Saturday, July 24, 2010

Emory is pulling up!

This can't wait until her 13 month post because we have been waiting for so long!  She is finally pulling up by herself, unassisted, and on a regular basis.  I was unsure if she would ever accomplish this milestone and thought she might actually walk before pulling up (though she is showing zero interest in walking).

IMG_0504-2Thinking about it…   

IMG_0505-2On her knees…IMG_0509-2and she’s up and so proud :)

Frugal Living – Homemade Spice Rack/Cabinet organizer

SomeIMG_0512times to save money, you just have to be creative and think outside the box.  Repurposing and recycling items for things other than their intended use is sometimes a great way to save money.

I got this idea the other day when I was in Bed Bath and Beyond.  I have been having a major issue with all my spices.  I bought a spice rack several months ago, but it just isn’t big enough.  It holds my most popular spices, but what do I do with the rest?  Well, they get stuffed in my cabinets and then when I need them I literally have to take them out one by one until I find what I need.  It is time consuming and frustrating, especially when I have limited cabinet space and no other real options.  Anyway, I stumbled upon these cabinet organizers at the store and that is when I had my brilliant idea :).

cabinet organizer$5.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond

Instructions for your very own homemade spice rack/cabinet organizer.


  • 3 cereal boxes
  • scissors
  • tape
  1. Cut the first cereal box in half.
  2. Fit the two pieces inside one another so you have a smaller box with four sides.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the next box.  This tier will need to be smaller than the previous so make adjustments as you cut it.
  4. Next stack the box tiers.  Largest on bottom and tape them together.
  5. Voila!  You just saved $5.99!

 IMG_0513-2Top viewIMG_0514Side view IMG_0515-2stacked and ready to organize 

This worked great.  Plus, the tiers are larger than the store bought version so you can put more spices on them and they are easier to see.  Don’t worry about what the cereal boxes look like.  As you can see from the very first picture, you can’t even tell they are cereal boxes once you have your spices on them. 

Have fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Frugal Living – Laundry

One of the easiest ways to cut costs at home is laundry.  It takes virtually no effort and can save a ton depending on the size of your family and how much laundry you do.  This summer I went old school and started drying my clothes outside on a clothes line.  The actual clothes line costs about $10 and the clothes pins around $4.  Since I am in a rent house, I didn’t want to set posts to string the line, so I simply stretched it across my yard and attached it to the posts already set for our privacy fence.  Super classy!  Ok, it may not be beautiful, but it works and it saves us money.  Plus, with the privacy fence, no one can see it but us.  In this OK heat, I can dry at least two large loads a day—three if I get started early enough.  I also have a line-drying plan for the winter, but I will post that when the cold weather hits.

Below is the recipe I really like to use.  There are actually two.  They are virtually the same except that the concentration is different.  If you have hard water or tough stains, I would go with the 1st one.  I also like these two because they make a manageable amount of detergent.  Some of the recipes you find online make like 10 gallons at a time.  I don’t have that kind of storage space.

I only do about 4-5 loads of laundry a week and I save anywhere between $70-$100 a year by making my own detergent.  Obviously the more laundry you do, the more you save.  It doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but combine it with a few other money saving ideas and all of a sudden your saving a bundle!

Things you need to know before you start…

  1. From start to finish this takes about 20 minutes.  Then 24 hours for the detergent to “gel.”
  2. Washing soda can be purchased at Homeland
  3. You can use any laundry bar soap.  Most people use Fels Naptha (can be purchased online).  You can also use Zote or Ivory (can be purchased at Wal-Mart).
  4. When the soap starts to “gel” it will separate.  The soap will float to the top.  You need to stir it before pouring it into a smaller container.  I use an immersion blender to speed up the stirring process.
  5. Don’t throw away your detergent bottles.  Use them to store your homemade detergent.  Shake the bottle well before pouring detergent into your machine.
  6. For tough stains, I still use a commercial stain remover.  You can also rub the Fels Naptha bar directly on stains before putting it in the wash.

Recipe #1

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

  • Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water. Reduce heat to low and stir until soap is melted.
  • Pour the soap water into a large, clean container and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
  • Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
  • Cover container and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it

Recipe #2

3 Pints water
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar Soap (grated)

In a large pot bring 3 pints of water to a boil. Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water. Reduce heat to low and stir until soap is melted.

  • Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved (mixture will thicken), then remove from heat.
  • In a 2 gallon container, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
  • Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The New American Frugal Housewife

This is the first in a series of posts I hope to continue indefinitely about frugal living.  It will contain my thoughts and observations as well as frugal tips.

I am becoming increasingly passionate about this subject because it encompasses more than just saving money.  I believe at the heart of frugal living is the purpose and great privilege God has ordained for us as wives and mothers.

It seems to me that the value of the “housewife” has been greatly diminished in the aftermath of the Feminist Revolution.  So much so that the term “housewife” itself seems to be derogatory.  Unfortunately for my parent’s generation and even more so for mine, the outcome of these feminist ideologies is the deterioration of the family and the character of the women being brought up in today’s society.  Not to mention the practical attributes which women today are left without, such as cooking, sewing, and the ability to manage a household.

Despite these facts, I have seen a resurgence among women of my generation to regain those lost attributes.  For me this has meant learning those practical skills that I missed out on in my youth.  It has also meant a great deal of “rewiring” in my mind as God has shown me what my calling is as a woman.  How different it is from what the world is teaching our young girls today!

Obviously, one of the ways to live more frugally is to cut back on unnecessary expenses.  I won’t go into what we have been doing right now, but I do want to discuss where my motivation to cut back originally started.  For many people, especially the past couple of years, it has come from necessity.  Likewise, for us.  When my husband lost his job, it was definitely imperative that we make changes in our lifestyle.  However, unlike so many others we know, it wasn’t from a lack of money.  For the first time in our marriage, when tragedy struck, we actually had enough money to get by for awhile.  Granted, it wasn’t a great deal of money, but it was enough that panic didn’t set in when my husband came home one day without a job.  Nonetheless, we still had bills to pay and would soon need a source of income. 

It was actually the prospect of not having money that really motivated us to take a look at our lives and how we were spending our hard earned resources.  We know from many of our friends experiences with job losses that this isn’t the case for so many.  When the pay check stops coming in, everything else stops too.  Many have made a habit of living from paycheck to paycheck and buying the rest on credit.  Scott and I had been there in the past.  We knew what it was like to look at the stack of bills we couldn’t pay, to eat out and put the bill on a credit card, to open the refrigerator and find it empty and all of a sudden our comfortable lives were interrupted and we found ourselves detoured to a road that might lead back to those unpleasant times.

Thankfully, Scott and I had realized a couple of years earlier that our financial decisions were causing us unnecessary stress and strain.  We set out on a mission to become debt-free.  We hadn’t reached that goal, when Scott lost his job.  We still haven’t reached it, but at least we were on our way.  We had managed to reduce our debt significantly so that our bills were minimal, and had established an emergency savings.  When disaster struck, we were quickly able to determine what our priorities were and take the necessary steps to avoid any financial peril.  Those steps weren’t easy.  It meant selling our beautiful home that Scott had built only two years earlier and moving into a shabby little rent house.  It meant that Scott had to drive a beat up Ford Ranger instead of his new Ford F150.  It meant making sacrifices and giving up some of the luxuries that we were accustomed to.  It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary if we were going to stay on track with our goals and keep our priorities in line with our values.  A year later, we are still in the shabby little rent house.  Scott has upgraded from his beat up Ford Ranger to a beat up Ford F150 and we are still on track to be debt-free in the near future.  Oh yeah, and we are happier than we have ever been.

Bottom line:  “No false pride, or foolish ambition to appear as well as others, should ever induce a person to live one cent beyond the income of which he is certain.” The American Frugal Housewife by Maria Child

And, its not just about us.  We have two daughters who will one day be managers of their own homes.  God willing, they will leave our house to join their husbands armed with the confidence and knowledge to answer the noble call God has given to all women.  What a joy and privilege it is to be the one who gets to teach them what that call entails and how to manage it.  The only way I can live up to such a challenge is to continue to grow in knowledge myself.  I by no means have it figured out.  I hate coupons, I LOVE eating out, I hate watching every penny, I LOVE spending all the pennies :).  I am on my way though and my daughters will hopefully be further down the road than me.  What a legacy! 

