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Trash to Treasure..teaching the love of being “different”

My sweet little baby is a teen. If you seasoned Mama’s are shaking your head in pity, I’ll take it. Even Goddess Babies have teen moments :).

Living the life we do, we do not have to conform to the status quo. I am thankful for that, but always knew that ONE DAY, my bubble would burst.

The big needle came in the apparition of a “formal dance” my Goddess Baby was to attend. She does not attend school, this was her first opportunity for a formal dance. Since this was part of a state wide, annual event, attended by teens, the pictures of past dances were to be found all over the internet via Facebook. I had to control my face while viewing the pictures, I knew what was coming.

We dress Gypsy. Vintage. Funky. The thrift store is our mall. We pay no more than $3.99 for Abercrombie jeans, and barely fork out $10 for boots.

For days I watched my Goddess Baby try on hideous clothes that made her look like she jumped out of a B version of a bridesmaid movie, but I bit my tongue. Frustration. First experiences with “I have to conform with this style, it makes me gag, but I want to fit in, but I really don’t want to fit in”. Sound familiar? Nothing worked, it was my chance!

“How about we take one of the dresses we found at the thrift store clearance and alter it?” I say. “We were going to cut them up anyways….”. Bait, and hook.

It took a little back and forth, a few tears, some tough love.

Before:

After:

Happy Gypsy Goddess Baby:

Cost: $0.62 for the dress, $4 for the dye, $1-4 for the embellishments.

In the end, she was fabulously flamboyant, and lovin’ it. One girl offered to buy her dress for $400!!!! (wonder if that check would have gone through??? We are cash only, just for the record :)..), but by then she had bonded with her dress. We even made it so it can be changed into another style with the flip of a stitches.

Ahhh…how I love valuable lessons.

Much love,

Heike

The best things in life can be FREE!


After spending a month SpiritZapping, I think my next focus will be: “What great things in life are FREE?”

With the zapping, a profound thread emerged. How can we maintain a quality of life on a shoestring budget? I surely did not invent thriftiness, but I will continue to share what I can :).

I also want to mention that you are not alone out there. I did receive several private emails during the month, and thank you all for sending them :). It warms my heart to know that I can support you on this journey, and that my posts may have made a difference, or just opened a door to new thoughts!

One of the recent emails, published with permission, although I changed the names to protect the Lovelies :)…

“I love your new spirit-zappers postings!

Welcome to my world! We pay cash for everything and it’s really difficult when you need things like new tires or any kind of extra expense. It SUCKS! We have no credit cards and probably couldn’t afford the payments if we did. Credit cards can become a crutch and then people end up paying monthly on them and don’t have cash so they have to keep using the cards. I’m glad we don’t have credit card debt but sometimes I wish we had them so that we could use them in an emergancy like when we need new tires (my tires are bald and could pop anytime) or to pay for dental work. I recently broke two of my molars and don’t have dental insurance so I am really worried. Even getting a hair cut is such a luxury. It cost me $40 for XXX to cut my hair which might as well be $400 with our current budget. (snippet removed to protect the Lovelies) LOL! I can just imagine that John would flip out too if you paid $40 to get a hair cut. Maybe I could go every two or three months. We’ll see. I can totally understand that she has to earn a living so I don’t begrudge her at all and she does a fantastic job and is worth every penny.

Most of the time I’m just grateful that we have a roof over our heads. This economy has really taken it’s toll on us. Luckily XXX was able to get some handyman work and painting/building some cabinets on the side for some extra cash which helped a lot. He still has not found a job. My sister was laid off from her job last week. She had been with the company for 10 years.

