I recently decided to give myself some bangs…which I haven’t had since I was a little girl.

Me with bangs...I'm the one in the middle.

They were a little uneven, so I tried to fix them the next day…then I got them too short…so I went to the hair salon to get help. It was the same lady who swooped in and saved the day with my disastrous highlights from the hair school. I told her I really learned my lesson this time about trying to save money on my hair, to which she replied, “That’s what you said last time.” It was a little embarrassing.

She was able to pull more hair forward for my bangs and kinda cover up my mess. And now that it’s been a few weeks, my bangs have gotten longer.

Anyways…when I was in the stage of not sure if I liked them/mad at myself for trying to do it myself, I thought maybe some headbands would help. So I looked through my clothes and decided that my red t-shirt that was getting holes could be re-purposed. I simply cut a strip off the bottom and tied it on my head. So easy and no sewing. I found the t-shirt material really comfortable as often headbands hurt my head.

Later I was scrounging around the mission barrel (a place students and staff donate/take things for free) and found some dark brown stockings. I took them home, cut part of one of the legs off and it works great as a headband. I sometimes even safety-pin a fabric flower to it. I love just pinning the flower on that way if I want to change it up, it’s a breeze! Plus it’s quicker than sewing it on.

Do you have any great ideas for making your own headbands?

 

Amy 

I don’t even know where to start, the past month has been crazy with trips, time with both sides of our family, Little Dude moving back in with us again, and as of this morning Cameron headed out to Mexico to help install a water pump in a remote village. So, it’s just me and the kids for a while. I’m hoping to get lots done while he’s away, like getting un-packed, now that Little Dude is with us again, we’ve changed our plans some and will be basing out of Missouri for the time being, so all that packing I did was for nothing….sigh. I’m also hoping to get plenty of school done with the kids, but I’m excited to incorporate the library’s summer reading program into it! And I’m also super-duper pumped about getting back to blogging!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a million and one blog posts in my head, I just need to get them typed and posted, so stay tuned!

 

The kids getting ready for a tea party with my Mom

 

 

Sorry the posts have been so few and far between lately. We’ve been traveling and lots has been going on, so that’s my excuse.

Speaking of traveling….we had our nice clothes on hangars laying on our luggage to pack into the car before coming on this trip…then we moved the clothes on the hangars to the couch while packing the luggage….and you guessed it…we forgot them.

It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except that we’re speaking at 2 different churches. So Cameron, me and Gracia all ended up buying a new outfit. Only Little Dude (oh yeah, 2 days before we left it was decided he’d come along too) had all his clothes in a suitcase and didn’t need a new outfit.

I had looked at TJ Max for either a dress or skirt/shirt I liked, but wasn’t finding anything, as I drove to another store, I all of a sudden remembered a consignment store on that road and figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out. I was in the store about 20 minutes and came out with a little black dress. The dress still had a tag on it from Marshalls. Marshalls was selling it for $19.99, but apparently wherever it had been before that it had been priced at $40. The consignment store was asking $15.65. The store certainly lived up to its name, Fabulous Finds!

I also love shopping consignment because I know somebody’s on the other end making a little money off the dress they decided they didn’t want. It’s a win-win!

Amy

Sounds like something a greedy little toddler would say, right? But it’s what I’ve found myself saying, in my head at least, multiple times lately as we yet again pack up.

“I love these mason jars, I can’t just get rid of them, surely I can find things to put in them, so I have an excuse to keep them.”

“Getting rid of almost all of our kitchen things and replacing them in West Africa sounds great…but what if it ends up being expensive and it takes us a while to restock everything? That might mean super simple cooking, and making do with what we have may end up being a pain.”

As all these thoughts roll around in my head, I think the main thing I’m trying to avoid is  discomfort. I really, really hate not being comfortable, whether that discomfort is inconvenience, not getting my “me time” or worried about what others think of me.

But that’s focusing all on me, and the purpose of my life should not be to make it as comfortable as possible. Not that my purpose is to make it uncomfortable either. My job is to spread Christ’s love…..often that means I’ll have to get a little uncomfortable.

Living on this earth wasn’t fun and comfy for Jesus, neither was dying on the cross, but “…For the joy set out for him he endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2).

Paul’s life was full of prison, persecution, ship-wrecked and so much more, but he said in regards to the things he lost suffering for Christ, “…I regard them as dung! – that I might gain Christ,”(Philippians 3:8).

As I struggle with a love for my stuff, I’m so thankful that when Jesus was talking with the rich young ruler, who also felt sad about giving up his things, it says, “…As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him…”

As you go in that story, the disciples are confused at how Christ said he should give all he had to the poor and follow Christ. And that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for rich people to get into God’s kingdom. When they say, who can be saved then??? Jesus says some words I absolutely love, ” This is impossible for mere humans, but not for God; all things are possible for God.” (Mark 10:27)

In conclusion:

  • I’m thankful for the many wonderful things I’ve been able to use and enjoy.
  • I’m reminded that they’re just tools, and if they don’t help further Christ’s message of love….then I’ll be just fine with out them.
  • And it’s okay if my life isn’t perfectly comfortable, I’ll be plenty comfy in heaven for the rest of eternity. :)

Lord, help me to not just say these things, but really believe them!

