Friday, January 17, 2020

Frugal Friday 327

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Last Saturday I hosted our sort-of-annual Junk Exchange. We had many friends over and swapped a whole room full of items! We served vegetable soup, bread and butter, fresh fruit, and brownie brittle for lunch. Quick, simple and perfect for a crowd.

- From the Junk Exchange our family kept - three items to use while hiking/camping, three shirts for Annabeth, two winter coats for Owen to grow into, and many puzzles and games. I also took a few books to read and then pass on.

- After the exchange, we divided everything into piles and were able to donate one carload to Goodwill, one carload to the Lord's Cupboard, and all of the acceptable clothing will be taken to Hangers to help EVSC students and their families. We also have a whole box of food going to Andrew's Harvest Food Pantry and a whole box of food going to the Church of God for the Meal Bag program! Thank you to everyone who came for blessing each other's families and ALL of these organizations!

- Sunday we gave my parents the end of their Christmas gift - bowling at Ten Pins and lunch at Greek's pizza. We all had a great time and we especially have loved gifting many experiences, or giftcards for experiences, this Christmas.

At Ten Pins
Owen was Lane 1 Champ and
Dad was Lane 2 Champ!

- Monday the kids and I carpooled with friends to Indianapolis for Homeschool Day at the Capitol. We are SO thankful to homeschool in a state that is supportive and understanding of homeschoolers and our specific educational and family needs.

Annabeth at the mailbox.
This is the original mailbox/system from when the building was completed
in 1888.  

Owen made himself right at home at a desk in the House of Representatives.  

3/4 of the Riley Family School.
We were happy to celebrate #homeschool freedom!

- Tuesday evening the kids and I enjoyed Travel Club at a local library. This month had a guest speaker from the country of Georgia. He was SO well spoken and very funny. The kids learned a great deal. Owen and I enjoyed eating a traditional dessert from his country as well.

- I have gotten really serious about using ShopKick as I can earn giftcards for our upcoming vacation. I earned 930 kicks this week and didn't buy anything out of the ordinary for those kicks. Join ShopKicks and get your first 250 kicks here: ShopKick with Amy

- Yesterday morning we had a Homeschool Storytime at the Church of God. We hadn't met as a group since October and we all were so excited to be back together. Kelley and her girls do such a wonderful job with this program and we are so thankful for them!

- Mark wanted pizza for dinner on Thursday night. We skipped expensive take-out pizza and the kids and I stopped at the grocery for freezer pizza. This was around $15 vs the $30 we spend when we get delivery.

We had a good week and are looking forward to a nice, long holiday weekend.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Frugal Friday 326

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- I worked my Usborne Books & More business and Mark received his 2019 longevity pay from the city.

- Annabeth had the Dance Makers Convention downtown in Indianapolis Saturday and Sunday. We skipped the $47/day parking and reserved a spot with a walk for just $20/weekend using the SpotHero app. We saved $74 this way!

Our tiny dancer, in the big city, dreaming even bigger dreams

- I packed all of Annabeth's lunches and snacks for the weekend as well as mine for Sunday. I was a bit scattered Saturday morning and forgot mine but bought a $10 lunch at the Eiteljorg Museum vs an expensive hotel lunch. I did get a Starbucks treat each day using a giftcard from Christmas.

- We ate out as a family and saved $5.50 by redeeming a free kids meal from Summer Reading at the library.

- We stayed home this week. We did not eat out after the weekend and we did not drive except for dance class. We are continuing to save for a big vacation and are being very mindful of each dollar we spend.

- I got a HUGE box of $225 FREE books from Usborne Books & More. I was very happy to check out with the January Hostess Special DOUBLE REWARDS and to enjoy all of those beautiful free books!

- I did pop into Starbucks Wednesday night and used a giftcard to get a drink. Thank you Melissa for the treat!

We are looking forward to a busy weekend with family in town and our Annual Junk Exchange!
I cannot wait to see what treasures we find.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Frugal Friday 325

Happy Frugal Friday and Happy 2020!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Friday Mark was off work AND off call (this only happens about 10 days out of the whole year) so after a doctor appointment up north we went to Eagle Creek Park. We enjoyed a picnic lunch, lake walk, hike, and explored both of their nature centers. It was a wonderful family day for just the cost of parking - $6.

I love that Annabeth chose to wear these fancy clothes hiking. 
She truly has her own sense of style and we're loving watching it develop. 

