- Anticipation. Thinking about and planning for our vacation is lots of fun in and of itself.
- Watching the girls play in the hotel pool. Finding a hotel with an indoor pool is pretty much top priority for any trip these days. That way we know that they can be entertained no matter what the weather. They don’t have a lot of opportunities to swim in a pool here at home, so they thoroughly enjoy all-day access to a pool.
- Spending time together as a family.
- No cooking (although I am definitely ready for a home-cooked meal by the time we get back)
- No cleaning
- Being in the mountains. For whatever reason, I seem to feel more calm and peaceful when I see mountains around me.
- Reading. Without laundry to do and meals to prepare, I have more time for reading books and magazines.
- Amusement parks. The girls are at the age where they’re able to ride more rides (and want to ride the same ones over and over again!)
- Relaxing. No schedule or bedtimes to keep…..
- Water. I love seeing waterfalls or even just the little streams that run alongside the road.
- Pictures. I like taking pictures of the girls in the different places we visit, to record the fun times we have together.
- Getting home. As much fun as it is to go away, it’s also pretty sweet to sleep in your own bed after several nights away!
In case you missed my many references this week to our upcoming vacation (ha!), I thought I’d share one of my favorite packing tips. Not to confuse things, though – I really dislike packing. I must say, however, that it is so much easier at this stage of life when we’re past carting all the baby gear along!
Jen over at Beauty and Bedlam is hosting a Frugal Fashionista Fashion Show today. She has been doing a series on putting together a fabulous wardrobe inexpensively by shopping for clothes at yard sales and thrift stores.
Over the past several years, I have been able to find items at thrift stores and consignment stores for the girls, pieces that usually look new or still have the original store price tags on them. As my daughters have gotten older, I have not found quite as much in their sizes at yard sales and what is available is usually in a more worn condition.
When I shop at Good Will or another thrift or consignment store, I look for quality name brand items. I find that I am usually able to get store brand items just as cheaply by watching for sales or hitting the clearance racks. I do believe that it takes a little more time to shop at resale stores since many times clothes are only divided by gender or color. You often have to look through a lot of “junk” to find a “jewel,” but to me that’s part of the hunt – finding a really great deal on an item you can use.
Here are some of the clothes I’ve been able to get for my daughters.
I found this dress for my six-year-old at a consignment store. It was new with the tags still on it and I paid $3.50.
This cherry skirt, which my six-year-old has been able to wear for two seasons, was 50 cents at a yard sale. I usually have her wear it with a white or pink top.
These two Children’s Place skirts were at my favorite Good Will and look nearly new. Most importantly, they have the adjustable waist which I need for both my girls. Picked these up for my eight-year-old for around $2.69 each. They are a nice cotton twill so can be worn for summer or winter.
My older daughter loves long, flowy skirts, even for play. I got the brown one at Goodwill for $2.69 and the blue one at a consignment store for $1.50.
Lest you think I never buy tops, I found this Limited Too spring hoodie with the tags still on it at a consignment store for around $3.
I also love buying clothes for the girls in larger sizes when I can and putting them in the back of the closet until the appropriate season. I picked up this dress, which will fit one or the other of them this fall, for $2.69 at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago. It’s so much fun (and cheaper!) at the end of the summer to pull out these finds rather than run to the store to replenish their wardrobe.
I typically don’t find as much for myself at resale stores (although Jen’s series has inspired me to spend a bit more time looking!) I usually try on a variety of things, but don’t walk out with much. Occasionally, however it’s worth it. I recently found this great classic Gap dark brown skirt which is great for church and can be worn with a variety of tops. It looks new and I paid just over $4 for it.
Clothing can take up a huge chunk of your budget, so by shopping wisely for quality items at a good price you can really keep costs down. I still watch for store sales, regularly check the clearance racks at my favorite stores, and sign up to receive retailer coupons, but I also make it part of my routine to stop by a couple of thrift and consignment stores once or twice a month. You never know what treasure you may find!
- The sky that lightens a bit earlier each morning behind the tightly shut window blinds
- The pastel colors of young girls’ dresses on Easter Sunday
- The first tinge of green showing through the dull brown soil
- Dust flying from fast-moving rags as spring cleaning gets under way
- A mom, surrounded by boxes, tucking away sweatshirts and jeans, pulling out tank tops and shorts
- The first bouquet of flowers picked for mom by tiny fingers, clutched tightly in a small fist, given a place of honor in a paper-cup vase
- Bright green stalks of asparagus and ripe red strawberries putting in an appearance at the farmers market
- A load of newly washed laundry swinging on a clothesline in the light breeze
- Burst of blooms on a Bradford pear tree
- An elderly lady kneeling in her garden, shovel in hand, dreaming of a bounty of summer produce
- Thick layer of pollen on the hood of the car
- Azaleas in full bloom, glorious to behold
- Neighbors chatting in the yard, catching up on the news after a long winter-induced hibernation
- First crank of the lawnmower for the season
- Soft spring rain, pattering on the windows
- Allergy-induced sneezes
- Soft bleating of a newborn sheep
- Children, released from winter jackets and snowboats, calling to one another as they traverse the neighborhood on shiny new bikes
- The “thwack” of a baseball hitting a glove; the whiff of a bat, just missing contact
- Squeaky windows being pushed open to admit soft, warm spring air
- Water from a hose hitting the roof of the car as it receives a long-awaited bath
- Early morning calls of birds as they greet the morning together
- The long-awaited silence of the heat pump – no heat or air conditioning needed
- The dull thud of a shovel being thrust into the ground, making way for a new rosebush
This is spring, warm and welcoming, a feast for the senses.
