With a daughter’s birthday this week and another daughter’s birthday in a couple weeks, this week is busy with present making on top of the many other important things that must be done this week.

This Week’s Goals:


1. Sew and embroider dress for Elsa’s birthday gift

2. Cut out pillow cover fabric for Wren’s gift. Trace name and start embroidery.

3. Cut out yellow polka dot fabric for dress for Wren’s birthday gift

Non-sewing projects:

1. Make 2 presents

2. Start hedge clippings soaking for homemade wreaths

3. Sand and paint wheelbarrow

4. Help Winter with project

5. Help my husband with a project

6. Make cupcakes, chocolates, and cookies for this week’s birthday.

7. Decorate for birthday party

8. Make chocolates


1. Thin and transplant seedlings

2. Prune hedges

3. Fix drip line in two places


1. Photograph presents and blog about them

2. Write Frugal Accomplishments post

3. Write garden post

4. Write another garden post

5. Photograph items for upcoming post


1. Prune roses and wash windows for someone

2. Do my visiting teaching


1. Run three errands

These are to be worked around my schedule, which you can read here.

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  1. I call this happy busy work 🙂 Hope you enjoy these privileges this week. Will you be sharing your gifts when they are finished? I sure hope so.

  2. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,I love the gift postings. I look forward to them so much. I have posted my lofty goals for the week here but these might be March goals as well.http://marilynswordsofwisdom.blogspot.com/2014/02/weekly-goals-february-23-march-1.htmlI am also in the process of making Easter basket bunnies (for kids) and Easter bunny table decoration. The bunnies are at the bottom of the post.http://marilynswordsofwisdom.blogspot.com/2014/02/frugal-accomplishments-223.htmlThank you for allowing me to post on your blog, Miss Brandy.Best wishes to everyone for an accomplished upcoming week.Anna

  3. I am trying to plan a birthday party for my daughter this week.She is having a few friends and wants a craft party! I am cruising Pinterest for frugal craft ideas. Going to make chocolate cake from Alice Waters book, The Art of Simple Food and use a coconut creme whipped frosting–got a free can:-) I look forward to your post on your party–I will try to blog mine soon after too. Any ideas for some frugal craft ideas for 10 year old girls–please share:-)

  4. First, thanks for this great website; I’ve been reading the posts a few at a time for a week or so now, and your ideas and encouragement are very helpful to me and my family. We tried the black bean burger recipe, and it was wonderful.(and I’ve been a vegetarian for eighteen years, so I’ve eaten a lot of bean burgers). It’s possible that my question counts as a personal question; in that case, I apologize for asking it here and will repeat it in an email. I’ve been extremely impressed at the simple, beautiful handmade and second-hand items you’ve given your children as gifts at birthdays and holidays (I preferred these as a child, too). In general, I find that, as I raise my eighteen-month-old son, and watch my friends raise their children, there seems to be an escalation in the complication and cost of the gifts children seem “expected” to receive. Expensive, technology-driven gifts don’t align with our family’s culture or financial situation, and I’m wondering how you’ve talked with your kids about the inevitable comparisons that must come up with gifts their friends receive (“you didn’t get an XBOX?” etc.). These are conversations that are certainly forthcoming in my family, and I feel very unprepared for them. I want very much to preserve in my family the focus on experiences rather than on things, and I want to teach my son contentment with the sorts of presents that inspire creativity rather than replacing it (modeling clay, puzzles, etc.). This is probably way too nosy of a question to ask someone I don’t know, and I hope you won’t take it as obnoxious prying; I absolutely intend it with only the utmost respect for the family culture that your blog post demonstrates.

  5. I think there are always going to be families who have and give more than one’s family. It’s like the parents who give a child a new car at 16. Some parents do that–but most parents don’t. Not everyone has the same budget.We’ve had talks with our children about what their friends have and if that’s what they really want, too. One child noticed that all of the boys in his Sunday School class were talking about these rubber-band type bracelets. We asked the child if he wanted them. He said no, not really–it’s just what they were talking about, and he didn’t really have anything to add to the conversation. So we discussed conversation skills, and how to be a good listener, and how to ask good questions. Another child says the boys in Sunday School are always talking about their trips to Disneyland. A large number of families at church take several trips to Disneyland a year. Even if we had the money to travel, we would want to take our children to different places–not to the same place over and over. Again, you have to talk to your children. Not everyone has the same income or priorities. A family like mine who has been living with a 70% or more income cut for many years has to prioritize keeping a roof over their heads. One of my daughter’s friends has parents who take them to Europe for their birthdays. Every family is different. Do what is right for your family and your budget.My children have plenty of toys! With 7 children there is not a need for toys all the time. Classic toys that last are good playthings that can be used by every child. I think every family has their favorite playthings; our family likes Legos, of which we have plenty, and they love puzzles, games, art supplies, and books. We play a lot of games as a family. We have discussed it as a family and the children have said that they would rather have experiences than gifts from grandparents. My parents took my 9-year-old to the Lego movie and to lunch as his birthday gift, which he loved. That day while he was gone, my 5-year-old was crying that she wanted her grandparents to do that for her. I reminded her that her birthday is in a few weeks, and to tell her grandparents that that is what she wanted. She told them when they came back and she is very excited about her birthday. She has also told me what she wants–and it’s not toys.Video games are not something we want for our family, so no matter what our income level is, it’s not something we would do. We discussed that long before we had children. If you don’t plan on buying your children the latest electronic thing, no matter whether you live on $30,000 a year or $1 million a year, then you choose not to do so, and choose what is best for your children.My children told me this week that they love the gifts I give them, because I give them things they actually want (12-year-old and 9-year-old both said these words on Monday). I ask questions about what they like and what they want, and when they mention things, I write them down. We’ve talked about being good gift givers (they give each other gifts on their birthdays, using birthday money they’ve saved from great-grandma) and giving gifts they really think the others will enjoy. My husband took them to the dollar store and they picked out some things for my 4-year-old. She loved them. I think the fact that they look forward to their birthdays and Christmas is another way to show that they are happy with their gifts.

  6. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. It seems absolutely clear from your posts and pictures that your kids are happy with the gifts they receive and give to each other, toys or otherwise — that never seemed in doubt to me — and I definitely like the idea of just simply talking to them about the material expectations that surround them among their peers (like you did with your son and the woven bracelets). In the instance with the bracelets, instead of allowing him to feel left out, the conversation you had with him instead seems to have empowered him by helping him learn to interact with his peers even when their pursuits are unfamiliar to him if just by listening and asking questions, and I definitely want the same thing for my son when the time comes. I foresee a variety of these kinds of talks between him and I for as long as we’re a lower income family in a relatively wealthy community (and for as long as I believe that video games, which seem to have become the default toys for boys, are the worst possible thing one can do to a young mind).I also love the story about your son and daughter wanting to spend special time with their grandparents for their birthdays; though my parents are elderly, I can already see a special relationship developing between them and my toddler, and I know that this relationship is an irreplaceable gift. The attention kids receive is certainly more memorable to them than the objects, and, cyclically enough, when it comes time for gift-giving, the children who have the thoughtful relationships with adults that you describe are often the best gift-givers, because they understand the value of thoughtfulness!Thank you again, for your reply, and for this blog. I’m sure many people say this, but the reasonable, cool-headed practical suggestions you offer here are incredibly steadying to those of us who have found ourselves in tenuous financial situations even after years of disciplined saving and good habits. As a scared primary-breadwinner with an extremely precious mouth to feed, I appreciate the guidance toward the idea that keeping my family afloat in tough times is possible, and even possible with grace.

  7. This week I did all of the usual things and I also returned a rotten tomato to the store, some rotten brocolli and 3 boxes of items I just bought that were stale for a refund. I used coupons to total $36.00 off and I am reusing a major number of home items reuse and repurpose so that I do not have to buy additional. I am doing the next two months where I only buy veggies, fruits, dairy for groceries. Birthdays are all at this time of year for our family as well , we have one, two or three birthdays starting now until Sept.every month. So wise gift giving is a major focus for us right now. I found a pair of really nice earrings at a thrift store for $2.00 and those will be a gift. I am making each person a homemade item as well.

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