Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autumn is here!!

I have really been enjoying the Autumn season. The other day I was saddened to hear after someone commented favorably on the Fall weather, another replied "But it just means COLD! I don't like the cold weather." I feel bad when people look at the negative aspect of each season instead of appreciating the beauty that God packs into each one! With that said I thought I would share some of the things that say "Autumn" to me.
Above is a picture of my parents road. It doesn't look as beautiful in the picture as it really is. The leaves are gorgeous in a wide variety of colors. We have that around our place too, but not quite as much (in fact I suffer from Maple tree jealousy at this time of year as we don't have any).

I have also been enjoying the marigolds in my garden with have been blooming like crazy. They are a nice orange fall like color.
We also have leaves starting to fall. In our yard it is predominately oak leaves which have a very cool shape.
The flowers are going to seed, ready to send down seeds to make lots more flowers next year! Yea, I love flowers!
Political yard signs are popping up all over. I especially like the ones in this photo. :-)
Lots and lots of apples! I love how they look and we have had a blast picking them put I also very much enjoy the wonderful smell of hot applesauce with lots of cinnamon or apple pie or crisp! Yummy! Here is Jonathan helping to pick from a totally loaded crab apple tree. Another benefit of picking apples (which we found out about through freecycle) has been getting to meet more people.
Pumpkins! They are a very cheerful, "fall" looking vegetable.

Going to Ula's Hayride! Ula (a 90+ year old lady from church) had her 20th hayride party last week. It was attended by 131 people. We had a lot of fun and it is definitely part of Autumn for me. Above are David and Tomisha on the ride and below are Aaron, Jonathan and Harrison.
Grapes! We had fun on Monday picking grapes over at my parents. Jonathan and I also had fun making them into juice (which we are thinking about turning into jelly).
Other things that I enjoy are the Blue, blue skies, feeling cozy wearing a sweater and comfy socks, Hot chocolate and tea, Harvesting for the garden, picking up potatoes and that feeling that we need to get things done! Winter is coming.
What do you enjoy about Autumn?

A potato picking day!

On Saturday a bunch of us (6 carloads and around 36 people)took an hour drive to go glean potatoes. When we got to the field we were directed to go to we found that it had already been disked and there were no potatoes! But after driving a tiny ways we ended up finding a very nice field to glean in. Above Megan got into the action with her little bucket.
One of the piles of potatoes we found.
Dad's truck piled high with bags of potatoes. A bunch of us (mainly my extended family) worked to fill Dad's truck. We ended up getting over 2000 lbs of potatoes. Another family that went got 1000 lbs and another one 650 lbs. Another carload also brought some home but I am not sure how many. It ended up being a very good year for getting potatoes. Usually we get just russets (which are fine, we like them) but this year we got a fun variety of russets, red and a white potato.
After picking potatoes our family went to the park in Park Rapids and we ate a picnic lunch that I had packed. We also had fun playing!

Megan had climbed up on top of the monkey bars and was crossing them on top instead of hanging below. She amazes me with her lack of fear.

We are so blessed to live in a place where we can find food so plentifully! God is good!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A fun Birthday Celebration

Today Mara turned 9! She is our beautiful eldest child and she has been a joy to have as part of our family. We had a very busy day of celebrating.

In our house we always begin with gifts. I was pretty economical on this one, easily staying under $10 but that didn't reduce the enjoyment. Mara said that the major gift this year was the best she could imagine.

For one of her gifts that boys and I made a Barbie house. We have been busy much of the week working on it and have had so much fun. It is made basically from "trash" around the house and lots of hot glue! I have lots of close up pictures that I am looking forward to sharing on my blog but this one will do for tonight.

After gifts we had breakfast of biscuits and gravy (a favorite of Mara's) and then we rushed to clean the house so that we could go over to my parents. My sister and family were up visiting and so the adults had fun visiting and the kids had fun playing! (After lunch we had to rush home for a bridal consultation and violin lessons.)

