Rich. One word interpreted so many ways.

I’m out running errands with my two younger girls when the oldest suddenly announces that the owners of the house we just drove by “must be rich”.  I ask her why she thought that and she states “well they have all these nice things in their yard, a pool, a big house, and all those new cars”.

Oh my!  It’s time for us to have a little talk about what rich really means, and of course about debt.  You see I want my kids to grow up knowing that we are rich, their friends are rich.  That they are surrounded by some of the richest people I know.  No, they are not all rich in terms of wealth, but their life is rich.  It’s full of contentedness, spirituality, happiness, fun, memories and so much more.

feeling richphoto credit (adapted by practicing frugal)

Merriam-Webster defines rich as:

1. Having abundant possesssions especially material wealth 2. having high value or quality 3.magnificently impressive  4.  vivid and deep in color 5.  highly productive or remunerative

Why is it that most kids start out with the generalized thought that wealth makes a person rich?  or that having a lot of possessions makes a person rich?

I can remember growing up thinking this very same thing.  Thinking that most of the kids I went to school with were so rich.  They acted that way, they had really nice things, they had big houses, but did they really own it all? Were they really happy?

Until I became an adult, I thought those were the things that defined wealth.  Until I learned about credit and debt, I thought just having something meant you were rich.  Having many something’s meant you were really, really rich.  It wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned about things like quality, colorful, and most of all contentedness, I thought wealth was the only path to being rich.

So what exactly did I tell my 10 year old that day?

After thinking a few minutes about what I wanted to say, I decided to take it to the dictionary.  I felt it would be best to explain what rich means with the definition.  Besides, that’s what we do at home if we don’t know what a word means, we look it up.  So she pulled it up on my phone and read the many possible meanings of such word.

First, I explained to her that most people associate wealth with being rich, but there are so many more ways to define rich.  Just like the dictionary said, there is having quality. Living a quality life doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bunch of money.  You are trying to carve out the best life you can for your family.  Spending quality time with family and friends. Making quality memories that will last a lifetime.

Quality can be achieved most when a person is content.  It doesn’t mean you may settle being in a bad situation, it’s a place, it’s a feeling, and it’s being okay with where you are now.  It’s knowing things will get better, but not dwelling in misery about the things you don’t have.

We also talked about having color in our lives and how it can add richness to your life. Just like people say colorful things make them feel good, having color in your life, variety, fun, love, and spirituality will make you feel good.  It will make you feel like the richest person in the world.

The last thing I told her came from the practical financial side of me.  The side of me that want’s my kids to know that possessions don’t define wealth.  I told her that you may very well hear it defined that way, but having possessions does not mean a person owns them. I explained to her about debt and that some people have an appearance of owning many things, but they are still paying for them, and that you really don’t own something until it is paid for.  We talked about how many times these seemingly rich people never pay for all those things, and it can all be taken away, further reinforcing the reality of ….. you don’t own it till it’s paid for.

I’m so glad we got to talk about this subject.  I want my kids to have the contentedness that I did not have growing up.  I want them to enjoy the here and now in their lives and not live life wishing they had more or could be like someone else.  I want them to know that it doesn’t mean settling somewhere that is not their goal, but to be content in the path it will take to get there.  To be content in doing what needs to be done to get where you want to be.  To enjoy life along the way.  To savor relationships, make memories and most of all laugh a lot.

These things make me rich.

What’s your meaning of rich?  

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Flowered Headband Tutorial

I made these cute earm warming headbands for the girls after seeing some I liked on Etsy for a grand price of $16 plus shipping.

I was able to make 3 of these headbands for a grand total of $3.50 plus tax.  ($1 each for headbands and 25¢ for each piece of felt.  I already had the embroidery thread and needle, but these can be purchased at a fairly inexpensive price as well.



Items You Will Need:  

  • Headband – I purchased the stretchy headbands at JoAnns for $1 each.  They were located in the $1 bins at the front of my store and came in a few different colors.
  • Felt – 1 sheet each of 2 different colors.  I was able to make 3 headbands out of these 2 sheets.  Prefer one sheet same as headband color.
  • Embroidery Thread – in a complimentary color.
  • Needle
  • Flower Templates – I used the 3 smallest ones from this PDF pattern for Felt Flowers.  I printed and cut them out on cardstock so they would withstand being traced around many times.
  • Scissors
  • Marker – I used a sharpie and cut right on the line and put marker side down on headband.  If using a really light color you should use something not so dark.

I cut 2 – large flowers (one in each color), 5 – medium flowers (2 in color same as headband – grey for me and 3 in the other color-purple for me) and 4 – small flowers (3 in color same as headband and 1 in other color).  Obviously you can do this any way you want, but I just wanted to give you a pattern in case you wanted to copy what I did.

