|Another spectacular sunrise - we were so very spoiled by these this year! I enjoyed every one of them!|
Nothing like completely forgetting I had a blog for month, right? I didn't forget about everyone - I promise. December ended up being ridiculously busy and very spare moment was spent with family and friends and on grading, as the term ended not that long ago. My parents were visiting for 3 weeks (they returned home to sunny and slightly warmer Texas yesterday) and the children had their Sunday school program, their school Christmas program, and a school fun-day to end the term and John had 3 funerals and two graveside burials. Then there's always the rush of Christmas and all the services that comes with being a Pastor's family. I am very, very ready for a quiet start to the new year!
I have some New Year's posts already planned and partially written, so look for those next week. In the meantime, here are some frugal things we did in the month of December:
* We made bread, cookies (LOTS of cookies), chicken wild-rice soup, taco soup, fish chowder, Swedish meatballs, lefse (potato flatbread), shrimp pasta, and a variety of other things at home this month.
* We attended a concert and a museum exhibition in celebration of my Mother's 80th birthday, which was the end of November. My parents paid for these tickets as Mom's "birthday gift to myself". We all really enjoyed the time together and really enjoyed both the concert and the exhibit. We paid for parking and then made dinner afterward.
* I used candles and Christmas decorations we already owned to decorate the house for the Christmas holiday. We will leave the decorations up until Epiphany, January 6th.
* We received several gifts from parishioners that we greatly appreciated: a tray of cookies very different from what we would bake ourselves, a jar of local honey and a jar of local maple syrup, a loaf of banana bread and a loaf of walnut bread, home-candied pecans, and one soul who gave us a card with $20 in it and told us to buy some Christmas treat ourselves because she didn't feel like baking this year! We all got a good laugh out of that one and bought sparkling juice to enjoy with our Christmas dinner. John also received a Martin Luther Playmobile figure! He was so excited - he's wanted one for a while!
* We had been having some issues with the humidifier on our furnace, so we had service come and check things. We have a monthly payment plan so we rarely pay out of pocket. We end up saving about half price by having the monthly payment plan. And the humidifier is fixed and working well again! With the super cold, our home becomes very dry, which is hard on both our bodies and our musical instruments (piano, guitar, and clarinet in particular). We definitely appreciate the added humidity. In the extreme cold, our humidity can plummet to almost 0%. We like to keep it at roughly 35%.
* Our children made or bought Christmas presents for their friends using their own money.
* We ate lots of leftovers.
* My Mom and I sewed buttons back on two shirts, tacked up three fallen hems, and altered two dresses - one my Mom had made me that was too big in the torso and one that my daughter received as a hand-me-down that didn't fit across the back (we think they sewed two fronts together for that one rather than a front and a back when the dress was made at the factory).
* I spent an afternoon cleaning out reorganizing our furnace room.
* We took three bags and box of donations to the local second hand store and donated two pairs of outgrown boots, a pair of outgrown snow pants and several hats and mittens to a local winter clothing drive.
* While, I didn't get all the gifts made that I wanted to make, we had a lovely Christmas with plenty of gifts - everyone received something they wanted and there wasn't a lot of miscellaneous "junk". The children proclaimed it was the "Best Christmas Ever!"
* We had family photos taken by a professional. While not necessarily frugal, we decided we needed photos with my parents and the children since my parents are aging. We had a terrific time and I can't wait to see the final pictures! The person we employed is very reasonably priced and a terrific joy to work with.
I think that's it. January will be off to a slow start for us as church activities slow down for a while and I am off from classes for a couple of weeks. The children jump back into activities in full force but it's rather nice to ease back into everything else.
Wishing you a blessed and happy New Year!