Days 12 and 13: Windfall

Ever wonder what you are actually paying for ‘time-savers’? Here’s a great article about the cost of convenience.

I suppose that all year long we are the recipients of little ‘windfalls’ that meet our needs in unexpected ways. But I notice those blessings more when they come during a month in which I am trying not to spend much.

A week or two ago, as we had a few cooler days, one of my 11 year old sons informed me that he had ZERO hole-free jeans. (I have two 11 year old boys, and they are atrociously hard on jeans.) My other 11 year old son would never tell me he had no jeans– he’d happily wear shorts in December. But the first son wanted jeans. And furthermore, he wanted a specific style, which he described in detail while holding a Shopko ad in front of my nose. $25.

I’ve never been the type of mom to encourage name brands. My kids always look cute and decently clad. But if kids want an expensive brand of whatever, they buy it themselves. Period. Granted, $25 jeans aren’t too expensive, but they were not #1 on my list. I told my son I’d do my best, but that my first stop was going to be a thrift store, and the second the $12 jeans at WalMart.

At the thrift store– lo and behold– I found a pair of nice jeans in exactly the right size and a similar style to my son’s wish: $5. My son received them with delight and decreed them to be almost perfect. PLUS I found 2 pairs of nice shorts ($3 each) for my shorts-loving son. Then to top it off, very next day my husband came home from work carrying two bags of boys’ clothes, given to him by a coworker who has boys older than ours. Tons of nice shirts AND two more pairs of jeans, a perfect fit for my boys. Windfall.

At Friday’s birthday party, grandma brought over a few dozen plums. She was tired of canning and wondered if we’d take them. Of course! I was also given green beans from my sister’s garden. When she heard that our garden doesn’t have green beans, she begged me to come get more the next day. It seems their garden is full of beans and they’re tired of freezing them. Saturday morning I stopped by and received a large sack full of fresh beans. My sister and I were both pleased. More windfall!

This weekend as I pulled Sunday’s dinner out of the freezer, I noticed that my freezer is looking emptier. Not EMPTY– it is still 2/3 full. But now there is a bit of space. Which is good: a fair bit of what I’ve used recently was a good 6 months old. It is fine and dandy to fill the freezer, but I really ought to be a bit more diligent about using up the odds and ends from months ago. This month is perfect for that. And now I have space for those green beans from my sister.



Breakfast: Pancakes, apples, juice

Lunch: Leftovers (pork carnitas, lentils, fried rice) cucumbers, cantaloupe

Snacks: popsicles by the pool

Dinner: Apricot Chicken (FAMILY FEASTS, p. 116, with chicken instead of pork), white rice, Green Beans with Bacon (FF p. 202), Southern Style Cabbage Salad (FF p. 218), plums, rice crispy treats. If I do say so myself, this was probably the best meal I cooked all week. Doubly fun, because all the kids were home, including eldest and her hubby, and a friend of our family. We crammed 14 people around the table and it was lovely.


Breakfast: cold cereal and milk, our usual Sunday fare

Lunch: Normally on Sunday we have burgers and fries for lunch, but instead of going to the store from ground beef and buns, I decided to simply make a pot of chicken soup from leftovers in the fridge. I combined leftover apricot chicken with fried rice and garbanzo beans, and filled it out with half a dozen ramen noodle soup packets. Not the ultimate in fine dining, but the kids scarfed it down happily, and declared it excellent. I was pleased to have used all the leftovers so that nothing went to waste.

Snack: The last of the plums from grandma

Dinner: Enchilada casserole from the freezer along with carrot sticks

SPENDING: On Saturday I went to the store for —MYSTERY ITEM REVEAL– 2 pounds of bacon: $4, bringing our grocery total for the month to $188. And the month is almost half over. We might make it…..


  1. Praise God for all the windfall!! I need some gardening friends to ‘windfall’ me!! We love fresh veggies from the garden and I truly miss canning. I’m thinking of putting a garden back in next Spring.


  2. Those kind of blessing are so nice!!! Our recent freebie is 36lbs of apples free because they were small and a bit spotty/brown. I’ve been making applesauce with them. A bit of work but yummy. I’ve also found lots of stuff in the dark reaches of the freezer and pantry this month. There’s a cup of browned meat that I’m not sure what it is (hamburger, sausage, ground turkey) but it’s going into spaghetti sauce soon.

  3. […] Owlhaven posted a link to a blog on “The Cost of Convenience.” I recommend reading it. If we could sit down for tea, there are a lot of things in the article we could talk about. […]

  4. I’ve just gotta say that you are a big encouragement to me. I am a mom of one with one on the way. We live in the BIG city out west, we have our own little house with a little spot for a garden, not much though. My hubs has been talking about simplifying, buying a farm and roughing it. I love the idea but it also scares me in so many practical ways. We are both born and raised city people for one… Anyway, I just want to say that this blog of yours is such an encouragement and inspiration to me. I don’t think God wants us to drop it all and head for the hills just yet, but seeing what you do makes my heart feel lighter.

    Today I have had the worst attitude and this post has reminded me that God is watching, God is in control and I have to let go. Let go of it all, he does provide. Thank you.

  5. We live nearby ShopKos and I make a point of buying the boys’ jeans there (when they’re on sale) because they have that Kid Tough promise, where you can exchange holey kids’ clothes. They just have to be same brand and same size. Does your ShopKo do that? They definitely lose money on me because I’ll exchange one pair of jeans a few times over.