WARNING: While I hope these tips will be helpful, I have to admit I’m writing them BEFORE we’ve actually moved, maybe once we’re over there I’ll realize some better ways to do it (or more likely…how NOT to do it).

“Okay kids! Go over to our 5 packed up boxes for a picture!”

Ah yes…cute picture of the kiddos and the feeling of having 5 boxes already packed up and ready for Africa! Just 3 more tubs to go!

Oh wait….as we gather together in one spot all the miscellaneous and random things that still need to be packed and those few things we’re ordering off Amazon…..um guess those neatly stacked tubs are getting revamped and we’re starting all over again!!!!

The whole time I kept thinking back to a post by An Inviting Home. Before I go any further, I have to say this is one of my very favorite adoption blogs, after having 2 bio kids, they adopted a sibling group of 3 from foster care. Okay…back to the subject at hand…She was talking about some friends of hers that are missionaries as well, and when they moved their family, they had to just keep weeding things out. They’d go through everything and get ride of stuff, then six months later do it all over again. You can read more about it here.

Now I give you 5 tips for moving junk overseas!

Talk to people who live there.

It has been such a blessing for us to be able to talk to other missionaries already living in Senegal. In fact, we even have a list of things that people have recommended we bring. Of course, it all depends on the person, different things matter more to different people, but it at least gave us an idea of what’s hard to get there and what’s readily available.

Take versatile-multi-use things.

  • Legos can become a toy space ship, house, airplane and pretty much anything your imagination can think up, and they can even be used as teaching tools.
  • Clothes that match with a myriad of other things and can be dressed up or dressed down are good choices. You can find a lot out there about a minimalist wardrobe, but here’s one post with 4 tips from Money Saving Mom.
  • One of the few kitchen items I’m taking is my pressure cooker, because it not only works to pressure cook food, but it’s a nice tall pot perfect for cooking big batches of things, it’s got a heavy durable bottom, and I can make one of my favorite snacks in it…popcorn!

Take advantage of modern technology!

I’m not all super gadgety, but I sure am thankful that nowadays we can take a nice slender laptop in place of a giant computer and box monitor! I also love how I can take buckets of books on my kindle! I’ve even been stocking up on free e-books from Amazon. Other modern space-saving marvels are things like having digital photos instead of a bunch of photo albums and negatives.

Small and light is superior. For example, one of our laptops is rather big and heavy, so we decided to purchase a new smaller and lighter one to replace it. The new laptop is giving us an extra 10 pounds in our luggage.
Other examples are:

  • Paper back over hardcover books (if you don’t like the e-book option).
  • Polly pockets instead of large barbie-sized dolls.
  • Scrabble Apple instead of the regular Scrabble board game.

What you don’t take with you, can serve as an aid in helping you adapt to your new life.

I know that right now this is still just theory for us, but we’ve heard from others that if we go over with everything we need and more, we’ll have less reason to go out and be in the new culture and language. While we are taking quite a few clothes, we’re also hoping to have some made out of beautiful, colorful fabrics! I am taking some of my favorite kitchen items, but not too many because I want to learn to cook how they do.

Remember, people live and survive where you’re going.

This has comforted me when I’ve gotten ride of things. Not taking a certain item might make my life a little more inconvenient or I might miss something that is familiar to me, but millions of people live in Senegal just fine, so any basic human needs I’ll have I should be able to get there.

If you need more tips on packing light I get most of my ideas from Mr. Bean.

Have you ever moved to another country? What tips for moving did you learn?

Frugal Friday

In 21 days our family of 4 (in case you missed it we adopted Calvin!) will be moving. Moving is nothing new for me, I grew up moving, and I’ve moved multiple times since being an adult, but this will be the first time, as an adult for me to move to another country. It’s hard to believe that after years of pursuing foreign missions, we’re finally going to West Africa! I know my life will be changing a lot and I’m both excited and nervous, but I know God will be with me through it all!

As far as the blog goes, I’ve really missed blogging and I’ve thought many times about coming back to it, I’ve even gone as far as starting some rough draft posts. However, it’s also been good for me to get away from it and spend time and thoughts on other things.

I’m hoping to keep posting sometimes, although it won’t be as often as I used to post….and if my posts do become really frequent I give you all permission to write me  and say, “Katy, what’s up with all these posts? Are you getting your other things done first???”

I’ve also been updating our ministry blog more frequently too, which covers more ministry and family type things.