This evening for supper we had My sister and family, my parents and my two youngest siblings and Jason Corder (a friend up from Louisiana) over for our supper party. We don't do normal kids birthday parties but always enjoy having family over.
Mara requested a horse them so we pulled out all the horses to decorate. I also pulled some ice blocks out of the freezer and made a flower arrangement in one and put some candles in the other. It was fun to decorate. We also used a bunch of our little apples to decorate with (since horses like apples).
She also wanted a horse cake so I did my best. The kids have really been into themes for their birthdays which is challenging but fun.

Well it is off to bed for me~ Good night!

Friday, September 26, 2008

30 Ways to have a Wedding on a Budget

I very much enjoy weddings. I loved dreaming and planning from when I was pretty young up until the time I got married, I enjoy helping friends with their weddings in any way they can use me and I even started a home business doing wedding flowers and other wedding stuff. The one thing that does bother me about weddings however is that many people (either the couple or the parents) go into major debt for a wedding. I guess the average wedding in the US right now is around $10,000. I don't know about you but the majority of people don't just have that money laying around. When the couple is paying for it (which is a method that I think works just fine, we did it that way) if they go into debt it means starting out their married life with a big disadvantage as debt is something that hinders a marriage rather than helping.

I personally think it is possible to have a beautiful wedding without having to go into debt. My husband and I did it and I have seen many others do it as well. It does help to have a willingness to spend time working on it and to be able to be creative and be willing to think outside the box. I thought I would share a list of ways that either I have used, seen used or read about that help you spend less money on your wedding.


  1. Make your own. At one time I think people would have looked at you weirdly if you didn't have engraved invitations on fancy white card stock. Times have changed however and invitations are incredibly varied. For our wedding we found some heavy weight paper that we liked and then Ken's uncle (who enjoyed doing things on the computer) offered to design and print our invitations as a gift to us. We also made our own envelopes out of matching paper (but that isn't necessary, you can find nice envelopes to buy). I have also seen (and I helped one friend make) pretty invitations using stamps and the computer. You can use embossing powder to make it even fancier. Here is a link with more detailed advice for making your own invitations. Here are some nice invitations available for free to print at home.

  2. Purchase a kit form Office Max or somewhere like that to use for your invitations. One friend I believe found some kits on clearance.

  3. Or at least buy from a magazine or online instead of paying card store prices.

  4. If it is a small affair, send out nice handwritten invitations.

  5. If you want you can buy a calligraphy pen and get a book from the library and learn how to do calligraphy for addressing your invitations. People will think you spend $2 an envelope to have it done for you.

NOTE: While it is nice to save money on invitations, I really suggest that you don't skimp on the sending of them! While many people just announce about the wedding in the newspaper to invite local people that can cause a lot of confusion and hurt feelings when people don't find out if they are invited or not. The same thing can happen if you just hang up one invitation at church or work. Somebody is bound to miss these notifications. My advice is to find an inexpensive way to make invitations and then have plenty of them. (You can still hang one up and church or work if you are afraid you might have missed somebody but don't use that as your only invite for those people.) You could be like the people of India and hand deliver all the local invitations. This could save you money on stamps (though if you are driving to each place your gas money will probably cost more than the stamps would.).

Wedding Clothes:

  1. Sew them. Sometimes sewing clothes isn't cheaper than buying them, but when it comes to wedding dresses I haven't seen that to be true. The top picture is of my sister-in-law and her husband and she and I sewed her dress together(last year for under $50). For our wedding (2nd picture) we sewed all of the dresses. For my wedding(almost 10 years ago) I chose a simple style (which is what I liked) and I spent around $50 for my dress and I figured out the bridesmaids dresses were about $8 each. The candlelighters and flower girls fabric was on clearance and I made their dresses for a couple of dollars each. If you are

    sewing it does pay to shop sales.

  2. Buy a second hand wedding dress. The 3rd photo is another friend who found a beautiful dress 2nd hand. I helped her do a little altering on it (for fit and to make the neckline more modest) and she looked lovely.

  3. Shop the clearance racks. Other friends have found some wonderful deals looking through the clearance racks at big bridal stores.

