Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Repurposed Garage Sale Finds

I really wanted to give my daughter a dress up box, pretty and full of fun clothes to wear and imagine with. But, when I browsed the toy aisles, I couldn't find exactly what I wanted. Either all the clothes were princess-style, or they seemed to only focus on one style of dress up. Oh, and did I mention they were too expensive?!

So, I made my own. I found a gently used picnic basket at a garage sale and painted it a bright yellow. The color wasn't my first choice, but the can of paint only cost me $1 from Home Depot's discarded paint shelf.

Before and After

Then, I looked around consignment and thrift shops for things to fill the basket with. Her favorite items by far - the colored beaded necklaces and the blue tutu. In the picture to the right, she appears to be channeling an Arab woman, but notice the blue tutu is still there!

My total cost for the entire basket was about $6, once I included the dress up items. Plus, there is room to add a few more things that I might find along the way.

I was so glad I could do this inexpensively and still in a cute way. What have you been able to reuse or repurpose for your children?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I was man A, but want to be B

My previous post about whether men should aim to be man A (saving for a family) or B (investing in the Kingdom) led to some discussion, which is great.

I find it interesting that Jennifer says she's snatch up man A, were he to come along (and were she single). Yes, she thinks man B might be more ideal, but man A is a great real-world catch.

It's also interesting that I was quite a bit like man A when Jennifer and I got together. As she said in her "Meet the Mrs." post, "When we married, [my husband] used his savings to pay off the ~$2000 debt on my first credit card."

When I proposed to her, I had a 5-year financial plan worked out detailing how two college students could afford to get married. I had even calculated how much money I would need to earn per year in order for her to be a stay-at-home-mom and for us to participate in our state's pre-paid college program for our future children. I hadn't thought much about it till now, but I was what Mark Driscoll would call, "a dude's dude." We bought our first house at the age of 23 and had credit scores above 800 by the age of 29. As I said in my "Meet the Mr." post, "I once took great pride in my financial self-determination."

I guess the point of this blog for me is trying to work out how I could get from being man A to being man B. See, there's nothing obviously wrong with man A. He is (I was) a good catch in today's world. But, there's also nothing obviously Christian about man A either. Is there any reason man A couldn't be a good, conservative Jew or Muslim? If you take out the part about praying to God, he could even be a conservative atheist.

Man B, however, is not using his money to build a good, conservative, family-oriented life, though such things have value. He's using his money to advance the Kingdom. As John Piper has said:

Only one life.
It will soon be past.
Only what's done for Christ
will last.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Family heirlooms

Thinking about Jennifer's recent post on wedding rings, I wonder if there's a place for buying some 'big-ticket' items with the intention of making them family heirlooms. For example, what are your thoughts on a young Christian couple investing in a nice engagement ring with the intention of passing it along to their descendants one day as part of their testimony of the sanctity of marriage? After all, "a diamond is forever," or at least that's how DeBeers justifies the diamond's cost.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

An attractive young man?

OK, I never thought I'd be writing a post about attractive young men, but a recent sermon series by Mark Driscoll, of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, got me thinking about how young single men should live. According to Driscoll, a single man should be saving to buy a home, saving for the college educations of his future children, etc. Then, when he meets a young single woman who wants to know what he's been doing, he can say, "Well, I've been saving to buy a house and send my future kids to college." That, Driscoll, says, is a great way to woo a woman.

Now, I can't disagree that women would be more interested in the man with a plan than with a man who's spent his single-man's income on trips to Vegas. But, here's my question. Which of these is a better choice for a man to be able to say:

A) "For the last 5 years since graduating college, I've saved $18,000 so I can buy a house when I get married, and I've started a college fund for my future children. While my old college friends have been buying nicer cars and taking ski trips, I've been praying that God will help me find the right woman to spend my life with, and I want to be prepared when God sends her to me."


B) "For the last 5 years since graduating college, I've been giving most of my extra money to missions and Christian charities. I've been able to help a few families with medical expenses, and I'm investing in clean water projects through Blood:Water Mission. Giving means I can't take ski trips with friends, and I don't have a lot saved for my own future, but I trust God to give me what I need."


C) Some combination, or something different altogether. You tell us.