Thursday, June 26, 2014

Enjoying Life!?

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13  ESV


The pace of my summer days is picking up. The garden is thriving and even though it takes a large chunk of time I never tire of the thrill of walking out my back door and picking vegetables from my own garden plot.


I love rocking my grandchildren... no matter how big they get.

I'm a homemaker and I take my work seriously. As most women know, it takes hard work to maintain a home and care for our families. And if you are on a tight budget it takes extra work to stretch your paycheck to make ends meet. You're never caught up. But sometimes you can stay so focused on your work that you lose the pleasure found in toiling for God's glory, the nurturing of your relationships and ... the simple joy in a thankful heart discovering God's daily blessings in the rhythm of your days. 


Tonight my husband asked if I wanted to sit in the spa for a while. I started to say 'no' because there was still so much work I needed to finish but then realized it would be nice to spend time with him. I had a choice to make. Work or relationship? I chose my husband. It was something simple but I enjoyed the time with him so much. Just taking the time to look in each others eyes (instead of the TV) and communicate (without the TV) was so satisfying. 


My family


Work should never be more important than my relationships but sometimes it has been. It's easy to become focused on serving and not nurture the relationship of the one you are serving. And it's easy to get so focused on my tasks that I don't stop to look for the blessings God has enriched my life with each and every day. 


So I've started asking the Lord to open my eyes to hunt for the beauty of His daily gifts and that He would give me a big, thankful heart. I am slowly finding precious spots of joy in my days. Selah!


This evening I ran across this article and LOVED IT! It was exactly what I had on my heart. I love it when the Lord confirms the way He is leading.


Surely My Life is Worth More than 19 Feet of Stuff! Right? 



A Typical Frugal Day 

Here are a few things keeping me busy this month:

1.  I've been thinking about how wasteful I can be with my food at times. This past month I went over my grocery budget so I really worked hard on making what I had on hand last. Instead of cutting off the ends of.. say the tomatoes.. I went ahead and used the entire piece in my recipe or salad. I also had some grapes that were slightly turning brown. The same thing with my lettuce that started to turn color. They weren't rotten but just turning color so I went ahead and continued to use them in my salads. There was no change in the taste whatsoever.

Low carb Berry & Peach Pie
2. So far I've made one batch of sugar free berry jam, one batch of sugar free raspberry jam and a batch of sugar free apricot jam. I have more needing to be done. I've frozen a ton of blackberries, strawberries and raspberries from our backyard garden. We use them in smoothies and low carb muffins and pies. I've also dried two batches of zucchini which I will use in soup this winter. I pressure canned one batch of green beans and a batch of dill pickles.  

3. My God supplies all my needs and it's like a kiss from heaven when I am able to express a need and He fulfills it (sometimes very quickly). My garden hose has a lot of problems and finally sprung a leak. We've had a lot of extra expenses and I just didn't feel like I should put the money in to a new one so I planned on using waterproof duct tape to make it last through this summer. My mom (who knew nothing of my need) asked if I could use a hose. What? YES, please! The same thing happened with my purse which had several worn places. My mom asked if I wanted a newer purse that she didn't like but was in good condition. YES, please! The purse is a bit of a challenge because all my STUFF is not fitting in it well but I'm determined to make it work. I am so grateful. 
Drying zucchini in the garage to keep the house cooler.

4. I still visit my local thrift stores about once a month.I keep a list in my wallet of items I'm looking for. I allow myself $10. Currently I am looking for capris and I keep my eyes open for every day blouses.  I found both this past week plus a shaved ice machine. All for under $10 with my 25% off coupon I keep in my I purse at all times. :-) 

5. The fresh mushrooms that I purchased at the dollar store came in a nifty plastic tray instead of cardboard. I have washed it and plan to use it as a divider in one of my drawers. 

6. I continue to fight to keep my food budget down. I read the other day that food prices have increased 30-40 percent. My budget is definitely feeling it. I'm taking Laine's advice and shopping once a week. I make a menu by first looking through my freezer, pantry and fridge. Then I make my shopping list while browsing the weekly ads. I use a price book to average the price of each item to make sure I'm under budget. Laine suggested I also leave $10 in the budget each week in case I forget something. 
Bracelets my granddaughter and I made. Fabric strips glued onto a plastic shower curtain ring.We painted nails, too.

7. My okra plants are producing but not enough to use for one meal. I slice the okra in bite size pieces each time I pick them and put them in a freezer bag so they are ready to use. I also do this with green beans. I've read you are supposed to blanch your green beans first but I haven't found that necessary.

Previously I posted a picture of my Hydrangea plant but the blossoms became even brighter.

8.  Our menu has been very simple lately so that I can keep our groceries under budget (which I have failed at for 2 months in a row). So I decided to make one of my husband's favorite meals which is Chipolte Burgers with Avocado Salsa. I didn't want to spend money on store bought bread so my husband asked if I'd make Ciabatta Bread. I found a great recipe. He said the bread was 'fantastic'. I put my burger on a bed of lettuce and it was wonderful. Next time I'll add an egg to help hold the burger together.  We would give this recipe a 10!

Ciabatta Bread

Chipotle Burgers with Avocado Salsa

Ciabatta Bread (Italian Slipper Bread) 

9. A friend gave me some newer adult pj's that had a rip at the top by the waste band. The material was so plush and just like new. She thought I might be able to make a pair of pj's for my smallest grandson. She was right. I used to do this when my boys were under 5 years old. I would save our long pants and make pants with an elastic band for the boys out of both of the legs. Waste not, want not. :-)

10. Items I didn't throw away so I could reuse them:

  • Butter wrapper (I use the butter left on the wrapper to oil cookie sheets)
  • Flour package (I cut the bottom out and then cut along one side and cut the top off. I use it for the wrapping to mail packages.)
  •  Banana peels and coffee grounds ( I bury them around my roses). 
  • Rubber bands on the radishes (wash and reuse)
  • Bread wrapper (washed and resused as a food storage bag)
  • Egg shells, coffee filter, vegetable and fruit peelings (compost)
  • Tea bags (save and reuse 3 to make another cup of tea. 
  • Leftover coffee (I put it in a jar and serve it the next day instead of throwing it away). 
I've missed hearing what you ladies are doing in your homes. I always learn so much from you. If you have time will you share what you've been up to? 
Blessed to be home,



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  2. t's nice to take time out to smell the roses and not just keep our noses to the grindstone. Having said that I used to be better at taking time to smell the roses and have to really work at it now. I always seem to have so many 'tasks' to catch up on as these days it takes me so much longer to do things. I am just grateful for what I can do :-)

    I don't think I've done too well at saving this week. I did save on the food bill but had to buy quite a lot as the freezer was running low. I managed to make some good purchases but had to go to 3 stores to do it so a little more in transportation costs than usual. Other than that, I've saved money by staying home, lol and having 'no spend' days as a result. That's the best way for me to save.

    It is always good to read how you save. You are very good about re-using everything. In less than a year my city will require all homeowners to compost most of our garbage. It out to be interesting to see how this will work out in apartment buildings.

    I do a number of things routinely like you do and your list inspired me to think about what I do about the same things. When I transfer my butter to my butter dish, I very carefully unwrap the butter so there isn't anything sticking to the foil. If there is any stuck to foil I scrape it off with a butter knife and add it to the dish. This way I don't waste anything. I don't go through enough flour to remember to recycle the bags once they are empty. I probably wouldn't anyway because I don't like coping with all the flour residue stuck in the folds of the bags and which swirls around in the air and spreads all over. I don't put the coffee grounds down the trash compactor. I'll either start putting the grounds in the compost or see if they might work on the pests in my garden. I do re-use my teabags too. I make tea with one bag and then add a new teabag for the 2nd cup of tea. I add both used tea bags to a 3rd one before I toss the first two. I too re-use the thicker elastics that come with my produce. I have more than enough so I don't save them all. So far I'm not loving day old coffee. I really only enjoy very fresh coffee that hasn't had a chance to sit for more than 15 minutes or so. I do drink it after a half hour or more but it isn't quite so enjoyable. So the coffee is tossed. Once in awhile it will go in a coffee-banana smoothie or I mix it with my henna whenever I colour my hair.

    Happy weekend ahead. xx

    1. First, I need to ask HOW DO I GET RID OF THESE ADS that have showed up on the section of my comments post? ugh!

      I loved your reply. How will your city have the homeowners compost? Will they provide anything? My son lives in the country and takes his garbage to the dump. I've thought about working harder on getting rid of my refuse cans but I haven't had the nerve to actually do it.