Right when you feel like packing’s going good……

…you realize, you need to start all over again! :)


With all this traveling and moving I haven’t felt very frugal at all, let’s face it plane tickets, typhoid shots, malaria preventatives, and passports aren’t cheap. And it doesn’t help that we keep saying, “We need to eat at (insert all of our favorite State-side restaurants) before we go!”

To make myself feel better about all we’ve been spending, here’s 5 ways we’ve been frugal recently:

  1. I bought a dual-voltage blow dryer and flat-iron on amazon, using my earnings from swagbucks* to cut the price quite a bit.
  2. We opted for a small layover in Brussels on our way to Senegal because it was significantly cheaper than flying straight.
  3. We have over $50 at a consignment store, that I plan on collecting before leaving the country.
  4. I’ve been collecting lots of free e-books for my Kindle. I’m so thankful for modern technology, that allows me to pack buckets of books into one small device! :)
  5. I’ve been finding tons of coins lately when I go on run/walks. I wish I’d been keeping track of how many, but almost every time I go, I find at least one or two…Cameron makes fun of me, but hey, every penny counts!!


Linked at Sarah Titus for Frugal Friday.

Frugal Friday

Now that Calvin’s adoption is finalized, I’ve been enjoying some of the little changes that come with going from fostered to adopted. :)

I was filling out dental information for him and when it said, “Relationship to Patient” I put something I’d never put for him before…mother…not foster mother, simply one word….mother.

Now when I call my kids, I can say, “Hey PRYOR kids, it’s time to go!” Because we all share that name. :)

We had new prayer cards for our ministry made with a picture that includes all 4 of us.

If we want to take him out of state, we can do that without getting a single person’s permission! Well…and out of country once we get his passport…Africa here we come!!

We can even stay with people without having to ask information for a background check.

If we want to visit with his bio family we can do it when, where and for how long we’d like. We don’t have to go through the caseworker or anyone, it’s all up to us. As far as staying in contact with bio family, that’s another post for another time, but the short answer is yes…we do feel that in our case it is important to stay in touch.

I can tell you that his name is Calvin…like his for real name…not some cheesy “Little Dude” nickname I came up with on the fly for using on the blog and facebook.

Not to mention I can do this:


And this:

And even this:

Frugal Friday

I just had to come back to the blogging world to tell you something…..

Remember Little Dude?

Remember pictures like this:

Well….as of today, I can tell you that this is Calvin!

And this is what he actually looks like:

And that he is my son…my forever son, as if born to me, declared by the judge just this morning!

Little did we know that 21 months ago when we got a call, “There’s a 4 year old boy who needs a place to stay tonight, will you take him? He probably won’t be with you long.” And we prayed, and not even sure we were making the right move at the time, called back with a “yes.” We’d only had our fostering license a couple of days. Little did I know when they opened the door at family services, when I saw a little blonde curly haired boy with sunglasses and a t-shirt that had a smiley face and the words “no stress” on it, that he would become my forever child!

Calvin (also called Junior), is almost 6 years old. He’s having his adoption and birthday all in one month.He’s good with his hands and loves building with Legos and making forts in the house. Calvin’s athletic and loves to play outside. His favorite color is orange and he loves all superheros. He likes to eat, especially burgers, fries, strawberries and pizza…and did I mention he’s my son? :)

Frugal Friday

Well…I’ve been thinking about not blogging anymore. It’s actually crossed my mind a lot in the last couple of years, but I’m considering it more seriously now. I really love it, and that’s my problem.

  • I have a tendency to blog instead of doing other things I really should be doing. I’ve tried just blogging less often, which seems to help for a little bit, but then before I know it I’m back spending all kinds of time working on posts, taking pictures for posts, checking my stats, etc…
  • Also, I know that there’s so many blogs out there on the exact same things I blog about.
  • And to top it all off, I often find myself looking for my identity in my blog, instead of in Christ. It’s easy to only post about the successes, to crop out the bad, and then to hope with all my might I get good views and comments, as if that’s what life is all about.

So, at least for this time in my life, I won’t be blogging here at Purposely Frugal anymore. If you want to keep up, I’ll continue to post over at our ministry blog, and in fact a couple of you were asking about an update to what we’re doing now, and I just posted that.

Thank you to all of you readers who read my blog, commented and emailed! Many of you encouraged me, many of you gave me new ideas, and some of you I feel like have even become friends, even though we’ve never met in person.

Au revoir!



I feel like I haven’t been writing much lately, I guess I just need to shoot out a post! So how about a 5 Frugal Things post?