We don’t have cell phones because that was the first luxuries to go when XXX was laid off. XXX always wonders how teenagers and people on welfare manage to have fancy cell phones. That’s a pet peeve of his. Our luxuries lie in distraction through TV and Internet. We have a comcast package that includes phone, internet and cable for $100/month and my internet is high on my priority list because it offers a gateway into so much information and keeps me connected with friends and family. I would go bananas without it! Recently I splurged on Netflix, though I don’t know for how long. I feel guilty spending $9/month on it even though it isn’t that much, it is when you live on a shoe string. I LOVE Netflix though. (snippet removed to protect the Lovelies) I get the sale ads from Safeway and SaveMart and buy ONLY what’s on sale. Haven’t bought new clothes in over a year. I guess I spend my clothing budget on my internet. Thrift shops don’t usually carry anything I would want to wear in my size.

When I watch the news on TV I get depressed hearing about unemployment and state budget crisis…etc. When I saw what was going on in Iran, I did feel very fortunate that we are not it that kind of crisis and I felt sorry for those people. I think we have taken for granted so much that we were accustomed to enjoying in life. Having the rug pulled out from under me has been a real eye opener as to being grateful for the little things. There was a time in my life when I could not even fathem living the way I am now. I expected more, perhaps I still do. I know I do. Even when I thought I didn’t have a lot, I really had more than I imagined and even now, when I am living on less, it’s more than some people have. I just wish it would get better and soon. Universe?!? Are you listening?!?

One of the things I admire about you is that you live simply and you do it with style. Your home is warm and cozy and you make not having a dishwasher seem tre~chic. LOL! You find things to do that are free or low cost and it’s fun to be around you. We have some other friends who keep asking us to go camping and stuff but I told XXX that as much as I love these people, they are likely to want to go out to a nice resturant for dinner or something that would cost $$$ and we wouldn’t be able to afford it and I wouldn’t want to be a damper on their fun or even have them pay for us. You know what I mean? If I went camping it would be very simple and we’d be eating what we brought, no fancy stuff. No stopping at the casinos or anything like that. When we say we are on a tight budget we mean it. What we have is what we got and if it’s gone, it’s gone…. There ain’t no money tree growing in my back yard. Hell! I don’t even have a yard right now!

It takes everything I can muster to stay positive and focus on moving forward with hope and determination that this time in our lives will get better. Somedays I just have to take a xanex and try to block it out. =)”

I am sharing this with you, because I think it is important to see that no one is alone in this. ONE of my responses is that when you decide to live your authentic life, those around you will respect you for it, and those that do not will fade away. It takes a certain amount of courage to be authentic :)…

So now I am enjoying this beautiful Sunday! My men are off on a fishing trip on the search for the GIANT carp :), and my daughter and I are preparing for a day of making Goddesses and girly stuff.

P.S. The picture above is one we took on our recent Blackberry adventure…complete with scars and spirits :)…you can read more at Green Sub Mama.

Enjoy your Authenticity!
Heike

What I am reading: “Voyager”. Finally! Drawn back in, feeling a connection with the Highlanders….
What I am grateful for: The simple things in life that me happy.
What I am manifesting: Sales….

Trash Nouveau

I have long been a Treasure Hunter…other people’s trash is my treasure. It’s in the genes, I still sit on the chair that my Oma rescued from the dump pile 20 odd years ago.

My kids have it in them too. There is nothing better to lift our spirits than a trip our thrift store, or cleaning up the laundry, eh junky room, or attic and finding long forgotten objects. I often chuckle when I meet past acquaintances at the thrift store, who are openly uncomfortable, like I “caught” them in the unspoken act :)…LOL…silly them. Stay home, leave the treasure for me!!

Here are my finds from my last thrift store visit. This was a rare trip by myself, without my little crew…

I LOVE my cowboy boots!! I could have a different pair for every day of the month. Maybe if I wear them, my ranch will come to me??? And now I have a canner for $1.50, the glass insert rack for $1.00!! 🙂

And here is my little Astronaut, ready to conquer the world in his recycled grocery box…..

I have long found out that toy stores could be oblivious, and kids would not care as long as you furnish them with cardboard boxes. Even my 11 year old still gets giddy when we get a big box.