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Big Girl

IMG_0430Wow, Liberty is six years old! What is it about being a parent that makes time go by faster?  When I think about all the things we have been through and all that we have done together, I just can’t believe that it has all gone by so fast.  She is absolutely the best.  I tell her all the time that she is my best friend.  I wouldn’t trade staying at home with her and getting to know her for the world.  We do everything together and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

She is in a completely delightful stage right now.  I couldn’t ask for a better attitude or better behavior.  That’s not to say that she doesn’t have her moments, but for the most part, she is absolutely wonderful!  I have learned over the years that this phase will give way into a more trying one, but even during the more difficult stages I would still wager that she is more well behaved and pleasant than the average six year old girl.IMG_0945

She has become extremely helpful.  We had some issues awhile back getting her to complete her “chore” list.  It primarily consists of things like cleaning her room, picking up toys, and picking up the trash.  It was a constant battle and by the end of the day we would both be upset.  Then, one day, it just clicked.  It did come after a near breakdown on my part and a chat with her Dad, but all of a sudden doing chores wasn’t a problem anymore.  Now she completes all of her tasks without my constant nagging her to get it done.  Then, she is so proud of herself.  It’s really a win-win for both of us.  Sometimes she even takes on extra chores so Daddy will give her money :).

Her absolute favorite thing to do right now is to help me cook or bake.  This takes an extreme amount of patience on my part, but it has been so worth it.  Now she is very competent in the kitchen and takes instructions very well.  I have taken the opportunity to teach her fractions while we measure and she is getting very good at it.  I love to cook and bake and I am so excited that she wants to do it with me.  I wish I had learned to cook when I was younger because learning as an adult has been extremely challenging.  I’m so happy that I can pass this on to my daughter.  Hopefully her husband won’t have to endure the painful cooking Scott did at the beginning of our marriage.  Not to mention the huge restaurant bills!


Practicing shopping—love these little shopping carts in a store in Texas

The question I hear most often is “Mom, what does (insert any  random word) mean?  She is like a walking Thesaurus!  She wants to know the meaning and alternate words for everything.  I hope this is a sign of high SAT scores in the future!  I actually downloaded an iPhone Thesaurus app so I would have the definitions ready to go.  It’s one of my many favorite things about her.

She has made significant progress with all of her fears.  They are primarily limited to storms at this point.  However, we have to be very careful about what we talk about in front of her because she is always looking for something else to add to the list.  She is just extremely fearful.  She worries constantly.  I know that some of these tendencies come from losing her sister, obviously.  However, the more I talk to other parents about it, it also just seems to be the nature of some children.  We are using the opportunity to teach her to pray and to rely on the Sovereignty of the Lord.  Praying seems to come very naturally to her.  The part that seems to get her is completely trusting the Lord and being ok with whatever he has in store for her life.  Its a hard thing to attempt to explain these spiritual matters to a six year old.  Nonetheless, the Lord is gracious to give both of us peace, patience, knowledge, and  understanding when we need it most :).


  1. Barbies, Barbies, and More Barbies!!  She currently owns over 20.
  2. Coloring/Drawing
  3. Making cards.  She loves to make her own cards.  She usually sends them to her Nana and Papa.
  4. Swimming
  5. Making new friends.  This is one of her favorite friends :)IMG_0299
  6. Favorite movie is Barbie in a Mermaid Tale
  7. Favorite foods: pizza and popcorn chicken
  8. Sparkly, silver flip flops with heels
  9. Skirts
  10. Her HoneyWord Bible
  11. Fake tattoos
  12. Hair Bows
  13. Dresses
  14. Cooking with Mommy
  15. Reading or  being read to
  16. I just realized that in the majority of the pictures I posted Liberty is wearing the same clothes.  I guess you can tell what her favorite outfit is too :).

She has lost three teeth so far.  The last one came out the day before she turned 6.


She still has a flair for the drama  tic and loves to have her picture taken :)  She is always on the lookout for someone with a camera.


She adores her baby sister and she is the best daughter in the whole wide world!!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer at Nana and Papa’s Farm

Me:  “What was some of your favorite things that we did at Nana and Papa’s house this week?
Liberty:  “Well, I liked the paddle boat, swimming in the lake, the horses, and eating bacon.” (apparently the cereal or toast I feed her every morning doesn’t compare to the hot breakfast Nana fixes her)

We had a blast at my parents house this week.  We were only able to stay four days but we crammed a ton of fun activities in that short amount of time.  I would have to say that Liberty’s favorite activity was riding horses.  My parents have a horse and several mules.  Liberty was really excited that she was old enough to ride one of the mules by herself without one of us leading it.

IMG_0449-2 Emory like riding the horse for about two seconds.  Long enough to get this cute picture :)IMG_0452Liberty and Nana on the Mule IMG_0464

There is a great little lake not too far from my parents house.  It’s shallow and there is plenty of shoreline to play on.  Liberty had fun, of course, but I was so excited that Emory enjoyed it so much.  It was shallow enough near the bank for her to sit and splash.  So cute!IMG_0472 IMG_0476

Liberty’s Great Grandpa bought her a new bike while we were there.  It’s purple and has several different speeds.  She LOVED it.  She looks like such a big girl on her new big bike.


We also made a trip to the cemetery while we were down.  I was really excited that we actually got to go on Lilly’s birthday.  We decorated her tree for her 4th birthday.  I love to see my girls gathered around their sister’s grave celebrating her life.


After we left the cemetery we headed to Abilene and visited the Texas Heritage Museum.  It was really neat and Liberty really enjoyed it.IMG_0442Museum Fun…IMG_0444-2One evening while we were on the paddle boat, I decided it would be funny to jump off.  I actually thought it would scare Liberty, but she thought it was funny.  So, we both ended up swimming in our clothes for awhile. IMG_0433 Liberty is hanging onto the boat because she still can’t swim very well.  This made her Nana very nervous.IMG_0434-2


The weather was crazy while we were there.  It was cloudy and raining almost the whole time.  We just had to get outside in between showers.  Nonetheless, we still had a blast.  It is always fun to get away and leave our responsibilities for a while.

Although we have a least one more trip planned this summer, it is officially school time again.  Liberty will start 1st grade on Thursday.  She is so excited.  IMG_0412IMG_0422

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July

We started off the morning at church where Liberty sang in the choir.  It was too cute.  The children’s choir sang “How Great Thou Art” and “Spring is Coming” by Steven Curtis Chapman.  Liberty hasn’t done anything like this in a long time and she was so great.  She wasn’t nervous or anything.  She immediately found herself a friend and they held hands while they sang.  Oh the joy of having sweet little girls :).  Here is one of the videos.  I love the look on her face when she spots me in the crowd.

Then we headed to JC Penny for some good holiday sales :).  I love these pictures of the girls playing with the mirrors while Scott was trying on clothes.

IMG_0334-1 IMG_0347-1

Emory thought the baby in the mirror was so cute that she needed lots of kisses :).


This girl is so beautiful!!

Every year we celebrate the 4th with our former neighbors and friends from Sweetwater Springs.  They have family that comes in from Texas every year and we always join them for tons of food and fireworks.  There are always plenty of children for Liberty to play with and even though she only sees them once a year, she really looks forward to it.  Its so funny how kids just connect.

  IMG_0364-1 IMG_0363-1

Getting ready for fireworks!

When we left the house it was still raining (as it had been all day), but we just trusted that it would clear up by the time it was dark enough to start lighting fireworks.  We light hundreds of fireworks in the driveway every year and I promise it would rival even the best of professional displays.


Liberty and her friend Autumn.   Seeing each other only once a year doesn’t stop these two from being the best of friends.


The little ones usually get to light some of their special fireworks first.

This year all of us wore glow-in-the dark necklaces and bracelets.  It was hilarious to watch all the little glowing kids running around.  I actually liked it because it made it much easier to keep track of them in the dark.  They looked like little glowing aliens.


Liberty and Autumn had on necklaces, bracelets, and ankle bracelets.  This is what they looked like in the dark.


Time for sparklers!


Emory had fun until the fireworks started.  I had a feeling she wasn’t going to like all the noise much.  I ended up putting her to bed in one of the spare rooms, which worked out great.  She slept for an hour and a half and I got to enjoy the fireworks with everyone else.

Liberty had so much fun.  I have never seen her play so hard.  She was exhausted by the time we got home around 11:30.  She crashed on the couch before we even had time to get her into bed.

Another wonderful 4th.  Can’t wait til next year.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Scott Haas Construction

SHC logo

It has come to my attention that whenever anyone googles “Scott Haas Construction” my blog comes up.  Therefore, in light of the fact that I haven’t posted about our company in sometime and some the information is outdated, here is the most recent goings on at SHC.

Recently we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of both Scott getting laid off (May 12) and of the start of SHC (June 1), which for obvious reasons coincide :).  We find ourselves extremely blessed to be able to say that God has more than provided for us this year as we stepped out in faith to start a new construction company in a recession.  When we first started one of Scott’s good friends told him that if he continued to do things with the same level of integrity and competency that he would have more than enough business.  How true that statement has turned out to be.  We have never had a moments worry about where our next job would come from.

Most of the work Scott has completed is here in Guthrie, with just a few exceptions.  Most of the work has consisted of remodels (new roofs, siding, or room additions).  This continues to be exciting because we are literally beginning to see the face of Guthrie change.  With great effort on the part of some of our city employees, Guthrie locals are being made aware of government funding that is available for low-income families.  This is so important because so many of the people here in Guthrie are below poverty level and are living in the most wretched conditions.  It is both a blessing and a challenge to help these families remodel their homes into something they can be proud of.

While remodels have definitely been our “bread and butter,” Scott is currently bidding and working on some new custom homes.  This is particularly exciting since new home construction is what he really loves to do.  He is especially excited about future prospects of building larger homes like he did early in his construction career.

We have been so content here in Guthrie.  We honestly don’t know why God chose this particular location for our company to grow.  We probably never would have chosen it for ourselves, but we are so thankful that our obedience has proven fruitful and we cannot wait to see what the next year holds for SHC.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Emory

My little princess turns 1 today.  I am so thankful for her.  Her little smile has brought so much healing and joy to our lives.  I have enjoyed every single second with her—taking in so much and not taking anything for granted.  She is so different from her sisters and experiencing the past 12 months with her has been so wonderful.

She is growing so fast.  I am very excited to take her to her 12 month check-up to see what she weighs and how long she is.  If I had to guess I would say she is still in the 50th percentile.  She’s not skinny but she isn’t fat either.  She’s just right :).

Her hair is finally growing and I can get a little pony tail on top of her head.  This is my favorite thing because I can put a big bow in her hair.  She won’t leave headbands on anymore.

Her smile is still the best thing about her.  Her whole face smiles, not just her little mouth.  When she smiles you can’t help but smile back.  She doesn’t laugh as much as she used to but when she does its hilarious.  Once she starts laughing she can’t hardly stop.  Whatever Liberty does just keeps her rolling.  She giggles more often.  She has this giggle she does when she gets something she wants, like if you give her her bottle or pick her up when she’s upset.  It always makes me feel like a hero when I hear it because I know I’ve done something to make her happy.

She is still scooting around on her bottom.  Everywhere we go people just think its the greatest thing they have ever seen.  Very few people have actually seen a baby get around in such a way.  Scott and I, of course, think its the best.  Especially since Liberty did it as well.

About 3 weeks ago I weaned her and started giving her a bottle.  This wasn’t my plan, but terrible headaches and a medicated momma didn’t go well with breastfeeding.  She took to the bottle immediately.  I have to admit it hurt my feelings a little bit.  She didn’t even care that she couldn’t nurse anymore as long as she had her bottle.  She immediately started sleeping better and didn’t demand to be feed every two hours at night…interesting.  She will also drink out of a Sippy cup.  She is not a huge fan of water.  I usually fill her cup to the top with water and put a few drop of juice in it.

She is really great at eating a variety of foods.  She will eat just about anything, but prefers I make her food.  Her favorite is bananas.  She LOVES them.  She also really likes the Gerber Graduate Crunchies.  Chicken is another favorite.  Its one of the only foods I can get her to eat in larger quantities.  While she likes variety, its a real chore to get her to eat very much at one time.

Her new favorite thing to do is to put things away.  She likes to put her toys in the basket or put pencils in drawers.  Really she just likes to put any object anywhere she can stick it.  The other day she was in the bathroom and she picked Liberty’s swimsuit off the floor and put it in the trash.  I am constantly finding graham crackers, cheerios, and gold fish stuck in places like her toy box.  Whenever she does something she is particularly proud of, like putting a straw in a cup, she will clap her hands.  She also expects that everyone else recognize her achievement by clapping as well.

She is not pulling up yet, but trying by getting to her knees.  If I stand her up she can stand for quite awhile.  She can also transfer herself from the coffee table to the couch if its close enough.  Other than that, no signs of walking.

She loves to wave a blow kisses.  She has a special way of giving kisses with her finger.  She points at you and you have to touch her finger tip with yours and she says “OOO Wah.”  The cutest things ever!!

She really is the best.  I’m so proud to be her momma.  I can’t wait to watch her grow for another year.