Christmas Gifts for Children… Precedence, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn’t receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedence…. What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it’s a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:

“An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. “
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don’t give many big gifts; we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don’t give big gifts, they don’t expect them. Because I don’t give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact.

When we don’t set a high precedence of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity.

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about…
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage
Laura
Keeping it simple for our Savior

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Forty Ways to Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

Dear Readers,

I’ve been trying to Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without for several years now. Here are some of the things I’ve done.

Ways to USE IT UP:

1. Toothpaste- Take the end of your toothbrush and slide it along the toothpaste tube, pushing all the toothpaste up toward the opening to get out all the last bits. If you’re at the end and want the very last bit, open the end with scissors and just put your toothbrush inside. You’ll get a few more brushings out of the tube.

2. Lotions- If you have body lotion or baby lotion setting around unused, you can use it for shaving lotion. I just put some in my hand, add a bit of water from the faucet and spread it on my skin. The razor slides smoothly. The same is true for unused hair conditioner.

3. Lipstick- Use a lip brush or cotton swab to get the last bits out of the container.

4. Unmatched dishes-either your own or garage sale finds. Use these to give food gifts to neighbors or friends. We have had single neighbors who really appreciate a single serving of soup or whatever meal we’re having. Using the mismatched items takes the worry away about getting your dishes back. When they’re returned, it’s just an added blessing.

5. Oftentimes, I have leftovers that I like to try to remake into something else. Soup is especially good for this. Leftover meat and gravy makes a great soup base.

6. If you have leftover bottles of cleaning supplies, use them!

7. Declutter and sell your things at yard sales.
8. Declutter your bookshelves and swap on http://www.paperbackswap.com/ . Please mention me, lauraofharvestlane, as referring you.  I’ll get a free book!
9. Sell clothes at consignment shops.
10. Sell other things on ebay.

Ways to WEAR IT OUT:

11. I tear up old towels to use as rags.

12. Wear those old tennis shoes in the creek or to mow the lawn.

13. Wear old clothes around the house; save your nicer things for going out.

14. Wear used clothes from yard sales, thrift stores, or resale stores.

15. Pass clothing down to younger children or to friends.
16. Patch those jeans! Put a pretty patch over a stain on a dress or blouse.
17. Let down the hem on your girls’ dresses. If it’s worn, add some rick rack, flat lace, or fancy machine stitching.
18. Put a ruffle around the bottom of dresses that are too short, or around legs of boys’ shorts to make them hand-me-downable to girls.
Ways to MAKE IT DO:

19. I have brushed my teeth with baking soda sprinkled on my wet brush. I have also poured a tiny bit of peroxide over my toothbrush. I’ve not tried combining them yet.

20. I’ve used my lipstick as blush. Dot it on; then blend, blend, blend.

21. Cut up old clothes or sheets into your preferred napkin size. Zigzag stitch or hem the edges. Fold them and leave them in a basket on the table or counter. It works for baby receiving blankets, too.

22. When I make jelly, I use an old pillowcase that is clean and lint free instead of a jelly bag to hang my fruit mixture in to strain.

23. Remake used or old clothing by: adding pretty patches or yo yos, dying the cloth, embroidering by hand or machine around edges or wear lines where a dress or pants were let out, or adding a ruffle or lace to make it long enough and fresh.

24. The most romantic dinners that my husband and I have had since we were married were those at home. I’d feed the kids and put them to bed early. Then, I’d either prepare something for us; or, we’d eat take out. Sometimes, we’d eat at the kitchen table or dining table, or even at a little table in our bedroom. When we lived in a second floor apartment, I’d put a tiny round table and two chairs on the balcony. Each time I’d use a nice tablecloth, candles, china or nice dishes, nice glasses or stemware. Add soft music; and, you have a wonderful setting. Give it a try!

25. You can clean a lot of things with baking soda and/or vinegar. Do some research.
26. Old baskets can be had for a song at many yard sales. You probably have some on hand. They can be spray painted for an updated look or to put goodies in for a gift.
27. Mismatched dishes in a color scheme, from yard sales, look pretty when set on a lovely table cloth.  Right now, I’m collecting white stoneware.
28. A sheet will work for a tablecloth. A two yard length of fabric hemmed at the ends can also make a tablecloth for many tables.  Sometimes I don’t even hem it!
Ways to DO WITHOUT:

29. Don’t go shopping for entertainment. Stay away from the mall and on-line shopping. It’s a whole lot easier to do without the latest greatest if you don’t go shopping for fun.

30. Stay home. Gas is a luxury these days; so limit trips.

31. Combine trips when you do need to go out. We have to go to a nearby city for some things we need. I like to combine everything I can think of that I need to do in that city on that day. This gets me to Hobby Lobby more frequently than I would get to go otherwise. ~smile~
32. Use a bicycle, if you have one.
5. Shop locally.
33. Invite friends for a pot luck. Share the cost of the meal by having others bring dishes to share.
34. The fewer ingredients in a recipe, the simpler and more cost effective it usually is. Steak is a notable exception to this rule. ~smile~

35. Rethink why you eat. Really, it’s just to fill your tummy and to give you nutrition. Rice and beans can do that just as well as meat and potatoes.

36. Always think about what precedents you are setting with your children. A new bike for a birthday or Christmas sets a high precedent for next year. Designer tennis shoes or clothes set a high precedent for next year.
37. Don’t allow your children to watch Saturday morning cartoons. The commercials are designed to make your children into Gimme Monsters.
38. Stay away from toy stores and toy aisles. Don’t let your little darlings see what other accessories there are to go with their toys!
39. Stay away from craft and fabric stores!  Eek!  I knew you wouldn’t like that one!
40. Do a Bible study on contentment. “Do not covet your neighbors______. You fill in the blank.
May God bless you as you journey along this life using it up, wearing it out, making it do and doing without… CHEERFULLY! That part can come only from God!
Blessings,
Laura

Will Work for Food

 

 

 

I read My Lowell’s blog today and saw the title Will Work for Food.  That title caught my attention.   He asked his readers what they would work for.  Good question.  What will we work for?  A house, cars, electricity, phones, computers, clothes, gas, water, toys, food, hobbies, fun, freedom.  There are lots of things.  They’re just that, aren’t they?   Things.  I’ve read some great articles and posts over the years about simplifying and such.  It’s really rather cliche’ in some circles.  That question, “What will you work for?” really is a good place to start.  Just as important is the question, “What won’t you work for?”

One of the very first things that started my husband down the road to the life we are currently living was a old, early 70’s model former police detective’s car.   By the time I saw it, it was old and tired and rusty.  Lowell rather jokingly offered to buy it for me when he saw the records of upkeep and the price, $250.  Now, it was almost 20 years ago, but I saw something in that old car that he didn’t.  Freedom!  He bought it for me.  I drove it proudly.  I called it my “I won’t work to pay for a car” car.  It ended up being a terrific blessing to me and our family.  Not having that extra car payment allowed us to make the choice for me to stay home and raise our newborn son, Matthew, myself.  That’s freedom.   It was one of the best things I ever did. 

So, now you know what I won’t work for.  

Laura

An Ingredient in My Recipe for Life and a Frugal Recipe

Dear Reader,

 I’m so happy to spend a few moments of this new month with you. Like you, I have many interests and many roles and responsibilities in my life. I am a wife, mother, my children’s teacher, homemaker, friend, and of course, a daughter of the King. Each month, as I write to you, I’d like to share with you a little about an ingredient that I believe helps us create an enjoyable, rich recipe for life. I’ll also share a favorite recipe to help make your life a little easier.

Reading is an integral part of my life’s recipe. I read to learn, to relax, to hope, to plan, to dream, and to glean from the experiences of others who have walked this way before. I am primarily a non-fiction reader. A few years ago, I added more fiction to my reading. I found that although I am all grown up, I really enjoy losing myself in a good story. As a full-time wife, mother, and my children’s teacher, I welcome those moments alone.

Time alone has taken on new meaning and different forms as each of my four children were added to our little family. What used to be uninterrupted hours of free time to read or pursue hobbies and other entertainment, has shrunk to snatched moments here and there. Still, I have managed to find moments for this beloved nourishment for my mind and companionship for my soul.

By reading, I am indeed allowing the author to nourish my thoughts and my imagination. I’m also enjoying the author’s companionship as I read. That’s why I often linger over favorite books, stretching the reading over weeks or even months. To finish the book means to end the companionship, unless I find another book she’s written. I say she because most of these books are written by women about my journey with Jesus, homemaking, frugal living, or homeschooling.

As a matter of discipline, I have a goal of reading 50 books a year. I keep a journal of the title, author, date completed, and a notation stating fiction, non-fiction, or with the children. This keeps me accountable for what I read, and it helps me to see that I’m reading a good variety. I believe what Zig Ziglar used to say, “You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind.” Reading is a big part of that for me.

I encourage you to make yourself a reading goal for the remainder year. It might not be 50 books. It might be 12; but, set a goal and start reading toward it. This year I set aside 50 books on my bookshelf that I’d like to read. Perhaps my interests will lead me to different books; but, I’ve got a plan. Make a plan for yourself. Think about books that will help you with your finances, your cooking skills, your homemaking skills, your people skills, your business skills, your Christian life, a hobby or a skill that you’d like to learn. Most importantly, though, make a BIBLE goal. Make it something attainable. After all, even one book, read over and over can change you. That’s what we really want after all, isn’t it? To be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

Now, to give you a little more time to sneak in a little of what I call snatch reading (snatch a moment here and there), here is one of my family’s favorite soup recipes. It’s frugal, too. Put it together and let it simmer on the back of the stove or in a crock pot while you snatch a few pages! May God bless you as you seek His face.

Laura

By the way, in case you’re wondering, I do count the books I read to my children that are chapter books and some of their history readers and that sort of thing.  I don’t read 50 just for me. ~grin~

I have also discovered books loaded onto an MP3 player that can hang around my neck at my library.  They are helping me to meet my goal and also stretch beyond my normal reading genres.  I recently listened to The Audacity of Hope by President Obama.  I don’t agree with him on many of his beliefs; but, it was good to know where he stands.  I also listened to Anastasia, The Last Grand Duchess (of Russia).  It was in the youth section; but was very informative.  I like history.

Thrifty Roadkill Soup

180px-opossum_2

I spent an enjoyable afternoon with two of my best friends Wednesday afternoon.  We usually get together to make crafts, sew, or crochet.  Yesterday we decided to exchange recipes, especially thrifty ones.  Just for fun, I slipped this one in on them.  Click here for a thrifty way to use your roadkill.  It’s a real website and a real recipe.  I’m not planning on ever trying it; but, well, who knows?  My eldest son loves the whole Redneck thing and has tried possom grilled.  He likes it.  By the way, I do know it should be oppossum.  I also know everyone in Southwest Missouri just says Possum.  I do NOT recommend eating Roadkill!  This is just for Fun!  If you would like to try the recipe, please trap or shoot the critter fresh!

Laura

So happy I don’t have to eat off the road.

 

My Daybook…

FOR TODAY, DECEMBER 8TH…
Outside my window…darkness.  It’s far before dawn here in Missouri.

I am thinking… I need to get busy.  I have to go to a nearby city for my husband’s office Christmas party.  I found out last night that we are to bring “White Elephant” gifts.  The $ limit is $10.  I’ll be shopping at home from my stash!
I am thankful for… an e-mail from my grandma!  She’s recently moved and I lost her for a few weeks!
From the learning rooms…  a shortened day because of my trip.  Definitely math, language arts, and reading.

From the kitchen…  quick and simple.  Breakfast-toast.  Lunch-soup made from yesterday’s leftover brisket, potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic.
I am wearing… Must I say?  I’m wearing my flannel nightgown.  It’s only 5:30 in the morning here as I write.
I am creating… a list in my head of things I want to create.  I’ll be writing them down soon.  Today, as we drive, I’ll probably be crocheting a hanging handle on a dishtowel.  I have a friend who has ordered two from me.   She doesn’t need them until after Christmas; but, it’s a project that will travel well.
I am going… to my husband’s office Christmas party.
I am hoping… to keep myself organized during this week.  After this week, much of the busy-ness of the season will be finished.  Then, I can focus on finishing projects.
I am hearing… nothing but the hum of the computer, the click of the keys, and silence.  It’s early, mind you!
Around the house… a few things to put away from the weekend…lots of laundry to be done…some ironing to do…more decorating to do.
One of my favorite things…poinsettias!  I hope my Honey reads this and gets the hint!
A few plans for the rest of the week:

Monday- Office Christmas Party

Tuesday-Homeschool Support Group Christmas Party

Wednesday-Caroling and ringing the bells at Wal-Mart with our church to raise money for Salvation Army.

Thursday-Kids’ homeschool Christmas Party

Friday-Friend’s Christmas party

Saturday-Craft fair in the day, just attending, and a Christmas play that night.

Sunday-possibly going to Branson to take in a show, if I can find a babysitter.

BREATHE LAURA BREATHE!
Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Making Cookies

Making Cookies

Visit the Simple Woman’s Daybook to see what other ladies are doing this week and to join in the fun.

It will be a very busy week, full of Christmas party preparations.

The only really important way that we must prepare for Christmas is in our hearts.  The rest of it is all for fun.  Let’s not forget that.  Jesus is the reason that we celebrate Christmas.  Jesus, the baby in the manger, God’s son, grew up to be the sinless sacrifice for our sins.  Let’s reclaim this holiday this year.

Laura

Keeping my Focus

You’ve Found Me….

Hello ladies,

I’m so glad you’ve found me.  It seems that this is the blogsite that is listed on some of my blogging friends’ pages as one of their favorites.  If that is you, will you please update my address?

My new blog is at http://harvestlanecottage.blogspot.com .

I’m still Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage; I just like the way blogger lets me add more things to my sidebars like my favorites with updates and some of my items that are for sale in my shop.

Thank you all for your support.  It has been very rewarding blogging these last several months.  Some posts are just for fun; some have been heart felt, some have really given me a chance to sort through my thoughts.

The most popular posts continue to be my thrifty posts.  I have a category for thrift over at my other blog, Harvest Lane Cottage, as well as thriftiness here on this blog.  I encourage you to do some searching on this blog.  There’s some good stuff here as well as on the new one.

Today’s post at Harvest Lane Cottage is about God giving me peace beyond all understanding in a terrible situation.  Please come by.  I’ll be waiting for you. ~smile~  Please comment.  I love to hear from y’all.

Blessings to you all!

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage