Monday, March 29, 2010

Technical Difficulties

There's been a problem lately with my images..I may have fixed the problem...woohoo!!  Thanks for being patient!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shop WHERE?!?!?!

It's a rare thing that I actually get out shopping EVER anymore.  I used to just blame it on the hassle of having three kids to bathe, clothe, pack bags for, fasten/unfasten seat beats at every stop and drag from cart to cart (boy, just thinking about it makes me tired).  It's like those old country folk that would rather go out and milk the cow instead of "going into town" to buy milk.  Which is lately becoming less funny to me, because just last week, I made marshmallows from scratch, because I didn't want to drag three kids ACROSS THE STREET to Publix to buy a bag of marshmallows.  Pitiful....

Anyways, as time goes on and the kids become easier to deal with (I only have to buckle and unbuckle one seat belt now), I find myself still not wanting to shop.  The less I have, the less there is to clean and take care of.  Then, there's the whole environmental factor--everything new you buy somehow wastes natural resources.  And, can't forget about the economy factor.  This past year and a half has put me in a perpetual state of fear of going broke.  Plus, there are so many better things to be doing with my God's money.

Well...last weekend, I took the girls "into town" to run some errands.  Along the way, we passed by the giant warehouse they call Goodwill.  Alexis has a school project coming up that requires her to come up with a costume for a historical figure that she was assigned.  Light bulb...let's see what we can find in Goodwill, so into the parking lot I pulled.

Honestly, I had driven by this place a million times and always wondered what it was like inside, but there was always this part of me that, to put it bluntly, thought I was too good to walk through those doors.  Funny, as silly as it sounds when I say it out loud, I still hesitated to get out of the car.

Deep breath and in we went.  Let me just tell you, I was AMAZED!!  Alexis had $5 (and a coupon) in her pocket that she was planning on spending at our next stop-- the bookstore.  For the price of one book, she could have gotten TEN in this place!!  It was only .50 for a paperback book!!  As I starting digging through the racks and racks of clothes looking for something that might be able to pass as 18th century garb, I found my attitude towards the place changing.  Some of these clothes still had TAGS!!  Seriously, a $34 extremely cute kid's dress for $3.50!!  Well to make a long story short-- one dress with tags, one shirt with tags, two books, $8, and a VERY excited kid later...I am hooked!!  


I've been reflecting lately.  It has been over three years since my "moment" in three year old Sunday school, and it never ceases to amaze me that changes in life seem so hard until you come out the other side and have a chance to look back on the experience.   In the moment, it always feels bigger than the Empire State Building on steroids, and looking back, its just barely a blip in time.

I remember digging our recycling bins out of the garage and thinking why am I adding ANOTHER plate to what seems like the four million that I already have spinning in mid air that could fall with a faint gust of wind?  I'm not going to lie, the first couple of weeks were tough (sounds funny saying that now, considering that it's just second nature these days).  We had no idea what was recyclable, what wasn't or how to sort it.  Then, there was the serious inconvenience of having to walk ten more steps to the garage to throw something in the recycling bin instead of the trash can.  Seriously, I complained about that!!!  

Recycling looked like a drop in the bucket compared to the clothesline ordeal.  I am still pinch myself every once in a while to make sure I am still for real when it comes to this subject.  I do have to admit though, a neighbor of ours recently gave us her old dryer.  The line drying subject came up in casual conversation and she genuinely felt "bad" for us even after I tried consoling her numerous times with the fact that we CHOSE (imagine that) to line dry.  The dryer sat in the garage for months until a lovely streak of gloomy, rainy weather hit so bad that even hanging the clothes in the house took three days to dry.   With a mountain of dirty laundry and no clean diapers, I caved.  The dryer made its way into the house and has been used only a few times in emergency cases.  The lesson...sometimes, it's ok.

Speaking of diapers, this is the change that amazes me the most.  If someone would have told me that I would have made it a year and a half with cloth diapers, I would have laughed so hard my face hurt for days!!   I will never forget the insane feeling I had when I bought the first set of diaper covers, washed them, and hung them on the line to dry.  I felt like a cavewoman in 21st century garb!!  The buying process was an experience in itself.  They don't sell those things in stores!!!   I had to find a company online that had a local distributor (some other crazy mom who was WAY more insane than me when it came to being "natural").   I will say I learned a lot from her (more than I needed to know), but what really inspired me was her "store".  She had a whole corner of her family room converted into a a display area for her wares.  There were rows and rows of bright, colorful diaper covers.  Some with designs and some just plain, but all soft, fuzzy and tapped in my artsy side and I was hooked like a fish on a minnow!!!   You can even buy them online with cute designs embroidered onto them all for less than the cost of a box of diapers!!  To this day, I have spent under $180 on diapers, and might (my frugal side says "no", but my need to do less laundry says "yes") need to buy another cover or two before potty training in the a few more months.  I am not going to lie, as easy as it really has been (I'm serious!!), I'm looking forward to (I can't believe I'm saying this) potty training :)

There are so many other changes--the gardening, the cars, the couponing, the list goes on...and I wouldn't change a single experience.  What I have learned is that there is a freedom in living a simpler life.  Some things do take more of my time, but they always take less of my money and cause me to spend more time home.  Even though we still have to work, the stress from the pressure of making more and wanting more is lessened.  Not saying that we don't still have those moments of wanting more, but we quickly remember how much easier it is with less.  With more time (not really time because I'm still busy, but more like brain space less occupied by stress) to just breathe, it's easier to see God's provision and realize that no matter how much we work or do , God is still in control of the outcome.

Clothesline Fun

I love the smell of clothes right off the clothesline...I'm hoping it's going to be a fun memory for the kids too!!


We have been dealing with an infestation of aphids for months now.  At first, we thought the cold would kill them off, but those things could out-stand a nuclear bomb!  So, after many sleepless nights staring at the computer screen trying to find one little ounce of information that would end my aphid nightmares (I was seriously having nightmares about getting swarmed by the darn things) ...enter stage left, ladybugs...

Apparently, aphids are like Double Chocolate Chip Fudge Cake to ladybugs.  They can eat up to 1000 aphids in a day (wonder what that much chocolate cake would do to me, ladybugs must have one heck of a metabolism)!!!!!  So, off I went on my search to find where to buy ladybugs.  Amazing, you can buy those little aphid eating boogers on will they think of next!!

My precious little bag of predators arrived yesterday.  It was a little creepy holding a bag of 1500 crawling insects, but the kids sure did get a kick out of it!!

The instructions said to rinse the bag in cold tap water and refrigerate until they could be released at dusk...weird, but ok.  I don't care how weird it sounded, it worked!!!!! The little buggies slowed down so we could just pour them right over the most infected area of the garden.

I'm not sure if they like their new home, or they just ate too much cake and couldn't move, but they were still here this morning...I'll let you know if it works...