Thanksgiving is coming and I could not be more excited! I love Thanksgiving. I think it is my favorite holiday. Non of the commercialism, and all of the thankfulness and good cheer. I love being around friends and family for a feast and some football. I don’t really care about the football part, but my husband looks so happy watching the game and lazing with his ma and pa while the food is a cookin’. I enjoy the opportunity to just spend lazy time with loved ones. No real rush to get anywhere. I love that Thanksgiving is a relaxed day, and I don’t have to get all dressed up for the day. I can be casual and comfortable and just enjoy my blessings. I am officially thankful for Thanksgiving! While the holidays can be a stressful time financially, I have found that if you can master the art of gift giving frugally, you can enjoy every minute of them. There are many, many homemade gift ideas on the internet, and used book stores also have loads of craft ideas. Many of the popular magazines on the stands also have homemade gift ideas this time of year. Homemade stationary is almost free, and it is a very elegant gift. There are directions online for making homemade envelopes to go with it. There are many easy recipes for homemade jellies and jams, and also for homemade flavored coffees, which could easily be tossed in a cute basket with a couple of plastic spoons which have been dipped in chocolate and have a bow around them, and a couple of dollar store coffee mugs. Thrift stores are a great resource for homemade gifts. I buy glass jars there, and upcycle them at home to make some beautiful vase/candleholders. You can also find swatches of fabric at the thrift store for lots of sewn items. They are also a GREAT place to buy gift baskets for very inexpensive. Some of those baskets go for thirty or forty bucks in the store, and at a half price thrift store sale, you can find them for thirty or forty cents. The closer Thanksgiving gets, the sooner I have to start thinking about what I will be doing for folks for the holidays. I have some pretty good ideas, and most of the supplies already. My mother in law made a specific request, and that will take me a full day or two, but otherwise, I think I have it pretty under control. We are on a pretty frugal budget, and we only do gifts to those who are closest to us, and our tithing gifts. We really enjoy dropping an anonymous food box or sending a Samaritans purse gift. I only have about ten people on my list to gift for, and so, it is really not to overwhelming. Lotions, bath salts, and lip balms are all pretty easy and much appreciated gifts, which can be presented in a very elegant way if you plan wisely for a gift basket, etc. The dollar stores are a great place to find little wash rags or scrubbies to fill in, or if you are on less strict of a budget, you can find a locally made item at a local farmers market. If you have a paper shredder, you can easily make gift basket filler by shredding and crinkling used colored papers, and it is good recycling too. The end of November is going to be hectic, but December should be pretty relaxed right up till Christmas. Winter is in full swing (even though I don’t think it is technically winter yet), and I am ready for the holidays, thankful for my many blessings, and looking forward to what the new year may bring!
Ah, finally we got some snow!
I am not a skier, and don’t particularly care for the cold, although I am finding I mind it less and less as I get older. I do, however, think that if it is going to be cold, there should be snow. I say this for lots of reasons. First of all, fresh snow is beautiful! Second, snow in the winter means less forest fires in the spring and summer, and of course, the more it snows, the more moisture available to the farmers in the spring (within reason, of course). I do find that cold is a good excuse to wear fuzzy clothes, which I do love. And, I find that when there is snow, those fuzzy clothes seem that much better! I enjoyed getting dressed up in all my layers for church this morning. Hubby is hunting again today. I hope they get something. I think the snow will help push everything down out of the mountains. I am going to come home from church and work on Craft Booth stuff. We picked up some glass pretty cheap at the half price sale at the thrift store yesterday. I think I will work on some candle holders, and of course keep plugging away at the paper, which gets a little better with each set of sheets I do. I need a new battery for my camera. If I take it in the cold it dies immediately. I can charge it and use it in the house for a long time, but the minute it gets cold, forget it, it’s dead. I am doing lots of crafts that I can write articles about. I am finding that the packaging is the most expensive part of the recycled and handmade goods. Really, a new camera is pretty high on the wants list, but far from a need. Because the how-to articles generate income, I will eventually classify it as a need. I was talking to a girlfriend this morning about alpaca’s. I am so impatient to have my hobby farm. I think I may end up having to start out as a hobby farm, on a rented piece of property, and then grow up into a functioning business. I am not sure but one thing I know is that I am desperate to start raising alpaca’s, bee’s and chickens…. I am desperate to plant an orchard. I am desperate to do so many things that come with having a little piece of land to call my own. I am probably most looking forward to a pantry full of canned and dehydrated goods, and a sewing space with all of my sewing materials accessible. I was so thrilled at my new sewing station, and my son took it over with his computer. If I even think about sewing, I can bet he is sitting there at the desk with his computer on. I am desperate for a good sized kitchen and windows that let winter sunlight in. I long for fresh eggs every time I pull the dozen out of the fridge that came from the grocery store. I long for a laundry line and a second compost bin. I might make myself a new skirt today. I did some “market research” when I was out and about yesterday. I evaluated the prices of some of the things I have seen available in small markets, like yesterday at the auction barn “junk sale”. One lady was selling two pieces of fleece, with a raw edge and bad stitch, for 65 dollars. I was pretty shocked by that. They looked like they were made by a youngster. I could make nicer blankets than that and sell them for the same price. I saw handbags like I have been wanting to make, and they ranged from 45-90 dollars, and I have been watching jewelry prices and they also come in a wide range, for 10 to 200 dollars. I am getting answers to some of the business plan questions that I did not know how to answer before. I feel fairly confident that my two year goal is reasonable, I just am not so confident I can wait another TWO YEARS! I am being facetious, of course, but really that seems like sooooo long. I have six dwarf cherry trees in buckets that I would like to move to the ground…but once they are in the ground they no longer belong to me… What do I do? I was given permission to put them in the ground, but i am tempted to keep them in their pails and see if the Good Lord doesn’t surprise me with a ranch or farm sooner than I expect. They were very inexpensive, but every time I put a perennial in the ground here, I think about how much I will miss that particular plant when we move. I am ready to put down permanent roots, where they can grow and blossom into all that they can be. I daydream about a cute little garden storage shed where I can keep all my tools and pots and such, and where I can put a bench to set upon and watch the garden grow. I daydream of hours spent writing in that garden, and next to my fire, and about my farm and children. I daydream of my writing hobby farm often. My husband tells me that countrysidedaydreamer is the perfect name for me. My stomach gets butterflies when I think of the smell of the sunrise barn, on a cool fall morning. I was describing it to a girlfriend earlier today, and felt like a teen-aged girl with her first crush. On days when I question whether I am cut out for it, I will have to recall that feeling, as a reminder of how desperately I love it. I love the smells, the hard work, the ever changing tasks, and yet, a sense of routine. I love watching the seasons come and go. I love the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, and one thing is for sure, it’s never boring! I love relying on nature and beast to perform my duties for the day, and I love that my hands have to be in the dirt for my food to taste so dang good! from that first swollen little pod that seems to be a flower head coming, to the development of that flower into a brightly colored and good for my body vegetable is like watching a miracle in progress. I wonder if there are any greater blessings that to be able to harvest the land that you so tediously tended, for your food? Of course, God, my husband, and my son are at the top of that list of blessings, but given a choice of the blessings I would choose in life, I would certainly take fresh, hand grown veggies, over a great shiny car or fancy new cell phone! I am thrilled when I find a great old duster that still has a little of the last gals ranch in it at the thrift store for two bucks! I would take a big, cozy, dirty , farming jacket over a nice suede dress jacket any day….I am more comfortable in work clothes than in dress clothes. I think every egg is a blessing, every ounce of wool or honey that we produce is a blessing. I am so desperately impatient to feel that tangibly in my hands, rather than daydreaming about it! Well, church in a few minutes. Lord, please give me some patience! Thank You! Amen!