Jesus, today, show a character trait that we are quite used to seeing in Him: Compassion - shown through healing a man and then something we don't generally associate with Jesus, and that is: Anger.

Lets look at Mark 3:1-5....

  "He interested again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!" And he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored."

  I find it very interesting to think about this situation. Here was Jesus going about his normal business. Also in the cast of characters is the man with the withered hand. And then we have the Pharisees who seem to have nothing better to do than to stand around watching Jesus and hoping He will do something that they can get Him in trouble over.

  I can certainly imagine feeling a little hot under the collar by the Pharisees but I don't know that that was really Jesus' feeling. However is does say that He had anger and He was grieved at their hardness of heart. I think that is what really bothers Jesus- people who could care less about doing good - those that simply had a hard heart that was unwilling to change.

  It is a reminder to me that it is okay (and actually right) to get upset about evil and wrong I just need to be careful to always remember Eph. 4:26 & 27 which says:  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."


Friday, January 18, 2013

Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch {A Review}

 A while back (quite a while back actually) I requested the book "Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch from Book Sneeze. The book is about the importance of Faith (from which comes virtue) in business. He speaks a lot about Capitalism and what it is.  I had thought as a Christian who is an owner of a small business that I might find it interesting and perhaps helpful.

  He talks about the need for faith, honesty, gratitude, perseverance, compassion, forgiveness, patience, humility, courage, respect, generosity, discipline, chastity and thrift in business. These various traits can often be found in many people whether they are truly Christians or not but in order to have the Holy Spirit's help in these (and we will struggle to have these very well without that - lacking the renewal that we need) then we need to have the Holy Spirit in our life (through Christ).

  I did find bits and pieces of the book interesting but as a whole it was extremely hard to get through. It just never drew me in to make me want to keep reading.

   Here is the description of the book:

"Critics of Capitalism view big businesses as insatiable masters of the universe with little regard for the public, and label those who create wealth as greedy, malicious, and unscrupulous. In this insightful and original book, Theodore Roosevelt Malloch answers these charges head-on with the bold idea that the creation of wealth by virtuous means is the most important thing we can do for ourselves and for others.

Doing Virtuous Business explains the true purpose of business and illuminates the connection between a free economy and religious liberty. Drawing from the notion of "social capital" that has been developed by generations of scholars, Malloch adds the concept of "spiritual capital" as a foundation for social progress and also a necessity for responsible and successful enterprise. He details the virtues that sustain a business and a free market -- virtues that are critical to the emerging global economy.

Malloch reveals that a company's soul determines its "spiritual capital," an equally imperative foundation to success. From Wal-Mart to IBM, Malloch demonstrates how companies that operate on ethical models informed by spiritual traditions have outperformed their competitors. This book is a welcome moral defense of free enterprise and a sensible guide for achieving the ideal of virtuous business."

 Here are some quotes from the book that I did enjoy....

"In a free economy people give freely of their energies, talents, and knowledge because they wish the best for themselves, their families, and others. And at the same time.... they also perform a vital service for the economy as a whole, freely generating productivity, something that inevitably dwindles when people are coerced into maintaining it." Page 4

  I think that is a very important concept to understand in our current political climate!

"We avoid the dangers by treating other people, competitors included, with respect, by emphasizing our shared humanity and our shared stewardship of the earth and its resources, and by acknowledging our common dependence on a Creator God."

  I think that is such an important thing for everybody and especially business owners to remember.

Anyway, in conclusion, I think there are a lot of good thoughts in this book, they just aren't put together in an interesting manner.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Some of the ways we have saved money this month

 I enjoy reading a blog called the Prudent Homemaker and at her blog she does posts called "Last week's frugal accomplishments" where she will list just odds and ends of things that she did that past week that helped them to spend a little less money whether it be big or small. I know she doesn't list everything that they do (and how frugally their family lives is pretty inspiring to me) but it is fun to read what she does list and perhaps get a few ideas of how I could be more frugal as well.

With that idea in mind I thought it might be fun to share a few of the ways that we have been frugal lately....
 ~ We have walked to church a couple of times on Sunday mornings. The top picture is Mara on the walk and just above is a picture of Jonathan pulling Megan through the little patch of woods we are able to go through. The benefit of this is some fun times of fresh air and exercise as well as saving money on gas and wear and tear on our vehicle. We dress quite warmly and so our walk is not cold but rather we often get a bit warm.