One of the girls thought to bring a bucket, so we were all keeping an eye out for pretty seashells as we went down the beach.
I am very thankful for the family that God has given me. Our girls are growing up so fast! I truly want to be the best wife and mom that I can be for them and pray that God will give me the wisdom and strength to do so.
Just a few snapshots from our Easter weekend!
Easter lunch consisted of baked ham, potato casserole, cranberry sauce (yes, I know that’s a Thanksgiving thing, but my girls love it, so I pulled out a can for the occasion) and lima beans with butter cookies and chocolate bunnies for dessert!
We have lived in our current home for just under two years. It is not our dream house, but is perfect for what we need now and was available for a reasonable price at the time we bought it. Today I wanted to share with you thirteen things that I love in this house.
- Windows. The living area in this house has lots of windows which allows for an abundance of natural light. That is one of my prerequisites for purchasing a home; it must have many windows.
- Print of Rainbow Row by Emerson. This was a present from my husband the first Christmas we were married and hangs in our dining room.
- Books. Our family loves books and I enjoy having them throughout our home.
- Bookcases. When we moved into this house, we actually had enough bookcases to hold all of our books. Alas, that is no longer the case. We have three bookcases in our bedroom, one in the living area, one in the front hallway and two in the girls’ playroom, yet still have some books that are packed away.
- Pictures of the girls. I try to only display my favorites, but there are so many!!
- Fireplace. Our first home had a wood burning fireplace, which I loved. However, when we had a gas fireplace in our second home, I decided that was the way to go – no wood to drag in, no ashes to clean up. Having a gas fireplace is another prerequisite for me in buying a house.
- Plants. I don’t have a very green thumb, but I do have a few houseplants that manage to survive and I enjoy having that bit of nature indoors.
- Buffet table. In our dining room is a buffet table that my husband built several years ago. It has drawers for storing extra linens and is great to use as an extra space for serving dishes.
- Toaster oven. My toaster oven is perfect for heating up small portions of food that I don’t want to microwave or for toasting and broiling everything from toast to bagels to garlic bread. I especially love it in the summer when I don’t have to heat up the big oven for a small task.
- Floral chair. I’m a very fond of neutrals when it comes to furniture and accessories, so choosing a chair with a floral pattern was a big jump for me. However, it matches the rest of the furniture perfectly and is very comfortable.
- Pantry. This is the first house I’ve lived in that has a pantry and I like the feeling of being able to easily see the items I have and what I need to purchase.
- Piano. This was a birthday present from my husband years ago. While I don’t play it often, it’s perfect for our older daughter who’s taking lessons.
- Charleston gate prints. These prints were given to us by friends, which makes them special in their own right. I am not crafty, but switched out the mats and frames to make them match our current decor and was very pleased with the results.
On Saturday I mentioned that we were planning a family outing to a local art museum that was hosting a community day with free admission and activities for children. While I am by no means a fine art connoisseur, I enjoy viewing paintings, sculptures and other art and hope that our daughters will grow up with an appreciation for beautiful things.
The girls had a great time at the museum. The theme for the children’s activities was healthy eating. They glued magazine pictures of foods they liked on paper plates, did stamp painting with fruits and vegetables, created their own healthy snack mix from a host of options and did a scavenger hunt around the museum with healthy foods as the subject.
In different rooms, they got to make colorful butterflies out of coffee filters and clothespins (who knew?) and decorated and cut out pinwheels. We also took the opportunity to check out all the exhibits at the museum. To top off the free admission, we even found free parking just a couple of blocks away! Just the right price for adding a little culture to our lives!
Just a little more about me………I am in my late thirties (for a little bit longer!) and am married to a wonderful, supportive husband named John. We have two daughters, ages eight and six. I grew up in a truly Christian home; my dad has been a pastor for over thirty years and I have two brothers and a sister, all of whom I love dearly. I was saved at a young age and am so thankful for the privilege of having many years of seeking to know and serve God more.
I have a college degree in early childhood education and taught in an elementary school for six years. I have also worked as an executive secretary in a hospital system and briefly as an office manager for a design firm. The last eight years of my life have been primarily spent being a stay-at-home wife and mother.
One of the greatest desires of my heart is to have our girls grow up loving and serving God. Through this blog, I hope to find others with the same goal so that we might share ideas and inspirations, trials and triumphs through the coming years. I hope you’ll join me!