Monday, April 24, 2017

Making Money Last

Library of Congress:  Flower Vendor's Easter Display, early 1900's. New York


I was in the hardware store the other day. They had an entire floor devoted to decorative gardening accessories, patio furniture and pretty benches.  There were swimming pools and barbeque sets.  It was so much fun just looking at everything.  I saw the sweetest little garden turtle.  It was a decorative item for the outdoors.  It had the happiest, cutest face painted on.  I thought my grandchildren would love it.  But the cost was $28.  So I just stared at it for a bit and then moved on. 

Over the weekend, I was in the drugstore picking up a prescription for my husband.  I love to browse around while I wait. They always have such nice seasonal items.  I noticed they had a similar turtle as what I saw last week.  This one was a bit smaller, but just as charming.  It cost only $5.  I was delighted and happily paid for it.  I plan to put it in the front garden this coming week.  I know the grandbabies will love to see it as we tour the grounds on our regular walks this season.

Buying things on impulse can be such a dangerous thing.  Our money can disappear so quickly if we are not careful.  But occasionally buying something inexpensive that makes us smile can be pleasant.

This winter, I took all my saved coins and gave them to one of my grown daughters.   It used to be easy to save for a rainy day by filling up jars full of coins. But now the bank won't accept the rolled money. Instead, they direct people to a machine in their lobby. This machine counts all the change and prints out a slip so you can get dollar bills at one of the teller stalls.  But the machine deducts a certain amount as a fee.  I just cannot fathom paying this. It is such a waste, even if the charge seems small.  So I have been keeping a change purse with me.  Whenever I do any shopping these days, I count out the exact change.   It takes a few extra minutes, but I no longer have to worry about what to do with a jar full of money that is difficult to spend. The days of saving change for a rainy day seem to be out of fashion.

Since we homemakers do a great deal of the spending in a household, it is important that we find ways to make the money last.   Each week, I have been taking my receipts and recording my spending in a journal book.  This is for groceries and gas and also any bills I have paid.  I want to remember where the money went.  This helps me be more careful. I also enjoy remembering some of our adventures by reading old entries.  The day I bought the garden turtle and wrote it in the book will make me smile.

Dressing up to do errands or to go shopping was common in earlier days.  My mother always did this. She would put aside her housedress and put on something nicer before going out.  Rushing out the door all the time to get things we forgot, or to hurry some errand can cause us to be wasteful.  Often we will be in such a rush that we buy what is convenient or quick.  This will waste money.   Finances are a serious matter. We need funds for food, housing and clothing. These are basic needs.  But we should treat that money with a great deal of care and planning.  I always dress up a bit before going out because I am more careful in what I do.  Dressing up a little is part of being prudent.  It is part of being cautious and precise in such an important job as spending the household funds to care for the family.

Impulse buying should be so rare that we are thrilled when we actually spend a bit of money that was not planned.  This will make us very grateful for the little treats we have in life.

Making money last just means we don't easily part with it.  We are slow and careful with our spending decisions. We keep our bills and expenses low so we can have money in a savings account.  This is being a wise steward with what we have been entrusted with.  It also brings great peace and happiness to make that money last as long as possible.

Blessings
Mrs. White

From the Archives -

The Example of D.L. Moody's mother - Poverty in the 1800's.

My first Mother's day garden - Attempting a Garden.

Calling the Family Home - Mother's Dinner Bell.




Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."





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A Raised Garden at The Estate

Greenland Gardener Raised Bed at our Vermont Estate


I am not much of a gardener.  I love to look at gardens and I enjoy the result of a productive garden, but I am not very good at taking care of one.   One of my favorite tools to keep things easy is to use a raised garden bed that came from Greenland Gardener. 

This is an 8 inch raised garden bed.  We have used it year after year, season after season, here in Rural Vermont.  It is top quality and is still in excellent condition. 

Some of the features of this product:

- It is stackable.

-  No tools are required for assembly.  My teenager put this together very quickly, right out of the box.

- The kit includes 4 planks and 4 brackets. 

- This will not rot, and it is weather resistant.

- It is made in the U.S.A.

- It also looks very decorative on our property.

We always plant cucumbers in our garden.  They are so productive and are easy to take care of in this enclosed space.  I also love that I can just put the garden bed anywhere on the property and have an almost instant garden. 

The above photograph was taken a few years ago.  We have not yet set it up this season, but will get it started in the next week or so. 

I was just looking at the Greenland Gardener site and their Facebook page and saw many great ideas.  I noticed they have the most amazing thing. It is a sort of greenhouse which goes over the garden bed.  It looks wonderful and I am sure would work beautifully.

To find out more about this company, please visit them at Greenhouse Gardener

There are many great pictures and helpful ideas at their Facebook page.






*Disclosure - I received this item for review purposes. To learn more about my commercial breaks, please see my disclosure page.*


Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Work at the Estate

Spring 2017 in Rural Vermont: This picture was taken down the road from our Estate.

