Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dear Friends,
I apologize for my delay in posting. As a newbie to the blog sphere, I want to uphold the etiquette of blogging, which would seem to me to be posting on a regular basis. I have only been blogging for a short time and have had to take a posting hiatus twice now.

However, this is a hobby. A way for me to share my thoughts and hearts with some folks who may feel the same as I do. But when life gets to busy, while in our home, hobbies are the first to go.

Some very dear friends of ours, have a son who is Autistic. It appears this past week that Elijah has developed a seizure disorder. He had his first episode after Wed night Bible study this past week. He was brought to the hospital and several tests were run. All tests were negative and the Dr.'s shared with his parents that this may have been an isolated incident and Elijah might not ever have another seizure again. Apparently that is not the case.

Yesterday on his way home from school (He attends a special program for children with Autism) he was found to be unresponsive on the school bus.He is still in the hospital tonight and the Dr.'s are still unclear as to what may be wrong. We have their other two children staying with us and are caring for the house and their pets. Oh and did I mention we are in the middle of VBS this week! Oh and did I mention we are leaving for Teen camp in approx 10 days!! Life..... it sure does get busy.

I would ask that you might pray for our bestest friends, Mike and Wanda. Please pray that the Lord will give them the peace that passeth all understanding. I am currently mulling around a post in my head on all the spiritual lessons Elijah has taught me. Stay tuned, I promise I will get more regular with this posting thing.

To the few readers I have acquired, I pray all is going well for you, and you are continuing to seek and learn of the frugal life style. I pray the Lord will continue to guide you in this process.
I am still praying for you! Michelle

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coming Home Series/ Week 3

In the last post, I shared that we would be discussing more nuts and bolts this week of the actual reduction in my income. As I shared with you it was approx a 4 year process. The first thing we did, was change from full-time to part time status. That meant that we switched our health insurance to my husbands company. It was slightly more expensive for him to carry the health insurance, but we knew I would eventually be leaving my position, so we thought it best to change while I was still working part-time.
The second thing that changed for us was my life insurance. I was able to carry a large life insurance policy, for just pennies a month. However it was only in effect if I worked full-time. This is an area where faith had to step in. The Bible says "But without faith it is impossible to please him:" (Hebrews 11:6) I was without life insurance for about 2 years. We prayed and left it in the Lord's hands. We were learning that our provision comes from the Lord, not our jobs. God could have us change jobs or even lose our jobs, but our provision came from Him. When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God provided manna for them daily. Not weekly, not monthly. Not semi-annually. Daily. They didn't have a 401k, they didn't have a pension or money market fund, they didn't have American Express or MasterCard to meet their needs. They had the Lord and He met their needs daily. God has never failed to meet our daily needs. Just recently my husband was able to acquire life insurance for me through his company. It fits within our budget, and it would replace the small amount of money that I make, should the Lord call me home.
The third thing that changed is we started to live (our living expenses) on less than we made. This was the really tough one. We attempted to evaluate every area of our budget. We canceled our cell phones. (Average mo. savings$130-150) We reviewed our car insurance policy(made some changes, savings 200.00 year) We went down to one vehicle. We sold my husbands car which was paid off and that further reduced the cost of our car insurance. We stopped eating out (huge savings, I don't have exact totals but on average $50-75/mo -sometimes more).
You might be thinking those things seem drastic. They were, even to us. Remember in my first post I shared that I was seeking God desperately. Desperate people do desperate things. I wanted to be home with my family and I knew God would do His part, but we must do ours. It is just like the Salvation the Lord graciously gave me, God gave it to me but I had to do my part first, I had to ask. There were many more things that we evaluated and started to save on. Hair care, grocery budget etc.. What I really want to share in this post with you, is to start really investigating where your money goes. I made good money but I spent good money. Most of the purchases I made were desires and wants, not needs. I don't want you to think we live in a cardboard box. No the Lord provided us a beautiful home. We drive a nice vehicle. We wear nice clothes. But we have a different purpose and we do not in any way shape or form attempt to keep up with the "Joneses." See the "Joneses" are used by the master deceiver, he tricks you into being discontent, he places the thought that you don't have what others have and you deserve to.
My Husband and I are completely content that we have what God has seen fit to give us. He is better to us than we deserve. I am home because of God's grace and we chose to make some big changes.
I have many post ideas mulling around in my head. I can not begin to share, truly, what a privileged it is to be home. So many things, but mostly absolute peace and contentment. I will be sharing in a future post how much our marriage was strengthened, when my husband became the full-time bread winner!!
Until then, I pray I have been an encouragement to you. I am praying for you.
Have a blessed day! Michelle