Sliding an envelope into the mail for a friend….oh how I love that feeling! Opening the mail to see a card for me…even better!

While I don’t make all my own cards, I do enjoy making some of them. However you can easily spend way more on card-making materials than it takes to buy a pack of cards. Lately I’ve enjoyed the challenge of making cards out of scraps and finding those scraps from all over. All you really need to make some cards is card stock and any pretty paper you can find around the house. If you’re not artistic (like yours truly), rubber stamps can help immensely too, although not necessary. I like stamps that are pretty generic, so I can use them on all kinds of occasions and stamps that say things I use a lot like, “Happy Birthday” and “Thanks”.

So if you’re looking for some pretty paper to decorate a card, simply look around your house, you probably have a few things already:

  • Many fancy stickers or embellishments for scrap booking come on pretty paper (see cards below).
  • Old cards. Usually people write on the left of the card, so you can re-use the front of the card, but still keep their note. You can also use cards you started to write in and then messed up…anybody else have this problem?
  • Tissue paper. Like the kind that come in gift bags. Sometimes packages in the mail come with white or brown tissue paper too.
  • Paper bags. You can use paper bags, like you put a lunch in or gift bags that don’t have much life left in them, just cut them into the sizes you want.
  • Pieces of wrapping paper. Even from a rumpled up wad of leftover wrapping paper you can probably find a good corner or two the perfect size for jazzing up a card.
  • Scraps from scrap booking. I’m not a scrap booker, but the paper used for scrap booking is perfect for cards.
  • Pictures from magazines. My friend gave me this idea…thanks Grace!

Get creative! The tiger picture on this card was actually the label off some yarn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip#1: Maybe this is obvious, but I’ve found double sided tape is a nice mess-free way to make cards.

Tip #2: We’re about to be traveling all over, so I cut all my big pieces of scrapbook paper up into smaller pieces and any scraps of miscellaneous decorative paper I had. I then put them all in a card box and will travel with card stock already cut into card sizes, so it’ll make card making easier on the road. And I do have plenty of store-bought cards too, just in case I don’t get around to making my own. :)

Do you make your own cards? What ideas do you have for using what’s around the house?

 

Amy 

Mother’s Day…I have to admit, as I sit here thinking about it, I have very mixed feelings.

On the one hand:

  • I think about our baby we miscarried 3 years ago this month.
  • I think about how I thought we’d have more kids in our home by now.
  • I think about this past year temporarily mothering 3 kids.
  • I think about those 3 kids today…and their moms.
  • I think about the many women who long to be mothers.
  • I think about the mothers who have lost a child.
  • I think about the daughters and sons who have lost a mother.
  • I think about the daughters and sons who have a mother…but their relationship is severely strained.

But on the other hand:

  • I think about the daughter I do have. Who is alive and healthy and beautiful.
  • I think about the time I got to take care of those 3 kids and how it taught me a different meaning to family.
  • I think about how I grew up always knowing my mom loved me.
  • I think about how I’m going to see her again in just a couple of weeks.
  • I think of God, who loves the orphan and widow, who is Father to the fatherless (Ps.68:5).

 

 

 

Since my last post (almost 2 weeks ago), Gracia and I have flown to New York and back (to visit with family and attend my uncle’s burial), we had Little Dude over for a sleepover, and we’ve been doing lots of sorting, getting rid of and packing stuff.

Our family, minus Cameron and my brother-in-law who couldn't be there.

Now…for my 5 frugal things:

  • Gracia and I traveled with only our carry-ons and my purse to avoid paying luggage fees. Because I stayed with my parents and they have things like towels, blow dryer etc.. I didn’t need to pack lots, and doing laundry wasn’t an issue.

  • I’ve been reading Living More with Less* and Families Where Grace is in Place*, both awesome books! And both from the library, so no cost to read (just have to make sure I return them, before I get a late fee).
  • As we sort and pack things we have more to take to the consignment store. Our current account there is $20, not counting the money we got from them before.
  • In my effort to eat up food we have before traveling, I made a list of the things in the cupboard and freezers. I’m trying to work our meal ideas around what we already have.
  • My swag bucks * are now over 700! Yay! 450 swag bucks = $5 Amazon card, so it won’t be too long and I can get 2 gift cards! For some reason it’s actually a better deal to get 2/$5 cards than one $10 card, don’t ask me why.

*Referral links

What are some frugal things you’ve been up to?