  4. Borrow a dress.

  5. Look at white dresses that aren't "wedding dresses", you might find something that is perfect for you. Feel free to be nontraditional if that is your style.

  6. For bridesmaids dresses, think about what your bridesmaids like and possibly shop at a normal department store instead of a bridal shop. They don't all have to wear exactly the same thing either, they can just follow some kind of theme. One of my pet peeves is when brides pick out this dress that a bridesmaid would never wear again and then expect them to pay a lot of money for it. (By the way I have been very blessed and the weddings I have been a bridesmaid in I have never had to pay for the dress, I have often sewed it but they always provided the stuff, I did the same when it came to my wedding.)

  7. For men, feel free to be creative. A tux is not required. :-) A groom looks nice in a suit as well. Ken was able to use one he already had but even if you need to buy one, it possibly wouldn't cost a lot more than a tux and then he would have one for a long time (as long as he doesn't gain a lot of weight after getting married!)

  8. Casual works too. Another sister-in-law got married last year as well and her groom did wear a tux but the other men wore tan slacks and blue shirts. (And all of them wore flip flops!) It was an outdoor wedding and it looked quite nice.

  9. For our wedding and quite a few around that time we simple told the men to wear black slacks and white shirts and then provided them with vests (which we made). This might not be so in style as much right now (I'm not sure) but it certainly was cost effective.

  10. For a ring bearer go shopping right after Easter time and find little suits that have gone on sale. Or try out E-bay. When my son was a ringbearer and needed a black suit I was able to find one there (including the shirt) for $11. And then a friend found the black shoes he needed on clearance for $2.

  11. Veils are one thing that will often cost a lot to buy but are very inexpensive (and pretty easy!) to make. Here are some links that explain how to make one:

The Cake

  1. Have a friend do it. If they haven't done it much it probably would be good if quite a bit of practise was done. To make it easier for them you could bake it first (people that I have talked to who decorate cakes usually freeze them first anyway) if you wanted. You could use box mixes if you want, but I love it when I find a wedding cake that is from scratch! I was blessed to have a sister and a friend that did a wonderful job for us. My friend has also done cakes for a lot of our other friends and family as well.

  2. Even if you have somebody that isn't that skilled at decorating, you can use fresh flowers on top to decorate and you will have a gorgeous cake! (Just don't use ones that are toxic)

  3. Find somebody that has a home business of doing wedding cakes. In my experience they are cheaper, taste better and look nicer than the ones that come from the grocery store bakery.

  4. Don't have a cake. I personally like the tradition of a cake but I have seen that being disposed of quite often lately. My sister-in-law used chocolate covered cherries instead. She also had a wide variety of other desserts. Another option is the have cupcakes (which would be much easier to frost neatly for a novice than a whole cake) and then place them on a tiered platter.

  5. Buy sheet cakes from a baker (far cheaper than a big wedding cake) and then place them on at different heights. You can use platters on vases to make a base or for a rustic look use logs or even cover boxes with decorative fabric.

The Food and Drink(Where a ton of money usually goes!)

  1. Don't have alcohol. It is amazing to me how much money often goes for something that doesn't even feed people! I think this is totally unneeded and it will save you a ton of money to not have it.

  2. Consider having your wedding at a time of day where you don't need to serve a whole meal. (For example: 2:30 pm, 7:15pm, etc.) Then just serve cake or desserts and possible some hor d'oeuvre. (We used this method for our wedding (it was in the evening). We had 3 types of cake which were all made by my sister and a friend. On cake was a white one and had tiers, it was frosted simply in white and I put flowers on it. That was our traditional cake but not a favorite of either Ken or I so we also had a "Grooms" Cake which was Carrot Cake (his favorite) and a "Brides" cake of German Chocolate which is my favorite. We also had nuts and mints and root beer floats (A favorite of mine and I really dislike any punch made with kool-aid!)

  3. Have it catered by family and friends. Many people love to help with weddings and this is an easy way to get many involved. If someone asks if you need help say "Yes! Would you be willing to bring ____?" You could/should offer to pay for all the ingredients. Have someone who is a great hostess/party giver be in charge of setting everything out and making it look nice.