~We have been staying home a lot and being careful to combine errands when we are out. Again this helps us to save money on gas and it saves time.

 ~I finished the rag rug for our living room (more details here).

~We have used cloth napkins, rags and handkerchiefs instead of their paper counterparts of napkins, paper towels and tissue.

~ I have tried to remember to use my cell phone (a track phone with cheaper minutes) instead of our landline for long distance calls.

~ We fixed up Mara's snow boots. The insoles had become very uncomfortable and there was a place that needed some stitching and a shoelace ring that was missing and so we fixed all of those things. For the insole we first put in a layer of cardboard and then I remember some insoles that I had bought (free or very cheaply) way back when I was doing the drugstore "game" and we hadn't needed yet and so we put them in as well. Mara says they feel just fine now. I still have my eye out for different ones as I think she is about to outgrow them but it is nice that they are working for now.

~I mended a bunch of jeans.

 ~We planted some seeds (tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and radishes) in pots inside in hopes or growing some fresh veggies to eat. My mother-in-law grows a bunch of stuff in her house and we are hoping to do it too. It would be very exciting to be able have homegrown produce practically year round. The lettuce and radishes are coming up nicely and I would guess the others will pop up very soon now too.

~I have been making radish sprouts to eat.
 ~We make our own homemade cookies and other snacks rather than buying premade things.

~We packed a lunch to take on our trip rather than going to a restaurant.

~We pack Ken's lunch to take to work on days that he doesn't have lunch meetings.

~I am (today) boiling down beef bones from the 1/2 beef we bought in order to have good nourishing broth to use for soups and other cooking. I am planning on canning it this time so that it won't have to be frozen.
~ We stripped the old finish off of a dresser that we had been given and then stained and varnished it. It looks quite lovely if I do say so myself. I will try to share more details on that soon.

~I sanded down our stairs and refinished them as they were needing some attention. Neither of our wood working projects required any money as we used things we already had on hand. Here is a post about our stairs when I pulled the carpet off and fixed them up the first time. At that time (in 2010) I had thought it was a temporary solution but the way things have worked out it is still the condition of our stairs but I don't mind especially now that I repainted the back of them again so that is fresh and then this time I put a couple layers (and I plan on doing another one tonight) of polyurethane on the treads. I think they look pretty decent.

~ I have been having fun reading books by Dave Ramsey, Ellie Kay, Steve and Annette Econimides and I just started one by Suze Orman - all about using money wisely.

~ I planned our menu for the month.

~I have been baking a bunch of things at one time to conserve energy.

What sort of frugal things have you done lately?


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Serve One Another in Love

 Well, how is your marriage doing?

   Lord willing, you are doing great but even if that is the case and especially if it isn't, I hope you will join me in working to have stronger more Godly marriages.

  In case you are new here I will give a bit of background - I am doing a series on marriage this year (a new post every Wednesday) and in each post I am telling about a way I am challenging myself to be a better wife and in the process I am hoping to challenge you as well.

  The first week I encouraged starting a list in which each day you would write one thing about your husband that you are thankful for. My list does now have 16 items on it. This has been fun.

  Last week the challenge was to develop common interests. You can read more about that here. This past week we did have some really fun times together but then I did skip out on one opportunity that we could have spend time together because it was doing something that wasn't really my style but I kind of regretted that afterwards.

  This week I want to concentrate on SERVICE. I want to better follow Galatians 5:13 where it says: "Through love serve one another". Now I know I already do serve Ken in many ways (and he serves me as well) and I am sure that is true in your marriages as well. However I thought in keeping with the idea of showing him love and encouraging a strong marriage that it would be fun to step it up a notch. To really look for little (or maybe big) ways that I am not serving him already and serve him in that area. Not serving with the idea of getting something in return but simply as a way to express my love for him.

  Would you care to join me? Maybe we can make this a habit!


Monday, January 14, 2013

A Rag Rug for December

 This past month I made the biggest rag rug yet. It was a pretty fun project!

