Tuesday, March 18, 2008

CED 2008 ~ Is it really ALL about the shopping?

Shopping certainly seems to be a re-occurring theme in our lives lately. While visiting Rhoda, I read where she commented on the rising cost of groceries and gasoline. We feel that "pinch" here in our home as well as millions of families across the country.
Some of the things that we do to save $$$ is to shop through the weekly advertisements to see what is on sale and where. I create several grocery lists by store name. We purchase store brand foods, with the occassional exception of brand name buying. Some items I just cannot get over their quality so we splurge on those items. I do clip coupons, but only on items I would normally purchase. Visiting manufactures websites is another great way to obtain coupons for items that you do use in your home, as well as trying samples of new products as they become available.
To save on gasoline, we try to visit the stores while we in those areas of our hometown doing other errands. It definately takes some juggling and some time management skills but it does save us from burning and contributing to the rising price of gasoline.
We've been seriously considering putting in a vegetable garden! I'd love to grow our own mixings for salads... we eat a lot of them throughout the year! Other vegetables would be sweet corn, green beans, and tomatoes. I used to do canning with my mother and grandmother so I do know how to, and with the rising costs of gasoline, tending to a garden and canning would definately assist us in saving money, staying at home more, and traveling less. Did I mention that it is also good for the environment, not to mention our health?
In preparation for Spring's arrival here in Ohio, our thoughts have returned to setting up our outdoor living space. We love spending time on our rear deck! Eating out, entertaining family and friends, enjoying the jacuzzi! And yes, we do enjoy it during the winter months. Its a short sprint to the hallway door and your back inside where it is warm and cozy. We were out in the jacuzzi on Sunday evening, the temperature outside was 43 degrees, the wind was a little chilly, but the clouds in the sky separated and allowed the moon to shine through. It's heavenly! When your in the jacuzzi with 104 degree water temperature surrounding you, relaxing your muscles and warming your old bones, you simply cannot complain. We find it so very relaxing, as well as therapuetic to both of us. I've previously mentioned that Don was born with Cerebral Palsy with effected his legs, his gait, and his walk and I have been through two horrible car accidents. Purchasing the jacuzzi was one of the best things we have ever done for ourselves.
Anyways, along with the recent thoughts of Spring, opening back up our outdoor living space, my thoughts instantly turn to decorating it up! And while out shopping on Sunday and Monday, I found some wonderful bargains on items we didn't already own.
At Kohl's on Sunday, I found the most adorable sand castle birdhouse, a beautiful green glass bee keeper, and two green fish shaped acrylic platters which I purchased one small and one larger of.
After leaving Linens-N-Things yesterday, we made a trip into our favorite store: Home Goods. Have you ever been there? OMG! I so love it! Everytime we visit, I can find something, and yesterday was no exception. I immediately spotted the most beautiful dishes; they are La Dolce Vita by JA Designs, Inc. The Turquoise Crackle Collection and are fine china. Undecided, Don talked me into purchasing a set of two large plates, a salad plate, matching bowls, and the only coffee cup they had.
They will be perfect for the two of us when we desire a romatic evening dinnner complete with candlelight.
We, also purchased, two beautiful seashell platters. Well, I don't believe they were intended to be platters, but rather plates but for us and our entertaining we'll utilize them as platters. We purchase one in a beautiful light pink shaped like a scalloped shell and a larger one in white that looks more like a clam shell. They are both beautiful! I also couldn't resist two of the most gorgeous aqua starfish dishes. They are smaller, but so adorable.
Next, I needed an outdoor tablecloth. I'd considered sewing my own but do not have the right fabric so I'd need to purchase it anyways, so for less than $5, I decided to purchase one. It's less than I could create one for, not to mention the time it would take me to actually do it.
To add to the ensamble, I throw in 4 acryllic 8 oz. glasses. They are clear with little fishes on them and to break up the color scheme, I choose two in blue and two in green. Throw in two more acrylic glasses in the 4 oz. size decorated with palm trees in both the colors of the previously mentioned acryllics and we've plenty for entertaining a small gathering of family and friends!
Our biggest splurge item was a beautiful brown and turquoise glazed seashell filled with a double wicked citronella candle! Well, I should say, "Don's splurge" because he fell in love with it and said, "We must get this!" LOL! I couldn't argue because it matches the bronze interior of our jacuzzi and will be a perfect accent piece on a side table. It also goes with some of the previous decor items we purchased last year so we love that.
Now before you get to thinking I'm spoiled rotten, which I am, I have to tell you a little story that truly touched my heart. You see, I was so hesitant to purchase any of the above items, especially after the new drapes, pillows, and two new woven placemats purchase made previously at LNT's. As I pondered the decision to purchase these items, I'm asking myself the entire time, is this really what I want to do? Why? you may ask... is that we're dipping into our savings. When I mentioned that to Don, his reply was, "Cath, don't you believe you deserve beautiful things?" You are always doing and buying things to help other people, shouldn't you begin treating yourself with the same respect and kindness? I love you and I want you to have all the desires of your heart." Now, if that isn't enough to bring tears to my eyes. So, I'm batting back the tears with my eyelashes and smiling the biggest smile you've ever seen as I place each and every item in our shopping cart! I know in my heart, he's so right. I do think of others, often giving up my time, my money, and my heart and soul along the way. And I Do Deserve to be HAPPY! So, if having beautiful things to share with my family and friends is what I desire to do, I intend to do more of it!
I truly believe a beautiful home reflects our love of our lives, our loves, our families and friends. And I'm also a firm believer that a beautiful home doesn't mean you have to spend a small fortune. In fact, while raising my own dd, Amber, alone as a single parent so many years ago, we barely had the necessities of life to get by. We made each and day fun, exciting, and special by enjoying the simpliest things in life. Drinking orange juice out of plastic wine glasses, having an "upside down day" where we'd have breakfast for dinner, picking a bouquet of dandelions for a tabletop bouquet and using a cup for a vase! But you know what, those are the most precious memories my daughter and I remember and cherish. We kept things simple and enjoyed the time we spent with each other more than the pleasuere of eating off of fine china could ever give us. Those were certainly the days and the things I so look forward to with my grand-daughter Alexxis. I cannot wait for tea parties in the garden. Okay, truthfully, I don't have "a garden" but I do have a beautiful pear tree that flowers each spring. It's perfect for spreading a blanket on the ground and enjoying Life!
There are a lot of little ways you can spend time with your loves one that can actually save you money once you stop to think about them. Doing things like taking a walk to the park to play on the swings or swim in their pool vs. having your own in your backyard allows you to spend a little extra on the finer things in life. Although, I often get them confused, the most precious is that time with family and friends and the love we feel towards one another in our hearts.


bec said...

Cat - I admire you for being able to faithfully put your life into words for those of us who draw on your inspiration...I don't know how you do it, but girlie, you keep me going more than you'll ever know. I love you sister - bec

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