Oh, it’s you again! (Part Two)

I’m back! Allow me to fill you in on the remainder of my absence from the blog (I promise it gets interesting!)

I told you all about my awesome job at my friend’s antique shop, right? Well, thankfully he was gracious enough to allow me time off for an impromptu family trip out of state. We love to do family trips, often unplanned and spur-of-the-moment. My husband had picked Rocky Mount, VA for our trip. He went to a Bible school down there about a decade ago and has been itching to get back for quite some time. We left a snowy, 30-degrees-and-dropping New York for a twelve-ish hour trip to a 50-degrees-and-rising Virginia at the end of March. What a ride! Our poor son probably thought he’d be bound to the car seat for life. We made it into town just in time to catch everyone leaving the Wednesday night service and I’d never seen anybody so excited to see Mr. Delta! It was a very warm and welcoming experience, our dear friend Heather (check out her blog!) and her family even had us over the first night. I could learn so much from this dear sister, especially the art of impromptu hospitality! The remainder of the time we were there, we stayed in one of the gigantic, family-size dorm rooms of my husband’s alma mater and we got to sit in on some powerful classes at the school!
I forgot to mention that before we left for our trip, my husband had begun looking for work again as the season would be picking up soon and construction companies would be hiring again. That was cute. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed harder than when I read a Craigslist post he found looking for a drywaller with 5+ years of experience, tools, and a truck to be paid $8/hour with 45 minute commutes. In New York. Where $8/hour could support a single person who didn’t mind his daily Ramen and never planned on paying rent and whose car ran on good vibes. My husband is by no means a job snob, but he really felt it was time for him to return to work and support the family financially again (in the meantime, he’d been supporting us immensely by being a great stay-at-home Daddy). So, he started looking into out-of-state job listings as we’ve been talking about moving out of New York since just about forever (can you see where I’m going with this?). I wanted New Hampshire, he wanted Texas, and neither of us was going to compromise as far as the extremes of temperature in those areas! So, he began looking into central Virginia, and wouldn’t you know it, he had lined up three interviews down there! So, while we were enjoying our time in Virginia, we were also taking mental notes on things that would effect our decision to move out of state. It certainly helped that each interview my husband attended went great and offered him work as soon as we came back down to Virginia for good. That’s right, I said for good! We decided to move to Virginia! But, I was not quick to forget that I still had a job and we had an apartment, our own bed, and a fridge full of food back home that we should tend to before we make our move permanent!

So, we turned tail and headed (somewhat reluctantly for my husband) back to New York to get going on tying up our loose ends there. My friend at the antique shop? I called him on our way back and told him I’d be coming to work the following Tuesday as usual. Before that happened, I’d been propositioned by a temp agency I’d worked for pre-baby to come and hold down the fort while they packed up the office as the customer had decided to switch to a new temp agency. Whaaa? It was almost like God had called me asking if we could use some extra moving money! In the interim before we were ready to move, I technically worked three consecutive jobs. I left my dear friend at the antique shop to manage the temp agency until its dissolution at the site. That, my friends, was a God job. I was untrained, technically unqualified, truly unworthy of the blessing this job was to me. I’d been picked because I’m adaptable, intelligent, friendly, (I’m just great!) but mostly because the guy who’d been doing my job had to be on a flight back to Louisville, Kentucky the Friday of that week. I’d never worked any sort of office job before, I’d originally been a temp for this company in a manufacturing plant! At any rate, it was a total blessing to get that job and it definitely helped to boost the Moving Fund!
Since the time I’d spend working for that agency was limited, I started working for another small-business-owning friend just before we were ready to move. He owns a brick-and-mortar military surplus shop and an online storefront as well and I helped to redesign his websites. I worked on-site on his laptop while he ran the store. If you know me at all, you know I have somewhat inflammatory opinions about our nation’s military-industrial complex, our internationally-enforced police state, government corruption, and a lot of other things that the military is currently charged with protecting. Working in a place like this was… interesting, to say the least. I purposed in my heart to be respectful and meek when it came to voicing my opinions in my workplace from the very beginning. After all, I wanted to keep my job! However, it became more evident that this job was not for me as time went on. I just about flipped my pancake when another new employee (a young girl going to the local community college) had tapped my last nerve and said that she’d studied eugenics at school and found it to be a very interesting and exciting field of research. Get. Out. I now knew how mu husband felt trying to maintain his cool and keep a Christlike attitude in a stressful workplace with fellow employees who really need a mute button! Needless to say, as the month of April came to a close, I was not heartbroken about leaving my job, but I certainly appreciated the employment anyway.
Our last step before we were free to go (not including explaining our choice to our family, that’s for another post!) was to hold a yard sale! My husband and I are now huge fans of hosting yard sales! It’s really low maintenance, you meet all sorts of people, and the best part of all? You can downsize your belongings by half or more and earn gas money! That’s why people yard sell, right? One thing I’ll tell you, though, is that I was not made for haggling. I don’t have the confidence for it. I can’t even send food back at a restaurant! My husband, however, seemed as though he was born to conduct yard sales. He had it all down pat: the smile, the wave to passing cars, the conversational skills and the ability to negotiate a fair price for our hard-earned junk! Little things like this really make me appreciate the man God’s put me with! The yard sale was a success! Yet another dear friend of ours (funny how God puts these people in your life in His perfect timing) offered to help us move the remainder of our belongings down to Virginia. She had a God job too (she wasn’t a Christian, but I don’t believe in coincidences), she worked for a rental car agency and therefore had access to a brand new minivan with free gasoline at any major airport! Flippin’ awesome, right? It was perfect, everything was aligned and it was just so undeniably obvious that we were meant for this move!