I made it for our living room as our current carpet is quite stained and so someday somewhat soon we are hoping to tear the carpet out and install a wood floor instead and I thought a nice area rug would be nice to have. Even with the carpet still in we have been using the rug as we like how it looks and it covers up some of the stains.

  I made the carpet out of wool strips most of which were given to me already cut up so that really helped to speed the process up. I did have to cut some strips (though actually I did little cutting - the kids think that is a fun job) which I cut out of a couple of old wool coats that had been given to me. Most of the wool that went into this project was pretty thick which should help it to be sturdier.

  This rug was made using the multi strand braided method where you join the braids together (by tucking a strip from your current braid into the rug as you go around) as you go.  Here is where I learned how to do it (though this one is way bigger -you just keep going and going...).

   I started this rug a couple of days before Christmas and finished on January 2 or 3rd. It really went together pretty fast and was a very fun holiday activity for me (and the kids had fun helping some as well). I had hoped to blog about it earlier but since I have been unable to upload pictures that wasn't possible until I realized that I could upload a picture to Pinterest and then bring it over to my blog. (And then I found out that didn't work for you all to see it - but now we finally have things fixed and I can upload pictures again - Hooray!!!)

  Making a new rag rug each month of the year was a pretty fun project for me (and I do still have one month that I missed (September I believe ) that I hope to still do one for. Here is the year in review:

I am now trying to figure out my project theme challenge for 2013. What would you be interested in reading about? I have a poll in the side bar - please vote!

I am linking up at the Barn Hop and joining:  The Prairie Homestead and New Life on a Homestead

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jesus Loved the Sinner but Hated the Sin

   In the story of Zacchaeus (found in Luke 19:1-10) we see a great example of how Jesus dealt with those that obviously were living in sin.

Here is what it says:
"Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

  Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He didn't avoid them nor did he condone what they were doing. I think that is an important example for our lives too. We shouldn't avoid those that are struggling with sin (because we all do that - though some sins are more obvious than others) but we shouldn't pretend that sin is okay either. We need to work to teach and encourage being right with God whenever we have the opportunity. Jesus was aware of opportunities like this and took advantage of them.

  I hope I can do the same.

  Something else we can learn from this story is just how Jesus gives grace - to you, to me, to whoever wants it! I am so grateful for God's grace!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Over 20 ways to have Fun for Free in the Winter

   In our quest to spend less and save more money this year I thought it would be fun to share with you various ideas for having fun in the winter without spending money. Entertainment can cost a lot for some people but money really isn't necessary for having fun.

Here are some ideas (and I will look forward to hearing more ideas from you in the comments!)

Wintry Outside Fun

  • Sledding. Hopefully you already have sleds - if not try blowing up an old inner tube, using a piece of cardboard or an old plastic political sign. Get creative!
  • Cross Country Skiing (if you have equipment already)
  • Skating (again - if you have equipment - maybe you can barter for some if not.)
  • Make Snowmen, igloos or have a snowball fight.
  • Take a walk. When you start getting a little exercise it doesn't feel so cold - especially when you do bundle up and you are having to move that bundled up body around. Winter can be very beautiful!
  • Play Broomball - you just need some old brooms (you can fix them up a little if you like), a ball, something to mark goals and a packed surface. (here are more high tech instructions than what we follow.)

Fun things to do at Home (indoors)

  •  Play Games. This is something we usually do at least one evening a week in the winter.
  • Read - this can be either done individually or the way we love - aloud and together! You can always check out books free at the library if you don't have any of your own.
  • Do crafts. Again this is fun to do either by yourself or with the family. There are so many fun things to make that you can make using things you already have on hand - whether regularly craft supplies or "trash".
  • Sew - maybe your family would enjoy making a quilt out of old clothes together.
  •  Cook or Bake together. We have to eat anyway right? Why not have a fun time working together to make something. Doughnuts are a fun treat.

  •  Turn your house into a cafe. Have fun with it just as your family or invite somebody else over that would enjoy it too. The kids love to be waiters and waitresses.

  •  Watch movies - either from your collection or get some from the library or watch one that is shown on TV (maybe record it so you can zoom through the commercials).
  • Do some puzzles.
  •  Invite over some company. It doesn't have to be fancy. Share a simple meal or some snacks, play games if you like or just visit. Have fun together.
  • Play some music together or enjoy a time of singing. Winter time is a great to get out the instruments that may have been neglected during the summer months.

