Thursday, March 26, 2015

Homemaking: Being Frugal


Good morning! Starting the day with a clean kitchen and a beautifully scented, glowing candle puts a smile on my face! It's still chilly outside....mounds of snow are still lingering about...but spring is inching forward and I am *thrilled*! I can't wait to be able to hang clothes out on the line! I'll strip all the beds and wash up all the sheets and comforters and get them out in the fresh spring air (when it actually arrives!).

Until then, I am ecstatic about a few things....first, our washer (that we have had for about 15 years) died a while ago. The new one we purchased is still a top-loader but it is energy efficient...which means it uses less water, less electric and less energy all around (which I love) plus, clothes don't get so terribly soaked (but still nice and clean) which means less drying time in the dryer (which keeps our gas bill low as well!). I also bought (for $6) a set of Household Essentials PVC Dryer Balls that cut drying time and save from having to buy fabric softener sheets. The gas company actually called us to make sure nothing was wrong with their equipment outside our home because our gas bills have been cut in half this past year. They were already low to begin with (since we use our outdoor wood stove for heat)....but all these cost-cutting things are making our gas bill even lower! Yahoo! It's so great when just little things can really add up into great savings!


Can you tell we use cast iron in this house? That's not necessarily money-saving...but I just thought I would share our cast iron love. If you are interested in using cast iron too, you can find some here: Cast Iron 3 Piece Skillet Set  


Another way to save money for your household is to make or purchase reusable sandwich/snack bags...


I found these ones on etsy at THIS shop. I think she had the best prices (and great reviews as well!). Here you can kinda see on the inside of the bag...it's velcro to hold it shut and the inside is made of a wipe-clean material...


Although my children don't go to public school, we do have our homeschool co-op twice a month. There are other occasions we need to pack lunches or a snack for as well and this will help cut our baggie-usage in half! I hate using and throwing away so many baggies (and they are such a pain to clean out and then try to dry). I pack my husband's lunch for work so they work for him as well. :)

And last, but not least, this isn't *really* a money saving idea...ok, maybe a little. You'll have to be the judge. My snack of choice is having air-popped popcorn from time-to-time. The healthiest way to eat it is by air-popping. The air-popper I have pictured here is from when I was a kid! It belonged to my parents and they let me have it at some point in my marriage. This thing is well over 20 or 25 years old (and still going!). So...saving money with this is shown by not using up oil that can be pretty pricey and using something until it wears out (no need to buy a new air popper until this one dies, right?). You can find new ones HERE .


And to be completely real...I will admit that I misjudged the correct bowl size and while I was taking the picture, the popcorn kept popping and started going *everywhere*!!! haha!


So those are just a few ways we are being frugal. We do some other things as well but I have mentioned those before in posts (like, using cloth napkins, having chickens for eggs and selling the surplus eggs to collect money to feed them, etc.). I don't want to sound redundant! Although this is a post completely from me, I did add a few affiliate links in there (a very small way to help us earn a little extra money).

What are some ways you save money? I'd love to hear about them!!
Thanks for stopping by!
Warmly,
Katy


  a-wise-woman-builds-her-home

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Day With My Nieces


I haven't gotten to see these cuties in a couple months. Busy schedules, snow and schooling has kept us from getting to visit! My sister is battling a doozy of a cold so I decided to journey to her house to see if I could be some help to her while she didn't feel well.

I got to have tea parties, watch the girls play and snuggle the baby! :)


The girls showed me their amazing tight-rope walking skills....


They were quite amazing!


Dinah wore this hat around for a while and was oh-so-cute. I felt it quite necessary to snap a couple pictures...



I loved getting to snuggle this wee-one...


She was so adorable in these sunglasses although the picture doesn't do her justice...


Watching the girls play was so sweet...


Their imaginations are absolutely wonderful...


Although they *do* bicker (as all children will do)....they told me they were "best friends"...


Don't let my pictures fool you....I got to hold and talk to Audra a lot today. This little gal *loves* attention...


One of the crocheted sun hats I made fits Audra perfectly...so it became hers. My sister's girls are the biggest recipients of *Aunt TiTi's* handmade gifts! They wear all the things I make them so I really enjoy gifting them things! Isn't she precious???


Many of you  have been reading here for years (I think I have been blogging for 9 years or so!). You have watched my children grow over the years and now my sister's children as well. Not everyone likes "family" posts....but they are part of my memories and things that I love. When I publish my blog books (I am sooo behind in years...but it can get pretty pricey)...I want to have all these memories tucked safely inside. :) So, in the midst of my posts on simple living, faith, knitting and crochet projects and homeschooling, I will continue to post these lovely times of *family*. Before we know it, these children will be grown with children of their own, Lord willing. It's never wrong to save as many memories as possible!

Thank-you for stopping by to visit with me here. Your thoughtful comments are always so encouraging. I don't respond to each one usually....but if there is a question, I do try to either email you or leave a reply in the comments. Please know that even though I don't always respond to each comment, they are such a joy to read. I truly appreciate you taking the time to drop me a note!

I hope the start to your week is full of rays of sunshine!
Cheerfully,
Katy

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Chilly Walk in March & Crochet Projects


Last evening, we went for a walk after supper. It was chilly (really, really chilly) but the sun was so deceiving. It made us *think* it was warmer than it actually was out. I regretted not bundling up more! You'll notice Xavier is missing from pictures. He was helping Pa do the chores at the barn.



The sunshine makes it look so warm...but notice...we still have snow...




I have done some more crocheting. Here is a baby hat I recently finished. It is similar to the one I made HERE...



I also finished this ear-warmer...although I haven't completely *finished* it yet...I still need to get a couple large buttons to truly complete it...


What have you been up to lately?

Katy :)


Linked up to: Keep Calm Craft On

Friday, March 20, 2015

"The two conditions of Romans 8:28...

...are simply clarifications of what it really means to trust God for this great promise of future grace. Trusting Him for this promise not merely believing that He will work for your good. You can believe that and be wrong. 
It means looking through the promise to the One Who promises, and by grace -that is, by His sovereign call- apprehending in Him the spiritual worth and beauty that will go on satisfying your heart forever; and then embracing that beauty as your chief treasure above all that the world can give. 
This is the meaning of loving God, and this is the essence of faith in future grace. When you have this faith- when you fulfill this condition by God's gracious call- God works all things together for your good."

~ John Piper, Future Grace


"...faith is not a self-wrought work, but a fruit of God's work in the soul. It grows out of a heart that has been begotten from above and drawn to Christ........we do not become sheep by believing; rather we believe only because we are sheep." 

~John Piper, Future Grace


Above, I just wanted to share some beautiful truth with you...to encourage and strengthen you today!
The pictures I am sharing are from last evening. We had my parents over for supper (hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes and sweet corn from our garden that I had frozen ~ my mom brought a cake for dessert). The children each played their instruments as entertainment. I was busy at the moments that Jaxson played his guitar and Madelyn played the piano...but I was able to snap a few quick pictures of Xavier on his banjo!


The table all set and ready to eat...


I won a couple of crochet patterns from Loops of Love. I picked a sun hat for children and a lovely cowl pattern. I began working on the sun hat last evening....


I finished the hat today...


It was crocheted at the 6-12 months size. I am thinking about adding it (and making other things) to my etsy shop (she gives permission for me to sell it as long as I say where the pattern came from).



Knitting is still my favorite past time...however, the one great thing about crochet is that it finished quicker...which means a quicker turnaround on projects! :)

After days of snow melting and lots of mud...today we woke to *snow* again! It's snowing at I type actually. The trees and ground are covered in inches of snow and I must admit that it looks beautiful. I am quite relieved that it won't be sticking around long! I believe it is suppose to be 50* tomorrow! Yahoo! So, I am thinking maybe I will just enjoy one (hopefully) last day of being "snowed in".

Have a great weekend!
Cheerfully,
Katy

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Busy Bee


The knitting, cleaning, organizing and busyness of life continues on here. The temps are slowly rising into the 40's and the snow is melting (albeit slowly). We still have a lot of the white stuff but the knowledge that it will soon be gone makes me optimistic! I have even heard some birds singing lately and oh how that makes *my* heart sing!!! Winter makes me really appreciate spring and summer! :)

I've been filing away some different papers (bill stubs, receipts, important documents etc.)...


I put some of my more recent knitting patterns (that I have been using) into a folder book to keep them neat...


Knitting and homekeeping books *sigh*....


Yarn, yarn, yarn (I have lots more of it too! This is just a portion...along with a WIP)...


My desk is tidy and organized...


Around the house...



Stella...


Our homeschool co-op hosts an academic fair each year. I took lots and lots of pictures but don't have permission from parents to post them all...so I will just share a couple of my children and some different projects that were there...

Xavier and Jaxson were in a class where they used K'nex to make machines. It was a really great class.....made the children really think and work together...




You can watch a short video clip I took of their machine in action HERE. It worked perfectly and the boys were sooo excited! Apparently, when I was videoing the end of the machine, Xavier's reaction was priceless. I was bummed to miss it.

You can see some of the different projects below. The kids did such a great job with them!




This was a display from Madelyn's art class....her and a friend made the display board...






That wasn't even all of the projects. There were many, many more! Aren't they just fantastic? The children were in charge of picking their topic, researching it, making a display (with visual aids/props) and asking three questions from their boards that people could go around and answer.

Here's Chris, Madelyn and Xavier below. X is shaking a creamer in a bowl with ice that they added salt to...to make ice cream! That was one of the projects of one of the families in the group! Isn't that so neat!?


 So, as you can see, I have been a busy bee lately. It feels so good to accomplish things, doesn't it?
I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I taught spin this morning, finished our worship guide for church, did some organizing and now I need to continue to work on my knitting and then attend to some housework. :)

Thanks for stopping by! It's so wonderful to hear from you!!
Cheerfully,
Katy