Oh, wait. Did I mention we’re having another baby due the end of this month? Must’ve just slipped my mindūüôā It’s funny, every time I’m pregnant we move, or every time we move, I’m pregnant. Great timing, huh? Anyway, we’re expecting another little boy (dad’s happy) on or around August 29th! That just about tops it, right? I’ve returned to my happy homemaking mommy station, and I’m very glad to be back and I can’t wait to fill you in on my adventures and musings. Stay tuned for some more mommy-oriented posts on cloth diapering, natural childbirth and midwifery, and more!

Many blessings and much love,
Alpha Delta

What’s for dinner:¬†Kitchen sink Chicken Marsala!

Verse of the day: Proverbs 15:3 (KJV) The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

http://www.thriftymomspot.com/

Oh, it’s you again!

Hello, world! Well, I’m pretty sure I warned you that I’d be liable to abandon this blog project for months at a stretch. I’m afraid I got very caught up with, well, everything! If you know me personally, you’re likely to be in the loop via Facebook or good old fashioned human contact. If we’re not that well acquainted yet (give it time!), help yourself to this “what-I’ve-been-doing-with-myself-all-this-time-in-no-particular-order” post until I resume a normal posting schedule! (Note to self: print out this post and bring it to the next high school reunion.)

  • At the time of my last post, I’m pretty sure my husband was still working in commercial construction. Because he would rather be respected than paid, he left his job with my support. Construction is not an easy industry for a Christian man to work in, and there were simply too many things tugging at him and provoking him. One of our dearest friends and pastors went through a similar trial when working a construction job and made the same choice. It may seem counter-intuitive to leave a well-paying job for which you’re very qualified and one where there isn’t much of a limit as far as how much experience (and therefore a better job) you can get. I have to admit I wasn’t entirely graceful at first in supporting my husband’s choice (lesson learned!). But, when it comes down to it, I’d rather live in a fish shanty with a happy, loving family than in a mansion with miserable drones just getting through another day. My husband was ultimately recruited by a dear friend to be his plumbing/electrical apprentice! He did that the remainder of the summer and it was such a refreshment for him!
  • When the season died down for my husband’s work apprenticing with our friend, I went to work at our friend’s antique shop (We’ve really been blessed with some great friends, eh?). After nine months at home with our son, the season came for me to return to work to help support my family. Some people in our community were not supportive of this and put more pressure on my husband to find work, any work. Because that’s so helpful and constructive. We prayed, we fasted. I was repeatedly brought back to my friend, Mrs. Proverbs 31. From the context, we can deduce that she was probably a WAHM, but this was immaterial to my situation. The point was that she worked diligently with her hands! She considered a field and bought it! She had her hand to the spindle!¬†She was a worker, regardless of the setting! If there’s one thing about myself I know to be true, it’s that I am a worker too, paid or unpaid, at home or elsewhere. This has worked to my detriment at some times. It can be a strength or a weakness. In this season, for me, it was a strength.¬†I felt ready to work, that it was the right thing to do for that time. God made a way for me, he paired me with my friend who just so happened to need someone with skills that I had. And I don’t believe in coincidences.
    Anyway, I had a great time working in the antique shop, I only wish I’d been keeping this blog while I worked there! The things you hear and see in an antique shop would blow your mind! Everything from rare, local art to trade cards with old-timey (now called racist) subject matter to daguerreotypes of master Freemasons to creepy porcelain dolls (worth more than your face!) to human hair wigs made to be affixed to creepy porcelain dolls. My job was to photograph and list on eBay such pieces of inventory as these, as well as to package them and ship them out. Ask me about the time a customer in Massachusetts received an empty package because I forgot to tape one end of it. Cute, huh? It was a great job that I enjoyed doing, but I mostly enjoyed the fellowship with my friend, the shop-owner (he was once a faintly radical left-wing activist in faintly radical left-wing Rochester and is now a staunch and very vocal defender of freedom and liberty). Similar to my husband’s earlier situation, this was not a job in which I was paid very handsomely. I didn’t care. I was paid what I was worth, and I was happy with my work!