  4. Don't feel like you have to have steak or something else that is equally expensive. Pasta is okay! Or having a BBQ. Maybe you love oriental food,or tacos, make the reception your own by choosing things that you and your fiance really enjoy! (And something that doesn't cost too much!)

  5. If you want to make things easier by getting it catered, think about just catering part of it like the main dish and then make much of the other stuff yourself (with help from friends and family). Choosing chicken for your meat will help you to save money too.

  6. Have a potluck. I have heard of couples asking for everybody to bring a dish to share instead of a gift. I bet they often have better food than at a catered event.

  7. Have an appetizer buffet instead of a sit down meal. For this you could buy some ready made and make other things yourself (some things can be made ahead and frozen). This can be done very elegantly with different food stations set up at various places in the room and then decorated nicely.

  8. Have ethnic foods. Many may be cheaper and you might find an ethnic restaurant that will cater some much more reasonably than a general caterer. Also serve it buffet style or family style at the tables.

Here are some links with additional ideas:

    There are so many more aspects that I have left to cover such as flowers, decorating, wedding favors, themes, etc.. Visit my post on 19 more ways to have a wedding on a budget. If you have any comments or questions about have a wedding frugally I would love to hear them!

For more Frugal Friday posts, visit Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stationary folder tutorial

You may know that I enjoy giving homemade gifts. I do for several reasons, It is fun to make something for someone else to enjoy, I get to express my creativity while showing others that I care, it is frugal and it is green~ A homemade gift comes with no packaging and usually I recycle something in the making of it.

This week a friend was having a birthday and so we invited her over for lunch. I also wanted to have a small gift for her and so I decided on a stationary set. For a graduation gift I received a homemade cloth folder with stationary in it and I still use it, I thought it would be fun to make something of that nature. I am going to attempt to do my first tutorial of how I made it in case anybody else would like to make one as well.

Above is the finished product when the ribbon is tied and it is ready to be stowed away for later letter writing. Now for how to make it:

1. Cut two pieces of cardboard (I used an old cereal box) 7" x 10".

2. Then because I wanted the Hebrews 3:13 ("But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today", so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.") on the front, because I think it is a great motivational reason for writing letters, I put the verse which I had printed on the computer on the front piece of cardboard and covered it with clear contact paper. This step could be skipped.

3. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 9" x 20". place the cardboard on the wrong side of the fabric about 1 inch from the end and centered in the middle, so that on 3 sides you have an inch on each side and the other side there is several inches hanging off. Then using hot glue (or some other fabric glue) glue the 1" sides down on the cardboard as shown above.

4. Then fold the excess fabric up so that it makes a sort of pocket on the right side. As shown above.

5. flip it over to the other side and it looks like this. Now use your hot glue and glue down all the fabric around the cardboard.

6. Then it will look like this. (above)
7. The right side looks like this with a pocket for putting stuff in. Now do the same thing with the other piece of cardboard and cloth.
8. Cut another piece of fabric 12" x 18". If you are having a verse (or anything that you want to put in the frame) cut an opening just big enough for that.
9. Then place both of your cloth covered cardboard pieces side by side with the fabric sides down. Lay the new fabric on top and tuck the edges under and glue it in place (you could hem it or iron it first for a neater look). Glue also around the verse window but don't worry about turning the edges under. Another idea: I think it would have been nice if I would have put a little batting under the fabric but I didn't think of it until too late.
10. Cut a ribbon several inches longer that the folder and hot glue in places so that it can tie at the side of the front. Also glue ribbon around the verse to frame it and cover up the rough edges of the fabric.
Now it is ready to be filled! I made some stationary and note cards using stamps, verses printed on the computer and card stock, envelopes and note pad paper. We also included a few stamps and a pen. To go along with our stationary set Mara picked some zinnias from our garden and we put them in a little jar and I tied a bow around them.
Here is Irindee the birthday girl!

We had fun getting ready for her birthday and I think she enjoyed it too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My disorganized blues...