- Saturday we ran a few small errands in the morning (pharmacy and library) and then spent about 4 hours working around the house. We did a deep clean of the main family car, a garage clean out, and some work inside. After dinner we did another few hours of cleaning plus loads and loads of laundry. The kids made their Christmas thank you cards to send the family members we did not see.

- Sunday after church we enjoyed our last Christmas of the year. We celebrated with Mark's family and had such a wonderful time. We were excited to surprise his whole family with the gift of going to an Indians Game this summer! We are happy to make this happen for everyone.

- Monday I spent the day putting away Christmas gifts and Christmas decor as well as some deep cleaning. The kids spent the day reading new books and playing with new toys.

- Tuesday we enjoyed Countdown to Noon at our local library and then had a very fun evening with Mark's family eating junk food and playing loads of games. All but the 9-month-old made it to midnight and we whispered "Happy New Year" as to not wake him. We spent the night at Mark's parents' house and Mark cooked a big breakfast for New Year's morning. We enjoyed games and movies most of the day before coming home.

- We went back to school yesterday and both of the kids had a very good school day. Afterwards they were full of energy and it was around fifty degrees so they went outside for over two hours. They came in for dinner and then we all went out on an after dinner walk  until it was dark. I know the weather will get cold several more times before spring so I am trying to really savor the warm time outside as much as we can! We have purposed to spend at least thirty minutes a day outside and that is so much easier for me when it is warmer!

We are looking forward a weekend full of dance.

Happy Savings to All!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Favorite Monthly Pictures of 2019

Happy End of 2019!

I did a post like this a few years ago and I love reflecting on it each December so I thought I'd do it again this year.

Here are my 12 Favorite Pictures from 2019...

Our BIG Christmas gift for our kids was their first trip to Disney on Ice.
Seeing Owen's face when Mickey skated out was the highlight of the month for me! 

I made the big, firm decision to go gray at 32.
Thank you to my amazing friend, and hair lady, Christy Stearns
for making it so easy and beautiful! 

March 8 we fell in love all over again when our newest nephew came into
the world. We surprised the kids after church one day with a trip
to meet him.  

We celebrated Easter in Evansville.
I love this picture of my parents and the kids.

Niagara Falls has been on my Bucket List since high school and we
made it happen for our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

 Annabeth competed in the Johnson County 4H Talent Show.
Not only did she win her category, she won the WHOLE show!
Her first Grand Champion before she even started 4H!

A swim day with our best friends!
We thought they were moving to Texas so we spent many spare
moments in summer savoring moments with them. In the last weeks before the move,
God graciously provided a job close to home and they didn't move! Praise the Lord! 

The kids started Homeschool Saddle Club and Owen fell in LOVE 
with horses! It has been so fun to watch him grow and learn.  

 A cousins' date at Apple Works.
I love that we've lived close, far, and now close again and that the love
has always carried us across the miles. 

I always wanted to be in love in the fall and I'm so thankful for Mark
who loves me in the fall (and winter, spring, and summer)
He truly is my whole world.  

November had so many wonderful moments but this picture is my favorite.
Cowboy Owen and Cowboy Statue at Old Hickory BBQ in Owensboro, KY  

The kids hugging after their Christmas Canata at church.
I love their love for each other and their growing love for the Lord. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Frugal Friday 324

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Last Friday we drove down to Charlestown to spend the day with our best friends. Rose sweetly set up a cookie decorating station, cooked lunch, and the kids all exchanged gifts. I am so thankful for our friendship and now the friendship of our kids.

- Friday Mark attended our city employee lunch. He won a door prize and came home with a blanket, mug, t-shirt, and several gift cards. Thank you to our city for being so generous to its employees!

- Saturday morning we had Christmas at our house. It is SO much fun watching the kids open the gifts we've found for them. Owen especially loved his stuffed pups and Annabeth loved her clothes and accessories for her doll.

- Saturday afternoon we played clean-out-the-fridge for lunch and then headed down to Evansville. We made it in time to share Group dinner with a dear group of church friends. The kids had so much playing with the kids that Owen cried when it was time to leave.

- Sunday after church Mark, the kids, and I went to Owensboro to visit Momaw. We had a nice lunch together and the boys did some work in her garage and took her car to the car wash as a gift to her. She passed on a pair of shoes to me that she had purchased but didn't fit correctly.