In the interest of keeping this post somewhat shorter than a phone book, I’ll stop here and allow you to catch your breath while I write Part Two. I am very happy to be able to pick this blog back up where I left off, and I hope you’ll stick around! If you’re new to Alpha Delta Mama, here’s a little of what I’m all about and what you can expect to find here. Thank

Make Your Own Everything!

Hi, world! Tonight I want to share with you some reasons (as well as recipes) why I’ve chosen to make the switch to not just all-natural but all home-made. Okay, home-made what? Well, everything, really. I can even tell you how to make (flippin’ delicious) chocolate sprinkles from scratch (another day!). Today, I think we’ll focus on home cleaning and personal care products. Making your own everything is rewarding, and it really imparts character and wisdom that you don’t get from putting a $30 bottle of goo in your shopping cart. Even when I score a beyond awesome bargain on all-natural goods (let me tell you about my $.99 and under Christmas Tree Shop trip sometime…) the satisfaction of saving that money doesn’t begin to compare to the self-worth I feel when I put something together with my own hands. It’s just refreshing. Probably lowers blood pressure, too.

If you’re still dragging your feet and “I can’t because”-ing about this, maybe I can persuade you. I happen to have a big mouth connected to my big brain full of big ideas about not ingesting/inhaling/slathering yourself with things that are outright poisonous, laughably expensive (I’m the one cackling like a hyena in Nature’s Marketplace, I won’t lie) or both. Here are my best arguments for home-making everything within your means, and why home-making everything really is¬†within your means.

  • Let’s get this one out of the way: It’s dirt flippin’ cheap.¬†Really. Now, it may not seem that way when you pay $20 for the baking soda, essential oils, and coconut oil to make your toothpaste if you’re not familiar with the concept of unit pricing. The unit price of an item is the cost per ounce, pound, 100 count, or whatever basic unit the product is measured in. Always keep unit pricing in mind to get the absolute most for your money if price is the main factor. If you’re currently paying full retail price for natural products like toothpaste (I paid seven dollars for a 6-ounce tube of toothpaste once) then home-making is a super-frugal alternative.¬†Depending on the ingredients you choose,¬†you can get several servings worth for pennies per ounce. Now, if you’re using xylitol and calcium-magnesium powder and sea salt in your home-made toothpaste, that’s another story. It will most certainly be cheaper still than buying toothpaste with those ingredients, but not as much as the basic recipe I use. This point brings us to the next benefit:
  • You have control over what goes in/on your body.¬†Go ahead, be a control freak. It’s ¬† okay in this instance. Self control seems to be rare these days, so why not control of what goes into the self? If you aren’t already aware of the downright poisonous properties (I feel I personally have grown numb to the word “toxic,” let’s say “poisonous” or “will-boil-your-guts-and-kill-you”) of common ingredients in “food” and personal products, there’s no reason not to be. Take a look at your favorite lotion or perfume or what-have-you. Read the ingredients.¬†I mean it! Get up from your chair right now, go get your favorite bottle of goop and bring it to the computer. Look up any ingredient you can’t with 100% certainty tell me what or where it comes from and what its purpose in the product is. What is methylchloroisothiazolinone and what is it doing to my kidneys? The¬†Skin Deep¬†database is a quick and easy third-party resource for getting the down-and-dirty on your favorite personal care products, their ingredients, and their potential health hazards. What might rock the boat for some fair-weather “crunchies” is that the more popular “natural” brands are heavy offenders as far as use of toxins. Keep in mind, “all-natural” does not mean safe. Arsenic is all-natural. Think about it.
  • ¬†Home-making everything is a skill worth developing. I used to be a (lazy deadbeat) artist. I used to be a (sub-par) musician. I’ve even tried my hand at (depressing) poetry once or twice. Heck, even blogging I’m not that good at (yet). I can say with confidence that I am a skilled do-it-yourself-er. God has blessed me in turning me from a lazy rotten teenager to a hard-working mother and wife.¬†It’s useful¬†to be able to fabricate necessities and comforts, especially in hard times. I was never regaled with heirloom stories of bread lines or tenements, but I’ve experienced and observed enough austerity to decide to make it my lifestyle choice.¬†If national forced austerity ever became a reality (tick tock…) I want my family to be able not only to survive but to thrive!¬†My husband and I admire our Mennonite and Amish brothers and sisters for their industry and diligence. They are taught to work with their hands, men and women, from the time they can lift a hammer or thread a needle. I want to pass this mindset on to my child(ren)!