      How do you color your hair with coffee grounds and henna? So interesting!

    2. That's interesting because I don't see any ADs in your comment section. Perhaps only you can see them. I really detest that google puts their ads everywhere when I'm searching on line.

      I don't have the deets about the composting. I'm sure my strata council will provide bins for the compost but that can mean some messy situations since many people will have to take their kitchen compost material down to the garbage room and transfer it all. Currently, we have several large bins in the garbage room for recycling almost everything but food items. If you have furniture however, you must take those to the dump and pay the city a fee for the privilege of leaving it there.

      If I'm going to have to start composting for the city, then I will likely do it more for myself. I've been inconsistent with it so far.

      I don't use the coffee grounds with the henna. I use the actual brewed coffee and also some cinnamon spice powder to give some added depth and colour to the henna powder.

    3. I like my coffee fresh too but you can turn off the maker when you've had your fill once cool put in ice cube trays and use for iced mochas in blenrer or melt in the future and use in chocolate cake!

  3. Oh I just remembered that I saved 40% off purchase of a large ball of yarn early in the week. I also saved last week on buying several lip glosses (down to $2.99 each from $7.99 each). I thought these would make nice small gifts for some girlfriends. I also been buying some inexpensive items from Michael's Craft Store and a women's auxiliary to send gifts to friends and relatives. I don't often send gifts but now and then I like to do it and sometimes send them too on behalf of my mom.

    Well I've taken a lot of your comment space so I will sign out and wish you a wonderful blessed weekend once again. xx

    1. Take as much space as you'd like. I've missed hearing from you girls.

      What will you make with your yarn? I'm looking for some 'sitting down' ideas for the winter months.

    2. I have a fair bit of yarn already but right now I'm collecting big balls of acrylic yarn in nice & complementary colours. I am buying them at Michael's one at a time so I can get 40% off each ball. I'm just finishing up a big spread for a double bed and so I realize just how much yarn I need if I'm going to make another one. So basically I plan to make one African flower hexagon quilt and one ripple afghan at some point :-)

    3. I hope you post a picture when you finish the quilt. They sound lovely!

    4. Hi again, I usually post pictures of my projects in progress and after finishing. I don't make so many as some people so the posts aren't that frequent ;-) But I do enjoy working with my hands and I generally get "on a roll" until I've had my fill. Then I put it aside for awhile. Today I just volunteered to make a friend a pineapple doily if she buys the cotton yarn. She wants yellow and I know it is not so easy to get here.

  4. Hi Georgene, I love reading your blog and am always encouraged by it - thank you! May God's richest blessings be with you and your family. Love, Wendy xo

  5. Hi Georgene, It's been a very tight couple of months for us. I visited your blog this morning looking for encouragement and certainly appreciate your words. Thank you for sharing. I have been working extra hard the past few months to keep food waste at a minimum. It just really pains me to find a leftover that has gotten pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten, or produce that has started going bad. I've begun putting smaller portions on our plates too, to prevent waste. Have a blessed day!

    1. Good for you, Lynn. It's a challenge to keep on top of the food in the fridge and not let it spoil. I have the same problem and I'm trying to work on a solution, too.

  6. I enjoyed my visit. You shared some great ways to save money. I have to do the best I can with just over 700.00 a month, but God takes such good care of me, and always provides my needs.....he is a wonderful Father. Blessings

    1. Wow, Shelley! I'm so encouraged to hear you live on just over 700.00 a month. I know I'll learn a lot from you!

  7. Very nice-I really miss this blog when you don't write. :) Glad to hear about the rose bush trick. :) I was saving coffee grounds -- but on one of those days I wanted to clear the counter and I was flaring I tossed them. :( i will save more. They are good for acid loving plants too--like azaleas etc.

    I'm looking for window AC units cheap right now to use instead of our central air cuz it is not working well anymore--had the guy here to fix he told me it is dying. It is costing too much to run too since it just keeps running.

    I've also been finding craft ideas for my grandkids to do with me. To use up my art & etc stash. The other day we made clothespin fairies. :)

    1. Will you share the craft ideas you find, Mary? I'm always on the look out for fun things to do with the grandones.

  8. Hi Georgene,

    As always, another great and inspirational post.