Amy 

Gracia and I are taking a trip for my uncle’s burial and to visit with family, so I may not post anything for a week or so. Until then….here’s 5 frugal things from Easter week:
  • We had a lovely picnic on Easter! The weather was beautiful and Cameron, Gracia, me and my sis-in-law went to the creek and enjoyed a nice picnic and an egg-hunt for Gracia. The picnic was much more relaxing than a busy restaurant would’ve been and cheaper too!

  • Made some sun tea for the picnic. At least one, if not both of the tea bags were free samples, and of course with sun tea, no electricity was used brewing the tea!

  • One of the things we did to make this day special for Gracia was give her the basket pictured below. I used this pattern to get me started. They yellow yarn was some I already had on hand leftover from another project and the flowers were ones I made a long time ago, but never did anything with them. I simply safety pinned them to the basket, so that they can easily be re-used. I can even slip a bobby pin into one if I want to use it in Gracia’s hair.

  • We didn’t buy any Easter grass, instead we re-used some confetti-type paper, I found some white confetti strips that came in a free sample, and we folded then cut up some textured pieces of paper as well. It all made for varied and colorful Easter grass.
  • This last one doesn’t have anything to do with Easter, but we bought a really nice back-pack from a consignment store for $8. It looks brand new and even has wheels and a pull out handle!

What are some things you did this week to spend a few less bucks?

Amy

For our drive down to Texas, I knew we’d be in the car all day, long enough for all 3 meals to be on the road….which could mean a lot of eating out and grabbing snacks at gas stations. That’s always been a weakness for us on road trips, but I determined to fight that temptation and take meals, snacks and drinks. Unfortunately on the drive down we did end up buying the kids some Gatorade and I had underestimated how much water we’d drink, so we bought some bottled water too. But no food was bought on the drive down (we did get some on the drive back though).

So what did I pack?

  • Quiche cups for breakfast. This was basically just eggs, milk, sausage, spinach and seasonings baked in a greased muffin pan. The only problem with these is we had to eat them cold, but other than that they were an easy to eat breakfast full of protein! And if you have a microwave, you could always heat them up before heading out the door.
  • I made a double batch of pizza muffins, much to the delight of the kids. They made a perfect lunch and I plan on making these in the future when we do more traveling. We just skipped the pizza sauce for dipping…I didn’t want to deal with that mess!
  • Wrap makings - Okay, I must confess we didn’t eat these on the road, but all the ingredients came back home with us and made for some quick meals after we got back. Instead of the wraps we just had snacks and more pizza muffins for supper. I packed wraps, lettuce, salami, cheese, and my favorite wrap filling….hummus! Wraps tend to hold together better than sandwiches, making them a nice choice in the car.
  • Snacks: Chips, grapes, apples, veggie sticks with hummus, animal crackers, raisins, almonds, peanut butter popcorn and gum. I know that sounds like a lot of snacks, but we didn’t eat them all in one day, and like I said, I was trying really hard to help us avoid buying overpriced junk food at gas stations.
  • Drinks: Water, juice pouches and homemade ice-coffee.

If we had bought 3 meals on the road, plus all our drinks and snacks on the way it would’ve cost way more, taken more time and been less healthy. Also when we did stop we were able to let the kids play instead of making them sit down in a restaurant, believe me they needed to run around!

What are your favorite foods to take on road trips?

Amy

These last two weeks have been crazy. Thursday started with a meeting where it was decided Little Dude would move back the next week….that was emotionally draining. Then Friday we woke up and headed out the door at 4:20 in the morning to drive all the way to Texas for a missions conference. Saturday and Sunday were spent hanging out and catching up with so many friends and family, speaking at church and being wowed by how God provides!

We were so thankful to be able to take Little Dude on the trip with us before he moved back.

 

Taking a break from being cooped up in the car.

We drove back Monday, then Tuesday I spent most the day doing laundry and getting Little Dude’s things packed. Wednesday we took him to be back with his family. I feel like I’ve felt every emotion possible with taking him back:

  • Happy for him.
  • Happy for his family.
  • Sad about the richness he added to our family that we’ll miss.
  • Sad that Gracia’s loosing her brother, friend and playmate.
  • Relieved to not have to worry about meetings, visits, gas sheets, etc…
  • And glad this is happening before we leave in just over a month. As I think about that day in early June when we got the phone call asking us to take a little boy in, I know that only God knew how well the timing would work out.

In some ways it was harder to say good-bye this time. He had only been with us 3 months last time, but now it’s going on 10 months since he first came to stay. I feel like it’s a bigger change, we’ve had that much more time to get to know him and get used to life with 2 kids. It’s easier though in that I remember the first time driving away not knowing if we’d ever see him again, but this time we haven’t just gotten to know him better, but his family too, and we’re already trying to plan when we can get together again, so knowing we’ll see him soon helps immensely.

In conclusion, fostering has been one of the hardest, yet best things our little family has done, and I’m so glad God plopped it into our lap, it’s true, His plans aren’t our plans, cuz I never would’ve planned this!

 

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