On the headband I layered the flowers as follows from the bottom up:

 The left side is medium purple, medium grey, small purple, small grey.

The right side is medium grey, medium purple, small grey.

The middle is large purple, large grey, medium purple, small grey.

Be sure to alternate where the flower petals go by not overlapping or stacking them in the same direction. I alternated by putting every other one over where the space between the petals are on the flower under it.

Clear as chocolate milk?  I find this a bit hard to explain so make sure you take a look at the picture.

You will want to place the left side and right side down first so you can get an idea of where they need to go.  I put them close enough so that when I put the large flowers i the middle the flowers on the left and right were covered 1/3 to 1/2 by the larger flowers.  This is so that when the headband is stretched out (put on a head) the flowers will be real close together.

headband 2

I also placed my left side flowers just above halfway up my headband and the right side flowers just below halfway for a not so mass produced look.  They are sitting on the headband at a slight angle.

Now that you know where you want to put your flowers, it’s time to attach them with some french knots.  Now don’t get all nervous, they are pretty easy to do.  Just watch the video below and practice a few times on some scraps and you will have it down.

Place about 4 french knots (1 in center and 3 arround) in each set of flowers going through all flowers in a stack at a time.

Now enjoy that finished product.  Aren’t they the cutest things?  Perfect for gift giving or just giving to those who need to keep their ears warm in style.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email.  

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Handmade and Homemade Gifts

I hope each and every one of you enjoyed your Christmas holiday immensely by eating too much and making some great memories all the while remembering the reason for the season!  I know we did just that ourselves, and had a great time doing it.

Now it’s time to clean up things a bit and think about the New Year to come!  Wow, I really can’t believe it’s already almost 2014!  This year went fast, but it was a great year filled with many memories.

This year for Christmas there were many handmade/homemade gifts given that I wanted to share with you.  Not only are they sometimes a more frugal option to store bought gifts, but they can also be personalized for the receiver for a very special memory.

Next year I plan on getting started earlier so that I can include more handmade/homemade gifts and the girls can too!

present snowmen

My sister put together these adorable snowmen from the presents she got for the girls. They were so cute and loved by all.

I made each of my girls one of these flowered headbands after seeing these in an Etsy store for $16 each.  I knew by looking at them that I could make the same thing (pretty much) for much less.

I also have the materials to make them each one more in a different color combination.  I just didn’t get them all done in time.

headband 2

They turned out so very pretty.

Tomorrow I will be posting the directions to make your very own!  It’s not only easy to make, but very frugal.  I bought the headbands at JoAnns for $1.00 each, paid $.25 for each sheet of felt (need at least 2 different colors) and used embroidery thred I already had.  That’s a total of $3.50 for 3 headbands!

My oldest (Big Girl) painted a canvas for each of her sisters’ rooms.  They are so pretty and will definetly add color to their rooms!  The best part of the pictures is the personalization of each and how they really represent who each girl is!

canvas art

canvas art 2

Big Girl also made some really pretty scarves for her aunt and sisters.  They are so cute and soft!  You can learn how to make them by watching the video here.  They literally only take a few minutes to make and the only thing you need is the yarn (Red Heart Swerve) that she purchased at Walmart and your hands.

hand chain scarf

Grandma made each of the little girls a backpack for carrying things on their trips.  The neat thing about these is that she made them to match purses (that fit their Kindles) she had made them for their birthdays.  The bonus was that they also got a doll outfit for their American Girl dolls made from the same matching fabric.

backpacks and doll clothes

K also made her sisters gifts this year.  She purchased these plain wooden frames from Hobby Lobby (using coupon of course) for about $5.39 each.

unfinished frame

I helped her paint them with spray paint we had on hand (the yellow is what I used on my door and rocking chair).

We then went through pictures so that she could pick out pictures of her with each sister to make collages.  We made these online (Walgreens) for less than $4 total (yep, had a coupon code) and picked them up when we were out.

She then added the writing with a paint pen she also purchased at Hobby Lobby with a coupon.

painted framesThey turned out so pretty and even made some people cry!  Not naming any names or anything.

The best thing is that she thought up the idea all by herself as well as bought it all with her own money.

The Last Princess chose to purchase gifts for her sisters with her allowance money.  She did a great job on picking out the best small gifts!  She bought earrings for Big Girl from Target because she loves earrings and a “water” Barbie for K because she says she always plays with hers when they take a bath!

The girls and I made cinnamon rolls and cookies for some friends.  We also included jars of blueberry jam that we made this past summer.

cinnamon rolls

I froze some of the cinnamon rolls (before rising and baking) to cook Christmas morning for a delicous sweet treat.