I used to cruise through Wegman’s, wide-eyed and gleefully tossing anything I fancied into my cart when I first got into natural living. I felt like I was really doing something good for myself. That was just the beginning. Now, I go there to buy pantry staples, things I honestly can’t make myself (seaweed chips, mmm) and to find inspiration.“I wonder if I can make this from scratch.”¬†Actually, after all that toothpaste talk, I had the idea just now to make your own toothbrush, there’s a project!

If you are impatient and refuse to learn patience, home-making is not for you. If you are a brand-addict and want guests to see your fair-trade-organic-vegan-raw-gluten-free-locally-sourced snake oil when they use your bathroom, either get creative with storing and labeling your homemades (part of the fun!) or don’t bother.¬†The (sensibly) industrious woman is a blessing to her house.¬†The proverbial Virtuous Woman “worketh willingly with her hands” and so should we!

And now, how’s-about a tutorial? Here are step-by-step instructions to make a Home-made Honey Facial Wash, great for acne-prone skin!

You will need:


  • raw honey, about 1/4 cup — I used buckwheat because I think it tastes gnarsty, this is a better use for it!
  • filtered (not distilled or boiled, we want minerals) water, about 1/2 cup
  • castile or other all-natural soap, 2 tablespoons
  • any light oil (apricot, jojoba, etc), one teaspoon (optional)
  • tea tree oil, 10 drops
  • other oils for scent or aromatherapy purposes — I used Patchouli and Spearmint, both good for acne
  • rosewater, one teaspoon
  • empty pumpy soapy container
  • measuring cup or bowl
  • funnel or quick hands
Make sure your baby is strapped in for the ride!
pour your soap!
pour your manure-tasting honey.
pour your filtered water.
Note: I failed to make sure I had enough soap for this recipe left. In the spirit of frugality, I poured the teaspoon of rosewater into the soap bottle and swished it around to get every last bit out!
add a little oil (this was $.50 cents, by the way!)
not cheap to buy, but I’ll show you how to make it someday
Tea tree is a natural antibacterial, patchouli and spearmint have many uses including battling acne! add your wee oilies!
caution: it will look like mud unless you use a light honey
whisk-a-whisk-a-whisk-a!
this recipe calls for a lot of pouring…
Ta-da! One or two squirts on a wet face, lather, rinse!

There you have it! The irony is that it took me about three hours to write this post, valuable time I could’ve spent home-making more everythings! Maybe tomorrow I can post my favorite Red Cabbage Salad recipe faster than the Titanic sunk. Night, y’all!

Verse of the day: Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (KJV)
What’s for dinner? Organic, grass-fed ribeye steaks, red cabbage salad!

Very truly yours,
Alpha Delta

A Word (Or Several) On Bargains

Hello, dear readers! I want to share with you today a public service announcement from the Coalition for People Who Are Alpha Delta. Bargains and You.¬†Imagine your own dramatic soap-opera-ey theme music. Let me say right off the bat that I’ve adopted a thriftier lifestyle. You can safely assume that about 90% of my family’s entire possessions are second-hand goods, from clothes to books to furniture and more. What some might be embarrassed by, we are proud of! That said, I am wary of some of the more self-defeating aspects of frugal living. There are definite pros and cons, and you should be aware of each (if you aren’t already, you smart cookie!) before deciding whether or not the lifestyle of frugal living is for you. Here’s my two cents!

