Monday, May 26, 2008

Today's simple blessings

Be warned! I feel this is going to be a slightly eclectic and rambling post...

Today I felt a sudden urge to call a dear old friend I hadn't talked to in ages, thinking we might get together as I was passing through her town and could make a stop. During the conversation I realized I forgot to congratulate her on her birthday, which was yesterday! My cheeks burning with shame, I immediately suggested we go somewhere to celebrate - a rare treat for both of us. We had a lovely lunch out (split a dish and were as full as could be).

After lunch we browsed through some shops, among them one with supplies for babies and toddlers. Seeing the prices, I said to myself, no wonder people claim having children is expensive! It certainly will be, if we buy everything ready-made and brand-new, without thinking of creative solutions. I doubt babies need the latest style of clothes, furniture and toys.

The first thing I thought of after looking through the clothes section was, how useful sewing can be! Even a few simple hand stitches could save a lot of money, I think. The prices of baby clothes, compared with how tiny they are, are absolutely ridiculous. Also, since little ones grow out of their clothes and shoes so fast, re-using them is a great option. I know I wouldn't say no to a bag of second-hand baby clothes in good condition!

... Overall I had a wonderful afternoon, and here I am, relaxing and unwinding, counting the simple blessings of today:
- My husband's smile in the morning, and encouraging words to help me start my day;
- The ability to enjoy good food, good conversation, and friendship;
- The sunshine, the light wind and the time and open heart to enjoy it all;

And oh! I wonder if any of you can tell who the little friend in the picture is. I caught him on camera not far from our home. It's some sort of small rodent, I guess, but I couldn't figure out which exactly - and he wouldn't let me any nearer than this.


Cindi said...


Because my parents had always paid for everything I never understood the cost of items. When I got married and saw the cost of clothing that was when I learned to sew. I found it was something I enjoyed and it has saved our family so much over the years. It has also given me much satisfaction in being able to do something and be as creative as I like instead of having to settle with what I found in the stores. I hope you know how to sew or will learn. You may find you really enjoy it!

Candy- A Pretty Home said...

Your day sounds lovely :)

zetor said...

When my girls were small I found it a great asset to be able to sew their clothes. This skill is now being practised by one of them, I'm hoping the others will catch on soon.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was expecting my son, I went to visit my Grandmother. She thought it would be a nice treat to take me to a fancy baby clothes store - I just about had a breakdown afterwards. I live in Canada, so in Canadian dollars, a pair of sleepers in this store was $50, and a stoller ran about $1000.
I didn't know a lot about buying things for babies, so this new information for me was quite truamatic. I called my husband that night, sobbing my heart out, telling him there was no way we could ever afford this. I think the hormones may have had a wee effect on my stress level! :)
Anyway, he mentioned I look in thrift stores the next day, and think about using my sewing and knitting skills ... as soon as I did, I was reassured and so happy.
Anna, I'm really glad you posted this, because to a new mother just learing about thrift, this information is invaluable. The prices the stores set are not what we have to pay, and our children can have nice things without breaking the bank. A little creativity and elbow grease can go a long way. Learning to sew and knit are wonderful skills we can use to clothe our children!


Alexandra said...

We buy used gently used clothes for our children. Babies and toddlers outgrow clothes so quickly that usually the used clothes look brand new. One thrift store that I go to has children's clothes priced for .75 cents each.

Hand-me-downs from friends always seem to pop up when you have a child. My neighbor unexpectedly gave me five huge bags of girl clothes!

Sometimes buying used is less expensive than purchasing fabric to sew clothes. Another option...reuse fabric from used clothing. You can "harvest" the buttons too.

Off topic, but do you ever go to the Biblical zoo? I'd love to see pictures and hear you talk about it.

Mrs W said...

I understand about the baby stuff. Most of the stuff for our babies is second-hand, and in good condition. I know some people that are so snotty they refuse to accept anything second hand because they say they "want the best" for their children, but...they don't want to buy the new stuff themselves...they want others to buy it for their baby shower. I am not against baby showers, but I am against EXPECTING other people to buy you new items for YOUR child lol.

I also know some people that get rid of all their baby stuff after every baby and have to buy everything new again for new babies and they think this is the only way to go. There are SO many things we can do to be thrifty, but some people don't want to and then claim that having babies is "too expensive". It is if you do it like that lol.

Jennifer said...

I certainly agree with you on this one. My girls and I only wear dresses, and since we wear much longer and more modest dresses then what you find in the stores, my sewing abilities have been put to good use! I haven't sewn much for my boys since I can find pants and shirts for them in the thrift stores. The only time my children get store bought clothing (pants/shirts for the boys, and shirts for the girls) is when they get presents for birthdays and such.

I get the $2 a yard material for our clothing, so that keeps the costs down too. For my eldest girl, I buy bigger dresses from the thrift store, then "cut them down" to fit her.

There are so many other ways to acquire good, modest clothing for a fraction of the price at retail stores.
We have 5 children, 7 years and under and I can attest to the fact that it does not take as much money to raise, feed, clothe them as the "experts" say it does!


Anonymous said...

That sounds like a very relaxing and good day! I think most people who complain about expensive things are the ones who think they are compelled to pay for it. You can save a lot of money if you are creative, and give up things that aren't needed.

My fiance just got me a sewing machine! I'm so happy--it's *very* basic and small, but it's just what I need! I am not too good at sewing complete outfits, but I just mended a dress hem on it today--very useful! :)

C said...

Just wanted to say that I love your blog and find it SO very encouraging to find another similar in thought, who can word things much better than I!! :)

Diana said...

I’m glad you had a wonderful Day Anna. It’s always nice catching up with old friends.
I’d advise any new Mom to learn to Sew and Knit because it really does save you huge amounts of money.
This is something that my Daughter is slowly beginning to learn, and I’m really enjoying the time that we spend together. We talk about anything and everything and we even sing.

Laura said...

Is the critter you found a hyrax? They are my favorite animal and they live in your part of the world. An interesting thing about hyraxes is that their closest animal relatives are elephants! I was so ridiculously excited to think you might have seen one.

Anonymous said...

A few things I have learned with my 2yo and 7mo and one on the way. :)

Children don't need toys, they need love.

Children don't need fancy storybooks, they love to hear the sound of your voice and be read the Words of Life.

Children don't need "educational" toys as much as they need conversation and explainations and inclusion in family life.

Babies don't need bouncers and scooters and swings - they need carried and to lay on a blanket and sometimes, crying is okay!

We have been given 95% of the boy's clothing. Now that my eldest son is 2yo, he's starting to outgrow the last of what we were blessed with. Recently my dh and I went to a yard sale and I got two huge bags of clothing for fify cents an item!!! God always provides. :)

It seems like, here in the USA that babies and toddlers and children are treated almost like they aren't human yet. They have to have special soap and food and water and movies and music and accessories. Yet we have found our son is happiest with spare keys that look just like ours, eating with a spoon just like mommy & daddy's, and eating off a normal plate. Our boys' favorite toys are plastic cups, a broken cell phone, and wooden spoons!

I'm not saying that sippy cups are valuable, but really think about what you need. You really don't need it all. :)


Jennifer said...

I came across your blog and loved reading it and the pictures are beautiful on it and I think it's wonderful you stay home and take care of your home and husband!! Thank you for being such a wonderful example to look up too!!

Gothelittle Rose said...

Thank places like Walmart. :D

I never understood what people meant by having babies being expensive. I tried sewing my own baby clothes, but good heavens the material and pattern and fixings for a jumper came up to around $15... and Walmart sells them for $3-$5 apiece brand new, and onesies/sleepers in packages of five for $7 or less... Let me just say that for myself, where a $14 Walmart dress lasts 2 years and a $20 myself-sewed dress lasts 10+, it's more worth it than when a baby is going to spit on it and poop in it and basically turn it into an all-encompassing rag for a few months.

Anyways, usually I just go to the church and look for stuff there. Outfitting a baby (a three-month-old needs plenty of clothes, but they don't have to be varied or fancy) for $20 in the entirety is pretty good... but you can't beat $0!

Plus you don't need a carseat, a carrier, a cradle, a crib, a playpen, a walker, a swing, two strollers, a changing table, a baby bathtub, and three baby gates. If it comes down to genuine sufficiency-in-poverty, all you need is the carseat and a sling.

Sheila said...

Sounds like a great day. your little friend there looks like E.T. peaking his head over the bush to me! :) That's the first thing I saw when I looked at your post. LOL!


Jaime said...

I sometimes wish I knew how to sew, but at this point in my life, that just won't happen! So instead I content myself with shopping at garage sales - at least once a season I manage to find a mom with tastes similar to mine (i.e. MODEST!) who's selling children's clothes for a quarter apiece. Thank heavens - especially since I can't really do hand me downs!!

Aelwyn said...

I have been so blessed by second hand clothing for my little girl. I know how to sew and love doing it, but between having a toddler and moving back to AK to a house that still needs a lot of work, I have not had the time and energy to sew a lot. Are there such things as garage sales in Samaria? =) I have found many really wonderful children's clothes at yard sales here. Some adorable outfits had the tags still on them - a result of "wanting the best", but overdoing it a bit I suspect. I have even bought some home sewn outfits. I dug a couple out today since our weather is finally getting warmer. I found a little sunsuit that basically is a reversible pinafore and bloomers. I think I paid $1.00.

We also bought a crib and changing table secondhand for $70. That included a good mattress.

If you can do it though, sewing for baby is so much fun, and you can work within your own style guidelines instead of being dependent on the trend.

E03 said...

thanks for the simple blessings list! here's mine from today!

Buffy said...

A lot of baby clothes were handmade and passed on between family members of course. Time was when an annoucement of an incoming new member of the family was a call for every woman over 12 to pick up her knitting needles and start making booties and matinee jackets. I wonder if anyone does this anymore?

Mrs. Anna T said...

Garage sales aren't exactly common where we live, but people generously pass down whatever clothes they don't need anymore.

Samara said...

You wouldn't say no to gently used baby clothes? Anna, if we were neighbors I would hook you up! We continue to be on the receiving end of many generous people and have so many little clothes that we have given away probably 60-70% of what we received and still outfit our son well.

Also, are you trying to tell us something, or were babies just a topic of the day? I'm sure you know that it cannot be helped- being a recently married woman means that all of your acquaintances are now on "baby watch".

Anonymous said...

Don't overlook the importance of good diapering to keep down baby clothing costs. Newborns have very explosive poo and disposable diapers do a terrible job of containing it. Many newborns have a bm every time they nurse! This is the main reason that a new baby brings so much extra laundry with it. If the baby soils his clothes every time he feeds, then you will need lots of clothes on hand. If the diaper does it's job, however, you can get by with much fewer clothes. If you are interested in cloth diapering options, check out