Places to go for Frugal Fun


  • Church and Church events. It is free, it is beneficial and we love it!
  • Community Concerts. Our town has free ones fairly often - sponsored by the library, the high school, the university, churches or other things - there is often a lot of music available to hear.
  • Attend events at your library. Ours has story time, story tellers, magic shows and more at various times.
  • Check for free nights at museums or if you already have a membership then you can make use of it. Yesterday we had a blast spending the whole day at the History Center in St. Paul. We bought the membership last year (when going to another place) and since Ken had to travel down there anyway we all went (and stayed with friends) and then had a fun day at the museum with no additional admission charge. (And sorry no photos from that as I still can't seem to upload pictures - I am recycling pictures right now that are already on my blog elsewhere.)
  • Visit others. Many lonely older people would probably love to have you visit. Even busy families often enjoy having friends visit. I know we do and the friends that we visited this week seemed to enjoy having us come as well.
  • Plan a concert or something else to share at a nursing home. Call and check - usually they are very glad to have you  and they are not expecting perfection.

 What do you like to do in the winter that is free? Please share your ideas!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Find something in common with your husband

It was so encouraging for me to read the comments on my introductory post for this series. I love knowing that there are many others out there that are wanting to strengthen their marriages as well.

 Last week I challenged myself and you to come up with one thing every day (through the whole year) about your husband that you are thanking God for. Did you do that? This week was pretty easy and it went well. I hope that was true for you as well.

  This week I thought I would mention something concerning marriages that I have thought about a lot and that is the need to have common interests. What I mean here is that there are ideas/principles that you both feel strongly about (Christianity, politics, etc), or things that you like to do (maybe a sport or game playing, etc) or something that you can work at together (raising children, building a house, etc).

  This of course is something that is important to think about when you are finding a spouse and I am guessing some might say after reading what I wrote above "Hey, it's to late, I am already married and we have nothing in common." Well sorry - I don't think it is ever to late.

  Even if you married somebody that the only reason you got married is because you thought they were super good looking (I hope that isn't the case with any of you!) and now they are overweight and don't look anything like they used or if the person you married changed dramatically (they were a Christian and left the Lord or something like that) you can still work at developing common interests.

  When Ken and I got married we had quite a bit in common but of course differences too. Things have changed in various ways as we have gone along and we have had to work to make sure that we still share a lot of interests. It has been worth working on! It is something we are still working on too.

  In my opinion part of a strong marriage is spending time together and to spend time together it is more fun if you can share something you both enjoy.

  A while back I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch the marriage of some of my friends fall apart. While I was very saddened by it I wasn't terribly surprised as they had very little in common and they didn't seem to try to correct that. Originally they had both been faithful Christians but when he started to struggle and stopped coming to church then that no longer was a glue to hold them together either. He loved physical activity (sports, etc) and she didn't like it. She loved playing games - I never saw him doing that. He was good with money, she wasn't. I think (just my perspective looking on) that if either of them would have tried to enjoy or work at what the other one liked it could have majorly helped their marriage.

   Some of the things that we have done in our marriage on purpose to make sure we can spend time together and keep a strong relationship are:

   Ken got very involved politics so at my mom's encouragement I joined him. I was interested before it just seemed like I was a little to busy with kid's and stuff to go to meetings and conventions but with my mom offering to watch the kids I was able to join him in that and that has given us the opportunity for many "dates" and a lot of time together which would have otherwise just been Ken gone with the rest of us left at home and we would have been on the outside looking in. Now we often get the kids involved as well. That has truly helped our marriage to be stronger.

  Ken decided we should try out down hill skiing as a fun thing for us to do together. We both learned to like it and it has been a fun way to strengthen our marriage. Biking is another way we have enjoyed bringing the whole family together.

  Sure there are still going to be some areas that you don't share - I still don't care to watch sports of TV and Ken doesn't sew or do any crafts but sometimes I will come and sit by him while he watches and do a little knitting or hand sewing while I am there and Ken will come into my craft room and check on and admire whatever I am working on. Even if you don't share the interest you can at least be interested in the others interest in it.

  This is something I want to work on more and I hope you will as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!



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