We have been walking the property seeing all the work that needs to be done.  Some of us did part of the raking.  The grounds had been so neglected last season that we still have our 2 acres covered in leaves from last fall.  It is heavy work getting it cleaned up.  I worked for about 15 minutes before I had to stop. I simply do not have the muscle for it!  But I will keep trying on each sunny day!

Some of our grown children have been working to help with the yard work.  We also have plans to plant more wildflowers since they take little effort and not much care.

I hope to get out to the back grounds and clean up my little strawberry garden sometime this afternoon. I will wear my gardening gloves and take the rake with me to gently remove old leaves and such.

The grass here is not quite green.  It is only starting to wake up from the winter. We often have frost on the ground into May, but we may have plenty of green at the same time.

John (19) and I were driving down our country road and saw some little ducks swimming in a flooded bit of land.  They looked so peaceful with a beautiful view of the mountains in the background.  John got a picture of the scene for me to share here with you.  Sometimes I forget how pretty the land is here and how grateful we are to live here.

Mister and I walked a bit around the house and noticed many repairs that must happen this summer. We have neglected them for so long, it has almost become a crisis.   There is some rotting wood around lower window frames and our peeling paint that has been ignored more than 10 years must be addressed. There is very little money to pay for such things and since Mister is disabled, and I know nothing about such things, we will have to find some way to get this work done. 

This large old house is very shabby and neglected these past couple of years.  But it is a dearly loved, humble dwelling place that I love.

I have not heard any birds chirping outside yet this season.  Once I do hear them, I will be so happy, knowing spring is really here!

Have a wonderful Easter!

Blessings
Mrs. White

From the Archives -

The Reason our Home is being Neglected - The Shabby Garden.

Joy Despite Hard Times - Poor and Pretty Living.

Home Economics - Basic Cookery.






Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."





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Friday, April 7, 2017

All Dressed Up to Keep House

Library of Congress:  May 1942, California Housewife

One of the nicest things we can do to make home a happy place is to get dressed up.  It was common for housewives to put on a pretty "house" dress and a nice apron each morning.   The work of vacuuming, polishing furniture, and straightening drapes is much more fun to do when one looks pretty and has a pleasant attitude.

I have a lilac - scented candle that sets a nice mood during the day for when I am cleaning or cooking.  Somehow, those little extra efforts of making the house look nice, and making oneself look extra pretty, brings a cheerfulness to the home.

Right now it is considered "mud season" here in rural Vermont.  The outdoors are not very pretty and that can get us down.  It is so important to take some time to make the indoors look inviting and cared - about.  If we take the time to brighten our appearance and the appearance of our homes, it will help prevent those depressing feelings we can get when there isn't enough fresh air and sunshine.

Blessings
Mrs. White


From the Archives -

Oh, how wonderful this would be! - A Mass Exodus of Women Coming Home.

Hard Times - Living in Reduced Circumstances.

Remembering the days before he became disabled - Happy Days with Mister.




Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."





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Friday, March 24, 2017

Doing Less

Winter Scene, Dalarne


There is a gentle snow falling here in rural Vermont. It looks so peaceful and pretty as I look out the window.  Even though the calendar claims the season as spring, it is still winter here in the mountains of New England.

This is a good time to rest. It is a good time to make resolutions for the coming year.  Perhaps planning out little gardens to plant when the last of the frost is gone?  Maybe think about all the things we would like to do this summer?  It can be a happy time of bundling up and sitting near a cozy fire dreaming of spring flowers and sunshine.

I am doing less these days.  I remember when all my children were young. They helped me so much with the chores and housekeeping.  They did much of the cooking with me and the planning to keep budgets under control.  While they learned valuable life skills and work ethics, I had happy comrades to help me in my work. 

Now that the helpers are all grown up, I am not able to do all the chores and duties. So I've had to make changes - find ways of doing less of other things so I could rest more.   Of course, there is less work in a smaller household, but there can still be an urgency (in this culture) to multitask and be so busy with projects, making money, and running around that we can become stressed and burdened.   Sometimes, we do not even notice this is happening to us until we are forced to stop. Perhaps by a snowstorm or a car that will not work.  Sometimes it is by a sickness that forces us to rest.  Once we accept these detours (of sorts), and yield to them, we find a benefit of peace and a rest for our minds.

Doing less is definitely the opposite of the race this culture is running.  But it gives us time to read the Bible more and to pray more without rushing.  It gives us an aura of gentleness and spreads a light of cheerfulness to those around us.

Doing less can mean many things. To me it means I do not want to be swept up with the distractions and glitter of this life that tend to lure me away from a quiet, simple life of a happy, godly home.

Blessings
Mrs. White

From the Archives -

I want to be - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

Good propaganda - Kitchen Sermons.

A happy day of -  Gracious Homemaking.








Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."





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