They were awesomely delicious and I cannot wait to share the recipe.

sugar cookies

italian sprinkle cookies

We had a great time planning, making and receiving these handmade and homemade gifts as well as the other great gifts we received.

It was a great time to be with and share with family and friends.

Hope you had a great holiday as well.

What did you make for others this year?  Have a favorite gift you gave or received?

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{this moment}

I’m joining SouleMama for {this moment}.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

sister sleepover


homemade brownies

…..and just in case these absolutely wonderful homemade brownies make you wish you had the recipe, here’s the link to my favorite bownie resource 50 Brownies (I use # 11 most).

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Our No Stress, Frugal Christmas Decorations

Nothing takes the spirit of the season out of a person more than stress over getting things done.  The last few years I have scaled back on making everything “perfect” and have taken a more relaxed approach to decorating at Christmas.  It sure has helped me to be able to relax more and not stress about getting things done.

It’s also budget friendly when you can use things that you already have in your home, or parts of nature that are just outside waiting to be used.

A big part of our Christmas decorating is done by the girls now.  Once the tree is up, they start getting the ornaments and decoartions out and get right to it.  Of course they sometimes ask me where something should go, but for the most part I just relax and enjoy watching them get creative.

You must forgive the low quality photos.  I am now down to just a camera phone until after the first of the year.  

We went to a different place to get our real tree this year and while we were there we got to visit with Santa!

santa 2013

The girls did a really good job getting the tree decorated.  They even put out some presents left at our house by their Uncle and Aunt.

2013 tree

I used some of the branches that we had to trim off the bottom of the tree for some decorations around the house.

canning jar decoration

small canning jar decoration

yellow chair

porch decorations

As usual, the girls and I hit the woods in search of their nature tree for the year.  We finally found just the right one.  We cut it down and put it in a flower pot of dirt from off the deck.

nature tree

 The next day we found the dining/school room full of ants around the flower pot!  We had warmed them up and they were starting to travel.  After getting them all cleaned out and kicking the flower pot back outside we decided to use the galvanized pail that I had for porch decorations.  We put in a couple bricks and then filled around it with small rocks.  No ants!  I think the pail added greatly to the nature tree.

nature tree 2

popcorn cranberry garland

garlandI had been meaning to paint these candlesticks I have been collecting, so I finally jumped on it and got it done.  I wanted to make them all the same color so that I could display them in a group or alone.

DIY painted candlesticks

I used my favorite ORB paint to make them all the same color.  Now I can put in inexpensive candles along with some other decorations or maybe some cute ribbon for a simple decoration that I can change throughout the year.

DIY candlesticksThat’s pretty much all I have for you guys today.  I hope you enjoyed seeing our frugal and simple decorations.

How do you decorate your home?  

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Warm Weather, Broken Dryer and DIY Dryer Repair

It was only a week ago that the weather was darn near 80 outside here in Arkansas.  We all enjoyed spending a great deal of time outside playing, sitting, reading and for me, hanging out a bit of laundry.

fall chickens

I like to hang out laundry whenever I can as part of my quest to be more frugal, but I also love it for the great scent it fills my clothes with, the scent of pure outdoors.

The other day the breeze was just enough to not only fill the clothes with a great scent, but to also dry them quicker and softer.


Normally I wouldn’t have dried my clothes outside on this day since I had family at my house, but a couple days earlier my dryer quit getting hot and we had an impending ice/sleet storm heading our way.  I wanted to get as much laundry done as possible so we would have all our “warm” clothes clean.  So I hung out two loads that day.

….. and I commenced to figuring out what was wrong with the dryer with the help of my visiting brother.

I began by doing a quick internet serch of the problem with my dryer and my model number.  It brought me to Repair Clinic where I was able to find out information about what could be wrong with my dryer and I could see tutorials on how to get to the parts and how to check the 5 possible parts of the dryer that could be suspect.

My brother grabbed the tools needed and we set out to test each of the 5 parts with a multimeter, which was a really easy process.  All 5 of the parts were testing good, so it came down to one last part that is the least common problem (as well as most expensive).  The tutorials and information I read stated that it is not common for the timer to be the problem, but since my dryer originally quit getting hot a few months ago on one side of the dial, I figured it was very likely.  Of course the timer is expensive , but not near as expensive as paying a repairman to fix it or a new dryer.

dryer timer 3

I was able to order the part for $83 and some change including shipping, but I had the part in about 2 days.

whirlpool timer

My brother had already gone home at this point and since my hubby’s job keeps him away home for long hours, it was up to me to put the part in.  Never a problem here, I’m a pretty independent person and will try to accomplish things on my own if possible.  Anything I can get done allows hubby time to do other things on the weekends.

whirlpool timer 2

It was as simple as unplugging wires from the old part and plugging them into the new one.  I did this one by one so that I would know where each wire would go without getting them mixed up.

