Saturday, April 16, 2016

Glimpses of Our Life Lately {And how we have been frugal}

 I was wanting to share some more pictures of our life but since I missed doing Frugal Friday yesterday I thought I would also share throughout the pictures some of the ways that we have saved money recently.
The above picture is of Mara out on the swing. The boys made the swing lately with some rope and a board that we had on hand. It didn't cost us anything but the kids have enjoyed it so much.
 Megan had fun making a dress for herself this week. She used some fabric that she had gotten for free when we went to the fabric store last month. She also used some fabric that a friend had given us and some buttons that were salvaged from an old garment. This was quite the learning experience for her. I was pretty busy when she started it and only was able to oversee it sporadically. There were many mistakes made and it is far from perfect but it works and she looks very sweet in it.
This is the pattern that she used. It is one that I have had for quite some time. Both Megan and I enjoy the vintage look. Because of some mistake made and the dress simply being rather short we did have to do some altering which I ended up helping her with yesterday.
She got the dress done in time for her 10th birthday (today).
The hair-bow I made for her as a present -a free one just taking a little time and some stuff we had on hand.

We generally don't spend a lot of money on presents unless there is something that we know somebody really needs or would like. In other words if we have the money and if we think something would mean a lot to someone we will spend more but we won't spend a lot just for the sake of giving extravagant gifts. The gifts to Megan from our immediate family were quite frugal this year but that didn't seem to bother her at all. She got:

  • A large canvas to paint on that I had bought on sale and with a coupon months ago. I think I spent around $5. She was quite excited about that as she is an artist and has wanted a canvas.
  • A package of Water balloons $.99
  • A package of yogurt covered pretzels (that is a treat around here and I think consumable gifts are nice as we tend to get to much stuff!) $.99
  • The hair bow that I had made. I had thought of making her some leggings and a hat for our back packing trip this summer but with all the helping to finish up her dress on Friday I didn't end up finding time. I figured that it was worth more to her for me to sew with her then sew something for her without her.
  • Mara got her a whole stack of books. They were from the used book store but were in fine condition and cost only $ .25 each so she only had to spend a few dollars but had a gift to give that Megan was delighted about. Mara had checked them all over carefully as we are quite picky about the types of books we have on our shelves.
  • Aaron and Jonathan had both gone shopping on eBay and also had traded some things with friends so that they had some fun Lego figures to give to her. They were careful in their shopping and did not spend a whole lot.
  • I also gave her a coupon for a special date with Mom this coming Thursday. At time to do something fun together - her choice. Sometimes I can get super busy and don't have the time to do the sewing projects, etc that she would like to do together.

 Megan wanted an angel food cake for her birthday. I made one from scratch -which wouldn't have been frugal except that we are getting lots of eggs right now so it worked just fine. When making it I remembered are trouble with finding enough eggs for it last year and how they kept getting broken (the kids were practically hanging out at the chicken coop waiting for another to be laid.) I used around 14 egg whites in the cake this year!

 The bowls pictured were a somewhat frugal purchase from not long ago. I had seen this set of three heavy, blue and white glass/pottery mixing bowls for $20 at the thrift store a while back. I liked it but didn't want to spend that much. Though I think they would be worth that if I needed them but I didn't truly. That store puts rotates having things on 50% off so I asked Mara to keep an eye on them for me and pick them up if they went 50% off as she likes to go into that store regularly as she works nearby. The next week she brought them home for me.

 Megan and her cake. The decorating of the cake did get a little spendy as she wanted Reeses on it. We made sure there was enough for everyone (there was 16 of us there) so I bought two packages which cost $6. Pussy willows and an African Violet (which I had won as a door prize at a volunteer appreciation lunch last week) provided our free centerpieces for the party.

  It was all of my family that came over for her birthday. For lunch I made BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, pickles and deviled eggs. We had cake and icecream for dessert and water to drink. My mom also brought some homemade goat milk cheese to add to the menu.
 My sweet little nephew Ephraim was among the guests. His parents thought it would be fun to go canoeing and I offered to babysit. He was sleeping at first but then he woke up and was feeling kind of sad. I remembered that he loves to have his Daddy play guitar to him so I decided I would do some practicing. He thought it was pretty nice and sang along some of the time. Pretty nice when babies appreciate music!

 Aaron, Kitchi and I went canoeing later that afternoon. Kitchi doesn't really think he likes canoeing but he also doesn't like to be left behind. He is pretty funny about it. The other night our whole family went out in three canoes and Kitchi was with the boys but he kept looking at Megan (In my canoe) or Ken (with Mara in the other canoe) and whining wanting to be with them too. He doesn't really seem to care so much about Mara or I - with good reason as we don't spend hours petting and loving on him either. When we would get close together he actually did some jumping from one canoe to another but was never really happy because he couldn't be with all of his people at once.

 As far as frugality - canoeing is an outing we love that costs us nothing.
 I am teaching Sunday School class at church this month and we have been having fun making a huge picture (somewhat 3D in places) on the wall to go along with our study of Romans 1:20. Today we added some sand (glued on) to the edge of our river to go along with our story about Abraham based from Romans 4. Then we also added Water lilies and lily pads with some frogs to go on them.

   I had fun creating the water lilies. I had thought that styrafoam egg cartons would work well and I had thought I would like to layer them but I only had one carton like that so I didn't have enough to do that but I think the single layer worked just fine. I cut the sides into petal shapes (which is what the kids did in class too) and then I made a middle as shown below.
I cut a piece out of a styrafoam meat try and cut it like shown at right. Then I put some hot glue in the middle of it and squished all the strips up around it. It is then ready to be glued into the flower.

  I do a lot of craft projects with my kids in class but rarely do I really spend money on it. There are so many things you can make from stuff that we can save or already have on hand. I was blessed to to have been given a lot of paper (like the green that I made the leaves out of) from a friend. When we made a tree we used brown grocery bags for the trunk and painted scrap paper leaves. I did print out pictures of fish, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and such for the kids to color and then add to our picture. We added sequins to our fish as that was something that had been donated for the church craft supplies.

 Some other ways I have saved money lately.....

  • I have been working to use less food by eating less. I think my metabolism has been changing and this winter I have been feeling less hungry and I also put on some weight. I still enjoy eating even if I don't feel hungry (and I have tended to be a snacked so I eat around 5-6 times a day). I have been working to show more self control, eat smaller portions and not eat unless I am really hungry. The Holy Spirit has been helping me with this as this isn't very easy on my own. Eating less will help us save more money on food.
  • We have accumulated a lot of leftovers in our fridge somehow recently so in an effort that we don't waste we are spending today eating leftover for our meals.
  • I cut the boys hair.
  • I made our own laundry soap.
  • I use the baking soda and vinegar method for cleaning my hair rather than buying shampoo.
What is going on in your life? Have you managed to live frugally lately? I would love to hear what is going on with you.


Nola said...

I love the pussy willows! We saw some while out walking the other day so this afternoon we brought scissors and collected some. My children are thrilled (as am I).

I've been going over and over my list of needed items for homeschooling next year, trying to make sure what I buy is really needed and will be used. I think that is one good way to save money- to really think about what I need and take time to let it "sit" before spending the money.

Abbi said...

Nola, That is fun that you are enjoying pussy willows too.
I think one of the very best ways to save money is to take time to think a while before making a purchase. So often we will find that we don't really need it after all.

Carmen N said...

Your daughter did a wonderful job on her birthday dress!

Abbi said...

Thank you Carmen!

JoannaTopazT said...

Megan's dress looks great. Curious about your dog jumping from canoe to canoe -- did this cause any tipping? (We just adopted a rescue dog last week and so haven't experienced any summer activities with her yet.)

Jo said...

That dress is beautiful! :) I enjoy hearing how you are trying to be frugal. Gives me some good ideas too.

Abbi said...

Joanna, We didn't have any tipping issues with Kitchi going from boat to boat but we were right next to each other when he did that. The only concern for tipping that I had was one time we were out and he swam after us (because he hadn't wanted to get in) and then Aaron was going to try to life him in from the water. That did not work.

Jo, I am glad the frugal ideas might be helpful for you as well! I hope so.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin