Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Hi everyone!  I'm glad to be back after being absent for a few weeks while we were moving across the country. A BIG thank you to everyone who helped me with guest posts.  I'm thankful to report our move went well.  I was a bit nervous about the thought of moving and traveling 1700 miles on winter roads, and many miles on mountain  roads. I'm thankful for answers to prayers, the Lord provided dry roads and safe travel.

Today I thought I'd share a few photos of  the final days - packing up the trucks.   The final day of packing we woke up to a beautiful morning and this was the view across the road from our home.  Oh how I will miss the breath taking view.

We rented two 26 foot trucks along with a dolly to tow our car.  Four men from our new congregation in Minnesota flew out to help with the packing and driving the trucks, while my husband and I drove our pickup pulling out boat.

Everything had to be packed very tight to save space and ensure no shifting while on the road. Heavy items such as books where placed in the front of the truck.

You can't have to many blankets.  We had 10 dozen blankets and used all of them.

The furniture was covered with blankets first, followed by shrink wrap to keep the blankets in place.  We wrapped the legs on the furniture with bubble wrap and then shrink wrap.  We used up two small and two large shrink wrap rolls.  I think we also used up 10 + rolls of packing tape for all the boxes.

My husband built a plywood ramp out of the house for easier loading, eliminating the need to go down steps.

We were so thankful for all the people who helped with our move.  We had help from our congregation in Lynden along with the men from Minnesota.  Our granddaughters even gave us a little help.

One to supervise and the other to help pack boxes :)  

My husband built some wracks to place odd shaped furniture on.  This made it possible to stack other items on top of furniture.  He also built crates around items like the lawnmower and exercise equipment.  By doing this we were able to make use of all the space in the trucks.

The men giving their backs a rest.

We finished loading the trucks by noon on Saturday, giving us the opportunity to show our guests the beautiful country side we lived in.

Mt Baker and the Twin Sisters - view behind the Parsonage.

The  Puget Sound.

Deception Pass

My next post I'll share about our new home....
The Parsonage.

Friday, February 15, 2013


 Today I welcome back Brie from Breezy Pink Daisies to share one of her genius thrifty DIY projects.  Thanks Brie for being here today as my guest!


Hi Thrifty Parsonage Living readers! I'm Brie from Breezy Pink Daisies and I'm so excited to share this mini project with you because it is so easy, it took me all of 30 seconds!
Do you have an old sweater? Do you not sew very well? Well, go ahead and make your own leg warmers with only a pair of scissors! (Well, and that old sweater we were talking about..)
 DIY leg warmers made out of a sweater 

My inspiration: This old short sweater with stains.
Projects to do with an old sweater

So, project #1 with the sweater involved chopping off the sleeves and putting them on my legs. Make perfect sense of course. (Since the bottom of the sleeve is already finished, I wear that part on the top and don't worry about the bottom since that will be covered by the boot anyway.)
Okay, I don't walk around like this...but don't you love my Christmas socks? :) I might recommend wearing these leg warmers only when you plan on keeping your boots on. haha

Yay for leg warmers that look so cute with my boots!
Sweater sleeve leg warmers to wear with boots - no sew DIY
(Yes, I cropped my head out on purpose. I promise it looks cuter this way)'s a cute picture of me with my head included just because it is cute and so is my hubby. Oh my, don't you wish it was summer time again? 
Oh well, at least I'll be enjoying my new leg warmers in this fabulously cold January weather!

Thanks again for having me here! Don't forget to stop by Breezy Pink Daisies and feel free to follow me on GFC, Facebook, or Blog Lovin' so we can get to know each other!!

Monday, February 11, 2013


 Today I welcome Brie from Breezy Pink Daisies as my guest.  I saw her stenciled wall and fell in love with it and asked her to share it.  Thanks Brie for your help while I'm away!


Hi there Thrifty Parsonage readers! I'm Brie from Breezy Pink Daisies and I'm so happy to be here while Joy is busy moving. {Good luck Joy!} So I found Joy on Pinterest and knew we'd be great bloggy friends right away. We have so much in common (Love of garage sales, thrift stores, God, and decorating!) Funny fact, we both made similar camera bags inserts (here's mine) before we even "met".

