Spring Decorating on a Dime

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Hello friends!

It is Spring!

I don’t know about you, but I love welcoming each new season.  I love the idea of decorating my home to feel like the season.

However, this is not always an option due to finances and resources.  I gaze longingly at the tulips at Trader Joe’s, but resist (most of the time) because I know that a mere$4 per week will still add up to a lot.

I have found some easy ways to decorate my home for the changing seasons without spending much money or time! For example, we have a chalkboard in our family room and I used the above photo as a guide to create a spring scene!

Head over to Raising Homemakers to read more about how I decorated for Spring on a Dime.

Take Your Chores Outdoors

Happy first day of Spring!

We are expecting rain this week, but I don’t care: It’s Spring!

My girls and I have been enjoying hours upon hours of outdoor time and, surprisingly, I still feel as though I am keeping up on housework and getting many projects completed!

I compiled some of my tips for getting work done while outdoors and posted them over at Raising Homemakers.

I love having my kids spend as much time outside as possible, but there are still responsibilities and tasks to be completed. I have found a few ways to have the best of both worlds.

I hope this tips are helpful.  Do you have any to add?

 

Raising Homemakers

HOPE #4

Hope and comparison.

These two things are often at odds with one another.

We see what another has or does and we grow despondent.  Perhaps we covet, perhaps we cry out “not fair” to God, perhaps we despair that we will never be in their shoes.

However, we can use comparison to spur our hope on and to encourage us rather than discourage us.

When we see the blessings another has received, we can hope that the Lord is working in our lives too. Perhaps not through the same method or to the same end, but working he is.

For example, someone I follow on instagram just purchased a new home on acreage.  There are trees and space and the home is large enough for all of them.  It would be so easy to feel jealous.  So easy to say, we will never have that.

But, that would be so short-sighted and so limiting of what God can do and also so unfair.  After all, this person lived in multiple homes before this one.  This person lived in a very small house with multiple children for many years.  This person is further along life’s path than I.

Sometimes, I think we see the spiritual maturity of others or the financial prosperity of others or the “perfect” homeschooling of others and we compare in a negative light instead of considering what paths those people may have taken to reach those ends.

Even scripture tells us that, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Psalm 13:12).  Waiting can be hard.

I remember reading in a Bible study book about a woman whose life seemed so “easy” now.  Then she went on to describe years of barely surviving financially and of eating simple dinners and never going out and I thought, “hey, that is my life right now!” and she went on to say that those lean years had really shaped her family in so many wonderful and positive ways.  I realized that perhaps that might be part of my story.  Perhaps I am struggling now, but maybe we won’t struggle forever? I can hope that this will be a season for us as well.  I can do my best with God has given us now and I can hope.  Maybe that hope is that we will not always struggle.  Maybe that hope is simply that he will strengthen us through the struggle.

Sometimes, to look forward, we must first look backward.  How has he helped me in the past?  Where were we a year ago?  Two years ago? Sometimes we need to compare our current circumstances or the current circumstances of others to our or their past circumstances to accurately see the true picture.

Then, hope can grow.

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Hope #2

{ This hope series is designed to chronicle my “word of the year” as well as to enourage you wit scripture, resources, and more.  Enjoy!}

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I am still focused on hope.

And, the funny thing is that hope breeds gratitude and gratitude lessens your tendency to hope for frivolous things.

There have been times that I have had such hope for a larger and more practical home.  Yet, this stormy season has brought such gratitude.  When I see rain pouring and wind raging outside, I am so very grateful for my home and my desire for something larger fades into the background of a thankful heart.

Thus, rather than longing for things, I am content in what I have already been blessed with.  Because, at one point, this very home is what I was hoping for.  This home is a hope fulfilled.

Gratitude reminds us of God’s provision in the past, it reassures us that we can hope again, but it also lessens our desire or hope for so many different things.  Hope is good, but we don’t want to spend all of our thoughts and prayers hoping for more.  Rather, believe that God can and be content even if he doesn’t.

“The iron did swim.”—2 Kings 6:9. Here is a great scripture and a link to a mini Spurgeon sermonthhhhgra that inspires hope.

