Friday, March 22, 2019

Frugal Friday 287

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked a shift at his part time job and I hosted my Spring Open House with Usborne Books More.

- Saturday, Mark and Owen went out for a walk around the high school and a picnic snack. They took snacks from home and had a great afternoon. You would have thought Mark took Owen to the moon - he is STILL talking about it!

- I hosted my Spring Open House last Saturday. I had three other vendors with me and while we certainly didn't have the sales day that we had hoped for, we had a fun afternoon nonetheless. Annabeth decided to set up a craft booth and sold out of her homemade stained glass items. I was proud of her for wanting to use her skills to earn some extra money. She is saving it to buy fun souvenirs on our vacation this summer.

- Saturday evening Mark took Annabeth to a friend's birthday party and then out for a snack. Owen and I went to dinner - he chose a local pizza place. Both of the kids really thrive when we spend one-on-one time with them on the weekends. We aren't always able to do this but when we can we try to at least split them up to play games or take a walk with just one parent. It gives us such a great chance to really hear their voices.

- Sunday we stopped by Mark's brother's house after church. We were able to meet our new nephew, Jackson! The kids made fun St. Patrick's Day treats for my open house and we also took a big batch to Luke and Cassidy. I enjoyed about an hour of newborn snuggles and am so happy to be an Auntie to this brand-new guy!

- I sold an item on a Facebook garage sale page. Once a friend bought it, I went ahead and added some more items to it as well. Made: $15

- Owen had his annual eye exam on Tuesday. It was our family's first eye exam with the new insurance and very affordable. Annabeth also had a doctor's appointment this week. Last year, these two appointments cost us nearly $500 this year they were under $100 for both!  Mark's new job has been such a blessing to our family in so many ways and our improved health insurance is in the top three highlights! We are so grateful God provided this opportunity for Mark.

- I watched a friend's kids on Wednesday and she paid me with an ice cream treat from Freddy's. Her kids are so well behaved, my kids had fun, and I got an ice cream! Win win for all!

- We stopped in a thrift store with two items on my list. I was able to find both right away! Owen had been needing a new pair of jeans and he only has one pair of shorts that will fit for summer so I've been looking as I have time. We found two pairs of Gymboree dress shorts (his favorite kind) for just $4 total!

- The kids and I dropped off books from our Spring Book Drive to Riley Children's Hospital. We were so excited to be able to donate over 50 books to kids at Riley!

- Since we were just two exits from the Children's Museum at our book drop off, we we went there for the day as well. We have an annual pass, they have free parking, and we packed our lunches for a free day of fun. The kids loved that the chocolate slide is up now - and I did too! It's fun!

We had a busy, fun week and are looking forward to Mark being off today and this weekend!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Frugal Friday 286

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked a shift at his part-time job and I worked my Usborne Books & More business.

- Last Friday, we were in Morgantown for a school meeting and I figured we should head on another twenty minutes to visit a friend with a new baby in Martinsville. We messaged ahead of time and arranged to take her family and new baby a meal. I had so much fun catching up with a friend while getting some wonderful baby snuggles! We combined the trips to save gas and time.

- We had a bit of a cold snap over the weekend and a ton of rain. I took the kids to play at two different libraries and checked out tons of books for free fun.

- Saturday for lunch, Annabeth and I each took a novel to read at Main & Madison Market Cafe. We used a giftcard and enjoyed a good conversation over lunch and some reading after. Mark and Own had a date day downtown in Franklin as well. Saturday afternoon we had a family game tournament and I soundly lost every round of Slamwich and Yahtzee.

If he isn't the cutest three year old in the world,
I am not sure who is! He had a ton of fun walking
around downtown, and visiting the barber shop, with Mark. 

- Sunday we did not have our usual family lunch so after church we had the whole day to just the four of us. The kids played nicely all afternoon - "store" is the current favorite game - and Mark and I were able to enjoy some quiet time to read.

- Monday, Annabeth began this semester's P.E. class at Franklin College. We so appreciate this free course and she is looking forward to a semester of fun!

- Between Tuesday and Wednesday, we spent over six hours outdoors! We finally had some beautiful days and we enjoyed lots of play, cleaning, and eatting apples in our backyard!

- I finished my final pre-sale sort. I took an additional four boxes of stuff to donate and have the rest ready to be entered into the computer and tagged.

- I listed three items on Facebook. They are toys with many pieces and I hope to sell them on Facebook vs having to keep them all together for the sale.

We had a busy week and enjoyed so much time outdoors!!
We are looking forward to a fun weekend with my Spring Open House tomorrow from 3-6 PM.
Come shop with me! :)

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Frugal Friday 285

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday, we met with friends so the kids could play. She had been cleaning out her kitchen and sent us home with a huge bag of food items to donate to our church food pantry. She also sent home juice boxes for the kids which Owen especially loved this week. Thank you Jeanette!

- Friday afternoon, we picked up a load of laundry at a friends house. We came home, washed and dried it, and then returned it by dinner. About two years ago, our washer broke and their family kindly let us do laundry there for an afternoon so we were happy to return the favor this week when their washer broke.

- Saturday Annabeth had nearly 12 hour dance day. We packed water, meals, and snacks so we did not by any eat-out food or concessions. I also had leftovers ready for the crockpot and Mark had dinner warm when we got home. Dance days are long and quite busy, we could easily spend an extra $150+ each dance season if I didn't plan ahead for meals.

- Sunday was Mark's birthday. We enjoyed a quiet morning at home with home church and then spent the afternoon at his parents. He got some new tools and coffee and we enjoyed a long, snowy afternoon with family. We came home for dinner and the kids watched a movie while Mark and I had dinner alone in the dining room. Not quite a date but it seems to be as close as we can get.

- Annabeth won an AWESOME gift pack from our library's Winter Reading Program. It was a movie themed pack so lots of popcorn, candy, and cute popcorn bowls. She also won two Disney giftcards! We will keep the items we will eat and she chose to donate the microwave popcorn and Cokes to the Franklin Police Department's Tutoring Program for the kids there to have some fun snacks.

Thank you to JCPL for this fun prize!!

- Wednesday we took the WHOLE morning (5+ hours) and deep cleaned both of the kids rooms. We do this about once a quarter. We take everything out, dust, sweep, mop, and declutter. In total we had one kitchen tote full of trash (broken toys, toys with missing pieces, rubber bands, etc) and three diaper boxes full of toys to donate or sell. I did Owen's myself so two of those boxes were my choice of items to get rid of. Annabeth and I worked together but she did decide to get rid of some larger items from when she was a toddler. This is always such a huge undertaking but I wanted it done on a 10 degree day vs a beautiful, spring day in a few weeks.

- Yesterday, I took the whole morning (3+ hours) and deep cleaned our master bedroom. I moved all of the furniture, dusted, swept, mopped, and decluttered. I also rearranged it for the first time since we moved in this house in 2013. With all three bedrooms moved around and the main living spaced moved around in November it's almost like having a brand new house!

- One evening, Mark had a meeting and the kids and I had a dance party at home. Last night, the kids and Mark had a game night while I enjoyed reading a book I've been working on all week.

We are looking forward to a calmer weekend than the past few. Mark is on call for both workplaces so we'll be laying low and enjoying time as a family.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Frugal Friday 284

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday night, Annabeth and I did a huge overhaul of her clothing tote. We were able to pull all of her spring/summer clothes that she has outgrown. They have been moved to the sale tote to prep for the spring consignment sale. I was also happy to find that she has everything she will need for summer - play clothes,  "going out" clothes, church clothes, and swimwear! Woohoo! Always a good discovery!

- Saturday we enjoyed a nice family day. Mark and Owen went out Saturday morning to run some errands while Annabeth and I ran to the gym for her gymnastics class. We met up for lunch at Don and Dona's downtown and finished our Love Local February pass. We hope to win a fun prize! We spent of the rest of the day reading and playing as a family.

- Sunday after church, we had lunch at Mark's parents' house. We enjoyed seeing those that were able to make it and the kids loved playing with their cousins and grandparents.