Life can be so simple……

What I am reading (this is new!): “Amber and Dragonfly”, by Dianna Gabaldon. OMG, I read book one of this trilogy, and am hooked. I am ready to go to the Scottish Highlands and conjour up the spirits of Jamie and Claire, as I am totally in love with the two main characters. Need me at 3 am?? I am up, reading.
Also, “Change your Thoughts, Change your Life” by Dr. Dyer. I am on Tao verse #2. Wow..

What I am grateful for: My ability to see the good.

What I am manifesting: SALES. If you know where I can advertise my book and Goddesses, tell me :).

I am not buying NUTH’IN!!

:)…
I am a retailers’ nightmare. No money, no cable tv, no WII, only uses credit cards on her cars and for “to die for” cowboy boots. I only get weak when it comes to computers, otherwise I have vowed not to buy anything new unless ABSOLUTELY necessary (like underwear), and never “Made in China” unless it happens to be a new MAC.

I have successfully found several fabulous gifts at thrift stores. They are so fabulous that I am glad that they are going to family members, so that I can use them too. I do buy used on Ebay or Craigslist too, but there is nothing like that $1 or $2 treasure you can only discover at a thrift store.

My friends know of my addiction, and do not expect anything less than recycled from me. My kids totally value things for what they are, not what they cost or where they came from.

So instead of getting up at 3 am on Black Friday, with a half-digested turkey in my stomach, to go shopping, I was snoozing. I got up at 7:30 am to get to the thrift store at 8 am for my “SPECIAL VIP Hour Early shop” and $5 gift certificate :). My credit cards are bored, and that is the biggest plus of swearing off consume. Today, I almost waned, by checking out a Cyber Monday offer of buy one, get on half off (and FREE shipping!) at a toy store, but they were ALL out of the toys I wanted. It was a clear sign from Spirit, telling me to “GO AWAY, Heike!!” ;).

I get to enjoy the Holidays, even though it is still damn HOT here. We just put up our lights and are entertaining our electric company. I am starting to make cookies this week, preparing for two great Holiday get-togethers with my favorite people at our house. My kids are excited, I am excited.

We are tracking Santa at N.O.R.A.D

I am drinking EGGNOG!

What I am grateful for: Christmas Season

What I am manifesting: My Mom, and snow.

I am going to be SOOOO smart!

On our bi-weekly treasure hunt at the thrift store (we were actually looking for WHITE jeans for my kids for 4H…who the hell still wears white jeans???), we found this:

My 6 year old thought it was super cool, and we plunked down to play. You see, it has Junior, Youth, and Senior questions, so the whole family can play t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r. I made Heike Jr. do the dishes instead, she is too smart and I had to test it on the little one first.

Well, all my school education was good for NOTHING!

Here are some of the Junior questions:
Q. What kind of fish is scrod?
A. Young codfish cut and ready for cooking.