Lately I have been feeling like I live in a rather disorganized mess! I totally like the idea of organization and work towards it many times but some of my organizational plans never became habits and other ones that pretty much did I have been neglecting lately. So it is reorganizing time!! Right now I am dreaming about:
  • Not having to go through half of the pen/pencil container before find one that is sharp or works.
  • Always having birthday presents ready to go well in advance of the day.
  • Never arriving places late!
  • Never having overdue library books.
  • Always sending out Birthday cards on time.
  • Sending out thank you notes promptly.
  • Having a neat bed side table with a lamp, alarm clock, Kleenex and one book (Do I ever read just one at a time?!).
  • Not having a desk completely clutter with paper and other stuff.
  • Always having meals ready on time.
  • Being all caught up on putting photos in albums.
  • Never having a shower that is embarrassingly dirty!

Those are some of my issues that I would like to resolve. I do have some plans and I plan on sharing them soon but I am also open for suggestions from you. If you have a answer that works for you on keeping organized (on the issues I listed or others) I would love to hear about it!

WFMW ~Blog following

Something that has been working well for me lately is the Blog Following that blogger set up recently. I enjoy reading lots of friends blogs as well as other blogs that interest me but there are quite a few that sometimes will go a month without updating and so I was spending a bunch of time visiting their blog only to find that I had already read the latest posts. I know many people have used Bloglines but I didn't feel like having another separate account that I had to log into.

I like Blogger's new blog following because I just have to insert the blog addresses that I want to follow and then each time I log into my blog I can see a list of all the most recently updated blogs and a little bit about their posts. That way I can see if it is something I want to go look at or not. No more visiting blogs to find that they haven't been updated. Saving time and still keeping up with friends definitely works for me!

For more Works for me Wednesday posts visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Enjoying Iowa!

Iowa was the first state that we were able to travel to while studying about it. My Grandma lives in Iowa as well as many friends and it was time to make a trip down there to visit so we went. Ken had business classes to attend in the cities so we dropped him off on the way but my sister Keren came with me to keep us company and help me drive. We had a good time and we had fun learning.

First some facts:

  • Iowa became a state on December 28, 1846 becoming the 29th state.
  • The capital is Des Moines.
  • The state flower is the Wild Rose.
  • The state bird is the American (or Eastern) Goldfinch.
  • The state tree is the Oak.Iowa is a state with rich farmland. More than nine out of every ten acres in Iowa are used for agriculture. Iowa has long, warm (may I say hot and humid) summer days, lots of rain and winters that preserve plant nutrients which makes Iowa croplands the envy of other states. Iowa produces more corn, soybeans, hogs and eggs than any other state.As we were traveling we kept our eye out for roadside corn stands. We were able to find one very close to Grandma's and they were a good deal too. This was our first corn on the cob of the summer as I had been waiting to buy local corn. This place was a self serve stand. I am always impressed to see trusting people.

We had fun seeing all the wind turbines as we were driving through Northern Iowa. Aaron thought they were the most memorable thing to learn about in Iowa.

We drove by the hospital in Ottumwa, IA as Mara wanted to see where she was born. Ken and I went to Bible college in Ottumwa and we married and had Mara while we were still there.

I also had fun visiting the florist shop where I used to work. It was fun to see some old friends there and at church.

The kids had fun playing on the hay bales near Grandmas. Her house is in the middle of a bunch of fields.

Iowa makes me think of fruit too. Grandma has apple and peach trees that produce wonderfully. She used to bring us a bunch of cherries too!
We were blessed that is wasn't terribly hot and sticky while we were there. We really enjoyed spending time outside. It isn't always comfortable weather however, I remember being very largely pregnant with Mara and it being 114 degrees and very humid and no air conditioning in our apartment! On the other end of the scale winters our cool. We enjoyed some good snow storms and quite a few ice storms. The ice storms were what this MN girl had to get used too.

At a gift shop in an Iowa welcome center Megan admired a stuffed pig and cow, animals that there are a lot of in Iowa.

There is a lot more I could say about Iowa but it is getting late.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin