Skip to Content

Meet a Colorado Reader | Dorinda

Dorinda is a girl after my own heart…she sent lots of photos in with her interview answers. I love it!

1. Tell us a little about yourself

Hi! I’m Dorinda. I grew up on a wheat and beef farm in Kansas, spent seven years in north Dallas, and now reside in Colorado with my husband Greg (Mr. A) and our three young boys (ages 9, 7, 5).

Three little boys sitting.

Kristen and I share a birth year, but I married and started a family significantly later. So her kids are in college and my kids are in early grade school.

Dorinda and her family in front of mountains.

Family snapshot while out camping.

Mr. A and I are both computer techies who use our skills to serve the international missions community. While many people think of “missionaries” within the Christian community as pastors or Bible translators or maybe a teacher or a doctor, our missions team helps keep the computers-that-make-things-possible running behind the scenes.

Mr. A is a software developer while I work with computer training/business analyst projects as well as coordinate our volunteer events like the annual Spring Break Code-a-Thon for Missions. Between work travel and vacation, we’re often on the road 25-35% of the year.

Dorinda speaking at a conference.

Leading a session at a missions tech conference

I like hiking/camping, reading, being practical, finding adventures, sewing small projects, helping people, sharing Hope, and taking pictures to commemorate joy-moments. We live in an average three-bedroom house in the city (with mountain peaks in the distance outside our windows).

Dorinda with a red kerchief on her head.

Mountains and a river.

And I’m still a country girl at heart and love taking my family back to see Kansas sunsets and experience the small joys of rural living.

Children on a rope swing.

Treein silhouette at sunrise.

But if you were to know me for very long, you’d find that I’m also honest.

Life has been hard and stretching over the last few years as I juggle parenting, homeschooling, working in ministry, coordinating travel, and my own mental health journey through burnout and depression. I simply don’t have the capacity to #doallthethings that I’d like to do.

A little boy asleep with his head on a table.

This picture is when my 3yr old fell asleep at a cafeteria table during a conference we were running. But it definitely represents how I feel many days! *laughing face*

A tractor in the sunset.

I read the quilter and canner and amazing home meet-a-reader posts with a touch of envy, and then I have to stop myself and be thankful for the things I have in this season of life. There will come seasons when I have more time for creative projects and homemade things, but this is a season God has given me to pour into my kids, my family, and ministry.

Dorinda in front of a lake.

In each part of life, I can acknowledge the hard AND look for the thankfuls. I can feel dejected over a rough day of whiny kids AND cherish the joy on their faces as we blow bubbles (which we’re doing to keep mama from yelling).

A little boy blowing bubbles.

I can miss having lots of time to be creative or do things from scratch but I can enjoy the moments I do have here and there. I did can tomatoes this year for the first time (Mr. A is the gardener), but we certainly haven’t saved money by having the garden yet.

Boys and husband at garden

Our raised garden is completely covered by hardware cloth to help protect from deer, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and our abundant spring hail. The growing season is so short that it can make gardening a challenge, even when we do start plants indoors.

A boy eating a carrot.

And I enjoy small sewing projects, though very much on the practical side–mostly mending. (A big thank you to the FG community on the FB page a year ago where you ladies posted some links to some great mending techniques! That upped my mending game considerably!)

Mr. A. stalked Craigslist a couple years ago and found me a Bernina 830 sewing machine – an amazing workhorse of a machine. He drove five hours round trip to buy it for me, negotiated the price, and then did all the clean-up work on the gummed-up gears himself.

Dorinda at her sewing machine.

Then I’ve used the sewing machine to make heatable rice bags that I sell for $5/ea on our local BST groups at Christmas time. (If I sell anything homemade, I make sure I pay myself at least $20/hr. My time is precious!)

The profit from that bought a new watch for Mr. A when his old one died, so he got blessed in the end too! And someday I’ll have the energy to tackle bigger projects. 🙂

Colorful Fleece rice bags.

Finding the balance between time frugality and money frugality is an ongoing consideration for me. I definitely watch for stock up grocery prices, but I don’t fanatically coupon. I can make a homemade loaf of bread for less than .60. But when I can pick up top quality, outdated bread for $1/loaf, I often buy instead of bake.

I make homemade broth by the gallons and cook most of our meals at home, but I’m also the average shopper who stocks up on spaghetti sauce and cereal and we get Burger King coupon deals when I’m exhausted.

This fall, my 9yr old and I rescued apples from a neighbor’s tree and turned them into applesauce and apple butter. I don’t always have the energy for those things, so we treasure the moments when I do.

Apple butter on bread.

Homemade apple butter on a slice of homemade bread

One of the things we do as a family for our mental health is get off-grid for 2-3 weeks of each year and tent camp in the mountains of Colorado and Montana.

Renting a cabin for that long would be expensive, but tent camping allows us to do that. (One of our family members has a permanent disability, so the NPS Access pass also helps us stretch the budget.) And camping gets us away from our technology!

A little boy running toward a tent.

2. How long have you been reading The Frugal Girl?

Ooh… I know it was before fall of 2009, but I’m not sure when exactly. My college roommate recommended your blog and I’ve been hooked ever since – usually obsessively checking for it via Feedly during breakfast. 🙂 However, reading via Feedly usually means I’m not down in the comment section as much.

The blog has definitely found its way into our lives – chicken and biscuit casserole (which my picky eater loves!!!), Kristen’s pizza-making method, eyes on our sugar cookies:

Christmas cookie with eyes.

4 yr old: It’s a moose looking through a bush for the yummy flowers it wants to eat.

…and countless jean repairs (inspired by Kristen’s ongoing repairs to her favorite pair of jeans). And this year’s “Meet a Reader” series has definitely brought me to comments more since I’m putting faces/personalities to the names.

3. How did you get interested in saving money?

I grew up in a frugal family. My grandparents grew up during the depression. My parents never made more than ~$20k/yr on the farm. I didn’t make more than $22k/year until after we got married.

A little boy on a rope swing.

I grew up thinking that everyone carefully washed aluminum foil for re-use, abhorred the use of paper towels (Here! Use this rag!), and added cooked wheat kernels to chili and meatloaf to make the meal more filling.

Dorinda driving a green combine machine.

16 yr old me driving the combine during wheat harvest

4. What’s the “why” behind your money-saving efforts?

We try to live simply to honor those who are supporting us in missions and to free up funds to make a difference in the lives of people around the world. As part of living simply, some areas of our budget have less wiggle room than many families, so I try to stretch dollars where I can. I also want to use our finances to bless those around us: the homeless in our area, the neighbors on our street, the teachers in our school, and the community at our church.

Dorinda's son with a pair of tongs.

My little kitchen helper as we make food for a staff dinner

5. What’s your best frugal win?

Oooh… probably marrying a man who can do automotive work. 😉

Seriously, Mr. A-mazing does all the work on our vehicles (including replacing the engine on our minivan two years ago) and that saves us so much money! Also, his proactive work means that our vehicles are super reliable for our road trips.

Our first Plymouth Grand Voyager van (which he had before we got married) carried us on road trips until it hit 360,000 miles and we decided to retire it. That van was also our only vehicle for the first eight years of marriage, so the bikes and jogging stroller were kept busy with grocery runs and errands.

We still try to walk or bike as much as we can.

A green minivan in front of a mountain range.

The 360,000 mile van at the Tetons

6. What’s a dumb money mistake you’ve made?

Vehicle-related again. Paying too much for my post-college car. I had never car shopped before and ended up paying too much at a used car dealership. I paid in cash and it was a good car; I just overpaid due to their sales tactics and my inexperience.

7. What’s one thing you splurge on?

A family hiking together.

Backpacking gear.

When Mr. A and I first started backpacking, we researched and bought our main backpacks on Craigslist. But those didn’t fit us well and I ended up with nerve damage. We eventually ended up going to a full-service camping store and finding packs that truly fit. (It’s a God-provision, frugal-win story on how we got Mr. A’s $400 pack for $175 brand new, but you can’t tell all the stories at one time!)

Our boys have traveled with us on over 125 miles of backpacking trails.

8. What’s one thing you aren’t remotely tempted to splurge on?

Beauty stuff. Perfume. Purses. Designer clothes. Anything that would put us in debt.

9. If $1000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?

My counselor is advising me to take one day a month and give myself a complete break from responsibility. So I’d probably put it towards childcare costs to make that happen more often. Or better lighting for my kitchen. It’s a toss-up. 😉

A silhouette of a person on a rock lookout.


My favorite lookout from the trailhead five minutes from our house

10. Share a frugal tip with other Frugal Girl readers.

Use your goals and your talents to find your own unique ways to be frugal. If your food budget is an area where you’re frugal, find a few meals that are easy and inexpensive and rotate them in regularly.

Example: I can make taco soup to feed 10+ people for about $4. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and easily vegetarian. And super quick. I can toss together a salsa chicken freezer meal (feeds four adults) for about $1.50. Or chicken noodle soup for a family for $2.

Having recipes like that allows me to stretch our budget, splurge on some meals, and easily bless the families around me when they need meals. (Probably my Midwest hospitality coming out there – dropping off a meal is my go-to way of blessing people.)

In May, a friend gave me lots of frozen chicken and egg noodles and rice she didn’t need. When several friends were hospitalized with Covid later that month, I turned that food into meals for 50+ people for a total of $8 out of pocket. The boys loved helping with the food deliveries and making encouraging signs!

Three boys on a porch.

the boys at a friend’s house as we dropped off food and decorated her porch

11. Is there anything unique about frugal living in your area?

For our house location: yes. We live less than three-fourths of a mile from two grocery stores, two thrift stores, a fabric store, a dollar store, and more. Two grocery stores keep the price of milk down 😀 and I don’t have to go far for what I need.

For our town: We live in a bit of a tourist town, so many activities are priced for tourists and out of budget for us. Sometimes I’m able to find free/low cost access to such activities if someone has planned a group trip and didn’t have enough sign-ups and puts out the word on the local FB B/S/T sites.