1. We bought school supplies and some clothes during our tax-free weekend! It was a super easy way to save some money.


2. You know how I’m trying to get practice canning? Now I’ve done pickles by myself twice and the other night I canned 7 jars (1/2 pint) of jalapenos. I have broken 2 jars in the 3 canning sessions I’ve done. :( I’m thinking I need to invest in some tongs, instead of my make-shift ladle/noodle spoon  I use to get the jars out, maybe that’s why my cans are breaking.

3. While I’m learning that canning is awesome, I know freezing can be a little quicker, so I froze some jalapenos and banana peppers. I’ve never frozen raw peppers, but I’m assuming they’ll taste best cooked in something. Any great recipes for cooked banana peppers?

4. I made a double batch of chocolate zucchini bread with a ginormous zucchini, and it didn’t even use up the whole thing! I ended up with 2 large loaves of luscious bread and 1 dozen muffins, which are now in the freezer waiting for school to start so they can go in lunch boxes.
5. I’m trying to grocery shop less often, so lately I’ve been having to use “leftover wizardry” as Amy Dacyczyn would say. For example, tonight we had chili made from:

  • Some chili Cameron made a long time ago that was SUPER SPICY! I put it in bags in the freezer so I could combine it with bigger pots of chili to make it a little more mild.
  • A bag of frozen pinto beans.
  • 1 lb. of hamburger meat
  • and my last (sniff, sniff) can of tomatoes. I gave them a whirl in the blender before adding them to the chili.

It actually turned out tasting like chili!!!

What are some things you’ve done recently to spend less money?





I occasionally make fruity smoothies, but most of the time I do some variation of this one. It’s sooo yummy and helps with my ice cream cravings. Ice cream is probably my all-time favorite food, but I know that this is healthier and just about as good. I like to make it thick so it’s almost the consistency of soft serve ice cream. I don’t have exact ingredients, if you like it more peanut buttery, add more peanut butter. If you like it thicker add more frozen bananas, thinner, add more milk. I’ve done it with out the chocolate powder and chocolate chips. I’ve even thrown in raw spinach and leftover oatmeal.

  • Frozen bananas-This is one of many great ways to use up those browning bananas!
  • Milk
  • Peanut butter – I’ve done it both with natural peanut butter with no added sugar and with the regular peanut butter.
  • Cocoa powder – This is optional.
  • Chocolate or carob chips – Also optional.

Mix it the ingredients (except for the chocolate  chips) in your blender, then top with the chips and enjoy!!!



I’ve told people before:

“God can use you anywhere!”

“Where you’re at doesn’t matter as much as what you’re doing.”

And a favorite quote from a Bible School teacher on where to serve as a missionary, “The worst that could happen is if you go to the wrong place, the wrong people get saved!”

But now I’m seeing how much I really believed those statements…or rather didn’t believe them.

As you know Little Dude is back with us again, just a couple of days before we were about to move from Missouri and start our travels around the States before heading to West Africa, we were notified that he might need a home again. Talk about crazy emotions, VERY excited to get to take care of this precious little boy, confused because we thought things were going pretty well at home, and lots of wonder about what this meant for our plans.

Prior to Little Dude moving back in with us, our plans were for us to be traveling, to New York (which we did do with Little Dude), to Mexico (which ended up just being Cameron instead of all of us), to Texas, and probably some other places as well. Instead we’re staying here in Missouri to maintain our Missouri foster licence so we can continue to take care of Little Dude. The plan was to be homeschooling, which we’ve been doing, but will end next month when the 2 kids go to public school. It’s taken me some time to get used to the idea of sending my lil’ 1st grader and kindergartener to public school all day. And while we’re still hoping to get to West Africa in January, things with Little Dude are going sloooooooow, and we’re wondering if we’ll really make it by then.

All that to say, because we feel a responsibility to and love for Little Dude, we are staying here for now…and we’re not quite sure how long “for now” is. It’s been tough for me to come to grips with all the unknowns looming in our future. I’ve been discouraged thinking:

“What if we don’t get to West Africa in January?”

“What will people think of us changing our plans?”

“Why does it take so long to find anything out about Little Dude’s situation?”

“My little 5 and 6 year old at a school almost all day long?”

And my thoughts and anxieties go on and on.

Some friends/mentors recently were talking with us and we were expressing some of our frustrations. He responded by reminding us to bloom where planted.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that little phrase. With God’s help, He’s helping me to remember to look at the here and now, after all we don’t really know how much longer we have, but we do know we have RIGHT NOW!

I’m trying to re-focus my CURRENT responsibilities…like taking care of the 2 kids I have now. Teaching them about their Rescuer, loving them, growing in my many areas of weakness (time management, patience, trusting the Lord, just to name a few).  I’m also hoping to volunteer at the kids’ school and I’ll be helping 3 mornings a week at the missionary training center’s childcare, and as time goes on we’ll see if more opportunities come up for me to “bloom” right here where I’m at.

