What I’m Into: November 2015

Well, I happened to blink and it’s the end of November already.

Not sure how that happened, but hey, here we are.

Here is a monthly menagerie of things I’m into as of late:

*Fair Trade shopping. I did a bit of shopping for people at a Ten Thousand Villages store that isn’t too far from us. Above is a pan flute that I bought for one of my little guys, as well as a thumb piano for his twin.

Oh yeah, I may have purchased a cute little something for myself too…including these darling bicycle earrings! They had some fabulous jewelry there, including some great clearance deals.

*Baking. It takes a couple of chillier days and I get into baking mode. Some breads, cookies, and the like. I love all the fun holiday baking recipes I see popping up this time of year!

Speaking of which, my kids really want me to try making these Snow Globe  cupcakes. Are they not the cutest thing ever? I think yes.

*Yarn. Yup, it was on my list last month and yet it remains.

Here’s a button-over cowl that I made up a couple weeks ago. I like making these with big round wood buttons, but I also discovered these wooden toggle buttons that I like. I’ve also been working on a couple of newsboy style hats and a baby gift for my best friend, who is due in just a couple of weeks.

*The Christmas story. Advent has begun and this year I’m super excited about all of my kiddos being in a Christmas pageant next week.

I have two little shepherds, one angel/townsperson, a wise man, and Joseph (played by Daniel, not Joseph. Confusing, I know, when you have all these boy Bible names rolling around in one family…)

Well, that’s all folks. Add in upcoming Christmas concerts, other kid activities, and a bunch of school happenings this week, and there’s my life this time of year. Thanks for tuning in!

Recent Frugal Accomplishments

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Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving everyone!

Here are a few little things I’ve done lately that I would consider to be Frugal Accomplishments:

*Didn’t have to fuel up my van for nearly two weeks. Hard to believe since I feel like I’ve had a LOT of kid running to do lately. However, all of it is local stuff, so I guess that’s why the tank stretched out longer.

*Had the lowest electric bill we’ve opened in a LONG time, I think mostly due to the fact that our heat hasn’t had to run. We’ve been blessed with a warm fall!

*On that note, we haven’t had to order heating fuel yet this fall.

*I’ve been able to hang out laundry a decent amount.

*My husband has been able to score some free meat items from work, mostly samples of recipes he’s tried or ends of stuff that wouldn’t be able to be sold. He also brought home a bag of chopped pecans that someone was headed to the trash can with! (It was the last bit of what was a huge bag.)

*I haven’t thrift shopped much at all, but the one time I was in lately I found this little treasure from the 70’s.

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Why did this 75 cent find excite me? Well, my parents just celebrated a 40 year anniversary. This upholstery fabric topped a hope chest my Dad bought my Mom way back when. It had gotten worn over many years of use and they had it recovered with something different maybe 10 years ago. As soon as I saw this, I knew it was the same fabric pattern and it was in brand new condition–also, it is the exact size needed to cover their chest!

*I ordered several kids’ Christmas gifts via Amazon while I had a free month’s trial of their Prime membership. I did not continue the membership, but enjoyed free shipping while it lasted:)

*My Dad continues to give us free cheese crumbles from his work. Also, we sometimes inherit other goodies too. It’s a bonus to have people working in the food industry I guess.

*Had a neighbor with a young adult son bring over a couple bags of clothing for my young man. It had a lot of great stuff in it for which we are thankful for.  Love not having to buy many clothes for my boys!

Vintage Sewing Wreath

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Y’all should know that I love making wreaths.

Plus I also enjoy sewing AND yard sale shopping for cool vintage finds.

This wreath is a happy marriage of all those things put together!

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I took a wide burlap ribbon and threaded it onto a wire wreath frame.

(Please don’t ask me to do a tutorial on it, for me it’s just trial and error. Can’t say I make the greatest ones anyway…)

Then I added a touch of red burlap ribbon for a little color.

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Next came the fun part for me. I added things like old button cards, thimbles, and sewing charms from a clearance item at Michael’s.

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Also, some wooden spools of thread, both empty and full.

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Most of these things came from yard sale box lots, even the cool stand that I have this displayed on.

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I have no idea what this is officially called, but it is a ruler on a tripod stand with an arm that tilts forward with hem lengths displayed on it. It is perfect for setting my wreath on.

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This was a creative way to use up and display some of those vintage sewing notions I’d accumulated.

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All in all, this is different than any other wreath I’ve ever made, but I personally love it!

Vintage Feed Sack Corkboard

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Just because I haven’t posted any tutorials on here in what seems like forever doesn’t mean I haven’t made anything lately. On the contrary, my friends, I’ve been crafting a plenty.

(When don’t I? Ummm… pretty much never.)

Here’s a little something I’ve been trying out with those vintage feed sacks I bought back in the summer.

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Cork boards covered with the front image of a vintage feed sack.

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I chose ones that still had a decent color to them. Lots of older ones have their image faded on the front, or even lots of pulls in the burlap.

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I’m still kicking myself for not buying one that had an awesomely bright image of a Holstein with one of the brand names. It was much more than I paid for these, but it could have been made into something really, really cool. There are quite a few farmers and former farmers in our families that would have loved it.

Anyway, using some bags that I DO have, I covered some plain Jane cork boards. You can probably surmise how I made these. Basically you cut out the image (give yourself a lot of margin on the sides to start with) and center it over the front of a board. Then, flipping it over, use a staple gun to tack it tightly around the back frame. Seriously–you need to be pretty liberal with the staples and pull the burlap tight as you go. This process took longer than I would have thought and I did end up yanking out some staples and redoing some.

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Once things were nice and taut, I used these decorative furniture nails to embellish the edges. Mine are maybe an inch from the edge, so I just pushed them firmly into the cork, not the wooden frame. I think they give it a much more finished look.

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Next I would like to try making some on just a plain canvas for a wall art option.

Here’s a little peek at a stool I had recovered this summer from the same batch of feed sacks. We are enjoying it, plus one with a different design in my house right now.

My one caution for anyone that would like to try making something with these is to wash them well beforehand. I had line dried mine for something like a week, even letting them get rained on once or twice. That way a lot of the musty dusty stuff can get washed off of there before handling them too much.

Overall, I think these would make a great gift or act as a unique piece of functional decor in your home.

What I’m Into: October 2015

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Hey hey everyone and hope you’re enjoying this spectacular season.

Here are some things either myself or my family has been into lately:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So simple but oh so good. Breakfast of champions for this Mama.

Home Fires, a newer Masterpiece show on PBS. Why do I like British shows so much better than American ones? No idea, except the fact that a majority of American ones are crap anymore. Personal opinion.

Yarn. Cooler weather seems to make me want to knit or crochet lots more. Right now I’m experimenting with an asymmetric  poncho design.

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Last month in my “What I’m Into” post I mentioned our school fundraiser and the Candy Land theme. Well folks, it happened last week and it was a blast! This is a pic of one of our decorated areas–hula hoops covered in paper and glittered letters spelling out the word SWEET. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over except for a few post-Race things to wrap up.

Beautiful fall sunrises and sunsets. I snapped this picture last week one morning. That is an Amish neighbor’s farm in the background.

I haven’t went out to snap any leaf shots, but this past week they have gotten super beautiful in our area!

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My crew at an orchard. I loved this big pumpkin pile.

Speaking of pumpkins, I’ve been really into making roasted pumpkin seeds. Such a great little snack.

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Precious moments. These two had no idea I took this picture until after the fact! I heard my 10 and 12 year old kids in my bedroom one Sunday morning chattering among themselves. Here my son was helping his sister brush her hair. Way too sweet!

Well, that’s it for now and thanks for checking in!

Thankful for the Little Things

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Today I am thankful for the little things.

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Kids that all adore reading.

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Blooms picked by little hands and placed in a dish for me to enjoy.

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A Christmas catalog that reminds us to think of others more than ourselves.

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Bits of fall color to perk up my home.

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Just one of many recycled creations that I find all over the place.

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My family–the man I married and my 5 little (and not so little) pumpkins.

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A kid that loves playing music.

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One of multiple plants that my horticulture-loving kid tends to with TLC.

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Basement shelves filled with food that we grew and canned together.

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God-given creative abilities….

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In this beautiful season, let’s remember all of the big and little things we can be thankful for daily.

In closing, this verse has popped out to me several times over the past week. I don’t ever really remember hearing much of it before, but it has stuck out to me as of late.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 - Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands." Great verse.:

Great words of wisdom there.

Hope you are having a beautiful October.

Raising Up a Timothy

Today you can read an oldie but goodie from my archives. I can’t believe I wrote this nearly 4 years ago already!

I recently thought of it again as I got several very sweet, very humbling messages from my 8th grader’s teachers. Basically each of them told me what a great kid he is and what good character he displayed. I as his Mom wasn’t exactly surprised, but it still brought tears to my eyes. (You know, one of those moments where you feel like you really are doing this parenting thing right once in a while?) Another thing that brought this article to mind was a conversation I overheard between two of my other kids. I forget what they were discussing, but it was something they happened to see on TV. Their wording was something like, “well, since I’m a Christian I know better than to believe that…” Then the other child piped up with, “I’m glad we’re Christians. A lot of people aren’t and they fall for other things too easily.”

So, after sharing my something “out of the mouths of babes,” take a gander at this little article I came up with a few years back.


Of the many, many things I can thank my parents for over the years, one is that they didn’t name me Eunice. Granted, I went through a temporary spell in my preteen years where I didn’t like my name, but have since embraced the name they gave me. Now, I’m not totally knocking the name Eunice. In fact, I’m sure there are some quite wonderful women out there named Eunice. I don’t personally know any, but I can tell you that I’m impressed with a Eunice that lived about 2,000 years ago in a town called Lystra. This Eunice also had a mother named Lois and a son whom you may all have heard of–his name is Timothy. If you’re familiar with some of Paul’s many letters in the Bible, there are 2 books/letters that bear Timothy’s name. This Timothy was a young leader in the early Christian church, a beloved protege to Paul, and the son & grandson to Eunice and Lois.