- We wrapped up our Spring Book Drive for the Riley Cheer Guild. We will be donating over 50 brand new beautiful books to the Riley Cheer Guild! Thank you so much to everyone who donated!

- Mondays are always busy so I usually do a crockpot dinner so we can all eat at home together between activities. This past Monday was especially busy so I just packed dinner on the road - sandwiches, fruit, chips, and a little dessert for each kid. Life is busy with kids but that doesn't mean that we should eat out. If we ate out every day we were busy we'd eat out 5+ days a week which isn't financially responsible at all with our budget.

- Tuesday evening we enjoyed dinner at Mark's Scout Troop's Annual Blue and Gold Ceremony. We were able to see our nephew get his awards for the year and also watch some of the cub scouts cross over into boy scouts. Mark was a boy scout all through school and has faithfully been working with the troop since he got his Eagle.

- Wednesday night I enjoyed a FREE Starbucks Mama-Treat thanks to my sweet friend Nicole. Thanks Lady! I needed coffee to get through dance this week! :)

- Yesterday, we our friends the O'Neals at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Owen and his "brother" Lach have really been looking forward to seeing the new Paw Patrol exhibit and and apparently every other child in the city has as well. haha! It was packed but we spent a good 2.5 hours there before Owen lost his mind from the noise and chaos. We have an annual pass so we get in free and also packed our lunch so the only expense was gas.

Paw Patrol Stamps!
They got to choose their favorite pups' symbols

 Owen was most excited to see "beautiful" Everest

Annaebth loves Skye

- Last night we took a meal to friends with a new baby. We loved meeting their little girl and spoiling them with a dinner that they didn't have to cook!

We are looking forward to a busy weekend of dance and Mark's birthday!

Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Nearly 18 Years With Uli Lou

Last night I got the call, the one I have known was coming, but somehow knowing it was coming and having it come are two very different things. Our beloved Uli Lou - dog to our family since 2001 - has passed away.

Uli was born May 22, 2001 at 5:55 PM. We had to run over to Laurie's house just in time to see Uli be born. Mama had said we could only have a girl puppy and Uli was the only girl in the litter, she was meant to be ours! She came home to us at the end of July and from then on she has been a part of every moment, every memory.

Uli was with me through all of my high school years - seemingly cheering on my successes, posing for prom pictures, and taking the annual girls and pets Easter picture in stride as she tried to get the cat each year. It was Uli's fur I cried into when friends were mean or I didn't score as well as I wanted to on tests and when I didn't get into music school. I cried the hardest about leaving Uli when I drove off to college. She was always my first "hello" on trips home from Louisville. Uli came to visit me on campus, at camp in the summer, and even at my apartment. She sent me off on my wedding day. She stayed at our apartment and our first house some when Mark and I worked flipped shifts and I just needed a buddy. Eventually, she got to old to travel so we just made extra trips home to see her. In October 2017, she seemed in poor health, and I remember a trip the kids and I made home alone. I spent a good, long time saying good-bye and made a point to whisper everything I could have ever wanted to say to her before we left. This past New Years we were home and I got the stomach flu. Uli, who has been less cuddly as she has gotten older, stayed with me in the bathroom the whole time. Always faithful, always giving.

After the call came, we were in the car, and the hardest part was telling the kids. They knew I was upset and their little hearts just broke. Annabeth, who has known it was coming, and I think especially knew after our trip home a few weeks ago cried and cried. Owen took some time to process but could feel how upset we both were. Unfortunately, Owen's Bible story yesterday was Lazarus so on top of only being three he kept insisting that we could just pray Uli back to life like Jesus did with his friend.

I am thankful for the nearly 18 years, well over half my life, that Uli has been ours. When talking to her a few weeks ago, I said "How do I say thank you? How do I say thank you for an entire lifetime of love?" I am confident that no dog was better loved by their family. I am also sure that no dog has better loved their humans than Uli loved us.

Annabeth and Uli sharing a 5:30 Breakfast
November 2012

Owen and Uli lined up on their blankets
November 2015

Monday, February 25, 2019

Going Gray: 4.5 Month Check In

Today was the BIG day - COLOR DAY!!