But I’ve gotta tell you, this growing into a beautiful blossom thing isn’t easy. I’m realizing more and more all the time how much God needs to peel away me. These situations reveal that I really don’t trust Him and in my prideful arrogance I think I know best. But I know it’ll be worth this discomfort if it rips away more of me and helps me cling more to Him.




Today I made a big ol’ batch of this soup, some we ate for supper, some I’m going to freeze.  Its both a  super frugal meal, yet very nutritios. It’s filling and everyone in our family likes it. You can top with tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, jalapenos and cheese.

You can switch out the recipe in so many ways depending on what you have on hand, but here’s how I made it:

  • 2.7 lbs. of chicken thighs – You can use any kinds of chicken parts, but the thighs were on sale, so that’s what I used.
  • 8 cups cooked white beans
  • Veggie scrapsThis is one of the things that makes this so cheap, instead of buying broth for the soup, make your own while cooking up the chicken. I like to keep a bag in the freezer with veggie scraps.
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped – If you wash the carrots before peeling, add the peels to make your broth!
  • butter or oil
  • salt & pepper
  • taco seasoning – I don’t have a particular recipe, but it’s usually a combination of chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin. Although there are lots of homemade taco seasonings on the web, if you want exact proportions.

Other options: Diced onions sautéed up with the veggies would be tasty too, I was just out of onions this time. Corn is good in it too.

I had my white beans, soaked and cooked up the day before. So I started my cooking session with putting the chicken, veggie scraps and lots of water in my pressure cooker. I chopped the celery and peeled and chopped the carrots and included their scraps in the pot too. I added some salt and pepper, then cooked up the chicken. I love how I just have to turn the cooker on, let it cook at pressure for about 8 minutes, then turn it off.* It uses a lot less energy than just cooking in a regular pot. But you could also cook it up in a pot, or even use a crock-pot and do this part the day before.

Once your chicken’s cooked (and the pressure has released on the cooker) let the chicken and golden broth cool, then strain out the scraps and chicken. Toss the scraps and cut up the chicken into pieces.

Put the broth, chicken and beans all into a pot and add the sautéed veggies. Cook until every thing is heated through and the flavors have all melded, you can taste to see if you want to add more seasonings.

Cool and put in ziptop bags or containers for the freezer. And maybe enjoy some for supper tonight! :)

Dinner is served!



*If you use a pressure cooker, make sure to read the instructions in the manual for your own saftey.

I  started reading Families Where Grace is in Place thinking it was a parenting book….which in a lot of ways it is, but it’s much more than that. It not only discusses parenting, it also talks a lot about marriages, but in reality this book could serve useful to anybody in any kind of relationship, parent-child, husband-wife, or even friend-friend.

It’s not a book full of little tips and tricks to successful living. It’s not the answer guide to life. And it most certainly isn’t telling you how to do the right kinds of outward behaviors. In fact that’s what I loved so much about it, it’s about dealing with the deep-rooted heart problem.

I could relate on so many levels. It talks about trying to find value and approval from others, whether it’s in your spouses’ actions, or how well-behaved your kids are. But it’s so evident in Scripture that Jesus isn’t concerned with outward behavior, He’s after the heart. He slammed the Pharisees, who followed the rules, but He knew the gunk in their hearts.

So much advice out their stays on  the surface level, or acts like if you get your actions fixed, then the heart will somehow get fixed. This book really delves into the hard-to-admit secrets of our hearts that serve as the engine driving our actions.

I borrowed this from a library, but it’s so good….I might….just might actually buy myself a copy. I wish I could post the whole book here, but since I can’t here’s a few quotes:

It’s okay for outsides to match insides (vs. empty people learning to act full). In grace-full families, what is real is more important than how things look.Having a safe, unconditionally accepting place where outsides can match insides is really the only way to find out if there are inside needs and problems that must be addressed. pg. 163

Always remember this: Under the best circumstances, the most healthy, most sensitive, most educated person is still not capable of meeting the needs of another. This is God’s responsibility. pg. 168

It is never your job or mine to protect our loved ones from bad news. We can, instead, support them as they learn to cope with the tough challenges of life. pg 171

As I re-read this post before posting it, that last quote really hit home again, as I think about taking care of our little foster son. I so badly want to protect him from any hurt or sadness, but I have to come to grips with the fact that it’s out of my control…but I can love him through any hurts and point him to the True Comforter.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?


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