Why in the world am I choosing to write about these 2 women? Really, we don’t know much about them at all. My research in them has turned up little information as they only are mentioned by name exactly once in the Bible. However, as a mother and a grandmother, their influence was far reaching as they trained up Timothy to be a God-fearing man in a town that was known for worshipping many gods. Here is what the word has to say about these two ladies:
I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you , so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1: 3-7 NIV
As a Mom, I am greatly encouraged by these words. You see, I know that one of my most important roles as a mother is nurturing my children not only emotionally and physically, but spiritually as well. I’m also encouraged by the wisdom in Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is not old he will not turn from it.”

You see, the world today may look different from the one Timothy lived in many years ago, but the people really aren’t any different. As I mentioned earlier, Timothy grew up in a town whose people worshipped many gods. I’m sure that Eunice and Lois had moments of great worry, discouragement, and fear for young Timothy growing up in such an environment. However, apparently these women kept on teaching him scripture and about God, and their efforts certainly were not in vain! We too are raising our own “Timothy’s” in a world with many things vying for their attention that are definitely NOT glorifying to God.

So, what’s a Mom (or Grandma) to do? I’m encouraging you today to keep on raising up those little ones in the ways of the Lord. Pray for them. Pray with them. Let them see you learning the Word. Teach them the Word. Worship God together. Be bold and courageous in your beliefs. Strive to be a woman of faith. May God bless you in a special way today as you raise up your own little Timothys.

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Since I haven’t done a frugal posting in a bit, here is a conglomeration of some things I’ve done lately:

*We’ve had gorgeous weather as of late, so I’ve hung out all of our wash on the clothesline instead of running a dryer.

*Got some free bananas at a local store. As I was checking out after picking up some milk, the lady at the register asked if I wanted a free bunch that were turning brown. Of course I said yes! They went into smoothies this week.

*Speaking of smoothies, I hadn’t made any in a few months because our blender had died. I had refrained from buying one since it wasn’t really a necessity of life. Now that my husband is fully back to work (normal paychecks are finally rolling in!) and all of his medical bills are paid off, I felt better about buying one.

*Inherited a partial huge bag of long grain rice. I cook with rice a lot, so this was a blessing.

*Helped my aunt clean out some stuff from her apartment last weekend. She said we could take whatever we wanted and the rest could be donated. She used to sew a lot, so I was gifted a bunch of fabric, along with some other odds and ends.

*My husband was able to bring home a big bag of bacon ends and smoked cheese from work.

*Our local community fair was this past week. My parents met the kids and I there one night and treated us to some wonderful fair food for supper.

*Had a leftover smorgasbord for dinner another evening.

*I had a rice-filled heating pad that was getting old and kinda grungy. I tossed it and made a brand new one using the gifted fabric and rice.

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*Purchased this fun crochet/lace vest at a thrift store for a couple bucks. I see this matching a lot of items and being a great layering piece for multiple seasons. The back looks really cool too!

What I’m Into: September 2015

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Happy September to everyone reading this.

I love September and cherish these last days of summer and early days of fall.

Here are some things that either myself or my family is into as of late:

I love, love, loved this documentary. My family watched it the other night and I was very touched by it. It follows four different children from four very different countries as they travel to their school. Watch this with your kids-it will make them appreciate riding on the school bus!

I was especially moved by this boy from India whose younger brothers push/pull him in his makeshift wheelchair EVERY DAY for several miles. Both ways. They were just too precious and it made me want to buy this young man a brand spanking new wheelchair that rolls on sand!!

It’s the little things sometimes. Right now my daughter and I are loving these hairbands that are nice and stretchy, don’t break, and actually hold our thick hair.

The Maze Runner series. I’ve only read the first one, but I am excited to read the other books in the series. My older two are in the middle of the second book and tell me it’s just as engrossing as the first one.

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Making these rugs. I did a tutorial about making these awhile ago and I’m still at it as I’ve had time. I’ve listed some on Ebay and much to my delight, they have been selling well!

Candy Land. Now is the time of year for PTO craziness as we have our main fundraiser in October. It semi takes over my life for a month or two until everything is done. We chose Candy Land as a theme for our annual Race for Education and I’m SO stinking excited about it. Lots of cool decorations, prizes, and costume possibilities. (I am planning to be Mrs. Mint, by the by.) I’m not entirely sure if this will be my last year or not, so pray for me! Make fun of it all you want, but this PTO President stuff is not an easy gig. However, I do believe I have been called to serve the families in our school in this way for now.

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Back to School. Yep, it’s back in full swing and everyone has had a good start so far. These are my elementary kiddos on the first day. I realized that Josh (the one in blue) has worn the same T-shirt for just about every photo this summer. We do own other clothing, but this is obviously a favorite. Andrew (in green below) has also worn a skateboarding banana shirt for like every photo op. I may need to hide them after the next wash cycle;)

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And these are my big guys headed off to middle school.

Well, that’s the main stuff folks. Hope your September has been a good one so far!