  9. I so missed this-so good to hear from you. Loved the relationship part. I need to do this also, and stop working when hubby wants me to do something else. I have been reading your older posts lately to get motivated and look for ideas. Our grocery budget has been over too. Trying to cut back and not waste so much. I have been saving my bags, rubber bands, and containers things come in too. Did buy some cabbage that was very low in price this last week and have been using it in place of lettuce and so far it has been good. Thanks for posting, it is an encouragement to me.

    1. Hi Nana,
      I love cabbage. Our dollar store has been selling it for a $1 a head so I buy 2 heads for the month. I like to slice it and saute it for breakfast with either a fried egg or bacon/sausage. Yum!

  10. Hi Georgene,
    Your posts are so friendly and helpful. The photo of you rocking your granddaughter is sweet as can be.
    I did not do a frugal post this week, I'll try to remember some
    Saved the water from boiled eggs to use as plan food on inside plants
    When it was time to change the water in the grands wading pool, I used my watering can to move as much as I could and water my outdoor potted plants.

    Laine gives great advice! How nice that she is a real-life friend of yours.

    I am glad you are still posting.

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Great idea about using your boiled egg water for plants. I made a 'tea' from discarded egg shells for the tomato plants last year because I heard the calcium was good for them. So your idea would be great, too. Thanks so much!

  11. Hello Georgene, I'm new here and am enjoying reading your blog. I can see I have a lot of catching up to do when I get the time. So will be popping in occasionally. I would love your recipe for your sugar free raspberry jam, if you can find the time. Cheers Maa.

    1. Hi Sue,
      Welcome! :-) I just use the recipe on the No Sugar/ Low Sugar pectin box you buy at the store. I find it at Walmart. It's a pink box. I use either Splenda to replace the sugar or play around with Erythritol & Stevia until I get a taste I like. Hope that helps.

  12. Love that picture of you and your granddaughter and the one of your whole family. Great to read that you are enjoying time with your husband in the spa.

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  14. Dear Georgene, not only do I love reading your blog, I love reading all of the comments. You have been encouraging and mentoring me and you don't even realize it! I have been praying and meditating on God's word. I have been asking God to change my heart and change my attitude and to please give me His joy in serving my family. He has been so faithful. I am starting to make my own cleaners, and even though I'm at a place where I can *afford* them...I just think its ridiculous to spend spend spend when I know that we must be better stewards of what we are blessed with. It seems as though consumerism is just choking me and my family at times. It's just way too easy to get so busy that we don't pay attention, buy duplicates of things hiding under cabinets, thank you for all the love you extend through this blog. Right now in my home I am getting ready for the school year. While we are getting all the kids ready (20 yo college freshman, 15 1/2 yo HS soph, 12 yo 7th grader, and twins, 9 1/2 & 9 1/2 4th graders), our church does local mission work at a mobile home park nearby where there is quite a need for some under-served kids. We're helping with backpacks and school supplies, it is such a blessing to use my love for searching out the best deals to share with these kids! Lastly, I am really working on the grocery bill. Good grief it can be overwhelming! I'm thinking of starting a price book, do they really help you ladies out? Any responses would certainly be welcome! Thank you Georgene!

  15. Hello Georgene, it is wonderful to meet you and I feel honored to have found your blog and to be your newest follower. I am a retired wife, mother and grandmother. My husband and I just purchased a small home in the country and moved from our suburban home of thirty-three years. We have only been in our new home since May . . . it's a 1905 fixer-upper bungalow on an acre of land. We are loving having a garden and I am wanting to learn to live off the land as much as possible. Your blog is such a wonderful inspiration. I love what you said about making the choice to spend time with your husband. It is easy to keep working and to miss those precious opportunities. There is a hay field across the road from our new place and last night we called our neighbors and ask them if they would like to join us on the porch,and watch the farmer bail his hay. It was such a pleasant evening (away from the TV). We are blessed with a lovely christian couple next door to us. My husband has known them since even before we were married.
    Well, I am delighted to have found your blog and I am adding you to my blog-list. I would be honored to have you as a mutual follower . . . It's great making new friends.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Connie :)

    1. Hi Connie,
      It's wonderful to have you visit! I'll head over to your blog in just a second. It sounds like we have a lot in common regarding our circumstances. I hope we can learn from each other. I loved reading about your special evening on the porch! Awesome!


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