- Monday we had a family day. We spent the morning together doing scavenger hunts around my parents' house. Then the boys took the kids out to lunch and to Mickey's Kingdom. The girls ate leftovers for lunch and did some last minute shopping. We all met for dinner at Fuji Yama so we could give our friend Miss Helen her Christmas gift.

- Christmas Eve we got out and enjoyed a few hours hiking, bird watching, and playing at a park. It was glorious to have a 55 degree Christmas Eve.

- We celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with both sides of my family. We enjoyed seeing many cousins, aunts, and uncles that we only see a few times over the course of the year.

- Christmas Day was even warmer and instead of focusing on presents, the kids spent hours playing Hide and Go Seek Outside as it was nearly 70 degrees in Kentucky! It was so wonderful!

We had a truly wonderful, nearly whole week, in Evansville/Owensboro!
We are so thankful for precious time with family and look forward to more Christmas celebrations this weekend.

Merry Christmas!
Love, The Rileys

Friday, December 20, 2019

Frugal Friday 323

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- I am part of the University of Louisville Alumni Facebook page. This year they did a 12 Days of Christmas and I won Day Two! They kindly mailed me a very nice Alumni hat and car sticker. Thank you UofL Alumni!

Proud to be a graduate of UofL! 

- Friday evening the kids and I enjoyed a live animal show at a local library. We saw many animals and enjoyed seeing the reindeer most of all.

- Saturday morning the kids and I treated Mark's dad to Breakfast with Jesus and Santa at our church. This is our annual tradition with his parents but unfortunately his mom was sick this year. I know his dad and the kids still had a great time. Annabeth was even kind enough to visit Santa so they could have a picture.

- Saturday afternoon we went to a wonderful birthday party for some sweet sisters. Each of the kids had friends there and they had so much fun having an indoor snowball fight, going on a candy cane hunt, and playing with their friends.

- Sunday morning the kids offered gifts of song and dance during the church Cantata. They had practice for a few hours on Saturday afternoon and then participated in both services on Sunday. They had a wonderful time and I was so proud to see them praising our Lord.

- Sunday afternoon Mark got back in town after a training and the kids and I were worn out from the long weekend we were SO tempted to pick up lunch but we resisted! We did a quick grocery stop for the week and came home and cooked lunch. Everyone was hungry and grumpy but we did it anyway!

- Monday morning we woke up to snow! After school, the kids bundled up and played for a while. The kids played outside at least one hour every day this week. They came in to warm up before dance and Owen and I made homemade cocoa. Most store bought cocoas are not Annabeth safe so we have been making our own for years.

- If you have been reading for a while, you know that I do a big closet clean out twice a year. I took the time to do it one day and cleaned out all of my clothes. I let my sister have first pick of the clothes and then the rest will go to the Junk Exchange to share with friends.

- Tuesday after some appointments we came home to enjoy an afternoon of snow play and baking. Growing up, my Mama always made the first snow of the season Cookie Baking Day. We had snow and baked cookies last snow but we decided we needed to bake a cake for this snow as well.

- Mark woke up very early both Monday and Tuesday to shovel snow. He shoveled at his work and also for our elderly neighbors. The kids were up early to see him and I love his constant example of Christian witness. He does it early, in the dark hours of the morning and comes home before anyone knows it was him who completed the task. I so admire his willingness to give without asking for, or expecting, anything in return.

- I mended three clothing items. A penny saved is a penny earned and we always try to fix or mend before buying again.

- Three weeks ago I got out a card table to work a puzzle. After we finished that puzzle, I left it out and in since then the kids have been working something on it everyday. Some puzzles, some art, some Legos, some Knex but always building. Who knew simply adding a piece of furniture would spark such creativity?!

- A few weeks ago, a fellow Book Lady shared some pictures of her vendor/school set up. She had an awesome book rack and sent me the Amazon link after I asked for it. It was $180 new/$125 used (plus shipping!) On Wednesday, a teacher store in Evansville posted they were GIVING AWAY book racks much like the one I have on my Amazon list! My sister ran over and grabbed one for me!! Thank you Lu! I am happy to put the money I had been saving for the rack back into my business in a different way!

I cannot wait to get a new Usborne Books & More label for the top and to
fill it for books for sale!

We are looking forward to a busy weekend and a blessed Christmas Week.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Frugal Friday 322

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- I cleaned out my dresser. 15 items went to the Junk Exchange box. It still amazes me each time I clean out my clothes, generally twice a year, that I ALWAYS find more to part with.

- I ordered the last of our online Christmas gifts. I had forgotten (UGH!!!) to use a free promotional coupon that I had but I was still able to wait for a decent sale and free shipping on the items. I saved (between the sale and shipping) about $35 but I would have saved an additional $15 if I hadn't let my coupon expire. Thankfully this sale came in time for Christmas shipping.

- I donated a $30 bag of Usborne books to the Franklin City Police Department's Christmas party. The department kindly offered every family who came to the Christmas Party a door prize. I hope this bag, books, and coupon are a blessing to the family that received it.

- We enjoyed the department Christmas party as a family. We won a salt water float ($50 value!) and a coupon for a free meal at Culver's. We don't eat at Culver's so we passed that along to a friend. Toodleydoo Toys in Franklin also AMAZINGLY gave every single family a $10 coupon! Thank you Debi and staff!

- Mark and Owen used the $10 Toodleydoo coupon to buy Annabeth's Christmas gift. It was one of the last gifts that we needed to buy, we had planned to do it close to when we open gifts so Owen wouldn't have to keep the surprise from Annabeth for long, and this coupon came just in time.

- Saturday morning Mark and Owen met up with Mark's mom to do some Christmas shopping. Annabeth and I had a quiet morning at home as we worked a 300 piece puzzle (she is great at puzzles and I am learning to be patient with my lack of skills) and watched baking shows.

- Saturday afternoon we drove down towards Seymour for a birthday party. Annabeth's sweet friend from summer camp has been her pen-pal all school year and the girls were excited to see each other to celebrate H's birthday. I didn't know that she goes to school with a couple of my friend's children so I was able to catch up with my friend Whitney as well. On the way home, we stopped in Columbus for a Ru Yi sushi date.

She has ALWAYS loved sushi!
That night she had a sweet potato roll and rainbow roll with 5 kinds of fresh fish.

- Sunday after church we did our grocery shopping for the next two weeks. This was our first big trip in three weeks and should last us through Christmas (we get fresh produce delivered weekly from Imperfect) We made Chinese Food at home and then had a triple-show-Christmas-movie afternoon. It was a much needed break before the busyness of the next few weeks set in.

- Tuesday we drove to Shelbyville to deliver books to a customer. We also stopped by the Grover Museum - Shelby County History Museum - for about 90 minutes. The kids always love to see the 1900 town, train room, and at Christmas the decorated trees. Annabeth is in third grade this year so I am making a point to visit all of the local county museums to learn more about our local history.

- Tuesday evening we enjoyed Travel Club at the library. This month was about Italy and presented by an exchange student from Italy. The kids loved learning about his hometown and each asked some great questions.

- Wednesday evening Owen and I dropped Annabeth off at dance and then we drove to Indy for an Advent Service. Both of our nieces and our nephew were reading/singing in a mid-week Advent service and we so enjoyed worshipping with them. Mark picked up Annabeth from dance and they took a fun drive to look at Christmas lights.

- Yesterday, Annabeth had a Riley appointment. Since we were already nearly to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis we headed there after. We enjoyed an in-the-car picnic lunch on the roof of the parking garage. Then we enjoyed over three hours of fun at the museum. We have about six weeks left on our membership so I want to go as much as possible.

- This year Owen's FAVORITE thing to do has been to save the sea turtles at the museum. The one Christmas gift I hadn't found yet was a turtle like the one at the museum so we stopped by the gift shop to get him one. We do NOT usually exit through the gift shop but I really wanted him to have a turtle and members saved 20% so it was the day for it. Annabeth also got a small item.

 Owen saving the turtles. 
He LOVES this area!

Ultimately he decided against a plastic turtle like the museum ones
and chose a plush one. Since it was over 1/2 the price of the plastic one, I agreed.
Hugging "Leo" his new turtle friend.

- Last night Owen and Mark went to a local park to help a friend's son with his Eagle Scout Project. Annabeth and I stayed home to have a low key evening.

Frugal Fail: Last Thursday, a family at church called and offered us two tickets to the Jurassic Quest dino show in downtown Indianapolis. Owen hasn't really gotten into dinosaurs and is scared easily so I passed on the generous offer. Once I saw other people's pictures/videos from the show I realized that he may have really enjoyed it. That being said,I hope they found another family to share with.

Happy Savings to All!