I placed the new part back in the back of the dryer and screwed the screws back into place.  I then put the back piece back on the dryer by putting in and tightening several screws.

And that’s it!  The dryer worked and got hot on all sides of the dial!  It literally took me less than 20 minutes to fix.  The hardest part was putting the air vent hose back on the back of the dryer (in the small space) and pushing it back against the wall.

Just in time for the big sleet/ice storm that didn’t really pan out.

So in case you need to do a little appliance repair and love to save some money, I recommend these places to get you going:

Repair Clinic – great tutorials, parts and a great return policy

Appliance Parts Pros – repair tips, support, parts and a great return policy

Midwest Appliance Parts – competitive pricing on parts, but return policy is a little tighter and more of a hassle (I only read it, didn’t have an experience needing to return)

Be sure to check retailmenot for coupon codes.  I was able to save 5% by using a new customer code I found for Midwest Appliance parts.

None of these are affiliate links, just linka to help get you started on your very own DIY repairs.

How about you, have you fixed something on your own lately?

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Thanksgiving, Shopping and Ebates

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones and were able to celebrate the many things you are grateful for.

We had a great Thanksgiving as we traveled to the north part of the state to eat dinner and spend the night with my Dad and Step-Mom.  I was very thankful that the whole family could be there.  My brother and his wife are on a visit from the Chicago area, and my sister was off work all day.  We were able to take a family picture with all 10 of us in it!  (I wish I could share it, but my sister has the pictures since I am still without my good camera right now)

If you decided to brave the black friday sales, I hope you got everything you were after.  I’m not a big shopper (I like shopping from my laptop), so I just slept in a little and enjoyed my visit with my family.  I will admit that I did make a run to Best Buy with my sister on Thanksgiving night for a TV she wanted.  Nobody wanted to go with her, so I went to keep her from having to go alone.  I’m pretty sure I will never do this again (but I do love you Amanda) as it seemed ridiculous to get in line outside to get a ticket that guarantees you the TV, only to stand in another line inside for well over 2 hours waiting to pay for it!

We spent our weekend by visiting a local festival, relaxing, cooking by fire and visiting the lights at a nearby botanical garden (we have a membership).  It was not only a pretty frugal weekend, but it was quite a bit of fun!  I mean who doesn’t like festivals, food, bonfires, s’mores and Christmas lights?

Today I did do a little shopping with some of the great Cyber Monday sales that were taking place.  I made sure to use Ebates to earn a little extra cash while shopping online.  If you have never shopped through ebates before, I highly recommend them as a great way to earn back a percentage of what you spend at many online merchants.  Don’t worry if you forget and get a cart full of purchases.  Log into or sign up for an Ebates account and search for your store.  When you click on the link through ebates, your items will still be in your cart.  So far this year I have earned $54.78 through ebates ordering things online that i was going to be ordering anyways.  You can still use coupon codes just like you would any other time.


*I do get a bonus for each person I refer to ebates that makes a qualifying purchase, but I promise I do highly recommend Ebates and use it regularly.  

I have my lists for each girl made out and I try not straying from them, because it will only lead to over spending.  Each year we tend to get a little more simpler with our gifts, decorations and plans, but we get a lot more back to the real reason for Christmas, so I tend to try to keep this in mind when thinking about and planning for Christmas.  It’s amazing how much these things can lower your stress levels.

I’m enjoying this last week with my brother and sister in law at our house, seeing some great sights, and cooking some great food for them.  I hope to send them home well rested, well fed and with loads of pictures and new recipes!

windrift hill soap

Before I go, I wanted to tell you about a product I recently purchased and fell in love with. It could be just the gift idea you were looking for!  Not long ago I went to a craft fair and purchased a couple bars of goat milk soap from Windrift Hill Soaps, hoping that the soap might help with the dry skin problems I have this time of year.  I also have sensitive skin and allergies to perfumes and strong scents, so I was weary of many of the soaps at the craft fair.  I thought these soaps might be great for me because the scent was not so over-powering and artificial, but more natural smelling.

Now all I can think about is getting some more of this soap!  I recently used the last bit of the last bar, and I can say I love this stuff.  The scent is great, it doesn’t make me itch and it seems to not dry me out like many soaps do.  I had purchased 2 bars of the Montana Huckleberry and the girls each purchased a bar, but I can’t remember what scents they got.  So if you think this might interest you, take a minute and check out the site.  I think you will enjoy their product just like I did, and I’m not being paid or reimbursed to tell you that :-)

How was your Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

making a habit out of living frugal…..

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