Friday, October 28, 2011


"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

Before Dinah was born, Dean and I bought her some books.  We thought it would be cute to incorporate some of our childhood favorites on little shelves as part of the nursery d├ęcor.  Our intent, however, did not end with mere decoration.  We read to her from the time she was born.  While I was still on maternity leave, we would sit in the rocking chair and I would read aloud to her whatever I was reading at the time. 
Now, she has grown a little collection.  We keep them in a basket next to the rocking chair, and she loves to go through them all and scatter them.  She also enjoys being read to, although her attention span isn’t long so we don’t usually make it through an entire book before she’s ready to move on to the next.  She owns two books that she actually enjoys enough to listen to the whole thing. 
This is one of the books we bought her before she was born, because we both loved it.  We haven’t shown it special attention though; she has come to love it on her own. 

I found this book on sale before Borders went out of business.  It’s a touch and feel book, and she loves to feel of the different textures. 

She has been given several books that I had never read, some of which are really fun.  Her Grandma gave her Do You Have a Hat.  It takes a simple theme, written for young ages, and incorporates historical figures.  Her Aunt “Mimi” & Uncle Josh gave her If You Give a Cat a Cupcake for her birthday.  It’s just fun. 
I’m looking forward to seeing how her reading habits and tastes develop as she gets older. 
"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island."
 — Walt Disney

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saving Some Dough

Remember how I was trying to save money, and entertaining the idea of starting to coupon?  Yeah.  I kind of fell off the wagon.  I’m going to get back at it, though!  I think it might be easier to have the Sunday paper delivered to me, but around here, it’s more expensive that way.  Paying extra to have it delivered kind of defeats the whole “saving money” idea.  I’m in town for church every Sunday, anyway.  And, there’s a little grocery store down the road, so if all else fails I can get a local paper from there.  It’s not the paper from the closest biggest city, but it would do in a pinch. 

Once I convinced her not to eat it, she set about squishing it and putting it in a cup, and I set about making my laundry detergent.
Below are the recipes, and my estimated savings.
Laundry Detergent (recipe from Why Not Sew)
1 bar soap (any kind)
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda
Grate soap into a big pot; pour in 1 gallon of water.  Cook until soap dissolves.  Add Borax and washing soda and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat.  Add 1 gallon of water.  Stir well. 

The recipe my SIL uses (linked in text above) differs in that it makes a bigger batch, and that it uses Fels-Naptha soap.  This recipe makes 2 gallons.  I used Ivory soap this time, but I may try Dove in the future just to make it a little easier on the skin.  How much am I saving? Let’s compare!
All Laundry Detergent:  $4.77 for 32 loads --- Homemade $0.32 for 32 loads 
Play Dough (recipe from Skip to my Lou)
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon oil
¼ cup salt
food coloring
Combine all ingredients except food coloring in a medium saucepan.  Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens into dough (about 1-2 minutes).  Place ball of dough on wax paper and separate into fourths (Dinah is playing with one fourth of the batch in the pic above).  Add a few drops of food coloring to each section and knead. 
I didn’t have cream of tartar, so I substituted a splash of lemon juice and it worked like a charm.  I put the sections in a Ziploc bag with the food coloring and kneaded so I wouldn’t stain my hands.  Dinah enjoyed helping me knead the dough to get it colored.  SO easy! I believe 4 cans/colors of play doh costs about $5.00 in the store.  Estimated cost: $1.16. 

What do you do to save money?  Please share!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thoroughly Persuaded

“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth.”                 Robert Southey
When I was in high school, I had a teacher that would have a quote written on the chalkboard everyday when we came to class.  This quote stood out to me then, because my best friend had recently moved over 1200 miles away.  I’ve never forgotten it, and it still resonates with me now that we live 160 miles from our nearest parents and siblings.  As I’ve gotten older and learned to appreciate family more, I’ve often wished we could be closer to our family.  I often feel pressure from my side of the family to move closer, but it’s a catch 22. 
I love my family.  I love the landscape of the area where I grew up.  But, aside from those two factors, I hold almost no fondness of the place.  I miss my family, especially my brothers, and I want our kids to grow up as friends like my cousins and I did.  The problem is, the closer we got to my family, the farther we’d be from Dean’s side of the family, and they are just as dear to us.  And then there’s the area we live now.  This place has been home to us both for 7 years now.  We’ve grown so much in so many ways since we’ve been here.  It’s where we met.  We may not have as many friends here now as we did while we were in college, but we love the area and we LOVE our church. 
The simple truth is that we have to resign ourselves to the fact that we will never live in a little cluster with all of our parents and siblings close by.  It’s harder for me than Dean, because he didn’t grow up as close to his family as I did.  It’s still just as hard for him to be apart from his siblings, though. 
This past Sunday at church, I sat and listened to a great message about prioritizing your life.  Abraham was willing to do anything God asked of him, even when God asked him to sacrifice his own son, Isaac.  We have to be willing to sacrifice, and put nothing ahead of our obedience to God.  If we do that, he will be faithful, like he was to Abraham in giving him a son in his old age and then again by providing a ram to sacrifice instead. 
So, I will be obedient to where God leads.  If He leads us to move closer to one side of our family or the other, or if He leads us in the opposite direction of either, we’ll follow Him.  If He wants us to stay right where we’re at, that’s where we’ll be.  And, even when we’re miles and miles from those we hold the most dear, our ties to them will remain, because we are thoroughly persuaded of their worth.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Good news.  I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.  I am alive and well.   I’ve just been a little uninspired, and a lot tired.  The weather has been beautiful around here lately, but this week we’re expecting our first frost.  I’m not looking forward to that or to the cooler temperatures this week.  It’s going to hit me like a ton of bricks that winter is just around the corner.  Words cannot express the depth of my contempt for winter.  For anybody that knows me, that’s no secret.  It’s dreary, void of color and life, but mostly it’s cold.  Cold makes me absolutely and utterly miserable.  I need to find a way to tolerate the season better.   Maybe if I invested in a bunch of cute winter clothes, or better yet, SHOES.  Hmm…yeah that’s not going to happen.   What can I do to lessen the impact of the impending doom winter?  I’m open to suggestions.