Let’s approach this compliment-sandwich-style and start with something good to say about the frugal style of shopping: The obvious? It’s dirt flippin’ cheap!¬†If you get accustomed to unit pricing (the price per 100 count, price per pound, price per what-have-you), bulk purchases (when needed, see Cons), and where to look for the best deals, that’s a big chunk of frugal shopping right there!¬†As a stay-at-home mom, it’s important for me to pinch pennies where I can so that my family can save toward things like buying our own home or a car maybe a year or two younger than I am and to have a nest egg for our retirement and our children’s inheritance, and to have a stash set aside in case of emergency. These are very realistic goals, if you ask me. I’m not foregoing buying this season’s fall fashions or organic gluten free cruelty free vegan fair trade shoe polish so we can save up for a flat screen TV. If you buy new clothes each season, high-end personal care products or flat screens, that’s fine for you and I don’t mean to offend. But, for me and my house, austerity and frugality is the way to go. My husband and I have always admired the Mennonites and Amish around us–that’s how serious we are.¬†Someday we’d like to be as close to completely self-sufficient as possible (even giving up coffee and other imports, though I haven’t run the coffee bit by my husband) and being frugal now is a means to that end. Let’s face it: if you examine your needs against your wants, you can trim a lot of fat from your budget.¬†Also, you should be budgeting. Budget or else.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† And now, something to guard yourself against if you pursue the frugal lifestyle: Buying things you do not need or will not use simply because they were cheap. Before you get all excited and sign up for a BJ’s membership, I want you to watch an episode or two of Hoarders. This was my life.¬†I wasn’t raised in a frugal house, I was raised in a hoarding house.¬†I wasn’t the hoarder, but I lived with and was directly influenced by someone who spent so much time as an avid bargain hunter that something in their brain switched off. Soon, the house was packed with all kinds of everything, and none of it necessary. Ten-packs of keychain calculators “because they were only $.30”. A shopping bag full of packs of gum. Five sewing machines, never to be used. Several huge stacks of Sunday newspapers, bought for their coupons. Not everyone who opts for a frugal lifestyle will suffer this. I believe some circuits have to short in the brain first. I was raised around this sort of thing, so I was accustomed to it and adopted it myself. It took a lot of hard work and self-induced psychological boot-camp to break free from impulse spending habits. Remember how I said the Salvo is a block away from my house? I used to go there multiple times weekly! I’d drop $20 or more per visit on clothes that I didn’t even try on and often never wore (here’s a good remedy for that, always shop with your husband). Long story short: there is no point to being frugal if you’re going to spend the money you save on constant impulse buys.¬†Buy with a purpose.

my latest bulk purchase, most

of it will go in our “bug-in” closet.

In addition to impulse buys,¬†be wary when buying in bulk. Yes, I have a BJ’s membership (through my mom’s account which she gets for free through work!). How often do I shop there? Not as often as I’d like. But, every visit reminds me of why I keep my distance. We currently live in a teensy apartment. Blessed with much storage space, yes, but still teensy. Unlike some of my 5-kids-and-counting friends (Psalm 127:5), my family doesn’t have an urgent need for a 5 pound bag of string cheese. Again,¬†buy only what you need, and buy with a purpose.¬†That said, I’d like to mention quickly that buying in bulk isn’t all bad, it’s actually something I highly endorse when building up a¬†long-term storage food stockpile¬†(which, like budgeting, you should be doing!). Bulk stores like BJ’s or some co-ops or my favorite Mennonite stores are absolutely great for this. I actually kick myself when I come home from a Wegman’s run without having bought two of every shelf-stable item (one for the shelf and one for the storage closet). I’ll devote an entry to food and other goods stockpiling later.

Let’s wrap it up with another compliment for thrifty shopping:¬†You don’t have to settle for inferior goods (or services in some cases).¬†My husband, though broke as a church mouse when we first met, used to turn up his nose at even passing by our local Salvation Army store. Until he went in and looked around. Now, we buy about 99% of our family’s clothes at the Salvo, Goodwill (my husband’s favorite), or kid’s consignment shops. Our city’s Salvo isn’t one of the better local thrift stores as far as I’ve observed, but it’s¬†one block away from my front door. Heck yes. I’ve recently been finding great books, clothes, and things to put on these asylum-white walls at the Community Support Shop, a Christian-run second-hand store that relies on donated goods. They have ridiculously laughably wonderfully low prices and

a cutesy little box, $1
added perk:organization!
this is on a hand-stretched canvas! $1
everything in this picture (and my son’s room) is second-hand!

The part of my brain connected to my wallet aches when I hear this: “It was only $30 at Carter’s!” It also ached when a well-meaning friend unaware of our house’s finances suggested we check out the outlet mall for “a good deal” on clothes for our son. I’ll spare you the details of that trip (just watch Idiocracy) and just say that by the Delta standard, there where no deals to be found. Some absolutely adorable clothes at Osh Kosh cost more than what I’m used to spending on half a layette! I was disappointed to leave empty handed, but in the end it only strengthened my resolve to dress my kid fashionably, functionally, and¬†frugally.¬†So far, it’s been a success.

My whole family receives compliments (too often for my taste, but I don’t take compliments well) on things like our attire and and even more when we tell the person that our entire outfits are second-hand! Now, I don’t want to dress fashionably or frugally to please anyone (except my husband) or glorify myself or anyone else but God. Wise use of my family’s resources on these sorts of things are a real-life application of the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). If God blesses us with one talent when he gives our brother five, are we to complain that we can’t invest wisely because we weren’t given enough? Be a good steward (think of it as an investment if it helps) and¬†do the best with what you have for the glory of God.

Thank you for stopping by. Let me know what you think about frugal living! Be well.
With so very much love,

Alpha Delta.
What’s for dinner: Burrito bowls!

Verse of the day: Psalm 37:16 (KJV) A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

off to a great start?

          Well, I thought this might happen. I’m too busy to blog! This is due, in part, to the fact that I’m a mawmaw.

I spend approximately 89,0578% of my day doing this.

The primary culprit, however, is my lack of discipline and haphazard daily routine! Discipline of any sort was never imparted to me as a child, so naturally I struggle with this as a mother and wife–keep those words in mind if you’re raising unruly kids!

          If you’re like me, you find yourself wondering where all those hours went as evening approaches and the bulk of tasks you’ve set on your plate for the day haven’t even been touched. Sure, you could blame it on the constant interruptions of a young child (who despises naps outside of your arms), you could point the finger at the inadequate resources you have to work with, you could place the blame on any shoulders you choose. But if you put your pointing away and examine how you handle your day, where every minute goes, you’d be surprised at just how much fluff you could trim from your schedule. We are all given the same number of hours in each day, but the Proverbs 31 woman whose candle doesn’t go out by night is sure to achieve more for her house and the glory of God than Mrs. Delta-Facebook-addict (I keep telling myself I’ll delete it-hah!). The key here is maximizing usable time throughout the day and counting every minute as precious. And, really, if you think about how your life is but a vapor, every minute is in fact very precious.

         I’ve been reading a great book lent to me by a dear friend, a mother of five great kids (with number six due in December!). It was watching her buzz like the queen bee around her hive with the coolest of heads and the calmest of nerves as five different little bees (13 months to 7 years) buzz around on their own trajectories. She keeps a beautifully clean house (but is not a neurotic basket case about it like I can be), prepares every meal on time (without burning or undercooking it, which is my specialty) and still has time to enjoy and teach her kids and do things like sew and garden and study, and she still has the time and energy to spend quality time with her (awesome) husband! Who the heck invited Super Mom? I confided in her my feeling of drowning in maternal mediocrity compared to her example, when she handed me this book:

available from Amazon

          In the past, I’ve been highly skeptical of any solutions offered from a book. I grew up in a house littered with Woman’s World magazines whose covers were emblazoned with all manner of self-help offers (Gorge Yourself Skinny!) and saw no effects in the person reading them. I simply put two and two together than authors of self-help books are just money-grubbing quacks. This book goes beyond self-help. Like when I first began studying the Bible, I realized I can’t help myself. I’m truly very weak. I needed help from an outside source. The introduction of this book made my eyes light up:

          “Many years ago, I was the mother of one small baby boy in a little rental house. My husband and I were committed to having me stay at home to raise our little boy. I remember being embarrassed because of the dust, laundry piled up, and dirty dishes, and I scrambled to make something for supper just minutes before my hard-working husband came home.

          Why couldn’t I handle the basics? My shortcomings as a homemaker frustrated me. I had read enough to know that I had it easy compared to women in the past. I didn’t have to go outside and pump water like my grandmother did. I didn’t have to kill a chicken and dress it to make supper. I had a gas stove,a refrigerator, a freezer, a crockpot, a washer and dryer. I was rich compared to women throughout the ages, and I knew it. What was wrong with me?”

           Wait… there’s more than one of us? I’m sure I won’t make any friends by saying this, but Hurricane Feminism has left a lot of poorly disciplined girls and women in its wake. We now have this primadonna mentality running rampant, but I won’t follow that rabbit trail this time. Stay-at-home moms now seem to be something revolutionary when really it’s one of the simplest and most natural occupations. How the tables have turned! Motherhood and homemaking were once the locked chains around women to which Feminism and all its tenets (a rewarding career, no obligation to a husband or children, so-called equal standing with men) were the key. Now, I see women bound to their images, slaves to fashion, bound to their jobs (whether menial or “rewarding”) in order to keep themselves within four walls in this rotten economy. I found liberation in my role as a mother and wife. I used to say I wanted to go back to work after my son was born because I was too lazy to be a stay-at-home mom!
          Anyway, I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you’re one of those who has been told “there’s no manual” to things like managing a family and a house. I beg to differ! Because of what I’m picking up as I read this book, I find myself not only with the energy and the plan but the desire to make the absolute most of my resources and make my shoebox apartment (I’m thinking I’ll start calling it the Abiding Place) a home! I too, am blessed! I’m done complaining about this apartment, something I could do with no end! Plenty of women make homes of sod and straw, why not me with my apartment? I’m not owed anything better than what I have. I work with what I have and I pray about the rest. The author, Kim Brenneman, suggests putting encouraging scriptures up throughout the house. My verse for this apartment?

Proverbs 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith. (KJV)

          So, if you read this blog, I’m glad for it. I do more noteworthy things with my days than I’ve mentioned so far, and I believe I’ll work some space into my routine for regular blog writing. You deserve to know how awesome life is through the Alpha Delta lensūüôā
          Is there any habit you’ve had to train yourself out of in the transition from teenage years to adulthood? I’d love to hear your success story. I used to eat nothing but Stauffer’s frozen dinners until I started literally forcing myself to eat vegetables and whole foods. I no longer have nightmares about mushrooms and bell peppers. How about you?

                                   Love,
                                      Alpha Delta

What’s for dinner?: When my taller half gets home, I hope to coax him into taking us out to the Blue Ribbon Smokehouse in Phelps, NY!
Verse of the day: 1John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (KJV)

thoughts from my (semi-) daily walk

          My husband had the bright idea a few weeks ago that, if I want to begin to lose my baby weight (six months post-partum), I should, drumroll please, exercise more! How revolutionary, my dear! So, I resolved to take a daily (unless absolutely impossible) walk around my little semi-urban city. In the mile-and-change I cover on my route, I encounter some interesting things, both external sightings and internal musings. These things come up during our regular commutes also, but as a pedestrian I have the opportunity to examine more closely, greet people, and think deeper for longer intervals as I go.
          For one, I notice that pedestrian ettiquette has deteriorated drastically as far as I can observe. I’ve read fun little news blurbs about the “friendliest” states or cities nationwide, and New York (usually NYC) often ranks dead last when it comes to the usual smile and wave to the passerby. Why is this? I personally tend to be stand-offish and socially analytic but this is usually in the case of first impressions and actual meetings. I like to be pleasant to the person I have no obligation to see or speak to beyond a two-second greeting and see no reason  not to be! I also noticed that the friendliest of my fellow pedestrians (today, at least) were some of the sketchiest looking dudes I’ve walked past, including a scraggly-bearded old goat with a funny gait and scungey clothes, and a member not of my own race (imagine that!) who was carrying a satchel in a strange way and searching the sidewalk for something he thought he’d dropped from it. Each of these men went beyond the now-common eye contact aversion tactic and greeted me with kind words and smiles as my son and I passed by. That was one thing that I really appreciated about my husband when I first met him; we’d go for walks (we didn’t own any vehicles together until a couple years ago!) and he’d smile and greet everyone who passed us! If the person showed any sign of welcoming contact, they’d be treated to his sweet smile and a kind word of passing greeting. Simple as that! I was so amazed by this once basic piece of social behavior that I was moved to do my part and act in kind toward my fellow man. This includes being graceful when someone cuts you off in traffic or bumps your cart (or often, your car) at Wegman’s, or in absolutely every instance in which you are a customer being served by another human being. One of these days I could write an encyclopedia’s worth of words explaining just why I see no reason to ever be rude to a cashier, restaurant server, hotel worker, DMV clerk, or any other server. No reason whatsoever. But, that’s for another day.

An added perk of the daily walk!

          As I went about my way, I was snacking on these funky little “Sea Sprinkles” I found at the store yesterday. Ingredients: Seaweed, Olive oil, Agave syrup, Sesame oil, Sesame seed, Sea salt. Calories per half ounce: 60. Your mouth is watering already, I know. The packet claims its contents are “strangely addictive” and after eating these little clusters, I can see why. This product is an import from Korea, how sensible to capitalize on a wild edible this way! The resource is totally renewable if harvested sustainably, the basic overhead costs must be very low (after all, it’s seaweed) and it’s a (rare these days) nutritious snack! But then I remembered that if the seaweed was harvested within the past 18 months it’s likely to have been exposed to radioactive goodness from the Fukushima meltdown that seems to have disappeared from public memory. Oh, jeeps! Wouldn’t it be great if American confectioners introduced lightly-sweetened dandelion leaf or lamb’s quarter leaf clusters to the hippie food market? How’s that for job creation! If you think outside the box and take a good look at your surroundings, you really can make more out of the components of your natural surroundings than you’d ever considered, and this principle applies to more things than just sweet, kelpy treats. 