Anyway, onto this post I'll be sharing with you guys. So I can be very indecisive. I got a stencil in September and just finally used it to stencil one of our walls over Christmas break. O my, I am IN LOVE with how it turned out! Why did it take me to long to do it?! My excuse was that it was so hard to decide which wall in my house to stencil because I don't have many nice small rectangle walls and my family room has wood paneling so that entire room wasn't an option. I thought about doing our bedroom - but not many people see that room. So I ended up doing a random wall to the right when you walk into our house.
Cutting Edge Stencil - Harlequin Trellis Allover Stencil
The stencil I used was from Cutting Edge Stencils and I won it from one of my favorite DIY bloggers - Sam at The Junk House. The stencil I choose was the Harlequin Trellis Allover Stencil. The background wall color is Comforting by Behr and the stencil color is Metallic Silver by Martha Stewart.

Silver metallic paint
Metallic paint is so much fun! So glad I choose that after MUCH debating over what color I would use. Surprisingly, it didn't even use half of the paint to do the entire wall! So, I have a lot to use on other projects...hmm. However, it is really difficult to take pictures of because it reflects light, but that's what I love so much about it in real life!

It took about 4-5 hours to complete. And that was with my standing back and admiring my work after each stencil and also "erasing" a few sections when I decided they looked funny or didn't match up perfectly. (The paint was actually pretty easy to wipe off even after being on the wall for 10-15 minutes!)
Stenciling a wall 
Cutting Edge Stencil in progress
You can see in the progress pictures that the stencil does not go directly to the corners - don't worry I didn't forget about those! Well, thankfully Cutting Edge Stencils gives you three stencils - the large one, and two smaller ones to help fill in those smaller areas.

Painting the corners was the most difficult part of this project for me. Cutting Stencils recommends to bend the stencil so you can reach the corners, but this was really hard for me - probably because I didn't have any help.
Cutting Edge Allover StencilCutting Edge Allover Stencil - painting corners
After a little self convincing talk, I decided to cut the small stencil so that it would line up nicely against the wall. See the difference that made in the pictures above. It saved me a lot of time and frustration and probably some tears too. Just being honest here!

Isn't my wall beautiful?! I could just stare at it forever :)

In these next two pictures you will meet Raphie and Francis. Can you guess who is who? :)
Cutting Edge Stenciled Wall
Harlequin Trellis Allover Stencil w/ metallic paint

Thanks so much for having me over here!

Feel free to stop by Breezy Pink Daisies. I love meeting new people, so don't be shy! And you can see all the crazy and fun things I've been up to dressing up as a fire dancer at a murder mystery party and coloring light bulb with sharpies :)

Friday, February 8, 2013


 Today I welcome April from Countryside Life as my guest blogger,
she has some great money
 and organization saving tips to offer. 
  Thanks for helping out April!


Hello, My name is April, and I am a Christian homeschooling mom, a farmer's wife, and a minister's daughter and a gardener from Missouri.  My husband works full time outside the home and I for the most part am at home, although I do run a small business as a CPR instructor our of my home.  I also volunteer as an EMT, as a Girls Scout volunteer, 4H leader and help with Church camp each summer.   It seems as my girls get older (the youngest two are 14 now), I put more on my plate, so needless to say, I stay busy.

In order to be a stay at home mom, I hove learned to cut back where I can.  I am frugal (although my kids sometimes call me cheap!).  We have an orchard, garden and fruit trees, and I can, freeze and dehydrate our food, we also grow our own pork, beef, and fish.  I cook from scratch, bake our bread, sew, and I make my own soap...As I said, I keep BUSY!

However, busy can often cause disorganization, and disorganization can cost money.  One way I save is by having a large pantry.  Upstairs, in my kitchen I have a standard built in pantry.  But downstairs, is "the Emporium" as my husband calls it.

I had someone ask me why most homeschooling families have large stock up pantries. I don't think it is a matter of being a home-school family, but rather I think it is being more common for single income families to have a stock up pantry, and, most homeschooling families are running their household on a single income.  Therefore, we tend to be a little more frugal.  I also take into consideration the fact that for me, it is 5 miles to the nearest grocery store, and almost 30 to the nearest Aldi or Wal-Mart. I can't afford the time or the gas to run into town daily to purchase one item I lack for making dinner.

I don't stock up on everything.  I don't on TP, paper towels or paper items, because I have lost those items before to to a broken water pipe, and they are a fire hazard.  They are also bulky to store.  Items in plastic or cans are easier.  I also don't stock up on short shelf life items.

Most of my stock up nonfood items come from sales at CVS, Walgreen or Dollar General.  By combining the sale price and coupon you can often get the item for free.  I have a year of supply of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, soap, dish soap, deodorant, razors, shaving cream...but a good part of it I got free or close to it.  For example, every so often CVS has VO5 shampoo on sale for 77 cents.  I usually have 4 coupons for VO5 for 75 cents off that appear in the paper on a regular basis.  So, I get 4 bottles and pay 2 cents each, so 8 cents for 4 large bottles of shampoo.  If I just waited to get it when we needed it, I would be paying full price possibly, my current coupons would be expired and they may not come out with another sale and coupon combo when I needed it.

I also am not brand loyal to many items.  This allows me to take advantage on any shampoo that is on sale and combine it with coupons, instead of having to wait for a certain brand to come on sale.  Each week you can count on at least one brand being on sale.

My coupon book is always with me when I shop, so if I find unadvertised sale items, I can take advantage of the sale price with a coupon.  However, if it is an item I can still get for less by purchasing it elsewhere or a different brands, then it isn't a good deal.  I keep it organized by keeping my coupons in pockets divided by categories.  Expired coupons I send off for overseas military personnel to use.

My pantry shelves are all labeled.  This keeps my items organized.  No matter who puts items away, they can tell by the labels where it needs to go.  You can also tell at a single glance what items we are low on.  Organization is the key for stockpiling a pantry.  You must know what you need, what you don't need, and when items will go out of date.  You won't save any money if you pay for items and have them expire or rot on you.  Keeping it organized also prevents you from making a special trip to the store to buy pickles when you already have 4 jars on the shelf

My husband built my pantry, out boards, and some concrete blocks from the barn and some extras that my dad had.  In a few weeks, we are getting ready to add on to my pantry, by adding another section.

Couponing and pantry stocking don't have to be on a large scale.  You can even do it on a smaller scale by taking advantage of using an empty closet or space under a bed.

You can also use this to not only help your own budget, but that of others as well.  Each week I take into our local crisis center items to donate that I don't use or need that I got for free.  I get a receipt for taxes and someone in need gets shampoo, diapers, tuna or Rague that they need.


Monday, February 4, 2013


 Today I'd like to welcome Grace from Sense and Simplicity as a guest blogger.  Thanks Grace for helping out !!!

Joy, thanks so much for having me as a guest blogger while you are busy moving across the country.  It was fun to revisit my kitchen (not that I don't visit it daily to cook) and see how it has changed over the years since we moved into our house.  Feel free to pop on over to my blog, Sense and Simplicity, to see what life is like for me as a Speech Pathologist by day and a design-loving Mom of three by night in Toronto, Canada.


When we moved into our house over eleven years ago our kitchen was far from my dream kitchen.  While it was functional, it certainly lacked in the beauty department.  However, I knew that mostly it needed some cosmetic changes that I could do with a little time, money, and energy (okay, a lot of energy).  I thought it might be interesting to show you how the kitchen has changed over the years and to give you an update as to whether I would change anything or not.

July 2001 
When we bought our house the kitchen (which you can see below in the previously-never-been-revealed photo of a photo) had bleached oak cabinets with a horrible white laminate countertop that always was dirty no matter how often you cleaned it.  The previous owners had put up flowered shelf liner as a backsplash (thankfully it wasn't real wallpaper so it was very easy to remove).  And there was no dishwasher! 

April 2004
We took down the fruity shelf liner backsplash (cheerful though it was) and put up beadboard.  At that time the beadboard was painted green because the colour of the cabinets would have clashed with white.

August 2008
We had the countertop replaced with a slate gray laminate.  You can often see the laminate counter in photos I put on my blog as it is a great neutral background (like for this salad).

At the same time that we had the countertops changed we had the contractor build a shelf at the end of the peninsula to store dishes.  We also had the counter on the peninsula widened so it is about six inches wider than a regular counter now. And we had a dishwasher installed (finally!!!). This was how our kitchen looked for another two years (you can see more photos here).

July 2010
I painted the cabinets and backsplash over a grueling three week period.  It took forever (or seemed to at the time), but was so worth it.  You can see how our family room looked for those three weeks.  Yikes!  You can read more about the process here.

I love what a difference painting the cabinets made.  I chose to paint the upper cabinets and backsplash in BM Chantilly Lace (OC-65) and the lower cabinets a medium gray colour, BM Steel Wool (2121-20) (you can see my inspiration photos here).

October 2011
You can see in the photo above that the open shelves were initially all white.  In October 2011 I painted a foam core board to place at the back of the shelves to add a little interest (which you can read more about here).  I used leftover gray paint from the lower cabinets and painted a design that was neutral enough that lots of different patterns and colours could be displayed on the shelves.

And I do use lots of colours to decorate the shelves.  Here they are decorated in yellow and white.

And here they are decorated for Christmas last year in red, orange, and white.

And how they are right now in blue and white.

Having lived with the kitchen makeover for over two years, I thought it would be interesting to review the decisions we made to see if there is anything we regret or would change.

Painted cabinets - I love white kitchens so I knew that I would love the cabinets painted.  The biggest leap of faith I took was painting the lower cabinets gray instead of white.  It turned out to have been a good move as I love how the gray on the bottom helps hide the dirt that manages to be attracted to lower cabinets.  I also like how it looks a little different than an all-white kitchen. I painted the cabinets in oil-based paint and before I wrote this post I checked to see how the paint was holding up. There is only one little chip on them (that you can see in the photo below) - I think maybe the vacuum cleaner hose made it when it got pulled past. I'm impressed at how well the paint has stood up through two-and-a-half years of heavy use.

Laminate counter - I love the neutral colour we chose and I love that nothing (and I do mean nothing) stains it.  I'm careful about using a cutting board and hot mats as laminate is not durable that way, but so far we do not have any scratches or nicks.

Beadboard backsplash - I love how the beadboard makes the kitchen look cozy and relaxed.  It was very inexpensive (less than $50 including the glue we used) and was quick and easy to install.  People often think that it will be hard to keep clean, but we have had no difficulty with it.  The paint slightly filled in the cracks between the boards so it is easy to wipe any spots that get on it.

Painted design in the back of the open shelves - I love how it adds interest to the kitchen, but is still neutral enough that I can decorate the shelves lots of different ways.

I hope you enjoyed the diary of my kitchen renovations.  There are still things I would love to do to the kitchen - top of my list would be getting stainless appliances (our fridge is leaking water at the bottom so things are looking hopeful there). Despite my wish list, I enjoy using our kitchen and appreciate how much it has improved - it is now a great blend of functional and pretty.  

My dream is to do a complete gut renovation on a kitchen some day.  Have you ever done a kitchen renovation - little or big?  Any regrets or did it all go according to plan?
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Friday, February 1, 2013


Saying goodbye has always been a difficult thing for me to do.  I guess I'm like my Dad in that respect, he and I would always cry when our vacation ended and we'd  leave my Uncle and Aunt in Michigan and have to go back home to Minnesota.  Tears come easily for me, and I know how hard it is to move! I remember our last move all to well.  I have such a mixture of emotions - excitement for the move, making new friends and settling into a new home, but sorrow for what we will leave behind.

 The Parsonage that we called home for sixteen years.

I'll be sad to leave behind  family and also the friends we've made in this home.


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