Coming Home Series/

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Today's Frugal Tip

Todays Frugal Tip is one of time mgmt. One of the most precious resources we have is time, and it is valuable. I am always looking for ways to streamline and be more efficient. As a critical care nurse I became a very efficient multi-tasker. In fact this is an area I often need to bring into subjection or I could multi-task myself to death!!!
My pet peeve is cleaning the bathrooms. I usually completely clean the bathrooms on Monday. I find after a busy weekend, the bathrooms are in desperate need of attention. So on Sunday night after everyone is done using the bathroom, I put bleach in the toilet, bathtub, and sink. I usually take the bath mat, turn it right side up and fill the tub with bleach and hot water, about half full. Same with the sink. While I am sleeping the bleach is doing its job (I love bleach!!!!!) and when I get up in the morning the bathroom is half cleaned!
I will definitely be posting about bleach in the future. I love the stuff. I have been known to be a little zealous in the past and almost asphyxiate myself, but all in all ,I still love the stuff. I am kinda a germ fanatic, and bleach kills them all!! I really was normal until I took microbiology in College. Yikes!!!! I learned more about microbes than I ever really needed to know. All my friends know how much I love bleach and you wanta know the beauty, the stuff is cheap! God is so good to me.
Have a blessed day! Michelle

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Todays Frugal Tip

I love Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First and foremost it is the celebration of the birth of my Saviour!! I also love Christmas well... for everything else. To me there is something spectacular about the first snowfall. I love the hustle and bustle. I love the quiet evenings in front of our fireplace with my family, watching It's A Wonderful Life. (This past year my son, Trevor bought me the color version!!!!)

I love the special visits with family and friends. I love giving presents to people. O.K. your probably wondering if your reading a Hallmark card and where's the frugal tip. Drum roll please...................................... Start planning your Christmas in July! Yes I'm serious. First, there are some great sales around this time. is currently having their Christmas in July sale. They have some beautiful Christmas cards for $1.99/box. I will definitely be getting some of those. Secondly don't forget about garage sales. They are plentiful at this time of year in Upstate NY. You can find some wonderful unique Christmas gifts at garage sales. Just remember to start a list or find a location for your goods, so as not to forget them at Christmas. Also resist the urge to give them early. We have some very dear friends who are very generous to us. Our friend Mike will find some great gifts for my Hubby on Ebay, but He always gives them to Him before Christmas.

Thirdly, start planning to set aside some money now, for extra purchases you know you will make at Christmas time. $5.00-$10.00 a week, will make a nice nest egg at Christmas.

Above all remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Have a blessed Day! Michelle

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Todays Frugal Tip

O.K. remember the watering down of the juice tip, while here it is........... I do the same thing with my fabric softener. I find fabric softener very concentrated and well not cheap. During the summer I use my clothes line and the clothes are quite stiff without it. During the winter I do use my dryer some and my drying rack, but we have a lot of static cling without the softener. So to make it last longer I did the same thing as with the juice. At first I took out just about 1/4 of the softener. Then I kept adjusting the amount. Now I dump out half into a bottle I saved and fill that with water as well as the remaining bottle with water. TaDa....... 2 bottles of fabric softener for the price of one. Bought with a coupon of course, on sale. Pennies per load. Praise the Lord!!
Have a blessed day! Michelle

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Coming Home Series/ Week 2

I hope you all had a great Fourth of July!!! My family sure did. My honey was home and was paid to spend the day with me!! I couldn't post without mentioning the greatness of the United States of America.

My grandfather was a Sgt in World War One and World War Two. He instilled patriotism in us from a very early age. My grandfather was asked to be the Grand Marshall in many local parades. I still remember how tears would well in his eyes as He watched the American Flag march by. One of the unique things about my grandfather was he survived the pandemic flu of 1918. He was in a hospital in Europe, at the age of 18, in a coma for nearly a week. That flu took the lives of millions of soldiers. I recently read that particular strain of flu killed over 20 billion people world wide. He survived a devastating pandemic flu, fought in 2 World Wars and lived well into his seventies. Yep my grandad was quite a man. Thank you gramp!

We live in the greatest country on earth!! It is because of the freedoms we posses that I sit here and write this story. To all you service men and women and their families, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOMS OF OUR HEARTS FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!! We realize that freedom isn't free and we are grateful for your protection of this great land!

Onto our Series............week 2

As we talked in the first series, I was a full-time working mama, with a desire to be home. It is my belief that God placed that desire in my heart as that is what He created me to be. (Titus 2:5 ) Although I truly wanted to be home, our financial picture was grim to say the least. We had incur ed a fair amount of credit card debit (o.k. a large amt. of cc debit) and had made many poor financial decisions. While we did not take grand vacations every year, we did not own a boat, and neither of us enjoyed expensive hobbies, we made poor (daily living expenses) choices. Fast food- remember I was working 50+ hours a week. Convenience was the name of the game. Grocery bills (there was little time to cut coupons and shop) Two cars, we both needed to get to work. Clothing-well there was no time to consignment shop. I justified the credit card purchases at JC Pennys, Bonton etc., because I was working hard and well I deserved it. This is America. The land of opportunity. The Devil is still in the business of deceiving.

I had a case of stinkin thinkin. While I pondered in my heart about leaving my job, the situation looked impossible. Absolutely impossible. Then something life changing started happening for me. I started reading and studying the word of God. God clearly showed me through His word that "For with God nothing shall be impossible." Luke1 :37 KJV (Emphasis mine) I held onto the word nothing in that verse. Could God possibly work a miracle in our financial situation? Did God really care what happened in my life? Was a Mothers place really in the home ? I say a resounding AMEN to everyone of the aforementioned questions. God did care and in time (His time) He showed my husband and I the way. No money did not fall from the sky like manna. We did not come into a large inheritance. No we didn't find a bag of money on our doorstep. No God knew how weak we were. God knew if He gave us a pile of money, it would ruin us spiritually. Now I am not saying that if you have been blessed of the Lord financially that you are spiritually ruined. What I am saying is God knew "us." It would be through developing a deep spiritual walk with the Lord that He would reveal to us His will and plan for me to come home. I started seeking the Lord with a passion. God speaks to us through His word, we speak to Him through prayer. I started doing both desperately. The very first changes that we started making was literally feasting off the Word of God.
If you are desiring to return from the workforce and regain your role as homemaker, I promise that if you diligently seek the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind He will show you the way. It may not be in your time, but His. It may not be the way you plan, but the way He plans, all for the purpose of bringing Glory to His name.
It took aprrox. 4 years for me to leave my job. I still work during the summer as a perdiem employee. The Lord has allowed me to make a very good hourly wage. I do not hold a position. I receive no benefits from my employer. I am considered a casual or perdiem employee. Full-time homemaking is my number one priority after being a wife and mother. My husband and son are my home, not the dwelling we inhabitate. My son is almost 14 now and I work on the average of 2-3 shifts per month. Sometimes more in the summer if our schedule allows. There are some months I don't work at all. I make a small amt of money to help to continue to pay down that mountain of debt. Yes we are still paying that off, but we only have 3 more credit cards to go. (We started out with about 10) God has been so faithful to us!!
I won't tell you that it has been easy. I won't tell you that it has not been without sacrifice. I won't tell you that it has not been without temptation to abandon this lifestyle and live on the salary we previously made. However I will tell you it has been worth every trial and I would do it all again. I love being the Keeper of my Home and I have never been so completely full filled. It is my prayer that I have been an encouragement to you. I am praying for you. Blessings, Michelle

The next post will contain info on health insurance, life insurance and more nuts and bolts of the actual reduction of our income. Stay tuned.....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One more Day

This is the last night my Pastors children will be staying with us. It has been a very busy week:)
Things are going great, but my energy ...........well it's just about gone. The addition of 2 children ages 5&7, a black lab and a gold fish( things didn't go so well with the goldfish "peaches " we are off to buy a new goldfish tomorrow) life has been a bit crazy at our house. I am eager to get back to posting and sharing my "Frugal tip of the day" with you all. I will confess, I am a creature of habit and I like, well love routine. I am really looking forward to getting back to "normal" around here.

I managed to get my grocery shopping done this week, but was shocked at how much the price of food has gone up. I am a major coupon Queen and have been couponing now for well over 10 years. There are some excellent Internet resources out there for beginners and my personal favorite is I will be posting deals that I find specific to upstate NY, but why create the wheel when Crystal does such an excellent job. Even with coupons, lost leader sales, and a well prepared list, my bill was approx $15.00 more for the same food than it was a month ago. Folks, even people who aren't frugal by nature are going to have to jump on the wagon with the way prices are rising. I am so glad the Lord has guided me to this frugal lifestyle and given me a heart of contentment.

It is quiet here. The boys, my son, both dogs and my sweet hubby are all asleep. I am relishing in the quiet of it all, and thankful the Lord has used my family and I to be a blessing to our Preacher and His wife. Please stay tuned for the next post in the Coming Home series...... Until then, Have a blessed day! Michelle

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Short Break

Dear Friends,
I know the second in the series " Coming Home" is due out tonight. As a new blogger it takes me a fair amount of time to post. I also, by the title of my blog, want to always post to the glory of God. With that said, for the next few days Our Pastors children, dog and goldfish are staying with us. Our Pastor and his wife have taken our Juniors to Bible camp. As you may guess, my schedule is full and I don't have time to blog. I promise though I will get the second post out very soon. It is started and I am so excited to continue with this series.

I pray you all had a wonderful Fourth of July!!

P.S. Here in Northern NY , the corn is knee high. My grandfather used to say corn has to be knee high by the fourth of July, for a good crop. Looks like we made it!!!!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Todays Frugal Tip

Cold Water Wash. I know this has been discussed at length in the blogsphere, and for some has not worked out so well. However for me, it has worked fine and saved my family a ton of money. The two things I do that I believe make a difference are; #1 I pretreat with a name brand spot remover. Shout or Spray-n-Wash. Those are the two I use the most. I always buy it when it is on sale, and of course with a coupon! I usually pay no more than .50-.75 cents a bottle. #2.I use a name brand laundry detergent. I have tried the lesser expensive brands and found that they do not work well for me in cold water washing. Now, you might be saying. brand name is to expensive. My reply, not so if bought on sale and with a coupon!! I have made a rule for myself that my limit to pay for laundry detergent is no more than $2.00/bottle. The brands that I use are; Whisk, All, & Cheer. I have found that Tide, even on sale and with a coupon is to pricey for me. I really do like Tide and have used it in the past. but at this point it is not in my budget? Today, I would love to hear from you all with any great cold water washing tips. As always, have a blessed day! Michelle

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Todays Frugal Tip

I absolutely love my Swifter. However the replacement pads are expensive, even with coupons. I have on occasion, splurged and gotten them on sale with a coupon. We have hard wood floors in our home and dust bunnies multiply like mice around here. So frugal tip #1. If you are using the swifter dust cloths, use one side and then when completely used, turn over and use the other side! I have easily gotten over 2 months use out of one cloth doing this. Frugal tip #2. If you are to frugal to buy them even on sale and with a coupon(which is where I am at now) use a rag. I use old wash cloths. They fit perfect. I use one side, shake off the little critters, turn it over and use the other side. When I have 2-3 to wash, I wash them and put them on my drying rack:)

Sometimes when I'm chasing those little bunnies under the bed, I will spray the rag with a little pledge and that works even better!!

Have a blessed day! Michelle

P.S. Stay tuned for week 2 in the Coming Home series!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Todays Frugal Tip

I happen to have a Son who loves juice. We drink water, but if there is juice in the fridge that's His first choice. So in an attempt to save money, I started watering down the juice. It has been well over a year now and He has never mentioned it one time. In fact I am sure He is unaware. (Lets hope He doesn't read this post)

At first I only replaced about 1/4 of the juice with water. Then I progressed from there. (sneaky of me wasn't it:) Now when I purchase juice which is usually 1-2 bottles every week, I place 1/2 of the bottle of juice in a pitcher and fill with water. Then I take the bottle which is half full of juice and fill that with water. So I have doubled the amount!

Also there are a lot of calories in most juices and this also reduces the amount of calories consumed. I almost always only purchase juice if I have a coupon. I have on a rare occasions purchased juice if it is an incredible deal. If there are no coupons, no juice. Since this is a favorite of my Son's I try and score great deals when I see them!

I shared this tip with my girlfriend Wanda, whose son is also an avid juice drinker. At first she was quite skeptical but I urged her to try it. She did and her son has never noticed a difference!Hopefully these kids don't start reading this blog or were busted!!

Have a blessed day! Michelle