Remember, that I initially thought my hair would go from gray roots to completely gray in about six months..maybe not! I then debated what to do: strip all the color right away (Mark and Annabeth both rejected this idea as they wanted to see the transformation slowly), let it just go and hate the ever-growing skunk stripe for 18+ months, or do this highlighting to help it all blend more. I went with the highlighting option after meeting with the amazing Christy Stearns!

Here is a "before" picture from last Thursday.
**I will say that I had my hair pulled back and was looking more white than days when my hair was down and styled more carefully**

Enjoying the Garfield Park Conservatory

Tonight I headed over to Christy around 5:15 and walked out three hours later feeling better about my hair than I have since my roots began showing in November! She was so incredibly patient and helped me make it all work out okay. 

Tonight's "Before" Photos. 
You can see the gray ring around the top and the dark down below.

I am not exactly clear on the whole process tonight but we did some highlight foils, sat under a heat lamp for a while, and then did lots of rinses and washes. I don't think anyone is hoping for a step-by-step or a how-to so I'll leave it at that. I'll just get to the good part...the AFTER photos!!

Front View. 
It's hard to see my hair so light as I've always
had dark hair. That being said - I feel like it looks
very natural and blended. 

No more "she let herself go"
but more of a
"you go girl!"

Loving it way more than I thought I would!

This has been such an emotional night. When she lifted the foils to peek, I saw just how light my hair was getting. Then, after we washed it was scary! It didn't look like my hair at all. I thought, "Oh no. This is going to look so fake. So not like me" And then she blew it dry and styled it and she was right. It looked natural, like I had done it on purpose, and had 100% fixed my grow-out issue! 

I want to say such a HUGE THANK YOU to Christy at Hair by Christy Stearns. I really did do this on a whim and then completely panicked at the thought of 18+ months of skunk hair. Christy gave me this great cut and this amazing color blend! She is the best! 

So, I have to say that at 4.5 months in of Going Gray I am feeling my very best with gray! 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Frugal Friday 283

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last weekend the kids and I took a long weekend and headed to Evansville to visit my family. We enjoyed TWO sushi dinners at Fujiyama, tons of playtime, and finally made it to Owensboro to celebrate Christmas nearly two months late.

- Mark headed up north with his Scout Troop for Winter Camp last weekend. He said they had a good camp and he was happy with the turnout and weather.

- My parents sent us home from Evansville with tons of goodies - cookies, bagels, and some snacks. It helped our grocery budget for the week as we didn't have to buy any "fun" items.

- We received many snack samples in our recent Zulily and Boxed orders. The samples that the kids wanted made extra fun snacks and the Non-Anna-Safe options were donated along with our other donations to the Meal Bag Project that we love to support.

- Wednesday the kids and I enjoyed our monthly storytime at the Church of God in Franklin. We are studying the fruits of the spirit and the kids love seeing their friends there each month. They were especially excited about the bounce house at the end. After story time, we had lunch out downtown thanks to a giftcard from my birthday. Thank you Mark for that special treat!

- Wednesday night Mark and I surprised Owen with an eat-out-ice-cream-treat. He was SO SO SO excited to be out with just the two of us by himself. It was a great reminder that we need to be more mindful about time out with each of the kids by themselves.

- Yesterday, it was 40 and sunny and I couldn't stand the thought of being home all day. We drove up to the city and checked out the Garfield Park Conservatory. I was excited about how wonderful it was and admission was just $2/person. We were the only ones there and we enjoyed hours of exploring in their indoor rainforest and the sunken garden. The kids, and honestly I was too, were so happy to be outdoors, in the sunshine, learning and loving life together!

We were so happy to see more than 
100 plant species from all around the world.

- Last night it was finally sitll warm enough and light enough to take our first post-dinner bike ride of the season. In the spring, summer, and fall we bike/trike/walk every night that we are home after dinner. I feel like that extra hour outside just makes all of us happier! 

- This week I kicked off my Spring Book Drive for the Riley Cheer Guild. If you are interested in helping raise books for children at Riley Children's Hospital I encourage you to check out our link here:

We are looking forward to a weekend where we are all in town and Mark is off one of the days! Woohoo!

Happy Savings to All!