Q. How many continents are there? Name them. (Sarah should have played this game…)
A. Seven. Asia, AFRICA, N. America, S. America, Europe, Australia and Antartica.
~~~ P.S. 6 year old knew these :)..

Q. Is Washington D.C. a state?
A. No, it is a federal district.

Q. Who founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis?
A. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Q. Who sought the Fountain of Youth?
A. Ponce de Leon

ok…a little harder, geared towards the YOUTH brain:

Q. In dry measure, how many quarts are there in a peck?
A. 8 quarts

And for when you are older and your brain cells are deteriorating:

Q. What number is MCDXCII?
A. 1492

Q. How many provinces border the combined states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, and what are they?
A. 3 – British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

Q. What is the easternmost province of Canada?
A. Newfoundland
(that one is for my Canadian friends :)…)

Q. Harsh sounds and cries describe this ‘cat”.
A. Caterwaul.

Uff….
My secret: I picked all my questions from the Junior section….need to hone up on my classical education before I play this game with the juniors….

What I am grateful for: That my children see the value of something for what it is, not where it came from or what it costs. They are the best Assistant Treasure Hunters ever…

What I am manifesting: Still manifesting the return of my Muse.

Treasure Hunter and Dream Seeker

This one is long, but grab a glass of wine and stay with me.

Almost 6 months ago a friend told me about “compactors”, people who sign a contract and vow not buy anything new for 1 year. What a fabulous idea! I mulled over this some time, discussed it with the family, and we ventured into our own version of compacting. I joined our local Freecycle group, and the adventure began!

If you are wondering why I did not join and sign the compact contract, well, it is because I do not do well with rules, so I would never voluntarily inflict them on myself. And I don’t buy used shoes. And, even though some of the posts on the compact yahoo list were very helpful and informative, as with every group online, there are always a few assholes to spoil the fun.

I have always been a thrift store queen. I LOVE thrift stores…Seriously. The thought of making a great deal and saving the environment, and at the same time kicking consumerism and debt in the ass is so empowering and bitchin’ :). Finding Freecycle and a few other resource unknown to me was great. Now, when we need something big, like a drum, a dryer, 1000 legos, a watering can, a lawn mower, etc, we go to Freecycle (these are all things we have WANTED, and RECEIVED.) When I find things in my house I would never give away, but I don’t need, I put them on Freecycyle and find the perfect, thankful owner for them! My kids live in breathe in the environment, and they see Freecycle as our personal department store.

To get to the reason for this long intro: I wanted to share some keypoints of my day with you. My brain ramble will come together somewhere down there!

This morning my kids had piano and guitar lessons with our fabulous Ms.Lisa
who is just awesome! She is teaching my daughter to play the blues on the guitar, so B.B. King watch out! My 6yr old has written 2 Rexi songs for his dog and is playing them on the piano.

While they are making wonderful music, I am preparing my package to send to Oprah. Yes, that Oprah. :)…I wrap up my book and a Goddess that my kids deemed the “Oprah Goddess” in a magical little package. Now I am manifesting the package becomes invisible to all the screeners and looky-loos, and ends up in Oprah’s hands. I want to go on Oprah, that’s that. She personafies everything I want to be. Anyways, the kids were done, we sprinkled our package with magic invisi powder, and right before we walk out the door, I run to check something on the computer.

There is an email from one of my favorite thrift stores that says: TODAY ONLY ALL CLOTHES 50% OFF! OMG, my heart races!!

So off we go to the post office, then of course to the thrift store. We were like three treasure hunters, making our way through the crowd. We unearthed:

3 pairs of Levi’s for me (My ass is special. Only certain jeans fit my ass, and I never find any. Today I found 3..so I had to buy them all. If I would have found 10, I would have bought them too….)
1 pair of jeans for Mr. Heike
1 pair of shorts for Mr. Heike
1 pair of capris for me, and 1 pair for Heike Jr.
1 bathing suit for me, and 1 bathing suit for Heike Jr.
4 long sleeved cotton shirts
1 blouse
1 dress (notice I am not writing who gets what…)
1 hand crochet blanket for my fabulous vacation van
, or future home.
1 salad spinner and 1 vegetable cutter
1 pair of shoes
1 beautiful goddess jewelry box, brand new, for Heike Jr because she is so wonderful.
1 truck for Heike Jr. #2, because he is so wonderful.
My total? $46 with tax!!!!
Whew! Let me fan myself!!!

🙂
To celebrate our finds, we went to Haggin’s and had our first fruit freezes for the year. You know, to acclimate ourselves for the summer.

I ended this successful day with salmon, wine, 2 hours on the phone with long-time-not-seen-friends-who-are-fabulous-and-inspiring, and a little teary-eyed blogging (see buttons to your right under my goddesses, and check these women out! Let’s send out some cyber love!!)

Almost fini.

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Fini.