I definitely appreciate our vibrant freebie group communities. And if you can learn to dress for cold weather, you’ll have the trails and wilderness to yourself (and some activities at reduced prices!) on cold days instead of sharing that space with a gazillion people on the “nice” weather days.

A view from a hiking trail in the woods.

Our boots on a hiking trail at a mountain resort area

Mr. A. and I enjoyed a 10th-anniversary getaway at a mountain resort that is popular during the summers and the winters, but our visit was in that in-between time where it was too cold for regular outdoor fun, but not enough snow for snow sports.


We enjoyed hiking as well as indoor roller skating, archery, and rock climbing at cheap prices. (And this was funded because I stumbled across some succulents on clearance, fancied them up, and resold them on FB as teacher thank-you gifts!)

succulents in pots.

So to Kristen and to all of my fellow readers: thank you for sharing your lives and your joys and your encouragement with me over the year(s)!

May you find joy-moments (even in the hard) and share joy with others (even in the midst of mundane) as you travel your journeys!

Boys riding bikes on a path.


Dorinda, I just want to say that I love what you would spend some of that imaginary $1000 on. When you are a parent and in particular, when you are the primary caretaker for kids, the feeling of constant responsibility can get wearing. So, I think spending money on some Days of No Responsibility is such a good idea!

Readers, the floor is yours!

P.S. Unless I missed someone’s submission, Dorinda’s interview is the last one in my queue. So, if I’ve emailed you questions and you still want to participate, fill ’em out and send them back! And if you’d like me to send you the questions, just email me and let me know.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Saturday 22nd of July 2023

This was a fascinating read! Thanks for sharing.

Gunn S from Northern Norway

Friday 19th of November 2021

Thank you so much for such an open and honest post! I read it in the morning when it posted but knew I had to save it and re-read it when I had better time to appreciate it (and formulate a comment since English is not my first language).

While it’s not good to read that other suffer too from burnout and depression I found both inspiration and motivation reading what you wrote. I find it so easy to be swept up in the #doallthethings mentality, so it’s so good to read sensible thoughts about it.

Even though one can say it’s really just common sense it’s hard to manage to see that when you’re struggling. So thanks again for sharing so generously.

It looks like a such beautiful area you live in and you’re blessed with a lovely family, I wish you continued joy and happiness and that you manage to get some regular time for yourself without responsibility.


Wednesday 17th of November 2021

I really needed to read this today. I have been dealing with a lot of transitions and you sound so encouraging. I have to keep reminding myself that I can't do it all but I still want to. You sound like a woman after my own heart with only sewing practical things! I don't create but I'm ALWAYS mending my kids and husband's clothes.


Thursday 18th of November 2021

@Jenni, I'm glad my post could encourage you in the middle of your transitions and hard days. I'll be real with you -- my kids are alternating back and forth between two pairs of pants each right now because I haven't even managed to get to the practical mending!!! You're right -- we can't do it all. Praying for grace for you as you're in the thick of things. Transitions are even more exhausting than regular life as you have to figure out new rhythms and new ways of doing things and new relationship dynamics!


Wednesday 17th of November 2021

Just blown away and inspired by this lovely post. Everyday life,working,helping,mothering,wife-ing, all can be so draining when we’re in that season of Life.. never enough hours or energy in a day or a night..

Thank you for sharing!


Thursday 18th of November 2021

@Madeline, thank you for your gracious and encouraging words. Yes - always limits to our energy and hours. May you be encouraged as well as you journey through your responsibility, blessings, and challenges!

Amy T.

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

Dorinda is a wonderful woman of God. I have known her and her family for at least two decades (holy, moly! How am I that old! ;) )

The way these 'strangers' on this blog speak of her is spot-on. She is loving, generous, creative, funny, connecting, genuine, and real.

I want to add something about her rice bags. We have a friend whose father died suddenly of Covid last year. Dorinda made many of her bags and sold them with the profit going to our friend and her family to help cover expenses. Another way she uses her talents to bless those around her.

Dorinda, I thank God for you and your family. There is no doubt that my life is better having you in it.


Thursday 18th of November 2021

@Kristen, Your comment made me grin with happiness like a Cheshire cat! Thanks for your gracious words and encouragement in the blog and in your comments.


Thursday 18th of November 2021

Oh, Amy.... I didn't share that link so you could come here and rat on me. ;-) (Should I rat on how you bought 18+ rice bags just to support that friend? And how is it possible that we've known each other for +20 years?!?!) But thank you for such kind and encouraging and gracious words.

One of my all time favorite quotes is from a book titled _Tales of the Kingdom_ about a character who emerges from her carefully curated world and then lives her life as a testimony to a banished King.

"And Thespia became a street player in the back alleys and dead ends of Enchanted City, acting out the King’s story in such a way that all who saw her suspected—then hoped—that there was a real kingdom."

And that's my desire... that people who see my life will suspect--and hope--that there is a real King and a real Kingdom. Keep praying for me for that, will you, Amy? <3


Wednesday 17th of November 2021

I am not at all surprised to hear the story about the rice bags; that seems just like something Dorinda would do. :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.