Chicken Lady

We live in 816 square feet in a suburban neighborhood.  We share fences with four additional houses.

However, we still want to try our hand at some simple homesteading.  The first way we began that process was with raising chickens.  It has been about four years since we first got our chicks!  I have never regretted it!  In fact, I hope to expand our coop and raise a few more this year.

I’m sharing my tips for getting started with your own backyard chickens over at Raising Homemakers today!

Join me and become a chicken lady! Then, we can buy these shirts and wear them together!

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Raising Homemakers

Birthdays on a Budget

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I love throwing parties. So having three daughters is perfect!  I can throw parties at least three times a year!

However, when on a tight budget, throwing a party means using what I have and DIY-ing ALL. THE. THINGS.

So, I thought I’d share a few tips with you on how I throw fun and pretty parties on the cheap.

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  1. Use what you have.

I like to choose a theme for my parties, but once I’ve done that I consider what items I already have that can be used for the party and this often determines my color choices, decor, activities, etc.

For Sonora’s first birthday party I had the following items:

scrapbook paper, ribbons and fabric, cardboard, paint, vases, chalkboard, various dishes and cake plates, baking ingredients, horse figurines, edible flowers and herbs, popsicle sticks, craft paper.

This allowed me to create multiple banners, a backdrop, decor, sugar cookies, chocolate and whipped cream cake, and a pin the tail on the horse game for no extra money.

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2. Shop cheap.

I always buy my party plates and cups at the dollar tree and then “splurge” on a $3 packet of cute napkins from Home Goods.  I sometimes buy fun straws from the dollar spot at Target as well and then I have a stash to pull from. I spent $2 on plates and cups for this party.  I bought the ranunculas as a splurge and spent $12 total on the flowers, but they are still alive and decorating our home! I purchased the snack food from Food 4 Less and kept it simple: pretzels, caramel apples, and cream cheese/cucumber sandwiches.

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3. Accept help.

As a sort of go-getter, independent type, I tend to say, “I’ve got it” when people ask if they can help.  But, I am reformed . . . a little.  Parents often love helping with parties.  This time around my mom brought all the drinks and my in-laws brought a veggie platter and some edible flowers for decor. Also, grandma’s Christmas present to Sonora was the fancy horse dress she wore at the party.

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4. DIY

I’m going to admit that I almost ordered custom sugar cookies from this party.  But, then I found a 99cent unicorn cookie cutter and decided to make my own cookies (I cut the horns off, lol)! I also made a basic chocolate cake (2 layers with dollar store cake pans). I used whipped cream instead of frosting and then simply garnished with herbs and flowers from the garden as well as leftover scrap paper and one of my kids’ horse toys.

I purchased a few pieces of felt, iron on paper for her onesie (I used an old stained onesie), and one page of stick on gold glitter paper one package of pre-made flowers from Michaels.  I used a coupon and all of the decor cost me less than $12.

With these items I made the birthday crown, the high chair decor, the mini banner on the cake, the cake smash onesie, and the wording on the Pin-the-tail game.

The other item I love to DIY are the invites.  I buy a giant ream of cardstock that lasts forever and I use picmonkey to create a cute invite.  I print two invites per sheet of cardstock and then cut them.  I typically buy envelopes at Michaels with a coupon, which costs about $3 for 50 envelopes. I also hand deliver when I can to save on stamps!

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5. Keep it simple

I like to have my parties at non-meal times.  This way I only need snacks and drinks, rather than a main course.

I stick to easy games and often print out coloring sheets.  This time I had horse coloring sheets and I used craft paper that was used as padding in a package I received earlier in the week to cut our horse heads for the kids to decorate.

I will admit that we had a mini horse at this party, but in my defense it was free and unexpected! This brings up a great point!  Ask friends to participate.  Do you have a friend that teaches art, juggles, does magic tricks, sings, etc.? They might love being a part of your party entertainment!

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So, there you have it! A pretty party on a simple budget.  It was beautiful and fun and pretty easy to do!  Any questions?  Tips of your own?  I’d love to hear!