          One last thing I came by before Wesley and I finished our circuit and arrived home: irony.
          Pictured above is a pile of discarded spring water jugs and paperboard. Curbside. In front of its owner’s house. On a windy day. Yes. I can appreciate that this person doesn’t want to use city water for whatever reason, which is great. They also have the mind to recycle their plastics and papers, great. But the means by which they’ve decided to recycle could also be called (another drumroll, please) littering! Oh, the irony splits my sides! Oy, vey…
          So, my beebee and I made it home safe and sound (despite my trying to text and stroll, probably the next thing New York State will make illegal) and we can continue our day, thanks for peeking in on it!
P.S.
         I’d like to include as a footer to each post the following quick snippet, consider it the tag on the t-shirt so-to-speak.

     What’s for lunch: Asparagus, cheesy potatoes, and organic BBQ pork and cheddar sandwiches!

     Verse of the day: Romans 8:1 (KJV): There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
                                                                               So very truly yours,
                                                                                           Alpha

Why, hello there!

Nice to meet you! I’m Alpha, what’s your name?

          Just so you know, I’m not that awesome. Well, my name isn’t really Alpha Delta, which would be pretty gnarly. I’m Alyssa Duvall (awesome nonetheless) and I live in Upstate New York with my husband Jake and our six-month old creature, Wesley.
Shiny happy family!

          I suppose I decided to start this blog because, not only was I inspired by other blog-mama trailblazers, I thought I’d like to add my input to that vast whirlpool of zeros and ones. Even if I don’t come by fortune, fame, or followers through this venture, I’ll have something for my child(ren) to one day pore over when someone asks them if their mom was always this weird. They’ll know for sure that their mom was nuts, but knowledgeable. Not that my spare time is very bountiful (or even existent) but I’d like to be able to share my own blend of not-so-usual momblog topics which may include:

  • natural parenting (cloth diapering, breastfeeding, vaccinations, making baby food, homemade everything, homeschooling, etc.) and why it’s just fantastic
  • my (also crazy) baby and the goofy things he does, as well as some pictures, tips on babyish things, as well as questions for you! I don’t know everything (gasp!) about raising kids and I’ll occasionally get so desperate as to cast my message in a bottle to the big blue blog and, if you have any experience with wittle beebees, maybe you’ll have the answer!
  • Someday, I’ll teach you how to make the best-ever Greek Yogurt!
  • healthy (and/or delicious) home cooking with some of my favorite recipes, as well as fun foods you may not have considered making from scratch
  • gardening – not likely to be covered much until seed-starting time, but still an important part of my life, and it’s something anyone can do! Even you!
  • frugal living – as a homekeeper (Titus 2:5), it is my daily charge to run my home efficiently and to be a good steward of our God-given resources. This includes not blowing my husband’s paychecks on pretty shinies and designer clothes for our baby. I come from a hoarding and financially wasteful background, so this is a daily battle for me on which I’ll try to keep you bloggie folk updated!
  • preparedness, survival, and bushcrafting – whoa, where’d that come from?! see, I told you I was nuts. Now, I’m not about to stand on the street corner wearing a sandwich sign emblazoned with Revelations references, but I do very strongly believe that in these last days we are called to be sober and vigilant. I believe we should be spiritually prepared for the coming of the Lord as a thief in the night, and also physically and mentally prepared for the coming of any old pick-pockety thief in the night. Take it from the Boy Scouts, be prepared!
  • politics and social issues – again with the stuff no one wants to hear! Pardon me, you can feel free to ignore these posts if we disagree on anything. They won’t get lonely. I know that there are (literally) millions of people who share my bemusement and disgust with the way our country (and global government) is being run (from behind the curtain, I’ll add) and I know that a good chunk of them also happen to be moms! You will not find (nor would I tolerate) any racist views, advocacy of errant violence, or any of the really crazy stuff. Honest.
  • faith, holiness, eschatology, creation, other matters of Christianity and Bible study – as my faith is alive and thriving and my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continues to deepen, my Bible study and recording thereof will be directly proportionate. Again, if our doctrinal views differ or if I get to be too preachy or you think I’m “closed-minded” (with which I have no problem), feel free to ignore the post in question (or the whole blog if you wanna be like that :p)
          Since, after all, this is the Internet, I feel the need to say from the outset that I won’t tolerate anything less than constructive, positive (or at least intelligent) discussion here. Don’t waste your time, be nice! I find it taxing myself to withhold some things I’d like to say to the people when they do the strangest things in public, but I don’t pull over and scream out the window at them. It’s just courtesy.
          So, if any of the above sound like your kind’a of readin’ material (we can share a cell!), stick around and I’ll do my best to be faithful to this blog! At the moment I’m typing with Wesley on my lap and it’s hard to focus on anything (I forgot to breathe) with this Leap Frog guy singing the Alphabet Song. Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?
                                                                   So very truly yours,
                                                                           Alpha Delta

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