Happy New Year! I hope you and your family are blessed beyond measure in 2016! I’m starting the new year by working toward a special goal.
Planning the Work and Working the Plan
When Jay and I set financial goals some time ago (our “Why?” for budgeting), home repairs and improvements were a fairly high priority. Our children’s education was more important to us, so when our daughter qualified for dual enrollment and we needed to increase the education budget to include tuition for her as well as her older brother, we kept our eyes open for side jobs that would allow us to make the home improvements without cutting into our savings. Thankfully we were offered a couple of opportunities that didn’t conflict with our ministry and home education responsibilities.
If you follow my Facebook page or Twitter feed then you know Jay & I went to the home improvement store yesterday. We picked out paint and new flooring for the living room and kitchen. We obviously want to do the painting before we lay the new floors and we’re both really excited to get started, hopefully in the next week. Our son is planning to help with the painting before he must return to university for the spring semester. I’ll be glad for the extra set of hands!
Making More Gifts
My other project yesterday was starting a new batch of vanilla. Perhaps you remember this post about starting early on gifts to save money? I know I’ll want vanilla for Mother’s Day and other gifts as well as for my personal use, so I needed to get going on a new batch so it can have a good, long time to steep. Jay had never actually seen me prep a batch of vanilla before. We had just returned from the home improvement store when I decided to get started, so he watched while I split the beans and then insisted on personally pouring in the vodka. I gave the jar (I use one like this) a good shake, labeled it, and tucked it in the pantry. The vanilla should be ready to bottle in time for Mother’s Day without any problem.
I realized as I wrote out the label for the jar in which the vanilla is steeping that it was the last time I’d date something “2015” and it made me a little nostalgic.
It took the last of my vanilla beans to make this batch of extract
, but thankfully Olive Nation is having a 20% off sale through January 3. Use the code “NYSAVE20” to get the discount, which cannot be combined with other discounts. Olive Nation is also offering a free sample with orders over $35 and free ground shipping on vanilla beans, so I ordered more vanilla beans today. The link for ordering the free sample is at the top of the shopping cart page but I thought it was a little tricky to find. You can even choose two more vanilla beans as your sample, which is a great deal! Instructions for making vanilla extract are available here on the vanilla bean page of the Olive Nation site. UPDATE: The New Year’s sale is over. Olive Nation is a great place to get vanilla beans and bottles for your homemade vanilla extract. At the time of this update Olive Nation is offering free ground shipping in the continental U.S. for vanilla beans.
But before I can do much else I am going to have to get the Christmas decorations packed away. I started the other day but there is more to do. My eagerness to put new paint on the walls will hopefully spur me on to speedy undecorating. Part of the clean up process will include collecting images from this year’s Christmas cards that might be repurposed for handmade cards and gift tags to use next Christmas. It’s always a little sad to pull down the decorations but having the promise of fun craft projects and new paint and floors should soften the blow.
I hope your 2016 is off to a great start and that you have lots of exciting plans, too. What are your goals for the new year?
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